Tag Archives: writer problems

#SATurdate: Cassandra Clare, Content Disclosure, and Lemon Cookies

19 Mar

I met Cassandra Clare this week! She is definitely one of my favorite YA writers, so I jumped at the opportunity to meet her. We even geeked out over Twitter before the event, and I had two books signed by her. She is super sweet, and I definitely recommend attending her events if she comes close to your town!

What I’m Writing:

I’m 59,000 words into Take Me Yesterday…which means I’m officially in the last act, and I’ll tell you what, book two is much more twisted than book one (not that anyone has the chance to read book one…but I promise I’ll let you know when I start pursuing publication on The Tomo Trilogy. Right now, I’m focused on getting Bad Bloods out there.) That being said, this sequel is one of those books that I have to keep pushing myself away from my desk and reminding myself that I’m not psychotic…right? I’m particularly loving the new setting in this book, the new characters—especially the focus on female characters—and Sophia’s change in emotional state. But that’s all I’ll say for now.

What I’m Publishing:

Interior

Interior

I received the complete interior design for Bad Bloods: November Rain, and Bogart reviewed it thoroughly. We are both in love. If you read the sneak peek of Chapter Two, then you saw the first chapter from Daniel’s POV. We see him with Old Man Gregory, a man who owns the convenience store, which also serves as an illegal bar (the one I talked about in the content disclosure). Fun fact, I named Old Man Gregory after my older brother Gregory, but the two are nothing alike…even though he would be an old man in 2089. Like 101 years old.

We also received the content disclosure for November Rain, so I thought you’d like to know our rankings. If you need a handy guide about what these rankings mean, click here to read more details about November Rain’s disclosure.

First off, November Rain was rated YA(m) – Young Adult Mature – which means it’s written for a mature young adult audience.

Violence: 5: Um. No surprise here. Bad Bloods is a fairly violent duology, revolving around a political debate eradicating an entire group of people, which mainly consists of homeless children…but I promise you, the violence is not as graphic as the original book? Okay. That’s not saying much. But there is meaning behind it. The violence isn’t gratuitous.

1618672_1003118153068699_7248825728918056648_nRomance: 1: I promise, there is romance in this duology, although it’s more “intimacy” than lust, and the reason for that becomes pretty clear within the first two chapters.

Language: 3: Shit. That’s all I have to say.

Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking: 3: There is an illegal bar the main character attends for supplies, but he himself doesn’t drink. That being said, Diet Coke plays a major role in Bad Bloods as a type of drug, but I think I’ll leave that up for a surprise.

In other publishing news, I updated my author bio, which now includes my obsessions for rooftops, cookies, and murder shows.

This weeks’ #1lineWed preview was “now,” so here is this week’s preview: Her once moonlit eyes were now the dark sides of the moon.

In Bad Bloods, the moon and stars are very symbolic. The children, for one, are homeless, so many of them lived under the sky, and even when they form flocks, they travel at night, so the stars and moon are often the only light they see. Because of this, the symbolism becomes very nature-focused, including…you know…rain and snow. So, you can expect a lot of comparisons to nature throughout the duology.

Add Bad Bloods to Goodreads: November Rain and November Snow

Visit the Facebook, Pinterest, and the Extras page.

Coming soon!

Coming soon!

What I’m Reading:

1934484_1001844639862717_1406521969915192150_nI finished Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, and of course, I gave it 5 Shadowhunter stars. You can read my full 5-star review here. Don’t worry, it’s spoiler free (including spoilers from The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, both of which I highly recommend you read before reading The Dark Artifices.) My favorite quote? And if there were two things he believed were limitless, it was love and imagination.

I also began The Young Elites by Marie Lu, and even though I’m about ten pages in, I love it!

What I’m Listening To:

Gooey by Glass Animals. It will not get out of my head. (Not that I want it to leave either.)

What I’m Watching:

It all started with a little research…and then, I found the perfect murder…and then I found a TV show that talked about said perfect murder…and then I was binge-watching Murder Maps. These things happen.

On a not-so-light note, I also watched The Hunting Ground, the Oscar-Nominated documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. I could say so many things about this documentary, but I think time is better spent if you take an hour out of your day to watch it. That being said, I am a graduate of one of the universities under investigation for Title IX, and I can say that I am not surprised they are under investigation. This is an epidemic for men and women, and I hope the country as a whole can come together to address this issue in a productive way that prevents sexual assault from continuing for future students.

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What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Mango lassi and cream cheese lemon glazed cookies! I also made dark chocolate chip cookies this week too. (I really like my cookies.)

 What I’m Wearing:

Green, for St. Patty’s Day!

What I’m Wanting:

12240913_1000277113352803_4970759992132676648_oHonestly, I want more of those lemon cookies. I already ate them all.

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I was a magical general of 13 magical warriors, and we were fighting 13 other magical warriors. (Okay. This is where if I turn a dream into a book I would add more detail, so magical warrior will have to do.) That was when my best warrior went missing for 3 days, and on return, he asked to go on a walk with me. Of course I said yes, because he was my best warrior…and also, he was quite handsome. But he had been brain-washed! And he set me up to get kidnapped…so I was kidnapped by the other warriors, and they sedated me while they were waiting for their general to arrive (to kill me, I assume). But 3 days passed, and one of my warriors showed up to see if I had been kidnapped. Of course they denied it, but I tore out of the sedation long enough to crawl on my hands and knees to get to him. He tossed me Chapstick, but in this world, you ate the Chapstick to get special energy, and upon eating it, I sprang to my feet and ran…right into a shopping mall. (Sorry, my dreams are strange.) In this shopping mall, the cops were standing all around the escalators, talking about how I was most likely to escape there…and I ran right past them laughing! Of course they chased me, but I’d already vaulted over the fountain and headed for my main exit—the women’s restroom. (Fun fact, I’ve had this part of the dream before, and the women’s restroom worked, but this time…) A NO EXIT sign was plastered on the door, and a man was trying to push through it but couldn’t. I didn’t let it stop me. I laughed and went into the men’s restroom…where the exact same exit waited, and then I woke up in real life. I also had a dinosaur nightmare this week…but those are too traumatic to write about.

What Else Is Going On:

As many of you saw at the end of my last article, this was the week that my mom died thirteen years ago. (Thirteen years, that blows my mind.) Spring Break, for many, is a time of vacations and beaches (or snowboarding), and getting drunk on St. Patty’s Day, but Spring Break, particularly March 16, is a reminder of my mother’s sudden death and everything I’ve done since that life-changing moment. I promised myself back then that I would strive to follow my dreams, and I still am. I can only hope that I will continue to keep my promise, and I promise to try my best every day.

Thanks for taking the journey with me,

~SAT

fbcover24

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WW How to Avoid Writer Burnout

9 Mar

Writer burnout is different from writer’s block. How? While writer’s block is a force that prevents you from going forward, writer’s burnout is when going forward too much and all the time eventually exhausts you (and your resources). I think it’s important to understand the differences, because the solutions to these problems can be quite different. Ultimately though, figuring out what works for you as a writer is what the key to your success will be. That being said, here are some writing tips to avoid writer’s burnout.

1. Pay Attention

If you normally write 1,000 words a day—and then suddenly notice you’ve written 10,000 words in three days—you might be on a slippery slope to burnout. Don’t get me wrong, it’s AWESOME when you do more than expected, but it’s also easy to get caught up in a writer’s high and forget to pay attention to your needs. Like sleep or adequate food. Stay hydrated. Get up and stretch still. Take care of yourself.

2. Take Breaks

This goes back to the above post, but I think it’s important enough to have its own slot, because it goes back to Typing 101. Every fifteen minutes or so, look away from your laptop. Focus elsewhere. Stretch your hands. Blink. (Blinking is a big one for me.) Stand up, stretch. Anything. Just take breaks. I have early on-set carpal tunnel from not taking care of myself as a teen writer. (I’m only 24!) It’s important to do this, no matter your age.

My dramatic reenactment of writer's burnout

My dramatic reenactment of writer’s burnout

3. If You Get Burnout

I think you’ll know if you get burnout, but if you’re like me, you’re likely to pretend it isn’t happening and try to power through it. Do. Not. Be. Like. Me. (I’m getting better at this myself.) If you recognize your burnout signs, take a well-deserved break. And not just a stretch and cucumber sandwich break. Take a long break. Take the afternoon off. Go for a hike in the woods. Climb up on the roof and stare at the clouds. Drive through the city. Blast some music and dance in your living room. Lie down and have the craziest dream-filled nap of all time. Rock it. This is your time to shine…instead of burnout.

These are just three simple steps to keep in mind if you suddenly feel a crashing sensation of exhaustion. Don’t let writing burn you out. Pay attention, take breaks, and recuperate if need be. Writing will be there when you return. I promise.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 10 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you. Last week, I told everyone the story of the time a REAL-LIFE Eric Welborn e-mailed me, wondering why I used his name in my novel. (Spoiler Alert: I thought I made it up.)

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#WW Being A Writer Isn’t Everything

2 Mar

The other night, I was wallowing on the couch. I do this a lot. I can admit it shamelessly. But that’s probably because it’s a fake wallow. I enjoy the dramatics of it…and I do it all alone…with my three cats watching me. (Call it a guilty pleasure.) There’s something about hearing myself pointlessly complain that kicks my ass into “Oh, get over yourself and get back to work” gear.

Still, sometimes it takes something else to get me out of a slump, and two weeks ago, this TED talk was it.

 

Now, I’m going to write the rest of the article like my link is broken, but I highly suggest watching it, even if you’re not a writer. From the title, you might think it’s just a reenactment of Yes Man, but I promise you, this speech is about a writer’s passion overtaking everything—to the point of workaholic destruction—and that same writer both overcoming it and coming to terms that being a workaholic writer is who she is.

Despite not having any children, I can relate to her speech a lot.

She discusses the “hum”—that place where you disappear while you write—and how without the hum, you can feel nonexistent.

“I love that hum. I need that hum. I am that hum. Am I nothing but that hum?”

I am passionate. I have been here before. “Writer” is only one part of my identity, but sometimes it feels like my only identity. In those moments, writing was all I did, all I thought about it, all I planned to do, and everything I wanted. I still struggle with this every now and then. (Hence the wallowing sessions on my couch.) Sometimes, it even takes someone close to me to remind me to step away from my computer. Writing will be there tomorrow. Writing will be there a month from now. Writing will always be there. It’s okay if you have to take care of you first. It’s okay to just be you. For me, this means going out for a coffee…without my laptop. For me, this means sitting outside…without a notebook. For me, this means going to bed at night…without trying to dream up the next novel. For me, this means having a conversation with a loved one…minus books, publishing news, and movie adaptations.

Don’t get me wrong. I still go to coffee shops and write, and I still go to bed with future books on the brain, but I consciously need to remind myself to keep living outside my pen and paper. Living life inspires writing anyway, right? Well, yes, but again, it’s important to live life without pre-planning to use it in one of your books.

It’s okay to step away. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by your dream job. It’s okay to just be you.

This was my reminder.

~SAT

#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 9 starts on Thursday at 7 pm (CDT) via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT! What is Author in a Coffee Shop? Exactly how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop and tweet out my writer thoughts while hanging out with you.

Have you checked out this amazing gift basket Clean Teen Publishing is giving away this month? It has over $130 worth of goodies including a Kindle Fire, several print novels, sweets, swag, and more! Enter to win hereThen, read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, on your Kindle Fire for FREE: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksSmashwordsKoboGoodreads 

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#SATurday Confessions of a Slow Writer

22 Aug

I’m a slow writer. There. I said it. I’m a slow writer. (Just for extra measure.)

You see, I used to think I was a fast writer. “I can write a manuscript in four months,” “I wrote that novella in a few days,” “That short story took me an hour.”

Okay. So, I’ve never actually said the last two, but they sound similar to the first one…which I have said. And it isn’t a complete lie. My average speed for writing a manuscript is three months. Ish. But, what I don’t say, what I can’t deny to myself, is that manuscript is not truly written at all. It’s not even close to written. It’s a jargled mess of incomprehensible crap. (And I’m being nice when I say that.)

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My first drafts might take me four months, but that’s exactly what they are: first drafts. I almost ALWAYS rewrite my novels two or three times. There’s one in particular I’ve been rewriting since I was 19, but something is just not quite right, so it’s rewrite after rewrite, year after year. And I’m okay with that. Some might say I should abandon it, move on, or simply just turn it in as is, but you know what? That’s just not me. And I like being me, ten rewrites and all.

I’ve learned to accept I go through many phases during a novel-writing episode. It normally starts with a night terror, moves into an out-of-order screenplay, then an in-order screenplay, then a first draft, then a second draft, then a third and fourth draft, and then it’s done!

That, for me, is when my novel is born. Finally. And more often than not, a few years pass between the initial idea and the collection of words sent off to my editor. And I’m okay with that. I am. But don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t always okay with that.

There is a lot of pressure in the industry to be a “fast” writer, to release a new novel every four months, to use less curse words, to have more sex, to avoid clichés, or add romance. There is pressure everywhere—sometimes conflicting pressure—but I think it’s more important to not break under that pressure.

Stand your ground. Be yourself. Write slowly.

~SAT

Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in 3 days! 3! You can pre-order at the usual book-loving places, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. If you haven’t had the time to check out the first book, get Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, while it’s FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and spread the Dark to your friends by sharing the opportunity around. ::wink wink::

As a thank you, Clean Teen Publishing still has giveaways going on, including this Goodreads Giveaway for Seconds Before Sunrise, and the CTP Find Your Next Read Facebook Party on August 28. I – along with five other authors – will be giving away all kinds of goodies. I hope to see you there!

Stay Dark and Enjoy This Teaser,

~SAT

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#WW The Emotions of Listing A Book For Free

19 Aug

Let me start off by saying I am not an expert in this. In fact, I’ve never put up my book for free before. This is all new to me! (How exciting.) But, yes, the first novel in The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now up for free. My publisher, Clean Teen Publishing, did this to celebrate the upcoming release of the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, which releases August 25.

Whew. What a summary of events.

At first, I’m not going to lie, I felt like I failed. Like I failed my publisher, my readers, and myself. I’m not even sure why I felt this way, but if I could think about you in relation to my books, I thought, “Well, that’s it. My book didn’t sell, so my publisher dropped it to the big ol’ ZERO. I failed.” Cue my tiny and sad violin.

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Emotions. So many emotions.

This was my initial reaction anyway. And it was a silly reaction. In fact, my publisher didn’t make Minutes Before Sunset free because it wasn’t selling. It was selling. Still is. They simply made it free to celebrate. That is it. My own crazy thoughts were just my own crazy thoughts, and I think it’s important, as an artist, to keep those emotional thoughts at bay until you have time to see what actually happens. Easier said than done, of course, but I’m only two days into this free-promo, and I’m loving it!

Within twelve hours, Minutes Before Sunset hit the bestseller category for young adult science fiction, and within 24 hours, Minutes Before Sunset became #5 in Science Fiction. #5! We also hit #7 in Paranormal/Urban Fiction and the top 500 Kindle books overall. It even appeared in the article The Top 100 Best Free Kindle Books On Amazon, and the downloads kept coming in as more and more readers shared, liked, and commented on my one Facebook post about it.

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I was dumbfounded.

Here I was, thinking I was devalued, when—in reality—it connected me with additional readers who may not have found me otherwise. Lesson learned? I was too concentrated on MY value and not on the READERS’ value. I can admit that, can’t I? I’m only human, after all. A silly writer human (who really loves cats), and now, this silly cat-loving writer-human definitely suggests running a free-promo. You’ll never know how it’ll make you feel unless you try.

On a fun side note, someone attempted to hack my Instagram this week. I regained access, so expect more cat and coffee adventure pics soon. I also had the utmost pleasure of participating in fight research for a novel. I might write a post about that soon, but the trainer gave me a wooden spoon for a weapon. It was awesome.

#DontMessWithTheSpoon

~SAT

Now for FIVE giveaway announcements for hitting #5 in science fiction! 

Book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Minutes Before Sunset, is now free everywhere! Here are the links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. I hope you check it out before the sequel, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in less than a week. (Less than a week!) On that note, you can pre-order the sequel here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. The last installment releases September 15. (So almost no wait time. Yay!)

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Jessica’s memory jar! I’m giving two away.

If you love Goodreads Giveaways, here is the link for winning a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise, but don’t let that make you forget that you can win another Seconds Before Sunrise paperback (as well as many other paperbacks and prizes) during the CTP Find Your Next Read FB Party on August 28. The little jar on the right is a sneak peek of what you can win. It’s called a “memory jar,” but you have to read Minutes Before Sunset to know why Jessica needs one!

I’m not done either. (Told you there was a lot of giveaways going on.) You can still sign up to support the release day of Seconds Before Sunrise on August 25 to win a signed bookmark and a swag pack from me! Simply join the campaign and shoot me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com, letting me know you’ve joined. By following my newsletter, you’ll receive monthly opportunities like this.  

Last but definitely not least, the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour is giving away a $15 Amazon gift card, a bookmark swag pack, and a CTP eBook of your choice. Here are the latest places you can enter: If You Could Be Any of Your Characters (guest post on Black Words-White Pages), spotlight on Girls With Books, and a spotlight on The Bookie Monster.

I hope you win some prizes during this celebration! 

Stay Dark and Lovely,

~SAT

#SATurday Emotionally Spamming Readers

15 Aug

Emotionally Spamming Readers

I want to talk about something unusual…at least for me as an author…and because I’ve never really seen an article discussing it (other than how to avoid it), I thought it would be fun to address it. Overwhelming your readers with spam. Rather than talk about literal spam, I want to talk about emotionally holding yourself back because you fear any announcement is spam. So, when I say “spam,” I’m not talking about an endless array of emails or tweets with no purpose. I’m talking about feeling guilty when you share news once or twice for various reasons. That’s the issue I want to address.

As many of you know, I started off this blog almost three years ago. I wrote every other day, and then, two years in, I took a one-month break where I changed my schedule to Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays (and Mondays are for guests only). During my Wednesday and Saturdays posts, I’ve recently been sharing news at the end of the article. “Here’s an upcoming release!” or “Check out this giveaway!”

To be honest, I haven’t had a lot happening up until last month, and now, it’s endless. Blog tours, giveaways, release days, appearances, interviews, etc. Which is all FANTASTIC. Don’t get me wrong. I’m so giddy my rolly chair barely stays still. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t worried. Sometimes, at the end of my recent posts, my announcements are longer than my post, and the spam worries roll in:

Am I posting too much information? Should I choose between one interview and a giveaway? Do I look like I’m bragging? Is anyone even reading that part?

And then, I came to a personal conclusion—a conclusion I’m not always sure about, but one that brings me comfort and happiness, and that conclusion is that I enjoy sharing that news at the end of my blog posts.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

Some recent (and wonderful) moments I shared, include meeting a blogger, finishing a manuscript, my eight-year anniversary, a great review, and holding my book in my hands.

For a long time—and I know I’m not alone in this—I hid my author life and accomplishments and current news, and when people asked about my career (or “hobby” as many put it), I gave a mundane answer like, “It’s going well.” instead of saying, “I have a blog tour coming up, and I just got back from meeting a long-time blogger friend in Atlanta.” Why did I do this to myself? Why did I hold back my excitement toward my career? Probably because, as many writers know, society rather pokes fun at writers who aren’t Stephen King or George R.R. Martin, but they weren’t always “them” either. One story that always sticks out to me is from the infamous King, who said he finally felt like a writer when he paid a plumber’s bill with his royalties. It didn’t matter who defined him; he defined him, and that’s how he did it. So, I’m working at accepting my pride as a writer—and not hubris, but simple pride for all the work I’ve done, and all of the readers who’ve done work to help me, and all the bloggers I’ve met, and all the moments we’ve shared. How do we share more moments if I continue to hold myself back by not sharing my latest news below my weekly articles? I have to share them, and I have to be okay with sharing them, and even more, I have to accept that I ENJOY sharing them without feeling guilty or worrying about if I’m spamming. As long as I have a purpose, and I’m not posting it wherever and whenever I can, it’s not spam; it’s a simple announcement about what’s going on in my author life. And if someone wants to read it, GREAT! If someone wants to just read my articles, that’s GREAT too!

This is my life, and my life isn’t spam.

It’s crazy, and wonderful, and I stumble over it every day, and for that, I am grateful.

~SAT

And now for those announcements I just discussed. ;]

Seconds Before Sunrise releases in less than two weeks! To celebrate, Clean Teen Publishing is hosting SO many giveaways. Win a paperback of Seconds Before Sunrise via a Goodreads Giveaway, and win a $15 Amazon gift card, CTP ebook, and bookmark swag pack during the Minutes Before Sunset blog tour; here are the latest posts where you can enter: Deal Sharing Aunt Interview, Mythical Books SpotlightThe Cheshire Cat’s Looking Glass Spotlight, and The Wonderings of One Person Spotlight.

If you want to participate in the next tour—where you can interview me, have guest posts, and more—sign up for the Seconds Before Sunrise tour here. You can also join my newsletter for more prize-winning opportunities…which brings me to my next announcement. CTP is hosting another Facebook party, where you can win prizes and talk to authors on August 28. I will definitely be there, and I hope you come too!

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Don’t forget to check out Minutes Before Sunset before the sequel releases at Amazon and Barnes & NobleIf you’ve already done that, here are the links to pre-order Seconds Before Sunrise (AmazonBarnes & Noble) and Death Before Daylight (AmazonBarnes & Noble). If you write a review and you want me to share it, please send it to me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I would be more than happy to do so!

Thank you for your support.

Stay Dark,

~SAT

#WW Writer Problems 6-10

13 May

#WW Writer Problems 6-10

We like to believe that writing is all fun and games (and the worst thing that can happen is battling a thesaurus.) But writing is so much more than that, and because of all the work that goes on behind the scenes, writing often consumes the writer entirely. It lurks in the night like a good ol’ villain. It distracts us perfectly like a cheeky sidekick. It overcomes obstacles—not often as smoothly as we’d like—but it overcomes them like our heroes. It’s moments like these that remind me why I love writing, but these moments also bring up the awkward truth behind all-that-is writing, and I like to share these moments as my #WriterProblems. Last month, I shared 1-5, so this month, I’m sharing 6-10. Be sure to like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter because I share these cards there first. This is just the additional stories that go along with the cards. And—of course—feel free to take these cards and share them around. Just please don’t crop my name out. :]

Writer Problems #6

Trying to Find Inspirational Photos for Writing.

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For all of you Pinterest lovers out these, I’m sure you can relate to this one. Trying to find a normal male teenager with dark hair is nearly impossible. Everyone is either famous, naked, or both. And who wants that on their Pinterest board (if it’s not erotica)? Considering the billions of photos that are on the Internet, I’m often surprised at how difficult it can be to find a person who looks similar to the description of a character or even in a place in a novel. In fact, this card can be taken literally. While my cover artist and I were trying to find a male model for the cover of Seconds Before Sunrise, we stumbled upon this beauty. And yes. That’s a nearly naked man, wearing armor made out of bread. It took us an additional three days to find a male model with dark hair who had clothes on.

Writer Problems #7

Cats…We Love You, But Please Get Off The Keyboard.

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I have three of them. Trying to get them off my laptop—let alone out from under my desk where all the tempting wires hide—is a daily task I fail at. In fact, Boo-Boo is slaughtering my cell phone cord as I type this.

Writer Problems #8

When You Can’t Find Your Pens

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Perhaps you no longer use pens. In this day and age, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if a writer never used a writing utensil to write. But I still do. I have to. I love my pens. I’m rather protective of them too. And I only write with G-2 pens…and they often go missing. This either goes back to the cats, my roommates, or the writer goblin…a secret creature who lies in wait to prevent any more words from being written. Oh, wait. No. That’s my hair. Not a goblin.

Writer Problems #9

Writing in Public and Playing Your Writing Music Too Loud

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You’re writing. You’re music is playing. You’re sitting in your favorite coffee shop. Your words are flowing. You reach the end of a chapter and pause to take a sip of coffee. That’s when you look up and realize everyone is staring at you. Everyone. And you take off your headphones to see if someone will explain…when the noise explains it already. Yes. We heard your Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson. We heard it all. You were practically dancing too.

Writer Problems #10

Pen marks.

10

This happens to me all too often—so often that I wonder if I can ever be one of those authors that only uses computers. I…just…can’t. But this card was inspired by a recent outing. My roommate and I went everywhere. EVERYWHERE. The grocery store, the coffee shop I always go to, the hardware store, the diner. And the day was fantastic. It truly was. Until I went to the bathroom to wash my hands and saw it. I had black pen smudged all the way down my left cheek and part of my nose. And no one told me. ::facepalm:: Sometimes, though, a nice barista says something, and I can clean my pen off with dignity.

So how about you? What did these writer problems remind you of? Share your story below, and be sure to check out 1-5 if you missed it. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter too so we can talk about these as they release…because we all know more are to come. So many more.

~SAT

P.S. My latest YouTube video on my channel – Coffee & Cats – went up yesterday! We’re talking about book boyfriends. 

April’s Ketchup

29 Apr

April’s Ketchup

I don’t know about you all, but April brought Missouri uncountable thunderstorms, rain showers, and book news! (Hehe.) Changes to my Ketchup posts have been made. This time I’m including my YouTube videos and my Dark Members of the Week. In May, I have a bigger surprise for Members of the Dark, so be sure to email me at shannonathompson@aol.com if you want to join!

For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up”. At the end of every month, I write these posts describing what goes on behind the scenes at ShannonAThompson.com. Some of the topics I cover include my big moments, top blog post, my top referrer, SEO term, and more in order to show insights that will hopefully help fellow bloggers see what was popular. I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this April!

Big Moments:

The cover for Seconds Before Sunrise released! And – WOW! – was it an exciting day or what? Not only did we get to see Eric on the front cover, but we also got to enter a giveaway for Minutes Before Sunset and see the new bookmarks I received from Clean Teen Publishing (which – I’m signing for readers, by the way.)

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

The Timely Death Trilogy is coming back in full-force – all Dark and exciting. The editing and the interior is brand-new as well, and I will be sure to keep everyone updated. I also returned to YouTube, so you will see those links below as well as an increase in my “posts” number since I include those. What an exciting time to be a Member of the Dark!

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

My #1 Referrer was Facebook

Top Three Blog Posts:

1.My Weekend Cover Reveal: It’s here. It’s here! And there is even more exciting news to come. More prizes for Members of the Dark. ::winkwink:: I’m so glad you’re enjoying the cover reveals and other news about The Timely Death Trilogy. Expect the last cover and additional events soon.

My #1 Clicked Item was my Donate Page

My #1 Clicked Item was my Donate Page

2. Writer Problems (1-5): I am doubly excited that you all love these! I’m on #12 via my Facebook and Twitter right now, but I’ll be sure to write additional stories that goes along with them when I share 6-10 in May.

3. Rejected? How to Keep Submitting: Keep writing. Keep trying. Never give up!

Other Blog Posts:

My #1 SEO Term

My #1 SEO Term

Guest Post:

YouTube Channel:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. I also like to specially thank the Members of the Dark. Every week, I award one member a “Member of Week” badge, and out of those monthly members, one of them will win an eBook of their choosing as well as more prizes. If you would like to be a member or review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Dark Members of the Week: Book Gannet and Macy Avenue

Reviewers:

Death Before Daylight: Reader’s Corner

Interviews: Little Birdy Book Blog and Chris Pavesic

Calculated on April 27 at 19,643 followers

Calculated on April 27 at 19,643 followers

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

22 Apr

#WW Writer Problems 1–5

If you’re on my Facebook, then you will be familiar with today’s content. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing little cards that I make called Writer Problems. I only have a few out, but I decided that I wanted to share them on here too. So today was born, and hopefully, more days like today will follow. Basically, I’ll be sharing 5 cards at a time and explaining where the inspiration came from (because there are too many hilarious stories that go on behind the scenes of these), and I think many writers can probably relate to my writer problems.

Adding this information since I received an email requesting it: I highly encourage you all to share these photos if you want! Never be afraid to take anything from my website. In fact, I love it! But please give credit to one of my websites. If you want to use these photos, for instance, please don’t crop my website name out. Thank you!

Writer Problems #1

No matter how many times I press SAVE, I still think I’ll lose the entire document when I close it (even though I use a flash drive).

1

I’m currently working on…well…so many projects. Like most authors. But I have a problem. I’m a very neurotic person – very superstitious, very particular, and I have my rituals and my fears and they practically control my life. ::takes big breath:: So, one of my OCD issues is closing documents. I can’t. Whenever I am working on something – like a novel – I seriously struggle to close the twenty documents I have up at all. Even though I also save every five minutes, which is a problem in itself, I say a little prayer before I ever close anything. On top of that, I’ve been known to reopen everything after I close it just to check. And then I save it anything. And I might open it again. It’s exhausting.

Writer Problems #2

Eureka! I have a new idea! Now if I could only finish my other ten ideas… 

2

This goes back to my first problem. I never read one book at a time, and I never write one book at a time. I’m constantly working on different projects at the same time, so it isn’t rare for another project to sneak its way into my schedule. I’ve found that it’s both a blessing and a curse. My biggest issue is picking which novel to write next.

Writer Problems #3

Strangers catching you staring at them because they look like your characters.

3

Oh, goodness. On top of being neurotic, I’m always rather awkward, and one of those things that I tend to do (which often gets me in trouble) is staring at people. A lot. Even if people don’t look like my characters, I’ve found myself staring at someone that I WISH was one of my characters. You would think that I would get better at hiding my stalking eyes, but…I haven’t. I just stare. Creepily from my corner. Taking notes.

Writer Problems #4

Having nightmares about your novel during writing, editing, publishing, and after publication.

#4

It’s sort of like having the classic dream of showing up at school in your underwear. It happens – even though you’re no longer in school – and I find it’s even more frustrating when you’re out of school and have dreams like that. I have dreams of never finishing novels that are already finished. I have dreams of being called the shittiest author of all time. (But I think Honest Trailers already gave that to someone…) I have dreams of characters never coming out and talking to me again. Ah! I could go on and on about all the dreams I have revolving around books, but my heartbeat is racing.

Writer Problems #5

Hearing a song that inspired a novel…and now all you want to do it WRITE.

5

This particular card had a funny backstory to it, but I first have to explain how I make these. Basically, I pay attention to my everyday life, and when something reminds me of a writer problem I have, I create these. So, I might not even be going through what is on the card, but I will be going through something similar. For instance, in this case, I was doing the dishes, accompanied by my handy iPod mini – it’s green – and I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li came on. For those of you who listened to the 8tracks soundtrack for Take Me Tomorrow, you will know that this song heavily influenced my writing time, so just hearing it, made me want to go work on that trilogy. I struggled to continue washing the dishes, and it reminded me of times I’ve been out in public at an event and heard a song like this, which made it difficult to even concentrate at all. Writing consumes you.

Have any of these writer problems affected you? Have any funny stories to accompany them? Share below! And let me know if you want me to continue these cards and stories in the future. If you like them, be sure to follow me on Facebook because that is where I share them first.

~SAT

#MondayBlogs: Inner Dragons

26 Jan

Intro:

Mondays are easily becoming one of my favorite days of the week – all because of the guest bloggers right here during #MondayBlogs! Today’s post is brought to you by one of my top commenters last year – Deby Fredericks – and she is writing about writers and their inner demons…or dragons. Check out her website and her books!

Inner Dragons

We writers often do battle against doubts, fears, writing blocks, etc. Call them inner dragons. If we aren’t careful, we can sabotage ourselves with negative self-talk.

One common inner dragon is the fiendish beast Comparison, which makes us treat writing like a competitive sport. Say you struggled for an hour to finish a single page, 250 measly words. Then on Facebook an author friend brags about their wonderful 2,500-word day. It’s too easy to compare word counts and decide you’re a slacker because you didn’t get as much done.

Or when your publisher is a small press and only pays royalties, you might hear publicity of another author’s six-figure deal. That can make you feel like a failure because your deal isn’t as rich.

Comparison depends on a backward definition of success. It wants you to focus on the end of the process while you’re still at the beginning. Every page you write is a battle. Life is so hectic, anything you complete is a victory. A single page, a stanza of a poem, a chapter of a novel — they all build to something larger.

One of my favorite writing quotes is from the late SF author, Jay Lake. “If you write one page every day, you will have completed a novel in a year.” Believe this, and go slay that dragon!

Air&FireAnother inner dragon we writers often battle is the dire monster, Futility. This dragon wants us to become obsessed with things we can’t control. This might mean editorial rejections, sales figures, negative reviews, or the length of time it takes an agent to answer your query.

Even worse, writers sometimes make New Year Resolutions based on things we can’t control. “Sell five short stories this year” is a perfect example. All of these are things we can’t control, but I have several friends who consistently work themselves into a tizzy, swear to quit writing, then apologize to everyone who got worried about them.

Let’s just be logical. We have no way of knowing, when we query or submit a story, how many other queries and submissions will arrive on the same day. We don’t know what else is going on in the editor’s or agent’s life. We have no way to know what past experiences readers bring that affect how our work appears to them.

A more productive approach is to focus on things that we can control. We can’t make purchasing decisions — but we can set a goal to write five stories and submit them. We can’t make readers buy our books — but if we self-publish, we can choose enticing covers and work our social networks to increase sales. We can’t make agents represent us — but we can gather data and present it in a way the agent may look upon favorably. To attract friendly reviews, we might give a few reviews ourselves.

To quote that one song, we just have to “let it go” on things that aren’t ours to decide, and do the rest just as well as we can.

Do you ever tell people about your writing? I hope so. You’ll have a hard time building an audience if you don’t. Even more important, do you tell people about your work in a way that slights or insults yourself? “Oh, it’s just a hobby of mine.” “I’m not very good at it.” “It’s a little poem/song/story I write. Really bad, isn’t it?”

If any of these phrases sound familiar, you’re a victim of the evil dragon Self-Minimization.

I often hear writers minimize themselves. Sometimes men, but more often women. Our culture has this thing where we teach men to stand up and speak for themselves while women are taught to sit down and be quiet. But, as writers, we simply can’t afford to sit quietly.

Naturally, everyone has moments of doubt. The competition is intense and rejection hurts. Minimizing ourselves can be a way to deflect pain. It can also be a chain that holds us back. If your spouse said to you, “Why are you wasting your time with this?” you’d be pretty upset. You’d defend yourself. But when it’s your own voice saying, “You’ll never sell anything,” self-defense is that much harder.

Deby Fredericks

Deby Fredericks

It’s because the competition is so intense that we must slay this dragon. No one ever sold a story without submitting it first. Self-Minimizing can be as much a habit as a reaction to stress. Begin to train your brain for the battle. “Yes, I’ve been writing for ten years.” “I’m getting pretty good at this.” “It’s a poem/song/story I wrote. Isn’t it great?”

Funny thing is, most people will take you at your word. If you say you’re a poet or author, they’ll believe you. Once you fight off that self-minimizing dragon, you’ll see how high you can fly!

Bio: Deby Fredericks is a small press author of fantasy and children’s novels. The latest is a book for middle-grades, Masters of Air & Fire, due in February 2015. Her blog, Wyrmflight, is all about dragons, and her home on the web is http://www.debyfredericks.com.

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

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