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#WritingTips Choosing a Setting

1 Feb

Every Monday, I recover previous posts that were popular, but I tackle them in a whole new way. Today, I’m covering how to choose a setting for your novel or poem or short story or whatever you’re writing. The original post, Setting: Picking a Location, can be read by clicking the link, and it covers other aspects to keep in mind, but today, I only want to tackle two ideas: real-world settings and imaginary ones.

1. Real-World Settings: Write What You Know or Research

When you’re writing about a place in the real world, you honestly have two options: write what you know or write after you research extensively. This is especially true if you’re writing a historical piece, but that’s a completely different topic to cover, so I’m basically talking about the here and now. If you’re making a decision, don’t pick what is easiest. Instead, pick what is right for your story. In fact, you might have to write your story’s first draft to realize what type of setting you need, and that’s perfectly okay. As long as you figure out what you need and where you need to go, do it the way that feels right to you as a writer. But once you know what you need, you can start researching. I always suggest considering places you already know, but I am probably biased because I moved all around the country as a kid, so I have a plethora of places to consider. That being said, you can always travel too, but please don’t think you MUST travel in order to write about a place. While Ally Carter does travel a lot—and bases many of her books on those places—she also says, “I try and try and try to get people to believe me when I say that my job is basically looking at a whiteboard covered with sticky notes and/or a computer and/or big stacks of paper all day long.” This is how picking a setting (or any part of your novel) is going to go. Research and think and research again. Even better? Research is SO easy nowadays. You can even talk to someone from that exact location if you want to. All you have to do is join a forum. One thing I’ve always loved is pretending I’m moving there. (If I play “your life is about to change dramatically,” it forces me to take it very, very seriously.) Look at the setting via Google Maps, read a travel guide, research schools, check out the town’s official website, talk to people who live there or have in the least been there. You can do it. Look at it this way, if you can spend months writing about it, you can take a week or three reading about it. One of my favorite tools—even just for fun reading—is Earth Album. You just click, and voila! Pictures of the location and the name, so you can start Googling. If you click on the picture too, it will generally send you to the source of the image so you can research it in-depth. It’s a good place to start.

A screenshot of Earth Album

A screenshot of Earth Album

Fun fact: Although not a real town, Haysworth, Kansas in The Timely Death Trilogy was a combination of two towns in Kansas: Hays and Ellsworth—both of which I’ve been to. I also lived in Kansas for seven years, so I was very familiar with the landscape, laws, people, beliefs, etc., and I wanted to have a paranormal story take place in the Midwest, especially since the Midwest is underrepresented in paranormal YA (actually in YA in general)…despite the fact that we have a gate to hell in Stull. (Google it. It’s a big deal to us Kansans…even though I’m a Missourian now.)

2. Imaginary Settings: World-Building and Map-Making

I could write an entire month’s worth of blog posts about world building, so this is going to be ridiculously brief, but I hope it’s a place to start. Just like the above option, I think it’s most important to figure out what your story needs first, but once you have that, you can start building. Again, that doesn’t mean I think you have to know all of this before you write. You can write the entire story to figure it out, and then, change everything in editing. Personally, I like building from the little details to the bigger ones, which I know is the opposite of many writers, but that’s okay, because I figured out what worked for me. (Most of my writing tips, you might notice, revolve around the idea of figuring out who you are as a writer.) I start with the story details, and I work my way up to a giant map. This way, I have my “rules” in place. I have the political systems, the social expectations, the movements, the beliefs, the types of people, the places, etc. Now, if you want to start with a map first, I’d suggest studying maps. See how they are drawn and draw yours. If you want something random, watch this YouTube video. It’s freakin’ awesome, and it’s an easy way to get all different types of terrain on various landscapes.

Personally, I am in the process of writing an epic fantasy, and I did it the old-school way: a piece of paper and a pen and a bunch of sticky notes. My living room was covered. (Because that’s what works for me.) Overall, it’s important to create a world just as rich and diverse as our world is today. Even if it’s a walled-in city, different types of people and beliefs will exist. Don’t sell your world short. Explore it, take notes on it, explore it some more. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to include every little detail of your imaginary world in your book (especially not in the first chapter), but knowing as much as possible can help fine-tune your voice and your characters. If you’re going to take inspiration from history, be honest but be respectful. That means being diligent. Be everything you’d want a future writer to be in regards to if they took inspiration from your lifetime or your country. Create a world we’ve never seen before.

Fun fact: Take Me Tomorrow and November Rain both take place in the near-future U.S., but were built very differently. The Tomo Trilogy takes place throughout the entire country, while Bad Bloods takes place in one walled-in city. While Take Me Tomorrow was largely built around rail transportation in the U.S., November Rain was built on a real city I never actually name in the story (but I do give hints as to what it is). The epic fantasy I mentioned above doesn’t take place in this world at all. That took a lot more time and consideration to create, but it was well worth it in the end.

Create, and create well. And, of course, have fun.

~SAT

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerTheresa Romain, Jan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Get your free book today!

Get your free book today!

#SATurdate: Fortitude, Splintered, The Beat Generation, & Broken Elbows

23 Jan

Sometimes I feel like I get everything done with no issues. Other times I feel like I get nothing done working my butt off. Such is life. I’ll let you choose which one. ;)

What I’m Writing:

As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with Take Me Yesterday, but then, the funniest thing happened. I wrote an entire chapter on the computer, nearly threw my computer at the wall, and then stormed away with my notebook. I figured I’d try writing in down via hand instead of typing it, and voila! It worked beautifully. So that’s my writing tip for all you writers out there! If you feel like you’re having writer’s block, try to switch up your medium. It might be the extra umph you need.

What I’m Publishing:

The final edits went into the formatter! Woot! You all have no idea how exciting that moment is. The moment when editing is finally complete. It’s a breath of fresh air. I’m freeeeeeeeee. (Also, big kudos goes out to the editing team for dealing with my nitpicky, writer’s brain. They are amazing people.) In the meantime, I’m actually working on perfecting my categories and keywords for listings as well. Pretty neat (but also tedious work).

Here is the #1lineWed winning preview. This week’s theme was dark.

He was no longer concerned with me. He was somewhere else entirely, somewhere dark, somehow stuck.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

 readsI started two books, Splintered by A.G. Howard and Wait Till I’m Dead by Allen Ginsberg. I’m loving Splintered so far, and I’m beyond blown away by Allen Ginsberg uncollected collected poems. I studied Ginsberg in college, along with the entire Beat Generation, and I mainly fell in love with Ginsberg and Kerouac, but I had to sell back all my college books when I graduated. I was super bummed out. Still am. This is the beginning of that collection starting again, and it’s particularly monumental because the professor who brought me my love for these writers passed away last year. He would’ve loved to read the unpublished poems they published for the first time.

I finished Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and boy, let me start off by saying I was totally wrong about this book. Despite having so many people telling me to read it, I didn’t pick it up because it sounded like another Hunger Games. Again. I was wrong. Although the first 100 pages seemed to go in that direction, Sarah J. Maas surprised me at every turn and entertained me to the end. I was SO glad the majority of the novel wasn’t about the competition, but rather magic and mystery and murders and demon worlds. It was a fantastic read, with a capable, sarcastic female assassin as the protagonist. Highly recommended to YA fantasy lovers! You can read my full 5-star review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Myths and Legends podcast. I finished a couple of episodes I’ve been meaning to listen to for a long time. If you want new and old legends, check this podcast out. It’s sure to inspire (or at least educate) you.

What I’m Watching:

I binge-watched Fortitude, which is a psychological thriller that takes place in a town on the north end of the Artic. I freakin’ loved it, but it’s so bizarre. You can never guess what is happening or why, and the imagery is freaky even when nothing is happening.

Is that Dumbledore and Caesar from The Hunger Games? Yes. Yes, it is.

Is that Dumbledore and Caesar from The Hunger Games? Yes. Yes, it is.

Twinsters is The Parent Trap meets real life. Two girls adopted for South Korea realize they are twins separated at birth. The documentary is heart-warming and amazing (and on Netflix right now).

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12541144_969245789789269_998182083334672155_nCookies. Again. I can’t help myself.

What I’m Wearing:

A big ol’ bruise on my elbow. Read the next sections below to find out why.

What I’m Wanting:

Notebook paper! I’m completely out, and it’s a tragedy.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I owned a bunch of horses, but one of the horses gave me a disease that started eating away at my shoulder. Then, it spread, so I had to get most of my toes on my left foot amputated, and the doctors also took an eye. Strangely enough, no one seemed to notice that my eye was missing, but everyone was SUPER distraught that my toes had been amputated, even though my feet were in shoes and you couldn’t tell. That being said, any time someone picked on me for not having toes, I beat them up.

Don’t ask.

I have no idea why I dreamt this.

What Else Is Going On:

I slipped and basically fractured my elbow. (Legitimately, almost went to the ER over it.) But the funny part is WHY I slipped…There was a beetle. And it scared me. This is why I never leave the house. I can’t handle being in the house, let alone the real world. I’m just too clumsy. I’m a hazard.

~SAT

Author in a Coffee Shop, Episode 3 happened last night! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Well, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts (and talk to you)! If you missed out, don’t worry. Join me next Friday at 7 PM (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT.

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. CTP author Tamara Grantham will be there, as well as NY Times Bestselling and USA Today Bestselling author Candice Gilmer. (I’ll know the other three authors soon!) I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

You can even read The Timely Death Trilogy on your new Kindle Fire! 

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy

20 Jan

First, I would like to thank Dahlia Adler for inspiring me to write this post via her article What We Aren’t Talking About When We Talk About Feminism in YA.

Feminism is an important, vital part of my identity, but it’s also one of the scariest words in my life. Why? Well, I have a confession: I’m a bad feminist. I’m afraid to admit I’m a feminist on the Internet. I have no issues with this in RL (a.k.a. real life). In fact, I practically never stop talking about Feminism to my friends and family, but it’s not in any of my Internet bios, and despite reading Feminist conversations on Twitter (and all over the Internet), I mainly nod my head and shout at my computer…but I NEVER say anything on the Internet. I stay silent.

Why?

Because I’m scared.

I’m scared of the retaliation, of the sexual harassment many of these outspoken folks receive, and of the constant berating that happens for months afterward. In real life, I can walk away, but the Internet is forever.

Today’s the day I stop being afraid and I start being brave.

I am a Feminist.

What does that mean?

It means I want equality for both women and men. I shouldn’t have to expand any more than that, but the arguments and stigmas out there cause a lot of problems in many aspects of our culture and lives. That being said, this is a blog about writing and reading, so I want to focus on Feminism in YA, just as Dahlia did. Please check out her article. She tackles important topics, like female characters in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and sports that show how dedicated girls can be. Friendships between girls, relationships between a girl and her mother, and asexual females are also underrepresented, and one of the biggest trends is giving female characters masculine traits to make them heroes…instead of heroines.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a girl swinging a sword or kicking ass. In fact, that’s pretty awesome, too. But when that same character cries or has a romantic moment, many readers reject the character because she’s suddenly not “heroic” anymore. This idea is really damaging to female characters. It’s the idea that heroines need to be 1-D in order to be respected or believable.

As a reader, I saw this happen with Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I LOVED this book. It centered on a female assassin, and she is a tough fighter. That being said, she has also been imprisoned for a couple years leading up to the story, and this recent past makes her a bit weaker than her usual norm. She even throws up a couple of times, and she gets involved with some light romance. Many readers found this combination unbelievable or too girly. “She liked candy! Why would an assassin like candy?”

Maybe because she likes candy? Why do female characters have to solely be one thing? Why can’t they kick ass and like candy? Men like candy too. In fact, I mainly bake cookies for my roommate and my father—both men. I’m not even a fan of chocolate. I’m more of a salty snacks sort of a person. But that’s beside the point…

As a woman, I have many aspects to my personality, both feminine traits and masculine traits. (In the traditional sense.)

I have a knife collection, yet I teared up at that viral raccoon video where he lost his cotton candy in the puddle of water.

As a teen, I got into a lot of physical fights (with girls and boys), but I also cried if someone happened to hug me at the right time. (Not proud of the fighting. Just a truth.)

I drove a stick and shot guns, but I also squealed anytime I saw anything fluffy. (I still do.) I worked in a sports bar…and as a nanny.

I own tennis shoes and heels. I played sports throughout my schooling—basketball, track, and tennis—but I also loved school dances. My favorite activity was running through the woods with my dog and practicing with my throwing knives or with my bow and arrow. (Hello, Katniss. What can I say? I grew up in the Midwest.) Afterward, my husky would be my pillow, and I’d lie down in the forest to read a cheesy romance novel.

I can wield a knife in one hand and eat candy in another.

If I was a YA character, I'm not sure I'd be "believable" (Most of these were taken when I was a teen.)

If I was a YA character, I’m not sure I’d be “believable” P.S. Half of these photos were taken in my teenage years.

My life doesn’t make me any less of a believable person. So why are the characters unbelievable?

It’s an important question to ask in regards to female characters.

A female character—as well as a male character—does not have to be only one way in order to be believable. People have numerous aspects that make up their personality, and they react differently to many types of situations because they are also human.

So, next time your female assassin eats candy or falls in love, maybe we shouldn’t criticize.

Maybe we should talk about how awesome that is.

~SAT

Author in a Coffee Shop, Episode 3 happens this Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Twitter via @AuthorSAT. What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, and tweet out my writer thoughts. I also talk to you. ;)

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

You can even read The Timely Death Trilogy on your new Kindle Fire!

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

#WW How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing

13 Jan

Audio books are getting more and more popular every year. Why? Well, it’s nice to be able to listen to a book while driving to work instead of the latest (and probably repetitive) pop song. On top of that, many people have less free time than ever before, so audio books help add to the variety of ways readers can still read. (Now if they could only get that price down…)

Personally, I’m not an audio book person. Not yet. But I have found another stream of entertainment through audio programs, and they help with my writing.

I love podcasts. I think they are brilliant, and they definitely help keep me updated when I FINALLY give myself a break from staring at my computer screen. I generally listen to a podcast while doing the dishes or putting away the laundry or chasing my crazy cats away from scratching up the latest UPS delivery. (True story.)

Basically, they help me continue to research the publishing industry or for my writings when I’m not on my computer. Since I work on the computer all day (and spend most of my free time on the computer as an author), it’s nice to have the option of simply listening to additional information and not have to go searching for it. I highly recommend giving them a try. Even if you already know the information given, it’s nice to have your feelings confirmed. (It’s also nice for a hermit like me, who practically never hears a human voice all week long.)

So, how do I recommend getting involved?

Well, think about what you want more information on and why. Personally, I wanted to follow at least two good writing podcasts, but I also wanted something that could help with my writing, especially in areas where I lack. To expand on that, I wanted something that would challenge my inspiration or force me to go outside my comfort zone. Seriously, there are podcasts on everything, but here is my example:

1. Writing Podcasts

There are dozens of podcasts dedicated to writing, publishing, and everything in between. Personally, my favorite has been Writing Excuses. The recordings are clear, the hosts are fun, and the topics are relatable but also challenging. I often find myself nodding along to everything they say, but then, they say ONE little thing in a way I’ve never thought about it before, and my entire afternoon is fueled with excitement. This is my favorite podcast of all-time. Highly recommended for every writer out there, no matter where you are in your writing career.

WritingExcuses

2. Help with my Research

As every writer, I research. A lot. But I don’t always have hours and hours of time to research. So, I searched for a podcast with mythology and classical stories to listen to. This is more for inspiration than anything else, but it helps me take a break, have fun, and educate myself (or even refresh myself) on the mythology out there literature uses to create. It also feels like a reprieve from work, even though it isn’t.

3. Challenge My Inspiration

This is an expansion on #2, but basically, I didn’t just want to be inspired; I also wanted to be challenged. So, in this example, I challenged myself to listen to a podcast on Japanese mythology. Granted, I’ve already had some interest in this field, but it’s more difficult for me to get involved since I don’t have a huge background in it. By listening to it more, especially while contrasting it against western mythology, I can challenge myself to find inspiration in topics I wouldn’t normally find outside of that podcast.

These are three simple ways you can use podcasts to help with your writing.

I hope you have just as much fun as I have!

~SAT

I’m starting a new series called “Author in a Coffee Shop.” If you’re wondering what Author in the Coffee Shop is, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while…you know…I people watch…for inspiration.
Follow me on Twitter via @AuthorSAT next Friday at 7 p.m. CDT for episode 2.

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

In other news…you can now add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November SnowI’m also considering leading up to the July releases with short stories of each character joining the “flocks.” A flock is a group of 12 bad bloods that have come together to survive on the streets. In Bad Bloods, there are four flocks, one for each cardinal direction of the city, but only two flocks are left: The Southern and the Northern Flock. Some stories would purposely be left out, but I have six written. If this is something you’d think you’d be interested in reading, let me know! I would start sharing them at the end of February.

Speaking of February, on February 13, I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas. (More info to come.) I’d love to see you at Bradley Fair!

Also, my awesome publisher is giving away a Kindle Fire right here.

Giveaway-image

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: (You could read it on your brand-new Kindle Fire.)

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#WritingTips Writing The Back Blurb

11 Jan

 Every Monday I take a popular post from the past, and I rewrite it with new information and approaches. Today, we’re talking about the dreaded back blurb. Why do we dread the back blurb? Well, because it can be the making or breaking point for the reader. That little blurb on the back can be the difference between a reader putting your book back on the shelf or taking your book to the counter to buy it. But there’s no reason to fret. There are plenty of ways to tackle this scenario, and today, I’m sharing one method. I’ll be using my latest novels in Bad Bloods as an example, but you can also check out the original post for a totally different way to try this out by clicking here.

1. Start with a 35-Word Synopsis

This is actually a method many use to tackle query letters, but I love this piece of advice. Summarizing your book into 35 words forces you to focus on the essentials. Look at it like writing an elevator pitch. In this case, you have a pretty direct formula: Character + setting + conflict + stakes. Stakes are the most important, and by far, the most forgotten one. Think about what your character has to lose. What happens if they decide not to save the world? Why should we care about those repercussions? While you’re writing this, you might start with a one-page synopsis or other notes. Keep those! They will help in part two. But, for now, read my example below. If you’re feeling discouraged, you might notice that I summed up TWO books in 35 words or less. In fact, those two books equal 136,000 words, and I only used 34 words. It can be done.

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

2. Expand. Be Catchy. Target an Audience. 

See? I told you that you’d need all those notes as you were trying to cut down to 35 words. Now, you get to use those notes again. (But, Shannon, why did you have us cut it down if we were only going to use it anyway? Because…It focused your work.) So, now that you’re focused on the main concepts, you can emphasize main themes. Be sure to focus on the right genre for the right audience. You don’t want to mention love if love is barely in it. You’ll only attract romance readers then, and they won’t be too happy when they realize they’ve been tricked. This means staying true to your work. Don’t try to force yourself into the latest trend. Be honest. Once you do that, you can show those little details that perfect your voice. Example? I’m going to use the expanded version of Bad Bloods, part one, November Rain. Instead of city, I’m going to name that city. I knew I wanted to bring Daniel into the Bad Bloods excerpt, because he literally tells half the book. I also wanted to bring attention to the romance side and emphasize the political part of the story. Do not forget your stakes!

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

3. Edit. Get Opinions. Edit Again.

Okay. So you have a draft, or maybe you even have three drafts. It’s time to run it by a few people. If you can, try to have someone who has read your book read the synopsis to see if they believe that it what you should focus on. Try to have people who’ve never read your book review it. Have them tell you what they think the book is about. Now, edit. And have someone review it again. Edit again. But once you get a great one, stick with it. You can rewrite it a million times. Eventually, you have to choose. Once you have that, you can work on other wonderful marketing tools. Know Cassandra Clare? Well, freakin’ email her and ask her if she’d been willing to give you a review quote. (But, seriously, that would go on the front of the book.) Look at the back covers of your favorite books, find their catch phrases, figure one out for your book, place it somewhere bold. Since I’m not yet at this stage in the Bad Bloods process, I’ll refer to The Timely Death Trilogy instead. The back cover of the first book has a catch phrase (Two destinies. One death.), and it has a direct quote from the story (“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”). Then, the blurb took place. Review quotes were placed beneath it. Your best bet is to look at the back of other books and mimic what you find successful.

Now publish.

~SAT

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

I’m starting a new series called “Author in a Coffee Shop.” Episode 1 happened this past Friday.
If you’re wondering what Author in the Coffee Shop is, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while…you know…I people watch…for inspiration.
Follow me on Twitter via @AuthorSAT next Friday at 7 p.m. CDT for the next episode.

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

I hope to see you this upcoming Friday on Twitter!

In other news… you can now add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November SnowI’m also considering leading up to the July releases with short stories of each character joining the “flocks.” A flock is a group of 12 bad bloods that have come together to survive on the streets. In Bad Bloods, there are four flocks, one for each cardinal direction of the city, but only two flocks are left: The Southern and the Northern Flock. Some stories would purposely be left out, but I have six written. If this is something you’d think you’d be interested in reading, let me know! I would start sharing them at the end of February.

Speaking of February, on February 13, I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas. (More info to come.) I’d love to see you at Bradley Fair!

Also, my awesome publisher is giving away a Kindle Fire right here.

Giveaway-image

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: (You could read it on your brand-new Kindle Fire.)

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Bad Bloods Cover Reveal!

6 Jan

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

Add November Rain, Part One on Goodreads

Then, add November Snow, Part Two on Goodreads

We are here! The covers for both Bad Bloods books can be found below, along with their descriptions. If you want extra information, don’t forget to follow the FacebookPinterest, and the Extras page—and of course, I give sneak peeks every Saturday during my #Saturdate posts. As we get closer and closer, there will be more opportunities to read first and win prizes. Today’s winners will be announced tomorrow on my Facebook page! Three helpers won an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain. Keep reading…and of course,

Let it snow,

~SAT

Special thanks goes out to: Legends of Windermere, OMG Books and More Books, SDAV Reads, My Books- My World, Crazy Beautiful Reads, Book Prints, A Reader’s Review, Jonas Lee: Challenging the Imagination, Little Birdy Book Blog, Macy<3Stories, Mel’s Shelves, The Messy OwlNerd Girl, and Cross Road Reviews.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

NRcoverSeventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

November Snow, Part Two, eBook releases July 25, 2016

NScover(paperback releases that November) 

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle. After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

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I hope you love the covers as much as I do!

2016 is going to be great.

Stay tuned,

~SAT

Also, my awesome publisher is giving away a Kindle Fire right here.

Giveaway-image

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: (You could read it on your brand-new Kindle Fire.)

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#WritingTips Various Stages of Writer’s Block

4 Jan

Intro:

So, as promised, 2016 has brought new changes to http://www.ShannonAThompson.com. I’ll still have guest posts sometimes on Mondays, but it’s mainly going to be reserved for popular past posts. They will either be rewritten or posted as is (depending on if the information has changed or not since then). Example? Today’s text is more or less the same, but the photos/gifs are new.

Today’s post was originally posted on August 12, 2014. The original post can be found here. Right now, I’m picking them with Random.Org, so stick with me while I try to figure out another method. If there is one you loved that you want to see updated, don’t hesitate to ask for it! I’m open to suggestions.

Various Stages of Writer’s Block

Oh, the dreaded writer’s block. The horror of the static pen. The silence of untapped keyboards. The banging of your forehead against the desk.

We’ve all been there—some of us more than others—and that’s why we can all relate to it (and hopefully laugh at it). So I wanted to share the various stages of writer’s insanity.

Stage One: Staring (a.k.a. Denial)

Oh, no. Oh, no. This is not happening. This cannot be happening. I have a deadline. An actual deadline! (Okay. So I set the deadline myself, but still!) I do not have time for this. I NEED to be able to write.

200-6

Stage Two: Pacing (a.k.a. Panic)

Why is this happening?! ::breathes heavily for five minutes:: Okay. I got this. I will get through this. I just need to walk away for a little bit. Okay. Never mind. I need a drink. Drinking is good. Ernest Hemingway used to drink. “Drink write, edit subor?” Why can’t I write drunk? I can’t even spell! Oh, god. I’ll never be good at this.

200-4

If you have not seen Midnight in Paris, shame on you.

Stage Three: Running away (a.k.a. More Panic)

I just need to relax. How do I relax again? Reading! I love reading. I can tackle my TBR pile in no time. ::sits down with book:: Who is this author? Why do they write so…so perfectly? Why can’t I write like this? I’ll never write something this lovely. ::throws book across room:: I can’t read right now. Who am I kidding? I need to step away from the books. I know! I’ll go for a walk, and I’ll look at the stars. The stars are nice. ::goes outside:: It’s cloudy. Great. Of course, it’s cloudy.

If you haven't seen Silver Linings Playbook, double shame on you.

If you haven’t seen Silver Linings Playbook, double shame on you.

Stage Four: Return (a.k.a. Let It Go)

All right. ::sits down at computer:: What the hell is wrong with this manuscript? What is wrong with me? (Two hours pass, nothing changes.) ::finally puts computer away for the night:: I just need a break, a nice dinner, and a good night’s sleep.

200-5

And you expected a gif from Frozen.

Stage Five: Acceptance (a.k.a. Overcoming It!)

::wakes up in the morning after the worst day ever:: I feel rested. Why is my protagonist sitting in my computer chair? ::stands up and crosses the room. Protagonist types with one hand and hands you a coffee with the other as you read over their shoulder:: “Oh! That’s what I did wrong.” I forced everything, but now it’s resolved. Writer’s block, you silly thing.

Time to sit down and write again.

200-7

Cats are the best.

~SAT

The Bad Bloods cover reveal happens THIS Wednesday, January 6. Three lucky helpers will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain, part one, and of course, even more of you will win as additional events take place. Simply sign up for my newsletter by clicking here for your chance to win. (Your information will never be given away, you can unsubscribe at anytime, and I only send out a newsletter once a month at most.)

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: 

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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