Tag Archives: AuthorinaCoffeeShop

Website Wonders

27 Apr

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 April’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, Art, and the Weird.

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

Favorite Article: 6 Hard Truths Every Writer Should Accept.

I really loved how honest and open it was without making the reader fell overwhelmed or inexperienced for not already knowing the information. (Plus, I agree with everything said in the article.) A great, to-the-point piece to consider.

Writing:

The Power of Words and How To Build Your Vocabulary: I hear questions about building one’s vocabulary a lot, so here is an excellent article about it.

12 Useful Websites to Improve Your Writing: Use these at your own discretion, but I thought it was a fun list to explore.

An Affective Beginner’s Guide to Writing Books (An Infograph): I love infographs. I simply cannot help myself.

Creative Writing Exercises: This is a virtual list of other writing exercise lists.

12938347_578632518970803_936326365534059914_nReading:

10 Phenomenally Tricky Books Everyone Should Read: If you’re feeling particularly tricky this month.

10 Incredibly Useful Books You Should Own: Your library is going to grow from these lists!

Art:

Visually Arresting New Sketchbook Spreads and Drawings by Pat Perry: I found these disturbing in a delightful way.

The Weird:

Here Are The 50 Most Ironic Ways People Have Died. Seriously, Don’t Die Like This.: I often say that so many things happen in real life that we can’t put in fiction, because readers wouldn’t believe it. This article is a perfect example for the morbid character in you.

40 People From The Internet Reveal An Unexplainable Moment From Their Lives: I love little stories like this, especially in the middle of the night.

5 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Your Body Was Hiding From You: Who doesn’t love superpowers?

See you next month,

~SAT

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting an event – the #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter TONIGHT! I’m REALLY excited about this live author-reader Q&A, and I really hope you all can make it. You can even win a CTP Mystery Box, which includes 1 to 2 print books, swag, and more.

In other news, I will be at the 101st Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference in Kansas City, Missouri from April 29 to May 1! Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re coming, so we can connect! I’d love to see some of you there. It’s going to be an absolute blast.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods today!

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What can you expect in Bad Bloods?

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#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 17 starts this Thursday via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT at 7 PM CDT. What is #AuthorinaCofffeeShop? Just how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, tweet out my writer thoughts, and talk to you! I hope to see you there.

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#SATurdate: Deadpool, Gangsters, Cake, & the Grisha Trilogy.

16 Apr

Rereads and rewrites and movies and cake. What else could a girl want?

What I’m Writing:

I’m writing in D, and as promised, here is more information. D is a young adult, portal fantasy. I know. I know. Portal fantasies tend to be frowned upon nowadays, but hey, I’m not one to listen to trends, and I truly believe this novel is worth pursuing, so I’m going after it! I’m currently 45,000 words into it, and I’m aiming for 90,000-100,000 words for this particular draft. Once the draft is done, I’ll figure out cutting and adding, but it’s a bit too early to tell, since I added so much information from the original drafts to this one. I’m really excited about it though! I even picked up more paint swatches this week. It’s a colorful book, and I’m spending a lot more time on the intricate details that make up the world.

What I’m Publishing:

This week, Clean Teen Publishing finished the final formatting of November Snow! I cannot wait for the release of Bad Bloods. The interior is beautiful. Other than that, this week’s #1lineWed preview was “back.” So, read your preview below.

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:

12977041_3201610677838_2820462666464715283_oI reread Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo this week. I actually read it a long time ago, but I never wrote a review, and I REALLY wanted to write one, so I decided to re-read it, because this trilogy is awesome. Leigh Bardugo is awesome. Shadow and Bone is magical fantasy with a touch of darkness and horror, a story where darkness is a physical THING. The setup was interesting, the culture was fascinating, and the overall plot was exciting, thrilling, and intense. Recommended to readers of epic fantasy, magical powers, dark vs. light stories, charming villains, and Russian culture. Favorite Quote? I love you, Alina, even the part of you that loved him. Read my five-star review by clicking here.

I’ve also been on quite a reread kick, so I picked up The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, because I cannot WAIT for The Raven King to release later this year. I’ll write a review for this book, too, since I haven’t written one before.

What I’m Listening To:

I listened to Dead Sea constantly this week. It’s become one of my main songs to write to while writing in D. Give it a listen. It’s beautiful instrumentals.

What I’m Watching:

deadpool-film-header-home-ent-itn-front-main-stage

I saw Deadpool. (Finally, I know.) And just to clear up my superhero hate from last week, I LOVED Deadpool. I thought it was hilarious. On a more serious note, I got my hands on Legend, Tom Hardy’s movie about Ronald “Ronnie” Kray and Reginald “Reggie” Kray, two gangsters that made their mark in the London underworld in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I thought Tom Hardy was fantastic, and although a lot of the real-life story was taken out, I really enjoyed this film. (And Emily Browning. GAH. I love her.) I’d recommend both of these movies for different reasons, but Tom Hardy is the best. Just saying.

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

No baking this week. I took the lazy way out and bought myself two huge slices of chocolate cake. I simply couldn’t help myself.

What I’m Wearing:

Sunglasses! I found them just in time for spring. (I lose sunglasses as much as I lose my pens…generally in the couch…or the fridge.)

What I’m Wanting:

A new desk! I know I’ve said this a lot recently, but JESUS. Finding a desk is hard. Then again, I’m really picky. I don’t like sliders for keyboards, since I don’t have a keyboard. (They only end up banging against my knees.) I also don’t like a lot of shelves…or see-through desks. Those get so dirty so easily. (Lots of cat paws.) I basically need a living room table. Just a flat piece of wood. Why is that so hard to find? This remains a mystery.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So you know how most people wake up from their dreams before they die? Yeah…I don’t, and this week was a perfect example. It began with a giant cafeteria full of people, and then, a man—who looked strangely like Chris Hemsworth—walked in, and we all knew we were going to die. Cue the chaos. Everyone ran, but I made it out the door in the first wave. This cafeteria, apparently, was ten stories up, and we had to run down this twisting, dark staircase to get to freedom…but there are holes in the sides of the walls, and if you fell down them, you died, and if fell down the middle, you died. I was running too fast, so I tripped and I fell down one of the holes. Imagine falling down from the top of stairway where you bounce off all the railings as you go. At this point, I knew it was a dream. (This is pretty common for me to realize while dreaming, but most of the time, I can wake myself up or take control of the dream. This time was not one of those times.) I thought, At least you get to wake up now, but dream world had other plans. I fell what felt like a hundred feet and then I hit the ground. I was most definitely a meat pie. (Sorry for the graphic nature of this dream.) But then I reconstructed myself and I had to keep running. Unfortunately, Hemsworth caught up to me and killed me for the second death of the evening. Then, I woke up. (And people wonder why I write violent scenes.)

What Else Is Going On:

event5Clean Teen Publishing is hosting a #AskCTP Giveaway on Twitter on April 27th, and I’d love it if you all came. I actually had a hand in making this event happen—since you all know how much I love Twitter from my weekly Twitter show #AuthorinaCoffeeShop—and it would mean a lot to me if you all can come hang out with all of the Clean Teen and Crimson Tree authors. They are a fantastic group of people, and I’m truly looking forward to it.

~SAT

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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Get your free book today!

Get your free book today!

#WritingTips Diversity Is VITAL, But Be Genuine

16 Mar

The word diversity is being thrown around a lot in the publishing world. Agents are asking for it, readers are requesting it, and publishers rejoice in it. As am I. Rounding out literature with realistic and varied groups of people is vital and wonderful and exciting and overall, beautiful. The world, after all, is made up of many different types of people. So should books.

That being said—and a lot of my articles are inspired by my full-time editing job—I am quite shocked when I hear questions like, “Should I make my main character a person of color, LGBT, have a disability, and/or be a part of an underrepresented religion to fit the market?”

Um…

Face to desk.

The quick answer to that question is a resounding NO.

Diversity is not a “fad.” It’s not a bullet point on your novel’s checklist. It’s not an aspect to treat like a trendy topic, and it’s most definitely not an afterthought.

Diversity is a fact of life. Diversity is all around you. Diversity is found in your friends and family and co-workers and strangers at the coffee shop. Diversity should appear in literature just as naturally as it does in real life. If you’re forcing it, there’s a likely chance you’re probably adding to the stereotypes and clichés that are even more damaging than leaving diversity out.

Case and point:

Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes in YA Fiction, Part 1: Major LGBTQ Stereotypes

Race in YA Lit: Wake up and Smell the Coffee-Colored Skin, White Authors!

Writing Tips: How NOT to write disabled people

Yes, we need more diversity. We need more people of color in hero roles and LGBT protagonists and characters with disabilities. We need to see a variety of religions and cultural norms and languages and backgrounds. We need varying body types and personalities and dreams and ambitions. We need more characters that are just like everyday people, but we need to be true to our stories. That means being honest. It means researching. It means taking that time to talk to those who represent the cultures we wish to write about. As authors, we need to communicate effectively and efficiently. We need to stay true to our work—not force in characters just because—and we need to love our characters because they are our characters, not because they were warped to fit a trend. Diversity isn’t about being trendy. Diversity is about being genuine. It’s about celebrating the unique characteristics of all types of people, so that readers can rejoice and relate to the stories they read. On top of that, diverse stories help teach acceptance, shape understanding, and encourage friendships to those outside of their own “box.” Diverse stories are a result of a diverse life.

So go out there and explore your world. Meet new people. Listen to their lives. Discuss topics and real trends. (Like fashion and movies and Pilates.) Get to know all the people around you, and who knows? You might find they inspire you to create a character just like them.

Favorite Go-To Article About Diversity: Diversity Writing Tool-Kit. She basically links to a million places to get in-depth knowledge about numerous topics.

Favorite (Recent) Novels Featuring Diversity: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Both of these wonderful women tackle diversity with genuine grace. You can read both of my 5-star reviews on Goodreads by clicking the titles. I highly recommend both books, but Everything, Everything is contemporary, while Lady Midnight is urban fantasy and a part of a much larger series that I recommend you start with City of Bones. She has diversity throughout her entire Shadowhunter series. I had the absolute joy of meeting Cassandra Clare last night. She signed Lady Midnight for me, and I took home some awesome Shadowhunter runes.

I also met Cassandra Clare, just last night! She is the greatest.

I also met Cassandra Clare, just last night! She is the greatest.

Soon, I’ll share my own experience with writing and diversity. As an example, my next release is a YA duology: Bad Bloods features illiteracy, LGBT characters, deafness, people of color, PTSD, and disabilities, such as one character who only has one arm.

I didn’t force any of these aspects. In fact, the cast was inspired by real people I have met (and Barbie dolls, but that’s a different story you can read about here). Talking to those in the groups I was writing about was vital. Don’t be afraid to reach out. The world is waiting.

~SAT

P.S. Today is the day my mother suddenly passed away in 2003. You never know when your life will change forever. Take a moment to say I love you today. Thank you for changing my life, Mom.

My mother and I on Christmas, 1999

My mother and I on Christmas, 1999

#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

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#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.

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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:

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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:

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