#MondayBlogs: Why Writing is Better Than Sex

12 Jan

Intro:

Today is Monday, which brings us #MondayBlogs – a.k.a. guest writer day! Every Monday, a fellow blogger will be covering a topic revolving around reading and writing, and today’s topic is obviously rather humorous, but it’s also an infograph. If you want to be a guest blogger, check out the information below the infograph. Before that though, read this spicy piece, brought to you by Global English Editing.

Why Writing is Better Than Sex

rsz-writing-v-sex

Want to be a guest blogger? I sure want you to be one! I am accepting guest posts that focus on reading and writing. No blatant advertisements. You are allowed to mention your publications with book links as long as it’s relevant to the post. Including a bio and a picture is encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

~SAT

#SATurday: What Scares Us

10 Jan

#SATurday: What Scares Us

At night – more accurately early morning – I crawl into bed to sleep, and my little (Okay. He’s fat) cat companion follows me. We cuddle up to one another, and I pretend to sleep. I say ‘pretend’ because this is the eternal mode of an insomniac.

If I had to describe this bedtime ritual more accurately, I would have to explain how I curl up on my left side – facing the window in case I get bored – and Bogart the black cat stretches out behind me, paws pressed against my back. He falls asleep quickly – with the kind of timing I envy – and I only know this because of his feet.

It starts slowly at first. His bottom paws puts pressure on my lower back, and then, his front paws twitch. He sometimes whines, but not every time. When he does whine, it’s not very long until the pressure increases. His paws move and tap and push and I know he is dreaming.

He is running.

My panther.

My panther.

Still, I can’t exactly ask what he’s dreaming about. Since he’s been an indoor cat most of his life, I often wonder why he is running, but I mainly wonder if he is running to something or away from something. If he’s anything like me – and I’m told pets are often like their owners – he’s probably running away from something. It might even be a Jurassic Park dinosaur. (I will probably write about this phobia of mine in the future.) But it does sadden me to think he might have a phobia of his own, one he can’t even talk about. Although he often startles out of his sleep with a loud meow, I can’t imagine it’s the same comfort I got when I was a child since I could explain a nightmare to a parent or a friend. He’ll definitely never get the advice I received from my mom:

Turn your nightmares into stories. If they don’t make sense, explain them. If they scare you, become the heroine and face them. If they defeat you, let them but grow from them – a.k.a. get them next time. But most of all, embrace them. And if you fail, it’s okay that you ran. In the end, you could’ve run so far you ended up in a new world entirely – filled with adventures you would’ve never experienced otherwise. Running could’ve put you exactly where you were supposed to be all along.

What scares us can be the very thing pushing us to truly live.

~SAT on #SATurday

P.S. Want your OWN photo of Bogart the cat? Donate today and get a custom photo, taken just for you, of this furry feline. (He loves modeling.)

bodonate

#MondayBlogs: Writing Complex Female Villains

5 Jan

Intro:

Welcome to #MondayBlogs! Every Monday, a guest blogger will be covering a topic revolving around reading and writing, and today’s topic can be found on the more ominous side of literature. SiameseMayhem is a sassy reader and the writer behind Pirate Kitties: Musings on YA Novels and Pop Culture – a quirky and intelligent blog I absolutely recommend. Today, SiameseMayhem is talking about one of my favorite topics of all time – female villains – and how difficult they are to create, especially when literature is dominated by male villains. Cue the evil music and laughter. This one is delightful.

Writing Complex Female Villains

I am writing a novel, and I realize I have committed a terrible sin. My female villain revolves around the men in her life. Since she isn’t her own person, I’ve been allowing the plot to yank her around on a chain, instead of the other way around–and it should always be the other way around. Whenever I’ve needed something done, her motivations have changed to suit me. I haven’t developed her as much as my other characters, I haven’t been able to get in her head, and I’ve been seriously stuck.

It’s easy to create an interesting male villain. We have plenty of examples to pick from in film and literature, and their personalities are as varied as the colors in the rainbow. They go bad because destroying the world is too much fun to pass up, they go bad because a girl said no (ugh), they go bad because it seemed convenient at the time, or they go bad because their families were horribly murdered (cliched, but I’ll still go aww).

In other words, I can think of several male villains off the top of my head with varied reasons for turning to the dark side. Female villains? I’m struggling to think of any girls in Western media who had reasons for bad behavior other than a man. There’s Umbridge from Harry Potter, but we never learned what her motivation for torturing schoolkids was, whereas villains and antiheroes like Voldemort and Snape were given far more development. There was Victoria from Twilight, but her only reason for causing trouble was the death of her mate, James. However, both Umbridge and Victoria were formidable, competent opponents, which is more than I can say for most villainous women.

When girls get antagonistic roles at all, it is usually as the dreaded other woman. She’s the soulless, vicious, popular harpy you love to hate, prepackaged in the designer clothes you’ve always wanted (but you’d never admit it), and she is on her way to steal your man. (Honestly, though, if your boyfriend falls for a cliched other woman with more personality in her shoes than in her brain, he’s probably not worth keeping around.) Just a few weeks ago, I finished Teardrop by Lauren Kate. When the antagonist showed up, I was actually interested in her characterization. She was a Wiccan in a small Southern town, she wore black, she had cool tattoos, and she seemed like the opposite of the usual cliche. However, even her Gothic sensibilities couldn’t save her from draping herself all over a boy that the heroine didn’t even want. Obviously, she was the worst person ever, seeing that she perpetrated the unpardonable crime of poaching a member of the heroine’s harem. Meanwhile, the male characters spent the whole book fighting over a girl.

Teardrop is a small example, but it does show how differently female characters are judged. Don’t believe me? Visualize a hot, evil guy. When he’s not plotting to take over the world, he can be found caking on eyeliner and crying. At the end of the book, he steals the hero’s girl.

Predicted fan reactions: “ZOMG, you poor baby! Come to mama! I WILL NEVER LET THEM HURT YOU AGAIN. Btw, I totally shipped them from the beginning, the hero was so boring anyway, no wonder she left him.” And so on.

Now visualize a hot, evil girl. When she’s not plotting to take over the world, she can be found caking on eyeliner and crying. At the end of the book, she steals the heroine’s boy.

Predicted fan reactions: cannot be printed.

Women are hardly ever allowed to be hot, evil, complex, and independent all at once. We’ve made some major gains in 2014, it’s true, but we still don’t have enough bad girls in leather with complicated pasts who stay strong to the end.

In short, all I want for Christmas is more Maleficents. Maleficent may not fit the criteria I laid out at the beginning of this post, since her start of villainy results from the actions of a slimy boyfriend, but she wastes no time rising above that inauspicious beginning. She defends her land, she has other relationships besides the one with the slimy boyfriend, and she rocks those horns. Her character arc may begin dependently, but it ends independently, and that is the most important thing. Maleficent is how you write a bad girl.

Maleficent

Sometimes the best Christmas presents are the ones we give ourselves, so this holiday season, I am going to learn. I am going to spend time with my villain and nurture her and understand her and write her a long, tragic backstory before I even begin the novel. It may be too early to tell, but I think it’s going to be longer than the other characters’ backstories combined.​

Bio: SiameseMayhem likes cats, blogging, YA novels, and combining the three. She can be found on her newly hatched Twitter and on her slightly older WordPress. Do stop by sometime.

Want to be a guest blogger? Wonderful! I am accepting guest posts that focus on reading and writing. No blatant advertisements. You are allowed a book link in the post as long as it’s relevant to the post. Including a bio and a picture is encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

~SAT

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

3 Jan

#SATurday: Hurricanes and Mermaids

I’ve been spending a lot of time walking home in the dark and thinking about how many people would say, “That’s unsafe.” Of course, it is unsafe. I am aware of this. Perhaps I do it because it is unsafe. The silence draws me to it. At least that’s what I tell myself. I mainly do it because I have no other choice. But talking about silence is the much more poetic way to speak.

The sound of your own footsteps is similar to squeezing yourself into the underwater world of a bathtub – a place where we can hear our own heartbeats (and probably the sloshing of water fighting the unnatural and contorted way you have to lay in order to fit underwater as an adult.)

Look! I'm a mermaid...with legs. Wait a second...

Look! I’m a mermaid…with legs. Wait a second…

As a kid, I didn’t have this problem. I used the bathtub as a pool. Goggles and all. I suppose that’s why a brilliant idea occurred to six-year-old me: the shower could be a pool, too. A raining pool. To do this, I clogged the drain with towels, and once a puddle formed, I had the perfect area to play in. The game was called “hurricanes and mermaids”, and my Barbie’s were the participants. We lasted thirty minutes before my mom ran in, screaming about how the kitchen ceiling was dripping with water. It occurred to me that – to our kitchen – I was the hurricane. What my mother was in this metaphor is still beyond me. Real hurricanes don’t have a curly-headed woman to stop the storm by turning the shower’s knob off. Something tells me this is exactly why I will never be a mermaid in a hurricane. I suppose that would also be called common sense.

I won’t lie. I have been told for a long portion of my life that I don’t have a lot of common sense. Mainly because I overthink everything – which sometimes results in appearing as if I hadn’t thought at all. Take my current situation as an example. I’m walking alone on a dark street in the middle of the night all by myself. If you happened to drive by and see me, you would probably think I was an idiot. After all, this is how a couple Law and Order: SVU episodes start. Right? I would like to take this moment to explain how much I would like to rant about the assumptions people have about those who are walking around by themselves, but instead I will continue forward with something I dread a little bit more than that: statistics.

If you get into the statistics of it all, only 26.1% of violent victimization happens by total strangers*, and – in fact – you’re relatively safe walking down the street by yourself. Even though articles like What It’s Like to Be a Woman at Night gain popularity, you are probably safer walking at night than you are driving in rush hour traffic. Especially where I happen to be. I am by no means encouraging people to waltz along the midnight path like I do. I have no choice but to. But this doesn’t mean I’m right or you’re right or any of it is right. I do, however, think it’s rather sad how society has snatched the serenity of the silent, midnight walk away from us. And I like to take it back, even if I shouldn’t. That being said, every time I return home unharmed, I have to confess I believe in society a little bit more. I also remember the hurricane. It is difficult not to when the rain falls.

Walking around in twenty-degree weather has become a norm for me lately – being carless and all – but walking in freezing sleet rain for a long period of time was new. Then again, being forced to walk around to find work has toughened me up a bit. I almost welcomed it. Almost. I definitely didn’t increase my walking speed. That would only make the holes in the toes of my boots get bigger. No exaggeration. But the moment was still an enjoyable one. It reminded me of the mermaids and the hurricanes and how I would’ve rejoiced in my young age at the opportunity to play in such awful weather. For that reason alone, I almost jumped into a puddle. Almost. I had to remember my boots again. But I managed to take my hands out of my pockets and enjoy the feel of the rain slipping through my fingers.

This might be where I lost my common sense, and a part of me has accepted my neutral reaction at losing such a thing, but a bigger part of me prefers to listen to the rain anyway. It is much more accommodating when you let it fall on your shoulders than pretend it isn’t hitting your ceiling at night. It becomes less ominous, more subtle – a way of breathing in a new day when you’re struggling to find a reason to stay positive since the next storm is coming.

One of these days, I’ll also remember to carry an umbrella.

~SAT on #SATurday

*Taken from latest Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

P.S.

I look forward to hearing from you!

I look forward to hearing from you!

December’s Ketchup

31 Dec

The Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. In 2014, www.ShannonAThompson.com was viewed about 45,000 times. It would take 17 sold-out performances for that many people to see it! WOW! I am blown away by all of your support this past year. If you would like to see the full, annual report, click here. My top five commenters can be found at the end of this post. Check them out!

December’s Ketchup

I’m officially back, so I thought I would show this month’s stats even though they will be slightly off due to my absence during the first two weeks. Thank you for understanding my break. I am so happy to be back, and I am looking forward to the new format of ShannonAThompson.com.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog post, my top referrer, SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this December!

Big Moments:

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

I came back, and as many of you have already seen, I’ve changed the types of posts here on ShannonAThompson.com, and we reached 19,000 followers! I still cannot believe how much we have grown these past two years, but I am so grateful to know we continue to grow every day.

Hopefully, 2015 will be a wonderful adventure!

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. The Struggling (Sometimes Starving) Writer: Making money as a writer has never been easy, and I am no exception to the rule. Because of Webucator, I talked about this topic in depth, both emotionally and mentally, and how this affects my love for writing.
  2. Surprise! Shannon’s Return to Blogging: I am back! Expect more Monday Blogs (a.k.a. guest bloggers), Writer Wednesday, and SATurday (a.k.a. Shannon’s day to express herself, allowing her to get to know you better while also showing who she is…like how she talks in the third person when she’s nervous!)
  3. My #1 referrer was Facebook

    My #1 referrer was Facebook

    SATurday: Scrabble without Friends: I am so, so enthralled that you all are enjoying the SATurday posts. I have some great ones coming up I can’t wait to share, but maybe we can all play Scrabble together sometime.

Other Blog Posts:

  • SATurday: Expression: Time is an expression of writing, and the rambles go on for eternity.
  • Best Christmas Books of All Times: Written by Ninja Essays, this is technically the first guest blogger of our new Monday Blogs series. Expect to see more from them in the future.
  • Website Wonders: A classic post provided every month for your entertainment and learning.

My #1 SEO Term

My #1 SEO Term

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Take Me Tomorrow: Books Everywhere, Musings on YA Novels and Pop Culture, Write Out Loud, Pointe Taken, and Christina’s Book Blog

Minutes Before Sunset: Crushing Cinders

Interviews: Books Everywhere

Features: Top Ten New-Authors-to-Me in 2014

Awarders: Insomnia, Nightmares, and General Madness

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Calculated on December 29, at 18,771 followers

~SAT

I also want to thank my top five commenters of 2014: Without these five readers, many insightful conversations would’ve never happened, and I cannot thank them enough. They all have blogs, too, and I recommend all of their websites.

  1. Legends of Windemere: Author, Charles E. Yallowitz
  2. A Writer’s Life for Me: Author, Mishka Jenkins
  3. The Owl Lady: Author, Viv Drewa
  4. Trials of a wanna-be-published writer: Writer and reader, Heather B. Costa
  5. Wyrmflight: Author, Deby Fredericks

Website Wonders

29 Dec

 Website Wonders:

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

Enjoy!

Reading:

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

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

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

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

10710630_897096090301990_4910407088402865734_nPublishing: 

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

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

Around the World:

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

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

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

Learning: 

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

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

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

~SAT

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

bo19

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