Tag Archives: Photography

Website Wonders

27 Jun

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of June’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Fiction, Illustrations, and Photography/Film.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Favorite Article:

Crap someone should have told you writers by now by Rebecca T. Dickson: I loved this list of truths for writers. It’s humbling and encouraging, while also explaining how things really are.

Writing:

57 Tips For Writers, From Writers “The hardest part is believing in yourself at the notebook stage. It is like believing in dreams in the morning.” – Erica Jong

Chekhov’s Gun: How To Use It When Writing Your Novel: An interesting plot device often overlooked (but easily overused)

The Four Undramatic Plot Structures: I really enjoyed this infographic. It cracked me up.

Fiction:

13350382_1054368928003537_6252562232697559884_o20 Amazing J.R.R. Tolkien-Inspired Tattoos 

What’s The Fastest (Fictional) Spaceship In The Universe? 

Illustrations:

Untranslatable Words from Marija Tiurina: Such a beautiful collection of art! 

Artist Turns Everyday Sayings Into Clever Pun Illustrations: Take Control was my favorite.

Photography/Film:

40+ Astonishing Photographs Of The World That Steal Your Heart Immediately. I love photography, and this is a great collection

Japanese Couple Beautifully Captures Their Cats Watching Them Eat! I love cats. This is perfection.

Fantasy of Flight captured in photo shoots: Gorgeous photos of people flying

Where the Sounds From the World’s Favorite Movies Are Born: An awesome video!

See you next month!

~SAT

What are readers already saying about Bad Bloods?

“November Rain was thrilling and exciting and gets readers excited for more. It really focuses on the attributes of family, friends and loyalty, which was really refreshing to see in a dystopian novel. I will definitely be continuing on with this duology.” – Ronnie’s World Blog

Clean Teen Publishing is throwing a Facebook party on July 8 from 6-8 PM (EST), where you can win prizes and chat with authors. Click here to join.

CTP's Sizzling Summer Reads FB Party

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

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#WW I’m Leaving Again (But wait. There’s more.)

5 Aug

I’m leaving again. I know. I know. WHAT?! Didn’t you just get back from Penned Con in St. Louis?

Yes. Yes, I did. And—by the way—Penned Con was wonderful, and I plan on writing all about it as soon as I return. That being said, I’m off to Atlanta today. In fact, right as you’re reading this, I might be on a plane. (Who knows where I am in the world?)

This is my "since I was 18" travel map. I update it every time I leave.

This is my “since I was 18” travel map. I update it every time I leave.

I will be back next Wednesday, but there will be a guest post on Monday still. (Which basically means there won’t be a Saturday post this week.)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my book tour schedule with you since it starts while I’m gone. (See? I didn’t leave you hanging.) I prepped a bunch of interviews and spotlights and all kinds of goodie fun for you all. (Because I love you as much as I love parenthesis right now.)

So, check it out below. Sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise blog tour if you want! Keep up the wonderful love. (I love you too.)

And PREPARE FOR THE BOOK RELEASE OF DOOOOOOOM.

Just kidding.

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases on August 25, so if you want to win prizes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, because I’ll be sending out the next opportunity when I get back to good ol’ Kansas City.

Until then: Hello, Atlanta. Thanks for looking after me.

Stay Dark…and you know, catch up on Minutes Before Sunset, and pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise and even Death Before Daylight if you’re feeling feisty. (Rawr.)

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset Tour Banner

Minutes Before Sunset Book Tour Schedule: (Well, really, this is August’s schedule. For a complete list of future events, visit my Events page….Guys, my life is crazy.)

August 10, 2015: Interview with Juniper Grove Book Solutions.

August 11, 2015: Guest post on One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads

August 11, 2015: Spotlight on Lady Amber’s Reviews

August 12, 2015: Spotlight on The Wonderings of One Person

August 13, 2015: Spotlight on The Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass

August 14, 2015: Interview by Deal Sharing Aunt

August 14, 2015 Spotlight on Mythical Books

August 17, 2015: Spotlight on Girls With Books

August 17, 2015: Spotlight on The Bookie Monster 

August 18, 2015: Guest post on Black Words-White Pages

August 19, 2015: Interview by Melissa Book Buzz

August 25, 2015: Seconds Before Sunrise releases!

Seriously. Do it. You'll feel better.

Seriously. Do it. You’ll feel better.

Wait. It’s not over yet.

11791955_10207432863086714_4179449091941489450_oYou like FREE books, right? Right. My publisher is accepting more book reviewers, book bloggers, and overall book lovers to their Elite Reading Team. This means you’ll receive free books in exchange for honest reviews, and you’ll also be entered to win monthly prizes (like signed books, gift cards, and more). Sign up by clicking the link above. They’re also giving away a mystery prize of 2-3 paperbacks this month! So sign up for that here.

#SATurday: I Am Not Special

7 Feb

#SATurday: I Am Not Special

Some nights, I do not feel like writing – but, in all honesty, I understand that I do feel like writing. After all, I always do. Even when I “hate” it, I redefine my hate as fighting through a passionate struggle – or I label it with some other momentary expression to explain my lack of love. It is a temporary disconnect, one that always – and undoubtedly – heals. That being said, a contradiction timelessly arises.

What happened to all my passions I disconnected with forever?

Allow me to clarify…I truly believe writing is my all-time passion, my purpose in life, per se, but there have been other activities I have loved and admired and explored and lost. While I’ve always wanted to be a writer, my preschool self wanted to try cheerleading, and my later school years brought basketball, yearbook, photography, track, tennis, gymnastics, a part-time job, and a little club called Goal 0 into my life – all while moving around and writing novels in my free time.

I guess I could call myself an overachiever – at least, at that age – but I never considered myself one. There was always a boy who went to school more than I did or a girl who ran faster or a new kid who had lived in more places than I have.

I’ve never seen myself as special.

Although those six words may sound dreary or in desperate need of some self-confidence training, I don’t read them that way. I look at them backward.

“Special as myself seen never I’ve.” may not make sense, so please allow me to reword it slightly to explain further:

Special as myself, seen never have I.

To me, focusing on oneself too much does not allow us to truly see the world around us. In contrast – because I always love a good contradiction – I believe we must know ourselves before we can help others or the world, but stretching self-knowledge into too much self-importance is where we destroy ourselves and each other.

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The ways that make us special are not meant to outshine another person’s unique traits. When I was younger, I did not understand that, so I overcompensated to try to seal a hole in my heart I held toward myself, and some days, I still succumb to this pain. I am human, after all.

During times I consider myself to be overcompensating, I have fleeting but terrifying emotions that consume me. Instead of realizing that I am already helping people, I irrationally desire to become special because I believe that “special” label will finally allow me to help others. In fact, I believe it will be the only way for me to achieve my goals. This is where my soul’s focus is confused. No matter what happens, I now feel as if I am failing, even when I am not, so I continue to push, push, and push forward – often, in the wrong direction – as if it will help, and the longer it continues, the harder I push. This is a breeding ground for overcompensation.

During overcompensation I fail to recognize the destructive nature of this thought-process – how it can deter your focus, warp your goals, and desensitize your true wish that you want to fulfill. In the example above, this happened when I thought being “special” would allow me to help people rather than simply trying to help people.

In writing, we often see this happen in the writer who always talks about writing but never actually writes – and oddly enough, that is how I began this piece, and in reality, that is also how I’m ending it. I am not an exception, I am not perfect, and I am not special. And I am accepting how perfectly okay I am with that.

Being special isn’t about sticking out or labeling someone as unique or even changing the world. It is about fighting every day to be honest about who you truly are while finding the energy to fulfill your life role in whatever way you decide it should be. Whether or not you change the world does not matter in the end.

In the end, the important lesson is not to see yourself as special, but to see the world for what it is and everything we can be every day.

I don’t see myself as special.

I am too focused on seeing the life all around me. Perhaps, it’ll even inspire me to write again.

~SAT on #SATurday

Website Wonders

28 Sep

Announcements: 

In the latest review, The Bookie Monster highly recommends Take Me Tomorrow, and you can read why by clicking here. But here is small quote: “Once this story gets rolling, which is right in chapter one, you have to just keep turning the pages. It wasn’t my plan, but I read it in an afternoon.” If you want to check out my latest novel, click here for Amazon.

Website Wonders: 

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of September’s Website Wonders categorized as so: Reading, Writing, and Inspiration Art and Life. Between each category is a photo. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

23 Science Books That Are So Exciting They Read Like Genre Fiction:

List of Newspeak Words from Orwell’s 1984: I’m a huge George Orwell fan, so this was really neat to read.

Which of the All-Time Top 100 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Books is Right For You?: I love, love, love this. It is so much fun to explore from various answers.

A Clever Visual Representations of Famous Quotes

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Writing:

How to Structure a Story: The Eight-Point Arc: A very basic way to start off writing if you want to study the structure of writing.

Free Landing Page Images: This was sent to me by CEO of Users Think, John Tuner, and it includes 99 free images for authors to use as covers.

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Inspirational Art and Life:

37 Photographic Proofs That Iceland is a Miracle of Nature: I found these to be both beautiful and shocking!

28 Magical Paths Begging to be Walked: Sent to me by reader, Steven Sanchez. (If anyone ever finds articles like this, please send them to me! I love them.) I found these photos to be a wonderful, mid-day escape.

24 Unusual Beaches You’ve Never Heard of Before: I’m stuck in Kansas, so this is what I end up looking for when I want to be on a beach.

DNA tests ‘prove’ that Jack the Ripper was a Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski: How could you not find this article fascinating? It might not be true – it might never be 100% solved – but the new evidence is pretty neat to read about.

This Man Found A SECRET Tunnel in His House. And It Let to a MASSIVE Underground City! What would you do in his position?

Have fun internet diving!

~SAT

History Is Something That Happens To Other People

19 May

Two quick announcements from Shannon before today’s guest blogger takes over:

I have joined Tumblr, so please join me by clicking here. Also, my headshot pictures have changed. I recently did a photo shoot with Colt Coan Photography. Check out his website by clicking here!

Today’s guest blogger is Misha Burnett, author of the Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts, science fiction/urban fantasy novels. He will also mention his co-author, Jessika O’Sullivan. Please click on their names to visit their websites.   

I have always been intimidated by historical research for fiction. One of my favorite authors is Tim Powers, who writes an unique form of historical fantasy, blending real events with fantastic elements so seamlessly that you finish his books wondering just what the hell really happened.

I would read something like The Anubis Gates (about a secret society of Egyptian magicians in early 19th Century London) or Declare (the career of Soviet spy Kim Philby explained as a cold world battle over the control of a colony of djin in the Arabian desert) and be utterly blown away—and completely convinced that I could never attempt anything like that.

Recently however, I found myself having started a historical novel. It’s kind of a funny story. An indie writer friend of mine invited me to join a Google+ group called “Legendary Author Battles”. The purpose of the group was to writers working together on short stories. One would pick the setting, the other the characters, and they would take turns adding to the story. These “battles” weren’t intended to be serious, they were simply a writing exercise.

However, a writer named Jessika O’Sullivan and I found ourselves with the beginning of a very interesting story, with characters that we cared about, and both of us decided that it really ought to be given a change to become a novel.

Fortunately Jessika is well educated and willing to shoulder the brunt of the research. However, as I was going I found myself needing to know things in order to figure out how events would unfold.

Our novel is set in East Berlin, in 1947. We have a diverse mix of characters, English, German, Russian, ranging in age from their early 20’s to their mid 50’s. Suddenly I have to know things like what was going on in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1917 or how extensive was the firebombing of Dresden, Germany in February of 1945.

Thank God for Wikipedia. Not only do they have pages on everything, they have links to actual source materials and archive pictures. Did you know that you can get lists of articles that appeared in The Lancet magazine going back to the 19th Century?

Translating the cold data into a character’s experiences, however, I have begun to realize that looking up facts is only the first half. There is a phrase used by military writers; “Ground Truth”. They use it to refer to the difference between knowing something because your intelligence agencies tell you so, and getting physically into an area and seeing it with your own eyes.

Obviously, I cannot physically walk the streets of East Berlin in 1947. I wouldn’t even be able to swing the airfare to visit Berlin today. I’m a writer, though, I travel via my imagination. Looking at the photographs of the devastation wrought by the war, I can project myself into the shoes of the figures dwarfed by those piles of rubble. Those lucky enough to have shoes, that is.

That’s when I realized that history isn’t history to the people who live there. It’s obvious in retrospect, but that’s what I think is the key to writing historical fiction—the characters don’t know they are characters in historical fiction.

To take just one example, our character Helmut doesn’t know anything about The German Revolution as a historical event. What he knows is that one day his father went to a political rally and never came back, and he had to become the sole support of his mother and brothers at seventeen.

It isn’t the things that make headlines or chapters in history books that make up a life, those are things that are only seen afterward, by people who hadn’t been there. Helmut reads in the paper that the UN is voting on the establishment of the state of Israel, and he mentions it in conversation, but what his wife Amalia is going to make for dinner that evening is a thousand times more important to him.

I am realizing that I have to keep asking myself not only, “What was going on in that place, at that time?” but also “What effect, if any, would those events have on my characters?”

What is the Ground Truth? To a young girl in the Bund Deutscher Mädel, National Socialism isn’t an ideology, it’s the thing that makes her work after school making bandages for the troops instead of playing outside with her friends.

Now don’t get me wrong—good research is important, and it’s hard work. If I write that my characters are standing around watching the Soviets build the Berlin Wall, a lot of people are going to point out that construction on the Wall wasn’t begun until 1961. If I’m writing about a character driving a car I need to know what sort of controls that car would have, and how they differ from modern vehicles. Would the car have a radio? Air conditioning? Automatic transmission? What sort of lights, and how are they controlled? Seat belts?

A million details, and there’s a temptation, when researching, to include everything. On the 12th of November, 1947, the writer Emma Orczy, creater of The Scarlet Pimpernil, died. As a writer and a lover of esoterica, I find that a significant event, given Orczy’s influence on popular adventure and mystery stories.

Honestly, though, it’s not something that my characters would have noticed at all. So I resist the temptation to put it in the book. It’s not my story, it’s my character’s story.

What matters most about people isn’t when they lived or where they were born or what language they spoke. What matters most about people is that they are people.

History is something that happens to other people. When it’s happening, it’s not history, it’s just life. One of the themes that Jessika and I have discussed is how in the midst of these huge upheavals, wars and revolutions and reconstructions, life somehow still goes on. People still fall in and out of love, work and struggle, argue and make up, wake up each morning and go to bed each night.

The fundamental things apply.

Misha

How Anxiety Influenced my Trilogy

14 Jan

AskDavid.com is featuring Minutes Before Sunset right now. Check out the exclusive description here, and please share! It would really help me out. Thank you.

As promised in my last post – Photography and Writing – today is dedicated to explaining why the photo below is symbolic to my writing life and why I used it to represent my upcoming novel, Seconds Before Sunrise. Hopefully by sharing my story about turning anxiety into art, it will help inspire you to share yours.

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

There’s something you should know about me before I start.

In my 22 years of life, I’ve been in six car wrecks. Now, before you judge my driving record, I was only driving in two of them, one was caused by black ice on a bridge and my most recent one happened when I was hit by a drunk driver, which I actually wrote about here.

But the point isn’t about my driving record – it’s actually about what happened afterward. In my first car wreck, I was not driving. The passengers asked the driver to slow down, but he didn’t, and we hit a tree at 80 miles per hour. Now, I want to clarify that I have nothing against this driver, and he’s a good person, so please do not comment on him. I shared those details because, shortly afterward, I developed a high anxiety for anyone else driving me. When I say “high” anxiety, I mean hyperventilation and shaking among other uncontrollable functions, but I was fine as long as I was driving myself…until I was driving back to college in February of 2010. My non-four-wheel-drive, rear-wheel truck did not fair too well on a bridge covered with black ice. I lost control and crashed into a van at 45. I wasn’t injured, but six other cars wrecked while they were cleaning up my car wreck, including one instance where a firefighter almost got pinned against my car.

It was scary – terrifying, really – and after that, I couldn’t feel good behind ANY wheel, especially if it was snowing, icy, raining, or even dark. My body associated bad events with vehicles, but I couldn’t avoid vehicles. The Midwest, as well as most of the places in the United States aside from large cities, is not friendly to transportation via bicycle. (And before you mention buses, those counted as vehicles in my anxiety.)

After four car wrecks, my anxiety was so bad at one point that I almost refused to leave the house in the fear that I would get in another one. While many people get in car wrecks and walk away without a worry (except what to do with a car), I had to be honest with myself: I wasn’t one of those people. I got help, and after a number of months of therapy, my anxiety slowly went down. Now, I can be proud when I drive through downtown KC without so much as a racing heart or lack of breath.

Now, the books – (thanks for staying with me)

The Timely Death Trilogy has more than one car wreck in it, although only one is seen in a flashback in Minutes Before Sunset, while another one from the past is seen through a newspaper article. There’s a reason for this.

You know you want to add it on Goodreads. Click here!

You know you want to add it on Goodreads. Click here!

When writing these books, I had recently experienced my first car wreck that I mentioned previously. I was 15, and I was injured for a while afterward, so the memory was lingering in my physical pain. Because of that, I decided I wanted cars to be a symbol in this trilogy – something that would describe the characters as well as affect the characters’ lives – and you can expect the peak of the symbolism of the car to happen in the next installment of the series, Seconds Before Sunrise

The photo itself is important to book two. If you want some truth, this photo could be a direct viewpoint from Eric Welborn, but if you want the full truth, you’ll have to check out Seconds Before Sunrise (and catch up on Minutes Before Sunset.)

In the end, there are two purposes to this piece:

1. Because I think it’s more important to help people – know it’s okay if you development anxiety and/or depression from a traumatic event, even if others do not label it as traumatic. Just because it didn’t hurt them, does not mean it shouldn’t have hurt you. It’s okay. Talk to understanding family and friends, and get help if you need to. It might take months or even years to feel better, but being proactive about your physical and mental health is worth it.

2.  There might be numerous car wrecks in The Timely Death Trilogy, but each one is symbolic in its own way – just as ones in my real life have become that way to me – and I think there’s a lesson in that. Events will affect everyone differently in the same sense that a story will affect each reader differently. Don’t change events in your story out of the fear that they might seem repetitive or not be good enough for everyone. Tell the story the best way that you can, and trust your readers. They will understand.

~SAT

Photography and Writing

12 Jan

First – if you like Facebook groups for authors, editors, and/or any one to do with writing, here’s a fantastic one for the Author Extension Community. It’s just another way to meet more people willing to support other artists.

Second – I want to thank Sarit Yahalomi at Coffee & Books & Art for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset: “I can always appreciate a female character whose purpose is not only to look cute and pretty in the arms of her leading man but to actually show some attitude and who knows how to fight back.” Check out her entire review here.

I joined Instagram. Believe it or not, this actually has to do with my post today. I didn’t plan on talking about photography and how it has affected my writing life, but I thought sharing my surrender to Instagram was a good way to open up this little discussion that has more to do with my past than my current life. I would love it if you would join me there. I will probably (mainly) take fun photos of cats, coffee, and my writing adventures, and I hope to see your photos, too.

But what do photos have to do with writing?

I used to love photography. I still do, but I meant to say that I used to participate in photography. At one point, photography actually overcame my writing – which wasn’t a surprise, considering my father worked for Kodak for 25 years, and our house was full of one-time-use photograph machines. I used to have a beautiful camera that sadly died a number of years ago. I have been weary about getting a new one, only because I need a new laptop first, but I miss it – a lot.

I found creativity behind the lens just as I find adventures behind words today. I used to spend hours walking through empty fields and forests, imagining all of the magic that could exist in one backyard.  Below is actually a photo I took in my front yard, and – fun fact – it was used on the back cover of Minutes Before Sunset.

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A part of this is now the back cover on Minutes Before Sunset.

At some point in my childhood I realized the magic I obsessed over was in the simplest of things – in the broken bottle cap or the abandoned farmhouse – because it came down to perspective. 

A farmhouse wasn’t just a barn that no one wanted – it was a mystery, a creaking doorway into the unknown. Perhaps this is why articles about abandoned places inspire me so much. They leave room for the imagination in reality rather than forcing the imagination while sitting in an empty room. It’s fresh air, so to speak.

The magic found in creating art is discovered by challenging a perspective. 

This is what photography has to do with writing – for me, it’s about how we see the world, but it’s also about trying a new hobby to enhance a talent (or taking a moment to get away from the keyboard and out of the house.) I’ve shown how I’ve used photographs in a book to keep track of writing, but there’s more to photos than simply staring at them in the same sense that reading words is different than writing words down.

The point of this – honestly – isn’t about getting you to love photography but rather sharing my experience with realizing that I might be able to further my love for writing by dabbling back in my love for photography. 

So, try it with me if you want – go back in time, remember something you used to love to do, even if it was rarely, and attempt to love it for a day again. Enjoy it like a vacation or rededicate yourself to practicing it again in 2014.

I know I will be. In fact, in the future I will be blogging about why the photo below is symbolic to my writing. If you recall, it was used as the placement photo before the cover to Seconds Before Sunrise was revealed, and there’s a very good reason for that. I’m looking forward to sharing that reasoning soon.

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise? You’re about to find out.

~SAT

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