Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you are all resting and preparing for a wonderful week ahead.
This past week has been a good one around here, with fun things happening on the Dusk Gate front. Sales have been slowly but steadily picking up for Seeds of Discovery and Roots of Insight. I’m hearing lots of great feedback, and it’s so much fun to hear from those of you who are enjoying the adventures of William, Quinn, and Thomas.
I have been busily working away on writing the next installment, which hit a very important milestone this past week. It is now more than 50 thousand words (~200 pages long). Within the next two weeks, it should be longer than Seeds of Discovery (and it will be longer!).
So, to celebrate, I have a special announcement to share with you.
(If you follow my Facebook fan page, you heard it first! Make sure you join by clicking the button at the bottom of this blog or by clicking here to like Dusk Gate on Facebook, so that you, too can hear breaking news!)
Thorns of Decision, Book Three in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, will be released on June 1, 2012!
And … today’s very special #SampleSunday has an excerpt from Thorns. Enjoy!
When the path reached a thick part of the woods, William suddenly led her several yards off of it, into a hidden stand of trees. She had no idea how he knew where he was.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked.
He didn’t answer; he just kept walking. About a hundred yards later, he put his finger to his lips and pointed.
At first, Quinn couldn’t tell what he was pointing at, but as her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light in the thick trees, the shapes became sharper, and a few feet ahead of them, nestled in a tree branch just above William’s head, she could see a nest. She looked at him in surprise, and he smiled.
He made a low chirruping sound, and a second later, a familiar feathered head popped out of the nest, shiny black eyes blinking at the two of them in interest. It was Aelwyn, William’s Seeker bird. He made a different low noise, and she rose from her spot, hopped neatly over the edge of the nest, and glided down toward him, landing only about a foot away.
Now it was Aelwyn’s turn to talk, and she made a strange noise, halfway between a squawk and a whistle. William laughed, and reached into his pocket, retrieving a package of beef jerky, which he opened and tore off a piece, holding it out to the bird.
Quinn had to smile at the intricate dance between William and the bird, as Aelwyn first turned her head away from the offering, and then reached to snatch it once he knelt down low to her. As soon as she’d swallowed it, she walked right up to him, butting her head against his pocket where the rest of the treat was hidden.
At that moment, there was a loud call from overhead, and then Thomas’ bird, Sirian swooped down and landed gracefully near his mate. William withdrew the meat from his pocket, and tore it unevenly. Aelwyn eyed him warily until he tossed the larger piece in her direction. Sirian waited until she had hers, and then accepted the smaller piece.
After a few minutes, the birds had warmed up, and were strutting comfortably around the tiny clearing, and both of them even allowed Quinn to stroke their smooth heads. Up close, she was always startled by how gentle they were around people, though they were quite large hunting birds.
Once he was certain that they’d both let their guards down, William stood again and motioned for Quinn to follow as he walked toward the tree that held the nest. They’d almost reached it when Aelwyn and Sirian suddenly simultaneously flew up into the nest. Quinn shrank back, startled, but William shook his head.
“It’s okay,” he said.
Inside the nest, the two birds chattered in voices that seemed somehow amiable, and then a moment later, four smaller heads peeked over the edge, their black eyes shining curiously as they turned to examine the newcomers.
Quinn sucked in a breath. “They’re beautiful,” she said softly.
Yes, I realize I’m a bit behind the times. Definitely had an off-week (or two!) in terms of posting and writing. Strep has been circulating in our little house, and I’m pretty sure it finally hit me yesterday. With a tired and cranky Little Goose who is already going through this lovely four-year-old phase of arguing and whining about EVERYTHING, I haven’t gotten much accomplished.
So, rather than coming up with some fever-induced topic, I thought I would share one of my favorite “November” books.
In November, by Cynthia Rylant
I have read this book to my second graders every year for the last several, this year I’m sharing it with my daughter and the preschoolers I teach at home.
This is a beautiful, richly illustrated book about the quiet magic of this time of year. The images Cynthia Rylant creates in the minds of her readers are priceless, and Kastner’s illustrations are perfect.
“In November, the trees are all standing sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancers. They know it is time to be still.” (p. 8)
If you happen to be a teacher, this book is a must for your classroom library (as are most of Rylant’s books). It’s also perfect for sharing with your little ones at bedtime if you’re a parent, and if you’re a writer, you should own it purely to study the craft of Rylant’s descriptions and the soft emotions she evokes with her words.
And … for those who are curious.
Book Two progress so far: 44,143
I very much want to break 50k this week!
What? Less than a week between blog posts? Crazy!
I’m worried that our leaf-jumping days might be over. After a beautiful day yesterday — nearly 80 degrees — the forecast calls for up to six inches of snow tonight. Yesterday, we spent a huge chunk of the day picnicking and playing at the park in the gorgeous weather. I am so not ready for snow. If I ever win the lottery (or sell a million books – you’d think the chances of this would be slimmer, but since I don’t play the lottery, they’re slightly higher), I am going to spend an entire month every winter in Australia. Besides the fact that it’s summer there in January, there are some really awesome people in Australia I’d love to see again.
I finally finished the first draft of Simon’s wedding in Eirentheos. I’m not happy with it yet, but that’s what editing is for. After two weeks of struggling with the whole thing, I finally figured out where Quinn, Thomas, and William were trying to take me (or get me to take them), and I’m really pleased with the direction of the scene following.
How many words did I write yesterday? 1,318
Book Two progress so far? 31,318
Onward … this week’s goal is still to reach 40k!
Sheesh, maybe I should change it to weekly writing progress. When the block hits, it hits hard! I should at least be blogging, though.
We have been having a great time around here … lots of fun preschool activities, scented pumpkins, real pumpkins, and play-doh! And the leaves have been
falling in earnest. We live right next to this lovely, tree-covered hill and there are thousands of delightful yellow leaves everywhere. Enough to rake up great, heaping piles, and jump into them, rolling, laughing and screeching.
It has certainly been fun. No, that isn’t actually a picture of our hill. I will post one soon, though.
So, I am finally at 30k, two weeks late. I think I may have finally broken through the issue I was having, so we’ll see where it goes. And my goal for the week? Hit 40k!
What fun fall things are you doing? Now that it’s Monday again, what are your goals for the week? How can we support each other in meeting them?
Okay, so last week was an utter disaster in terms of word count. I don’t know why. Maybe it was stress, probably distraction had something to do with it… and I think a big part of it was “incubation.” I had all these ideas of where the story was going to go… I’ve had it mapped out for a long time, but they needed time. Time to sit, to “incubate” before they were ready to hatch. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself.
Anyway, I spent the weekend in discussions and outlining sessions with my dear friend, and writing partner, Krysta Hunt, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back on track this week. Any magic sparkling writing dust blowing my way would be much appreciated. I am really going to try for 10k this week.
How was your week last week? Did you meet any goals? Anything exciting happen?
What are your goals for this week? Anyone else need magic dust?
Book Two current word count: 25,979
Total word count from Week Three: 4,146
How many words did I write yesterday? 1,105 Yay! I broke the 1k mark. All of my writing yesterday was done on the first chapter I have so far that’s told in William’s point of view. It was a lot of fun to get a glimpse of what’s going on in his head (and what a sweet guy he really can be, btw). I might have gotten more written yesterday, but the inspiration for writing this new scene came during my shower last night, and I deleted the rest of the day’s feeble efforts.
Book Two progress so far: 22,918
Book Two is now officially more than 1/3 as long as Book One.
How was your writing/work/goal day yesterday?
Well, last week was definitely more productive than the week before. Perhaps if I can continue the trend, I’ll get somewhere.
Grand total words for week two: 8,100
Week one was 6,341. So, definite improvement, but still not to my 10k goal. Still going to stick to that 10k goal and see where I can get with that, but I will be pretty happy if I can at least break 30k words this week.
The story is progressing nicely; some fun things have started happening. In the scenes I’ve been working on for the last couple of days, Quinn has been showing a side of her personality that I haven’t seen much of before. Thomas is … Thomas. He doesn’t know how to even pretend to be anybody else, and I love him for that. I can’t wait to see what happens this week.
Book Two progress so far: 21,883 words. Onward!
Since today marks the beginning of a new week, work-wise, anyway, what are YOUR goals this week? Writing, personal, or anything else counts!
Today was the “official” Book Release Party for Seeds of Discovery: Dusk Gate Chronicles Book One, and I have to say, I have the best family, friends, and readers in the world, and I feel truly blessed. Thank you so, so much to the wonderful people who came to celebrate with me over the book (and my housewarming and Little Goose’s (excessively belated) Fourth Birthday). Words cannot express how much I love and appreciate you.
So, it’s 9:43 P.M., and needless to say, I haven’t gotten any writing done today. I do hope to snag a few more words between now and when Little Goose either gets tired of playing with her new fairy costume, puzzle, and Color Wonder Markers, or when she starts throwing up from the 1,000 grams of sugar she ingested today.
Writing Progress – Week Two: Saturday
How many words did I write yesterday? 576 – Yeah, so a little distracted with party preparations, and then we spent the evening building a Playmobil school with my sweet nephew, Monty, and my dad, who makes an awesome “Papa.”
How many words have I written this week? 5,617 – Eh.
Book Two progress so far: 19,350 – Yup, still have not hit the 20k mark.
How are you doing with your goals this week?
So last night, as Little Goose and I were going to bed, she asked me, “Mom, how does everyone in the whole town know the word mean?”
A little startled by how profound she seems sometimes, and looking for clarity, I asked, “What do you mean, sweetheart?”
“I mean, how does everyone in the whole universe know what mean is?”
These are the questions that, as a parent, leave me gasping for breath. I don’t know the answer to that question. It’s one of the fundamental questions of being human, and what it means to make choices about what we do, and how we do it, and how we treat people. Of course, she’s four. She wasn’t looking for an existential discussion. (I dunno, maybe she was. She is my kid.) She may have just been stalling bedtime.
It is a big question, though. I know it’s one she’s been learning about, as she learns to deal with other kids and other people. She’s struggled with doing mean things herself lately, so I can see where the topic might have been on her mind. It was certainly a question I couldn’t just give her an answer to, not even one of the long-winded ones she sets herself up for sometimes. It’s a question/theme I could take an entire series of books to explore (and certainly one that just may make it into my current project).
Anyway, these are the thoughts on my mind this beautiful fall, Friday morning.
How many words did I write yesterday? 1,031 – Not as much as I would have liked, but at least I did break the thousand mark!
How many words have I written this week? 5,041 Halfway to my goal, anyway. Too bad the week is nearly over.
Book Two currently sits at 18,774 words. Today’s goal is to at least break 20k!
Is it Thursday already? This week has gone by so quickly. Two more days until a fun party where I get to celebrate my book release with family and friends. No, I’m not ready for the party, house or preparations-wise. But those who truly love and support me know that kind of thing about me, and that is going to have to be enough. If any of you have some fun party ideas or recipe ideas that I can manage in the next two days, though, send them my way.
How many words did I write yesterday? Thanks to the encouragement and advice of an awesome friend, fellow writer, and beta reader, Kristy K. James (really, she is incredible, click on her name to see her blog!), I am going to count the scene I wrote yesterday. Probably not all of it will really make it into the book (though, yes, Kristy, I will make a special edition, just for you – at least a Kindle one), but that’s okay. That is what rough drafts are for. So… yesterday’s word count? 2,313! Definitely better than a sharp stick in the eye.
Today’s beginning word count: 17,743 – The 20k mark is beginning to appear on the horizon…
How many words have I written this week? 4,010 – Still a long way to go to hit my 10k goal, though, and it’s already Thursday. Onward!