Tag Archives: YA fantasy

Should You Revise & Resubmit?

21 Oct

Querying can be terrifying.

Whether you’re searching for an agent or applying directly to an editor/publisher (or even your own agent), sending your work out there is a nail-biting experience for nearly everyone, including established writers. In fact, most writers will tell you that rejection is a constant part of the publishing process. No matter who you are. So is submitting.

Everyone faces rejection and acceptance eventually. And then, there’s the revise and resubmit.

A R&R is not a “no,” but it isn’t a “yes” either. 

It means an agent/editor/publisher liked your work enough that they believe in it and can see it moving forward after some significant changes. More often than not, an agent, editor, or publisher will give you some sort of feedback about what they believe you need to change. It’s not a guarantee, but it is an opportunity.

Should you revise & resubmit?

If you think you’re heading in the same direction, I say go for it. Your manuscript will be better in the end, no matter what happens, and I think that’s worth it. If you’re unsure about the revision notes, I honestly believe that means the notes didn’t resonate strongly enough to justify a revision. However, that is just me. Every writer is different. But I can admit that I learned this lesson the hard way.

Yes, I have revised and resubmitted—and received a “no” and a “yes” afterward.

There was one major difference between the “yes” and the “no” scenarios.

The biggest difference? I should’ve known the “no” situation from the beginning. When I received the initial feedback, I was unsure, but I felt too guilty to walk away. I mean, an R&R is a rare opportunity, right? Shouldn’t you take advantage of every opportunity? That was my thinking, but that sort of thinking isn’t always right. Why? Because my heart was never in it, and readers can sense that. With the “yes” opportunity, I received feedback that just resonated.

The moment I read the note, I felt like the team understood the heart of the manuscript. In only a few lines, they directed me in a way that felt right. In fact, it felt better than right. It felt like the place my manuscript should’ve been in all along. Instead of the confusing dread I felt with the “no” scenario, I felt complete and total excitement with the eventual “yes” scenario. Now I feel a lot more confident about when to accept a R&R.

Here’s my step-by-step guide for writers who receive a R&R:

  1. Make a decision: Take a little break to truly ask yourself if the revision notes resonate with you—and your manuscript. Once you make a decision, ask yourself one more time. Make sure you’re not talking yourself into it for an opportunity that doesn’t actually work with your vision. This will save you—and the other party—a lot of time and energy. Don’t feel guilty if the notes don’t resonate. Do feel gratitude for receiving feedback anyway.
  2. Let the other party know. Either way, thank them for their feedback. If you decide to revise, ask the other party when they expect a return (if there is an expectation), and make a plan.
  3. Now sit down to write.

It might be your revisions. It might be your next manuscript. Just keep writing.

Either way, you’re on your writing path to success. Enjoy it.

~SAT

P.S. I’m giving away a FREE audiobook of Bad Bloods: November Rain! Enter the Rafflecopter hereI’m also searching for audiobook reviewers, so if you love YA fantasy AND audiobooks (or you know someone who does), point me in the direction of their awesome blog. Good luck & thank you!

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Authors Who Give Up

14 Oct

As writers, we discuss lots of ups and downs. Writer’s block, in particular. But what about something stronger than writer’s block?

What about feeling like you want to give up?

“Giving up” is hard to define. Quite frankly, the definition will be different for every writer. One author might feel like giving up writing altogether, while another writer might only want to give up pursuing publication. These two versions of “giving up” are very different, but could appear similar to those on the outside.

This is why defining what you want to “give up” is important.

By considering what, exactly, you are giving up, you might realize what is actually making you so miserable.

For instance, I’ve talked to a lot of authors who feel like giving up because marketing is so difficult, or getting an agent feels impossible, or self-publishing is too expensive. But all of these issues have solutions that don’t involve giving up everything. If marketing is difficult, reevaluate what and where you’re marketing. Consider posting less. (Your readers will understand, trust me.) If querying agents/publishers is putting you down, slide that goal aside for a while. Write something new instead. If self-publishing is too expensive, save up or consider options like Patreon. This list goes on and on. Many writing issues that cause the “giving up” bug have solutions. Sometimes stepping away and taking a break will help clear your mind so you can sort things out.

But what about actually wanting to give up writing?

Who knows what caused it. Maybe it was one major disappointment that took place on one horrible afternoon. Maybe it was a million disappointments all compounded together over time. Either way, feeling like you want to give up is valid. It’s okay. And if you choose to give up, that’s okay, too. One of my recent writer friends actually took this path—not because they couldn’t handle the stress of a writing career, but because they no longer felt joy while writing their last two books. Until they get that joy back, they don’t want to write anymore. That is their choice.

I know I won’t give up. Not right now. Not any time soon. Hopefully, never. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt this way sometimes. It happens every now and then—more than I’d like to admit—but many authors have felt this way, and we either overcome it, or we move on to a new dream.

In the end, I will never judge an author for shelving their manuscripts. It’s their life. I will support their decision to leave, and I will welcome them back with open arms—both as a reader and a fellow writer—if they ever choose to return.

Just because a writer gives up on writing, doesn’t mean the community has to give up on the writer. 

But I hope no one gives up on their dreams,

~SAT

P.S. My first audiobook is going on tour! You can listen to free review copies and interview the narrator and me by signing up here.

Back to Blogging!

30 Sep

Hey, everyone!

I’m back, but the major change around here will be my posting day. Instead of Mondays, I will post every Saturday. It should be easier to remember. I mean, I’m SAT…and I’ll post on SATurdays. Aside from one exception…

This year I’m a featured author in YASH, a.k.a. The Young Adult Scavenger Hunt. Here is the official announcement. So what does that mean? It’s an awesome blog hop that features over 100 authors, and you get to win a stupid amount of prizes. (Not going to lie, I totally enter this every year as a reader, so I’m super thrilled to be an author this year.) I am on the Purple Team! The blog hop runs between Oct 3 – Oct 8, so be sure to visit this website to enter. If you can’t wait to get involved, you can vote for Minutes Before Sunset on this Goodreads Listopia list. (P.S. The extra I’m providing might be about the never-before-seen prequel.)

This means that my regular posting schedule will start on October 14.

 In other news…

I went on my first writing retreat with SCBWI. We went to a monastery in Northern Missouri, and aside from getting caught in the worst thunderstorm of my life during the drive back, I had a freakin’ blast! I’m currently working on some major revisions (again), but hey, that’s just how an author’s life goes, right?

My first audio book released this past month! If you love to listen to books, check out Bad Bloods: November Rain, now available through Audible. The narrator, Jonathan Johns, is amazing. In fact, in order to get the characters *just* right, he had the opportunity to learn some behind-the-scenes info no one else knows. So I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy it! You can already listen to a sneak peek of the November Snow audio book here. How cool is that? Please leave a review!

Special thanks to everyone who came out to Barnes & Noble in Kansas City for BFest! I really enjoyed meeting you all, and I can’t wait to see you again next year. If you’re in the KC area, you can still pick up a few signed copies at the Zona Rosa store!

A Not-So-Great SAT Update

I am working hard at setting up publications for 2018, I promise, but I have to be honest about something else. I originally talked about this in my newsletter, but I’m having some health issues. I’m not dying or anything, so please don’t worry too much, but I don’t want to share details. That being said, I find out in March if treatments are working. Until then, I’m hanging on. I will let everyone know as soon as I know about more publications, but please understand if 2018 isn’t very exciting. I really need to concentrate on my health. But, hey, I received my author copies of Bad Bloods: July Thunder and Bad Bloods: July Lightning! I hope you’re enjoying the newest duology in the Bad Bloods universe! If you’re curious what happens next in the Bad Bloods series, I have been working on the next books. October Blood and October Bone are told by Ami and Skeleton, and focus largely on the Highlands after a certain (very important) character is killed. But that’s all I’m saying for now. If you love this series, be sure to share it and leave a review. Every review helps me more than I can express. In fact, if you’re a blogger and interested in reviewing Bad Bloods, feel free to e-mail me at shannonathompson@aol.com for a review copy! 

And last but not least…Can you believe my five-year anniversary for blogging happened? Thank you for sticking it out with me these past couple of years. I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about writing, reading, and publishing. I know I sure have! You all are the light of my life, and I’m glad to be back.

Thanks for letting me take a break,

~SAT

#WW When You Shouldn’t Write That Book

10 Aug

There comes a time in every writer’s life when they realize they cannot write that book….and I’m not talking about writer’s block. I’m talking about when you want to write a book, but you know you shouldn’t. Maybe not yet. Maybe never.

Of course, I’m not saying a writer CAN’T write that book. Not forever anyway. But just like a construction project, certain books require particular tools, and if you don’t have those tools, building anything might be for naught…or even dangerous.

So here are three questions to ask yourself while deciding if you are ready to write that novel or not.

1. Have You Researched EVERYTHING Properly?

This is particularly true in historical fiction, but research shouldn’t be overlooked for any type of fiction. This means you are researching your setting, your themes, and your characters thoroughly. If you are writing anything outside of your personal experiences—which is more likely than not—it’s best to read articles, watch documentaries, and even talk to those who do have those personal experiences you’re lacking. If you haven’t done this, you most likely don’t know enough to write about certain topics and people from a respectful and knowledgeable place. You might even add to damaging stereotypes or incorrect presumptions. Take the time to get to know your novel’s needs…as well as your audience’s.

2. Have You Read This Genre?

You should be reading in and outside of any genre you want to write in, but you should definitely be familiar with trends in your market. Being able to recognize writers, publishers, and various novels is key to understanding your audience and what purpose your book serves. What does it add to the market? What does it give to your readers? If you’re unsure where your book would be on a shelf, you’re probably not ready yet. But don’t worry! All you have to do is read more. (And who doesn’t love reading?) I went through this myself recently. As someone who mainly reads and writes YA fantasy, I wanted to tackle a contemporary novel when I wasn’t fully equipped to do so. Though I read contemporary still, I knew almost immediately that I wasn’t familiar enough with the current shelf to proceed. I need to collect more tools. I need to read more. And I am.

Who doesn't love an extra excuse to read more?

Who doesn’t love an extra excuse to read more?

3. Why Are YOU The Right Person to Write This Book?

Listen, I’m not here to tell someone if they are the right person to write a book or not. That’s between the author, their book, and the creative process. But I honestly believe we can get to a moment where we realize a book—while it’s good—might be better for someone else to write. This is going to vary from person to person, and it ultimately weighs on how much you are willing to dedicate yourself to a story. If you’re hesitating to research, for instance, you’re probably the wrong person for that book. That doesn’t mean you can’t overcome obstacles or hurdles in your way, but it’s also okay to move on from something you realize isn’t right for you. If you’re on the fence—and you’re unsure how you’re feeling about this topic—one question you can ask yourself is WHY you’re even writing it. Seems obvious enough, but when you take a step back, you might see that you were, in fact, chasing a trend or a surface idea without the will to dive deeper. That’s okay. There are a million stories out there for you to write, and I’m sure you already have plenty more to chase. It’s a matter of figuring out which one feels right to you.

When you should write a book, it will come to you.

Enjoy the adventure,

~SAT

Read my latest interview on Crazy Beautiful Reads: “Every writer’s life is paved with rejections.” Comment for your chance to win some awesome books!

It’s official! Author Natasha Hanova will be sharing a table with me at Penned Con in St. Louis this September! Check her out, say hi, tell her I sent you, and come visit us in September. We’ll be signing books, talking books, and just having a great ol’ time.

*FREE BOOK ALERT*

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE!

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Bad Bloods: November Rain

Bad Bloods: November Rain

#SATurdate: Peaky Blinders, Embassy Row 3, Dido, & Don’t You Cry

4 Jun

What I’m Writing:

Right now, I have three manuscripts complete: Take Me Tomorrow, Take Me Yesterday (though I need to edit it), and the mysterious D. Now, I add the equally mysterious S. I’m still on a bit of a writing hiatus, but S is a manuscript I’d love to chase after the Tomo Trilogy and D. (It never ends, does it?) The reason I think S could be so neat is because it’s the first book I’m determined to save any and all notes while writing it. You see, I’m a thrower outer. I don’t like keeping my notes or old scenes or original files. I feel like keeping old materials holds me back in a jinx sort of a way. This makes it really difficult later on when I’m asked how I built my book from scratch…which means this novel—no matter how long it takes—could be the first one I’m keeping real insight on…or at least, a more than usual amount. (I’m still throwing out a lot. I honestly can’t help myself.) That being said, it’s a YA fantasy, and I’ve written the first two chapters, so it’s only 3,787 words so far. I’ve outlined the next twelve chapters or so as well. I look forward to seeing where this project might take me one day.

What I’m Publishing:

Wattpad RyneI hope you enjoyed this week’s #TeaserTuesday! If you didn’t see it, check out my right side tool bar. You’ll also see the link to Ryne’s Story—the fourth origin story in the FREE Bad Bloods Prequel on Wattpad—but first a sneak peek of his story: I never thought I was shallow until life proved that I was.

The #1lineWed preview was “late” so here’s this week’s preview: It was too late. There, standing right in front of me, was a group of people in riot gear, guns drawn, badges blazing.

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages. Preorder Bad Bloods

What I’m Reading:

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica

I finished Winter by Marissa Meyer, and of course I rated it 5 stars. The Lunar Chronicles is a wonderful sci-fi/fantasy YA series for those of you who love fairy tale retellings. I really enjoyed Winter as a character, and the ending was priceless. Funny story, though. I was having issues posting a review to Amazon. They rejected me not once, not twice, but THREE times before I lost it and e-mailed them. Turns out it was because of my use of “idiot” which was a direct quote from the book:

“You might be an idiot, but I assure you, you’re quite a lovable one.”

He shook his head. “You’re the only person in the galaxy who would ever call me lovable.”

“I’m the only person in the galaxy crazy enough to believe it.”

Read my five-star review here.

I also began Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica. I actually won this book through Goodreads, and I’m enjoying it so far! It’s very vivid and suspenseful. I’m about 120 pages in.

What I’m Listening To:

Dido! She sings to my soul. She also happens to sing songs that I’m listening to while writing S.

What I’m Watching:

I went back to the theatre this week to see Alice Through the Looking Glass! I thought it was wonderful, but I spent most of my week watching the third season of Peaky Blinders on Netflix. If you love gangsters, Peaky Blinders is for you. This season was a bit more…crazy? (eh-hem, Russians)…than usual, but I enjoyed it, and I’m excited it was already renewed for a season 4 and 5.

netflix-Peaky-Blinders

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

13321957_1054522697928244_5706116307588296462_nI baked s’mores cookies this week! Here is the recipe I used, though I used dark chocolate, mini marshmallows, and an extra egg.

If you want summer s’mores but you also want cookies, this is the perfect recipe! They are super gooey in their marshmallow glory, and I loved how the dark chocolate cut through the sweetness. A great summer treat.

What I’m Wearing:

Sandals…because my cat Kiki decided to ATTACK the back of my foot. After I dropped a cup and scared her by accident, she went into fight mode and went crazy cat with her claws. I can’t wear normal shoes at all. 

What I’m Wanting:

Take The Key and Lock Her Up

Take The Key and Lock Her Up

Take The Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter! She revealed the cover this week, and I’m DYING for book 3 of the Embassy Row series. If you haven’t read her Embassy Row series, do it now. It’s fantastic, and Ally Carter’s cliffhangers kill me every time. If you’re curious about this series, read my 5-star reviews of All Fall Down (book 1) and See How They Run (book 2).

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I invited everyone to Kansas for a book event, but then there was an earthquake…which happened to kill everyone at the event? So, Kansas accused me of witch craft, and chased me down until the end of time. (Please don’t take this as an omen for future book signings like I did. I was TERRIFIED when I woke up.)

What Else Is Going On:

After working for a couple of companies and loyal clients, I’ve added an additional option to my services page. I’m now ghostwriting articles and managing blogs, so if you are interested in having some help in the blog-o-sphere, check out my Services page.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Captain America, Chunky Monkey, Paperbacks, & Minions

14 May

What I’m Writing:

Right now, I’m doing an initial edit of D before I move on from it. As of today, I’m 63,075 words into it, so only 30,000 to go! (Have I mentioned how exhausted I am?) Most importantly, though, I’d like to give another lovely shout out to Author Jonas Lee for helping me this past month! He’s helping me with the project as well, and I really appreciate his input and encouragement. So, thank you, Jonas!

What I’m Publishing:

13221700_3230314315411_6104904338034016177_nI received my author copies of November Rain in the mail! I’m super excited to have November Rain in my hands, and I’m even more excited that ten wonderful bloggers received pre-release eBook copies, too. 😀 I hope you enjoyed this week’s #TeaserTuesday! If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check on my right side tool bar. It will be updated with new teasers every week, along with links to the Wattpad Prequel as it updates.

The #1lineWed preview was “opening lines from any chapter,” so this week’s preview is actually the opening line of Bad Bloods!

Pre-Order Bad Bloods

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

draft3 What I’m Reading:

13151670_1035003766546804_6180950616842075677_nI finished Emerge by Tobie Easton, and let me tell you guys, this book is SO STINKIN’ CUTE. IF you love mermaids—especially The Little Mermaid—you will LOVE this book. You’ll love the humor (hello fish puns!), you’ll revel in the madness, and I think you’ll fangirl over the romance just as much as I did. Between Lia, Clay, Caspian, and other cast members, Emerge is fresh yet evocative, and highly recommended. You can read my five-star review here. And, oh yeah, #TeamCaspian.

I also started Genesis Girl by Jennifer Bardsley, and it’s great so far! I’m hoping I’ll finish it this coming week.

What I’m Listening To:

I found a mix CD I made back in 2008 and listened to it like crazy this week. My favorite part? Half of it was the soundtrack to Romeo + Juliet (The Claire Danes, Leo DiCaprio version.) I mean, who doesn’t love #1 Crush by Garbage and Lovefool by the Cardigans? 

What I’m Watching:

I saw Captain America: Civil War this week, and while I know I’ve developed a bit of a superhero-hater reputation thanks to my poking fun at Batman V. Superman, I thought Captain America: Civil War was pretty entertaining. Then again, I am a Marvel fan, so I tend to enjoy their movies more. It wasn’t X-Men or Deadpool, but I thought it was good. Spider-Man was probably my favorite part.

Unknown

I also watched Minions thanks to Netflix, and let me tell you, that was probably my favorite movie I saw this week. It was adorable, hilarious, and the ending was spectacular. I’m also in love with Sandra Bullock, so that was a plus. I’m a bit like Bob. Give me a fluffy bear or animal any day, and I am entertained. And a bit of an airhead. So that cracked me up.

Minions_Revision_PROOF

In other news, I watched Special Correspondents—which is about two journalists faking their news reports from NYC—and I really enjoyed that. I also watched the H.H. Holmes documentary on Netflix, because, you know, my obsession with serial killers. All of these movies are recommended.

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking: 

13174143_1040539485993232_8132323237278539808_nI baked Chunky Monkey Brownies this week, which is basically a banana chocolate brownie (but I made mine dark chocolate). I used this recipe, cutting the sugar and chocolate by half and using dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate.

What I’m Wearing:

My Pikachu shirt. I always wear it when I’m really stressed out, and I’ll tell you what, between finishing a novel way too quickly and moving straight into edits, I’m exhausted. I need a little Pikachu pick me up.

What I’m Wanting:

A million paperback copies of November Rain. (Okay. Maybe more like 15.)

What I’m Dreaming Of:

I had a bunch of dreams about D, which means I both loved them and can’t talk about them much. Maybe next week?

What Else Is Going On:

I have family coming into town for almost all of next week, so there probably won’t be that many updates in regards to publishing or writing, but I will try to be around still. In the meantime, Shannon’s on a bit of a vacation. So, see you around!

~SAT

Relax & Read: Beautiful Creatures

16 Nov

I was going to save this post for the future, but I couldn’t stop myself today, because I somehow just found out that this YA novel is ALSO being made into a movie. (Comes out in February of 2013)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl will transport you into the magical south the moment Lena Duchannes moves into the small town of Gatlin. Once she is there, Ethan Wate, a boy who’s always wanted to leave, suddenly wants to stay, because he is tortured by reoccurring dreams of a past he couldn’t possibly have lived–with a girl who couldn’t possibly be Lena.

Cursed by her sixteenth birthday, Lena will be chosen to either be of the light or the dark, and Ethan is dangerously standing by her side through all of it.

This novel is fantastic! And it is a series.

So check it out if you love the southern mystery of magic, love, and secrets held in darkness.

Check out the book series here.

Watch the movie trailer here.

~SAT

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