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Website Wonders

29 Aug

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of August’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, Conspiracies, and Procrastination.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Favorite Article: Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. This article is SO SO SO important for both readers and writers. Why? Because bisexual characters are often misrepresented and labeled terribly based on who they “choose” in the end, and the trend needs to stop. I loved this thoughtful article, and I definitely think it’s a place to start if you are considering writing about a bisexual character. Whether or not you’re writing though, I think it’s a great, educational article to consider no matter what.

Writing:

Final Editing Checklist: This was SUPER popular during #PitchWars, and I think this list is awesome.

Is This Any Good? “So let me ask you the question that matters. And it has nothing to do with if it’s any good. The real question is this: Are you willing to work at it? Because if you are, then whether it’s any good or not today doesn’t really matter.”

9 Authors Who Regretted the Success of Their Work: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the success field. Just a little glimpse at some of the more famous moments.😉

Reading:

I need this coffee T-shirt

I need this coffee T-shirt

7 Bookstores Too Beautiful For Words: Books are beautiful enough, but come on! This is perfection.

The 10 Most Influential Poets in History: Sent to me by the writer! I love these articles!

Conspiracies:

10 Strange Mysteries Around the World That Are Still Unsolved: Put on your tin foil hat with me, and enjoy some good ol’ mystery.

Top Ten Places You Can’t Go: Can’t you tell I spent way too much time reading conspiracy theories this month?

The 6 Creepiest Unexplained Phone Calls: I…can’t…stop…reading…creepy…stories.

Procrastination:

Procatinator: Procrastinate with cats!

Little Alchemy: I’m playing it like crazy…and you should, too.

18+ Pictures of Fairy Tale Architecture From Norway:  So pretty.

Lost in a Whimsical World: These drawings are beautiful and eerie and wonderful.

Wonderfully Witty Animal Comics by Liz Climo: These are too cute and funny for words.

I hope you love these articles as much as I do!

See you next month,

~SAT

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

For those of you who are reading the Bad Blood Prequel on Wattpad for free, Steven’s origin story was posted! Read Steven’s story now. Not going to lie, I totally ship Catelyn and Steven. Here’s a preview:

“You’re gonna die here, boy,” he said, “or you’re gonna leave.”
Valentine’s Day was meant for love, and though my mother had married on such a lovely day, the world worked opposite for bad bloods.
I was no longer welcome.
I was lucky that I’d been welcome for fourteen years, and he knew it.
“Consider yourself lucky,” he said, spitting at my feet. “I’m only lettin’ you leave alive ‘cause your momma.”
I looked over his shoulder, trying to find her eyes, but she had stepped away a long time ago. “Mom—” I started to shout, but a sharp pain snapped my face back.
Heat rushed across my cheek, fire burned beneath my skin, pain etched itself into my bones. I could no longer see. My head spun, but I felt dirt beneath my fingertips. I had fallen down.
“Now get outta here, boy,” he said.
I always imagined he would call me Steven.
You’re gonna have a stepdaddy, she had told me weeks ago. A daddy.
Mine had left long ago. And now, it was my time to leave, too.
That or die.
And I didn’t think I was brave enough to die.

Continue reading on Wattpad, and get the first book in the Bad Bloods series for FREE on all platforms.

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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#WW Heroes I Want to See In YA

24 Aug

In the real world, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They can save the world, or they can save one person. Heck, they can even just save themselves! But every hero we read about has a different story to tell, a background unlike any other, and most of all, a story to tell.

However, in young adult fiction, heroes aren’t always so diverse. So, here are three heroes I’d like to see more of in YA fiction.

1. Introverted Protagonists

I want to see more Hermiones as the protagonist instead of the sidekick. You know, the kid who reads or observes from the sidelines and saves the day. Think Velma from Scooby Doo. More quiet heroes who save through intellect over throwing punches. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Fight with Brain instead of Fists

I LOVED The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Though there was violence, especially in the last book, most of the warfare was puzzles and mysteries and alliances. The characters were often observing rather than fighting, and through trickery or other brainpower fighting tools, they could solve their problems. As much as I love a girl with a sword, I would love to see more brainpower used and less literal violence.

Heroes in YA

Heroes in YA

 3. Bisexual Protagonists

Of course I would love to see protagonists across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, but I would really love to see more bisexual protagonists, because I think bisexual people are often labeled incorrectly due to who they “choose” in the end. If you’re unfamiliar with this discussion, please read Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. Personally, I LOVED Mark in Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Him as the protagonist would be the best.

There are so many different types of heroes I want to see, including heroes with disabilities, heroes across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, heroes that are people of color, and heroes who come from different religions and backgrounds.

What are some heroes you would like to see?

Who are some of my favorite recent heroes in YA? Grace in See How They Run by Ally Carter, Mercy in Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, Marguerite in Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, and Joana from Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. (Click any links to read my reviews.)

Also, if you have any recommendations, feel free to share!

~SAT

Here are two of my FREE books:

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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Minutes Before Sunset

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#WW I Love Free Readers

17 Aug

What is a free reader? A reader who only reads free books. In a market where millions of books are listed as free across all platforms, free readers have become a common occurrence…and they’ve also caught a lot of flak.

First, I want to clarify that I’m not talking about people who steal books by illegally downloading them or by using the five-finger discount at the store. I’m talking about readers who only read free books they legally received through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, NetGalley, publishers, etc. I think we can all agree that stealing is wrong. But if an author has books listed for free—a common marketing plan, especially in regards to series—I don’t think we should complain that some people are only reading free books. I say this from a platform with two of my five books currently listed as free. I also say this as someone who rarely reads free books nowadays. Since most free books are eBooks, and I have a hard time reading eBooks, I buy paperbacks from Barnes & Noble to read. But I don’t hate “free readers.” Instead, I love them. Why? Because I was one of them.

In college, I couldn’t afford to do anything beyond buy my college textbooks, so I lived off of legally free entertainment, and most days, that art saved me. I raved about their work, I fell in love with their work, I followed them on social media, and complemented them, and told all my friends about them. Now that I have more money in my life, I spend my cash on their work. Today, maybe even as you’re reading this, there’s someone out there just like me, reading my free work, too, and I hope they are having a great day.

Free Kindle Books

Free Kindle Books

A free book is a gift we choose to give. We cannot give a gift and expect something in return. That ruins the entire point of giving. Besides, libraries have allowed readers to rent books forever, but we only seem to debate the eBook 1-click download readers.

As an author with free books, I’m happy when someone takes a chance on my work. I’m happy I might have a new fan. I’m happy my book is out there, and for all I know, that “free reader” could be saving every extra penny just so they can buy the next books ASAP. I can honestly say I’ve been contacted by a “free reader” who—after reading my entire trilogy through a giveaway—saved up enough money to not only buy paperbacks but asked if they could buy signed paperbacks from me. They chose to buy my books with their only birthday money. That “free reader” is now my friend.

Of course, there are bad eggs. The ones who expect everything for free. The ones who leave bad reviews just because it isn’t free. The ones who send emails asking for free paperbacks. The ones who take hundreds of ARCs from book shows when you’re only supposed to take one. Of course there are readers who give a bad name to good readers. Of course there are. But I’m addressing the ones who follow the rules—when free isn’t all that bad.

I get it though. I do. I’m an author. My books help me pay the bills, too. Writing is my second full-time job, and I work my little writer’s butt off to create books, and my publisher busts their butt to edit, format, and print my work. Writing and publishing is time-consuming and expensive, and it would be wonderful if that work then paid for itself and more. But the market is highly competitive, and readers also have bills to pay and a life to fund. If I choose to list my book for free, then that was my choice. I cannot expect the reader to then go buy the rest of my series, even if it is under the price of a cup of coffee. (I can definitely hope though!)

Why Pay For EBooks? was a popular article on Fussy Librarian, and I highly recommend the read. Three wonderful authors discuss how royalties affect their life, and it’s a side of publishing we often forget. I totally agree with all the points made, but we should keep the reader’s side in mind, too. Free readers are not our enemy; free readers are our friend. They are taking a chance on our work. They are sampling new authors and participating in discussions and leaving reviews and entering contests to share the next book, too. They are trying to support you in any way they can.

How can we help authors if we cannot afford to buy books?

1. Don’t steal. Instead, get a library card, start a book blog, enter giveaways, and apply to publishers for ARC (advanced reader copies). If the book you want isn’t at the library, let the library know you want it! Talking to your librarian helps everyone.

2. Leave reviews! Whether it’s a helpful 1-star or a raving 5-star review, let people know what you think. Recommend the book to someone you know will enjoy it.

3. Contact the author. Tell them how much you loved their book. Ask them how you can help spread the word about their books. Maybe they have an upcoming release you can ask your librarians to get. Encouragement and support is priceless. My day is often made by a fan just stopping by to say hello.

Authors are here to write, and authors should be paid, but personally, I’m happy if no one is stealing and readers are enjoying our work enough to share it with the world.

Keep reading, keep writing, and…uh…comment below for free?😉

~SAT

Here are two of my FREE books:

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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Minutes Before Sunset

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#WW When You Shouldn’t Write That Book

10 Aug

There comes a time in every writer’s life when they realize they cannot write that book….and I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m talking about when you want to write a book, but you know you shouldn’t. Maybe not yet. Maybe never.

Of course, I’m not saying a writer CAN’T write that book. Not forever anyway. But just like a construction project, certain books require particular tools, and if you don’t have those tools, building anything might be for naught…or even dangerous.

So here are three questions to ask yourself while deciding if you are ready to write that novel or not.

1. Have You Researched EVERYTHING Properly?

This is particularly true in historical fiction, but research shouldn’t be overlooked for any type of fiction. This means you are researching your setting, your themes, and your characters thoroughly. If you are writing anything outside of your personal experiences—which is more likely than not—it’s best to read articles, watch documentaries, and even talk to those who do have those personal experiences you’re lacking. If you haven’t done this, you most likely don’t know enough to write about certain topics and people from a respectful and knowledgeable place. You might even add to damaging stereotypes or incorrect presumptions. Take the time to get to know your novel’s needs…as well as your audience’s.

2. Have You Read This Genre?

You should be reading in and outside of any genre you want to write in, but you should definitely be familiar with trends in your market. Being able to recognize writers, publishers, and various novels is key to understanding your audience and what purpose your book serves. What does it add to the market? What does it give to your readers? If you’re unsure where your book would be on a shelf, you’re probably not ready yet. But don’t worry! All you have to do is read more. (And who doesn’t love reading?) I went through this myself recently. As someone who mainly reads and writes YA fantasy, I wanted to tackle a contemporary novel when I wasn’t fully equipped to do so. Though I read contemporary still, I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t familiar enough with the current shelf to proceed. I need to collect more tools. I need to read more. And I am.

Who doesn't love an extra excuse to read more?

Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to read more?

3. Why Are YOU The Right Person to Write This Book?

Listen, I’m not here to tell someone if they are the right person to write a book or not. That’s between the author, their book, and the creative process. But I honestly believe we can get to a moment where we realize a book—while it’s good—might be better for someone else to write. This is going to vary from person to person, and it ultimately weighs on how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to a story. If you’re hesitating to research, for instance, you’re probably the wrong person for that book. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome obstacles or hurdles in your way, but it’s also okay to move on from something you realize isn’t right for you. If you’re on the fence—and you’re unsure how you’re feeling about this topic—one question you can ask yourself is WHY you’re even writing it. Seems obvious enough, but when you take a step back, you might see that you were, in fact, chasing a trend or a surface idea without the will to dive deeper. That’s okay. There are a million stories out there for you to write, and I’m sure you already have plenty more to chase. It’s a matter of figuring out which one feels right to you.

When you should write a book, it will come to you.

Enjoy the adventure,

~SAT

Read my latest interview on Crazy Beautiful Reads: “Every writer’s life is paved with rejections.” Comment for your chance to win some awesome books!

It’s official! Author Natasha Hanova will be sharing a table with me at Penned Con in St. Louis this September! Check her out, say hi, tell her I sent you, and come visit us in September. We’ll be signing books, talking books, and just having a great ol’ time.

*FREE BOOK ALERT*

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE!

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Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

#MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Different Perspectives

8 Aug

I love writing from different perspectives. Both my YA series—The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods—are written in first POV but from two different speakers. I love using this technique for novel writing, because I enjoy first person, but I dislike how it restricts the storytelling to one character, especially when a scene would be better from a different perspective. So, I have two protagonists, and of course, there are complications that come along with this. What’s the most common question I am asked?

How do you make each voice unique?

I’ll provide a few aspects to keep in mind, but of course, this journey will be different for every writer and every novel. First, know that every character should have its own distinct voice. A reader should be able to open the novel and know who is speaking immediately. This is more difficult than it sounds, but it can get easier over time.

1. Perspective. 

The most obvious change between one voice to another is their unique perspective. What is their background? How do they feel? Where were they educated? Are they affecting the words, or are you? It’s important that characters have their own voice, and that voice will come out in combination with their personalities and backgrounds. For instance, your character who is a fashion designer would definitely use specific colors and fabrics to describe clothes, but your mechanic character might not.

2. Pay Attention to Diction and Syntax

Just like authors have their own “voice,” so do characters. Because of their backgrounds, characters will have different vocabularies. One character may use very flowery language, while another may have less of a need to elaborate. Consider their education, where they come from, and what they might know. The way they speak should differ, whether they are talking out loud or explaining the scene inwardly. Sometimes, syntax can be used to emphasize certain speech patterns, but be careful not to overuse syntax. Too many exclamations or repeated habits/phrases can become tedious and boring rather than unique and fun. Sometimes less is more. Little clues are normally enough.

3. Consider Rhythm

Honestly, I think rhythm is often overlooked, but paying attention to subtle changes in sound and length of sentences is important. One character’s thoughts may drag on, so their sentences are longer, while another might make short lists to contain their thoughts. Like everything making up your character, a person’s rhythm will depend on their personality, background, and goals. It could even change from scene to scene, but consistency is key.

All four of these women would tell a different story about this picture.

All four of these women would tell a different story about this picture.

One of my favorite exercises:

Write a chapter in which the two characters are talking. Write it from POV 1, and then, rewrite the exact same scene from POV 2. Check to make sure the dialogue and the physical actions are the exact same, but then, compare the thought process. How did the scene change? What does this change mean? Do they each bring a unique perspective? And out of those perspectives, which one is best to use?

As an example, two people can be talking and Person A could notice Person B is fidgeting. Person A may assume Person B is nervous, but when you tell it from Person B’s perspective, you learn that they are distracted, not nervous. These little bits can truly morph the way characters interact. I always encourage this exercise when starting out, even if the writer isn’t planning on telling from another’s perspective.

This exercise helps me understand the characters, and I feel more confident when I move onto a new scene. (Sometimes, it even helps me choose which scene to use…and worse case scenario, you have an extra scene to release as an extra for your readers.)

Have fun and good luck! 

Original posted March 31, 2013

~SAT

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE across all eBook platforms right now! (And I’m dutifully working on the next installment, too!) Happy reading.😀

November Rain

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November Snow, 

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Bad Bloods Free Book

Bad Bloods Free Book

 

#WW Connecting Books Across Genres

3 Aug

I’m a young adult author who writes in various genres. I have contemporary, paranormal romance, fantasy, and science fiction published, but my two main series include a Dark vs. Light paranormal romance that takes place in the small Midwest town of Hayworth—The Timely Death Trilogy—and a science fiction duology—Bad Bloods—about children with hindering abilities fighting against an election that decides if they will continue to be executed or not. While The Timely Death Trilogy takes place in modern Kansas, Bad Bloods takes place in an undisclosed southern city bordered by the ocean and locked in by walls in the year 2089. Despite having different locations, time periods, and genres, these series are connected.

What? How?

Well, let me tell you without spoiling it for you: the characters.

If you read The Timely Death Trilogy and you also read the Bad Bloods Prequel (FREE on Wattpad), you will get to know a little girl named Violet. She is the key to the connection. But that’s all I’ll say for now.

Why did I connect these two, seemingly unrelated stories? Because they ARE related, and they always have been in my mind. I mean, they existed in my mind at the same time, after all. And so do all of my stories. Which, basically means I connect all of my novels in some way or another.

Consider it a wink to all those readers who follow every book by an author.

My books I'm discussing, The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods

My books I’m discussing, The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods

But how do I do this?

I’m not sure there’s a method, necessarily. I always tell aspiring writers to follow their gut, and this is often why. For instance, I definitely don’t know every book I will write in my life time, but by keeping my mind and heart open to the characters (and honest), I guarantee they’ll reveal a weird twist of how they got to know each other while hanging out in my mind space.

As an example? Many readers were dying for a continuation of The Timely Death Trilogy (or a happily ever after epilogue), but the truth of it was, whenever I attempted to tackle a shiny, pretty ending, I only saw my characters lives becoming more and more complicated as they grew older. (A reality, really.) And while I wanted to leave everyone on a happy note, Violet’s character in Bad Bloods is so powerful to The Timely Death Trilogy, I couldn’t deny what she wanted to say: the truth. And that truth became the connection, and to me, these connections remind us an important truth to every story.

Connecting books across genres shows that a character’s story never ends, even when the pages do.

~SAT

I have new author photos! Check out my right side tool bar to see it, and of course, special thanks to Huntress Photography!

My publisher is also hosting an August Back to School Giveaway! You can win a $25 gift card to Amazon, CTP mystery boxes, November Snow, and many other books!

Bad Bloods: November Rain

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow! 

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods: November Snow

#MondayBlogs My Average Day as an Author

1 Aug

The average day as an author varies from writer to writer, but I think there’s a huge misconception that we wake up, write all day, and fall asleep at the end of the night with thousands of words ready for print. In reality, most authors—yes, even The New York Times Best Sellers—work day jobs. Writing is our second full-time gig. And I’m not an exception.

3 PM

My Twisted Clock

I wake up at 3 PM. Why? I work a night shift, so I don’t get to bed until about 6 AM. I also work opposite days, meaning Sunday-Tuesday is my weekend. This can cause some awkwardness online, because some have assumed I’m ignoring them on the weekends when I am, in fact, working. But I do work from home, so I can sometimes check in on my author life during my lunch break and dinner break. This is also why you see my #MidnightBaking posts a lot. While it’s midnight for you, it’s dinner time for me.

4 PM – MIDNIGHT

My First Job

Honestly, I work from 4 PM to midnight as an editor, social media marketer, and anything else you might find on my Services page. I love it. I absolutely love reading authors’ works, talking to fellow writers, and helping those with social media, because social media is something I honestly enjoy, hence why I blog three days a week. As an author, I also use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodreadsMailChimp, Wattpad, and YouTube on a regular basis. But all that is generally done in my next step.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

My average day as an author always includes three things: coffee, cats, and books.

MIDNIGHT – 4 AM

My Second Job

I’m an author. Finally. If I’m not completely exhausted from work—and I get all my housework done—this is where I write. But this is also the only time I have for marketing, so I often spend about a half of the time writing articles, sending out personal emails, researching books, and more. If I’m too tired, maybe I just read the current book on my nightstand. But I tend to write in this time period. If I can get one chapter finished and outline my next chapter for the next day, I am satisfied. It was a successful day.

4 AM – 6 AM

My Not-So-Chill Chill Time

I try to relax here, though I’m really bad at it. This is where I should be reading instead of writing (or even watching TV). Something—anything—to calm down my writer’s mind (or I won’t sleep at all), but more often than not, I’m curled up on the couch with my notebook jotting down more ideas as they come to me. I might even get back on the laptop. I find myself pulling 12-hour shifts (or longer) on a regular basis. This is probably why I’m addicted to coffee.

6 AM – 3 PM

My Very Restless Rest

Magnificent, majestic sleep.

Okay. So I have night terrors a lot. Not so majestic. But, hey, it helps inspire my writing!

P.S. It’s really HARD to sleep during the day. Lawnmowers. Sunlight. Truck engines. You name it, it has woken me up.

IN THE END

Writing for a living, more often than not, is not our living, but we do live for it. I love finding time between gigs to sneak in a few words or tweet back and forth with awesome readers, but I’m mainly working a regular gig like everyone else. And, hey! I love my day job. I honestly think my day job helps me be a better writer, and I get to read all day. It’s a dream come true, right?

If anyone is curious, I’m currently writing this article on my weekend. It’s Sunday, July 17, at 10 PM, so more than two weeks before you will be reading this. But it’s some of my only free time to blog, so I write ahead of time since I know work can get unpredictable and crazy. Even better? Now, I have time to go write.

Welcome to my writer’s life.😉 

Original covered my average day as a writer in 2013.

~SAT

wattpadBlakeBlake’s origin story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. If you’ve ever wondered how a baby boy ended up in the Northern Flock, read his story here. I’m expecting to release Ami’s story from the Southern Flock on August 12. I’m also working on the sequel – July Thunder/Lightning – now!

I hope you’re reading the Bad Bloods series! Book 1 is only .99¢!

November Rain

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November Snow

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#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

#1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Rain

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