Surprise! Shannon’s Return to Blogging

17 Dec

Surprise! Shannon’s Return to Blogging

Shannon is back. After 32 days, I can no longer stay away. Idling is not my thing. But I collected my thoughts and worries and concerns, and I found a new road I want to take on ShannonAThompson.com.

Wait? There are changes?

Yes. There will be changes, but I sincerely hope (and believe) you all will enjoy them. And if you don’t enjoy them, I am a good listener, and I will find yet another path to take. That being said, for the first time in my two years of blogging here, ShannonAThompson.com is getting a new schedule, and below you can read all about it, starting with today:

Wednesdays: Also known as #WW – Writer Wednesday.

This will be the most familiar of days. I will publish a post that focuses on either writing or reading. This includes writing tips, publishing advice, and more. Basically, all the posts I’ve written in the past could be eligible material for this day.

Saturdays: #SATurday – Shannon Day!

Yes, I made that hashtag up with my initials in it. I know. I know. I’m creative. And a bit egotistical. This is the biggest change you will see, but I hope you’ll enjoy it because I contemplated this for a very long time. You see, after blogging about writing and reading for two years, I felt like I removed a lot of my personality from this website. Because of that, I’m creating an opportunity to share my daily stories and life with you. On Saturdays, I will post about anything – literally whatever is affecting my life – in the hopes of connecting with everyone on a more personal level. I’m also hoping you will share your thoughts so I can get to know you better. (And if you really only want to talk about writing, don’t worry! Writing and reading is such a huge part of my life, there is a big chance that most of these posts will also include ideas about writing.) So, keep your eyes out for #SATurday, and please use the hashtag!

While away, I started recording an audio book.

While away, I started recording an audio book.

Mondays: Also known as #MondayBlogs

Have you ever wanted to Guest Post here? Well, you’re in luck. Mondays are all about you. Every Monday will be open to you for blogging on my website. However, I am holding everyone up to the same standards as my guest bloggers in the past: focus on writing or reading with absolutely no blatant advertisements (a.k.a. “BUY MY BOOK”) You are allowed a bio, a picture, and book link in the ending description. A picture for the blog post is also needed. If you are interested in submitting, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. If you would like to look at previous examples, check out When the Protagonist Dies, Authors Don’t Read, Spreading the Love or go to the righthand side of my page, click on Categories, and then, click on Guest Blogger.

I will also continue Website Wonders and Ketchup posts every month. I hope you look forward to these changes! I’m keeping my fingers crossed. So – again – feel free to email shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested in guest posting. I’m also taking interview requests again! So, I’m logging into my email right now. Looking forward to seeing you there!

And – again – thank you so much for understanding my break. Your support lightened my worries and calmed my troubled heart. (Oh, the relaxing sigh of breath you gave me during all of my dramatics.)

It’s good to be back.

~SAT

P.S. The last installment of The Timely Death Trilogy, Death Before Daylight, is now on Goodreads. Click below! Add it to your bookshelf for an ARC! (Or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com) AEC Stellar Publishing announced the release date as January 29, 2015.

dbdgr

November Ketchup

30 Nov

November’s Ketchup

I’m still on break, but I know how much these monthly stats mean to some of my readers, so I thought I would show this month and how taking a break has changed everything. Thank you for understanding and continuing to support me, even in my absence!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog post, guest posts, my top referrer, SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this November!

Big Moments:

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

I have stepped away from ShannonAThompson.com for now, but some exciting news still took place. Two of my poems – To my Mother and On being overweight – were published in The Quill.

Omar Bula Escobar – former UN representative and author of “El Plan Maestro” – translated and shared a quote from Minutes Before Sunset.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Thank You for Everything: I have stepped away from my schedule of posting every other day. Everyone has been so wonderfully supportive about my time away. Thank you. Seriously.

#1 SEO Term: Wattpad

#1 SEO Term: Wattpad

2. Insta-Love Isn’t Instant: Falling in love? It’s different for everyone.

3. Author Announcements: An Update: Just an update on the situation here on ShannonAThompson.com. Again, I’m still not returning, but I am making plans to.

Guest Posts:

How to Manage Your NaNoWriMo Editing: I hope everyone who participates had a successful NaNoWriMo.

#1 Referrer was TheShelf.com

#1 Referrer was TheShelf.com

Other Blog Posts:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

(Take Me Tomorrow) The Messy Owl, Nay’s Pink Bookshelf

(Seconds Before Sunrise) Mel’s Shelves, Book Gannet

(Minutes Before Sunset) Book Gannet, Bookstore Browser

Interviews: Book Gannet, Messy Owl,

Features: Best Books of 2014, 50 Days of Indie

~SAT

november

Author Announcements: An Update

26 Nov

Afternoon, everyone! I believe this is my first post I’ve ever published during the middle of the day, but I wanted to share an update. In the video below, you’ll hear about my recent publication, a gift, and news about Death Before Daylight. I hope you’ll check it out.

Thank you for understanding my break. I miss everyone so much! 

Here are the links to read my recent publication in The Quill: To my Mother and On being overweight

Happy Thanksgiving,

~SAT

Thank You for Everything

15 Nov

Thank You for Everything

This post comes with a heavy heart and weeks of hesitation, but in the end, I have to post it. I’ll be honest. I tried to shoot a video because I thought it would be more personal (and you all deserve that so much) but I could not get through it. I could not even shoot two minutes. So I’m typing it, and my first apology is how disconnected this message will come by, but I hope you all will understand what I am about to say.

I’m taking a long break from ShannonAThompson.com. I want to call it quitting because it feels like quitting. To be honest, it feels like failure, but I simply cannot handle everything right now, even though I’ve been trying to power through it for a long time now.

Things in my life are not going well right now. I would go into details, but it’s not about the details. I’m not asking for a pity party. I will get through it. But I hope you will understand my long leave of absence. I’m not sure when I’ll come back. It might be two weeks. It might be two years. (Okay. Two years is a tad dramatic.) Maybe I’ll even come back in a month or so. But I wish I could estimate, and I cannot. I’ve even tried holding off on this – for weeks, probably even for months – and I can no longer lie to myself that I can continue at the rate I have for the past two years. I don’t know if I can continue at all, but I hope the break will help. That is my only hope right now.

During this break, I will try to focus on writing and bettering my life as a person and as an author so I can return with the positive energy you all deserve. I’ll try to stay active on Facebook and Twitter, and I might even post here – just not every other day. I will also still try to release Death Before Daylight, but I cannot promise anything at all, and I am so incredibly sorry to say that. I do, however, want to clarify that this is a personal decision. AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is still supporting The Timely Death Trilogy and my other works, and I’m remaining with the company. I only need to take a break from posting every other day as a breather for my own health. While this website has been some of the best solace in my life, I am too overwhelmed in other areas to continue here, but I hope you’ll stay for the day I return.

We miss everyone already.

We miss everyone already.

I want to thank everyone. Thank you to every blog that has helped me by commenting, sharing, and reviewing my books and blog posts. Thank you to every reader for taking a chance on my work. Thank you to every editor, cover artist, and publisher who helped create my publications. I am eternally grateful. Thank you. Thank you for supporting me. I do not deserve it right now though. But I hope to earn it back one day, and I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

Until then, with all my love,

~SAT

How to Manage Your NaNoWriMo Editing? Tips for Novel Writers

12 Nov

Announcements:

Today is a guest post for all those who want tips with editing after NaNoWriMo comes to an end, but he wrote an introduction, so without further ado:

How to Manage Your NaNoWriMo Editing? Tips for Novel Writers

Written by Steve Aedy, ghost author and writer for Fresh Essays – team of professionals who provide writing help and editing aid. Steve is an avid reader and wants to try himself in fiction writing. Follow him on Google+.

Well, congratulations, you’ve made through the 30 day NaNoWriMo Challenge! And you’ve survived. However, now you face the somewhat daunting task of editing those 50,000 words.

Can you feel your internal heels digging in at the thought? After all, you know what you wrote. And you recall vividly the gibberish that was typed at the end of those all-nighters, just to hit the day’s word count.

If editing your NaNoWriMo novel seems like an insurmountable task, fear not. Because we’re about to share some advice from the authorities on how to get through the equally challenging task of editing your novel. And, coming out sane on the other end!

If you managed to complete all 50,000 words of the Challenge, then you already know something about how to tackle editing your work. Whatever techniques you used for planning, organization and hitting daily targets in writing your novel will work for editing as well. So, you can simply reverse engineer the process and apply the same steps.

However, if you’re not clear about how to handle editing your opus, follow along the steps described below.

Editing

Start at the Start

Perhaps the biggest challenge in even getting started with editing is the seeming enormity of the project. If this is your first time at self-editing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as though you’re being swallowed in words. As with writing, this is where using a deadline can play an important part.

Without a deadline an editing project seems never-ending, numbing the mind into inaction. With no end in sight, it may be difficult to generate the enthusiasm needed for editing and a deadline will provide the incentive to complete this next, important step. Motivation comes from the daily achievement of your editing tasks and builds momentum as you go along.

The NaNoWriMo forum Now What? takes place during the months of January and February, with a break over December. If you participate, you’ll enjoy all the benefits and support of the other writers, as well as expert advice and ongoing interaction with agents, editors and publishing staff. And of course, the “buddy system” inherent in a forum is a great tool for staying accountable.

The Steps to Editorial Achievement

Take the time to plan the steps you need to meet your editorial deadline. Schedule your time accordingly and decide on the software or editing tools you may want to use. Check out the editing apps and software recommended on Lifehacker for some ideas.

Start with the outline. Hopefully you’ve followed your outline somewhat in the writing stage. Continuing to do so during editing will help to keep your ideas moving, you’ll be able to spot opportunities to introduce foreshadowing and your pacing and rhythm will be smoother.

Do a little warm up by reviewing character studies and research notes, or reading yesterday’s work. This is like priming the pump and pulls your focus and attention into alignment with the day’s editing goals.

Edit daily. The best tactic for staying on top of your editing is to do some of it every day. As part of your plan, have a daily word count or page count that you’re committed to reaching. Celebrate when you do hit your goal, and adjust for improvement when you don’t. It’s only a yardstick, but effective in clocking progress which will keep motivation topped up.

Print a copy for editorial notes. After your initial proofreading, print a copy and write out your editorial notes on the pages. Revise with these initial improvements to prepare for a critical read through by beta readers.

Have your work critiqued with beta readers. The NaNoWriMo forum is excellent for this purpose. And you can always enlist the help of friends, if they can be impartial and give an honest opinion.

Edit and revise again. After your work has gone through the initial beta reading, edit and revise again based on the feedback received.

Proofread, print a fresh copy and edit once again.

Repeat as necessary until you’re satisfied.

Or, if you’re not interested in self-editing or simply don’t have the time, you can always hire the professional services of an editor. You can find some good recommendations and resources for finding editors in this piece at thecreativepenn.com. Hiring an experienced editor has many benefits, a few of which are:

  • A professional editor will be experienced with an objective eye.
  • Editors have insider tips and tricks to smooth out your draft.
  • They’ll have an eye for specifics within your genre, which an inexperienced self-editor may miss.
  • They’ll review your plot and structure with a view to making your novel more publishable.

And to help in the actual process of editing, some tips from the pros:

  • Always run a spell check to catch the basic errors in spelling and grammar.
  • The initial proofread is also the time to watch for mistakes with homonyms: to, too, two etc.
  • The readthrough is a good time to correct any inconsistencies in tense. Double check your dialogue to ensure it remains aligned with the correct tense.
  • With your editors’ specs on, watch for repetition of words and ideas. Try using your word processors “find and replace” tab in the editing toolbar to help catch redundancies.
  • Remove and replace the “to be” verbs with an active voice to give strength to your writing. Remember to show, not tell.
  • Editing is a good time to rediscover your voice, and to ensure it’s well represented in your work. After all, it’s your novel, and should be written in your voice, not someone else’s.
  • Find your rhythm by reading aloud. Reading out loud will help to find the cadence of your words. Make adjustments to maintain consistency when irregularities in tempo occur.
  • Spot check by selecting random chapters to edit. Taken out of context, random reading helps to see your work more objectively and makes it easier to spot errors.

And there you have the basic steps on how to manage the editing of your NaNoWriMo novel. Like the writing Challenge itself, take it one day at a time, keep your sights on the end goal and before you know it, you’ll be celebrating another major achievement on your path to writing success.

Finding Interesting Quotes

10 Nov

Announcements:

Bookstore Browser reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, stating, “The book sets up a great world, with interesting characters and storyline as a great start to the trilogy.” Check out the entire review by clicking here.

Finding Interesting Quotes

Quotes. We love them. I rarely log onto any social media site without seeing some quote being shared via photos or tweets or simple statuses. We find a lot of meaning in quotes because we can relate to quotes, and being able to explain how we feel or think by sharing a line or two is a wonderful way to communicate with friends, family, and other followers.

One of the most wonderful times of being an author is when a reader quotes you. The first time I saw this happen, I could hardly believe it. I probably rubbed my eyes, closed my computer, reopened my computer, and blinked before I accepted that somebody had shared a few words of mine with the world. Now – it happens pretty regularly, and every time, I am just as happy as the first time. Why am I mentioning this?

Recently, a fellow author asked me how they could increase their chances of being quoted by their readers. Now – while I wish I could say there is a simple formula – I don’t know if there is, but I do know how you can find quotes in your own work that you can use for marketing purposes. So…here are a few ways to start your treasure hunt!

Figure out your themes:

I think this is the easiest way to find potential quotes in your own work. For instance, The Timely Death Trilogy revolves around the light vs. dark theme, but it’s also a romance, so I can search for words associated with that. Examples would include dark, shadows, love, hate, etc. This is handy because it serves two purposes: sharing a quote and sharing a theme from the novel. For instance, if I shared the favorited Seconds Before Sunrise quote, “Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of love.” it appeals to readers who might want to read about love, destiny, and drama. It’s also short enough to fit on Twitter.

city

Read book reviews:

Readers will often point out their favorite quotes in book reviews. But – by the holy reading gods – do not respond to the book review. I think we all know how horribly that can go. While I generally let readers add quotes to Goodreads, this is a place where I’ve added a few quotes myself after a book reviewer shared one but didn’t add it. Book reviews can be a gold mine for finding quotes, but the only downside is the fact that you won’t have the quotes until after the book releases. If you need quotes beforehand, this method will have to be used later.

Google Yourself:

I know. I know. I just said that. But – seriously – I found photos people took and edited just for the quotes inside my novels. I even found quote websites and new social media websites where I could connect with readers. In fact, this is one of the reasons I ended up on Pinterest. When I searched for my name, most of the photos I found with my quotes on them were on Pinterest.

Now that you have quotes to use, use them! Create photos, tweet them out, post them on Facebook. There are plenty of ways to pick out those one-liners to share, but make sure you’re having fun with it! Create images, tweet out to readers, “like” photos fans create. Post them on your website!

There are no limitations to sharing words, and who knows who will share yours next?

~SAT

Writing the Back Blurb

8 Nov

Announcements: 

The Messy Owl reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, stating, “A thrilling and entangling plot, full of suspense and action.” Read the entire review here or check out my latest novel by clicking here.

Writing the Back Blurb

As I near the release date of Death Before Daylight, I remember more topics that I can talk about due to the tasks I must complete beforehand. Writing the back blurb is one of these tasks. Oh, yes. The dreaded back blurb. Everyone knows about the summary of text on the back of the book that convinces readers, “Yes. You want this book.” The scariest part relies on the fact that the summary is exactly that – something that could make it or break it a reader.

The pressure.

So, I’m going to share how I write the back blurb by using Minutes Before Sunset as an example. First, I want to clarify that this is how I write one, and it may not be a method everyone should use. It also might come across as more complicated than it actually is, but that’s because I am breaking it down into five steps, even though – in reality – it feels like one when I’m writing the back blurb. I hope it helps those who are struggling with writing one!

1. Try to write a query letter

A query letter is even worse, right? But I like to start there because it forces me to summarize the novel in one or three sentences. Those sentences end up summarizing everything, but – more importantly – it forces me to get to the bottom of the message, the theme, and the genre. This allows me to focus on those things in the future. Set aside until step 3. (This is actually where I get my “Two destinies. One death.”)

2. Write a one-page synopsis

Oh, how painful this is. (Just kidding.) This is where I write whatever I want to. I explain the novel for as long as I like, and when I’m done, I slowly start to cut smaller parts out until I get it down to one page. Set aside until step 3.

3. Combine Step 1 and 2

This is where I combine everything. Look at the first two sentences you came up with and compare it to the synopsis. What matters the most? What catches your eye the most? What correlates and what doesn’t? Sure, it would be great to mention your favorite side character’s importance, but do they add to the theme more than the protagonist? That first step really helps me make the cuts I didn’t want to make in step 2. (This is where I get most of the information that will be found in the middle.)

The bubbles with numbers have been added, of course ;]

The bubbles with numbers have been added, of course ;]

4. Make it catchy

Once you get the information that you want, twist the sentences around. Think of the infamous Don LaFontaine’s “In a world” movie trailer voice. Or listen to epic music while you write it. Make it fit! Make it intense! Don’t hold back…until you step away for a day. I would warn against making it too epic – because that’s when many create a back blurb that is too abstract to understand – but keep some intensity while also creating some grounding for the reader to get. Step away for a day. Come back. Read it again. Make sure it sets up the reader’s expectations in the right place. For instance, you don’t want to mention love in the synopsis if love is barely in the book at all. That will only cause romance readers to pick it up, and they probably won’t be too happy with your novel if they expected something that ended up not being there. (This is where I add the quote. I add the quote at this point because it becomes my “dun dun dun” but it also helps me focus on the turning point of a plot – the main conflict, per se, and I like to set up the reader to know that for the trilogy.)

5. Edit. Get opinions. Edit again. But decide on it.

Just like a manuscript, get someone’s opinion about your blurb. Edit, and rewrite it, but don’t obsess forever about it. Eventually, you have to decide on something and turn it in. Talking to others might help you feel more confident about the back blurb. I would even go so far as suggesting getting an opinion from someone who had read the book and someone who knows nothing about the book. (This is also where I add the review quotes since I finalize the blurb.)

It’s over! You have your back blurb, and you’re ready to share it with the world. The only other thing I would mention is this: for series, I would suggest remaining consistent. Seconds Before Sunrise has the same parts that Minutes Before Sunset does – the slogan, the quote, the summary, and the review quote. Death Before Daylight will as well…which reminds me. If you want an ARC of Death Before Daylight for review, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I will share your review right here and on my other websites as well!

And best of luck with your back blurb writing,

~SAT

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