Tag Archives: Young-adult

Website Wonders: Our E-Books

9 Nov

Win a signed copy of Minutes Before Sunset today

As a young-adult author, I am often focused on ways to inspire and help the youth. So that’s why I was completely on board when I learned about Our E-Books, and I wanted to share this website in the hopes that you might be, too.

Logo via OurE-books.com

Logo via OurE-books.com

Our E-Books is a website dedicated to creating a reading environment “where parents and children can come together and we encourage parents to use the site with their children. In addition, by making your child an Our E-Book Member, they will be able to return to this site and take a reading comprehension quiz on the book. What’s more, is that your child will be allowed to earn points based on their quiz score and can also win prizes!”

Basically, a child (or teen) can log in, take a quiz over a book they’ve read, and earn points to get other books for free. How fantastic is that? (I wish all books were like that.) Because Minutes Before Sunset is a young-adult novel, it is eligible for their website, and it’s now available as well as a quiz where readers can earn points!

I really encourage everyone to check websites like this out. After all, we want to encourage young people to keep reading. And, if you’re an author, you can add your novel to their bookshelf. But I should clarify something. “This site is recommended for ages 3-17.” Young-adult is encouraged, but New Adult (young-adult books with controversial themes) don’t qualify. “Your books cannot contain any inappropriate or strong language, including but not limited to profanity, sexual content and/or graphic material.” But you can contact them if you want to ask what they consider appropriate.

What do you think about websites like this? Do you know any websites like it?

If there are more websites directed at helping young readers, or readers in general, please let me know! I love sharing websites like this for both readers and writers.

~SAT

Writing Tips: Picture Book

16 May

Many writers use pictures as inspiration and/or reminders as they write their novels, but what pictures should writers try to find?

Since I’ve come across many who use pictures, I thought I’d expand by showing many different kinds of pictures artists can use throughout the writing process. I’m even going to use my personal picture book that I began in 2007 when I originally wrote Minutes Before Sunset. So you’ll not only get ideas, but you’ll also see an extra from behind-the-scenes of my recently published novel! (Which, by the way, is now available directly on AmazonBarnes & Noble, SmashwordsDiesel, Sony, and Apple.)

The original Minutes Before Sunset picture book, 2007

The original Minutes Before Sunset picture book, 2007

When I was creating Minutes Before Sunset, as many of you know, I already had a novel published. I also had two others written. As much I can keep my characters straight, I often need to go back, because of the abundance of information. I find this completely normal, and pictures can help more than you think! On top of that, it’s actually quite fun to create a picture book.

As you might notice, my book is titled “Characters,” but it contains much more than just people. At first, I thought I’d only need people, but then I realized that I could also use pictures representing scenes, objects, and more. Before I start, however, I’d recommend using Stumbleupon, Pinterest, and model websites to find the perfect picture (or as close as you can get) to certainties within your novel. These websites are also good just to find inspiration. Maybe you have character you aren’t sure of. On a lot of model websites, you can literally type in a description to find portfolios of genders, ethnicities, and even height or weight. Granted, models are models, so the pictures of characters may be much more perfect than they actually are in the novel. Simply keep in mind that you’re using these pictures as a map, not a definite rule. And here are my three types of pictures:

Characters: 

This example page includes Mindy and Noah (originally named "Colton")

This example page includes Mindy and Noah (originally named “Colton”)

This is one of my many character pages. I show this one first, because characters are often the most important to start with when making a picture book, mainly because a lot of novels revolve around the characters more than the scene. However, this can be very different, and it depends on your writing style.

I normally have a page or more per character (for clothes, hair, eyes, etc.) But I included this simplistic version, because it’s two side characters. Mindy is Eric’s stepmother; Colton is Eric’s stepbrother. Fun fact: his name was changed to Noah during the publication process.

However, in terms of character, you can add much more information on these pages than just pasting pictures into a notebook. (In fact, I keep a character list on my computer on top of these notebooks.) But I add basic information next to their pictures. As an example:

MINDY: married to Jim Welborn 2 years, curly red hair in her face, cheerful, brown eyes, comes across as perfect housewife, oblivious.

COLTON: Mindy’s ten-year-old, annoying, pries, brown hair with pudgy face, brown eyes.

In this case, for instance, Mindy’s picture is of a very young woman compared to her age in the book, but I used it, because it had the type of hair, skin, smile, and eyes that I wanted. Those were the most important features, for me, to find.

Objects: 

An example of an object's page.

An example of an object’s page.

This is an example of an object’s page from my picture book. When I was younger, I didn’t expect this to be too important, but it is, because there are so many scenes where these things can become symbolic and/or useful. For instance, throughout Minutes Before Sunset, Eric wears a vital necklace to the plot. I have pictures of it, but the words had a lot of spoilers, so I’m adding this one of dresses instead. Objects can includes clothes, furniture, cars, and possessions like phones or gifts like flowers. I’d recommend not stressing too much about objects unless they are very important, but, at the same time, keeping repetitive information straight. This example is a dress that my character, Crystal Hutchins, wears towards the end of the novel:

DRESSES: silver party dress, seen as rebelling against the fancy aspect of prom, but it really flatters her. Hair will be down, for once, very girly for Crystal.

An interesting fact to keep in mind is this is simply the dress, not how she looks in it or what it would look like in the light of a dim dance floor. As great as these pictures can be, they can get confusing if you don’t keep these scene aspects in mind. That’s why I added another category.

Scenes:

This is an example of scenes given through pictures.

This is an example of scenes given through pictures.

This is an example of my last category. (Thanks for sticking with me through this long post!) I struggled with adding scenes into my picture book, mainly because I believed I couldn’t find the perfect pictures (or even something close) that I needed to make notes. But I was wrong.

I found a lot of pictures, and I kept most of them. The only thing I’d recommend is keeping in mind, much like the characters and objects, that these are maps, not definite rules. In this case, the first photo is a railing at night, and that’s accurate, but the second photo is simply a tree in snow, and it isn’t the correct tree. It’s only a photo I can use for inspiration during a snowy scene I write later in the series. Here’s the example:

SCENES: First, railing by river where Eric (Shoman) first meets nameless shade. Second, lamppost and road used mainly in second book.

I hope this picture book with the examples helps inspire you to try out a picture collection for your novels, while also having fun exploring the internet for inspiration! 

Goodreads quote of the day: “Fate was a reality, but it wasn’t a beautiful or angelic thing. It was a heart-wrenching nightmare. And we’d fallen blindly into it. We had no escape. It was happening, and it was up to me to guarantee our survival of it. (Eric)” ― Shannon A. ThompsonMinutes Before Sunset

~SAT

Minutes Before Sunset Release Party ! ! !

1 May

Website Update:

7 p.m. Book Mavern’s Picks featured “Minutes Before Sunset” today. Special thanks Jhobell Kristyl, book reviewer and blogger. Click here to read.  

10 a.m.: ShannonAThompson.com has hit over 7,000 followers 😀 Thank you all for the tremendous support! 

After years of writing and reading, and being on ShannonAThompson.com for eight months, I am so excited that we are finally here! It’s absolutely breathtaking seeing my novel up on the internet, because I can finally share it, and I’ve been looking forward to it for so long :] Again, and I say this all of the time because I mean it, thank you for supporting me along this journey.

Published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Minutes Before Sunset is now available as an e-book for $6.99 (And there’s a 20% discount for the first week of sales! (It expires at midnight on 5/7/2013.) Just click here (or go to Smashwords) and use the discount code DM42Z. Please help spread the word on Facebook and Twitter 😀 I’d really appreciate it! And don’t forget there’s a surprise for you all (Yes, you all!) in my acknowledgements page. 

Here are other places you can buy Minutes Before Sunset:

Amazon: Kindle

Smashwords includes links for Kindle, ePub (Apple iPad/iBooks, Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others), PDF, RTF, LRF, Palm Doc, Plain Text Download, and Plain Text View.

I’ll be adding links periodically as I receive them ! But in case you’re just now coming to my site: I’ve added the Shan-002synopsis, the cover, and the first chapter below:

She was undoubtedly a shade, but I didn’t know her.

Eric Welborn isn’t completely human, but he isn’t the only shade in the small Midwest town of Hayworth. With one year left before his eighteenth birthday, Eric is destined to win a long-raging war for his kind. But then she happens. In the middle of the night, Eric meets a nameless shade, and she’s powerful—too powerful—and his beliefs are altered. The Dark has lied to him, and he’s determined to figure out exactly what lies were told, even if the secrets protect his survival.

He had gotten so close to me—and I couldn’t move—I couldn’t get away.

Jessica Taylor moves to Hayworth, and her only goal is to find more information on her deceased biological family. Her adoptive parents agree to help on one condition: perfect grades. And Jessica is distraught when she’s assigned as Eric’s class partner. He won’t help, let alone talk to her, but she’s determined to change him—even if it means revealing everything he’s strived to hide.

 The first chapter (for free) click this link: First Chapter Preview

And excited things have happened! I’ve received another author review:

“Creative and well written, ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ keeps the reader intrigued and anxious for the sequel. Love it!” – T.L. McCown, author of Shifting Sands.

While this was happening, I also did another interview with upcoming author, Amber Skye Forbes, and that can be read by clicking here.

It’s official. I’m dancing around the room with my fat cat, Bogart. He’s excited. (I can tell by his lack of begging for food.) I’ll be close to the computer (as usual but even more so) this week, so don’t hesitate to send me an e-mail or ask a question in the comments section. I’ll get back to you right away! If you’re interested in an interview or planning on reviewing Minutes Before Sunset, let me know! I will link them to all of my websites!

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying reading Minutes Before Sunset as much as I enjoyed writing it for everyone! 

~SAT

See? We're dance-hugging :]

See? We’re dance-hugging :]

Writing Tips: Naming Your Characters

29 Apr

2 days until the Minutes Before Sunset release! I’m feeling pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious about it all 😀 [And definitely not sleeping due to excitement] And I have one more announcement!

Minutes Before Sunset will be available as an e-book through Barnes & Noble and Amazon for $6.99 on May 1st! Please help spread the word :] The first day of sales is often the most important, and I really appreciate everyone who’s helped (and encouraged) me on here, Facebook, and Twitter. 

I’ve also received an author review for Minutes Before Sunset: “An exciting mixture of paranormal, romance, and page-turning action. Can’t wait to see book 2.” – Raymond Vogel, author of Matter of Resistance, a YA Science Fiction novel.

And the first chapter was published in The Corner Club Press yesterday! You can open an online version of it by clicking here. And congrats to the founder, Amber Forbes, who has signed her novel, “When Stars Die.” (I’ll be doing a piece on her soon, so look out for this emerging young author!)

But onto the writing tips !

Characters names are really important, and choosing them can take hours if you’re not sure why you can’t pick one out. So I’ve made a list of things to consider when naming your characters, along with websites to look things up in.

1. Time & Culture

This is the basic rule: Is it believable that your character’s parents would name them something within the setting’s restrictions? Of course, there are exceptions (especially within nicknames, which is another thing completely.) But consider the year. 1880 is going to be VERY different from 2030. If you want, you can actually look up popular names through the years at SSA, [Social Security Association.]

This is what my life has been like the past few weeks. Never ending. But minus the summer. [No complaints] I love being able to do what I love every day.

This is what my life has been like the past few weeks. Never ending. But minus the summer. [No complaints] I love being able to do what I love every day.

2. Unique and Memorable

You don’t want repetitive names or sounds. Of course everyone knows not to use names already used in very famous novels, but what about within your own book? You probably don’t want to name everyone with a “J” name. It’d be hard to follow Jack, John, Jared, and Jill around. Or even if all the names are very strange. I’d also consider the rhythm of couples (or protagonists in general.) Try to make them sound good together. The exception happens within relationships. If you have two brothers, having their names be similar is easier for the reader to follow.

3. Mixing Names (Sci-Fi)

I really believe science-fiction needs to have interesting names (along with most genres), but names that the eyes won’t struggle with. Unique names need to be considered very carefully, because you don’t want a reader unable to converse about your novel because they can’t say what they read.

As a personal example, Minutes Before Sunset is a paranormal romance. My characters have two names, one when they’re humans, one when they’re in their shade form. So their human names are very simple, while their shade names are more complicated and/or exotic. That way, it’s easily distinguishable:

Eric Welborn – Shoman

Jonathon Stone – Pierce

James Welborn – Bracke

George Stone – Urte

4. Names and Last Names

Remember most parents use iambic pentameter for names. The rhythm should work. On top of that, you can consider naming a character after another character. (A son may be named after his father or grandfather.) An example: In Minutes Before Sunset, Eric’s middle name is his father’s first name.

I also considered their last names very carefully. My protagonist, Eric Welborn, is born into a prophecy he cannot understand nor agree with, yet his last name insinuates he is “well born.” That is how it was created. (And it’s a real last name!) Jonathon Stone is Eric’s best friend. His last name is Stone, because he changes personalities the most when he transitions from human to shade. Stone, again, is used more for irony or, perhaps, a reality they have yet to see.

5. Where you can find them

There are many places you can go to inspire names.

  • Pick up an old yearbook. You’ll be surprised how many different first and last names (along with rhythms) you can find. However, I suggest not using a person’s exact name, but rather use it as a reference. Maybe a first or a last.
  • Babynames.com provides thousands of names within cultures, meanings, genders, and more. You can even save your favorite names as you skip around. (Although don’t be surprised if people ask you why you’re looking up baby names in public. ha.)
  •  Last Name Meanings provides a list of last names and where they derived from, along with the meaning behind them.

A mixture of all these things creates a list of believable characters, and I really hope you’ll enjoy playing around with names more than before! Join me on Facebook and ask questions anytime you want!

~SAT

May 1: Minutes Before Sunset Release Party! (a.k.a Dancing around with Bogart)

Writing Tips: Colors

27 Apr

4 days until Minutes Before Sunset is release! Don’t forget:

  • E-book will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble May 1st, but paperback will take a little longer. I will announce it when it is available. 
  • The first chapter can be previewed by clicking the PDF file: First Chapter Preview
  • Please Like Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook by clicking the link or the button below! It means a lot to me, because it helps spread the word about my novel. Send me a message, and I’ll like yours, too!

Please Like Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook by clicking here! It means a lot to me, because it helps spread the word about my novel. Send me a message, and I'll like yours, too!

I wanted to apologize for not posting every other day (like I usually do) but I’ve been crazy busy! Who knew being a college senior and publishing my second novel could take up so much time???? (If only my finals were done.)

See? I used Roiworld (Via CandyDoll Maker on my last post) to make myself :D I enjoy using these sites all the time.

See? I used Roiworld (Via CandyDoll Maker on my last post) to make myself 😀 I enjoy using these sites all the time.

However, I will be reading at the University of Kansas in the English Room May 8, 2013 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 a.m.. If you’re in Kansas, come by and check out some great poets! I will also have an author signing once the paperback comes out in Shawnee, Kansas. So look out for that announcement!

But onto the writing tips.

These are probably my favorite posts. I love them, because I love discussing them afterwards with all of you. (I will probably post another one on April 29th) And I hope you guys have fun with them as much I as I do sharing them (not to mention using them myself.)

Today’s topic is colors, because we, as writers, are artists, and artists generally LOVE colors. However, it seems in writing that the color spectrum (that is wonderfully magnificent and, not to mention, giant) is simply overlooked. Yes. We have all read emerald green, violet, or sea blue. But what about ash violet, orchid petal, and brinjal, not to mention merlot (the color of my bedroom in my first house), Dorian Gray, mouse’s back, or chilled chardonnay? I realize some of these colors may seem ridiculous in prose, but there are colors you can use or at least be inspired by.

Personally, I LOVE using Lowe’s Paint Color Fan Decks. Seriously. Go to Lowe’s, visit their paint section, and just read through some of their color descriptions. This is particularly wonderful to me, because I am a very physical person. The internet doesn’t really provide the vibrancy I want. But paint palates do. And their creative names may give you more ideas than you will think. Unfortunately, Lowe’s does not offer their paint names online, but they have hundreds of them in store (and who doesn’t like an excuse to get out of the house?) However, there are many house decorating sites that do offer unique paint names.

There’s also another site, and it’s in my top ten favorite websites: Color Name & Hue provides an interactive color wheel, and it’s also usable for people who are colorblind, because it provides descriptions. For instance, the picture below is of the website. I randomly clicked a space within the colors, and it provided the color “sherpa blue” beneath the hue “green.” The second picture shows the color after I shifted the bar on the right (opacity) which changed the color to “oracle” within the same shade “green” since the mouse never moved.

Photos taken by screenshots on http://www.color-blindness.com/color-name-hue/

Photos taken by screenshots on http://www.color-blindness.com/color-name-hue/

I recommend trying this out when thinking about colors within descriptions, whether it’s an area or your characters’ physical traits. Who knows? You may change your character’s eyes from emerald green to fruit salad (joke) or to amulet. 

Hope you enjoyed today’s post! And, as usual, I thank all of you for supporting me during my publication journey. There may be a surprise in the acknowledgements page for you all 😀 

~SAT

April 29: More Writing Tips (Hopefully :D)

May 1: “Minutes Before Sunset” Release Party!!

Publishing News: Two Weeks Away

17 Apr

Website Update: April 18: 10 a.m.: From 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (ET), join an interactive interview on Twitter with me (directed by Sezoni Whitfield) by using the hashtag, #WritersKaboodle, and/or following ShanAshleeT23. I’ll also be reading my poetry at the Spencer Museum of Art in response to Ann Hamilton’s exhibit, “An Errant Line,” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CT)

Since there’s only two weeks until Minutes Before Sunset is released, I thought I’d share more updates and extras! Below you’ll find a soundtrack, fan art, a Facebook page, a Goodreads page, and an upcoming interactive interview on Twitter this Thursday! But if you’re interested in an interview I recently did: click here to read my interview with Dan Thompson. There’s plenty of new information on my upcoming novel to go along with this post.

Soundtrack

I know I’ve mentioned how I don’t normally write with music, so I want to clarify that this list is more composed of music I’d imagine would be playing in certain scenes and/or if Minutes Before Sunset was ever a movie. These songs, as much as I don’t listen to them while I write, connected with the moments in such a way that I couldn’t deny their significance.

1. Crystalized by the xx: This one is close to my heart. I’ve reviewed this band before for a reason. Their intimate sound and haunting words linger within any darkness, and it only seemed fated to use it for this novel.

2. 24 by Jem. Again, I love the instrumentals, but the lyrics was why I locked onto this one so hard. It’s about having 24 hours left to live, and since Eric has one year left, it was appropriate.

3. Bloodstream by Stateless: This was the song I used the most. Seriously. I played it 77 times (compared to the next most played at 62.) I loved how mellow it was, but I also loved how…well…lovely it was. It reminded me of heartbreak, but in an understandable way–something that didn’t seem unnecessary but remained in this state of bliss and sadness all at once.

4. Ricochet by Shiny Toy Guns: This was the type of music I always pictured Eric listening to.

5. As Much as I ever Could by City and Colour: I had a really specific scene for this song, but I’d rather not ruin it. I’ll hint that it’s right before the climax :]

6. Destiny by Vanessa Mae was the main inspiration when I started writing Minutes Before Sunset. Generally, I listen to music without words, because lyrics can distract me, but her violinist ways were perfect for what I was needing. I also used Cursum Perficio by Enya for the same reasoning. [But I’d rather concentrate on music I’ve used recently, rather than the music I used in the past when I originally wrote it.] Inseguirsi by DeLord was also big one. Another instrumental one. Full of rhythm that changes from mellow to intense. It was perfect to use initially when I had to start writing and work my way into my own rhythm.

7. Youth – Daughter: The lyrics describe the youth in a particular light I really liked, particularly within the love lives of the serious towards the others around the protagonists.

8. Wait for Me by Moby: I really pictured this song working with the dynamics between the romantic relationships that happen in the beginning of their initial contact.

9. All That I’m Living For by Evanescence: Not only do I LOVE Evanescence, but I really feel as if her voice, sound, and intensity is perfect for the storyline of Eric’s Dark and Jessica’s struggles, especially this song which involves the night.

10. Within Temptation by The Howling: I think I have a thing for women belting it over the instruments.

11. No Light, No Light by Florence & the Machine: Who can’t love Florence’s voice?? So inspiring.

12. Cut by Plump: Like Bloodstream, I loved the mellow sound and the chilling emotions.

13. As The Rush Comes (Motorcycle) by DJ Tiesto: This was one of the original songs I used when I was in high school and writing the book. I used to drive around town, just listening to this song while imaging what could possibly happen next.

Fan Art

I love fan art! It’s so much fun to see what readers see from the words I used, and I’ve already received a few pieces from a group of people chosen to read my novel before the release date. This one is one of my favorites of Jessica Taylor:

"Jessica Taylor" drawn by Atheil Barker.

“Jessica Taylor” drawn by Atheil Barker.

Facebook Page

If you love Facebook (and love “liking” pages even more) Minutes Before Sunset now has a page. This isn’t my Author Facebook Page. This is strictly for the novel, and there will be extras as there is on my Author Page. Click this link, and like this page for the latest.

You can "like" Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

You can “like” Minutes Before Sunset on Facebook!

Goodreads Page

If you’re on Goodreads, you can now add Minutes Before Sunset to one of your bookshelves. Once it’s published, you can add your reviews, favorite quotes, and rate it. I’m looking forward to sharing more information on this novel’s website as time moves forward (I’m kind of obsessed with Goodreads.)

Goodreads

Upcoming Interview

 This Thursday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. (EST), Sezoni Whitfield will be interviewing me on my Twitter Page (Use the hashtag #WritersKaboodle to join in and ask any questions you’d like towards Minutes Before Sunset and/or publishing in general! You could even ask for more writing tips. I’ll be responding to anyone who tweets, retweets, and/or favorites our conversations. The interview is all about writer-reader interaction, and I’d love for you all to join in.

In conclusion: I’m really looking forward to these different opportunities to continue to connect with the writer-reader community. And I cannot wait to experience this future with all of you 😀

~SAT

Publishing News: I’ve signed with AEC Stellar Publishing!

12 Apr

19 days until Minutes Before Sunset release 😀

Over the past few weeks, AEC Stellar Publishing has worked with me, and now we have partnered to publish Minutes Before Sunset! In other words, I’m a signed author 😀 (And there will be a paperback version available!) So I wanted to share all of the information available as of now:

My publisher has a Facebook Page (like here) but if you visit their main site, AEC Stellar Publishing, you will see a tab at the top. If you click on Authors, you will see this page:

AEC Stellar Publishing: Authors Page

AEC Stellar Publishing: Authors Page

And if you click specifically on my name, you will see something like this:

AEC Stellar Publishing: Shannon A Thompson

AEC Stellar Publishing: Shannon A Thompson

It would mean the world to me if you all would visit the website or just click around and see it, because these moments are making my heart pound with excitement. (And I want to share these moments with you all.)

I announced this on my Facebook Author Page yesterday! Like here to get the latest updates.

I announced this on my Facebook Author Page yesterday! Like here to get the latest updates.

I couldn’t be more excited to have such a wonderful publisher pushing my passion into the market, while supporting my dream. Special thanks to the team: Raymond Vogel and Christie Heisler at AEC Stellar Publishing for being so…well…stellar. :]

And I will update as we go!

But thank you for all of your support. :] You all have helped me (seriously) get here, and I love having such a magnificent community of writers, readers, and bloggers behind me. 

~SAT

I guess this means Bogart is an Author Kitten now :D

I guess this means Bogart is an Author Kitten now 😀

April 15th: Inspirational Meet: Robert Rebein

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