Tag Archives: bookish

#MondayBlogs Authors I’ve Met Who Inspired Me

22 Feb

Every Monday I rewrite a post from the past in a new and different away. Today’s post, for instance, is simply inspired by my older post: Relax & Read: A Dog Named Christmas by Greg Kincaid. I wrote this post after reading A Dog Named Christmas, but this book means more to me than what this post reveals. Greg Kincaid is one of many authors who I have had the pleasure of speaking to, so today, I wanted to talk about three authors who have affected my life (and why readers should never hesitate to contact their favorite writers)!

1. Elizabeth C. Bunce: If I could accurately express my gratitude to Elizabeth C. Bunce, I would, but I cannot because my gratitude is endless. Not only was she one of my favorite young adult authors growing up but she was also one of the first authors I was able to meet in person…and I was only 16 when I first met her. She held a book signing in the KC area, and I drove to listen to her reading, and I gave her a copy of my very first published book. She was incredibly supportive and encouraging. I had the pleasure of discussing writing and reading with her one-on-one a couple of times over the years. She is delightful, brilliant, and overall inspiring. Read her books here.

2. Rosemary Clement-Moore: When I was 19, I was invited to the Nimrod Journal Conference through my fiction writing course while attending the University of Kansas. I drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma just for the event, and it was, by far, worth it. I had the joy of sitting in on Rosemary Clement-Moore’s young adult panel, and she made the time to sit down and speak with me afterward. She told me a great publishing story about one of her close friends, and it inspired me to stay on the path I was on to follow my own dreams…AND the whole time I had my jacket buttoned wrong. I didn’t even notice until I looked at the photos later. I was a complete nervous wreck…and she still helped me. That meant the world. Read her books here.

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3. Greg Kincaid: The author who inspired this post is the same man who wrote the book (and now Hallmark movie) A Dog Named Christmas. He (magically) took the time out of his day to talk to me about screen writing, fiction writing, and his search for agents and publication. He was honest, direct, and absolutely helpful. At the time, I had just started writing Take Me Tomorrow (and that was almost five years ago), and he even read it and gave me great feedback, which helped me shape the story into what it became today. I could not have dreamt for more direction or support. Read his books here.

Without these three authors, my writing life would be very different…and these are only THREE of the many authors I’ve met. I have also met Stephenie Meyer, Amy A. Bartol, Tish Thawer, and many others. Recently, as many of you know, I had the pure joy of sharing a Barnes & Noble book signing with Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan. A lovely group! There are a dozen of others I wish I could name, but I want to simply express how grateful I am for all the authors and fellow writers I meet on a regular basis. If you’re an aspiring writer—and you’re not sure if a six-hour drive is worth meeting an author—I’m telling you now, DO IT. Every hour is worth it. Every moment is priceless.

One day, I’d love to meet Cassandra Clare, Victoria Aveyard, Meg Cabot, Marie Rutkoski, Ally Carter, and Marissa Meyer. (But really, I could go on forever.)

Meet the authors you can.

I hope one day I can meet you all too!

~SAT

#ReaderProblems Fandoms vs. Mobs

3 Feb

All right. All right. I’m not telling anyone they cannot have an opinion. You can. (Of course.) But I wanted to discuss an upsetting trend that bothers me down in my fandom core.

Readers ALWAYS hate every adaptation. And it isn’t just hate. It’s very loud, very aggressive, very complete hate. Welcome, fandom mobs.

I get it. I do. I am a reader before I am a writer. I’m in many fandoms, and I am in love with many worlds and characters and storylines, and they mean more to me than words on a page. Those worlds were my safe places when I wanted to escape. Those characters were my friends when I felt alone. Those storylines were my explorations when I couldn’t leave my home. Seeing them butchered is like witnessing the mockery of something you love. I get it. But don’t pick up the pitchfork yet.

Adaptations are adaptations. They are not a mockery, because they are not the same thing. The adaptations are inspired by the books we love, and we must keep that in mind…and we need that mind to be an open mind.

Why?

The reason movie and television producers pick up books and create adaptations is because there is already an audience. That audience, hopefully, will attend first, and then encourage others to attend too…even despite differences. If anything, I remember differences being another form of entertainment. When Harry Potter first started releasing (when I was 11), my friend delighted in explaining what was different, but she never said it was wrong or terrible or discouraged me from trying it out for myself. If anything, it made me consider reading the books, and she offered me her first one to borrow so I could catch up by the sequel’s release.

This is what we, as a fandom, need to concentrate on. We want to encourage new readers and viewership so they can make their own opinions…even if you don’t like the adaptation…and that means concentrating on being positive. A newcomer is not going to pick up a book if that book is in the hands of an angry mob with pitchforks. But if you sit back and—in the least—enjoy discussing everything, maybe they will pick up that book and join your awesome fandom.

The reason I wanted to talk about this, as I’m sure many of you know, is due to the second adaptation of The Mortal Instruments. The 2013 movie bombed, and now, the TV show has released. Personally, I loved the movie. I also enjoy the TV show. I’m not picky. (Obvs.) I read the book, and I know this isn’t the book. In fact, the producers made that quite clear. To me, as long as they get the “mood” of the characters, I’m pretty happy. In fact the show changed the overall tone of the story for me. As a reader, the books were a dark paranormal comedy, but the show is cheese all around. You know what? That’s okay. I could use some more cheese in my life. And one of my favorite parts of this entire experience was calling up my best friend to discuss the differences between the books and the show, because we read them together years ago and reread them together again. (Chernobyl, seriously?)

Then, as opinions rolled out, I saw it happen again. Just like the movie. The mob came out.

The disturbing trend of absolute hate in this adaptation, not once but twice, is a great example of the consequences that could follow if we keep doing this.

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The book, the movie, the show

When the movie released, everyone hated it. Hated it. Now that the show is out, I see more love for the movie than ever. I do find it ironic that everyone is suddenly talking about how much they loved The Mortal Instruments movie now that they dislike the TV show. Granted, marketing had a lot to do with the movie’s failure as well, but the fandom had a huge hand in it.

All the complaining about the movie convinced no outsiders to see the movie, and the poor sales caused the sequel’s cancelation.

So…where were all these “lovers of the movie” back then? I know I didn’t see many, because I felt rather alone in how much I enjoyed it. I saw it twice—in a nearly empty theatre both times—and I’ve watched it over a dozen times total. My DVD copy sits on my DVD player at all times. Other TMI fans even made me feel like a bad TMI fan because I liked it, but I still talked about how much I loved it. Don’t be afraid to say you enjoyed it, and don’t attack fellow fans. This is where we go wrong…but please don’t get me wrong. I had my dislikes about the movie as well. (Alec, for one, who I actually enjoyed in the TV show.) And I was vocal about that to my friend. That being said, I also gushed over Lily and Jamie and even Raphael. I told everyone I knew to at least try it out or to read the books. I also explained a lot of the missing elements to the friends who checked it out and wanted to know more.

It’s okay to complain or discuss differences, but try to be positive. This is a fandom, after all. You want more people to join it. Why not explain some differences of the show to newcomers and encourage them to get the book?

I might tell people I liked this or I disliked that, but I try to focus on what I liked the most. I try to tie it into the book. I try to do what my friend did for me all those years back with Harry Potter. I sit down with them and talk about it and explain questions the adaptations might not have covered and I encourage them to get the book and see for themselves.

Don’t let your fandom turn into a mob. Fandoms are supposed to be fun. They are supposed to be exhilarating and great. A place where all fans can come together and be friends and discuss and draw pictures and write fan-fiction and celebrate the books.

If we keep doing this, our fandoms will no longer be fandoms; they will be mobs. And those mobs are going to take out all future adaptations. Eventually, there will be no reason for producers to pick up a book’s crowd.

Read, encourage, repeat.

But, most of all, have fun again,

~SAT

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:

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Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

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Death Before Daylightbook 3:

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#ReadingChallenge Try a New Section in the Bookstore

25 Jan

Normally I take old posts and rewrite them every Monday, which is technically what I’m still doing, but I say that lightly in this case. Back October 25, 2012, I wrote a book review for a debut author, and I discussed why I think the debut author section is my favorite section in the bookstore. (You can read that post here.) Today, instead of writing a review, I want to discuss my favorite sections in the bookstore and why I love them. But why is this important? For readers and writers alike, it’s important to challenge yourself. Step outside your box, pick up a new author, try a strange genre, flip through a poetry collection. It just might help you with your writing. You might even find your next favorite book.

Here are three sections I tried and learned from!

I’d love to hear about your favorite sections too.

New Author Section:

I particularly love starting my bookstore journey in this section, because it challenges me to read new voices and new types of stories that I may not have found otherwise. Anything and everything gets placed in this section. Drama, literature, poetry, graphic novels, anything. I have seen it all in this section, which is why this section is a go-to area if you’re in the mood for challenging yourself. It’s also EXTRA exciting, because the novels are normally by authors you’ve never heard of before. (There are exceptions, meaning if an author hasn’t been published in ten years, they might still appear here.) But it’s well worth a skim. In fact, I found my favorite graphic novel of 2015 in this section—The Gigantic Beard that was Evil by Stephen Collins.

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Memoirs and Biographies:

What is a better section for learning about life than reading about people’s literal lives? I love memoirs in particular, so I know I’m biased, but I think memoirs can also force you to step outside your boundaries. (I even love non-memoir memoirs. You know, the ones that claim they are “fiction” but everyone and their mother knows they aren’t…Granted, not found in this section, but that’s another story.) Last year, I found one of my all-time favorite reads in this section. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty, which is about a girl deciding to work in a crematory. It’s a fascinating exploration of mortality within different cultures.

What Our Staff Recommends:

I almost ALWAYS go to this section of the bookstore if the store has it. This is one of those delightful sections you can’t find online either (and it’s different in every store you go to). There’s normally a stack of books and one or two lines about why the staff recommends that particular read. Each review is generally done by a different staff member too, so you have a wonderful amount of variety in this section. Last year, I found Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan in this section, and I fell in love.

I normally spend the majority of my time in the young adult section. I have to mention this section, because it’s my obviously my go-to genre. It’s the section I buy most of my books from, and I thought I’d mention that so you could see how it compares to the other section above.

It’s important to challenge yourself, whether you’re a reader or a writer, and challenging yourself can help you. Even if you just want to know more about other topics, you can expand your palate by reading. This is why I love reading so much!

Try to pick two sections you wouldn’t normally visit, and check it out this month.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

~SAT

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:

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Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

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Death Before Daylightbook 3:

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

Clean Teen Publishing is giving one away. Enter here.

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#WW 2016 YA Reading Predictions

23 Dec

As the year comes to an end, readers are looking forward to new releases in 2016…and authors are nervous about all the predictions coming out. (Come on, I know I’m not the only one.) I’ve already read a few myself—and they ALWAYS freak me out. So what better way to combat them than by joining in on the fun?

These are just my silly predictions for 2016. Basically, I’m just having fun! (And I hope you have fun too.) A slight disclaimer: if you’re an author, please don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet my “predictions.” I mean, I have two dystopian novels coming out in 2016, despite my predictions being against it, so trust me, I don’t think any sort of predictions should stop anyone from publishing what they’re publishing. In fact, I think predictions can be rather silly. Readers pick what’s hot and what’s not. Not publishers, not authors, not booksellers. Readers do.

This is just for fun.

Without further ado…

Alternate History: Personally—and I know I’m not of the popular opinion—I think 2016 will become the year of alternate history books. This sort of ties into other dimensions, which is the next sub-genre I want to discuss, but I’m seeing a huge growth in alternate history books stretching over numerous genres, which is why I think it’s so powerful. You can have an alternate history in sci-fi—think Man in the High Castle, which has just become an Amazon original (and is awesome by the way) about the Nazis winning WWII—and then think of steampunk or historical romance, where we have books like The Inventor’s Secret, in which the American Revolution never happened. Granted, these could just be “other dimensions,” but I had to separate them from the next topic, because these alternate history tales aren’t always explained by alternate dimensions; they simply can just be. If I had to get specific, I think this will get hugely popular around the fall season…or even move into 2017, especially if steampunk is involved. Either way, alternate history can thread itself into all genres seamlessly…including what I think will be the biggest trend: Other dimensions.

Dimensions: This is the MAIN one I see growing. Other dimension stories—like Trial by Fire or A Thousand Pieces of You—are continuing their trilogies, and from what I’ve noticed in the industry, when books get to their final pieces, that’s when the genre is at its hottest, so you might be looking at 2017, too. Ex. Winter in The Lunar Chronicles and Ensnared in Splintered—the last in their series—just released in the same year fairy tale retellings were HUGE. So, if your book includes other dimensions, readers might be fighting for it in 2016 and 2017. That being said, I HAVE to tackle fairy tale retellings…

Fairy tale retellings: Can we talk about this without someone getting upset with me? Many are claiming this is going to be the hottest genre in 2016, but I’ll tell you what…I’m a bit tired of them. I love them; please don’t get me wrong. In fact, I just finished Winterspell by Claire Legrand, and it was one of my favorite reads all year. (It’s a retelling of The Nutcracker.) I just think that I’m ready for something else, so this is probably biased, but I actually think readers are going to sway away from fairy tale retellings by the time we get halfway through 2016. I think 2015 was the year for fairy tales. I mean, I just went to the bookstore the other day, and EVERYTHING was a fairy tale retelling. There was a glass slipper or an apple on nearly every cover. It was exhausting. I like variety as much as the next person. So, while I love fairy tales—and I definitely think they are still going to do great—I don’t think they are going to be the star of the show like they were last year.

Here are five books I'm looking forward to that already have covers!

Here are five 2016 books I’m looking forward to that already have covers! (The cover for The Winner’s Kiss will now keep the original design for the hardback! So excited!) 

In a quick sum up, I think aliens/galaxy novels are growing, especially at the beginning of the year with the release of The 5th Wave movie (and the last book in the trilogy releasing, The Last Star). I also don’t think dystopian is going away at all, despite big publishers claiming they are, hence why Lionsgate is hoping to continue The Hunger Games franchise with prequels. (Here’s an article.) There’s still value in the genre—probably because of the state of the world—but I do see dystopian swinging more into books that combine dystopian elements with epic fantasy, meaning it’s an entirely new world separated from our world. Think of The Jewel by Amy Ewing (Her last book in this trilogy should release in 2016 as well). Basically, not “the US once existed, but now it doesn’t” dystopian, but rather “this is a brand-new world with dystopian governments doing terrible things.” This also means I’m seeing more epic fantasy in general. New world, new rules, new faces, new creatures, and of course, maps. So many more maps! Think of The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski. If you have a map in the front of your book, you’re doing 2016 right.

And finally…covers: I can’t talk about books without talking about book covers. From what I can tell, fancy fonts and symbolism is the “in” thing, especially feathers. Has anyone else noticed that? Feathers are freakin’ everywhere. Girls in dresses are somehow staying popular, and despite the overload of them, I think they’re here to stay. People love them too much. (I mean, they are gorgeous, aren’t they?) I have a hate-love relationship with them myself. But—yes—I think 2016 will be the year of symbols on the cover rather than people. That and hand-painted designs. Anything with special graphics, unique fonts, and/or strange artwork will be grabbed off shelves for their looks.

So, what do you think?

Any genre you see growing? Any genre you see simmering down?

Again, these are just my silly little predictions. Nothing too serious.

Just have fun,

~SAT

It’s official! There will be a Bad Bloods cover reveal for BOTH books on January 6. I will send out a newsletter December 29, asking for help, and three of you will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain

If you want to be a part of it, sign up for my newsletter here. (No purchase necessary, your information will never be given away, and you can unsubscribe at any time. I only send out one email per month, if that.)

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774959_954867311227117_7029831497832645098_oQuick shout-out to my lovely publisher, Clean Teen Publishing. These hard-working ladies crafted the most thoughtful gifts for the CTP authors this holiday season. They made this ‘S’ out of excerpts from The Timely Death Trilogy! How neat is that?

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1 (FREE)

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

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Death Before Daylight: book 3

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#MondayBlogs 10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel

21 Dec

Intro:

As many of you know, I love reading…and I absolutely love traveling. So, when Jason Biondo approached me with the idea of combining these two topics, I was on board. I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do! (The first book is one of my all-time favorites.) Welcome, Jason!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel by Jason Biondo 

One of the best ways to see the world is through a good book. Reading opens a way through your imagination and allows you to dream. And, since most travellers are certainly book lovers, there are various travel novels that provide inspiration as well as enhance the spirit to dream and journey towards life. Here are some of the best travel books that will surely urge you plan your next trip and explore the world.

1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Published in 1957, the story of Sal and his friend Dean leaving New York to head west to be passionate about life – partying in ghost towns, making new friends, sleeping with random women, and riding the rails on night-time. It is an inspiring tale about leaving life behind and creating a new one along the road. From New York to Denver to San Francisco and LA, Sal has learned a lot of things in life and he was able to become stronger, more matured and developed his self-determination.

2. In a Sunburned Country

This book talks about Bill Bryson’s voyage through Australia while visiting little towns. Wander lusting through the forgotten continent, he first visited Sydney where he walks down the town most of his stay and appreciating the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. He narrates about how Australia changed his life because of the friendly people, hottest and dry weather, and the most peculiar wildlife to be found on this planet. No matter how imperfect, Bryson found Australia to be an adorable and fortunate country.

3. A Year in the World, Frances Mayes

This book is a celebration of unanticipated pleasures found in voyages, interacting with locals and appreciating nature. In this book, Mayes left her hometown, Tuscany to see France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, the British Isles and North Africa. Merging together her personal perceptions, history, landscape and passion in culture and art, Mayes shared her experiences to inspire people to journey towards their dreams.

4. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

While most travel books focuses on going different adventures, this book by Eric Weiner is about a self-help guide in searching happiness in all corners of the world. The story is about a pessimist voyage from America to Europe to Iceland to Bhutan in search for the happiest people in the world.

5. The Beach by Alex Garland

Released in 1998, this book is a tale about a backpacker named Richard and his search for wild adventures. Using a small map, he found himself within a vast islet in Thailand that is within a small community. His journey gives inspiration to American and European tourists to encourage them go on a holiday in Thai beaches for better views. This books best message is that Mother Nature is the most beautiful thing on this planet.

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6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Just like A Year in the World, this book from Mayes is a good read for travellers. Shortly after discovering that her husband was cheating on her, Frances takes on a tour to Italy. She wrote about her experiences as a local Italian and talks about different food traditions and artful style in northern Italy which makes this book as a guide for people travelling to the place. The book includes several chapters of recipe and how she decides to acquire and develop a villa in the countryside.

7. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts himself spent 10 years on the road to ponder some insights which he put through this book for travellers who are starting off to their long-term trips. The book is rich with travel philosophies that talks about solo travelling, planning and saving pennies on the road. The book will teach travellers on travelling cheaply, but having a rich experience. And, what makes it even more inspirational is that it includes motivating quotes from different travellers.

8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is just one among Coelho’s best-selling fictional books and one of the most-read travel books of all time. It is a story of a young shepherd boy named Santiago that goes on his journey from Spain to Egypt as he follows the step towards his dreams. Along his journey, he met a lot of people who seem to be like him and that made him even more passionate about travelling. He also found courage to experience new things, learned to love and discovered the real meaning of life. It is a must read book for travellers since it’s all about following dreams and travellers are dreamers.

9. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Having perfect life – an amazing husband, nice house and a good job, Gilbert couldn’t ask for more, but she feels like something in her life is missing. Elizabeth went through a difficult divorce and she then thought of leaving her hometown for different adventures. Spending her time on three different countries every year to get to know herself better, Elizabeth Gilbert gives inspiration to female solo travellers to go outside their comfort zone at some point of their lives. By travelling, she found an exciting way to eat in Italy, pray in India and love in Indonesia. She proved to people who think she’s crazy and her scared self that she was capable of surviving alone in a completely different place.

10. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This is a story of Christopher Johnson McCandless form Virginia, a determined wanderlust that sets off alone to a trekking adventure in the wilderness and has a strong desire to go soul searching. He gave away his college fund and began travelling across western America. Even though filled with positive thoughts, along the way he experienced difficulties that challenged his patience and endurance. After deciding to climb Stampede Trail in Alaska, he was left with few resources and insufficient supplies for camping. He later on discovered dead on a bus and a journal was found with him about his voyage diaries.

Inspired to travel? Open your travel planner now, and see all the beauty, charm and eccentricity that our beautiful planet holds!

Bio: Jason Biondo is an amateur bodybuilder and a travel junkie who loves to share insightful tips to his fellow health enthusiasts and travelers. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the Founder of Trekeffect.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#WW Top 5 Tips I Gave Out This Year as an Editor And Marketer

16 Dec

As 2015 is coming to an end, I’m reviewing all of the authors and writers and publishers I’ve been able to work with over these past 12 months, and I’m blown away by the many talented artists I’ve met. I’m proud to say we saw over a dozen novels to publication, and even more are on their way. It’s been a great year! So, to celebrate, I thought I would share some of the top tips that came out during this time. A lot of these tips you can find online. In fact, a lot of these tips I’ve written articles about before on this very website. But it can be said again. After all, there are always new writers, new authors, and new ideas to implement when adjusting your business plan. In 2015, I learned some myself, and I helped numerous clients learn some too. Here were the top five from this past year.

1. Writing: Take Notes! This particularly helps when editing rolls around and you need to fact check, but I strongly believe every writer should take notes before, during, and after writing a first draft. It will help you organize your work, and it will help you keep track of changes you’ve made or new turns you’ve taken. These notes can cover larger concepts—like subplots—and they can define the simplest details—like eye color. Sure, a content editor is here to help you, but it’s always best to try to keep everything as factual as you can beforehand. Having the strongest draft possible will ensure you’ll have the strongest product possible at the end of your editing stages.

2. Marketing: Branding: Be you. Branding is vital and highly competitive, but it doesn’t have to be! Remember: You are not competing with others. They are them; you are you. And you are the only “you” out there. Be proud of that! I hear the phrase “but they did this” way too often. Just because someone else is doing something doesn’t mean you should or that it will even work for you.

A. It’s already being done.

B. It might not correlate with your books.

C. If you force it, people can tell. (It’s especially awkward when readers start to figure out who exactly you’re copying.)

Ex. Romance Author A loves reading lifestyle books, healthy eating, and yoga, so she uploads these three things to her pages with appropriate hashtags and related links, sometimes drawing a correlation that being healthy is part of her protagonists’ struggles and/or dreams. Now, Romance Author B. She sees this successful social media outreach and decides to do it too, even though she might not be into those things, nor does it have anything to do with the types of books she writes. (Not that everything has to do with your books, but we’ll get to that in a minute.) Think about what you love, think about what your customers and you could love together, and share those lovable things. People with similar interests will find you and your books.

3. Marketing: Branding: Now that you’re you, be PARTS of you. What do I mean by that? I often see authors and publishers trying to be TOO much. Have some consistency. Choose three to four things you’re really into and mainly post about those things. Of course you can post about whatever you want, but it helps to pick a brand and stick with it. Ex. I post about my cats, coffee, and books I’m reading. I recently added desserts, but I started only sharing desserts that went with coffee. (I slowly worked it in.) On occasion, if I travel, I post some photos, but I’m also really into movies and photography and conspiracy theories and aliens and etc. Sure, I’ll talk about those things every now and then, but if I did it all the time, no one would know what to expect or why they were even following me. I picked a theme, and I stick with it. I even have followers who just follow me because of my cats or followers who just love getting recipes from me. Stop worrying about selling. It’s not about selling. (Ouch, I know.) But it’s true. It’s about genuine connections. Have fun. A great topic I see authors work with is similar books, movies, and fandoms. But there is a thing as “posting too much.” You can overwhelm followers. Plus, you don’t need to be online all the time. You need writing time too.

BONUS TIP

Take a Little Extra Time to Make Things Just *That* Much Better

The photo on the left is the one I posted to Instagram, Twitter, and FB. The photo on the right is the real deal. 30 seconds can make a HUGE difference. Take that extra step. In this instance, I just cropped and added a filter through Instagram.

PicMonkey Collage

4. Editing: Track Stylistic Choices: Editing is often a matter of preference. While some rules are definitely not debatable, many aspects of the English language are. There is more than one correct way to write something, even when using the same rulebook, and it’s important to understand your options and to communicate those options with your editor. Keep track of your stylistic choices. Do you prefer t-shirt to T-shirt? Do you want to use “goodbye” instead of “good-bye”? Do you want to use the new “internet” or the proper “Internet”? Write these down or have your editor keep a stylistic sheet for you. I know I do this for every single one of my clients, especially if the book is part of a series. You want to remain consistent and pick what it best for that particular novel. As a reader, I HATE it when I see “t-shirt” and “T-shirt” on the same page. Granted, I’m an editor, so I’m probably more sensitive than others, but many avid readers know the basics of editing. Consistency is always the key.

5. Marketing: Positivity: Writing is hard. Marketing is hard. Editing is hard. I get it. Trust me. I do. I’ve been doing this for eight years and it’s still hard. I still learn every day, and sometimes, right after I learn something, the algorithms change, and I have to learn everything all over again. It’s tiring, time-consuming, and a never-ending battle. But try to enjoy it. Try to find the fun in it all. Try to love the little amazing moments more than you dwell on the big bad moments. But, most importantly, remain as positive as you can on your professional pages. Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to be human. I’ve posted about depression before when I lost my publisher at the time. But I was still hopeful and ready to move forward. No one thinks you’re perfect, and you don’t have to pretend to be perfect, but posting curse-filled rants of drama isn’t going to do anyone any favors. A rule I stand by is to think twice before you post something while feeling emotional. Then, step away and think again. Once posted, it can never be deleted forever. Overall, the more you practice positivity—whether inwardly or outwardly—the less you’ll feel drained and/or overwhelmed. The more you’ll enjoy it. You want your pages to be a safe and happy environment for you and your connections. Have a zero-tolerance policy for bullies and trolls, and stay focused on having a great time with your readers.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed these five tips! If you have some, feel free to share! Let’s end 2015 on a great note, so we can start 2016 on an even better one.

~SAT

What Going To The Bookstore is Like

9 Dec

It’s December…which means cold weather…which means an extra excuse to go into the bookstore when your friends are shopping to…get warm…and get coffee and cookies ::cough cough:: I’ll only be five minutes. I promise.

My piece of heaven

My piece of heaven

I love books, obviously, but I also love going into bookstores just as much. There’s just *something* about the entire experience. Whether it’s the smell (the lovely smell of Starbucks and new books) or being around fellow book lovers, I love it all. I cannot wait until the next time I go on a trip to the store. So much so that I’m slightly weary of ordering online. Even though it’s convenient, I want *that* moment. Hell, I’ll make a whole night out of it. Bookstores bring a lot of peace to my life, so before I share what going into a bookstore is like, I want to share my Barnes & Noble. They bring a lot of love to my little writer’s life…and this is exactly how it plays out.

Oh! Look. A Barnes & Noble. 

I’m just…going to step in for a…minute. Just a minute.

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It smells like cookies in here.

Until I eat all of them, that is.

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And coffee! I need both.

Especially after that Barnes & Noble Membership discount.

I’m never going to leave.

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Okay. Books. I want all of them.

Time to get serious. This is what you came here for.

This is where your plan comes into action. You know your plan. It starts at new fiction, wraps around the young adult, circles to the poetry, and ends at memoirs.

200-4Okay. So maybe not that book.

Just not for me. That was…something though.

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There’s seeing a book you’ve been wanting.

Yep. The entire staff just heard you squeal.

They also saw you dance while you waited for someone else to move out of the way.

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And there’s seeing the book you’ve been waiting over a year to release.

Sweet Jesus. Yep. They definitely saw and heard you again.

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You try to apologize, but everyone understands.

We all have an inner Matilda.

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In fact, you might just read it right now

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But bookstores close…so you have to leave…

I’ll just get one. Or two. Or…screw it. I want all of these.

200-10

But when you get home, you have your favorite place to read.

Does anything get any better than this?

200-11~SAT

Also, because we’re sharing gifs and other funny moments, I just did an interview with YouTuber Drew C. Ryan on his channel The awkWORD. (A hilarious channel by the way.) We talked about fandoms, video games, Disney, Sailor Moon, and more! Check it out.

#SATurdate: The White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets.

5 Dec

As you all know, we didn’t have a SATurdate last week due to the monthly Website Wonders piece, so this one might be a bit longer than usual. (I think I say that every week for one reason or another…but oh well!)

What I’m Writing:

I realized I need to go over Take Me Tomorrow before I can move forward in Take Me Yesterday, so I’m officially working on Take Me Tomorrow. There are a few things I wanted to add, just with a sentence or two. Example, one thing that was hinted but went basically unnoticed (by my fault, not readers’) was the fact that boys and girls are encouraged to separate themselves, which was one of the reasons there were more boys than girls. I actually addressed this directly after a high demand in my article Why Most of my Characters are Male. I mistakenly thought I hinted to it enough, but this time around, I’m going to blatantly say it. There are a few things like that I’m looking forward to adding as I go through it. For original readers, I’m about 60 pages in, in the chapter It’s Too Late.

What I’m Publishing:

We’re working on the cover for Bad Bloods! The ideas were fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the cover ends up being. Bless my cover artist’s heart for dealing with my input. (Seriously. She deserves a huge shoutout.) So, thank you, Marya! Check her out at Strong Image Editing!

Now, I’m sharing the winning #1lineWed from the previous two weeks. The first one’s theme was home.

This was home to me. Just the thought of Catelyn’s suffocating hugs made my heart lurch.

A little background, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend and practical sister. They both live in the Southern Flock, and they nearly look like twins, aside from a scar on Catelyn’s face. Here is a link to the Pinterest Pin of Catelyn. In the original version, she had a moon/star tattoo (something that got cut out) and her name was spelled Caitlin.

Since it was two weeks—of course—here was the second #1lineWed preview. The theme was humor/laughter.

“He told me to stay away from you.”

I laughed. “How unoriginal.”

I would give extra information about this line…but I have to leave some parts up for mystery. 😉

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading:

Winterspell by Claire Legrand: This is a darker retelling of The Nutcracker, so I thought it’d be the perfect book to start December off with. So far, so good.

The White Rose, book 2 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing: UGH. I love Amy Ewing so much. I cannot wait for book 3. I, of course, gave this wonderful novel 5 stars, and you can read my entire review here. But, again, not for everyone. As a flat-out, upfront warning, this series revolves around a lot of sexual abuse, including but not limited to forced surrogacy, prostitution, and castration. If you can handle reading about controversial issues, you’ll love this series. Amy handles everything delicately and brilliantly. Seriously. I have an author crush.

booksPretty Guardian Sailor Moon, V. 8 by Naoko Takeuchi: Again, no secret I love this manga, but I’m currently re-reading it and reviewing the new prints. Here is the link to my five-star review. This one covers the ending of The Infinity Arc and the beginning of The Dead Moon Circus.

What I’m Listening To:

I went to a concert! What? Yes! Little ol’ me went to a concert for the first time in…well…years. I went to the Puscifer concert, and it was pretty badass.

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I’ve also been obsessed with I’m Good, I’m Gone by Lykke Li. Literally, it’s probably the only song I’ve listened to in two weeks.

What I’m Watching:

 I binge-watched the full first season of The Man in the High Castle, an Amazon original. WATCH IT. It’s phenomenal…and I want a season two.

Basically, it’s alternative history where Germany and Japan won WWII…and Rufus Sewell is in it. For my readers out there, it’s based on a Phillip K Dick novel. Gooooo. Go watch it. GOOOOOO.

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On a side note, I also watched Brother Bear. I freakin’ love that movie.

I also watched Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows—Part 1 and Part 2, because you have to watch both if you’re going to watch one of them. This is a rule. You must not break it.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

It was Thanksgiving, so naturally, I baked a lot of Thanksgiving-themed treats. I actually made my very first turkey all by myself this year too. Not going to lie, I was pretty proud of myself. I stuffed it with fruit and covered it in a white wine butter sauce. I also made candied yams for my father’s job party and pecan tarts for my little self. (Those pecan tarts, though. I ate all of them.) As if I haven’t made enough sweets, I also made Rice Krispies Treats with butterscotch. Freakin’ delicious.

food

What I’m Wearing:

Blueberry-Chocolate Burt’s Bees lip balm. It’s a treasure. 

What I’m Wanting:

Book 3 in The Lone City by Amy Ewing. It doesn’t even have a title yet, and I’m DYING.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I dyed my hair white as the world went to war with one another. It was rather strange, because my hair looked normal until I could flip it over and put it up, and then it looked like an elongated white halo, almost like a melted halo, down to the ending of my back. I believe a bomb went off near me, and I thought I lost Bogart. But someone I knew found him and brought him to the safe house I was staying in.

I was a mouse, and my boat went down with three other mice, so we found another GIANT boat, and we got on. It was full of monk-related items, but no one seemed to be on board. There was also a story about Lykke Li on there and how she pretended to be a priest once, so we decided to pretend to be priests. The owners of the boat turned out to be cats, but when we told them we were priests, they decided to keep us on board.

What Else Is Going On:

The dorm hall I lived in while attending the University of Kansas was demolished this past week or so. It’s rather strange to see, considering it’s the oldest dorm on campus, a dorm my father AND my uncle lived in when they attended KU. I spent a year of life calling that place home. It was an awkward time of my life—definitely not the happiest—but now those memories are there, despite the location being turned to dust. I feel old, really. So, here’s a photo of my old dorm room.

college

~SAT

Don’t Understand #MorallyComplicatedYA? Here’s Some Info.

25 Nov

Whoa! Shannon is posting outside her regularly scheduled posts. What?

Yes. I am. Because this is a big deal.

At first I was only going to share fellow YA female writers who have written morally complex novels that often included violence, but I understand more want actual info…which I will provide links to below. But, before that, here was my original post:

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Many of you probably saw me lose my lid last night and all day today. I normally followed up my rants with #MorallyComplicatedYA. If you didn’t get involved, you still can. Basically, please share YA books with female protagonists who are morally complicated (so basically every character in existence), but please share books written by females. I don’t want to bring more attention to the author who basically dissed the entire YA industry, especially females in general, but it seems that it’s the only way to get people to fight back. Here are some articles for more information. Some discuss the actual events, others are reaction pieces, others explain the importance of this. Get involved. Bring attention to the right books.

First, the article that started it all:

YA Debut Gets Six-Figure Deal, Sold to 16 Territories

Now Victoria Avevard discussing why this is so upsetting:

What Are Your Thoughts on Scott Bergstrom?

Now some repercussions and harsh truths about the publishing industry:

If you enjoy a good book and you’re a woman, critics think you’re wrong.

Another sum-up to get you motivated again:

YA Author Criticizes Genre for Lack of Morally Complicated Books 

Why we should be positive instead of negative:

In Which We Are Thankful For The Legacy of Others.

And books we SHOULD be reading and sharing:

17 Books That Prove YA is Morally Complicated

Share your favorite female authors. Share your favorite morally complicated books. Share your favorite YA series. Discuss it. Inform others. Bring attention to books that deserve it.  

Here are some of my FAVORITE #MorallyComplicatedYA novels written by females.

mor

The Conjurer’s Riddle by Andrea Cremer: The second book in The Inventor’s Secret series expands the world to the rebellion, showing that everything and everyone Charolette has fought for might not be good after all. This includes her family, her friends, and the losses in between…and she might have to fight everything she knows without understanding why.

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: This terrifying tale revolves around a bloody war. Racism, prostitution, and cannibalism are discussed numerous times, and not everything is morally black and white.

The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski: The second book in The Winner’s Trilogy, Kestrel also finds herself making personal sacrifices surrounding her own happiness and family in order to keep a country together that might not be well-intended.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing: My current read, also the second book in The Lone City. Violet must disrupt a rebellion she knows nothing about in order to follow her gut and save friends.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare: The second book in The Infernal Devices follows Tess as she is pulled between family, loss, new friends, and a lack of identity in a violent world.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Bad Bloods Blurbs, MockingJay, Steampunk, and more.

21 Nov

This post is going to look SUPER long, but it’s mainly because I’m including the individual blurbs for November Rain and November Snow. (Yes. They are finally ready!)

What I’m Writing:

As many of you say on Instagram, Bogart protected my notes for Take Me Yesterday.

Many of you will be excited to hear that I’m back into Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy. I hit a snag last time I was writing, and then my energy had to go toward Bad Bloods—which is definitely going to happen again when final edits come around—but for now, I am working on the sequel of Take Me Tomorrow. I’m currently in chapter eight, about 11,500 words in. As many of you saw on my Instagram, Bogart recently protected my notes for Take Me Yesterday by laying on them. That being said, I know I need to refocus my energy soon and go back to Take Me Tomorrow, book one, to make the best book I can before I continue forward with book 2.

What I’m Publishing:

The final back blurbs for each part of Bad Bloods is finally available! You can read them below. And of course, the winning #1lineWed preview is here as well. The theme was hot: She wasn’t smiling, but a warmth radiated from her, as if she could hug people from a distance.

November Rain, Part One

(releases July 18, 2016)

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.

November Snow, Part Two

(eBook releases one week later, with the paperback releasing in November of 2016)

When Daniel and Serena unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and everyone they know will come together to fight. But Serena has another battle. After a political rumor threatens their lives, Serena must leave her family and join the political front against her will. To survive apart, Daniel has to separate his love from his hatred and join forces with his worst memory to secure Vendona’s war. But very few of them will survive to see the last day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, snow will fall, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

Visit the PinterestFacebook, and the Extras page.

What I’m Reading: 

booksThe Conjurer’s Riddle by Andrea Cremer: I finished it! I basically could do nothing but read this novel over my weekend. (My weekends are Sunday through Tuesday, by the way.) I am in LOVE with this series, and I am already dying for the third book. It’s brilliant, and you can read why in my review here. On a side note, there is definitely a third book. I tweeted to the lovely author, and she tweeted back! That deserves an extra star.

Clockwork Prince: I was so set on steampunk after reading The Conjurer’s Riddle that I had to continue The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. This is book 2, and to be honest, I should’ve started reading it a LONG time ago, since I read the first one in July, but it’s been on my nightstand, and I’m glad I finally picked it up again. Loved it! In fact, I finished it too. (Told you I read a lot this week.) I actually didn’t like Will very much in the first book, but he’s grown on me a lot more in this one. Same with Jem. And now I think I’m broken. This book definitely deserves 5 stars, and you can read my entire review here. (I NEED the third book now.) Also…Cassandra Clare liked my review of her work. I think I died and went to Heaven.

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Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini: I finished it in the middle of the night after I posted my last Saturdate article. And…I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t a fan. Don’t get me wrong. I think many readers could LOVE this book, but it wasn’t for me. I explained why in my 2.5-star review, but it mainly came down to the voice and characters. The world building is unique, the story is written well, and you’ll probably enjoy it if you love witches, other dimensions, love triangles, and vegan protagonists. Read my full review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Lykke Li, because she’s my Tomo Trilogy star. I’m trying to get back into Sophia’s voice, and Lykke Li was the number one singer I listen to while working on this trilogy.

What I’m Watching:

MV5BNjQzNDI2NTU1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTAyMDQ5NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_Mockingjay Part 2I just saw this a few hours ago, but I LOVED it. (I also got mistaken for wearing cosplay to the movie theatre…excuse me for wearing a side braid and boots. This is my usual attire.) That being said, I thought it was awesome. I still think they didn’t need to divide the last book into two movies, but for the readers out there, (spoilers for the rest of the people) I was a little sad to see that they played down Finnick’s sacrificial death a bit. On a positive note, seeing Tigris was PHENOMENAL. I also thought they made the overall tone of the ending much happier and little less, you know, insane, and aside from a few other edits, I still thought it was a great movie for a great book. Can’t believe it’s over. </3

The Yes Men Are Revolting: So this is the best documentary ever. Basically, it follows a group of pranksters (also activists) who focus on bringing attention to political issues currently being ignored by world leaders.

Men, Women, & Children: This is an Adam Sandler movie about how the Internet has affected modern families, and let me tell you, it’s scary how realistic it is (and terribly sad). I thought it was a wonderful movie, but it’s definitely (and intentionally) uncomfortable.

 That Sugar Film: Another documentary I watched this week, but this one is Australian, and it’s about how sugar affects the body of one guy. I know you all see me baking a lot, so I do consume sugar, but I’m actually really weary of what I consume. I rarely drink soda or eat processed foods, for instance, so I find documentaries like this to be interesting. This one was a bit bizarre humor-wise, but had some interesting stats to see.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Yep. That happened. One of my good friends hadn’t seen it yet—and she helped me shop this week—so we rented it and watched it. As controversial as it is to talk about, I’m actually interested in seeing what they’ll do with the sequels (since they recently announced they’ll be filming both sequels back-to-back at the start of 2016). I’m hoping Taylor, the body guard/assistant of Christian Grey, gets more screen time, because his side story was my favorite.

movies

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

 Jalapeno cheddar pasta and cheesy potato ham casserole. No pictures this time, but they were both great!

 What I’m Wearing:

 I have new boots! And they’re steampunk boots. I couldn’t quite capture their beauty on Instagram, but the backs have golden spokes on them. They went perfectly with The Conjurer’s Riddle.

What I’m Wanting:

The next book in The Inventor’s Secret series. Come on, Andrea Cremer! I’m addicted. I know you’re the process of writing it, but, but, but…

I would also like Clockwork Princess, book 3 in The Infernal Devices, because my heart needs mending after book 2.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

 Bogart was a BAT! Which is awesome…because bats are my favorite animals. But, yes. Bogart turned into a bat, and he was super tiny too. He even helped me find Kiki—another one of my cats—who was stuck in the wall or something. (If you only knew Kiki, this wouldn’t surprise you.)

I had a little white dog I loved dressing up as Pikachu…and everyone thought I was crazy, but I borrowed my father’s truck and turned that into a Pikachu truck…and then four other Pikachu-themed cars parked next to mine, and it was the best day of my life.

salebWhat Else Is Going On:

The Black Friday Sale for The Timely Death Trilogy has begun! From now until November 30, you can get the first book in the trilogy for free and the second book for only .99¢ on Smashwords. Use the code WS34V at the links below to read more this holiday season.

Minutes Before Sunset

Seconds Before Sunrise

Death Before Daylight

And, of course…

Stay Dark,

~SAT

 

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