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#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!

11031081_10204198852115003_1870150711_o

#MondayBlogs: Get a Room – the Ultimate Author and Reader Connection

9 Mar

Intro:

Our second guest blogger for March is here! Don’t you just love Mondays? I do! I truly enjoy seeing everyone interact with authors and writers they might never have gotten to hear from before, and the discussions we have on Monday are always fun and enlightening. Today will be no exception. Sharon A. Crawford is here. Author of Beyond Blood, published by Blue Denim Press, and a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sharon is talking about how readers and writers connect with one another – in the same way we will all connect today! Happy reading.

Get a Room – the Ultimate Author and Reader Connection

Readers and writers like to connect on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. Videos on YouTube give the reader some idea of the author’s persona. But they are not connecting physically. As the title of a song made famous by the late Peggy Lee (back in pre-online days) asks, “Is that all there is?”

But get an author in a “bricks and mortars” room with a group of readers and more can happen. Call it creative magic, call it real connection – whatever you wish, but it is like the icing on the cake.

Why else do authors still do readings and interviews in libraries, cafes, pubs, at book clubs, writing festivals and conferences? Sure, we authors want to sell books, but we want to meet our readers in the flesh. And when you do like me, partner up with authors from a writing organization, the atmosphere can escalate into a literary, or in my case, criminal high. No drugs needed.

As the crime fiction author of the Beyond mystery series (Beyond the Tripping Point, 2012 and Beyond Blood, 2014, Blue Denim Press) and a member of Crime Writers of Canada, I often “appear” with other crime writers to do readings and author interviews. A recent appearance at the Beaches Library Branch in Toronto, Canada, turned into an incredible evening.

Nothing about this evening was expected. A sudden early snowstorm prevented an out-of-town author from coming. I was waylaid by public transit delays and frantically phoned the library to say I would be late. Two of the authors were already there, so I was still determined to make it.

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford

I’m glad I did.

There were four of us crime authors reading and talking about our writing – Nate Hendley, who writes true crime (Steven Truscott – Decades of Injustice, Five Rivers Publishing, 2012), Steve Shrott who writes comedy-mystery fiction (Audition for Death, Cosy Cat Press, 2013) and D.J. McIntosh who writes historical thrillers (The Book of Stolen Tales, Penguin Canada, 2013), and me. A very diversified criminal-writing gang.

I arrived as D.J. McIntosh was just finishing her reading. Did I say “reading?” Yes, she read, as did the rest of us. But our reader audience wasn’t content to just listen. They got right into the presentation, right into the moment, bombarding us with questions on crime writing, where we get our ideas, how we write, our characters. etc. and with Nate Hendley, where is Steven Trustcott now and did he interview him? As we answered their questions, it became more than just a q and a. It was a conversation. It was as if we had all been siphoned off into a separate universe away from everybody and everything else (including the snowstorm) to get to know each other. These readers weren’t present only for entertainment. They wanted to connect. And so did we.

The readers were all ages, from young children to seniors. (I had to watch what I read as my fiction is for 14+). We found out at the end of the evening why those children were there with Mom or Dad. They were checking out different careers and that evening it was authors. I should have twigged in from some of the questions about what book authors earn and don’t-give-up-your-day-job answers. Yes, we sold some print books and probably more e-books later. And maybe set the seed for some future crime readers and writers.

Speaking of readers and authors connecting, there is Sisters in Crime, a world-wide organization begun by mystery novelist Sara Paretsky and other women mystery authors in 1986, long before Goodreads and LinkedIn existed. SinC was originally started to raise the profile of women crime authors. Chapters began springing up all over. Members include crime authors, librarians, publishers, and readers. SinC Toronto, which I belong to, also includes a few male crime authors. We call them “brothers in crime.” The criteria is still to promote crime authors to readers, but I find something else going on – that personal connection between authors and readers. And while SinC is on Facebook, it’s connecting in a real room that binds us together, almost as if we are stuck together with honey.

To answer Peggy Lee’s question – for today’s authors and readers, there is much more to life when we meet in person.

Sharon A. Crawford

Bio:

Sharon A. Crawford, a former journalist, is a freelance book editor, writing instructor/tutor and author of the Beyond mystery series. She is Writer-in-residence for Canadian Authors Association Toronto, a member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime Toronto, Professional Writers Association of Canada, and runs the East End Writers’ Group.

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

February’s Ketchup

28 Feb

February’s Ketchup

Wow! If you’ve been with me just these past two months, you already know how much of a whiplash session I’ve lived through recently. Thankfully, February brought great news, and I am expressing my gratitude to you all once again – for helping me so much through so much by continuing to support me. This is the summary post of the past month.

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 February!

Big Moments:

After you showed a tremendous amount of support and love, I signed The Timely Death Trilogy with Clean Teen Publishing. I truly could not have done it without all of your support and love, so please know that you all have all of my support and love, too. I look forward to sharing the new covers with everyone as well as the brand-new interior! I’ll give you hint. They’re both beautiful. :]

My first piece of nonfiction, Nowhere, was published in the literary magazine, Fine Lines! It was a personal essay about growing up on the road. I even added a Nonfiction page to this website.

In other news, I moved to Missouri, and I continue to be a full-time editor, social media marketer, and book review helper through my Services page. I even received a wonderful review from a writer I am positive will get published soon! I am eternally grateful for all of the authors I’ve been working with recently.

Thank you so much!

#1 clicked item from blog post "I Am Not Special"

#1 clicked item from blog post “I Am Not Special”

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. 1SEOI Have a New Publisher: This is still so surreal, and I will always (and forever) remember the outpouring support everyone showed. Thank you for continuing to be my friend as I continue this writing journey into the future!
  2. The Greatest Conversations All Authors Have: At least, it’s the greatest conversation I have.
  3. The Importance of Setting in a Novel: Written by Tara Mayoros, this well-traveled author speaks about a vital aspect of writing.

Other Blog Posts:

Guest Post: I also had the wonderful opportunity to appear as a guest writer on The Legends of Windermere. I wrote Balancing the Editor’s Life with an Author’s Dream.

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:

Seconds Before Sunrise: SDAV Reads

Death Before Daylight: Live. Laugh. Read.Trials of a wanna-be-published writer

Interviews: Reading, reading, READING

Calculated on February 25 at 19,364 followers

Calculated on February 25 at 19,364 followers

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

21 Feb

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

When I was younger, my family moved around a lot – more times than what I can list here without risking your gaze blurring over – but we always visited Kansas every year. My mother’s parents lived in Kansas, and it was the go-to family house we found ourselves at for the holidays or even just for the summer. During these visits, my mom and dad liked to get together with old friends and family that were still in the area, and they would all go off to the casino. Since the casino provided an area for children, my brother and I went with.

Originally, the casino was called Station Casino, due to an old train that sat out front, but now it’s called Ameristar, even though the giant train is still sitting in the same spot. Oddly enough, I went back there recently, and the children’s area is still there, too – all gated off like a pink and purple jail cell. Of course I wonder if the inside play area is still the same, but there’s no way to find that out at my current age. The children’s zone – known as Kids Quest – has a cutoff age for 12. Older than that and you are in the arcade all night.

Despite the fact that my brother and I probably stepped foot in this place only one dozen times, it sticks out in my memory. My guess relies on the fact that it might have been one of the only places that was stable in my life. We returned every year, and every year, it stayed the same. There was even a kid named Jimmy that was there every year. He was the owner’s son or some other worker’s son. I can’t really remember why he was there every day, and to be honest, I don’t even know if his name really was Jimmy. I might have simply given him a name for my own comfort. It’s strange to have memories with someone who is a fleeting image of a person that once was, so I’ve been known to attribute things like names that might not be real, and eventually, I lose count.

That being said, Jimmy introduced me to the Pocahontas game, and I remember that game more than his name. (Again, perhaps this is why I’ve given him a name. I try to make up for the fact that I remember video game otters more than a fellow kid’s existence.) But I remember the otters most of all. And the fruit roll-ups. And how Jimmy always helped me find my brother since my older brother was at that age that he constantly ran away from me, and I was at that age that I constantly tried to follow him. Younger siblings, eh?

This will soon come into play. I promise.

This is how Jimmy and I looked during adventures.

The play area was three stories tall at the time, and with my little feet, it took a long while to get the top of it all. This was where my brother and some other kids hung out – mainly because you couldn’t get to them unless you passed a fortress of punching bags. It was one of these punching bags that nearly knocked me out when an older kid hit me in the face with it. I think that’s when my brother decided to hang out with me instead of his new friends.

It doesn’t seem like much, but we did eventually leave the three-story-tower-of-punching-bag-doom, and we went to the karaoke stand. This was something I ALWAYS wanted to do but also something every kid in the play area refused to use. It was just what it sounded like – a karaoke stand with three mirrors around it and a microphone at the front. You picked a song on the clunky computer, and then, the song played in the entire area, and you could sing with it.

My brother picked “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, and to this day, that’s the only time I’ve ever done karaoke.

I don’t think I’ve purposely avoided karaoke. Even though I am a horrible singer, I think I’ve simply never come across another opportunity to do it or to feel like singing out in public, but I always remember that time, and in a way, I feel like that one time was happy enough for a lifetime of karaoke.

Even in a pink and purple jail cell, we learned to sing. It probably helped that most of it didn’t include lyrics at all. Instead, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” provided marvelous sounds we could belt in a song – a song that I knew because of The Lion King, a song my brother later cranked when picking me up ten years later from Driver’s Ed, a song I heard recently in a grocery store that brought it all back. Funny how even the littlest moments can stay with us forever. In a sense, memories are like lions in that song – sleeping tonight – but always near the village, always on your mind.

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Wimoweh

~SAT on #SATurday

#MondayBlogs: Inner Dragons

26 Jan

Intro:

Mondays are easily becoming one of my favorite days of the week – all because of the guest bloggers right here during #MondayBlogs! Today’s post is brought to you by one of my top commenters last year – Deby Fredericks – and she is writing about writers and their inner demons…or dragons. Check out her website and her books!

Inner Dragons

We writers often do battle against doubts, fears, writing blocks, etc. Call them inner dragons. If we aren’t careful, we can sabotage ourselves with negative self-talk.

One common inner dragon is the fiendish beast Comparison, which makes us treat writing like a competitive sport. Say you struggled for an hour to finish a single page, 250 measly words. Then on Facebook an author friend brags about their wonderful 2,500-word day. It’s too easy to compare word counts and decide you’re a slacker because you didn’t get as much done.

Or when your publisher is a small press and only pays royalties, you might hear publicity of another author’s six-figure deal. That can make you feel like a failure because your deal isn’t as rich.

Comparison depends on a backward definition of success. It wants you to focus on the end of the process while you’re still at the beginning. Every page you write is a battle. Life is so hectic, anything you complete is a victory. A single page, a stanza of a poem, a chapter of a novel — they all build to something larger.

One of my favorite writing quotes is from the late SF author, Jay Lake. “If you write one page every day, you will have completed a novel in a year.” Believe this, and go slay that dragon!

Air&FireAnother inner dragon we writers often battle is the dire monster, Futility. This dragon wants us to become obsessed with things we can’t control. This might mean editorial rejections, sales figures, negative reviews, or the length of time it takes an agent to answer your query.

Even worse, writers sometimes make New Year Resolutions based on things we can’t control. “Sell five short stories this year” is a perfect example. All of these are things we can’t control, but I have several friends who consistently work themselves into a tizzy, swear to quit writing, then apologize to everyone who got worried about them.

Let’s just be logical. We have no way of knowing, when we query or submit a story, how many other queries and submissions will arrive on the same day. We don’t know what else is going on in the editor’s or agent’s life. We have no way to know what past experiences readers bring that affect how our work appears to them.

A more productive approach is to focus on things that we can control. We can’t make purchasing decisions — but we can set a goal to write five stories and submit them. We can’t make readers buy our books — but if we self-publish, we can choose enticing covers and work our social networks to increase sales. We can’t make agents represent us — but we can gather data and present it in a way the agent may look upon favorably. To attract friendly reviews, we might give a few reviews ourselves.

To quote that one song, we just have to “let it go” on things that aren’t ours to decide, and do the rest just as well as we can.

Do you ever tell people about your writing? I hope so. You’ll have a hard time building an audience if you don’t. Even more important, do you tell people about your work in a way that slights or insults yourself? “Oh, it’s just a hobby of mine.” “I’m not very good at it.” “It’s a little poem/song/story I write. Really bad, isn’t it?”

If any of these phrases sound familiar, you’re a victim of the evil dragon Self-Minimization.

I often hear writers minimize themselves. Sometimes men, but more often women. Our culture has this thing where we teach men to stand up and speak for themselves while women are taught to sit down and be quiet. But, as writers, we simply can’t afford to sit quietly.

Naturally, everyone has moments of doubt. The competition is intense and rejection hurts. Minimizing ourselves can be a way to deflect pain. It can also be a chain that holds us back. If your spouse said to you, “Why are you wasting your time with this?” you’d be pretty upset. You’d defend yourself. But when it’s your own voice saying, “You’ll never sell anything,” self-defense is that much harder.

Deby Fredericks

Deby Fredericks

It’s because the competition is so intense that we must slay this dragon. No one ever sold a story without submitting it first. Self-Minimizing can be as much a habit as a reaction to stress. Begin to train your brain for the battle. “Yes, I’ve been writing for ten years.” “I’m getting pretty good at this.” “It’s a poem/song/story I wrote. Isn’t it great?”

Funny thing is, most people will take you at your word. If you say you’re a poet or author, they’ll believe you. Once you fight off that self-minimizing dragon, you’ll see how high you can fly!

Bio: Deby Fredericks is a small press author of fantasy and children’s novels. The latest is a book for middle-grades, Masters of Air & Fire, due in February 2015. Her blog, Wyrmflight, is all about dragons, and her home on the web is http://www.debyfredericks.com.

Want to be a guest blogger? Wonderful! I am accepting guest posts that focus on reading and writing. You are allowed a book link in the post as well as in your bio. A picture and a bio are encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

~SAT

Website Wonders

29 Dec

 Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of December’s Website Wonders categorized as so: Reading, Publishing, Around the World, and Learning. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

Stupid Plot Tricks: The funniest thing I’ve read all week.

10 Book Series So Addictive, You Never Want Them to End: Read forever. Or tell yourself you’ll be reading forever.

Non-fiction Books Everyone Should Read: I’m a HUGE fan of non-fiction, especially memoirs.

8 Books that will have a Profound Impact on your Life: impactful.

10710630_897096090301990_4910407088402865734_nPublishing: 

How to Keep Your Paperback Books in Good Condition: I’m a hardback person myself, but this is awesome!

The Art of Making a Book: A really neat video via Facebook

Around the World:

A Majestic Cathedral Made of Living, Breathing Trees: The title explains it, but it’s so much more than that.

21 Photos of Nature Winning the Battle Against Civilization: I’d be okay with nature kicking my ass.

This is what happens when an artist lives in a cave for 25 years

Learning: 

Encourage an Artist: Probably my favorite comic I’ve read in a long time.

You Can Easily Learn 100 TED Talks in Five Minutes: It’s a fantastic list to find TED Talks as well as summaries for the ones you might not have time for.

Is Tsu a Scam? 6 Things to Consider: Honestly, I’m not joining Tsu for these reasons as well as many others after I researched it.

~SAT

P.S. WE HIT 19,000 FOLLOWERS! Thank you for joining this wonderful group of readers and writers. I am grateful. You might have seen this live photo on my Facebook page, but Bogart fainted from the excitement.

bo19

#SATurday: Scrabble without Friends

27 Dec

#SATurday: Scrabble without Friends

Writing has both benefited me and disrupted me. It has allowed me to live in the moment – to pay attention to every detail, to feel every breath, to notarize every scene – and it is because of this phenomenon* that I often stretch living in the moment by crumbling it into observing the moment. Like a journalist standing at a scene of a crime, I am note-taking while waiting for the opportune time to shine, but it often never comes.

I still wonder if it will.

Perhaps my lack of connection is a purposely-practiced motion – something I prefer. I believe psychologists claim, “Introvert!” when hearing such a thing, but I’m not one for labels. I find life much too complicated in density to sustain a label, even the complex ones, even the simple ones.

As I write this, I – ironically (and undeniably inaccurately) – have labeled this room my office. Perhaps it was designed to be an office. There’s a desk, a computer, a round meeting table, not one but two bookcases, and a plush couch that seems to have never been sat on. I’m not even sure if this place has been dusted. The lights are dim so it’s impossible to say, but since it’s supposedly an area for the community, I’m assuming it has been taken care of. I probably even have a camera on me, but I don’t care enough to check. I might come Tuesday. (Big Brother can wait.)

In all honesty, I have ended up in this plum-painted room by default. Someone else is in the 4×4 gym I use to prevent condensing into complete insanity, and I didn’t want to leave the building out of the sheer guilt I created by thinking he would believe I was avoiding the place because of his existence – which I am (sort of).

I don’t mind people. I generally enjoy company. But I come to this place for silence – and by “silence” I mean music blaring against my eardrums as I use the elliptical for two hours (or until I am contemplating whether or not I’m actually breathing anymore). But – apparently – this new neighbor of mine has the same idea. Little does he know that his exercise is on my blog now. But in this little world, I half-expect I might be on his. In fact, while peeking into the gym’s glass door, I saw he, too, is on his laptop. Even though he got back on the elliptical before I could finish writing that sentence, I’m sure he was note-taking. I should know. I can recognize these things in others. I’m insane, too. Sure, insane might be a strong word, but I’m a writer. Exaggeration is in my bones. And only insane people are up at the witching hour, jogging to the new Boys II Men album. Only people like us could be found in this dinky room wondering why I cannot overcome my social anxiety to go run next to a stranger who couldn’t care less. Only I refer to total strangers as “us.” Living on the road does that to a person. And that is why I sit in a room by myself, staring at the bookshelf until I see “Scrabble” on top of a pile of unwanted books. The conclusion comes faster to me than all of the other ones before it.

Yes. I can play alone.

It might even be fun.

~SAT on #SATurday

*Not in reference to the John Travolta movie. Maybe. I haven’t decided yet.

scrabble

P.S. I’ve updated my Services and my Donations page – please check them out and share them if you can. 

P.S.S. ARCS of Death Before Daylight are now available, but I will only have a PDF file. Please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you want one. 

aecarcs

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