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I Love Reading Giveaway

Hey <<First Name>>!  

Can you believe it’s 2022? Let alone February?! 

This year, I’m still planning on a quarterly newsletter. Each one includes a hidden giveaway. (Our last winner was Jerri, who won a Barnes & Noble gift card.) You'll find another bookstore gift card giveaway in this newsletter. But you'll have to read on to enter!

Today I'll be sharing some exciting news about my blog. I'll also give a quick update on where I'm at in my publishing plans and cheer on my two mentees. By the end, you'll finally get a sneak peek at my first novel-in-verse, which I'm about to query!

Here. We. Go.

Blogging News!

 
I am so excited to announce that one of my blog posts was featured on Jane Friedman's website. Over the years, I've become such a HUGE fan of Jane Friedman. She is a titan in the publishing industry, and I've always admired how much time she spends helping writers achieve their goals. You can read my blog post - Yes, Writers Need to Hear the Hard Truths. But Warnings Can Go Too Far. - by clicking the link or the box below. Tell me what you think by replying to this email, and you'll be entered to win $10 to a bookstore of your choosing. You get extra entries for sharing it online! Just tag me @AuthorSAT or send me a link to your post in the email.

I share writing and publishing tips every other Monday on my blog at www.ShannonAThompson.com. Catch up by clicking one below!

SAT Update & Writing Tips

Since December, I am thriving in winter. (Winter is my favorite season. I love making snow angels, watching the snow fall, drinking apple cider, big sweaters, and fire places.) 

In writing news, I finished writing my middle grade novel-in-verse. I also had it beta read, and I revised it. I finalized all formatting at the end of January and bought myself a celebratory mug (as I do every time I complete a new manuscript). My extra writing tip for this newsletter? Reward yourself. Especially for those big milestones that are within your control. It's great to celebrate getting an agent or a book deal, but those goals involve someone else's decision-making. It's just as important to celebrate those goals that you did all on your own: completing a novel, finishing revisions, submitting your work to X number of places. In fact, I am about to start querying for the first time since 2019! I am aiming to send off my first letter by the end of February. Though my submission materials are ready to go - and I have my agent list - I like to sit on everything for a few weeks just to make sure everything feels right. You never know when you're going to wake up in the middle of the night and remember a detail you wished you had changed. 

Character art & banner!

You may have seen my new banner above and my character art for my novel-in-verse circulating social media. This is my first time ordering character art, and I'm so happy with it! Both were made by The Book Bruja, a.k.a Sandra Proudman, my friend and beta reader. She also mentors Pitch Wars with me! It was so neat to have her design these works! 

Mentee Update!

The Pitch Wars showcase is in full swing. In fact, the middle grade books just went live today, and I am so excited for Team Stellify's mentee, Damara, who wrote a spooky middle grade horror. I'm also excited to start working with my mentee through SCBWI KS/MO. Her name is Anna LaForest, and she wrote a hilarious coming-of-age friendship story that takes place during two girls’ freshman year in college. You can follow Anna here. I look forward to telling you more about their writing journies as their work is shared with the world. 

What I've Been Reading and Loving

In case you missed it, I recently posted my top 2021 reads on my blog. You can check out all those titles here. Some of my choices may surprise you! The ones below, though, are some books I've read in 2022. I've really enjoyed all four. I continue to surprise myself with how much adult fiction I've been reading recently.

Though House of Hollow is YA, it's full of body horror in the most delicious way. The Stakes of Faking It is the first in a long line of Harlequin books I've become addicted to, and the Soulmate Equation is a cute romance about a dating app that pairs you up based on your DNA. The Crown of Gilded Bones is #3 in the Blood and Ash series, and I highly recommend it if you enjoy adult fantasy romance.

You can always follow what I'm reading on Goodreads.

Exclusive Sneak Peek


I recently tore my heart open and wrote a middle grade novel-in-verse about a young girl who loses her mom to an opioid overdose. In all truth, it's based on my childhood. My mother unfortunately passed away in 2003 when I was 11, and I always promised myself I'd go back and write a book for kids like me.
Well, I finally did. And that's the book I'm taking to the query trenches later this month. Below, you'll get a small sneak peek. Please wish me luck! Getting this novel out there in the world would mean so much to me. There are so many kids out there who've lost loved ones to the opioid crisis and other crises, and yet there's few books covering the topic. I want to change that. 

XII.

The school halls echo with 
our vacation, my dyed hair, it’s a fake tattoo.
I find Mia standing in the breakfast line,
a Lisa Frank backpack on her shoulder. 
Vintage, she calls it. 
Something new that isn’t new. 
 
I have nothing new to show her. Except me. 
 
Last time we saw each other, 
I had a mother, 
and now—
 
“What have you been up to?” she asks.
 
She doesn’t know. 
 
To her, my mom just dropped me off, like every morning.
She’s living in the reality I so dearly miss, 
and, for that moment, I stand there in it, 
awash with how my life has changed. 
I can still be me—but I am not. 
 
I am cobalt,
a highly saturated shade of blue. 
 
“My mom died,” I hear myself speak, forcibly cheery. 
Like all the adults who have talked to me—my dad, my uncle, the investigator. 
That’s how you’re supposed to speak when delivering bad news, 
as if the tone promises the words aren’t true. 
That everything will be okay. That you can understand because I have to.
 
But I’m so cheery, confusion presses between her brows. 
Then a hand lands on my shoulder. 
My dad is standing behind me.
 
“You forgot this,” he says, hands me my water bottle. 
I forgot it in my rush to be somewhere else. 
I never used to leave it behind. 
“Love you, kiddo. Bye.”
 
“Did Mrs. J. die?” Mia calls out.
 
My dad nods. “She’s gone.”
 
Mia doesn’t cry. Just grabs my arm. Listens to me babble about TV shows as we walk to the commons, where the class sits in circles waiting for the day to begin. I see our friends but cannot move. 
 
How many more times must it be told before my mom is redefined in everyone’s mind? 
How many times must I say:
My mom died. My mom died. My mom died. 
 
“Do you want me to tell them?” Mia asks. 
 
“Tell them what?” I deny. 
 
She glares at me softly. A look that tells me the truth. 
I cannot avoid this, so I give Mia permission to try. 
 
When we sit, everyone is oceans and sunburn and St Patrick’s Day.
Boo, school.
When someone compliments Mia’s backpack, 
she takes the chance to speak. 
 
“Mrs. J. passed away,” she says,
not cheery or bright.  
She is solemn and true. 
And all eyes are on me.
 
I know I need to nod. 
The movement is swift, but enough. 
 
Harper bursts into tears so loud, others turn their stares our way. 
I drown in a sea of eyes. Wide and squinting, curious and mean. 
 
All because of Mia, I think. 
She didn’t use the right amount of cheeriness
to deliver bad news.
 
As the math teacher steps closer, I stand up. 
Harper has always been sensitive, 
She wears her heart on her sleeve, my mom used to say, 
Sometimes she hands her heart over.
That’s when you can help
, Blue. 
 
Like all the times before, 
I comfort her, and the rest of the group follows suit. 
A chorus of you’ll be okay, breathe,
Your mom won’t die.

 
I no longer pat her back. 
 
The others swarm her in hugs and tears and laughter, 
and I am left on the outside looking in
as the teacher kneels to speaker to Harper in a soft, motherly voice. 
 

No one looks at me, 
and I cannot b-r-e-a-t-h-e. 
I stumble back,      
                                          back,       
                                                               back, 
until I am flanked by lockers, 
looking out at a girl getting soothed for a tragedy that hasn’t happened to her.
 

A metallic dark saddles up to my side, 
YInMn blue, the rarest shade. 
It’s vibrant and cool, 
occurring once it’s heated up to 2,000 degrees. 
 
I am 3,000. Or 4. 
I am the taste of jealousy and rage.
 
Your mom won’t die.Your mom won’t die.Your mom won’t die.
 
Those words aren’t meant for me, 
and neither is her truth. 
 
I drinkdrinkdrink, until I am drowning myself in water, 
cooling down the blue.
The school comforts her
while I am left standing in the dark. 
A new me. 

I hope you all enjoyed my first quarterly newsletter of 2022. I hope to have even more fun news and giveaways next time.
 
See you all again in May 2022!
 
Thank you for your continuous support.
 
<3

*Grabby Hands*

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