Archive | December, 2013

Book Review: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

10 Dec

Coming down the home stretch! I’ve got 21 more days to go and four more books to finish! Expect a good number of book reviews in the next few weeks.

Cover Image from

Cover Image from

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

This book was recommended to me by one of my supervisors at work. She said she really loved it and I put it on my list, figuring that I would get to it eventually. Well, it’s eventually. I almost read this sooner, but I’d just finished The Paris Wife and I needed a change of pace. I listened to this title on audiobook from the local library.

Anne Morrow was an ambassador’s daughter before she was the aviator’s wife. It was in Mexico City, visiting her dignitary father that she first met Colonel Charles Lindbergh. Seeing in Anne the co-pilot he’s been searching for, Charles doesn’t forget her and their quick romance is filled with airplanes and the wide open sky. Anne jumps into Charles’ world with two feet, earning her pilot’s license and learning to operate a glider. ‘The First Couple of the Sky’ is America’s favorite and the media attention can only be avoided when they’re together in the air. When their first child, Charles Jr., is born, the two don’t slow down. They seem to be away from their child more than with him and the couple finally buys their own house to settle down in and be a family. When tragedy strikes and their son is kidnapped, the results will break Charles and leave Anne grieving alone for the son she never really got to know. As her five other children grow and leave, Anne finds her self more and more alone as Charles leaves for war, conferences, and meetings. No one could accompany the lone eagle forever.

I tried not to, but I found myself comparing this book the The Paris Wife while I read it. Between the two, I’d say I liked Benjamin’s book better. They both focus on the wives of famous men from the 1920s and how the men outshone their wives in every way possible. I found Anne a stronger and more likeable character than Hadley and I’m glad I’m ending my foyer into 20s wives on a strong note.

This book, more than anything, made me dislike Charles Lindbergh. He’s portrayed as controlling, manipulative, and very arrogant. His anti-Semitic tendencies were enough to make me dislike him, but forcing Anne to publish a book where she explained that she agreed with him was abhorrent. A man who would father seven children out of wedlock is not a very likeable character in any book. (According to Wikipedia, this is true. It’s not known if Anne was aware.)

Anne’s journey is to find herself an identity that is separate from Charles’s. She wants to be known as more than the Aviator’s wife and starts this by being an author. Anne studied English in school and always wanted to write. She ghost-wrote for Charles but wanted her own turn at the page. Her book was successful, maybe only slightly bolstered by her husband’s fame. After the youngest, Reeve, left home, Anne got her own apartment and her own friends. She became known among them as the writer of the group and relished in this identity. She had flirtations, one even more than a flirtation, and felt that finally she was her own woman. This was only solidified when she denied Charles the absolution he wanted regarding the European children. It took until her husband’s death, but Anne finally stepped from Charles’ shadow.

Besides his flight, the one thing people always remember about Lindbergh is the kidnapping. There was an afterward in the copy I had that Benjamin had written and she said that the Lindberghs have been affected more by the media than any other people alive, perhaps excluding Princess Diana. Their loss was so public and the search so wide spread that it took on a life of its own. They way its described in Benjamin’s book almost broke my heart to see the unusual struggle that the two had to go through because of their celebrity status. The writing really made me feel for the Lindberghs.

Writer’s Takeaway: I said at the beginning that I enjoyed this book more than The Paris Wife and I think I’ve deduced why. Hadley was a very unlikeable character while I was rooting for Anne the whole time. Hadley wasn’t to focus of her own story, Ernest was always the focus. The story ended with a change in Ernest, not Hadley. Anne’s story was wholly her own with a character arc not defined by Charles. I think this highlights a good lesson for writers. Our characters need to be more than a set of eyes. They can see someone else’s story, but they have to have their own as well. In The Great Gatsby, Nick is watching Gatsby’s story, but he is his own character and he is dynamic. When the protagonist and narrator are different people, one must make sure both change.

Three out of five stars.

Until next time, write on.

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

9 Dec

I’m on a roll with really good book club books! I just finished our December book and I loved it. Yet another highly recommended that I think you should read.


Cover Image via

Cover Image via

The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman

I was excited about this book and getting back into my book club. I’d taken the month of November off from this one in order to concentrate on NaNo and read some things I’d been wanting to read for a change. It was an easy choice because their choice didn’t interest me at all and was an 800 page presidential biography. I’ll not mention it here by name. One of the women whom I normally sit by said this is one of her favorite books and I will freely admit I loved it. 80 pages per day is not normal for me.

Returning home to Australia after World War I, Tom is looking for nothing more than the peace he fought for in Europe. He takes a job as a lighthouse keeper and after a few postings is sent to Janus, an island 100 miles off the western shore that is only visited quarterly by the supply boat. The night before he is to leave for his posting, he meets Isabel and through a series of letters the two fall in love and are married. Janus is a lonely place for the two and their attempts to start a family are foiled three times by miscarriages and stillborns. When a boat washes ashore with a dead man and a baby, Isabel is sure it’s a sign from God and convinces Tom to not report the incident and that they can raise the child as their own. The perfectly happy adopted family is fine in its isolation on Janus, but when they return to shore three years later, their secrets start to haunt them.

The ending of this book had me staying up late and sneaking a few extra minutes onto my lunch to read to the end. The concept of the whole thing was so unique that it really captured my attention. The lighthouse was very well described and obviously well researched. I think Stedman did a wonderful job of describing the loneliness and isolation that the family felt on that island and how that sense of solidarity influenced their decision to keep baby Lucy. I was describing this book to a co-worker and my boss walked by and told me she loved this book, too. I think it strikes a chord.

Stedman’s book focuses on regret, the thin line between right and wrong, and motherhood. Tom is consumed by regret for what he has done to Hannah, Lucy’s biological mother, by depriving her of raising a child. Lucy is loved and well cared for by the Sherbourne’s but she is loved and missed by Hannah. Tom regrets that he never followed the procedures of reporting the dead man, Hannah’s husband, Frank, and that leads to his ultimate confession. He regrets leaving notes for Hannah and decides to take all of the blame for the crime rather than have Isabel spend a day in jail because he knows he would regret that happening.

Even at the end, it’s somewhat up in the air as to if the Sherbourne’s did the ‘wrong’ thing. They didn’t mistreat Lucy at all and in fact loved her, giving her memories that lasted the rest of her life. But they hurt her biological mother and gave the biological father an improper burial. Is that wrong? Lucy didn’t seem to think so, she loved the Sherbourne’s and even after being reunited with Hannah, wanted to see them again.

While I’m not myself a mother, I loved the points Stedman made about motherhood. While Hannah birthed Lucy-Grace, Isabel raised her. Which is more the mother? The one geologically related or the one who knows the girl’s every word? It’s a very controversal topic and I had no idea how the debate would go until the very end. That’s part of what I loved about the book.

From a historical perspective, I was excited to see that this book took place in the 1920s. It was interesting for me to see the Australian perspective of the inter-war years compared to America where prohibition was followed by deep depression. The depression didn’t make a big impact on the character’s lives. It was alluded to when Isabel’s mother mentioned a cloth shortage, but there was little else to remind the reader of what was happening in Europe and America. I really liked this historical tidbit.

Writer’s Takeaway: What I enjoyed the most about this book was that Stedman took on a topic with no right answer that no one had asked before. As writers, we can’t be afraid to take on controversal topics. Writing has changed the world before because writers weren’t afraid to make waves. Stedman isn’t afraid either and I look forward to reading anything else she writes, I know it will be thought-provoking.

Highly recommended book. A full five out of five stars.

Until next time,Reader, write on.

Recently Added to my To-Read List

6 Dec

This seems to be about a weekly feature. Leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on any of these!

  1. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. This book seemed to be sneaking at the edge of my periphery. It’s been on my Goodreads recommendations and when it popped up again on my Book Calendar, I gave in and added it. I’m surprised to see it’s less than 100 pages! The story is told through the actual letters between Hanff and a second-hand bookseller in London. It somewhat reminds me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
  2. In One Person by John Irving. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I have a love for everything John Irving. I wrote about it in a post last week. I can’t help myself when I see one of his books so this being on the bargain shelf at Barnes & Nobel made my day. The story follows the struggles of a bi-sexual man in search of inner meaning.
  3. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom. This is the book I had Albom sign when Nicole and I met him last week. It’s his latest and (at time of writing) #4 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list. In a small town in Northern Michigan, the phone starts ringing and those on the other end are calling from Heaven. Is it a hoax or the real thing? I can’t wait to find out!
  4. The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch. This book is yet another Goodreads First Reads win. Finch tells the story of a young Yale graduate who looks to escape the disappointments of his life by taking a year at Oxford. As a student, I studied abroad in England so this struck home with me and I’m excited to give it a read.

So that’s it for now. Do I have any winners? Any duds? Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear!

Until next time, write on.

Prompt Group: Character Development Exercise

5 Dec

After a hiatus for NaNoWriMo, I finally returned to my prompt writing group. We did an exercise about character development that I liked. I might be able to turn this into a short story? I’m not sure I want to? Is it obvious I’m hesitant?

Here’s the exercise for you all if you want to try it. I’ll include my answers and writing at the end. If you give this a go, please let me know if it worked for you and if so, how it went.

Step 1: Take five minutes and write descriptions of two characters. What’s their name, age, occupation, hair color, eye color, quick personality traits, etc. Probably about four lines each.

Step 2: In three minutes, write down what each person wants, either long or short-term, that they will work for. What’s their motivation?

Step 3: Answer the following questions about each character.

  • What is their greatest virtue?
  • What is their greatest weakness?
  • What angers him/her the most?
  • What is he/she afraid of?
  • What is his/her secret?
  • What is his/her biggest regret?
  • What is his/her attitude toward:
    • Love?
    • Death?
    • Religion?
    • Money?
    • Politics?

Step 4: Once you’ve done this for both characters, take fifteen minutes to write a scene between the two characters.

Got it? Now do it. My answers are below.

Character 1
Jamie. 32-year-old, lives alone, Engineer. Sandy blonde hair, average height. Brown eyes. One solid friend, Aaron. Bachelor-pad apartment. Clean-ish. Likes music, especially 80s rock.
Goal: Save enough money to move to Ireland. wants to quit to work at a recording studio there.

  • Greatest virtue? Truthfulness
  • Greatest weakness? Single-minded
  • Angers him? Interrupted music
  • Afraid of? Being an engineer forever
  • His secret? Afraid to commit to anything
  • His biggest regret? Not majoring in music
  • His attitude toward:
    • Love? Blaise. If it happens, okay. Not actively seeking it.
    • Death? Only after a long life
    • Religion? Be a good person
    • Money? Saving it, he’s cheap
    • Politics? No opinion as long as it doesn’t interfere with his travel plans.

Character 2
Tom. 59-year-old Banker. Divorced, 25-year-old daughter lives in town. Male pattern baldness, wears grey suits to work
Goal: Retire to Florida and be alone.

  • Greatest virtue? Hard-working
  • Greatest weakness? Cynical
  • Angers him? His own failure.
  • Afraid of? His daughter not loving him.
  • His secret? Goes to visit prostitutes because he’s lonely
  • His biggest regret? Daughter having to live through his divorce.
  • His attitude toward:
    • Love? It doesn’t exist.
    • Death? “He who dies with the most toys wins.”
    • Religion? Strongly against. Ex-Christian.
    • Money? It’s his job. It comes easily to him so he spends liberally.
    • Politics? ‘Angry Republican’

And finally, my scene:

Jamie felt his car jolt from behind. He groaned aloud, already summing up how much this would put him behind in his savings. He put on his blinker and pulled onto the next side street. The road was slick and he’d been dreading being rear-ended all winter and his bitterness was already stored up, waiting for this moment.

The car that pulled up behind him was a nice, slick BMW. He rationed to himself that someone with such a nice car was sure to have insurance as he reached into the glovebox for his own. The man who stepped out had a sour look on his face as he marched to his front fender to inspect the damage. Jamie got out of his Mazda and joined him to stare at their collision.

“It’s not terrible,” the man said, looking at Jamie’s bumper.

“It’s hanging off of the car!”

“But at least it’s only your car. Mine’s fine.” It was true, his bumper had buckled, but it would pop out and with some touch-up paint no one would ever know.

“Can I have your insurance? I’ll have to replace the bumper and I need to have it covered.”

“On that piece of junk?” the man looked the Mazda over, taking in its rust stains and dingy cloth seats inside. “Couldn’t you just replace it?”

Jamie shook his head. He didn’t want to explain that the car was only needed for another two years before he left the US for good. “I don’t need a new car, I just need a new bumper.” He offered up his own insurance card as a sort of peace-offering. “I can give you my information if you need it.”

“Is everything alright, dad?”

Jamie looked up and for the first time realized there was a passenger in the BMW. The girl had raven black hair and she looked frustrated.

“Just stay in the car, Katherine.” He shot her an annoyed glance before she rolled her eyes and closed the door, shivering at the outside cold. “Here’s my card,” he extended it toward Jamie. “Can you take down my information in your phone?” Jamie nodded and pulled his phone out of his pocket, flipping it open and finding the notes app. “Jesus Christ, son, you still have a flip phone? Are you stuck in the stone age?”

“It gets me through,” Jamie said, starting to grit his teeth. “What’s your name?”


How did yours turn out? Was this exercise helpful? Leave a comment and let me know.

I hate to ask, but if you could spare the seconds to click over to my Facebook Fan Page (link on the right) I’d appreciate it. I’m three people away from being able to see analytics! Thanks, guys.

Until next time, write on.

Book Review: Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

4 Dec

A book review has been long overdue! I’m about to jump back into my book club books, but before I do I have this book, a suggestion from a friend that I found on sale at the Library.

Cover from

Cover from

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

This book was recommended to me by my friend MBK. She told me it was her favorite book of all time. As a fellow John Irving fan, I had faith and picked it up off of the $1 shelf at the library. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Irving and I can see the connection.

Stones from the River tells the story of Trudi Montag, a dwarf woman living in the small town of Burgdorf, Germany. She comes of age during the Nazi rule so that on top of figuring out what clothes to wear and which boys she likes, Trudi is also figuring out the moral minefield of Nazi Germany.

Trudi’s mother had mental health problems that led to her early death so that Trudi is raised by her silent and beloved father, Leo. The two run the pay-library in a town small enough that everyone knows each other and Trudi makes a point to know everything about everyone. As the Nazi party’s power grows, Trudi is struck by its brutality and confused by the hatred for Jews that it totes. She and her father struggle to stay out of the party while supporting it enough to remain alive.

It took me a while to get into this book. The beginning seemed really slow to me. I realize upon finishing it that the lengthy exposition was to introduce the characters whose lives were a focus of the later part of the book and to set up the feeling of a small community which was so strongly divided. I still found the first half hard to get through, but I flew through the second half.

Having a main character with a physical characteristic as strong as dwarfism made for a very memorable book.  Trudi’s unique struggles struck a very personal chord. As someone with low self-esteem, it was powerful to see someone else who struggled with this so much and felt so right in assuming no one liked her or wanted to spend time with her. Ultimately, she was very wrong. That’s very reassuring.

Most of Hegi’s messages were about love and guilt. Because of the brutality of the time, guilt came from those who had sinned and those who had to live with those sins. A soldier who goes off to war reports his mother for her lack of allegiance and the soldier’s wife loses her mother-in-law and roommate. Many of the soldiers don’t experience guilt until they come back and have to face what they’ve done in light of the opening of concentration camps.

Love is more complicated. In Hegi’s book, love tends to mean loss and that one is hurt more by those one loves when they leave. Death and leaving are common in this time period and many characters are affected by one or the other. The loss of Trudi’s mother is almost too much for her father to handle. The losses the come with the war rip the small town apart and fill up the cemetery too quickly. I can’t think of a character who came through the book unscathed.

Is there such thing as a happy ending? In the books Trudi and her father lend to the people of Burgdorf, there are heroines who find their heroes, mysteries that are solved. But in real life, the story ends differently. What started to seem like a happy ending results in heartbreak. The boys who go off to be heroes come back disgraced. Hegi’s book isn’t a story to cheer you up, its real life and it ends much as life does.

This book did remind me of John Irving and I liked that about it. The life-spaning story of Trudi allowed her to develop as a character in may dimensions. The terrible loss was also reminiscent of Irving. I wish the story had started with as much action as it ended with.

Writer’s Takeaway: As a writer, it’s always dangerous to have too many characters. A whole town-full of characters is a dangerous road to turn down. Hegi knocked the ball out of the park. Her town was full of dynamic characters with distinctive personalities who made the reader care about them. For those attempting to write a long list of characters, Hegi provides a wonderful example.

Overall, I enjoyed the book but it was difficult to get in to so I can’t justify a high rating. Three out of five stars.

Until next time, Reader, write on.

Page to Screen Discussion: Catching Fire

3 Dec

Time for the second installment in my new Page to Screen Discussion series. The latest movie I’ve watched (where I read the book first) was The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I actually saw it opening night, but I’m giving you all a little time hoping that you were able to see it.

The Movie was released on November 22nd, 2013 and stars Jennifer Lawrence, directed by Francis Lawrence. The book was released September 1, 2009 by Scholastic, written by Suzanne Collins. Here’s some pros and cons of each.


Book cover from

Book cover from

The Book
Pros: Katniss’s growing animosity toward the Capitol is very prevalent. Her relationship with Peeta seems more strained wich works better (in my opinion) with her character. Better understanding of Katniss’s complacency toward the revolution and how she doesn’t want to be a symbol of it.Cons: First person POV limits the action because the capital perspective is unavailable. Katniss’s cold personality made the capital citizen’s anger at the games less obvious because of the lack of emotional detail.


Movie Poster via

Movie Poster via

The Movie
Pros: Ability to have scenes of Snow and Plutrarch talking while Katniss is in the games adds a lot to the plot development of the revolution, which is kind of sudden in the book. The scenes of the capital and their clothing is hard to describe in text but the movie did a fantastic job of depicting it.

Cons: The scene depicting Haymitch’s time in the games was cut and this was a scene I really wanted to see. Because the part about her ear being surgically replaced was cut from the first movie, she doesn’t make any excuse for why she can see the forcefields. The painting of Rue that Peeta did was supposed to be better concealed when Katniss entered the training room and it wasn’t which made the capital seem careless and cocky instead of scared.

So, what’s my end opinion? I was very happy with how close to the book the movie stayed. This was my favorite book of the trilogy and I think Jennifer Lawrence did an amazing job. Visually, the movie was great and I think it added a lot to the story to have multiple points of view. Ultimately, I have to stick by my guns. The book was better.

What did you think? I’d love to hear other opinions. Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Until next time, write on.

Meeting Mitch Albom

2 Dec

I’ve developed this obsession with getting autographed books. It might be better defined as I love meeting published authors, but when I meet them I have to buy their book and have them sign it. So yeah, slight obsession.

Nicole and I went to meet Mitch Albom at a local Barnes and Noble last Tuesday. I found the event on Goodreads and I was more than a little excited about it. If you’re unfamiliar, Mitch Albom is from Detroit and write for the Detroit Free Press. He’s the author of bestsellers such as Tuesdays with Morrie, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, and the most recent The First Phone Call From Heaven. This last one is the reason for his current book tour. It will debut at #1 on the NYT Bestseller list this week (or so he says).

We got to the event and purchased our copies at which point we were assigned to Group C. Mitch gave a few opening comments when he arrived and I was really impressed by him. He’s home for Thanksgiving so is doing some signings in the area which I thought was very sweet. His nephews were somewhere in the store, though I didn’t meet them. He spoke about the book and how his mother influenced him. She suffered a stroke that left her unable to talk and Mitch wanted to write about the power of hearing a person’s voice which brought about the idea of those who have passed away calling back to Earth. Let’s say I’m more than excited to read this.

My excited face when I met Mitch Albom. Please notice the security detail hiding his face.

My excited face when I met Mitch Albom. Please notice the security detail hiding his face.

We milled around for an hour and a half (I only bought two more books!) before we were called and we got in line. At that point we only waited about a half hour before we got to meet Mitch Albom! We were both nervous balls of energy, but he had such a calming personality that we weren’t intimidated at all.

I took the time to ask him the question I’ve decided I’ll ask all authors. “I want to be where you are. What can I do to get there?” Mitch took the time to give me a really good answer. After saying I wanted to be where he is, he offered to get up and let me take a seat but I argued my signature was not as sought after. He asked me where I was in life and I told him I worked full-time and have now finished two manuscripts. I loved his answer; He told me to read.

Please note security detail again.

Nicole’s excited face. Please note security detail again.

He said to read things I didn’t like, things I didn’t write about people I didn’t like. When we write, we need to create characters and those characters might be people we don’t like. When you read something outside of your comfort zone, you learn a new voice and that’s a voice you can use in a character that is distinctly different from yourself. I spoke in my post last Tuesday about how my first draft characters are always a lot like me. This advice seemed really timely. When I spoke to my husband upon arriving at home, he agreed that he sees too much of me in my female characters. I’ve done alright with the male characters, but reading books about women different from myself will help me be able to write distinct feminine voices.

I really appreciated the time Mitch took to answer my question when 200 other people wanted a minute of his time. A huge thanks to the people at Barnes and Noble who made the event run smoothly. I hope that one day I can take that seat from Mitch and be able to proudly sit there, knowing I’ve accomplished my dream.

Until next time, write on.

Cover Reveal and Author Interview: Shannon A. Thompson

1 Dec

I’m very excited to be participating in my first cover reveal! Shannon A. Thompson is the author of Seconds Before Sunrise, the second installment in The Timely Death Trilogy. I wanted to do more than just a cover reveal for you, readers, so I also asked Shannon to let me do a brief interview with her so I could share some opinions and thoughts from a published author. Happy reading!

SAM: I see on your site that Seconds before Sunrise is the second book in a trilogy. How have you managed to give each book an ending while maintaining the story line of a series?
SHANNON: Depends on what you considering an ending. The books definitely don’t stand on their own. The first, for instance, has an ending that relies on the second book to begin. I look at The Timely Death Trilogy as one story divided into three books rather than the alternative for a trilogy: three books with the same characters in different stories.

SAM: You published your first book at 16. To what do you accredit your ability to write well at such a young age?
SHANNON: Writing well is debatable. I’ve grown a lot since then. But, in terms of writing and getting published at such a young, I have to credit my mother first. She taught me to love writing as well as how to grow with and from it. Her death is the reason I became so passionate about writing at a young age. When I was 16, I also met author, T.L. McCown, who helped me with my first published novel. She is an inspiration.

SAM: Do you think writing can be learned, or is it something we are ‘born with?’
SHANNON: I think it’s always both. Personally, I think I was born with the love for writing, but I had to learn how to write. We aren’t born knowing what language is, let alone writing, but I think we can be born with the urge inside of us. I think we can also learn to love it if we weren’t born with it. Everything comes down to the individual.

SAM: How involved were you in designing the cover for Seconds before Sunrise? Do you take any credit for the idea?
SHANNON: Viola Estrella was the cover designer, and she was great, because I had a very specific idea that I wanted displayed–mainly having to do with looking like a trilogy. Some might wonder why the first cover has a blue woman and the second cover has a green background but a normal colored male. This was done on purpose. The first novel is about being in the Dark, and the second book is focused on the human aftermath of their supernatural identities.

Thank you again to Shannon for agreeing to an interview. Another interesting fact Shannon shared with me is that Eric’s pendant is based on a necklace the author had and lost on a trip. And now, without further ado, here it is, the cover for Shannon A. Thompson’s new book, Seconds Before Sunrise!

Shannon's cover for SECONDS BEFORE SUNRISE
Shannon’s cover for SECONDS BEFORE SUNRISE

Two nightmares. One memory.

“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.

At sixteen years old, Shannon A. Thompson became the published author of “November Snow.” At twenty-one, she was featured in “Poems: a collection of works by twelve young Kansas poets.” On May 1st, her paranormal romance, “Minutes Before Sunset” was released by AEC Stellar Publishing. In July, it was awarded Goodreads Book of the Month. It’s the first novel in A Timely Death series. Her first short story, “Sean’s Bullet,” released in an anthology in October, 2013, and her upcoming novel, “Seconds Before Sunrise,” is expected to release March 22nd 2014.

She’s lived in five states and moved over fifteen times, which she uses as inspiration for writing. Shannon dedicates all of her published works to lost loved ones, and she encourages everyone to find their passion.
Currently, Shannon is finishing her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Kansas and working as a Social Media Marketing Manager for AEC Stellar Publishing.
Visit her at