Tag Archives: coffee and cats

#WW Judging An Author’s Life

10 Jun

Judging An Author’s Life

The photo

The photo

Recently—and by “recently” I mean a month ago—I posted this photo on my Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, and . . . well, pretty much anywhere on the Internet that I have an account on. To my surprise, (and still to my confusion), I received a bit a slack for this. It was a Wednesday afternoon, fairly nice outside, and due to the events of my day, I ended up in my hometown with one of my best friends. When it started raining, we ducked into a bookstore, and I couldn’t help myself. I bought a book—Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan to be exact—and some sticky notes for work since my stockpile was dwindling. The caption of my photo read, “Silly rain. Forcing me to hide in a bookstore to collect books until the sun came out.”

I didn’t think anything of it. I simply thought, “Hey! I am having fun. This has to do with reading, and I bet my readers would enjoy sharing this moment with me.” Because that’s what I think every time I post something—I think about how much fun it is to share these bits and pieces of my life with my wonderful followers. I don’t think much beyond that. So, I guess that’s why I was so surprised when I received a message, stating that I was adding to the misguidance of the industry and how authors live—how our lives actually are and how much of a struggle it is to be a writer—that I was adding to the “problem”, to the mirage of authordom.

And this is my open letter to you, dear sir, about that photo and my life as an author.

First and foremost, social media is up to the individual controlling that social media. No one else. I share what I choose to share, and I choose to share my fun and delightful moments. That goes to say that I’ve often—more often than not—discussed many difficult aspects of my life on my blog, particularly my mother’s death and my college roommate’s death. I’ve discussed moving around a lot as a child and finding myself creating stories and characters to make up for my lack of real human connection. I’ve confessed to doubting everything, and I’ve strived to remind myself (and my readers) why we write . . . which is always because I love to write and read. All of these topics have been on my blog. Numerous times. Throughout almost three years of blogging. But I’m assuming you’re judging me based on one or two photos posted during the afternoon. I know which ones you’re looking at. After all, I’m the one who shares all the moments of coffee, cats, and books. And guess what? That is my life. But it isn’t my whole life, and by no means have I ever expressed that “I do this every day.” Take this photo for instance. At no point does it state, “Here I am on my daily afternoon walk, just buying a dozen books for me to read this week.” In fact, I only bought one . . . with a gift card that my older brother bought me for Christmas . . . five months before this photo was taken . . . five months in which I saved that card just for the perfect moment to buy a novel on a day I needed some cheering up.

You see, back in January, I lost my car and my job, and I had to move to another state. (Something I openly discussed on my blog, by the way.) And ever since January, I’ve been building myself back up. On the very day this very photo was taken, I had finally saved up enough to buy a car, and I did, but I was broke afterward. That gift card was then used to help me buy office supplies (the sticky notes) that I had run out of, and I happened to see a novel I really wanted. Did I have to buy it then? No. Of course not. But it was a way of reminding myself that I am proud of how much I saved from my hard work and how far I’ve come in the five months since hitting rock bottom. My car was a long-needed necessity. This novel was a reward for the five months I’ve worked and saved and walked without one.

Why didn’t I put that story as my caption? Well, aside from the fact that it would be the longest caption in the world, the caption was my decision—and my decision was to express how much fun I was having and how much fun I wanted to share with my readers.

By no means was I trying to portray myself as an author who spends their days browsing bookstores. By no means was I trying to pretend I could afford every book left and right. By no means was I trying to prove something at all. I was just being me. I was just sharing me. By stating authors have to share ugly moments of their lives, we’re stating something ridiculous—that we assume they don’t have human lives—and that is a ridiculous presumption to have about anyone.

There is ugliness in everyone’s life, but I choose to focus on the happy moments, and I want my readers to know that they can have fun and encouragement when they come to me. I choose to share laughter and coffee and silly cats and paperbacks slung over my shoulder. I choose to post only when I’m smiling too—because I want to smile with my readers. I want my readers to feel encouraged when they come to me, not discouraged, and that is my choice, just like sharing my emotions around my mother’s death is my choice. I am not perfect, and I do not pretend to be, but no one should assume that about me either. Authors are human, after all, but not every detail of my life needs to be publicized all across the web (even though a large portion of it is).

Take my cats for instance. They’ve stared in my YouTube channel. They’ve done interviews on my blog. They’ve popped up on my Instagram and even shown their kitty faces on my Twitter. I love them, and since I work at home, I spend a lot of time around them. I share them in the grass, on the couch, while they are sleeping and playing. I make cartoons with them and pose with them and cuddle with them all the time (sometimes even when I don’t want to cuddle). And when I share them, people have fun—because most people love animals—and I have fun—because most people have shared their pets with me—and it’s a fun way to connect and relate to one another as friends instead of Internet strangers. I’d even like to exchange photos of my pets with you. But if you really want to see the ugly moments instead, I’d be more than happy to send you photos of me cleaning out the litter box instead of my three cats cuddling on the couch. (Just kidding, of course . . . I think.)

~SAT

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#WW Love Triangles

6 May

#WW: Love Triangles

Opening note:

I’m trying to create more YouTube videos, and this is one of my first ones where I discuss a fiction opinion over my channel, Coffee & Cats. I’m more comfortable writing my thoughts because I feel like I can express more, so I am trying this format: an article that goes along with the video. But I want your opinions. How can I improve? Should videos be separate from www.ShannonAThompson.com or do you like a sister article to support the video? What topics would you like to see next? I’m mainly leaning toward talking about movies and books I love on my YouTube channel, but any and all opinions are appreciated. Today is an experiment, so I need your help.

Thank you!

Coffee & Cats: Episode 14: Love Triangles:

What are love triangles and why don’t I like them?

Love triangles are nothing new. It normally involves one person who loves two people at the same time, and more often than not, there is a “who do I pick?” tension connecting all of them together. They are immensely popular, especially in YA, so why do we keep seeing them over and over again? Well, for one, they are popular. For one, it’s an easy way to create conflict. And for three…well, love triangles arguably go the whole way back to the bible, so it comes to no surprise that they are so embedded into our culture and no surprise that we keep continuing to explore them in literature and others medias

So why don’t I like them?

I’m not a fan of love triangles. Well, let me reword that. I’m very picky when it comes to love triangles. Why? Well, mainly because love triangles lose me. It’s difficult for me – personally – to believe in fully loving two people romantically at the same time…wait for it…especially when they end up choosing one and completely walking away from the other. I actually think it would be really interesting to see more polygamous relationships discussed in fiction, for instance, since I’m not against loving more than one person at once in fiction. Like I said, I hate the “choosing” factor. I find it the opposite of lovable. But love triangles as they stand now (most of the time) want me to believe in one person undyingly loving two people and not knowing which to choose, and this entire situation makes me extremely uncomfortable for everyone. No one should ever be a on the back burner, just simmering in someone’s else’s heart. That’s not love to me. That’s awful.

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Are there any exceptions?

I definitely have exceptions. Like I said, I’m not completely against love triangles or loving people at the same time in fiction. What I’m against is the concept of “choosing” but still claiming to be undying love. That being said, I do have exceptions. One major one for me would the love triangle in Delirium by Lauren Oliver. (Spoiler Alert) When Lena believes her love is dead, she falls in love with someone else, but then…of course her first love isn’t dead. (End Spoiler Alert) So bam! Triangle. I don’t mind this. In fact, I like this. It’s believable, relatable in that she honesty wouldn’t have done this if it weren’t for the circumstances sort of way, and exciting – in the sense that we now have conflict. So, yes, there are exceptions, and I also wanted to touch are a MAJOR exception for me.

What’s a “like” triangle?

Now that I’ve probably spent too much time debating a love triangle I wanted to talk about a literary trope that I think I just made up. A like triangle. I love these. When characters come together and one character likes people but isn’t sure if they love any of them or love one more than the other, I enjoy it. I enjoy the development, and I like watching “like” grow into love. We could always discuss that “instant love” or “instalove” right now, but I think I’ll save that for next time.

What do you think?

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset now up for pre-order!

Minutes Before Sunset now up for pre-order!

Coffee & Cats: Episode 6

16 Oct

Announcements:

I hope you enjoyed my interview on Whispers in the Dark last night. If you didn’t have a chance to listen to it, don’t worry! You can listen to it right now by clicking here.

In other news, People Like Books posted an interview with their review of Take Me Tomorrow, and you can read both by clicking here, but here is a small quote from both:

Review: “The pacing of this book is also top notch…I’d say if you are a fan of Divergent, Marie Lu’s Legend, and heck maybe even Alex Bracken’s The Darkest Minds, then you’ll like this book. (Hopefully LOVE it – just like I did.)

Interview: “…my characters change dramatically in different ways, but a reader might need to read it a few times to realize that. I don’t like making things too obvious. I want readers to experience the book one hundred times and realize something new every time.”

Lastly, Miss Heliotrope Reads also reviewed Take Me Tomorrow here, stating, “Thompson has come up with a good story and has, very impressively, managed to find a niche in a highly saturated genre.”  

Coffee & Cats: Episode 6

It’s that time! After four Fridays, you have voted, commented, and shared four poems, and based on your activity, I have read your favorite poem. The winning poem is The Autumn Railroad, and the winning fan is Steven Sanchez. If you haven’t already, click the links to check them both out. Below, you can watch my reading of the poem, but I had a bit of a cold! So I apologize if I sound sleepy. I tried my best. And just like last month, I have put smaller explanations below the video as a back story to the inspiration.

I hope you enjoy it!

The grave of my teenager daughter

Opening line:

is a restaurant she was born at 16.

This isn’t about losing a child. Not to me anyway. For me, it’s about burying your teenage years behind you as you move forward into adult hood despite the lingering pain many teenagers have to go through: first loves, first jobs, first drugs, etc.

Peeling Oranges

Opening line:

We sat on the floor as you began, and

This also resides in younger years, and the inspiration comes from many stories combined together, the main one being how a parent can teach a child many things, like cooking, but they never get the full opportunity to tell them the entire story. The second one is a combination of losing friends and realizing exactly what they brought into your life afterward – including different cultures, stories, and learning experiences. And, yes, I seriously cannot peel oranges.

The Autumn Railroad

Opening line:

it was a place of great indifference, the type

This poem can be read two ways (or possibly more) but most readers seem to enjoy it as a metaphor for the season, which I can definitely see, but it’s sadly based on a true story that happened near a town I used to go to. Two boys died on the railroad tracks while biking, and the accident left a haunting glare on the area. The tracks also got shutdown shortly after, but I was told it wasn’t from the accident, so I think – in a way – it did become this horrible real-life metaphor for fall and winter, coming and ending on a single day.

To the Anti-American Teacher…We Knew You Were Pro-World

Opening line:

A clause in your contract slated your signature for patriotism.

The last poem is the closest poem to a completely literal story. I had a government teacher in high school that did refuse to sign his contract (not because he was anti-American, but because – as he explained – he was shocked the teaching demanded such a thing.) He did, in fact, remove his flag, and he decorated his room with all the flags around the world, but no, he wasn’t fired for it. I seem to recall him getting in trouble, but I don’t know the full extent of it. However, I truly appreciated how he took the time to teach us about other countries in the spare minutes we had, and a lot of his teachings came from his personal experiences when he traveled the world. I can admit that I barely remember the classwork, but I remember every time he spoke about his travels. The Dr. Seuss quote is included in this poem because that was a quote my high school used a lot.

Hope you enjoyed the explanations and the reading! Can’t wait for the next poems to come out on my Wattpad every Friday. Remember to share, vote, and comment for your chance to be mentioned.

~SAT

 

Author Announcements

26 Sep

Author Announcements:

Yesterday was my two-year anniversary of blogging here on ShannonAThompson.com. For that reason, I would like to thank each and every one of you for liking, sharing, and commenting on my website as we move forward into the future. A special thanks goes out to my top five commenters – Charles Yallowitz, Mishka Jenkins, theowllady, Deby Fredericks, and Phoenix Rainez – and I hope the next year is just as amazing!

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If you’re interested, here were my top three blog posts from this past last year:

1. Censorship of Self-Published Authors or Something Else? (Oct. 13, 2013)

2. Scribd, Oyster, and Why I’m Hesitant as a Reader and Writer (Dec. 29, 2013)

3. Writing Tips: Hobbies and Talents (Nov. 13, 2013)

I hope you enjoy the posts if you haven’t read them already!

Moving onto the future – many exciting things are happening this fall, so I wanted to share them today, and I hope you’ll help me share the news.

I am doing a meet and greet book signing in the Kansas City area on October 2 from 6 – 8 p.m. Here is a link to the event’s page on Facebook for more information. I know many of you are from around the world and cannot make it in person, but it would mean the world to me if you shared it with your friends and followers in case they are nearby me. I would love to meet everyone that I can! (Also free chocolate muffins and apple tea will be served.)

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I would also like to take this moment to state that prices have now been added to my Services page. They are subject to change, but I hope you check those out. The Author Extension Community provides personal assistant services, including review requests and content editing, as well as social media help, such as Facebook event photos and assessment guidance.

In other news, my latest poem – Peeling Oranges – has been added to my interactive poetry series on Wattpad. Be sure to like, comment, and vote for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video on my channel, Coffee & Cats.

My next two posts – Website Wonders and September Ketchup – will be closing up this month, but I just want to thank everyone for being so enlightening, encouraging, and energizing these past few weeks. I’m excited for what Autumn will bring, and I cannot wait to spend it with you all right here on ShannonAThompson.com.

Have a great weekend,

~SAT

P.S.

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Coffee & Cats: Episode 5

18 Sep

Announcements:

AEC Stellar Publishing has signed a cover artist for Death Before Daylight, and if you’ve been following my progress bar on the right side of my website, then you know I’ve hit 60,000 words in the content edits. (Eeeee!)

The Timely Death Trilogy is still moving forward! And, today, The Other Side of Paradise reviewed, book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise: “Jess and Eric’s love was ever so prevalent and I became obsessed. I felt an emotional pull and fell in love with the couple’s journey. I’m not even ashamed to say that I shed a few tears. Believe me, you will become a part of this book. It is an epic story with unforgettable characters and moments that make you hold your breath.” Read her full review here, but it does include the ending of book 1, Minutes Before Sunset.

Speaking of book 1, Written Art reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, and you can read the full review by clicking here, but here’s a small excerpt, “Just enough romance mixed with danger to make me look forward to the next book in the trilogy.”

Thank you to all the wonderful readers who take the time to read and post their reviews up! I truly appreciate it. 😀

Coffee & Cats: Episode 5

The day has come. After four Fridays, you have voted for your favorite poems on my Wattpad, and today, you can watch a reading of the winning poem – To the thunderstorm I used to love – but that’s not all. Below the video, I have explanations and short stories for each poem that I released as well as a link to the writings in case you missed them. I know it’s rather taboo to explain your poems, but – what can I say? – I am a taboo, so check out the behind-the-scenes if you want. (Just to clarify, even if you read what the meaning was for me, please allow the poem to still have the meaning you read it as.) I hope this also allows everyone to get to know me as a person better because most of my poems are based very much in reality.

This month – I thanked Marcia_94 for voting – and you can be mentioned next month. Just remember to vote, comment, and share every Friday when I release a new poem.

To the thunderstorm I used to love,

Opening line: you pounded me, beat the windows with your fists,

This poem is more literal than what readers would probably think. I wrote it during a thunderstorm because – to be quite frank – I have damage in my back from various car wrecks, and I’m in severe pain during rainstorms. I own a conversion table, which helps, but I still get very sad and angry during the rain, because I also love the rain, so rain and I have a hate-love relationship. I first fell in love with the rain when I lived in Georgia, but I truly did try to save butterflies from thunderstorms, and yes – they did suffocate in the cages I put them in. (I was seven. Give me a break.) But that doesn’t mean this poem doesn’t have other meanings for me. It does. But even I have meanings behind particular writings that I don’t feel comfortable sharing, and this is one of those instances.

Fukushima Daiichi

Opening line: You told us about the samurai crabs that day,

You might recognize the title, but you might not, so I would first like to clarify that Fukushima Daiichi is the nuclear power plant that had a meltdown in 2011 after a tsunami hit Japan. I was, in fact, in a Japanese history class that semester, and the day after the meltdown, my professor attempted to recruit students to go over and help. But no one signed up. And he seemed very upset over the whole ordeal. That being said, I referred to him as my “Kasa Professor” because he used to wear one of the traditional hats, and the story of the samurai crabs is actually a real legend he told us about that day, but no – no one pulled out a blunt and smoked in the middle of a lecture.

The French (History) Teacher

Opening line: You’re not actually French. You just brought in a French textbook,

This one almost won. It only lost by one comment. That being said, this is an exaggerated version of two stories mixed together. I was in high school, and I was enrolled in AP European History. My teacher collected old World War I memorabilia, and he mentioned that he would’ve loved to bring in an old gun to show us for educational purposes (it was broken, of course) and he tried to get permission to show it to us, but the school didn’t allow it. He did bring in a gas mask, and he did let us put it on, but he also tried to bring in an old history book from France, but the office wouldn’t allow that either, so he simply told us about it. After that, I was in psychology class, and we viewed a video from France that asked various citizens about World War II, and a few really did say that it hadn’t happened, so I mixed those two moments together and added a bit of Bogart. I do want to thank Antonin Tabard, my friend from France, for being so encouraging of this poem.

How She Loved Me

Opening line: After she broke her neck, the diagnosis advised her to

Again, a true story. When I was living in Georgia, my mother broke her neck in a car wreck. Yes, you can live through a broken neck, but she had to get three vertebrae fused together, and the surgery was really hard on her. This is actually one of the main reasons she was on the painkillers that later killed her. She wasn’t able to do much – like go on rollercoasters – but she took me once anyway, and it is honestly one of my fondest memories of her. I was also huge into gymnastics, and she showed me a few tricks on the trampolines. Again, despite her injuries. Of course, she shouldn’t have done this, and it’s controversial for me to say how thankful I am that she did anyway. But those are the moments I saw her laugh, and those are the few times that she truly seemed alive. Now that she’s gone, I love those memories even more. Even though I had two moments with her, they are precious instances.

I hope you enjoyed the short explanations as both an opportunity to see behind-the-scenes and maybe a way to get to know me a little bit better! I look forward to sharing more poems every Friday on my Wattpad page, and I cannot wait to create another post like this next month.

Happy reading,

~SAT

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Info

25 Aug

Announcements:

Endless Reading shared quotes from Take Me Tomorrow in her latest book review, stating, “Once the action starts it doesn’t stop. There are twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged.” Check out the full review by clicking here.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

What Ya Readin’? nominated me for the Ice Bucket Challenge, so you can watch my video now, but I wanted to share some important information first.

From the ALS Association, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.” The Ice Bucket Challenge is meant to bring awareness to ALS as well as encourage donations to the ALS Association. 

Donate here

Also, I nominate Raymond Vogel, Ryan Attard, and Amber Skye Forbes from AEC Stellar Publishing.

:]

~SAT

July’s Ketchup

30 Jul

Announcements:

I Am a Reader is giving away three eBooks of Minutes Before Sunset, but they’ve also posted an interview I did with them. Join the raffle and the fun by clicking here.

If you want more news about Take Me Tomorrow, The Starving Bibliophile posted her review, stating, “Sophia is a goddamn hero” among various excerpts and lists. Read her entire review by clicking here.

July’s Ketchup

July’s Ketchup is here! For those of you just now checking in this month, I write “Ketchup” posts at the end of every month, describing my big moments, top blog post, the post I wish received more views, my top referrer, and more in order to show what goes on behind the scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. Because I received an email about this, I have added one new item to these stats – number one clicked item. For those of you who do not have a WordPress, this is a stat they offer on our Dashboards. This is a fantastic suggestion because I think it will show readers where my website sends my readers when they leave here, so I hope you enjoy this addition.

Big Moments:

takemetomorrow

#1 Clicked Item – Link to TMT on Amazon

Take Me Tomorrow released as an eBook. The paperback is coming (I promise.) And I am so happy to finally have this novel in readers’ hands. A few days ago, Take Me Tomorrow was even in the top 100 in dystopian novels, so that was really neat! I am truly looking forward to seeing how more readers react to the topics in Take Me Tomorrow because – in all honesty – this novel is going to affect major decisions for my upcoming novels, like if there is a sequel or not. So I hope you continue checking out my latest novel and telling me what you think.

You can check it out here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

New York Times and USA Today’s Bestselling author, M.A. Comley, quoted Seconds Before Sunrise. 

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And in the end, we hit 17,000 followers this month! Thank you for making these moments big, but – most of all – thank you for growing with me.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Why I Write About Drugs, Immigration, and Addiction: Take Me Tomorrow was written with great care. Considering there are very serious subjects in it – drug use, immigration, addiction, etc. – I took my time to research throughly, even changing the novel in a direction I never saw coming, including directions I was originally against because these topics are very personal to my life, and this post explains all of that.

2. Different Social Medias and How I Use Them as an Author: Social media is a crazy, confusing road, but it doesn’t have to be.

3. You’re Spell Check is All Ways Write: From my YouTube channel – Coffee & Cats – this video explains why writers should not rely only on technology.

game3The Post I Wish Got More Views:

Finding Time to Write in College: In all honestly, I have no idea how many views this got since I was a guest blogger on Pau’s Castles, but I wanted to make sure that everyone had a chance to see it and Pau’s fantastic website. I talk about how I managed my time in college so I could write novels, including Take Me Tomorrow.

Guest Post:

Spreading the Love: Written by Mishka Jenkins, this romance-focused post explains why some authors enjoy writing about love and why it is so important for us to continue to write love stories.

Other Blog Posts Organized By Topic:

Reading:

My #1 referrer was Twitter

My #1 referrer was Twitter

Publishing:

Author Life:

For Fun:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Take Me Tomorrow: Live. Laugh. Read, Chris Pavesic, Things Matter, Ray’s Works, Inkwell & Paper, Diary of an Eager Reader, Elaine Jeremiah, The Starving Bibliophile.

Seconds Before Sunrise: Hines and Bigham’s Literary Tryst

Minutes Before Sunset: My Library in the MakingLive. Laugh. Read.

Interviews: I Am a Reader, Diary of an Eager Reader, Camisado Mind, The Authors Show, Lit Chic, Marcha’s Two Cents Worth, HeiBooks, The Starving Bibliophile, Indie Romance Convention

Awarders: Very Inspiring Blogger Award (The Troubled Oyster), Very Inspiring Blogger Award (Honya’s Bookshelf), Very Inspiring Blogger Award (A World of Words)

Giveaways: The Nerdy Girlie, Platypire Reviews, Fantasy is More Fun, I Am a Reader, Books to curl up with blog

Photo from Favim.com - reminded me of a scene from the TMT sequel. ::wink wink::

Photo from Favim.com – reminded me of a scene from the TMT sequel. ::wink wink::

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