Tag Archives: flocks

#SATurdate: Lady Midnight, House of Cards, & Coffee Grinds

12 Mar

I somehow just realized it was March. Listen, I know we’re 12 days in, but I’ve been living in LA via Lady Midnight and I’m pretty sure it’s winter in the current book I’m writing. This confuses me.

What I’m Writing:

As many of you know, I’m writing book two of The Tomo Trilogy, even though the first one isn’t on the road to publication yet. I won’t lie. Writing book two has been difficult, but not any more difficult than other books I’ve written. That being said, it did get me thinking about how book two gets such a bad rep. I get it. Book two needs to be better than book one, but it can’t be better than book three. That’s a lot of pressure. Especially since the characters and the setting and the storyline are familiar now that book one is complete. But I LOVE writing book two. I feel like there is more pressure in book one to be fascinating and understandable, while in book two you can just focus on the story rather than the world-building, and book three…Well, letting characters go is never easy. Letting the entire story go? Beyond shattering. I’ll probably write an article about this in April.

What I’m Publishing:

I saw the interior mock up for Bad Bloods yesterday, and let me tell you, it is beautiful! I am thrilled by the design, and I cannot wait to see the final result. This week’s #1lineWed theme was “smile.” So here is your weekly preview of a line from Bad Bloods. Robert, if you’re curious, is the leader of the Southern Flock, which is the flock Serena—the protagonist—belongs to. Flocks are groups of bad bloods who unite in order to survive. When Bad Bloods starts, there are only two flocks left.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

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What I’m Reading:

12841393_997246166989231_2090412302441378137_oIt is here! FINALLY. The glory that is Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. I bought mine the second it released, and I’m not going to lie, I considered reading in the store or in the parking lot instead of driving home. Putting it down to do reasonable things—like drive—was difficult. I’m about 350 pages in, and so far, my favorite quote is this one: “Every story is a love story.”

What I’m Listening To:

The Guilty Feminist: A podcast about feminism, which means equality for all, including men. Just throwing that out there. This podcast is honest, hilarious, and entertaining. No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. They talk about nudity, apologizing, sex, food, and basically, everything. I’m telling you, it’s both fascinating and refreshing, because the speakers very much make fun of themselves, the world, and analyze topics from both sides of the coin.

height_250_width_250_guilty_feminist_bobThe Narrative Breakdown is a podcast for writers, agents, publishers, readers, etc. It covers all types of topics—from screenwriting to query letters to reading outside your favorite genres. Every episode features a new guest speaker, too, so you can learn about the industry from various voices and perspectives.

Serial Killer by Lana Del Ray

This is the song I tweeted about this week. If you missed it, my roommate walked into my office while I was writing…and singing this song. “I’m a sociopath” are difficult lyrics to explain. REALLY difficult lyrics to explain. Especially when blissing out to them.

What I’m Watching:

I started and finished the current season of House of Cards, and holy alkhd oasidhl ainceilna livenli. That season was perfection (although I must admit I thought the second half was much better than the first half). I’m all for relationship drama, but I definitely prefer the twisted politics and the unstoppable (and ruthless) Underwoods. Plus, Kevin Spacey is my hero.

netflix-house-of-cards

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

12801189_997773623603152_4936648959475274214_nA very lovely lady gifted me with a much-needed coffee grinder, so I was experimenting all week with coffee grinds. My kitchen smells like heaven, so I’ve basically been writing in there so I can enjoy it.

What I’m Wearing:

Bags under my eyes. I’m exhausted.

What I’m Wanting:

CdEIXNBUEAAymQi.jpg-largeRoseBlood – A.G. Howard’s latest novel, a retelling of the Phantom Opera. I loved her Splintered trilogy, and I cannot wait for what she has in store for everyone next. On a side note, I love how this cover is similar to her last trilogy’s covers, even though it’s a completely different series. It keeps her style, makes her easy to recognize, and still stands on its own. (Not to mention that it is freakin’ gorgeous.) Congrats, Anita!

What I’m Dreaming Of:

My father and I were driving down a highway bridge when he stopped paying attention and the truck went off the highway. We plummeted into some trees, but somehow (and this made no sense), we ended up a mile away from the wreck, unscathed. I told my dad I was going to run to the wreck, because Bogart (my cat) was in the truck, and I wanted to make sure he was okay. My father called the cops, while I ran to the car wreck. The truck was stuck in the trees outside this mini-mall (and no one seemed to care that there was a truck up in the trees). In fact, my money was all over the ground, and a man started to pick it all up after leaving a Chinese restaurant. I tackled him, and then demanded he return all of my money…and give me all of his egg rolls. (I really love egg rolls…In fact, after this dream I went out and bought egg rolls.) He did both, and I started eating the egg rolls only to remember…Oh, yeah. My cat and the car wreck. So, I ran over to the tree line where a little girl was standing. She told me she found a boulder in the woods. (That’s it. No idea why.) I brushed her off, ran into the woods, and found Bogart lying down. I thought he was dead, so I was super upset, but then he looked up and meowed at me, and all was well. I woke up in real-life, where Bogart was laying next to me, and I started smuggling him with hugs and kisses. He tried to get away because he thought it was breakfast time. Safe to say he got a giant bowl that morning and had no idea why.

What Else Is Going On:

I’m trying to be healthier. This means taking an aerobic kickboxing class online. This means hurting a lot. This means realizing that I am not the same girl I was when I took aerobic kickboxing in college. Yes. That is a real class that I ended up taking, because—fun fact—once you fulfill your English requirements, you cannot take any more English classes and have them count toward your English degree…so they put me in kickboxing. (That still makes my blood boil to this day, even though I quite enjoy kickboxing.)

~SAT

releasethree

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

Prepare for laughter during today’s post. But – before we get onto the giggles – I want to share two important bits of news.

Paris Carter reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, stating, “The novel also includes several internal struggles for Eric and Jess that sparks tension throughout the entire novel, and it’s the chaos of them struggling to work out their answers and fight themselves that bring Shannon’s novel to a second dimension.” Read the entire review here or check out his review of Minutes Before Sunset first.

I also participated in an interview with Doodles, doodles everywhere. We talked about what hurts me the most as a writer, and I expanded on the research that went behind The Timely Death Trilogy. Check it out.

It’s been a few days since I participated in my first podcast interview, but I wanted to write about something fun since my last post was rather dreary. That’s when my mind immediately returned to The Lurking Voice. (Just a small, Kansas City update though, they found the Highway Shooter, so things feel a lot better around here. Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to post something I can laugh at…I mean, laugh with you…as you laugh at me.)

Back to the topic.

If you listened to the full interview – which you can by clicking here – then you know that I confessed to many writing strategies that I haven’t mentioned before, although “strategies” will quickly turn into a debatable term during this post. My ultimate, reluctant confession happened when we discussed November Snow, my first published novel.

I was 11 when I started writing it and 16 when it was published. It’s safe to say that it isn’t my best work, but I am planning on re-writing it. As we were discussing this, Ryan Attard asked a great question. How does a preteen plan a novel out? That’s when I said it.

November Snow was based on a game that I played out with my Barbie dolls as a much younger kid. Now, if you’ve read November Snow, then you might be concerned, considering how violent the book is, but there’s no need to be concerned – (I think.) That’s what I told my high school teachers anyway when I was asked about the dark nature of it. But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I wanted to share a funny truth to November Snow. No matter how dark the story is, many of my characters were actually based on the dolls I used. I admitted to it on the podcast, and now I am re-confessing it on here. Even better, I dug through some boxes, and I found the old toys, so I’m sharing a few of them as well as small excerpts from the novel that proves this goofy aspect of my writing.

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

November Snow is a young-adult, dystopian novel, and it is told from dual, first perspectives: Daniel and Serena. Unfortunately, I lost the Serena doll (she might have lost a limb or two or maybe even a head.) But I still have Daniel, who you will see soon. I’m going to share three pictures, and each picture has numerous characters on it. Below each picture, I will have a one-sentence background, and below that, I’ll be sharing the real excerpt from the novel. I’ll also include page numbers as well as who was telling the story at the time (Daniel or Serena.) I am also including a little note, explaining how my 11-year-old brain worked. Got that? Okay. I even think I’m lost, but trust me – it’s organized. Hope you chuckle as much as I did writing this post! Traveling to the past can be a funny adventure.

First picture: from the left to the right: Robert, Daniel, and Calhoun. 

theboys

Robert: 19, leader of the Southern Flock (hates hugs)

“I turned around to see Robert’s dark brown eyes staring at me, and my heart lunged into my dry throat…He muttered something, his brown hair shagging in his face, and I laughed. “ (Serena, 156-7)

Note: Believe it or not, he’s not the antagonist. Sort of?

Daniel: 18, leader of the Northern Flock (all around hunk)

“The guy looked like Daniel. He had the brown, muffled hair and tanned skin. He even had the blue and white jacket down, but he wasn’t responding to his name.” (Serena, 181)

Note: So, if you didn’t notice, I even based some clothes off of these toys.

Calhoun: age unknown, Daniel’s mentor. (kind of a hard ass)

“From the bottom step he could have been mistaken for a modern-day giant. His face was strong, as were his muscles, and he looked like he could barely fit into the sweater he was wearing. He had been in a POW accident, in which he had lost one of his arms, but he refused to tell the story. Normally, he had a fake arm in, but tonight, a gray sleeve dangled at his side, blowing in the chilled November wind.” (Daniel, 25)

Note: if you listened to the podcast, then you know this character actually ended up being very similar to my real father. Except my dad has both arms. And he’s not a vet. But I swear they are alike.

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

girls

 Daisy: 16, member of the Southern Flock (I hate her.) 

She doesn’t deserve a note or description. Seriously. Have you ever hated your own characters so much that you regret bringing them into existence? I think Daisy might be in my top three of characters I’ve created and despised. #authorproblems.

Maggie: 16, member of the Northern Flock. (crushes on Adam in private)

“The front door opened, and Maggie walked in. She was wearing a small, pink coat and white disco pants that had gone out of style a century ago, but she still pulled them off easily.” (Daniel, 240)

Note: is it just me or is Daniel incredibly aware of fashion trends?

Third picture: from left to the right: Amy, Justin, and Marisa

Now for the youngsters, the category of characters that caused one of my high school teachers to ask if I needed to talk to someone after she read my novel and discovered only a few of the characters survive. (Seriously. It’s on the back of the book…) From left to right, we have Amy, Justin, and Marisa.

kids

Amy: 14, member of the Southern Flock. (Hates being called “Amy.” Her name is Amiel Marie Young.) 

“Amy’s hair was tied back in a French braid.” (Serena, 144)

Note: So this was more of a hairstyle thing, and you can’t really see it in the doll anymore, but it was there. I promise.

Justin: 6, member of the Southern Flock (borderline obsessed with hockey)

“Justin, blond-haired and brown eyed, was whisked off his feet by the collar of his shirt.” (Daniel, 479)

Note: There’s actually a hockey scene in the book just for this hockey-themed doll. (I really have no shame as I share this, do I?)

Marisa: 7, member of the Northern Flock (too small to crush on Adam, but apparently, all the girls like Adam…maybe I should’ve shared Adam.)

“A small girl struggled her way into Adams’s lap and leaned her bony elbows onto the table. She had long, brown pigtails that rested on the wiggling table and innocent eyes.” (Daniel, 44)

Note: The hair is there. The hair is totally there.

So there you go. My young-adult novel that almost got me in trouble as a teen was originally created during playtime as a kid.

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

 

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