November Rain
Shannon A. Thompson
(Bad Bloods #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: July 18th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Serena isn’t human. She is a bad blood, and in the city of Vendona, bad bloods are executed. In the last moments before she faces imminent death, a prison guard aids her escape and sparks a revolt. Back on the streets determined to destroy her kind, Serena is spared by a fellow bad blood named Daniel. His past tragedies are as equally mysterious as her connection to them.
Unbeknownst to the two, this connection is the key to winning the election for bad bloods’ rights to be seen as human again. But Serena is the only one who can secure Vendona’s vote. Now, Daniel must unite with her before all hope is lost and bad bloods are eradicated, even if it means exposing secrets worse than death itself. United or not, a city will fight, rain will fall, and all will be threatened by star-crossed love and political corruption.

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EXCERPT:
“She used to tell me that a full moon is when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.” I stared at the little paper in my hands. “Do you think she tells my sister those stories?”

Daniel didn’t respond. He only listened. I had told him before I had a sister. He had probably assumed I lied, but I hadn’t. It was the truth, and it tumbled out like a story my mom created before bedtime. I tried to picture her telling stories to my sister, but nothing came. I only saw the little girl, with Mom’s hair and Dad’s eyes, standing in the road, saying my name.
“I’ve never met her,” I confessed, staring at the writing bleeding through the folded end. “I think her name is on this, but I can’t read.”
Daniel reached for it. “I can—”
“No.” I held the note against my chest. “I want to learn and read it on my own,” I explained, softer than my previous snap.
Daniel’s head tilted. “Robert never taught you.”
I wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement, but I responded anyway. “He can’t read.”
Daniel’s eyes swept over me. He took the time to rub his face before looking away.
“He can’t read,” I repeated, studying his reaction. “Right?”
Daniel’s hand lowered to his lap. “I can teach you,” he said, and when he faced me again, he was remarkably closer than I realized. His hand moved to rest on my knee. My heart stabilized. “What else do you want?”
It was a question I had never heard before, and the way Daniel stumbled over the sentence suggested he had never been able to say it before either. Bad bloods weren’t allowed to want anything. Not even life. So, when I was asked, my mind spiraled into obscurity, never actually solidifying an answer even though I searched for one.
“I’ve never been allowed to want anything,” I confessed.
“Me neither,” Daniel agreed, and for a brief second, I was oblivious to the fact that his lips were on mine.

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Guest Post:

My Illiterate Protagonist

My protagonist is illiterate. She recognizes a few letters, she knows how to read her name, and she loves listening to stories more than anything. But she cannot read.

Her name is Serena, and Serena is a bad blood.

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

While Serena lives in a futuristic world where magical children like her are executed, illiteracy is a very real issue in our world today. An issue I wanted to discuss in my Bad Bloods duology. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding illiteracy—some of which I discuss in an article Tackling Diversity in YA—but the main one is the fact that illiteracy isn’t as uncommon as the average reader might think.  

1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. (DoSomething.Org)

For readers, this fact might seem startling. Readers generally know other readers, after all. And—on top of that—many of the characters in YA fiction love books, because readers love books, and it’s easy to relate to a character that loves the same things as them. For many readers, it’s impossible to imagine a world without reading, even in fantasy and sci-fi settings. I, for one, definitely struggle with that concept, but illiteracy is a reality for many young people, especially women all over the world. Granted, I will be the first to admit that I did not set out to write Serena as an illiterate person to spread awareness. No. I originally set out to write her as a character who didn’t enjoy reading due to severe dyslexia—something my brother and father deal with to this day.

As a child, growing up in a household where my two role models didn’t read was very difficult, especially when my late mother was a reader but no longer able to share that joy with me. That being said, we can relate to one another—readers or not—as people, and since so many characters are readers, I wanted to remind readers we can love those who don’t read, too (although maybe we can help them find the perfect book so they try reading again)! We can also understand how illiteracy happens, and hopefully, we can learn to sympathize with it and also help others learn to read in the future.  

The issue of illiteracy developed with Serena’s character over time, but I wouldn’t change Serena for the world. She is smart. She is caring. She loves ice cream, her friends, and stories told beneath the full moon. She falls in love. She cries. She feels pain and sorrow. She laughs.

Serena may be illiterate, but she still has a story.

And so do the millions of people around the globe dealing with illiteracy today.  

That is why she’s my protagonist.

~SAT

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016
November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016
Free Bad Bloods Prequel
Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.



November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016
November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016
Free Bad Bloods Prequel

Visit the Pinterest and Facebook Pages.

Author Bio:
Shannon A. Thompson is a twenty-three-year-old author, avid reader, and habitual chatterbox. She was merely sixteen when she was first published, and a lot has happened since then. Thompson’s work has appeared in numerous poetry collections and anthologies, and her first installment of The Timely Death Trilogy became Goodreads’ Book of the Month. As a novelist, poet, and blogger, Thompson spends her free time writing and sharing ideas with her black cat named after her favorite actor, Humphrey Bogart. Between writing and befriending cats, she graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in English, and she travels whenever the road calls her.

Visit her blog for writers and readers at http://www.shannonathompson.com.


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