Tag Archives: traveling

#AmReading Why Do You Read?

8 Feb

Tune in to ECAV Radio interview at 2:00 p.m. (CDT) today for my latest interview! We talked about dinosaurs, book covers, and nightmares. I even read a never-before-read poem! You might get an exclusive sneak peek of upcoming novels too.

Every Monday, I take an old post and I recover it with new thoughts and ideas. Today, it’s all about why we read, rather than why we write. You can read the original post here, but this week, it’s more or less the same since my reasons haven’t changed, but I did expand on those reasons in the second half. I read and I write because I love them, but that love stems from two different life experiences.

I always write about why I write, but I never write about why I read, even though I read more than I write.

At first, the reason seems simple. I read, because I like to; it’s entertainment. But then it gets more complicated. Why reading? Why do I prefer to be entertained by reading rather than by listening to music, watching movies, or something else entirely?

When I really started thinking about it, I realized I started seriously reading at a very young age, and it was generally on the road. My family moved around a lot, especially when I was a kid. As of now, I’ve already moved twelve times, including six states. Between moving, we traveled a lot—mainly because my family was spread across the country, and we drove to make visits. This meant hours–sometimes days–spent in the car with nothing to do…until I started bringing books with me.

This is actually a photo from Barnes & Noble for an upcoming signing you can read about below.

This is actually a photo from Barnes & Noble for an upcoming signing you can read about below.

To this day, I’m pretty blessed to be able to say I don’t get nauseous when I read in cars or airplanes, and I believe I fell in love with books somewhere along those roads. I was traveling in novels while I was traveling the country, and the new characters became my friends as I did so. After that, I would say my reasoning for reading changed, but it depended on what I was picking up. If it were fiction, it might have been to visit a new world. If it were a memoir, it was to understand another, to learn about someone else’s life. If it were poetry, it might be to challenge myself or even to learn about my own life.

I could expand and say I read because I grew up in a reading household. While my brother and father definitely don’t read, my mother was an avid reader, and I wasn’t allowed to watch TV. On rainy days, reading was practically my only option, and my mother always encouraged us to pick out whatever we wanted at the bookstore. I found independence in it. I found exploration and admiration in it. I found myself in it.

Today, I read when I’m relaxing, when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m sleepy, when I want to learn something, when I want to be around someone but have no one to see, when I want to be challenged.

Reading has fit into so many aspects of my life it’s impossible to name all of the reasons, but the main reason comes down to love.

I love words.

I love reading.

So why do you read? Has your reasoning changed from when you first started to now?

~SAT

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Come get your books signed on February 13, from 1-3 PM during the Barnes & Noble Valentine’s Day Romance Author Event in Wichita, Kansas at Bradley Fair. Come meet Tamara GranthamCandice GilmerTheresa RomainJan Schliesman, and Angi Morgan! If you haven’t started The Timely Death Trilogy, don’t worry. Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is free!

Minutes Before Sunset, book 1:

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Seconds Before Sunrisebook 2:

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Death Before Daylightbook 3:

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#MondayBlogs 10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel

21 Dec

Intro:

As many of you know, I love reading…and I absolutely love traveling. So, when Jason Biondo approached me with the idea of combining these two topics, I was on board. I hope you enjoy this list as much as I do! (The first book is one of my all-time favorites.) Welcome, Jason!

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.

10 Books That Will Inspire You To Travel by Jason Biondo 

One of the best ways to see the world is through a good book. Reading opens a way through your imagination and allows you to dream. And, since most travellers are certainly book lovers, there are various travel novels that provide inspiration as well as enhance the spirit to dream and journey towards life. Here are some of the best travel books that will surely urge you plan your next trip and explore the world.

1. On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Published in 1957, the story of Sal and his friend Dean leaving New York to head west to be passionate about life – partying in ghost towns, making new friends, sleeping with random women, and riding the rails on night-time. It is an inspiring tale about leaving life behind and creating a new one along the road. From New York to Denver to San Francisco and LA, Sal has learned a lot of things in life and he was able to become stronger, more matured and developed his self-determination.

2. In a Sunburned Country

This book talks about Bill Bryson’s voyage through Australia while visiting little towns. Wander lusting through the forgotten continent, he first visited Sydney where he walks down the town most of his stay and appreciating the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. He narrates about how Australia changed his life because of the friendly people, hottest and dry weather, and the most peculiar wildlife to be found on this planet. No matter how imperfect, Bryson found Australia to be an adorable and fortunate country.

3. A Year in the World, Frances Mayes

This book is a celebration of unanticipated pleasures found in voyages, interacting with locals and appreciating nature. In this book, Mayes left her hometown, Tuscany to see France, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, the British Isles and North Africa. Merging together her personal perceptions, history, landscape and passion in culture and art, Mayes shared her experiences to inspire people to journey towards their dreams.

4. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

While most travel books focuses on going different adventures, this book by Eric Weiner is about a self-help guide in searching happiness in all corners of the world. The story is about a pessimist voyage from America to Europe to Iceland to Bhutan in search for the happiest people in the world.

5. The Beach by Alex Garland

Released in 1998, this book is a tale about a backpacker named Richard and his search for wild adventures. Using a small map, he found himself within a vast islet in Thailand that is within a small community. His journey gives inspiration to American and European tourists to encourage them go on a holiday in Thai beaches for better views. This books best message is that Mother Nature is the most beautiful thing on this planet.

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6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Just like A Year in the World, this book from Mayes is a good read for travellers. Shortly after discovering that her husband was cheating on her, Frances takes on a tour to Italy. She wrote about her experiences as a local Italian and talks about different food traditions and artful style in northern Italy which makes this book as a guide for people travelling to the place. The book includes several chapters of recipe and how she decides to acquire and develop a villa in the countryside.

7. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts himself spent 10 years on the road to ponder some insights which he put through this book for travellers who are starting off to their long-term trips. The book is rich with travel philosophies that talks about solo travelling, planning and saving pennies on the road. The book will teach travellers on travelling cheaply, but having a rich experience. And, what makes it even more inspirational is that it includes motivating quotes from different travellers.

8. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is just one among Coelho’s best-selling fictional books and one of the most-read travel books of all time. It is a story of a young shepherd boy named Santiago that goes on his journey from Spain to Egypt as he follows the step towards his dreams. Along his journey, he met a lot of people who seem to be like him and that made him even more passionate about travelling. He also found courage to experience new things, learned to love and discovered the real meaning of life. It is a must read book for travellers since it’s all about following dreams and travellers are dreamers.

9. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Having perfect life – an amazing husband, nice house and a good job, Gilbert couldn’t ask for more, but she feels like something in her life is missing. Elizabeth went through a difficult divorce and she then thought of leaving her hometown for different adventures. Spending her time on three different countries every year to get to know herself better, Elizabeth Gilbert gives inspiration to female solo travellers to go outside their comfort zone at some point of their lives. By travelling, she found an exciting way to eat in Italy, pray in India and love in Indonesia. She proved to people who think she’s crazy and her scared self that she was capable of surviving alone in a completely different place.

10. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

This is a story of Christopher Johnson McCandless form Virginia, a determined wanderlust that sets off alone to a trekking adventure in the wilderness and has a strong desire to go soul searching. He gave away his college fund and began travelling across western America. Even though filled with positive thoughts, along the way he experienced difficulties that challenged his patience and endurance. After deciding to climb Stampede Trail in Alaska, he was left with few resources and insufficient supplies for camping. He later on discovered dead on a bus and a journal was found with him about his voyage diaries.

Inspired to travel? Open your travel planner now, and see all the beauty, charm and eccentricity that our beautiful planet holds!

Bio: Jason Biondo is an amateur bodybuilder and a travel junkie who loves to share insightful tips to his fellow health enthusiasts and travelers. He is also a User Interface Developer Consultant and the Founder of Trekeffect.

Want to be a guest blogger? Now is the time to submit. 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

#WW Attending Book Cons

12 Aug

Attending Book Cons

Whew! I’m back from Atlanta. (Although, to be perfectly honest, I’m writing this right before I leave for Atlanta…I’m basically in a mind-blowing matrix of messed up time right now.) And as promised, I wanted to share how Penned Con in St. Louis went.

First off, I went as a reader. I didn’t have an author booth, and I most definitely wasn’t there to sell novels. In fact, I didn’t even have my hands on them yet. I went simply because I wanted to go meet some awesome Indie authors I love (and a few bloggers along the way).

Tish and me

Tish and me

Excitedly enough, I met Tish Thawer—one of my favorites—and she was kind enough to take a photo with me. I love her Women of Purgatory series about female Grim Reapers, and I cannot wait to get my hands on The Witches of BlackBrook. I also had the pleasure of meeting Stacy Marie Brown (Darkness Series), Amy A. Bartol (The Kricket Series), and B. Kristin McMichael (The Blue Eyes Trilogy). I also had the utmost pleasure of meeting Ethan Gregory from One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (basically one of the best book blogs of all-time.) I highly recommend checking all of these awesome people out. (And if you do, tell them I sent you ::wink wink::)

I am making a REAL effort to come out to these events and meet you guys! So, if there is any upcoming event you want me to come to in 2015 or 2016, please let me know about it, and I’ll start researching right away! I love to travel. I feel most at home when I’m on the road (blame my parents who forcibly moved me every two years), and being able to hug and laugh and talk about books with you all is some of my happiness memories. I cannot wait to meet more of you! (Maybe I’ll even have an author booth one day.)

On a side note, since I was in St. Louis, I thought I’d share some of my fun photos (if you haven’t already seen them splattered all across the wonderful web). My favorite place—possibly one of my favorite places in the world now—we went to was the Missouri Botanical Garden. It’s 14 acres of Japanese beauty. (Not to mention the fact that there’s also a Victorian district with the original home of Henry Shaw, the creator of the gardens. 85% of the furniture was original too. It was unbelievable.) Personally, I liked it A LOT more during the day than at night during the lantern festival. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area!

botanical

Until next time,

~SAT

Now for the upcoming events. ;]

Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, releases in 13 days! (13!) You can pre-order via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and pretty much everywhere, so get out there and find the Dark.

And, SURPRISE, you can win a copy via this Goodreads GiveawayClean Teen Publishing is also accepting bloggers for the upcoming blog tour, so please check it out or share it with someone you know. That being said, the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour is underway, and you can win a $15 Amazon gift card, CTP ebook, and bookmark swag pack during the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour; here’s where you can currently enter: Juniper Grove interview, How to Make Your Paranormal Novel Stand Out (A guest post on One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads).

So here's a teaser.

So here’s a teaser.

If you haven’t caught up on the first book yet, Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, is also available everywhere, but here is Amazon, Barnes & NobleI know some of you are feisty, so Death Before Daylight, the LAST novel, is available here: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Can you believe it?

I’m also giving away more prizes myself! (You thought I was done, didn’t you? Silly. I love you.) So be sure to sign up for my newsletter for a chance to win. (Your information will never be given away, and you’ll only receive one letter a month maximum.)

Stay Dark and lovely,

~SAT

#MondayBlogs Do You ‘Take’ Your Characters With You When You’re In The Outside World?

15 Jun

Intro:

As an author, I spend a lot of my free time on the computer. In fact, between my editing job and my writing time, I spend almost ALL my time on my computer. But you still have to get off the laptop sometimes and explore the world. This is what our guest blogger is discussing today. Author Marcia Carrington talks about how important it is to seek inspiration outside of the computer-sphere. If you’re an author, tell us about stepping away from your work and what that means to you. But first and foremost, let’s welcome Marcia!

Do You ‘Take’ Your Characters With You When You’re In The Outside World? By Marcia Carrington

This is something that I often do whenever I’m not at home, that is, I could be at the mall, waiting at a doctor’s surgery, in line at the supermarket, or at some other such place. I often find that my mind wanders to either characters from stories I’m presently writing or stories that I propose to write and a concept has been gnawing away at me. What will happen to these characters? In which direction should I take them? Would this be a good idea for a story? These are the kinds of questions that pose themselves when I’m out and about.

Maple leaves in Autumn provided by Marcia

Maple leaves in Autumn provided by Marcia

To be honest, I never take any kind of computer with me whenever I’m out of the home, as I find that my mind can wander freer outside, and there are many inspirations that can be experienced. The people you meet, the things you do, the places you go, could all trigger ideas and concepts that you never thought possible, or help you to take a story in another direction.

There is also another associated benefit to leaving the home sphere and going outside into the world. I have found in the past that when I am in the throes of writing and the ideas are becoming stagnant or non-existent in my mind, staying inside can be detrimental. Leaving the home, and going outside into the world, brings a freshness, a change to the mind and body that can definitely assist with writing.

Bio:

Marcia Carrington writes about the human condition, exploring what makes people tick, but in an upbeat and optimistic tone. She is an interested observer of popular culture, and fan of cinema from all eras and countries, especially from the 1930-1970s. Marcia is a long-time soap opera viewer, watching daytime, and night time serials from a very young age.

Marcia is also a food connoisseur, with a particular love of chocolate, and coffee. The morning coffee has always been a staple for Marcia, and something which she cannot do without. There is just something about the fresh aroma of coffee early in the morning, and anytime for that fact, which proves irresistible to her.

SmashwordsTwitterGoodreadsAmazon US,

Barnes and NobleI-TunesBlogPinterest

Want to be a guest blogger? I would love to have you on! I am accepting original posts that focus on reading and writing. A picture and a bio are encouraged. You do not have to be published. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com.

~SAT

#SATurday Author Goals

6 Jun

#SATurday Author Goals

About a week ago, my publisher—Clean Teen Publishing—went to Book Expo of America (#BEA15) to share our novels with the world. Awesome, right? I almost jumped out of my computer chair at the sight (and I rarely leave that chair, considering I’m a writer ::wink::) After that, I basically stalked their LIVE pictures all afternoon and wished I were there . . . which brings me to what I want to talk about.

Author goals.

Everyone discusses word count for the day or hopeful release dates. Sometimes, I even see a confession of wanting to hit the New York Times bestseller list, of dreaming up a day that their novel is a movie, but I haven’t seen a lot of variety in author goals. Main one? Get popular. It’s generally worded differently, of course, but that’s what I generally see, and I want to take a moment to clarify how much I don’t think that’s wrong. (I don’t.) I just wish I saw different types of goals discussed. I don’t know about you all, but I wonder about my author goals a lot. I know I want to be able to travel more. In fact, by next summer, I hope I am packing up and hitting the road with boxes of books in my truck (or on a plane or train or whatever I’m on). I have a set goal for UtopYA, but I also would like to make it to more events than one. That’s currently my biggest goal. (And that specific goal gets bigger for me.)

Here is Clean Teen Publishing at BEA15!

Here is Clean Teen Publishing at BEA15!

Why do I want to travel as an author more?

Well, I mainly want to have the opportunity to meet more readers face to face. I want to shake their hand, hug them, take an Instagram photo with them, sign their book, give them a cookie, etc. Anything really. This is about to get crazy, and it’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I think one of my biggest dreams is traveling as an author but always meeting a random reader (out of a lottery of readers in that city) for coffee. This means that if I meet my goal of traveling more by next summer, you should look out, because I am going to meet SOMEONE for coffee. That is a promise.

This is a goal of mine, and it might seem silly or outlandish or that I’m dreaming too wildly, but traveling is in my bones. I grew up on the road. I travel anyway. I just want to incorporate that part of my life into my writing life, and I want to take it as an opportunity to thank those who have supported me along the road of life. (See what I did there? God, I love cheesy metaphors.)

Sure, a lot of authors want to hit those bestseller lists or have movies made out of their books, but I don’t think those are on my goals. (Not that I’d complain if it happened.) But I think most of my goals revolve around giving out more gifts to readers and meeting more readers (and meeting more writers). I dream of flying to Australia to meet one of my super fans who’s begged me to come out there. I dream of flying my readers out to a major Comic Con they’ve been wanting to go to. I dream of involving readers in my writing process. (And in fact, I think a beta reading opportunity might be coming up soon, so look out for that.) I dream of meeting them, and I think it’s because I am a reader—just as much as I am a writer—and meeting my favorite authors are some of the highlights of my life. Traveling more might help that happen!

This isn’t a promise or manifesto by any means. I’m just a girl with a dream, trying to make it happen every day, and talking about it out of curiosity more than anything else (and a tad bit of embarrassment ::blush::).

My other author goals include sitting on a panel at a literary festival, attending a Comic Con as an author, collaborating on a novel (specifically like Holly Black did with Cassandra Clare, when your characters appear in one another’s novels but don’t’ necessarily affect the story, not the actual collaboration novel they did), teaching a writer seminar for young writers, and seeing a book translated into another language. (The other language dream stems from the fact that I love languages, and I have a deep appreciate for language, especially after studying Italian in college at a fluent level.) And . . . I probably have so many more but those are the ones that came to mind today.

What are your author goals? And if you’re not a writer, what are your reading goals? (For instance, I want to meet Meg Cabot and Ally Carter. I want to meet them SO bad.) Let’s talk about your goals!

~SAT

We’re coming up on one year since Take Me Tomorrow released, but this YA dystopian novel was only available for a few months. Recently, I’ve received a lot of messages about how to get ahold of a copy, and now you can!

By donating to www.ShannonAThompson.com, you will receive an eBook as well as a permanent website slot on the donations page. All the proceeds will go toward book events later this year and next year, so we can finally meet in person. (Think UtopYA.) Once you donate, you can expect an email from shannonathompson@aol.com within 24 hours!

Thank you for your continuous support,
~SAT

Donate & more information on donating

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#MondayBlogs: The Importance of Setting in a Novel

2 Feb

Intro:

Monday has reached us again, and today brings us another guest blogger. Today, I am pleased to announce Tara Mayoros, author of Broken Smiles. This well-traveled writer has written a wonderful post about the importance of setting in a novel, and her writing tips are sure to stay with us the next time we pick a location for our stories.

The Importance of Setting in a Novel 

Write what you know. How many times have I heard that? Oh man, probably at every conference I have ever gone to, multiple times.

know setting.

Long before I was ever an author, I would surround myself in settings which filled my soul with wonder. I would cover my limbs and face with autumn leaves to feel the smell. I would spend many nights under the stars, listening to the scurrying of little animals and the sounds of wind applauding my appreciation through the trees. The stillness would settle in my heart and when I began to bring pen and paper with me to different settings, my world became magical.

To me, setting should breathe like a character. It isn’t just streets, buildings, and names of towns — it is the lifeblood which weaves your characters and plot together. It shouldn’t be tacked in, but rather an integral part of the story. It grounds the reader.

It should also ground the author. The author carries the responsibility to bring details that are often overlooked. Especially, in my opinion, when it comes to nature.

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Pilot and Index Peak – Cooke City, Montana

Recently, I returned from a long trip through Montana and Yellowstone. I have visited many times and even lived there at one point. Those wild, rustic places are some of my favorite spots in the world and I felt the heavy burden to show my love for it in one of my novels. I hadn’t been up there for over a dozen years and I started creating the setting for my novel through memory. When I had finished my book, I was satisfied. But something tugged at me to visit those places again. Either my wild heart, or the pull to immerse myself in those mountains.

Arming myself with laptop, pens and journals, I was ready to take my story to battle and add details that were missing and change a few things. I was surprised when I came home and realized that I had never even written one word when I had surrounded myself in the nature I so dearly love. Why? It wasn’t a conscious decision by any means, but looking back, my body and soul yearned to feel the lifeblood of the setting. I didn’t need to muddle it with words, I needed to experience it and let the setting wash through me.

In this world where setting and placement are so often overlooked or replaced with handheld devices that capture our attention, authors need to work harder to ground the reader. We need to scream at our readers to notice detail. It breaks my heart every time I see someone surrounded by stunning scenery and their faces are aglow with the pale light of a handheld device.

Here are a few ways you can bring your setting to life in your novel, followed by some examples I have written.

*Be specific – it isn’t only a flower, describe the details. example: The vibrant purple petals stretched beneath an indigo hat which drooped over a white lip and a yellow bearded pouch.(Calypso Orchid)

*Sprinkle in similes and metaphors to connect – example: His temper was like a loose cannon. It could explode at any given time and I would be the set target.

*Use the senses; sight, sound, smell, taste, feel – This one is huge! I love to incorporate the senses. – example: My stomach was empty, which was good, because the smell hit me, and I heaved once more against the vacant remains of my belly. The putrid, decaying stench of rotten flesh made my eyes water.

*Show, don’t tell – instead of stating that its raining, describe the dripping trees, the puddles gathering in the crevices of rock, and the pattering on tin resembling tinkling bells.

Here is an excerpt from my novel contemporary clean romance Broken Smiles. The setting is in China, another one of my favorite places. I hope you can feel my love for it as you read my words.

Here and there rocks were covered with ancient moss. Orchids blossomed spontaneously upon the trees. Vines hung like ropes and twine, twisting upon the rubber and the banyan trees. Bamboo stood proudly against the moonlight, casting shadows that had been the same for thousands of years. Away from big city lights and pollution, it was easy to be transported back in time to ancient China. This land had managed to remain untouched throughout the different emperors and dynasties. As they walked, they passed a small ancient graveyard built against the hillside. The limestone shrines glowed mysteriously in the moonlight. Chinese characters and mini-sculptures were carved in the pale rock. Incense smoldered on the top of an old gravestone…

Thanks for stopping by –

Tara Mayoros

Bio:

As a child, Tara Mayoros moved to Asia with her family where her love of different cultures and travel began. In college she satisfied her wanderlust by moving back to China, filling her head with countless stories, and occasionally writing them down.

Years, marriage, children and many adventures later, she picked up her dusty pen and paper (or laptop) and realized that writing took her to different worlds and gave her the experiences that she yearned for. As an author, artist, baker, music teacher, gardener, and nature lover – she sees the beauty in the process, and the miracle, of creation. The Rocky Mountains are her home and they call to her whenever she finds herself in need of inspiration.

Connect with her: Website, FacebookAmazon, Twitter.

Want to be a guest blogger? Wonderful! I am accepting guest posts that focus on reading and writing. You are allowed a book link in the post as well as in your bio. A picture and a bio are encouraged. If you qualify, please email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

~SAT

My Mental Vacation

22 Jul

10522436_2406507240749_6078480465461130367_nSo…my mental health day turned into a vacation overnight. I hit the road! I am one of those people that can’t sit still for too long, so I’m celebrating life by traveling around. And I’ll be sure to share my adventure in the near future, but – as of now – I am living this adventure, and I’m expanding that little thing known as inspiration. But I will be back to blogging on Thursday, so you can expect a real post then. I promise.

Thank you for understanding this spontaneous life,

~SAT

Guest Post: Author, T.B. Markinson

16 Dec

Shannon, here, for an introduction.

Every now and then, I have a guest blogger, because I come across an author, writer, and/or reader that I enjoy hearing from. I have learned from every one of my guest bloggers, and T.B. Markinson is no exception. She is a passionate writer, and her blog, Making My Mark, always demands my attention. Below, you have the opportunity to meet her and read about her inspirations – how she ended up achieving her goals and what pushed her to finally go after it.

So, here she is: T.B. Markinson:

I’m so happy to be guest posting on Shannon’s blog today. She really is an inspiration and I wish I knew her when I was younger. Maybe I wouldn’t have waited so long to publish my first novel.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In fact, that dream was instilled in me when I was in the sixth grade. Why then did it take me thirty-nine years to finally take it seriously? One word: life.  And excuses.mar-kindle

The years passed. The excuses continued. Then in 2011, something huge happened. My partner was transferred to London, England. At the time, we were living in Boston, Massachusetts. All of a sudden I was unemployed and away from family and friends.

My excuses were gone. Before we agreed to move, my partner and I discussed the pros and cons of moving to a different country. One issue was what I would do. I wish I could say I was jumping up and down, shouting, “I’ll write.” Nope. It was my partner who knew my ambition and she strongly suggested that I shouldn’t be a fool and take the time to focus on my writing. It’s not every day someone is handed this opportunity. And my partner urged me not to waste the chance.

Without my partner’s love and support, I may never have had the courage to chase my dream. No one in my personal life discouraged me from writing. No one put pressure on me to put other things ahead of my dream. I did that all on my own and if it wasn’t for my partner, I may still be doing that.

Since moving to London, I’ve published two novels: A WOMAN LOST and MARIONETTE. My editor is expecting a draft of the third novel in January.

Turns out once the excuses diminished, I’ve been able to focus on what’s important to me. And now I have balance. I still go out with friends and family. I still have fun. I still deal with life. But I make sure I add at least 1000 words each and every day. It’s not just a job. It’s what makes me happy.

So if you want to write, don’t let anything stop you. If you’re young like Shannon, great get going. If you’re older like me, it’s never too late. All that matters is chasing your dream. Never give up.

Synopsis:

Paige Alexander is seventeen and has her whole life in front of her. One day her girlfriend comes home to discover that Paige has slit her wrists. Paige isn’t insane, but she acts like she is. Why?

After the incident, Paige agrees to go to therapy to appease her girlfriend, Jess. However, Paige doesn’t believe that therapy will help her. She believes she’s beyond help. Paige doesn’t want to find herself and she doesn’t want to relive her painful past in order to come to terms with it. What Paige wants is control over her life, which she hasn’t had since her birth.

During her childhood, Paige is blamed for a family tragedy, when in fact, her twin sister, Abbie was responsible. Abbie doesn’t come forward and Paige becomes the pariah of the family.

To add to Paige’s woes while attending a college in a small town in Colorado, the residents are in the midst of debating whether or not gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Tension is high and there’s a threat of violence. She isn’t out of the closet and pretends to be straight at school since she fears what will happen if her parents find out she’s a lesbian. Will she end up dead like her best friend, Alex?

About the Author:

T.B. Markinson

T.B. Markinson

T. B. Markinson is a 39-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling around the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. Marionette is her second novel.  A Woman Lost was her debut novel.

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Writing and Airports

4 Aug

Writing and airports. What do they have in common? I’m sure I could come up with a creative joke, but I’d rather move right on to this writing prompt. For the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time in, out, and around airports. Those little moments brought lingering thoughts of potential plots and/or characters. Why? Because I was surrounded by new people every second, and getting out of the house can truly clear the clouded mind.

This is why I want to talk about “people watching.” I think it’s a commonly used phrase, but if you haven’t heard it before it means exactly what it sounds like: watching people. A lot of people do this for all kinds of reasons: to learn, to recognize behavioral patterns, etc. But I think this is a great opportunity for writers, because writers put a lot of pressure on themselves within their stories to make it as believable as possible (even if it’s completely fiction.) So how do writers get around this conundrum of creating the illusion of fiction seeming factual?

We study. We research. We talk to anyone we know who might have experience in the topics or attitudes we want to write about. But what happens when this inspiration runs out, and we get writer’s block?

We have to find a way around it.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

I just took my father to the airport for a trip to Alaska. Traveling is a great way to spark the writing flame too. This is from our trip to DC in 2010.

Now, I have to clarify that I really believe writer’s block comes from one of two things:

1. Forcing something to happen.

2. Putting pressures on yourself for all kinds of reasons.

But I still think we get out of writer’s block by taking a step back and returning to the simple love of writing–or, what I call, the imagination.

Airports are full of imagination opportunities: different people, coming and going to who knows where. Possibility excites me, and writing in airports brought a sense of freedom I forget to practice sometimes. In a way, this writing prompt is less about writing in airports and more about switching things up. For instance, if you always write at home, try going to the coffee shop a few days in a row. I say a few days in a row, because it often takes some time to feel comfortable enough with the new area to fall in to the fluidity of writing.

This is why I have a journal specifically for traveling. I seem to notice more when I’m traveling, because I’m attempting to take everything in all of the time. Some of my favorite writing is while I’m in moments like this, because I can focus ten times more than I can on a day-to-day basis.

So write while your on vacation this summer. Try going to a new place to reignite your passion for the imagination–like an airport or park. You might be surprised–your writing can change, even if only for a moment.

~SAT

I’m Back :]

12 Jun

I’ve returned from my vacation, and I am so excited, because I returned to ShannonAThompson.com passing 8,000 followers 😀 Thank you for the coming home present. I’m truly blessed to be gifted with so much encouragement, and I’m working hard to get more novels out along with writing and publishing tips. But what am I going to write about today?

I wanted to share my vacation with everyone, because I had a wonderful time, and I think it’s a great place to go! I also think it’s important to also think about potential in vacation in regards to writing. Who knows? You may be vacationing in your novel’s next setting. I definitely thought Eureka Springs was an interesting and beautiful place.

That’s right. Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I went there, because I wanted to spend time in the Ozark Mountains. I also love history, and there’s a lot of really interesting history there (not to mention a lot to do.) So here’s what we did:

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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Downtown

There is so much to do downtown: art galleries, shows (opera and magic), bars, music, and historical tours, including the Basin Park Hotel. My favorite place for food was Local Flavor, but I enjoyed Eureka Live Underground for drinks. The photo below is the New Delhi Cafe. It was the Blue Grass Festival this week, so there were a lot of bands entertaining the town.

New Delhi Cafe & Patio

New Delhi Cafe & Patio

Crescent Hotel

Built in 1886, this famous hotel was originally an elite hangout. It later became a women’s college and then a cancer hospital with one of the biggest medical scandals in the U.S. The grounds is beautiful, but it’s been on Ghost Hunters (with some amazing ghost footage) which you can watch here. I actually went on the tour, and it takes you through the historical deaths, ending in a morgue in the basement. If you’re not into ghosts, The Crescent Hotel also has a gorgeous spa and a patio sky bar.

The front

The front

The ghost tour

The ghost tour

Christ of the Ozarks

That’s right. There’a four-story statue sitting 1,500 feet into the air (at 67 feet tall.) It’s a pretty amazing site, and you can see it from the sky bar on the Crescent Hotel.

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Berlin Wall

They have a piece of the Berlin Wall right behind Christ of the Ozarks. Definitely worth the stop to see such an amazing piece of history.

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I did more than this, but I thought these were some of the best places to go! 

But I also wanted to share something else–a part of the vacationing process I always enjoy. Whenever you go somewhere, consider stopping (or going a little out of the way) to see other location. We stopped at two: Tablerock Lake and Osceola Cheese Factory, and it was worth it! The lake was beautiful and the cheese–yum!

Basically, I had a great time, and I think Eureka Springs is a lovely vacationing spot if you’re thinking about going somewhere. I hope to return (and soon!) In the meantime, I will be in Kansas, organizing some writing and publishing tips for everyone. I’ll continue those posts starting on June 14th, which is the day Minutes Before Sunset becomes available as paperback! You can pre-order it now, but it’ll ship on June 14th, so I’m excited for that change! Amazon is selling the paperback at $10.95 while Barnes & Noble is selling it for $10.86 (for members.) Both are selling the ebook for $7.

While I was gone, I also received another Minutes Before Sunset review from Mike, a Christian blogger of Fencing with Ink:

“Adopted, but now returning to the place where she was born, Jessica wants to look into her birth parents and find out just what happened to them. It won’t be a pleasant journey, but her lab partner, Eric, isn’t making things any easier. But the closer she gets to him, the more she sees, and the more she sees, the more danger she is in. Star-crossed teenagers intertwine in this young adult story of love and survival, and finding out which of the two is more important.”

You can read the entire piece here.

I have a few more updates: 

  • On February 26, 2013 I wrote Writing Tips: How to Handle Rejection, and I discussed John’s entertaining ability to be honest about rejections from the publishing industry. His website has changed to share anyone’s rejection letters from publishers, so feel free to email him by checking out his website Rejection Love Letters.
  • On April 16, 2013 I was interviewed by author Dan Thompson. (Click here to read it.) And his writing, The Casework Memoirs, will be available for FREE June 14 through June 18 on Amazon.

Again, thank you for helping me reach 8,000 followers and celebrating all of these moments with me! I hope everyone’s summer is going great, and I can’t wait for the paperback of Minutes Before Sunset to be released this Friday!

~SAT

June 14: Paperback Now Available & Why I Won’t Give Up

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