Tag Archives: upcoming novels

#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

 

My Interview with David Congalton, writer of “Authors Anonymous”

3 May

Three announcements before we begin today:

My progress bar is updated on the right side of my page. You might notice that my next manuscript – the mysterious “TMT” – is now named: Take Me Tomorrow. More information is coming soon!

Confessions of a Book Geek will be featuring Minutes Before Sunset, and you’ll be able to read a review and interview soon. I will keep everyone posted.

Life OK – Star TV’S new Hindi GEC Channel – quoted Minutes Before Sunset on Twitter.

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As you know, I recently posted Why Writers Should Watch “Authors Anonymous” – a review of a new movie that I recommend to everyone, especially those who love the craft of writing. What you may not know is what happened the day I posted my review.

get-attachment-2.aspxDavid Congalton, the writer of “Authors Anonymous”, contacted me about my review. We began talking, and he kindly agreed to an interview. I am sharing that interview today. “SAT” will be me (of course) and DC will be David Congalton. I had a great time interviewing him, and I think it’s important for readers and viewers of the movie to see what happened behind the scene. This is just another reason to watch “Authors Anonymous.” All photos shown are credited to Screen Media.

SAT – Why did you want to create this film?

DC – The short answer is that I tried screenwriting in two phases. During the first phase, I wrote 7 or 8 really bad “high concept” scripts, all designed to be commercial. Then I stopped and took a long break. When I finally decided to try screenwriting again, I opted for something more personal. I wrote what I knew. I wrote from the heart.

SAT – Many, if not all, writers can relate to the characters of this movie. Were all of these characters based on real people or were they created from a combination of experiences?

 DC – I was a director of a writers’ conference for 12 years and I’ve seen aspiring writers up close. John K. Butzin and Henry Obert are based on real people, but the others are really combinations of writers I’ve come across, i.e. the writer who can never get beyond the idea stage, the writer who thinks self-publishing is the answer, etc. They’re out there.

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SAT – Was there a certain character you feel more connected to? One you dislike the most? Why?

DC – I will always have a soft spot for Henry Obert, played wonderfully by actor Chris Klein, because Henry is based on me (except for the football stuff). I don’t dislike any of my characters. If I did, I wouldn’t write them. 

SAT – What are some of your pet peeves that take place in the writing community?

DC – My biggest pet peeve has always been those writers who present themselves as “nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.” ANY AUTHOR can nominate themselves for something like $50. It means nothing, absolutely nothing, and when I see an author trying that, it tells me he or she is a phony.

SAT – Writers often have an expectation for other writers to be very well-read. This can create an unrealistic pressure for writers to say they’ve read nearly everything out there. “Authors Anonymous” shows this with Kaley Cuoco’s character, Hannah. What was the hardest and easiest part about portraying this conflicting issue?

DC – You’re right. Writers are assumed to be well-read and up to speed on all writers in all genres. But that’s rarely the case. As I like to argue, a writer must also be a reader—you’ve got to be out there reading other people’s stuff. So we have a little fun with that in Hannah’s character. She really doesn’t have a favorite writer. She hasn’t read the classics, but she still manages to succeed by drawing on her own experiences.

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SAT – What is the reason behind the title?

DC – My title for the script has always been Scribble. The producers changed the title to Authors Anonymous strictly for marketing purposes. Research shows that Video on Demand movies get more downloads if the title begins with A, B, C, or D.

SAT – What is your favorite quote from the movie?

DC – I don’t have a favorite quote, but I have a favorite scene—it has to be the one where, during the meeting of the writers’ group, Henry is talking about the evolving relationship between his characters Scotty and Kristy, when actually the conversation is about Henry and Hannah. It always breaks my heart when Hannah says the characters are just friends.

SAT – All great stories have a lesson hidden in them, waiting to be interpreted. Do you think writers can take different meanings from the lessons in the story?

DC – No two people are going to react the same to Authors Anonymous. I hope that all writers who see the movie appreciate my message that you have to do the work as a writer. There are no shortcuts. But I’ve been to multiple screenings and each audience reacts differently in terms of humor and raw emotional response.

SAT – As a writer, what was the most nerve-racking part of sharing this story?

DC – The most nerve-racking part was wondering if this movie was ever going to get made. First draft written in September 2005. Production finally in August 2012. Theatrical release in April 2014. Do the math: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 years from page to screen. I think that’s more than sufficient cause for anxiety!

SAT – Are there any new projects in the mix?

DC – Yes, thank you for asking. I have a second script, Seven Sisters, currently under Option. I’m doing the final rewrite now, and we hope to be in production this fall.

SAT –  Last question: Who is your favorite writer?

DC – That’s easy. My favorite writer is Richard Brautigan, a humorist and author of such classics as Trout Fishing in America and Revenge of the Lawn. Keen observers of Authors Anonymous will note that the famous author there is named Richard Brodwell.

SAT – Thank you for speaking with me, David! I enjoyed your movie tremendously, and I will keep my eye open for your future works. 

~SAT

My Writing Process Blog Tour

10 Mar
Cyclops Bogart

Cyclops Bogart

Lots of announcements to share before I begin today’s blog post! As we near the release date of Seconds Before Sunrise (17 days to be exact), I am gathering so much support from lovely readers and writers that I want to share. So thank you to everyone. The people below, though, get an extra thanks today from Cyclops kitty.

Since Minutes Before Sunset is the first novel, I will share this untypical review by Tamara Morning, “Not only is the setting riveting and unique, but the characters are compelling, a combination sure to transport the reader to this magical world.”

Now that you’re up-to-date on the first book, you should check out the two latest reviews of Seconds Before Sunrise: (two?! Yes, two! ::excited dance::)

While Chris Pavesic wrote, “Thompson has produced an enjoyable story where the characters continue to grow and evolve. After reading the first two parts of the trilogy, I cannot wait for the next to appear!”, Pau’s Castle was living tweeting her incontrollable turmoil:

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By clicking the links, you can read their entire review, but I must warn you of spoilers.

I also wanted to let you know that The Timely Death Trilogy hit 100 ratings on Goodreads with an average rating of 4.47 stars. Oh, the delight.

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Whew. These announcements are getting out of hand (but any good party does), so I am continuing forth with today’s blog post:

Two weeks ago, I was nominated by author Dan Thompson to continue in “My Writing Process Blog Tour.” What is this tour? It’s just a bunch of authors gathering together (we have a tendency to do this over the internet) to share our writing process through these four questions:

  1. What Am I Working On?
  2. How Does My Work Differ From Others of its Genre?
  3. Why Do I Write What I Do?
  4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

Special thanks to Dan. His answers can be found here, my answers are below, and my nominations are just below that. Enjoy!

What Am I Working On?

Other than the fast-approaching release of Seconds Before Sunrise, I am planning on publishing the first book in a new series next. (I just turned it into AEC Stellar Publishing.) And I look forward to sharing more information on it in the future. In terms of writing, I have many more projects under works, five of which are already completely written. I also have three more almost finished. It’s just a matter of how the cards fall. (Or in this case: how the books are flipped open.)

How Does My Work Differ From Others of its Genre?

Other than writing from two perspectives, I work really hard to challenge norms in the genre as well in literature. For instance, The Timely Death Trilogy flips the archetypes of Light vs. Dark in the sense that the dark is full of the “good guys.” I also try to challenge the genre with my characters by focusing on stereotypes: ex/ Crystal is a punk who loves journalism and prom. Jessica’s relationship with Eric is also not what the genre generally goes for. She can live without him. He, on the other hand, is a little different. And showing what a boy feels in a relationship isn’t common practice in YA, paranormal romance.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Even under severe torture, I do not believe I could satisfy an interrogator with an answer because I don’t even know why I write what I do. I don’t think there has ever been an AHA moment when picking what to write next – the stories just come…and come, and come, and come again. Sure, I have lots of scattered storyline folders on Weebo – my trusted laptop – but my writer’s heart always picks the one I will work on next like they are fated lovers who fall in love at first sight, with uncontrollable need just because they walked into the same room that day.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

I will be the first to admit to how bizarre my writing process is. I know it’s unusual, and I’m okay with that. (I wish I could remember at what point I realized it was unique, but I cannot.) Nevertheless, I will try to explain to the best of my ability by using a scene from upcoming Seconds Before Sunrise:

  • I begin with a bunch of notecards, which I will probably write on for hours throughout the night. Preferably in dim lighting, just so I struggle to read it the next day. During this time, I also create maps, picture books, and more extras, including WAY too many notebooks full of information.
  • After everything is organized, the cards get typed up to this: (note that my handwriting is too bad to show what the notecards look like) What is this? It’s dialogue. The letter represents the name. I sort of look at this like a screenwriting approach (but not really.) This is just how my brain works.

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  • After I get almost all of the dialogue and scenes figured out, I add all the prose in-between to these scenes. So it turns into this teaser below:

…TEASER ALERT…TEASER ALERT…teasing…

I shoved my head into my locker and breathed hoarsely. It was the first day of school and sitting next to Jessica was already killing me. I wanted to talk to her, hold her, be with her − anything really − but I couldn’t. If the Light realized who or what we were, she’d be killed, and there was nothing I could do except stay away.

“You okay?” Jonathon asked, his voice squeaking through the slits of my locker.

I leaned back to stare at the blind artist. I wouldn’t believe he was Pierce, a powerful shade, if I hadn’t known his identities myself.

“I’m dealing,” I grumbled, unable to keep eye contact as Jessica passed us.

She flipped her brunette curls as she playfully hit Robb McLain’s arm. Robb McLain with his sparkling teeth, gelled hair, and playboy personality was the perfect jerk.

Robb slipped his arm over Jessica’s petite shoulders, and I gripped my locker.

“I am this close to killing him.”

Jonathon chuckled. “I’d like to see that.”

“This isn’t funny.”

Jonathon’s hands struck straight up. “No. No. Of course not.” He tried to smother his laughter. “Not funny at all.”

  • And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. At some point, it becomes this – my editing process in which I cut 130,000 words down to 80,000.

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  • Once that’s done, we work at publication.

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But publication is another process completely, so here are my nominations (with introductions) who will be posting on March 17th

Steven SanchezMy name is Steven Sanchez. I am a 31-year old writer, singer, and computer technician. I began writing my first book, The Acid Oasis: The Journal of Adrian Blackraven, at the age of 17 and self-published in January of 2012. Born and raised in New York City, I now reside in Florida with my wife and three children, where I am currently working on the ‘Satin’ novel series.

Raymond VogelPresident, AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc.; author, “Matter of Resistance” and “The Best Of You” (from “2013: A Stellar Collection”). All around decent guy.

Josephine HarwoodHi! My name is Josephine Harwood. I am a housewife, mother, and a family caregiver. In my spare time I love to read, play video role-playing games like Zelda, and writing stories. Writing a book was on my Bucket List, and Dark Secrets is my very first novel. It is the romantic-suspense story of two sisters who move from the East Coast down to West Texas and one of the sisters becomes the unsuspecting target of a stalker. Dark Secrets is only $2.99 and the first six chapters are FREE on Smashwords.

Be sure to check these authors out on March 17th, but in the meantime, I would love to hear about your writing process below! 

~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

My Dream: Seconds Before Sunrise on Goodreads & Extras

15 Nov

Happy Friday!

Today is a REALLY exciting day for me because I’m sharing two new things regarding Seconds Before Sunrise. First, we’re on Goodreads. You’ll be able to see a shortened synopsis until December 1. Then you’ll see the cover as well as the full synopsis. Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf today! (Who knows? You might be chosen to be a beta reader. Hint. Hint.)

But onto the extra:

As many of you know, The Timely Death Trilogy is based on a series of dreams I had from the ages of 14 to 16. I was going through a very dark time in my life when I started having dreams of a young man visiting me. He’d simply talk about my life, ask me what I was going to do, and then disappear. But it felt very real. In fact, it felt so real that, at some point, I truly felt like I might have been going insane. However, I got through this point in my life, and that’s when the dreams stopped. I found myself missing the midnight visitations, and I decided to create a story based off of them.

This is where things get funny.

I wrote Seconds Before Sunrise first. This book will have dream sequences in it, showing many of the dreams that I had. This is why I wanted to share an actual excerpt from my journal during this time in my life. You are about to read a diary entry, written about these events on December 28, 2005:

“I dreamt of him last night.

The actual journal this entry can be found in

The actual journal this entry can be found in

He was sitting on the edge of my bed. His hands were folded in his lap, and he muttered everything he said. We barely touched. And his eyes—I couldn’t stand the look in them. It was like he’d made some sort of self-sacrifice, signed a deal with internal torture, and it was something he could barely stand, let alone speak about.

When he did speak to me, he only told me to be careful—that he didn’t want me to get hurt. And, for a moment, I knew it was because he’d already been hurt and he didn’t want the same for me.

It’s peculiar really…to obsess over his protection when it was only a dream. He’s only a dream. And I have to remind myself of that before he feels real, before he becomes real.

This dream is truly and utterly impossible—a mere fantasy of the cruelest, selfish, intentions.”

When I went back to read this entry, the irony made me laugh out loud. I guess he became real, and I’m the one who did it–by writing The Timely Death Trilogy.

It’s an exciting time! I cannot wait for the cover reveal on December 1, the release on March 22, and to get to know more readers. Thank you for supporting me.

Please take a moment to add Seconds Before Sunrise to your Goodreads bookshelf today. And, while you’re there, enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Minutes Before Sunset.

Have a great weekend,

~SAT

Through Jessica’s Eyes

10 Oct

On October 8, you might have seen my first reblog (I’ve always been confused on how to do that and how it’d affect emails, but I’m excited Ky Grabowski’s blog was the first one I got to try it on. I’ll definitely be reblogging more in the future.)

Beyond it being my first reblog, it was my first guest blog post where I actually blogged about something. I was really nervous to be honest. I was worried about what to talk about, because I want my guest blog post to fit the blog I’m guest blogging for, so I had to ask Ky what to do. She, because she’s a genius, immediately suggested I write about what scene in Minutes Before Sunset was the most important to me, and I did just that.  I was truly honored when Ky asked me to be a part of her blog, Welcome to the Inner Workings of My Mind, and here’s the post, if you missed it.

To be honest, Ky Grabowski really inspired me to keep thinking about my favorite scenes in my written novels, which is why I want to share something with everyone:

I have to express how thankful and excited I am as I move into releasing Seconds Before Sunrise, Book 2 of a Timely Death trilogy. The cover, designed by Viola Estrella, is amazing, and I can’t wait to share it. But, for now, I wanted to share this photo:

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Now, I suppose, I have to explain:

This photo was taken while I was writing Seconds Before Sunrise. At the time, one of my biggest hobbies was photography, and I love winter, which is one of the main reasons archetypes always rubbed me the wrong way. I find untouched snow to be one of the most beautiful occurrences in weather. This is why I use it in Seconds Before Sunrise. This photo is very symbolic to Seconds Before Sunrise, because I took this in my front yard. If you’ve read my previous posts, you might remember Jessica’s house is literally based off of my house at the time, so, in a way, you are seeing exactly what Jessica would see in her front yard when snow falls, and you will see this in book 2. But that’s all I can say about this specific scene. You’ll have to check in as I release more information on this novel’s release!

In other news:

Joe H. won the 9,000 likes giveaway! So congrats to him, and I hope he has a great time reading all those wonderful novels he’s receiving as we speak (or write and read. Haha.)

I also have a special offer going on my Facebook Author Page, so you should check it out (especially if you’re interested in contemporary fantasy.)

Minutes Before Sunset was featured on Paranormal Palooza, which was really neat! And it officially hit 50 ratings on Goodreads with a 4.56 star rating 😀

Here’s to the future of every writer as we continue venturing forward, pens in hand, words in our hearts.

~SAT 

Seconds Before Sunrise

7 Oct

So you’ve read Minutes Before Sunset, and you’ve been wondering: where is Seconds Before Sunrise?

Well, I’m here to tell you. ctbr

As of now, AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. is still expecting to release it this Fall (Sept. 21 – Dec. 21) and I will let you know if this changes. The cover is currently under works, and the ARC is going through an editing process. I’ll be sure to announce when I need advanced readers for reviews and interviews. But, in the meantime, I have done a lot of updates to prepare for the arrival of Seconds Before Sunrise (Book 2 of A Timely Death trilogy.) And here’s two you might want to know about:

1. The Minutes Before Sunset FB page has been renamed to A Timely Death Trilogy to support all three books. 

2. Seconds Before Sunrise now has a page on this website. Click here to visit itI’ll be keeping it updated with the latest information, but you can read the latest synopsis here:

“In this second book of the Timely Death trilogy, Eric is forced to face his destiny without Jessica by his side. But Jessica’s new nightmares could be the key to his survival.”

What would you like to see in Seconds Before Sunrise? What do you think will happen? Join the Dark conversation on Goodreads here.

And don’t forget: Win over 20 novels in this Giveaway (U.S. Residents Only)

~SAT

P.S. I was interviewed by Harper’s Happenings: By clicking the link, you can read about where I get my plot ideas, my inspiration, and what cemeteries and airports have in common when it comes to my writing life. (Or you could figure out my pet peeves and try to pick on me the next time we meet. haha. Have a great week!)

Guest Blog: Matter of Resistance – Six Years In The Making

17 Jul

Hey, everyone. For this brief moment, I am Shannon. The rest of this post has been written by the fantastic author, Raymond Vogel. You see, I’m out of town again due to a death in the family, but I’ll be back on Tuesday, and Ray has graciously agreed to help me keep my blog going while I’m gone. That being said, if you’ve sent me an email or message or any kind, I will reply when I return :]

One last thing: I’ve added my book signing event to both Facebook and GoodreadsClick the links to join either one. I hope I get to meet some of you again! It’ll be a lot of fun–a BBQ, music, authors, and other artists to mingle with.

I can’t wait! But I have to get back to my travels–so without further ado:

Matter of Resistance is being re-released next month, at last a product I can say I’m proud to have authored. It’s literally been “in work” for six years now, so it’s also a great relief to call it complete. Here, briefly, are the forces of fate that collapsed on top of me to make it possible. Special thanks to Shannon Thompson, a wonderful writer in her own right, for allowing me her page to share them with you.
Concept:Matter_Of_Resistance_-_COVER_ART
For almost three years, starting in 2007, I worked as a Systems Engineer on the NASA Orion Program. As a dreamer and philosopher, I couldn’t help but work out the future details about actually landing on Mars and colonizing it as we humans finally begin our disbursement out into the universe. With a strong background in material science, and three previous years holed up in a lab working with advanced materials, I also suspected there had to be another reason for us to go.
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With these two things in mind, I invented Mangematter – a material that doesn’t exist on Earth but that I theorized could hold some unique properties. And it’s not as far fetched as you might think (see articles like this one on the uses of magnetic pinning). Incidentally, Magnematter was the working title of the book for quite a long time.
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Also occurring at that time, as you may remember, was a war in Iraq. A war many conspiratorially believed (reference) was really being fought for a healthy supply of oil – a material we’re consuming rather quickly (See sites like oilddecline.com). A war waged over a critical material, plus the idea of Magnematter, gave me the epic-sized conflict I was looking for.
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With a relevant and scientifically feasible setting and a conflict in hand, it was the simple matter of creating the characters and plotline to fill in the details.
Methodology:
Having made several failed attempts to write novels before, I waited to write anything until I had first turned to the magical land where all answers appear in seconds: the internet. In one swift google search, I landed on the Snowflake Method. If you’re a writer, and you haven’t heard of this method, consider looking at it very seriously. As a logic based life form (aka engineer), it jumped out at me as the only way to write. It employs software development processing to writing – an unlikely combination if ever there was one – and it works.
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I followed the Snowflake Method diligently, making the one sentence version of my book, then the paragraph, and so on. I’ve been told, even on the original version, that the result was a “perfect plotline” – coherently linked from beginning to end. And I’ve been recommending the process ever since. In case you’re curious, the one-sentence synopsis I created for Matter of Resistance was:
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An evolved and brilliant youth must save Earth from devastation at the hands of his fellow Martian colonists.” – Aug 6, 2007
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Of course, the details changed CONSIDERABLY since the writing of that sentence, but it gave me the foundation I needed to write my novel. Using the Snowflake Method, it only took me about 6 months to finish the first draft of Matter of Resistance (Magnematter, at the time). I then spent the the next few years polishing my manuscript to get the grammar errors out, began the slow process of looking for a publisher, got bored waiting for rejection letters, and then put it up on Amazon in about 3 hours in October of 2011.
Significant Change:DSC_0256_(412x640)
Although my book was doing well and receiving good reviews, there was a universal comment from my most honest friends that was bothering me. No one was finishing the book. It simply took too much brain power to get through, and most people read that kind of book to escape rather than to learn. Of those that finished, all enjoyed it, but they were too few in number for my ego.
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Myself being rather talkative, I talked often about my book, to any that would listen. The results was a run-in with paranormal thriller and speculative Christian fiction author Marc Schooley. I was beginning to work on a new book, which will remain nameless for now, and he gave me a lot of advice on it that dramatically changed how I saw writing. This included referring me to the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, a book I also often recommend to others (amazon link). After talking with Marc a few times and studying the book, I took another look at Matter of Resistance. And, boy, was I disappointed!
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So, I sat down in the summer of 2012 and wrote it again, from the beginning, keeping the story in tact but changing almost every word.
Updating for re-release:
After Matter of Resistance had been rewritten to take advantage of my new and improved writing ability, I followed a much smarter method of editing – I hired a professional, Heather Hebert to do it. I also hired a professional artist, Viola Estrella, to create a suitable cover. And, finally, after a series of beta readers, rounds of editing, and iterations, I finalized the manuscript this summer (2013).
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And I can’t wait for you all to read it.
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Raymond Vogel

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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