Tag Archives: ghosts

SAT Update: Crimson Peak, Submissions, Adele, M&Ms, and More.

24 Oct

Here we are! I have so many exciting things to say, and I hope I get to say even more in my next Saturday post…which won’t be until November 7, since our monthly Ketchup post takes place next Saturday. (Was that easy to follow?) But first and foremost, the paperback of Death Before Daylight released this week, and I had a book signing at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters. I hope you also enjoy publishing updates, movies, music, dessert, and more.

What I’m Writing:

This is my real handwriting. I know. I know. Terrible.

This is my real handwriting. I know. I know. Terrible.

So, don’t hate me, but I’ve paused all work on Take Me Yesterday while I’ve worked on an extension of November Snow. So far, I’ve written short stories of the side characters—like a prequel for how the flocks came together—and outlined the first couple of chapters for the sequel, so it isn’t a standalone. I actually went back into all my old notes from when I was a kid and writing this series, and even though the language was embarrassing (so embarrassing), the story idea wasn’t bad. Needs some tweaking, but I think it just might work. I still cannot believe the ambition I had back then. A 12-book, 600-page series? That was adorable. At least I’m writing again, eh? As of right now, I have 11,000 words of the Northern Flock’s prequel written, which includes the origins of Adam, Michele, Maggie, and Ryne. (There are 12 kids in each flock.) Originally, I was going to write the Northern Flock and the Southern Flock separate, but I might combine them and make one novella out of it.

What I’m Publishing:

I submitted November Snow and all the above ideas to my publisher in the middle of the night (because I’m crazy) this past Thursday. (Or…technically Friday morning…at 2:15 a.m. to be exact). What can I say? I’m a vampire. I even had the wonderful opportunity to participate in #PitchSlam and #NoQS this week, which is a Twitter contest to work with agents on your manuscript. Plus, a client of mine wanted me to do it to give them feedback on the contests. (Definitely recommended by the way!) They are great for connecting, having fun, and learning about the current trends in the industry straight from the agents themselves. I actually got feedback on my 35-line pitch and my first 250 words, and I definitely used it in the new version! That was a delight. I’ll write a blog post about it so you can look forward to other competitions in the future. I’m still participating in #1lineWed too. This week’s theme was last line in a chapter, so here’s a sneak peek at November Snow: I ran like death waited with open arms.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Please. 🙂

What I’m Reading:

 A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz: I haven’t had a lot of reading time this week, not going to lie. I was so wrapped up in writing competitions, book signings, and preparing work for my publisher, that I was all write, write, write this week. That being said, this novel is badass. Definitely unique, bold, and willing to face the darkest parts of society. It’s my kind of book. I love the little notes it has in it too. The formatting is unbelievable.

What I’m Listening To:

Adele’s 21 album. Why? I haven’t a clue, but I’ve loved her music forever, and it had been too long since I binged on her music. It took me back to my college days, to be honest. I used to play this album so much my college roommates would yell at me over it, and complain about having the lyrics to music they didn’t like memorized. Perhaps I wanted to listen to it this week to remind me of those days. It was the three-year anniversary of my college roommate’s death, so…Well, there aren’t many words for a world with such loss, but Adele can at least bring the smile back for just a little while.

What I’m Watching:

I HAD to go to the theatre to see Guillermo Del Toro’s new film, Crimson Peak, and I must say, I LOVED it. That being said, it’s way too hard to talk about any part of the story without giving away major secrets. So, what can I say? The characters are awesome. The sets are unbelievable beautiful. I’d love to see a behind-the-scenes screening of the movie. And the story is flawless, haunting, creepy, and uncomfortably wonderful.

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Then, since it’s the paranormal season, I watched The Ghost in the Pantry, a short documentary about some of the best ghost footage ever recorded. Now I don’t care if it’s “real” or not, so let’s not discuss that. The documentary is freakin’ awesome.

I followed that documentary up with another documentary. This one was Ghosts of the Underground, a long discussion on all the different ghosts that haunt London’s underground. Pretty interesting!

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

 12106742_927072510673264_4354659410432881927_nPepper jack, sausage, and tomato pasta: It wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be, which is a good thing for me, because I lose control of my face when I eat anything spicy.

I couldn’t sleep the night before my book signing, so naturally, I baked a batch of M&M cookies. But that’s not all. I bought ice cream and slammed it in between them. I know. I know. I’m insatiable.

What I’m Wearing:

I bought a new jacket thing, but it’s more like a blanket than a jacket—a blanket with sleeves. I freakin’ love it. Thank you, Target.

What I’m Wanting:

 More time to write. Is that a thing? Can I buy that?

Actually, come to think of it, I would really like to get one of these banners for my book signing at Penned Con St. Louis in September of 2016, but boy, are those pricey. I’ll hopefully be able to save up enough to get one though. Fingers crossed!

Also, when writing this blog post, I realized Adele is releasing a new album! 25! I cannot believe it. FINALLY. Yep. I want.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I was at a library to find my older brother’s research papers he wrote in middle school. (Don’t ask. I don’t know how this other world works either.) I found one on ghost mermaids. (Again. Don’t ask.) But I was having a hard time following the science behind it, so I decided to go to their break room, which had a billiard table. (Again. In a library.) So, I set my purse down to play and then I kicked my purse and I heard a thunk. I looked down and my purse went through a HOLE IN THE FLOOR. I went downstairs to tell them my purse went to their bottom floor, and everyone FREAKED out. Turns out there was a secret basement with super secret vaults with even more secret stuff inside. (I believe that is exactly how the manager worded it.) So they had me arrested but took me down there to fetch it in all these lasers and guards and craziness. Then, they returned my purse but threatened me to never tell a soul…Naturally, I came on here and recorded it on my blog.

My other noteworthy dream: There was some sort of Con in Wichita, Kansas going on, and I desperately wanted to go, but my friend kept saying it was an expensive way to celebrate my Pikachu hat. (Yes, my Pikachu hat made it into dreamland. Perhaps I’ve been wearing it too much.) But they had these awesome deals, and we decided to probably go. (Let me tell you, discussing money and travels is exciting in dreamland.)

Headrush Roasters Book Signing

Headrush Roasters Book Signing

What Else Is Going On:

As you read above, the paperback of Death Before Daylight released! I also had my book signing at Headrush Roasters Coffee & Tea, and it was an absolute blast! We talked about Halloween, the ghost films I mentioned above, the black-eyed children, and the inspiration behind The Timely Death Trilogy. My events manager and a beta reader of mine even came, and I haven’t seen them in person for almost a year, so I was ecstatic to see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. I look forward to future book signings and events! It was a great week. I’m hoping to bring even better news to you all next week!

~SAT

I would post more announcements, but I basically just said all of them in this post…but you know, the paperback of Death Before Daylight is now out. The first book is free too!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

The Timely Death Trilogy Explained: World-Building and More

9 Jun

With three days until the eBook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases, I’ve been wondering how to celebrate it, and I think I found a way, but I wanted to give a little update first. As many of you know, The Timely Death Trilogy was finished a long time ago, but I have worked on extensive editing. In fact, all three of the novels were around 136,000 words until I got them down to 80,000. Since receiving my content edits for Death Before Daylight a few weeks ago, I’m about 17,000 words into the final piece. But there’s also a new project looming on the horizon that I could’ve never saw coming.

I may have finished writing The Timely Death Trilogy in 2009, but I never thought my other characters would want to tell their story. Here and there – between editing all three books – a small voice came to me that I didn’t recognize. And then another voice came, and I began taking notes. Suddenly, I realized what characters the voices belonged to: Jim and Kimberly.

If you’ve read the trilogy, you might recognize “Jim” (He also goes by Bracke or Mr. Welborn.) Kimberly, on the other hand, has not been mentioned by her first name – Eric’s mother. Despite knowing her past – including what we will learn in Death Before Daylight – I have never heard Kimberly’s voice before. In fact, I had never heard Jim’s either. Especially from when they were kids.

So I’ve currently been working on a prequel.

I don’t know if I will publish it. I don’t know if I will even finish it. But I wanted to mention it because I thought it would be a good way to lead into today’s post:

I am often asked many questions about the details of my paranormal world, including cultural significance and supernatural capabilities. Although most (if not all) of the information is scattered throughout the stories, I thought it would be fun to share extras to everyone – especially if you are an avid reader of my blog but haven’t had a chance to read my books. Hopefully, after today, my references to shades, double identities, the Naming, and more will make sense now. I am also sharing photos from my Pinterest board for The Timely Death Trilogy to add to the explanations. (Click here for the full board to see even more.)

Disclaimer: there might be a few spoilers here and there.

How the Paranormal World Exists with the Human One:

Double Identities:

Almost every character in The Timely Death Trilogy has two identities – a human identity and a paranormal one, but no one knows one another’s identities.

Example: Eric Welborn is a human, but he transform into a shade named “Shoman.” No one is supposed to know that Eric is Shoman or that Shoman is Eric. However, Eric’s guard, Camille, knows both of his identities, and he knows both of her names. Camille’s human name is Teresa.

This is how the “Light” and the “Dark” coexist during everyday, human life. As humans, no one truly knows who the person next to them can be: a light, a shade, or just human. (I will explain how their physical appearance changes below.)

Cultural Significance in Paranormal World (Rituals)

The Naming Ceremony:

Shades do not have Dark names at birth. In fact, they don’t even have their full set of powers. The only power they do have is the ability to transform. But everything changes when they turn 13.

b7a349b151148bb4cf546c94763b24bfThe “Naming” is a ceremony done during “the last harvest” – an evening that usually takes place in January for the Dark. (Yes, the Dark has their own calendar.) Every 13-year-old at the time enters the meeting room where they receive their Dark name and some power. Boys are given glitter to throw, and girls are given crowns. But they must vow themselves to the Dark before they are told the prophecy. Once this happens, the shades receive their full powers, and the “Naming” is complete.

In Minutes Before Sunset we see Pierce’s little brother named, “Brenthan.”

So why the crowns? Why the glitter? And what is with the age and order of events?

Well, this is one of the biggest pieces I want to write the prequel for, but it goes back to when the bloodline first appears. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say this: the crown represents an important figure, and the glitter showcases all the different colors that “Dark” powers contain: mainly blue, green, white, and purple. Each color also stands for a different type of power, blue = warrior, green = guard, white = elder, and purple = well…that is one of the bigger surprises in Minutes Before Sunset.

Defining the Paranormal Beings:

Shades – What can they do? What do they look like? 

745226b2e50da562533a3bb7fc8e87beShades are members of the Dark. First and foremost, they can transform into shades, mainly at night. For the most part, their powers are confined to nighttime hours. However, they can use their telepathy at all times, including when they are human (although this does take a lot of practice.) When they are transformed, shades can transport in and out of shadows, shoot beams of power at one another, and even fly. But only the descendants have swords. Yes. Swords.

Shades have gray or very white, sometimes stone-like, sometimes translucent skin. They’re eyes are also light-colored in nature, and the color normally correlates with their dominant power color: blue, green, purple, or white. For instance, we see white eyes with Eu, green eyes with Pierce, blue eyes with Shoman, and purple eyes with Jessica. (Before you think I spoiled the fact that Jessica is the “nameless” shade, it says so on the back of the book, and she practically says it during her very first line.)

They always have black hair or very, very dark brown hair.

But there’s one vital rule to remember: when shades transform from their human form, more than their eye color and hair color change. Their entire body changes, including facial features, height, and more, but it also goes beyond that. Personalities, and ethnicities can change – ::future book hint:: – even gender is subject to change.

Create (Human) Relatable References for Paranormal World:

How do genetics play a role?

There are the “Light” beings (a.k.a lights) and the “Dark” beings (a.k.a shades.) But there are also halfbreeds, which are always half-Dark, half-Light. A halfbreed’s child will only have powers if that halfbreed’s partner is a fullbreed Dark or Light. On top of this, the way a halfbreed is brought up (in the Dark or in the Light) is unique to each halfbreed, but the Light does not name their halfbreeds.

Although the Dark encourages their members to find their romantic partner as a shade first, some go against this rule and find their romantic partners as humans. This obviously can cause a lot of problems. Obviously. But these are the very basic fundamentals of how things work: The Dark and the Light have dominant genes over human genes unless their genes mix together. If they mix, the “power” gene then becomes recessive to human traits.

One dark + one dark = dark

One human + one dark = dark

One dark + one light = halfbreed

One halfbreed + human = human

One halfbreed + dark = dark  

Unions between the Light and the Dark are definitely frowned upon, and how couples find each other is explained in Seconds Before Sunrise. There used to be rearranged marriages, but that changed two generations back, which caused the bloodline to come back (hence Eric’s birth.) This is also something I will show in a possible prequel. Now, most members meet loved ones in the shelter before later meeting their human sides. As of now in the trilogy, it is unknown to the protagonists if anyone has had a happy Light and Dark union.

Worlds inside a World

The Shelter vs. The Light Realm

fbe2dacc94e4a7696471958a9936c578The Dark members have the shelter. This is – quite literally – a shelter, and it is almost all underground. As readers know, Eric’s mother killed herself when Eric was five years old. She killed herself in the main forest in Hayworth. Because of this, Eric’s father buys the park, and he closes it off to everyone else (although Crystal, Robb, and Jessica trespass in the beginning of Seconds Before Sunrise.) The dense forest opens up in a few places, but the forest has a cave, and this is where the original shelter was created. I would explain how it is hidden from humans but that is discussed in Death Before Daylight. As Eric says in Minutes Before Sunset, “At first, the shelter was made up of two offices, a nursing room, and one training room. Since then, it had grown remarkably, and I couldn’t even guess where it ended.”

The Light has the Light realm. Yes. A realm – a place that humans can never go. Quite unfair, isn’t it? Unfortunately, I cannot explain this one at all. Not yet. But I will say this: all of your questions about where lights and shades and prophecies come from are answered in Death Before Daylight, and the secrets reside in the realm. If you haven’t read the trilogy yet, you do see this realm in Seconds Before Sunrise. And, yes, I’m terribly sorry for all of the readers who have wanted and begged for so many more details on the creatures in book 1 and 2. When you read book 3, you will understand why I couldn’t explain everything. I know. I know. Waiting is awful. (But it will be worth it. Promise.)

So what’s the key to world-building? 

Believe in it and have fun! Create the world your characters deserve, share the world with your readers, and keep at it. World-building can take enormous amounts of time and energy, but enjoying the exploration can be one of the best parts of writing it. I, for one, cannot WAIT to share more information about the world in The Timely Death Trilogy, especially considering how many answers are about to be revealed.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

~SAT

Writing Tips: Creating the Paranormal

16 Sep

As many of you know, Minutes Before Sunset is a YA paranormal romance, and my other novel, November Snow, is a YA sci-fi. Although I’ve written in other genres, I wanted to concentrate on these genres, because I’ve found a lot of people (especially those who hesitate to try out the genre) think the genre only consists of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. While these creatures aren’t bad, this belief is completely wrong. There are all kinds of demons, witches, time travelers, magically-empowered beings, and shape-shifters that aren’t werewolves.

For writers, I wanted to talk about this belief and going beyond the vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. There are so many creatures and/or legends to get inspiration from. But where do we start?

Three things you can consider:

1. Creating your own creature entirely–something never heard or seen of before.

At some point, an author used a creature for the first time. Even vampires were new at one point. But there seems to be one thing these creatures have in common: they come from legends, stories passed down for generations. There are entire websites dedicated to urban legends, so why don’t we expand and use these to inspire new legends? You can also use mythical creature lists and/or other cultures tales. For instance, I am fascinated by Japanese legends; they seem to be entirely different than Western legends, so it helps inspire that stretch of creativity.

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids: I imagine this is how Fudicia would look.

Fun fact: “Lights” in Minutes Before Sunset were inspired by the legend of the black-eyed children, kids who show up at your door and attempt to coax you to allow them inside your home. I also thought it was a perfect legend to use, because it’s really popular in Missouri, and, at the time of writing Minutes Before Sunset, I was living on the border of Kansas-Missouri, and the novel is set in Kansas. However, these black-eyed children have been reported from all around the world throughout history, so…look out and don’t open your door for them! ;]

2. Using a spin-off of an already popular creature.

Personally, I love any creature as long as the author makes it their own. For instance, The Forest of Hands and Teeth revolves around zombies, but they aren’t called zombies. They’re called the Unconsecrated, and that’s just the beginning. They have all types of rules, explaining why some act differently and what created others. This concept became a writing obsession for me. Personally, I think I combined 1 & 2 in my writing style. I love creating something new, something that might be influenced by one creature and spun into another world entirely, but it is generally influenced by another creature I’ve heard of.

For instance, you might realize the Minutes Before Sunset “shades” fit under shape-shifting, telepathics. Even though they are “shape-shifters,” they only shape-shift into another person and only one person. In other words, they have two identities. There isn’t a lot of range when it comes to their shape-shifting abilities, but they have other magical abilities when they are shades or lights. When it comes to their telepathy, they can talk to one or more people at once. (Like a private message and/or a chat room.) They can also block people from communicating with them. Other shades–specifically Eric’s father, named Jim (or Bracke)–can sense when people are using their telepathic abilities.

3. Write with the traditional version of any creature.

I want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to create something new. You can use the traditional vampire if that’s what your writing heart desires. What matters is the storyline, and it’s entirely possible to have a fantastic story with a traditionally used creature.

Basically: there are endless possibilities and ways to create the paranormal worlds readers love.

So embrace the upcoming fall, make a bonfire, sit around, and tell some paranormal stories. Who knows what will influence your inspiration next.

If you have any experience in creating or using traditional paranormal creatures, please share! 

~SAT

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