Tag Archives: love

Is Romance Necessary in YA?

6 Feb

Romance sells. (Or, as they usually say, sex sells.) And now more than ever, sex is being introduced into young adult literature every day. But that’s another debate for another day. Instead, I wanted to focus on the overall umbrella term of romance in YA.

Is romance necessary in every YA book?

The short answer is no, of course not. But the long answer is a lot more complicated.

If you’re a first-time author, then you probably already know the struggles of completing a manuscript, editing one, joining the query trenches, and understanding the marketplace.

More often than not, romance sells better than anything else.

Why? Well, we have to consider our buyer.

Ten years ago, YA literature was widely bought by the YA crowd (ages 14-18), but more recently, the average age of the YA buyer has increased to 20-25. (Hey, look! There’s me!) Granted, there is a lot of debate about this—and it’s hard to prove, considering adults can buy books as gift or teens can borrow books—but I love speaking to teens at my signings, and have listened to them say the same thing. A lot of young adults are reading fanfiction online instead, and hey, no shame! That’s awesome. I’m just happy when people are reading. But this fact has changed the marketplace, and I honestly believe that’s why we’re seeing more sex in YA literature, including less “fade to black” scenes. As an example, a YA book I just read had a one-night-stand between two inexperienced strangers, where both acted as if they were cool with it. Nothing wrong with that. Don’t get me wrong. But I cannot imagine reading that at 14 and feeling like I could relate, even though the characters were that age. However, I know some 14-year-olds can relate, and that’s fine! No worries. Just be safe. 🙂

That being said, at 14, I wanted to hang out with friends. I wanted to read books (and write them), and other than that, I ran around with my husky or my brother or studied a lot.

I particularly loved Ally Carter’s The Gallagher Girls books, because the romance was few and far in between. Same with Meg Cabot (specifically when she was known as Jenny Carroll and wrote the 1-800-Where-R-You series and the Mediator series). Oh! And Lynne Ewing’s Daughters of the Moon series. All of their YA books featured kickass, often hilarious, and always intelligent girls living life, figuring out a mess, and defeating any enemy they came across. Friendship mattered. Family, too. And, sure, sometimes a kiss was shared here or there, but romance never seemed to be the focus. Being a heroine was.

Granted, I must clarify that you can be focused on romance and still be a heroine. Please do not get me wrong. But I wish there were more YA books (in all genres) that allowed the characters to explore space, chase enemies, and save the world without falling in love, too.

Out of the last ten YA books I’ve read, the only one who featured no one falling in love was This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. Definitely recommended. (By the way, if you have suggestions, feel free to leave them below. I LOVE suggestions.)

Love that will never change? My love for YA

Love that will never change? My love for YA

Granted, I can admit I’m a hypocrite. I write YA, and every single one of my YA books has a romance subplot in it. That being said, my romantic plots are hardly romantic in comparison to popular YA books today. In Bad Bloods, Daniel and Serena kiss….twice?…in 600 pages. And that’s it. But hey, they’re trying to protect their families and survive a government out to kill them, so I think they have a lot on their hands.

They can always kiss later. If they even want to.

That being said, almost every editorial letter I’ve received included the suggestion of getting my characters “closer” or focusing more on their romantic endeavors rather than their friendships or families or fighting for the world they live in. And I find it increasingly frustrating.

While I can see the market value in focusing on these tropes, I feel an increasing value in the opposite of those aspects as well.

It’s okay to focus on studying and family and friendships instead of love. It’s a personal choice. But more than ever before, I feel pressured to include romance where romance isn’t necessary. Because of that pressure, I actually set out to include more romance in my latest, but sure enough, I found myself following the same pattern I always do: There is a romantic interest, but he’s on the sidelines while my protagonist is striving to…I don’t know…save the world or her sister or her friends. She’s too busy studying to think about some boy’s smile or (insert jewel description) eyes. But she does have her moments, albeit they are few and far in between, and at this point, I doubt they’ll survive my editing process. And I’m so torn about it.

I wanted to write romance. I tried. But I can’t. And I’m trying to be okay with that. I am trying to be okay with me.

I love romance. I enjoy reading it, and I sometimes seek it out. But I wish there were more books where girls (and boys) were simply living life or saving the world without romance. It’s okay not to date when you’re a teen. It’s okay not to have romantic feelings. It’s okay to be focused elsewhere.

I wanted to read about girls like that when I was 14, 15, 16, and even now, so I guess that’s why I write my books the way I do. It’s that fact that made me accept myself again. (Oh, and talking to a bunch of my fellow writer friends. They helped, too.)

Romance will definitely help you sell your book—be it to an agent, a publisher, or a reader—but don’t force it. The most important aspect of any book is to be true to your work, and if that means avoiding crushes and angst-ridden kisses, then so be it.

I will continue to have romantic subplots, because that is my style, but as of today, my protagonist will focus on her studies more. She might not even kiss anyone at all. And that’s perfectly A-okay with me. (And more importantly, okay with her.)

If one day she changes her mind, I will listen to her, and if she doesn’t, I will continue to listen to her. Why? My answer is simple.

A protagonist is enough without a love interest to back them up. So is a story.

~SAT

 

#MondayBlogs Writing Tips for Love Interests

6 Jun

Romance sells. This is a proven publishing fact. Though that doesn’t mean you should add romance to your novel just to add it, romance is quite popular in ANY genre, and let’s be real, love is everywhere. The chances of writing a book with no one (not even a side character) falling in love or being in some sort of relationship is pretty slim. Think of your own family and friends. Someone is going through something. Which is why love is so relatable. It might also be why we love reading about love. So, how do we write about love?

Like any topic, there are a million ways to write about love, but since I know you have a million more articles to read, I’m only giving out two quick tips to keep in mind when developing a relationship for your characters. But first, I want to get one stereotype out of the way, a stereotype we’ve all loved to hate. That’s right. I’m talking about Insta-love.

A note on Insta-Love:

I use the term “love” loosely here, but can we admit that insta-love happens? All. The. Time. In reality, it might be classified as infatuation or lust, but in the moment, a lot of people believe they have fallen in love at first sight or fight kiss, and technically, some people do fall in love right away. We’ve all heard stories of those couples many envy. You know, “She walked into the room, and I just knew!” It does happen, and it happens to people of all ages, but I definitely prefer when an author allows love to shape over time. This generally means love is more character-driven than plot-driven, and there are many ways to approach it.

Here is one system to think about.

1. Show How the Love Interest is Different

Why should we love them? Sure, he/she is good-looking and funny and smart, but so? Everyone is good looking and funny and smart to someone—and as an author, you’re not necessarily trying to get only one character to love another character. You’re trying to get most of your readers to also love that character, or in the least, believe in that character’s love. This is why we have to start thinking beyond types and start thinking about love in general. What makes love relatable? More love! Think about the love interest’s relationships with all of those around them—their friends, their family, etc.—and I guarantee you’ll make that character relatable. You’ll also figure out why your love interest is a standalone (and interesting) character. If that doesn’t work, try some personality questionnaires to get to know your characters better. Maybe they have a strange hobby or a secret phobia or a new dream that contradicts everything they’ve ever dreamt of before. Questionnaires will help you concentrate on the love interest as a person rather than as a love interest in your story…which is key to creating an interesting character for ANY situation. Not one character should be in a book to simply support another character. Sure, supporting characters support the main character, but much like the villain, supporting characters are still the main characters in their story. Treat them as such. Give them their own desires, interests, fears, and arcs. Love interests are never just love interests. Love interests are just characters who happen to fall in love.

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2. Now Show How the Love Interest is Different Around The Lover

This is the “two characters who happen to fall in love” part. To me, it basically translates to affection, and not necessarily physical affection. I mean, emotional affection. Maybe they open up to one another about topics they’ve never opened up about before. Maybe they simply cry in front of one another. Maybe they are the ones who challenge them the most and cheer for them even harder than anyone on the sidelines. Maybe they can dance and trip and don’t feel embarrassed that they tripped together. It’s both about comfort and accepting discomfort, knowing the other will love them anyway. The juxtaposition between positive and negative emotions—while sharing them with one another—helps readers relate to the couple while also allowing the couple to relate to one another on a more intimate level. In this process, you’ll probably see where the characters draw lines with friends and co-workers and family members as well. A great exercise I swear upon is taking your protagonist’s deepest darkest secret and figuring out how they would tell everyone in their life and why the situation changes based on who they were talking to. Of course this doesn’t have to go into the book. (But who doesn’t love a good secret?)

Of course, there are many types of love—and the English language is very limiting to the definition of love—so exploring lust, infatuation, obsession, admiration, and love all come with their own complications and expectations. That’s the joy in writing stories though. Get lost in the chaos. Figure out the unknown. Push boundaries. Listen to your gut. But most of all, follow your heart.

I hear that’s the key to love, after all.

Original—Insta-Love Isn’t Instant—is very different. 

~SAT

Enter Clean Teen Publishing’s Summer Fun Giveaway!

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Win a paperback of November Rain in this Goodreads Giveaway.

Win signed swag from The Timely Death Trilogy and Bad Bloods by signing up for the Bad Bloods Thunderclap and emailing me your support at shannonathompson@aol.com.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#WW My Next Publication: Two Books, Release Dates, and More.

11 Nov

Last week, I announced that I signed November Snow with Clean Teen Publishing, and as promised, I’m releasing additional information today. The original version of November Snow that was published in 2007 was 600 pages. That being said, the rewrite is actually longer than the original, so Clean Teen Publishing has split November Snow into a two-part series (and the split is awesome). That means November Snow is getting a new title. As of today, both books will be titled Bad Bloodswith part one’s subtitle being November Rain and part two’s subtitle holding the original title November Snow. For readers of the first version, November Rain will cover November 1, 2089 – November 10, 2089, and it’ll be around 60,000 words, while the second part will be around 80,000 words. (See? The book was really long, too long to be published as one.) I’m really looking forward to seeing November Snow transform, and I hope you are too! November Rain already has a release date too! November Rain is set for release on July 18, 2016. The eBook of November Snow will release one week later, but the paperback of the sequel will release that November. You will find the series synopsis below, and I’ll be releasing each individual synopsis within the next week (probably on my next Saturday post) . . . but if you follow the individual links, you can read them now. 😉

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If I can be perfectly honest, November Snow is the closest to my heart in regards to my own writings. The original version was written shortly after my mother suddenly died at the age of 44. I was 11. She was always encouraging my love for reading and writing, and when she died, a part of me was lost forever. I’ve kept that part of me (her, really) alive by writing. November Snow was that first step, that single promise, to make the most of my life and to make her proud.

That being said, the original publication wasn’t very professional. It was thrown together, unedited, and had very little oversight, other than from a 16-year-old girl with a dream (cough, cough, me). I could’ve used more supervision eight years ago, but alas, that wasn’t how my first publishing experience went. Because of that, November Snow has been off the market for years—almost the entire time since it’s original release—and I’m eternally grateful Clean Teen Publishing is giving me a second chance with my first book, a second chance at making my mom proud, a second chance at beginning again.

This truly is a gift.

And…of course…for those looking for more information…here’s a short synopsis for the two-part series, and some places with extra information. If you have any questions, let me know, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

thumbnail90Series Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena meets a fellow bad blood, a boy named Daniel, and his past with his brothers is as equally mysterious as her connection to them. Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning an election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote.

When the two unite, their accidental relationship becomes the catalyst for a twelve-year war to continue. Exposing the twisted past of a corrupt city, Daniel, Serena, and every bad blood they know will come together to fight and win, but very few of them will survive to see the day. Bad blood or human, a city will burn, and all will be united by catastrophic secrets and irrevocable tragedy.

Bad Bloods on: Facebook, Pinterest, and my Extras page.

Older articles relating to Bad Bloods (keep in mind, it’ll be referred to as November Snow):

Writing With Barbie

What I’ve Learned Rewriting a Seven-Year-Old Novel

This is an awesome question about bad bloods from Twitter’s @SiameseMayhem. She asked this when I was still writing it, so that’s why we’re talking about publication.

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~SAT

P.S. I wanted to give a shout out to Instagram’s lovely @bookprints for this wonderful post.

“I badly wanted a printed copy of Take Me Tomorrow by Shannon A. Thompson since I’ve read it as an ebook and I finally have one (signed!)!

Thanks @shannonathompson for making this happen and for the lovely note! There was also a signed ‪#‎bookmark‬ of the first book in The Timely Death Trilogy with it!

Please, go check this author out and give her books the love they definitely deserve!

One happy booknerd over here!”

safe_image.phpDuring my next newsletter, you might be receiving a Black Friday Sale for Seconds Before Sunrise book 2 in The Timely Death Trilogy, so be sure to sign up here, but if you need a head start on the first book and you just can’t wait for the others…

Minutes Before Sunset: book 1 (FREE)

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2

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Death Before Daylight: book 3

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#BookRelease Seconds Before Sunrise Evolution Day!

25 Aug

Holy Dark! We are here! Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases today. (And the last book releases in two weeks!) Before I tell you to check out the sequel here—Okay. Fine. Here’s Amazon and Barnes & Noble—I wanted to tell you a little about my journey up until this point.

You know. Because Pokemon.

You know. Because Pokemon.

Back in 2007, when I started my publishing journey, I left the market almost as quickly as I got into it. I was 16, off to college within the year, and a little overwhelmed with everything. That being said, I never stopped writing, so the first cover you see above was one I included on PDF files I sent to my readers that stayed with me, even though I told them I wasn’t returning. To me, I very much pursued publishing because of my mother’s death. I knew I wanted to be a writer, and that moment broke me. It made me get serious. But I ultimately left because it was too much, I wasn’t ready, and I didn’t find myself facing publication again until my college roommate’s death in 2012. I was 21—and so was she—and we had taken a poetry course together. Upon her sudden passing, I was featured in a poetry collection, and the day we read it at an event, I opened the print up to see the group had dedicated it to her memory. I still cannot breathe when I think of the moment, and I think of Kristine often. I think of so many people often, and the amount of loved ones in my life who have affected me—as a person and as a writer—is breathtaking. I dedicated the first novel of The Timely Death Trilogy to both my college roommates at the time, Megan and Kristine, and back then, only three years ago, I was simply going to release it by myself to show how much someone can change your life. I never expected to be contacted by a publisher back in 2012, and I never expected that same publisher would close two years later. I thought my journey was over. But then you all came in—my readers—and you all found me my new home, Clean Teen Publishing, and my journey has continued ever since. I am at home, and I am happy, and for once, that happiness is what steals my breath away.

Today, I am reminded of all of the lovely souls that have touched my life, influenced my work, and encouraged me to push forward, and today, I thank you from the bottom of my writer’s heart. (I say that a lot, and that’s because I mean it. Deeply.)

Without you, my journey might have ended. Because of you, it marches on into the Dark. The Dark lives on. I especially want to thank the blogs helping me today (the bold one won a swag pack from me for helping!): Legends of Windemere, Crazy Beautiful, Endless Reading, Just Amy, Chris Pavesic, Macy Loves Stories, Books for Thought, The Book Forums, Gnome on Pig Productions, Mel’s Shelves, and A Reader’s Review.

I hope you’re having as much fun as I’m having. Either way, I’m grateful.

Love to all,

~SAT

Now…for some book nerd information:

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads

Two nightmares. One memory.

“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.

All three!

All three!

If you haven’t checked out the first novel, Minutes Before Sunset, don’t worry! I have you covered: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads. And, remember, you don’t have to wait a year for the last book! It releases in TWO weeks. Two weeks. (Double Holy Dark!) I cannot fathom it.

Happy reading!

Stay Dark,

~SAT

June’s Ketchup

29 Jun

June’s Ketchup

Eek! June is coming to a sunny end, and July is approaching as fast as a bottle rocket. (Fourth of July references are fun.) We are SO close to the release of Minutes Before Sunset. In fact, we’re officially less than a month away. (Eek again!) I’m undeniably excited, and I cannot thank you all enough for the continued cheers of encouragement as we inch closer to the release date—where you can win even MORE prizes and goodies. But I’ll talk more about that in this month’s Ketchup post.

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, YouTube videos, Members of the Week, 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 June!

Big Moments:

We are less than a month away from the release of Minutes Before Sunset, and excitement has filled every Dark night. (Dark as in the Dark from The Timely Death Trilogy. Not dark as in depressing.) It’s been electric! Clean Teen Publishing even gave away three paperbacks on Goodreads, and since almost 2,000 people signed up, Clean Teen Publishing decided to giveaway a paperback EVERY week up until the release. Join the current giveaway right now by clicking this link, because you definitely deserve to win. You made this happen, after all.

On another note, Seconds Before Sunrise is officially up for pre-order as well! (Eek!) Seconds Before Sunrise releases August 25, so these releases are going to happen fast!

Who else can’t wait?

#TheDarkisComing and the Dark brings prizes and smiles.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

My #1 clicked item was pre-ordering Minutes Before Sunset! Thank you!!!

My #1 clicked item was pre-ordering Minutes Before Sunset! Thank you!!!

Top Three Blog Posts:

  • Judging an Author’s Life: Someone judged my life as an author from the photos I posted, and I wrote a letter in response. Authors are human too. We are not perfect, and we do not sit around all day writing and reading to our heart’s content. But I do share my positive moments more than my negative ones, and I share why in this emotionally driven post.
  • 6 Must-Have Tools/Apps For All Writers and Editors Out There by Ashley Sanford: A great list for all writers out there, provided by a fantastic guest blogger (who has confirmed is planning on returning with another article shortly)! Get excited.
  • Finding Your Style as a Writer: There is no reason to fear your “voice” and “style” discussions. It’s different for everyone, and it always will be. What matters is doing what is right for you and being aware of yourself as you grow into yourself.

Other Blog Posts:

 

#1 SEO Term

#1 SEO Term

YouTube Channel:

The Fifth Wave and Survival Things (06.02.15)

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. I also like to specially thank the Members of the Dark. Every week, I award one member a “Member of Week” badge, and out of those monthly members, one of them will win an eBook of their choosing as well as more prizes. If you would like to be a member or review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Dark Members of the Week: The Acid Oasis, Chris Pavesic, and Endless Reading.

Reviewers:

Seconds Before Sunrise: The Book Forums

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#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations

8 Apr

#WW: Debating Giveaways and Donations.

By now, you probably know that Clean Teen Publishing is running a Goodreads Giveaway for 3 ARCs of Minutes Before Sunset. And if you’re involved in the publishing industry at all – and I’m assuming you are if you’re reading this – then you already know how widely debated giveaways are. It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a reader, or a publisher. I’m sure you’ve seen the debates about giveaways. I’m sure you’ve also seen a few debates about donations as well. We all have our opinions, and both topics are deeply complex – probably too complex to completely cover in this article below – but I did want to try to explain why I choose to participate in giveaways and donations.

I’ve considered both deeply, so much so that I’ve spent hours researching all the pros and cons. I’m sure you can already tell from my website that I am all for giveaways and donations. That being said, I want to start with donations.

Let's start off with this bookstore I found recently - almost all books were donations.

Let’s start off with this bookstore I found recently – almost all books were donations.

Donations:

Some like to call it panhandling. Others – like me – like to call it support. I never consciously started my website with the idea of donations in mind. In fact, two years of blogging passed before I ever added a page. The first time I considered it was when a blogger – who I had gifted one of my novels to – asked if I had a donate page because she wanted to support my writing. She informed me that she had already bought my books and shared them with friends, but she wanted to do more.

I was touched – and a little bit insecure. I didn’t feel like I was worth any extra help. I didn’t feel like it was “right”, and we spoke about it for a while. She explained that she does this for a lot of her favorite authors, and I remembered something. I donate to my favorite authors and musicians. I have, and I still do when I can. But I was always the donator – not the receiver – and the flip of the relationship felt odd and surreal.

That’s when I started researching.

While I can’t share every article I ever found on the topic, I will share THE ONE – the one that ultimately changed my mind. It was a TED talk: Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking: and I suggest watching it whenever you have the time.

She is absolutely right. The donations become an exchange – a loving exchange. It’s not forced or expected or lazy. I donate to show my appreciation, and when I receive donations, I like to give unique photos of Bogart to supporters to show how much I appreciate them. (Since I’m not a statue actress with flowers like Amanda Palmer).

Now – my addition to this topic is something I’ll never forget. Last year, when I lost my old publisher, my job, and my car at the same time, I was walking around in the rain with holes in my boots just to try to find new work – and you all saved me. Quite frankly, you all kept me on my feet. And you kept my feet dry. Without you, I’m not sure where I would’ve been. But with you, I was safe, and for that, I am forever thankful, and I hope I can continue to move forward and helps others in the way you all helped me. Helping and being helped out of the goodness of your heart – finding ways to support one another when we can – cheering everyone on – and working together for a better future, that is love.

Now, for giveaways: (whew)

The main judgment I see in giveaways is generally worded like this: “Giving away your work for free devalues your work.”

This saddens me. As an author, I trust my readers to bring joy to giveaways, to be positive and uplifting, and to enjoy the event. I do not feel like it devalues my work. To me, that is like saying all presents aren’t valuable because they were given to you for free. Some of the closest trinkets I own are presents. They are immensely valuable to me. If someone handed me a free book – a free trinket or free cake or free notebook – I would never think, “This isn’t valuable.” Instead, when I received a notebook from a reader, my day was filled with warmth, and I have been filling up the notebook with poems ever since – poems I send to that reader, poems we discuss, poems we talk about, poems we build friendship on. That isn’t just valuable. It’s invaluable. Giveaways are gift-gifting opportunities, but they are more than that: they are friendship opportunities.

Now, this is where another concern slides in. Some people sign up who just want to resell your work: no reviews, no reader connections, just people “stealing.”

We choose to give it away. It is a gift. We cannot have expectations for what people do with the gift. That’s just not how gifting works. Granted, I do hope that people stop entering giveaways just to sell work – because yes, that’s unfair to the readers who actually wanted it to read it – but we must trust the readers to come through for authors, and I trust that we can work together to make it a better gift-giving system.

On a side note, I mentioned TED talks earlier, and now I will mention them again. I’m a TED talk junky. I have spent many nights – probably too many nights – watching TED talks. I have learned from TED talks and grown from them and shared them, and guess what? They are all free.

I recently watched a collection of six on forgiveness, and another one about poetry in prison, and the danger of the single story. Arguably, the last one – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – is my ultimate favorite. The single story is damaging, and I think the “single story” theory goes beyond just hearing a single story. It stretches to any type of judgment, and that brings me back to Amanda Palmer’s speech, The Art of Asking.

We are quick to judge things like giveaways or donations and we are quick to praise them as well, but there are always two sides to the story, two sides to the pros and cons of an act, and two sides to debate.

I choose to stay on this side – as a reader and as an author – and I hope to stay on this side, even when things get tough.

~SAT

And in case you haven’t entered the giveaway (and you want to), click this link to the photo below for your chance to win 1 of 3 ARCS of the new edition of Minutes Before Sunset. Clean Teen Publishing will be picking winners on my birthday! (Because what better way to celebrate?)  bel234

Finding Interesting Quotes

10 Nov

Announcements:

Bookstore Browser reviewed Minutes Before Sunset, stating, “The book sets up a great world, with interesting characters and storyline as a great start to the trilogy.” Check out the entire review by clicking here.

Finding Interesting Quotes

Quotes. We love them. I rarely log onto any social media site without seeing some quote being shared via photos or tweets or simple statuses. We find a lot of meaning in quotes because we can relate to quotes, and being able to explain how we feel or think by sharing a line or two is a wonderful way to communicate with friends, family, and other followers.

One of the most wonderful times of being an author is when a reader quotes you. The first time I saw this happen, I could hardly believe it. I probably rubbed my eyes, closed my computer, reopened my computer, and blinked before I accepted that somebody had shared a few words of mine with the world. Now – it happens pretty regularly, and every time, I am just as happy as the first time. Why am I mentioning this?

Recently, a fellow author asked me how they could increase their chances of being quoted by their readers. Now – while I wish I could say there is a simple formula – I don’t know if there is, but I do know how you can find quotes in your own work that you can use for marketing purposes. So…here are a few ways to start your treasure hunt!

Figure out your themes:

I think this is the easiest way to find potential quotes in your own work. For instance, The Timely Death Trilogy revolves around the light vs. dark theme, but it’s also a romance, so I can search for words associated with that. Examples would include dark, shadows, love, hate, etc. This is handy because it serves two purposes: sharing a quote and sharing a theme from the novel. For instance, if I shared the favorited Seconds Before Sunrise quote, “Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of love.” it appeals to readers who might want to read about love, destiny, and drama. It’s also short enough to fit on Twitter.

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Read book reviews:

Readers will often point out their favorite quotes in book reviews. But – by the holy reading gods – do not respond to the book review. I think we all know how horribly that can go. While I generally let readers add quotes to Goodreads, this is a place where I’ve added a few quotes myself after a book reviewer shared one but didn’t add it. Book reviews can be a gold mine for finding quotes, but the only downside is the fact that you won’t have the quotes until after the book releases. If you need quotes beforehand, this method will have to be used later.

Google Yourself:

I know. I know. I just said that. But – seriously – I found photos people took and edited just for the quotes inside my novels. I even found quote websites and new social media websites where I could connect with readers. In fact, this is one of the reasons I ended up on Pinterest. When I searched for my name, most of the photos I found with my quotes on them were on Pinterest.

Now that you have quotes to use, use them! Create photos, tweet them out, post them on Facebook. There are plenty of ways to pick out those one-liners to share, but make sure you’re having fun with it! Create images, tweet out to readers, “like” photos fans create. Post them on your website!

There are no limitations to sharing words, and who knows who will share yours next?

~SAT

Why Most of my Characters are Male

8 Oct

Announcements:

Red Sands Reviewz read Seconds Before Sunrise and wrote, “You know how they say sequels aren’t as good as the first? This is not the case. It was fun to read from the start to finish.” And now you can read her review from start to finish by clicking here.

Krazy Reads reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, and you can read the entire review by clicking here, but this review inspired my blog post today, so I will be referring to it throughout my post! Even then, here’s a small quote, “Unlike most dystopian novels, this one felt the most real to me. Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE all dystopian novels, but for me, this seemed the most likely to actually happen.” Check out Take Me Tomorrow by clicking here.

Thank you, Krazy Reads.

Why Most of my Characters are Male

I’m doing something today that I have sworn to myself I would never, EVER do. I am responding to a book review. (Oh, the taboo!) Don’t worry. I have Krazy Reads permission, and it’s more or less not a response. It’s a deeper explanation that was inspired by a single section she wrote about my latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow:

Most of the characters are male, and while some people may say that seems unbalanced, to me, it fits perfectly. In the novel, the boys are fighting for a cause, they break laws, set bombs, and carry out rescue missions, so having most of the characters male fits, and I like how there are only three major female roles. Even though Sophia doesn’t always understand, she’s strong, smart, and cunning, and often times, she and her best friend, Lily, are the reason the plans work at all.”

It’s true. I’m guilty. My latest novel, Take Me Tomorrow, has more male character than female characters, and before I explain why, I would like to clarify that I’m specifically talking about Take Me Tomorrow in this post. My other novels are not like this, and there will be minor spoilers throughout this piece. That being said, I am going to have to hold back on some explanations due to the fact that the sequel will deepen many of these explanations, and I don’t want to spoil major parts of the first novel. But I’m going to do my best to explain why I have more male characters than female characters, and I want to explain this because I have received dozens of emails asking me why Take Me Tomorrow is full of boys.

The main reason is, perhaps, the most important one: it was never a conscious decision. It just sort of happened, and it happened naturally. This is the same reason I ultimately never changed it, despite the fact that I had one beta reader in particular suggest it. Don’t get me wrong. I thought about it a lot. I did. I considered each and every character and their gender, but here’s what it ultimately came down to: it was never about their gender. It was about them, and here are the two main reasons, I believe, they were boys in the first place:

Their Past

Although some of the past is seen in Take Me Tomorrow, more is explained in the sequel – Take Me Yesterday (hence the title). But I am going to explain what I can. First of all, a lot of it has to do with how the society works. Even though boys and girls can see each other and go to school together, there are subtle hints the society subconsciously encourages them to be separate. For instance, the boys are more likely to be thrown in military for punishment, while the girls are generally thrown into the correctional houses – and the correctional houses that are blatantly separated by gender. The other subtle part was the dance. Sophia describes it as one of the only instances students from separate schools can meet. Socializing is definitely not encouraged, but let’s get down to physical relationships: Noah and Broden met as children, and although I cannot giveaway their full circumstances, they didn’t just become friends because their parents were friends or that they happened to be the same age. I don’t want to spoil the novel so I won’t explain Tony or the flashback of Liam too much, but those two boys were more or less a reflection of what could’ve happened to Noah if he were older. Pierson is explained in the sequel. (I’m sorry for how cryptic this is.) But I can talk about Miles. If no one noticed, the twins – Miles and Lily – don’t have a father, and again, more details will come in Take Me Yesterday, but I will say this: Miles was very attracted to Broden and Noah, the first two guys that gave him friendship. Lily, too (as explained in the book), but Miles pushed his sister away. I have an older brother. This happened to me. But that’s for my next section.

These are Pinterest photos that remind me of TMT characters

These are Pinterest photos that remind me of TMT characters

My Personal Life

After my mother died, I was practically raised by my older brother. (My dad, too, but he traveled a lot.) So I spent a lot of time with my brother and all of his friends, and – you guessed it – they were mostly guys, especially his best friends. We went hunting and off-roading and ate sandwiches by the lake when we fished. But – during some point – we didn’t hang out as much, and that just happens sometimes. I got friends of my own, but (you might have guessed again) most of my friends were guys. I was comfortable with guys. I was used to spending time with them, and there was no romance there. A girl can be, in fact, just friends with guys. So I think that leaked out with Sophia, but I think it happened because of Lily. That’s right. Because of Lily. Sophia is best friends with Lily, and Lily is the one who introduces Sophia to Miles and Broden. Sophia gets her guys friends by default, and if you read the story, you also might have noticed that Sophia is not a social butterfly like Lily is. Sophia would rather stay home with her dog and read. She was perfectly satisfied with Lily’s company, and Miles and Broden were just extra buddies she gained. And, yes, you will learn even more about all of their pasts, specifically with Broden, Lyn, and Sophia’s mother…oh, and Miles and Lily. Pretty much everyone. But now that we’re talking about the girls…

As an extra, I want to talk about the girls, and I want to start this section off by re-quoting what Krazy Reads said, “I like how they’re are only three major female roles. Even though Sophia doesn’t always understand, she’s strong, smart, and cunning, and often times, she and her best friend, Lily, are the reason the plans work at all.”

Sure, the guys appear to be running things, but sometimes, as an author, I struggle to understand whether certain aspects are forgotten just because gender gets focused on. For instance, Miles is so terrified in the beginning, that he runs away, and Sophia – a girl – takes his place. That’s just one instance where the girls come to the rescue, and yes, there are more rescues and reasons, but sometimes, I worry that literature has trained us readers to focus more on boys rather than girls, which is no one’s fault. I’ve been guilty of it, too. But just because there are more boys does not mean that boys are more important, and in Take Me Tomorrow, they definitely cannot survive without the girls in their lives.

In fact, even though there are more boys in the novel, the numbers should not take away from the importance of Lily, Sophia, Lyn, and later on, Rinley. I wish I could explain what these girls do throughout the novel, but those pesky spoilers prevent me. That being said, these girls – as well as more girls – are seen in the sequel. (And, yes, the boys will be there as well.) But Take Me Tomorrow isn’t about how many boys or how many girls are present. It’s about drug use, abuse, addiction, immigration, tragedy, love, and war. And everyone can go through that, no matter what their gender is.

But – just for kick’s sake – here’s a list of reasons I have more male characters than female characters:

I was true to story.

~SAT

Spreading the Love

14 Jul

Shannon – here – for one announcement and a small introduction.

Special thanks goes out to everyone who came to the Indie Romance Convention last night! The event was amazing, and my Amazon rankings even went up! Thank you for checking out The Timely Death Trilogy and supporting me as we near the release date of Take Me Tomorrow. I appreciate your lovely support of the romance genre, and I am hoping to give back to all of you wonderful readers. Email me at shannonathompson@aol.com for a free eBook of my dystopian novel, Take Me Tomorrow before it comes out this Thursday. 😀

Here on WordPress I talk to many fellow bloggers, and their websites become valuable gems that I visit throughout my day. Today, one of those gems is writing for ShannonAThompson.com. Her name is Mishka Jenkins, author of Heart of Arena, Stolen Bloodline, and The Queen’s Jester, and host of the fantastic blog, A Writer’s Life for Me. She’s written a great post about why author write romance, and I hope you enjoy it just as much as I have enjoyed having her on here!

Spreading the Love

Romance. By now we all pretty much know that romance doesn’t have the rep that other genres get. It’s generally classed as a sub-par genre that you should read only in the confines of your own home, where no one else can see you doing it.

Me? I read romance, I write romance, I like romance and care very little what others say on the topic, because I like what I like and have no shame in it. But, I think a lot of people miss the reason that most like the romance genre. It’s not for the bodice ripping moments or the final kiss (which are great too!), a lot of the time it’s because romance and love gives us a little bit of hope.

StolenBloodline

Stolen Bloodline by Mishka Jenkins

Every day we are bombarded with news of war and cruelty, so when I pick up a book I want to escape into it. It’s hard to go from a news story about war and then pick up a book that is filled with yet more fighting and brutality. There are times when I want hope, optimism and to read about moments that leave me breathless. For a while, romance gives me that world where there are more important things than the humdrum chores of washing the dishes or catching the bus.

Romance offers that breather and an escape in a much more comforting way than say a full-blow epic war fantasy or a fast-paced thriller. Those types of books are great, but sometimes their violence and heaviness leave me drained.

And that is why I think romance is important. It shows that not everything in the world has to be about violence or anger. The better qualities and emotions of humanity shine through in romance books, they focus on characters and how, just sometimes, the connection between people can make a bigger difference than a battle can.

If I pick up a romance book I can generally guarantee that when I finish it there will be a happy ending. The problems will have been defeated and the couple will be blissfully in love and I can sigh in happiness, because it gives me a sense of hope in a world that sometimes seems only full of war and cruelty.

Yes, I also read for those romantic moments that make me swoon and send my heart thudding into overdrive. And, honestly, what’s so wrong with that?

Mishka Jenkins lives in the UK with her family and fluffy muse, a rough collie called Harliquin, who she couldn’t write without. She has a penchant for writing love stories in a variety of exciting genres, and plans to keep writing them for as long as she can type.

She’s written three books- Stolen Bloodline, Heart of the Arena and The Queen’s Jester.

Connect with her by visiting her blog and Amazon page

My Poem is Published

11 Apr

In case you didn’t see the update during my last blog post, my first podcast interview was posted. Click on The Lurking Voice to listen to it. The author, Ryan Attard, described it as, “Now, I’m not gonna spoil anything, but Shannon is one of those pure artistic souls with a dark side (Darth Shannon) and we talked about everything. And I mean everything.” I like Darth Shannon. I had a fantastic time, so I would love for you to have a laugh with us as you listen to it.

Next, PRLog sent out a new press release for Seconds Before Sunrise, so check it out by clicking here. It’s titled “Award-Winning Paranormal Fiction Author Publishes Second Book In The Timely Death Trilogy.” I found it all pretty exciting to see, because I have never had a press release until Seconds Before Sunrise came out, and I got two 😀

And I also want to take a moment to thank Sandra Danby for nominating ShannonAThompson.com for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Check out her award-winning blog of fiction, short stories, and everything on writing and reading.

It began after I wrote this blog post: Photography and Writing.

I had begun to miss photography again, so I joined Instagram to simply admire photographs from my cell phone. That’s when I began to follow Sofie Sund Photography. After admiring her stellar self-portraits, lined with hauntingly true quotes, she announced to her 193,000 followers that she had founded a magazine with four other artists. She also mentioned that submissions were open to photographers, drawers, and poets.

Naturally, I submitted. (Because, like my father always says, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” – he generally refers this when speaking about the lottery. I, on the other hand, like to apply this to publishing by changing it to, “You can’t get published if you don’t submit.” So, yes, I submitted. 

Over time, I continued to follow them. I “liked” their Facebook page, and enjoyed their news when they announced that they had won two awards – best logo and best booth – for their sales’ team. I subscribed to their website, and I continued to watch from afar, eager to see who they would include in the first edition of their magazine.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

The actual photograph I was taking that morning.

It was March 3 when I heard from them. At four in the morning, I can admit that I hadn’t gone to bed yet. I was awake, taking pictures of the sunrise, and I received an email. LALUNA staff was congratulating me on my acceptance. One of my poems will be in their first issue. I couldn’t believe it because I truly admire the work of these young artists. While they are based out of Norway, I find the distance a beautiful and telling tale – we can be connected oceans apart. In fact, AEC Stellar Publishing has an author in Malta. Let’s just take a moment and really let that sink in. We live in a world where we can be published across the world.

It’s amazing.

I also believe that LALUNA Magazine stands for everything I believe in: a magazine dedicated to inspiring the youth.

My dream is to inspire young people to follow their dreams, so I could not be happier to be a part of this encouraging project.

Thank you to LALUNA Staff. 

In case you’re curious about my poem that is now published, it is titled “Regretful Memories.” It’s a standalone poem that has sat in my desk drawer for some time but has now found its time to be released. I wrote it during college, and I might do a reading on my YouTube channel so you can hear it, but you can buy the ebook of the magazine here or even check out a preview here. I’ve also added a new page to my website for it, which you can visit by clicking here, and it has been added to my page that lists my publications. I’ve now been published six times, adding up to 1,211 pages, and every time it happens, my writing heart is filled with more encouragement, excitement, and endless love. 

As always, I thank you for your timeless support and your daily words of kindness that continue to guide me down this passionate life path. To you – my reader – I am most grateful. 

~SAT

Poem

Poem

 

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