September’s Ketchup

28 Sep

September was too much fun!

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 September.

Big Moments:

It was my four-year blogiversary, and WordPress was my #1 referrer other than search engines!

It was my four-year blogiversary, and WordPress was my #1 referrer other than search engines!

I went to Penned Con in St. Louis this month! I met so many new authors and readers, and had a blast! For those of you who came by our Halloween table, Natasha Hanova and I were giving away Halloween candy…and sometimes, I wore a Pikachu hat. It was fun!

The paperback of Bad Bloods: November Snow released! It debuted at Penned Con, and that was way too much fun! I’m now offering signed copies of Bad Bloods, too, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested.

My four-year blogiversary with WordPress also happened this month! I cannot BELIEVE I started blogging way back when in September of 2012. I freakin’ love blogging, and I’m not going away anytime soon.

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods Free Book: My #1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods Free Book: My #1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Snow

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Help! My Female Character Is Flat: While writing my latest manuscript, I realized my female character was flat. How? Because I was holding her back. Why? Because I was afraid. When did I get scared and why did that happen…and how did I overcome it for her and myself? Read the article to find out.

2. Writing Quicksand: I use the term writing quicksand to describe when writing it doing more harm than good. It does happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it or acknowledge it. This is how I got out from my quicksand and started writing again.

3. My Protagonist and Illiteracy: As many of you know, my protagonist—Serena—in Bad Bloods is illiterate. This article is about my journey in writing an illiterate character and why I chose to do so. 

Other Blog Posts:

#SATurdate: Sequel Sneak Peeks, The Light Between Oceans, Rook, & Cupcakes: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

#SATurdate: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, The Marked Girl, One Mississippi & Violins: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

Website Wonders and Four-Year Blogiversary: A monthly list of all the websites I loved and shared. Also, it was my four-year blogiversary. Can you believe it?

#SATurdate: Penned Con, Descendants of the Sun, Snow Like Ashes, & Paperbacks: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

November Snow Paperback Release & Sequel Sneak Peeks! The paperback came out and I released a bunch of surprises!

Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview! Before I went off to Penned Con with Natasha Hanova, I interviewed her for all of you to meet. Check her out.

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.

Reviewers:

“I highly recommend giving this a shot. Time for part 2!” –Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories, November Rain.

“November Snow was amazing!” –Sue’s Reading Corner, November Snow

“Recommend it? YES!” –Daydreaming Books, Minutes Before Sunset

september2016

Website Wonders & Four-Year Blogiversary

26 Sep

bloggiversaryFirst, I want to give a shout out to WordPress and everyone I’ve met in the blogosphere! Today is my four-year anniversary with WordPress, and I’m still totally, completely in love with this community. Thanks for having me.

~SAT

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 September’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Fairy Tales, Mysteries, and the Best Person Ever.

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

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

See you next month,

~SAT

Favorite Article: Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF

I feel so strongly about this article. And I completely agree. We can do better. This article is on point.

Writing:

This Book is Broken, and Other Things I Tell Myself While Writing by Victoria Schwab: I really love her honesty in this article. A must-read for writers.

The Five Elements of a Story: Brush up on the basics in a new way.

Proust’s Questionnaire – 35 Questions Every Character Should Answer: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Fairy Tales:

14079612_1189549304445899_2149284556800308199_n15 Fairy Tale Cities That Actually Exists In Real Life: So cute!

Enchanting European Landscapes Inspired by Brothers Grimm Folk Tales Photographed by Kilian Schönberger: Can’t you tell I was feeling in need of a fairy tale this week?

Mysteries:

10 Ancient Books That Teach Supernatural Powers: Looking for book inspiration? Write a tale about one of these.

10 Unbelievable Urban Legends That Are Actually True: Chills

The Best Person Ever:

Man Devotes His Life To Adopting Old Dogs Who Can’t Find Forever Homes: Can we just give this guy a hug? What a wonderful thing to do. Adopt an old dog today.

See you next month!

~SAT

Penned Con 2016

Penned Con 2016

I had a ton of fun at Penned Con in St. Louis this past week! Thanks for coming out and seeing me. Now it’s time to cuddle with my three cats…😀

#SATurdate: Penned Con, Descendants of the Sun, Snow Like Ashes, & Paperbacks

24 Sep

What I’m Writing:

I’m 52,291 words into Bad Bloods: July Thunder! I was sort of—maybe—kind of hoping to keep this book under 120,000 words, but it looks like it will be just as long as the first two installments at this point. It’s kind of funny not knowing if it will be one book or two, but I’ll keep everyone updated! In the meantime, check out the Pinterest board.

What I’m Publishing:

Bad Bloods: November Snow is now available as a paperback! (Woot!) For those of you wanting signed copies, I will offer those this next week once I get back from Penned Con. That’s right. I’m at Penned Con in St. Louis RIGHT NOW. So, if you’re near me, stop on by and say hi. I’m sharing a booth with the lovely and talented Natasha Hanova. (And we have candy.)

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

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

What I’m Reading:

Snow Like Ashes

Snow Like Ashes

I finished The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele! Adventurous and super fun, The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele tells the story of what happens when a prince and two comrades from another dimension—a warring dimension full of scary, evil creatures called wraths—fall into modern LA and meets Liv, a foster kid on the run. Chaos ensues. I loved the humor in this book. I really enjoyed seeing our modern world from the viewpoint of Cedric (the prince from a more-or-less Medieval-type society). The descriptions were on point—enough to tell the reader what it was he was talking about, while keeping it mysterious to himself. I really enjoyed that, and his conflicting ideals between his old world and the new one he found himself in. Liv was also a badass, at least in regards to personality. I loved how real she felt, and I enjoyed her friendship with Shannon. (Hey! There’s a Shannon in this book. That’s another plus.) The letdowns mainly focus on disappointments rather than anything necessarily bad about the book. Based on marketing and the first couple of pages, I thought we’d see more of Caelum (the other world), but we only see the one chapter at the beginning. That being said, it leaves on QUITE the cliffhanger, hinting to seeing more of the world next time, and I am hoping to get my hands on the sequel soon. Also, the book relies heavily on tropes, which isn’t a bad thing if you love them. BUT I will say this: I LOVE that the love triangle is two girls and one boy rather than the other way around. Overall, though, it felt more like a “part one” than a “book one.” I still recommend it to YA Fantasy readers, especially for those who enjoy Urban Fantasy and Light Fantasy. Recommended to YA readers of light, urban fantasy. Favorite Quote: Maybe hell is just a myth we ascribe to worlds we cannot imagine.

In other news, I FINALLY began Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. How has it taken me this long? UGH. I’ll never know.

What I’m Listening To:

What I’m Watching:

Descendants of the Sun is my latest K-Drama obsession, and I love it. Seriously, I’ve cried so hard during this show, it’s stupid. It follows a female doctor and a male solider as they get to know each other on various landscapes during numerous issues. They have a lot of moral conversations about life, and the life lost around them is heart-breaking! Definitely watch this right meow. It’s on Netflix.

Descendants of the Sun

Descendants of the Sun

I also watched Amazon’s Original Fleabag, and I LOVED it. This one is about a 20-something girl dealing with the death of her best friend while trying to survive in the big city. It’s tragically sad and hilariously funny. Check them both out.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

No baking for me this week! I’m on the road, eating Halloween candy at my booth at Penned Con. Come grab some Airheads or Snickers.

What I’m Wearing:

Penned Con 2016

Penned Con 2016

Despite my non-Pikachu picture, I am wearing my Pikachu hat at Penned Con. Because nothing says “I’m an author” like all the nerdy clothes I’ve been dying to wear.

What I’m Wanting:

As I’m writing this, pasta—because I’m starving.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Honestly, this is the first week where I wasn’t writing down my dreams, so I got nothing.

What Else Is Going On:

Okay. One more time. I am at Penned Con in St. Louis RIGHT NOW, so come on out, say hello, and read awesome books.

~SAT

#WW Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview!

21 Sep

As you’re reading this, I’m probably packing books and trinkets and other wonderful goodies for Penned Con St. Louis! Last year, I attended this awesome convention as a reader, and I’m ecstatic to be attending this year as an author! Penned Con is on September 23 & 24 in St. Louis, Missouri, and I will be signing books, taking pictures, and just having a ton of fun with readers. (Click the link for tickets and more info.) I hope to see you there.

Natasha Hanova

Natasha Hanova

On top of that, I’ll be sharing a booth with the wonderful and talented Natasha Hanova, so come check us out. We are on our way!

So, today, I’m breaking a blogging rule of mine and featuring an interview with this awesome lady!

Please welcome YA author Natasha Hanova! (Also, if you visit her website today, you can read my interview! Click here.)

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What do you write?

Hello Shannon! Thanks for having me on your blog. My name is Natasha Hanova. #Whovian. #WalkingDead #GimmeAllTheChocolate. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal, dark fantasy, and dystopian books with romance.

What do you love most about reading?

I love how books take me to new places I’ve never been or show me different aspects of a place I’m familiar with. As a writer, I pay particular attention to the methods other authors use to draw me into their book, whether its voice, style, character, plot. I read for enjoyment, and at the same time, I’m learning to hone my craft.

What do you love most about writing?

Quieting the voices? JK. When I write, I sit down with my laptop, a bag of M&Ms (we’re not discussing which size), and my headphones. One of my favorite parts of writing is getting so deep into the zone that I stop hearing the music, forget to munch on M&Ms, and fall into the fictional world on my screen. When my characters are talking and moving so fast, my fingers can hardly keep up with their pace. When the scene is so vivid, I can smell the crisp air, taste the pine, and touch dried leaves, and hear them crunch the setting. There’s little else that compares to that kind of joy.

What do you love most about publishing?

I like connecting with readers. I’m not going to lie, cover reveals are also exciting.

What are you currently working on?

I have a Young Adult Paranormal that’s Classic Snow White meets Buffy that I’m shopping around. I’m also currently working on an adult horror that’s dark, with sparks of light, and of course a touch of romance.

Any advice for writers out there?

Ever hear the saying, “There is no try, just do.” I think the same thing applies to writing a book. Set attainable goals. Find accountability partners, if you need to and just write. Even one sentence a day is progress.

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

What are you looking forward to at Penned Con?

This is my first time going to Penned Con, though I know a few of the other authors attending. I’m looking forward to sharing a Table 35 with you.  I may or may not have chocolate available. I also can’t wait to meet all the people.

And since we’re talking about traveling, what is your favorite city/trip you’ve been on?

This summer, I went to Finland/Norway with my husband. I’d have to say that was in my Top 3 favorite trips. Beautiful country-side. Delicious food. Serene writing places.

Shout out to three books you love!

Argh! Only three. Man, okay. In no particular order, Touching Fate by Brenda Drake, The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole (Yes, I’m aware that’s more than one book), and Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Shameless plug time! What book of yours should we check out?

Edge of Truth. A recent reviewer described it like this: “[Edge of Truth] is about a girl who can LITERALLY make the earth quake. X-Men meets Divergent.”

Thanks again for having me.

Social Media Links

Website   *   Twitter   *   Goodreads   *   Facebook   *   Pinterest

Book Links

Amazon     *     Barnes & Noble     *     iBooks     *     Books-A-Million

Come out to St. Louis this weekend to hang out with us!

Read my interview on Natasha Hanova’s website here.

~SAT

November Snow Paperback Release & Sequel Sneak Peeks!

19 Sep

Today’s post is short and sweet.

The paperback of Bad Bloods: November Snow released!

So, who wants some sneak peeks?😀

Bad Bloods: November Snow Paperback Release

Bad Bloods: November Snow Paperback Release

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

What are the latest readers saying?

“A powerful work of art. In November Rain, Thompson invites us into a world of secrecy, murder, and unlikely friendships that are bound to make your head spin with wonder.” – Lena May Books, November Rain

“I bawled like a baby at the end of this book. I highly recommend this story to all to read and enjoy!!” – Black Words, White Pages, November Snow

So what happens after Bad Bloods: November Snow?

July Thunder!

The sequel is underway! I’m working really hard, despite hitting a bit of a snag, and I released the first sneak peek of July Thunder’s very first chapter, told by Violet herself. For those of you who need a little reminder, Violet was a bad blood from the Northern Flock, she was the shadow from Shadow Alley, and now, she is a protagonist. The other protagonist will be a brand-new character named Caleb. I am so looking forward to readers seeing how he connects with the first book. (There are hints throughout November Rain and Snow. *hint hint*)

Check out the July Thunder/Lightning Pinterest Board!

This is a first look at brand-new cast members, as well as old ones, and the sunken bay, where most of the sequel will take place. The sunken bay is in Eastern Vendona. Niki from the Southern Flock originated from there (which you can read about on the Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad) as did a few other bad blood characters. Other important origin stories you should pay attention to? Ami. She was in the Southern Flock, and she will play a significant role in July Thunder/Lightning. But that’s all I’ll say for now! This board isn’t complete, so keep your eyes on it for additions.

July Thunder Pinterest Board Sneak Peek! See more photos at the link!

July Thunder Pinterest Board Sneak Peek! See more photos at the link!

And finally, the preview of July Thunder/Lighting!

This excerpt is from Violet’s perspective on July 1, 2090.

“Are you afraid of Caleb?” Daniel asked.

Levi tossed his head back and laughed. “Afraid?” he repeated. “Of course I’m afraid. But I ain’t here ‘cause I’m scared of him.” Levi dropped into the water with a dramatic splash. When he resurfaced, his glowing skin scorched an eerie glow across his eyes. “I’m here ‘cause I’m scared for him.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped.

Levi’s eyes met mine. “The sea?” he asked, and to make a point, he dragged his fingers through the water. “She talks to me.”

“Well, isn’t that sweet?” I mocked, but Levi’s expression only darkened.

“She’s far from sweet, sweetheart,” he said. “She’s gonna kill us.”

“What are you talking about?” Daniel growled, but Levi smirked at his tone, like a sailor to a siren.

“Caleb didn’t tell you?” he asked, then touched the water again. “We’re all gonna drown.”

P.S. I released a longer excerpt via my newsletter. If you missed it, sign up today. More sneak peeks will release in the future. (I won’t ever give your information away, and I send one newsletter a month – if that.)

Thanks for reading!

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

~SAT

#SATurdate: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, The Marked Girl, One Mississippi & Violins

17 Sep

What I’m Writing:

So this week I totally fell in love with Lindsey Sterling, an American violinist who blew me away. (I put her music in my music section, so check her out.) But this reminded me of a fact that will come up in Bad Bloods, so here it goes: Everyone thinks I named the walled-in city of Bad Bloods “Vendona” because of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, but in all honesty, I got the name from my favorite violinist, Vanessa-Mae. Though it’s not “technically” said I kept hearing it at the ten-second moment in her song, Destiny. Check it out! Tell me if you can hear it, too. This is also why I’m SUPER excited about Bad Bloods: July Thunder. It’s very musical, and there will be violins!

This week’s #1lineWed preview was socks, and no lie, I was AMAZED I actually had a line in Bad Bloods: July Thunder that mentioned socks. There’s just some things we forget about, right? Well, not Hanna. She’s the character described in this preview.

What I’m Publishing:

I am working with Barnes & Noble again to set up a Bad Bloods book signing tour! I will host writing panels and more, so keep an eye out for that. Also, the Bad Bloods: November Snow paperback releases September 19—this upcoming Monday—and I will be releasing sneak peeks of the sequel through my newsletter and right here on www.ShannonAThompson.com. In other news, though, I am discontinuing the Bad Bloods prequel for now, so I can concentrate on future books, but don’t be surprised if I post new prequel stories randomly. (I will announce them if I do.)

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

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

What I’m Reading:

I’m currently reading The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele! It’s so good! Cute, fun, exciting, and super scary at times. I’ll include a picture next week when I post my review.❤

What I’m Listening To:

This is the violinist I mentioned above!

What I’m Watching:

One Mississippi finally released. It’s an Amazon Original I’ve been waiting for since the pilot, and I LOVED it. That being said, it’s rather dark humor and dry, but…that’s my type of humor. I definitely recommend this show if you enjoy that type of cynical honesty.

One Mississippi

One Mississippi

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

css29pmuaaepnb8-jpg-largePumpkin spice latte! I just HAD to do it. That and peanut butter and chocolate chip pinwheel cookies. For those of you who actually look at the recipe, you might notice I didn’t bother with the swirling part. In all honest, I did…but I ran out of wax paper, and I nearly ruined my entire kitchen. So normal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies happened. I tend to use chunky peanut butter instead of creamy, too. They are awesome!

What I’m Wearing:

My Jayhawk t-shirts from my KU college days. Why? See “What Else Is Going On” below.

What I’m Wanting:

For Penned Con to get here already! I’m one week away and dying from excitement.

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Apparently, my profession was ghost-hunting, but this was not by choice. (I suppose this society chose your jobs for you.) But there were reports of ghosts out in this field, and I had to walk out there in the dark until I could find something. Basically, it was me walking through the woods expecting something to get me for what felt like forever. No jumpy surprises. For once.

What Else Is Going On:

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

For the first time in almost four years, I returned to my good ol’ college town of Lawrence, Kansas. I made a day trip out of it, and it was a blast. I got to eat cream cheese pineapple pizza at Pizza Shuttle (trust me, it’s awesome), drink a Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza, and eat cereal from Java Break’s 24-Hour Cereal Bar. If you’re in Lawrence, I’m telling you, these are the places to be.

Today is also my big brother’s birthday, so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRUGORY.

~SAT

#WW Help! My Female Character Is Flat

14 Sep

I’m guilty! Oh, so guilty.

While writing my latest manuscript for my publisher, I hit a snag 38,000 words in, and could not—for the life of me—figure out what was wrong with it. Then, I realized what happened.

My female protagonist was flat.

Allow me to back track for a little bit.

I never used to have this problem. When I first set out to write books, I honestly feel like I was a better writer than I am now. At least, in regards to the first draft. I would simply let my work be what it needed to be. Now, I’m bombarded with so many rules and expectations (some awesome, some not-so-awesome) that I end up worrying about what I should be writing instead of worrying about what my book actually is, who my characters truly are, and how things will happen naturally.

Example? Well, let’s go back to where I started. My flat female character. Why was she flat? Because she wasn’t flawed. So, why wasn’t she flawed? Because I was afraid. I kept thinking about all the things readers want (and don’t want) a female character to be. Tough but not too tough. Girly but not too girly. A good friend, a completely independent lover, a strong-minded leader, a determined dreamer, and someone who never faints from total exhaustion from all that perfect-ness.

I take issue with too much expectation, especially in young adult fiction where characters are coming of age and still trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and how they’re going to achieve it. But I get it. I do. As a reader myself, I know readers are harder on female characters, because the world is harder on females in general. I have my moments, too! It’s ingrained into us, after all. But I hadn’t realized how much it was affecting books until my paranormal romance trilogy released last year. Spoiler warning now, I was shocked that my male protagonist could take a two-ton car, throw a hissy fit, and crash it at 100 mph without so much as a blink of judgment, while my female character was called all kinds of nasty names because she went underage drinking with her friends and got into some trouble. Personally, I think his choice was much more destructive considering how he could’ve killed someone else—or an entire car full of innocent people—while her reckless decision really only put herself in danger. (And she was with friends she should’ve been able to trust.) All that aside, though, only one of them was judged. And she was judged harshly. (Shameless plug: I’m talking about Seconds Before Sunrise.)

As much as I wish I could say this didn’t affect me, I think it did.

Now, when I approach my female characters, I’m hesitant to let them make any mistakes at all. I’m afraid to let them cry (because they’ll be deemed whiny), but I never hesitate to let my male characters cry (because when they cry, they are somehow seen as deep and approachable and need to be comforted).

It’s extremely frustrating, because I am also a female, and I know these judgments extend far beyond the pages of my books. It’s also why I fight my own fears to keep my female characters round. In a world that is constantly trying to flatten female characters, I will fight to keep them round. I will even fight myself—my own misconceptions and…well, flaws.

Before, I held myself back, and therefore, I held my female character back, and I apologize for that.

She is not someone I should hold back. She is strong and weak and happy and sad. She’s dealing with trauma and dreaming about the future and falling in and out of what she thinks might be love (but she isn’t sure), and she is reckless for all kinds of reasons. She also cares deeply about those around her…and sometimes she forgets to care about herself, too. But she will do her best and she will make mistakes, and the combination of both is what matters, because that is who she is.

I will not worry whether or not readers will hate or love or judge her, because she is her, and that is who she is supposed to be. And this is her story to tell, not mine.

~SAT

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