Tag Archives: YA

#WW Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview!

21 Sep

As you’re reading this, I’m probably packing books and trinkets and other wonderful goodies for Penned Con St. Louis! Last year, I attended this awesome convention as a reader, and I’m ecstatic to be attending this year as an author! Penned Con is on September 23 & 24 in St. Louis, Missouri, and I will be signing books, taking pictures, and just having a ton of fun with readers. (Click the link for tickets and more info.) I hope to see you there.

Natasha Hanova

Natasha Hanova

On top of that, I’ll be sharing a booth with the wonderful and talented Natasha Hanova, so come check us out. We are on our way!

So, today, I’m breaking a blogging rule of mine and featuring an interview with this awesome lady!

Please welcome YA author Natasha Hanova! (Also, if you visit her website today, you can read my interview! Click here.)

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What do you write?

Hello Shannon! Thanks for having me on your blog. My name is Natasha Hanova. #Whovian. #WalkingDead #GimmeAllTheChocolate. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal, dark fantasy, and dystopian books with romance.

What do you love most about reading?

I love how books take me to new places I’ve never been or show me different aspects of a place I’m familiar with. As a writer, I pay particular attention to the methods other authors use to draw me into their book, whether its voice, style, character, plot. I read for enjoyment, and at the same time, I’m learning to hone my craft.

What do you love most about writing?

Quieting the voices? JK. When I write, I sit down with my laptop, a bag of M&Ms (we’re not discussing which size), and my headphones. One of my favorite parts of writing is getting so deep into the zone that I stop hearing the music, forget to munch on M&Ms, and fall into the fictional world on my screen. When my characters are talking and moving so fast, my fingers can hardly keep up with their pace. When the scene is so vivid, I can smell the crisp air, taste the pine, and touch dried leaves, and hear them crunch the setting. There’s little else that compares to that kind of joy.

What do you love most about publishing?

I like connecting with readers. I’m not going to lie, cover reveals are also exciting.

What are you currently working on?

I have a Young Adult Paranormal that’s Classic Snow White meets Buffy that I’m shopping around. I’m also currently working on an adult horror that’s dark, with sparks of light, and of course a touch of romance.

Any advice for writers out there?

Ever hear the saying, “There is no try, just do.” I think the same thing applies to writing a book. Set attainable goals. Find accountability partners, if you need to and just write. Even one sentence a day is progress.

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

What are you looking forward to at Penned Con?

This is my first time going to Penned Con, though I know a few of the other authors attending. I’m looking forward to sharing a Table 35 with you.  I may or may not have chocolate available. I also can’t wait to meet all the people.

And since we’re talking about traveling, what is your favorite city/trip you’ve been on?

This summer, I went to Finland/Norway with my husband. I’d have to say that was in my Top 3 favorite trips. Beautiful country-side. Delicious food. Serene writing places.

Shout out to three books you love!

Argh! Only three. Man, okay. In no particular order, Touching Fate by Brenda Drake, The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole (Yes, I’m aware that’s more than one book), and Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Shameless plug time! What book of yours should we check out?

Edge of Truth. A recent reviewer described it like this: “[Edge of Truth] is about a girl who can LITERALLY make the earth quake. X-Men meets Divergent.”

Thanks again for having me.

Social Media Links

Website   *   Twitter   *   Goodreads   *   Facebook   *   Pinterest

Book Links

Amazon     *     Barnes & Noble     *     iBooks     *     Books-A-Million

Come out to St. Louis this weekend to hang out with us!

Read my interview on Natasha Hanova’s website here.

~SAT

#SATurdate: Pumpkin Spice Lattes, The Marked Girl, One Mississippi & Violins

17 Sep

What I’m Writing:

So this week I totally fell in love with Lindsey Sterling, an American violinist who blew me away. (I put her music in my music section, so check her out.) But this reminded me of a fact that will come up in Bad Bloods, so here it goes: Everyone thinks I named the walled-in city of Bad Bloods “Vendona” because of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, but in all honesty, I got the name from my favorite violinist, Vanessa-Mae. Though it’s not “technically” said I kept hearing it at the ten-second moment in her song, Destiny. Check it out! Tell me if you can hear it, too. This is also why I’m SUPER excited about Bad Bloods: July Thunder. It’s very musical, and there will be violins!

This week’s #1lineWed preview was socks, and no lie, I was AMAZED I actually had a line in Bad Bloods: July Thunder that mentioned socks. There’s just some things we forget about, right? Well, not Hanna. She’s the character described in this preview.

What I’m Publishing:

I am working with Barnes & Noble again to set up a Bad Bloods book signing tour! I will host writing panels and more, so keep an eye out for that. Also, the Bad Bloods: November Snow paperback releases September 19—this upcoming Monday—and I will be releasing sneak peeks of the sequel through my newsletter and right here on www.ShannonAThompson.com. In other news, though, I am discontinuing the Bad Bloods prequel for now, so I can concentrate on future books, but don’t be surprised if I post new prequel stories randomly. (I will announce them if I do.)

November Rain (FREE)

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

November Snow,

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

What I’m Reading:

I’m currently reading The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele! It’s so good! Cute, fun, exciting, and super scary at times. I’ll include a picture next week when I post my review.❤

What I’m Listening To:

This is the violinist I mentioned above!

What I’m Watching:

One Mississippi finally released. It’s an Amazon Original I’ve been waiting for since the pilot, and I LOVED it. That being said, it’s rather dark humor and dry, but…that’s my type of humor. I definitely recommend this show if you enjoy that type of cynical honesty.

One Mississippi

One Mississippi

What I’m Baking, Making, and Drinking:

css29pmuaaepnb8-jpg-largePumpkin spice latte! I just HAD to do it. That and peanut butter and chocolate chip pinwheel cookies. For those of you who actually look at the recipe, you might notice I didn’t bother with the swirling part. In all honest, I did…but I ran out of wax paper, and I nearly ruined my entire kitchen. So normal peanut butter chocolate chip cookies happened. I tend to use chunky peanut butter instead of creamy, too. They are awesome!

What I’m Wearing:

My Jayhawk t-shirts from my KU college days. Why? See “What Else Is Going On” below.

What I’m Wanting:

For Penned Con to get here already! I’m one week away and dying from excitement.

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

Penned Con St. Louis 2016

What I’m Dreaming Of:

Apparently, my profession was ghost-hunting, but this was not by choice. (I suppose this society chose your jobs for you.) But there were reports of ghosts out in this field, and I had to walk out there in the dark until I could find something. Basically, it was me walking through the woods expecting something to get me for what felt like forever. No jumpy surprises. For once.

What Else Is Going On:

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza

For the first time in almost four years, I returned to my good ol’ college town of Lawrence, Kansas. I made a day trip out of it, and it was a blast. I got to eat cream cheese pineapple pizza at Pizza Shuttle (trust me, it’s awesome), drink a Cocoa Cloud from La Prima Tazza, and eat cereal from Java Break’s 24-Hour Cereal Bar. If you’re in Lawrence, I’m telling you, these are the places to be.

Today is also my big brother’s birthday, so…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRUGORY.

~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

 

 

#MondayBlogs My Protagonist and Illiteracy

5 Sep

My protagonist is illiterate. She recognizes a few letters, she can identify her name, and she loves listening to stories more than anything. But she cannot read.

Her name is Serena, and Serena is a bad blood.

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

While Serena lives in a futuristic world where magical children like her are executed, illiteracy is a very real issue in our world today. An issue I wanted to discuss in my Bad Bloods duology. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding illiteracy—some of which I discuss in an article Tackling Diversity in YA—but the main one is the fact that illiteracy isn’t as uncommon as the average reader might think.

1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. (DoSomething.Org)

books-writing-reading-sonja-langford-large

For readers, this fact might seem startling. Readers generally know other readers, after all. And—on top of that—many of the characters in YA fiction love books, because readers love books, and it’s easy to relate to a character that loves the same things as them. For many readers, it’s impossible to imagine a world without reading, even in fantasy and sci-fi settings. I, for one, definitely struggle with that concept, but illiteracy is a reality for many young people, especially women all over the world. Granted, I will be the first to admit that I did not set out to write Serena as an illiterate person to spread awareness. No. I originally set out to write her as a character who didn’t enjoy reading due to severe dyslexia—something my brother and father deal with to this day.

As a child, growing up in a household where my two role models didn’t read was very difficult, especially when my late mother was a reader but no longer able to share that joy with me. That being said, we can relate to one another—readers or not—as people, and since so many characters are readers, I wanted to remind readers we can love those who don’t read, too (although maybe we can help them find the perfect book so they try reading again)! We can also understand how illiteracy happens, and hopefully, we can learn to sympathize with it and also help others learn to read in the future.

The issue of illiteracy developed with Serena’s character over time, but I wouldn’t change Serena for the world. She is smart. She is caring. She loves ice cream, her friends, and stories told beneath the full moon. She falls in love. She cries. She feels pain and sorrow. She laughs.

Serena may be illiterate, but she still has a story.

And so do the millions of people around the globe dealing with illiteracy today.

That is why she’s my protagonist.

~SAT

Bad Bloods: November Rain is FREE

AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksKoboSmashwordsGoodreads

Bad Bloods: November Snow

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

Free Bad Bloods Prequel: Wattpad

#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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