It’s that time again! Today is Website Wonders, and my next post will be June’s Ketchup. But I’m switching it up a little bit. Today, I’ll be sharing all of the websites I’ve come across this month that I think you’ll enjoy – but I’m also sharing a small excerpt of Take Me Tomorrow. Don’t forget to email me if you want to review it! I’m at email@example.com, and I should be receiving the review copies soon. I am also open to interviews! (Or just talking.) So talk to you soon!
Below, you’ll find all of June’s Website Wonders categorized into these categories: For Writers, Publishing News, For Readers, Inspiration, and Humor. The excerpt is at the bottom, but I share all of these on my Author Facebook page throughout the month, so be sure to join me there if you haven’t already. 😀
200 Words Instead of “Said” – I am a huge fan of the word “said” but many writers like to use a variety of words. A few readers left fantastic tips on my Author Facebook Page, including Amber Skye Forbes saying to use words like these like gems. I agree with her, but this article is great if you’re looking for those little gems to use.
Powerful Portraits of Brave People Revealing Their Insecurities: Other than the fact that this project is powerful and amazing and so many other words, I thought this would be a great exercise for writers to run through with their characters. What are there insecurities? Where would they write them down? How would they display themselves?
A little information first: the photo you see is from the Take Me Tomorrow Pinterest board. The boy is very close to Miles Beckett, a friend of Sophia’s. The scene you’re about to read is actually a part of a flashback of the first time Sophia met Miles when they were seven years old.
“We’re going to be best friends,” Lily squealed, seeming younger than me even though I was told we were the same age. I couldn’t say anything to that either.
“You’ll really like it here,” Ms. Beckett said, giving a slight push to a young boy standing next to her. He had stumbled forward, but his gaze never left the ground. His curls were matted with gel, and his shirt had a collar. He looked like a child dressed in an old man’s suit.
Miles managed to tell me his name, while Lily exclaimed that he was her brother. Twins. I had never met twins before.
“I’m Sophia,” I said, glancing up at my father for social direction.
“You’ll like it here, kiddo,” he repeated Ms. Beckett’s words, playing with the glasses in his pocket. I nodded mechanically, knowing that his new job would keep him out of the State most of the time. I was stuck here, and everything was about to change.
Shannon, here, for an announcement. Minutes Before Sunset was featured on Friday Fiction. You can read an 1,000 word excerpt by clicking here. The scene happens between Jessica and Eric, and it’s from a chapter told from Jessica’s perspective.
Now an introduction. Pau Castillo from Pau’s Castles has written a wonderful post about her technique behind her interactive book reviews. I believe this post is great for readers and authors, especially book bloggers who might be considering a new aspect to add to their websites. Using her interactive method allows readers to be both entertained and engaged while reading and reviewing. As an author, I highly recommend her reviews – but check her out for yourself. She’s stellar! Thank you for blogging here today, Pau.
Good day to all avid followers and readers of the lovely author, Shannon A. Thompson! My name is Pau, a 20-year-old blogger from the Philippines and I’m here to share you how I do my book reviews.
Before, I used to think the way I do my reviews is… quite typical. Or rather, I’ve never thought highly of it. I thought it was just right to do the things I do but, apparently, I’ve gotten some praises from other authors because of it. They appreciated my “notes for authors”.
So what are notes for authors?
Well, as the phrase claims, it’s my portion of my review post that contains my notes for authors. Usually, it contains spoilers. Lots and lots of spoilers. Which is why it’s usually just for authors and not readers most especially if they haven’t read the book yet.
This photo is a photo I tweeted to Shannon to show her my current notes progress for her book. I was barely halfway and I had these much thoughts already! The notes jotted down here can be as random as “Oh gosh Eric is a lovely character! Can I marry him?”
The notes portion basically contains my thoughts as I read the novel. Usually, I take note of the pace, character development, plot development, plot twists, fan-girl moments (especially when I’m crushing over a character. In Seconds Before Sunrise‘s case, Eric Welborn) and, sometimes, grammar and redundancies. English is not exactly my first language so grammar is not usually something I deeply look into. As for ARCs, I also take note of possible typographical errors.
Here’s a screen cap of Jasmine Carolina’s comment about my review. I greatly appreciated this one because, although I became a little technical with my notes, she still loved the review. Jasmine Carolina recently published her first novel called Losing Me, the first book of a trilogy. It was a great novel!
Lastly, other than the notebook author notes, I also tend to live tweet to authors (with minimal or no spoilers at all) while reading their works. I personally like them to feel my actual emotions at the very moment I’m feeling them. Shannon and another author named Amber Skye Forbes (author of When Stars Die) loved the live updates.
Personal tip and conclusion
So basically, that’s it! For attempting book bloggers out there, you might want to consider jotting down your thoughts while reading a book and if you have a twitter account, you might want to live-update as well. It gives the authors the satisfaction and joy of knowing how we, the readers, truly felt while reading something they’ve surely worked hard on.
Thank you for reading!
More about the blogger
Pau is a 20-year-old blogger from the Philippines. Her blog is mostly filled with book reviews but, once in a while, she inserts some random stuff like her life as a media student, the places she discovered, and the restaurants / food stalls that forever scarred her taste buds… in a good way. She is currently a fourth year college student taking up Advertising which is a course commonly known as a zombie virus in the world of her school. During her free time, she is mostly stuck with a book or attempting to be an artist by doing calligraphy.
In case you missed my interview with Whispers in the Dark radio, here it the link. You can still listen to the entire show, and I even gave away some extra information about Take Me Tomorrow. The host also recorded four of my latest poems, and he is a wonderful reader, so I highly recommend his show.
Two fantastic blogs reviewed Minutes Before Sunset this week, so please take the time to check them out by clicking the links provided:
Confessions of a Book Geeksaid, “If you’re into your paranormal/fantasy stories but want something fresh and different from the vampire/werewolves/witches tales we all love (but are in desperate need for a break from), then I highly recommend Minutes Before Sunset and The Timely Death Trilogy.”
Books for Thought agreed when they said, “I was pretty much hooked as soon as I started it, which is a huge accomplishment.”
Check out everything these two readers had to say because their book blogs are highly entertaining.
The day has come! I am revealing more information about Take Me Tomorrow, and I am answering YOUR questions, comments, and more. Everyone is linked to, and I hope you enjoy the answers. But first –
Take Me Tomorrow is on Goodreads, so please add it to your bookshelf today by clicking this link or the photo below:
I was going to share all of the guesses, but there were so many and many of them were very long! (Thank you so much!) That being said, the post was way too long with everyone’s awesome guesses (practical stories) so I am only going to link to their websites. As marketing continues, I’ll be sure to repeat my favorite guesses, but here are excerpts from my top three favorite guesses:
1. Auntie Doris: “…I reckon that he only has tickets for that very afternoon, so he goes to New York or Liverpool, but probably New York, with his brother, and they make a fortune, but he never forgets her, and so he sends for her and her father and pays their passage over, and when they get their they get married and a top physician cures the fathers back. And the brother marries an American girl, or a Scouse girl but probably an American girl. Am I right? Do I win?”
You weren’t right, but your guess was a story all on its own, and you did win! Feel free to email me at shannonathompson.com, and we can discuss a guest spot on my blog 😀
2. Things Mattter: A History Blog: “I’m guessing it’s a time travel love story in which this girl knows she’s going to fall in love with this guy but it hasn’t happened yet and she decides to change the future.”
I thought this guess was the closest – mainly because it deals with trying to change the future.
3. Inkwell & Paper: “The angel of death comes along and she begs for one more day, saying “Take me tomorrow.” She is given medicine that will last only 24 hours”
I really loved how she both took the title and the cover “Rx” into account. Plus, her plot sounds wicked.
The Discussion: Questions, Statements, and Answers
Below I’ve included all of the websites of those who have asked about Take Me Tomorrow. SAT refers to me, but you will see other initials without links. That is because they asked questions on my personal Facebook, and they do not wish to be linked to. Everything bolded are the main points. Enjoy!
SAT:Take Me Tomorrow is a YA, dystopian novel surrounding the existence of a clairvoyant drug. I’ve included the synopsis from Goodreads below, but this is not the final synopsis:
Two years after the massacre, the State enforces stricter rules and harsher punishments on anyone rumored to support tomo – the clairvoyant drug that caused a regional uprising.
But sixteen-year-old Sophia Gray has other problems.
Between her father’s illegal forgery and her friend’s troubling history, the last thing Sophia needs is an unexpected encounter with a boy.
He’s wild, determined, and one step ahead of her. But when his involvement with tomo threatens her friends and family, Sophia has to make a decision: fight for a future she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.
Elizabeth Jamison’s PhD Journey: “Shannon, is this a new series? The cover is absolutely fantastic! And how did you finish another book so quickly? It seems like the others just came out. You are amazing.”
SAT: It is the first novel of a series. Originally it was five novels, but I cut it down to only 3. I’m currently hoping to make it two novels. I wrote Take Me Tomorrow when I was 19, so it’s been finished for a few years now. I wasn’t planning on releasing it until November, but after speaking with AEC, I decided it wasn’t doing any good sitting on my laptop, so I’m publishing it now. Also, the story begins in August, so I thought it would be neat for readers to be able to read it during the season that it takes place in.
A Midget with a Huge Imagination: “I hope you’d give me the opportunity to read your work, Shannon! The cover looks amazing and surely this will be another page-turning novel from you!”
SAT: Definitely! I am taking interviewers and reviewers now, so please feel free to message me at shannonathompson.com.
Desirable Purity: “I really want to know this. What is the thought behind this title: Take Me Tomorrow?”
SAT: Explaining in complete detail would ruin one the biggest “shockers” of the novel, but I will try without spoiling it. The clairvoyant drug is called “tomo” – short for “tomorrow” – At least, that’s what the protagonist thinks. There are two scenes in particular to look out for in order to understand the title completely. The ending of chapter fifteen and the ending of chapter nineteen.
LW: “Thought it was you on the cover at first. Lol”
SAT: That is not me on the cover, but I’m glad someone said it, because I’ve actually had a few people say it (including my publisher) and I wanted a chance to clarify that the model is not me – although, the protagonist, Sophia Gray, does have brown hair.
JF: “Where was this pic [the cover] taken? Kansas City area?”
SAT: I can’t say where this picture was taken exactly, but JF is onto something. Take Me Tomorrow is dystopian, but the setting is the Topeka Region, one of seven regions in the State. That being said, “Topeka” isn’t in Kansas. The book technically takes place in the Kansas City, Missouri area. So look out for that explanation in the novel because it is stated.
ABB: “Glad you kept the Rx! Looks Awesome!”
SAT: What? Someone already knew what Take Me Tomorrow was about AND they knew about the Rx? That’s right. A few years ago, I had this novel posted on Wattpad. I gained a couple hundreds fans (Oh, how I wish I could reconnect with them!) and I received some fan art. (It was my first time receiving fan art ever!) I’ve actually shared this fan art before on my post – Writing Tips: Different Perspectives – but it’s been a while since then, so here’s the photo: (Notice a slight change in the title from “Take Me To Tomorrow” to “Take Me Tomorrow.”) You also might have more curiosity after seeing this drawing.
I hope this answered your questions and sparked even more curiosity! As the author, I am definitely looking forward to this release. It’ll be my first novel released that is told from one perspective, and I cannot wait to share more as the release gets closer. Feel free to ask more questions below, and I will answer them!
Don’t forget to add Take Me Tomorrow on Goodreads or to “like” the novel on Facebook.
It’s a new year and so much has changed already. My publisher – AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. – has cranked its gears and remodeled itself for the future. Instead of being a simple publisher, we are now an open and growing community of writers, cover artists, and editors supporting one another. You don’t have to be published by AEC or spend money to participate. The website is designed for everyone to connect in one place. This website is for you, and hopefully, by the end of this piece, you’ll want to check out The Author Extension Community and/or join it. It’s a great place for authors to support one another as well as readers to come and meet them. We simply need people to help us spread the word, and I’ll give you three, great reasons to do it:
1. The website has many places where you and your work can be showcased
2. The Author Extension Community also shares Tips/Tricks for writing, editing, publishing, and marketing from you and for you. Currently, there’s a great website found by Amber Skye Forbes, which helps authors find more ways to reach readers. With more people on this page, this place can become a haven for authors looking for a way to cut back on research time and add more successful, fun time.
The Author Extension Community is positive, innovative, and free.
As readers and writers, we’re constantly trying to find ways to connect and grow, and this is an opportunity to do so with many others striving to succeed in this publishing market. We share a dream, so let’s achieve it together.
Today, I wanted to share an upcoming event that happens tomorrow – December 12. It’s a virtual launch party, which means that you can attend the event online, via Facebook, and play games with other readers and fans in order to win numerous prizes. One of the games is interviewing me 😀 The ultimate prize is a Kindle Paperwhite.
So here are the details:
Ebook Extravaganza is a virtual launch party hosted by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., which is celebrating their first year of publishing. The celebration is on Facebook from 6-9 PM (CDT) and you can win a Kindle Paperwhite as well as gift cards, free/discounted books, and other prizes. PLUS: Get to know AEC authors. Click the link to attend the party.
This event will be really exciting because you can LIVE interview any AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. author–all while winning prizes (including that Kindle Paperwhite.)
Here’s the interview schedule:
6:20 – Shannon A Thompson (That’s me!)
6:35 – Ryan Attard (author of Firstborn and Dreadnight)
6:50 – Oliver F Chase (author of Marsh Island)
7:00 – Sorin Suciu (author of The Scriptlings)
7:20 Val Vogel (author of Broker Executive)
7:30 Heather Lucie Hebert (author of Family Tree)
8:00 – Amber Skye Forbes (author of When Stars Die)
8:20 – Raymond Vogel (author of Matter of Resistance)
So the day has come! And below you can read the full synopsis as well as see the lovely cover created by Viola Estrella. (But there’s a bigger surprise, so stay tuned.) Many of you might wonder where the design came from, but here’s the quick truth: Minutes Before Sunset is about being in the Dark, Seconds Before Sunrise is about being a human, and Death Before a New Day is about being in the Light. So this cover was carefully designed to depict the theme of the humanity of the protagonists, especially Eric. (Hence the green color and the boy.)
But what’s the surprise?
47 wonderful blogs are helping me out with this cover reveal, and I’ve linked them all below. By clicking the link, you will be transported to their blog where they have shared a unique fact or sneak peek into the trilogy. There are 47 blogs and 47 facts. Have fun on the scavenger hunt, and enjoy the cover reveal!
“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of ShannonAThompson.com!
I wanted to thank everyone for encouraging me as I continue on this journey of writing and publishing. You might recall that I announced a GIANT giveaway to celebrate 9,000 followers, and it is now up and running:
Website Update: We hit 9,000 followers today! Thank you 😀
Giveaway opportunity: ShannonAThompson.com is only 8 followers away from hitting 9,000, and I want to celebrate! Once we hit the mark, I’ll be hosting a giveaway, and, so far, I have 18 books, but I need as many authors to participate as possible. Please send me an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com or message me on my FB Author Page for more details. Thank you for your support!
AEC Stellar is releasing an anthology, a collection of short stories from numerous authors, next month! I’ve added a page for it under novels, which you can look at by going to my tool bar or clicking here. Below you’ll see the cover of this upcoming collection. I am REALLY excited for this publication, and I feel very lucky to be a part of this. It’s always an exciting moment to see another work of yours being shared with the world. My story, Sean’s Bullet, is a military-fiction piece I originally wrote in my Fiction Writing I class during my freshman year in college. Another reason I am excited for this short story stems from the genre. It isn’t a genre people have seen me write from before, so I can’t wait to hear what everyone has to say. I’ll announce when it’s released, so look out for it! In the meantime, check out what’s coming your way:
Before I begin today’s post topic, I have two things to address:
First:Special thanks to Nicole Lee at “Ennlee’s Reading Corner” for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: “…The book alternates between the point of view of each of the main characters without a set pattern, and Ms. Thompson should be commended for her ability to create two characters that are similar enough to keep these sections from being disjointed, but different enough that the reader can tell in an instant who is speaking…”
Second: As many of you know, I held another contest where the winners receive a free account at Happify, a website dedicated to bringing happiness to social media within a great community of encouraging peers. The winners are:
Based on status, you’ll receive a confirmation. (If you don’t fell comfortable sharing your email on my comments, please send an email to ShannonAThompson@aol.com identifying yourself, so I can send the invite) Follow me here, so I can find you, and I’ll be sure to follow back!
Now, onto today’s post:
I wanted to discuss “setting” in a novel, but I specifically wanted to share websites where you can find more information on your place (or perhaps browse the world for inspiration, even if your setting is in another world entirely.)
I think your background is a great place to start. Everyone has heard “write what you know,” and there is truth in it. Placing your novel in a place your extremely familiar with is the easiest route (not necessarily the right route), and this can make descriptions easier. For instance, Minutes Before Sunset takes place in Hayworth, Kansas. This is not a real town. It’s actually a play on Hays and Ellsworth, both towns in Kansas. I haven’t lived in these locations, but I have been to them, and I currently live in Kansas, so I am very familiar with the culture, layout, and how the weather works. Plus, I wanted an ironic name. Since the novel is about a dark fate, it only seemed appropriate (and humorous) to have a name that suggested the town was worthy.
In regards to familiarity, another thing to think about is your basic settings. By this, I am referencing your rooms. I’ve discussed interior maps before, and every house in Minutes Before Sunset is based off of a real house I’ve lived in (aside from Eric’s. That’s my dream home.) And the maps are available on the Minutes Before Sunset extra’s page.
Back to location:
If you’re looking for a place you’re not entirely familiar with, I wanted to give a great website out there for beginning, especially if you’re not positive on what you’re looking for.
Earth Album Alpha: This is a slick flicker collection of photos, virtually capable in regards to clicking anywhere on the map just to see an arrangement of pictures from the specific country. This can be very broad, but it can also help narrow down what you’re looking for. As an example, the picture below is of Serbia. (I clicked randomly.) You’ll see a collection of tiny pictures at the top, which you can enlarge, that will show the region. In particular, this country has a lot of beautiful fields, so you may not be interested in Serbia, but you might realize you want an open space, and you can go from there.
Weather Base: This website helps summarize what happens in regards to weather in the average year based on the location you choose. This is actually a traveling website, meant for tourists to figure out ideal weather to travel in, but you can learn whatever you want all over the world. I really recommend checking these things, because fallacies can happen in location, if you’re not familiar with how citizens live beneath the weather clouds. A good example of this is the famous young-adult novel, Twilight. Although Meyer set it in a rain-prone state, the amount of rain she used was very unrealistic to the location. In an interview, she even admitted that she visited for weeks without rain and was quite disappointed with her lack of research. However, she was delighted to bring tourism to the city that wasn’t known before. So there are pros and cons to everything.
American Culture: If you want to stay in the states, this blog is full of information about history, culture, language, education, and more. It even includes family arrangements, death rituals, and relationships to other countries where these things may have taken place originally. This won’t only help your setting; it can help your characters round out as they’ll have a family background stabilized within reality. For instance, it may remind you of the variation in language used across certain areas. An exact quote: “Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog due to immigration from the countries where those languages are spoken, and to a certain extent French, primarily in far north New England, due to the Acadian-Canadian influence, and in Louisiana (Cajun).”
My hopes is that sites like this will help the initial process of choosing a location you (as much as your readers) feel connected to as much as your characters will be grounded in it.
If you have any other sites, comment below! And, as usual, if you have a topic you want to hear about, let me know, and I’ll credit your blog for asking the question on that post.
I hope everyone is having a great time! (Paperback news is coming soon!)
Goodreads Quote of the day: “I was falling in love with her, and she was falling in love with me. It was fated, decided before any of us were born, and I hated it as much as I loved it. I could barely stand it.” (Eric, Minutes Before Sunset)
2 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release! I’m feeling pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about it all 😀 [And definitely not sleeping due to excitement] And I have one more announcement!
Minutes Before Sunset will be available as an e-book through Barnes & Noble and Amazon for $6.99 on May 1st! Please help spread the word :] The first day of sales is often the most important, and I really appreciate everyone who’s helped (and encouraged) me on here, Facebook, and Twitter.
I’ve also received an author review for Minutes Before Sunset: “An exciting mixture of paranormal, romance, and page-turning action. Can’t wait to see book 2.” – Raymond Vogel, author of Matter of Resistance, a YA Science Fiction novel.
And the first chapter was published in The Corner Club Press yesterday! You can open an online version of it by clicking here. And congrats to the founder, Amber Forbes, who has signed her novel, “When Stars Die.” (I’ll be doing a piece on her soon, so look out for this emerging young author!)
But onto the writing tips !
Characters names are really important, and choosing them can take hours if you’re not sure why you can’t pick one out. So I’ve made a list of things to consider when naming your characters, along with websites to look things up in.
1. Time & Culture
This is the basic rule: Is it believable that your character’s parents would name them something within the setting’s restrictions? Of course, there are exceptions (especially within nicknames, which is another thing completely.) But consider the year. 1880 is going to be VERY different from 2030. If you want, you can actually look up popular names through the years at SSA, [Social Security Association.]
2. Unique and Memorable
You don’t want repetitive names or sounds. Of course everyone knows not to use names already used in very famous novels, but what about within your own book? You probably don’t want to name everyone with a “J” name. It’d be hard to follow Jack, John, Jared, and Jill around. Or even if all the names are very strange. I’d also consider the rhythm of couples (or protagonists in general.) Try to make them sound good together. The exception happens within relationships. If you have two brothers, having their names be similar is easier for the reader to follow.
3. Mixing Names (Sci-Fi)
I really believe science-fiction needs to have interesting names (along with most genres), but names that the eyes won’t struggle with. Unique names need to be considered very carefully, because you don’t want a reader unable to converse about your novel because they can’t say what they read.
As a personal example, Minutes Before Sunset is a paranormal romance. My characters have two names, one when they’re humans, one when they’re in their shade form. So their human names are very simple, while their shade names are more complicated and/or exotic. That way, it’s easily distinguishable:
Eric Welborn – Shoman
Jonathon Stone – Pierce
James Welborn – Bracke
George Stone – Urte
4. Names and Last Names
Remember most parents use iambic pentameter for names. The rhythm should work. On top of that, you can consider naming a character after another character. (A son may be named after his father or grandfather.) An example: In Minutes Before Sunset, Eric’s middle name is his father’s first name.
I also considered their last names very carefully. My protagonist, Eric Welborn, is born into a prophecy he cannot understand nor agree with, yet his last name insinuates he is “well born.” That is how it was created. (And it’s a real last name!) Jonathon Stone is Eric’s best friend. His last name is Stone, because he changes personalities the most when he transitions from human to shade. Stone, again, is used more for irony or, perhaps, a reality they have yet to see.
5. Where you can find them
There are many places you can go to inspire names.
Pick up an old yearbook. You’ll be surprised how many different first and last names (along with rhythms) you can find. However, I suggest not using a person’s exact name, but rather use it as a reference. Maybe a first or a last.
Babynames.com provides thousands of names within cultures, meanings, genders, and more. You can even save your favorite names as you skip around. (Although don’t be surprised if people ask you why you’re looking up baby names in public. ha.)
Last Name Meanings provides a list of last names and where they derived from, along with the meaning behind them.
A mixture of all these things creates a list of believable characters, and I really hope you’ll enjoy playing around with names more than before! Join me on Facebook and ask questions anytime you want!