Tag Archives: book blog

#WW Writing Quicksand

7 Sep

Writing quicksand is a term I like to use to describe when writing is doing more damage than good. You know, the more you move, the faster you sink? It can happen in writing, too. Of course, writers should write all time. Whenever they can, really. But sometimes, it’s best to walk away for a little while, too, especially in regards to specific projects.

I found myself in writing quicksand the other day.

While working on a certain sequel, I hit a snag, but I didn’t back down. I pulled out my Sticky Notes. I displayed my plan. I switched it up. I rewrote Chapter One, and then, I edited Chapter Two and Three. From there, I redesigned a few characters…and then, I face-planted.

It was all wrong. Everything was worse. The “issues” I thought I was fixing were only multiplying in numbers.

I tore it all down, and I stubbornly tried again…and again…and again.

And every time, I only sank further into despair.

Writing quicksand.

But sand is so pretty, right? Wrong.

But sand is so pretty, right? Wrong.

It’s a dangerous trap, and when you’re stuck in it, you can start doubting everything you’ve ever written—in the past, in the current, and even in the future. You can start thinking every project is silly or useless or mundane. But then, you tell yourself it’s just writer’s block, and you try to power your way through it…only to hurt the project again.

It’s okay to walk away.

It’s okay to take a break for a little while and clear your head elsewhere.

Personally, when I realize I’m in writing quicksand, I put the laptop away, find an awesome read, and try to write something else completely unrelated to anything else I’ve worked on recently. I listen to a podcast, I research some history, I challenge myself with some ridiculously hard crosswords. (I still need a 10-letter word for Koussevitzky’s wardrobe.) But taking a break lets me enjoy writing without the deadlines or pressure or worries that come along with any writer’s career. And sure enough, within a day or two, I was back on dry land.

My project even continued forward.

One article I LOVE LOVE LOVE is When to Put the Baby (Your Book) to Bed by Stacey Lee on Publishing Crawl. (If you haven’t read Stacey Lee’s YA historical novel, Outrun the Moon, do so now. It’s amazing. Here’s my 5-star review.) But her article about when to walk away from a manuscript is a fantastic, honest read about how to know when to give up. (And why it’s okay.)

For now, I’m continuing forward with the project I sunk into the quicksand with, but there has been numerous books I had to walk away from, too, and that’s okay.

As long as you keep writing—and keep trying—all the adventures are worth it, even the ones with quicksand.

~SAT

 

 

#MondayBlogs My Protagonist and Illiteracy

5 Sep

My protagonist is illiterate. She recognizes a few letters, she can identify her name, and she loves listening to stories more than anything. But she cannot read.

Her name is Serena, and Serena is a bad blood.

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.

While Serena lives in a futuristic world where magical children like her are executed, illiteracy is a very real issue in our world today. An issue I wanted to discuss in my Bad Bloods duology. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding illiteracy—some of which I discuss in an article Tackling Diversity in YA—but the main one is the fact that illiteracy isn’t as uncommon as the average reader might think.

1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. (DoSomething.Org)

books-writing-reading-sonja-langford-large

For readers, this fact might seem startling. Readers generally know other readers, after all. And—on top of that—many of the characters in YA fiction love books, because readers love books, and it’s easy to relate to a character that loves the same things as them. For many readers, it’s impossible to imagine a world without reading, even in fantasy and sci-fi settings. I, for one, definitely struggle with that concept, but illiteracy is a reality for many young people, especially women all over the world. Granted, I will be the first to admit that I did not set out to write Serena as an illiterate person to spread awareness. No. I originally set out to write her as a character who didn’t enjoy reading due to severe dyslexia—something my brother and father deal with to this day.

As a child, growing up in a household where my two role models didn’t read was very difficult, especially when my late mother was a reader but no longer able to share that joy with me. That being said, we can relate to one another—readers or not—as people, and since so many characters are readers, I wanted to remind readers we can love those who don’t read, too (although maybe we can help them find the perfect book so they try reading again)! We can also understand how illiteracy happens, and hopefully, we can learn to sympathize with it and also help others learn to read in the future.

The issue of illiteracy developed with Serena’s character over time, but I wouldn’t change Serena for the world. She is smart. She is caring. She loves ice cream, her friends, and stories told beneath the full moon. She falls in love. She cries. She feels pain and sorrow. She laughs.

Serena may be illiterate, but she still has a story.

And so do the millions of people around the globe dealing with illiteracy today.

That is why she’s my protagonist.

~SAT

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

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Bad Bloods: November Snow

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Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko

3 Sep

What I’m Writing:

I worked with some awesome writers this week on various projects! I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the future, because I love, love, love where everything is going. All that being said, I work with a lot of writers from all kinds of backgrounds every day. So many of us are not full-time writers, and I know how it feels to work numerous jobs and still try to find time to write. When I finished my first novel, I was a full-time student with a full-time job, so most of my writing time happened in fifteen-minute breaks behind a hostess stand at a sports bar. I still work a full-time job now. 😀 So, please don’t give up hope.

What I’m Publishing:

Sue’s Reading Corner reviewed Bad Bloods this week, and said, “November Snow was amazing!” I’m still working on the Bad Bloods sequel, so once I know more information, I’ll post it! I will say this, though. I worked on it extensively. I know I sort of froze at 38,000 words two weeks back, but it’s a good thing. Trust me. I need to rework it, and it’s coming along beautifully.

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

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

What I’m Reading:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I laughed, I cried, and I was terrified! The third novel in The Raven Cycle is even bigger and better than the first two (which is saying a lot)! These books are amazing. In particular, I enjoyed the creepy depths of the caves juxtaposed against the new (sometimes obnoxious, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes psychotic) characters we met. What a great continuation! I cannot wait to read The Raven King. Recommend to fans of magical realism, paranormal romance, and fantasy. Readers who want their imagination stretched and their fears confronted. Oh, and a little psychic fun. Favorite Quote? Weapons and poetry go hand in hand.

I also started Rook by Sharon Cameron, and I couldn’t help myself from buying more books. I went to the bookstore and bought The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele. I read the first chapter of that and The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, and I cannot wait to read those in the near future!

What I’m Listening To:

Melanie Martinez’s double feature music video released! I love her.

What I’m Watching:

Jane Got A Gun

Jane Got A Gun

I saw Sausage Party and Jane Got a Gun this week. Jane Got a Gun is on Netflix, much to my surprise, because it’s fairly new. But that movie is fantastic, albeit a bit difficult to watch at times due to violence. But I loved the well-structured plot, the old Western feel, and the dusty, dirty imagery. I grew up watching old Westerns, because of my father (who still watches them all the time). One thing I never liked about those old Westerns was how all the women (or almost all of them) seemed like damsels in distress. I highly doubt women of that time period were weak at all. So, it was nice to see a tougher, believable chick, even though bad things definitely still happen to her. (I also love Natalie Portman.)

So, now Sausage Party. Not going to lie, it was just not my thing. It basically makes fun of some pretty offensive stereotypes, so if you’re into that, you’ll enjoy the movie. But it just made me uncomfortable.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Galaktaboreko! Granted, I did not make this lovely dessert. (A lovely lady did.) But it is basically the best dessert ever. Between that and a collection of baklava, I have wayyyy too many sweets in my house right now. (Yay, for roommate birthdays.) That being said, I also sort of promised I would stop baking desserts for a little while, because I’ve been giving away too much sugary desserts to everyone I know. Guess it’s time to pull out the veggie plates and hummus.

What I’m Wearing:

 Boo Boo the cat

Boo Boo the cat

Blue! Boo Boo the cat was all over my writing gig this week. We went out on the rooftops with a notebook and imagined new worlds and new characters and new everything. We had a pretty blue day. And by blue, I mean awesome. I’ve missed climbing rooftops. I’m glad the rooftop weather is back!

What I’m Wanting:

American Horror Story! (Come on, tell us what this season is about before it starts!) All of these teasers are killing me! I mean, did you see that doll? I think the teaser that freaked me out the most was the spider in the mouth. I mean, I know that’s probably someone’s super trained pet that loves them dearly…but spiders. ::shudders:: I am terrified of them.

American Horror Story Season 6

American Horror Story Season 6

What I’m Dreaming Of:

It rained a lot this week, so I’m assuming this is why I had a flood dream where I risked my life to save all of the kittens in Kansas City. I was successful, too! Yay, kittens!

What Else Is Going On:

My oven is finally fixed! Which means you can expect more baking posts in the near future. I even got my hands on a dessert book for this purpose. Nom nom nom.

~SAT

Website Wonders

29 Aug

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 August’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Reading, Conspiracies, and Procrastination.

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

Favorite Article: Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. This article is SO SO SO important for both readers and writers. Why? Because bisexual characters are often misrepresented and labeled terribly based on who they “choose” in the end, and the trend needs to stop. I loved this thoughtful article, and I definitely think it’s a place to start if you are considering writing about a bisexual character. Whether or not you’re writing though, I think it’s a great, educational article to consider no matter what.

Writing:

Final Editing Checklist: This was SUPER popular during #PitchWars, and I think this list is awesome.

Is This Any Good? “So let me ask you the question that matters. And it has nothing to do with if it’s any good. The real question is this: Are you willing to work at it? Because if you are, then whether it’s any good or not today doesn’t really matter.”

9 Authors Who Regretted the Success of Their Work: It’s not all rainbows and butterflies in the success field. Just a little glimpse at some of the more famous moments. 😉

Reading:

I need this coffee T-shirt

I need this coffee T-shirt

7 Bookstores Too Beautiful For Words: Books are beautiful enough, but come on! This is perfection.

The 10 Most Influential Poets in History: Sent to me by the writer! I love these articles!

Conspiracies:

10 Strange Mysteries Around the World That Are Still Unsolved: Put on your tin foil hat with me, and enjoy some good ol’ mystery.

Top Ten Places You Can’t Go: Can’t you tell I spent way too much time reading conspiracy theories this month?

The 6 Creepiest Unexplained Phone Calls: I…can’t…stop…reading…creepy…stories.

Procrastination:

Procatinator: Procrastinate with cats!

Little Alchemy: I’m playing it like crazy…and you should, too.

18+ Pictures of Fairy Tale Architecture From Norway:  So pretty.

Lost in a Whimsical World: These drawings are beautiful and eerie and wonderful.

Wonderfully Witty Animal Comics by Liz Climo: These are too cute and funny for words.

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

See you next month,

~SAT

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

Wattpad Bad Bloods Steven Short

For those of you who are reading the Bad Blood Prequel on Wattpad for free, Steven’s origin story was posted! Read Steven’s story now. Not going to lie, I totally ship Catelyn and Steven. Here’s a preview:

“You’re gonna die here, boy,” he said, “or you’re gonna leave.”
Valentine’s Day was meant for love, and though my mother had married on such a lovely day, the world worked opposite for bad bloods.
I was no longer welcome.
I was lucky that I’d been welcome for fourteen years, and he knew it.
“Consider yourself lucky,” he said, spitting at my feet. “I’m only lettin’ you leave alive ‘cause your momma.”
I looked over his shoulder, trying to find her eyes, but she had stepped away a long time ago. “Mom—” I started to shout, but a sharp pain snapped my face back.
Heat rushed across my cheek, fire burned beneath my skin, pain etched itself into my bones. I could no longer see. My head spun, but I felt dirt beneath my fingertips. I had fallen down.
“Now get outta here, boy,” he said.
I always imagined he would call me Steven.
You’re gonna have a stepdaddy, she had told me weeks ago. A daddy.
Mine had left long ago. And now, it was my time to leave, too.
That or die.
And I didn’t think I was brave enough to die.

Continue reading on Wattpad, and get the first book in the Bad Bloods series for FREE on all platforms.

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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#SATurdate: An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, W – Two Worlds, & YALLFest.

27 Aug

What I’m Writing:

Honestly, I’ve put the next Bad Bloods books away for now. Sophia would not shut up, so I spent my writing time obliging her this week. Basically, I wrote in book 3 of the Tomo Trilogy, Take Me Never. I know. I know. Book 1 isn’t even out, so a lot of you have no idea what I’m even talking about, but I will not—and cannot give up—on this girl. She’s loud and stubborn and loves everything just a little too much. I’m 6,179 words in, and since this week’s #1lineWed theme was “work”—this line is from Take Me Yesterday, the sequel to Take Me Tomorrow (which is complete). I promise I will get this series into readers’ hands one day. 😀 I also worked on a brand-new story after researching for a ridiculously long amount of time. But that’s all I’ll say about that book for now. For those of you who follow even my books with only initials as titles, I rewrote the beginning of B, AGAIN. Why? I know I can write B. (B is a contemporary I’ve been attempting for about a month now.) I’m just trying to find my footing with it. I like giving these updates—even if they are crazily obscure—because I think, one day, (hopefully), if one of these books ever gets into the hands of readers, they’ll be able to go back on my website and see the daily grind of it all instead of thinking writing happens overnight. I want to share the journey, so other writers know the journey is the fun part, including the struggles and hurdles and writer’s block and rewrites and little successes. Every writer’s journey is different, but every journey should be fun! Now that I’ve said that, Bogart the cat was my editor this week. I received some awesome feedback from a great lady, and Bogart let me know what he thought via Instagram. Here was that photo series.

Bogart the Cat

Bogart the Cat

What I’m Publishing:

YALL Fest 2016

YALL Fest 2016

All my books for Penned Con St Louis arrived this week! I will be traveling with YA author Natasha Hanova (and sharing a booth), so check her out. On a side note, it’s almost certain I will also be at YALLFest in Charleston, South Carolina this November, so look out for more news on that little trip of mine. I look forward to meeting more wonderful people. In book related news, I owed you guys Steven’s short story on the Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad this week, but I spent more time focusing on novels rather than shorts. I will get back to it, though! (And I will announce when it’s posted. Promise.)

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

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

Free Kindle Book: Bad Bloods: November Rain

Free Kindle Book: Bad Bloods: November Rain

What I’m Reading:

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I finished An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir! If you love Game of Thrones, you will love this YA fantasy. It’s epic, it’s dangerous, and the world is full of surprises—magical and inhumane. I recommend it to epic fantasy readers, especially those who like a little mysterious magic and don’t mind brutality. There is a significant amount of rape threats in the book. But in regards to love, there is basically a love square going on. Each protagonist has two interests they go back and forth on, but it does not take up the majority of the novel. The novel heavily focuses on military power and rebellion uprising. You can read my four-star review here. My favorite quote? “But there are two kinds of guilt, girl: the kind that drowns you until you’re useless, and the kind that fires your soul to purpose.”

I also started Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s the third book in The Raven Cycle, and if you haven’t checked out this series, do so now. It is perfection.

What I’m Listening To:  

Since I was writing in Take Me Never, I returned to my lovely Take Me Yesterday playlist on YouTube. Check it out!

What I’m Watching:

I started watching W – Two Worlds, and I LOVE it. Special thanks goes out to Siamese Mayhem for recommending it to me, but basically, it’s the best K-drama ever. It follows the daughter of a web comic as she accidentally portals herself into the comic to try to save the hero from being killed by her own father. It’s thrilling, romantic, hilarious, and simply awesome.

W - Two Worlds

W – Two Worlds

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

My oven broke! I am so sad. Baking is basically the only thing that gets me off my computer addiction (because, let’s be honest, you can’t have a laptop next to a cake mixer), so…not going to lie, I drove an hour to borrow an oven to make cookies.

What I’m Wearing:

Rain boots! It was storming like crazy here. Great writing weather.

What I’m Wanting:

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir! We’re so close.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So…I was a monk…and there were tons of monsters everywhere…and I had to defend the last glass of red wine on earth? I have no idea. But the fight scenes were epic. I managed to hold onto a glass of red wine while fighting the world at the same time. If only I were so smooth in real life. (I am the clumsiest person I know. In fact, I fell down the stairs for the SECOND time this year this past week. I’m in so much pain it’s stupid.) But thankfully, this time, I only caught rug burn.

What Else Is Going On:

I got more cat lady office décor! I’ll be sure to share it soon.

~SAT

#WW Heroes I Want to See In YA

24 Aug

In the real world, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They can save the world, or they can save one person. Heck, they can even just save themselves! But every hero we read about has a different story to tell, a background unlike any other, and most of all, a story to tell.

However, in young adult fiction, heroes aren’t always so diverse. So, here are three heroes I’d like to see more of in YA fiction.

1. Introverted Protagonists

I want to see more Hermiones as the protagonist instead of the sidekick. You know, the kid who reads or observes from the sidelines and saves the day. Think Velma from Scooby Doo. More quiet heroes who save through intellect over throwing punches. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Fight with Brain instead of Fists

I LOVED The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. Though there was violence, especially in the last book, most of the warfare was puzzles and mysteries and alliances. The characters were often observing rather than fighting, and through trickery or other brainpower fighting tools, they could solve their problems. As much as I love a girl with a sword, I would love to see more brainpower used and less literal violence.

Heroes in YA

Heroes in YA

 3. Bisexual Protagonists

Of course I would love to see protagonists across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, but I would really love to see more bisexual protagonists, because I think bisexual people are often labeled incorrectly due to who they “choose” in the end. If you’re unfamiliar with this discussion, please read Goodbye, Bad Bi: The Lose-Lose Situation of Bisexual YA. Personally, I LOVED Mark in Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Him as the protagonist would be the best.

There are so many different types of heroes I want to see, including heroes with disabilities, heroes across the entire LGBTQIA spectrum, heroes that are people of color, and heroes who come from different religions and backgrounds.

What are some heroes you would like to see?

Who are some of my favorite recent heroes in YA? Grace in See How They Run by Ally Carter, Mercy in Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee, Marguerite in Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, and Joana from Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. (Click any links to read my reviews.)

Also, if you have any recommendations, feel free to share!

~SAT

Here are two of my FREE books:

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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Minutes Before Sunset

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#SATurdate: Suicide Squad, Little Alchemy, Marshmallow Popcorn, & Cinderella and the Four Knights

20 Aug

What I’m Writing:

Texts from readers

Texts from readers

I received some funny texts from a reader! I won’t say which project she was referring to, but it had me laughing pretty hard! What can I say? Chic Nerd Reads got it right in her book review of November Snow when she said “THE AUTHOR GAME OF THRONED ME AND I WAS IN MY FEELINGS OKAY?!?!?!?” I have a reputation. In regards to a literal writing update, I’ve actually been working on a few projects this week. Basically, I’m not sure which one I really want to sink my teeth into. Using abbreviated titles, I have D, N, JTL, B, TGO, S, TMY, and TMN in various stages of the writing process. I keep going back and forth with a couple of them, too. (I think I’ve written the first chapter of B a million and one times.) I know I should be powering through July Thunder/Lightning right now, but taking a step back can also help reevaluate where the story is going. I’d rather take longer and get the book down right instead of rush a project and hastily create something with a sloppy plot and style. I’ll keep everyone updated though! To make up for my lack of update, this week’s #1lineWed is a line directly out of July Thunder/Lighting, so check that out below.

What I’m Publishing:

November Snow came in the mail! I’m super happy to hold the paperback in my hands, and I ordered a bunch of copies for Penned Con in St. Louis this September! You’ll be able to get your hands on this paperback first at that convention. Who else is excited? I know I am! It’ll be my first convention as an author, though I attended Penned Con last year as a reader, and I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new ones. Three CTP authors will be there, and I’ll be sharing a booth with the talented Natasha Hanova.

November Rain (FREE)

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November Snow,

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

I have a little surprise for you. This #1lineWed line is actually from Bad Bloods: July Thunder/Lightning!

This #1lineWed theme was believe, so here is your preview:

What I’m Reading:

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

I finished Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray, and of course, gave it five-shiny-stars. I LOVE this trilogy, and I’m DYING to get my hands on the last book this November. Recommend to: young adult sci-fi/fantasy lovers, those who enjoy some complicated romance, and traveling between dimensions. Favorite Quote: There is strength within us that we can’t even comprehend until it’s called upon. If you want to read my full review, click here. If you want to check out my review of book 1, click here.

I’m also reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It’s awesome! But not for the light-hearted. While I really enjoy the epic world-building and danger, I find the amount of rape threats too much sometimes. I wish that had been toned down. Other than that, it’s a fantastic read! I’m about halfway through.

What I’m Listening To:

Gin Wigmore, because she’s a goddess. 

What I’m Watching:

I FINALLY saw Suicide Squad, and I definitely enjoyed it! I liked the humor, the action, and the overall plot. They made Cara Delevingne look so creepy! I also thought Margot Robbie was awesome. It’s nice to see female characters getting more than one line in a film. (I’m looking at you Superman Vs. Batman.) I also enjoyed seeing Will Smith back on the big screen. It felt like a lot was cut out though, so I look forward to when they release extras.

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

I also started watching Cinderella and the Four Knights…and it’s awesome. I love K-dramas. But this one is just too cute. (I don’t even normally enjoy fairy tale-related things, but come on! The protagonist is too cute.) But there are only two episodes available. BOO. I also started W, as suggested by Siamese Mayhem! I’ll probably talk more about that K-drama next week since I just started it last night.

Cinderella and the Four Knights

Cinderella and the Four Knights

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

I had a BUNCH of marshmallows laying around…and popcorn. So, marshmallow popcorn balls happened. Since I have a rice maker now, I also promised myself I would learn how to make sushi from home. So, I bought a bunch of fish and made a ton of sushi…and still had extra fish left over. So, seafood chowder happened. All of it was amazing. Not going to lie. I haven’t eaten that well in weeks.

What I’m Wearing:

Birthday hats! My best friend’s daughter had her seventh birthday. Pretty crazy!

What I’m Wanting:

All the episodes of Cinderella and the Four Knights!

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Literally, the longest dream ever happened to me this week, but I’ll cut some of the details out to make it readable. Basically, it started off with a teenage girl who was on her high school’s tennis team, but she didn’t study correctly, so she wasn’t allowed to go to the out-of-state tournament. Also, for punishment, she had to stay in the school overnight and make sure nothing happened to it. About 1 AM, she wakes up to noise, only to realize the recess area is on fire. So, she gets her cellphone, but it’s dead, so she has to go outside to a payphone to call the police. As she’s on the phone, however, a man with a gun runs up and starts shooting at the flames. Other men jump out with other weapons. It got crazy violent, including one man with an axe-throwing capability. But the girl screamed and ran back into the school with a man chasing her…Here’s where it gets weird. The school is no longer a school. It’s a home. A BIG home. And she seems to recognize it as her uncle’s house. With someone chasing her, she runs into a bathroom and barely locks it. The person begins pounding on the door, telling her to let him in, asking her to calm down, etc. But she’s going through her options. She even finds a gun, but it’s one of those “has to recognize the owner’s fingerprints” guns, so it doesn’t work. She then tears down the blinds, and looks out the window, where she sees a hot tub below her. So, she escapes out the window, and uses the ledges of all the other rooms in this apparent mansion to escape to lower levels. BUT…when she gets to the lower levels, she starts to realize it’s cold outside. The fire is gone. Snow is falling. People are sledding. It’s like a GIANT holiday party is right outside. So, she jumps into the snow, people see her, and the man chasing her begins chasing her again. She starts screaming, he starts screaming, and a stranger helps by separating the two. When the police come, they tell her they have no record of her call or of what happened…and no one knows who she is. SO HERE’S WHERE IT GETS WEIRDER. The dream then zooms out. MY DREAM. And it shows a boy watching a TV screen where the dream was. So, my dream was a movie in another dream level? I don’t know. But this boy gets mad at the ending and gets on YouTube to Google what the ending was about. Apparently, the movie has a new “rad” director who’s already famous for making films that don’t make sense. The boy gets mad at how cheap that is. (I do, too.) And then I woke up. I swear this felt like it went on for hours.

What Else Is Going On:

Little Alchemy

Little Alchemy

I accidentally discovered the Little Alchemy game, and I can’t stop. I now have 343 elements out of 560.

How do you make the best element ever, you ask?

Milk + Wild Animal.

It’s a cat.

You’re welcome.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs An Author Who Fears Public Speaking

15 Aug

Despite working with the English language every day—as a writer, as an editor, and as a reader—I have difficulty speaking. I stumble and stutter a lot. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I worked so hard to master the written language. I was making up for another aspect of the language I didn’t excel in.

Looking back on it, I blamed moving around a lot as a kid—mixing up accents and idioms—but I don’t use blame anymore. In fact, I’ve rather embraced this awkward part of myself, and it no longer bothers me like it used to. A common comeback from a friend generally includes phrases like, “Okay. English major.” Or “Aren’t you the writer here?” Yeah. Yeah. I get it. I stutter. But it’s an accepted part of my life now, something I don’t fight, something I realized most people look past anyway. I was the one judging myself.

Take this anecdote as an example…

On a drive back from the grocery store, I saw Venus and Jupiter in the sky. I am a HUGE space nerd—probably due to Sailor Moon—so I started rambling about how new information on Pluto released, and that’s when I came across the word “meteors.” The problem was simple. I had just finished talking about how Meg Cabot’s final book in the Mediator series, and now I had to say meteor? It wasn’t happening. I stumbled for three minutes. Eventually, it turned into a giggle fit.

I know the words. I know how to say the words. I just can’t explain why it doesn’t come out that way. But I think the saddest part is when people can no longer take you seriously when you stumble over a word or two. In all honesty, I haven’t had that problem much. In fact, I think I simply worried that it would happen, so I stayed silent. My speech class in college got me over that fear. If I can say this without bragging, I got a big ol’ A in that course. (I know. I know. It’s speech class. But it meant the world to me. In fact, it meant Pluto, Jupiter, and Venus to me.) Up until that point, I thought there was no way I could succeed as a writer with a pronunciation issue like mine. What was I supposed to do if I ever booked a signing where I had to read a chapter out loud? The horror! What happens when people think I couldn’t have possibly written the words if I couldn’t speak them? Double horror! How do I explain myself? …I just died from horror.

It was a panic attack waiting to happen…a panic attack I overcame a long time ago but still comes back every now and then when I have to say specific or pacific, shoulder or solider, Neanderthal, and, I suppose, meteor or mediator. (Fun fact: I stumbled over mediator in my YouTube video—Book Boyfriends—and said “med-a-tore” instead. I suppose I could’ve deleted it, reshot it, edited it out, but…I’ve embraced this part of myself.) At my recent book signings in Barnes & Noble, I even messed up “Wattpad.” For some reason, I cannot, for the life of me, say “watt.” I always say “what.” So, “Whatpad” it is, and the crowd laughed when I made a joke about it. My fear somehow turned into laughter.

These are all words I avoided saying out loud. All words I’ve used in stories a hundred times. All words that are, no matter what, precious to me.

“Emma Saying” on YouTube and “How To Pronounce” are two websites I use on a regular basis to practice. I don’t avoid words anymore, but I still stumble, and I imagine that’s just a part of me that makes me me—a character in my own right—a writer who stumbled over her love for words.

Four events in the past year where I overcame my fear for public speaking!

Four events in the past year where I overcame my fear of public speaking!

Original posted July 22, 2015

~SAT

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow FINALLY came in the mail this week! Safe to say, I’m in love. On top of that, a lovely reader sent me a November Snow book review that cracked me up. “THE AUTHOR GAME OF THRONED ME AND I WAS IN MY FEELINGS OKAY?!?!?!?” – Chic Nerd Reads …Yep. I love your Bad Bloods book reviews. Thank you for sending them to me. 

Right now, Bad Bloods: November Rain (book 1) is FREE across all platforms. I hope you check it out. I’ll be debuting the paperbacks at Penned Con in St. Louis this September, and I’ll be sharing a booth with the lovely Natasha Hanova. Stop by her page and say hi!

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow 

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

#SATurdate: The Secret Life of Pets, #1 YA Sci-Fi, Noble My Love, Criminal, & Aerie

13 Aug

What I’m Writing:

Wattpad Ami's Story

Wattpad Ami’s Story

While I’m dutifully writing in Bad Bloods: July Thunder/Lightning, I also had to take a step back and work on some other projects this week, mainly Dreammare, which was awesome. That being said, I’m 38,740 words into July Thunder/Lightning, and hit a bit of a snag (but in a good way). I had to concentrate on making a more precise timeline and will continue to do so. Also, my characters tend to reveal tricky things about 40,000 words in that I never planned, so I might have to go back and change the beginning. I’m looking forward to it! So far, I’m also continuing the Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad, so I wrote Ami’s story this week. She is the only bad blood character who was from the Highlands before joining the Southern Flock. What is the Highlands? It’s a fenced-off area in the center of Vendona, notoriously known as the “richer” area of the city. Her story also becomes a bigger deal in Bad Bloods: November Snow, sooooo…read it. 😉

What I’m Publishing:

#1 in YA Sci-Fi

Bad Bloods is now available! In fact, Bad Bloods: November Rain is #1 in the YA Sci-Fi Free Kindle Store (and #130 overall)! Thank you for reading.

November Rain

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

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

Bad Bloods Bookstagram

Bad Bloods Bookstagram

I love it when you send me photos of Bad Bloods and The Timely Death Trilogy! This beautiful one is from Instagram’s @frazzledfairybooks. Stop by Amanda’s page and say hello.

This #1lineWed theme was enough, so here is your preview: Maybe it was a strong word. Maybe it wasn’t strong enough.

What I’m Reading:

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray! I couldn’t help myself. I’m still reading An Ember in the Ashes and Sea of Stars, but I just NEED to continue the Firebird series. That being said, I’ve had little to no free reading time this week. As an editor, most of my reading has been during work and I’ve been working overtime…though I did find time to read a stupid amount of conspiracy theories this week, mainly John Titor, the time-traveler from 2036 who posted on web forums in 2001. (It’s a guilty pleasure of mine. I just can’t help myself.)

What I’m Listening To:

The podcast Criminal is my latest obsession. It’s pretty interesting and an easy listen. If you’re interested in crime, this one is a good podcast. It covers various types—like counterfeit money and murderous pigs—and is about 20 minutes a piece, so just long enough to do the dishes. The strangest part of listening to this podcast was stumbling upon Episode 6, which covers the shootings of Glenn Miller in Overland Park, KS. He killed three people in 2014, and if you followed my blog back then, I actually lived close enough to the shootings that I heard the sirens. (Here’s that article: Writing Tips: Dealing with Controversy.) One of the victims even attended the same high school I graduated from. Hearing his family speak was pretty surreal. I definitely recommend this podcast.

What I’m Watching:

While everyone went out and saw Suicide Squad this week, I saw The Secret Life of Pets. What? I want to see Suicide Squad—I do—but I needed something light, silly, and fluffy in my life, so a pet movie was my choice…and I was satisfied. It was pretty darn cute.

The Secrets Life of Pets

The Secrets Life of Pets

I also binge-watched Noble, My Love, which is a South Korean drama about a CEO and a veterinarian falling in love. Don’t judge me. I’ve been obsessed with South Korean dramas lately. 

Noble, My Love

Noble, My Love

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

apple pie bread pudding

apple pie bread pudding

I baked apple pie bread pudding this week, which was awesome. Hard to photograph though.

What I’m Wearing:

Sticky Notes. I’m buried in them. And I need to use more of them, ASAP.

What I’m Wanting:

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley

Aerie by Maria Dahvana Headley! I LOVED Magnolia, and you can read my five-star review by clicking here. I’ve been looking forward to this sequel since July of 2015. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I went to Rome, but forgot that hotels were necessary, so I emptied out a famous fountain…and I slept in it.

That was it.

What Else Is Going On:

I went to a Royals baseball game with my dad and his friends this week…which means I—GASP—left my house…and went out in the sun…and SURVIVED.

Okay. It was fun.

~SAT

#WW When You Shouldn’t Write That Book

10 Aug

There comes a time in every writer’s life when they realize they cannot write that book….and I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m talking about when you want to write a book, but you know you shouldn’t. Maybe not yet. Maybe never.

Of course, I’m not saying a writer CAN’T write that book. Not forever anyway. But just like a construction project, certain books require particular tools, and if you don’t have those tools, building anything might be for naught…or even dangerous.

So here are three questions to ask yourself while deciding if you are ready to write that novel or not.

1. Have You Researched EVERYTHING Properly?

This is particularly true in historical fiction, but research shouldn’t be overlooked for any type of fiction. This means you are researching your setting, your themes, and your characters thoroughly. If you are writing anything outside of your personal experiences—which is more likely than not—it’s best to read articles, watch documentaries, and even talk to those who do have those personal experiences you’re lacking. If you haven’t done this, you most likely don’t know enough to write about certain topics and people from a respectful and knowledgeable place. You might even add to damaging stereotypes or incorrect presumptions. Take the time to get to know your novel’s needs…as well as your audience’s.

2. Have You Read This Genre?

You should be reading in and outside of any genre you want to write in, but you should definitely be familiar with trends in your market. Being able to recognize writers, publishers, and various novels is key to understanding your audience and what purpose your book serves. What does it add to the market? What does it give to your readers? If you’re unsure where your book would be on a shelf, you’re probably not ready yet. But don’t worry! All you have to do is read more. (And who doesn’t love reading?) I went through this myself recently. As someone who mainly reads and writes YA fantasy, I wanted to tackle a contemporary novel when I wasn’t fully equipped to do so. Though I read contemporary still, I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t familiar enough with the current shelf to proceed. I need to collect more tools. I need to read more. And I am.

Who doesn't love an extra excuse to read more?

Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to read more?

3. Why Are YOU The Right Person to Write This Book?

Listen, I’m not here to tell someone if they are the right person to write a book or not. That’s between the author, their book, and the creative process. But I honestly believe we can get to a moment where we realize a book—while it’s good—might be better for someone else to write. This is going to vary from person to person, and it ultimately weighs on how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to a story. If you’re hesitating to research, for instance, you’re probably the wrong person for that book. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome obstacles or hurdles in your way, but it’s also okay to move on from something you realize isn’t right for you. If you’re on the fence—and you’re unsure how you’re feeling about this topic—one question you can ask yourself is WHY you’re even writing it. Seems obvious enough, but when you take a step back, you might see that you were, in fact, chasing a trend or a surface idea without the will to dive deeper. That’s okay. There are a million stories out there for you to write, and I’m sure you already have plenty more to chase. It’s a matter of figuring out which one feels right to you.

When you should write a book, it will come to you.

Enjoy the adventure,

~SAT

Read my latest interview on Crazy Beautiful Reads: “Every writer’s life is paved with rejections.” Comment for your chance to win some awesome books!

It’s official! Author Natasha Hanova will be sharing a table with me at Penned Con in St. Louis this September! Check her out, say hi, tell her I sent you, and come visit us in September. We’ll be signing books, talking books, and just having a great ol’ time.

*FREE BOOK ALERT*

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE!

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

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