Category Archives: #SampleSunday

A Party

Here’s another little treat for you, as the date of release looms closer … 🙂

The dining room looked beautiful tonight; the tables were draped with purple and silver tablecloths, and enormous bouquets of purple and white flowers occupied the center of each one. Servants darted in and out near every guest, filling glasses with a thick, sweet juice that Quinn didn’t recognize. Soft music drifted through the room from a small group of musicians set up in the corner.

Everyone chatted amiably, nibbling on a mixture of roasted nuts and dried berries from silver bowls that sat between every two people. She noticed that nobody touched the glasses of juice, though, so she left hers alone.

Quinn had eaten the nut-and-berry mix before; it was a sort of appetizer that appeared before fancy dinners here in the castle. Although most foods here at least resembled things she was familiar with at home, there was one very unusual kind of berry in the mix, an odd green with an irregular shape. At the first couple of dinners she had attended in Eirentheos, she’d been afraid to try them. At Simon’s wedding though, Thomas had convinced her to taste one, and after that, she’d been hooked. Nothing in her own world compared to them.

Now, between polite conversations, she found herself surreptitiously digging through the bowl, looking for those green ones. She was just reaching for the bowl a third time, when William nudged her softly with his elbow. She looked up at him, abashed at being caught, but he only winked and dropped a small handful of them on her plate.

The heat flowed through her chest again.

After a few minutes, Stephen smiled at William, and then he and Charlotte stood. A hush fell over the room immediately.

William put his hand on Quinn’s knee then, and, heart beginning to flutter again, she looked up at him and smiled, placing her hand over his.

Thomas had a good response to his interview this week. Who do you think we should hear from next? 

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Linnea

Okay, since I’ve been such a slacker about new posts lately, I’ll give everyone a special sample today. 🙂

Linnea is one of my favorite characters, and in Chapter Six of Thorns of Decision, we finally get to hear some of the things she’s been thinking in her own POV. 🙂

Enjoy … let me know what you think. 🙂

Linnea sighed as William and Quinn followed her father down the hallway, wondering what in the world was going on now. She’d been waiting as patiently as she could for them to return, and now there was something else going on that she wasn’t a part of.

She raised an eyebrow at how closely her brother walked behind Quinn, almost as if he were ready to catch her if she stumbled. She’d seen the subtle way that things had changed between the two of them when they’d first brought Thomas home from Philotheum, and she wondered how much more things had changed while they were in Quinn’s world.

After Philotheum, Will had no longer kept his distance from Quinn – no longer spouted off his ridiculous assertions about “letting” her get “too involved” in their world, that by being torn between the two worlds, she’d get hurt in the end. As if any of that was up to any of them, anyway. She’d met Quinn. That girl was going to do what she was going to do.

Not that he was fooling anyone in the first place. Linnea and Thomas had spent countless evenings gossiping about it while Will was in Bristlecone, and wondering when he was going to wake up and realize how he really felt about Quinn.

It had been obvious from the first night the girl had arrived at the castle. Careful, observant, meticulous Will not noticing that a girl was following him closely enough to find the gate? Right. Really, it had been clear that something was up with this girl from the first time he’d ever mentioned her.

He’d talked about girls in Bristlecone before, come home and told everyone stories about the ones who tried to get his phone number, or who asked what he was doing over the weekend. That question was always good for a laugh around the fire in the evening, because wouldn’t the unfortunate girl be surprised if he told her the answer? “Wanna come over to dinner with my family in a different world? I’ll bet you’ve never been inside a castle before. Don’t worry – I’ll take you back home after we keep you for a couple of weeks.”

But when Will had first brought up Quinn Robbins, said he’d noticed her around a lot lately, and he’d been wondering if she was watching him, it had been different. When Thomas had teased him about his “new secret girlfriend,” Will hadn’t laughed. He’d been defensive of the girl – insisting that she was only curious, not like the others – that she didn’t have a crush on him.

And once they’d all met Quinn, and seen William around her, it had become quite clear that he truly wasn’t worried that she had a crush on him. Although he’d never admit it even to himself, his real worry was that she didn’t.

In the next week or two, I’m going to be looking for beta readers for “Draft Two” of Thorns of Decision. If you think you might be interested, send me an e-mail. So far, I’ve had some awesome beta readers who have really helped shape the big questions in the story into something stronger, I think. If you’ve already beta read, and you want to do some more, you’re in. Otherwise, please know that I do give preference to beta readers who have reviewed the books on Amazon and/or Goodreads.

In the Woods

 

Yes, I’ve run this sample of Thorns of Decision before, but it’s been awhile, so I thought I would share it again. 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 an enormous nest. She looked at him in surprise, and he smiled.

He made a low chirruping sound, and a second later, a familiar gray-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.

New Cover Reveal …

So, I didn’t intend to announce this so fast, but I’m too excited not to now … Seeds of Discovery is getting a face lift! 🙂 The last five months with the Dusk Gate Chronicles have been a really fun and fantastic ride, and now things are about to get even better! 🙂

After a lot of thought and work, I’ve decided that soon, probably before the release of Thorns of Decision, I am going to be pulling the paperback versions of both Seeds of Discovery and Roots of Insight. They will be collector’s items (if anybody collects these kinds of things.)

They will be replaced by brand-new hardcover versions!  And both will have completely new covers as well.

Seeds of Discovery is getting a big re-design on the outside, and a smaller one on the inside. While the story itself is not changing at all, some scenes inside will have some new elements, going a little more in-depth with some of our favorite characters.

Anyway … time for the big cover reveal. Thanks so much to the talented Mallory Rock over at Novel Publicity! 🙂

What do you think?

Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday) And An Announcement …

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!)

Ready?

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.

Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday)

Happy Sunday everyone! If you’re looking for new and entertaining reads, head on over to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #SampleSunday. You’ll find all kinds of interesting stuff every week. 🙂

Here’s my first February contribution. 🙂 An excerpt from Seeds of Discovery, which is on sale for just 99 cents through Valentine’s Day at Amazon!

Don’t forget, during the month of love, to spread some love to your favorite authors by leaving them reviews on any review site you frequent, especially Amazon, Shelfari, and Goodreads. Authors appreciate every single review, even if it seems like they already have many.

 

When she reached Maggie’s house that afternoon, Zander’s familiar truck was sitting next to the curb. When she pulled up behind it to park, she could see the outline of Zander’s head through the rear window; he must have arrived just before her. She pulled her keys out of the ignition and then hesitated, suddenly nervous about seeing him. She took an unnecessary minute to check her cell phone for text messages she might have missed. Small words flashed in the corner of the screen, “NO SERVICE.” Quinn sighed. One bad thing about living in a small mountain town was the unreliable cell phone service.

Finally composed, she took a deep breath and reached for the door handle. She nearly jumped out of her skin when the door opened on its own. Zander was standing there, grinning.

“Hey, Quinn,” he said, reaching for her hand to help her climb out.

“Uh, hi, Zander. Thanks.”

“Sure,” Zander smiled cheerfully, but he didn’t start walking to the house. He stood there for a long moment, looking like he wasn’t sure what to say.

The nervousness that Quinn had started feeling in the car was growing.

Finally, Zander spoke.

“Quinn?”

“Yeah?”

“I wanted to ask you something.”

“O….kay?”

“Will you … I mean, would you like … would you like to go to the Valentine dance with me?” he said the last part in a rush, in a hurry to get the words out.

Quinn was stunned. Did she want to go to the Valentine dance? With Zander? Maybe she did. “Um, I can’t dance, you know,” she stalled, trying to regain her composure.

Zander chuckled, “Neither can I. It could still be fun, though.”

“Um, okay…” shoving her hands in her pockets so he wouldn’t see them shaking, she choked out her answer. “Sure.”

She watched Zander’s eyes widen, “You’ll go with me?”

“Yes, I’ll go with you.”

Zander’s face lit up with a smile that did strange things to her insides… She had to work to catch her breath as she walked with him up to the porch.

 

Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday)

It’s Sunday again, and today I’m sharing another excerpt.

This time, it’s from Seeds of Discovery, which is the first book in the Dusk Gate Chronicles. This scene is the first moment that Quinn actually decides to go for it — she closes her eyes, and steps into the nothing over a broken bridge.

Quinn gasped. The broken end of the half-missing structure was no longer broken, and it no longer ended. Instead of the disintegrating, broken concrete-and-stone edge, a wide stone walkway arced across the entire river. Cautiously, she put her other foot forward. The stone and mortar that should not have been there held firm. She spun around, ready to run back down the stone steps, but the sight stopped her cold.

The sun that should have been directly in front of her had moved, and now dipped below the tree line far to her left, casting strangely long shadows that cut obtrusively across the landscape. Even in the fading light of the irregular dusk, she could see that everything was different. Where the rocky riverbank should have sloped up to the highway, there was now a vast expanse of trees and open fields. Lights from unfamiliar buildings glimmered and sparked to life in the distance.

Slowly, Quinn let her eyes scan the area around her. The river was no longer a rocky, mountain creek underneath the bridge. Now, a wide expanse of water flowed lazily between the bush-covered banks on either side.  Downstream, the river continued uninterrupted to the southwest but seemed to widen significantly just past a break in the tree line. The view upstream was the most shocking. Instead of sloping up into the familiar peaks of the mountains she had seen all her life, a long valley spread out before her, sparsely populated by stands of trees and varieties of grass and wildflowers. In the distance where the horizon began to merge with the night sky, Quinn could just make out the outline of a thick forest.

“Now you’ve done it.” The sound of the voice below her jolted her like an electric shock. In the same instant that she registered the frowning face of William Rose, Quinn stumbled and fell down the steps at the end of the bridge, right into the bushes.

 

 

In case that interested you, Seeds of Discovery is on sale at Amazon right now, for just 99 cents. You can also read the first three chapters of this book by clicking on the Dusk Gate Chronicles link at the top of this page. 🙂

Sample Sunday (#SampleSunday)

Happy Sunday, everyone. 🙂 Thanks for reading and following along. For those who don’t know, on Sundays, on Twitter, you can follow along with the hashtag #SampleSunday as authors post samples and excerpts of their work. It’s a great chance to find some new authors you like and find fun new things to read.

I’ve decided I’ll start participating in a new way, too, by posting #SampleSunday excerpts on my blog. 🙂

Here’s the first one …

An excerpt from the middle of Roots of Insight.

She stood there, still as a statue, consumed half by a paralyzing mixture of terror and anger, and the other half by another emotion entirely. Though she was rigid and unmoving, his arms still wound around her back, holding her tight. “We can’t think like that, Quinn. We don’t know what’s going on; let’s not make this worse by jumping to conclusions. Let’s assume, for now, that we’re okay. That she’s hidden us only for our safety, and we’ll find out what this is all about later.”

She swallowed, trying to get past the fear and aggravation. Her fingers trembled. It wasn’t working, trapped here in the dark and silence.

“It’s going to be okay,” he murmured against her hair.

She snapped. “Since when are you so Susie Sunshine about everything?”

He was absolutely still for just a second, before his entire body started shaking, in great, heaving motions coming from his chest. She was startled, confused, and then the silence was broken by his snorting, and the laughter overtook her, too.

Once she started laughing, she couldn’t stop, and it was clear that neither could he. They both stood there shaking, trying to keep quiet, trying to stop, but every time one of them calmed down enough to take a breath, the other would snicker, and it would start all over again. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, her stomach was aching, and she could hardly breathe, but the laughter kept coming.

Finally, finally, she managed to pull in a breath at the same time he did. They clutched each other’s arms tightly, trying to regain control. They hysterical giggles kept threatening to break through, but at last they were calm.

William softly cleared his throat. “Only one of us can freak out at a time.”

She nodded. “Agreed.”

And then, somehow, his lips were against hers. Softly, at first, his bottom lip grazed her top one. She knew, in the part of her brain that was still capable of rational thought, that she should have been surprised by this, but it wasn’t thought that drove her now. Her mouth responded on its own, as did her hands, reaching around him, clutching the back of his thin shirt.

He pulled her body closer with one hand, the other finding the back of her neck, under her hair, his fingers gently caressing, twining in her hair …

There was a loud thud directly overhead. They jerked apart, as if shocked by a jolt of electricity. After an eternity, his hand found hers again, squeezing it tight as they listened to the footsteps crossing the floor above.

 

Don’t forget, you can always check out more samples from the Dusk Gate Chronicles by clicking on the menu bar above. You can also check out the books on Amazon by clicking on the pictures of the book covers to your right. Happy Sunday! 🙂