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Website Wonders

29 Aug

 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 August’s Website Wonders categorized into Reading, Writing/Authors, and Cats!

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

Need a Romance Novel? Grow Up! Meg Cabot tweeted this article, and it’s brilliant. The author talks about not judging an entire genre of writers and readers based on the few you might have encountered.

5 Hours of Edgar Allan Poe Stories Read by Vincent Price & Basil Rathbone: You know, because we love Poe.

51 Best Fantasy Series Ever Written: Which one was your favorite?

53 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down: They started with one of my all-time favorites!

10527427_10154404338120296_6551822752625930276_nWriter/Authors:

Writing Space Home Design: These are absolutely wicked.

14 Literary Classics You Didn’t Know Could Help You Become a Better Entrepreneur: I put this in the author section since many authors very much run their own business.

Stunning Free Stock Photos: Sent to me by the writer of the article, you can find some awesome photos to use for ads and book covers!

Cats:

21 Unrealistic Expectations We Have of Cats Because of Sailor Moon: This is real life.

Why Do Cats Purr? Sent to me by a follower. (Please! Send me articles you love! I revel in them.) Find out a superpower cats might have in this article.

See you next month!

~SAT

My latest

My latest

After waiting for Death Before Daylight since it was supposed to release last January, I FINALLY received my paperback copy in the mail. I held all three books of The Timely Death Trilogy in my hands. I’ll probably post an article about this in the near future, but until then, Minutes Before Sunset is still free. The sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, is also available, and the last novel, Death Before Daylight, releases September 15! September 15! Sign up for my newsletter for a chance to help out with the release day and win all kinds of prizes. The Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour is also coming up. Keep your eyes open! Other than that, I’ll see you soon.

Stay Dark and Lovely,

~SAT

 

#MondayBlogs Writing About Real and Imaginary Locations

24 Aug

Intro:

I’m passionate about many things, but writing and traveling top my list, and I find myself combining them all the time. Need a location for a story? Hey, that place I saw last summer would be perfect. Need something more exotic ? Maybe something surreal? Combining and creating comes into play. Today, our guest blogger, Natacha Guyot, is talking about just that.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

#MondayBlogs: Writing About Real and Imaginary Locations

I have loved imagining worlds and stories since I was a kid. I think I was a storyteller even before knowing how to write. From a young age, my passions have been Science Fiction and Fantasy. These remain my favorite genres to read and write. Even my nonfiction projects often focus on these genres.

I wrote my first novella and novel when a teenager. Even during my ten year break from original fiction, I still took notes about new universes. I love world building although my stories most often start with one or more characters when I only have a vague idea of the settings.

I still write about imaginary locations but end of 2014, a shift happened. I started writing a short story collection, which will be the first of a series. It is a Supernatural / Urban Fantasy universe. Most of the events take place in the UK. While all locations in the stories exist, I decided to focus a lot of my characters’ lives in the London area and Oxford. In 2008-2009, I lived in London and it has been my favorite city since then. As for Oxford, I visited it in 2012 for two conferences and fell in love with the place too.

I make sure to look up for some details (without getting lost in them) even for real locations I am familiar with. One of the funniest things about the scenes in London was using Google Maps to check on some streets and places. One character lives near where I used to and I was shocked finding out that my student residence had closed!

Mansfield College in Oxford, where I went to in 2012 for 2 conferences. It inspired my Fae character Dylan's estate in Clairvoyance Chronicles

Mansfield College in Oxford, where I went to in 2012 for 2 conferences. It inspired my Fae character Dylan’s estate in Clairvoyance Chronicles

This experience made me want to write more stories in places I love, regardless of how many Science Fiction and Fantasy universes I’ll keep creating! My home town still has a special place in my heart, so I decided to write a series about vampires taking place there! I am only at the note taking stage now but am excited about “Vampiric Versailles” (very tentative title). I studied in Paris but I am not a big fan of it. I have always preferred Versailles and its direct area. Most tourists come for the palace, but I like its gardens better. I hope to include lesser known parts in my story.

If it wasn’t enough, I am currently developing the early outlines for a YA Fantasy trilogy which will take place in Perigord, where I spent most of my holidays when in high school and a few more years afterwards. I will create imaginary castles that are related to families in my story, but I am looking forward to blend made-up and real places.

What about you? Do you prefer writing imaginary or real places? Do you include a mix of both?

Bio:

Natacha Guyot is a French author, scholar and public speaker. She works on Science Fiction, Transmedia, Gender Studies, Children Media and Fan Studies. She is a feminist, a fangirl, a bookworm, a vidder, a gamer and a cat lover.

Her released titles include Feminist Bloggers: The 2014 Collection (editor), Before Mako Came Yoko: Comparative Study of Pacific Rim and Yoko Tsuno and La Cité de Sharianth. She is currently working on a revised version of A Galaxy of Possibilities: Representation and Storytelling in Star Wars with additional content and other nonfiction titles

She also writes Science Fiction and Fantasy stories.

Connect with her on natachaguyot.org, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

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

~SAT

#SATurday Confessions of a Slow Writer

22 Aug

I’m a slow writer. There. I said it. I’m a slow writer. (Just for extra measure.)

You see, I used to think I was a fast writer. “I can write a manuscript in four months,” “I wrote that novella in a few days,” “That short story took me an hour.”

Okay. So, I’ve never actually said the last two, but they sound similar to the first one…which I have said. And it isn’t a complete lie. My average speed for writing a manuscript is three months. Ish. But, what I don’t say, what I can’t deny to myself, is that manuscript is not truly written at all. It’s not even close to written. It’s a jargled mess of incomprehensible crap. (And I’m being nice when I say that.)

bogslow

My first drafts might take me four months, but that’s exactly what they are: first drafts. I almost ALWAYS rewrite my novels two or three times. There’s one in particular I’ve been rewriting since I was 19, but something is just not quite right, so it’s rewrite after rewrite, year after year. And I’m okay with that. Some might say I should abandon it, move on, or simply just turn it in as is, but you know what? That’s just not me. And I like being me, ten rewrites and all.

I’ve learned to accept I go through many phases during a novel-writing episode. It normally starts with a night terror, moves into an out-of-order screenplay, then an in-order screenplay, then a first draft, then a second draft, then a third and fourth draft, and then it’s done!

That, for me, is when my novel is born. Finally. And more often than not, a few years pass between the initial idea and the collection of words sent off to my editor. And I’m okay with that. I am. But don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t always okay with that.

There is a lot of pressure in the industry to be a “fast” writer, to release a new novel every four months, to use less curse words, to have more sex, to avoid clichés, or add romance. There is pressure everywhere—sometimes conflicting pressure—but I think it’s more important to not break under that pressure.

Stand your ground. Be yourself. Write slowly.

~SAT

Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in 3 days! 3! You can pre-order at the usual book-loving places, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. If you haven’t had the time to check out the first book, get Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, while it’s FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and spread the Dark to your friends by sharing the opportunity around. ::wink wink::

As a thank you, Clean Teen Publishing still has giveaways going on, including this Goodreads Giveaway for Seconds Before Sunrise, and the CTP Find Your Next Read Facebook Party on August 28. I – along with five other authors – will be giving away all kinds of goodies. I hope to see you there!

Stay Dark and Enjoy This Teaser,

~SAT

teaser4

#WW The Emotions of Listing A Book For Free

19 Aug

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert in this. In fact, I’ve never put up my book for free before. This is all new to me! (How exciting.) But, yes, the first novel in The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now up for free. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, did this to celebrate the upcoming release of the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, which releases August 25.

Whew. What a summary of events.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I felt like I failed. Like I failed my publisher, my readers, and myself. I’m not even sure why I felt this way, but if I could think about you in relation to my books, I thought, “Well, that’s it. My book didn’t sell, so my publisher dropped it to the big ol’ ZERO. I failed.” Cue my tiny and sad violin.

emotions

Emotions. So many emotions.

This was my initial reaction anyway. And it was a silly reaction. In fact, my publisher didn’t make Minutes Before Sunset free because it wasn’t selling. It was selling. Still is. They simply made it free to celebrate. That is it. My own crazy thoughts were just my own crazy thoughts, and I think it’s important, as an artist, to keep those emotional thoughts at bay until you have time to see what actually happens. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m only two days into this free-promo, and I’m loving it!

Within twelve hours, Minutes Before Sunset hit the bestseller category for young adult science fiction, and within 24 hours, Minutes Before Sunset became #5 in Science Fiction. #5! We also hit #7 in Paranormal/Urban Fiction and the top 500 Kindle books overall. It even appeared in the article The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books On Amazon, and the downloads kept coming in as more and more readers shared, liked, and commented on my one Facebook post about it.

5&7

I was dumbfounded.

Here I was, thinking I was devalued, when—in reality—it connected me with additional readers who may not have found me otherwise. Lesson learned? I was too concentrated on MY value and not on the READERS’ value. I can admit that, can’t I? I’m only human, after all. A silly writer human (who really loves cats), and now, this silly cat-loving writer-human definitely suggests running a free-promo. You’ll never know how it’ll make you feel unless you try.

On a fun side note, someone attempted to hack my Instagram this week. I regained access, so expect more cat and coffee adventure pics soon. I also had the utmost pleasure of participating in fight research for a novel. I might write a post about that soon, but the trainer gave me a wooden spoon for a weapon. It was awesome.

#DontMessWithTheSpoon

~SAT

Now for FIVE giveaway announcements for hitting #5 in science fiction! 

Book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now free everywhere! Here are the links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I hope you check it out before the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in less than a week. (Less than a week!) On that note, you can pre-order the sequel here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The last installment releases September 15. (So almost no wait time. Yay!)

memoryjar

Jessica’s memory jar! I’m giving two away.

If you love Goodreads Giveaways, here is the link for winning a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise, but don’t let that make you forget that you can win another Seconds Before Sunrise paperback (as well as many other paperbacks and prizes) during the CTP Find Your Next Read FB Party on August 28. The little jar on the right is a sneak peek of what you can win. It’s called a “memory jar,” but you have to read Minutes Before Sunset to know why Jessica needs one!

I’m not done either. (Told you there was a lot of giveaways going on.) You can still sign up to support the release day of Seconds Before Sunrise on August 25 to win a signed bookmark and a swag pack from me! Simply join the campaign and shoot me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com, letting me know you’ve joined. By following my newsletter, you’ll receive monthly opportunities like this.  

Last but definitely not least, the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card, a bookmark swag pack, and a CTP eBook of your choice. Here are the latest places you can enter: If You Could Be Any of Your Characters (guest post on Black Words-White Pages), spotlight on Girls With Books, and a spotlight on The Bookie Monster.

I hope you win some prizes during this celebration! 

Stay Dark and Lovely,

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: Learning SEO: 5 Reasons It’s Now a Must for Freelance Online Writers

17 Aug

Intro:

SEO Terms. That single two-word combination probably put knots in someone’s stomach. It’s a necessary evil, a vital tool to use for surviving the Internet game, and today’s guest blogger, Eve Haugen, is here to explain why. She also helps you improve your footing in the SEO-crazy world.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Learning SEO: 5 Reasons It’s Now a Must for Freelance Online Writers

In the web world where thousands of sites are coming up in a rush, the competition is also getting hotter each day. The role played by SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in beating the competing rivals is undeniable. Also, there are no shortages of quality article writers around the globe. So what differentiates a specialist from the ordinary? It’s a question that every online writer should ask himself. Now simply writing good articles will not bring in work, but the knowledge of SEO oriented writing is bound to bring in more work. The 5 reasons that will give the freelance online writers the edge over their competitors are:

  • Only those writers that have a good knowledge about keywords will get an added advantage over the others. Finding the right keywords and their proper utilization in the article will give a clear edge to the website. Right keywords can honestly give the required push to move the site clear of completion and playing with the wrong keyword is sure to get the site dumped. Hence, knowledge about search engine optimization is bound to help select the right keyword. This knowledge of Search Engine Optimization helps in beating the competitors.
  • Knowledge always helps in bringing new work and consequently more financial strength. So those writers that have good knowledge of Search Engine Optimization are likely to get better paid than the other writers. There is no shortage of work for good writers in the web world, but it is an undeniable fact that only those that can show the extra quality of search optimization knowledge will win the race hands down and the winners are always well paid.
  • As workflow never dries so a person can definitely work from home or any suitable place of his choice without having to deal with travel stress. This will give the person more time for work and as a result bring in more financial stability.
  • During the time of recession, this part time job can be a life saver for many. The knowledge of SEO can give an added edge to the writer during this recession time. In a way, it can be said that this knowledge helps a person to become recession proof.
  • As a freelance writer, a person has to bid for jobs in several websites and for this reason competition is also high. This added knowledge will give the thrust required to move the person ahead of the others.

 

sero

Nowadays Google Panda and Penguin have changed the concept of Search Engine Optimization. Old fashioned search engine optimization will not help in improving the sites ranking. So proper knowledge of search engine optimization will help the online writers prove their worth in gold and bring in more potential customers. There is no dearth of good writers, but only those with proper online marketing knowledge will win the race. The opportunity is there for the taking and only those that have mastered the specialized art of search engine optimization related writing will have no shortage of work.

Bio:

eveEve Haugen has been a freelance writer for a long while. Her passion in writing is her main drive in crafting articles that are engaging, informative, and meaningful. Her partnership with QuickSEOResult has given her a whole new opportunity to take writing to a whole new level.

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

~SAT

#SATurday Emotionally Spamming Readers

15 Aug

Emotionally Spamming Readers

I want to talk about something unusual…at least for me as an author…and because I’ve never really seen an article discussing it (other than how to avoid it), I thought it would be fun to address it. Overwhelming your readers with spam. Rather than talk about literal spam, I want to talk about emotionally holding yourself back because you fear any announcement is spam. So, when I say “spam,” I’m not talking about an endless array of emails or tweets with no purpose. I’m talking about feeling guilty when you share news once or twice for various reasons. That’s the issue I want to address.

As many of you know, I started off this blog almost three years ago. I wrote every other day, and then, two years in, I took a one-month break where I changed my schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (and Mondays are for guests only). During my Wednesday and Saturdays posts, I’ve recently been sharing news at the end of the article. “Here’s an upcoming release!” or “Check out this giveaway!”

To be honest, I haven’t had a lot happening up until last month, and now, it’s endless. Blog tours, giveaways, release days, appearances, interviews, etc. Which is all FANTASTIC. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so giddy my rolly chair barely stays still. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worried. Sometimes, at the end of my recent posts, my announcements are longer than my post, and the spam worries roll in:

Am I posting too much information? Should I choose between one interview and a giveaway? Do I look like I’m bragging? Is anyone even reading that part?

And then, I came to a personal conclusion—a conclusion I’m not always sure about, but one that brings me comfort and happiness, and that conclusion is that I enjoy sharing that news at the end of my blog posts.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

For a long time—and I know I’m not alone in this—I hid my author life and accomplishments and current news, and when people asked about my career (or “hobby” as many put it), I gave a mundane answer like, “It’s going well.” instead of saying, “I have a blog tour coming up, and I just got back from meeting a long-time blogger friend in Atlanta.” Why did I do this to myself? Why did I hold back my excitement toward my career? Probably because, as many writers know, society rather pokes fun at writers who aren’t Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, but they weren’t always “them” either. One story that always sticks out to me is from the infamous King, who said he finally felt like a writer when he paid a plumber’s bill with his royalties. It didn’t matter who defined him; he defined him, and that’s how he did it. So, I’m working at accepting my pride as a writer—and not hubris, but simple pride for all the work I’ve done, and all of the readers who’ve done work to help me, and all the bloggers I’ve met, and all the moments we’ve shared. How do we share more moments if I continue to hold myself back by not sharing my latest news below my weekly articles? I have to share them, and I have to be okay with sharing them, and even more, I have to accept that I ENJOY sharing them without feeling guilty or worrying about if I’m spamming. As long as I have a purpose, and I’m not posting it wherever and whenever I can, it’s not spam; it’s a simple announcement about what’s going on in my author life. And if someone wants to read it, GREAT! If someone wants to just read my articles, that’s GREAT too!

This is my life, and my life isn’t spam.

It’s crazy, and wonderful, and I stumble over it every day, and for that, I am grateful.

~SAT

And now for those announcements I just discussed. ;]

Seconds Before Sunrise releases in less than two weeks! To celebrate, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting SO many giveaways. Win a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise via a Goodreads Giveaway, and win a $15 Amazon gift card, CTP ebook, and bookmark swag pack during the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour; here are the latest posts where you can enter: Deal Sharing Aunt Interview, Mythical Books SpotlightThe Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass Spotlight, and The Wonderings of One Person Spotlight.

If you want to participate in the next tour—where you can interview me, have guest posts, and more—sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise tour here. You can also join my newsletter for more prize-winning opportunities…which brings me to my next announcement. CTP is hosting another Facebook party, where you can win prizes and talk to authors on August 28. I will definitely be there, and I hope you come too!

11892166_10155938735540066_6588165975602131689_n

Don’t forget to check out Minutes Before Sunset before the sequel releases at Amazon and Barnes & NobleIf you’ve already done that, here are the links to pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise (AmazonBarnes & Noble) and Death Before Daylight (AmazonBarnes & Noble). If you write a review and you want me to share it, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would be more than happy to do so!

Thank you for your support.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#WW I’m Leaving Again (But wait. There’s more.)

5 Aug

I’m leaving again. I know. I know. WHAT?! Didn’t you just get back from Penned Con in St. Louis?

Yes. Yes, I did. And—by the way—Penned Con was wonderful, and I plan on writing all about it as soon as I return. That being said, I’m off to Atlanta today. In fact, right as you’re reading this, I might be on a plane. (Who knows where I am in the world?)

This is my "since I was 18" travel map. I update it every time I leave.

This is my “since I was 18” travel map. I update it every time I leave.

I will be back next Wednesday, but there will be a guest post on Monday still. (Which basically means there won’t be a Saturday post this week.)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my book tour schedule with you since it starts while I’m gone. (See? I didn’t leave you hanging.) I prepped a bunch of interviews and spotlights and all kinds of goodie fun for you all. (Because I love you as much as I love parenthesis right now.)

So, check it out below. Sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour if you want! Keep up the wonderful love. (I love you too.)

And PREPARE FOR THE BOOK RELEASE OF DOOOOOOOM.

Just kidding.

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases on August 25, so if you want to win prizes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, because I’ll be sending out the next opportunity when I get back to good ol’ Kansas City.

Until then: Hello, Atlanta. Thanks for looking after me.

Stay Dark…and you know, catch up on Minutes Before Sunset, and pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise and even Death Before Daylight if you’re feeling feisty. (Rawr.)

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset Tour Banner

Minutes Before Sunset Book Tour Schedule: (Well, really, this is August’s schedule. For a complete list of future events, visit my Events page….Guys, my life is crazy.)

August 10, 2015: Interview with Juniper Grove Book Solutions.

August 11, 2015: Guest post on One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads

August 11, 2015: Spotlight on Lady Amber’s Reviews

August 12, 2015: Spotlight on The Wonderings of One Person

August 13, 2015: Spotlight on The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass

August 14, 2015: Interview by Deal Sharing Aunt

August 14, 2015 Spotlight on Mythical Books

August 17, 2015: Spotlight on Girls With Books

August 17, 2015: Spotlight on The Bookie Monster 

August 18, 2015: Guest post on Black Words-White Pages

August 19, 2015: Interview by Melissa Book Buzz

August 25, 2015: Seconds Before Sunrise releases!

Seriously. Do it. You'll feel better.

Seriously. Do it. You’ll feel better.

Wait. It’s not over yet.

11791955_10207432863086714_4179449091941489450_oYou like FREE books, right? Right. My publisher is accepting more book reviewers, book bloggers, and overall book lovers to their Elite Reading Team. This means you’ll receive free books in exchange for honest reviews, and you’ll also be entered to win monthly prizes (like signed books, gift cards, and more). Sign up by clicking the link above. They’re also giving away a mystery prize of 2-3 paperbacks this month! So sign up for that here.

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