Tag Archives: YA

Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy

20 Jan

First, I would like to thank Dahlia Adler for inspiring me to write this post via her article What We Aren’t Talking About When We Talk About Feminism in YA.

Feminism is an important, vital part of my identity, but it’s also one of the scariest words in my life. Why? Well, I have a confession: I’m a bad feminist. I’m afraid to admit I’m a feminist on the Internet. I have no issues with this in RL (a.k.a. real life). In fact, I practically never stop talking about Feminism to my friends and family, but it’s not in any of my Internet bios, and despite reading Feminist conversations on Twitter (and all over the Internet), I mainly nod my head and shout at my computer…but I NEVER say anything on the Internet. I stay silent.

Why?

Because I’m scared.

I’m scared of the retaliation, of the sexual harassment many of these outspoken folks receive, and of the constant berating that happens for months afterward. In real life, I can walk away, but the Internet is forever.

Today’s the day I stop being afraid and I start being brave.

I am a Feminist.

What does that mean?

It means I want equality for both women and men. I shouldn’t have to expand any more than that, but the arguments and stigmas out there cause a lot of problems in many aspects of our culture and lives. That being said, this is a blog about writing and reading, so I want to focus on Feminism in YA, just as Dahlia did. Please check out her article. She tackles important topics, like female characters in STEM-related fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and sports that show how dedicated girls can be. Friendships between girls, relationships between a girl and her mother, and asexual females are also underrepresented, and one of the biggest trends is giving female characters masculine traits to make them heroes…instead of heroines.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with a girl swinging a sword or kicking ass. In fact, that’s pretty awesome, too. But when that same character cries or has a romantic moment, many readers reject the character because she’s suddenly not “heroic” anymore. This idea is really damaging to female characters. It’s the idea that heroines need to be 1-D in order to be respected or believable.

As a reader, I saw this happen with Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I LOVED this book. It centered on a female assassin, and she is a tough fighter. That being said, she has also been imprisoned for a couple years leading up to the story, and this recent past makes her a bit weaker than her usual norm. She even throws up a couple of times, and she gets involved with some light romance. Many readers found this combination unbelievable or too girly. “She liked candy! Why would an assassin like candy?”

Maybe because she likes candy? Why do female characters have to solely be one thing? Why can’t they kick ass and like candy? Men like candy too. In fact, I mainly bake cookies for my roommate and my father—both men. I’m not even a fan of chocolate. I’m more of a salty snacks sort of a person. But that’s beside the point…

As a woman, I have many aspects to my personality, both feminine traits and masculine traits. (In the traditional sense.)

I have a knife collection, yet I teared up at that viral raccoon video where he lost his cotton candy in the puddle of water.

As a teen, I got into a lot of physical fights (with girls and boys), but I also cried if someone happened to hug me at the right time. (Not proud of the fighting. Just a truth.)

I drove a stick and shot guns, but I also squealed anytime I saw anything fluffy. (I still do.) I worked in a sports bar…and as a nanny.

I own tennis shoes and heels. I played sports throughout my schooling—basketball, track, and tennis—but I also loved school dances. My favorite activity was running through the woods with my dog and practicing with my throwing knives or with my bow and arrow. (Hello, Katniss. What can I say? I grew up in the Midwest.) Afterward, my husky would be my pillow, and I’d lie down in the forest to read a cheesy romance novel.

I can wield a knife in one hand and eat candy in another.

If I was a YA character, I'm not sure I'd be "believable" (Most of these were taken when I was a teen.)

If I was a YA character, I’m not sure I’d be “believable” P.S. Half of these photos were taken in my teenage years.

My life doesn’t make me any less of a believable person. So why are the characters unbelievable?

It’s an important question to ask in regards to female characters.

A female character—as well as a male character—does not have to be only one way in order to be believable. People have numerous aspects that make up their personality, and they react differently to many types of situations because they are also human.

So, next time your female assassin eats candy or falls in love, maybe we shouldn’t criticize.

Maybe we should talk about how awesome that is.

~SAT

Author in a Coffee Shop, Episode 3 happens this Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Twitter via @AuthorSAT. What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, and tweet out my writer thoughts. I also talk to you. ;)

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

#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

#WW How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing

13 Jan

Audio books are getting more and more popular every year. Why? Well, it’s nice to be able to listen to a book while driving to work instead of the latest (and probably repetitive) pop song. On top of that, many people have less free time than ever before, so audio books help add to the variety of ways readers can still read. (Now if they could only get that price down…)

Personally, I’m not an audio book person. Not yet. But I have found another stream of entertainment through audio programs, and they help with my writing.

I love podcasts. I think they are brilliant, and they definitely help keep me updated when I FINALLY give myself a break from staring at my computer screen. I generally listen to a podcast while doing the dishes or putting away the laundry or chasing my crazy cats away from scratching up the latest UPS delivery. (True story.)

Basically, they help me continue to research the publishing industry or for my writings when I’m not on my computer. Since I work on the computer all day (and spend most of my free time on the computer as an author), it’s nice to have the option of simply listening to additional information and not have to go searching for it. I highly recommend giving them a try. Even if you already know the information given, it’s nice to have your feelings confirmed. (It’s also nice for a hermit like me, who practically never hears a human voice all week long.)

So, how do I recommend getting involved?

Well, think about what you want more information on and why. Personally, I wanted to follow at least two good writing podcasts, but I also wanted something that could help with my writing, especially in areas where I lack. To expand on that, I wanted something that would challenge my inspiration or force me to go outside my comfort zone. Seriously, there are podcasts on everything, but here is my example:

1. Writing Podcasts

There are dozens of podcasts dedicated to writing, publishing, and everything in between. Personally, my favorite has been Writing Excuses. The recordings are clear, the hosts are fun, and the topics are relatable but also challenging. I often find myself nodding along to everything they say, but then, they say ONE little thing in a way I’ve never thought about it before, and my entire afternoon is fueled with excitement. This is my favorite podcast of all-time. Highly recommended for every writer out there, no matter where you are in your writing career.

WritingExcuses

2. Help with my Research

As every writer, I research. A lot. But I don’t always have hours and hours of time to research. So, I searched for a podcast with mythology and classical stories to listen to. This is more for inspiration than anything else, but it helps me take a break, have fun, and educate myself (or even refresh myself) on the mythology out there literature uses to create. It also feels like a reprieve from work, even though it isn’t.

3. Challenge My Inspiration

This is an expansion on #2, but basically, I didn’t just want to be inspired; I also wanted to be challenged. So, in this example, I challenged myself to listen to a podcast on Japanese mythology. Granted, I’ve already had some interest in this field, but it’s more difficult for me to get involved since I don’t have a huge background in it. By listening to it more, especially while contrasting it against western mythology, I can challenge myself to find inspiration in topics I wouldn’t normally find outside of that podcast.

These are three simple ways you can use podcasts to help with your writing.

I hope you have just as much fun as I have!

~SAT

I’m starting a new series called “Author in a Coffee Shop.” 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 episode 2.

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

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

Bad Bloods Cover Reveal!

6 Jan

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.

Add November Rain, Part One on Goodreads

Then, add November Snow, Part Two on Goodreads

We are here! The covers for both Bad Bloods books can be found below, along with their descriptions. If you want extra information, don’t forget to follow the FacebookPinterest, and the Extras page—and of course, I give sneak peeks every Saturday during my #Saturdate posts. As we get closer and closer, there will be more opportunities to read first and win prizes. Today’s winners will be announced tomorrow on my Facebook page! Three helpers won an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain. Keep reading…and of course,

Let it snow,

~SAT

Special thanks goes out to: Legends of Windermere, OMG Books and More Books, SDAV Reads, My Books- My World, Crazy Beautiful Reads, Book Prints, A Reader’s Review, Jonas Lee: Challenging the Imagination, Little Birdy Book Blog, Macy<3Stories, Mel’s Shelves, The Messy OwlNerd Girl, and Cross Road Reviews.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

NRcoverSeventeen-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.

November Snow, Part Two, eBook releases July 25, 2016

NScover(paperback releases that November) 

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle. After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

Follow the FacebookPinterest, and the Extras page

I hope you love the covers as much as I do!

2016 is going to be great.

Stay tuned,

~SAT

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 The Danish Girl, An Outline, Cat Socks, and Raven Boys

2 Jan

Happy New Year! I know we’re only two days into 2016, but I hope the New Year is already off to a great start. I’m really looking forward to what 2016 brings. This year, so far, I have two book releases planned, a possible signing at B&N, and a signing in St. Louis in the fall. I hope I can add to that as the year progresses! My overall writing goals include working on The Tomo Trilogy and another, brand-new, never-be-seen trilogy I have yet to talk about openly. The first book is written, but in need of a rewrite. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even find a way to get those out sooner to you rather than later. ;)  Either way, I’m looking forward to 2016, and I hope you are too!

What I’m Writing:

I’ve actually been working really hard on Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy. After reviewing Take Me Tomorrow, I realized some major mistakes throughout the second book, so I’ve been re-outlining to get a better, more precise plot. (This sounds much nicer than it actually is. It involved a lot of self-loathing and staring at the wall and waded up papers and empty pens.) Ironically, I actually sold my very last copy of Take Me Tomorrow, so the world does seem to be telling me I must finish this trilogy next. We will see.

What I’m Publishing:

Whew! I finished the second round of edits for Bad Bloods, so now we have proofreaders going over it. I also sent out a newsletter asking for help during the cover reveal on January 6, so that’s exciting! (I can’t believe that’s happening in less than a week.) The winning #1lineWed preview can be read below. This week’s theme was friendship. (And while my tweet was short, I actually cut out a lot of the scene to fit it on Twitter, so this isn’t exactly what you’ll read in the book. I would give you the full scene, but it might spoil a major section. But, fun fact, Jane—to this day—is one of my favorite characters from any of my works.)

“A political friendship.”

“Friendship should never be political.”

“My dear,” Jane squeezed my hand, “Everything is political.”

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

12402069_958788567501658_8537463732066083469_oI began my first read of 2016! See How They Run by Ally Carter is the second book in the Embassy Row series and highly recommended. (Love her.)

I started and finished The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, so yeah! I’ve started my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. You can read my five-star review by clicking here. I recommend it to fans of mystery books, treasure hunts, the paranormal, humor, and Welsh mythology. Light romance readers will still enjoy the tension.

I finished The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and I loved it! I gave it four stars, and you can read my review here, but I recommend it to lovers of romance, especially when runaway princesses are involved. This is a VERY light “high” fantasy, but I am looking forward to seeing how the characters grow in the sequel.

What I’m Listening To:

Sights by London Grammar. Listen to it. Listen.

What I’m Watching:

UnknownSo…I went a little crazy this week and watched a lot of movies. (What can I say? Silver AMC passes are great Christmas gifts during the Oscar season.)

The Danish Girl made me an emotional wreck. I highly recommend it. The movie—based on a true story that I also recommend reading (because there are some movie differences)—is brave, immortal, and a depiction of a sort of rare love, a never-ending type. The entire story was heart wrenching.

The Hateful Eight wasn’t my favorite Quentin Tarantino movie, but I will say this: I love that he was brave enough to tackle to taboo of violence against women in film. (Because, to me, that was what the movie was about.) Why? Because, generally, male characters face violence, while female characters only face sexual violence. (Which I’m freakin’ sick of. If I could go the rest of my life without a rape scene in a movie, that would be great. K, thanks.) I was quite relieved to see that Quentin doesn’t follow that “standard.” He sticks by just violence, treating her like any other character, and he also does it in a static form. (The whole movie practically takes place in one room, which is impressive.) The other parts that blew me away were the monologues. His dialogue was on point. But the overall story just wasn’t as exciting for me as his other films. Still recommended, of course.

I rented one. Love, Rosie reminded me of one of my favorite book/movies of all time. (One Day by David Nicholls), except Love, Rosie is the sweet and charming version. So, obviously, I loved this movie. I have the biggest crush on Lily Collins, which is why it’s so surprising I haven’t seen this movie yet, but I’m definitely going to watch it again. Recommended to those who love cheese.

And I managed to sort of binge-watch Making a Murderer. Worth it! It’s an awesome documentary series about a twisted trial.

movies

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I made chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mousse this week. Both of which turned out OKAY, but I’m learning. ;)

What I’m Wearing:

Cat socks. I got brand-new cat socks. This is a big deal.

What I’m Wanting:

enhanced-29836-1449080491-1So…I work at home and write at home and basically never leave my house. It’s natural that I would want all of these items from this list on Buzzfeed: 25 Delightfully Cozy Gifts For Anyone Who Hates Leaving the Home. But the coffee mug is perfection.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

My dad, sister-in-law, my roommate, and me were caught in a storm and had to rent out this creepy old church turned into a bed-and-breakfast. Bogart, my cat, was there, and at one point, he got spooked, so he ran into the bathroom. We were all cracking up…until he came sprinting out of the bathroom and the door slammed shut behind him.

What Else Is Going On:

The cover reveal is THIS Wednesday! Get excited!

~SAT

December’s Ketchup

30 Dec

Normally, I put announcements at the bottom, but today is going to be an exception. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, is based in Dallas, and we want to give back to the tornado victims. 50% of Wednesday’s CTP Amazon Profits to Go to Tornado Victims. (You can read the full post on their official website by clicking here.)

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If you have been eyeing any of our Clean Teen Publishing or Crimson Tree Publishing novels for a while now, we ask that you consider purchasing them on Wednesday.

Find Clean Teen Publishing Novels Here. 

Find Crimson Tree Publishing Novels Here. 

If you are interested in finding out more ways you can help victims, this post gives several ways you can help our community.

We look forward to making a large donation to the Red Cross on Thursday. We will be sure to share the screen shot of the amount made from digital novels on Amazon this Wednesday so you can see what these efforts produced. Thank you in advance for your help in spreading the word and in helping us to give back!

~CTP

On a side note, I have ONE more VERY important announcement I want to place right up here at the top. Yesterday, our 2015 blogging reports were released, and I wanted to thank my top five commenters for being just the sweetest peaches out there.

Thank you, Charles, Cristina, Viv, Siamese Mayhem, and Deby!

Have a Happy New Year!

topcommenters

2015 is coming to an end, and what a delight 2015 has been! I’m already looking forward to 2016, but first, thank you for spending 2015 with me. You are wonderful. I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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 December!

Big Moments:

774959_954867311227117_7029831497832645098_oI’ve been editing Bad Bloods this month, and the covers are complete. We decided to wait to reveal them in 2016, so look out for that! I’m super excited for those books, and I hope you are too. Clean Teen Publishing is working hard to get it to you, and they added to their hard work by hand-making all the CTP authors a holiday gift. You might have seen it already, but the ‘S’ made out of passages from my books means a lot to me. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful gift, and I cannot thank the CTP team enough for all the work that they do. I cannot wait to see what happens in 2016.

~SAT

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

Top Three Blog Posts:

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

1. #RealYA How Does it Affect Fiction? I pariticpated in a Twitter discussion with modern teens on elements in fiction that aren’t relatable to their lives today

2. Top 5 Tips I Gave Out as an Editor and Marketer This Year: I did a round-up of the top tips I’ve given out in 2015. It ranged from editing to writing to marketing yourself.

3. Find Your Perfect Editor by Antonio Tooley: Hiring an editor is vital! Finding the perfect one is hard enough, but Antonion helps everyone out in this article.

Other Blog Posts:

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

All You Need as a Writer by Ken Hughes: A great article about the key to being a writer.

What Going to the Bookstore is Like: Because we all love going to the bookstore:

Saturdate: White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets: I feel in love with an Amazon original and lip balm.

Saturdate: The BFG, Butterscotch, The Nutcracker, and X-Men Apocalypse: I read a lot, and loved so many movie trailers it was silly.

10 Books That Will Inspire You to Travel by Jason Biondo: My last guest blogger of the year inspires us to travel through reading.

2016 YA Reading Predictions: Every year, people predict what will be popular in 2016, so I joined in on the fun.

Saturdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence: I finally saw the new Star Wars movie, and I listened to the new Florence + The Machine Album.

Saturdate: Cover Reveal, The Dark Artifices, Podcasts, and a Burglar: Deer tried to break into my house.

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.

Interviews: Drew C. Ryan interviewed me on his entertainment YouTube channel. If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, check it out!

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

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