Tag Archives: Christmas

Balancing Writing During the Holidays

25 Nov

Most writers aren’t able to write full time. That means we tend to work full time and write full time. Between writing, querying, editing, and marketing, our schedules can quickly feel crushing, especially if you’re working toward a very specific goal, such as a revision deadline. Taking breaks can often make writers feel guilty. But you deserve a break, too. Especially during the holidays.

Grab a cocoa, some cookies, and watch the snow fall.

Admittedly, I’m a bit of a workaholic. My life is often, if not always, out of balance. I don’t make enough time for family or friends (or myself) and, though I know I should, I really struggle to find time in my jam-packed calendar full of work, publishing, writing goals, and personal goals. But that’s also why I get burnt out so often. (Okay. So maybe this year was just awful.) Anyway…

I’m trying to be more mindful going into the holiday season. You know, taking more time to sit back and relax, so that when I sit down to write I feel energized and passionate, rather than bogged down by crippling responsibility.

I try to look at it this way: I can’t write dialogue if I’ve never participated in a conversation. Without regular reminders of life, it is more difficult to describe it—to connect with it—and it’s important to be realistic in stories. (It’s also important that we, as people, have interaction with others.)

My personal holiday notes?

  • Don’t let your goals take over your life.
  • Some sacrifice is okay, but don’t sacrifice everything all the time.
  • Enjoy the holidays.

If you are trying to keep up with everything during the holidays, my writing tips are about the same as they are throughout the year: Set aside time to write and stick with it. Always have a notebook on hand. (I use the SimpleNote app, so I never forget it, and I can transfer notes directly to my Scrivener on my laptop.) Set specific goals (Ex. I will write or edit 10,000 words every week), but don’t beat yourself up too much if you don’t accomplish every goal you set. Adjust and keep writing. Rest well and dream often. Oh, and reward yourself with holiday cookies.

If you notice I’m not online as much this holiday season, it’s because I’m trying to be more present in my life. (I even got my first Christmas tree!) I have my blog articles planned for December, but they’ll mostly be fun, light-hearted pieces, along with my regular end-of-the-year posts (like my favorite books of the year and where I think trends are heading). I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things in 2018, but I’m more focused on having more balance in my life, because I let my life get way too out-of-balance this year.

Balance is important, not only during the holiday season, but also during the rest of the year.

Take care of each other.

Happy Holidays,

~SAT

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#SATurdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence

26 Dec

First things first, I hope everyone had a great holiday! This girl celebrated with Christmas candies and hours of reading. (I seriously cannot believe it’s almost 2016.)

What I’m Writing:

I actually fixed some scenes in Take Me Yesterday this week, and I attempted to keep moving forward in it, but it has to take a pause while I focus on the Bad Bloods edits.

What I’m Publishing:

I received the first sets of edits for Bad Bloods, both November Rain and November Snow, I managed to finish them over the holidays. As many of you know, Clean Teen Publishing did finish the covers for both books, and we’ll be having a cover reveal on January 6. I’ll be sending out a newsletter this Tuesday, asking for help, and three lucky helpers will win an exclusive sneak peek of November Rain. (Sign up here.) In regards to this week’s sneak peek, I actually didn’t participate in #1lineWed, but I was invited to post a #novelaesthetics on Twitter. Basically, we had to choose three photos that represented the aesthetics of the novel, so here are those photos for November Snow.

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

novela

What I’m Reading:

 10900066_956293941084454_5982930522247100530_oI began The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, and I’ve barely put it down. I LOVE it. It’s a mix of romantic cheese and heart-pounding betrayal in a world of royalty and assassins.

I began and finished Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne. It received 5 shiny stars from me. I thought it was action-packed, absolutely epic, and a delight to read. I loved Kyra, the orphan who joins the Assassins Guild only to figure out that loyalties might not be so simple. Add magical beast-cats and knights to the mix, and I was in love. Recommended to fantasy and paranormal YA fans. Read my full review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Florence-And-The-Machine-How-Big-How-Blue-How-BeautifulFor Christmas, I received the new Florence + The Machine album, How Big. How Blue. How Beautiful. And I love it.

What I’m Watching:

Yes. Yes. I finally saw Star Wars The Force Awakens. (No spoilers, I promise.) I definitely LOVED it. I thought it was much funnier than the original ones and the ones I grew up watching. I loved the protagonists a lot, and I definitely did not see some of those twists coming. (I saw one coming, but other than that, I sat there like, WHHHHHAAAAAT?) I never thought they could make a cuter robot than R2D2, so that was awesome. The girl is a badass. Loved her. A great movie to go see this holiday season.

For Christmas, I received Dark City (1998)mainly because I professed my love for Rufus Sewell on here. AND I loved it. That is an awesome flick. Just purely twisted sci-fi.

I also watched Dune (1984) for the first time (please don’t kill me), and I have to say, not a fan. (Please don’t kill me again.) I simply think the director was ahead of his time. They just tried to tackle a too high sci-fi for the time period and the technology that was available to them. But, I will say this, I can tell that the book is probably awesome from the movie. It just seemed too complicated and imaginative for the screen to sum up in an hour and a half.

movies

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

You might be sad to hear that Shannon is going on a bit of a diet. Not that I’m trying to lose weight, but I have been eating WAY too much sugar, so you probably won’t see as many desserts on here as before…Even then, I totally failed this week’s goal, and I made breakfast cookies. (So not as sweet, but cookies nonetheless.)

What I’m Wearing:

Ugly X-Mas sweaters. This one has a dog on it and antlers.

What I’m Wanting:

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

This was me cheating at Barnes & Noble.

Cookies. Because I’m on a diet. (Even though I cheated and bought myself one.)

What I’m Dreaming Of:

This is a story on how Shannon learns she is dreaming and forces herself to wake up.

In real life I had to make it to a family event at 6 p.m. That doesn’t sound bad for many of you, but I work a night shift, so I don’t wake up until 3 p.m….and this was technically my weekend, so I don’t get up til 5 p.m. sometimes…and this event was over an hour away, so basically, I was having anxiety about my alarm not going off on time, which is what caused this dream.

My alarm doesn’t go off. I see the time. 5:40 p.m.

I leap out of bed, rush up the stairs, and start pounding on the wall to wake up my roommate. “The alarm didn’t go off!”

For some reason, he screams, “Noon is not good enough.”

This was my first clue something was weird.

So, we run into the closet to pick out clothes, and he’s singing. (Another weird clue.) So, I stop to take out my cell phone. (I find electronics help me figure out if I’m dreaming or not.) And sure enough, this phone has a grocery list on it. There’s no such app like this one. It automatically knows we need certain things in our fridge based on previous purchase records.

It says we need two things of tuna.

I never get tuna.

This must be a dream.

I actually have a moment where I want to stay so I can do whatever I want, (because that’s a thing at this point,) but I’m super paranoid the beginning of my dream was trying to tell me that my alarm actually didn’t go off, so I wake myself up.

It’s 1:47 p.m.

I have two hours left to sleep.

What Else Is Going On:

I’m just really, really, REALLY excited for the cover reveal on January 6. I practically can’t sit still. It’s painful to keep them a secret, but it will be well worth it! I’m looking forward to starting 2016 off right.

~SAT

#SATurday: The Secret Garden of Trees

2 May

Announcement: 

From now on, one lucky winner will receive any eBook under $5.00 from Amazon every month. How? Well, every week, I post a Dark Member of the Week, and out of those members that month, one of them will be chosen for the monthly prize. Basically, the more you participate, the more your name gets entered into a giant, black cauldron – where the elders then work their magic to pick the winner! If you want to become a Member of the Dark, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. You are not required to do anything, and I will never give out your email. I will only email you during special events – like cover reveals or release days – and based on your participation, your website might be chosen as a Member of the Week. Those members are shared on The Timely Death Trilogy FB page and Twitter, and out of those spotlight winners, one of them will win the eBook prize. All April Members of the Week will be entered into the May lottery.

Good luck!

#SATurday: The Secret Garden of Trees

Let’s talk about trees for a moment. Why? Well, because I love them, and I often share my love for them on my Facebook and during my monthly Website Wonders – like these posts A Majestic Cathedral Made of Living, Breathing Trees, 12 Amazing Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take a Walk Through, and 16 of the Most Magnificent Trees in the World.

I’m not sure where my appreciation and admiration for trees began, but the first tree I remember loving was an old pear tree at my grandparents’ home. It was the only consistent home in my childhood, seeing as I moved around constantly while regularly visiting my grandparents during the summers and holidays. Mainly during Christmas. Which is why this pear tree memory stands out.

It was either the fall or spring, during that time of the year where it’s too cool to be summer and too warm to be winter. It was night too – which is even odder considering I can tell I’m very young, mainly by my lack of height in the memory. Everything was much taller than it should’ve been, and I have a feeling I shouldn’t have been outside, but I always have been a bit of a rebel, a bit of an explorer, a bit of an obsesser. When I get focused, I can’t get unfocused, so it’s highly likely that I snuck out – off the porch and around the bend to the place that I can only describe as a secret garden of trees (at least, in my child’s mind).

trees

In truth, it was a makeshift grove, tucked away at the corner of the house, sheltered by the brick walls and a stone patio. The pear tree encompassed the little lot, and it hid a cracking, cement birdbath, something that equally fascinated me despite the fact that I never saw it being used. Even so, I loved sneaking into this spot, and almost every time, my mother caught me and told me I wasn’t allowed back there – something about it being right next to my great grandmother’s bedroom.

I probably only snuck back there a few times, but I still remember lying on the damp cement – staring up at the pears and the light spotting on them through the leaves – while fallen pears rotted around me. Nothing at all could’ve bugged me – not even the bugs – and I find that many trees have that effect on me.

Later in my life, we had a Dogwood tree, and a blackberry tree, and a willow tree, and a forest of all kinds of trees near me – at separate times but near me nonetheless. This morning, I noticed my neighbor has a red flowering tree – something I haven’t been able to see until recently considering I moved in during the winter. The colors are appearing – one at a time – all over my walk from my home to the coffee shop where I often write, and I am taking note of all the trees that accompany me along the way, and if I had to say anything at all, I’m just glad not every beautiful tree is locked away, tucked away, or hiding away in a secret garden.

~SAT

Relax & Read: A Dog Named Christmas

14 Dec

Happy Friday and Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone is enjoying the days leading up to Christmas, New Years, or any holiday they celebrate, but today I wanted to share a Christmas novel I have come to appreciate and love. dognamedchristmas

Greg Kincaid’s A Dog Named Christmas is a lovely holiday tale where a young boy named Todd convinces his family into adopting a sweet pooch. After naming the pup Christmas, Todd uses his animal-love to advocate “Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program” and brings his town together with Christmas spirit and love for pets.

Hallmark also made a movie out of A Dog Named Christmas. (Click here.)

Greg Kincaid is a fantastic author–and I’ve also had the unique experience of speaking with him about writing and how he succeeded sharing his story. He’s helped me with my own writing passion, and he encourages every writer’s dream. Not only do we have a great Christmas tale here, but we also have a passionate author to celebrate this holiday season.

So check out his novel here.

Happy Holidays,

~SAT

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