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.
Okay, you’ve now had a week to play around with Twitter, check it out, and get to know it a little bit. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my previous Twitter Tuesday post.)
Today I’m going to talk about setting up your profile, privacy settings, and sending out tweets.
Your Twitter Profile
Your Twitter profile is exceptionally important, and something you should work on immediately, if you haven’t done so already.
Once you’re logged into Twitter, you can click on your username, and it will take you to your profile page. The first thing you need to do is upload a picture. If you are an author, or anybody else trying to build any kind of a platform, I cannot stress enough the importance of putting a real picture there. AT THE VERY LEAST, use some kind of recognizable logo.
Even if you’re just casually using Twitter and messing around to see how it works, upload a photo of some sort, so you don’t get stuck with the weird-looking egg.
Here, also, you can choose to put your real name, your location, and your web address, if you have one.
Then it’s time to write your bio. This may be your first encounter with writing things “Twitter-style.” You have 160 characters to tell the world about yourself. That’s counting spaces and periods. If you went to college back when I did, it’s time right now to learn to quit double spacing after periods (it turns out you’re not supposed to do that anywhere anymore, anyway!)
Write whatever you want here. If you’re coming to Twitter to meet people for a specific purpose — like because you’re an author, MENTION THAT. If you’re a teacher, and you want to meet other digitally-minded educators, SAY SO. People read these when they’re looking for new people to follow.
The vast majority of folks on Twitter do not use any privacy settings whatsoever, aside from not putting sensitive information in your profile, and blocking particular users.
It is possible to hide ALL OF YOUR TWEETS from anyone you haven’t approved (followed). It’s a little box you check on the settings page that says “Protect My Tweets.”
I don’t think there’s any point to this option. I really don’t. If you only want to communicate with certain people, it’s a lot easier to set privacy controls on your Facebook page, or stick to e-mail. You will never, ever, be able to use Twitter to its full potential if your Tweets are protected, and most of my upcoming Twitter Tuesdays posts will be useless to you.
Whenever you post a message, or a status update, or really communicate on Twitter at all, it is called “tweeting,” and the messages are “tweets.”
When you’re ready to send out your first tweet, click in the little box that says “compose tweet” and write whatever you want to tweet about. You have a limit of 140 characters.
I was on Facebook the other day, and one of my friends posted asking “What is the difference between sending a Tweet and posting a status on Facebook?”
The answer? When you’re a Twitter newbie, posting your first tweet — maybe there isn’t a whole lot of difference. 🙂 Except, there is a difference. You don’t HAVE to post a status update. Twitter is a living, vital stream, filled with millions of people who all have the potential to be awesome in your life, even if you’ve never met them before. Post a status message if you’d like, but you can also ask a question! You can say “I’m new here, what do I do now?” 🙂
Of course, the first issue you’re going to run into is that nobody is following you yet, so nobody will see your question. 🙂
So … send a message instead. You can send a message to ANYONE ON TWITTER at anytime, by simply typing @theirusername anywhere in your tweet.
Try it! You can tweet to me if you’d like. It might look like this Hey, @bputtroff! I’m new here. Help!
Or read a few tweets that are in the stream from people you’ve already followed, and reply to one. Have fun, be silly if that’s your personality. Tweet @personI’venevermet That peanut butter sandwich sounds good. Did you save me one?
Jump right in. You’ll be surprised at what a welcoming place it can be, and how quickly you’ll find some kindred spirits. (And if they block you because you asked for a peanut butter sandwich, well — they’re not your kind of tweep, anyway.)
Your assignment this week is — get your feet wet. Unblock your privacy settings if you had them blocked, and start sending out tweets into the Twittersphere. Be silly, be serious, ask questions. And keep following new people. Celebrities, sure, but also make an effort this week to use the search feature to find some real people who are interested in the same things you are, and send tweets to a couple of them — even if they’re not following you (yet!)
I’ll be back next Tuesday to cover another important Twitter issue — Re-tweeting! (And I might cover Direct Messages, too!)
If you have any special questions about Twitter, be sure to let me know in the comments!
Until then … Happy Tweeting! And … if you send me a tweet this week, I’ll make sure you have at least one follower! 🙂
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! 🙂
To celebrate today, I invite you to pop over to Better Read than Dead, where Kristin has posted an awesome review of Seeds, and you can join the giveaway, too!
If, by chance, you already have a copy of Seeds of Discovery, and that giveaway wouldn’t do you any good… leave a comment on Kristin’s review mentioning that fact, and I will put your name in a hat to win an ARC of Roots of Insight! 🙂
Also, don’t forget to enter the drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card by clicking HERE.
I’m still looking for a few good bloggers to help me out with the scavenger hunt that begins on Monday — and a few authors who might be interested in donating e-copies of their fantastic books as prizes.
So far, we have some great hunts lined up! You can join the party, too!
With ten days to go until the launch of Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight, I’ve decided to have a little fun with it! 🙂
With a little help with some friends, especially Kristy K. James, and Tonya Cannariato, we are going to have a fun release party! 🙂 Starting on release day, January 9, 2012, we’re going to have a blog hop scavenger hunt. You’ll be able to go to various blogs to find and answer questions and win prizes!
If you’re a blogger (of any kind!) or an author, I’d love to have your help and participation! Just leave a comment below, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
I need blogs willing to post questions and answers for the scavenger hunt, and authors who are willing to give out e-copies of their books as prizes.
There will also be other awesome prizes like Amazon e-gift cards, and e-copies of Seeds of Discovery and of Roots of Insight! Hopefully it will mean some extra visibility for your awesome books and blogs, as well.
If you’re a blogger, and you might also be interested in hosting a guest post, a Dusk Gate character interview, a review of one of the books, or anything else, I’d also love to have you! (And, we could work out some other awesome prizes for any of those). Any blogger willing to host ANY of this, will receive free e-copies of both Dusk Gate Chronicles books (including Roots of Insight before release day).
If you’ve made it this far, to start the fun, I’m running a giveaway of a $10 Amazon gift card. You can enter as many times as you’d like, between today and January 8th, the eve of the release. ANYONE can enter, blogger, author, or the most amazing people of all — READERS!
Just click HERE to find out how to enter!
I’m starting to get excited. Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight releases in just 11 days. That’s right. On January 9, 2012, you’ll be able to read more of Quinn’s adventures in Eirentheos. (Of course she’s going back. Twice, in fact.) 😉
As a treat for those who follow my blog … here is an excerpt for you to enjoy today. 🙂
She gasped when she saw the three small, colorful stones in his hand. She had found them near the river on one of her first days in Eirentheos, the first time she had gone horseback riding with William and his brother and sister. She had put them in her pocket, intending to bring them home to give to Owen, who collected unusual rocks. But they had been forgotten when she’d packed to leave the castle in a rush.
“Mia found them when she was cleaning your room. I thought you would probably still like to have them.”
She nodded, a sudden lump in her throat as she thought about “her” room in the castle, and Mia, the kind servant who had taken such diligent care of her. She picked up the stones and rubbed her thumb against them. They were smooth, like marble.
“And this is from me,” he said, holding out another small object. “I figured you might like to have a little something to give to your little sister, as well.”
Quinn was stunned. The object was a small horse, expertly carved out of soft, Eirenthean wood. She examined the tiny details carefully. “It’s Dusk,” she said in surprise. Dusk was the horse that William’s mother, Queen Charlotte, had given to Her to ride during her time in their world.
“Yes, do you like it?”
“You carved this?”
He nodded, “Nathaniel says carving is good practice for surgery and stitches.” His eyes followed hers down to the inside of her right leg, where he had stitched a cut after she had fallen on the night she had followed him through the gate.
She swallowed hard. “It’s beautiful, thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” He looked up at something over her shoulder. She turned and followed his gaze.
She hadn’t noticed how many people had come into the hallway during her conversation with William. Watching them, from a few feet away, was Zander. Though his eyebrows had been knitted together as he watched them, his eyes lit up when they met hers.
“You’d better go,” William said quietly.
She nodded, “Thank you so much.”
“You’re very welcome.” His eyes were soft as he closed his locker and headed down the hallway.
Also, to help celebrate the launch, and make next week go more quickly while we wait, I am doing my first-ever blog tour!
Check back starting next Monday, January 2nd for details about the blog tour! And be sure to follow along at the blog sites for reviews, interviews, character interviews, giveaways, and more!
So, it’s two days after Christmas, and many, many of you have been enjoying and downloading all of the awesome e-books out there to your new e-reader. Such good times! 🙂
But… some still haven’t taken the plunge and picked one up, or you don’t have someone to buy you one. That does not mean that you have to be left out from all the joys of e-books!
(author’s note … some of this is a re-post from earlier this year)
Here is the fabulous thing. E-Reader Apps do EXACTLY the same thing as an actual e-reader (except for the part where it stays charged for a month and looks like real paper). Yes, when I forget my Kindle at home (it does happen), I just pull out my Android phone, open up the (free) Kindle App, and pick up reading my book wherever I left off on my Kindle. When I’m on my computer and trying to do twelve things at once, and one of those things involves an e-book, I open up the (again, free) Kindle App, and resume my delicious reading.
Although I do not own a Nook, things work pretty much the same way. If there’s a Nook book I want, I buy it from the Barnes and Noble website, and read it on a (FREE, people, FREE) Nook App on either my computer or my Android phone.
There are Kindle and Nook (and Kobo, and Sony, and, and, and,) Apps for pretty much any platform. You can enjoy your e-books on any kind of smartphone, I-Pad, I-Pod touch, computer, notebook, tablet. Basically, if you can get on the internet with it, you can read an e-book. The first e-books I ever bought and read were on a Palm Pilot (back before smartphones when those things were really cool).
So, if you don’t have an e-reader, go ahead and take the plunge. Open up the Android Marketplace, or the Apple Store, or Amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com, or kobo.com and download yourself a FREE e-reading application. Then use it to start perusing the amazing selection of digital books out there. The best part? Many, maybe even most, e-books are significantly less expensive than the paper versions. You can even find lots of books, both new and old, that are … wait for it … FREE!
Amazon keeps lists of the top 100 FREE books in every genre, every day, updated hourly. You’ll never run out of reading material again.
And … you’ll be able to pick up a digital copy of Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight on release day, January 9th. 🙂