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Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

Prepare for laughter during today’s post. But – before we get onto the giggles – I want to share two important bits of news.

Paris Carter reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, stating, “The novel also includes several internal struggles for Eric and Jess that sparks tension throughout the entire novel, and it’s the chaos of them struggling to work out their answers and fight themselves that bring Shannon’s novel to a second dimension.” Read the entire review here or check out his review of Minutes Before Sunset first.

I also participated in an interview with Doodles, doodles everywhere. We talked about what hurts me the most as a writer, and I expanded on the research that went behind The Timely Death Trilogy. Check it out.

It’s been a few days since I participated in my first podcast interview, but I wanted to write about something fun since my last post was rather dreary. That’s when my mind immediately returned to The Lurking Voice. (Just a small, Kansas City update though, they found the Highway Shooter, so things feel a lot better around here. Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to post something I can laugh at…I mean, laugh with you…as you laugh at me.)

Back to the topic.

If you listened to the full interview – which you can by clicking here – then you know that I confessed to many writing strategies that I haven’t mentioned before, although “strategies” will quickly turn into a debatable term during this post. My ultimate, reluctant confession happened when we discussed November Snow, my first published novel.

I was 11 when I started writing it and 16 when it was published. It’s safe to say that it isn’t my best work, but I am planning on re-writing it. As we were discussing this, Ryan Attard asked a great question. How does a preteen plan a novel out? That’s when I said it.

November Snow was based on a game that I played out with my Barbie dolls as a much younger kid. Now, if you’ve read November Snow, then you might be concerned, considering how violent the book is, but there’s no need to be concerned – (I think.) That’s what I told my high school teachers anyway when I was asked about the dark nature of it. But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I wanted to share a funny truth to November Snow. No matter how dark the story is, many of my characters were actually based on the dolls I used. I admitted to it on the podcast, and now I am re-confessing it on here. Even better, I dug through some boxes, and I found the old toys, so I’m sharing a few of them as well as small excerpts from the novel that proves this goofy aspect of my writing.

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

November Snow is a young-adult, dystopian novel, and it is told from dual, first perspectives: Daniel and Serena. Unfortunately, I lost the Serena doll (she might have lost a limb or two or maybe even a head.) But I still have Daniel, who you will see soon. I’m going to share three pictures, and each picture has numerous characters on it. Below each picture, I will have a one-sentence background, and below that, I’ll be sharing the real excerpt from the novel. I’ll also include page numbers as well as who was telling the story at the time (Daniel or Serena.) I am also including a little note, explaining how my 11-year-old brain worked. Got that? Okay. I even think I’m lost, but trust me – it’s organized. Hope you chuckle as much as I did writing this post! Traveling to the past can be a funny adventure.

First picture: from the left to the right: Robert, Daniel, and Calhoun. 

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Robert: 19, leader of the Southern Flock (hates hugs)

“I turned around to see Robert’s dark brown eyes staring at me, and my heart lunged into my dry throat…He muttered something, his brown hair shagging in his face, and I laughed. “ (Serena, 156-7)

Note: Believe it or not, he’s not the antagonist. Sort of?

Daniel: 18, leader of the Northern Flock (all around hunk)

“The guy looked like Daniel. He had the brown, muffled hair and tanned skin. He even had the blue and white jacket down, but he wasn’t responding to his name.” (Serena, 181)

Note: So, if you didn’t notice, I even based some clothes off of these toys.

Calhoun: age unknown, Daniel’s mentor. (kind of a hard ass)

“From the bottom step he could have been mistaken for a modern-day giant. His face was strong, as were his muscles, and he looked like he could barely fit into the sweater he was wearing. He had been in a POW accident, in which he had lost one of his arms, but he refused to tell the story. Normally, he had a fake arm in, but tonight, a gray sleeve dangled at his side, blowing in the chilled November wind.” (Daniel, 25)

Note: if you listened to the podcast, then you know this character actually ended up being very similar to my real father. Except my dad has both arms. And he’s not a vet. But I swear they are alike.

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

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 Daisy: 16, member of the Southern Flock (I hate her.) 

She doesn’t deserve a note or description. Seriously. Have you ever hated your own characters so much that you regret bringing them into existence? I think Daisy might be in my top three of characters I’ve created and despised. #authorproblems.

Maggie: 16, member of the Northern Flock. (crushes on Adam in private)

“The front door opened, and Maggie walked in. She was wearing a small, pink coat and white disco pants that had gone out of style a century ago, but she still pulled them off easily.” (Daniel, 240)

Note: is it just me or is Daniel incredibly aware of fashion trends?

Third picture: from left to the right: Amy, Justin, and Marisa

Now for the youngsters, the category of characters that caused one of my high school teachers to ask if I needed to talk to someone after she read my novel and discovered only a few of the characters survive. (Seriously. It’s on the back of the book…) From left to right, we have Amy, Justin, and Marisa.

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Amy: 14, member of the Southern Flock. (Hates being called “Amy.” Her name is Amiel Marie Young.) 

“Amy’s hair was tied back in a French braid.” (Serena, 144)

Note: So this was more of a hairstyle thing, and you can’t really see it in the doll anymore, but it was there. I promise.

Justin: 6, member of the Southern Flock (borderline obsessed with hockey)

“Justin, blond-haired and brown eyed, was whisked off his feet by the collar of his shirt.” (Daniel, 479)

Note: There’s actually a hockey scene in the book just for this hockey-themed doll. (I really have no shame as I share this, do I?)

Marisa: 7, member of the Northern Flock (too small to crush on Adam, but apparently, all the girls like Adam…maybe I should’ve shared Adam.)

“A small girl struggled her way into Adams’s lap and leaned her bony elbows onto the table. She had long, brown pigtails that rested on the wiggling table and innocent eyes.” (Daniel, 44)

Note: The hair is there. The hair is totally there.

So there you go. My young-adult novel that almost got me in trouble as a teen was originally created during playtime as a kid.

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

 

My First Podcast Interview

9 Apr

Update: Here is the podcast

The press release for Seconds Before Sunrise released, and Ky Grabowski was kind enough to share it on her blog. Check it out by clicking here.

Originally, I was going to post another YouTube video introducing this, but Weebo (my laptop) was not cooperating with me, and I lost the main part of the video. She must be as exhausted as I was, so I am sorry, but please listen to Ryan’s podcast, The Lurking Voice. Our interview goes up on April 10th. We talk about a lot, including my novels, what it has been like to be an author as well as the C.O.O. of a publisher, and my personal life. I’ve even included a small list below of some of the questions I answered. The Lurking Voice has been on my list of favorite podcasts since it started, so this was an experience I was looking forward to for a long time, and for great reason! I had a wonderful time, and I think you will, too. Ryan is hilarious and to the point. I am still looking for my April guest blogger, so if you let me know what your favorite part was as well as what you would like to blog about, you could win the slot! 

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

What did you do for your marketing and website in order to get as many fans as you did?

How different was publishing in 2007 than it is today in 2014?

How does November Snow compare to Minutes Before Sunset in The Timely Death Trilogy?

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 2.20.05 PMWhat was it like growing up in different environments? How does it affect who you are?

Are you an adventurer? If you had to pick one place to travel, where would you go?

How did the loss of your mother and roommate affect your writing and your career?

What’s your style in poetry? Do you plan on publishing any poetry collections?

What was your main influence as a child? What teachers influenced you?

Where are my gremlins? (haha. Seriously, this is why you need to listen to it.)

How did you start off writing? What were your first writings like? Was November Snow your first piece of writing?

Publishing as young as you did, how did the editing go? How was the writing?

How did you celebrate graduating college?

My favorite quote? 

“I can kill small animals and children…in books. In books, people.” – Ryan Attard

But be warned.

Tentacles are featured.

Click here to visit his website. Click here to visit the podcast page. 

~SAT

How Desk Trinkets Can Inspire You

7 Apr

I added a YouTube page to this website, so you can catch up here as well as on YouTube. I am expecting to upload my next video soon, but I’ll always make an announcement. If you subscribe to my channel – Coffee and Cats – you can watch all of my videos one day early.

I know. I know. A desk can be a clattered mess, a scattered collection of book remains, an abyss of wonderment, the aftermath of a chaotic genius. Chances are your desk is already filled with pens, photographs, and paperwork. The last thing you need is more trinkets. Right?

Wrong. Every time I think this, I am wrong.

I love trinkets. I love trinkets too much. I do not think my love for trinkets will ever stop. And today I am sharing a few of mine that I haven’t shared before because they help me during my every day stresses and excitement. In other words, the little things remind me of the important stuff – the feelings that make me work harder and smile longer – and I hope you might consider adding a positive reminder to your desk and/or share the ones you already have.

My Tiger’s Eye Statue and Stone:

Fun fact: I’m obsessed with meanings behind things. Whether it is the meaning of a name or the meaning of a certain type of flower, I could spend hours reading about how certain labels came about. Tiger’s Eye is my favorite stone. They are beautiful, but they are also associated with protection and clarity. Below, you’ll see two Tiger’s Eyes that I keep on my desk. One is a stone I was gifted, and the other one is a statue of a coyote that a very kind woman carved for me after my husky passed away in 2007. These stones remind me of many things, such as my love for my dog, Shadow, but they mainly remind me of the clarity I believe in that I am doing the right thing by following my dream as well as the protection I receive from all of my loved ones, passed on and still alive.

coy

Willow Tree Statues:

Obviously, I have a thing for statues, but Willow Tree (Demdaco) is one of my favorite companies. These are two gifts I received which both happen to be by Willow Tree. The one on the left is known as the Mother and Daughter. I received this from my aunt right after my mother passed away. I have my mother’s bracelet draped around the statue, because I used to wear it every day until the clasp broke. I considered fixing it, but I almost lost it, so I decided to keep it on my desk instead. The one on the right is the Love of Learning. This was given to me as a birthday gift from a great friend who is actually in the acknowledgements of Minutes Before Sunset. She’s always been so supportive of my novels. In a way, both of these statues remind me of the loved ones in my life that support my dream as well as all of the love that surrounds me.

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Maneki Neko

And my latest one that I received yesterday from my aunt. As many of you know, I really want to travel to Japan one day. She was just over there, so she brought me back a Maneki Neko, a.k.a. Fortune Cat, Lucky Cat, etc. You can read more about it from this article: 5 Interesting Facts About Fortune Cats, but I am sure it will fit right next to my “All You Need is Love…And a Cat” paperweight.

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So do you have any trinkets that inspire you? How do they inspire you? Do you think trinkets can help you throughout the day? Do you think they can hold good luck or good fortune? Be sure to share your thoughts and stories below! You never know. Your good luck trinket might help you get picked out to be April’s guest blogger.

~SAT

March Ketchup

30 Mar

Seeing as this is my second “Ketchup” post ever, I am amazed by how much I am falling in love with these. It’s a lot of fun to go back to analyze stats in order to figure out what you all found decided was the most popular. This helps me understand you all, and I think it also shows other bloggers what goes on behind the scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. I’ll slowly be adding in more categories as I realize what will be the most helpful to everyone! Here is what I’m sharing this month: my big moments, top three blog posts, the one blog post I wish received more views, the rest of the blog posts, top referrer other than search engines, top searched term, and gains in followers, likes, and shares. I also included every website who has helped me this month.

Big Moments:

currentSeconds Before Sunrise released on March 27th, which is the moment every writer looks forward to, but after the release party, something amazing happened! My novels skyrocketed into the top 1,000 books in the Kindle Store. Your growing support is astounding, and I cannot wait to continue into the future with my next novels, including “Death Before Daylight” (book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy.) If you want to start now, here’s a link to Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise.

Other big moments included actress, dancer, and director, Gracie Dzienny tweeting about my novels. I also found out my poem will be published in the first edition of LaLuna Magazine, so look out for more news on that coming in April.

twomom

 Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Oh, yes. I Did Record a Video: I guess this means that I need to post more videos on my YouTube channel. I invited you to my launch party in all my nervous glory.

2. What’s Your Shade Name? And other Author Announcements: The shade name generator was possibly the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It’s also nice to know you all are interested in reading about my author life!

3. My Home Away From Home: This was a post I was nominated for, and I spoke about my favorite place to go. The post was also the anniversary of my mother’s death, and I shared how cemeteries bring me peace, even to this day.

The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Writing Tips: The Five Senses: This post actually got a lot of views, but I spent more time organizing and writing this blog post than the others. I analyze how to include the five senses in a novel, but I also ranked what I and other writers believed to be the easiest to the hardest sense to include. After that, I showed tallies from my own novels to display if my original thoughts were correct or not. I still believe this prompt is a fantastic (yes, time consuming but fantastic) prompt for all writers to try.

nomakep

Other Blog Posts: 

Below are the other blog posts I haven’t mentioned yet. They are organized into categories.

Writing:

My Writing Process Blog Tour: Nominated by Dan Thompson, I explained my writing process.

Why I Am Most Nervous About the Second Book of a Trilogy: Middle novels are often seen as transitional novels, and I fought that – hard.

What Changes from First Draft to Publication: I share my personal experiences in editing.

The After Party: The day after the release of Seconds Before Sunrise.

Reading:

The Controversy of Rating and Reviewing Novels: there’s a lot of argument going on between readers and writers. I discussed a few of the most common ones.

 So You Want to be a Book Blogger: Tips for setting up your book reviewing website.

Is that Novel REALLY Dystopian? How Market Trends Affect Incorrect Labeling: Novels are often mislabeled on purpose due to marketing strategies.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

Other:

No Makeup Selfie Campaign for Cancer Research: I always take time to participate in important events like this.

Guest Post: The Passion – she is contagious: author, Sorin Suciu blogged about his passions.

The Oscars: Who I Want to Win This Year: I have to do fun posts every now and then.

And last, but definitely not least, I want to thank the websites who supported me this month by reviewing my novels, interviewing me, and featuring my work during this crazy fun month:

Reviewers: Fantasy is More FunLife With No PlotJust A Third Cultured KidThe Modest VergeWrite Out LoudA Reader’s ReviewCoffee Shop ReaderEnnlee’s Reading CornerPau’s CastlesChris PavesicThe Novel ListPress Pause, Fast ForwardBreathe Wild FlowerMental CheesecakeLife with no PlotEndless ReadingSo Little Books, So Little TimeFantasy is more Fun, and Tamara Morning.

Interviewers: Dan Thompson, A Reader’s Review, The Urge to Write, Writing Under Fire, and Desirable Purity.

Features: BIT’N Book Promoters, Paranormal Book Club, and Fantasy is More Fun,

I picked this picture because tonight is the Full Worm Moon. (by Free Photos and Wallpapers.)

I picked this picture because tonight is the Full Worm Moon. (by Free Photos and Wallpapers.)

The After Party

28 Mar

Yesterday was my official release date of Seconds Before Sunrise (now available on Amazon.) The virtual party was a great time – and if you weren’t there, we enjoyed a collection of shades, including 6 guards, 4 elders, 3 warriors, 1 student and 1 descendant during the What’s Your Shade Name? game. Eric even got a little dressed up:

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So, today is just about you guys and how wonderful you all are. Special thanks goes out to everyone who came to the celebration – all 338 of you – and I have a group of fantastic reviewers and interviewers that I want to thank below:

First, I must thank Dan Thompson for my latest interview. His questions were thought-provoking and engaged in ideas I haven’t had to answer during a review before. Learn if I believe in the paranormal and fate while reading about one of my recently revealed secrets by clicking here

After that, Jess and Sarah at The Mental Cheesecake held a meeting about Minutes Before Sunset, and they talked about how “many authors neglect to include the thoughts of characters in such a realistic and entertaining fashion. It’s exactly how our brains work while in conversation. We’re very rarely just listening: we watch their body language, judge what they’re saying, think things we would never say and debate over what to have for lunch at the same time.” Find out what they thought about the teens in The Timely Death Trilogy by clicking here. (You might also find out who was intimidated and why.)

Breathe Wild Flower also reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, stating “all I can say is that I enjoyed reading this book so incredibly much.” (But, really, she said a lot more than that, so check it out by clicking here.)

While this was happening, Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise made it onto the bookshelves at Fluente Designs Unique BoutiqueIf you like jewelry, purses, and other goods, check them out, too!

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So if you’re wondering about what bloggers are thinking about Seconds Before Sunrise, I have two more reviews! Remember how I shared a father’s review during my last blog post? His daughter reviewed it, too! And you can now read why she said, Seconds Before Sunrise has it all: Comedy; romance; action. You name it, this story is the real deal.” by clicking hereHer blog, Just a Third Cultured Kid, is definitely with the follow.

The Modest Verge also reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, stating, “I wasn’t sure what would happen next. It was exciting. Both books full of moments like that.” Read the full review by clicking here.

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I hope you enjoy both books as much as these lovely reviewers did! Today, I’m shipping off paperbacks to the lucky winners. The future feels as great as the party was fun. I look forward to the next one, and I cannot wait to speak with you all live again. Moments like these are beyond exhilarating. They are encouraging, lovely, thoughtful, and fun!

So, thank you to all of the readers, writers, and dreamers who continue to support one another as we live our dreams. Thank you. 

~SAT

If you are interested in previewing my novels, click on these links to “Look Inside”

Minutes Before Sunset (book 1) & Seconds Before Sunrise (book 2)

Oh, yes. I Did Record a Video.

26 Mar

Before I share my latest video (and by latest, I mean first video in a year), I have great interviews and reviews to share, and I hope you check them out! All of these readers are fantastic, and their websites are always entertaining.

First, A Reader’s Review both interviewed me and reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise. An exclusive excerpt is included in the interview, and the review starts off with, “It has a compelling and addictive narrative which explores the elemental themes of good versus evil, love and self-sacrifice and fate versus free-will. All lovers of paranormal and fantasy romance are advised to check out this series so that they do not miss out on a fantastic reading experience.”

After that, Write Out Loud shared how his daughter and he have been reading The Timely Death Trilogy together, and that is just the most wonderful thing to hear! I love when people come together through their love for reading, and I am beyond honored that a father and daughter are reading my work together. You can read his review of Seconds Before Sunrise here, but here’s a sneak peek, “Over the last few years I’ve read too many books by older adult authors write cringe-worthy dialogue and I worried that young Thompson (who is only in her early twenties) wouldn’t be up to it.” Find out if his worries were confirmed or if I overcame them through my latest novel.

And last but not least, Coffee Shop Reader reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, too. (So man reviews are pouring in!) What was her favorite quote? ““The fantasized kiss was stolen time from the dreams…” If you want to check out more quotes from Seconds Before Sunrise, click here, but click the link above to visit her wonderful review.

Now – onto my video:

Thanks for watching my video! I now have a YouTube channel, so feel free to subscribe. I will post more videos in the future, but – as of now – I am ready to PARTY! Can’t wait to see everyone there.

SBSpartytime

If you are wanting to check out Minutes Before Sunset, click here. It’s only $3.89 right now, and Seconds Before Sunrise is also on Amazon. Feel free to read away. In preparation, I have torn my closet apart in order to dress like the books:

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And I’ve shared one of my secrets: I have a knife collection. Below is a photo I did when I was 17 that was inspired by The Timely Death Trilogy. That is my machete. And, yes, I’m fighting myself, and those pants are from Thailand. I believe I was 17 here.

1618571_647815161932335_1292444422_nDon’t worry – I won’t bring my machete to the party, but I will be dancing around in preparation.

See you tomorrow!

~SAT

P.S. Thank you so very, very, very much - sorry. I had to say it again. ;]

What’s Your Shade Name? And other Author Announcements

22 Mar

Today I have lots of exciting announcements, including an opportunity to win tons of prizes, but there’s something I definitely wanted to start off with:

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The first name is your ranking and the second name is…well…your shade name! I’m Student Shoman. What would you get at the Naming of the Dark in Minutes Before Sunset? Feel free to share the name generator around! I worked really hard on it, so I hope your friends and you enjoy it.

My latest novels.

My latest novels.

Now, onto my Author Announcements:

I haven’t done one of these in a while because I’ve been really focusing on bringing fun and engaging articles to everyone – writers and readers alike – but I must share all of this overwhelmingly happy news today.

Seconds Before Sunrise came in the mail. Seconds Before Sunrise is also on Amazon – which means you can read sneak peeks for free. If you don’t want to go there, click Chapter 1 to 3 to check out the first three chapters or click here for Minutes Before Sunset (only $3.89)

AEC Stellar Publishing is actually hosting a VIRTUAL launch party on March 27th from 7 – 9 p.m. (CDT) on Facebook, so come in your pajamas and play games for a chance to win signed paperbacks, bookmarks, and more! I would invite everyone personally, but Facebook makes that really difficult, so I apologize for my massive post invite. However, you are cordially invited to celebrate the dark side via The Timely Death Trilogy. (You can also LIVE interview me. EEEEE!) Click here or the picture below to join in on the fun. I really hope to see everyone there!

SBSpartytime

Click here to join! Win paperbacks, bookmarks, prize packs, and more!

I am beyond ecstatic for the release day! And I wish I could express my gratitude by sending everyone a giant hug or high five in the mail. Your support has been unbelievable. Minutes Before Sunset recently hit 100 ratings with a 4.48 star average on Goodreads because of YOU, and YOU are amazing! I definitely included you all in my “Acknowledgements” inside Seconds Before Sunrise. This is what it said: “An artist’s life has many ups and downs, so thank you to all of the writers, readers, and dreamers for their timeless encouragement and inspiration on ShannonAThompson.com. With all of your love, the future will be filled with art.”

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~SAT

My Home Away From Home

16 Mar

Before I get into today’s post, I wanted to share four announcements.

Seconds Before Sunrise is officially on Amazon. It just went up yesterday! The cover and “Look Inside” will be uploaded soon, but you can still order it today. I truly appreciate your support! Click below.

fullcover

Fantasy is more Fun also had me over as a guest author for Free Book Friday. The cool part? I explain what free books mean to me as a writer and reader. On top of that, I’ve done two interviews this week.

The Urge to Write wanted to know what the covers of The Timely Death Trilogy represented, and I explained the designs for both of them. I also talked about Death Before Daylight (book 3) and included a preview of Seconds Before Sunrise. After that Writing Under Fire wondered if I wrote in other genres or if I see patterns in my work. Check both of them out by clicking the links.

On a day-to-day basis, I open hundreds of emails from you guys, and I love speaking with everyone. So when I received an email from the Community Coordinator for DogVacay.com, I was more than excited when they asked me write about “My Home Away From Home.”

  1. I love animals. I grew up with three huskies and now I have a cat. Since their company is helping animals, I was more than happy to take part.
  2. I am very grateful when readers ask me to blog about a certain topic that is important to them. (That being said, if you have an idea that you want me to blog about, send me an email to shannonathompson@aol.com for consideration. Your website will also be credited)

So, naturally, I said yes.

And I said “yes” before I actually thought about my answer. This is where I ran into a slight problem. When I realized my answer, I knew it might make some readers uncomfortable to the point where – for a minute – I considered choosing a more socially acceptable “home away from home.” But I can’t do that. I must be honest by being myself, especially in such a personal post, so I will be.

My home away from home is a cemetery.

That’s right. A cemetery.

Before you think you’re in a Tim Burton film, let me explain:

Cemeteries aren’t these dreary places filled with rotting trees and crumbling statues. (Not normally anyway.) The one I go to is always clean, well attended to and quite beautiful really. With spring coming in, the grass is green and the trees are growing again. My favorite tree is only a few yards away from where I sit to write, think, or read, and the lake is close enough to watch the geese on a nice day. Everything is surrounded by a small but distant neighborhood, causing the eight fields to feel more like a fake-flowered park than a place where people fear the dead. In fact, I often watch joggers while I sit in my spot – a spot right next to my mom.

20130704_160525Today is actually the eleventh anniversary of my mother’s death, but I’ve tried to stop counting the days she’s been gone by replacing the thoughts with memories of her life. I do that by visiting her at the cemetery, and I’ve been doing it for many years now.

Even though my mother died when I was eleven, it didn’t hit me until August of 2008. I can actually remember the exact day, one of the worse moments that eventually became one of my strongest moments.

I’m unsure why it took me seven years, but I think graduating high school had a lot to do with it. Big events. Big moments that you wish your loved one could see. So my seventeen-year-old self started going there on a regular basis – during the early morning or too late at night. I even kept a quail-decorated quilt in my trunk that I would pull out, spread out, and lay out on – just to look at the sky. My favorite nights were the clear nights where I crawled onto the hood of my Bravada and stared at the stars, talked to myself, or just listened to the silence.

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All of these pictures were taken there.

In that one field, I’ve cried, screamed, and questioned everything. But I’ve also smiled, laughed, and found myself again. All of my journals have been to that place, and most of my novels have a few scenes written from that place. I actually wrote there the other day, and I’ve spoken to the caretaker so many times that I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in one of my novels (subconsciously, of course.) I’ve witnessed other burials, met other mourners, and realized that someone else had replaced my mother’s flowers when I couldn’t. There, I am often reminded of life and death, but I also feel the reminder of love – that love, in many ways, is immortal. That immortal love is what home feels like to me.

To this day, the cemetery is my most peaceful place – and although I don’t go as much as I used to, I still make it a point to go, especially during this time of the year. In fact, I just went there a week ago.  I may not be able to visit for the rest of my life, but I believe it will always be my calm place, my place where I can go outside and reconnect with the world, my place where I am reminded of what is important – my home away from home.

~SAT

Author Announcements

22 Feb

As promised, I am here again – sharing the news as “Author Announcements.” Today is full of fun and excitement, but I am also sharing a minor change in what you can expect from my website at the end of every month. So, here we go:

1. I received my first book review of Seconds Before Sunrise

If you’re an author, then you know how exciting this moment is! I sent out a couple of review copies a little while ago, but I’ve been so nervous, and now those nerves are gone. Trials of a wanna-be-published writer by Heather B. Costa released the first review by writing, “The cataclysmic battle between the Shades and the Lights has unexpected consequences and is a showdown in which not everyone will survive. Who lives and who dies, and who is able to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause they believe in?”

Click here!

Click here!

You’ve read right - not everyone will survive book 2 – so be sure to read her full review by clicking here before checking out Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon (only $3.89 right now.)

Special thanks goes out to Heather B. Costa for reading and reviewing The Timely Death Trilogy.

2. I am now doing three kinds of posts at the end of each month on separate days. You can expect to read these three kinds in this order every month:

  • Website Wonders – websites that I share on my author FB page as well as other ones I come across – like this one I did last month. These include websites for writers and readers as well as inspiring articles and other fun places to be.
  • Entertainment Reviews – I did my first one of these last month. It’s where I post a VERY short review on the main entertainment pieces I came across that month. I mention movies, books, music, and more.
  • Monthly Recap – this will be the first month that I post this. Since I post every other day, I realize that not everyone gets a chance to read everything, not to mention all of the new followers that jump in halfway through the month. From now on, you can expect all of those month’s post to be posted in a list with a short description at the end of the month. It’s my way of re-sharing important posts in case you missed them and/or wanted to see them. Think of it as a fun, catch-up day. I really had to fight the urge to call it a “ketchup” day, because I love ketchup. Hmmm….maybe I will call it a ketchup day…

3. On February 25, I begin my 30-Day Countdown for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise. This will mainly take place on my author Facebook Page. (But I’ll probably share some fun games and quotes here as well.) I recommend you join me on Facebook, because it’s going to be a lot of fun! I promise it won’t be a bunch of ads. In fact, some of it might reveal some more fantastic writing websites to help you out. :D

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

I’m REALLY looking forward to the future. After my personal posts last week, I can admit that I felt really drained and very nervous about my future plans, but this week I was energized again, and I’m more than ready for March! Dare I say it? I feel like we’re only seconds away from my next release.

Seconds Before Sunrise – here we come. 

~SAT

Help: I’ve Returned to an Old Piece of Writing, and I Can See Influences From My Past

20 Feb

Recently, I have truly enjoyed writing up my personal posts instead of focusing on writing or publishing tips. Sharing my story opened up a channel for me to hear your stories, and it was really nice getting to know more of you on a deeper level. If I continue this in the future, I hope to hear more from others. If you have an idea of a topic – any topic really – you can always comment below and suggest one. I will even credit your blog as the inspiration for the post. No matter what, thank you for reading and commenting. 

Today, though, I wanted to talk about a topic that is very much a personal twist on the writing spectrum. Yes, writing is always personal to the writer, but I wanted to discuss how certain writings can be influenced by a particular time in your life and/or how it can affect the writing process when you return to it later. The reason for this is simple: I’m currently going through it, and I wanted to talk about it in the hopes of reaching out to other artists who have experienced the same range of emotions I have,which include confusion, guilt, acceptance, and understanding.

If you follow my interviews, then you know I am already planning for which one of my novels will be published after Seconds Before Sunrise. (But I hope you’ll take a moment to check out Seconds Before Sunrise by clicking here.) Although readers might be expecting Death Before Daylight, I am moving towards publishing a new novel altogether before the last book of the trilogy. From this point on, I will be referring to this new novel as TMT.

When I went back to edit TMT, I found some surprises I wasn’t expecting:

There are some heavy influences that I could not see before. When I was originally writing it, I was in my freshman year of college. At the time, I could not see any correlations with my life in my science-fiction world. Now that I’ve been removed from the novel for a few years, I can interpret it more clearly. I can see old acquaintances in the characters. I can hear dialogue that sounds like a stranger I met. I can see where I mixed a scene together by blending a field by my dorm room and a forest by my old house. I can see my husky, Shadow, in the dog the protagonist cherishes.

This is Shadow - my buddy. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us, but he loved snow just as much as me.

This is Shadow – my buddy. Unfortunately, he is no longer with us, but he loved snow just as much as I do. (Probably more, of course.)

This was all unexpected, and – if I may be bold – difficult in many areas, because it brings up a lot of old memories I have since let go in one way or another. I believe this is a struggle many artists may face at one time or another. When we write in present time, we might not realize we have placed our friend in a novel as a protagonist’s cousin. Years later, after we’ve had a falling out with that friend, it is a struggle to return to the novel’s mindset where you must love that “cousin” you can now see was someone very real and dear to you but no longer is.

But it’s okay. There are many ways to accept these moments. They aren’t all bad. In fact, I would say most of it isn’t bad. As my posts normally go, I repetitively say, “It’s all about attitude.”

When you return to these older works, hoping to make them better, you can accept where the influences come from for what they are. Just accept them, and dive into it with the same passion you have today. Eventually, I have noticed that I am adding more influence from my current life into TMT, instead of letting my past life define it. It’s an interesting area to explore, because it’s the blending of me – my past, my present, and my future – and it brings a sense of serene acceptance.

Here are three thoughts that helped me through this:

A. Be prepared to feel this way. There’s nothing to be guilty or ashamed or feel any weirdness about. It’s natural. Think of it this way, it would be impossible to go sit in your high school parking lot without remembering a few times you were there. Art can be the same way. If you wrote it five years ago, don’t be surprised if memories from five years ago sneak up. It’s okay. Enjoy it, and change it if you want to.

B. You’re an artist – it’s bound to happen. You are inspired by life, after all.

C. If you are disturbed or upset, that’s okay, too. Put the writing down. Try not to be hard on yourself about it. The past isn’t always a place people are comfortable with. Write something new!

I actually asked about this topic on my Facebook Author Page, “Have you ever associated your novel (or a book that your have read) with a certain time in your life? If so, when you go back to edit it and/or reread it, have you seen influences you didn’t see before? Is this easy or difficult to comprehend and how do you think it affects the writing and/or reading process?”

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

Here are two fantastic answers,

The J. Aurel Guay Archive: “I wrote half a novel during a very transitional time of life. I set it down for several years and when I came back to it, I couldn’t find the motivation to finish it because I had progressed through that stage. I will finish it eventually, but it will change fundamentally as they open questions on which the novel turns have been answered in my life. I just can’t write it from the same frame of reference anymore. You can find a snippet here.”

Tanya Taimanglo: “My romantic comedy, Secret Shopper was cathartic for me. It resembles so much of my life, although I insist it’s fiction. (It is). The death of my father, elements of a bad break up and finding real love made its way onto the page. It was written years ago, and when I do reread it, I cringe at how much truth I allowed out there and I’m reminded of how much growth I’ve made. In some ways, it’s like a journal I’ve made public. I can’t undo it, just embrace its truth and move on.”

What about you? Have you ever returned to a writing and saw past influences you didn’t see at the time of writing it? How did you cope with it?

~SAT

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