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#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! 🙂

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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.

 

Twitter Tuesdays #2

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.

Privacy Setting:

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.

Tweeting

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! 🙂

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. 🙂

Five More Days! :)

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!

Roots of Insight … 9 more days!

Just for fun … here’s a little tease from Roots of Insight. 🙂

 

“Look, William … I have no idea what he was thinking. But you can’t just be mad at me and ignore me forever. What in the world is going on with you that you can’t even be bothered to say hi or have a friendly conversation with me in the hallway? I thought we were going to be friends. You agreed. You promised. And now, what? You’re going to be mad at me forever for something that wasn’t even my fault? You’re not even going to give me a chance to explain? You’re just going to punish me? Not even help me out and take care of my arm? What am I supposed to do?” Tears streamed down her face in earnest, dripping off her chin and landing on the front of her shirt. She couldn’t be certain, but she thought her nose was running, too.

William stared at her, looking shocked. He didn’t say anything for several minutes, he just stared.

Now that she was up close to him, she noticed for the first time that he didn’t look right. His face was paler than she had ever seen it, and there were dark, nearly black circles under his eyes. His eyes themselves were bloodshot.

When he finally spoke, his words were not in response to anything she had said. “Thomas is missing.”

The book she had been holding fell to the floor with a resounding thud. A cold chill ran up her spine, making the hair on the back of her neck stand up straight. “What?”

 

Don’t forget to enter the contest for a $10 gift certificate to Amazon. (That’s enough to pick up both Dusk Gate books and a little something extra!)

And I’m still looking for bloggers and authors who would like a little free cross promotion! Comment below or e-mail me at breeanap@gmail.com

Getting close …

The release of Book Two – Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight is getting closer … 17 more days! 🙂  In celebration (and because I’m too busy preparing for the release and doing the wonderful Christmas thing with my sweet Little Goose to be very creative with blog posts), I’ve decided to re-run some of the awesome reviews and posts others have done.

Really, I don’t know where Seeds of Discovery would be right now if it hadn’t been for some of these folks who were willing to take a chance on a new book and then share their thoughts with the world. One of the very best things that has happened as a result of publishing Seeds of Discovery is the amazing new people it has brought into my life. Just as wonderful, is the few “old” people I’ve been able to reconnect with as a result of the book as well.

Merry Christmas to all of you, and thanks for being on this journey with me!

And here is a re-post of my very first video review … thanks so much to S0rceress0! Please don’t forget to check out her awesome blog review site, E-Book It Reviews

So, um … Santa?

 

Just sayin’ …

I might actually start freaking out here …

 

The last few days have been pretty exciting around here in book land. 🙂 Well, exciting in that teeny-tiny fish in the big huge ocean that is Kindle books on Amazon kind of way.

As you know from my previous post, I had been experimenting with using my free promotional days on Amazon, and it was going pretty well. Really well, actually. In the end, Dusk Gate: Seeds of Discovery made it all the way to being the #72 best-selling free book on Amazon.

The promotion expired at midnight last night, Pacific time, and my fun little book is now back among the ranks of paid Kindle books on Amazon. And I’m still having trouble staying in my chair today, because …

Well, let me start with a comparison. Last week, before the free promotion, Seeds of Discovery had been consistently ranking somewhere above #200,000 in the paid rankings on Amazon all of this month. And before today, the highest it’s ever hit has been somewhere in the high #20,000.

Today? Well … right this minute, it is number 2,270 overall.

It is also #41 in Contemporary Fantasy.

And #84 in Children’s Science Fiction and Fantasy … yes … 83 books below The Hunger Games.

We’re celebrating here tonight. It’s a small celebration, sure, but big for me! 🙂

And a huge, enormous, monumental, earth-shattering, THANK YOU to all of you who have supported me, and read the blog, and taken a chance on picking up the book. The success is really yours.