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How Much “Steam” is too much in Young Adult Literature?

Join me over at the “new” blog site to add your input in this discussion. :)

www.breeanaputtroff.net

While you’re there, go ahead and subscribe so that you know you’re getting notified of the latest posts and news! :)

Dusk Gate Character Interviews: Nathaniel Rose

I’ve been promising this interview for awhile. Since it’s my birthday today, I decided to carve a little bit of time out to get it posted.

Nathaniel was not nearly as excited about being interviewed for the blog as Thomas was, but he has graciously agreed to answer our questions. :) I’ll dive right in with the things that readers are dying to know. :)

For those who haven’t “met” Nathaniel, he is William’s uncle. He is a doctor in our world, with a small medical practice in Bristlecone, Colorado, and a healer in his own world who travels throughout Eirentheos (and sometimes Philotheum) helping establish clinics and impart some of the medical knowledge he has learned in our world, which is much more technologically advanced than his own world is.

Alyssa: How do you cope with being away from home for so long?

Nathaniel:  I’ve been doing it for a very long time now, so I’m sort of used to it. My life very much revolves around being able to pick up and go from one “life” to the other. I’m always very busy, wherever I am, so most of the time I don’t really have the opportunity to think about it.

Beth: Do you ever regret spending so much time in our world and wish you could spend more time in your own?

 Nathaniel: I don’t really know how to answer this question. On one hand, I’m extremely grateful for the time I’ve had to spend in your world. The things I’ve learned here and have been able to bring back to our world are amazing, and none of it would have ever been possible if I hadn’t had the chance to live here. On the other hand, I truly love my own world and wish that none of it would ever have been necessary. The life I “should” have had was very different, and I regret that circumstances were such that it didn’t happen. It is a wish of mine that things in my world would be restored to how they should be, and if that happens then I would return to my own world to live full time there with no hesitation.

Kristy: Have you ever considered staying in Bristlecone forever?

 Nathaniel: I’ve thought about what it would be like if I had to — if the political situation in my own world worsened to the point where it would be dangerous for me to spend time there. While there are many things I love about that world, and have even grown accustomed to, it would never be my first choice to stay there forever.

Sara/Jenni: Have you ever had a woman in your life/been tempted to settle down? (Actually, a number of readers are quite interested in learning if you’ve ever had any romantic exploits.) :)

Nathaniel: (blushing!) Um … I’ve always hoped that someday I would meet the right person and be able to settle down. Of course, balancing my life between two worlds doesn’t exactly make that easy. I don’t know if I could ever find a woman who I could share my secret with, and who would be willing to either deal with my being gone all the time or would come with me.

I have thought about it from time to time … and I’ve met a couple of women I wouldn’t have minded getting to know better, but so far nothing has really worked out.

Kristy: Will you go on a blind date with me?

Nathaniel: How do you feel about a horseback ride to Cloud Valley? ;)

Sara: How did you get interested in medicine?

Nathaniel: I am the fourth born child in my family, which means that the gift I was given at birth is “healing.” While there are many things this can mean, I knew from an early age that I wanted to work as a healer of people. When I first traveled to the other world and discovered the medicine there, I knew it would be my life’s work to use what I could learn there to enhance the healing practices in my own world.

Jenni: What are the best and worst things about having medical practices on two different worlds?

Nathaniel: Probably the best thing about having access to both worlds is truly having the ability to compare and contrast the different practices in the two. It’s maybe because our technology is so limited in my world that our healing is much more individually focused and more holistic. Care is very relational in my world. It’s also nice to be able to study the scientific and technological advances of another world and have the ability to incorporate the best of both worlds into my philosophy.

The worst part is that I’m never in one place long enough to really build up my own ideal practice. I’m always moving, drifting from one thing to another, so there’s never really the chance to build up the community and relationships that I would truly love to.

Kristy: Do you like tomatoes?

Nathaniel: It took me a while to get used to them, but over the years I have acquired a taste for tomatoes, yes.

Jenni: What is your favorite color?

Nathaniel: Green. For all of the challenges and difficulties I have faced, in my heart I will always be loyal to my real home.

 

Nathaniel has graciously agreed to answer any follow-up questions you’d like to ask in the comments. Comment below for a chance to win a “new and improved” paperback copy of Seeds of Discovery when it is released in the next couple of weeks! :)

Sentimental Saturday AND Thorns of Decision Cover Reveal

Ah, weekends. Time to spend time with my kiddo and catch up on the whole writing thing. And, of course, tackle the havoc that is my home after a long week. All I really want for my birthday (on the 23rd of this month, if you’re keeping track) is someone to just do one thorough clean-up of my house and fold my laundry for me. Is that too much to ask? :)

How do other single mommies with two-plus full-time jobs do it?

I did get a little bit of time to relax and celebrate last night, when I attended a special wedding. The beautiful, smiling and blushing bride was the little sister of one of my best friends from way back when.

My friend Beth and I were in eighth grade when her sister, Little Miss Jessi came into the world, and I remember clearly the night she was born. She was probably the closest thing I ever had to my own little sister, and I have these wonderful memories — when she first learned to talk, and would point to things that were interesting to her, calling out “Bo!” (we never knew what that meant.) The way she used to suck, not on her thumb, but on her first two fingers, until she drifted off to sleep and they fell out. The time we took her to the mall when she was a little over a year old, and all she wanted to do was crawl UP the slanty floor. Resorting to trickery, we called out “Bye, Jessi” and the little stink turned around, waved “bye” at us, and proceeded on her merry way.

Beth and I were co-leaders of her Girl Scout troop when she was a little older, and we had some fun times with those girls.

And now … last night she married the love of her life, and will soon be off to Germany with him, on his first deployment in the Air Force.

I know it shouldn’t be such a surprise to me. I’m all “growed up” now, and I have a little girl of my own, who grows much too quickly and will be five next month. The first two classes of fourth grade students I taught are adults now themselves, graduated and in college. Married, some of them. Even some babies. And I don’t know where it all went, but it reminds me of how precious the time is, how quickly it all goes.

And it’s wonderful at the same time — seeing Jessi so happy, hugging her in her wedding gown, seeing what a fine young woman she’s grown to be, and — even though I don’t know him well — seeing what a sweet, loving young man she’s picked out. Knowing that it’s true, that REAL teenagers and young men and women still exist in the world. That it’s not all as crazy and horrible as the media — and the rest of us, sometimes, would like to make it out to be. Sometimes, it’s magic.

 

And speaking of magic … thanks to my awesome cover designer, Mallory Rock at Novel Publicity, I can share the big reveal … the new cover for Thorns of Decision, which releases in just under seven weeks! June 1, 2012.

 

Dusk Gate Chronicles News

I know I’ve been a complete slacker about the blog lately. I’ve been knee-deep in other projects with the writing — editing Thorns, re-formatting Seeds and Roots for new hardcover versions, and lots of other little things. The blog is definitely what suffers. Something has to give. :) If you’re ever wondering what, please feel free to drop me an e-mail, or stop by on Twitter or Facebook.

But since I have been slacking, I’ll make up for it with a couple fun news items.

First, Seeds of Discovery is FREE on Amazon today. Stop by and pick up your copy if you never have. If you don’t have a Kindle, remember that you can always read it on a free Kindle app, AND that it’s DRM-free, so you can easily convert it to epub or PDF to read on any e-reader you’d like.

Second … speaking of other formats, Roots of Insight is now available at Smashwords, and in the next few days, you’ll be able to pick it up at Barnes and Noble and other retailers. And, as a bonus, use this coupon code at Smashwords checkout for a 25% discount:  XD57C  The code is good through April 15.

And the last bit of news, I will be interviewing Nathaniel for the blog on Friday. Please comment below with questions you’ve been dying to ask Nathaniel! :)

An Interview with Prince Charming

Nine weeks from today – June 1, 2012 — is the official launch of Book Three in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, Thorns of Decision. In celebration, several of the characters have agreed to be interviewed here on the blog, and to answer some of the questions you may have about them.

Never one to shy away from attention, Thomas has graciously agreed to go first (or else, possibly, he pushed me into it). :)


I have some questions for him, and there have also been readers writing in, both here on the blog, and on the Facebook page with questions of their own. ;)

Me: Let’s start with the basic things. What is your full name?

Thomas: Really? That basic? (smiling) My full name is Thomas John Rose.

Me: Do you have any nicknames?

Thomas: (the twinkle in his eye is visible, dear readers) Most of the time I go by Thomas. But, aside from Crumple ChampionBest Brother in the Kindgom, Prince CharmingSwordsman Extraordinaire, The Older, and Better-Looking Twin, and Supreme Potentate of Emma’s Tea Parties, my siblings often call me T.  I refuse to acknowledge anyone who addresses me with any other shortened versions of Thomas.

Read the rest of this entry

Lucky 7: Lines from the 7th Page

Tonya tagged me in this fun meme, and I’m happy to play along. :)

Here are the directions:

  1. Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript
  2. Go to line 7
  3. Copy down the next seven lines (sentences??) as they are – no cheating
  4. Tag 7 other authors

My current manuscript is, of course, Thorns of Decision, which is due out June 1st. I have started initial writing on Book Four, but it’s definitely not ready for public viewing yet. :)

So here you are … this is from page 7 of the Word document — I don’t yet know what will be on page 7 of any other version. :)

“No, he doesn’t.”

“But I can’t tell him the truth!”

“Not all of it, anyway.”

She blinked. “What do you mean?”

“Okay, so obviously you can’t tell him everything. But maybe we should think of what parts you could tell him that are true.”

At that instant, the small black phone sitting next to her buzzed. The tiny sound seemed strangely ominous. Quinn jumped away from it as though it might somehow bite her.

So … guesses? This conversation is between Quinn and ? Who are they talking about? :)

Comment below if you don’t yet have a digital copy of either Seeds of Discovery or Roots of Insight. In keeping with the “7″ theme — the first 7 people to ask can have a copy of the book of their choice, in the e-format of choice (Kindle, .epub, or .pdf — basically any e-reader or computer).

Oh, and, nope, you don’t have to have the right answer to win — just ask!  But play along for fun, anyway? ;)

Now for the tagging! I can’t wait to see seven lines from some of these folks. :)

  1. Kristy K. James
  2. Cara Michaels
  3. Morgan Dragonwillow
  4. Danni Menard 
  5. Jayrod Garrett
  6. Steven P. Watson
  7. Lillie McFerrin

A Little Treat…

In celebration of finishing the first draft of Thorns of Decision, I’ve decided to share a little snippet with you all! :)

Here is a short sample of the very first scene in the third book of The Dusk Gate Chronicles (releasing June 1, 2012).

Enjoy!

The loud knock on her bedroom door set the fierce anger rolling in Quinn Robbins’ chest again. “What?” she yelled; knowing, but not caring, that her voice was too harsh.

Her mother opened the door and came in, barely seeming to notice the way Quinn sat, rolled up in a ball near her pillows, still in her pajamas, even though it was nearly noon.

“I’ve decided you’re not grounded from your phone,” she said, setting the small, black object on the nightstand. The little notification light blinked furiously. “You need to use it to call Zander yourself, get things figured out with him.”

She raised her eyebrows at her mother. “What did you tell him?” Last night, in the car, as they drove home from the river, her mom had told her that she had ‘explained things’ to Quinn’s boyfriend, but Quinn had no idea what that meant, and her mother wouldn’t elaborate further.

Megan Robbins’ gaze was just as steely as it had been since last night, and she looked Quinn in the eyes when she spoke. “I told him that Dr. Rose had had a family emergency, and that since you were becoming good friends with William, you went along for support.”

Quinn’s eyes popped open wide. “That doesn’t even make any sense!” Of course, it was eerily close to the truth … but that was the problem. The truth didn’t make any sense.

“Well, if you have a better explanation, you’re welcome to share it with him. I’m headed down to Denver to pick up Owen and Annie from Richard and Denise’s.” Megan turned and left the room, closing the door behind her with an audible clunk.

Quinn only barely resisted the urge to pick up the phone and hurl it at the door. Instead, she flipped it open and began scanning through the messages – all forty-six of them. Almost every message was from her best friend, Abigail, or from Zander, although there were three from her mother, left on Thursday evening, just after Quinn had disappeared.

She opened the first one.

Where are you sweetie? Zander just called and said he saw you leaving work.

Oh. So Zander had seen her running away from the library with William? She closed her eyes, trying to remember that evening, which seemed so long ago. Of course, nearly three weeks actually had passed for Quinn, even if it had only been just over two days for her mom.

Still, even if Zander had seen her, it didn’t explain how her mom had known where to find her, how she had been at the bridge to meet her last night when she’d come back from Eirentheos. Quinn had disappeared for two whole days without a word, and she’d come back to find her mother, not panicking as she’d expected, no police officers searching the river, or even dropping by her house for a chat. No, instead, her mother had been sitting, perfectly calm on a boulder near the gate, just waiting, as if she knew exactly where Quinn had been.

Okay, so calm wasn’t the right word. Her mother had been furious, livid, as she still was today. But she hadn’t been worried, even in the slightest. And this was the source of Quinn’s anger now.

Not that she had wanted to worry her mother – actually she’d spent long hours during her time in Eirentheos fretting over what she thought she was putting her mother through. She hadn’t meant to disappear for so long without saying a word, it had just happened. When William had told her that Thomas was missing, she had just gone, without thinking about the consequences.

But coming through the gate to find her mother there, patiently expecting her return from an alternate world had rocked Quinn completely to her core. What was going on here? How? How did her mom know about the gate? What did she know?

Last night in the car, Megan had refused to answer any of Quinn’s questions, and even more disturbingly, she hadn’t asked any. She’d sat there in the driver’s seat, stone-faced for the whole drive. When they pulled into the garage, Megan had turned to Quinn.

“I explained things to Zander and to Mrs. Williams for you, so you still have a job. I picked up your stuff from the library. The perfect attendance at school you were so worried about is blown on that unexcused absence, though. You’re grounded from your phone, from everything.”

“What do you mean? What did you explain?” Quinn had asked. But Megan had just climbed out of the car, slamming the door behind herself, and gone into the house. When Quinn had gone inside, she discovered that her mother was locked in her bedroom. After several failed attempts at knocking and yelling through the door, Quinn had gone into her own room. She had wondered where her little brother and sister were when she’d seen their empty rooms.

The phone in her hand buzzed loudly, and then began to play a tune that sent an electric jolt through her. It was Zander, again. She stared at the screen, at the picture that had popped up of the two of them, Zander’s arms around her shoulders, his cheek close to hers, both of them smiling widely. She almost answered it, but it stopped ringing before she managed to make her finger move over to the answer button. She waited for several minutes, but there was no notification of a voicemail message.

She sighed, and then picked up the phone again. Unable to force herself to call Zander back, she dialed the number for Nathaniel Rose instead.

“Hello?” The voice that answered was immediately comforting and familiar. Her fingers stopped trembling so much.

“William?”

“Quinn? Is that you?”

“Yeah.”

“Hey, what’s going on with you? Are you okay?”

“I … I think so.”

“What was all that at the bridge last night? Why was your mother there?”

“I don’t know. She just drove me home and never told me anything. I’ve never seen her that angry before, but I don’t think she could possibly be as mad as I am. Now, she’s gone. I guess she took my little brother and sister down to Denver sometime this weekend to stay with their grandparents, and she went to go get them.”

William was silent on the other end of the line; she could almost see the look he would have on his face — confused, thoughtful.

“Did Nathaniel say anything to you? My mom didn’t seem too surprised to see him coming out of the gate, either.”

“No. I asked him if he knew what that was about, but he said it was between you and your mother.”

“What is that supposed to mean? Is he there?”

“No. He went into work really early this morning, and he was going to try to spend the day getting things set up for Thomas to go somewhere for the surgery. He was gone before I even woke up.”

“Well, crap.”

William chuckled, and then his voice grew serious again. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“No. I’m not sure about anything right now. Everything is such a mess.”

“Do you want to come over, and we could talk here? I’m not so good at this phone thing. This is probably the longest conversation I’ve ever had on one, actually.”

That made Quinn smile. “Sure. Give me half an hour?”

“I’ll be here. I’m doing homework – you might want to consider bringing yours along, too.”

“You would be thinking about homework at a time like this.”

He laughed. “I’ll see you in a little while.”

As soon as she snapped her phone shut, she made a mad dash for the shower. The days of traveling in the rural areas of William’s world had made her very efficient at getting ready quickly. She wasn’t sure if she was supposed to leave the house, or if being grounded from “everything” besides, apparently, her phone, meant she was allowed to use her stepfather’s car to go somewhere today, but after a few seconds of consideration, she decided that she didn’t care.

Somehow, her mother knew about the gate that led to William’s world. Even more astonishing was the fact that she had known that’s where Quinn would be. How? What did her mother know that Quinn didn’t? And worse, why was she keeping it from her?

Within ten minutes of hanging up with William, Quinn was in the small mudroom that connected the garage and kitchen, looking for her keys. As she reached for the small ring that hung underneath a bulletin board in the room, one of the papers tacked to the board caught her attention.

She recognized it immediately, and it sent a cold chill down her spine. Her mother had gone through her backpack? It was her most recent World History test, the first paper she’d ever gotten a grade lower than a B – and usually she was disappointed with those. The big, red ‘D’ on the top glared at her mockingly. Even worse, was the thick, black circle drawn around the letter, and the words, written in her mother’s perfect penmanship: ‘What is THIS?’

The fury welled within her chest again, rising into her throat and nearly choking her. The shaft of the thumbtack ripped a straight line up the center of the page as she yanked it from the display. She shoved it into her backpack, which was hanging nearby on a peg, the zipper wide open. Throwing it over her shoulder, she grabbed her keys and left.

#wordmongering for the win! :) And Seeds of Discovery is free!

I know I’m supposed to be putting up a Twitter Tuesday blog. It hasn’t been the week for blogging for me, though.  I have been busy writing — the rough draft of Thorns of Decision is complete, and I am in the process of finding beta readers to help me begin the hard work of shaping it into something actually readable. :)

In the meantime, for today and tomorrow (March 13 & 14), Seeds of Discovery is free on Amazon! Grab a copy for your Kindle, or Kindle App on your computer or smartphone.

If you happen to have a different kind of e-reader, please know that Seeds of Discovery is DRM-free, and can be quickly adapted to a different format for free, using a program like Calibre (which is also free). Once you convert it, you can download it onto your Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, or whatever you have. :)

If you need help figuring it out, please let me know.

Roots of Insight will be available for sale in all formats sometime in mid-April, and Thorns of Decision will also be on all formats from the first day it’s released, on June 1, 2012.

If you are interested in being a beta reader/early reviewer for Thorns of Decision, please leave a comment or e-mail me! :)

Twitter Tuesdays #5 More About Hashtags and Columns

So, the last time I did a Twitter Tuesdays post, I got several comments and messages from people, both on the blog and off, who, until then had NO IDEA you could do columns and searches with hashtags. And really, if you’re struggling to learn how to use Twitter, or you’re trying to build a platform and still feel like you’re fumbling in the dark, it is kind of life-changing news.

Keep the comments and questions coming, guys — I really would like to be as helpful as I can in my limited scope here. :)

Again, my posts now for the most part presume that you are using TweetDeck (if you’re not using TweetDeck or another app that you like, such as HootSuite, check out my post on why I recommend using something like TweetDeck.

Another question writers (and others who build platforms on Twitter) have is — “How in the heck do you keep up with your stream?”

I follow over 1100 people. I don’t keep up with everything in the stream every day. I do try to browse through the full stream a couple of times a day to look for interesting new things, but it’s definitely the part of Twitter I neglect the most. Once I find the interesting stuff, I use columns, hashtags, and lists to help me keep up with the rest.

Hashtags

I’ve already discussed these a little bit.  A hashtag is a little way of categorizing things on Twitter so that others can find it. One really important thing to know about hashtags, is that if you include one in your tweet, ANYONE who searches that hashtag can see your tweet, even if they’re not (already!) following you. Using hashtags, therefore, can make your tweets that much more visible and powerful (if done correctly!)

For example. I’ve already told you that #wordmongering is one of my very favorite hashtags. I LOOOVE these people, and am thankful everyday for the two awesome people who created it, and got it going. So I have #wordmongering saved as a column in my TweetDeck. I created the column by clicking the little + sign in the upper-left corner. When the search bar popped up, I typed #wordmongering, and then, like magic, I had a whole column filled with #wordmongering tweets!

Now, whenever someone tweets anything with the #wordmongering hashtag, I see it, whether I follow them or not. (And usually, if they like #wordmongering, I follow them!)

This same technique works with any hashtag you see someone tweet. If you see someone in your stream type a hashtag you’re unfamiliar with, but it looks interesting, ASK! Include the hashtag when you ask, too, so you might form a quick connection with someone new. It might look like this:

You: So @personIfollow, what is #wordmongering?

Someone new: Oooh! #wordmongering is a great group of folks who write for 30 minutes at the top of each hour, then post word counts and cheer each other on!

Person you follow: Want to join?

And the next thing you know, you’ve made some new friends and become a bigger part of the Twitter community.

Did you KNOW people CHAT using hashtags?

It’s true. Because of the nature of being able to search using hashtags, oftentimes, people use particular hashtags to create chats. These can be REALLY awesome, because they’re like a huge world-wide conference call in which anyone who adds the hashtag to their tweets can participate! The chats can be a bit harder to find, because they usually run on a schedule, but again, if you’re lost ASK!

So again … take a week (or two, I know it was two weeks — I was writing, which is better than blogging! I logged over 10k new words on Thorns of Decision last week.  Besides — have you SEEN the new covers?) and practice searching for new hashtags, making columns, and interacting with folks. :)

For Writers Especially:

Here are a few more hashtags you might like to try. And PLEASE, if you have others that you love, leave them in the comments.

  • #amwriting
  • #writingsprint
  • #myWANA
  • #writechat (On Sunday afternoons, particularly)
  • #FNTWP (Only on Friday evenings, but check it out!)
  • #row80
  • #wip500

A Final Plea …

Once you’ve learned how to harness the power of hashtags, it can be a little tempting to use them gratuitously as a way to get your message across. PLEASE be respectful of hashtag communities and what the “rules” are inside them. DON’T use hashtags to spam. It won’t work, and it will likely get you blocked by people (who might otherwise have liked you and eventually bought your book/product/whatever).  For example — #wordmongering is for people who want to WRITE together. Don’t hit them up with BUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOKBUYMYBOOK #wordmongering. They won’t.

Besides, if you look around long enough, you’ll find plenty of #hashtags that are fine places to spam er, market … ;)

It’s Not All Just Because I’m Getting Old …

It is probably mostly because I’m so often distracted, as so many of us are, between working and writing and marketing, and doing the single-mommy thing. There are so many little things that slip my mind sometimes, or the day just gets away from me.

But sometimes it’s nice to have a little reminder that lots of these things are just part of being human.

And the laugh is nice, too. :)

Tonight, my sweet Little Goose was getting herself set up to play in the living room and watch some shows, so she came and got her little bowl of broccoli from me, and I saw her, with the remote to the Roku tucked under her arm. A few minutes later there’s the whine — the kind only a four-year-old can properly muster. “Mom! What did you do with the remote?”

“Moi?”

“You had it! What did you do with it?” It was the kind of pout you can see from the other room.

“Little Goose — I just saw you with it.”

No … you put it up somewhere earlier so the babies couldn’t get it!”

“And after that, sweetheart, you had it. You were just carrying it. I saw you.”

“Well then where did I put it?” Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Back to the kitchen.

I started giggling. Immediately.

What? Oh. It was in my hand the whole time.

Fortunately, she has a great sense of humor.

And her mom’s skills at multi-tasking.

 

 

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