Tag Archives: author in a coffee shop

#WW The Emotions of Finishing a Novel

6 Apr

Recently, I finished the first draft of a novel. Granted, any novelist already knows that means the novel isn’t truly finished, but alas, finishing that first draft is the first hurdle to novel freedom. There are a lot of emotions that come along with that moment. Even if it is the tenth novel you’ve written, it never gets old. These were my emotions.

When You Hit The Last Chapter

Oh, god. I’m about to complete this thing. Like, this thing is actually going to be done. Not done, done. But done enough for now-done. For at least a month done. Then, I have to edit. Wait. Focus. You’re not done yet. Finish before you worry about editing.

200

When You Hit The Last Sentence

And then all the characters were dead. Just kidding. *Deletes* (Insert heart-warming or gut-wrenching completion or cliffhanger.) Yep. That was sad. I’m a genius. (A genius who’s going to probably rewrite this line a billion and one times during the editing process.)

200-7

When You Type The End

I’m delighted!

It’s complete!

All my hard work and here I am!

200-13

When It Actually Hits You

Wait. It’s complete. Now what?

Panic. (Of course.)

200-9

When You Focus

Time to make phone calls. Time to round up the team. Time to tell them we’re past the first hurdle and now it’s full speed ahead. Everyone is excited, but most likely to remind you to take a moment to breathe. This clearly means it’s time to celebrate.

200-1

When You Celebrate

Dance party! This is best done to the soundtrack you wrote the novel to. Because, let’s be honest, you’re not going to want to listen to those songs for a LONG time. You might as well enjoy them now.

200-4

 When You Calm Down

Okay. You’re not much of a dancer anyway (even though you did write that killer dance scene in the book you just finished). Let’s go do something more reasonable. Something less dangerous. Like eat potatoes. Or order a reward for your accomplishment. A new coffee mug will do.

200-15

And Finally…When You Can Take a Break…Before You Work Again

We all know this is just a single step in a very complicated, often grueling (but also fun) process in an equally as long and complicated journey. Rewrites and edits and beta readers and query letters and publishers and formatters and cover artists all come into play. There are a million things to do and probably a million more ideas already itching to come out of your fingertips and onto the keyboard. But don’t forget to enjoy these little moments. Take a step back and reward yourself for all of your hard work. And, when you return, burn up that keyboard again. The next novel is waiting.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 14 starts this Thursday at 7 PM (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT. What is #AuthorinaCoffeeShop? It’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, and tweet out my writer thoughts, all while talking to you. I hope to see you there!

Clean Teen Publishing is giving away $120 worth of prizes! Do you hate long car rides and traffic? Are you tired of the same old cleaning the house routine? Do you find yourself wishing you had more time to read? If so, then we have the answer for you: LISTEN TO FICTION! That’s right. Audio books. Enter the Listen to Fiction Giveaway by clicking the link.

Audio-Book-Giveaway

12967952_1019564618090719_8181243134796822980_oIf you love free stuff, Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE right now. Recommended to YA paranormal romance fans who want new creatures never seen or heard of before. Feel free to send me a picture of you reading, too! I’ll share it around, like this photo, from Tamara Grantham, who said:

“I’ve fallen in love with Shannon A. Thompson’s Minutes Before Sunset. The willow tree is a central symbol in the book. Oddly enough, I’ve got 4 beautiful willow trees in my backyard, so it’s only fitting that I took this picture amidst the branches.”

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#WW How to Avoid Writer Burnout

9 Mar

Writer burnout is different from writer’s block. How? While writer’s block is a force that prevents you from going forward, writer’s burnout is when going forward too much and all the time eventually exhausts you (and your resources). I think it’s important to understand the differences, because the solutions to these problems can be quite different. Ultimately though, figuring out what works for you as a writer is what the key to your success will be. That being said, here are some writing tips to avoid writer’s burnout.

1. Pay Attention

If you normally write 1,000 words a day—and then suddenly notice you’ve written 10,000 words in three days—you might be on a slippery slope to burnout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s AWESOME when you do more than expected, but it’s also easy to get caught up in a writer’s high and forget to pay attention to your needs. Like sleep or adequate food. Stay hydrated. Get up and stretch still. Take care of yourself.

2. Take Breaks

This goes back to the above post, but I think it’s important enough to have its own slot, because it goes back to Typing 101. Every fifteen minutes or so, look away from your laptop. Focus elsewhere. Stretch your hands. Blink. (Blinking is a big one for me.) Stand up, stretch. Anything. Just take breaks. I have early on-set carpal tunnel from not taking care of myself as a teen writer. (I’m only 24!) It’s important to do this, no matter your age.

My dramatic reenactment of writer's burnout

My dramatic reenactment of writer’s burnout

3. If You Get Burnout

I think you’ll know if you get burnout, but if you’re like me, you’re likely to pretend it isn’t happening and try to power through it. Do. Not. Be. Like. Me. (I’m getting better at this myself.) If you recognize your burnout signs, take a well-deserved break. And not just a stretch and cucumber sandwich break. Take a long break. Take the afternoon off. Go for a hike in the woods. Climb up on the roof and stare at the clouds. Drive through the city. Blast some music and dance in your living room. Lie down and have the craziest dream-filled nap of all time. Rock it. This is your time to shine…instead of burnout.

These are just three simple steps to keep in mind if you suddenly feel a crashing sensation of exhaustion. Don’t let writing burn you out. Pay attention, take breaks, and recuperate if need be. Writing will be there when you return. I promise.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 10 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you. Last week, I told everyone the story of the time a REAL-LIFE Eric Welborn e-mailed me, wondering why I used his name in my novel. (Spoiler Alert: I thought I made it up.)

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

#SATurdate: The 5th Wave, The Siren, Radio Interview, & Peanut Butter Cookies.

6 Feb

12633552_978628942184287_7779644671236409024_oToday’s Saturdate post covers two weeks, so it’s going to be longer than usual. That being said, it was an exciting two weeks! I had my first in-studio radio interview at Johnson County Community College, and the host was super sweet! I can’t wait for you all to hear the interview, so be sure to tune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. CDT this Monday! I even read a poem on air. (And you’ll get to hear more about my upcoming novels.) There might even be discussions about dinosaurs, nightmares, and The Tomo Trilogy.

What I’m Writing:

I am 25,000 words into Take Me Yesterday! If you want some fun clues as to what you will see in the sequel, watch this music video!

What I’m Publishing:

I wrote the dedication and acknowledgements for both Bad Bloods books this week, and I turned in my keyword optimization for The Timely Death Trilogy. (Now I have to work on keyword optimization for the Bad Bloods launch.) CTP’s awesome and lovely designer is also helping me create a banner for Penned Con St. Louis! Two #1lineWed previews are here.

One week’s theme was sun: Both women giggled like sunshine lived inside of them.

One week’s theme was comfort: He held me to keep me warm, and I held him to comfort his tears.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

booksI began The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey. This is the sequel to The 5th Wave, and I’ve actually been wanting to read it FOREVER. (I mean, I bought the book 33 weeks ago, according to my Instagram). But I was holding off until I saw the movie of the first one. I didn’t want to confuse the two stories when I saw the film, so I’ve been patiently waiting. Now that I saw the movie, I am diving right in.

I began and finished The Siren by Kiera Cass. I am a fan of the Selection series, so I enjoyed this novel, but not as much as her other works. Still, I thought this story’s mythology about the creation of sirens and why they must sacrifice human was fascinating, and I enjoyed the interaction with the numerous sirens and the Ocean. That being said, the protagonist’s melodramatics and depression was a bit too much for me, and I ultimately thought the insta-love took away from the awesome girls. Still well worth the read though. Recommended to Cass fans, readers of mythology—mermaids, sirens, and ocean creatures/gods in general—and light romance readers. You can read my four-star review here.

I finished Splintered by A.G. Howard, and I can definitely tell you that you will LOVE this book if you’re into dark, twisted fairy tale retellings….and bad boys with fedoras. Seriously. Check it out. You can read my five-star review by clicking here. Favorite Quote: Sometimes a flame must level a forest to ash before new growth can begin.

I finished Wait Till I’m Dead by Allen Ginsberg, and I feel very fortunate to read his uncollected poetry now. Ginsberg is tragic, alluring, and maddening. I definitely recommend him to anyone interested in poetry about politics, mortality, humanity, and sex/drugs. From my favorite—Amnesiac Thirst For Fame—to one about my hometown—Entering Kansas City High, I found this now-collection refreshing yet remarkably the same in regards to brutal social and political discussions and debates. Mixed between it all is a growing narrative of Ginsberg’s failing health, and reading from the beginning to the end becomes an emotional journey through this influential poet’s life. I appreciated the notes at the end, and definitely recommended flipping back and forth between the editor’s comments and the poems. The last two poems about Carl Solomon had me in tears. Read my five-star review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Gin Wigmore radio really helps energize sweeping the office floor.

What I’m Watching:

would-you-survive-to-the-5th-wave-616091I saw The 5th Wave movie, mainly because I’m a HUGE fan of the novel and of Chloe Grace Moretz. I still feel very conflicted about the movie adaptation, (and that’s pretty rare for me), but I think I feel this way because they changed a lot of the centralized aspects of what made the novel great. Ex. Ben figuring out a huge chuck of the mystery rather than Ringer. That being said, I’d see it again and consider the sequel too. If you want an entertaining, light romantic story with sci-fi military subplots, watch the movie. If you want a heart-wrenching sci-fi survival story focused on family relationships with romance subplots, read the book.

I also binge-watched the anime My Little Monster. I love it. I find it both incredibly uncomfortable and awkwardly delightful, which is probably why I love it. The show manages to have some unhealthy topics without making the characters seem any less human or likable. That is a tough feat to accomplish.

436195ea68fac351fb559f27577bbfd21349099929_full

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12647502_977794592267722_8606210293200065843_nI just can’t stop baking. I HAD to make peanut butter cookies in the middle of the night, yet I didn’t have eggs. I found an eggless peanut butter cookies recipe, and I made it, and while they were definitely delicious, eggs tends to hold cookies together, so they basically crumble apart really quickly. No worries. I ate them fast.

I made meatloaf out of venison, which was awesome. I actually enjoy venison a lot. I mean, I come from a hunter family, but this is the first year I’ve started cooking it (rather than just getting jerky or something premade), and it’s been a fun learning experience.

What I’m Wearing:

Blue and white polka dots. Why? (Wrong question.) Why not?

What I’m Wanting:

The Magic Tree House movies! I literally cannot wait.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Everyone in the world lost their eyebrows, and somehow, this made everyone age 10x faster than they used to. One person theorized that everyone was aging, because we were all hunching over trying to find our eyebrows on the floor, and being hunched over tricked our brains into thinking we were old, so we became old. (There are so many things wrong with this dream, I can’t even begin.)

My second dream, since I’m covering two weeks, was about a girl who is visiting her sister at the hospital when a crazed patient escapes their holding block and stabs this girl with a needle. The older sister is in a panic, because it was called the Lotus Virus, and it basically kills you right away. In perfect Hollywood cheese, it starts with blood coming out of your nose and gums. Sure enough, this girl started to deteriorate, but instead of the older sister being a responsible doctor and keeping the younger one locked up, she takes her little sister home where she can die in peace…except the younger sister refuses to believe she is dying, and she escapes while her older sister is showering. She steals their mom’s car and drives to her girlfriend’s house and they speed around like a diseased Thelma and Louise duo until they crash off a cliff only to get stuck in the trees. The girlfriend dies (pretty gruesomely if I must say) but the main diseased one survives (of course), and makes her way home where her older sister is now dying from the disease too. That was it. No conclusion. Just diseases and death.

What Else Is Going On:

12640521_972740786106436_5752518972510706696_o

My family. My sister-in-law, my brother, and my dad.

It was my dad’s 60th birthday! I saw him, my brother, my sister-in-law, my uncle, and my aunt to celebrate for it, so that was pretty cool. Time really flies. In other news, I had a mouse episode at my house. At the time, I was TRYING to sleep, but I was woken up by the chaos that was my three cats. I got up to check on them, saw them all by the boots, and walked over, thinking it was a spider. A mouse landed on my foot, I screamed (naturally), and everyone scattered. Kiki caught it a couple of times and played with it, but Bogart….Oh, Bogart is evil. He caught it, put one paw on its stomach, and started slapping it’s face with his other paw. Believe it or not, this mouse totally pretended to be dead. It stuck out its tongue and everything. I even picked up Bogart to start cleaning it, but it awoke and ran away, only for Kiki to catch it again. She doesn’t kill it though, so I pick her up and chuck her out the front door, mouse and all, and she loses it mid-flight, and it darts into the bushes, to probably find another way into my house in the future. But it was pretty funny.

I also fell down the stairs this week…which wasn’t so funny. I was running down the stairs to return an email, and slipped. I could’ve thrown my laptop and caught myself, but my laptop is my life, so naturally, I sacrificed my back instead. So goes the instincts of a writer.

~SAT

12615381_10153339585432060_7462942265427582465_oTune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. this Monday for my latest interview! We talked about dinosaurs, book covers, and nightmares. I even read a never-before-read poem!

On a side note, thank you for continuing to attend #AuthorinaCoffeeShop every Friday at 7 p.m. CDT on Twitter via @AuthorSAT! I really enjoy talking with you all and having fun by pointing out all the little nuances people have that can make great characters in books. I hope to see you next week!

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 RomainJan 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:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

fbcover24

January Ketchup

30 Jan

To be completely honest, I wrote the entire Saturdate post before I realized today was supposed to be a Ketchup post, and then I freaked out and barely finished running all the stats I needed to make this. WHEW. Geez. I need a break. My brain is broken. Since this took place on a Saturday, you can expect the next Saturdate post to take place next Saturday. 🙂

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 January.

Big Moments:

We held the cover reveal for Bad Bloods this month, and that was a wonderful way to begin 2016! So many of you enjoyed the covers, and I’m eternally grateful for your kind messages. I know it’s a long wait until the books release, but I hope you’re looking forward to July as much as I am!

four244

#1 Clicked Item

In the meantime, I was featured on Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers, which was super cool…especially since I read them religiously. In fact, I was actually reading it when I saw myself. Pretty surreal!

Since I’m spending more time on Twitter, I started my new Twitter series called Author in a Coffee Shop. What is #AuthorinaCoffeeShop? It’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and I tweet out my writer thoughts. It takes place every Friday at 7 p.m. (CDT) via @AuthorSAT, so I hope to see you there for episode 5!

On a side note, The Timely Death Trilogy hit 500 ratings, and Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, was the number 1 clicked item on this website during January, so thank you for reading and taking the time to review my novels! You are priceless.

 

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Bad Bloods Cover Reveal: The covers were FINALLY released, and I’m SO exciting so many of you loved the covers. I know it’s a wait for the books, but I hope you stick it out with me and enjoy the books this July.

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

2. What I Learned Rewriting a Seven-Year-Old Novel: I’m so glad you all are enjoying the rewrites of older posts. This one was centered on Bad Bloods, too! It was really neat to see my old post, when I had no idea if it would work out, and this new post, after I’ve signed it for publication. I’ve learned a lot over the past decade, and it’s fun to be able to share those lessons with everyone.

3. Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy: I discuss how heroines can be both badass and traditionally feminine and still be respected and believable. I shared numerous aspects of my life from both sides and call for an understanding that female characters need to be 3D.

3. Writing the Back Blurb: This one actually tied for third place, so I put both up here. I recovered various tips on how to tackle back blurb writing. Stakes! Remember your stakes.

These were the books I read this month!

These were the books I read this month!

Other Blog Posts:

Various Stages of Writer’s Block: We all get it. But for those of you who don’t, this is what it’s like

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Saturdate Fortitude, Splintered, The Beat Generation, & Broken Elbows: A weekly update of a psychological thriller, a fairy tale retelling, a poet, and an injury.

Saturdate: Shadowhunters, Bad Bloods Shorts, BuzzFeed Books, and Zombie Clowns: A weekly update about an awesome feature and a terrible dream.

Try a New Section in the Bookstore: I talk about what I’ve learned by broadening my reading horizons.

How Podcasts Can Help Your Writing: There are SO many ways to tackle your writing, and this is a great route to try.

Saturdate Danish Girl, An Outline, Cat Socks, and Raven Boys: A weekly update about one of the best movies of the year and books and cats and stuff.

Saturdate Book Covers, Amy Schumer, Assassins, Joy, and homemade fudge: A weekly update about how I failed at baking.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers: The Messy Owl

Features: Buzzfeed Book’s 31 Funny Tweets That Are Way, Way Too Real For Writers

jan2016

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. CTP author Tamara Granthamwill be there, as well as NY Times Bestselling and USA Today Bestselling author Candice Gilmer. (I’ll know the other three authors soon!) I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Barnes & NobleValentine's Day Romance Author Event

Feminism in YA: Knives and Candy

20 Jan

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

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

Why?

Because I’m scared.

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

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

I am a Feminist.

What does that mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe we should talk about how awesome that is.

~SAT

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

Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM! I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. I’d love to see you! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

takefofytseve

You can even read The Timely Death Trilogy on your new Kindle Fire!

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

Giveaway-image

#WritingTips Writing The Back Blurb

11 Jan

 Every Monday I take a popular post from the past, and I rewrite it with new information and approaches. Today, we’re talking about the dreaded back blurb. Why do we dread the back blurb? Well, because it can be the making or breaking point for the reader. That little blurb on the back can be the difference between a reader putting your book back on the shelf or taking your book to the counter to buy it. But there’s no reason to fret. There are plenty of ways to tackle this scenario, and today, I’m sharing one method. I’ll be using my latest novels in Bad Bloods as an example, but you can also check out the original post for a totally different way to try this out by clicking here.

1. Start with a 35-Word Synopsis

This is actually a method many use to tackle query letters, but I love this piece of advice. Summarizing your book into 35 words forces you to focus on the essentials. Look at it like writing an elevator pitch. In this case, you have a pretty direct formula: Character + setting + conflict + stakes. Stakes are the most important, and by far, the most forgotten one. Think about what your character has to lose. What happens if they decide not to save the world? Why should we care about those repercussions? While you’re writing this, you might start with a one-page synopsis or other notes. Keep those! They will help in part two. But, for now, read my example below. If you’re feeling discouraged, you might notice that I summed up TWO books in 35 words or less. In fact, those two books equal 136,000 words, and I only used 34 words. It can be done.

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

2. Expand. Be Catchy. Target an Audience. 

See? I told you that you’d need all those notes as you were trying to cut down to 35 words. Now, you get to use those notes again. (But, Shannon, why did you have us cut it down if we were only going to use it anyway? Because…It focused your work.) So, now that you’re focused on the main concepts, you can emphasize main themes. Be sure to focus on the right genre for the right audience. You don’t want to mention love if love is barely in it. You’ll only attract romance readers then, and they won’t be too happy when they realize they’ve been tricked. This means staying true to your work. Don’t try to force yourself into the latest trend. Be honest. Once you do that, you can show those little details that perfect your voice. Example? I’m going to use the expanded version of Bad Bloods, part one, November Rain. Instead of city, I’m going to name that city. I knew I wanted to bring Daniel into the Bad Bloods excerpt, because he literally tells half the book. I also wanted to bring attention to the romance side and emphasize the political part of the story. Do not forget your stakes!

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.

3. Edit. Get Opinions. Edit Again.

Okay. So you have a draft, or maybe you even have three drafts. It’s time to run it by a few people. If you can, try to have someone who has read your book read the synopsis to see if they believe that it what you should focus on. Try to have people who’ve never read your book review it. Have them tell you what they think the book is about. Now, edit. And have someone review it again. Edit again. But once you get a great one, stick with it. You can rewrite it a million times. Eventually, you have to choose. Once you have that, you can work on other wonderful marketing tools. Know Cassandra Clare? Well, freakin’ email her and ask her if she’d been willing to give you a review quote. (But, seriously, that would go on the front of the book.) Look at the back covers of your favorite books, find their catch phrases, figure one out for your book, place it somewhere bold. Since I’m not yet at this stage in the Bad Bloods process, I’ll refer to The Timely Death Trilogy instead. The back cover of the first book has a catch phrase (Two destinies. One death.), and it has a direct quote from the story (“Her kiss could kill us, and my consent signed our death certificates.”). Then, the blurb took place. Review quotes were placed beneath it. Your best bet is to look at the back of other books and mimic what you find successful.

Now publish.

~SAT

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

Book Haul from Episode 1 of Author in a Coffee Shop

I’m starting a new series called “Author in a Coffee Shop.” Episode 1 happened this past Friday.
If you’re wondering what Author in the Coffee Shop is, it’s just how it sounds. I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while…you know…I people watch…for inspiration.
Follow me on Twitter via @AuthorSAT next Friday at 7 p.m. CDT for the next episode.

Here’s a sample if you missed out:

I hope to see you this upcoming Friday on Twitter!

In other news… you can now add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November SnowI’m also considering leading up to the July releases with short stories of each character joining the “flocks.” A flock is a group of 12 bad bloods that have come together to survive on the streets. In Bad Bloods, there are four flocks, one for each cardinal direction of the city, but only two flocks are left: The Southern and the Northern Flock. Some stories would purposely be left out, but I have six written. If this is something you’d think you’d be interested in reading, let me know! I would start sharing them at the end of February.

Speaking of February, on February 13, I’ll be one of several featured authors at a Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas. (More info to come.) I’d love to see you at Bradley Fair!

Also, my awesome publisher is giving away a Kindle Fire right here.

Giveaway-image

Starting your 2016 Reading Challenge? Minutes Before Sunset, book 1  in The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE: (You could read it on your brand-new Kindle Fire.)

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylightbook 3:

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

%d bloggers like this: