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Book Release! Bad Bloods: July Thunder

10 Apr

Bad Bloods: July Thunder released today!  

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I hope you enjoy the latest addition to the Bad Bloods universe! As the author, I can tell you that you will meet TONS of new bad bloods. (My personal favorite is Skeleton. He was born a healthy baby boy, but he is slowly turning into a skeleton over time, defying all science along the way. He even emits a poisonous gas.) You will also see some of your favorite characters from the first duology in a new light. Because Violet and Caleb tell this duology, you might see…other sides to people you didn’t see before. Old questions will be answered as well. Ever wonder what happened to Robert? Or did you want to see how the people of Vendona transitioned under a new president? Those questions will be explored (and new ones will come up). Explore sections of Vendona never seen before, including Eastern Vendona, which has the sunken bay. And the characters will finally step into the Pits again.

Keep reading for prizes, an exclusive excerpt, and extras!

Bad Bloods: July Thunder

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Fourteen-year-old Violet has been called many things: a bad blood, a survivor, an immortal…now she has a new name—citizen. But adjusting to a lawful life is not easy, especially when she must live under the rule of the same officers who justified the killings of her flock only eight months earlier.
Segregation of bad bloods and humans is still in effect, and rebellious Violet steps into a school where she is not allowed. When the police get involved, things deteriorate quickly, sparking a new revolution at the wall separating the Highlands from the outskirts.
That’s when Caleb steps in. He might appear to be an average sixteen-year-old bad blood, but he has secrets, and Violet is determined to figure them out. Caleb knows who’s attacking the wall and why, but his true identity remains a mystery—and how he relates to Violet could shake the threatened city to its very core.
Together or not, a storm will form, a rally will start, and shocking truths will be revealed.

Exclusive Excerpt

While the Northern Flock had to be quiet to survive, the herd played music in order to live.

Caleb’s hand found mine. “Dance with me?” he asked, but I hated my answer.

“I can’t.” My confession came with my wrecked knee. With one gesture, Caleb seemed to understand, but as he turned his eyes to his herd—to Britney prancing around with Plato, to Kat covering her ears, to Yasir holding Hanna with his protective gloves between them—Caleb pulled me up to my feet.

“Let me do it for you,” he said, and then, he lifted me up and placed me on the tops of his boots.

As he swayed, I saw the sunburn on the tops of his cheeks, the sand in his hair, the sea salt on his skin. Then, his chapped lips as he managed a shaky smile. For once, Caleb looked disheveled, and I had never liked him more.

“That’s some crew you have,” he said, but I hadn’t noticed anyone else in the world around us until he spun.

Life-sized shadows—dozens of them—danced all around us, and I recognized their shapes as people I would always know. Blake and his teddy bear. Floyd’s stretched limbs, and Ami’s swinging braids. Even Adam’s speed.

Alive or dead, the shadows of every member of my own flock joined in on the dance of a herd, and my heart fluttered at the sight.

Losing control had never felt so great.

Neither had a storm descending down upon us.

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 EXTRAS & PRIZES

Enter to win a Clean Teen Mystery Box, including paperbacks, here

Love bad bloods? Check out the inspiration board on Pinterest to meet lookalike characters and scenic areas.   

FUN FACT: Violet might be the main character in this duology, but she was just a side character in the first duology. She also has a prequel story on Wattpad. Be sure to read her origin story if you haven’t already. She’s also related to The Timely Death Trilogy, and I hope you enjoy that connection!

On top of that, Bad Bloods: July Lightning releases May 1! So there’s practically no waiting to finish this series. If you read, please leave a review. (And if you want me to share your review, send it to shannonathompson@aol.com). I love sharing your reviews! (And I love hearing what you’d like to see in the next duology.) Little authors like me depend on your support, so I greatly appreciate every minute you take to share, read, and review.

Keep on being you.

~SAT

P.S. Check out my latest YouTube video, Bad Bloods Book Release Bloppers in which I make a fool of myself trying to thank everyone for reading Bad Bloods: July Thunder.

#BookRelease Bad Bloods: November Rain!

18 Jul

Bad Bloods: November Rain released TODAY!

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Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

Bad Bloods: November Rain book reviews

I cannot express how grateful I am to be here today. Bad Bloods was my first publication, but it is so much more than that. On March 16, 2003, my mother suddenly passed away from a drug overdose, and I was left with an overwhelming range of emotions to cope with. At eleven years old, I decided I would live my life doing what I wanted to do, and I began researching and writing novels. I finished the original Bad Bloods two years later, and in 2007, it was published. Now, almost a decade later, my first book is getting a second chance, and I’ve been blown away by everyone’s support. For every little girl or boy out there who has lost a parent, know that there are millions of opportunities and people out there that love and support you. Follow your dreams!

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind,

Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.

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

GET YOUR COPY TODAY

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Bad Bloods: November Snow releases July 25, 2016! And that’s not all. Thanks to all of your lovely reviews, Clean Teen Publishing has given me the thumbs up to continue to series already! 

Special thanks to all the bloggers supporting the release today! Congrats to Rebekka from Instagram’s Book Prints for winning a signed paperback of Bad Bloods: November Rain!

A Journey Through Life, Love, and Imagination, The Avid Book Collector, The Book ForumsOMG Books and More Books, Chris Pavesic, Endless Reading, Book Prints, Mel’s Shelves, Crazy Beautiful Reads, Book Keeping, and Books by Betsy!

I also want to thank all of the bloggers who’ve written reviews for November Rain so far! I am blown away every time someone takes the time to read my work, let alone review it. I cannot express my endless gratitude, but thank you a million times.

  • A Reader’s Review: “A dark and insightful dystopian read! Thompson is an immensely talented writer. I was reminded of events from history such as the witch trails and the Holocaust, not to mention contemporary events surrounding the modern day diaspora of those from war torn countries which has resulted in the pressure of immigration on other nations, which  some are fearful of. A top read for readers of Young Adult fiction and/or for those who are seeking a thought provoking read.”
  • The Bookworm Who Lived: “I’m so hooked on this story and I am excited to start November Snow as soon as I’m done writing this review. I definitely recommend this book!”
  • Daydreaming Books: “November Rain was a great read. The plot and the characters were pretty interesting and I was hooked from the very first page. The writing was smooth and easy to read and the pace was fast throughout the book. I easily finished this book in two sittings, it was hard to put it down. I am so excited to read the next part and see what happens! Recommend it? Yes!”
  • Black Words-White Pages: “This book is addicting and very fast paced. I highly recommend this story to read this amazing story.”
  • Between Folded Pages: “You’ll need to pick this one up if you’re looking for a great quick read about wonderful characters in a corrupt world.”
  • Tranquil Dreams: “November Rain is a fun read and very much a page turner!”
  • Chic Nerd Reads: “If you’re into X-men and corrupt government, then pick this up!! I am so left wanting more!! The writing is awesome and super easy. The story is fast paced and you will fly through November Rain. The plot is easy to understand, and once you’re into the story, you just get everything that’s going on. I am definitely going to read more from this author.” 
  • The Bookie Monster: “This is one of those ‘you can’t put it down’ books. Thompson builds the tension of the election and its importance slowly and with care. She develops her characters fully and with great attention to detail. She is a masterful storyteller.”
  • Mel’s Shelves: “I’m looking forward to reading more!”
  • OMG Books and More Books: “Captivating, strong and thrilling. I recommend November Rain to anyone who loves dystopian and learning the real meaning of trust in a world where trust is just an imagination.”
  • Ronnie’s World Blog: “November Rain was thrilling and exciting and gets readers excited for more. It really focuses on the attributes of family, friends and loyalty, which was really refreshing to see in a dystopian novel. I will definitely be continuing on with this duology.”
  • The Book Prints: “A fast paced fantasy, sci-fi story full of exciting characters with their own fascinating abilities and background stories. Didn’t disappoint one bit! For fans of Red Queen and Shatter Me: this one is definitely something you should check out!”
  • Babbling Books: I’m looking forward to delving into the next book to see what unfolds for the characters as I get deeper into the story.
  • Read, Watch, and Think: Fresh and alluring. November Rain is an amazing treat. I loved it and can’t wait to be an avid fan of the series. The series is definitely going to be worth drooling over.
  • The Book Forums: I recommend November Rain for EVERYONE but especially fans of dystopian and SCIFI. A great novel… It was full of strong characters each with their own background and an interesting world.
  • Crazy Beautiful Reads: Fast Paced. Intriguing. Gripping. Just like any other book she wrote, this one stands tall. An epic read that will take you in from the very first page and not let you go. A real page turner.

OKAY. ONE MORE TIME.

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Thanks for making a girl’s dreams come true,

~SAT

If you missed it, my latest episode of Coffee & Cats is now on YouTube! 

I say 10 Things Authors NEVER Say. 

Oh, and Pokemon!

#MondayBlogs So, You Want To Be A Book Blogger

20 Jun

I must clarify one thing before I start: I am not a book blogger, but I used to be—for about three years—and I still post book reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. I also help authors connect with book bloggers every day. I’m an author myself, after all. I know how important book reviews are, and because of this, I absolutely adore book bloggers. In a metaphorical publishing world, book bloggers are authors’ best friends, and readers who don’t blog are the friends authors meet at the book blogger’s party. The reason I’m writing this is to make that party as enjoyable as possible. Below, I have outlined some tips to help aspiring book bloggers get started with a website, as well as how to create a fun and safe environment for bloggers, readers, and authors.

For Your Website:

1. Find a Host: Name Your Blog and Yourself

Pick out where you want to blog. Personally, I love WordPress, and it’s free! But you can also go to Blogger and many other places. Once you choose, consider the name of your blog carefully. It is your blog, of course, but try to avoid a name that contradicts the blog’s purpose. Ex: “Magical Book Reviews” when you don’t read novels with magical elements. This could cause a lot of confusion and frustration when it’s easily avoidable. If you can pick a name that sums up what types of books you plan on reviewing, even better. But once you have a name, name yourself by creating an About Me page. Have a name on your blog. It doesn’t have to be your REAL name, but readers like to be personal. We want you to know we truly enjoy your website, and using your name is one way we can prove we aren’t mass commenting or sending you spam messages. Knowing more about you also helps readers share your blog to others. For instance, if you’re a librarian, I will tell others to go check out an amazing reviewer who gets to work around books all day!

Books I've reviewed this summer that I totally recommend!

YA books I’ve reviewed this summer that I totally recommend!

2. Have a Contact Page, Review Request Form, and/or a Review Policy:

This advice is for book bloggers who are looking for authors, publishers, and other people to submit novels. Be clear about what you want to read and what you never want to read. Include types of information you want in a request, like a link to Amazon or the synopsis. If you are closed for submissions, put that at the top in bold. This way, requesters don’t read pages of information only to realize you’re not accepting anything. Clarify if you accept self-published and small press published authors. I would also suggest adding if you reply to all requests or only the ones you’re interested in. That way, you won’t get as many repeat emails wondering if you received their request. You could also include your favorite and least favorite novels—and if you want to get really fancy, tell us your ratings of well-known novels. This will help start reading discussions with fellow readers of that genre.

3. Include a Rating System and Other Websites:

Clarify if you will use the 5-Star Rating System and/or explain how you rate on other pages. For instance, if you say 3.5 on your blog, explain what you’ll do on websites that aren’t accommodating to that (like if you will generally lean up or down or if it depends on the novel). Readers will want to know if, how, where, and when you will be posting reviews. This is also a GREAT opportunity to send your readers to your Bookstagram, Vlog, Goodreads page, or other places where you review books. On a side note, if you are accepting review requests, I would suggest stating if you will or will not post your review no matter the rating. Unfortunately, there has been hostility in the past with authors/publishers requesting readers to only post reviews if it is a certain rating. Although I don’t agree with anyone who demands this, I still suggest clarifying that you will post your review, even if it is below 5 stars. That way, they won’t demand it from you later or send you nasty emails when it happens. By posting your rules, you lessen your changes of internet negativity.

A Note For Authors:

Remember that book bloggers are your best friend. Respecting boundaries is important. Don’t request a review from someone until you have read their review policy, and definitely do not contact them with your dinosaur erotica if they state they hate dinosaurs or erotica or both (even if you think you will somehow change their mind). If you receive a poor review, do not retaliate in any way. If you’re going to say anything at all, just thank them. They read your book, after all. If you promised to share their review, share it. If they promised to review a book but never did, be polite when asking them if they are still interested in reading your novel.

Sometimes, expectations fall flat, but surprises are sometimes better. Helping one another know what to do in certain situations can improve everyone’s relationship, but it does take two. Taking these steps might help our friendship grow more than ever before.

We want the author-reader relationship to be fun and exciting, so let’s be sure to celebrate one another with respect and enthusiasm.

Here’s to our love for books.

Original posted March 6, 2014

~SAT

On a side note, my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – is back! This month, I discussed Female Romantic Tropes…We Hate, and next month, I’ll discuss Male Romantic Tropes…We Hate. Granted, these tropes work for both genders, but I separated them due to how much each trope happens to that specific gender. I hope you like it! And, of course, let me know what tropes you don’t like, so we can continue to change fiction!

We’re less than a month away from the Bad Bloods book release! 

Preorder Bad Bloods

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

November Rain by Shannon A. Thompson

November Rain

by Shannon A. Thompson

Giveaway ends July 16, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

#MondayBlogs Authors, Add Extras to Books

23 May

Writing a book is long process often filled with notes, maps, character charts, soundtracks, and Sticky Notes. If a novel is 350 pages long, there’s probably a stack of papers twice that high that led up to the publication of it. Whether it was an editorial letter or a rewrite or a list of background stories, authors are constantly juggling the writing of the journey and the creation of it—two very different things when you consider not all world-building and character creating makes it into the final story. But that doesn’t mean your notes have to be thrown away. It doesn’t mean that they have to collect computer dust either. You, as the author, can share them, and readers might just love you for it.

I’m talking about extras.

What are extras? These are elements of your story that didn’t make it into your novel but aspects you can still share with your readers. Below are some ideas to try out.

1. An Overall Extras Page

All three of my series have an Extras page on my website. (Check them out: Bad Bloods, The Timely Death Trilogy, and The Tomo Trilogy.) What do I include on my overall Extras pages? Anything and everything. I link to articles that relate to the building of the novel, I share fan art by awesome readers, I create games and personality quizzes, and I list anywhere else they might find other fun tidbits about the book. This could be where you offer signed books or swag. It could be where you post a map (if that’s not in your book) and/or maps of particular rooms. You could include music or favorite quotes or super fans who’ve sent photos in with your books or you at a signing. I have calendars that show what dates my chapters take place on. I’ve included scrapbooks where I pasted pictures on the pages that reminded me of characters. I’ve even discussed how much particular characters have changed. Any notes that helped you build would be great for this kind of page.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

Example extras: fan art, calendars, and maps from my pages.

2. Wattpad Shorts 

Remember that scene you LOVED like crazy but your editor convinced you to cut? (Let’s be honest. It needed to be cut. It didn’t move the story forward, but it was SUCH a great scene.) Well, this is what Wattpad is for. Not only is Wattpad filled with aspiring writers and avid readers you can connect with, you can also give more to the fans you already have by posting shorts either cut out from your novels or brand-new short stories that are simply related to your novel. I’m doing this with my new release right now. Since there are so many characters, many of their background stories were very limited in the novels, but I had written longer, detailed versions, and I didn’t want them to sit on my computer. I’m now posting all their origin stories, spanning them out over a series of weeks, and they can be read as extras—before, after, or while reading Bad Bloods—or read just for fun. Never let that cut scene you love go to waste ever again.

3. Social Media Websites To Think About

Like Wattpad, there are dozens—if not hundreds—of websites out there you can use to host extras for your novel. Did you listen to certain songs while writing? Create a playlist on YouTube or 8tracks so readers can listen, too. Did you make a Pinterest board for all of your characters? Great! Link to it. Let readers see a physical representation of your imagination. Try to make personality quizzes (Which character are you? Which couple from the book are you? How long would you last in my post-apocalyptic story?). Think of your content and have fun with it! After all, you wrote an entire novel about it.

So, again, just a little list to think about: Fan art, any notes you had, related articles, maps, calendars, soundtracks, Pinterest boards, personality quizzes, swag, signed books, and more.

The only thing I’d warn against is spoilers. Be sure to warn and label spoilers accordingly. And, of course, have fun!

Original posted April 6, 2013

~SAT

13245233_1046886115358569_5859558976763581283_nIf you sign up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap, I’ll send you signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods. All you have to do is sign up, take a screenshot of your support, and email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. What’s a Thunderclap? It’s an automated message that will release from your Twitter, Tumblr, and/or Facebook page the day of the book release to help me reach more readers. I only have to reach 100 supporters for the message to go out, so any and all help is appreciated.

maggieIn other news, the Bad Bloods Prequel was updated on Wattpad! Read Maggie’s story today! Right now, you can read the origin stories of Adam, Michele, and Maggie. Ryne’s story releases June 3, with more stories releasing every other Friday. (There might also be an origin story coming up that relates to Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy, so…wink…wink.)

On top of that, you can officially pre-order both books in the Bad Bloods duology. If you pre-order November Snow, I will send you November Rain for review today! (And if you write a review, I will send you November Snow right after that.) This means you could read these two books RIGHT NOW just by preordering and sending me a receipt to shannonathompson@aol.com. All of this news (and more) went out in my newsletter on Sunday, so if you’re missing out on the latest giveaways, you should sign up here.

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#SATurdate: MWG Conference, The Crown, Allergies, and Silicon Valley

7 May

Since last Saturday was a Ketchup post, this Saturdate post covers two weeks of information. TWO WEEKS?! Yes. Two weeks.

What I’m Writing:

13177904_1037600996287081_998105092686369145_nOkay! This is CRAZY, but I finished writing D, clocking in at 92,722 words! I’m officially in the editing stages, which is perfect, because this past week, I actually received some AWESOME feedback at the 101st Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference about this particular work, so I’m more excited than ever to keep fine-tuning this project. I mean, it has been in the works for nearly 5 years. That being said, I finally feel like it’s DEFINITELY headed in the right direction, so special thanks goes out to all the panelists behind all the workshops who helped me make a couple major decisions regarding this work. (Then, I can start working on The Tomo Trilogy again, right? Right?) For the record, D is a YA fantasy project I’d like to get off the ground AFTER The Tomo Trilogy, so trust me, I haven’t forgotten you tomo fans. I will get back to it. I will. But for now, I have a few things I’ll be adjusting in D for the coming weeks, so expect to hear more about that novel this month.

What I’m Publishing:

You can officially sign up for Bad Bloods Book Blitz through Xpresso Book Tours! I hope you’ll sign up to support this little author out. (You might also win some awesome prizes while you’re at it!)

BadBloodBlitzBanner-1

As many of you saw, the Bad Bloods book trailer released via YouTube, but in case you missed it, I am posting the video below. (Isn’t it beautiful and dramatic?)

Clean Teen Publishing’s lovely designer Marya also created Bad Bloods business cards and a banner for Penned Con. The first teaser released, too! Along with the next short story in the Bad Bloods Prequel. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, check out Michele’s story today. Who is Michele? Well, in Bad Bloods, she’s the “mother” figure of the Northern Flock, but in the prequel, she’s just a kid. A kid with a gift. And her prequel story actually shows up in November Snow, so reading her story will give you more details when you read the novels this July. Now…for more previews.

collagebb

All those lovely goodies discussed above

The #1lineWed preview one week was “pull,” so here is your preview: He pulled me against his chest, and either his, mine, or both of our hearts pounded between us.

The second #1lineWed preview was “pretty,” so here is that preview: Tessa was always there, growing flowers when we needed tomatoes more than pretty things.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

What I’m Reading:

I finished The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, and of course, I loved it as much as I loved it the first time. I recommended The Raven Cycle to paranormal YA fans and readers who love sass and class. Light romance (with great tension) and beautifully poetic prose. Favorite quote? Solutions were easy, once you knew what was in your way. A magical and frightening tale of secrets and sarcastic heroines. You can read my five-star review by clicking here.

I also finished The Young Elites by Marie Lu. It was a gorgeous, dark, and stunning story of betrayal and magic. Recommended to young adult fantasy readers who enjoy darker elements, Italian Renaissance type settings, and anti-heroes or villains as the protagonist. Also to those of you who love first-person, present tense. Favorite Quote? Beauty and pain go hand in hand. You can read my four-star review by clicking here.

saturdate

And while attending MWG, I got my hands on two Month9Books: Emerge by Tobie Easton and Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley. I’m currently reading Emerge. Granted, I had to put it aside to read The Crown by Kiera Cass, because I’ve been waiting on this finale FOREVER. And yes, I finished The Crown in one night, and you can read my four-star review here.

Despite some pacing issues, I thought The Crown was a lovely ending to The Selection Series. I recommend it to YA readers of romance. Despite being labeled a dystopian, The Selection Series has little to no emphasis on the dystopian elements, especially by the time you get to Eadlyn’s story. Still, I enjoyed it as a fairy tale-princess-prince-finding-a-soul-mate story. It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s definitely swoon worthy. My favorite quote? Maybe it’s not the first kisses that are supposed to be special. Maybe it’s the last ones.

On top of that, I received a LOVELY gift of 1800’s books directly from Scotland, along with a Thompson crest bookmark. I’m definitely in love.

What I’m Listening To:

What I’m Watching:

Season 3 of Penny Dreadful began, and so did Season 3 of Silicon Valley—two of my favorite TV shows (among the only ones that I watch), so I definitely started those seasons. I also watched the documentary Bridegroom and bawled my little writer eyes out.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I attempted to bake a rustic peach tart this week, but it came out more like a peach pie than a tart. I also burnt my thumb. Both of my thumbs. But not every baking experience can be perfect…and at least this mistake turned into a pie. I’m not sure mistakes get any better than that.

What I’m Wearing:

I have new sandals! Whew. Now to fight my cats from eating them…

What I’m Wanting:

13062327_1033327780047736_6389651930362409756_nMore time to smell the spring flowers. Despite my allergies… Wait. That just occurred to me. Can’t you tell this is my first time ever dealing with allergies?

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Lowes? I have no idea what I dreamt about, but all I remember is waking up thinking my dreams were sponsored by Lowes. I’m assuming this is because I get all of my paint palettes from there…so in a weird way, my dreams are sponsored by Lowes.

What Else Is Going On:

Allergies. I hate them. I’ve never had them before, but my older brother has, and I’ve constantly given him a hard time about them. I will never give him a hard time ever again. I can barely breathe. It’s terrible.

On a side note though, I managed to control my allergies enough to go to the 101st Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference, and I had a great time! I met some wonderful people, I received some wonderful feedback, and I am marching into the future more hopeful than ever. Attend those conferences, folks! They will make your day.

~SAT

#SATurdate: The End, Writing Playlist, Lemon Bars, & The Winner’s Kiss

2 Apr

One of my all-time favorite trilogies came to an end this week…and so did one of my manuscripts.

What I’m Writing:

12143231_1011224762258038_3533122318676664942_nI finished Take Me Yesterday, clocking in at 78,000 words. Of course, I have a few chapters/scenes I want to add during the editing process, so it’s not complete-complete, as no novel is after the first draft…or the second…or the third. That being said, I will be putting Take Me Yesterday aside for a minimum of a month between now and my first editing session. I think taking breaks between finishing a novel and editing a novel is important. It helps clear the brain and fine-tune your focus to edit rather than to write. I will say this though, for those who zoomed up and saw the last line or so, five characters die in Take Me Yesterday. Prepare yourselves.

On a sort-of-related-not-really-but-yes-related note, it hit me that finishing this novel was my 10th novel. Granted, only five of them have gone to publication. (Let’s be real, most authors write numerous, TERRIBLE books before they start getting published. I’m not an exception. My first books make me cringe. It’s known as the apprenticeship time for a reason.) Still, weird. Not that numbers matter or anything like that. I have plenty of half-written manuscripts that will probably never be finished and plenty of ideas I’ll probably never see through, but I feel like I should bake a cake. This time, with two candles.

What I’m Publishing:

This week’s #1lineWed preview was eyebrows, so here’s a sneak peek at Bad Bloods: Her smile was as small as the rest of her features, but then her raised eyebrows took over her expression.

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:

12919682_1013277415386106_4772341465276874814_nThe Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski. I was lucky enough to get my copy one day early. Marie Rutkoski is the best, one of my favorite YA writers of all time, and the ending of The Winner’s Trilogy is perfection. The perfect ending to a brilliant, stunning, and heart-wrenching trilogy. Recommended to fans of high fantasy and lovers of romance, strong characters all around, and those who enjoy gorgeous prose. My favorite quote? He would lose her if he couldn’t do this. He didn’t trust her. He did not. Yet he understood that there are some things you feel and others that you choose to feel, and that the choice doesn’t make the feeling less valid. Read my full 5-star review by clicking here.

What I’m Listening To:

To celebrate the completion of Take Me Yesterday, I created a playlist on YouTube where you can listen to the playlist I used while writing the sequel. No judging allowed. 😉 A fair warning though: I listen to some explicit music. Like VERY explicit. So…pre-screen it, yeah? You’ll basically find alternative music and rap music, like Glass Animals, and then Rittz, and then Lana Del Ray, and then Ces Cru. Play it by clicking this link: Take Me Yesterday Playlist

What I’m Watching:

I binge-watched The New Yorker Presents series via Amazon Prime. It’s really interesting and at times, hilarious, sad, maddening, and lovely. I definitely recommend it.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12916319_1012354918811689_8686432340318754170_oI lived off of espresso and sandwiches this past week. It’s basically been a non-stop writing sessions, and as we all know, writing is fueled by coffee. Lots of coffee. Hot, cold, iced, espresso, Americano, sweetened, black, tall, venti, mocha chip latte coffee. Whatever your flavor, words will come.

When I did finally finish writing, I took a day off and baked some lemon bars. For those of you who read The Timely Death Trilogy, then you know Eric Welborn is OBSESSED with lemon bars, specifically the ones his stepmom Mindy makes. Therefore, I channeled my inner Mindy Welborn and baked, baked, baked. Here is the recipe I used.

What I’m Wearing:

 12901473_1016252698421911_7581341378334475332_oWhatever matches my brand-new coffee mug. I’ve been dying to have one of David Olenick’s designs for awhile now, so when I gave myself permission to reward myself, I went after this little beauty of a coffee mug. (Fun fact: His designs also take up my computer’s home screen.) Check out David Olenick by clicking the link.

If you like this design, it was done by one of my favorite artists, David Olenick at Society6. Here’s his page 

What I’m Wanting:

To shake off the ending of my completed manuscript, so I can concentrate on another manuscript. (That is hard!)

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had a GIANT tabby cat, and my cat became so fat that he got stuck while trying to dig under my backyard fence. I was trying to get out while my bunny—yes, I had a bunny in this dream—tried to push me away from helping my cat. This bunny was huge. He was named Dumb Bunny, too. (Which I’m pretty sure was my aunt’s bunny’s name from a couple years back.) Nevertheless, I had my tabby cat, my dumb bunny, and a little white fluffy dog…and all of them were trying to tackle me while I was trying to help one of them…and a bunch of neighborhood kids were throwing a party under my house at the same time? I don’t know. Dreams are strange.

What Else Is Going On:

12719152_1017091155004732_1359757398723330593_oI added a reading corner to my new office. This wonderful reading corner includes three giant stuffed dogs and a teddy bear…along with a KU blanket. This means there is a KU blanket in MU territory. I also moved my painted portrait of Bogart with Humphrey Bogart to my new office. It’s starting to feel like home. I’ll share more pictures soon, but I was lucky enough to capture Bogart admiring himself in his portrait. By far, my favorite painting in the world. My cat lady heart just can’t handle the cuteness.

~SAT

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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takefofytseve

#WritingTips Choosing a Setting

1 Feb

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

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

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

A screenshot of Earth Album

A screenshot of Earth Album

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

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

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

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

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

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

~SAT

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

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

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Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

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Death Before Daylightbook 3:

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