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#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

18 Apr

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

First and foremost, I would like to thank The Acid Oasis for asking me to interview Bogart. I immediately knew that I HAD to do it, and today is the day I share the results. But – first – a little background on this fuzzy little (okay, he’s a bit chunky) feline.

A little over four years ago, a terribly horrible person ditched Bogart and three other black cats. In a closed box. On the side of a highway. He was two months old. Thankfully, a person who was the opposite of the first person (meaning, this next person is an amazing and wonderful human being) pulled over on that highway and saved the kittens by taking them to Wayside Waifs. Two months later, Bogart became my family, and here we are today – catlady and cat – writing stories together every day.

bogartcharacterprofile

Bogart: A lovely introduction. Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon: Well, you did help me write it. How are you doing today?

Bogart: Hungry. As usual.

Shannon: We just ate.

Bogart: I get a treat for this, right?

Shannon: (pause) Sure.

Bogart: (finally sits) Great. Let’s get this started.

Shannon: What is it like to be an author cat?

Bogart: It’s tough work! I sit in Shannon’s lap most of the day, and when I’m not in her lap, I’m next to her. Even when she doesn’t know it, I’m watching – making sure she doesn’t make a mistake, critiquing every word she types, and let me tell you, there are A LOT of words, and I keep Shannon in check.

Shannon: Why are you referring to me as Shannon when I’m right here?

Bogart: It’s for dramatic effect. (pause) And this is exactly what I mean. Without me, you wouldn’t even understand the meaning of drama. And who can have literature without drama?

Shannon: (blinks) Fair enough.

Bogart: So, as I was saying (yawn mixed with a meow), this is tough work. When Shannon makes a mistake, I jump onto her laptop. She doesn’t like it very much. I get thrown off a lot, you know? But the best partners have to have disagreements sometimes. Still, I think she knows I’m right because she ends up staring at her computer for a long while after. Sometimes, she even shuts it down altogether.

Shannon: So, what happens then? When you’re off the laptop?

Bogart: The inspiration, of course! Recently, for instance, I acquired two new friends, Boo Boo and Kiki. I’m sure you’ve seen us on Instagram. (leans in close, rubs face on recorder) We’re famous. (leans out) But Boo Boo and Kiki have been a great help. We set everything up, and the second Shannon comes into the room, we begin our masterpiece. There’s fighting and yelling and cuddling and sharing. An entire collection of emotions just for one plot, let me tell you.

Shannon: And how do I – er, I mean – how does Shannon react to these pieces?

Bogart: She loves them so much, she trips. (stretches) Sometimes, over Boo Boo, but mainly over me. I’m the star of the show, the big guy, the spark. (licks paw) It’s tough work, but the fight scenes in The Timely Death Trilogy wouldn’t be here without me.

Shannon: I thought Shannon wrote that before you two began collaborating.

Bogart: (ignores) What’s your next question?

Shannon: Ah. Right. (flips through notebook) Do you have any works of your own you’ll release? Anything by Bogart?

Bogart: Now that. (long purr) That is a great question. (sees water glass in front of him for the first time. Eyes go wide. Paw lifts up. He knocks it to the floor. Purr deepens.) I love the sound of water glasses hitting the floor. It’s the musical soundtrack of inspiration. Don’t you think?

Shannon: (stares at the mess) I need to clean that.

Bogart: Not now. Not now. (sits in lap and looks up with big, begging eyes to prevent movement) We were talking about my own story.

Shannon: (pets) Go on

Bogart: I do have my own stories. Many stories. Stories I’ve been piecing together for four long years. Stories of purr-fection and cat-astrophe and mew-tovation. But these things take time. A lot of time. And for now, I am enjoying my place – as a muse, a confidant, a kitten cat.

Shannon: Kitten cat?

Bogart: It’s a new spelling I’ve come up with – in reference to a cat that keeps their kitten qualities despite hardships – a cat that maintains their dreaming selves through adulthood, a cat that never gives up. (lifts face) I’m a kitten cat, and without me, Shannon would have a more difficult time with her dreams. Someone must encourage her – just as she encourages me with treats. (long pause)

Shannon: (throws treat)

Bogart: (eats treat) But, you see, we work together, and that’s a precious thing: an author kitten cat and his author, writing into the future. (pause) You could write a whole story on that.

Shannon: I already made a note.

Bogart: Great. We should get back to work.

Shannon: Agreed. (pets) Thank you for your time, Bogart.

Bogart: Thank you for the treat. (jumps down) Now open that laptop. We have books to write.

After the interview, Bogart and I got to work on the latest piece of fiction that will, hopefully one day, hit the shelves for readers. We worked all day and all night, only stopping for dinner, coffee, and treats. He purred and slept, but I know he kept his Halloween cat eyes on every word, just waiting for the opportunity to jump onto my laptop (to prevent mistakes, of course). When we finished our long day, we celebrated by talking some more. Bogart told me of the birds that taunted him, of the sunshine that warmed him, and of the toys he found beneath the couch. In his spare time, Bogart appears on Facebook and Instagram. He also models for donations. But he mainly looks forward to another day, full of writing and kitten cat adventures. It didn’t need to be said, but I found myself stating it anyway. I love Bogart very much.

~SAT

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.05.55 AMP.S. I was a guest blogger for Little Birdy Book Blog yesterday, and I talked about 5 lessons I learned since becoming an author. What was number 1? Being a reader is much more complicated now. Check it out by clicking here.

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

15 Apr

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in with the other work they already accepted. Again, guesswork.

That being said, this is when I see too many writers give up hope. They’ve submitted to 20 or so places and either received rejections or nothing at all, so they stop. Now, I want to take this moment to clarify that I’m talking about submitting to places today. I’m not discussing self-publishing. While I completely support (and often suggest) self-publishing, it isn’t for everyone, and many people do give up when submitting starts to overwhelm them, so this post is more for them – this post is for those writers who have specific journals they want to see their name in, to see a certain label on their work, to be among the voices of their favorite journal. That’s their goal and their decision, and I see nothing wrong with it. So, again, while I support self-publishing, this post is directed at writers who are submitting to places who might feel discouraged by the process. Below, I’m outlining a few steps to keep your pen up and your ink flowing while also submitting and submitting and submitting until that rejection pile becomes an acceptance pile.

Here are ways to keep submitting: (I’m going to use poems for the example)

Keep a Submission Journal

Set a goal for submitting a certain number of times during a specific timeframe. Ex. I will submit three poems to three journals every month. Now, here’s the tricky part – keep track of that goal. Write down what poems, what journals, and what dates you submitted. This will help remind you that you are currently submitting, and even if you get rejected, I guarantee you’ll already feel better because – chances are – you’ll already have other poems circulating for submission. Many journals, for instance, take months to get back to someone, so submitting different poems in different places will prevent you from getting that “I’m never submitting again” feeling because you’ll already have other submissions pending.

Keep Writing

While I believe it’s okay to have a specific poem you definitely want to get published, try submitting other ones too, and definitely keep writing new ones. A story I like to tell everyone involves my poetry publications. When I started submitting them, it was almost always the poems I NEVER thought they’d pick that were chosen in the end. My “best” poems in my mind are not my “best” poems in someone else’s mind. Remember that one reader won’t like everything, so send out more than just one piece of work. Send out a variety. And then write some more. And keep writing.

Keep Reading

One mistake I see many writers make is the lack of reading, especially of the journals and/or publishers they’re submitting to. I, myself, have made that mistake by accidentally submitting a controversial piece to a journal that no longer accepted controversy. Despite the fact that I kept reading the journal, I never noticed the theme change – so it’s important to read the journal and also take notes on the journal’s overall voice and goals. Sometimes writers think they can go around this by just reading the submission guidelines, but it isn’t rare to see “to get a feel for what we accept, read our latest edition….” at the top of submission pages. Even better, many literary journals offer a free copy for you to review, so read, and read a lot. You might even find a new writer you love.

Make a Mentor List

You know you have them. Your favorite novelist. Your favorite poet. A TED speaker. We all look up to someone, and it’s great to figure out where that someone came from. Even better, find someone with similar topics and/or voice, and check out where they came from and how they got their start. That famous writer wasn’t born a famous writer. They had to submit too. And you know what? I bet they even received rejections. But they never gave up, and you shouldn’t either.

Keep on submitting!

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: The Importance of Goosebumps

13 Apr

Intro:

Today’s guest blogger deserves a huge round of applause. Not only does he spread the love for reading via his blog, November Notebook, he also teaches English to middle school students. In addition, Grant Goodman is talking about a series of books that filled my childhood, and I’m sure you’re familiar with these novels as well…They haunted all of our nightmares. Thank you for Goosebumps, R.L. Stine.

The Importance of Goosebumps

Most of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books left me terrified.

I remember how Night of the Living Dummy made me afraid to get up in the middle of the night because I knew that Slappy would be sitting at the top of the steps, waiting for me. I’ll never forget that moment when I hit the end of Stay Out of the Basement and the big twist made my stomach feel like it was full of ice. These books left me scarred, because even though I knew they were fiction, they took root in my mind and always threatened to crawl off the page and into reality.

For some reason, though, I kept reading them.

goose

Many of you, I’m sure, have strong memories of reading Goosebumps. It was the Twilight Zone for kids: a place where something strange and terrifying lurked, where people couldn’t always trust each other to tell the truth, and where sometimes you realized that Camp Nightmoon…well, I won’t spoil it for you.

These books were some of my earliest significant forays into genre fiction. Before them, I had been reading Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jansen, the Clue books. They were fun, of course, but they didn’t hold my attention once I had found ghosts and werewolves and evil ventriloquist dummies.

Even though the Goosebumps books were largely stand-alone stories, I knew that they were all gathered under a single brand, one that I could trust to deliver a memorable story. So, while I never became a full-fledged horror fan, I did step into another type of book series: fantasy.

I read The Lord of the Rings. I read every Dragonlance title I could find. Somewhere along the line, the first Wheel of Time book showed up on my bookshelf. That led me down the path to Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss.

The monster blood and the werewolves and the mummy, I’m sure, will never truly fade. They were a stepping stone for me, or maybe a catapult, that moved my imagination forward. And while the idea of a twist ending doesn’t resonate with me anymore, I’m glad to know that kids out there are still able to pick up Welcome to Dead House and start their own journeys through R.L. Stine’s many worlds.

Grant GoodmanBio:

Grant Goodman’s debut novel, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! will be released on May 4, 2015. He is also the head writer for November Notebook, a YA Lit blog for teens, adults, ghosts, robots, unicorns, dragons, and aliens. He teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations

8 Apr

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations.

By now, you probably know that Clean Teen Publishing is running a Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset. And if you’re involved in the publishing industry at all – and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this – then you already know how widely debated giveaways are. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a reader, or a publisher. I’m sure you’ve seen the debates about giveaways. I’m sure you’ve also seen a few debates about donations as well. We all have our opinions, and both topics are deeply complex – probably too complex to completely cover in this article below – but I did want to try to explain why I choose to participate in giveaways and donations.

I’ve considered both deeply, so much so that I’ve spent hours researching all the pros and cons. I’m sure you can already tell from my website that I am all for giveaways and donations. That being said, I want to start with donations.

Let's start off with this bookstore I found recently - almost all books were donations.

Let’s start off with this bookstore I found recently – almost all books were donations.

Donations:

Some like to call it panhandling. Others – like me – like to call it support. I never consciously started my website with the idea of donations in mind. In fact, two years of blogging passed before I ever added a page. The first time I considered it was when a blogger – who I had gifted one of my novels to – asked if I had a donate page because she wanted to support my writing. She informed me that she had already bought my books and shared them with friends, but she wanted to do more.

I was touched – and a little bit insecure. I didn’t feel like I was worth any extra help. I didn’t feel like it was “right”, and we spoke about it for a while. She explained that she does this for a lot of her favorite authors, and I remembered something. I donate to my favorite authors and musicians. I have, and I still do when I can. But I was always the donator – not the receiver – and the flip of the relationship felt odd and surreal.

That’s when I started researching.

While I can’t share every article I ever found on the topic, I will share THE ONE – the one that ultimately changed my mind. It was a TED talk: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: and I suggest watching it whenever you have the time.

She is absolutely right. The donations become an exchange – a loving exchange. It’s not forced or expected or lazy. I donate to show my appreciation, and when I receive donations, I like to give unique photos of Bogart to supporters to show how much I appreciate them. (Since I’m not a statue actress with flowers like Amanda Palmer).

Now – my addition to this topic is something I’ll never forget. Last year, when I lost my old publisher, my job, and my car at the same time, I was walking around in the rain with holes in my boots just to try to find new work – and you all saved me. Quite frankly, you all kept me on my feet. And you kept my feet dry. Without you, I’m not sure where I would’ve been. But with you, I was safe, and for that, I am forever thankful, and I hope I can continue to move forward and helps others in the way you all helped me. Helping and being helped out of the goodness of your heart – finding ways to support one another when we can – cheering everyone on – and working together for a better future, that is love.

Now, for giveaways: (whew)

The main judgment I see in giveaways is generally worded like this: “Giving away your work for free devalues your work.”

This saddens me. As an author, I trust my readers to bring joy to giveaways, to be positive and uplifting, and to enjoy the event. I do not feel like it devalues my work. To me, that is like saying all presents aren’t valuable because they were given to you for free. Some of the closest trinkets I own are presents. They are immensely valuable to me. If someone handed me a free book – a free trinket or free cake or free notebook – I would never think, “This isn’t valuable.” Instead, when I received a notebook from a reader, my day was filled with warmth, and I have been filling up the notebook with poems ever since – poems I send to that reader, poems we discuss, poems we talk about, poems we build friendship on. That isn’t just valuable. It’s invaluable. Giveaways are gift-gifting opportunities, but they are more than that: they are friendship opportunities.

Now, this is where another concern slides in. Some people sign up who just want to resell your work: no reviews, no reader connections, just people “stealing.”

We choose to give it away. It is a gift. We cannot have expectations for what people do with the gift. That’s just not how gifting works. Granted, I do hope that people stop entering giveaways just to sell work – because yes, that’s unfair to the readers who actually wanted it to read it – but we must trust the readers to come through for authors, and I trust that we can work together to make it a better gift-giving system.

On a side note, I mentioned TED talks earlier, and now I will mention them again. I’m a TED talk junky. I have spent many nights – probably too many nights – watching TED talks. I have learned from TED talks and grown from them and shared them, and guess what? They are all free.

I recently watched a collection of six on forgiveness, and another one about poetry in prison, and the danger of the single story. Arguably, the last one – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – is my ultimate favorite. The single story is damaging, and I think the “single story” theory goes beyond just hearing a single story. It stretches to any type of judgment, and that brings me back to Amanda Palmer’s speech, The Art of Asking.

We are quick to judge things like giveaways or donations and we are quick to praise them as well, but there are always two sides to the story, two sides to the pros and cons of an act, and two sides to debate.

I choose to stay on this side – as a reader and as an author – and I hope to stay on this side, even when things get tough.

~SAT

And in case you haven’t entered the giveaway (and you want to), click this link to the photo below for your chance to win 1 of 3 ARCS of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. Clean Teen Publishing will be picking winners on my birthday! (Because what better way to celebrate?)  bel234

#MondayBlogs: Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers

6 Apr

Intro:

I love info graphics. In fact, I’m a little obsessed with them. So, when Cindy Bates – a freelance editor and writer for Best Essay Tips – contacted me with her very own info graphic to share, I just knew I had to share it. Below, you’ll find a photo that outlines the Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers.

Different Writing Techniques of Famous Writers 

Being a prolific and excellent writer is never easy. It took years to the world’s most famous and topnotch writers to be able to publish their work. For those who are aspiring to become one, possessing this skill does not happen overnight but you can definitely learn many things from famous writers. To improve your writing skills, constant practice is important. The best way to do this is to have your own journal. When you have your personal journal, you can freely write down your thoughts. You get to have your own space where you can express yourself without restraints and inhibitions. Apart from owning a journal, it is also known among famous writers that in order for you to be skilled in writing you also have to be a wide reader. By forming these habits, you can start having your own personal time for writing and to practice not just writing as a skill but as well as an art.

Writing techniques

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

March Ketchup

30 Mar

March’s Ketchup

Another month has passed, and during the month of March, we were able to meet more guest bloggers, read more news, and discover additional websites for writers and readers.

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, 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 March!

Big Moments:

The new cover for Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, was revealed, and what a delight that moment was! I am so happy you all enjoyed the new cover so much. It only makes the upcoming release more exciting. Because of all of the excitement, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a Goodreads Giveaway. Staring on April 1, you can enter to win 1 of 3 ARCs, so look out for that!

My latest publication

My latest publication

In other news, I also received my copy of my first piece of nonfiction that was ever published. My personal essay, Nowhere, was featured in the 23 volume of Fine Lines, and now it sits on top of my desk, reminding me of why we continue to write and submit and share our work with everyone.

Thank you goes out to all of the readers who’ve supported me – novels, poetry, nonfiction, and all.

My #1 Clicked Item was my Facebook page

My #1 Clicked Item was my Facebook page

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. #1 SEO Term: Wattpad

    #1 SEO Term: Wattpad

    The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed: Ah! The excitement. Every day, it’s getting more and more difficult to contain my excitement about all of this. I am eternally grateful that you all are excited as well.

  2. The Lesson of Cats: I’m glad you all enjoy cats as much as I do. Bogart sends his love.
  3. Being Good Enough: Written by Sandra Nyamu, we were all touched when we read this honest article, describing the feelings of every writer who has been discouraged.

Other Blog Posts:

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

Guest Post: During March, I had the wonderful opportunity to guest write for Lit World Interviews. I wrote, How I Found a New Publisher after Losing One.

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:

Interviews: Writing Room 101, Jonas Lee

Awarders: Kaine Andrews (Liebster Award), Addlepates and Booknerds (Liebster Award)

Calculated on March 27 at 19,420 followers

Calculated on March 27 at 19,420 followers

#WW: The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed!

18 Mar

Small announcement: Facebook removed over 50 likes from my author page this week. You might have been one of them. Currently, FB is removing inactive accounts across all pages, but many are reporting active members being removed. Please visit my Facebook page and make sure we’re still connected.

The New Cover of Minutes Before Sunset Revealed!

logoThe time has come. Today, we have a cover reveal for the second edition of Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy. This novel releases on July 28, 2015 by Clean Teen Publishing, and I would like to send a huge THANK YOU out to their team as well as all of the websites who are supporting me today (in order of sign-up).

Introducing Members of the Dark: Confessions of a Book GeekJera’s JamboreeNicholas C. Rossis, Jonas Lee, Acid Publications, Gnome on Pig Productions, Darkness Rising Universe, Lit World Interviews, Ronovan WritesIn Between the PagesLegends of WindemereA Reader’s ReviewTranquil DreamsBooks for ThoughtAnnette AbernathyLive. Laugh. Read.XO EESHThe Modest VergeEnnlee’s Reading CornerReal Rad ReadsSDAV ReadsCassandra Lost in BooksRed Sands Reviews and RamblingsMs. Me28 ReviewsPau’s CastlesawkwardMEOWEndless ReadingNerd GirlTaking on a World of WordsTrials of a wanna-be-published writerWritten ArtNay’s Pink BookshelfThe Incorrigible ReaderMacy Avenue, Ky Grabowski, Bookshelf of DoomJust Another Girl and her Books,Hines and Bigham’s Literary TrystChris PavesicCoffee Books and ArtRead Watch Think, Making My MarkMel’s ShelvesMacy AvenueNote to Selph Book ReviewsSteampunk Sparrow’s Book BlogPointe Taken, FlannelletteBook Gannet, and Fantasy is More Fun!

::drumroll – even though you’ve probably already seen it by now::

Ta-Dah!

CoverTwo destinies. One death.

“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

Isn’t it beautiful?

are youNow, go out and share, share, share. We are recruiting for the Dark, so if you want to become a member, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com! You will also get a fancy badge like the one to the right, but it will say “Member of the Dark” instead.

You can also join the Dark here:

Thank you for sharing, and thank you – once again – for being so awesome! We’re all members of the Dark on the inside. :] That is, until I make Member of the Light badges….

~SAT

P.S. I have one more reveal….THE FULL COVER!

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