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Behind the Scenes of The Timely Death Trilogy

23 Apr

In a few days, it will be the anniversary of the release of Minutes Before Sunset. Because of that, I’ve been thinking about how to celebrate it. That’s when I realized that I never shared the 30-Day Countdown event on here. This countdown was on my Facebook page, and it revolved around the release of Seconds Before Sunrise. I shared photos, excerpts, games, and more. I always meant to share it on here, and that day has finally come. For those who participated in the countdown, don’t worry! I’ve added new information, so you haven’t seen everything yet. (The excerpts will have small explanations in front of them, so beware of spoilers.) On top of that, I’m not including absolutely everything that was shared on my Facebook page. That is to thank those who follow me on Facebook. I share unique information on all of my social media pages, so if you like this, Facebook is a great place to connect with me by clicking here. :D

Personality Quiz:

This is brand-new. I released it on my Facebook page this week. You can find out which Dark character you’re most alike. So far, this is the order in popularity via the results, the first one being the most popular: Jessica, Camille, Pierce, and then Eric. Click the photo or here to take it yourself.

quiz

I found out you had to have a membership to read the descriptions, so click Character Descriptions to read the descriptions without creating a membership.

Excerpt (1):

In this scene, Eric finally confronts the elders about what is happening. Instead of Darthon and Eric battling to the death, the Light wants a war where many more people will die. This chapter begins on page 106 in Seconds Before Sunrise, and it’s told by Eric. The bolded quote is on Goodreads if you want to “like” it.

“A war would improve our chances.”

“Our destined chances?” I argued. “We’re going to win.”

“We can lose.”

“Then, let me lose,” I said, refusing to move.

Among my stillness was a pounding heart.

“It they truly want a war,” I chose my words carefully, “they’ll be willing to meet on equal territory.”

“There’s no such thing, Eric,” Luthicer said. “We’re more powerful here, just as they are in their realm. Either way, one side will have to forfeit safety.”

“We’re talking about war,” I pointed out. “What is safe about that?”

Photo Shoot: 

I used to do a lot of photography when I was younger. This photo was inspired by The Timely Death Trilogy. It was also in celebration of my knife collection. That’s right. I have a knife collection. That is my machete. And, yes, I’m fighting myself, and those pants are from Thailand. Originally, I wanted to wear white and black, but I only own blue and black pants. I forget what they’re called, but they’re one-size fit all. You have to fold them and tie them around your waist. Fun fact, I’m actually wearing the black pants beneath the blue pants when I’m doing this. I couldn’t change on the stage, after all. We were in the middle of Ironwood Park – and, yes, that is the same park I got “Ironwood” from for my original pen name “Ashlee Ironwood” for November Snow.

sword

Fun facts about the elders:

There are ten elders in every generation. At the beginning of Seconds Before Sunrise, only four are left.

Alcohol doesn’t affect an elder’s mind state once they have transformed. This is often how the elders are picked, but – most of time – it runs in the family, so the elders are pretty fixed.

Luthicer is the first half-breed elder. Ever. And he originally worked for the Light as a warrior.

Wordplay:

I love word play, so here are some that happen in The Timely Death Trilogy:

The setting “Hayworth, Kansas” is not a real city but is rather a combination of two factual Kansas towns: Ellsworth and Hayes.

“Shoman” –Eric’s Dark name—is a play on “Show man.” Since he cannot reveal his identity, his name mocks him. Hence why he hates it. Eric’s last name “Welborn” is purposeful irony—“well born.”

Luthicer is a play on Lucifer.

The elder “Eu” is short for Eugene, which literally means “Well born.” (Like Eric’s last name.)

Photoshoot (2)

Below are two photos. The one on the left is the actual office I wrote The Timely Death Trilogy in. And, yes, that is my father circa 2007. The one on the right is the reason I loved that office. We had a forest behind our house. It was the perfect view, especially in the winter, so I thought I would share a picture of me back in the day – just doing the usual, hanging out in camo. Can you see me? I kind of glow.

P.S. This forest plays a HUGE role in my next novel.

forest

Excerpt (2)

The phrase “seconds before sunrise” can be found in the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, but did you know “Death before daylight” can also be found in Seconds Before Sunrise? These moments are the ones that foreshadow what the next novel will be about.  Here’s the excerpt that includes book 3 as a phrase. During this scene, the shades are waiting orders to go into battle. This chapter begins on 257 in Seconds Before Sunrise, and it’s told by Eric:

Everyone was awaiting his orders, and everyone knew we had to obey them the second he spoke them. One man vomited in the corner while another pulled him to his feet. A woman, perhaps his sister or girlfriend, ignored his shameful nausea. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t, but the crowd stared at me.

I was their descendant, and my actions would dictate how long the war lasted. There would be death before daylight, but we didn’t have to wait for daylight to end it. The quicker I killed Darthon, the less of a massacre there would be. But I couldn’t afford to think about my people if I were going to stay focused, and they knew it as much as I despised it.

Photoshoot (3) Shades are everywhere! 

Since I wrote the trilogy in high school, fans of November Snow actually have already finished reading the original trilogy. This means there are people who have known the ending from the beginning—as well as the identity of Darthon. There’s actually a shade in November Snow. Her name is Katie, and she doesn’t know what she is. Here is the excerpt from Katie’s first appearance:

Katie

Music time:

The Timely Death Trilogy has a soundtrack on 8tracks.com, including the XX, Manchester Orchestra, Dido, Enya, First Aid Kit, Sara Bareilles, Florence + The Machine, Linkin Park, Stateless, Dj Tiesto, Tantric, Plump, Vanessa Mae, and Jem. Listen to it by clicking here.

Excerpt: (3)

This chapter starts on page 20, and it’s told by Jessica. During this novel, she doesn’t have a memory, but her memory comes and goes as nightmares. In this scene, she is painting one of her dreams. The bolded quote is on Goodreads if you want to “like” it.

The wind was beneath my feet, and the town was miles below. Lights twinkled through the mist of Hayworth, and purple sparkles clung to the atmosphere, shining against the moon’s dim light. I could barely breathe, but I was alive, and I couldn’t deny the reality of flight. It was too real to be a dream. Only expression through art could subdue my confusion.

My art class was an arrangement of seniors, chatting quietly as I sketched a loop of wires. I’d paint the sparkles across the sky once I began, but I couldn’t continue yet. My depiction of the dream I’d had the night before wasn’t even close. The sketch was too innocent and held no emotion. The dream wasn’t a nightmare, but it remained as if it were worse than the one about the forest. The comfort was peculiarly chilling.

“Nice painting.”

Number One Quote:

destiny

Seconds Before Sunrise Dedication:

To Calone – for showing how the darkness can be brighter than the light.

~SAT

P.S. If you enjoyed this, please take a moment to check out Minutes Before Sunset and/or Seconds Before Sunrise on Amazon. Book 1 is only $3.89 right now, and the ebook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases on June 12th. If you click the photo below, you’ll be sent to Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon. Thank you for your support! 

Amazon

Guest post: What if I Can’t Write What I Know? by Susannah Ailene Martin

21 Apr

Shannon, here, with two announcements and an introduction before the lovely Susannah Ailene Martin takes over.

Return Novel reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, stating, “Who will stay up after dark? Readers who value solid character development and realistic motivations in their supernatural romance series.” Read the full thing here or check out the novel by clicking here.

If you want to see what readers think of the sequel, you’re in luck. Endless Reading reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of the The Timely Death Trilogy this week. She stated, “Thompson did an awesome job of creating scenes that left the reader breathless and heart pounding as though they were at the forefront and head of battle.” Click here to read the entire review or click here to go to Amazon.

Susannah Ailene Martin is writing for ShannonAThompson.com today, and her post is below, but here is an excerpt from her “About Me” page, so you can get to know this writer a little bit first: “I am mostly interested in creating fiction novels in the long run, but you will more than likely not see any fiction in this blog. My writing covers a wide range of genres, but usually I stick to Sci-fi and fantasy. I’m a big fan of “fractured fairy tales” and Greek Mythology.”

Now, for Susannah Ailene Martin. Check out her website by clicking here

sus

What if I Can’t Write What I Know? by Susannah Ailene Martin

One of the most often repeated pieces of advice for writers is, “Write what you know.” Okay, that’s great… if I’m writing about a white, middle class, homeschooled girl who’s never had a boyfriend. The problem with writing what you know is that, unless you’re writing your own autobiography, it’s not always possible. In fact, most of the time, it’s not possible. The path of the writer, especially the fiction writer, is to write what you don’t know.

So how do you do that? Here are four tips to help you write what you don’t know.

1. Read.

What if you’ve never been to the African Savannah, but you want to write a book on the life of meerkats? No problem. The first thing you’re going to have to do is hit the books. Read a book that tells you all about meerkats, and then read five more. This tip also pertains to writing in different genres. If you’ve never read a fantasy book, you’re going to have a hard time writing one. For the writer, reading is not only fun; it can be helpful for you as well. Through reading, you can immerse yourself in a whole different world. That way, you can learn to write about something that you have never experienced.

By the way, this tip isn’t exclusive to books. Looking on the internet for articles on subjects for your writing is a good idea too.

2. Watch.

Some people are more visual than others. If you’re one of those people, you have to see it before you can write it. We can’t go back in time and watch a battle during World War II (and most of us wouldn’t want to), but we can watch a movie or documentary that shows what happened during one of those battles. When I was writing my first book, I needed to write a kissing scene between two characters and I don’t have much experience (I’m homeschooled. Shut up). To remedy this, I went to YouTube and searched for kissing scenes.

This advice doesn’t just apply to watching movies and videos. One of the greatest tools in the writer’s tool box is people watching. Yes, it can get a little uncomfortable, and doing this might cause people to stare at you, but sometimes there’s no better option than going to the mall and watching people from the food court. Just don’t follow anyone around. That’s creepy.

3. Do.

Obviously, there are things you just can’t do, but in some cases, when you need to write a certain scene, going out and doing the thing in the scene can help you get a feel for what it’s like. If you’re writing a scene where your characters are in the woods, go camping. If your characters are trying to hail a cab in New York City, go do it. Admittedly, this tip can be a bit cost prohibitive.

You don’t necessarily need to do exactly the thing you’re writing about. Going back to my previous example of a battle in World War II, if you go out and play paint ball or laser tag, you can start to understand what it might feel like to be fighting in close quarters.

4. Ask

If you’ve never been skydiving, but you’ve have a friend who has, ask them about it. Don’t be afraid to dig in deep. Remember that whenever you ask someone about their experience, you want to try and make sure that the experience is recent. After a while, people tend to forget important little details, and that could get you in trouble with readers who are experienced in what you’re writing about.

Those are my four tips for writing what you don’t know. Whenever you’re using these tips, remember to keep a notebook and writing utensil handy. Doing these things won’t be very helpful if you forget what you’ve learned.

What about you? Do you have any tips of your own for writing what you don’t know?

Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

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

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

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

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

Back to the topic.

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

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

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

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

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

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

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

theboys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

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

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

 

Writing Tips: Dealing with Controversy

17 Apr

I live in Kansas City, and right now, if you watch the news, I’m sure you’ve heard of the recent tragedies that have happened here. I drive on the highways where the “Highway Shooter” is every day, and I live less than one mile away from the Jewish Community Center where three people died. In fact, I heard the sirens from my living room when it happened, and one of the victims went to Blue Valley High School, the same school I graduated from in 2009. But this isn’t about me. It’s about the effect it has on the Kansas City community.

I am reminded of how quickly a community can change, how the feeling of safety is a fleeting comfort, and how important it is to come together during this time. But I wanted to discuss an aspect of a writer’s life that these instances reminded me of that I’m sure many writers struggle with:

When we’re writing about sensitive issues, and they occur in real life – and occasionally, right down the street – we question ourselves.

I went through this when I wrote “Sean’s Bullet.” My military fiction story that was published in 2013: A Stellar Collection is fiction, but it deals with real-life issues, including friendly fire and PTSD. My recently published YA novel, Seconds Before Sunrise, deals with underage drinking and reckless driving. During this past week, I am going through some of the same thoughts I had when I was writing these stories.

Am I being true to the story? Am I not being sensitive to the victims? Am I portraying this respectfully and honestly? Am I over-thinking this? 

These thoughts run rampant through an author’s mind when they are facing a story with controversial events, but the answers are harder to find when the events are right outside your window.

My current manuscript – which I have yet to reveal – has a few instances where guns are used. Being a Kansas City resident during a time where we’ve had recent shootings and murders, creates a sensitivity to these things. I am a fantasy writer, but things that happen in fantasy can still happen in reality, and when that happens, it causes this pause – this hesitation that seemingly stops everything. For me, this pause is caused by guilt.

I feel guilty for having scenes that have affected real people. I want to find another way to entertain people in my stories. I break away from my story and question whether it’s right or not. But, eventually, I have to accept the fact that my story is fiction, that my scenes with violence or pain are not creating what occasionally happens in reality – near or far – and that I am doing my best to be a respectable artist.

So what can writers do when they face this issue?

I can’t tell every writer how to approach this. There is actually a lot of debate as to how to handle many controversial subjects in fiction, but I am not going to talk about what I consider appropriate because that’s my opinion. Instead, I’m giving advice.

1. Step away from your manuscript – when there’s an event that shifts your emotions about a piece, take a day and forget it. Then, return and think about it carefully. Is this event directly related to your work or is it just similar?

2. Cope with your emotions – This can include many types of coping. For instance, you can cope with a real-life event and then cope with an event in your fiction. You might realize they aren’t similar at all, and your thoughts will help you realize if your opinions have changed (or even if your characters’ opinions have shifted.)

3. Consider the actual event carefully – what makes it controversial? Who is affected by it? Have you personally dealt with it? Have you researched those who are affected by it?

4. Be willing to change but also be willing to keep it the same – sometimes bad things happen. Just because it’s in fiction doesn’t mean that it is directly related to something real. But if your opinions change, you might have to find a new way to go about a scene, and both are perfectly okay.

These things are very difficult to discuss. Even writing this blog post was challenging because these moments are very emotional, and we all react in our own way, but – in the end – we want to be respectful while pursuing our art in a passionate way. Every experience in our lives results in a lesson, good or bad, and it creates who we are. Personally, I have used my mother’s death as inspiration. Does that make me a bad person? No. It allowed me to cope in a creative way. That is me. I shouldn’t feel ashamed of it. But – at the same time – I strive to use that experience in a respectful manner. That’s all I can do.

I can either hide behind my guilt or I can embrace my emotions and pursue my art.

There are limits, but they are self-imposed, and every artist must decide what is appropriate for them and their audience. It is a responsibility of an artist, and it is one to be considered carefully.

I discussed this today with a heavy heart, but I wanted to open a safe place to talk about this, because I know many artists who struggle with the same emotions. If you’ve had an instance where you have dealt with this, feel free to discuss below.

~SAT

A Reading of “Regretful Memories”

13 Apr

Coffee, Books, and Art by Sarit Yahalomi reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, and Sarit also posted the review for Minutes Before Sunset right below it, so you can read both. Find out why she said, “Again it was a page turner and full of action, and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached to it’s end.” Click here to read her reviews, and click here to go to Amazon.

covers

As many of you know, I recently started my YouTube Channel – Coffee & Cats - and I was supposed to upload a video of myself as I interviewed for The Lurking Voice. But Weebo, my computer, threw a hissy fit, and I lost the video. But you can listen to the podcast by clicking here, so there’s no need for a tiny violin of sadness to start playing.

I’m sure many of you can relate to the horrible frustration of losing an entire document or hour-long video you’ve edited for another hour. It isn’t pleasant, and the hardest part is to accept it and let it go (unlike the time I spent an entire day taking it back and forth between Apple stores only to be told nothing could be done…blood pressure is rising.) So, I’ve learned to move forward when I lose work I’ve started, including novels, but I have been waiting for another opportunity to record another video. Well, I got it.

‘Regretful Memories’ was a poem of mine that was recently published, and I shared it during my last blog post. I hope you all enjoyed reading it because today I am reading it to you. (Special thanks to Zach Hitt, Anthony Stevens, Steven SanchezRaymond Vogel, Jennifer Coissiere, and Angie Neto for their encouragement on my Facebook Author page.) I promise the reading isn’t boring. In fact, I’m surprised I didn’t hurt myself while performing it. I even committed a poetry sin.

Join me on FB, and your name might pop up next!

Join me on FB, and your name might pop up next!

Are you enticed yet? Because I am. 

Watch it below, click this link to watch it on YouTube, and/or click here to read along as I perform my debut reading. You know how social media works. Please like, share, and comment. Wink. Wink.

Hope you enjoyed the reading!

Remember, if you subscribe to my YouTube Channel, you get to watch the videos one day early.

Much love,

~SAT

My Poem is Published

11 Apr

In case you didn’t see the update during my last blog post, my first podcast interview was posted. Click on The Lurking Voice to listen to it. The author, Ryan Attard, described it as, “Now, I’m not gonna spoil anything, but Shannon is one of those pure artistic souls with a dark side (Darth Shannon) and we talked about everything. And I mean everything.” I like Darth Shannon. I had a fantastic time, so I would love for you to have a laugh with us as you listen to it.

Next, PRLog sent out a new press release for Seconds Before Sunrise, so check it out by clicking here. It’s titled “Award-Winning Paranormal Fiction Author Publishes Second Book In The Timely Death Trilogy.” I found it all pretty exciting to see, because I have never had a press release until Seconds Before Sunrise came out, and I got two :D

And I also want to take a moment to thank Sandra Danby for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Check out her award-winning blog of fiction, short stories, and everything on writing and reading.

It began after I wrote this blog post: Photography and Writing.

I had begun to miss photography again, so I joined Instagram to simply admire photographs from my cell phone. That’s when I began to follow Sofie Sund Photography. After admiring her stellar self-portraits, lined with hauntingly true quotes, she announced to her 193,000 followers that she had founded a magazine with four other artists. She also mentioned that submissions were open to photographers, drawers, and poets.

Naturally, I submitted. (Because, like my father always says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” – he generally refers this when speaking about the lottery. I, on the other hand, like to apply this to publishing by changing it to, “You can’t get published if you don’t submit.” So, yes, I submitted. 

Over time, I continued to follow them. I “liked” their Facebook page, and enjoyed their news when they announced that they had won two awards - best logo and best booth – for their sales’ team. I subscribed to their website, and I continued to watch from afar, eager to see who they would include in the first edition of their magazine.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

It was March 3 when I heard from them. At four in the morning, I can admit that I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was awake, taking pictures of the sunrise, and I received an email. LALUNA staff was congratulating me on my acceptance. One of my poems will be in their first issue. I couldn’t believe it because I truly admire the work of these young artists. While they are based out of Norway, I find the distance a beautiful and telling tale – we can be connected oceans apart. In fact, AEC Stellar Publishing has an author in Malta. Let’s just take a moment and really let that sink in. We live in a world where we can be published across the world.

It’s amazing.

I also believe that LALUNA Magazine stands for everything I believe in: a magazine dedicated to inspiring the youth.

My dream is to inspire young people to follow their dreams, so I could not be happier to be a part of this encouraging project.

Thank you to LALUNA Staff. 

In case you’re curious about my poem that is now published, it is titled “Regretful Memories.” It’s a standalone poem that has sat in my desk drawer for some time but has now found its time to be released. I wrote it during college, and I might do a reading on my YouTube channel so you can hear it, but you can buy the ebook of the magazine here or even check out a preview here. I’ve also added a new page to my website for it, which you can visit by clicking here, and it has been added to my page that lists my publications. I’ve now been published six times, adding up to 1,211 pages, and every time it happens, my writing heart is filled with more encouragement, excitement, and endless love. 

As always, I thank you for your timeless support and your daily words of kindness that continue to guide me down this passionate life path. To you – my reader – I am most grateful. 

~SAT

Poem

Poem

 

How Desk Trinkets Can Inspire You

7 Apr

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

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

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

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

My Tiger’s Eye Statue and Stone:

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

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Willow Tree Statues:

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

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Maneki Neko

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

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

~SAT

How to Create a YouTube Channel and Video for Free

5 Apr

 First, I want to thank this beautiful couple for sending me this photo of them reading The Timely Death Trilogy together. They even posed as Jessica on the cover of Minutes Before Sunset and Eric on the cover of Seconds Before Sunrise. If you have a photo with any of my novels, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. It makes my day! (Even if it’s on your Kindle!) I will share it, your review, and your website if you would like.

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Seconds, The Examiner released 3-minutes book reviews: ‘Seconds Before Sunrise’ explores ‘chaos within destiny’. Lionel Green is a wordsmith, and his review reads beautifully, stating, “Thompson explores the humanity of Eric and Jessica so thoroughly in ‘Seconds Before Sunrise’ that the reader forgets the two teens are actually powerful supernatural beings. Thompson also understands no matter how inevitable destinies, fates and prophecies are, when love is introduced into the equation, chaos often ensues.” Read the entire review here. Spoiler alert.

Michael Noll at Read to Write Stories also released the interview I did with him. If you read his, “How to Write A Love Story” this is a wonderful extension. You can see why I chose Kansas as a setting as well as my advice for networking by clicking here.

I was actually going to post something else today, but I received so many emails from my fellow authors about my YouTube channel that I decided this was the most important topic I could possibly post about. I am here to help, after all, and I love it when I receive questions and suggestions for my blog because this blog is here to help and connect with you!

So, I am going to explain how I created my YouTube channel as well as the video I made. Granted, I am brand new at this, and I still have a lot that I want to improve on, but I can hopefully share some shortcuts, so you don’t have to spend as many hours researching as I did. I will explain iMovie, Photobooth, Pixlr, and many other aspects like creating an outro.

Step One: Creating the YouTube Channel 

I have a Google+, so all I had to do was log on that way and go to YouTube. After that, I went to the top, clicked on my name, and then My Channel. This post is where I started: Channel Art – YouTube: However, don’t download the template. It doesn’t fit. It is designed for T.V. viewing. I would suggest designing your YouTube channel art to fit for YouTube because it will adjust for everything else. Many artists suggest using Gimp, but that requires a download, so I used Pixlr Editor, which is completely free, and it doesn’t requite a download. You can use it to start off as a template, upload a photo, and then click “Edit, free transform” to size whatever picture to the size you need. During design, by aware of your thumbnail and the space on the right where your links will be. Most templates do not mention this, and it can cause you to take up more time because you’ll have to adjust it. As you can see, mine is designed so that you can see my face and links without anything getting blocked out too much. (I am planning on changing it.) Add your links via your Dashboard, because YouTube no longer allows videos to link to any websites outside of YouTube, so this will come in handy during your outro later on, and you cannot change your overall background. That’s no longer allowed in the 2014 version.

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Step Two: Creating Your Video 

I did not go out and buy a camera, although I am planning to. I just cannot afford that right now, and I think many can relate to that. So I used Photo Booth via my MacBook Pro. With the right lighting, this works. It isn’t perfect, of course, but it works if you’re on a small budget like I am. Record many versions of your video. Trust me: you want many recordings to work with later during editing.While shooting your movie, I am going to suggest that you include long pauses between sentences or topics, because this will help you when you’re editing. Be sure not to move your camera unless necessary because this will also help. I moved the movies to iMovie, which is also already on my MacBook Pro. I am a bit technologically confused, so I used How to Import Videos from Photo Booth to iMovie to do this. Then, I used How do I edit a video in iMovie to understand the basics. From there, I also knew I wanted a censor for my cursing, so I used this: iMovie censor effect. Once I was done with that, I knew I wanted an outro – like an intro but for the ending of your video. If you watch YouTube videos, then you know what this is. It’s that little box that shows previous films as well as links to other videos. To create this, I used How to Make an Outro. As you know, YouTube no longer allows you to link away from YouTube, so you’re going to be linking back to your channel, which is why you NEED those links to be on your home page. To add annotations I used the same video, How to Make an Outro, because he includes this at the end. Again, he uses GIMP, but you can create your own outro (instead of using a template) with Pixlr Editor.

My outro - without the previous video

My outro – without the previous video

Step Three: Upload Your Video and Share It

Believe it or not, this gets pretty complicated, because the visibility, sound, and everything else can get out of sync with YouTube requirements, so I used this: iMovie to YouTube Tutorial. I also used How to export in iMovie ’11 for uploading to YouTube, because it can matter what version you have, especially since YouTube changes their requirements a lot. Personally, I uploaded it as “Private” so I could add the annotations, and then I released it through “public” later. Be sure to add those SEO terms to your video as well as your channel, and connect it with your other sites, like Google+. This will help.

Now you have your video online. 

I know this was fast and a lot of information, but I hope it’s at least a starting place for your videos and channel.

In other news, thank you for your continuous support. As I said on my Facebook author page the other day, I’ve been struggling a lot due to my release. I have explained this before in One of my “Lows” as an Author. Although releases are always positive and uplifting, they take a tremendous amount of energy out of me, and it’s difficult for me to bounce back. But all of your love and encouragement has been helping me so much! I wish I could express my gratitude through this blog post but I could write about it forever. Instead, I just want to say that I love you all so much, and I am sending each and every one of you a hug through the internet today. Thank you.

~SAT

Amazon

 

Author Confessions on my YouTube Channel

3 Apr

ShannonAThompson.com hit 15,000 followers! Thank you for continuing to support my writing dream. You are the reason I can share my stories with the world. You are the reason I have met so many wonderful readers, writers, and dreamers. You are the reason because you are the dream. From my dreaming soul, thank you. 

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Ever wanted to write a love story? Have you written a love story but want to see how other writers have done it? I’m really hoping you answered “yes” to one of those questions, because you’re in luck! Read to Write Stories is a fantastic website that literally explains how to read to write stories. Michael Noll reads a story and then creates a prompt in order to write a story. Recently, Read to Write Stories wrote  “How to Write a Love Story” with examples from Seconds Before Sunrise.

If you’re interested in reading a review of Seconds Before Sunrise, The Bookie Monster released their thoughts, stating, “I’ve found that the success of trilogies seems to be contingent on how well the second book is received.  If the second book is a disaster, readers don’t want to waste their time waiting and reading the third book.  If the second book is a success, readers will stand in line to wait for the third book.  I think that this trilogy definitely falls into the latter category.  Bravo Ms. Thompson!  You are on your way to having a very successful trilogy on your hands!” Read the entire review by clicking here.

I told you. I did it. I have a YouTube channel, which I have recently named “Coffee and Cats” - and I posted my first video. I have more waiting to be uploaded, too, so I am excited to venture out into the YouTube world. This will be my only video with an intro. If you subscribe, you will actually get to see my videos one day early. That’s my little gift to those who click the big red “subscribe” button. (You might also get dibs on being a guest. Hint. Hint.)

Today, we’re talking about Author Confessions – those little (and sometimes embarrassing) secrets authors have. So, get behind the scenes, check it out, and tell me your secrets in the comments below here or there. Mine might just involve weird hats and frogs…Okay. So they involve weird hats and frogs. I’m not sure how else I can tempt you. Temptation has been activated.

I am working hard to be able to afford a better camera, so any donations would be greatly appreciated. I am also planning on using my camera for helping authors and readers online, but that news will have to come out later :D I hope you enjoyed my first video. This is just the beginning of another, exciting journey.

~SAT

Donate to ShannonAThompson.com

Donate to ShannonAThompson.com

Website Wonders

1 Apr

Welcome to April! Before I share those websites for writers, readers, and dreamers that I have collected in the last two months, I have two wonderful bits of new to share with you all.

Tranquil Dreams reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, but they also reviewed The City of Worms by Roy Huff, so you can check out two novels at once. “This novel sets the stage for the battle of Light and Dark and honestly, for the first time in my life, I’m behind the Dark.  I look forward to reading the next one a lot.” Find out why Tranquil Dreams said, “I totally recommend this one!” by clicking here

After checking that out, swing by my latest interview by clicking here. Mental Cheesecake asked me if I would prefer the powers of the Light or the Dark, what inspired the covers of The Timely Death Trilogy, and if I like Jace or Simon more in The Mortal Instruments.

Now – the website wonders: 

I wasn’t able to do this in February, so I’m including both February’s and March’s here. Below, the websites are organized by categories, including Great Reads, Business Help for Writers, Art Related to Books, Book-to-Movie Trailers, and Inspiration. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Great Reads:

14 year-old’s clever poem knocks Twitter backwards: I love this. Not only is it a great poem, but it’s relevant to today’s culture. It also shows off the great abilities of this young poet.

This Comic About Love Will Touch Your Heart: I thought this comic was a cute read. It sparked some debate among readers due to the subject matter of a breakup and a new relationship, but I think – if read for simple entertainment (which is what I think it was designed for) – it’s cute, sweet, and fun.

40 Freaking Creepy Ass Two Sentence Stories: I love horror. (American Horror Story is practically the only show I watch.) And these short stories gave me chills! You’ve been warned.

Business Help for Writers:

Amazon’s history should teach us to beware ‘friendly’ internet giants: As much as I love Amazon, I am afraid of any company gaining from a monopolized market. This article deals with the warnings of how this might be a future possibility and how we can prevent it.

8 Ways to be a Better Facebook Page Admin: This is great advice for anyone struggling with their business Facebook page. I used it, and my Facebook Page has been my number two referrer to my website (after search engines) for two months in a row.

A Facebook Change Authors Need to Know About: Again, this article is amazing. It will help enhance your views on your Facebook page.

Inside Amtrak’s (Absolutely Awesome) Plan to Give Free Rides to Writers: Amtrak called for writers to submit to this program, and I turned in my application a few days ago! It would be an unbelievable dream come true for them to pick me, but I hope the writers they pick enjoy it for all of us! I can’t wait to read what others write, even if I’m not chosen to travel in their program.

 Nine Writers And Publicists Tell All About Readings And Book Tours: I loved this because it shows the realities of what goes on behind the scenes, even for the most popular writers. A few years ago, I think it would be taboo for authors to share their true emotions about their dream profession, but it’s nice to see the acceptability of speaking truthfully about an author’s life.

Wait. A first person narrative isn’t serious???: By Nathan Bransford, I actually wrote a response to this article on my blog called It’s All About Perspective…Or Is It?. I loved what Bransford had to say about this narrative style because he proves how serious it can be, and I think it ultimately shows how much the industry is changing.

Art Related to Books:

Design Stack: Paper Jewelry: I thought these were beautiful, and they also made me wonder what my novel would be carved into. I would like to believe a tree necklace or a yin-yang symbol.

23 Epic Literary Love Tattoos: One of my favorite poems is in this collection of literary tattoos. I don’t have any tattoos, but I like looking at them. I find them to be quite inspirational.

Mind-Blowing LEGO Recreation of LOTR’s Helm’s Deep Battle: I grew up with LEGOS. I was crazy about LEGOS. My brother was worse than me. It wasn’t rare for one of my parents to step on our array of LEGOS. (We even had a LEGO camera) So I loved this LEGO town designed around Lord of the Rings.

Book-to-Movie Trailers:

The Giver Trailer: Meryl Streep Vs. Taylor Swift: I was so looking forward to The Giver movie adaptation (which I mentioned in my blog post 2014 Books to Movies, but this doesn’t even look close. Not even a little bit. Flying space ships? Oh, the nervous feelings I have. My heart might break for one of my favorite novels this August.

The Maze Runner (Official Trailer): Unlike The Giver, I am looking forward to this adaptation now that I’ve seen the trailer. It looks awesome.

Inspiration:

25 Romantic Words That Don’t Exist in English But Should: I find untranslatable words to be beautifully mysterious – like the gorgeous stranger you wish you had talked to that one night. (There’s probably a word in this list for that.)

24 Most Terrifying and Haunted Places You’d Never Want To Be In: Like I said, I’m a horror fan. This sort of stuff gets my heart going, and my heart gets my inspiration going.

Mugshots of Poets: I found this to be inspirational because it shows – again – the realities of some of the most famous writers of all time. Jack Kerouac is definitely in this list. (He’s one of my favorite authors of all time.)

Children Read To Shelter Cats To Soothe Them: I love cats. I love reading. This was amazing.

Again, I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did! I apologize for not sharing them in February, too, but I will share more. I always share these on my author Facebook page, so join me there. I can’t wait until my next blog post! I have exciting news coming. April is going to be an adventure.

~SAT

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