Tag Archives: interview

#WW Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview!

21 Sep

As you’re reading this, I’m probably packing books and trinkets and other wonderful goodies for Penned Con St. Louis! Last year, I attended this awesome convention as a reader, and I’m ecstatic to be attending this year as an author! Penned Con is on September 23 & 24 in St. Louis, Missouri, and I will be signing books, taking pictures, and just having a ton of fun with readers. (Click the link for tickets and more info.) I hope to see you there.

Natasha Hanova

Natasha Hanova

On top of that, I’ll be sharing a booth with the wonderful and talented Natasha Hanova, so come check us out. We are on our way!

So, today, I’m breaking a blogging rule of mine and featuring an interview with this awesome lady!

Please welcome YA author Natasha Hanova! (Also, if you visit her website today, you can read my interview! Click here.)

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What do you write?

Hello Shannon! Thanks for having me on your blog. My name is Natasha Hanova. #Whovian. #WalkingDead #GimmeAllTheChocolate. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal, dark fantasy, and dystopian books with romance.

What do you love most about reading?

I love how books take me to new places I’ve never been or show me different aspects of a place I’m familiar with. As a writer, I pay particular attention to the methods other authors use to draw me into their book, whether its voice, style, character, plot. I read for enjoyment, and at the same time, I’m learning to hone my craft.

What do you love most about writing?

Quieting the voices? JK. When I write, I sit down with my laptop, a bag of M&Ms (we’re not discussing which size), and my headphones. One of my favorite parts of writing is getting so deep into the zone that I stop hearing the music, forget to munch on M&Ms, and fall into the fictional world on my screen. When my characters are talking and moving so fast, my fingers can hardly keep up with their pace. When the scene is so vivid, I can smell the crisp air, taste the pine, and touch dried leaves, and hear them crunch the setting. There’s little else that compares to that kind of joy.

What do you love most about publishing?

I like connecting with readers. I’m not going to lie, cover reveals are also exciting.

What are you currently working on?

I have a Young Adult Paranormal that’s Classic Snow White meets Buffy that I’m shopping around. I’m also currently working on an adult horror that’s dark, with sparks of light, and of course a touch of romance.

Any advice for writers out there?

Ever hear the saying, “There is no try, just do.” I think the same thing applies to writing a book. Set attainable goals. Find accountability partners, if you need to and just write. Even one sentence a day is progress.

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

What are you looking forward to at Penned Con?

This is my first time going to Penned Con, though I know a few of the other authors attending. I’m looking forward to sharing a Table 35 with you.  I may or may not have chocolate available. I also can’t wait to meet all the people.

And since we’re talking about traveling, what is your favorite city/trip you’ve been on?

This summer, I went to Finland/Norway with my husband. I’d have to say that was in my Top 3 favorite trips. Beautiful country-side. Delicious food. Serene writing places.

Shout out to three books you love!

Argh! Only three. Man, okay. In no particular order, Touching Fate by Brenda Drake, The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole (Yes, I’m aware that’s more than one book), and Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Shameless plug time! What book of yours should we check out?

Edge of Truth. A recent reviewer described it like this: “[Edge of Truth] is about a girl who can LITERALLY make the earth quake. X-Men meets Divergent.”

Thanks again for having me.

Social Media Links

Website   *   Twitter   *   Goodreads   *   Facebook   *   Pinterest

Book Links

Amazon     *     Barnes & Noble     *     iBooks     *     Books-A-Million

Come out to St. Louis this weekend to hang out with us!

Read my interview on Natasha Hanova’s website here.

~SAT

#WW When You Shouldn’t Write That Book

10 Aug

There comes a time in every writer’s life when they realize they cannot write that book….and I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m talking about when you want to write a book, but you know you shouldn’t. Maybe not yet. Maybe never.

Of course, I’m not saying a writer CAN’T write that book. Not forever anyway. But just like a construction project, certain books require particular tools, and if you don’t have those tools, building anything might be for naught…or even dangerous.

So here are three questions to ask yourself while deciding if you are ready to write that novel or not.

1. Have You Researched EVERYTHING Properly?

This is particularly true in historical fiction, but research shouldn’t be overlooked for any type of fiction. This means you are researching your setting, your themes, and your characters thoroughly. If you are writing anything outside of your personal experiences—which is more likely than not—it’s best to read articles, watch documentaries, and even talk to those who do have those personal experiences you’re lacking. If you haven’t done this, you most likely don’t know enough to write about certain topics and people from a respectful and knowledgeable place. You might even add to damaging stereotypes or incorrect presumptions. Take the time to get to know your novel’s needs…as well as your audience’s.

2. Have You Read This Genre?

You should be reading in and outside of any genre you want to write in, but you should definitely be familiar with trends in your market. Being able to recognize writers, publishers, and various novels is key to understanding your audience and what purpose your book serves. What does it add to the market? What does it give to your readers? If you’re unsure where your book would be on a shelf, you’re probably not ready yet. But don’t worry! All you have to do is read more. (And who doesn’t love reading?) I went through this myself recently. As someone who mainly reads and writes YA fantasy, I wanted to tackle a contemporary novel when I wasn’t fully equipped to do so. Though I read contemporary still, I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t familiar enough with the current shelf to proceed. I need to collect more tools. I need to read more. And I am.

Who doesn't love an extra excuse to read more?

Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to read more?

3. Why Are YOU The Right Person to Write This Book?

Listen, I’m not here to tell someone if they are the right person to write a book or not. That’s between the author, their book, and the creative process. But I honestly believe we can get to a moment where we realize a book—while it’s good—might be better for someone else to write. This is going to vary from person to person, and it ultimately weighs on how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to a story. If you’re hesitating to research, for instance, you’re probably the wrong person for that book. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome obstacles or hurdles in your way, but it’s also okay to move on from something you realize isn’t right for you. If you’re on the fence—and you’re unsure how you’re feeling about this topic—one question you can ask yourself is WHY you’re even writing it. Seems obvious enough, but when you take a step back, you might see that you were, in fact, chasing a trend or a surface idea without the will to dive deeper. That’s okay. There are a million stories out there for you to write, and I’m sure you already have plenty more to chase. It’s a matter of figuring out which one feels right to you.

When you should write a book, it will come to you.

Enjoy the adventure,

~SAT

Read my latest interview on Crazy Beautiful Reads: “Every writer’s life is paved with rejections.” Comment for your chance to win some awesome books!

It’s official! Author Natasha Hanova will be sharing a table with me at Penned Con in St. Louis this September! Check her out, say hi, tell her I sent you, and come visit us in September. We’ll be signing books, talking books, and just having a great ol’ time.

*FREE BOOK ALERT*

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE!

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

December’s Ketchup

30 Dec

Normally, I put announcements at the bottom, but today is going to be an exception. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, is based in Dallas, and we want to give back to the tornado victims. 50% of Wednesday’s CTP Amazon Profits to Go to Tornado Victims. (You can read the full post on their official website by clicking here.)

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If you have been eyeing any of our Clean Teen Publishing or Crimson Tree Publishing novels for a while now, we ask that you consider purchasing them on Wednesday.

Find Clean Teen Publishing Novels Here. 

Find Crimson Tree Publishing Novels Here. 

If you are interested in finding out more ways you can help victims, this post gives several ways you can help our community.

We look forward to making a large donation to the Red Cross on Thursday. We will be sure to share the screen shot of the amount made from digital novels on Amazon this Wednesday so you can see what these efforts produced. Thank you in advance for your help in spreading the word and in helping us to give back!

~CTP

On a side note, I have ONE more VERY important announcement I want to place right up here at the top. Yesterday, our 2015 blogging reports were released, and I wanted to thank my top five commenters for being just the sweetest peaches out there.

Thank you, Charles, Cristina, Viv, Siamese Mayhem, and Deby!

Have a Happy New Year!

topcommenters

2015 is coming to an end, and what a delight 2015 has been! I’m already looking forward to 2016, but first, thank you for spending 2015 with me. You are wonderful. I wish you all a Happy New Year!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this December!

Big Moments:

774959_954867311227117_7029831497832645098_oI’ve been editing Bad Bloods this month, and the covers are complete. We decided to wait to reveal them in 2016, so look out for that! I’m super excited for those books, and I hope you are too. Clean Teen Publishing is working hard to get it to you, and they added to their hard work by hand-making all the CTP authors a holiday gift. You might have seen it already, but the ‘S’ made out of passages from my books means a lot to me. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful gift, and I cannot thank the CTP team enough for all the work that they do. I cannot wait to see what happens in 2016.

~SAT

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

#1 clicked item was SAT on FB.

Top Three Blog Posts:

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

#1 SEO Term was Shannon A. Thompson (Thanks for Googling me, guys!)

1. #RealYA How Does it Affect Fiction? I pariticpated in a Twitter discussion with modern teens on elements in fiction that aren’t relatable to their lives today

2. Top 5 Tips I Gave Out as an Editor and Marketer This Year: I did a round-up of the top tips I’ve given out in 2015. It ranged from editing to writing to marketing yourself.

3. Find Your Perfect Editor by Antonio Tooley: Hiring an editor is vital! Finding the perfect one is hard enough, but Antonion helps everyone out in this article.

Other Blog Posts:

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

All You Need as a Writer by Ken Hughes: A great article about the key to being a writer.

What Going to the Bookstore is Like: Because we all love going to the bookstore:

Saturdate: White Rose, Man in the High Castle, Burt’s Bees, and Sweets: I feel in love with an Amazon original and lip balm.

Saturdate: The BFG, Butterscotch, The Nutcracker, and X-Men Apocalypse: I read a lot, and loved so many movie trailers it was silly.

10 Books That Will Inspire You to Travel by Jason Biondo: My last guest blogger of the year inspires us to travel through reading.

2016 YA Reading Predictions: Every year, people predict what will be popular in 2016, so I joined in on the fun.

Saturdate: Star Wars, Novel Aesthetics, Antlers, and Florence: I finally saw the new Star Wars movie, and I listened to the new Florence + The Machine Album.

Saturdate: Cover Reveal, The Dark Artifices, Podcasts, and a Burglar: Deer tried to break into my house.

Website Wonders: A monthly classic

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 want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Interviews: Drew C. Ryan interviewed me on his entertainment YouTube channel. If you didn’t get a chance to watch it, check it out!

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

Calculated on December 28 at 20,558 followers

September’s Ketchup

30 Sep

September’s Ketchup

And here we are, at the end of September, at the beginning of fall. So much happened this month, the main event being the release of Death Before Daylight, but this post will highlight so much more, just in case you missed it.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up”. At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this September!

Big Moments:

I had my three-year blogiversary, which is crazy surreal, and Death Before Daylight released. Finally. I still can’t quite believe it, but I am super happy that The Timely Death Trilogy finally had a chance to release in full for all the Dark readers out there. On top of that, we had a lot of fun during the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour. If you missed those interviews, guest posts, and features, they are all listed below. And since we’ve talk about two of the three novels in the trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset hit #12 in overall Free Kindle Store, and it became #1 in science fiction, paranormal, and urban fantasy! (It’s still free, too.)

On top of that, you all pushed the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, into the top 100 of all its categories, including young adult, science fiction, paranormal, and urban fantasy. Death Before Daylight, book 3, hit the top 100 of paranormal books too. I cannot thank you enough.

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Thanks for reading, lovelies. I’ll be signing books next month on October 21 at Headrush Roasters Coffee and Tea in Kansas City, Missouri.

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon

Come out and see me!

Stay Dark,

~SAT

 

Top Three Blog Posts:

  1. Deciding to Change my Writing Plan: Marketing and choosing how to market is vital for an author’s business plan. I talk about how I know when to change mine and how to stick with a new route to reach success.
  2. Book Release: Death Before Daylight: Death Before Daylight released, and it was tons of fun! Thanks for reading!
  3. Cartoons Make You a Better Writer Written by author Grant Goodman, this piece channels your inner cartoon lover to be a better writer.
#1 SEO Term was Andrew Vogel from Under the Dome. Here he is reading Minutes Before Sunset's 1st edition.

#1 SEO Term was Andrew Vogel from Under the Dome. Here he is reading Minutes Before Sunset’s 1st edition.

Other Blog Posts:

Things to do when Suffering from Writer’s Block by C.S. Wilde: A great guest post every writer can use when sufferer from dreaded writer’s block.

Three-Year Blogging Anniversary: I’ve been blogging for three years! This is how it changed my life.

Stopping Guest Posts and New Line-Up: I’m changing ShannonAThompson.com

The Prose Poem by Ann Howells: A guest post by a great poet about poetry.

Writing in Limbo: Between books I take a break to plan.

Book Releases Explained by Sailor Moon: A great reader asked me to explain all the emotions behind a book release. Sailor Moon is my spirit animal, so I used her to express myself.

Writing Update: Take Me Yesterday: I’m currently writing in the second novel of The Tomo Trilogy.

The Sting of Book Release Day: Release days can be fun but also frightening.

Website Wonders: Monthly classic

Guest Posts:

#1 Referrer was WordPress' Reader

#1 Referrer was WordPress’ Reader

Not Just Another Romance: On Mythical Books I wrote about why The Timely Death Trilogy isn’t just another romance, but I mainly focused on how nothing really is.

Favorite Book Covers and Why On LuLo Fangirl I wrote about my favorite book covers and how it affects my reading.

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 want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Seconds Before Sunrise: Young Adult Book Madness, Black Words-White Pages, Endless Reading, Books for Thought, Crazy Beautiful, and Fic Gal

Death Before Daylight: The Examiner, Tamara Morning

Interviews: Kelly P’s Blog, Books for Thought, Blacks Words, White Pages

Features: CTP Death Before Daylight Release Party, Forget the Housework, I’m Reading, Dowie’s Place, Happily Ever After Seekers Book Club, One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads, Waiting On Wednesday, Just AmyShelfbuzz.

Calculated on September 26 at 19,887 followers

Calculated on September 26 at 19,887 followers

#SATurday: Writing Update: Take Me Yesterday

12 Sep

I’m writing this blog post before I announce I’m working on Take Me Yesterday, book 2 of The Tomo Trilogy, but I’ve probably shown you a teaser by now. (This time warp I live in—two weeks before my life is posted—is still rather strange, but it is especially ironic in this case.)

For those of you who don’t know, my novel, Take Me Tomorrow, book 1 of The Tomo Trilogy, is a young adult dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug. It released July 17, 2014, but it was taken off of the market less than six months later after that publisher closed. Now that I’m done rewriting November Snow, I’ve returned to The Tomo Trilogy with new insight, and I would like to experiment with that path next.

That being said, I’m basically writing this to ask you a few questions. Was there something you would’ve liked to see in Take Me Tomorrow? For instance, I am considering adding a few one-page chapters from Noah’s perspective, and I would like to hear your opinion on that. Originally, I kept the excerpts out because I thought he either said too much or too little, but so many of you expressed how you would’ve liked to see his voice, so I might add them. (But I warn you, his voice makes no sense, so please keep that in mind.) I’m also considering adding a few more details about the “massacre” that is mentioned, but there was an important reason I didn’t explain it in the first book. (It’s explained in book 2.) But I would love to hear any and all opinions if you have them.

That being said, working on Take Me Yesterday is different than I ever imagined. I’m basically rewriting it, too. The draft I had written is now five years old. FIVE. That shocked me enough. I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then, so I’m writing it with some older eyes, more experienced eyes, but that doesn’t mean it has been easy.

tmtcollage

You see, there’s a reason I didn’t return to Take Me Tomorrow right away. When it first released, I thought maybe it was the wrong decision, that the story was too controversial, that the story might even be too close to home. To this day, Take Me Tomorrow is the closest work I’ve written to my life, and I don’t do that often, but the topics surrounding drugs is important to me. Considering my mother died of a drug overdose when I was eleven, I’ve been affected by drugs my whole life, and after my mother’s death, I did a lot of research regarding how drugs are handled in society, both illegal and legal, and Take Me Tomorrow was the result of all that research. (If you want more information, I wrote an article a while back that gets in-depth about my reasoning, Why I Write About Drugs, Immigration, and Addiction) But, when it comes down to it, Take Me Tomorrow is my expressing a lot of pain I’ve had in regards to drugs. I don’t think it’s black and white. I find drug-related topics to be very gray, and I tried to portray that in the first book.

Perhaps releasing it when I did wasn’t the right time, but it did open my eyes to what I might face. Like, the woman who emailed me and told me I was encouraging kids to fall in love with drug addicts by writing what I did. (True story.) But I think, I’ve come to a point in my writing career where I know, no matter what, that I need to be true to myself…and I think I’m ready to tackle this controversy again. Most of all, I think I’m simply ready to share the rest of Sophia’s story.

I hope you’ll enjoy it too,

~SAT

P.S. For those of you wondering about November Snow, I still plan on releasing that next, and I’m hoping to announce something about it this fall/winter. Right now though, I’m just concentrating on getting The Timely Death Trilogy out before I worry about publication. Thank you for understanding!

Announcement time! And, boy, do I have a lot of announcements. (They’re exciting, I promise!)

Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases in THREE days. Three! Pre-order your eBooks here: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks. (The paperback releases Oct. 19.) If you want to be a part of the release day, you can even sign up for a book blast by clicking here. And, if you haven’t started the trilogy yet, don’t worry. The first book is free everywhere. Here’s some links to get you started in the Dark: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks.

All three!

All three!

Death Before Daylight was even featured on Waiting on Wednesday,  a weekly post about what readers are waiting for. On top of that, we’ve had a lot of fun so far during the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour, and as usual, you can visit any of these places to enter into a raffle to win great prizes! Here are the latest stops: Black Words-White Pages interview, Crazy Beautiful Reads Review, and Fic Gal Review.

As for events, UK fans, I will be doing an Author Takeover on Happily Ever After Seekers Book Club on Facebook tomorrow at 8 p.m. (UK), which is 3 p.m. (EST).

Another Facebook party is being thrown by Clean Teen Publishing on September 18 from 7-9 p.m. (EST) Come join us at the CTP Death Before Daylight Release Party.

And, finally, (OH! FINALLY!) I’ll be doing a Halloween book signing and paranormal talk at Headrush Roasters in Gladstone, Missouri on October 21 from 6-7:30 p.m. (CDT). Who else can’t wait?

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August Ketchup

31 Aug

August’s Ketchup

Wow! Another month has passed, and with it, Seconds Before Sunrise has released. (And the last novel releases in September!) I was blown away by your support this past month, so thank you! I have more prizes and fun coming your way soon.

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up”. At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog posts, my top referrer, #1 SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this August!

Big Moments:

Seconds Before Sunrise released! This has definitely been a crazy season to keep up with for me, but I’m loving every second of it. I’m so happy to have the sequel out and in readers’ hands, and I hope you’re enjoying the read as much as I’m enjoying hearing from you all. To everyone who supported my book release by helping, tweeting, Facebook-ing, and more, thank you. You make up the Dark.

Minutes Before Sunset went up for FREE everywhere. This may not seem like a “big” moment for everyone, but it was for me. Anything I’ve never done before is a big moment, and this was my first time having one of my works out there for free. It was definitely a learning opportunity, and I loved it! In fact, I’m still loving it. Minutes Before Sunset even got as high as #5 in science-fiction, #7 in paranormal, and in the top 500 Kindle books overall.

The first time I've ever held Death Before Daylight.

The first time I’ve ever held Death Before Daylight.

We also had the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour this month, which was awesome. (And if you missed my guest posts and interviews, all links are below). While that was going on, I flew to Atlanta to meet a long-time blogger friend of mine, and it was a delight, and when I got back, we celebrated the sequel’s release. The very next day, Death Before Daylight arrived in the mail. For those of you who have been following me since this trilogy was first published, you know that I’ve never been able to hold this book in my hands. I teared up at the moment. I’ve been waiting for it for almost a year after it was supposed to release. It reminds me that dreams will always come true, as long as you keep trying. 

It was definitely a busy month, and I look forward to the excitement of September as well. Keep your eyes out for the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour, the release of Death Before Daylight,  and more!

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#1 Referrer Other Than Search Engines was Facebook

#1 Referrer Other Than Search Engines was Facebook

Top Three Blog Posts: 

  1. The Emotions of Listing a Book For Free: Oh, silly ol’ me. Minutes Before Sunset went up for free this month, and I wrote a very honest post about my emotions surrounding it—all from horror to delight to absolute excitement.
  2. Seconds Before Sunrise Evolution Day: Seconds Before Sunrise released, and it was a delightful day, full of chocolate, surprises, and fun, but the post covers the seven-year journey of this trilogy, starting in 2008 when it was first written and ending today upon release day.
  3. Confessions of a Slow Writer: I’m a slow writer! I confessed, and now, you can read all about my confession.
#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon.

#1 Clicked Item was Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon.

Other Blog Posts:

Guest Post:

If You Could Be Any of Your Characters on Black-Words, White-Pages: I talk about my love for sidekicks, especially Jonathon Stone in The Timely Death Trilogy.

How To Make Your Paranormal Novel Stand Out on One Good Guy’s Guide to Good Reads, I talked about how I made my paranormal novel stand out by creating my own world inside of a world with new creatures.

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 want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

Minutes Before Sunset: Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts, Cloud Nine Girl, I Feel The Need, The Need to Read

Death Before Daylight: The Modest Verge Book Blog, Macy Stories

Interviews: Melissa Book Buzz, Deal Sharing Aunt, Juniper Grove Book Solutions, More Than You Wanted to Know

Features: A Fold in the Spine, Girls With Books, The Bookie Monster, Mythical Books, The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass, The Wonderings of One Person, Lady Amber’s Reviews, and in the article, You Love Them, but How Well Do You Know Your Favorite Authors?

Calculated on August 26 at 19,887 followers

Calculated on August 26 at 19,887 followers

#SATurday Emotionally Spamming Readers

15 Aug

Emotionally Spamming Readers

I want to talk about something unusual…at least for me as an author…and because I’ve never really seen an article discussing it (other than how to avoid it), I thought it would be fun to address it. Overwhelming your readers with spam. Rather than talk about literal spam, I want to talk about emotionally holding yourself back because you fear any announcement is spam. So, when I say “spam,” I’m not talking about an endless array of emails or tweets with no purpose. I’m talking about feeling guilty when you share news once or twice for various reasons. That’s the issue I want to address.

As many of you know, I started off this blog almost three years ago. I wrote every other day, and then, two years in, I took a one-month break where I changed my schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (and Mondays are for guests only). During my Wednesday and Saturdays posts, I’ve recently been sharing news at the end of the article. “Here’s an upcoming release!” or “Check out this giveaway!”

To be honest, I haven’t had a lot happening up until last month, and now, it’s endless. Blog tours, giveaways, release days, appearances, interviews, etc. Which is all FANTASTIC. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so giddy my rolly chair barely stays still. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worried. Sometimes, at the end of my recent posts, my announcements are longer than my post, and the spam worries roll in:

Am I posting too much information? Should I choose between one interview and a giveaway? Do I look like I’m bragging? Is anyone even reading that part?

And then, I came to a personal conclusion—a conclusion I’m not always sure about, but one that brings me comfort and happiness, and that conclusion is that I enjoy sharing that news at the end of my blog posts.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

For a long time—and I know I’m not alone in this—I hid my author life and accomplishments and current news, and when people asked about my career (or “hobby” as many put it), I gave a mundane answer like, “It’s going well.” instead of saying, “I have a blog tour coming up, and I just got back from meeting a long-time blogger friend in Atlanta.” Why did I do this to myself? Why did I hold back my excitement toward my career? Probably because, as many writers know, society rather pokes fun at writers who aren’t Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, but they weren’t always “them” either. One story that always sticks out to me is from the infamous King, who said he finally felt like a writer when he paid a plumber’s bill with his royalties. It didn’t matter who defined him; he defined him, and that’s how he did it. So, I’m working at accepting my pride as a writer—and not hubris, but simple pride for all the work I’ve done, and all of the readers who’ve done work to help me, and all the bloggers I’ve met, and all the moments we’ve shared. How do we share more moments if I continue to hold myself back by not sharing my latest news below my weekly articles? I have to share them, and I have to be okay with sharing them, and even more, I have to accept that I ENJOY sharing them without feeling guilty or worrying about if I’m spamming. As long as I have a purpose, and I’m not posting it wherever and whenever I can, it’s not spam; it’s a simple announcement about what’s going on in my author life. And if someone wants to read it, GREAT! If someone wants to just read my articles, that’s GREAT too!

This is my life, and my life isn’t spam.

It’s crazy, and wonderful, and I stumble over it every day, and for that, I am grateful.

~SAT

And now for those announcements I just discussed. ;]

Seconds Before Sunrise releases in less than two weeks! To celebrate, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting SO many giveaways. Win a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise via a Goodreads Giveaway, and win a $15 Amazon gift card, CTP ebook, and bookmark swag pack during the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour; here are the latest posts where you can enter: Deal Sharing Aunt Interview, Mythical Books SpotlightThe Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass Spotlight, and The Wonderings of One Person Spotlight.

If you want to participate in the next tour—where you can interview me, have guest posts, and more—sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise tour here. You can also join my newsletter for more prize-winning opportunities…which brings me to my next announcement. CTP is hosting another Facebook party, where you can win prizes and talk to authors on August 28. I will definitely be there, and I hope you come too!

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Don’t forget to check out Minutes Before Sunset before the sequel releases at Amazon and Barnes & NobleIf you’ve already done that, here are the links to pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise (AmazonBarnes & Noble) and Death Before Daylight (AmazonBarnes & Noble). If you write a review and you want me to share it, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would be more than happy to do so!

Thank you for your support.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer

13 Jul

Intro:

One of the best parts of being an author is meeting and speaking with readers. Among the readers who help authors the most are the wonderful book bloggers. Without them, we wouldn’t be the wonderful and supportive community of writers and readers we are today. That’s why I’m proud to share today’s post about bloggers. Kristine Schwartz is the writer behind the infamous book blog, The Schwartz Reviews, and today, she shares all that goes on behind the scenes in this loyal writing community. Let’s welcome her!

Life as a Book Bloggin’ Reviewer by Kristine Schwartz

So, as the title of this post suggests, I am a book blogging reviewer. I review books. Lots and lots of books. I consider it my day job, as I am one of the lucky ones who is also a stay at home parent. So, when Shannon Thompson put out a status update looking for guest posts I started thinking about all of the wonderful things that I could write. As a blogger, that is the other half of my job. I say job, but I do not really get paid… unless you count the piles of free books I acquire, which I do. I do count those as payment. Plus it is always such a great way to find new authors that just wow your boots off (or how does that saying go again?). So, without further ado, I bring to you my life as a book blogger!

Photo provided by Kristine

Photo provided by Kristine

What is amazing about my ‘Job’

FREE BOOKS! Ahem. I mean the free books are obviously a bonus. However, a book blogger is not for the faint of heart. I mean, you probably will not pass out or anything by anything that I do BUT it does require a TON of your undivided attention. Plus, despite what some may think, you will not hit it off right out of the gate. It takes a lot of work to gather a following, a lot of work developing your talent as a blogger. I am not even sure that I have completely hit it off yet; however, I am getting close to where I want to be as a blogger. Years later and hundreds of posts in, I’m beginning to get the hang of this book bloggin’ business.

A book blogger is an author’s best friend.

Ok, so free books are at the top of the list of what is amazing about book blogging. What is next? In my opinion, the relationships you create with authors that you fall for. Sure, there are many authors that just come and go, but the ones that affect you the most are the ones that you begin to chit chat with on a regular basis. The ones on your Facebook, the ones you work with behind the scenes on their newest works, and the ones you spread the word about on more than one occasion. I absolutely love it when I begin to consider an author my friend. Yea yea, a Facebook friend, but they mean so much more to me as a reader than just a number in a list. I begin to want what is best for them and become available to them at any time. What? They need a review of their latest book? Sure, I will put this book down for you right now! What? A cover reveal? I need that on my blog! Let me Facebook that, tweet it, and Instagram it! The relationships you develop with the authors that you love and are lucky enough to meet through your blog, priceless.

I get to work with authors on cover reveals, guest posts, interviews, and giveaways! I absolutely love interviewing authors and finding out all the in’s and out’s of their writing habits and styles. I also think it is fabulous to see all the amazing covers before anyone else. I mean, sharing their amazing covers with all of the readers, yes that is what I meant…

What is hard about my ‘Job’

Emails. That is the hardest part about being a book blogger. I currently have… let me check… almost four hundred emails in my account waiting for attention. Why is this hard? Because I hate the fact that I cannot answer them all. I do not want to leave anyone behind. I want to help everyone. I want to reply to everyone. But realistically, it is impossible. So it hurts my heart that some authors who have worked so hard on their novels will not get a reply from me. When the whole point of my blogging is to help as many authors as I can. I even have several members of my family working behind the scenes with me, reading and reviewing books so that I can help more authors. Yet, so many are left waiting, for an email that just will not come because I am swamped. It is the absolute worst part of being a book blogger. Feeling as though I am letting people down. I just have to remember that I am doing the best that I can, and that I am helping as many authors as possible. That has to count for something right?

Another hard part would be the social media. I am more of a behind the scenes person myself. I like to read and write my reviews. However, to be a successful blogger you need to keep up with all of the social media. And well, I find that it just takes away from my reading time. That is not good. Not when I try to average 2-4 books a week. So keeping up with Twitter and Instagram are hard for me. Facebook is my main social network platform that I maintain, and even that gets difficult at times. I cannot help it! I am usually reading an interesting book! And you know how it is…You know how it is, right?

I guess I have to put this here as well, boring books. Yes, such a thing exists. I find it quite difficult when I accept a novel for review, only to find that the novel is incredibly hard to read. Like, all I want to do is put it down. However, if I accept a novel for review, well, I give it my best. I will read it, and review it objectively. It is my ‘job’ after all. For example, I once read a novel about constipation that turned into diarrhea… enough said, right?

Book covers, they will get me every time…

How I started out: 

This is easy. I started out on Goodreads. I honestly suggest that if you have the desire to start a book blog that you begin on Goodreads. Why? Because that is the best site to begin meeting authors, other reviewers, and start your reviewing career. Start with the books you have recently read, rate them out of five stars, and then write a review. Find your style. Then, when you are ready, you can create your blog. I suggest BlogSpot because it is super easy to use and maintain. You can even use Goodreads to begin announcing your book blog. Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain. This is exactly how I began.

Remember, a blog takes a lot of work to maintain.

A day in the life of a book blogger: 

Ok, so let’s begin when my blogging day begins and ends.

Are you ready to be impressed? Bored? A little of both maybe? I start by reading…for hours! Sometimes, I forget to eat. Others, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the novel in hand (damn those boring books, eh?). I attempt to read for 4-5 hours a day. Yes, that long! Then, my housewife duties begin…Don’t worry, I only waste an hour or two on these 😉

Then, I attempt to do my social media connections for an hour a night. Setting up posts for timed postings. I also attempt to write articles for my blog for an hour a night. Plus, whenever there is time in the evening…I have my nose stuck in a book (or game, Xbox is my second passion and I am LadyRPG009 on live 😉

I also spend quite a lot of time on the phone during the day. Connecting with various family members who have novels on the go for my review blog. I pressure them to hurry up, take notes, and read read read! I am a hard arse I guess. But hey, it gets the job done… most of the time anyway.

Running a Blog: 

The main part of running a blog is design. Design of your blog. Design of your posts. Design of your images. Design of your layout…you get the point.

Once design is finished, content. I have spent a lot of time lately working out some content kinks. Design flaws. I absolutely love the way of my posts now. My review format works wonderful for me, and I love it because it is unique to my site. Unique to my name. And it holds everything that I believe is important to a review. I will not get into exactly my format, as it can be found completely on my “How Books are Rated” page. I give out stars in my own five star rating system. I also format my reviews so that everything is labeled perfectly and a reader can see what they deem important right away. BAM! Done to perfection…in my eyes anyway J

I also offer editing…why? Because I am an avid reader who has done her research properly and knows the rules of the English language. And because one of my greatest book peeves is reading a novel that has not been perfected for the reader. Ugh! Please, before publication, just perfect it… Even a little. It is greatly appreciated. I even include a perfection star in my rating system for this purpose. I would even go so far as to say that it is my GREATEST BOOK PEEVE!

Ok, so after editing, which is an amazing service (every author that has used my service has told me this), I mainly run reviews. I attempt to have a review posted at least twice a week. Sometimes that is just not feasible as some books are quite large. Therefore, when that happens, I attempt to post articles. Posts written by yours truly. Or posts written by authors, interviews, or cover reveals. I am also starting to put up some giveaways. I have several planned for the summer that will rock your socks off (THAT IS the saying!).

Honestly, book blogging is a blast! If you can do it…Do it! It is sooooo worth it. Yes, it is a ton of work. Yes, it is a commitment, but it is a lot of fun and so very rewarding. I, honestly, wish that I had started doing it sooner. Really.

Bio:

Kristine Schwartz from The Schwartz Reviews leads an extremely busy life. She is first, a mother of four young children aged seven to ten. Two beautiful boys to protect her younger twin daughters. Living with four children is only half her work however; she also has a home and husband to maintain. She has studied Economics and Accounting. She has also made a home 800kms away from where she was born and raised. Leaving London, Ontario behind for the country life of the Quebec province. She spends her day’s home arguing with her cat, Joseph, and reading or writing for her blog. Her evenings are spent running around like a chicken with its head cut off while she cleans, cooks, and bathes her small baseball team of children. Playdates, and homework, and of course, reading whenever she finds the time.

Where You Can Find Me:

The BlogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Email: theschwartzreviews@gmail.com

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

18 Apr

#SATurday: Interview with Bogart, the author kitten

First and foremost, I would like to thank The Acid Oasis for asking me to interview Bogart. I immediately knew that I HAD to do it, and today is the day I share the results. But – first – a little background on this fuzzy little (okay, he’s a bit chunky) feline.

A little over four years ago, a terribly horrible person ditched Bogart and three other black cats. In a closed box. On the side of a highway. He was two months old. Thankfully, a person who was the opposite of the first person (meaning, this next person is an amazing and wonderful human being) pulled over on that highway and saved the kittens by taking them to Wayside Waifs. Two months later, Bogart became my family, and here we are today – catlady and cat – writing stories together every day.

bogartcharacterprofile

Bogart: A lovely introduction. Thank you, Shannon.

Shannon: Well, you did help me write it. How are you doing today?

Bogart: Hungry. As usual.

Shannon: We just ate.

Bogart: I get a treat for this, right?

Shannon: (pause) Sure.

Bogart: (finally sits) Great. Let’s get this started.

Shannon: What is it like to be an author cat?

Bogart: It’s tough work! I sit in Shannon’s lap most of the day, and when I’m not in her lap, I’m next to her. Even when she doesn’t know it, I’m watching – making sure she doesn’t make a mistake, critiquing every word she types, and let me tell you, there are A LOT of words, and I keep Shannon in check.

Shannon: Why are you referring to me as Shannon when I’m right here?

Bogart: It’s for dramatic effect. (pause) And this is exactly what I mean. Without me, you wouldn’t even understand the meaning of drama. And who can have literature without drama?

Shannon: (blinks) Fair enough.

Bogart: So, as I was saying (yawn mixed with a meow), this is tough work. When Shannon makes a mistake, I jump onto her laptop. She doesn’t like it very much. I get thrown off a lot, you know? But the best partners have to have disagreements sometimes. Still, I think she knows I’m right because she ends up staring at her computer for a long while after. Sometimes, she even shuts it down altogether.

Shannon: So, what happens then? When you’re off the laptop?

Bogart: The inspiration, of course! Recently, for instance, I acquired two new friends, Boo Boo and Kiki. I’m sure you’ve seen us on Instagram. (leans in close, rubs face on recorder) We’re famous. (leans out) But Boo Boo and Kiki have been a great help. We set everything up, and the second Shannon comes into the room, we begin our masterpiece. There’s fighting and yelling and cuddling and sharing. An entire collection of emotions just for one plot, let me tell you.

Shannon: And how do I – er, I mean – how does Shannon react to these pieces?

Bogart: She loves them so much, she trips. (stretches) Sometimes, over Boo Boo, but mainly over me. I’m the star of the show, the big guy, the spark. (licks paw) It’s tough work, but the fight scenes in The Timely Death Trilogy wouldn’t be here without me.

Shannon: I thought Shannon wrote that before you two began collaborating.

Bogart: (ignores) What’s your next question?

Shannon: Ah. Right. (flips through notebook) Do you have any works of your own you’ll release? Anything by Bogart?

Bogart: Now that. (long purr) That is a great question. (sees water glass in front of him for the first time. Eyes go wide. Paw lifts up. He knocks it to the floor. Purr deepens.) I love the sound of water glasses hitting the floor. It’s the musical soundtrack of inspiration. Don’t you think?

Shannon: (stares at the mess) I need to clean that.

Bogart: Not now. Not now. (sits in lap and looks up with big, begging eyes to prevent movement) We were talking about my own story.

Shannon: (pets) Go on

Bogart: I do have my own stories. Many stories. Stories I’ve been piecing together for four long years. Stories of purr-fection and cat-astrophe and mew-tovation. But these things take time. A lot of time. And for now, I am enjoying my place – as a muse, a confidant, a kitten cat.

Shannon: Kitten cat?

Bogart: It’s a new spelling I’ve come up with – in reference to a cat that keeps their kitten qualities despite hardships – a cat that maintains their dreaming selves through adulthood, a cat that never gives up. (lifts face) I’m a kitten cat, and without me, Shannon would have a more difficult time with her dreams. Someone must encourage her – just as she encourages me with treats. (long pause)

Shannon: (throws treat)

Bogart: (eats treat) But, you see, we work together, and that’s a precious thing: an author kitten cat and his author, writing into the future. (pause) You could write a whole story on that.

Shannon: I already made a note.

Bogart: Great. We should get back to work.

Shannon: Agreed. (pets) Thank you for your time, Bogart.

Bogart: Thank you for the treat. (jumps down) Now open that laptop. We have books to write.

After the interview, Bogart and I got to work on the latest piece of fiction that will, hopefully one day, hit the shelves for readers. We worked all day and all night, only stopping for dinner, coffee, and treats. He purred and slept, but I know he kept his Halloween cat eyes on every word, just waiting for the opportunity to jump onto my laptop (to prevent mistakes, of course). When we finished our long day, we celebrated by talking some more. Bogart told me of the birds that taunted him, of the sunshine that warmed him, and of the toys he found beneath the couch. In his spare time, Bogart appears on Facebook and Instagram. He also models for donations. But he mainly looks forward to another day, full of writing and kitten cat adventures. It didn’t need to be said, but I found myself stating it anyway. I love Bogart very much.

~SAT

Screen Shot 2015-04-17 at 9.05.55 AMP.S. I was a guest blogger for Little Birdy Book Blog yesterday, and I talked about 5 lessons I learned since becoming an author. What was number 1? Being a reader is much more complicated now. Check it out by clicking here.

The Struggling (Sometimes Starving) Writer

24 Dec

The Struggling (Sometimes Starving) Writer

As many of you know, I love listening. Hearing the stories of strangers is often the most inspiring moments of my own life. It’s also how I fell in love with listening, and this is why I enjoy hearing your opinions and suggestions so much. Recently, Bob Clary – the Marketing Manager for Webucator – asked me to write a blog post that answered a few questions about novel writing, but his focus went a little further than that. The main idea fixated on writing despite lack of financial gain – a very common occurrence among authors – and I’m not an exception. Since graduating from the University of Kansas, I’ve been searching for work, but I haven’t had much luck, and recently, I lost my car. Now, finding work has been even more grueling, and there are days where I’m often at a loss for hope. It is in those moments that I write more, and it is then how much I realize writing has helped me.

When I first started writing, it was out of pure love for the craft. How could it not be? I was a child. I had very few things to worry about – other than moving around. Before I was 14, I had moved six times. The road was very much my home, but the road can be lonely. It was difficult to make friends, and when I did, moving again didn’t permit me to keep friends for long. Writing allowed me to entertain myself, but it went much further than that. Writing also allowed me to explore friendship in fantasies I created, and since I created them, they didn’t have to go away, and for that reason, I was perfectly content living in a fantasy world for a very long time. It wasn’t until my mother passed away when I was eleven years old that I realized my writing was my first love but also my first coping mechanism. Writing was my way of living, and I wanted to spend my life writing. By choosing this path, I hoped to help and inspire others – especially young people. Through writing, I wanted to show it was possible to follow the dream despite difficulties. In fact, I wanted to prove it.

My peaceful moments.

My peaceful moments.

Those are still my goals today, but – of course – life is very different now that I’m 23. I struggle to pay the bills. I cannot afford to buy a new car. And I’ve spent a good amount of time walking around in twenty-degree weather looking for another job to take on top of my author gig as well as working for my publisher. I used to be ashamed of my situation, but then, I began journaling again, and I found comfort in exploring my frustrations in words that no one but me had to see. Now, it is not as hard to be open with others about my life. Writing allows me to be honest. It brings me the strength to continue forward, and it both comforts the bad days and energizes the good ones. Writing becomes my motivation, and that motivation has brought me to marvelous places with magnificent people.

I’ve been able to meet dozens of authors, hundreds of readers, and even more people I would’ve never been able to connect with before pursuing publication. I have spoken with you, laughed with you, and created with you. Sharing my own creations has stretched my happiness beyond what I could’ve done by myself because it was in that sharing where I found confidence – a content place in my heart where I continue to explore the possibilities of writing. To all aspiring writers, this is where I feel most loved – in creating words and sharing words – and as long as you keep the love for writing close to your heart, your fingertips will never stop yearning to write more.

I don’t live a lavish lifestyle or even anything close, but I live my life to the best of my ability, and I continue to love writing no matter the hardships I face because my readers, fellow writers, and love for words motivates me. No matter how much I struggle, there is always peace in pursing a passion.

~SAT

P.S. Merry Christmas to those that celebrate!

P.S.S. Check out this awesome fan art Books Everywhere created for our interview. If you’ve read Take Me Tomorrow, you might recognize this image as a depiction of “cat-eyes” – an effect caused by consuming the clairvoyant drug, tomo.

Thank you, Book Everywhere!

Thank you, Book Everywhere!

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