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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.

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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 … 😉

Twitter Tuesdays #4 and Happy Valentine’s Day!

So — (shocker alert!) I’m a little late in getting my Twitter Tuesday post up this week. 🙂

It’s also Valentines Day, and I’ve been having lots of fun with the kiddos — we made valentines with lots and lots of stickers and sparkles and poofs! My dining room looks like a litter box for fairies.

Also, I’ve been writing, a lot. Thorns of Decision has grown by over 8,000 words since Saturday. The middle is usually the hardest and slowest part of writing for me, so this has been good news! 🙂

But I did promise a post about a VERY IMPORTANT, and very misunderstood/underused topic on Twitter. The Almighty Hashtag! 🙂

I know you’ve seen them. Hashtags are everywhere these days. Movies, books, businesses, they all end their posts with a little hashmark # and the name of whatever. (If you HAVEN’T seen it, they look like this #DuskGate or this #TwitterTuesday).

A hashtag is a way of categorizing things on Twitter, so you can find people who are talking about the same things you are. If you enjoy, for example, reading about the Twilight books, or news or whatever, you can go to Twitter and type #twilight in the search box. You’ll get a whole column of things related to Twilight. Some hashtags are far more prosperous and useful than others.

Hashtags are a constantly changing and fluid thing on Twitter. There is nothing actually formal about them, they are simply a way to search. People often use hashtags on Twitter that they’ve just made up #becauseIlikeinventinghashtags.

But, if you master the art of the hashtag, you will open up a whole new world for yourself on Twitter. Especially if you use a program that gives you columns (see last week’s post about the magical columns!)

If you are new to Twitter, you probably haven’t found all that many people to interact with (or you’ve found them, but they don’t seem to have heard you). Hashtags can change all of that. There are entire communities built up around certain hashtags.

For example, one of my favorite communities on Twitter is #wordmongering. I keep a whole column of TweetDeck dedicated to #wordmongering ALL THE TIME.

(If you’re a writer who needs motivation to be productive, by the way, the #wordmongering community is fan-freaking-tastic. They’re people who start writing at the top of each hour, write like mad for thirty minutes, and when they’re done, tweet their word counts back to #wordmongering and cheer each other on.)

Here’s the TweetDeck Tip! At the very top of your screen, right next to the yellow “post an update” button, is a “plus” sign. Click it, and it will create a new column, and a little search box will pop up. You can type a hashtag in that box, and then all of a sudden, you will have a whole column in TweetDeck dedicated to just following that hashtag. You can have as many columns as you’d like.

Now, whenever I include the #wordmongering hashtag in my tweets, everyone who follows #wordmongering will see it — whether they personally follow me (yet!) or not. Now you’re having the conversations that lead to meeting people on Twitter you’ll wish you’d known your whole life.

Try using some hashtags this week. Find a community that looks fun and start chatting in it. I promise you’ll love Twitter even more.

If you’ve read this far, I have some Valentine’s Day love for you. The first three people to comment and ask for it, can have their choice of a free e-copy of either Seeds of Discovery or Roots of Insight, your choice, in whatever digital format you prefer. 🙂

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! 🙂

Winners All Around

Wow! Has it been a busy week! Between launching Roots of Insight, running the scavenger hunt, and beginning the writing of Book Three in earnest, I’ve been busy. Oh yeah … I’ve also started watching a sweet new baby in my 50-hour-a-week day job. (Anyone want to do my laundry? 😉 )

The winner of a $10 Amazon gift card,  a gift pack of e-books by Kristy K. James, and your choice of an e-copy of either Seeds of Discovery or Roots of Insight, as determined by Random.org, is …. Megan from Hardcover Feedback! Thank you so much for participating!

Check this space later this week for another chance to win! 🙂

And now, for another winner … Me?

I’ve said it before, and at this rate, I’ll find the need to say it a million more times. The writing/blogging community is

A-MA-ZING. 

The people I have met, and the stories and articles I’ve read in the last six months since I really started to make a go of this thing absolutely blow me away. The support and the love I’ve felt in this community … I can’t even begin to describe. Those of you who really know me know that a year ago at this time, I was miserable. Writing, and being a part of this community has changed all of that. I am thankful every day.

A week ago, Kristy K. James passed on my first-ever blog award — The Versatile Blogger award. 🙂 And then, in the time it has taken me to get this post up (I’m busy! And for those of you who are dying to know — today I’ll pass 15k words of progress on Book Three, and the one beta reader who’s seen it so far says it’s her favorite yet) …

Anyway… in that lag time, I’ve actually been given this award not one, but two more times. By Lillie McFerrin, (@LillieMcFerrin) and Steven P. Watson (@AshViper), two amazingly talented writers who so very frequently keep me motivated and going over at #wordmongering.

There are some rules I must follow in accepting the Versatile Blogger award, so here goes. 😉

1. Thank the blogger(s) who gave it to you. Kristy, Lillie, and Steven – you guys rock my world every single day.

2. Share 7 random things about yourself. (Do I ever share anything about myself here that’s not random?

  • My daughter shares a middle name with my grandmother, who was the person in my family who inspired me to write. Someday, I’d love to share some of her poetry with the world.
  • My favorite cereal is Sweetened Wheat-Fulls by Mom’s Naturals (like Mini-Wheats, but without chemicals). They’re so popular in the house that we sometimes go through 3-4 boxes a week.
  • If I ever get rich from writing (this used to be my lottery dream, but since I don’t play the lottery and I do write, and getting rich from my writing carries about the same likelihood as winning the lottery — it’s a new dream), I will spend at least a month of every year in Australia, right in the middle of our winter and their summer. An entire month of writing on my laptop, and drinking beers by the barbecue with my dear friends, Kylee and Mellisa, while we listen to our girls chatter to each other in their beautiful different accents. It’s a good dream.
  • Even if I never get rich, I’m going to save up enough money to have an Australian summer like that at least once.
  • I have a thing about brushing my teeth. If I think about it, I have to do it, or it drives me crazy. In fact … I think I’ll go brush them right now. 🙂
  • I cannot handle having long fingernails. Manicures are a waste of time on me (but a gift certificate for a pedicure is a perfect gift for me — my birthday is April 23). I chop off fingernails without mercy, even when I can’t find my nail clipper and have to use the baby one. I’ll even do a hack job with the toenail clipper (I wash it first.)
  • I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order, from memory, without singing the song. And lots of other weird things, too.

3. Nominate other bloggers you love for the award and share it with them. (Okay, it’s supposed to be 15, but a lot of the bloggers I love have already passed around this award, and I’m still new at this!) But here are some of my favorites! 🙂

Thank you so much everyone. Hope it’s a wonderful week for you all. My goal this week is ambitious — I want to break 25k words on Book Three. It’s working title is Sprouts of Decision. 🙂 (All title suggestions welcome at this point!)

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

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.

Number one Contemporary Fantasy and Children’s Fantasy

Wow! This has been a whirlwind day … a whirlwind month, really.

I just realized that I haven’t blogged since right before Thanksgiving, and I know that’s bad, LOL. In reality, a lot of it is because this is a challenging month for me personally, and it wasn’t long after Thanksgiving that another family member of mine passed away, and my thoughts have been in a jumble.

So, rather than post about my random introspection, I’ve been focusing my efforts on Dusk Gate. 🙂 Book Two is written! There will be some heavy editing over the next few weeks, and then it will release on January 9th! Some of you who have been helping me with my Amazon promotion of Book One will be receiving free advance copies!

In case you were wondering … the official title for Book Two (since, unfortunately, I can’t call it Book Two forever) is … *drumroll* Dusk Gate: Roots of Insight.

And now for the really big news…

Yesterday, I put Seeds of Discovery up for free on Amazon, intending it to be a one-day promotion. But when the day was close to over, the book had hit the top ten in both the Contemporary and Children’s Fantasy categories. So, I thought, what the heck. I’ll leave it free for another day, and see what happens.

Number. One. No, seriously. As of this exact moment — 10:07 P.M., the book is the number one bestselling free book in both of those categories. And, if I can actually type this without falling out of my chair … it’s #103 in free books overall on Amazon.

I am amazed and grateful and shocked, and a million other things right now. Oh, and my house is a TRAINWRECK because every single time the kids were happily absorbed today, you can guess what I was probably doing. LOL.

And, um … the book will be free tomorrow, too. 🙂 Tell your friends. (please!)

Daily Writing Progress, Week Five: Monday

Sheesh, maybe I should change it to weekly writing progress. 🙂  When the block hits, it hits hard! 🙂 I should at least be blogging, though.

We have been having a great time around here … lots of fun preschool activities, scented pumpkins, real pumpkins, and play-doh! And the leaves have been

falling in earnest.  We live right next to this lovely, tree-covered hill and there are thousands of delightful yellow leaves everywhere. Enough to rake up great, heaping piles, and jump into them, rolling, laughing and screeching.

It has certainly been fun. 🙂  No, that isn’t actually a picture of our hill. I will post one soon, though.

So, I am finally at 30k, two weeks late.  I think I may have finally broken through the issue I was having, so we’ll see where it goes. 🙂  And my goal for the week? Hit 40k!

 

What fun fall things are you doing?  Now that it’s Monday again, what are your goals for the week?  How can we support each other in meeting them?

Daily Writing Progress, Week Four: Monday

Okay, so last week was an utter disaster in terms of word count. 🙂 I don’t know why. Maybe it was stress, probably distraction had something to do with it… and I think a big part of it was “incubation.”  I had all these ideas of where the story was going to go… I’ve had it mapped out for a long time, but they needed time. Time to sit, to “incubate” before they were ready to hatch. At least that’s the story I’m telling myself. 😉

Anyway, I spent the weekend in discussions and outlining sessions with my dear friend, and writing partner, Krysta Hunt, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back on track this week.  Any magic sparkling writing dust blowing my way would be much appreciated. I am really going to try for 10k this week.

How was your week last week? Did you meet any goals? Anything exciting happen?

What are your goals for this week? Anyone else need magic dust?

Book Two current word count: 25,979

Total word count from Week Three: 4,146