Tag Archives: Ryan Attard

#MondayBlogs Finding Your Author’s Voice

5 Oct

Intro:

Voice. A singular word that makes most writers cringe, especially if you’re just starting out. But it doesn’t have to! Finding your “voice” can be a fun adventure, and today, author Ryan Attard, is discussing the ever-dreaded topic most avoid.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in guest articles are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect my own. To show authenticity of the featured writer, articles are posted as provided (a.k.a. I do not edit them). However, the format may have changed.

Finding your Author’s Voice by Ryan Attard

If you’ve been writing for any length of time, you would have come across the concept of an author’s voice – one of the most confusing concepts out there in terms of writer’s education. We hear it all the time, whether we are writing a book, talking about one, or even writing those dreaded query letters; readers, writers and agents alike are all seeking voice.

But what the hell is this thing?

Your voice is your identity as a writer; it’s what makes your words yours (barring some long and boring copyright agreement that I will not include here, because I’d like everyone to read this without feeling like they have to drive a long rush nail into their cerebral cortex afterwards).

Your voice is who you are; what makes you choose what words to write; or what drives you to write them in the first place. But without going all Flower Power, let’s talk about this from a technical perspective.

When you read an author, if they have found their voice, you will find yourself inevitably either loving or hating that author. There is very little middle ground here, simply because now you know what that author is all about. You know where they’re going to go, even if they get better – and that either jives with you or it doesn’t. This is what differs a pro writer from someone who’s just starting out. The reason why established authors tend to sell a bajillion copies of their work is because we as readers identify with that story – or rather the voice of that author in telling the story.

I know… no one said this was easy to wrap your head around.

Think of J.K. Rowling for example. Yeah, Harry Potter is a great story, and it’s got its ups and down, but the reason fans still go gaga over it years after the last book (and movie) ended is because of Rowling’s voice. We can all sit down and write the exact same story, with the exact same characters and mechanics (but no Time-turner cos that’s bullshit!) and we’d all end up with a slightly different story – better or worse. A more recent example is Patrick Rothfuss: story-wise there is little to engage us in his series. On face value it’s about a guy telling us about his past in a school. So why does it have raving fans (guilty as charged) clamoring for the third book, like a riot happening outside of Conan Doyle’s house when he literally threw Sherlock of a cliff? (okay, technically it was a waterfall, but that really doesn’t have the same punch does it?)

The point is, a massive success goes beyond the perfect plot. It takes an author who really knows themselves and who really knows not only what they are writing about but also who are they writing for, as well as why; all in addition to a great story.

Better yet, that great story has to fit your author’s voice. This is a rookie mistake (one that I am guilty of) – we see something on TV, or read something awesome, and be like “Hey, I can do that!”

No, you can’t. Or rather, you can, but expect it to go down the crapper at around page 17. Sure if you want to steal an idea, or a setting, or a trope, it’s all fair game. ‘Talent borrows, Genius steals,’ as Oscar Wilde said.

But whatever you do make sure it all fits with YOU – as an artist, as a creator. It’s common when starting out have an inconsistent voice. Think of it in this way: when we are children we hear all sorts of phrases and inflections and whatnot, and we simply imitate. And the only way we have of sifting through this chaos is by doing it even more, eventually eliminating what sounds unnatural to us.

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This is why most writers tell you to “keep writing” – this is why we have that 10,000 hours rule of thumb. The more you write, the more familiar you get with your author’s voice… or voices, cos there is no rule that say you can’t have multiple voices (cue Prozac joke here), just as there is no rule that says you can only write in one genre.

So how can you find your author’s voice? Well, you can write, write and then write some more… but there is a way to shortcut it – if you think about it.

Yeah, that’s the trick… think about it. Simply reread some of your stuff, analyze what you’re doing, and pick what sounds most natural. It takes time, sure, but more importantly it takes dedication and the willingness to go through with your crazy ideas (some of which you really need to write down).

And once you find your voice, you’re golden. Because whether you are writing the next bestseller, a query letter, or even a tweet, you will have identified yourself through your writing. I’ll end with this quote from Youtuber and fellow author Garrett Robinson (whose video inspired me to write this post. Highly recommend you checking it out here) who said:

“An author’s voice, once perfected, is more unique to them that their fingerprints.”

May you go forth and write according to the voices in your head,

Ryan Attard

Bio:

Ryan Attard is the author of the Legacy series, The Pandora Chronicles and, as of recently, Evil Plan Inc. When not tormenting his protagonists or ruling over his imaginary worlds, Ryan can be found within the confines of his house on an island far, far away, either geeking out about the latest book or manga chapter he read, or a television show he just finished watching.

He can also be found spewing his opinions and telling terrible jokes on his weekly podcast, The Lurking Voice podcast, which can be found through his website (although if you are easily offended you should definitely not listen).

He is also the kind of person who writes about himself in the third person.

Email: ryanattardauthor@gmail.com

Website: http://ryanattard.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Enkousama

Join the Mailing List and get an exclusive free copy of the Legacy Short Story Collection – 1 novella, 6 short stories and 50K+ words of pure awesome.  Sign up now!

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. I will be stopping guest blog posts in November, but before then, I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. Pictures, links, and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

The Sequel Can Wait

18 Oct

Announcements:

The third section of my interactive poetry series has begun, and you can read the first poem – Miscarriage – by clicking the title. Here are the opening lines:

If I hadn’t stepped outside, I would not

have seen the cloud buried deep in the approaching

storm I vaguely remembering hearing about.

(Vote, share, and comment for your chance to be mentioned during my next YouTube video.)

Special thanks goes out to The Incorrigible Reader for reviewing Minutes Before Sunset and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 1 and book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, here. Find out why she said, “I really did love this series! It was intriguing, exciting, romantic, and so hard to put down!’ 

Another huge thank you goes out to SDAV Reads for reviewing Take Me Tomorrow. She describes both the character development and the world-building, but here’s a quote, “So even amidst some very serious fights, explosions, and runaway escapes worthy of Doctor Who, there is a lot of time spent with the emotions of the characters so that you end up feeling as connected to them as you ought to. They’re very well developed…If you like Dystopic books, or even if you don’t and you just want a good thriller, Take Me Tomorrow is certainly one to add to your shelf!” Read her full review here.

And I am thanking one more book blogger – Note to Selph Book Reviews – for also reading Take Me Tomorrow. You can read her full review by clicking the link, but here is a quote from her, “The overall plot was intriguing and exciting, filled with plenty of action running from police and sneaking out at night.”

I cannot thank you all enough! Please check out my books by clicking these links: Minutes Before Sunset and Take Me Tomorrow. If you write a review, let me know, and I will be sure to share it right here!

The Sequel Can Wait:

Before anyone freaks out, no, this is not about the release dates of Take Me Yesterday or Death Before Daylight. Not entirely anyway. Instead, it’s rather about the pressure writers can put on themselves to get the next book out – and fast – and how destructive it can be to the entire writing (and reading) experience.

You see, I once heard that authors nowadays are expected to release a novel every six months. I’ve actually heard this more than once, but I believe one of the times was during a discussion author, Ryan Attard, had on his podcast, The Lurking Voice. He was simply discussing this trend, not necessarily agreeing with it. I want to clarify that because I think the idea of getting a novel out every six months is fantastic. It’s just extremely difficult, and it should not be expected. Ever.

A lot goes on behind the scenes in the publishing world. Writing isn’t even half of it. Content editing is completely different than line-editing, and a line edit is different than just an edit. Those are just three types of editing, not to mention formatting for both an eBook or a paperback or – god forbid – the hours that go behind an audio book. And cover art! Geez. I could go on forever, and I’m not even talking about the amount of hours, people, or cost behind it all (or the fact that most of these people have second jobs).

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Don’t get me wrong. I think it is great if an author can get a book out every six months. It can be done, and it can, in fact, be professional. After all, four months passed between the release of Seconds Before Sunrise and Take Me Tomorrow (but that explanation is for another post). It can be done, and it can be done well, but that does not – by any means – mean that every author should do this. Unfortunately, especially in the Indie market, authors are often competing with one another (a rather ridiculous notion in itself, but moving on…) and I’ve seen a lot of arguments that authors can’t possibly release books that quickly.

Again, it can be done, but I think authors should pick their timelines based on nothing but themselves. Basing it on readers’ expectations can be really destructive. For instance, you might rush editing to meet a deadline, and now, there are more mistakes readers are picking out in your novels, but if you hadn’t been trying to meet a deadline, you might have been more careful.

I say this with great caution. I know that this topic can cause a lot of bad blood, but I am author, and I go through the pressures of releasing the next book every day. The pressures are mainly focused on three things: get it out quickly, efficiently, and professionally. I’ve lost sleep over it. I’ve worried I was going to lose readers if Death Before Daylight took an extra three months to release. I’ve given myself writer’s block over it. And let me tell you – it isn’t worth it.

How do I know this?

Well, to be quite honest, I don’t. I’m still learning, and I still mess up. I estimated that Death Before Daylight could be cut down to 80,000 words in content edits, and I’ve already surpassed it. That being said, this had added time to my timeline, so it will probably come out later than AEC has been anticipating, and I have been losing my little writer’s mind over it. I feel guilty, and a huge part of me feels irresponsible at timing, satisfying my readers, and estimating my work abilities. That is a hard pill to swallow. But it is even harder to realize it isn’t a pill I have to swallow. Things happen in this industry, and we must roll with the punches, and readers will, too.

In fact, the other day, one of my all-time favorite authors, Meg Cabot, announced she will be releasing book 7 of the Mediator in 2015. Just to let you all know, it has been 15 years since book 6 came out. 15. And you know what? Readers are ecstatic. I’m ecstatic. 15 years is nothing for a fan. Look at all the talk about Harry Potter coming back. That’s about 10 years, and everyone is practically begging for it. And The Mortal Instruments movie was canceled, but the T.V. show is coming out, and although some are reluctant, I think most fans will give it a shot.

Of course readers want the sequel now. I am a reader myself. I understand the anticipation. Waiting for City of Heavenly Fire was so painful I cannot even begin to describe the countdown on my iCalendar, but I still picked the book up when it finally did release, and I never held it against Cassandra Clare, and I will always be excited for the release of a sequel whenever it happens. But – sometimes – I forget that as an author. On the writer side of things, I tear myself down, but on the reader side, I am only filled with excitement, and I think every author can benefit by remembering the support readers feel for authors. That pressure to release the next book is not pressure. It is support. It is encouragement. It is an excited fan-base authors should be proud of, not worried about, and it is the next step to enjoying every release, no matter how long it takes.

No matter how much time passes, words are endless, and there will be someone to read them. 

~SAT

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and Info

25 Aug

Announcements:

Endless Reading shared quotes from Take Me Tomorrow in her latest book review, stating, “Once the action starts it doesn’t stop. There are twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged.” Check out the full review by clicking here.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:

What Ya Readin’? nominated me for the Ice Bucket Challenge, so you can watch my video now, but I wanted to share some important information first.

From the ALS Association, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death.” The Ice Bucket Challenge is meant to bring awareness to ALS as well as encourage donations to the ALS Association. 

Donate here

Also, I nominate Raymond Vogel, Ryan Attard, and Amber Skye Forbes from AEC Stellar Publishing.

:]

~SAT

May’s Ketchup

31 May

May’s Ketchup is here! But it will be VERY different from my usual Ketchup. Since guest bloggers represented two weeks this month, I won’t have a place for guest bloggers. Instead, I will organize it according to popularity and subject, linking to both the post and the guest bloggers’ websites. I also didn’t upload any new episodes to Coffee and Cats, so there isn’t a slot for YouTube videos. (I’m sure it will make more sense as you scroll down.) But – as usual – I will include the monumental moments, the top three posts, the post I wish got more views, the number one searched term, my top referrer other than search engines, the websites that supported ShannonAThompson.com, and all of the other blog posts organized by topic. I hope these Ketchup posts continue to help other bloggers or interested readers in understanding the behind-the-scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. If you have something you would like me to add to these posts, please let me know.

I want to share the photos below for two reasons. My brother got married this month, and this photo was taken in the rose garden during the wedding rehearsal. I now have a sister! (Yah!) And the second reason is because these flowers are so beautiful that I wanted to share them in the sense that I want them to be for you. I want you to enjoy them, even if it is just over the computer, because beauty like this should be shared with everyone.

With all my love,

SAT

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Big Moments:

Three of my poems released on Whispers in the Dark radio. Although I’m a novelist, I’m also a poet, and poetry is an intrinsic part of my soul. These are the four horror poems, and his readings are amazing: In-sum-knee-ah (Insomnia) – This Waiting Place – Her Button Collection, Now Mine – Glitter Rain.

ShannonAThompson.com hit 16,000 followers, and actor and martial artist, Tony Jaa, quoted Seconds Before Sunrise. Tony Jaa is known for his work in Ong-bak 1, 2, and 3 as well as Fast & Furious 7. tonyjaa

I interviewed David Congalton – You’ll see the post below, but I wanted to mention it up here, because I was truly honored to be able to speak with the writer of the movie, Authors Anonymous – a movie I definitely suggest for any writer.

Colt Coan – a Kansas City photographer – also created the amazing portraits you will now see on my social media pages. Here’s his website. We’re planning on working together on more projects in the future, too, so look out for that.

I also joined Tumblr and Pinterest. If you share anything from my Pinterest, I will share the photo on my Facebook pages and credit your websites. I plan on sharing insights about my novels in the future with my Pinterest, so I’m really excited about joining this social media site.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. My Next Novel, Take Me Tomorrow, is Almost Here!: If being grateful could burst through a computer screen, my emotions would. I am blown away by how much you all supported my next novel. I cannot wait to share more. (Seriously. I have to restrain myself to prevent spoiling too much.) That being said, the restraints will soon be removed, so expect more information and excerpts to start coming your way in June. If you want to be on the review list, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. If you want to know more about my YA, dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug click here to visit Goodreads.

2. From Wattpad to Publication: I will confess. I was so nervous about this post that I almost didn’t share it. I shared some of my greatest struggles I’ve ever had in publishing and writing in this post. Although it is long, it is meaningful, and I hope it encourages those writers who’ve given up – because I did. I completely surrendered.

3. Getting Unstuck as an Author by Hanne Arts: This guest blogger shared fantastic insights on how to find yourself again.

This is the first time my name was #1 :D Thank you!

This is the first time my name was #1 😀 Thank you!

The Post I Wish Received More Views: 

Marking Mother’s Day with Bookmarks: Mother’s Day is a beautiful day for many people, but for the motherless it can be a severe struggle. I shared how I cope as a motherless daughter, but I also shared how bookmarks have shaped me as a person overtime.

Other Blog Posts, Organized by Topic: 

My Novels

Writing Tips

Reading

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

My top referrer other than search engines was my Facebook page.

News

Fun

At the end of the month, I also like to share my helpers. If you would like to review any of my novels, poetry, or short stories I am available at shannonathompson@aol.com. I am also open to interviews and features! I love emails. Don’t hesitate. I am almost always online, too, so I don’t need a lot of notice. Again, shannonathompson@aol.com. (Do I sound like I’m begging yet? I hope I sound like I am begging. It adds a bit of entertaining drama, I think. Unless you’re not into that. Then, I hope I sound like I’m just being nice :D)

My Guest Bloggers: Pau Castillo, Hanne Arts, Ron EstradaRyan AttardJonas Lee, and Misha Burnett

Reviews: Books for ThoughtConfessions of a Book Geek

Interviews:Books for Thought, The Literary Syndicate, Confessions of a Book Geek, Whispers in the Dark

Features: Friday Fiction, The Hot Books Boutique, Reviews and Recommendations

Photographers: Colt Coan took photos of me that are now updated on all of my websites.

I used this photo because it reminded me of Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy.

I used this photo because it reminded me of Jessica and Eric in The Timely Death Trilogy.

~SAT

Why Genre Hopping is your best friend

27 May

Shannon, here, to announce our last guest blogger. That’s right. Our last. I will be back on May 29, but today is a wonderful day, because Ryan Attard – author of The Legacy Series – is sharing his thoughts on genre hopping, something we both feel very passionately about. Ryan has blogged on here before, so you might be familiar with him, but if you’re not, check out his website and podcast by clicking the links.

This is one of those subjects that gets a bad rep just for daring to go against the dogma, as established by . . . who knows who, and who knows where. Personally, I dislike rules and constraints of any sort – the reason I am an artist is because I wish to express myself in a free manner, and trying to limit art in any way shape or form makes that very difficult. After all most of what we consider rules are nothing more than guidelines that we misunderstood or took too literally.

Case in point is genre-hopping. For most old school authors this is a cardinal sin punishable by artistic death. I fail to see why. From a technical stand point it does make a shred of sense: if you’re just starting out and try writing fifteen different genres at one go your head will implode to the size of a jelly bean. Most likely you’ll end up with fifteen really good idea that are always ‘almost done’.

However I am addressing serious writers, ones who make a commitment (be it themselves or a slave driver – I mean, publisher) to finish their project. If you are that kind of writer then you and I have much to discuss. Genre hopping is your friend, but unlike marketing (who’s the jackass in the corner with the corny jokes) or editing (that anal guy who’s always correcting other), this guy is more like that erratic insane friend whom everyone keeps their distance from until you try engaging with him. And here’s why you should engage with this dude:

Anyone here ever get writer’s block? If your answer is yes, then join the club. Writer’s block is nothing more than your brain going “TAKE A FREAKIN’ BREAK, MAN!”

And how do you take breaks? You do something else, of course. See where I’m going with this? No?

Writing in multiple genres (let’s say 2 or 3, for kitten’s sakes; don’t overcompensate) means that when you get tired of writing, say, your urban fantasy novel, you can always go to your adventure thriller. You are still writing, so you are still productive – you’re just shifting focus. By way of an example I am going to use myself (and shamelessly plug myself in the process). When I was writing Birthright (coming to you in a few months) I was also writing Book 1 of the Pandora Chronicles (coming to you whenever my publisher decides to get a move on). If you’re of a similar mindset as myself, then you’ll easily get bored of the same old, same old. So switch it up – write something else.

And guess what? By the end of it all you won’t have ONE book but TWO. (That’s twice the fans and twice the money just in case you can’t get a hint.)

Now let’s talk marketing. Yeah, I said it: Marketing.

Don’t be afraid of it – it only looks evil. In reality marketing is what puts that story that you worked so hard for in your reader’s hands.

I’m going to get a little technical but stay with me. There are two types of growth in a business: vertical and horizontal.

Vertical growth is when you grow within a level – sort of like building an apartment complex. You get one apartment on top of the other. Horizontal growth is when you build the same ground floor but in different areas.

Let’s translate this into writing markets. Authors usually pick one market and write for that, i.e. JK Rowling is very famous on the fantasy genre for writing the Harry Potter series. That’s a perfect example of vertical growth.

It’s also the easiest in terms of branding. Think about it; it’s easy to establish yourself in one market if you are dedicating all your efforts to that one market. So you get Rowling with fantasy, Keri Arthur with fantasy romance, Rick Riodan with YA mythology-based urban fantasy and Clive Cussler with adventure thrillers. You genre becomes your branding and once this happens it’s nearly impossible to shift to another genre. How many of you can tell me the name of Rowling’s new book? I bet you had to look it up.

For most established (and old-school) writers, genre hopping after you’ve established yourself in a particular market is suicide. It’s like having HP Lovecraft write a historical romance about daisy-picking: that just won’t do (not unless something with teeth and tentacles was involved).

bdedebgfSo does this mean that horizontal growth is better? Not in the least. But it can be smarter if done at the right place, at the right time. Let’s take Jim Butcher as an example. Jim had just begun making a name for himself in the Urban Fantasy market when he released his epic-ish fantasy series. And in recent years, he also released a steampunk series. So why wasn’t the community in uproar? Because he timed it well. He established himself as a multi-genre author whilst growing vertically in his main market, allowing him to expand in multiple genres (markets) at the same time.

One of my favourite podcasts to listen to is the Self-Publishing Podcast. The three hosts, Sean Platt, Johnny B Truant and David Wright, are in full favour of genre-hopping and horizontal growth. According to them (and I fully agree) it wiser to build horizontally and then grow vertically rather than the other way round. To prove their point, they have multiple serials in multiple genres, and only in the past two years have they fully built each and every one of them. Now their library of titles is well over a dozen and that’s what you want as an author.

The idea of a one-hit wonder is not a viable career option. Writing professionally is a hard job: one that requires constant work at improvement and getting more titles out there.

Once again you have to be smart with genre-hopping. Writing in 4 different markets is not the best of ideas. Start with one, and then expand to an adjacent market. That way you get overlap value.

Let’s say you wrote a book for market 1 and later on wrote another book for market 2. When you decide to write another book for market 1, you won’t only get people from that market but also a few from market 2 who are just curious about your work. Those are your true fans.

In my opinion this is one of the best strategies you can use to sustain a long term career. Sure it’ll take you five years instead of two to fully stabilize your roots, but once you do, it’ll be very hard for you not to make it. If you’re concerned with name branding, just use a pen name of an abbreviation like Johanna Penn does. Same author, different pen name, different market; problem solved.

The worst thing that can happen to an established author is to finish their series and then sit on their ass twirling their thumbs. However, when you’ve spread your roots on a wide area, you can always wrap something up and move on to the next project.

After all a writer writes – period. Genre, word count, language – these are all frosting to a cake. So if it doesn’t matter, why bother with it? You’re a writer and an artist. Write what you want to write, in whichever way you want to write it, and power to ya, baby.

– Ryan Attard

My Wonderful, Amazing, and Talented Guest Bloggers

15 May

ShannonAThompson.com officially hit 16,000 followers! 

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These are purple periwinkles from http://www.democratdad.com. These little flowers will be symbolic in my upcoming novel, Take Me Tomorrow. This picture is also symbolic to how grateful I am to be continuing to grow with everyone. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for growing with me. And thank you for believing in me. My work is a piece of my soul, and I plan to share as many pieces as I can. These flowers show a sliver that will soon be exposed. Thank you for embracing it. You are as beautiful as how much these flowers mean to me. I also added an Extras page for all readers as a special “thank you.” I hope you enjoy checking it out as I release more information.

Over the next two weeks, I am signing out of ShannonAThompson.com. But don’t worry! I am not leaving without a plan. Six, wonderfully talented writers will be taking over ShannonAThompson.com to discuss writing and reading. The variety is great, and every post is entertaining – Seriously. I already read them ;] – and I hope you enjoy connecting with the writers as much as I have enjoyed knowing them.

Before I introduce them though, keep in mind that all announcements related to ShannonAThompson.com will be here – separated from the post at the top – and the announcements are written by me, and they are unrelated to the guest blogger. Here is one for today:

The Literary Syndicate interviewed me during a segment called “Papi Talk!” We discussed MANY topics I have never talked about before – including my intentions behind character and unfinished projects – but I also released my first excerpt from Take Me Tomorrow, so check it out by clicking here.

Now onto the introductions:

Below, I have included a schedule of guest bloggers you will be reading from for the next two weeks. My brother is getting married, and Shannon needs a little vacation (because she’s back to talking in the 3rd person.) That being said, these bloggers are fantastic writers, and every post relates to reading or writing (not to mention that every post is fantastic!) I’m not giving away the topics they are writing about, but I am introducing all of them today. Please visit their websites – you will both enjoy their work and connecting with them because every single one of them is a delight.

But here’s who you have to look forward to:

May 17: Pau’s Castles

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Photo from Pau’s Castles

Pau Castillo is from Pau’s Castles – you might recognize her from a few posts I’ve shared. Her book reviews are entertaining, informative, and – even more amazing – interactive. She really knows how to befriend her readers and captivate her audience.

From her website, Pau introduces herself: “My name is Pau and words are my best friends. I love discovering new things and posting about my life experiences in this site. Also, I love books. I love paranormal stuff. I love things that go beyond what’s normal. I’m a little weird, but I guess you’ll get used to it.

May 19: Misha Burnett

Misha Burnett is the author of Catskinner’s Book and Cannibal Hearts, science fiction/urban fantasy novels. Here’s an introduction from his website, “I am hideously excited and tremendously frustrated by the experience of being a self-published author.  There is so much I have learned since I first launched Catskinner into the world in July of 2012, and the more I learn the more I realize what I don’t know.”

Photo from Mishaburnett.wordpress.com

Photo from Mishaburnett.wordpress.com

May 21: Hanne Arts

Hanne Arts is a seventeen-year old budding writer, and she’s already spreading her name about in the publishing world. Last year, she got second place in a short story competition in Budapest, and she’s currently working on several pieces for publication. From her website, she states, “I started writing when I was about seven years old. I read a lot and am fascinated by interesting and original stories, which is why I decided to become one of the authors making those stories! I have not yet been published, but am hoping to do so in the near future.”

Hanne Arts

Hanne Arts

Ron Estrada

Ron Estrada

May 23: 8.187

8.187 is a website run by Ron Estrada. Writer, husband, dad, and contributor to @Todays_Author, Ron Estrada shares his short essays that “contemplate the order and clutter, thrust and drift of the human condition in this great, big, hopeful world.”

May 25: Jonas Lee’s Imaginarium

Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

Jonas Lee, photo provided by Jonas Lee

Written by Jonas Lee, this website centers on the importance of imagination and the discovery of creativity. Here is an excerpt from his website: “I live near the Black Hills in South Dakota (the States). I cannot stop eating peanut M & M’s to save my life or waistline if they are near me. I love to laugh, read new ideas, hang out with friends and enjoy things I’ve never experienced before. I have a strange addiction to watching DubStep Dancers on YouTube and I can shamefully quote almost every line from the movie Clue.”

May 27: Ryan Attard

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Ryan Attard

Ryan Attard, author of Firstborn and upcoming Birthright, has appeared on my website before. If you don’t know him, I hope you’ll take the time to check out his books (because laughter will ensue.) He is the host of the podcast – The Lurking Voice – and he also deemed me AEC’s Cognitive Operations Overlord. It’s safe to say that you are not safe at all when visiting his website, but you will have a good time.

Here’s an excerpt from his podcast: “The Lurking Voice is the journey of author Ryan Attard as he explores the world around him from an artistic perspective, including books, movies and music as well as the tropes of his craft. Expect reviews, funny commentary and the occasional rant.”

May 29

I am back – with Website Wonders and May’s Ketchup.

But until then, I hope you enjoy what these insightful writers have to say. I know I sure did.

~SAT

Writing with Barbie

19 Apr

Prepare for laughter during today’s post. But – before we get onto the giggles – I want to share two important bits of news.

Paris Carter reviewed Seconds Before Sunrise, stating, “The novel also includes several internal struggles for Eric and Jess that sparks tension throughout the entire novel, and it’s the chaos of them struggling to work out their answers and fight themselves that bring Shannon’s novel to a second dimension.” Read the entire review here or check out his review of Minutes Before Sunset first.

I also participated in an interview with Doodles, doodles everywhere. We talked about what hurts me the most as a writer, and I expanded on the research that went behind The Timely Death Trilogy. Check it out.

It’s been a few days since I participated in my first podcast interview, but I wanted to write about something fun since my last post was rather dreary. That’s when my mind immediately returned to The Lurking Voice. (Just a small, Kansas City update though, they found the Highway Shooter, so things feel a lot better around here. Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to post something I can laugh at…I mean, laugh with you…as you laugh at me.)

Back to the topic.

If you listened to the full interview – which you can by clicking here – then you know that I confessed to many writing strategies that I haven’t mentioned before, although “strategies” will quickly turn into a debatable term during this post. My ultimate, reluctant confession happened when we discussed November Snow, my first published novel.

I was 11 when I started writing it and 16 when it was published. It’s safe to say that it isn’t my best work, but I am planning on re-writing it. As we were discussing this, Ryan Attard asked a great question. How does a preteen plan a novel out? That’s when I said it.

November Snow was based on a game that I played out with my Barbie dolls as a much younger kid. Now, if you’ve read November Snow, then you might be concerned, considering how violent the book is, but there’s no need to be concerned – (I think.) That’s what I told my high school teachers anyway when I was asked about the dark nature of it. But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I wanted to share a funny truth to November Snow. No matter how dark the story is, many of my characters were actually based on the dolls I used. I admitted to it on the podcast, and now I am re-confessing it on here. Even better, I dug through some boxes, and I found the old toys, so I’m sharing a few of them as well as small excerpts from the novel that proves this goofy aspect of my writing.

You’ve been warned.

A little background before we begin:

November Snow is a young-adult, dystopian novel, and it is told from dual, first perspectives: Daniel and Serena. Unfortunately, I lost the Serena doll (she might have lost a limb or two or maybe even a head.) But I still have Daniel, who you will see soon. I’m going to share three pictures, and each picture has numerous characters on it. Below each picture, I will have a one-sentence background, and below that, I’ll be sharing the real excerpt from the novel. I’ll also include page numbers as well as who was telling the story at the time (Daniel or Serena.) I am also including a little note, explaining how my 11-year-old brain worked. Got that? Okay. I even think I’m lost, but trust me – it’s organized. Hope you chuckle as much as I did writing this post! Traveling to the past can be a funny adventure.

First picture: from the left to the right: Robert, Daniel, and Calhoun. 

theboys

Robert: 19, leader of the Southern Flock (hates hugs)

“I turned around to see Robert’s dark brown eyes staring at me, and my heart lunged into my dry throat…He muttered something, his brown hair shagging in his face, and I laughed. “ (Serena, 156-7)

Note: Believe it or not, he’s not the antagonist. Sort of?

Daniel: 18, leader of the Northern Flock (all around hunk)

“The guy looked like Daniel. He had the brown, muffled hair and tanned skin. He even had the blue and white jacket down, but he wasn’t responding to his name.” (Serena, 181)

Note: So, if you didn’t notice, I even based some clothes off of these toys.

Calhoun: age unknown, Daniel’s mentor. (kind of a hard ass)

“From the bottom step he could have been mistaken for a modern-day giant. His face was strong, as were his muscles, and he looked like he could barely fit into the sweater he was wearing. He had been in a POW accident, in which he had lost one of his arms, but he refused to tell the story. Normally, he had a fake arm in, but tonight, a gray sleeve dangled at his side, blowing in the chilled November wind.” (Daniel, 25)

Note: if you listened to the podcast, then you know this character actually ended up being very similar to my real father. Except my dad has both arms. And he’s not a vet. But I swear they are alike.

Second Picture: from left to right: Daisy and Maggie

girls

 Daisy: 16, member of the Southern Flock (I hate her.) 

She doesn’t deserve a note or description. Seriously. Have you ever hated your own characters so much that you regret bringing them into existence? I think Daisy might be in my top three of characters I’ve created and despised. #authorproblems.

Maggie: 16, member of the Northern Flock. (crushes on Adam in private)

“The front door opened, and Maggie walked in. She was wearing a small, pink coat and white disco pants that had gone out of style a century ago, but she still pulled them off easily.” (Daniel, 240)

Note: is it just me or is Daniel incredibly aware of fashion trends?

Third picture: from left to the right: Amy, Justin, and Marisa

Now for the youngsters, the category of characters that caused one of my high school teachers to ask if I needed to talk to someone after she read my novel and discovered only a few of the characters survive. (Seriously. It’s on the back of the book…) From left to right, we have Amy, Justin, and Marisa.

kids

Amy: 14, member of the Southern Flock. (Hates being called “Amy.” Her name is Amiel Marie Young.) 

“Amy’s hair was tied back in a French braid.” (Serena, 144)

Note: So this was more of a hairstyle thing, and you can’t really see it in the doll anymore, but it was there. I promise.

Justin: 6, member of the Southern Flock (borderline obsessed with hockey)

“Justin, blond-haired and brown eyed, was whisked off his feet by the collar of his shirt.” (Daniel, 479)

Note: There’s actually a hockey scene in the book just for this hockey-themed doll. (I really have no shame as I share this, do I?)

Marisa: 7, member of the Northern Flock (too small to crush on Adam, but apparently, all the girls like Adam…maybe I should’ve shared Adam.)

“A small girl struggled her way into Adams’s lap and leaned her bony elbows onto the table. She had long, brown pigtails that rested on the wiggling table and innocent eyes.” (Daniel, 44)

Note: The hair is there. The hair is totally there.

So there you go. My young-adult novel that almost got me in trouble as a teen was originally created during playtime as a kid.

Try to figure that one out.

I sure haven’t.

~SAT

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

If you want to check out the collector’s first edition, click here.

 

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