Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

My Hate-Love Relationship with Historical Fiction

8 May

I love historical fiction. In fact, I’m currently binge reading, watching, and writing it right now. But I have a beef with it. (Does anyone even say that anymore? No? Oh, well.) If you’re curious, I’m reading Stalking Jack the Ripper, watching Reign, and writing a book set in the ancient world. Very different time periods, but all can easily fall into my hate-love with the genre.

So what is my issue with the genre?

My biggest pet peeve with historical fiction is when I look up the factual story and the factual story is MORE—more fascinating, bizarre, fun, gory, symbolic, or anything MORE.

Let’s look at a few examples:

In the movie The Revenant with Leonardo Dicaprio, Hugh Glass fights his way back from the wilderness to enact bloody revenge on the two who left him to die. In real life? He actually tracked down the two men and ultimately forgave them, because it was better for society. (One was a solider and the other a young man with a family.) I actually LOVE the real version, because I think it teaches us more about survival and sympathy and societal sacrifice. But forgiveness doesn’t feed into the bloody climax many expect, does it? (On a side note, Hugh Glass could’ve been a pirate…but that also doesn’t make it into the movie either. Boo.) Here’s an article if you’re interested in more info: The Real Story of ‘The Revenant’ is Far Weirder (and Bloodier) Than the Movie.

In Reign, the show follows Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland, as she marries the Dauphin of France. And it’s entertaining, don’t get me wrong. Lots of betrayal, murder, and sex. But the real-life version, if the show had been expanded to show more years, has MORE. Nearly everyone loses their head, country, or both. (It’s very Game of Thrones.) What I find strange, though, is not the focus but some of the blatant inaccuracies portrayed as fact. For instance, the show takes (weird?) liberties in taking shots at the blond hair Francis has when Mary herself was famous for blond-red hair, while Francis was the brunet. They even go as far as to say all Scots have dark hair. (Or bringing her mother into it, when they never saw one another after her childhood.) In real life, over time, there are three husbands. (Perfect for a trilogy, no?) That aside, I’ll absolutely acknowledge that brutal story is not the target audience or goal for the romantic TV show on the CW. Which brings me to my next point…

I don’t blame the authors or any creators behind this. Why? Because I get it. Truth is often stranger than fiction. If you wrote down some of the actual events that happened, readers or viewers would have a harder time believing that than the completely fictionalized version of an event. Not to mention that life doesn’t serve a linear, symbolic purpose…and with stories, that’s the whole point, especially when you bring genres and expectations for that genre into play. Not to mention the traditional narrative viewers and readers expect from certain historical periods. 

It was discovered, for instance, that slaves were not used to build the Great Pyramids. Skilled (and paid) craftsman were, which is why they could stage protests. (In fact, the first protests we now know of.) But our fictional worlds have yet to reflect this. (Oh, did I mention they were often paid with beer? I mean, come on.)

History—and what we understand of history—is constantly changing, and the genre should change along with it.

I want to see more Norse women out on Viking Voyages, as skilled seafarers. (Source) I want to see black cowboys (Source). I want to see skilled craftsmen building the pyramids (Source). I want to see the female sailors on the doomed Franklin expedition, especially since the entire crew was reported to be male (Source). I want to see an all-female battalion in the Russian Revolution (Source). I want MORE.

I get that it might be a little strange to see some of your favorite historical figures (and narratives) in a different light. But why not?

Why not challenge the traditional narrative, especially if it’s backed up by science and other types of studies? Why not write a version that’s based in factual evidence more than on speculation? On the opposite end, why not write a version that owns the fact that it’s not based in reality at all, like My Lady Jane (where royalty can shape-shift into animals)? Why not push those limits and expectations of what historical fiction can be? (On a side note, there’s actually a really funny/enlightening Oatmeal comic on why this is so difficult, and you can read it here.)

Historical fiction has limitless, constantly changing possibilities, and I cannot wait to see how it morphs in the future.

~SAT

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

20 Aug

What I’m Writing:

Texts from readers

Texts from readers

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

What I’m Publishing:

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

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

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

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

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

What I’m Reading:

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

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

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

What I’m Listening To:

Gin Wigmore, because she’s a goddess. 

What I’m Watching:

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

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad

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

Cinderella and the Four Knights

Cinderella and the Four Knights

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

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

What I’m Wearing:

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

What I’m Wanting:

All the episodes of Cinderella and the Four Knights!

What I’m Dreaming Of:

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

What Else Is Going On:

Little Alchemy

Little Alchemy

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

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

Milk + Wild Animal.

It’s a cat.

You’re welcome.

~SAT

Saturday Update: The Intern, Salman Rushdie, Crimson Peak, and more.

10 Oct

I need a name for these posts. If you have an idea, shoot me one. You know, I’m really enjoying this whole Saturday update thing, even though this is only the second one. It’s rather fun discussing movies and books and everything else in the world with everyone. This one also might be a little longer. I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to in the last one, so I snuck them in this one. Feel free to tell me what you’re doing!

What I’m Writing:

Honestly, I haven’t had any time to write this week. I’m transitioning to a night shift, and it’s killing me. Any time I tried to write, it was a mess, but I did figure out a section in chapter six that was bothering me, so I am going to go back and rewrite it, and then I will move forward in Take Me Yesterday.

What I’m Publishing:

This is also on the not-so-productive side. As much as I want to publish November Snow next, I’m starting to believe it won’t happen. It’s difficult to explain, but basically, November Snow is a standalone, and my publisher specializes in series, so I might just skip on ahead to submitting The Tomo Trilogy. It’s rather a tough thing to accept, especially since I’ve spent so much time rewriting November Snow (and I know many of you have been looking forward to it), but these things happen. I was rather looking forward to going with a standalone for a bit before jumping into another trilogy, but alas, we don’t always get to choose how our paths are affected. We will see.

What I’m Reading:

12118652_920253871355128_3384895627690842872_nTwo Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie: I actually won this novel from Random House during a Goodreads Giveaway, so yeah, those work! The first 50 pages were rather painful, but definitely worth the whole set up for all of the satire and philosophy involved later. Loving it so far!

What I’m Listening To:

Lana Del Ray’s Honeymoon album. I like it more than her Ultraviolence album but not quite as much as her Born to Die album, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to it enough to make a call yet. And getting caught singing “all I wanna do is get high on beach” can be quite the compromising position…so I listened to London Grammar, who then took me to Agnes Odel, and I enjoyed both of them a lot, but I’m honestly searching REALLY hard for the PERFECT music for this extremely delicate scene in Take Me Yesterday I need major help with, and I’m just not finding it. All suggestions are helpful.

What I’m Watching:

The_Intern_Poster-512x512I went to the movies and saw The Intern because A) my friend wanted me to, B) I needed to get out of the house/office, and C) I love Robert De Niro. It was humorous, adorable, definitely charming, and a fun, sometimes cringe-worthy depiction of modern relationships.

I also got really sick this week, so I watched A LOT of movies. Scream was a new one for me. (Don’t judge.) I loved it. I also had to watch one of my all-time favorites, Domino. Spanglish fit itself somewhere in there too, and the only other new movie I saw was The Tailor of Panama. Not my favorite, even though it had a lot of Casablanca references. I do love Geoffrey Rush though, and I was surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis do a naked scene. Pierce Brosnan was probably the main James Bond I grew up seeing, so it was kind of weird to see him playing someone else.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

One-Pot Cajun Pasta: This is an awesome recipe from Tasty and super easy to make. That being said, I always alter recipes. I used 4 parts chicken broth, 1 part beef broth. (Beef broth always adds a richer flavor.) I added one yellow pepper as well. At the end, I used aged gouda instead of parmesan.

Another dinner recipe I tried out was stuffed French bread. It’s pretty simple to make, especially if you’re not making the bread yourself, but I think it would’ve paired well with onion soup. Speaking of which, I also made crock-pot potato, broccoli, and cheese soup…which was awesome, but it was accidentally left in the crockpot, so burnt cheese everywhere! Took forever to clean up. I’d probably make it in just a pot next time instead of the slow cooker.

For drinks, I made Portuguese Mazagran, which is a lemon/coffee drink. Here is the recipe from Cooking with Alia. I used WAY less lemon though, and I can’t imagine using more than the one lemon I did use. It’s very refreshing!
goofd

What I’m Wearing:

My giant fur blanket. I know it’s not clothes. But I’ve been living in it. It’s not even that cold right now, but, but, but, but…I’M SO COMFY.

What I’m Wanting:

12011126_1507618169531657_5803116650381798154_nGuillermo del Toro’s new movie, Crimson Peak, to be out right MEOW. In other movie news, I would like to hear more about the movie adaptation of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, my personal favorite book when it comes to zombies. Plus, Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams is playing the protagonist. (I mean, COME ON. That should’ve been made into a movie a decade ago.)

Sailor Moon Crystal is also going up for a third season! I mean, this might be the best news ever. Everyone kept saying they were never coming back, and I had only a little hope left when I saw the announcement. Because of this, everyone is sending me awesome Sailor Moon stuff. I WANT IT ALL. I cannot wait to see Hotaru come to life again.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I was in a plane. It started to crash. It crashed. I died. I came back to life—in the same plane—and it crashed, again, but in a different way, and this repeated about six times before someone was trying to shoot me, and then, it jolted me awake. (Yes. I am one of those people who can actually die in their dreams and not wake up. No idea why.) It’s been a particularly violent week of dreams.

I also had a dream I was a Sailor Scout, probably because I’m obsessing over Sailor Moon Crystal returning. But unlike my favorite manga, there were three/four male sailors (as well as fellow female sailors), and all of us lived in this giant castle in the sky. (Not on the moon, but in the sky—where no one could see us for some reason.) The dream took a turn when I found myself alone in this castle. Home alone, right? That’s means I threw a dance party for myself. It was pretty cool. Not going to lie. (And before anyone mentions the Sailor Starlights are men…go read the manga. Anime is definitely not the same.)

What Else Is Going On:

My home life is going back to a night shift, so expect me to be online in the afternoon and in the middle of the night a lot more. I know I used to be this way, and I basically disappeared since January for a 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. Now, I’ll probably be online between noon and 3 a.m. So…yeah! If things work out, I’m off to travel to Hannibal, Missouri soon. I’m really looking forward to it. If I do, I’ll be sure to share some photos.

~SAT

Announcements:

changedIf you follow me on Twitter, take note that my handle changed to @AuthorSAT this week. 

The paperback of Death Before Daylight releases on October 19! Two days later, on October 21, you can come see me at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal talk and book signing.

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

9 May

#SATurday: Authors, Be Yourself

As an author—but also as a marketer—I am constantly stressing the importance of being true to yourself and being true to your work. For instance, it’s a popular question to ask an author how long it took them to write a story. In turn, this has caused millions of debates about how long it should take. The infamous Stephen King, for example, has been quoted saying that writing a first draft shouldn’t take longer than three months, the length of a season. And to that, I say, pish posh. (Respectfully, of course.)

To me, it is ALWAYS more important to be true to the story than to meet a deadline. I mean, George R.R. Martin practically dedicated his life to writing A Song of Ice and Fire (a.k.a. Game of Thrones for you HBO fans), and he’s labeled as a serial fantasy genius. His first draft, I doubt, only demanded three months. But he didn’t care. All he cared about was writing it, so he wrote it, and he took as much time as he wanted to write it.

So what does this have to do with you?

Well, I see a lot of authors getting frazzled over writing advice or reading discussions or publishing debates or marketing tips or (insert panic now as I continue listing uncountable reasons for authors to worry). And it isn’t worth it. None of these worries are worth an author’s identity. Be you. That’s my number one rule when I talk to my clients about social media marketing as we create a plan for them. As an example, if you hate Facebook, stay off of it. There’s no reason you should be worrying yourself silly about likes and shares and outreach when you could be on Twitter with your favorites and retweets and hashtags. There’s no reason you should be throwing your precious writing time away for all the millions of things the Internet demands you to do, because—I’ll let you in on a little secret—no one can do it all. No one. So, it’s better to just do what you want to do.

beyou

This doesn’t go to say that this is easy. It’s not. There are many temptations that sneak into our time slots. It’s easy to be on Facebook and see an author who has 10,000 more likes than you and feel like you have to do what they do in order to get to where they are. But we have to stop focusing on getting to “where they are” and start focusing on getting to “where you want to be”. I get it. That can be a little confusing, especially when you “want” to be where they are. Those 10,000 likes look nice after all. But those are THEIR 10,000 likes. Those exact same 10,000 likes are not going to be the 10,000 likes you want for you and your book. You want your own 10,000 likes—likes you achieve by being you. But this is exactly where I see a popular problem arise. Authors are so focused on getting “more” followers that they forget to dedicate time to the followers they already have. The goal is not followers. The goal is being yourself.

That being said, you can definitely have more goals and look up to someone—admire their work ethic, respect their status, learn from them, etc.—but remind yourself that you are going to achieve your own goals your own way, and there’s no need to copy what others are doing. As an example, one author kept sharing exactly what another author with a larger follower was sharing. That’s not going to work. That’s not going to do anything. Why? Here are three reasons:

  1. Someone is already doing it.
  2. You’re trying to be them, not you.
  3. You’re sharing it for the wrong reasons. (For followers, not because you enjoy it.)

You have to be you and do what you want to do. When you do that, you will come through as a unique and wonderful voice, and people who like you will find you. There’s no need to worry or debate or copy or steal or take shots at one another.

Just be you, and everything else will fall into place.

~SAT

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Thank you for the announcement, Boo Boo.

Are you a writer? As many of you know, I have guest bloggers every Monday. I accept original posts about anything to do with writing and reading. It can be as complicated as in-depth writing tips to as simple as how your favorite series affected your life. You do not have to be published to be a guest blogger. Bios, links, and photos are encouraged. Please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you’re interested.

Website Wonders

28 Jun

It’s that time again! Today is Website Wonders, and my next post will be June’s Ketchup. But I’m switching it up a little bit. Today, I’ll be sharing all of the websites I’ve come across this month that I think you’ll enjoy – but I’m also sharing a small excerpt of Take Me Tomorrow. Don’t forget to email me if you want to review it! I’m at shannonathompson@aol.com, and I should be receiving the review copies soon. I am also open to interviews! (Or just talking.) So talk to you soon!

~SAT

Below, you’ll find all of June’s Website Wonders categorized into these categories: For Writers, Publishing News, For Readers, Inspiration, and Humor. The excerpt is at the bottom, but I share all of these on my Author Facebook page throughout the month, so be sure to join me there if you haven’t already. 😀

For Writers:

200 Words Instead of “Said” – I am a huge fan of the word “said” but many writers like to use a variety of words. A few readers left fantastic tips on my Author Facebook Page, including Amber Skye Forbes saying to use words like these like gems. I agree with her, but this article is great if you’re looking for those little gems to use.

Famous Writer’s Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity: Too bad my sleep habits aren’t anything like these.

21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors: “Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more.”

Publishing News:

Amazon Is Now Re-Stocking Some Hachette Titles: This dispute is on-going.

10341650_298028600374281_5981253292046260357_n

For Readers:

What Your Favorite High School Book Says About You: I picked “1984” since “The Stranger” wasn’t on the list.

George RR Martin’s editor hints at eighth Game of Thrones book: An eighth book?!

Against YA: I responded to this horrible article this month here –> “Everything I Learned From Against YA and More”

14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch: This article is a brilliant piece to read during lunch. I felt so lucky to find this. It’s a great list!

Cassandra Clare released a snippet from The Dark Artifices: Can’t wait!

10380902_696674780379706_7718344388191972223_n

A quote from Seconds Before Sunrise that Snydle quotes made!

Inspiration:

Spooky, Wild Scenes Straight Out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales: beautiful photos

Powerful Portraits of Brave People Revealing Their Insecurities: Other than the fact that this project is powerful and amazing and so many other words, I thought this would be a great exercise for writers to run through with their characters. What are there insecurities? Where would they write them down? How would they display themselves?

Under This Tree In Cuba, There’s A Secret World. Enter At Your Own Risk: Goes to show how much one tree can hide.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Great for historical writers!

The Top 10 TED Talks Every Woman Should See: I would like to add that these aren’t just for women. I think they’re great for everyone.

Humor:

The 20 Biggest Plot Holes In World History: Truth is stranger than fiction.

Which Member of the Justice League Are You?: I’m Batman!

Excerpt:

A little information first: the photo you see is from the Take Me Tomorrow Pinterest board. The boy is very close to Miles Beckett, a friend of Sophia’s. The scene you’re about to read is actually a part of a flashback of the first time Sophia met Miles when they were seven years old.

10486302_700440563336461_7589438558921574845_n“We’re going to be best friends,” Lily squealed, seeming younger than me even though I was told we were the same age. I couldn’t say anything to that either.

“You’ll really like it here,” Ms. Beckett said, giving a slight push to a young boy standing next to her. He had stumbled forward, but his gaze never left the ground. His curls were matted with gel, and his shirt had a collar. He looked like a child dressed in an old man’s suit.

Miles managed to tell me his name, while Lily exclaimed that he was her brother. Twins. I had never met twins before.

“I’m Sophia,” I said, glancing up at my father for social direction.

“You’ll like it here, kiddo,” he repeated Ms. Beckett’s words, playing with the glasses in his pocket. I nodded mechanically, knowing that his new job would keep him out of the State most of the time. I was stuck here, and everything was about to change.

Hope you enjoy the websites!

~SAT

 

The Top 10 Seriously Awkward Conversations I’ve Had When People Hear I’m a Writer

5 Jun

Two announcements before I share my awkward conversations:

The book trailer for Seconds Before Sunrise released. Check it out on YouTube by clicking here. Remember: the eBook releases June 12th! AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is throwing a VIRTUAL launch party on June 12th from 7 – 9 p.m. (CDT) to celebrate, and you can win a Kindle as well as many other prizes. You can also interview me live 😀 Click here to join.

Also, you’ll notice that my progress bar has been updated on the right side of my website. The black marks on the “Death Before Daylight” bar represents 10,000 word marks. We’re officially past the first 10,000 words! And we continue into the future with high hopes.

Being an author can be a crazy, fun, and maddening adventure. As Robert De Niro once said:

robert-de-niro-oscars-2104-quote-about-writers

From lorelle.wordpress.com

That’s what I was thinking about the other day when I fell into conversation with someone about my writing career. They asked something I haven’t been asked before, “What are the strangest questions you’ve been asked during interviews?” I had to think for a bit because I haven’t really been asked strange or awkward questions in interviews. (I think this is because interviewers are prepared to ask an author questions.) But I have been asked strange, downright bizarre questions – mainly by strangers in passing who find out I’m a writer, and I thought it would be fun to share some of my moments today.

Disclaimer: in the defense of the interrogators, I rejoice in awkward moments. I’ve enjoyed every little second of these conversations – even when they didn’t. Let’s start with the obvious one first:

1. “You’re a writer?”

“Yep.”

“Cool.” Unnecessarily long pause as the speaker (normally) glances up at the ceiling for no particular reason. “So what do you do all day?”

…I write.

2. “Do you write those dirty books?”

There’s nothing quite as dirty as being asked if you write “those dirty books.” What an unsexy synonym for erotica. Even worse is what people say after you reply no. I did not need to know how your sister, mother, and aunt read Fifty Shades of Grey during Christmas dinner. And I definitely didn’t need to know that you let your current girlfriend borrow your mother’s copy. Without your mother’s permission. Stop your anecdote now. Please. Before you say the word “dirty” again.

 3. “Did you write Twilight?”

“Is that a real question?”

“Oh….uh, I guess not.” (Another long pause that causes me to wonder why everyone pause so much) “Do you write books like Twilight? Like with sparkly vampires and shit?”

“I write in the same genre, but no vampires.”

“Wait. There’s an entire section for that?”

“Genre, yes. There is.”

“Is it titled Vampire Fiction?”

“No.” This is when I start questioning whether or not I already mentioned that I don’t write about vampires and why everyone brings up Twilight every day when they supposedly hate it.

4. But why would a twenty-year-old want to write about teens?

Because high school was the best time of my life.

(It was unbelievably painful to write that sentence down.)

I don’t know why a twenty-some-year-old enjoys writing about young adults. Why would a sixty-five-year-old want to write about dragons and direwolves? Because I like to. And my characters’ ages don’t define them or their readers. Hence why Harry Potter was read by pretty much everyone and their cousin.

5. Can you put me in your book?

Sure. But you might not like it. (You probably won’t like it. You’ll also wind up dead.)

6. Did you base that character off of me?

Normally, this is asked by friend or some other kind of close relative that shares the love of reading with you. Depending on the character in question, you might be tempted to say yes, even if it isn’t true. Your lover might even ask if you based the protagonist’s love interest on them. This could be a trap. This is probably a trap.

7. Why are you pro/con (insert controversial political or religious topic here)?

I’m sorry – what? Just because my character carries a gun on his right hip or gets an abortion or believes God isn’t real, doesn’t mean that I do these things, let alone believe in them. In fact, I don’t have a lot in common with many of my characters.

Exhibit A (The Timely Death Trilogy): Eric is a boy. I am not. Jessica can paint. I cannot. Pierce is funny. I am not.

Exhibit B (November Snow): Calhoun lost his arm in a POW accident. I did, too. Wait. No. No, I didn’t.

Forget about exhibit B.

8. Who’s the bad guy? Also known as, please tell me the biggest spoiler in your story before the story is even close to released.

Sure. But make sure your cell phone is ready. I want to make sure you Tweet about it before you post it on your Facebook wall and share your screenshot to your Instagram. #spoiler #Iknowtheauthor #forreals

9. Can you publish my book?

“It isn’t written yet, and I have no idea who the main character is, but there’s a girl in it, and she falls in love with a boy, but he doesn’t like her back, and then she finds another boy, and the boy (the first boy) comes back and realizes he loves her, and he confesses to her, and she leaves the boy (the second boy) to be with the first boy only for the first boy to change her mind before she goes back to the second guy and the first guy regrets it forever until they meet up again in the future and she’s still with the second guy but the second guy isn’t really interested anymore so she wants to start over with the first guy and he wants to try to but he feels too guilty about the second guy still being there so the girl starts to think that she should leave the second guy first before she gets with the first guy but she’s also afraid she will lose her last chance if she does, so—“

Email me. Please. Seriously. I actually like to help writers. But…standing by my table in a coffee shop as I finish up my editing is not the way to go about it. I’m a chatterbox. I am. But the one time I don’t talk is when I’m writing. I’m sorry, but I can’t just help the second you appear. I’m not the fairy godmother of publishing. I wish I was. If I was – trust me – more of my novels would be out. Your novels would be out, too. But – alas – the fairy godmother of publishing was not my destiny. However, I do like to help when I am available, so feel free to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I will help you as much as I can.

10. Is your protagonist a brunette because you’re a brunette?

You caught me. That’s why my female protagonist in November Snow was blond. I used to be blond, and there’s nothing like having the same hair color that screams, “Team work!”

…Oh, wait. I wasn’t blond? Really? Not even once?

Hmm, I have to reevaluate.

Those are the top 10 awkward (interesting?) questions I’ve been asked. They may not be completely awkward, but I did find myself enjoying every moment of them. If you’ve ever been asked questions you never expected to hear, share them below!

~SAT

Website Wonders

29 May

Hi, everyone! For once, I’m not announcing anyone. I am back, and I am blogging! ::does a little dance even though you’re watching::

I am really happy to be back (obviously) and I am even happier that you all enjoyed the guest bloggers of May. Today is reserved for Website Wonders – all of the websites that I have obsessed over this month, so I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. The articles are organized into these topics: In the News, Writing Tips, For Readers, The Poets, Inspire, and For Fun and Laughter. All links will send you to the article.

Enjoy!

In the News:

As Publishers Fight Amazon, Books Vanish:  This article is first for many reasons. I’m really passionate about the publishing industry, and I want to see it succeed for everyone. I know. I know. Many have been taking Amazon’s side because everyone “hates” the big 5 – but shifting the power from 5 to 1 is not a good idea. Plus, preventing David Sedaris’ novels is never going to fly. Either is preventing Robert Galbraith. (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) But I’ll stop ranting here.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Book 4 Coming?: E.L. James is heating up the publishing world (and Kindles) again! Kind of. Photo included. Kind of.

Tim Burton to direct ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ slated for July 2015: Muh-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. ::cue the creepy and delightful laughter:: I am a huge Tim Burton fan.

Writing Tips:

Cheat Sheets for Writing Body Language:  This was really popular on my Facebook page. It’s an amazingly thorough list of different ways to describe body language based on emotions.

This Sentence Has Five Words: I can’t explain this because it would spoil the piece, but I definitely recommend it.

5 Editor’s Secrets to Help You Write Like a Pro

My friend sent me this

My friend sent me this

13 Wonderful Old English Words We Should Still Be Using Today

For Readers:

7 Historical Parallels to ‘Game of Thrones’: If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you will absolutely love this.

32 People Reveal The One Book That Blew Their Minds: My favorite novel is on here! Is yours?

For Lexophiles (lover of words): Read these sentences twice. You will love them.

From Random House

From Random House

33 More Things We’d Do if We Were Locked in a Bookstore Overnight: What would you do in Barnes & Noble?

Q&A with Cassandra Clare: I just finished City of Heavenly Fire last night :]

The Poets:

Words and Pictures by Grant Snider: This comic is hilarious and true!

He’s Counting Down from 21, and By the Time He Reaches 15, My Stomach was in Knots: These sort of poems live in the depths of your soul forever.

Inspire:

Top Ten Mythical Places

No Photoshop. These Are Real Animals! These models and their animals are fantastical.

12 Photos of the Strangest Weather Phenomena Ever Witnessed

These 22 Far Away Perspectives of Famous Places Will Change the Way You See Them Forever: Who doesn’t like a change in perspective?

Artist Turns Dead Old Watches into Creepy Mechanical Crawlies 

30 Awesome Photos from Iceland

From David Olenick

From David Olenick

For Fun and Laughter:

Which Magical Creature Are You? I am a Sphinx

20 Funny Cat Photos That Are Sure to Make You Smile

~SAT

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