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End of the Year Giveaway!

Hey <<First Name>>!  

Can you believe it’s December? I’m certainly startled that it’s almost the end of 2021. But I’m looking forward to 2022. How about you? (You can actually reply to this email, and I’ll get your message. I always love to hear from you. In fact, I’d love to hear how this quarterly newsletter worked for you this year. I’ve started to include more information that you all have been requesting, like the “What Am I Reading?” section and the newly added Recent Blogs section you’ll see for the first time below.) 

If you send me feedback, you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to any independent bookstore near you! 

Next year, I’m still planning on a quarterly newsletter. Each one includes a hidden giveaway. (Our last winner was Derek K., who won a spooky eBook of his choice and a ten-page critique.) First 2022 newsletter will go out in February. I already have a new look, too. You may have noticed the new header here and across my social media profiles. I'm in the middle of a slight rebranding. But it's still going to be me, books, coffee, & cats. 

Until February, though, I’d love to catch you up on what’s been happening in my life. Some of it has been fantastic. Other parts really, really hard.

Free & Virtual 
Writing Class

I’m teaching virtually again! This time on Wednesday, January 12 at 6:30 PM Central - 8:00 PM Central. It’s free and open to anyone in the world. I cover outlining, setting goals, the dreaded writers’ block, and ways to get inspired. I hope you’ll join me! More information.

Pitch Wars Mentor Update

Team Stellify made their announcement! Sandra and I are mentoring D.S. Allen on her spooky middle grade horror, The Bone Man, for Pitch Wars. 
You can actually check out our Behind the Scenes with Team Stellify, which includes our stats, decision-making process, and a few writing tips. Also, stop by D.S. Allen's Twitter to say hi to her and cheer her on while she revises her amazing novel!

SAT Update & Writing Tips

Since August, my life has done a 180. Most notably, I am now a married lady! Our wedding took place at the end of September. It was golden, warm, and just so much fun.

We even took a mini-moon to the Ozarks and went ziplining through the mountains. (I found some time to go on a ghost tour and write some poetry, too.) 

In writing news, my agent decided to leave agenting, so I am now unagented. Definitely a plot twist I wasn’t expecting. But hey, that’s life. Especially publishing life. That said, she was so much fun to work with and I wish her the best on her next adventures. My next adventures include jumping back into the query trenches (eventually). I’m not in a rush to do so. In fact, I’m taking this time to write a verse novel very close to my heart and, other than that, I’m looking forward to enjoying the holidays as a newlywed. I’m tentatively aiming to query in the spring. Until then, I just have to keep my chin up and my fingers on the keyboard...which brings me to my next story. 


My trusted laptop since 2014 died this past November. I was so incredibly sad to say goodbye. I’ve written so many stories on that computer, made countless friendships, and followed the dream with its keyboard guiding the way. But if I was only able to share one piece of advice with a writer, I’d say this: Do not get in your own way, and do not let life get in the way either. Keep writing. Keep going. Keep dreaming. I have a new laptop now. I’ve named her Rosie, for all the rosie times ahead, and I’ve been leaning on my writer friends to keep me energized and believing! 


It can be so easytoo easyto give up, especially when you hit a bump in the road. But I live in Missouri. Potholes are everywhere, right? You still need to get to your destination. Call an Uber if you have to. (An Uber, in this case, would be a close writing buddy.) Knowing when to lean on others is a great strength. So is knowing when you need a break and how to make decisions to keep going.


I believe in you.  


Want more writing tips? I blog about writing every first and third Monday of the month. (And fifth, if there is one.) By popular request, I’ve added a special section to the newsletter that showcases the four most popular pieces since last time we spoke. Click and enjoy!

Did you miss these blog posts?

I share writing and publishing tips every other Monday on my blog at Catch up by clicking one below!
What I've Been Reading and Loving

All of these reads are pretty great! Ferryman by Claire McFall is amazing, and I never put it down. It’s about a girl who dies and must cross the wastelands of the afterlife with her ferryman...but then, she falls in love with him. If she crosses over, she’ll never see him again. Talk about stakes! Did I mention it’s being made into a movie?! Beasts of Prey is a young adult fantasy that starts out heart-pounding and never slows down. It’s multi-POV, which I always appreciate. The Hating Game is an adult romance that’s pretty fun and not too spicy if you prefer your romances a bit calmer. Me (Moth) is a young adult contemporary verse, and it’s so beautiful. You can always follow what I'm reading on Goodreads.

Exclusive Sneak Peek

Right now I’m primarily working on my middle grade verse novel, but it’s still too close to my heart to share, so I’m going to give you all another excerpt from the dark academia monster book, which I’m also still working on. I got to 77,000 words, and then realized it needed some heavy rewriting in the middle, but the story is coming along. For today, how about some ghouls and a crypt?

Darkness cascaded over them, and for a brief, agonizing moment, Amoret thought this was it—he was going to collect her; she had said too much, asked too many questions—but then a flame flickered to life. It sat in the middle of a room that hadn’t been there before. Kallon must’ve opened a secret door, probably turning off the electricity so she couldn’t see how he had accessed it. 

As her eyes adjusted to the fire lit dark, she realized the candle didn’t sit in a secret room at all, but in an antique elevator forged from handmade plate steel. The curving designs of the safety gate reminded her of ivy slowly taking over the foundation of a house. 

“Come on then,” Kallon told her, then threw his jacket her way. She barely caught it. 

“I have my own coat.”

“It’s not heavy enough for this,” he promised.

With a sharp pull, he opened the gate, steel screeching, and a frigid wind blew up from down below. Amoret didn’t have the strength to hide her shiver. It was the sort of chill that crept into bones and stayed there for days. 

She buried herself in his coat, enveloped by his past warmth, the smell of cinnamon and leather-bound books. As she stood, she couldn’t help but pull it closer. 

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“You want to find Isa,” Kallon said as he tightened his shirt cuffs. “She’s this way.”

Disappointment fluttered through her. He must’ve seen it on her face, too, because he sighed. “I lied, okay? I’m not an orderly. But I won’t lie about this. It’s dangerous.”

She looked past him to the elevator, instinctually knowing the only way to go was down. Stranger, a high-pitched sound caught her ear, too quiet to make out, but eerie in its inconsistency. Whatever it was, it wasn’t machinery. 

“I’m not scared,” she said.

He frowned. “You should be,” he said, then stepped inside. “Below is where the ghouls are kept.”

A final warning. 

Amoret didn’t care. She hadn’t come all this way to abandon hope of finding Isa, the last clue she had to stopping her curse.

With a steadying breath, Amoret stepped inside the elevator, standing arm-to-arm with the last deathkeeper. 

He eyed her before he closed the gate, locking them in.  To prove her bravery to him—and perhaps herself—she pressed the first button. The elevator jumped before inching down. Amoret kept her eyes locked ahead as the Grave of Libraries gave way to rumbled stone. 

Kallon didn’t speak.

In his silence, the gears churned. The steel clattered. And the further they fell, the more she could hear the sound from before. The steady stream, the mumbled moans. All distinguishable from the other. Unique to each person.  

Amoret couldn’t help but tip forward to look down at where they were headed. Thirteen torches marked thirteen floors, and from those crypts came the sound of ghouls, their starved screams curling up from below the descending dark. With a start, Amoret realized what they were saying, what they wanted, what they begged for.


The ghouls down here were trapped, and they were hungry.

I hope you all enjoyed this quarterly newsletter in 2021. I hope to have even more fun news and giveaways next year.
See you all again in February 2022!
Thank you for your continuous support.

*Grabby Hands*

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Copyright © 2021 Shannon A. Thompson, All rights reserved.

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