Tag Archives: author

#SATurdate: The 5th Wave, The Siren, Radio Interview, & Peanut Butter Cookies.

6 Feb

12633552_978628942184287_7779644671236409024_oToday’s Saturdate post covers two weeks, so it’s going to be longer than usual. That being said, it was an exciting two weeks! I had my first in-studio radio interview at Johnson County Community College, and the host was super sweet! I can’t wait for you all to hear the interview, so be sure to tune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. CDT this Monday! I even read a poem on air. (And you’ll get to hear more about my upcoming novels.) There might even be discussions about dinosaurs, nightmares, and The Tomo Trilogy.

What I’m Writing:

I am 25,000 words into Take Me Yesterday! If you want some fun clues as to what you will see in the sequel, watch this music video!

What I’m Publishing:

I wrote the dedication and acknowledgements for both Bad Bloods books this week, and I turned in my keyword optimization for The Timely Death Trilogy. (Now I have to work on keyword optimization for the Bad Bloods launch.) CTP’s awesome and lovely designer is also helping me create a banner for Penned Con St. Louis! Two #1lineWed previews are here.

One week’s theme was sun: Both women giggled like sunshine lived inside of them.

One week’s theme was comfort: He held me to keep me warm, and I held him to comfort his tears.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

booksI began The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. This is the sequel to The 5th Wave, and I’ve actually been wanting to read it FOREVER. (I mean, I bought the book 33 weeks ago, according to my Instagram). But I was holding off until I saw the movie of the first one. I didn’t want to confuse the two stories when I saw the film, so I’ve been patiently waiting. Now that I saw the movie, I am diving right in.

I began and finished The Siren by Kiera Cass. I am a fan of the Selection series, so I enjoyed this novel, but not as much as her other works. Still, I thought this story’s mythology about the creation of sirens and why they must sacrifice human was fascinating, and I enjoyed the interaction with the numerous sirens and the Ocean. That being said, the protagonist’s melodramatics and depression was a bit too much for me, and I ultimately thought the insta-love took away from the awesome girls. Still well worth the read though. Recommended to Cass fans, readers of mythology—mermaids, sirens, and ocean creatures/gods in general—and light romance readers. You can read my four-star review here.

I finished Splintered by A.G. Howard, and I can definitely tell you that you will LOVE this book if you’re into dark, twisted fairy tale retellings….and bad boys with fedoras. Seriously. Check it out. You can read my five-star review by clicking here. Favorite Quote: Sometimes a flame must level a forest to ash before new growth can begin.

I finished Wait Till I’m Dead by Allen Ginsberg, and I feel very fortunate to read his uncollected poetry now. Ginsberg is tragic, alluring, and maddening. I definitely recommend him to anyone interested in poetry about politics, mortality, humanity, and sex/drugs. From my favorite—Amnesiac Thirst For Fame—to one about my hometown—Entering Kansas City High, I found this now-collection refreshing yet remarkably the same in regards to brutal social and political discussions and debates. Mixed between it all is a growing narrative of Ginsberg’s failing health, and reading from the beginning to the end becomes an emotional journey through this influential poet’s life. I appreciated the notes at the end, and definitely recommended flipping back and forth between the editor’s comments and the poems. The last two poems about Carl Solomon had me in tears. Read my five-star review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Gin Wigmore radio really helps energize sweeping the office floor.

What I’m Watching:

would-you-survive-to-the-5th-wave-616091I saw The 5th Wave movie, mainly because I’m a HUGE fan of the novel and of Chloe Grace Moretz. I still feel very conflicted about the movie adaptation, (and that’s pretty rare for me), but I think I feel this way because they changed a lot of the centralized aspects of what made the novel great. Ex. Ben figuring out a huge chuck of the mystery rather than Ringer. That being said, I’d see it again and consider the sequel too. If you want an entertaining, light romantic story with sci-fi military subplots, watch the movie. If you want a heart-wrenching sci-fi survival story focused on family relationships with romance subplots, read the book.

I also binge-watched the anime My Little Monster. I love it. I find it both incredibly uncomfortable and awkwardly delightful, which is probably why I love it. The show manages to have some unhealthy topics without making the characters seem any less human or likable. That is a tough feat to accomplish.

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12647502_977794592267722_8606210293200065843_nI just can’t stop baking. I HAD to make peanut butter cookies in the middle of the night, yet I didn’t have eggs. I found an eggless peanut butter cookies recipe, and I made it, and while they were definitely delicious, eggs tends to hold cookies together, so they basically crumble apart really quickly. No worries. I ate them fast.

I made meatloaf out of venison, which was awesome. I actually enjoy venison a lot. I mean, I come from a hunter family, but this is the first year I’ve started cooking it (rather than just getting jerky or something premade), and it’s been a fun learning experience.

What I’m Wearing:

Blue and white polka dots. Why? (Wrong question.) Why not?

What I’m Wanting:

The Magic Tree House movies! I literally cannot wait.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Everyone in the world lost their eyebrows, and somehow, this made everyone age 10x faster than they used to. One person theorized that everyone was aging, because we were all hunching over trying to find our eyebrows on the floor, and being hunched over tricked our brains into thinking we were old, so we became old. (There are so many things wrong with this dream, I can’t even begin.)

My second dream, since I’m covering two weeks, was about a girl who is visiting her sister at the hospital when a crazed patient escapes their holding block and stabs this girl with a needle. The older sister is in a panic, because it was called the Lotus Virus, and it basically kills you right away. In perfect Hollywood cheese, it starts with blood coming out of your nose and gums. Sure enough, this girl started to deteriorate, but instead of the older sister being a responsible doctor and keeping the younger one locked up, she takes her little sister home where she can die in peace…except the younger sister refuses to believe she is dying, and she escapes while her older sister is showering. She steals their mom’s car and drives to her girlfriend’s house and they speed around like a diseased Thelma and Louise duo until they crash off a cliff only to get stuck in the trees. The girlfriend dies (pretty gruesomely if I must say) but the main diseased one survives (of course), and makes her way home where her older sister is now dying from the disease too. That was it. No conclusion. Just diseases and death.

What Else Is Going On:

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My family. My sister-in-law, my brother, and my dad.

It was my dad’s 60th birthday! I saw him, my brother, my sister-in-law, my uncle, and my aunt to celebrate for it, so that was pretty cool. Time really flies. In other news, I had a mouse episode at my house. At the time, I was TRYING to sleep, but I was woken up by the chaos that was my three cats. I got up to check on them, saw them all by the boots, and walked over, thinking it was a spider. A mouse landed on my foot, I screamed (naturally), and everyone scattered. Kiki caught it a couple of times and played with it, but Bogart….Oh, Bogart is evil. He caught it, put one paw on its stomach, and started slapping it’s face with his other paw. Believe it or not, this mouse totally pretended to be dead. It stuck out its tongue and everything. I even picked up Bogart to start cleaning it, but it awoke and ran away, only for Kiki to catch it again. She doesn’t kill it though, so I pick her up and chuck her out the front door, mouse and all, and she loses it mid-flight, and it darts into the bushes, to probably find another way into my house in the future. But it was pretty funny.

I also fell down the stairs this week…which wasn’t so funny. I was running down the stairs to return an email, and slipped. I could’ve thrown my laptop and caught myself, but my laptop is my life, so naturally, I sacrificed my back instead. So goes the instincts of a writer.

~SAT

12615381_10153339585432060_7462942265427582465_oTune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. this Monday for my latest interview! We talked about dinosaurs, book covers, and nightmares. I even read a never-before-read poem!

On a side note, thank you for continuing to attend #AuthorinaCoffeeShop every Friday at 7 p.m. CDT on Twitter via @AuthorSAT! I really enjoy talking with you all and having fun by pointing out all the little nuances people have that can make great characters in books. I hope to see you next week!

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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#WritingTips Choosing a Setting

1 Feb

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

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

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

A screenshot of Earth Album

A screenshot of Earth Album

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

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

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

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

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

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

~SAT

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Get your free book today!

Get your free book today!

January Ketchup

30 Jan

To be completely honest, I wrote the entire Saturdate post before I realized today was supposed to be a Ketchup post, and then I freaked out and barely finished running all the stats I needed to make this. WHEW. Geez. I need a break. My brain is broken. Since this took place on a Saturday, you can expect the next Saturdate post to take place next Saturday. :)

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 posts, my top referrer, #1 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 January.

Big Moments:

We held the cover reveal for Bad Bloods this month, and that was a wonderful way to begin 2016! So many of you enjoyed the covers, and I’m eternally grateful for your kind messages. I know it’s a long wait until the books release, but I hope you’re looking forward to July as much as I am!

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#1 Clicked Item

In the meantime, I was featured on Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers, which was super cool…especially since I read them religiously. In fact, I was actually reading it when I saw myself. Pretty surreal!

Since I’m spending more time on Twitter, I started my new Twitter series called Author in a Coffee Shop. What is #AuthorinaCoffeeShop? It’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and I tweet out my writer thoughts. It takes place every Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) via @AuthorSAT, so I hope to see you there for episode 5!

On a side note, The Timely Death Trilogy hit 500 ratings, and Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, was the number 1 clicked item on this website during January, so thank you for reading and taking the time to review my novels! You are priceless.

 

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Bad Bloods Cover Reveal: The covers were FINALLY released, and I’m SO exciting so many of you loved the covers. I know it’s a wait for the books, but I hope you stick it out with me and enjoy the books this July.

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

2. What I Learned Rewriting a Seven-Year-Old Novel: I’m so glad you all are enjoying the rewrites of older posts. This one was centered on Bad Bloods, too! It was really neat to see my old post, when I had no idea if it would work out, and this new post, after I’ve signed it for publication. I’ve learned a lot over the past decade, and it’s fun to be able to share those lessons with everyone.

3. Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy: I discuss how heroines can be both badass and traditionally feminine and still be respected and believable. I shared numerous aspects of my life from both sides and call for an understanding that female characters need to be 3D.

3. Writing the Back Blurb: This one actually tied for third place, so I put both up here. I recovered various tips on how to tackle back blurb writing. Stakes! Remember your stakes.

These were the books I read this month!

These were the books I read this month!

Other Blog Posts:

Various Stages of Writer’s Block: We all get it. But for those of you who don’t, this is what it’s like

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Saturdate Fortitude, Splintered, The Beat Generation, & Broken Elbows: A weekly update of a psychological thriller, a fairy tale retelling, a poet, and an injury.

Saturdate: Shadowhunters, Bad Bloods Shorts, BuzzFeed Books, and Zombie Clowns: A weekly update about an awesome feature and a terrible dream.

Try a New Section in the Bookstore: I talk about what I’ve learned by broadening my reading horizons.

How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing: There are SO many ways to tackle your writing, and this is a great route to try.

Saturdate Danish Girl, An Outline, Cat Socks, and Raven Boys: A weekly update about one of the best movies of the year and books and cats and stuff.

Saturdate Book Covers, Amy Schumer, Assassins, Joy, and homemade fudge: A weekly update about how I failed at baking.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

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 want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers: The Messy Owl

Features: Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers

jan2016

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Barnes & NobleValentine's Day Romance Author Event

#WritingTips What I Learned Rewriting a Seven-Year-Old Novel

18 Jan

Every Monday I take a popular post from the past, and I recover it with new information and approaches. Today’s topic is more relevant than ever. I first tackled this topic over a year ago, explaining what it was like to rewrite November Snow, my first published novel from 2007, but, at the time, I had no idea I would finish the rewrite, let alone that the rewrite would turn into Bad Bloods and be signed with Clean Teen Publishing for release in July of 2016. The original post can be found here, and it covers totally different aspects, so I highly recommend checking out the first one too. Here are my top three lessons I learned by rewriting a novel…and getting it published again.

1. Every Change is a Ripple…and a GIANT Wave.

I was not prepared for this, even though you’d think it would be obvious. Well, it wasn’t. I went into the rewrite with a few goals. I knew of a couple of things I wanted to change, but the more I studied my own work, the more I realized I had to change, and each change—even the smallest of changes—had a HUGE ripple effect on the rest of the work. (It’s more accurate to call it a wave.) Before you ever attempt a rewrite, read your own work and take notes. As you rewrite it, take even more notes, so you know you aren’t contradicting yourself or messing up versions. Example? In the new version, I wanted the lunar calendar to be accurate since it was off in the original. That doesn’t seem so hard, does it? Wrong. A good couple of chapters, as well as a symbolic part of the story, revolved around the lunar calendar, and every change I made caused certain parts of the story to be shifted around. Tension and weather patterns moved. Whole paragraphs moved. Scenes had to be deleted, and others were pushed back. Even the purpose had to change. It was possibly the most difficult part of the rewrite. That one change affected everything else. Everything.

2. Aspects You Love will be Added…and Lost.

In the end, certain things had to go. I lost some of the funnier moments and the cheesy moments, but new humor and romance was added. Old characters became better (sometimes almost unrecognizable) versions of themselves, and other characters had to take a bigger backseat than they did before. Some details weren’t necessary. Other details I never even thought of adding had to be added. A change you didn’t want might even happen simply because of the ripple effect discussed above. You can rejoice in the additions and mourn these loses. It’s okay to feel sad about a particular scene going down the drain, even if it’s miniscule. Heck, you might even keep it in case you want to write a short story that goes along with your novel. Nothing has to go away forever, but deciding what is right and what isn’t for your story is important, no matter how much it hurts. You can do it. Follow your gut.

A comparison

A comparison

3. Staying True to You (And the Work) is Harder Than You Think

Maybe you started writing this when the genre was hot, but now it’s not. Maybe you had a purpose that has now been done before. Maybe X numbers of things have happened since you began the story, but now your life has changed. So, you want to stay true to the story, but you have NEW challenges (and temptations). I’ve covered this before, but I truly believe my 11-year-old self was a better writer than I am today. (Read this article to see what I mean: My 11-Year-Old Self was a Better Writer) To sum it up, she was fearless. I am not. My younger self didn’t worry about things like word count or trends or paychecks or deadlines. I just wrote. Now that I’m older, it’s HARD not to worry about if the book will fit the “correct” word count so you can even try to talk to a publisher about it. This can make you feel as if you’re a square peg trying to fit into a circle hole, and sometimes, it’s tempting to make yourself a circle. But you’re not. You’re a square. As an example, the original version of Bad Bloods was 110,000 words. So, I set out to bring the book down to 80,000 words in order to “fit” the industry standard. Spoiler alert: I failed. Terribly. I actually ADDED 20,000 words, because, in the end, I realized the story was missing vital aspects. This took me a long while to accept. It was a lot of banging my head against my desk. But guess what? It worked out in the end. I signed it with Clean Teen Publishing, and they love it, word count and all. Who knows what would’ve happened if I had forced it to go the other way? Be you…even if you have no idea where it will take you.

When I first covered this topic over a year ago, I had no idea where a rewrite would take me, but I knew it was the best thing for me to do. I also acknowledge all of the doubt, tears, and frustration I had along the way. Was this scene necessary? Can I condense this? But I love that scene! This dialogue is terrible. What was I thinking? Here we go again. Should I give up? Why would I want to rewrite this anyway? Who would want a book this big? This doesn’t fit any trend right now. No publisher wants something that was previously published. Gah! What am I thinking?

Guess what? All of my doubts were wrong. My gut was right.

It worked out in the end, and I am more excited than ever before to see Bad Bloods release this summer by Clean Teen Publishing. In fact, it will be published on the nine-year anniversary of the original version.

Follow your gut no matter how much time it takes. It’s worth it.

~SAT

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

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

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

#SATurdate: Shadowhunters, Bad Bloods Shorts, BuzzFeed Books, and Zombie Clowns

16 Jan

Today was one of those crazy whiplash weeks where writing wasn’t the best, and then encouragement brought it all back! Keep chasing the dream.

What I’m Writing:

I basically skipped a section of Take Me Yesterday and continued to write in it, so I am moving forward, but I’m still struggling with it. (I always struggle, eh?) I wrote about two, very rough chapters. That being said, I worked on short stories for Bad Bloods this week too…which I’m going to talk about below, so let me know what you think!

What I’m Publishing:

My publisher is working on some awesome swag for you all, and I worked on the proofreads once again. I’m thinking about putting up short stories on Wattpad leading up to the book releases. Basically, it would be a prequel to show how all the bad bloods found one another and created their flocks. What is a flock? A flock is a group of 12 bad bloods who come together to survive. In Bad Bloods, there are four, but only two are left: The Northern Flock and the Southern Flock. Since each flock has 12 characters, you’re looking at 24 side characters alone. The short stories would only show 21 of these stories, so I would start posting them toward the end of February. Let me know if you think you’d be interested in this. And, of course, the #1lineWed winning preview is below. This week’s theme was old.

“I may be a homeless old man, but that doesn’t mean I’m worthless.”

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

purpleI started Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, but I’m only about 100 pages in, so I’m barely into the competition. So far, it reads a lot like The Hunger Games, but it’s not dystopian and a hundreds times funnier. I’m enjoying it.

I started and finished Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 10 by Naoko Takeuchi. As many of you know, I love this series, but this is my favorite arc by far. We see so many aspects finally come together, but I think something no one ever thinks about regarding Chibiusa is answered in this volume. While it’s just a theory, I think one of the reasons she “feels” for Mamoru is because he’s tied into Helios’ soul. Of course, it’s up for interpretation, but that’s just my lil ol’ opinion. You can read my 5-star review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Mambo Italiano radio. This might be why I finally had a dream in Italian. I used to listen to this radio a TON when I was in college studying Italian.

What I’m Watching:

Shadowhunters. Yes, of course I watched it. As I said on my FB page, I loved it. I think it has a lot of potential to grow into itself, and I’m hopeful. I particularly loved Alec and Simon. (And of course Magnus.) But I wasn’t in love with Clary or Jace. The super-techy institute bothered me the most, but I can see it getting much better as the show continues on. ::fingerscrossed::
rs_1024x691-151120131342-1024.shadow-hunters-freeform.ch.1112015

The Revenant Okay. So I’m not normally into historical, non-fiction entertainment. (You caught me.) But my roommate is. He eats it up. (Which comes in handy when I need to know historical events for my novels. He does help. A lot.) So, you guessed it. I saw this masterpiece, and boy, is it a masterpiece. The beginning is VIOLENT. (All capitals.) The bear mauling is WOW. (It takes a while.) The rest of the film is slow, but in a way that I think the average historical piece is. And considering, in real life, he CRAWLED 200 miles (rather than walked like in the movie), I can imagine it was much slower in real life. Here’s my thing with historical things like this. I get so into it, but I don’t TRUST it. I know it’s lying somewhere, so I always end up Googling everything and learning the truth, and I almost always love the truth MORE. I don’t want to spoil it, but the movie is great. The ending is really cinematic, but the real-life story—to me—is so much more chilling. (Even though it’d be boring as hell to watch on the screen.) So, check this movie out. My love goes out to Leo. My roommate’s love always goes out to Tom Hardy. (I’ll give him love for his signature grunt.)

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I made beef stew. That’s it. I’ve been surviving this week. My services have been crazy. So glad so many of you are meeting your writing and editing goals in 2016 already! 

What I’m Wearing:

Long socks. They go up to my knees. And they are so warm.

What I’m Wanting:

Episode 3 of Shadowhunters! On a side note, this is actually the hardest section for me to fill out. I rarely “want” anything…other than sequels to books.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had my first dream in a foreign language, which was pretty funny to me, because my old Italians teachers used to say you were finally fluent when you dreamt in Italian. It’s been two years since my last formal class.

On a side note, I also had this terrible dream where a zombie apocalypse happened every first Friday of every month. So, there were all these laws where you could kill people who turned into zombies, but only if they were a zombie in that moment (so only on first Fridays). Well, it was a first Friday, and I was trying to drive away from them, but there were hundreds on the highway, so I pulled over into a little cabin, thinking it was fine. Now imagine that scene in Jurassic Park where the water glass starts rippling. That happens. And a GIANT clown zombie entered.

That’s it. I wake up.

What Else Is Going On:

I hosted Author in a Coffee Shop, Episode 2 last night! Follow me on Twitter via @AuthorSAT next Friday at 7 p.m. CDT for the next episode. If you’re wondering what Author in the Coffee Shop is, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while…you know…I people watch…for inspiration. Here’s a sneak peek:

My friend captured the moment.

My friend captured the moment.

I was featured on BuzzFeed Books, 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers! I was #22. I’m not going to lie, this was pretty insane for me. I read BuzzFeed Books daily. In fact, I actually was reading the article myself when my face appeared. It was surreal.

The Timely Death Trilogy hit 500 ratings! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to post a review. You mean a lot to me. If you haven’t checked out the Dark yet, Minutes Before Sunset is FREE!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

After reading, you can come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. I’d love to see you!

takefofytseve

You can even read The Timely Death Trilogy on your new Kindle Fire! Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

#WritingTips Writing The Back Blurb

11 Jan

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

1. Start with a 35-Word Synopsis

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

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

2. Expand. Be Catchy. Target an Audience. 

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

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

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

3. Edit. Get Opinions. Edit Again.

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

Now publish.

~SAT

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

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

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

I hope to see you this upcoming Friday on Twitter!

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

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

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

Giveaway-image

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#Saturdate Book covers, Amy Schumer, Assassins, Joy, and homemade fudge

9 Jan

This was cover reveal week—a week I have been waiting for—and let me tell you, it was everything I dreamed of. Your messages and support energize my author life. From the bottom of my little writer’s heart, thank you. I will do my best to keep everyone updated as everything moves along!

Let it snow,

~SAT

What I’m Writing:

::facepalm:: That’s how well Take Me Yesterday is going. But don’t fret. It’s probably because I put too much on my plate. I received and finished the first proofread of the Bad Bloods edit (so the third round of overall editing), and I had the cover reveal this week. I can only do so much.

What I’m Publishing:

As many of you saw, we had the cover reveal for Bad Bloods this week! I’m super excited so many of you are also super excited for the release of these two novels. Thank you for sharing, sending, and smiling. I finished the third round of edits, and three of you received an exclusive sneak peek. Here’s another shout out to those amazing readers: Jonas Lee, Amy B., and Macy <3 Stories. I hope you all enjoyed the exclusive sneak peek of November Rain! I can’t wait to start more giveaways as the year goes on! Which I will, via my newsletter, so be sure to sign up here if you want more chances to win prizes. Your information will never be given away, you can unsubscribe at any time, and I only send out an email once a month, if that. Finally, here is the #1lineWed winning preview. The theme was “new.”

I always knew it, but every time I thought of it, it felt like a new, terrible acceptance of a reality I would hate.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

booksI started and finished Cress (book 3 in The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer. Of course, I loved it. The Lunar Chronicles is a great series, especially if you love fairy tale retellings and sci-fi. (I’m not even a fan of fairy tale retellings, and I love this series because of its creativity and humor…and the sci fi-fantasy world building is fantastic.) The Lunar Chronicles is a phenomenal, humorous & exhilarating sci fi-fantasy blend. You can read my full review by clicking here, but I must say, Cress really made me love Thorne so much more than I already did. She was the perfect addition to the group.

I finished See How They Run (book 2 in The Embassy Row series) by Ally Carter, and I loved it even more than the first one. If you like conspiracies, assassins, secret societies, political espionage, and family/friendship tales, this one is for you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. You can read my full five-star review by clicking here.

What I’m Listening To:

No music in my soul this week. I’ve been too busy to dance.

What I’m Watching:

 My treat this week was Joy. And oh boy, what joy Joy was. (Okay. That was awful. I apologize for my cheese.) But, seriously. Jennifer Lawrence’s latest is a pretty great flick. I, myself, thought the first half was a bit slow and strange, but it set up for a really great family dynamic which became vital in the later half of the film. (Basically, well worth it.) Plus, I loved seeing Choco from Domino again. Overall, the story was freakin’ great. Business-minded, inspiring, and female empowering, although I would say it should empower males too ;).

joy-movie-poster

MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_So don’t kill me, but I FINALLY saw Inside Out, and while I know I’m super late to that Pixar party, JESUS. That movie WRECKED me. As many of you know, I moved around a lot as a kid. (In fact, I still move around a lot.) In my 24 years, I have lived in six different states and twelve different homes…so I move about every two years. Little Shannon could’ve been best friends with Little Riley. I cried. A lot. Probably because I had the “great” idea of watching this by my lonesome. It was an emotional roller coaster, anddddddd I loved it. If you could see inside my headquarters, fear is probably the one who rules my dashboard. I’m a bit skittish.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I made homemade fudge. (That stuff is not easy to make.) I failed. Terribly.

What I’m Wearing:

12401826_961355923911589_1413446780780607145_oI’m still in my collection of cat socks, and since so many of you asked about them, I posted a delightful photo to Instagram. Aren’t they glorious?

What I’m Wanting:

Honestly, sleep. Good, soundless sleep.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

On the day of my cover reveal, I had this CRAZY dream where an EMP went off and the World Wide Web was attacked until it shut down…so no one saw my Bad Bloods covers…and THAT’S what I was worried about.

(Seriously. Dream Shannon is kind of crazy.)

I think this is the author equivalent to students having nightmares about papers and tests not working out.

Because so many of you saw my first one, here’s a second one:

So, apparently, I’m best friends with Amy Schumer, and she is now a retired comedian turned boxer, and she has a match against Ronda Rousey. And, of course, I’m going to go, because I’m the supportive best friend. Amy even gave me extra tickets, so I took my dad, and my dad became best friends with Amy’s dad (even though he oddly just looked like Amy without hair). And I got lost in a bathroom? And I was really worried that Amy was going to hate me, because I was going to miss her match with Ronda.

(Please, tell me why my brain is so strange.)

What Else Is Going On:

Shannon managed to get her own pickup stuck in her own backyard. Do you realize how embarrassing that is? Massively.

~SAT

Exciting event news! On February 13, I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas. Another CTP author, Tamara Grantham, will be there too, so check her out. I’ll keep you all updated as more news comes out!

Barnes & NobleValentine's Day Romance Author Event

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

Giveaway-image

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

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