Tag Archives: writing tips

September’s Ketchup

28 Sep

September was too much fun!

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 posts, my top referrer, #1 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 September.

Big Moments:

It was my four-year blogiversary, and WordPress was my #1 referrer other than search engines!

It was my four-year blogiversary, and WordPress was my #1 referrer other than search engines!

I went to Penned Con in St. Louis this month! I met so many new authors and readers, and had a blast! For those of you who came by our Halloween table, Natasha Hanova and I were giving away Halloween candy…and sometimes, I wore a Pikachu hat. It was fun!

The paperback of Bad Bloods: November Snow released! It debuted at Penned Con, and that was way too much fun! I’m now offering signed copies of Bad Bloods, too, so feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you’re interested.

My four-year blogiversary with WordPress also happened this month! I cannot BELIEVE I started blogging way back when in September of 2012. I freakin’ love blogging, and I’m not going away anytime soon.

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods Free Book: My #1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Snow

Bad Bloods Free Book: My #1 Clicked Item was Bad Bloods: November Snow

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Help! My Female Character Is Flat: While writing my latest manuscript, I realized my female character was flat. How? Because I was holding her back. Why? Because I was afraid. When did I get scared and why did that happen…and how did I overcome it for her and myself? Read the article to find out.

2. Writing Quicksand: I use the term writing quicksand to describe when writing it doing more harm than good. It does happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome it or acknowledge it. This is how I got out from my quicksand and started writing again.

3. My Protagonist and Illiteracy: As many of you know, my protagonist—Serena—in Bad Bloods is illiterate. This article is about my journey in writing an illiterate character and why I chose to do so. 

Other Blog Posts:

#SATurdate: Sequel Sneak Peeks, The Light Between Oceans, Rook, & Cupcakes: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

#SATurdate: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, The Marked Girl, One Mississippi & Violins: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

Website Wonders and Four-Year Blogiversary: A monthly list of all the websites I loved and shared. Also, it was my four-year blogiversary. Can you believe it?

#SATurdate: Penned Con, Descendants of the Sun, Snow Like Ashes, & Paperbacks: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko: A weekly update of what I’m writing, reading, watching, and baking!

November Snow Paperback Release & Sequel Sneak Peeks! The paperback came out and I released a bunch of surprises!

Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview! Before I went off to Penned Con with Natasha Hanova, I interviewed her for all of you to meet. Check her out.

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. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

“I highly recommend giving this a shot. Time for part 2!” –Infinite Lives, Infinite Stories, November Rain.

“November Snow was amazing!” –Sue’s Reading Corner, November Snow

“Recommend it? YES!” –Daydreaming Books, Minutes Before Sunset

september2016

Website Wonders & Four-Year Blogiversary

26 Sep

bloggiversaryFirst, I want to give a shout out to WordPress and everyone I’ve met in the blogosphere! Today is my four-year anniversary with WordPress, and I’m still totally, completely in love with this community. Thanks for having me.

~SAT

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of September’s Website Wonders categorized into Writing, Fairy Tales, Mysteries, and the Best Person Ever.

If you enjoy these websites, be sure to follow me on Twitter because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

I hope you love these articles as much as I do!

See you next month,

~SAT

Favorite Article: Do Better: Sexual Violence in SFF

I feel so strongly about this article. And I completely agree. We can do better. This article is on point.

Writing:

This Book is Broken, and Other Things I Tell Myself While Writing by Victoria Schwab: I really love her honesty in this article. A must-read for writers.

The Five Elements of a Story: Brush up on the basics in a new way.

Proust’s Questionnaire – 35 Questions Every Character Should Answer: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Fairy Tales:

14079612_1189549304445899_2149284556800308199_n15 Fairy Tale Cities That Actually Exists In Real Life: So cute!

Enchanting European Landscapes Inspired by Brothers Grimm Folk Tales Photographed by Kilian Schönberger: Can’t you tell I was feeling in need of a fairy tale this week?

Mysteries:

10 Ancient Books That Teach Supernatural Powers: Looking for book inspiration? Write a tale about one of these.

10 Unbelievable Urban Legends That Are Actually True: Chills

The Best Person Ever:

Man Devotes His Life To Adopting Old Dogs Who Can’t Find Forever Homes: Can we just give this guy a hug? What a wonderful thing to do. Adopt an old dog today.

See you next month!

~SAT

Penned Con 2016

Penned Con 2016

I had a ton of fun at Penned Con in St. Louis this past week! Thanks for coming out and seeing me. Now it’s time to cuddle with my three cats…😀

November Snow Paperback Release & Sequel Sneak Peeks!

19 Sep

Today’s post is short and sweet.

The paperback of Bad Bloods: November Snow released!

So, who wants some sneak peeks?😀

Bad Bloods: November Snow Paperback Release

Bad Bloods: November Snow Paperback Release

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

What are the latest readers saying?

“A powerful work of art. In November Rain, Thompson invites us into a world of secrecy, murder, and unlikely friendships that are bound to make your head spin with wonder.” – Lena May Books, November Rain

“I bawled like a baby at the end of this book. I highly recommend this story to all to read and enjoy!!” – Black Words, White Pages, November Snow

So what happens after Bad Bloods: November Snow?

July Thunder!

The sequel is underway! I’m working really hard, despite hitting a bit of a snag, and I released the first sneak peek of July Thunder’s very first chapter, told by Violet herself. For those of you who need a little reminder, Violet was a bad blood from the Northern Flock, she was the shadow from Shadow Alley, and now, she is a protagonist. The other protagonist will be a brand-new character named Caleb. I am so looking forward to readers seeing how he connects with the first book. (There are hints throughout November Rain and Snow. *hint hint*)

Check out the July Thunder/Lightning Pinterest Board!

This is a first look at brand-new cast members, as well as old ones, and the sunken bay, where most of the sequel will take place. The sunken bay is in Eastern Vendona. Niki from the Southern Flock originated from there (which you can read about on the Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad) as did a few other bad blood characters. Other important origin stories you should pay attention to? Ami. She was in the Southern Flock, and she will play a significant role in July Thunder/Lightning. But that’s all I’ll say for now! This board isn’t complete, so keep your eyes on it for additions.

July Thunder Pinterest Board Sneak Peek! See more photos at the link!

July Thunder Pinterest Board Sneak Peek! See more photos at the link!

And finally, the preview of July Thunder/Lighting!

This excerpt is from Violet’s perspective on July 1, 2090.

“Are you afraid of Caleb?” Daniel asked.

Levi tossed his head back and laughed. “Afraid?” he repeated. “Of course I’m afraid. But I ain’t here ‘cause I’m scared of him.” Levi dropped into the water with a dramatic splash. When he resurfaced, his glowing skin scorched an eerie glow across his eyes. “I’m here ‘cause I’m scared for him.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped.

Levi’s eyes met mine. “The sea?” he asked, and to make a point, he dragged his fingers through the water. “She talks to me.”

“Well, isn’t that sweet?” I mocked, but Levi’s expression only darkened.

“She’s far from sweet, sweetheart,” he said. “She’s gonna kill us.”

“What are you talking about?” Daniel growled, but Levi smirked at his tone, like a sailor to a siren.

“Caleb didn’t tell you?” he asked, then touched the water again. “We’re all gonna drown.”

P.S. I released a longer excerpt via my newsletter. If you missed it, sign up today. More sneak peeks will release in the future. (I won’t ever give your information away, and I send one newsletter a month – if that.)

Thanks for reading!

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

~SAT

#WW Help! My Female Character Is Flat

14 Sep

I’m guilty! Oh, so guilty.

While writing my latest manuscript for my publisher, I hit a snag 38,000 words in, and could not—for the life of me—figure out what was wrong with it. Then, I realized what happened.

My female protagonist was flat.

Allow me to back track for a little bit.

I never used to have this problem. When I first set out to write books, I honestly feel like I was a better writer than I am now. At least, in regards to the first draft. I would simply let my work be what it needed to be. Now, I’m bombarded with so many rules and expectations (some awesome, some not-so-awesome) that I end up worrying about what I should be writing instead of worrying about what my book actually is, who my characters truly are, and how things will happen naturally.

Example? Well, let’s go back to where I started. My flat female character. Why was she flat? Because she wasn’t flawed. So, why wasn’t she flawed? Because I was afraid. I kept thinking about all the things readers want (and don’t want) a female character to be. Tough but not too tough. Girly but not too girly. A good friend, a completely independent lover, a strong-minded leader, a determined dreamer, and someone who never faints from total exhaustion from all that perfect-ness.

I take issue with too much expectation, especially in young adult fiction where characters are coming of age and still trying to figure out who they are, what they want, and how they’re going to achieve it. But I get it. I do. As a reader myself, I know readers are harder on female characters, because the world is harder on females in general. I have my moments, too! It’s ingrained into us, after all. But I hadn’t realized how much it was affecting books until my paranormal romance trilogy released last year. Spoiler warning now, I was shocked that my male protagonist could take a two-ton car, throw a hissy fit, and crash it at 100 mph without so much as a blink of judgment, while my female character was called all kinds of nasty names because she went underage drinking with her friends and got into some trouble. Personally, I think his choice was much more destructive considering how he could’ve killed someone else—or an entire car full of innocent people—while her reckless decision really only put herself in danger. (And she was with friends she should’ve been able to trust.) All that aside, though, only one of them was judged. And she was judged harshly. (Shameless plug: I’m talking about Seconds Before Sunrise.)

As much as I wish I could say this didn’t affect me, I think it did.

Now, when I approach my female characters, I’m hesitant to let them make any mistakes at all. I’m afraid to let them cry (because they’ll be deemed whiny), but I never hesitate to let my male characters cry (because when they cry, they are somehow seen as deep and approachable and need to be comforted).

It’s extremely frustrating, because I am also a female, and I know these judgments extend far beyond the pages of my books. It’s also why I fight my own fears to keep my female characters round. In a world that is constantly trying to flatten female characters, I will fight to keep them round. I will even fight myself—my own misconceptions and…well, flaws.

Before, I held myself back, and therefore, I held my female character back, and I apologize for that.

She is not someone I should hold back. She is strong and weak and happy and sad. She’s dealing with trauma and dreaming about the future and falling in and out of what she thinks might be love (but she isn’t sure), and she is reckless for all kinds of reasons. She also cares deeply about those around her…and sometimes she forgets to care about herself, too. But she will do her best and she will make mistakes, and the combination of both is what matters, because that is who she is.

I will not worry whether or not readers will hate or love or judge her, because she is her, and that is who she is supposed to be. And this is her story to tell, not mine.

~SAT

#WW Writing Quicksand

7 Sep

Writing quicksand is a term I like to use to describe when writing is doing more damage than good. You know, the more you move, the faster you sink? It can happen in writing, too. Of course, writers should write all time. Whenever they can, really. But sometimes, it’s best to walk away for a little while, too, especially in regards to specific projects.

I found myself in writing quicksand the other day.

While working on a certain sequel, I hit a snag, but I didn’t back down. I pulled out my Sticky Notes. I displayed my plan. I switched it up. I rewrote Chapter One, and then, I edited Chapter Two and Three. From there, I redesigned a few characters…and then, I face-planted.

It was all wrong. Everything was worse. The “issues” I thought I was fixing were only multiplying in numbers.

I tore it all down, and I stubbornly tried again…and again…and again.

And every time, I only sank further into despair.

Writing quicksand.

But sand is so pretty, right? Wrong.

But sand is so pretty, right? Wrong.

It’s a dangerous trap, and when you’re stuck in it, you can start doubting everything you’ve ever written—in the past, in the current, and even in the future. You can start thinking every project is silly or useless or mundane. But then, you tell yourself it’s just writer’s block, and you try to power your way through it…only to hurt the project again.

It’s okay to walk away.

It’s okay to take a break for a little while and clear your head elsewhere.

Personally, when I realize I’m in writing quicksand, I put the laptop away, find an awesome read, and try to write something else completely unrelated to anything else I’ve worked on recently. I listen to a podcast, I research some history, I challenge myself with some ridiculously hard crosswords. (I still need a 10-letter word for Koussevitzky’s wardrobe.) But taking a break lets me enjoy writing without the deadlines or pressure or worries that come along with any writer’s career. And sure enough, within a day or two, I was back on dry land.

My project even continued forward.

One article I LOVE LOVE LOVE is When to Put the Baby (Your Book) to Bed by Stacey Lee on Publishing Crawl. (If you haven’t read Stacey Lee’s YA historical novel, Outrun the Moon, do so now. It’s amazing. Here’s my 5-star review.) But her article about when to walk away from a manuscript is a fantastic, honest read about how to know when to give up. (And why it’s okay.)

For now, I’m continuing forward with the project I sunk into the quicksand with, but there has been numerous books I had to walk away from, too, and that’s okay.

As long as you keep writing—and keep trying—all the adventures are worth it, even the ones with quicksand.

~SAT

 

 

#SATurdate: Blue Lily, Lily Blue, Jane Got a Gun, Sausage Party, & Galaktaboreko

3 Sep

What I’m Writing:

I worked with some awesome writers this week on various projects! I’m keeping my fingers crossed about the future, because I love, love, love where everything is going. All that being said, I work with a lot of writers from all kinds of backgrounds every day. So many of us are not full-time writers, and I know how it feels to work numerous jobs and still try to find time to write. When I finished my first novel, I was a full-time student with a full-time job, so most of my writing time happened in fifteen-minute breaks behind a hostess stand at a sports bar. I still work a full-time job now.😀 So, please don’t give up hope.

What I’m Publishing:

Sue’s Reading Corner reviewed Bad Bloods this week, and said, “November Snow was amazing!” I’m still working on the Bad Bloods sequel, so once I know more information, I’ll post it! I will say this, though. I worked on it extensively. I know I sort of froze at 38,000 words two weeks back, but it’s a good thing. Trust me. I need to rework it, and it’s coming along beautifully.

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, Goodreads 

What I’m Reading:

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I laughed, I cried, and I was terrified! The third novel in The Raven Cycle is even bigger and better than the first two (which is saying a lot)! These books are amazing. In particular, I enjoyed the creepy depths of the caves juxtaposed against the new (sometimes obnoxious, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes psychotic) characters we met. What a great continuation! I cannot wait to read The Raven King. Recommend to fans of magical realism, paranormal romance, and fantasy. Readers who want their imagination stretched and their fears confronted. Oh, and a little psychic fun. Favorite Quote? Weapons and poetry go hand in hand.

I also started Rook by Sharon Cameron, and I couldn’t help myself from buying more books. I went to the bookstore and bought The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele. I read the first chapter of that and The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, and I cannot wait to read those in the near future!

What I’m Listening To:

Melanie Martinez’s double feature music video released! I love her.

What I’m Watching:

Jane Got A Gun

Jane Got A Gun

I saw Sausage Party and Jane Got a Gun this week. Jane Got a Gun is on Netflix, much to my surprise, because it’s fairly new. But that movie is fantastic, albeit a bit difficult to watch at times due to violence. But I loved the well-structured plot, the old Western feel, and the dusty, dirty imagery. I grew up watching old Westerns, because of my father (who still watches them all the time). One thing I never liked about those old Westerns was how all the women (or almost all of them) seemed like damsels in distress. I highly doubt women of that time period were weak at all. So, it was nice to see a tougher, believable chick, even though bad things definitely still happen to her. (I also love Natalie Portman.)

So, now Sausage Party. Not going to lie, it was just not my thing. It basically makes fun of some pretty offensive stereotypes, so if you’re into that, you’ll enjoy the movie. But it just made me uncomfortable.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Rook by Sharon Cameron

Galaktaboreko! Granted, I did not make this lovely dessert. (A lovely lady did.) But it is basically the best dessert ever. Between that and a collection of baklava, I have wayyyy too many sweets in my house right now. (Yay, for roommate birthdays.) That being said, I also sort of promised I would stop baking desserts for a little while, because I’ve been giving away too much sugary desserts to everyone I know. Guess it’s time to pull out the veggie plates and hummus.

What I’m Wearing:

 Boo Boo the cat

Boo Boo the cat

Blue! Boo Boo the cat was all over my writing gig this week. We went out on the rooftops with a notebook and imagined new worlds and new characters and new everything. We had a pretty blue day. And by blue, I mean awesome. I’ve missed climbing rooftops. I’m glad the rooftop weather is back!

What I’m Wanting:

American Horror Story! (Come on, tell us what this season is about before it starts!) All of these teasers are killing me! I mean, did you see that doll? I think the teaser that freaked me out the most was the spider in the mouth. I mean, I know that’s probably someone’s super trained pet that loves them dearly…but spiders. ::shudders:: I am terrified of them.

American Horror Story Season 6

American Horror Story Season 6

What I’m Dreaming Of:

It rained a lot this week, so I’m assuming this is why I had a flood dream where I risked my life to save all of the kittens in Kansas City. I was successful, too! Yay, kittens!

What Else Is Going On:

My oven is finally fixed! Which means you can expect more baking posts in the near future. I even got my hands on a dessert book for this purpose. Nom nom nom.

~SAT

August’s Ketchup

31 Aug

Wow! August, I’m looking at you. You are wonderful.

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 posts, my top referrer, #1 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 August.

Big Moments:

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

Bad Bloods: November Snow by Shannon A. Thompson

November Rain hit #1 in YA Sci Fi in the Free Kindle Store! I’m so happy so many of you are reading the Bad Bloods series and enjoying it. I love reading your reviews, seeing your photos, and geeking out about all the characters with you. (I’m going to get into some more character details below, so check that out.) My #1 searched term was Shannon A. Thompson! So, thanks for Googling me.😉

In other news, November Snow arrived! I loved holding it in my hands. And since I could finally buy some books, I got all the books I could for Penned Con St. Louis. I’ll be there at the end of September! I’ve also confirmed that I’m traveling to Charleston, South Carolina in November for YALLFest! (Can’t you tell I love traveling?) I hope to meet some of you there.

I also got new author photos this month! Thank you, Huntress Photography!

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods Free Book

Bad Bloods Free Book

My #1 clicked item was Bad Bloods: November Rain again!

Also, the Bad Bloods Prequel is FREE on Wattpad. This month, the origins story of Ami and Steven released! You can read their stories by clicking the links. Ami is important because she’s the only character we meet from the Highlands. She will also play a huge role in the next books: July Thunder/Lightning. Steven, on the other hand, is just a plain ol’ sweetheart. He is one of my favorite Bad Bloods characters. His origin story has a lot to do with Catelyn, too, because they are practically inseparable. Fun fact: I almost told Bad Bloods from Catelyn and Steven’s perspective when I was first writing the books, but for those of you who’ve finished the books, you probably know why I didn’t do that now. ::cries into my hands forever::

#1 Referrer was Facebook!

#1 Referrer was Facebook!

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. Naming Your Characters: A lot can go into naming your characters, but hopefully, all these websites and tools help make the process smoother (and therefore, more fun)!

2. I Love Free Readers: There has been a lot of controversy surrounding readers who only read books they can legally get for free, but hey! I love them, and here’s why.

3. An Author Who Fears Public Speaking: Public speaking used to FREAK me out. But my speech class in college gave me the confidence I needed to accept my stutter and meet friends while laughing about my speech impediment. Now, I’m not afraid anymore.

 

Other Blog Posts:

Heroes I Want To See in YA: There are so many of them! And check out the comments. You all had the best conversation on this article.

When You Shouldn’t Write That Book: And I’m not talking about writer’s block.

Writing Tips: Different Perspectives: I love telling stories from two perspectives, but more goes into than you think

#SATurdate: The Secret Life of Pets, #1 YA Sci-Fi, Noble My Love, Criminal, & Aerie: A weekly update of what I’m reading, watching, drinking, etc.

Connecting Books Across Genres: Surprise! All my books are connected somehow.

#SATurdate: Suicide Squad, Little Alchemy, Marshmallow Popcorn, & Cinderella and the Four Knights: A weekly update of things I’m watching, reading, and more!

#SATurdate: Star Trek, Tallulah, Free Book, & Rice Maker Cake: A weekly update of everything I read, saw, and experienced!

#SATurdate: An Ember in the Ashes, A Torch Against the Night, W – Two Worlds, & YALLFest: Another weekly update of books, music, and more.

Website Wonders: A monthly update of all the websites I came across and loved.

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. If you want to be one of these websites, feel free to join my newsletter or email me at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! I will also share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

NOVEMBER RAIN

  • Lena May Books: “A powerful work of art. In November Rain, Thompson invites us into a world of secrecy, murder and unlikely friendships that are bound to make your head spin with wonder.”

NOVEMBER SNOW

August2016

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