Tag Archives: Shades

#SATurdate: Signed Books, Cherry Cookies, Everything Everything, & The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

20 Feb

The book signing in Barnes & Noble went so well! I met so many great readers, and I was able to share that experience with amazing authors. If you would like a signed copy of The Timely Death Trilogy, e-mail me at shannonathompson@aol.com. The Barnes & Noble has a few copies left, and they will ship the books to you! To those of you I had the joy of meeting, thank you for coming out!

What I’m Writing:

Bogart judged me harshly this week.

Bogart judged me harshly this week.

I’m 30,000 words into Take Me Yesterday, and yes, I’m still handwriting this entire novel, which has been quite fun. I handwrote enough this week that I was able to start typing more onto my computer, so I did that—which of course has me changing and shifting things and driving myself mad. This was a delight to me. I like driving myself mad. This was the first week in a LONG time that I was able to go to my favorite coffee house and really type it all out. Well worth the trip.

What I’m Publishing:

This week’s #1lineWed preview theme was “texture.”

Shadows dripped off the bumpy texture and pooled into the center of the living room.

Fun story about this #1lineWed preview. For all you fans of The Timely Death Trilogy there is actually a “shade” in Bad Bloods. Her original name was Kati, but it was changed to Violet or simply Vi in the editing process. This is a description of her coming down from the ceiling as a shadow. I like to connect all of my novels, so keep your eyes open! You might see something from previous works that new readers won’t.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

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What I’m Reading:

currentI started to read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon…and then I finished it in one sitting. I literally never put it down. I knew I had to buy this book when a Barnes & Noble employee passed me and said, “You’re really enjoying that, huh?” Apparently, I was blissing out. Everything, Everything is an intimate, insane, and intricate exploration of love and life and all of the fear and joy in between. It is a heartbreaking exploration of family, friendship, health, and identity. Oh, and humuhumunukunukuapuaa. It is…everything. Read my full 5-star review by clicking here. My favorite quote was, “Sometimes you do things for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrongs ones and sometimes it’s impossible to tell the difference.”

I am also reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente, and I love it so far! This novel was actually recommended to me by the Barnes & Noble event coordinator in Wichita, Kansas, and I always love recommendations. I thought I’d also share the other two books I bought while in Wichita: Dreamthief by Tamara Grantham (a CTP novel) and The Republic of Pirates: Behind the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard (because who doesn’t want to know more about pirates?)

What I’m Listening To:

Railroad Track by Willy Moon is still my inspiration for my writing life right now, so that’s about all I’m listening to.

What I’m Watching:

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles! I know, I know. It’s totally speculative and fiction, but I loved this show. It’s twisted, dark, and filled with horror and delight. (Can I say horror and delight in the same sentence?) Well, it’s on Netflix right now, and I have Netflix again. (Eep.) I must resist watching too much, but I definitely recommend this show if you love horror and loving the villains.

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I also watched The Way of the Gunbecause going back to the year 2000 can be fun sometimes. And bloody. Really, really bloody.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

I made dark chocolate chip cherry fill-in cookies for Valentine’s Day! NOM. 

What I’m Wearing:

PINK. I wore a lot of pink for Valentine’s Day. I actually like the color pink, but I don’t like wearing the color pink. It feels too bold and bright for my vampire lifestyle, but I am trying to be more…shall I say, colorful?

What I’m Wanting:

I mean, who wouldn’t want a bunch of Sailor Moon collectibles? I’d be happy with Luna, Artemis, and Tuxedo Mask…and Saturn…and Jupiter…and oh wait. I want them all. Look at them here.

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What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had this really strange—very realistic—dream that someone broke into my house…and started making espresso. They even brought it upstairs and gave it to my roommate in the dark, and I was VERY confused. I wanted to scream, but I also wanted some espresso, so when they started to hand me something, I was excited. But they handed me a bunny. An adorable, fuzzy, kicking bunny. That was it. (I swear, there is no way dreams ALWAYS mean something. I mean, sure, I think they can symbolically mean something some of the time, but my dreams are too consistent and crazy…unless that means I’m consistently crazy, which is a possibility.)

What Else Is Going On:

At the Barnes & Noble book signing, I’m pretty sure there was a glitch in the Matrix. We had SIX Sarahs (all spelt with H) come up in a row. I believe all the authors had a great giggle over that…so thank you, Sarahs!

~SAT

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win here.

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If you would like a signed copy of any book in The Timely Death Trilogy, e-mail me at shannonathompson.com. Barnes & Noble in Wichita has a few copies left, and they will ship you one.

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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The Timely Death Trilogy Explained: World-Building and More

9 Jun

With three days until the eBook of Seconds Before Sunrise releases, I’ve been wondering how to celebrate it, and I think I found a way, but I wanted to give a little update first. As many of you know, The Timely Death Trilogy was finished a long time ago, but I have worked on extensive editing. In fact, all three of the novels were around 136,000 words until I got them down to 80,000. Since receiving my content edits for Death Before Daylight a few weeks ago, I’m about 17,000 words into the final piece. But there’s also a new project looming on the horizon that I could’ve never saw coming.

I may have finished writing The Timely Death Trilogy in 2009, but I never thought my other characters would want to tell their story. Here and there – between editing all three books – a small voice came to me that I didn’t recognize. And then another voice came, and I began taking notes. Suddenly, I realized what characters the voices belonged to: Jim and Kimberly.

If you’ve read the trilogy, you might recognize “Jim” (He also goes by Bracke or Mr. Welborn.) Kimberly, on the other hand, has not been mentioned by her first name – Eric’s mother. Despite knowing her past – including what we will learn in Death Before Daylight – I have never heard Kimberly’s voice before. In fact, I had never heard Jim’s either. Especially from when they were kids.

So I’ve currently been working on a prequel.

I don’t know if I will publish it. I don’t know if I will even finish it. But I wanted to mention it because I thought it would be a good way to lead into today’s post:

I am often asked many questions about the details of my paranormal world, including cultural significance and supernatural capabilities. Although most (if not all) of the information is scattered throughout the stories, I thought it would be fun to share extras to everyone – especially if you are an avid reader of my blog but haven’t had a chance to read my books. Hopefully, after today, my references to shades, double identities, the Naming, and more will make sense now. I am also sharing photos from my Pinterest board for The Timely Death Trilogy to add to the explanations. (Click here for the full board to see even more.)

Disclaimer: there might be a few spoilers here and there.

How the Paranormal World Exists with the Human One:

Double Identities:

Almost every character in The Timely Death Trilogy has two identities – a human identity and a paranormal one, but no one knows one another’s identities.

Example: Eric Welborn is a human, but he transform into a shade named “Shoman.” No one is supposed to know that Eric is Shoman or that Shoman is Eric. However, Eric’s guard, Camille, knows both of his identities, and he knows both of her names. Camille’s human name is Teresa.

This is how the “Light” and the “Dark” coexist during everyday, human life. As humans, no one truly knows who the person next to them can be: a light, a shade, or just human. (I will explain how their physical appearance changes below.)

Cultural Significance in Paranormal World (Rituals)

The Naming Ceremony:

Shades do not have Dark names at birth. In fact, they don’t even have their full set of powers. The only power they do have is the ability to transform. But everything changes when they turn 13.

b7a349b151148bb4cf546c94763b24bfThe “Naming” is a ceremony done during “the last harvest” – an evening that usually takes place in January for the Dark. (Yes, the Dark has their own calendar.) Every 13-year-old at the time enters the meeting room where they receive their Dark name and some power. Boys are given glitter to throw, and girls are given crowns. But they must vow themselves to the Dark before they are told the prophecy. Once this happens, the shades receive their full powers, and the “Naming” is complete.

In Minutes Before Sunset we see Pierce’s little brother named, “Brenthan.”

So why the crowns? Why the glitter? And what is with the age and order of events?

Well, this is one of the biggest pieces I want to write the prequel for, but it goes back to when the bloodline first appears. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I will say this: the crown represents an important figure, and the glitter showcases all the different colors that “Dark” powers contain: mainly blue, green, white, and purple. Each color also stands for a different type of power, blue = warrior, green = guard, white = elder, and purple = well…that is one of the bigger surprises in Minutes Before Sunset.

Defining the Paranormal Beings:

Shades – What can they do? What do they look like? 

745226b2e50da562533a3bb7fc8e87beShades are members of the Dark. First and foremost, they can transform into shades, mainly at night. For the most part, their powers are confined to nighttime hours. However, they can use their telepathy at all times, including when they are human (although this does take a lot of practice.) When they are transformed, shades can transport in and out of shadows, shoot beams of power at one another, and even fly. But only the descendants have swords. Yes. Swords.

Shades have gray or very white, sometimes stone-like, sometimes translucent skin. They’re eyes are also light-colored in nature, and the color normally correlates with their dominant power color: blue, green, purple, or white. For instance, we see white eyes with Eu, green eyes with Pierce, blue eyes with Shoman, and purple eyes with Jessica. (Before you think I spoiled the fact that Jessica is the “nameless” shade, it says so on the back of the book, and she practically says it during her very first line.)

They always have black hair or very, very dark brown hair.

But there’s one vital rule to remember: when shades transform from their human form, more than their eye color and hair color change. Their entire body changes, including facial features, height, and more, but it also goes beyond that. Personalities, and ethnicities can change – ::future book hint:: – even gender is subject to change.

Create (Human) Relatable References for Paranormal World:

How do genetics play a role?

There are the “Light” beings (a.k.a lights) and the “Dark” beings (a.k.a shades.) But there are also halfbreeds, which are always half-Dark, half-Light. A halfbreed’s child will only have powers if that halfbreed’s partner is a fullbreed Dark or Light. On top of this, the way a halfbreed is brought up (in the Dark or in the Light) is unique to each halfbreed, but the Light does not name their halfbreeds.

Although the Dark encourages their members to find their romantic partner as a shade first, some go against this rule and find their romantic partners as humans. This obviously can cause a lot of problems. Obviously. But these are the very basic fundamentals of how things work: The Dark and the Light have dominant genes over human genes unless their genes mix together. If they mix, the “power” gene then becomes recessive to human traits.

One dark + one dark = dark

One human + one dark = dark

One dark + one light = halfbreed

One halfbreed + human = human

One halfbreed + dark = dark  

Unions between the Light and the Dark are definitely frowned upon, and how couples find each other is explained in Seconds Before Sunrise. There used to be rearranged marriages, but that changed two generations back, which caused the bloodline to come back (hence Eric’s birth.) This is also something I will show in a possible prequel. Now, most members meet loved ones in the shelter before later meeting their human sides. As of now in the trilogy, it is unknown to the protagonists if anyone has had a happy Light and Dark union.

Worlds inside a World

The Shelter vs. The Light Realm

fbe2dacc94e4a7696471958a9936c578The Dark members have the shelter. This is – quite literally – a shelter, and it is almost all underground. As readers know, Eric’s mother killed herself when Eric was five years old. She killed herself in the main forest in Hayworth. Because of this, Eric’s father buys the park, and he closes it off to everyone else (although Crystal, Robb, and Jessica trespass in the beginning of Seconds Before Sunrise.) The dense forest opens up in a few places, but the forest has a cave, and this is where the original shelter was created. I would explain how it is hidden from humans but that is discussed in Death Before Daylight. As Eric says in Minutes Before Sunset, “At first, the shelter was made up of two offices, a nursing room, and one training room. Since then, it had grown remarkably, and I couldn’t even guess where it ended.”

The Light has the Light realm. Yes. A realm – a place that humans can never go. Quite unfair, isn’t it? Unfortunately, I cannot explain this one at all. Not yet. But I will say this: all of your questions about where lights and shades and prophecies come from are answered in Death Before Daylight, and the secrets reside in the realm. If you haven’t read the trilogy yet, you do see this realm in Seconds Before Sunrise. And, yes, I’m terribly sorry for all of the readers who have wanted and begged for so many more details on the creatures in book 1 and 2. When you read book 3, you will understand why I couldn’t explain everything. I know. I know. Waiting is awful. (But it will be worth it. Promise.)

So what’s the key to world-building? 

Believe in it and have fun! Create the world your characters deserve, share the world with your readers, and keep at it. World-building can take enormous amounts of time and energy, but enjoying the exploration can be one of the best parts of writing it. I, for one, cannot WAIT to share more information about the world in The Timely Death Trilogy, especially considering how many answers are about to be revealed.

Dun. Dun. Dun.

~SAT

Writing Tips: Creating the Paranormal

16 Sep

As many of you know, Minutes Before Sunset is a YA paranormal romance, and my other novel, November Snow, is a YA sci-fi. Although I’ve written in other genres, I wanted to concentrate on these genres, because I’ve found a lot of people (especially those who hesitate to try out the genre) think the genre only consists of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. While these creatures aren’t bad, this belief is completely wrong. There are all kinds of demons, witches, time travelers, magically-empowered beings, and shape-shifters that aren’t werewolves.

For writers, I wanted to talk about this belief and going beyond the vampires, werewolves, and ghosts. There are so many creatures and/or legends to get inspiration from. But where do we start?

Three things you can consider:

1. Creating your own creature entirely–something never heard or seen of before.

At some point, an author used a creature for the first time. Even vampires were new at one point. But there seems to be one thing these creatures have in common: they come from legends, stories passed down for generations. There are entire websites dedicated to urban legends, so why don’t we expand and use these to inspire new legends? You can also use mythical creature lists and/or other cultures tales. For instance, I am fascinated by Japanese legends; they seem to be entirely different than Western legends, so it helps inspire that stretch of creativity.

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids

From the New X Group: Black Eyed Kids: I imagine this is how Fudicia would look.

Fun fact: “Lights” in Minutes Before Sunset were inspired by the legend of the black-eyed children, kids who show up at your door and attempt to coax you to allow them inside your home. I also thought it was a perfect legend to use, because it’s really popular in Missouri, and, at the time of writing Minutes Before Sunset, I was living on the border of Kansas-Missouri, and the novel is set in Kansas. However, these black-eyed children have been reported from all around the world throughout history, so…look out and don’t open your door for them! ;]

2. Using a spin-off of an already popular creature.

Personally, I love any creature as long as the author makes it their own. For instance, The Forest of Hands and Teeth revolves around zombies, but they aren’t called zombies. They’re called the Unconsecrated, and that’s just the beginning. They have all types of rules, explaining why some act differently and what created others. This concept became a writing obsession for me. Personally, I think I combined 1 & 2 in my writing style. I love creating something new, something that might be influenced by one creature and spun into another world entirely, but it is generally influenced by another creature I’ve heard of.

For instance, you might realize the Minutes Before Sunset “shades” fit under shape-shifting, telepathics. Even though they are “shape-shifters,” they only shape-shift into another person and only one person. In other words, they have two identities. There isn’t a lot of range when it comes to their shape-shifting abilities, but they have other magical abilities when they are shades or lights. When it comes to their telepathy, they can talk to one or more people at once. (Like a private message and/or a chat room.) They can also block people from communicating with them. Other shades–specifically Eric’s father, named Jim (or Bracke)–can sense when people are using their telepathic abilities.

3. Write with the traditional version of any creature.

I want to clarify that there is nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to create something new. You can use the traditional vampire if that’s what your writing heart desires. What matters is the storyline, and it’s entirely possible to have a fantastic story with a traditionally used creature.

Basically: there are endless possibilities and ways to create the paranormal worlds readers love.

So embrace the upcoming fall, make a bonfire, sit around, and tell some paranormal stories. Who knows what will influence your inspiration next.

If you have any experience in creating or using traditional paranormal creatures, please share! 

~SAT

Guest Post: GlassesonWeb.com

16 Aug
Fun fact: I used to wear fake glasses when I did my homework. Helped me concentrate.

Fun fact: I used to wear fake glasses when I did my homework. Helped me concentrate.

::Shannon walking up to microphone stand:: Hey, everyone! Shannon here (just for a minute.) If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have heard me talk about how much I strain my eyes by constantly staring at my computer. That’s when I force myself to take a break. However, a lot of writers (and people, in general) wear glasses to help themselves see, so when GlassesonWeb.com offered a guest post explaining what they have available for writers, I was on board! Today’s post is all about your eyes: ::Shannon leaving microphone stand::

5 tips on how to pick the right eyewear (especially if you’re a writer!)

Most people who spend a lot of time in front of the computer, writing, or even reading, will have a need for eyeglasses in the course of their lives. But it’s important to make an informed decision before purchasing. Just like you don’t write about a historical event without doing some research first, we advise you not to buy your eyewear before reading these five considerations:

Writer Jonathan Franzen in his signature glasses. Photo by Greg Martin via npr.org

Writer Jonathan Franzen in his signature glasses. Photo by Greg Martin via npr.org

  1. Doctor’s advice. Get an eye exam before everything else, in order to get an accurate prescription. You should get one every few years, and adjust your glasses accordingly. Do not buy your glasses from the drugstore, but have them custom made for you at reputable optician.
  2. Your facial features. In order to find the best glasses out there, you should first consider your own face. The three basic rules here are: repeat your best feature (e.g. blue frames for blue eyes); contrast in shapes (e.g. rectangular frames for round faces); and scale (e.g. small glasses on a small face).
  3. Your personality. If you want to appear business-oriented, go for classic frames (e.g. oval, rectangular) and colors (e.g. black, brown). To show off your creative side, go for trendy frames (e.g. cat eye, printed, colorful). Remember that first impressions are key, and that glasses are one of the first things people notice when they meet someone. Be sure to find a pair that suits your style by clicking here.
  4. Try them on. Don’t buy frames without trying them on, even if it’s just virtually. Many online shops now offer the possibility of a “virtual fitting room” where you can see how certain styles look on your face. If going in a brick and mortar store, bring a friend with you for advice. When looking in the mirror without prescriptions, you might not be very objective because of all the blur.
  5. Stay on budget. Just because there are other features available, doesn’t mean you need them. An anti-reflective coating might be enough for everyday use, while lenses that change color according to the light may be unnecessary. You are the one who knows best, but don’t just get extra options because the seller offer them.

This guest post was written by Daria P. who also contributes for GlassesOnWeb.com and CelebritySunglassesWatcher.com; she also runs her own fashion blog called Kittenhood.

Shannon again. Isn’t staying healthy important? Picking the right glasses is one of those moments that can make a huge difference in your life–and your writing career–because the right glasses will help you the most.  Jonathon Stone, a character from Minutes Before Sunset, would approve of this post. So, for fun, I decided to create cartoon versions of his human side and his shade side–Jonathon Stone and Pierce. His picture will end the post 😀 Have a great day!

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