Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?
There are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in…
I have finally finished–for now–the sequel to When Stars Die, The Stars Are Infinite. Finishing When Stars Die and having my book published by a press was an awesome reward for hard work, but finishing The Stars Are Infinite is an even greater reward. Do you know how long I have been working on this book? I have been working on it since I was 14, and I haven’t exactly shelved it since that age. There was a time where I shelved it for almost two years, but that was so I could whip When Stars Die into shape, knowing that it needed to be the first book in The Stars Trilogy. But The Stars Are Infinite was so much harder to work on than When Stars Die, simply because you look at the first book and wonder how you can beat it. I know many, many authors, including bestsellers, struggle with trying to make the sequel better than the previous book, and I hope I have managed that–after some hardcore edits of course, which I am expecting for this book, as it is about 20,000 words longer than When Stars Die and was so much harder to write.
I know Shannon Thompson mentioned that she had a low when finishing Seconds Before Sunrise (though she is still in edits), but I have no such lows for TSAI. I am glad to be done with it, glad to be FULLY done with it. This book was a monstrous 700 page novel when it first began; as I’ve said, I was fourteen and didn’t know at the time what the appropriate word count should be for a first YA novel. It’s still going to be a longer book, as is expected of sequels, but I’m still hoping that at least a few thousand words can be parced from it, as I managed to parce about 3,000 words from WSD through edits.
I am primarily glad to be done with this book because for years I couldn’t peg down the ending. Oh certainly with the first draft I had the ending done, but I never really tore the book apart. I just kept picking at what was there instead of trying to figure out what wasn’t there, which was an entire re-vampling of the overall story. But writing When Stars Die first and having it published by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc. has given me a lot of inspiration for The Stars Are Infinite, especially the few three star reviews the book has thus far. It is especially the three star reviews that have pushed me to make the sequel way better than the first book. Now I know reviews are meant for readers, but as writers, I think we can flourish from the three star ones. 4 and 5 star ones boost the ego, and 2 and 1 star ones often aren’t that helpful in helping one grow as a writer, but 3 star reviews are not inherently bad at all. In fact, several of my 3 star reviews have said they are looking forward to this sequel, and I’m hoping I do not disappoint. After all, my beta reader, Mariah Wilson, was absolutely blown away by the sequel, so hopefully everyone else will be as well.
So what can you expect from this sequel? I know one reviewer wanted to know a lot more about Amelia–AKA Dervla, now–but with the way she changes at the end of WSD, I figured her perspective was not necessary, because if I were to put it in her perspective, the entire book would be her pining after her little brother, and that isn’t a plot at all. Instead, I’ve relegated her to a minor character, but she is still very much present–pining after her little brother, of course, which is a sub-plot of the book.
At the end of WSD, if you pay attention, I do hint at who the next protagonist is going to be. Her name is Alice Sheraton, and you will begin to understand why it’s in her perspective within, about, the first five or six chapters of the book. So here’s a summary of the book (totally not edited or approved):
Alice Sheraton wishes she could free herself from her corset and instead put it on somebody else. But this corset soon becomes haunted and binds her in ways she didn’t think was possible. Eventually she has to go on a dark adventure to remove this corset, which ticks her life away day-by-day. Eventually she comes across a boy named Nathaniel Gareth, who suggests she remove her bloomers to loosen this corset. When this doesn’t work, she is stuck between a rock and a hard place. As her life dwindles by the days, she either has to accept her fate, or find someone to undo the curse.
JUST KIDDING! This is not the summary at all. In fact, I don’t even know where to begin summarizing The Stars Are Infinite. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to work on When Heaven Was Blue, which I have several great ideas on how to fix it, along with professional edits and my fabulous beta reader’s suggestions. So you’ll just have to wait until later to find out what TSAI is about.
“Chaos within destiny. It was the definition of our love.”
Eric has weeks before his final battle when he’s in an accident. Forced to face his human side, he knows he can’t survive if he fights alone. But he doesn’t want to surrender, even if he becomes the sacrifice for war.
Jessica’s memory isn’t the only thing she’s lost. Her desire to find her parents is gone and so is her confidence. But when fate leaves nightmares behind, she decides to find the boy she sees in them, even if it risks her sanity.
Fact #5 Jessica Taylor moved to Kansas from Atlanta—a move that the author did herself in 1999.
Thank you again! And, if you celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!
Shannon Thompson’s ‘Minutes Before Sunset’ is a story of Eric Wellborn, a shade destined to win a harrowing battle for the survival of his kind. However, when he meets an abandoned shade who possesses more power than he thought possible, he questions everything he thought he knew.
Then there is Jessica Taylor, who moves to Hayworth and longs to find her adoptive parents. Of course, she must maintain good grades, and Eric Wellborn doesn’t help her cause with his indifference. But she is determined to crack Eric’s cocky exterior, even if that means revealing what she’s trying to hide.
Keep in mind there are two point-of-views in this novel: Eric’s and Jessica’s. Both are equally intriguing, and, if you’re observant, you’ll figure out early on the significance of both POVs, which will leave you dying to keep turning the page. I finished the novel within two days and would have finished sooner, but I have little time for reading anymore, so it’s great that I finished this book as soon as I did. It’s been a while since I’ve read such a book that made me want to keep turning the pages.
At first, the plot seems simplistic: Eric is destined to win a war outlined in a prophecy in order to save his kind. Prophecies in themselves aren’t original, but what’s fascinating is that Ms. Thompson writes Eric in such a way that makes readers question how he can win such a war when he himself does not seem strong. What is even more fascinating is that there is more to the prophecy than even Eric, a first descendant (take this to mean someone important, powerful), is allowed to know. His character development is sharp too. He goes from being a cocky, indifferent boy, to someone who shows what he has been hiding all along. He makes sacrifices, even at the cost of his own life.
Then there is Jessica’s POV. Hers is a fascinating one because as a reader, you might question why her POV exists at all. But if you’re observant, you’ll quickly realize the connection between her chapter’s and Eric’s, and, as I’ve stated above, you’ll want to keep reading just to see how things play out. It’s one of those ‘reader knows, but character doesn’t’ kind of things, and those can be fun.
What I most enjoyed about the book were the descriptions, especially of the shades. Ms. Thompson did a stellar job of describing the shades and their powers. I could imagine shadows dripping, light sparkling and exploding, traces of light and shadows fanning out in iridescent strands; shadows pluming; and light bursting. The entire book is a chiaroscuro, and it is so easy to imagine the world of the shades. Eyes, especially, are an enormous motif in this book because shade eye colors differ from human eye colors: They can be a brilliant, almost unnatural blue, or a purple color. They are the windows to people who are otherwise trapped within themselves.
Overall, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5, just because some of the descriptions were repeated more than they should have been, like eye or hair color. Fans of paranormal or paranormal romance in general will enjoy this book. You can buy it on Amazon and Smashwords. You can also find Shannon Thompson here.
In issue 10 of The Corner Club Press, I will delve deeper into Mrs. Thompson’s book through a literary analysis, especially over how dark and light interweave to create a chiaroscuro art piece.
Stars, do you remember when I said I wanted to self-publish? Well, I found AEC Stellar through Shannon Thompson, and all they required was a blurb. I already had a solid blurb down thanks to the help of Nazarea Andrews. So I subbed my blurb, and within the hour AEC Stellar’s Raymond Vogel got back to me and requested a synopsis and part of the book. I worked an entire day on the synopsis, as I’d never done one. The editor for The Corner Club Press, Mariah Wilson, helped me whip it into shape, and off I sent it with part of the book.
The next day, I heard back and had been accepted! What’s interesting about this company is they do an assessment of the book, basically grading it as a teacher would. My partial received a 92.2%, which is really good, considering I’ve never had professional eyes look at it.
In fact, I just talked to Raymond Vogel today who said it’s in really good shape for having only been edited by me–and I had Mariah Wilson beta read it just for content, but she didn’t have much to say.
We’re hoping for a late summer release, but this is contingent on the editing involved in the process. I’ll explain in another post what prompted this sudden decision.