Tag Archives: book recommendation

#MondayBlogs: The Importance of Goosebumps

13 Apr

Intro:

Today’s guest blogger deserves a huge round of applause. Not only does he spread the love for reading via his blog, November Notebook, he also teaches English to middle school students. In addition, Grant Goodman is talking about a series of books that filled my childhood, and I’m sure you’re familiar with these novels as well…They haunted all of our nightmares. Thank you for Goosebumps, R.L. Stine.

The Importance of Goosebumps

Most of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books left me terrified.

I remember how Night of the Living Dummy made me afraid to get up in the middle of the night because I knew that Slappy would be sitting at the top of the steps, waiting for me. I’ll never forget that moment when I hit the end of Stay Out of the Basement and the big twist made my stomach feel like it was full of ice. These books left me scarred, because even though I knew they were fiction, they took root in my mind and always threatened to crawl off the page and into reality.

For some reason, though, I kept reading them.

goose

Many of you, I’m sure, have strong memories of reading Goosebumps. It was the Twilight Zone for kids: a place where something strange and terrifying lurked, where people couldn’t always trust each other to tell the truth, and where sometimes you realized that Camp Nightmoon…well, I won’t spoil it for you.

These books were some of my earliest significant forays into genre fiction. Before them, I had been reading Encyclopedia Brown, Cam Jansen, the Clue books. They were fun, of course, but they didn’t hold my attention once I had found ghosts and werewolves and evil ventriloquist dummies.

Even though the Goosebumps books were largely stand-alone stories, I knew that they were all gathered under a single brand, one that I could trust to deliver a memorable story. So, while I never became a full-fledged horror fan, I did step into another type of book series: fantasy.

I read The Lord of the Rings. I read every Dragonlance title I could find. Somewhere along the line, the first Wheel of Time book showed up on my bookshelf. That led me down the path to Neil Gaiman, Brandon Sanderson, and Patrick Rothfuss.

The monster blood and the werewolves and the mummy, I’m sure, will never truly fade. They were a stepping stone for me, or maybe a catapult, that moved my imagination forward. And while the idea of a twist ending doesn’t resonate with me anymore, I’m glad to know that kids out there are still able to pick up Welcome to Dead House and start their own journeys through R.L. Stine’s many worlds.

Grant GoodmanBio:

Grant Goodman’s debut novel, Agent Darcy and Ninja Steve in…Tiger Trouble! will be released on May 4, 2015. He is also the head writer for November Notebook, a YA Lit blog for teens, adults, ghosts, robots, unicorns, dragons, and aliens. He teaches middle school English in Montgomery County, Maryland.

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

~SAT

#SATurday: The Lesson of Macaroni and Cheese

14 Feb

#SATurday: The Lesson of Macaroni and Cheese

When I was little, my mother was making me Macaroni and Cheese – something I continue to love to this day – and I was horrified when she poured it down the sink right in front of me. Of course, that isn’t what she had actually done. In reality, she had poured it into a strainer I couldn’t see from my position near the kitchen’s island. But I still screamed.

I started crying uncontrollably. I was starving (at least, I was starving in my kid mind), and she had just made food for me only to throw it away. As my five-year-old self began crying out my explanation (because she had asked when I was so upset), she began laughing uncontrollably. Now – in my tiny dramatic brain – she was laughing in my face. Of course, she hadn’t thrown out my food, but I think my panic surprised her so much she had no other way to react. Because she couldn’t stop laughing, she actually had to pick up the strainer to show me that my food was fine. After that, we were both laughing.

It might seem strange – and perhaps, it is – but this memory is one of my fondest memories I have of my late mother. Probably because she later taught me how to cook Macaroni and Cheese before she died, but I mainly love this memory because we were doing something together.

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I only had eleven years with my mom, many of which I don’t remember, and she was often too ill to do much, so my memories with her are fleeting – probably unmemorable to the kid who gets a lifetime with a mom – but then again, maybe not. I guess I’ll never know, but I do think about aspects of my life like this a lot, and I’m very grateful for even the tiniest moments because even the tiniest moments last a lifetime. Her lessons have stayed with me, after all.

Let’s take this memory for example. When she started cooking, I was really excited, and then, when she “poured it down the sink”, I was crushed, but then, I realized it was not what it seemed, and everything was fine. In fact, I was one step closer to eating, and I got to laugh so hard it stuck with me for life.

On my bad days, I try to remember Macaroni and Cheese. Aside from the pasta being possibly the best comfort food in the world – no exaggeration – I think there is a lot to learn from the lesson of the strainer. When everything appears to be going down the sink, so to speak, maybe it’s only being strained of all the bad stuff so you can move on to the best part – eating. And I do love eating.

We’re only getting closer to enjoying it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t laugh along the way.

~SAT

TTSP.S. I am taking on more clients who need book reviews, interviews, and editing! I provide the first chapter’s edit for free. If you’re interested, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

In the meantime, check out Tiger Tail Soup by Nicki Chen. This historical novel was inspired by true tales about the Japanese occupation, and I recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction, literary fiction, and women’s fiction like The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.

Self-Publishing Checklist

25 May

Shannon again to announce two events and today’s guest blogger.

Books for Thought posted an interview I recently had with them where I discuss even more of my strange writing habits, my ultimate dream, and what I like and dislike about the writing process. Check out my answers and more by clicking here.

Also, I would like to thank Reviews and Recommendations for recommending me!

Today’s guest blogger is Jonas Lee. He also hosts the blog Jonas Lee’s Imaginarium. A writer and challenger of the imagination, Jonas Lee is on his publishing adventure, and he shares his thoughts with the world.

Welcome today’s guest blogger, Jonas Lee!

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley said it best in the last line of Out of the Night That Covers Me. Since I’m foregoing the traditional path, I decided on looking into being self-published. Self-publishing is a new opportunity for every writer to become an author. You can write a 400 page novel saga about the differences of Coke and Pepsi and make it available to the world. Keep in mind, self-publishing does not equate to selling.

So, you’ve gotten to the point where no one is biting at your manuscript; or you just want to get your work out there and let it spread slowly throughout the world of literary media like a virus. Self-publishing is the way to go. Where to start though?

Well, first things first…

  1. Book finished? Check
  2. Book edited? Check
  3. Book edited by someone other than you? By at least three different people? A professional?

If that last one is a no, ease back before you just wildly post it on the Interwebs. I thought mine was good on the second round of edits. Then taking a week, stepping back and hearing from a couple of people on a few  flaws (by few I mean tons), it was obvious that I should take more time. Then after having a cursory edit from someone who edit for a living, I am certain that editing is key. Think about putting your work, your art, your passion out there and it contains simple typos, grammatical issues or a problem with flow.

JonasReap(1)First impressions happen once and you don’t want to be caught seeming like you are incompetent or don’t take pride in your craft. If you are setting out on your own, you want the first experience to be the best and kick-start the momentum from there. What I’ve found from my research so far on self-publishing is that it takes a motivated person with a clear plan to reach the heights they want to achieve.

Unlike being picked up by a literary agent, you will act as your marketing department, publicist, publisher, proof-reader, editor, legal consultant, accountant and artist for your cover art. Granted, you can hire out a majority of these functions, but how much would you like to sink into your novel before you get any return? Get that figure in your mind first. Then break it down to a time table that you’d like to see. First things first, before you submit an eBook or self-print, edit your book! Professionally. Then you’ll need cover art.

Cover art can be anything. There are websites out there to help guide you through some basic covers to get you started. *Note: Do not just pull images off of the internet and use them because “you found them for free so they must be free.” Artists can sue you for using their images without their consent, and it doesn’t have to be immediately. You can push out a book and it takes off and soars and reaches the top of Amazon. Then the artist whose cover art you pilfered from sees it and he wants his royalties. Do you want to be sued for up to $125,000? Take the time and buy the prints. Prints can cost from $20 and up, but then they are yours to play with and manipulate. C Your A.

How many people in your family or social groups would be willing to help in any occasion? Don’t expect the world to do your bidding, but trade services. If you know an artist that will do your cover art for helping them sheet rock their basement, do it! If you know an accountant that will give you advice for wine, barter and make it work. 

Cover art done and editor lined up, so what next? Like any hopeful author should do in these circumstances, read up. Research your audience and get a clear idea of who you want to buy your book. I know we’d like everyone to buy it, but let’s face it everyone has a genre or niche they are appealing to. Then use that to find creative ways to market and get known. 

Next in line, talk with an accountant. Seems presumptuous? No, seriously, if you are going to spend your money on a “business venture” such as writing, they will be able to help you find the right path to start on. First off, you are a business once you post your work for sale, so you need a Tax-ID or and EIN (Employee Identification Number). In my state, you have to register yourself as a company. Sounds silly when you are just hoping for a few sales at first, but trust me, when you start propelling and picking up speed, it’ll be a great investment. Plus, if you wind up getting signed by a literary agent, you’re eliminating steps they have to take. Who doesn’t want less work?? Your accountant should steer you towards any paperwork that you need to accomplish that. Oh, and yes, it will cost money to register yourself. On the plus side, it should be tax deductible.

In fact, keep receipts for anything you spend time or money on (this includes your writing time). You never know when something can be written off. Another perk on registering your name as a business is that write-offs for business expenses are possible. Check with an accountant on what those may be. However, your business registration will also allow you to set up back accounts (very handy for people using a pen name).

After your editor, cover art and your accountant, now… Refer to the C Your A comment above. Copyrights. DO NOT post a book or set of short stories or poetry without making sure that they can’t be picked up and sold by another. Unless you are wanting them to remain free to whomever wants it. Copyrighting can cost money but its a wise investment. Otherwise, the free way to copyright, albeit less formal and more work, is to seal your manuscript in a waterproof envelope and mail it to yourself. Keep in mind, don’t open it. You do that and it’s back to being a stack of paper up for the taking. Mailing it and keeping it in a safe or at least a secure place ensures it in case your story winds up in a publishing house somewhere or on TV. The government basically time-stamped and delivered your insurance policy.

Lastly, a great option an aspiring author should be looking into formatting your manuscript. Even though it looks great on Microsoft Word, e-Readers speak a different language altogether and your masterpiece might look like it was shuffled into a deck of hieroglyphics and empty space.

So, stew on those tidbits. 

Self-Publishing Shopping List:

  • Finish Book
  • Edit, edit, eidt (sp) – {then hire a professional}
  • Social Media
  • Copyright
  • Editor
  • Formatting
  • Cover Art
  • Tax Preparedness
  • ISBN Registry – Not needed, but handy for referencing materials later
  • Marketing – Think of what you want to spend (publicity, flyers, social media boosts, shwag, QR Codes, domain-name purchases, website)
  • Get to know your local businesses, book stores, book clubs and writer groups
Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

– Jonas Lee

Connect with Jonas Lee by clicking here

Thank you, Jonas Lee!

AEC Stellar Notifications

3 Jul

First Update: In order to celebrate Minutes Before Sunset winning Goodreads Book of the Month, ebooks are on sale. Starting July 4th, Minutes Before Sunset will only be $3.89. AEC Stellar Publishing is also giving away free ebook copies in exchange for a review. Simply comment below with an email address or email shannonathompson@aol.com.

I know I promised more writing tips today, but I’m unable to do so today. I apologize, but I hope you understand. However, I will post one shortly. That is a promise.

So what’s the plan today?

I was interviewed by Ink Waters: Freelance Writing Agency, and I’m sharing more exciting news from AEC Stellar Publishing:

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 4.08.39 PM

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 4.09.11 PM

If you like these updates, you can sign up on the reader’s distribution list here. 

Other than that news, I was also interviewed by Ink Waters: Freelance Writing Agency, and I wanted to share it, because it’s short, but it’s also very informative. I was asked six questions, and they really defined what happens behind the scenes with writers.

My favorite question?

“Do you have a particular writing style or any odd writing habits?

I know I talk to myself and make faces when I’m trying to figure out what expression a person would make, but I’m most amused when I take out my hair bun and numerous pens fall out. Just goes to show how much I get distracted by my fantasy land.”

Read the rest of this interview here.

If you want to interview me, send an email to shannonathompson.com. I love talking about anything and everything, so don’t hesitate!

If you’re in America, I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day tomorrow (but I hope everyone has a great day tomorrow!) And I will surely get on writing tips as soon as I can.

Thank you for understanding :D

~SAT

Book of the Month: Minutes Before Sunset!

30 Jun

If you read the live updates, then you already knew this, but I wanted to post about it for those who follow me strictly on this website.

Minutes Before Sunset is officially Goodreads Book of the Month for July.

grbomYou can join the discussion by clicking here.

My best friend, Cassie, drew this of me, and it's an accurate description of what I look like as I head off to my cousin's wedding!

My best friend, Cassie, drew this of me, and it’s an accurate description of what I look like as I head off to my cousin’s wedding!

You’re encouraged to discuss what you think about the novel and/or thinking about the novel as you read along. I’d love for everyone who’s reading to participate, so other readers who might be on the fence decide to read it, but I understand if you’re busy! And, again, Making Connections is a great group to promote yourself as well as meet other authors and readers.

Thank you for voting and supporting me! This has been a very exciting experience for me, and I am proud to move into the future with such great supporters. More writing tips and publishing tips are coming next post, but I have to keep it short today! As of right now (June 29, 2:48 p.m. CDT) I am off to see my cousin get married!

Looking forward to future posts and getting back into the swing of things. But, if you’re interested, AEC Stellar Publishing is offering free ebooks of Minutes Before Sunset in exchange for a review. Simply email me at shannonathompson@aol.com, and I will get it sent over to you right away!

Have a great day,

~SAT

July 2 (or 3): Holidays in Writing

Last Day to Vote

28 Jun

June 29 Update: Minutes Before Sunset won Book of the Month on Goodreads! Check it out here, and share your thoughts in an open discussion group. Thank you so much for your support, everyone! If it wasn’t for you guys, I wouldn’t be here, and I owe every delightful moment of excitement to you! Thank you!

If you follow me on a regular basis, then you already know what this is, but today is the last day to vote, and I had to share it. Minutes Before Sunset is nominated for Book of the Month on Goodreads, and I’m very excited and flattered to be a part of this competition, because it’s a physical gift for all of the hard work everyone has gone through to help me achieve this.

These are the current rankings (showing the top five):

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 8.33.45 PM

As you can see, Minutes Before Sunset is in first place with 53 votes, but every vote brings me happiness through the encouragement you all have shown. In order to vote, you either need a Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. When you click on this link, join “Making Connections” (top right of the picture) so it can register the vote. 

This is another reason I’m sharing this.

Making Connections” is a great group which allows authors and readers to connect and promote their novels. For instance, Book of the Month for August is up for nominations, and every month in the future will come after. There are also groups within the groups in order to talk about marketing within the indie publishing industry and beyond. Even if you don’t vote, I highly encourage checking out this group

This is the group’s direct description online: “Over 1000 books listed to Read & Review…..come join us. This is a place for Authors, Bloggers, Publishers, Reviewers, Book Tours, Giveaways, and Interviews to make connections, find followers, ask for help with Blog Tours, Interviews, or just need some help with your blog.”

Again, please vote for Minutes Before Sunsetbut I understand if you can’t. “Making Connections” is a fantastic meeting place for authors, and I hope some of you join. You’re always welcome to add me as a friend too!

Photo on 6-25-014

Bogart and I are working hard, and by that I mean I’m working hard and Bogart is working hard to distract me with cuddles. (Don’t worry; I love it.)

As I finish up the editing of “Seconds Before Sunrise” (Book 2 of a Timely Death series), I wanted to share something I received from a reader.

Upcoming author, Gregory Lamb, gave Minutes Before Sunset 5 stars and wrote this review: 
“I loved the character development. I think young adult readers will be able to identify with them. I’m looking forward to reading the the other books in the series.”

Read this rest here, and I’m looking forward to posting more in the future. 

~SAT

July 1: Winners

July 3: Holidays in Writing

Website Wonders: For Readers & Writers

20 Jun

Website Update: 2.40 p.m. The host of Goodreads has clarified the poll is working and no one is cheating. She’s excited when new members join and vote, so I’m still in, and I feel much better about the situation. Thank you to everyone who’s supported me, voted, and even returned to explain who you are, so your identity was verified. I really appreciate this. I couldn’t have better people helping me :D (If you didn’t see my last post, some authors accused others of cheating to get votes last night.)

If you all recall, Minutes Before Sunset needed nominations for “Book of the Month” on Goodreads, and you all succeeded! But I need votes. PLEASE VOTE BY CLICKING THE LINK. We’re in first place thanks to your votes, but I need all of the support I can get to stay in this position.

Thank you for voting: Gregory S. LambChristina ChannelleAmber ForbesBob WilliamsMarie BaileyLaura B., Raymond, Silver WolfChristieKristy Feltenberger GillespieDale SpillerDan PawlowskiPeter JohnTuan HoRaul DiazNada FarisChrisJessicaMerilyn DignumAndreeCharles E. YallowitzVickie KayukKerriSarahKy Grabowski,David ThompsonChris the Story Reading Ape, Hereswhatsgoingon, Daryl Stewart, Emma, Heather, Abbie, James, Kendal, and Camrin!

So I used to do posts under the topic “Website Wonders.” Basically, I’d share a website that I thought was good for writers and/or readers to use in order to enhance their artistic lives. However, my “last” one was back in January, because I really stopped labeling them as such. (Mainly because they’d be a part of something else, like a Writing Tips post.) But today I bring it back.

On December 8, 2012, I wrote Website Wonders: Twitter: ShanAshleeT23, which directed followers to my Twitter while also giving tips on how to promote yourself via Twitter. I did this for an important reason. I often share websites I come across on my Twitter, and I do this on a regular basis. So today’s post will be the top sites I’ve found and shared on my Twitter in the past month or so:

Writing & Publishing:

 

 

Click the pic to join me on Twitter!

Click the pic to join me on Twitter!

Reading

I also share funny things on my Twitter about my every day life: This is a giant cinnamon roll I ate! It came with a steak knife. How awesome is that?

I also share funny things on my Twitter about my every day life: This is a giant cinnamon roll I ate! It came with a steak knife. How awesome is that?

Cinnamon Roll

If you all find any websites you like as a reader or a writer, comment below to share it :D Also, I hope you voted. It really helps me out. I’m simply flattered you support me here! And I’m excited, because so many more people are supporting Minutes Before Sunset now that the paperback has been released through all major retailers. Check it out if you haven’t already:

Click the picture of Minutes Before Sunset! Available as paperback and ebook on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

Click the pic and go to Amazon!

~SAT

June 23: It’s My Birthday :]

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