Shannon Dittemore
  • Shan’s Pick: Site of the Month
  • June20th

    1 Comment

    Sorry friends! I’m ridiculously behind on my Site of the Month Pick. Which, let’s be honest, is really always the case. This month–or months!–I am featuring the website of one of my new favorite authors: Jill Williamson.

    One of the most amazing things about joining the ranks of the published is looking to my right and left to see just who’s standing next to me. Who out there is attempting to do what I’m attempting to do? Who else is writing for my audience? Who can I learn from? Who can I bounce ideas off of? Who should I NEVER ATTEMPT to bounce ideas off of?

    It can be intimidating to look around and ask these questions (understatement!). There are just so many fabulous authors out there doing fabulous things. But, every now and then an established author takes the time to sidle up alongside one of us newbies and extend the hand of friendship. When that friend turns out to be an awesome writer, MAJOR BONUS POINTS!

    For me, that friend is Jill Williamson.

    If you haven’t read her newest release REPLICATION you’re missing out. It’s unlike any young adult novel I’ve ever read. Jill and I share many, many things and one of them is a Christian  worldview. When you read our books, you’re going to get that. No denying it. But with REPLICATION you’re also going to get a thrilling story full of “what ifs” and deliciously unique characters–which is all the more impressive when you consider that many of them are clones.  Jill’s writing is precise and the pacing stellar. I love, love, love this book.

    And I wonder if you will too? Hmmmm. You should check it out. Let me know.

    AND! If you haven’t seen the cover of my upcoming novel BROKEN WINGS, click here! I’m giving away the Angel Eyes audio book later today so check out the cover reveal and comment on THAT BLOG POST to enter.

    Share
  • March21st

    1 Comment

    So. Story.

    A couple months ago this book caught my eye at Barnes & Noble.

    “How?” you ask.

    Well. It was on the Young Adult shelves: Score!

    The gal on the cover has a distinctly different look than many of the other chicks gracing the covers of YA novels these days (and we all know there are zillions!): Double Score!

    And, finally, that very chickadee looked like she had wings: Triple Score!

    My own obsession with wings kicked in and I whipped the stroller around tipping my green tea and almost colliding with the Customer Service counter. I snagged the book, Halflings, from the shelf and perused it briefly before my 3yo had had enough and crawled out of the stroller heading for the train table. Then I was off, like a spaz, the book forgotten as I chased her down splattering green tea everywhere.

    B&N loves me, by the way. (I told you they’re hosting my launch party, right? Saturday, June 2nd, 1pm.)

    ANYhooo… shortly thereafter, my publicist (love saying that, btw) asked me if I knew anything about Heather Burch and this book Halflings, because as it turns out, Halflings is ALSO an angel YA book recently published by a Christian publisher. AND, and, and, Heather, the author, was a fellow Apocalypsie.

    SO! That was it. I simply had to read it. Poor B&N got jilted on this one cause I downloaded it to my Kindle then and there.

    AND decided that I simply had to feature Heather Burch and her Halflings Network as my Site of the Month.

    The book is a fast ride featuring a gutsy heroine and three gorgeous angelic creatures. Heather’s salted the novel with tons of truth and hope and all that kind of good stuff. ALSO, there’s an app for the book, which is just SUCH a cool idea. I haven’t had a chance to download it yet, but I hear it’s rather addicting. So, hop over to the Halflings Network and let me know what you think.

    And go buy the book! Motorcycles and glowing girls and hell hounds and half-angel boys. I mean, come on? You’re gonna, right?

    RIGHT!?

    Share
  • January1st

    3 Comments

    Today is 1/1/12.

    It’s JANUARY 1st, peeps!

    And my FIRST Site of the Month in 2012 is all about FIRSTS!

    Meet Krista McGee! She’s a debut author with her FIRST novel hitting shelves on January 10th. And guess what it’s called?

    FIRST DATE

    I had the opportunity to read this little gem a few months back and adored it so much, I passed around my advance review copy to a couple gals at church.

    It’s the story of a small town girl from a tiny school who gets wrangled into starring on a reality tv show. Dreading every minute of it, Addy competes for the coveted role of prom date….

    …to the President’s son.

    A modern retelling of Esther with lots of snark, a swoon-worthy boy, catty competitors, and genuine friendships, this is a story young adult girls will enjoy. Especially if they are fans of contemporary Christian fiction. A favorite scene of mine includes Addy, a kazoo, and well… millions of viewers.

    Show a new author some love! Check out Krista’s website and get your copy of FIRST DATE.

    Don’t forget to report back!

    I’d love to know your thoughts.

    Share
  • December1st

    No Comments

    I’m such a blog slacker, you guys! I have good reason, though. I’m working like a fool (like a fool, I tell you) on the second book in the Angel Eyes Trilogy.

    Book One is all done and I should have some pretty nifty stuff to show you all in the near future (think cover!).

    But, enough about me.

    I’ve been picking again and the reason I hopped on here is to announce my new Site of the Month.

    I know, I know, I’ve been slacking here too, but I PROMISE it will all be worth it when those books hit the shelves (she says with her fingers crossed).

    In any case, December’s Site of the Month is the website of young adult author, Jenny B. Jones.

    When I was back in Nashville, my publisher gave me her latest book. And, Oh. My. Goodness. I fell in love. Her writing is a delightful mesh of snark and lovely and her characters are so easy to care about. She’ll have you petting the cover, I swear.

    There You’ll Find Me was my first Jenny B. Jones read, but it won’t be my last. So, go out. Get it. Tell me what you think.

    I bet you’ll fall in love too.

    Share
  • July28th

    2 Comments

    I’m stoked to announce my August pick for Site of the Month. Stoked!

    Speculative Faith is a site dedicated to readers and writers of “visionary fiction.” And, I love that phrase: visionary fiction.

    I’ve been doing my darndest to define speculative fiction and I seem to run into vague and conflicting definitions all over the web.

    But it includes fantasy, science fiction, the supernatural, superheroes, dystopian works and the like. It’s a very broad term encompassing much of what I LOVE about literature: the crazy imagination stuff.

    It’s also a genre that confuses some. Especially those brave enough to wonder just how these types of imaginings fit into a faith-based worldview.

    Speculative Faith has a rotating schedule of five different bloggers examining these issues through the filter of Bible-colored lenses. Time and again I’ve been impressed with their application of Scripture and their kind-hearted encouragement that we examine what we believe about the arts and entertainment.

    They are also FABULOUS about replying to blog comments and keeping the conversation alive. It’s a gold mine of valuable information and thought-provoking topics for readers and writers alike.

    Stop by, say hello. Tell ’em I said hi!

    You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

    Share
  • June3rd

    2 Comments

    Gray skies notwithstanding, it’s June!

    And that means I’ve chosen a new Site of the Month.

    It is my absolute pleasure to share with you a friend of mine, Joanne Kraft, and her blog “One So Blessed.” Joanne’s one of those amazing people you meet and within two minutes you just know she’s full of wisdom, and grace, and life stories.

    The delectable icing on the cake is that she’s also hilarious. You can’t spend time with her without feeling better about yourself. In a world that tries awfully hard to beat us down, that’s saying something!

    AND! Her brand spankin’ new book, JUST TOO BUSY, published by Beacon Hill Press, is now on the shelves. My copy should be here any day now and I’d love you to read along with me.

    Jump over to Amazon or hit up your local bookstore and grab a copy. I guarantee you’ll enjoy diving into her life and the radical decision her family made when they realized just how busy they really were.

    Follow her on Twitter, Like her FB page, and hit up her blog.

    She’ll enrich your life.

    Guaranteed.

    Photo cred and (c) copyright: Eikon Photography

    Share
  • April6th

    4 Comments

    Have you ever had a friend that, I don’t know, just showed up at the right time?

    I hope so. Cause there’s nothing quite like having someone who understands you and the strange situation you find yourself in.

    Jenny Lundquist is that kind of friend.

    She’s also an amazing author. In writerly fashion, we met at a library where we had gathered with our writing group to hear a guest speaker. Classic, right?

    I’d been having trouble connecting with other young adult writers and then BAM! There she was, sitting directly behind me. Perfect. A godsend. A literal answer to prayer.

    Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of watching Jenny’s writing career begin and I’ve been lucky enough to be a few steps behind her in the process. I get to learn by watching and listening. She’s such an amazing soul and she’s got that kind of wisdom you only glean by having been there and done that. I’m so grateful she’s been willing to pass it on.

    Have I mentioned what an amazing author she is? Well, it bears repeating.

    Jenny’s debut novel for middle graders, Seeing Cinderella, will be published by Aladdin M!X in the Spring of 2012. I hope you’ll take a second to visit her website. Her brightness and sense of humor are written all over it and it’s a site I’m sure you’ll be back to time and again.

    God bless, friends, and Happy April! May the sunshine and the gorgeous flowers make up for all this sneezing.

    Share
  • January18th

    No Comments

    Confession: I am not cool.

    But, I’m cool with that.

    I’m not even sure the word ‘cool’ is cool any more.

    All right. Do over.

    Confession: I am not epic.

    But you know who is epic?

    The Winter Formal.

    That’s right.

    The Winter Formal. And if you haven’t checked out their new download A Memorandum, you too have a long way to go on your road to epicdom.

    See. I told you. I’m not cool.

    But, thanks to The Winter Formal I have a better understanding of what it means to be epic.

    Check out their Myspace. ‘Like’ their Facebook page. Follow them on Twitter. Give their new video a thumbs up. And, you should definitely hit a show. They have one coming up February 19th.

    And, ummm, Brandon wanted me to tell you that he loves it when girls scream his name. Especially, ESPECIALLY, when they visit him at work. Tilly’s. Sunrise Mall. Did I get that right, Brando?

    That’s all.

    Now go.

    Be epic.

    Share
  • November1st

    No Comments

    After an extended hiatus from the blogosphere it’s high time I update my “Site of the Month.” I’m rather excited about this one because it’ll give me a chance to brag on my agent a bit and fill you in on the next step in my writing career.

    I’ve said this before, so forgive me for saying it again, but setting up a website to promote yourself and your work–while necessary–can feel incredibly vain. Especially when there are so many people along the way who contribute to the writer’s vision and purpose. These are people–authors, editors, agents, and publishers–who inspire others and deserve a big ‘ol thumbs up from my chair here in Northern California. So, from the very beginning I’ve committed to featuring these folks on my site. It keeps me humble. It keeps me sane. And talking about industry professionals who are living the dream, makes me giddy.

    This month’s featured site belongs to a guy who has more input into my writing career than most: My agent, Jason Pinter.

    In early August, I received word that Jason Pinter of the Waxman Agency was interested in representing my first novel, ANGEL EYES. As the internationally bestselling author of the thrilling Henry Parker series and with his first book for young readers due out next fall–ZEKE BARTHOLOMEW: SUPERSPY!–I have no idea why Jason is dedicated to helping new and unpublished authors find their way, but I’m incredibly grateful that he is.

    Jason has a background in publishing and has worked as an editor at Warner Books, Random House, and St. Martin’s Press. He’s also a columnist for the Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. And now that I’ve given you his resume, I should also say that he’s incredibly personable and has been great to work with. If anyone can find a place for my manuscript, it’s this guy.

    Which, as I’ve said, brings me to the next step in my writing career. Jason’s job will be to help me find a home for my novel and to coach me through the process, which, unfortunately for him means talking me down from the ledge when I’m antsy, and reminding me that the journey can be a long one when I’m impatient. Thus far, he’s done a fabulous job and I look forward to our continued working relationship.

    From the second I jumped into the choppy waters of pre-publication, I’ve been acutely aware that it’s not a journey to be navigated alone. Finding an agent who believes in you and your story is a critical step and to say I feel blessed would certainly be an understatement.

    Take a second, friends, to visit his site and pick up a Henry Parker novel the next time you’re out. His first book, THE MARK, has been optioned for film and is a fast paced read you’re sure to enjoy. Jason is also an active tweeter and with his background and expertise, he’s someone all aspiring writers should be following.

    Share
  • August8th

    No Comments

    I’m rereading Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books and am, again, utterly inspired.

    Tasha’s books–being mysteries–are ripe with deception, greed, anarchy, and murder. But really, truly, the magic of her writing lies with the delicious cast of characters and their vibrant settings.

    Having never traveled abroad, I take Alexander at her word, and today have determined that the suburbs of Sacramento desperately need the café culture. The third book, “A Fatal Waltz,” takes place, primarily, in Vienna. It’s here that Lady Emily is, for the first time, introduced to “centers for culture unlike any others to which (she’d) been exposed.” She tells the reader of the artists and playwrights who’ve carved out near-residences in the cafés. Of the academics arguing there. Of the poets thinking and writing.

    Coffee, hot chocolate, billiard tables, books!

    Intellectual conversation.

    Artistic debate.

    Hot chocolate!

    I deviate.

    But tell me: Doesn’t the idea of being surrounded by creative souls–discussing, debating art and academia while sipping a hot beverage–sound appealing? Doesn’t it sound like something we could use more of? Having spent a handful of years in Portland, Oregon, I can honestly say this is something they are much better at. There are cafés every few blocks, jammed with an eclectic group of individuals writing, drawing, chatting. But, here, in the beautiful suburbs of Sacramento, we are seriously lacking.

    It’s not that we need just another coffee house. While there aren’t nearly as many of them here as the Northwest can claim, we have a sufficient number of corporate coffee shops. What we need are eclectic souls to fill them. Creatures who are willing to open their mouths and have discussions with others. Folks who are willing to see beyond the screens of their laptops and iPhones. We should be a community that fosters creativity and the exchange of ideas in public places.

    “Why?” you ask.

    Because!

    Because creativity draws people together. You and I may not agree about Obama or off-shore drilling. We may not share core values or lifetime goals. But to be truly and honestly creative, our guts must come spilling out of us, and when they do, they often land on those nearby. I don’t know if you’ve tried, but it’s quite hard to hate a soul whose guts lay at your feet.

    Because art brings a soulful kind of unity. Discussion and debate force us to consider the views of others. To grow. To fight back with creative measures of our own.

    Because our children need parents who are thinkers, who see the world with optimistic eyes.

    Because sitting across from new friends, discussing ideas and sipping hot chocolate, sounds like a fabulous way to spend a Saturday.

    And, because if you’re Lady Emily, cafés can be instrumental in the business of mystery solving. 🙂

    If you haven’t opened any of Tasha Alexander’s books, you simply must give them a read. Her website is my August “Site of the Month,” and this is the perfect time to delve into her world. The newest addition to the Lady Emily series, “Dangerous to Know,” comes out October 26th and I’m giddy with anticipation.

    Join me, will you? Hit a café. Grab a Lady Emily mystery, some hot chocolate, and chat up the gal occupying the next table at your local Starbucks. It’s a far cry from the café culture Alexander describes, but we’ve gotta start somewhere.

    Right?

    Share