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My Love Story: Poetry Edition

14 Sep

Announcements: 

Bonnie Brown’s Book Reviews posted her thoughts on Minutes Before Sunset, stating, “This was a book I slowly fell in love with. When I first picked it up, I wasn’t instantly hooked on it but as the pages ticked by I realized I was falling further and further in love with the story and characters. Until it became one of those books that you think, ‘okay, just a few more pages before work…….’. Then you look up at the clock and realize your already supposed to be at work and your still in your jammies… reading the book…~Oops~It’s one of those books.” But you can read more of her love story by clicking here.

My Love Story: Poetry Edition

I’ve been receiving a handful of messages and emails about my interactive poetry series on Wattpad, so I thought I would address my poems a little bit more today. But – first – I am so grateful that you’re enjoying my latest endeavor, and I look forward to sharing more in the near future. Many of you have asked me about my poetry – mainly regarding my voice and subject matter – and I am here to announce one thing: I will be explaining the poems during my YouTube posts, and you can expect the first post later this week. That being said, today I’m telling a story. (Because I’m still a story-teller) and that story is my love story with poetry.

When we met:

Strangely enough, it was a college breakup that brought us together. My brief breakup with fiction writing. It was the second semester of my freshman year, but during my previous semester at KU, I had taken a fiction-writing course that I was extremely dissatisfied with. So dissatisfied that I decided to reject studying fiction altogether. I was only comfortable with this because I felt like I knew enough about fiction that I could study it on my own. So I turned my attention to genres I wasn’t familiar with. I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone, and I signed up for poetry. (I would later return to studying fiction and also screenwriting as well.)

Our first date:

Oddly enough, it wasn’t in the classroom. It was outside of the classroom. Over winter break, I had picked up a few poetry books, and I was reading “Sailing Around an Open Room” by Billy Collins on one of my favorite benches in the Wescoe building. That’s when a class was released, and a woman ran up to me only to sit down SUPER close to me. (If you know me, I’m not a very touchy person, so this sort of scared me.) It turned out she was a poetry professor, and she was hoping I had signed up for her class. I hadn’t. I had signed up for another class because it worked with my schedule. She was disappointed but very glad that I was studying poetry. Her smile was the first moment I started to feel less nervous about it.

How we held hands:

Poetry Writing I by poet Megan Kaminski was the course I took, and she was kind and thoughtful and encouraging and never scary. And that was perfect because I was still sort of terrified. I had never written a poem in my life, and Kaminski promised she was okay with that. I found out that there were quite a few students in the classroom like me, and I still wonder if they giggle at our first poems as much as I giggle at mine. (I also shudder.) But we started reading poetry, and we started talking about poetry, and we started writing poetry, and we discovered so much about one another.

Oh, yes, we kissed:

I wish I could remember if it was snowing that day, but all I remember is how the poem affected my insides. It was “Sleeping with the Dictionary” by Harryette Mullen that got me. And if you read the poem, you will understand what I mean when I say I was “Aroused by myriad possibilities” that poetry gave, and I wanted to explore them as much as I could.

picture from incite faith.com

picture from incite faith.com

And soon, we fell in love:

Somewhere in that exploring I fell in love. I like to say “we” but I have yet to understand whether or not poetry can love one back. Still, I stayed, and I took more courses after that. I even attended Poetry Writing II twice. (Thank goodness KU counted both of them as credits.) And I was able to meet C.A. Conrad and talk to Evie Shockley and my class had lunch with two other poets we read about and my teacher was a poet and it was wonderful. Everything was wonderful.

Kristine

Kristine and I on her 20th birthday.

But it broke my heart:

If you’ve been with me since the beginning, then, you will remember this post – Inspiration Meet: Kristine Andersen – On October 7, 2012, my college roommate, Kristine Andersen, passed away, but you might not have known that we had taken our first class together that semester. It was my senior year, and she had just switched over to an English major, and I was helping her with her writing when she decided to join one of my poetry classes. We sat right next to each other in class, but after she died, I was terrified – so terrified – of returning to that poetry class.

And I had to heal my heart:

When I finally found the strength to return to school, I will never forget how my class still placed her chair in the circle after she died. Her chair remained there. And we continued to learn, and we continued to write, and our poetry was published later that semester in Kristine’s name, and the collection sits on my desk, and I think about her a lot – her writing and her life – and I try not to remember that this October will be two years since she passed, but I make myself remember because that is how we cope – by facing it. By writing about it. By feeling it once again. So I write a poem.

Eventually, I loved again:

I write many poems now, but it has only been recently that I have begun sharing them openly. I believe “Regretful Memories” being accepted by LALUNA Magazine has given me the additional strength and support that I needed, but this website has also given me love and courage. Writing is a journey, and we’re always learning and exploring new possibilities in order to channel our passion so we can share it fully with the world.

Poetry is one of the many ways I hope to help the world with because poetry has helped my world.

I think that is why I call it love.

~SAT

My Interview with David Congalton, writer of “Authors Anonymous”

3 May

Three announcements before we begin today:

My progress bar is updated on the right side of my page. You might notice that my next manuscript – the mysterious “TMT” – is now named: Take Me Tomorrow. More information is coming soon!

Confessions of a Book Geek will be featuring Minutes Before Sunset, and you’ll be able to read a review and interview soon. I will keep everyone posted.

Life OK – Star TV’S new Hindi GEC Channel – quoted Minutes Before Sunset on Twitter.

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As you know, I recently posted Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” – a review of a new movie that I recommend to everyone, especially those who love the craft of writing. What you may not know is what happened the day I posted my review.

get-attachment-2.aspxDavid Congalton, the writer of “Authors Anonymous”, contacted me about my review. We began talking, and he kindly agreed to an interview. I am sharing that interview today. “SAT” will be me (of course) and DC will be David Congalton. I had a great time interviewing him, and I think it’s important for readers and viewers of the movie to see what happened behind the scene. This is just another reason to watch “Authors Anonymous.” All photos shown are credited to Screen Media.

SAT – Why did you want to create this film?

DC – The short answer is that I tried screenwriting in two phases. During the first phase, I wrote 7 or 8 really bad “high concept” scripts, all designed to be commercial. Then I stopped and took a long break. When I finally decided to try screenwriting again, I opted for something more personal. I wrote what I knew. I wrote from the heart.

SAT – Many, if not all, writers can relate to the characters of this movie. Were all of these characters based on real people or were they created from a combination of experiences?

 DC – I was a director of a writers’ conference for 12 years and I’ve seen aspiring writers up close. John K. Butzin and Henry Obert are based on real people, but the others are really combinations of writers I’ve come across, i.e. the writer who can never get beyond the idea stage, the writer who thinks self-publishing is the answer, etc. They’re out there.

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SAT – Was there a certain character you feel more connected to? One you dislike the most? Why?

DC - I will always have a soft spot for Henry Obert, played wonderfully by actor Chris Klein, because Henry is based on me (except for the football stuff). I don’t dislike any of my characters. If I did, I wouldn’t write them. 

SAT – What are some of your pet peeves that take place in the writing community?

DC – My biggest pet peeve has always been those writers who present themselves as “nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” ANY AUTHOR can nominate themselves for something like $50. It means nothing, absolutely nothing, and when I see an author trying that, it tells me he or she is a phony.

SAT – Writers often have an expectation for other writers to be very well-read. This can create an unrealistic pressure for writers to say they’ve read nearly everything out there. “Authors Anonymous” shows this with Kaley Cuoco’s character, Hannah. What was the hardest and easiest part about portraying this conflicting issue?

DC – You’re right. Writers are assumed to be well-read and up to speed on all writers in all genres. But that’s rarely the case. As I like to argue, a writer must also be a reader—you’ve got to be out there reading other people’s stuff. So we have a little fun with that in Hannah’s character. She really doesn’t have a favorite writer. She hasn’t read the classics, but she still manages to succeed by drawing on her own experiences.

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SAT – What is the reason behind the title?

DC – My title for the script has always been Scribble. The producers changed the title to Authors Anonymous strictly for marketing purposes. Research shows that Video on Demand movies get more downloads if the title begins with A, B, C, or D.

SAT – What is your favorite quote from the movie?

DC – I don’t have a favorite quote, but I have a favorite scene—it has to be the one where, during the meeting of the writers’ group, Henry is talking about the evolving relationship between his characters Scotty and Kristy, when actually the conversation is about Henry and Hannah. It always breaks my heart when Hannah says the characters are just friends.

SAT – All great stories have a lesson hidden in them, waiting to be interpreted. Do you think writers can take different meanings from the lessons in the story?

DC – No two people are going to react the same to Authors Anonymous. I hope that all writers who see the movie appreciate my message that you have to do the work as a writer. There are no shortcuts. But I’ve been to multiple screenings and each audience reacts differently in terms of humor and raw emotional response.

SAT – As a writer, what was the most nerve-racking part of sharing this story?

DC – The most nerve-racking part was wondering if this movie was ever going to get made. First draft written in September 2005. Production finally in August 2012. Theatrical release in April 2014. Do the math: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 years from page to screen. I think that’s more than sufficient cause for anxiety!

SAT – Are there any new projects in the mix?

DC – Yes, thank you for asking. I have a second script, Seven Sisters, currently under Option. I’m doing the final rewrite now, and we hope to be in production this fall.

SAT –  Last question: Who is your favorite writer?

DC – That’s easy. My favorite writer is Richard Brautigan, a humorist and author of such classics as Trout Fishing in America and Revenge of the Lawn. Keen observers of Authors Anonymous will note that the famous author there is named Richard Brodwell.

SAT – Thank you for speaking with me, David! I enjoyed your movie tremendously, and I will keep my eye open for your future works. 

~SAT

My Insecurities and How I Overcame Them

18 Feb

Before I start I have one article I would like everyone who plays Candy Crush Saga to consider. As many of you know I wrote, Why You Should Boycott King and Candy Crush Saga, less than a month ago, and now I have another reason to encourage it. Please read this: CandySwipe Open Letter to King regarding trademark. We cannot sit back and allow corporations to take over the little guy in any field, especially artistic ones. Thank you for taking a minute out of your day.

After my previous post about my mother’s death affecting my feelings about graduation, I received many heartfelt messages here and in my email. I cannot express how much I appreciate your encouragement and how you took a minute to share your personal story in order to help me. I am always blown away by how lovely everyone is. Thank you.

You are the single reason I decided I had to write this post today. 

Everyone has insecurities. It happens. It’s natural. We’re human, after all. And we live in a world that is often setting up expectations full of judgement. I am no different than anyone else. I have had my list of insecurities. I don’t normally do this, and I probably won’t do it again for a long time, but I thought I would share some facts about myself that I used to struggle with that I haven’t shared before. Again, this is in the hopes of helping others embrace themselves, especially those parts of you that you cannot change. 

1. My handwriting is horrible – seriously horrible. 

I was originally left-handed, but I now write with my right hand. Before this switch, my handwriting was normal. Now, I can’t even read it sometimes. I often get told I “write like a boy” – which, in itself, I now think is wrong.

But what’s the reason? When I was eleven, I was showing someone how to shoot a basketball in my morning gym class. That’s when I tripped, and my hand slammed into the floor. At the time, I didn’t know it, but I had broken my growth plate. When I told the school nurse I was hurt, they sent me back to class because they thought I was trying to skip a math test. I didn’t go to the hospital until nine that evening. Consequensly, I did permanent damage, and my right arm is now significantly longer than my left arm. Instead of handwriting, I definitely type everything up. But I’m not mad about the situation. The nurse was doing her job, and things happen. Mistakes happen. I embrace it. I learned how to write with my right hand, I use black, G-2 pens to cheer myself up (because those pens are lovely) and I often show off my shorter arm as a party joke. When it hurts, (because it often hurts), I remind myself that I can always exercise it to make it stronger. I also remind myself that there are people who don’t have hands at all. I am lucky that I can still type with it, that I still have it, and knowing how lucky I am has allowed me to stay positive about physical therapy with my hand and overall arm strength.

2. I have bad depth perception.

This is me, and I love being me.

This is me, and I love being me. I also love putting my hair on top of my head like a bird nest.

Believe it or not, my eyes are totally different sizes. It’s true, and before you think this is normal, it is significant (although most cannot tell until I point it out.) I actually have depth perception problems from it, which I was diagnosed with my freshman year in college. They have to test my eyes every time I get a driver’s license renewed. Perhaps this is why I’m so clumsy. (I hit everything.) But I can laugh at myself. Learning to laugh at myself is pretty easy and quite enjoyable. I cannot change the size of my eyes or how I physically see the world, but I can change how I mentally see the world. I can have a positive attitude about the world.

3. I talk funny. (I say “funny” because it often makes people laugh.) 

I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. By the time I was fifteen, I had also lived in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, Kansas, and Missouri. This has caused some confusion in my speech patterns and idioms, often causing me to stutter. I have a lot of things backwards, and my accents come out together – at the same time, I can sound like a southern belle that once lived in Canada (mainly because my father lived in Canada, and I’ve picked up his phrases as well as the ones I received from Green Bay, Wisconsin.) Saying “turn on the garburator” at a party isn’t understood at an American house-warming party, but I sure love explaining it. Those moments that I have to take time to explain what I am saying have now become moments that allow me to explain my background and how it has shaped me into the individual that I am today. And I love who I am today, stuttering or not.

4. My eyebrows are REALLY far apart

I’ve even had someone email me this statement before, like they thought they were helping me from over tweezing. Believe it or not, I was born that way, and I know my left eyebrow sits halfway over my eye. I got the look from my grandfather, and you know what? My grandfather was a pretty awesome person. So good for my spaced out eyebrows. They show off my family history. They show off the genes that also make me who I am. They remind me of family.

5. I am really pale, and I don’t tan…or burn.

I swear. I went to Puerto Rico, barely used sunscreen, and nothing happened. I just don’t’ react – although I can admit that I got extremely burned once in my life. (And that was not fun!) When I was a teenager, I hated how pale I was because it was “cool” to be tan, and everyone thought I stayed inside all of the time. (Which I do now.) But you know what? I like my skin. I like how pale I am because it is me. I don’t care if I glow under black lights. I like who I am, and – again – it’s my Welsh roots. It’s also something I share with my late mother (as well as my crazy, curly hair that I used to hide because straight hair was “cool.”) I should be proud, and I am. Just for clarification reasons, because I do not want this to be taken the wrong way: I have nothing against being tan or any other color for that matter. This is simply me embracing who I am. I am not, in any way, trying to encourage others to be pale like me. Physical appearances do not matter, and that is the ultimate point. 

Now that I shared a few of my previous insecurities, I wanted to add one thing:

I am genuinely a happy person, but there are days that I regress, and that’s okay. I look at insecurities the same way. Even after overcoming them, you might have an insecure moment or two or hundreds over a lifetime, but that’s okay. Just try to remember what’s really important – and that’s what’s on the INSIDE and what resides in your ACTIONS. 

I could can cry about my eyebrows or I can learn how to make them do the wave and laugh at my goofy expressions. I can complain about my injuries like my left hand, but I can also remember that I have other parts of my body that work just fine that others might not even have. A doctor can give me plastic surgery on my body, but only I can change my mind and my heart. And your mind and your heart will guide you, aid you, and embrace you.

No matter what, you can love yourself, and love overcomes everything else.

P.S. I’m still accepting reviewers of Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy.) If you’re interested in reading my novels, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would love to hear from you. The first one is also on sale for only $3.89, and I would be more than happy to hear your thoughts.

~SAT

Click here because it’s fun to click on things. Isn’t it?

Click here because it’s fun to click on things. Isn’t it?

Guest Blog: The Scriptlings by Sorin Suciu

19 Jul

Website Update: The Shannon A. Thompson, author Facebook page has surpassed 500 likes! Thank you for making my trip that much better. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. 

Shannon again–for only a moment. I’m still out of town, but I wanted to introduce my next guest blogger and thank him for helping me by keeping my blog going. Sorin Suciu is the “author of the laugh-out-loud contemporary fantasy The Scriptlings, due to be conjured into reality in 2013.” Here’s a line from the description of his upcoming novel that I found completely enticing: “Caught on opposite sides of a battle for Magic, Merkin and Buggeroff are forced to question themselves and what is best for a world that is blissfully unaware of imminent danger.”

He’ll be talking about this upcoming work, starting now:

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You see, to me advertising is a read-only art form – I am reasonably good at appreciating it when I see it, but I am hopelessly unimaginative when it comes to performing it. That is why, when Shannon so generously offered to host a little sales pitch for my upcoming debut novel – The Scriptlings, I had to hesitate for a moment, before even remembering to thank her for the opportunity. I shall, nevertheless, endeavour to write about The Scriptlings without repeating too much of the content already available on my author page at AEC Stellar and on Facebook/The Scriptlings.1017096_146121828917299_924106237_n

The Scriptlings is a tongue-in-cheek contemporary fantasy, aimed at geeks and mortals alike. It is the unlikely, yet strangely charismatic lovechild you would expect if Magic and Science were to have one too many drinks during a stand-up comedy show in Vegas. I had an insanely amount of good time writing it, and I’ve been told by rather serious people that reading it can be conducive to LOL and OMG.

There you go. If you are looking for a fast-paced story played by a cast of endearing characters and a goat, or if you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Christopher Moore, Robert Asprin and others like them, then there is a not entirely remote chance you might enjoy The Scriptlings.

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Thank you,
Sorin

Guest Blog: Matter of Resistance – Six Years In The Making

17 Jul

Hey, everyone. For this brief moment, I am Shannon. The rest of this post has been written by the fantastic author, Raymond Vogel. You see, I’m out of town again due to a death in the family, but I’ll be back on Tuesday, and Ray has graciously agreed to help me keep my blog going while I’m gone. That being said, if you’ve sent me an email or message or any kind, I will reply when I return :]

One last thing: I’ve added my book signing event to both Facebook and GoodreadsClick the links to join either one. I hope I get to meet some of you again! It’ll be a lot of fun–a BBQ, music, authors, and other artists to mingle with.

I can’t wait! But I have to get back to my travels–so without further ado:

Matter of Resistance is being re-released next month, at last a product I can say I’m proud to have authored. It’s literally been “in work” for six years now, so it’s also a great relief to call it complete. Here, briefly, are the forces of fate that collapsed on top of me to make it possible. Special thanks to Shannon Thompson, a wonderful writer in her own right, for allowing me her page to share them with you.
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For almost three years, starting in 2007, I worked as a Systems Engineer on the NASA Orion Program. As a dreamer and philosopher, I couldn’t help but work out the future details about actually landing on Mars and colonizing it as we humans finally begin our disbursement out into the universe. With a strong background in material science, and three previous years holed up in a lab working with advanced materials, I also suspected there had to be another reason for us to go.
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With these two things in mind, I invented Mangematter – a material that doesn’t exist on Earth but that I theorized could hold some unique properties. And it’s not as far fetched as you might think (see articles like this one on the uses of magnetic pinning). Incidentally, Magnematter was the working title of the book for quite a long time.
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Also occurring at that time, as you may remember, was a war in Iraq. A war many conspiratorially believed (reference) was really being fought for a healthy supply of oil – a material we’re consuming rather quickly (See sites like oilddecline.com). A war waged over a critical material, plus the idea of Magnematter, gave me the epic-sized conflict I was looking for.
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With a relevant and scientifically feasible setting and a conflict in hand, it was the simple matter of creating the characters and plotline to fill in the details.
Methodology:
Having made several failed attempts to write novels before, I waited to write anything until I had first turned to the magical land where all answers appear in seconds: the internet. In one swift google search, I landed on the Snowflake Method. If you’re a writer, and you haven’t heard of this method, consider looking at it very seriously. As a logic based life form (aka engineer), it jumped out at me as the only way to write. It employs software development processing to writing – an unlikely combination if ever there was one – and it works.
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I followed the Snowflake Method diligently, making the one sentence version of my book, then the paragraph, and so on. I’ve been told, even on the original version, that the result was a “perfect plotline” – coherently linked from beginning to end. And I’ve been recommending the process ever since. In case you’re curious, the one-sentence synopsis I created for Matter of Resistance was:
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An evolved and brilliant youth must save Earth from devastation at the hands of his fellow Martian colonists.” – Aug 6, 2007
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Of course, the details changed CONSIDERABLY since the writing of that sentence, but it gave me the foundation I needed to write my novel. Using the Snowflake Method, it only took me about 6 months to finish the first draft of Matter of Resistance (Magnematter, at the time). I then spent the the next few years polishing my manuscript to get the grammar errors out, began the slow process of looking for a publisher, got bored waiting for rejection letters, and then put it up on Amazon in about 3 hours in October of 2011.
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Although my book was doing well and receiving good reviews, there was a universal comment from my most honest friends that was bothering me. No one was finishing the book. It simply took too much brain power to get through, and most people read that kind of book to escape rather than to learn. Of those that finished, all enjoyed it, but they were too few in number for my ego.
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Myself being rather talkative, I talked often about my book, to any that would listen. The results was a run-in with paranormal thriller and speculative Christian fiction author Marc Schooley. I was beginning to work on a new book, which will remain nameless for now, and he gave me a lot of advice on it that dramatically changed how I saw writing. This included referring me to the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, a book I also often recommend to others (amazon link). After talking with Marc a few times and studying the book, I took another look at Matter of Resistance. And, boy, was I disappointed!
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So, I sat down in the summer of 2012 and wrote it again, from the beginning, keeping the story in tact but changing almost every word.
Updating for re-release:
After Matter of Resistance had been rewritten to take advantage of my new and improved writing ability, I followed a much smarter method of editing – I hired a professional, Heather Hebert to do it. I also hired a professional artist, Viola Estrella, to create a suitable cover. And, finally, after a series of beta readers, rounds of editing, and iterations, I finalized the manuscript this summer (2013).
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And I can’t wait for you all to read it.
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Raymond Vogel

Writing Tips: Mother’s Day & Childhood Inspiration

12 May

Now, I have to admit that I’m unsure if this qualifies as “writing tips” or not, but I can’t seem to think of another way to explain it other than to explain recent events in my life and how I got to this decision to post about this.

On Friday night, I was driving home when I was hit by a drunk driver. Everyone was physically fine, but these moments often make you take a step back and wonder “what if?” or simply reflect on life. It’s also Mother’s Day, and, as many of you know, my mother passed away in 2003, so there’s been a lot of personal reflection happening for me over the past few days, and I wanted to share my thoughts on how reflecting can help your passionate spark if you feel as if it’s about to die.

Happy Mother's Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

Happy Mother’s Day. This is Halloween, 1992, with my mother, my brother, and I. I was a ghost :] Probably perfect considering my paleness.

But, first, If you want something short and sweet, I posted this on my Twitter, and many followers found it comforting. “Do you sometimes feel like chasing your artistic dream is hard? This will cheer you up: click here.” 

Now–the bigger reflection: I’ve had more experiences in this sort of stuff than I’d like to admit to myself, but they always cause me to look back, and my childhood is often where I end up. I cannot say why this is other than it’s caused by a “flashback” sort of a thing. I begin thinking about what I’m grateful for, who I love, what I love, and everything that moves me from one day to another. But I’m going to concentrate on writing, because I want to stay in the “writing tips” as much as I possibly can.

So what in my childhood moved me forward into writing? (And many of you already know about my mother’s death being the biggest moment when I was pushed forward into taking it seriously, so, again, I’m going to talk about something else, although that is essential.)

Favorite Books:

I think this can be very important to remember, but, even more so, to return to every piece once in a while and read. Include first books, middle school reads, and beyond. On days where you’re feeling down, especially about writing, returning to these texts can spark your passion again, easily and without any strenuous effort. All you have to do is read, and you might be amazed at how quickly you’ll return to your timeless love for language, even if the original texts are simple and/or wouldn’t spark interest today if you hadn’t read it before.

Mine, as an example, includes childhood novels about Nancy Drew and Scooby Doo, young-adult series by Meg Cabot or Lynne Ewing (specifically Daughters of the Moon), and adult novels, generally memoirs like Mop Men, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, or A Long Way Gone. I can even return to literature I loved in school, my favorite being The Stranger.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

As a comedic picture: this is me, shocked by novels, at 3 years old, and my great-grandmother quite thrown off by my craziness.

Favorite Writing Experiences: 

These moments can bring back the original moments that brought you the utmost happiness before other moments brought you down. You can return yourself, especially to childhood, when you first started writing and you didn’t have the stresses of publication or critiques. These memories, although little, are very powerful.

My personal example? In second grade, my short story about my two dogs, Milo and Max, won the class writing competition, and I got to read it to the class. I still have it, and the drawings and wording often makes me giggle, but it also lightens my writing soul. I go right back to that podium, when I was fearless, and I feel it transition to today’s time.

Others who inspired:

Think beyond the top five people who inspire you today. Try to recall the first few who you may not remember on a regular basis but know that they linger somewhere in your artistic past (meaning they’re also in your artistic self today.) Most of the time, you might remember one, but then you’ll remember more and more, and you’ll soon have a list of small instances that led to your wonderful path you’re on today.

My personal example here is my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Metcalf. She was the first teacher to pull me aside and encourage my writing. When I was first writing back then, I was started my stories off with “Hi. I’m Henry, and this is my story…” and she taught me to start in the middle of action. I wrote her a story for Thanksgiving Break, and it started with a turkey running wild through a grocery store. Looking back on it, it was cheesy and poorly written, but she returned, having read the entire twenty pages, and encouraged me more and more, teaching me what else I could do in order to enhance my words. I was nine at the time, yet her teaching lingers today, and I’m grateful to have had such a wonderful teacher in my life at such a young age.

My hope is that you may take a moment today (or any day) to reflect on the moments that have brought you here today and remember never to give up on your dreams! It may seem cheesy, but it is, ultimately, very true, and I’m sure many of you know this, but many also have fleeting moments of doubt, and we can prevent these by reminding ourselves of what matters: life, love, and passionate dreams.

I always tell myself to write with passion; succeed with self-discipline. 

This is my personal philosophy, but I’d love to hear yours as well. Share below and spread the dream to others who may be struggling at this very moment in time (whether they read this today or two years from now.) Words are timeless. Let’s use that to embrace the love of art.

Have a great and meaningful day :D

~SAT

P.S. Goodreads Quote of the day:

I leaned against the desk, ran my hand over my father’s paperwork, and picked up a pen. Turning around, I shoved it into my father’s hand.
“What’s this?” he asked, raising a brow.
“You’ll need it to sign my death certificate,” I said, pain vibrating my veins against my muscles and bones. “Are we done now?”

Eric, Minutes Before Sunset

Publishing News: Two Weeks Away

17 Apr

Website Update: April 18: 10 a.m.: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), join an interactive interview on Twitter with me (directed by Sezoni Whitfield) by using the hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, and/or following ShanAshleeT23. I’ll also be reading my poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art in response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit, “An Errant Line,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT)

Since there’s only two weeks until Minutes Before Sunset is released, I thought I’d share more updates and extras! Below you’ll find a soundtrack, fan art, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and an upcoming interactive interview on Twitter this Thursday! But if you’re interested in an interview I recently did: click here to read my interview with Dan Thompson. There’s plenty of new information on my upcoming novel to go along with this post.

Soundtrack

I know I’ve mentioned how I don’t normally write with music, so I want to clarify that this list is more composed of music I’d imagine would be playing in certain scenes and/or if Minutes Before Sunset was ever a movie. These songs, as much as I don’t listen to them while I write, connected with the moments in such a way that I couldn’t deny their significance.

1. Crystalized by the xx: This one is close to my heart. I’ve reviewed this band before for a reason. Their intimate sound and haunting words linger within any darkness, and it only seemed fated to use it for this novel.

2. 24 by Jem. Again, I love the instrumentals, but the lyrics was why I locked onto this one so hard. It’s about having 24 hours left to live, and since Eric has one year left, it was appropriate.

3. Bloodstream by Stateless: This was the song I used the most. Seriously. I played it 77 times (compared to the next most played at 62.) I loved how mellow it was, but I also loved how…well…lovely it was. It reminded me of heartbreak, but in an understandable way–something that didn’t seem unnecessary but remained in this state of bliss and sadness all at once.

4. Ricochet by Shiny Toy Guns: This was the type of music I always pictured Eric listening to.

5. As Much as I ever Could by City and Colour: I had a really specific scene for this song, but I’d rather not ruin it. I’ll hint that it’s right before the climax :]

6. Destiny by Vanessa Mae was the main inspiration when I started writing Minutes Before Sunset. Generally, I listen to music without words, because lyrics can distract me, but her violinist ways were perfect for what I was needing. I also used Cursum Perficio by Enya for the same reasoning. [But I’d rather concentrate on music I’ve used recently, rather than the music I used in the past when I originally wrote it.] Inseguirsi by DeLord was also big one. Another instrumental one. Full of rhythm that changes from mellow to intense. It was perfect to use initially when I had to start writing and work my way into my own rhythm.

7. Youth – Daughter: The lyrics describe the youth in a particular light I really liked, particularly within the love lives of the serious towards the others around the protagonists.

8. Wait for Me by Moby: I really pictured this song working with the dynamics between the romantic relationships that happen in the beginning of their initial contact.

9. All That I’m Living For by Evanescence: Not only do I LOVE Evanescence, but I really feel as if her voice, sound, and intensity is perfect for the storyline of Eric’s Dark and Jessica’s struggles, especially this song which involves the night.

10. Within Temptation by The Howling: I think I have a thing for women belting it over the instruments.

11. No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine: Who can’t love Florence’s voice?? So inspiring.

12. Cut by Plump: Like Bloodstream, I loved the mellow sound and the chilling emotions.

13. As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle) by DJ Tiesto: This was one of the original songs I used when I was in high school and writing the book. I used to drive around town, just listening to this song while imaging what could possibly happen next.

Fan Art

I love fan art! It’s so much fun to see what readers see from the words I used, and I’ve already received a few pieces from a group of people chosen to read my novel before the release date. This one is one of my favorites of Jessica Taylor:

"Jessica Taylor" drawn by Atheil Barker.

“Jessica Taylor” drawn by Atheil Barker.

Facebook Page

If you love Facebook (and love “liking” pages even more) Minutes Before Sunset now has a page. This isn’t my Author Facebook Page. This is strictly for the novel, and there will be extras as there is on my Author Page. Click this link, and like this page for the latest.

You can "like" Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

You can “like” Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

Goodreads Page

If you’re on Goodreads, you can now add Minutes Before Sunset to one of your bookshelves. Once it’s published, you can add your reviews, favorite quotes, and rate it. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on this novel’s website as time moves forward (I’m kind of obsessed with Goodreads.)

Goodreads

Upcoming Interview

 This Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST), Sezoni Whitfield will be interviewing me on my Twitter Page (Use the hashtag #WritersKaboodle to join in and ask any questions you’d like towards Minutes Before Sunset and/or publishing in general! You could even ask for more writing tips. I’ll be responding to anyone who tweets, retweets, and/or favorites our conversations. The interview is all about writer-reader interaction, and I’d love for you all to join in.

In conclusion: I’m really looking forward to these different opportunities to continue to connect with the writer-reader community. And I cannot wait to experience this future with all of you :D

~SAT

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