Tag Archives: holidays

Balancing Writing During the Holidays

25 Nov

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

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

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

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

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

My personal holiday notes?

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

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

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

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

Take care of each other.

Happy Holidays,


Best Christmas Books of All Times

22 Dec


Happy #MondayBlogs! What better way to lighten Monday’s normally dreadful mood by having guest bloggers come in and share their thoughts about reading and writing? Today is the first guest blogger for this new section of ShannonAThompson.com, but this isn’t their first time blogging here! If you’ve been with me for a few months, then you’ll recognize Ninja Essays and all of their perfection. Today, Ninja Essays has created another beautiful infograph titled “Best Christmas Books of All Times.” So, you might check it out and find that perfect Christmas gift for your reading friend or for your companions that are traveling this holiday season.

Thank you, Ninja Essays!

Best Christmas Books of All Times

It may be cold, crowded and hectic, but everyone agrees that Christmas is the best time of the year! It’s time to connect with our families and show appreciation for everything we have. The loving Christmas mood has inspired many authors to write heart-warming stories that embody the spirit of the holiday. 

When you get overwhelmed by cooking, event organizing, shopping and wrapping, it’s time to let the perfect Christmas read take you to a world of magic and mystery. The best Christmas books mix sadness with sweetness and joy; they make you reflect on your actions and recognize the importance of kindness, giving and affection. 

The following infographic by NinjaEssays.com suggests the best Christmas books in five categories: Children, Classic, Romance, Fantasy, and Mystery & Crime. It’s the perfect selection of books that remind us what Christmas is really about!   

Infographic Source


Want to be a guest blogger? Wonderful! I am accepting guest posts that focus on reading and writing. No blatant advertisements. You are allowed a book link in the post as long as it’s relevant to the post. Including a bio and a picture is encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!


Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas! 

I’m spending time with my family this holiday season, so I’m going to keep it short. I hope everyone is staying home and enjoying the holidays! Since I can’t upload a Christmas card, I made one from The Timely Death Trilogy. As you guys know, I am a huge fan of Rinmaru Games, and they released a holiday game. (Try it out here.) I used it to create the picture below:

Check out Rinmaru Games!

Check out Rinmaru Games!

From left to right, you see Eric Welborn, Jessica Taylor, Teresa Young, and Jonathon Stone. They wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, too!

Stay warm,


Writing Tips: Holidays (2)

29 Nov

It was Thanksgiving here in the United States yesterday, and I wanted to take a moment today to thank everyone for being part of such a wonderful supportive WordPress family. So…thank you 😀

Here’s a short update: it’s been a crazy good week for me. I received the final edits for Seconds Before Sunrise, and I sent out the cover to the blogs participating in the cover reveal on December 1. (If you want your blog to be involved, feel free to send me a message at shannonathompson@aol.com) I’m very excited for the cover reveal! But, speaking of December 1, don’t forget you could win a signed paperback of Minutes Before Sunset. The raffle ends on December 1–the day of the cover reveal! Enter the raffle here.

I love holidays. I even wrote about how you can use holidays in writing. If you read Writing Tips: Holidays last July, then you know my two basic rules: (I would suggest reading the first piece before continuing below.)

1. Pick a Holiday Carefully

2. Consider Creating Your Own Holiday

In Minutes Before Sunset, I did both. Independence Day happens twice, and it holds special meaning for both the protagonist and the overall theme of the story. We also saw The Naming ceremony–a holiday of the Dark’s–and completely fictional. But today I’m discussing a new aspect of including holidays that I didn’t mention before while giving a little sneak peek into the upcoming novel, Seconds Before Sunrise

So you might be asking, “What holidays and celebrations will we see in the second book of The Timely Death Trilogy?”

Well, Thanksgiving, of course! I will say there is more than this celebration that takes place, but Thanksgiving is particularly important to Seconds Before SunriseLike the first novel, the holiday was chosen carefully. It came down to irony, symbolism, and timing–just like I wrote in Writing Tips: Holidays. But I think the most interesting part for me came down to how Eric and Jessica experienced this holiday differently. How they look at it, think about it, and interact with others during it differed for a reason, and this is why I’m talking about it today.

It might seem obvious: everyone celebrates (or doesn’t celebrate) holidays differently. But even if they are celebrating differently, they also feel and act differently–something they might not even be fully aware of. The others around them are the same way.

I know. I know. What am I getting at? I’m basically saying everyone is different. That’s obvious. But I think I want to change something about my original post Writing Tips: Holidays. Maybe those first two rules aren’t separate rules at all. Maybe they are one in the same.

Pick a Holiday Carefully & Consider Creating Your Own Holiday

My Thanksgiving isn’t the same as another person’s Thanksgiving and that goes for all holidays. In a way, each unique tradition is its own holiday. So using a holiday already known while combining it with special traditions–in a way–is creating your own holiday.

We all celebrate differently, after all.


Dec. 1: Seconds Before Sunrise Cover Reveal

Dec. 3: Check Out These Blogs


Writing Tips: Holidays

5 Jul

As promised, I’m continuing writing tips, and today I am concentrating on the use of holidays in literature. No matter what culture you have or what country you live in, you probably celebrate holidays. I think this is a beautiful thing. Not only do holidays give us an opportunity to remember aspects of life like love, parents, or independence–they also allow us to dedicate the entire day to it. So why not use holidays in our novels to do the same thing?

Happy late Independence Day!

Happy late Independence Day!

There actually are reasons to NOT do this. They can easily come across as cheesy or distracting instead of symbolic. This brings me to my first rule:

Pick a Holiday Carefully: 

Holidays are often unnecessary, so choose carefully if you decide to use one. This is simply a personal preference, but I think holidays become something more when the author uses it in a symbolic manner rather than an event that simply happens. But I think that goes for an entire novel. All events should mean something within the plot, so why shouldn’t a holiday? For example, Minutes Before Sunset begins on Independence Day (Happy belated Fourth by the way!) I did this for three reasons:

  1. Irony: Minutes Before Sunset has a huge theme about fate and choice. Independence Day is…well…as it sounds: Independence Day for America–the setting of the novel. Because of this, it can symbolize the beginning of independence. It can also symbolize the opposite: lack of independence. This is what I’m talking about. The holiday now has two meanings. It fits the plot, and it fits whatever the reader wants it to be.
  2. Symbolic: Minutes Before Sunset is about the Light and the Dark. To me, this holiday involve a major ritual that is very light versus the dark: fireworks. I thought it represented the powers well, but it also represented Eric’s confusion in the beginning.
  3. Timing: it fit. Although I don’t want to admit this is a reasoning, because it seems to take away the meaning, it is, without a doubt, one of the biggest things authors have to consider. Does it fit your plot without straining the time or the characters? Use the holiday if it fits naturally. If it doesn’t, move on to my next topic. You may want to consider it 😀

Considering Creating Your Own Holiday: I think this is great in any kind of novel, not just sci-fi and fantasy. It can show a unique side to a character, family, or community, which, in turn, can create a more believable or relatable setting. This can also apply to creating a special event. Fun fact: Minutes Before Sunset has a “made-up” celebratory event: The Naming. This is when the shades receive their powers. I really enjoyed creating this, but, to my surprise, a lot of readers found interest in it as well:

Ky Grabowski wrote: “A part of the book I really liked was the naming ceremony that is held when kids turn of age to receive their powers. A big part of the Shade’s history. The ceremony is not all it’s shown to be with glitter and crowns. Eric shares his thoughts while watching it all unfold & he makes note that what was in store for the future was far from something to celebrate. They had responsibilities and a lot of pressure comes with that.” Read rest of her review here.

Basically: Holidays are great. That’s why there are entire books about them, like “A Dog Named Christmas” by Greg Kincaid.

Fireworks on the lake

Fireworks on the lake

I hope all of your writings are going well, and don’t forget that Goodreads Book of the Month, Minutes Before Sunset, is on sale for $3.89 (ebook) to celebrate the award! I’m also giving free copies away for review: email shannonathompson@aol.com

Available now on AmazonBarnes & NobleSmashwordsKoboDieselSony, and Apple.


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