Monthly Archives: August 2011

13 Days … the Countdown Begins!

Hello most awesome family and friends in the world! I really do appreciate all of you taking the time to stop by and read about what I’m up to. 🙂 I realize that right now, most of the people reading this are folks who actually know me, and I am more grateful to you than you will ever know.

For those of you who are joining me and we’ve never met in person (yet!), welcome and thank you!

Things have (of course!) been crazy busy around here, but so incredibly awesome. The launch date for the e-book version of Dusk Gate: Seeds of Discovery is September 6, just 13 short days from now! On that date, start looking for it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and a few other places … I’ll have more details soon!

The launch for the paper version is tentatively set for early October.

Of course, in the meantime I am working on the big move, finishing up all of the final polishing of the book (Kudos to my amazing, fantastic, wonderful *insert all of the positive adjectives you know here* editor, Tonya Christensen!), and still trying to learn how to use Twitter, and a Facebook page, and this whole blogging thing.  My mind is spinning, but with the most amazing energy and love that I have felt in years.

So, in honor of the impending launch, I am announcing a contest! (I haven’t won a contest since I was in kindergarten … it turns out that it’s more fun organizing a contest than participating in one, for me at least — your luck may be better than mine!)

The Prize: A brand-new Kindle with Special Offers!!

The Contest: Interact with me! (Yes, of course it’s to build my social platform. Writing a book is an artistic activity, selling it is another goldfish).

For each of the following activities your name will be placed into a drawing (a real one … not the kind of “drawing” teachers sometimes have to decide who gets to come on a field trip “Guess what, Mrs. AwesomeMom, I drew your name!” *blush* just kidding – I never did that).

  • Comment on a blog post tagged in the “Dusk Gate” or “Writing” categories
  • Follow me on Twitter @bputtroff, and @ mention me in a tweet that says “Free Kindle” or “Seeds of Discovery”
  • Tweet one of my blog posts. (make sure to @ mention @bputtroff)
  • Retweet one of my blog posts. (make sure to mention @bputtroff)
  • “Like” my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/DuskGate (Those who have liked it prior to this post already have 2 entries!)
  • Post a link on Facebook to any of the following: my blog, my Facebook page, my Twitter profile, or a link to buy the book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble (after the 6th). Tag me in the post so you’re sure I get it!
Okay, that’s enough for tonight! But make sure to check back during each of the next 12 days until the launch, because I will be adding new contest details, new ways to enter, and other special treats. The Kindle will be awarded as soon as I sell the 50th e-copy of the book (Hey, I have to pay for it somehow!)
In the meantime, check for tonight’s special treat – I’m going to be posting Chapter 2 under the Dusk Gate tab!
Love you all!
Me
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Trying to Blog, I Really Am!

Every time I am trying to go to sleep, or driving in the car, I have all of the great and wonderful thoughts about the next truly amazing blog post I am going to write. (I know, I know, there would have to be a first amazing one before there could be a next, but humor me). And then I get to the computer and *poof* they’re gone. This is why you get the posts you do, sorry. And yes, I did try the whole notebook-and-pen in the bedside drawer thing that I’ve heard for ages writers are supposed to do.  Well, it was a pen and an envelope. The first three pens were out of ink, and the only actual notebook/journal is the one I’m keeping of memories and events for Little Goose, but you get the idea. So today I retrieved the envelope, and read my notes … and had no idea what any of them meant.

I don’t do things like other people do them. 😦 I am so not an “indie” because it’s a kinda cool thing to be right now. In fact, it will probably go completely out of style the second I figure it out. I’d apologize to all of the rest of the awesome indie folks for ruining the fun, but really, you’ll move on to the next great thing first.

On the home front, it has (of course) been a crazy week.  We’re now getting ready for the big move, which had a considerable slowdown when we were hit by a big, nasty, stomach flu bug early in the week. I’m still catching up on the laundry from that one (hehe… nice to have an excuse this time!) It’s been a big week in other mental/emotional ways as well, but I’m not quite at the point where I’m ready to share those thoughts publicly yet.

What I would like to share right now (because these thoughts are ALWAYS the top ones in my head) is thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my amazing family and friends (new and old, near and far) who have been so kind as to share likes and retweets and other such virtual hugs in support of the upcoming release of Dusk Gate: Seeds of Discovery. This has truly been one of the most inspiring and exciting times of my life, and even if in the end the book only sells four copies, it will have been worth this fantastic ride that I’ve been able to be on lately.

And to Krysta Hunt … you will never, ever know how intensely grateful I am for the support you have provided to me thus far … from knowing Quinn, William, Thomas and Xander as well as (and sometimes better than) I do — for being able to live inside Eirentheos with me, for being the genius behind getting through the scenes with Tolliver, to, gosh, there is just no limit to the wonderful things you have been doing,  … YOU ROCK, LADY. And the years we spent apart make me sad.

Anyway, sorry it’s disjointed, and thanks for reading if you made it this far. Time now to put Little Goose to bed (yes, I already tried that, but it didn’t stick, so now I must go cuddle with her).

Love,

Me

Calm is Under-Rated

Seriously, I don’t think that there’s ever going to actually be a time that my life is calm. Even accounting for the fact that I am the proud mother of an active four-year-old, and my definition of calm has changed… my life still never matches that description. On Thursday evening, I decided I have to move.

Now, I’ve contemplated moving before, but decided against it, because the place where we live looks completely perfect for us – it’s a nice, two-bedroom townhouse with a full basement, an attached garage, and a small patio.  It’s also located in the middle of a beautiful, enormous courtyard, filled with shady trees, a huge swath of smooth concrete that isn’t a walkway, and a big gazebo.  Lovely. It’s quiet and calm here, and my rent is incredibly reasonable.  I have a great landlord who takes care of any issues promptly.

Perfect. Until Thursday.  On Thursday evening, my landlord brought over three notices he had received of my violating the HOA covenants.  Now, I’ve violated the HOA once before, and that was bad enough.  My crime? “Storing” a milk-delivery cooler outside my back door on my (private, personal) driveway.  I should have known then.

My three violations now?  a.) Watching some kids here during the summer. b.) Using (washable) sidewalk chalk on the concrete. c.) Allowing my child and her friends to ride tricycles and scooters on aforementioned wide swath of concrete (which apparently serves no purpose.)  There are benches and trees scattered about the concrete — it is not a walkway.

My four-year-old basically cannot play at her home.

So, we found a new home today, and we will begin the crazy, long process of moving, which will be completed on or before September 15.  In the meantime, I am distracted and haven’t been able to focus for the last couple of days on the things I really want to.  The new situation should be much better for us in almost every way, except rent-wise, so please pray for provision for us.

Also… any moving help would be greatly appreciated!

Once we’re moved, I’m throwing a big party.  The new place actually has its own little yard, but we’ll  also back up to a fantastic greenbelt AND an enormous lake and park.  We’ll celebrate with a combination housewarming-book release-SUPER late 4th birthday party for Little Goose.

Yes, you’re invited. 🙂

Forward Motion

I have to keep telling myself that “forward motion” is going forward, even on the days when it’s slow going. 🙂  I got almost nothing writing-wise accomplished today because my router died, or at least I’m pretty sure it did. My laptop’s ability to connect with the internet has been spotty at best for the last couple of days, and the Roku has been having problems as well.  I was finally able to make it out of the house to by a new router this evening, once I was down to only the three kiddos who are here for the night (one who lives here, two who needed to be here so early tomorrow morning that tonight counts).  There was zero chance of stepping out for a new one earlier today with those three plus a two-year-old and a baby.

And yes, I know I could have gotten some writing done without the internet connection… but there were those five kids here all day, and I spent way too much of the very limited internet access I was able to manage with the needs-to-be-put-out-of-its-misery desktop researching where I could find an incredibly inexpensive replacement if the internet issue haunting the laptop happened to be worse than just the router.

Thank you, God, that things seem to be working fine with the new router (and thank you double, triple, maybe even quadruple that Dan stopped by with Kacie to say good-night to the girls just as I was having a crazy difficult time getting the new network up and running!) Maybe tomorrow will be a little bit more productive.

On the awesome note of the day, my brother got back to me with a few text messages’ worth of feedback on Dusk Gate, and aside from some good constructiveness on where he would have liked more (the ending, everyone wants more on the ending)… he called it “thought-provoking, entertaining, and detailed” and then called my details “captivating, like Ayn Rand’s style.”  Which I will take as a compliment. 🙂  Especially because, even though he’s my brother (maybe because he’s my brother), if he thought the story was crap or un-enjoyable, or even just not his style, he would have told me that.

Regression

Well, no. The momentum on Book Two hasn’t lasted.  I have been doing serious editing on Book One, and I have gotten lots of great feedback so far.  Much, much love to my beta readers! You guys are awesome! I love that Dusk Gate has already brought some fantastic new people into my life, and also helped me to really reconnect with some wonderful people I’ve known for a long time. Have I said it before? I love being a writer.

I am really enjoying figuring out the Twitter thing, and blogging, and … yeesh!  I am tired tonight. So tired that I’m not sure I will finish this post. 🙂 The “schedule” of life around here lately has been so crazy and out of whack. A routine is my new high priority! Because of this, and all of the crazy/great/wonderful/new things going on lately, I think I only slept about three or four hours last night, broken into chunks.  Had a new kiddo start today, a sweet, adorable little guy I already love.  Of course, we’re not in a routine together yet!  And my other semi-new guy was a tad jealous and clingy over the newcomer, of course… before today he never wanted me to pick him up so much!

Of course, all of the changes are most challenging for Little Goose, who is having to learn to share, and deal with kids younger than her who get into things, and snuggle with her mommy, and put things in their mouths, and require diaper changes.  It’s a learning process for all of us, and all new endeavors are marked with fits and starts, progressions, and regressions.  Little Goose, for her part, put a couple of things in her mouth at the store tonight, and wanted baby food for a snack after dinner. The gross ball at the store got ixnayed very quickly, but I did buy her some baby food for a snack.  She loves the apples and plums (it tastes like applesauce!), and ate most of the pureed carrots she picked, too.  I figure it’s a small price to pay to help with the transition.

And it’s made me think of how much people don’t change. How in some ways, we’re all still four years old when it comes to big changes and new challenges and expectations.  Some days, we rejoice and revel and we’re on top of the world. Other days, it would be nice if we could curl up on someone’s lap and “eat baby food.”  I know, without a doubt, if I had fought Goose over the baby food issue that I would have heard about it every night for the next month, and the times I’m feeding the baby would become less and less agreeable. Other behaviors would probably have manifested as well. Instead, I decided to try and be as patient with it as I could, and I went with it. While I imagine she might still ask for some of the flavors she really does enjoy, the baby food issue will probably pass rather quickly just from acknowledging her need and trying to gently meet it. (Don’t for one second believe I’m always that patient or centered about these kinds of things!)

It makes me wonder though, how things might be different if we treated ourselves with that kind of patience and latitude when we need it as we deal with our own progressions and regressions. If we stopped, acknowledged them for what they are, and tried to meet the need. How would we be different?

Hello world!

So, after hours and hours of reading blog posts, following people on Twitter, participating in #blogchat, and who knows what else (when I should be unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, and doing laundry), I’ve decided to try transferring my blog to WordPress. Who knows if I’ll keep the change, but there are things about the blog on my Homestead site that I am just not loving – the sharing and following capabilities are just not there. And as I’m paying for the hosting there… well. I have to try new things before I really know what I’m doing, I guess.

Anyway, I love all of the people who have been reading my blog.  Let me know what you think of the change.  I do take what you guys think seriously!  Some of you have been at this a lot longer than I have. 🙂

Friday, Friday …

Crap! Now I have that ridiculous song stuck in my head… not sure I’ll ever forgive Dan for introducing me to that one. 🙂

My momentum today hasn’t been what I wish it would be – still have almost 400 words to go before I hit my goal, but I did do some editing too.  I’m stuck at a point right at this moment where I can’t decide if I should do something or not, so… I’m procrastinating. Spent a good deal of my evening on #FNTWP (Friday Night Twitter Writers Party) chatting with some amazing people, and practicing my newfound mastery of the hashtag.
And here is the thing, I LOVE writers. Oh, yes I do. I love writing, and I love my characters, and I love the people I have already met in the short time that has been my journey so far. People who get it, and support each other in their ups and downs, and their maybes and might-bes. They don’t need to see (or make!) someone else fail just to feel good about where they are right now.
 Ten years ago, teaching was like that a good chunk of the time. It isn’t anymore, and I’ve missed this feeling so much. This over-the-top fun, exuberant, happy-to-be-where-I-am feeling.
Anyway, this is probably a disjointed and nonsensical post, but I’m just happy right now. Now if only I could get Xander to make up his mind about whether he’s going to pop into the library or not…

Good Guys and Bad Guys

So, today I was really thinking about the concept of heroes and villains in stories. My story, of course has both, and I like the heroes much better.  It turns out that some people like the villains better, and I can see how they would be more fun to write sometimes. Certainly I’ve seen actors who in real life are sweet, wonderful people, and yet they do a fantastic job at playing a bad guy in a play or a film.

As a writer, I’m pretty sure that one of the reasons that bad guys and their scenes are difficult for me to write is that I rarely read them.  It’s true.  I have a terrible habit of skimming through those parts of the stories, trying to get to the part where everything is okay afterward. I do glance through them, but it isn’t a thorough reading.
I fast forward through those parts of movies, too, if I’m watching them at home and I’m alone.
So lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading where I really pay attention to those parts, trying to figure out what exactly it is in those parts that make characters (and readers) tick.
Today the theme that caught my attention is an incredibly common one – somewhere around the climax, the hero finds himself in a position to either kill the villain while he’s down, or save his life.  It’s everywhere… almost every single Disney movie, Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, many, many stories.
It drove me insane when I was little “Kill him now, idiot! He’s going to come right back and kill you if you don’t.”
Now, especially as I’m writing, and I have to figure out how to deal with my “good guys” and “bad guys” in the grand scheme of things, I have to wonder about some of these ideas.
Is that what makes someone a hero? That they wouldn’t sacrifice anyone (except themselves?) Is self-preservation the definition of villain? If so… which one am I? Would I save my enemy at the expense of myself?  What if the stakes weren’t life or death? What about when it’s just someone you don’t like at work, and things would go more your way if they were gone, not dead, just somewhere else, for your benefit? What if it’s your noisy neighbor being evicted? The guy who dumped you in high school getting dumped?
These are the things that keep me from my afternoon naps. 🙂

Momentum Might Be Returning…

Sometime in June (I can’t find the card atm), I set a goal for myself of 1,000 words a day, no excuses.  When I first sit down to begin writing each day, I write the date on an index card, and the number of words currently in my manuscript. Once I reach 1,000 words more, I get to put a little star next to the number. On the rare occasion I write 2,000, I get to put a second star.  If I go over, that’s awesome, but it doesn’t count toward the next day. Later, if my word count reaches what it should have reached by a certain time, I can put a checkmark on the day I missed, but the opportunity for a star is lost.

Silly, I know.  But the system of goal-setting worked miracles for my momentum, and I finished the rough draft of my manuscript for Dusk Gate on July 16. My writing is definitely at its best when I’m writing at a speed of at least 1k a day… that’s when the magic starts happening, and my characters take over and make decisions for themselves. (Yes, I am a lunatic, why do you ask?)
After the sixteenth, I got wrapped up in revisions and edits and beta-readings, and website building, and lost my momentum for continuing the story in Book Two. By the end of July, I had only 596 words of it written.
So I started fresh on August 1. Dutifully wrote down 596, and tried to write. Didn’t make it. August 2 started at 904, tried to write. Didn’t happen. August  3 and I’m finally getting somewhere.  I started the day at 1,430, and I’m currently at 3,767.  That’s two stars, and two checkmarks.  I’m crossing my fingers that this means the momentum is back!

Quiet

It’s awfully quiet around here today. The Fantastic K left with Papa this morning to head back to Nebraska, taking with her about 100 books she helped clean from my stash last night. Papa says she’s enjoying them in the car.  We miss her already, but the quiet is kind of nice too.  No other kids are here today, and Little Goose is enjoying getting to play all of the games her way, make whatever noises she wants, and pick out all of the television shows.

For me, it’s time to get back to writing, revising, and marketing. Book Two is currently 904 words long, which is already behind my goal… 1k a day starting yesterday.
Thanks to all of you who have read my website and or commented so far.  I appreciate and love you all.  Contests soon for e-book giveaways for Dusk Gate: Seeds of Discovery!