Tag Archives: upcoming books

#MondayBlogs Writing Tips: Naming Your Characters

22 Aug

Naming characters is really important! It can also be fun…and a little daunting. Choosing them can take hours, and on top of that, publishers might change them anyway. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process. In this article, I’ll list a few aspects to consider while naming your characters, and I’ll include websites you can use as tools to find the perfect name.

Have fun!

1. Time & Culture

Is it believable that your character’s parents would name them something within the setting’s restrictions? Of course, there are exceptions, but consider the year. 1880 is going to be VERY different from 2030. Research your setting! If you want, you can actually look up popular names through the years at SSA, [Social Security Association.] Also, BabyNames.com allows you to explore baby names based on origin, ex. Irish names, Persian names, etc. Babynames.com provides thousands of names within cultures, meanings, genders, and more. You can even save your favorite names as you skip around. (Don’t be surprised if people ask you why you’re looking up baby names in public. I’ve been “congratulated” on a number of occasions.)

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2. Last Names and Family Lineage

Remember most parents use iambic pentameter for names. The rhythm should work. On top of that, you can consider naming a character after another character. A son may be named after his father or grandfather. Last Name Meanings provides a list of last names and where they derived from, along with the meaning behind them.

3. Unique and Memorable

Of course everyone knows not to use names already used in very famous novels, but what about within your own book? Avoid repetitive names or sounds. You probably don’t want to name everyone with a “J” name. It’d be hard to follow Jack, John, Jared, and Jill around. Personally, I suggest making a list of characters names in alphabetical order so you can physically see what is represented. Consider start, end, and syllables. The exception generally happens within relationships. Example? If you have brothers, maybe they will have similar names, but don’t overdo it.

4. Mixing Names (Sci-Fi/Fantasy)

Listen, we all know sci-fi/fantasy generally calls for unique names, but tread carefully. Having a character names Zzyklazinsky is going to be WAY too hard for a reader’s eyes. Sometimes, your best bet is taking well-known names and simply mixing them to create something more relatable but unique, ex. Serena + Violet = Serolet. Try NameCombiner.com to see what you can come up with.

5. Look All Around You

There are so many references on the Internet to find names. Other than those websites stated above, get creative. Pick up an old yearbook. You’ll be surprised how many different first and last names (along with rhythms) you can find. However, I suggest not using a person’s exact name, but rather use it as a reference. Maybe a first or a last. When I recently atteneded a high school graduation, I kept the pamphlet with all the names on it. There’s nothing like needing a quick reference – a real one – that isn’t online. Even funnier? A real Noah Welborn was on there. (My male protagonist from The Timely Death Trilogy is named Eric Welborn, but his little brother is named Noah Welborn.) Sometimes, reality fuses with fiction. And, of course, life in general. If you’re at a restaurant and notice your waiter’s name on his nametag, jot it down. Even if you don’t use it now, you might in the future…which brings me to my last point.

Keep a list of names that you love (and maybe even why you love them). That way, when you’re ready to write another book, you have a notebook filled with ideas already, and you can start right away.

A mixture of all these things creates a list of believable characters, and I really hope you’ll enjoy playing around with names more than before!

Original posted April 29, 2013

~SAT

Here are two of my FREE books:

Bad Bloods: November Rain

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Minutes Before Sunset

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads

 

The Funniest, Strangest, and Creepiest Topics you have Googled

22 Jun

For everyone that has been eagerly awaiting, Take Me Tomorrow, Fiction Friday released a HUGE chuck of Chapter One, and you can read it today by clicking here. It includes fan art, inspired by that particular scene.

I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who came to the Facebook Event Nightmares, Dreams, Fantasies, and Visions yesterday afternoon. I had a lovely time speaking with everyone LIVE! But I especially want to thank author, Lisa Klass. Please visit her website to read excerpts from her novels, including her latest novels in the Baby Girl series.

Today, I wanted to have a little fun. A few weeks ago, I shared The Top 10 Seriously Awkward Conversations I’ve Had When People Hear I’m a Writer, and it got me to thinking about something else that I have happen to me on a regular basis. If you have a blog, then you know how the Dashboard page works. It delivers yours stats, tells you how many views you received, and even explains what viewers have Googled in order to find your website.

So I am sharing the funniest, strangest, and creepiest topics people have Googled to find my website, and I’m responding to them.

Funny:

“hilarious bad attitude” – Does this describe me or something?

“twelve nerds” – Just one actually. Me.

“Shannon a. Thompson is a fallen angel” – Stop it. You’re making me blush.

“shannon tatum in magic mike” – I think you mean Channing. You must have been super disappointed when you found me.

Creepy:

“shannon thompson june 23 birthday” – Um…Yes. My birthday is coming up. Thank you for remembering. I think?

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

A new picture of Bogart in the Thompson household for the searcher.

“pictures taken at the thompson house w bogart” – You really love my cat as much as I do.

“Shannon Thompson bikini pic” – Please. Don’t.

“real pussy needed in life.” – You…You are quite vulgar. So are you, Google.

Strange:

“actors who end up working retail” – I’m not an actor. And I’ve never worked in retail. But okay. (Fun fact: I did work in a sport’s bar for four years.)

“shannon ann Thomason” – Shannon Ashlee Thompson? (Yes, “Ashlee” as in “Ashlee Simpson.”)

“shannon thompson had two kids by 18” – nope. I don’t have any kids. I just have cats.

Help Wanted:

“what we need in snowstorm” – probably a jacket. And a shovel. Maybe some apple cider.

“need to read the first paragraph of extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer” – Ah! One of my favorite books. Here’s a link to Amazon to preview the novel.

“is there alot of blood and gore in looper?” – Toward the end, yes.

“can i write something about me in a blog?” – Yes, you can. You now have my permission.

My Favorite:

“i told someone to follow their dreams” – You go! You’re the best!

Seriously, Google. I do appreciate the traffic, but why? I honestly don’t want to waste people’s time anymore than they want me to. (And – as much a I enjoy awkward moments – creepy moments are just…creepy.) I love blogging, and this is actually one of the aspects of blogging that causes a great amount of giggling. If you’re a blogger, do you have any moments like this?

~SAT

Author Announcements

22 Feb

As promised, I am here again – sharing the news as “Author Announcements.” Today is full of fun and excitement, but I am also sharing a minor change in what you can expect from my website at the end of every month. So, here we go:

1. I received my first book review of Seconds Before Sunrise

If you’re an author, then you know how exciting this moment is! I sent out a couple of review copies a little while ago, but I’ve been so nervous, and now those nerves are gone. Trials of a wanna-be-published writer by Heather B. Costa released the first review by writing, “The cataclysmic battle between the Shades and the Lights has unexpected consequences and is a showdown in which not everyone will survive. Who lives and who dies, and who is able to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause they believe in?”

Click here!

Click here!

You’ve read right – not everyone will survive book 2 – so be sure to read her full review by clicking here before checking out Minutes Before Sunset on Amazon (only $3.89 right now.)

Special thanks goes out to Heather B. Costa for reading and reviewing The Timely Death Trilogy.

2. I am now doing three kinds of posts at the end of each month on separate days. You can expect to read these three kinds in this order every month:

  • Website Wonders – websites that I share on my author FB page as well as other ones I come across – like this one I did last month. These include websites for writers and readers as well as inspiring articles and other fun places to be.
  • Entertainment Reviews – I did my first one of these last month. It’s where I post a VERY short review on the main entertainment pieces I came across that month. I mention movies, books, music, and more.
  • Monthly Recap – this will be the first month that I post this. Since I post every other day, I realize that not everyone gets a chance to read everything, not to mention all of the new followers that jump in halfway through the month. From now on, you can expect all of those month’s post to be posted in a list with a short description at the end of the month. It’s my way of re-sharing important posts in case you missed them and/or wanted to see them. Think of it as a fun, catch-up day. I really had to fight the urge to call it a “ketchup” day, because I love ketchup. Hmmm….maybe I will call it a ketchup day…

3. On February 25, I begin my 30-Day Countdown for the release of Seconds Before Sunrise. This will mainly take place on my author Facebook Page. (But I’ll probably share some fun games and quotes here as well.) I recommend you join me on Facebook, because it’s going to be a lot of fun! I promise it won’t be a bunch of ads. In fact, some of it might reveal some more fantastic writing websites to help you out. 😀

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

My fortune turned green to celebrate Seconds Before Sunrise

I’m REALLY looking forward to the future. After my personal posts last week, I can admit that I felt really drained and very nervous about my future plans, but this week I was energized again, and I’m more than ready for March! Dare I say it? I feel like we’re only seconds away from my next release.

Seconds Before Sunrise – here we come. 

~SAT

How Anxiety Influenced my Trilogy

14 Jan

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

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

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

What does this have to do with Seconds Before Sunrise?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset Release Party ! ! !

1 May

Website Update:

7 p.m. Book Mavern’s Picks featured “Minutes Before Sunset” today. Special thanks Jhobell Kristyl, book reviewer and blogger. Click here to read.  

10 a.m.: ShannonAThompson.com has hit over 7,000 followers 😀 Thank you all for the tremendous support! 

After years of writing and reading, and being on ShannonAThompson.com for eight months, I am so excited that we are finally here! It’s absolutely breathtaking seeing my novel up on the internet, because I can finally share it, and I’ve been looking forward to it for so long :] Again, and I say this all of the time because I mean it, thank you for supporting me along this journey.

Published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Minutes Before Sunset is now available as an e-book for $6.99 (And there’s a 20% discount for the first week of sales! (It expires at midnight on 5/7/2013.) Just click here (or go to Smashwords) and use the discount code DM42Z. Please help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter 😀 I’d really appreciate it! And don’t forget there’s a surprise for you all (Yes, you all!) in my acknowledgements page. 

Here are other places you can buy Minutes Before Sunset:

Amazon: Kindle

Smashwords includes links for Kindle, ePub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc, Plain Text Download, and Plain Text View.

I’ll be adding links periodically as I receive them ! But in case you’re just now coming to my site: I’ve added the Shan-002synopsis, the cover, and the first chapter below:

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

 The first chapter (for free) click this link: First Chapter Preview

And excited things have happened! I’ve received another author review:

“Creative and well written, ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ keeps the reader intrigued and anxious for the sequel. Love it!” – T.L. McCown, author of Shifting Sands.

While this was happening, I also did another interview with upcoming author, Amber Skye Forbes, and that can be read by clicking here.

It’s official. I’m dancing around the room with my fat cat, Bogart. He’s excited. (I can tell by his lack of begging for food.) I’ll be close to the computer (as usual but even more so) this week, so don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail or ask a question in the comments section. I’ll get back to you right away! If you’re interested in an interview or planning on reviewing Minutes Before Sunset, let me know! I will link them to all of my websites!

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying reading Minutes Before Sunset as much as I enjoyed writing it for everyone! 

~SAT

See? We're dance-hugging :]

See? We’re dance-hugging :]

Writing Tips: Naming Your Characters

29 Apr

2 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release! I’m feeling pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about it all 😀 [And definitely not sleeping due to excitement] And I have one more announcement!

Minutes Before Sunset will be available as an e-book through Barnes & Noble and Amazon for $6.99 on May 1st! Please help spread the word :] The first day of sales is often the most important, and I really appreciate everyone who’s helped (and encouraged) me on here, Facebook, and Twitter. 

I’ve also received an author review for Minutes Before Sunset: “An exciting mixture of paranormal, romance, and page-turning action. Can’t wait to see book 2.” – Raymond Vogel, author of Matter of Resistance, a YA Science Fiction novel.

And the first chapter was published in The Corner Club Press yesterday! You can open an online version of it by clicking here. And congrats to the founder, Amber Forbes, who has signed her novel, “When Stars Die.” (I’ll be doing a piece on her soon, so look out for this emerging young author!)

But onto the writing tips !

Characters names are really important, and choosing them can take hours if you’re not sure why you can’t pick one out. So I’ve made a list of things to consider when naming your characters, along with websites to look things up in.

1. Time & Culture

This is the basic rule: Is it believable that your character’s parents would name them something within the setting’s restrictions? Of course, there are exceptions (especially within nicknames, which is another thing completely.) But consider the year. 1880 is going to be VERY different from 2030. If you want, you can actually look up popular names through the years at SSA, [Social Security Association.]

This is what my life has been like the past few weeks. Never ending. But minus the summer. [No complaints] I love being able to do what I love every day.

This is what my life has been like the past few weeks. Never ending. But minus the summer. [No complaints] I love being able to do what I love every day.

2. Unique and Memorable

You don’t want repetitive names or sounds. Of course everyone knows not to use names already used in very famous novels, but what about within your own book? You probably don’t want to name everyone with a “J” name. It’d be hard to follow Jack, John, Jared, and Jill around. Or even if all the names are very strange. I’d also consider the rhythm of couples (or protagonists in general.) Try to make them sound good together. The exception happens within relationships. If you have two brothers, having their names be similar is easier for the reader to follow.

3. Mixing Names (Sci-Fi)

I really believe science-fiction needs to have interesting names (along with most genres), but names that the eyes won’t struggle with. Unique names need to be considered very carefully, because you don’t want a reader unable to converse about your novel because they can’t say what they read.

As a personal example, Minutes Before Sunset is a paranormal romance. My characters have two names, one when they’re humans, one when they’re in their shade form. So their human names are very simple, while their shade names are more complicated and/or exotic. That way, it’s easily distinguishable:

Eric Welborn – Shoman

Jonathon Stone – Pierce

James Welborn – Bracke

George Stone – Urte

4. Names and Last Names

Remember most parents use iambic pentameter for names. The rhythm should work. On top of that, you can consider naming a character after another character. (A son may be named after his father or grandfather.) An example: In Minutes Before Sunset, Eric’s middle name is his father’s first name.

I also considered their last names very carefully. My protagonist, Eric Welborn, is born into a prophecy he cannot understand nor agree with, yet his last name insinuates he is “well born.” That is how it was created. (And it’s a real last name!) Jonathon Stone is Eric’s best friend. His last name is Stone, because he changes personalities the most when he transitions from human to shade. Stone, again, is used more for irony or, perhaps, a reality they have yet to see.

5. Where you can find them

There are many places you can go to inspire names.

  • Pick up an old yearbook. You’ll be surprised how many different first and last names (along with rhythms) you can find. However, I suggest not using a person’s exact name, but rather use it as a reference. Maybe a first or a last.
  • Babynames.com provides thousands of names within cultures, meanings, genders, and more. You can even save your favorite names as you skip around. (Although don’t be surprised if people ask you why you’re looking up baby names in public. ha.)
  •  Last Name Meanings provides a list of last names and where they derived from, along with the meaning behind them.

A mixture of all these things creates a list of believable characters, and I really hope you’ll enjoy playing around with names more than before! Join me on Facebook and ask questions anytime you want!

~SAT

May 1: Minutes Before Sunset Release Party! (a.k.a Dancing around with Bogart)

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