Tag Archives: author

Happy Fourth! & Take Me Tomorrow News

4 Jul

This is one of those rare posts where my announcements are not separated from my post, and you’ll see why below:

Happy Fourth of July for everyone who is celebrating today! The past two Independence Days, I talked about how important the holiday is for The Timely Death Trilogy. For that reason, I wanted to share this review first. Live. Laugh. Read. said, “Minutes Before Sunset” is an absolutely stunning novel that completely messed with my emotions… Shannon’s depiction of love is like none that I have read before, sweet and without angst. Theirs is the love that you wish you could have.” But you can read the latest review by clicking here, and Minutes Before Sunset is only $3.89 here. It begins with Independence Day, so you can start on the same day the book begins.

I also wanted to share my latest interview by Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth. I explain how I find time to write, how AEC Stellar Publishing found me, and what was most difficult for me in Take Me Tomorrow. You can read everything I said by clicking here.

Special thanks also goes out to The Troubled Oyster for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. You may recall that I was nominated during my last post, but this is a new blog, and I’ve nominated three new blogs that I would love for you to check out: Allie Potts Writes, The Worlds of Tarien Cole, and Carl’s Corner.

You may have also noticed that I updated my progress bar on the right side of my website. Here’s the funny part. It is already outdated. I’ve received the ARCS, and I’m sending them to those readers who are interested in reading Take Me Tomorrow NOW – so feel free to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’m also taking interview and giveaway requests. (That’s right. I can supply YOU with three, free eBooks to your followers, so….I’ll be on my email on week.)

Although I’m celebrating Take Me Tomorrow, I’m also celebrating Independence Day, and I wanted to find the perfect way to express those two events. Below you’ll see a photo of my father. He’s been very supportive of me throughout my many years of publishing adventures, and I have dedicated Take Me Tomorrow to him for this reason. In fact, Take Me Tomorrow began as a simple conversation my dad and I had over coffee one afternoon – so today, I am sharing my dedication and acknowledgements from Take Me Tomorrow with everyone. You are in them, I assure you <3 

Thank you for your support, and if you’re celebrating, have a safe and fun fourth!

~SAT

My awesome dad

My awesome dad

Dedication:

To my father – for every chat over coffee, the words will never cease.

Acknowledgements:

My dedication says it all. “Take Me Tomorrow” was inspired by a single chat my father and I had over coffee. Many years have passed since that unforeseen afternoon, and my father supported me through every single one. Even though his psychic abilities couldn’t predict my future, he always believed in my publishing dream. For that reason, I want to thank him.

A lot of research was done for this novel, including hours of hunching over texts that morphed the story in a direction I never expected it to go, but my loyal team at AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. always believed in it. For that, I want to thank Raymond Vogel, Heather Hebert, and Ky Grabowski. Special thanks goes out to Clarissa Yeo for designing the cover of my dreams, even before I saw it.

To all of my readers at ShannonAThompson.com and beyond, thank you. I love and appreciate every moment you’ve shared with me – today and into tomorrow.

~SAT

Don’t’ forget to email me at shanonathompson@aol.com and add Take Me Tomorrow to your Goodreads shelf by clicking here. I can’t wait for the future!

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My Week as an Author: the Many Ups and Downs

18 Jun

If you follow my Facebook page, then you’ve seen the events that I am about to talk about, and you saw them happen to me in real-time. (What can I say? Facebook is my go-to place to speak to you all live.) But if you don’t follow my Facebook page:

1. You missed out on all of the crazy events that happened this week.

2. You should be following my Facebook page. (I post entertaining stories, things that make you laugh, and the occasional interview. I even give away prizes, like guest blog post opportunities. I promise.)

So today I am sharing all of the crazy events that happened to me this week and how they affected me. Some were fantastic and others took my little ego down a notch. Why am I sharing this? Because readers are often sending me questions about what it is like to be an author. In fact, ever since I posted The Pros and Cons of Being An Author, one of the main questions I get asked is what my life is like and how I’ve dealt with ups and downs. And this week is a perfect example of how hectic, crazy, lovely, and insanely exciting it can be to be an author. (Did I mention soul-crushing and absolutely uplifting as well?)

Hopefully, these ups and downs that I went through will give insight to those who are curious about my author life and authors in general, but remember: no matter what, you must stay positive and believe in yourself. You’re following your dream after all.

The events are listed in the order that they happened:

I received a rejection for my poetry collection:

That’s right. I get rejected, too. Just because you’ve been published before, even in the same genre, does not mean you’ll be accepted everywhere you go. In fact, I’ve been rejected dozens of times, especially before I got November Snow published in 2007. A few months ago one of my favorite literary magazines – The Normal School – opened up their submissions for their fifth annual poetry competition. My collection didn’t make it. If I had to be completely honest, this is the second time I’ve been rejected by them. (The first time was a nonfiction piece.) But I am definitely going to keep trying! Even though every rejection hurts a little, you have to find the strength to fight back. One of my goals is to beat my fear of publishing nonfiction, so I’m working on getting at least one essay published within the next two years. Having a goal helps me accept rejection as the next step toward acceptance. That might seem backwards, but – to me – having a goal reminds me that I haven’t given up and how I won’t give up. It keeps me focused, and it prevents me from dwelling. When one door closes, it helps you move onto trying to open the next door in the hallway of life. In fact, on this exact same day, a door opened to me:

I received an acceptance letter for my short story:

On the same day I received a rejection, I received an acceptance. A few hours passed between the two, but I was glad I remained positive because I was able to be fully excited about this moment instead of allowing the rejection to taint my positive moment. The short story is slated for release in August of this year, but that’s all I can say for now.

I hit 20,000 words in Death Before Daylight

I mention this for many reasons, but here’s the main reason. It wasn’t a letter I received. It was a result of my hard work. If I allow myself to get distracted by the rejection, I might not have met this goal. It might have set me back a few days. Is that really worth it? I don’t think so. Staying focused on achieving the next step of my future publication is vital to enjoying my writing career. I’m not saying that a writer can’t take a day or two off to feel sad, but writers have to get back up again. For me, I don’t enjoy taking days off. It makes me feel like I’m letting disappointment control me, and I don’t want disappointment to control me. I want my dream to guide me. So I dove right back into Death Before Daylight the second I had some time off of work, and I met a goal I’ve been dying to meet. Plus, I thought fans of The Timely Death Trilogy would enjoy some news. If you’re on my Facebook, you also saw this little teaser:

booknews

I received my final edits for Take Me Tomorrow:

If you haven’t realized this, we are SUPER behind in meeting the publication deadline, so I’ve been biting my nails off. I practically don’t have any right now, but receiving the edits releaved all of that stress – which means that I had a moment feeling a little ridiculous for being so nervous about the edits in the first place. They were going to come no matter what. Worse case scenario, the publication date gets pushed back a little bit, and that’s not a tragedy at all. It’s still coming out after all. I wanted to share this because it shows how a negative focus can disrupt the overall positive experience of getting a novel published. Don’t be like me. Enjoy these moments fully because – when it’s all over and done with – you’re going to have your novel in your hands, and you’re going to want to look back and forward with a smile on your face. You’re working hard! Enjoy that work.

Amtrak Residency program sent me a rejection notice

I’m sure you’re probably starting to realize how often I apply to different events as a writer. Sure, I’m focused on my novels, but I’m also focused on gaining more from different experiences. I applied for this a few months ago. Basically, Amtrak allowed writers to apply to travel on their trains for free as they blogged about their travels. I love traveling. I love writing. It was perfect for me. But – alas – I am not perfect for Amtrak, and that’s okay. Applying isn’t about being a perfect writer for everyone. Being a writer isn’t about being perfect at all. It’s about loving all the adventures that open up to you. I can always apply next year, apply to other programs, and travel on my own. A rejection doesn’t stop me. Only I stop myself. It’s safe to say that I’m not stopping anytime soon. Or ever. (Probably never. Scratch that. I’m never going to give up. Ever.)

A radio show contacted me for an interview in July

Literally – two hours passed from receiving my Amtrak rejection to receiving the most delightful call of my week. A popular author radio show contacted me, and they want to interview me. Can you say, “EEEEEEEE!”? I know. I actually had to hold back from screaming out in delight over the phone. We’re already working out the details, and they’re recording the show in July, but that’s all I can say for now. (More news to come soon!) But this is another instance of how important it is to remain positive. After all, you can’t be crying to your cat about your rejection when a radio host calls you with an offer. That would be awkward.

from Pinterest

from Pinterest

In the end:

As you can see – negative things can happen, but positive ones can follow them within minutes, and it’s important to stay positive so you can receive that positive energy. (Did that sound hippy enough for you? If not, picture me throwing up a peace sign. I also have a flower in my hair. It is pink.)

It may have been a strangely bizarre and eventful week. I practically got whiplash. But it was an important week, and it was a great week, and I am going to continue to have great weeks as long as I focus on the positive directions that open up to me.

To all authors and aspiring authors, enjoy this ride. It’s sure to be a wild one full of adventures you might never see coming.

~SAT

Genders Aren’t Defining Features: Why I’m Tired of Seeing Female Characters Described as Weak and Male Characters Hardly Being Discussed at all.

14 Jun

First, thank you so much for supporting the eBook release of Seconds Before Sunrise on June 12. I wanted to remind everyone that you can get my latest novel for only $0.99 on Smashwords by using the code – BW58C – but you can also go to Amazon and various websites.

Secondly, thank you to Jonas Lee for showcasing me on his website.

And lastly, I have a disclaimer: Today is obviously going to be a heavy discussion. I am not going to pretend that I could cover every little detail that I wish I could discuss. I couldn’t. Not even close. And I was quite sad to see the amount of information I had to delete just to have a reasonable blog post instead of a practice dissertation. That being said, I do plan on sharing more in the future if you would like me to continue this conversation, but I want this to be a positive place on the internet to discuss this topic. From the research I share below, I know how this topic can become highly sensitive very fast. Bullying, stereotyping, name-calling, and other spiteful comments will not be tolerated. I would also like to apologize to those who do not define themselves as male or female. Instead of discussing specifics, I will be discussing the beginning of my research and how the most popular results reflected my frustrations with judgment in literature.

Love,

SAT

Oh, no. I pulled out the gender card. I’m going to be one of those hardcore feminists – (whatever that word actually means ::sarcasm::) – and yes, I will be ranting about the stigmas of today’s world. Watch as people come running, some with popcorn, others with absolute disdain.

What else is new?

It’s a sad fact that I even struggled to write this piece. I’ve been working on it on-and-off for weeks now, wondering what was appropriate, how best to word it, and where to begin, but I should’ve been asking myself one thing: why censor myself at all?

The publishing industry isn’t new to this conversation, so I’m not going to bother with specific character examples. No matter what kind of reader you are, I am sure you’ve heard the debates over various female protagonists being “weak-minded” or “submissive” or “incapable.” In contrast – yes – there are conversations about male leads, but I do not believe they are nearly as judgmental as the discussions that go on and on about female leads.

What’s my proof?

Since I cannot go on forever, I found these two lists:

Yep. The stats for judging females are tripled, if not more, compared to their male counterparts, and that is only one set of lists on Goodreads alone. Even more unfortunate is how much these conversations continue through the depths of the chaotic Internet waves, never-ending, always judging.

Before I continue, I want to clarify that I am not blaming any specific person for this trend. I am not attacking men. I am not attacking women. I am not attacking any of the participants on voting lists or the writers of the articles I am about to share. I simply want to discuss how we – as readers – are judging women in novels more harshly when we shouldn’t be judging any gender at all.

I decided to start where most Internet addicts go – Google – and I knew I wanted to focus on how male and female leads in literature are judged, so I read a few articles here and there when I kept coming across something along these lines: “Author A should be ashamed for creating a character like this for girl’s (or boy’s) to look up to.”

Every discussion generally came back to the author, including an author’s history, religion, or other personal information. As an author myself, this disturbed me because I am adamant that authors are NOT their characters. Yes, some use real-life inspiration but that does not mean that the author intends for a young girl or boy to look up to a fictional character so much that they start repeating their actions. It’s important for readers to separate themselves from characters. (Ouch. I know.) I love characters, too. Some characters I’ve read have helped me through many difficult times in my life, and they will always be close to my heart, but I wouldn’t dress in a green dress to fight demons and fall in love with my enemy just because Serena does that in Daughters of the Moon. And I doubt Lynne Ewing wanted my 12-year-old self to sneak out of the house to fight paranormal crime anymore than my parents did. I am not saying you cannot look up to characters. You definitely can. But there’s a difference in looking up to a character and allowing a fiction world to dictate your decisions in reality.

But I’m moving on from that—(I could talk about that all night)—I want to talk about the next piece of research I did.

What does it mean to be a “good” male or female character?

mint-male-symbol-hiThis is when I returned to handy-dandy Google. I’m about to share the results that bothered me, but I need to take a moment to clarify that this isn’t going to be about how to write that character that will never be judged.

A)   Every character will always be judged

B)   The results are what I’m focusing on because they show how we focus our judgment in gender roles.

Here are pre-typed suggestion results:

When I Googled “How to write a good male character”

  • Pre-Typed Results: How to write a good male dating profile came up first. (Followed by social media profile, THEN character, and then a personal ad)

When I Googled “How to write a good female character”

  • Pre-Typed Results: How to write a good female protagonist came up first. (Followed by female lead, villain, and THEN dating profile.)

It seems we are more nervous writing about a female character than a male character in literature. We’re also curious about villains and leads. But these did not show up in the top four for males.

As frustrating as this was, I continued to Google anyway. I wanted to see the articles. I wanted more insight. I wanted to see what authors “should” be doing and what readers think, so here are the top articles I found: (these articles are informative and amazing pieces. My point is NOT against them, but how we view writing female and male characters in general.)

I Googled “How to write a good male character” These are the first articles that pop up:

Here’s something you should know about me. I HATE the words masculine and feminine. Perhaps because I have constantly been told that I’m a rather masculine girl, “one of the boys”, part of the gang, a “cool” girl. This generally happens because I drive a manual, collect knives, and have seen more dead animals than I would care to admit. I hate makeup, and I wear combat boots every day. I’m used to it. Whatever. What I hate is that these things are “masculine” – that if I do it, I am “masculine” – but so are female characters. In fact, I was reading an article that told female writers to stop having their female characters driving sticks, because it is a lazy attempt to get her to seem deep.

What the actual hell.

red-basic-female-symbol-hiFirst of all, driving a manual isn’t deep. (I should know. I drive one.) It’s learning how to press an extra pedal and move the gears around. Second of all, whether a female is driving a stick or a male is driving a stick, it shouldn’t be seen as masculine or feminine or a blatant attempt to break some weird social stigma we deal with every day. Third of all…UGH. In this belief, there is no winning with female characters. You lose if you use stereotypes and you lose if you don’t because you’re seen as purposely trying to stray away from “realistic” expectations. (This is also where I would like to point out that there are many articles complaining about the various dystopian novels and their female leads being so capable with weapons… I don’t even live in “dystopia” and I have weapons. Try me.)

In case you want the other results, here are the top three articles I found when I Googled “How to write a good female character”

  • How to Write a Main Female Character: this article actually begins stating that female characters are the most complex characters, but I have an argument. We need to stop thinking of women as more complex than men. We’re human. We’re all complex. And a good character – no matter the gender – will be complex.
  • Overcoming Object Love: How to Write Female Leads Who Are People: The title sounds horrible, but the writer does tackle another issue: female characters being treated as “objects, objectives, or incentives.” But it’s terribly sad that we live in a world where we have to CLARIFY that woman are people, too, so female characters should reflect that. I definitely did not see anything close to this on the male results.
  • On Writing Strong (Female) Characters: Again, nothing against the articles. I just dream of a day where articles are based on writing strong characters without focusing on what gender they are.

Just a quick summary: when I research male characters, the results were directed on how women can write them as masculine, and when I searched female characters, I was exposed to objectification. Both of the results revealed gender stereotypes I disdain – both in society and in literature. This isn’t just an article about how we need to stop judging female characters. We need to stop stereotyping male characters, too. But here is my main question:

Can we please stop judging all of our characters based on their genders?

When we do this, we are teaching young readers that they won’t be safe – not even in fiction. That might seem extreme to some, but let’s look at the widely popular complaint: “That female character was weak because of x, y, and z.”

A weakness should never be based on the expectations of a gender, but I would even go so far as to say that we need to stop calling characters weak in general. One (wo)man’s weakness is another (wo)man’s strength, and sometimes, they are the same thing. That is the complexity in literature. That is the complexity of life. And gender shouldn’t devalue the moral ambiguity displayed in various novels in a world filled with so many genres and eclectic tastes. The physical description should be the last thing we mention.

Genders do not define us. They shouldn’t define our characters either. 

~SAT

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Author Announcements

12 Jun

Today is a busy day for me! I normally only blog every other day, but I had to share a few fantastic announcements with everyone. If only I had an awesome podium to stand behind and a little microphone attached to my head. (Sorry – I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently…Wait. I’m not sorry. No one should ever be sorry for watching TED talks.)

Moving right along…

First, Tony Jaa – martial artist and actor – deemed me quote worthy. VERY quote worthy. Me. Little ol’ silly me. The amount of blushing my pale face fell victim to was rather embarrassing, but all that blushing is my way of saying thank you soooo much.

tony

and it continued into this morning:

mymorning

If that isn’t enough, Seconds Before Sunrise is officially available on Amazon and Smashwords (and everywhere else.) But you can buy it for only $0.99 by using this code –> BW58C <–  on Smashwords. If you prefer Amazon, don’t worry! It’s only $3.89 there.

nominee-award-february14_(3)I also received an award from Noveltunity – a worldwide eBook club that exclusively features new or undiscovered writers. Every month, they hold a contest for “Book of the Month” and Minutes Before Sunset was in the top 10, so I was awarded nominee status! How neat is that? I definitely recommend this website. In fact, I have a code for you to join. Normally, you have to pay, but with this code –> AESNOV30 <– you get %40 off. Oh, how I love the sweet combinations of letters and numbers that make up lovely codes.  

This is also my 300th blog post: (because this blog is my life.)

300

As a special thank you, I am also sharing something deeply personal about The Timely Death Trilogy, but I will be using an excerpt to explain it:

Below this explanation is an early excerpt from Seconds Before Sunrise. This is from chapter two. It’s told by Jessica, and it is the first dream sequence we see in Seconds Before Sunrise. But the reader knows something Jessica doesn’t because of Minutes Before Sunset - this “dream sequence” isn’t a dream at all. It’s a memory. We see different flashes of separate scenes from book 1, but what you don’t know is that this dream is entirely based off of one of the real dreams I had that inspired The Timely Death Trilogy. In fact, the first dream I ever had was of me running through the forest behind my house. During the dream, I scratched my arm on a thorn bush (which existed in real life) and I woke up with a massive scratch on my arm. Looking back on it, I probably did it to myself. This is one of the reasons I say I “suffer” from nightmares and night terrors in my interviews. I often hurt myself in my sleep. But I’m sharing it to explain why I had moments where I truly contemplated my sanity, moments where I lost myself to the thoughts and questions of “is this really happening?” And now those moment are books, and one of those moments is right here for you to read:

 …

            “Run.”

The sudden voice was barely audible. My heart was racing as fast as my legs were. I leapt over torn up brush and twisted past trees at speeds I couldn’t comprehend. The darkness blended together.

The ground was rigid beneath my feet, and I stumbled as I looked over my shoulder. They were after us. I could feel them, their heat and their strength. The suffocating air was filled with electricity, and it burned against my exposed flesh. As suddenly as it had touched me, it was around my neck.

Her black eyes were boundless, and I lost myself in them before she tossed my body. I flew over her shoulder, easily and helplessly, and collided with wet leaves. My limbs flayed, and I clawed at the ground, attempting to stop my momentum − but it was too late.

My head cracked against a rock, and the sound shuddered through my body. Light consumed my vision before it was replaced with blackness, and then I was awake again.

I saw his eyes first, crystal-blue but clouded with concern. When he met my gaze, he dropped the cold rag he had brushed across my face. The condensation awoke my consciousness.

I gasped, trying to sit up, but his hand pressed my shoulders down. My body reacted to his touch, and his fingers lingered as if he couldn’t let go.

He spoke, but I didn’t hear him, and time blurred like the night had moments before. He moved too quickly, and I couldn’t follow him. He was by the window, and my legs burned as if I’d stood moments before. But I was still in bed, and he spoke by the window.

I couldn’t hear him, but I knew what was happening. He was leaving, and he wouldn’t be back. He disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and I screamed.

I hope you will take a moment to check out Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise today. I won’t ask you to buy it or review it or spread the word about it. I just want to share my words with you – I am unbelievably grateful to be living my dream every day because you – my dear reader – are the reason I can even write on this blog at (currently) 1:17 a.m. on a Thursday since I’m too excited about the eBook release to sleep. Feel free to send me an email to say “hi” or stop by the eBook extravaganza party tonight to interview me live. I will be there. And I will be smiling. (Not in that creepy, Cheshire cat sort of a way, but in that … wait, no. I like the creepy smile. I’ll be smiling like that.)

Bogart and I send our love,

~SAT

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Why Genre Hopping is your best friend

27 May

Shannon, here, to announce our last guest blogger. That’s right. Our last. I will be back on May 29, but today is a wonderful day, because Ryan Attard – author of The Legacy Series – is sharing his thoughts on genre hopping, something we both feel very passionately about. Ryan has blogged on here before, so you might be familiar with him, but if you’re not, check out his website and podcast by clicking the links.

This is one of those subjects that gets a bad rep just for daring to go against the dogma, as established by . . . who knows who, and who knows where. Personally, I dislike rules and constraints of any sort – the reason I am an artist is because I wish to express myself in a free manner, and trying to limit art in any way shape or form makes that very difficult. After all most of what we consider rules are nothing more than guidelines that we misunderstood or took too literally.

Case in point is genre-hopping. For most old school authors this is a cardinal sin punishable by artistic death. I fail to see why. From a technical stand point it does make a shred of sense: if you’re just starting out and try writing fifteen different genres at one go your head will implode to the size of a jelly bean. Most likely you’ll end up with fifteen really good idea that are always ‘almost done’.

However I am addressing serious writers, ones who make a commitment (be it themselves or a slave driver – I mean, publisher) to finish their project. If you are that kind of writer then you and I have much to discuss. Genre hopping is your friend, but unlike marketing (who’s the jackass in the corner with the corny jokes) or editing (that anal guy who’s always correcting other), this guy is more like that erratic insane friend whom everyone keeps their distance from until you try engaging with him. And here’s why you should engage with this dude:

Anyone here ever get writer’s block? If your answer is yes, then join the club. Writer’s block is nothing more than your brain going “TAKE A FREAKIN’ BREAK, MAN!”

And how do you take breaks? You do something else, of course. See where I’m going with this? No?

Writing in multiple genres (let’s say 2 or 3, for kitten’s sakes; don’t overcompensate) means that when you get tired of writing, say, your urban fantasy novel, you can always go to your adventure thriller. You are still writing, so you are still productive – you’re just shifting focus. By way of an example I am going to use myself (and shamelessly plug myself in the process). When I was writing Birthright (coming to you in a few months) I was also writing Book 1 of the Pandora Chronicles (coming to you whenever my publisher decides to get a move on). If you’re of a similar mindset as myself, then you’ll easily get bored of the same old, same old. So switch it up – write something else.

And guess what? By the end of it all you won’t have ONE book but TWO. (That’s twice the fans and twice the money just in case you can’t get a hint.)

Now let’s talk marketing. Yeah, I said it: Marketing.

Don’t be afraid of it – it only looks evil. In reality marketing is what puts that story that you worked so hard for in your reader’s hands.

I’m going to get a little technical but stay with me. There are two types of growth in a business: vertical and horizontal.

Vertical growth is when you grow within a level – sort of like building an apartment complex. You get one apartment on top of the other. Horizontal growth is when you build the same ground floor but in different areas.

Let’s translate this into writing markets. Authors usually pick one market and write for that, i.e. JK Rowling is very famous on the fantasy genre for writing the Harry Potter series. That’s a perfect example of vertical growth.

It’s also the easiest in terms of branding. Think about it; it’s easy to establish yourself in one market if you are dedicating all your efforts to that one market. So you get Rowling with fantasy, Keri Arthur with fantasy romance, Rick Riodan with YA mythology-based urban fantasy and Clive Cussler with adventure thrillers. You genre becomes your branding and once this happens it’s nearly impossible to shift to another genre. How many of you can tell me the name of Rowling’s new book? I bet you had to look it up.

For most established (and old-school) writers, genre hopping after you’ve established yourself in a particular market is suicide. It’s like having HP Lovecraft write a historical romance about daisy-picking: that just won’t do (not unless something with teeth and tentacles was involved).

bdedebgfSo does this mean that horizontal growth is better? Not in the least. But it can be smarter if done at the right place, at the right time. Let’s take Jim Butcher as an example. Jim had just begun making a name for himself in the Urban Fantasy market when he released his epic-ish fantasy series. And in recent years, he also released a steampunk series. So why wasn’t the community in uproar? Because he timed it well. He established himself as a multi-genre author whilst growing vertically in his main market, allowing him to expand in multiple genres (markets) at the same time.

One of my favourite podcasts to listen to is the Self-Publishing Podcast. The three hosts, Sean Platt, Johnny B Truant and David Wright, are in full favour of genre-hopping and horizontal growth. According to them (and I fully agree) it wiser to build horizontally and then grow vertically rather than the other way round. To prove their point, they have multiple serials in multiple genres, and only in the past two years have they fully built each and every one of them. Now their library of titles is well over a dozen and that’s what you want as an author.

The idea of a one-hit wonder is not a viable career option. Writing professionally is a hard job: one that requires constant work at improvement and getting more titles out there.

Once again you have to be smart with genre-hopping. Writing in 4 different markets is not the best of ideas. Start with one, and then expand to an adjacent market. That way you get overlap value.

Let’s say you wrote a book for market 1 and later on wrote another book for market 2. When you decide to write another book for market 1, you won’t only get people from that market but also a few from market 2 who are just curious about your work. Those are your true fans.

In my opinion this is one of the best strategies you can use to sustain a long term career. Sure it’ll take you five years instead of two to fully stabilize your roots, but once you do, it’ll be very hard for you not to make it. If you’re concerned with name branding, just use a pen name of an abbreviation like Johanna Penn does. Same author, different pen name, different market; problem solved.

The worst thing that can happen to an established author is to finish their series and then sit on their ass twirling their thumbs. However, when you’ve spread your roots on a wide area, you can always wrap something up and move on to the next project.

After all a writer writes – period. Genre, word count, language – these are all frosting to a cake. So if it doesn’t matter, why bother with it? You’re a writer and an artist. Write what you want to write, in whichever way you want to write it, and power to ya, baby.

- Ryan Attard

Interactive Book Reviews for Readers and Authors

17 May

Shannon, here, for an announcement. Minutes Before Sunset was featured on Friday Fiction. You can read an 1,000 word excerpt by clicking here. The scene happens between Jessica and Eric, and it’s from a chapter told from Jessica’s perspective.

Now an introduction. Pau Castillo from Pau’s Castles has written a wonderful post about her technique behind her interactive book reviews. I believe this post is great for readers and authors, especially book bloggers who might be considering a new aspect to add to their websites. Using her interactive method allows readers to be both entertained and engaged while reading and reviewing. As an author, I highly recommend her reviews – but check her out for yourself. She’s stellar! Thank you for blogging here today, Pau.

Good day to all avid followers and readers of the lovely author, Shannon A. Thompson! My name is Pau, a 20-year-old blogger from the Philippines and I’m here to share you how I do my book reviews.

Before, I used to think the way I do my reviews is… quite typical. Or rather, I’ve never thought highly of it. I thought it was just right to do the things I do but, apparently, I’ve gotten some praises from other authors because of it. They appreciated my “notes for authors”.

So what are notes for authors? 

Well, as the phrase claims, it’s my portion of my review post that contains my notes for authors. Usually, it contains spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers. Which is why it’s usually just for authors and not readers most especially if they haven’t read the book yet.

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Here’s a screenshot of my notes portion from my review for Shannon’s Seconds Before Sunrise.

notebook

This photo is a photo I tweeted to Shannon to show her my current notes progress for her book. I was barely halfway and I had these much thoughts already! The notes jotted down here can be as random as “Oh gosh Eric is a lovely character! Can I marry him?”

The notes portion basically contains my thoughts as I read the novel. Usually, I take note of the pace, character development, plot development, plot twists, fan-girl moments (especially when I’m crushing over a character. In Seconds Before Sunrise‘s case, Eric Welborn) and, sometimes, grammar and redundancies. English is not exactly my first language so grammar is not usually something I deeply look into. As for ARCs, I also take note of possible typographical errors.

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Here’s a screen cap of Jasmine Carolina’s comment about my review. I greatly appreciated this one because, although I became a little technical with my notes, she still loved the review. Jasmine Carolina recently published her first novel called Losing Me, the first book of a trilogy. It was a great novel!

sat

Lastly, other than the notebook author notes, I also tend to live tweet to authors (with minimal or no spoilers at all) while reading their works. I personally like them to feel my actual emotions at the very moment I’m feeling them. Shannon and another author named Amber Skye Forbes (author of When Stars Die) loved the live updates.

Personal tip and conclusion

So basically, that’s it! For attempting book bloggers out there, you might want to consider jotting down your thoughts while reading a book and if you have a twitter account, you might want to live-update as well. It gives the authors the satisfaction and joy of knowing how we, the readers, truly felt while reading something they’ve surely worked hard on.

Thank you for reading!

——-

More about the blogger

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Pau is a 20-year-old blogger from the Philippines. Her blog is mostly filled with book reviews but, once in a while, she inserts some random stuff like her life as a media student, the places she discovered, and the restaurants / food stalls that forever scarred her taste buds… in a good way. She is currently a fourth year college student taking up Advertising which is a course commonly known as a zombie virus in the world of her school. During her free time, she is mostly stuck with a book or attempting to be an artist by doing calligraphy.

You can contact her via:

Twitter: @pauscastles

Instagram: @pauscastles

Blog: http://pauscastles.wordpress.com

Email: pauscastles@gmail.com

My Wonderful, Amazing, and Talented Guest Bloggers

15 May

ShannonAThompson.com officially hit 16,000 followers! 

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These are purple periwinkles from http://www.democratdad.com. These little flowers will be symbolic in my upcoming novel, Take Me Tomorrow. This picture is also symbolic to how grateful I am to be continuing to grow with everyone. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for growing with me. And thank you for believing in me. My work is a piece of my soul, and I plan to share as many pieces as I can. These flowers show a sliver that will soon be exposed. Thank you for embracing it. You are as beautiful as how much these flowers mean to me. I also added an Extras page for all readers as a special “thank you.” I hope you enjoy checking it out as I release more information.

Over the next two weeks, I am signing out of ShannonAThompson.com. But don’t worry! I am not leaving without a plan. Six, wonderfully talented writers will be taking over ShannonAThompson.com to discuss writing and reading. The variety is great, and every post is entertaining – Seriously. I already read them ;] – and I hope you enjoy connecting with the writers as much as I have enjoyed knowing them.

Before I introduce them though, keep in mind that all announcements related to ShannonAThompson.com will be here – separated from the post at the top – and the announcements are written by me, and they are unrelated to the guest blogger. Here is one for today:

The Literary Syndicate interviewed me during a segment called “Papi Talk!” We discussed MANY topics I have never talked about before – including my intentions behind character and unfinished projects – but I also released my first excerpt from Take Me Tomorrow, so check it out by clicking here.

Now onto the introductions:

Below, I have included a schedule of guest bloggers you will be reading from for the next two weeks. My brother is getting married, and Shannon needs a little vacation (because she’s back to talking in the 3rd person.) That being said, these bloggers are fantastic writers, and every post relates to reading or writing (not to mention that every post is fantastic!) I’m not giving away the topics they are writing about, but I am introducing all of them today. Please visit their websites – you will both enjoy their work and connecting with them because every single one of them is a delight.

But here’s who you have to look forward to:

May 17: Pau’s Castles

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Pau Castillo is from Pau’s Castles – you might recognize her from a few posts I’ve shared. Her book reviews are entertaining, informative, and – even more amazing – interactive. She really knows how to befriend her readers and captivate her audience.

From her website, Pau introduces herself: “My name is Pau and words are my best friends. I love discovering new things and posting about my life experiences in this site. Also, I love books. I love paranormal stuff. I love things that go beyond what’s normal. I’m a little weird, but I guess you’ll get used to it.

May 19: Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett is the author of Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts, science fiction/urban fantasy novels. Here’s an introduction from his website, “I am hideously excited and tremendously frustrated by the experience of being a self-published author.  There is so much I have learned since I first launched Catskinner into the world in July of 2012, and the more I learn the more I realize what I don’t know.”

Photo from Mishaburnett.wordpress.com

Photo from Mishaburnett.wordpress.com

May 21: Hanne Arts

Hanne Arts is a seventeen-year old budding writer, and she’s already spreading her name about in the publishing world. Last year, she got second place in a short story competition in Budapest, and she’s currently working on several pieces for publication. From her website, she states, “I started writing when I was about seven years old. I read a lot and am fascinated by interesting and original stories, which is why I decided to become one of the authors making those stories! I have not yet been published, but am hoping to do so in the near future.”

Hanne Arts

Hanne Arts

Ron Estrada

Ron Estrada

May 23: 8.187

8.187 is a website run by Ron Estrada. Writer, husband, dad, and contributor to @Todays_Author, Ron Estrada shares his short essays that “contemplate the order and clutter, thrust and drift of the human condition in this great, big, hopeful world.”

May 25: Jonas Lee’s Imaginarium

Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

Written by Jonas Lee, this website centers on the importance of imagination and the discovery of creativity. Here is an excerpt from his website: “I live near the Black Hills in South Dakota (the States). I cannot stop eating peanut M & M’s to save my life or waistline if they are near me. I love to laugh, read new ideas, hang out with friends and enjoy things I’ve never experienced before. I have a strange addiction to watching DubStep Dancers on YouTube and I can shamefully quote almost every line from the movie Clue.”

May 27: Ryan Attard

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Ryan Attard

Ryan Attard, author of Firstborn and upcoming Birthright, has appeared on my website before. If you don’t know him, I hope you’ll take the time to check out his books (because laughter will ensue.) He is the host of the podcast – The Lurking Voice – and he also deemed me AEC’s Cognitive Operations Overlord. It’s safe to say that you are not safe at all when visiting his website, but you will have a good time.

Here’s an excerpt from his podcast: “The Lurking Voice is the journey of author Ryan Attard as he explores the world around him from an artistic perspective, including books, movies and music as well as the tropes of his craft. Expect reviews, funny commentary and the occasional rant.”

May 29

I am back – with Website Wonders and May’s Ketchup.

But until then, I hope you enjoy what these insightful writers have to say. I know I sure did.

~SAT

Marking Mother’s Day with Bookmarks

11 May

Special thanks goes out to Tony Jaa, actor and martial artist, for quoting my latest novel, Seconds Before Sunrise, on his official Twitter page. Known for Ong-BakFast and Furious 7, and his stunt work in the Mortal Kombat Annihilation, visit Tony Jaa on Twitter and Facebook.

tonyjaa

Check out my latest interview with Confessions of a Book Geek! I explained the specifics of my book covers, and I also invited five of my characters to lunch. It was a great time, so read it by clicking here.

Today is Mother’s Day – and as many of you know, my mother passed away very  suddenly when I was eleven years old. It’s not difficult for me to write about it necessarily, but there is this peculiar heaviness that happens on days like these. I say “peculiar” because it shifts every year. Sometimes, it is crushing, and other times, it is a wave, but it’s always sad. So I find myself doing what I do every year – and that is to find a way to celebrate her life and her love. And I did.

Bookmarks. 

She was the definition of an avid reader. In fact, when she passed, we donated most of her novels to a half-price bookstore, and they joked that an entire library – not a family – was donating. My mother was a library. We had these beautiful, tall oak bookshelves, and she layered the shelves with enormous collections of trinkets. (Hence why I always talk about trinkets.) But she also kept bookmarks, and I reflected on that today – thinking of what bookmarks have meant to me.

A Bookmark is a Memory:

asleep“This is where i fell asleep” is my oldest bookmark. It was my favorite when I was a kid. I believe I read all of the Dear America books and the Magic Tree House series with this bookmark slid in the pages. I even remember getting it at a book fair. (I think they were cheaper because of the grammatical error, but I’m not sure? I think the i” was definitely on purpose and probably didn’t go over well with parents.) ANYWAY – I loved animals, so this was perfect for me. It used to even have a little puppy attached to the top, but that didn’t last for very long [obviously]. I don’t use it anymore, but it sits on my shelf of accomplishments. (Yes, I have something as egotistical as a shelf of accomplishments ::sigh:: It’s how I stay motivated.) But this bookmark reminds me of childhood and how I lost myself and found myself in novels, whether it was my first You Choose the Story Scooby Doo books, Goosebumps, or The Journal of Scott Pendalton Collins: A World War 2 Soldier. (My favorite Dear America book.) This bookmark is a memory because this bookmark represents my childhood love for novels that continued into my adult life.

A Bookmark is a Friend

badass“i may appear harmless…but inside i’m completely badass” This is my current bookmark, and I love it so much. (And I also just realized the I have a thing for “i” being lowercased.) This bookmark was a gift I received from a wonderfully talented painter, and it brings a smile to my face anytime I open a book and read the words. Just as a friend does, it makes me laugh, smile, and enjoy the time ahead (in this case, a novel.) Also, who couldn’t love the phrase? If you still need coaxing, it’s a magnetic bookmark – so it never falls out. This is good for clumsy readers such as myself. And – once again – like a friend, it is prepared more than I am. It knows I’m clumsy, even before I remember I am. The fact that it is also a gift reminds me of how much a gift can warm a heart up, no matter how small it is. This bookmark is a friend because this bookmark reminds me of laughter and staying true to myself.

A Bookmark is a Lifetime

mom“A hundred years from now, the world may be different because I was important in the life of my child” This bookmark is the most important bookmark that I own. It was my mother’s, and she was actually using it when she died. I keep it in a memory box to keep it safe, but this bookmark reminds me of how much she loved her family and how much she believed in all of our futures. On the most difficult days – like Mother’s  Day – it shows me how she would still be encouraging me if she were still alive, and in a way, she does encourage me by leaving behind a bookmark like this one. I may not be able to live up to the bookmark. I may not be able to change the world in 100 years. But I can at least try to change the world around me by encouraging and helping others to follow their dreams just as my mother encouraged me to follow my dreams.

Bookmarks don’t only mark a stopping place in a novel. They can symbolize parts of life and remind us of all the strength and passion we have to live for.  For me, they mark places in my heart , but they also remind me of where I left off so I can begin again.

~SAT

My Next Novel: Take Me Tomorrow is Almost Here!

5 May

My next novel – Take Me Tomorrow – is almost here!  We even have a Facebook Page. Please like it by clicking here

I know, right?

The cover is already here, and the novel is closer than you think. Only a few months away actually.  AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is expecting to release it on July 17, 2014. Normally, I do a cover reveal, but I am trying something new because I want to share your websites here on ShannonAThompson.com.

How can you share your website here on ShannonAThompson.com?

In the comments below, guess what this novel is about and/or ask a question. Be sure to leave a link to your website, and I will link to it on my next post when I answer everyone’s questions and guesses this Friday!

Be sure to take a close look at the cover of Take Me Tomorrow: If you’ve been with me for a while, you know there are more hints scattered throughout this website.

takemetomorrow

Have fun! 

~SAT

Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

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

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

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

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

Back to the topic.

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

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

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

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

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

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

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

theboys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

girls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

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

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

 

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