Tag Archives: Kansas City

How Writing Conferences Can Surprise You

4 Nov

Today, I am attending a writing conference. (In case you’re wondering, I’m at the Middle of the Map Conference in Overland Park, Kansas.) While prepping last night, I began thinking about how much I love conferences—and about how many writers are on the fence about attending them.

I always tell writers to attend conferences if they can. Why? Because they might surprise you.

You see, I attended a different conference back in March with the wild hopes of snagging a literary agent.

Extra Tip: You don’t have to travel to attend conferences! There are now online conferences. But make sure to take a business card with you to in-person events.

When the conference was posted, I paid to attend. I also volunteered to help.

Here I was, thinking “volunteering” meant I’d hand out water bottles or get to chat in the early morning hours before arrivals…and then, they asked me to pick up agents and editors at the airport. FYI, I’m TERRIFIED of driving. Like, seriously, I’ve been in three major car wrecks. (None of which were my fault.) I had to go to therapy over it, but I’m much better now, and I wanted to stick to my word and help. So, I diligently practiced driving the route the day before. Later, one of the attending editors complimented me on my driving through the city in the rain. (This was a major accomplishment for me, who’d struggled for so many years with driving. I was really proud of myself for not backing down.) That was the first day.

To give you a better idea of my personal life and how this conference affected me, I work two jobs on a nightshift. I’m awake from 3 PM to 3 AM. On average, I get to bed about 7 AM. I had to attend this conference at 8 AM the very next day. I was exhausted and running on coffee-fueled adrenaline. Like many writers, I’m not wealthy, but I work my hardest, and I often work every day. Still, I paid $300 to attend and an additional $150 to pitch three different agents. It took me WEEKS to save up that money, and I don’t regret spending that money because something amazing happened.

After pitching three different agents, I walked away with three full manuscript requests and endless hope. Seven months later, one request resulted in a denial after we discussed a potential publisher who pushed it through acquisitions (a publisher that I LOVE, but who also didn’t work out in the end). One requested a R&R, and one request is still pending. Back in March, I naively thought I’d found the one, and though I’m still agent-less (and no longer actively querying), I still had a blast.

You see, while I waited for my turn to pitch, I began a conversation with another volunteer. She was a local writer, and we started talking about publishing/writing/reading/everything. She kept cheering me on, and I really appreciated how much she helped me keep my head up, especially since I was so bone-achingly exhausted. At one point, she mentioned her writer’s group, and I mentioned that I’d been struggling to find an in-person one. She invited me to attend hers later that month.

I couldn’t believe my luck. Here I was, an awkward/exhausted/out-of-money author, who’d been looking for a local writer’s group for MONTHS, only to be invited to one when I wasn’t actively searching. My hopes soared. I was so excited—and terrified.

What if they hated me? What if they hated my writing? What if I got a taste for an awesome group, only to be rejected when I asked if I could become a member? What if, what if, what if?

Later that month, I attended a meeting, not knowing what to expect, and now, I’m a regular part of the group. I look forward to our monthly meetings, and I’ve already grown a lot as a writer. Even better, I made friends.

I didn’t find an agent that day, but I did join an amazing writer’s group that changed my life for the better.

Publishing is an awkward, exciting, terrifying road, but more than that, it’s unpredictable.

So attend those conferences if you can. Those surprises can change everything.

~SAT

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#MondayBlogs Content Disclosures for Novels

11 Jul

Recently, my content disclosure tree for Bad Bloods released by Clean Teen Publishing. What is a content disclosure tree? Well, I’ll leave that up to my publisher to define on their website. (Click here to read the definition. If you want to read my full content disclosure tree for Bad Bloods, click November Rain and November Snow.) I suggest reading both before continuing, but I’m going to write the article as if the links are broken. Clean Teen rates everything based on 4 subjects: violence, language, drug use, and romance/heat level, and you can see my examples below.

Content Disclosures for Bad Bloods

Content Disclosures for Bad Bloods

In summary, Clean Teen Publishing allows readers to understand what they’re picking up when they choose a book—which I completely support for numerous reasons, but I will mainly talk about personal experiences, both from working with readers and from traumatic topics I’ve lived through myself, and how these examples have helped me understand the consideration of a content disclosure.

Starting off at my day job, I help authors find readers interested in their work. One of the topics I always discuss with authors is whether or not there is incest, rape, or other controversial topics in the story. Why? Because many of the reviewers I have worked with requested to know this for various reasons. By talking to numerous readers every day, I started to realize how many readers would prefer to know certain things up front—again, for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s triggering for those with PTSD. Sometimes, they are simply disinterested in that scenario. Sometimes, it’s just a preference of how they are feeling that day. While I’m not one to be against any particular topic in a novel, I can understand why someone wouldn’t want to read about certain topics, especially involving traumas.

That being said, this sort of disclosure hasn’t happened without controversy. Simply Google “disclosing content in novels” or “content ratings for readers” and I guarantee you’ll find a forum discussing the pros and cons of this. The main arguments I see revolve around ruining surprises and the effectiveness of even preventing someone from reading something they won’t enjoy. And that’s what I want to discuss.

First, as a writer who has written about controversial topics—particularly with violence in The Timely Death Trilogy and drug use in Take Me TomorrowI would—by no means—want a reader to pick up one of my works and accidentally be triggered by something. Speaking from personal experience, my mother died from a drug overdose when I was eleven, which is why I wrote Take Me Tomorrow, but through years of counseling, I met many kids like me who reacted very differently than I did. Reading Take Me Tomorrow would be extremely upsetting for them, and knowing what they went through, I would never want to cause them distress about such a personal topic. As a fellow reader, I would also rather find them something else they might like to read.

Granted, I understand the “just put it down” argument, but—at the same time—why can’t we prevent readers from picking up a book they definitely won’t like in the first place? This isn’t about ratings or reviews. This is about caring about your readers’ feelings and time. Now . . . here is where I hear the “but that ruins the surprise” argument . . . which I don’t understand, because—if done correctly—the content disclosure will say the topic, not which character and on which page. Take my full disclosure for example (if you click on this link, it’s at the bottom of the page). Clean Teen Publishing lets us know that November Rain talks about the violence in the book, but it doesn’t say how it plays out. It doesn’t say how it happens or when it happens. It doesn’t even say how much it happens. If anything, I’ve given away SO MUCH more on my own website.

I know I write about controversial—and often violent—topics in my stories, and I, by no means, have an issue with readers knowing that up front, especially because my novels fall under the YA genre, and genres alone don’t warn about the insides. TV and movies have had ratings for a long time, and while I understand that it’s much easier to be surfing channels and accidentally comes across a movie (and a book takes much more time to get into), I think content disclosures can help a large portion of readers find more suitable books that they will enjoy.

Content disclosures can help those that feel like they need it, and those who feel they don’t need content disclosures can ignore them. If you want to be surprised about all the topics, for instance, don’t read the disclosure. It’s as simple as that. At this point, I will say that I don’t think it needs to be an industry standard but rather something that is up to an author and their publisher (and of course, the reader). Personally, I love them. I see too many benefits coming from them for me not to love them. Content disclosures can help those avoiding triggering topics and even help parents choose books for their children that they deem appropriate. Disclosures can help readers find exactly what they’re looking for, maybe even a controversial topic they’ve struggled to find. Everyone who wants them can read them, and everyone who doesn’t want them doesn’t have to use them, but as an author, I’m glad my novels have them.

P.S. On a fun side note, my publisher actually makes these for anyone interested! Click here to check it out.

P.P.S. Original posted here. (I covered The Timely Death Trilogy)

~SAT

Check out my latest interview on the KC Writes Interview Podcast! We discuss publishing, writing fantasy novels, studying poetry, hosting events, and other surreal parts about authors’ lives.

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting their Christmas in July giveaway, and it’s epic! They are giving away a Kindle Fire‬ and up to $200 in cash!!! Check out the details and yes, this giveaway is open for International contestants. They’re hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for Bad Bloods: November Rain as well.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Preorder Bad Bloods

Preorder Bad Bloods

 

#SATurdate: Salt to the Sea, Death Note, The Turncoat’s Gambit, & Tallulah

2 Jul

What I’m Writing:

Honestly, I go through phases where I dread writing. Mainly because I’m stretching myself too thin and/or trying to find my footing in my next project. I think I’m in the middle of both of those issues. I have three completed manuscripts—one of which needs editing—I want to start something new, but I’m also EXHAUSTED. All that being said, I started yet another novel. It’s my second attempt at a contemporary, but again, I. am. struggling. I know I’ll find my footing in one of my projects, but I haven’t hit solid ground yet. Between BFest, Bad Bloods releasing, and my day job, life hasn’t afforded me a lot free time for writing either (which might be part of the problem). Let me put it this way, I only wrote 5,000 words…in June. IN ALL OF JUNE. I need a hug. But I will power through it!

What I’m Publishing:

A new review is in of November Snow! “Truly, Thompson has done an incredible job here of story weaving. Just wonderful. Don’t underestimate your need for tissues here people, don’t do it. Prepare yourself with tissues and a cuddly stuffed animal.” – Babbling Books (Seriously, listen to her advice. Tissues will come in handy.)

Catelyn's Story on Wattpad

Catelyn’s Story on Wattpad

This week, Catelyn’s Story released on the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad. This is also the first origin story seen from the Southern Flock’s perspective. They formed later than the Northern Flock, so from now on, you’ll see stories flip back and forth between the two flocks. If you ever wondered why the groups of bad bloods are called flocks, this origin story explains why! In Bad Bloods, Catelyn is Serena’s best friend. Here is a preview: The girl was pretty enough for plenty of crimes. Read her story by clicking the link.

Also, because I created three cartoon photos of the first three characters, here are three cartoon versions of the most recent stories: Ryne, Violet, and Catelyn.

Ryne, Violet, Catelyn

Ryne, Violet, Catelyn

The #1lineWed theme was “sky” so here is your weekly preview:

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

Preorder Bad Bloods

Preorder Bad Bloods

What I’m Reading:

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea

I began and finished Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Heartbreaking and terrifying, yet informative, Salt to the Sea is an emotional story about the Wilhelm Gustloff, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history. Told from four different perspectives, Sepetys focused on young adults and how World War II was affecting their lives forever. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those who wish to learn more about how WWII affected the youth and what happened to the Wilhelm Gustloff. All that being said, this book is not for the light-hearted. Though I still think the light-hearted should read it, Salt to the Sea is graphic. I know there are scenes that will never leave me. But if I can call something graphic and beautifully written in the same breath, this book deserves that statement. You can read my full 5-star review here.

What I’m Listening To:

Wounded Rhymes album by Lykke Li. I was driving between cities a lot this week, and this was my soundtrack for the week.

What I’m Watching:

I saw Death Note for the first time! (I know. I know. Crazy, right?) I LOVE anime, but I’ve never seen Death Note despite the crazy big fan base. (Perhaps that’s why I haven’t seen it?) I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I LOVED it from episode 1. I have about 10 episodes left, but I think it’s fantastic. And I definitely think the shinigami are adorable.

I also watched 10 Cloverfield Lane, which I have mixed feelings about. I actually remember seeing Cloverfield in the theatre when I was 16, so seeing this kind-of-sequel-but-not-a-sequel of Cloverfield, was interesting. I think I had a more uncommon opinion by actually liking the first half more than the second half. I thought it was more psychological suspense at first, and then, it turned into a crazy sci-fi battle. The genre mashing didn’t feel very smooth, but it was an entertaining movie!

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I baked stuffed peppers this week, and they were awesome! I’ve never made them before, so it was a plus that the recipe was easy. No desserts this week, but I promise they are coming.

What I’m Wearing:

I took new author photos this week, so look out for that! I wore two different outfits—one pink one, one blue one—and I’m excited to change my look. I saw a preview, and the photographer is awesome. 

What I’m Wanting:

Tallulah! That movie looks awesome. Why oh why was the release date July 29 and not June 29???

The Turncoat's Tambit by Andrea Cremer

The Turncoat’s Tambit by Andrea Cremer

Also, I LOVE The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer (and the sequel, The Conjurer’s Riddle). They are some of my favorite reads, so I cannot WAIT until November when book 3 of the trilogy releases. The Turncoat’s Gambit looks fantastic! November cannot come fast enough. Click the links if you wish to read my reviews of the first two books. I highly recommend this steampunk series.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So, I became the first American to become the Queen of England. (Don’t ask me why or how or even if I understand why I had this dream…I mean, I do stalk the Queen’s corgis.) But, yes, I was “voted” in to become the next Queen of England, and everyone was—naturally—very put off by this. Even I was like, “Are you sure? I don’t know about this. Seems strange.” But everyone who voted was like, “You MUST!” So, I had to accept during this party, which was, apparently, only on the other side of the castle, but I had to go through all these secret passageways to get there, and there were assassins around every corner trying to kill me. They never killed me, but they did trap me, and it took me three hours to get out, but I got to the party…and everyone had left. The big surprise was that the Queen owned a Wheel of Fortune game that every Queen has to play in order to become Queen? But of course I was too late, so I didn’t get to play or become Queen. But I did get to play with her corgis.

What Else Is Going On:

I did a podcast interview this week. I look forward to sharing it, since the podcast focuses on Kansas City writers!

~SAT

#SATurdate: X-Men Apocalypse, Winter, Money Monster, & Banana Desserts

28 May

What I’m Writing:

I’ve actually been working on the free Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad this week. Even though the origin stories were written a long time ago, the next few stories needed more attention than the other ones. I hope you’ve enjoyed the first three chapters—which included the origin stories of Adam, Michele, and Maggie—and you’ll meet Ryne from the Northern Flock on June 3. Even crazier? Violet’s story releases on Wattpad June 17. Violet—previously known as Kati in the original publication—is actually a shade, and she may or may not be directly linked to The Timely Death Trilogy. That’s right. Bad Bloods and The Timely Death Trilogy are linked. After Violet, though, you’ll FINALLY get to meet a Southern Flock character. (They formed later than the Northern Flock, hence why you haven’t met them yet.) I’ll continue to post a new origin story every other Friday on Wattpad. If you like the stories, please vote, comment, and share. It helps little authors like me out. Other times, I get really bored (since I’m trying to force myself to take a little break from writing), and I spend hours on Rinmaru games creating my characters. Here’s Adam, Michele, and Maggie as kids.

kids

What I’m Publishing:

If you sign up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap, I will send you signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods! Sign up here. Once you do, take a screenshot of your support and e-mail it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com, along with your address, and I’ll send it soon.

GoodreadsGiveawayThere’s also a Goodreads Giveaway going on for November Rain right now! And that’s not all. If you pre-order November Snow and send me the receipt to shannonathompson@aol.com, I will send you your eBook copy of November Rain TODAY. Also, if you write a review, you will receive November Snow, too.

The #1lineWed preview was “anger,”so here’s this week’s preview: “Enough,” Michele snapped, but even her anger was delicate.

What are readers already saying?

“Fast Paced. Intriguing. Gripping. Just like any other book Thompson wrote, this one stands tall. An epic read that will take you in from the very first page and not let you go. A real page turner.” – Crazy Beautiful Reads

“I recommend November Rain for EVERYONE but especially fans of dystopian and SCIFI. A great novel. It was full of strong characters each with their own background and an interesting world.” – The Book Forums

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

What I’m Reading:

13245305_1049308838449630_6469427564510674207_nI FINALLY started Winter by Marissa Meyer! As many of you know, I love The Lunar Chronicles, so I’ve been holding onto the fourth book with a deep desperation for more time to read it. I’m only a little ways into it, but I love it already. Winter is such an interesting, complex and shameless character. She’s very refreshing, and of course, a welcome addition to The Lunar Chronicles cast.

What I’m Listening To:

13320366_1049951935051987_9197921459974128700_oTornado sirens. That’s right. We had some tornado issues here this week. And they almost killed me. And by “almost killed me,” I mean my cats almost killed me when I was forcing them into the basement to…you know…save their lives…from the tornados that never came. Oh, well. I’ve always wanted Wolverine scars on my neck. All was forgiven when we watched the storm together afterward.

What I’m Watching:

Since I’m attempting to take a writing break, I practically lived at the theatre.

X-Men Apocalypse: I see why there are rumors to replace Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. I LOVE LOVE LOVE J-Law, but I feel like they’ve typecasted her into playing Katniss playing Mystique rather than an authentic Mystique (which I bet is the director’s choice, not hers), but it might be time to switch things up. Other than that little note, I LOVED X-Men Apocalypse. It was really fun to see how it tied into the other films, and I most definitely loved the hint to the destruction of the future Jean/Phoenix. Nightcrawler is one of my favorites, so it was great seeing him, too! Stay after those credits, folks. The little teaser is awesome.

PHPXPnMD6JavTU_1_l

Money Monster: I surprisingly loved this movie. I don’t know why I didn’t think I would like it. (Maybe because I only saw slander ads after George Clooney was marketing to pay off some student loan debt while advertising for this movie.) But I really loved this movie. Although one or two scenes weren’t believable to me, I thought it was suspenseful and disturbingly honest about the economy and how it affects the little guy. It leaves you dissatisfied in a perfect way.

clooney-char

I also saw Zootopia this week. That movie is SUPER cute, and I really loved the message behind it. I also want a pet fox now.

I recommend all three movies above.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

After having family in town, we had 12 bananas in the house that were going to rot, so I made mini banana foster cheesecakes and honey vanilla banana bread. Click either link for the recipe I used. I definitely recommend them both, though the banana bread will definitely last longer, and those cheesecakes are awesome but SUPER sweet. (I’ll definitely make them again.)

desserts

What I’m Wearing:

I wore yellow to channel my inner minions while baking banana desserts.

What I’m Wanting:

CjY2bS6VAAQ7gfZCassandra Clare is writing a Magnus Bane trilogy with Wesley Chu for adults, and I want it right meow. Here’s the official announcement from EW: Cassandra Clare Will Publish Series Based on Magnus Bane.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

So a bounty hunter was trying to kill me, and a friend called—very nonchalant about my impending death—and invited me to come on a train ride if I survived. I barely reached the station without being killed, but I boarded the train with my friend safely. Except not really. This train wasn’t just a train. It was an ocean train…so it swam over waves and storms and such. You could also get on the on-board swimming pool, which connected with the ocean, and there, you could swim with the dolphins and other sea creatures as you traveled on the train. But then people started committing murder on the ocean vessel, and we were trying to solve it. It ended up being the dolphins. Tricky creatures.

What Else Is Going On:

changeYou probably heard the news, but there’s been a slight change to my #BFestBuzz! I’ll be signing books and hosting an author panel in TWO Barnes & Noble stores in the Kansas City area during B-Fest!

On Saturday, June 11th, come see me at Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, KS. 
Event Link.

On Sunday, June 12th, you can see me at Zona Rosa in Kansas City, MO. Event Link.

I really hope to meet some of you there, but since I know many of you don’t live in the KC area, I hope one day that I can come to your town, too!

~SAT

#WW KC Event and Character Interviews

21 Oct

Poster_Small_V - Book shop signingTonight I’ll be at Headrush Coffee and Tea Roasters in Kansas City, Missouri for a paranormal chat and book signing. We’ll be discussing local folklore that went into The Timely Death Trilogy, and having great coffee and tea while doing so. I’m even bringing some Halloween goodies for you to take home, so come on out and say hello.

Since I’m rather busy today, I thought I would do something fun on today’s blog post. Below, you’ll find two character interviews, one with Eric and one with Jessica, the protagonists of The Timely Death Trilogy. I’ve never posted something like this before, but I hope you’ll enjoy it!

teaser3

Eric’s Character Interview

 Destined to fight to the death at age eighteen, you’d think Eric Welborn would be a jittery mess sitting in front of us, waiting for questions about his impending doom, but he’s as cool as can be. You wouldn’t even guess he has six months left before his final battle. In fact, you’d probably assume he was a regular high school kid, wearing just jeans, a white T-shirt, and…headphones, which he loves, dearly. We practically had to beg him to take off his headphones.

“The music I listen to varies—mainly because I’m generally using it to tune out the small noises I can hear no matter what form I’m in—but I do love it. Right now, I’m listening to Bohemian Rhapsody. If I had the time, I think I’d be a musician.

This last sentence sparks our interest. “If you had the time?” we press, only for him to nod and list off his daily activities. Early morning jog, half day of school, three hours of training with Urte (known as George Stone to some), dinner, and probably more training. It’s amazing he has time to sleep, so we had to ask, “If you had a choice, would you give up being a shade to have a normal, human life?”

“For me, that’s a tough question. If I already had a normal, shade life, it probably wouldn’t be tough.” We’re quickly reminded that Eric isn’t normal in either of his lives. “Not really being human is tough enough, but also being a descendant in my shade form?” He shakes his head. “It’s definitely been a lesson.”

He recalls the moment he found out he wasn’t just a shade, but a descendant, and how it shaped him among his peers as the odd one out, even if it did mean he was also worshipped. “That’s why I found peace in Jessica. She didn’t know who I was.”

We swoon at the reminder. “Where would you take Jessica on your next date?”

He laughs, but it doesn’t hide the fact that he has blushed. “Oh, I’d like to take her everywhere.” We even see a light in his eyes that wasn’t there when we started. “Anywhere we go together is an adventure.”

When we ask if we can tag along on their next adventure, he confesses to wishing for more alone time. So, before our hearts melt entirely, we shift away from his current love and ask him for others. “Who is your celebrity crush?” We also promise not to tell Jessica.

He takes a moment before answering, “Robert Duvall. The Judge is a movie everyone should see.” He elaborates and tells us films from the heart matter most. He wants to feel something when he’s done.

We agree to watch it and ask him for one last favor—to answer fan-submitted questions. He smiles, nods, and says, “I don’t mind at all.”

Perfection.

The first one is from Katie Harder-Schauer from Just Another Girl and Her Books. She wants to know. Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies? Eric prefers chocolate.

Melanie Newton from Nerd Girl asks, Favorite superhero? What super power do you wish you had? This one was difficult. Eric was on the fence between Gambit and Deadpool. As for powers, he thinks baking is a superpower, and he wishes he were better at it. Until then, he hangs out with his stepmom, Mindy.

Ojan Borot asks, Assuming that you could just pack a suitcase and leave town. Where in the world would you like to go for a vacation, and is there one thing specific there that you’d like to see? Eric explains that he doesn’t know if he can leave town or not—he’s never tried—but he would love to take Jessica to Paris or Spain so she could study her painting further…and to eat dessert.

When we ended the night with a huge thank you, he ended it by disappearing right in front of us, leaving only a plume of smoke and our hearts behind.

teaser3

Jessica’s Character Interview

She once thought she was ordinary girl with an ordinary life, but that all changed when she moved back to her birthplace. Adopted and moved away from her hometown as an infant, Jessica Taylor didn’t expect anything when moving back to Hayworth, Kansas, but it certainly changed her life forever.

“Moving wasn’t hard. I’m used to moving. My family has moved a lot,” Jessica explains as she offers us tea with honey. We gladly accept, and she takes a moment to sip hers. “But I suppose this move was different. It was a move back, and my heart told me I had to find out what I could about my parents while I was here.” She laughs like it’s a silly thing, now that she knows what she does. “No one could’ve guessed this. No one.”

She surprises us by telling us she revels in surprise. In fact, she describes her last six months as an adventure, one she hopes hasn’t ended yet. “No true adventure ever ends,” she adds before saying it’s the artist’s heart in her that enjoys mischief, mystery, and magnificent madness. We applaud her on her alliteration, and she laughs at all the school subjects we ask her about.

“I’ve always loved English. I especially love reading,” she says, “but painting is my favorite pastime. One day, I hope to turn my passion into a career.” In the meantime, she’s fighting lights to the death, but we wonder what the world holds for her after the war (if it ever ends).

She leans back and stares at the ceiling at this, a small hint of a smile on her lips. It’s no wonder Eric crushes on her. “I think”—she pauses—“if I can help people find their passion, and I can help them follow it, a teacher of sorts, I’d be very happy.” She shoots us a smile. “It’s the teachers in my life who’ve helped me the most.”

We ask her about her teachers, Ms. Hinkel from homeroom and her friend Jonathon, a painting mentor, and Urte, Eric’s trainer who has surely helped her, but she focuses on Eric first. “He showed me how to fight first, but most of all, he allowed me to be fearless, to show myself how to fight on my own. Independence as the foundation of coexistence is a beautiful thing.”

When we ask her if this is the definition of love, she blushes. “Love isn’t a definable thing, but it’s lovely, nevertheless.”

We agree, asking her about other parts of her life she loves. She brings up tea, and puppies, and friends like Crystal, and the way sunlight comes through the trees. She wishes to study painting more, to see more exotic places in the world, and she hopes to build a house one day. You know, because buying one isn’t as fun. She has many dreams—silly dreams, serious dreams, and dreams in between—but most of all, she tells us her life’s philosophy. “We should always keep dreaming.”

~SAT

Other announcements include the fact that the paperback of Death Before Daylight released! Finally! I sent out the news via my newsletter. In future newsletters, I’ll be looking for lucky readers to read my next publication early. If you’re interested in that, sign up here.

takefofytseve

#WW Stopping Guest Posts & New Line-Up

23 Sep

Since January of this year, I’ve featured a guest writer every Monday. I was hoping to continue this tradition for at least a year, but with the Christmas season approaching, I’ve been denying articles more than accepting articles (due to the submitted articles mainly being advertisements). That being said, I’ve been very fortunate that so many fantastic and talented writers wanted to write for www.ShannonAThompson.com, and I’ve enjoyed every article shared. I am undeniably grateful that I have been able to meet more writers, speak with them, and share their work. It has been one of my favorite parts of this past year, here on the blogosphere. So, first, a HUGE thank you goes out to all the guest bloggers I’ve featured this past year.

Now, the time has come for a change.

change

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to turn Monday slots into, and I’ve only recently come to a decision. Next week will be my three-year blogging anniversary. (What? Can you believe it?) This means I have HUNDREDS of blog posts that many of you—especially newer subscribers—have probably never read or seen. In fact, many of my most popular blog posts to this day were posted in 2012, and when readers ask a certain writing question, I almost always have an old article I wrote that I could send them. These pieces mainly include writing tips and marketing tips, so I thought it would be fun to rewrite these posts, update them with new information (and tips), and share them on Mondays. So, if you have an old favorite and you want to hear an updated version, let me know in the comments below. I’ll even tag you as the reader who suggested it.

I hope you’ll enjoy these posts when they start. I am already organizing it now, and I’m looking forward to the change. Of course, I’ll make another announcement when it gets closer, but until then, I am accepting a few more guest posts for October/November, so if you want to be a guest blogger, now is the time to submit at shannonathompson@aol.com. I accept original posts about reading and writing, and you do not have to be published to submit. Best case scenario, if I have enough guest bloggers, I might even continue guest posts and rotate them with revamped posts.

Another option is just having a weekly post where I talk about what movies I’m watching, what music I’m listening to, and what I’m reading, but I figure I sort of do that on Facebook anyway. 🙂

Let me know your thoughts!

~SAT

All three books in The Timely Death Trilogy are now available! The first book is even up for free. For those of you waiting for the paperback of Death Before Daylight, don’t panic! It releases on October 19. Speaking of October 19, you can expect my newsletter to go out then and from now on every month on the 19th.

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

Teaser from Death Before Daylight shared yesterday

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.  It will be tons of fun!

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

Death Before Daylight: book 3

 AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboGoodreads

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

21 Feb

#SATurday: The Lion Sleeps in a Casino

When I was younger, my family moved around a lot – more times than what I can list here without risking your gaze blurring over – but we always visited Kansas every year. My mother’s parents lived in Kansas, and it was the go-to family house we found ourselves at for the holidays or even just for the summer. During these visits, my mom and dad liked to get together with old friends and family that were still in the area, and they would all go off to the casino. Since the casino provided an area for children, my brother and I went with.

Originally, the casino was called Station Casino, due to an old train that sat out front, but now it’s called Ameristar, even though the giant train is still sitting in the same spot. Oddly enough, I went back there recently, and the children’s area is still there, too – all gated off like a pink and purple jail cell. Of course I wonder if the inside play area is still the same, but there’s no way to find that out at my current age. The children’s zone – known as Kids Quest – has a cutoff age for 12. Older than that and you are in the arcade all night.

Despite the fact that my brother and I probably stepped foot in this place only one dozen times, it sticks out in my memory. My guess relies on the fact that it might have been one of the only places that was stable in my life. We returned every year, and every year, it stayed the same. There was even a kid named Jimmy that was there every year. He was the owner’s son or some other worker’s son. I can’t really remember why he was there every day, and to be honest, I don’t even know if his name really was Jimmy. I might have simply given him a name for my own comfort. It’s strange to have memories with someone who is a fleeting image of a person that once was, so I’ve been known to attribute things like names that might not be real, and eventually, I lose count.

That being said, Jimmy introduced me to the Pocahontas game, and I remember that game more than his name. (Again, perhaps this is why I’ve given him a name. I try to make up for the fact that I remember video game otters more than a fellow kid’s existence.) But I remember the otters most of all. And the fruit roll-ups. And how Jimmy always helped me find my brother since my older brother was at that age that he constantly ran away from me, and I was at that age that I constantly tried to follow him. Younger siblings, eh?

This will soon come into play. I promise.

This is how Jimmy and I looked during adventures.

The play area was three stories tall at the time, and with my little feet, it took a long while to get the top of it all. This was where my brother and some other kids hung out – mainly because you couldn’t get to them unless you passed a fortress of punching bags. It was one of these punching bags that nearly knocked me out when an older kid hit me in the face with it. I think that’s when my brother decided to hang out with me instead of his new friends.

It doesn’t seem like much, but we did eventually leave the three-story-tower-of-punching-bag-doom, and we went to the karaoke stand. This was something I ALWAYS wanted to do but also something every kid in the play area refused to use. It was just what it sounded like – a karaoke stand with three mirrors around it and a microphone at the front. You picked a song on the clunky computer, and then, the song played in the entire area, and you could sing with it.

My brother picked “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, and to this day, that’s the only time I’ve ever done karaoke.

I don’t think I’ve purposely avoided karaoke. Even though I am a horrible singer, I think I’ve simply never come across another opportunity to do it or to feel like singing out in public, but I always remember that time, and in a way, I feel like that one time was happy enough for a lifetime of karaoke.

Even in a pink and purple jail cell, we learned to sing. It probably helped that most of it didn’t include lyrics at all. Instead, “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” provided marvelous sounds we could belt in a song – a song that I knew because of The Lion King, a song my brother later cranked when picking me up ten years later from Driver’s Ed, a song I heard recently in a grocery store that brought it all back. Funny how even the littlest moments can stay with us forever. In a sense, memories are like lions in that song – sleeping tonight – but always near the village, always on your mind.

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Ee-e-e-oh-mum-oh-weh

Wimoweh

~SAT on #SATurday

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