Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Another Sneak Peek of Timeloopers Book Two

Here’s another sneak peek of Timeloopers book two. I’m 40,000 words into it (about 2/3). Make sure you’re on my email list to get an email when it comes out. You can sign up here, or at the end of this post.

Iris trudged at the back of the group, wondering if she could just slip away without anyone noticing, when Cory fell into step beside her.
   “I think it’s Dante,” he muttered. “I think he took the batteries out of the smoke alarm in my cabin.”
   “You think he’s going to try to hurt you?”
   “I don’t know.” Cory chewed his lip. “He’s been acting really suspicious though.”
   “Yeah, but he always acts suspicious.”
   “This time I have a feeling about him, though. I think it’s him.”
   “Déjà vu?”
   “No, just a feeling. Just keep your eyes open, okay?”
   Anchored to a cliff a hundred feet above the water, the zip-line takeoff platform looked out over the entire lake, the dense forest stretching to the rippling horizon. The rest of the school clustered on the shore, the size of ants.
   Iris stole a glance over the cliff, and wished she hadn’t. Whistling and buzzing, the cable plunged out of view toward a cluster of jagged rocks,
   “Okay, who’s going first?” The zip-line guy peered around at the six of them, now glistening in the heat, and for some disturbing reason his eyes went straight to Iris. He raised an eyebrow. “How about you, blondie?”
   “No,” she said, taking a step back.
   “You sure? You look like you want to go first.”
   “No. Definitely not.”
   “I’ll go first,” said Cory, stepping forward.
   “And we have a volunteer!” The guy took Cory’s lanyard, now attached to his harness, and mounted his trolley over the cable, locking it in place with an oval carabiner.
   This happened before.
   The image triggered a memory, and a sudden rush of panicky adrenaline passed over her. It happened just like this. She inhaled sharply and spun away as a wave of déjà vu prickled through her mind.
   Last time he died.
   “Okay,” their operator explained, “you hold onto this—”
   “Wait!” said Iris. “Cory, don’t go.”
   “What? Why not?”
   “I don’t know, I just . . . I have a bad feeling about this. Like, a really bad feeling.” She locked eyes with him, willing him to understand.
   Imperceptibly, his gaze flicked to the four girls watching them, then back to her. “No, dude, there’s no way.” He slapped the cable. “This is half inch galvanized steel cable. Stop being a pansy.”
   “Cory, I’m serious.” Her face heating under everyone’s glares. And he looked at her like she was the crazy one.
   She had to make him understand.
   She stepped up to him and thrust her lips against his ear. “I think this was the event that sent me back,” she hissed. “I’m not sure, but I think this was it.”
   “Then we’d be getting feedback right now,” he said. “Look, if something happens, we’ll just . . .” he glanced behind him and leaned closer to her, “we’ll just send a note back with the second click.”
   “We still don’t know when that is.”
   “What are you guys whispering about?” Suspicion edged Samantha’s voice. “Ew, you guys are gross.”
   Iris held his gaze. “Considering what we saw this morning, maybe you should stop and think before you jump off a cliff. I’m not letting you go, Cory.”
   “Iris, come on,” he said, his voice patronizing. “I’m just trying to have some fun.”
   “No, I’m not letting you—” She grabbed his trolley, thumbed open the carabiner, and yanked it off the cable, then dragged him by the harness away from the edge.
   His wistful eyes went back to the zip-line.
   “God, Iris, you’re such a buzz kill. Cory, you’re whipped.” Behind her, Samantha stepped forward. “I’ll go first.”
   “Alright then, new volunteer.” The guy set up Samantha’s trolley.
   Iris gripped Cory’s harness as if afraid a breeze might blow him over the edge, but as she watched Samantha being attached to the zip-line in his place, another nervous throb ran through her heart. Wait a minute . . .
   She opened her mouth, but could only stare.
   What could she do?
   Next to her, she felt Cory tense.
   The operator checked Samantha’s harness and delivered an alarmingly concise safety briefing. “Hold onto this, pull this to brake, and make sure you lift your legs when you’re going over the ridge or you’ll lose them, and you’re good to go.”
   He gave her trolley a shove, and she screamed and dropped off the platform, accelerating down the cable, hair whipping out under her helmet. The operator grinned and glanced back. “Kidding. Who’s next?”

That’s it for now! More next week, and again, make sure you get on my email list if you’re not already to get an announcement when I release the book. You’ll also get a chance to read it early as a pre-release reviewer. You can sign up for my mailing list right here, or you can just type your email address below and click subscribe. Hope to see you there!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

My Treatment of Paradoxes in Timeloopers, My YA Time Travel Series.

I made a promise to my readers that my YA time travel series would not contain a single paradox. Paradoxes are surprisingly ornery, so I made a simple decision to avoid them altogether—which was why I faced them head on.

A bit about paradoxes, for those unfamiliar with the idea:

At noon, Noah gets rejected by a girl in front of the whole school when he asks her to prom, so he wants to go back in time and stop himself from getting on his knee and asking her in the first place. Luckily he started a timeloop in the Chronos that goes from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (You can read about the Chronos in Timeloopers)

He writes a note to himself and puts it in the machine at 1:00 p.m. Four hours earlier, at 9:00 a.m. his past self—who has just started the timeloop—opens the machine and sees the note.

Don’t ask Priscilla to prom.

So he doesn’t. 1:00 p.m. rolls around, and he doesn’t ask her, so he doesn’t think to put any note inside the Chronos. But now something horribly illogical has happened. If he didn’t put a note in the machine at 1:00 p.m., he couldn’t have gotten a note at 9:00 a.m., which means he still would have asked her to prom. In which case he would have sent the note. Then he wouldn’t have asked her. Which means he would have. See how it flip flops back and forth like that? That’s a paradox.

My treatment was simple. I would have the timeloop work itself out at every moment to a self-consistent reality using something called feedback. If you tried to change the past in a way that made a paradox, you would encounter major feedback (kind of like a disorienting, déjà vu like experience) that would literally prevent you from completing the action.

So I invented a little trick. We’ll call it a contingency for now (I’m thinking it will be called this in later books. What you do is you send back a note that says, in essence, make sure a copy of this note gets sent back no matter what. So Noah would send back:

Don’t Ask Priscilla to prom. Write out a copy of this note and put in the Chronos at 1:00 p.m.

Paradox solved.

I’ll admit it’s a lot more thorny than that, and now that I’m 40,000 words into book two, with timelines looping back on themselves, infinite loops, and one-time loops, I’m banging my head against the wall trying to keep everything logical and consistent.

Yes, time travel is a logistical nightmare.

To start Timeloopers: A Strange Machine, click here. And make sure you’re on my mailing list to get an email when the sequel comes out. You can sign up here or just enter your email below and click subscribe:

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Friday, September 26, 2014

An Indie Author’s Writing Schedule (How I Write A Book Every Two Months)

It’s all in the outline.

I do something that’s pretty unique among writers, which is I develop a VERY thorough outline. I have an eight week timeline for each of my books, and I devote an entire week, start to finish, to completely outlining each project. I’ll sit on my bed and spend about a day or two just brainstorming with a notebook. First I’ll brainstorm an idea, and once I have an idea, I’ll list out every fun, mind-bending twist I can think of, then I’ll write out ways to get all that stuff in the book. I’ll also brainstorm character. For my cast of characters, I try to come up with the following: a strength, a weak
ness, a backstory wound, a deep yearning (related to the backstory wound) and then a story goal. With these filled out, the characters become real people and they’re ready to enter the story.

Next, I sit at my computer and fill out individual scenes, trying to cram in everything I came up with during the brainstorming session. It ends up being about ten to fifteen thousand words of just outline, which is a hefty chunk considering the books end up at about sixty to seventy thousand words. Normally, I’ll have between 120 to 160 scenes in a book, for around 300 to 500 words per scene. I play around with this outline until I’m completely satisfied that everything is properly motivated and crazy suspenseful, and then and only then do I go onto the writing.

I spend the next six weeks writing, and follow the outline to the tee. I do deviate when I come up with really clever new elements, but since I delve pretty deep during the outline stage, there’s usually not much else I can come up with. I will end up moving things around a bit though as the story unfolds. My goal is 2000 words per day, and I usually end up with around 2200 to 2500. I write eight hours a day, and since everything’s already been ironed out during the outlining stage, the copy is clean and nearly ready as is. Then I read the book in its entirety and take notes on everything I could do to make the story better.

The last week of my eight week schedule I spend editing. There’s not much to do (hopefully) and I usually squeeze in cover design and formatting into this stage. After eight weeks, the book is done, and I hand it off to my lovely fiancée and my proofreaders for any final suggestions and a last pass to clean up grammar. Then it’s on to the next!

If you’re a fan of my books and you’d like to help support me as an indie author, or you just want to see what’s in the works, then I invite you sign up for my newsletter at this link (or just enter your email below and click subscribe). Joining my newsletter is the single most significant thing you can to support me as an author. It’s my only way of staying in touch with fans and building my reader base. It’s also a good deal for you, because you’ll get a steady stream of awesome, mindbending YA novels with awesome twists straight to your inbox:)

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ghost at Retreat Lake (Timeloopers #2) Teaser

So I left you guys on a pretty nasty cliffhanger at the end of Timeloopers #1, so maybe I can atone for that with a little teaser from Timeloopers #2, The Ghost at Retreat Lake:

After they’d announced the rules and schedule, Iris raced back to her cabin to charge the cell phone and made it there before anyone else. Or so she thought. She found Samantha and Anneliese already inside, lounging on the bunk bed by the window.
   They glanced up at her, and their mouths clamped shut, like they’d just been talking about her.
   Iris narrowed her eyes. “Did you guys skip out on the rules? You know, those were important safety announcements.”
   “No, we were there,” said Samantha flatly.
   “Then how’d you get back so fast?”
   “Shortcut.” Sam cocked her head to the side, as if daring Iris to call her out.
   “Right,” Iris sneered, “like you somehow found a shortcut that beats a straight line. I’d like to see that.”
   Samantha and Anneliese caught each other’s eyes and broke into a fit of giggles.
   Just great. Of all the people she could share a cabin with, it had to be them.
   Seething, she stooped to dig out her cell phone charger. Something wasn’t right, though.
   A panicky desperation rose in her throat. “Who went through my stuff?” Her gaze narrowed on Samantha, then Anneliese. “Did you guys go through my stuff?”
   “No,” said Sam.
   Anneliese sat up. “Is anything missing?”
   “No one went through her stuff, Anneliese. She’s just being paranoid,” said Sam.
   Angry blood rushed to Iris’s cheeks. Screw them. Fingers trembling, she plugged her charger into a sketchy looking socket tucked behind her bunk. Caught in the sunlight, her hair burned her neck.
   Next, she plugged in the phone from the future. The screen remained black. Had to wait for it to charge. She set her own cell phone down next to it, also nearly out of charge—no reception either—and straightened up and shoved her hair out of the way, already sweating.
   In the noon heat, the cabin grew more stuffy by the minute.
   “Why do you have two cell phones?” asked Sam, her voice accusing.
   “Because one of them’s from the future.” No point in lying. Sam was way too dumb to put it together.
   “And why is there blood on one? Did you murder someone and steal their cell phone, Iris?”
   “Can you just . . . shut up for five seconds?” said Iris.
   Two girls entered the cabin, chattering like annoying little birds—Brooke Abbott, a shy redhead, and Priscilla Griffin, a girl who never went to school in anything less than five inch heels and spent more time in the bathroom doing her makeup than in class, and yet still managed to get straight A’s. Cory’s name was mentioned repeatedly, followed by giggles and dreamy sighs. Enough to make anyone puke.
   They spotted Iris and froze.
   “Wait . . . we’re in a cabin with Iris.” Priscilla’s lip curled. “I specifically put her on the list of people I didn’t want to be put with.”
   “Me too,” Brooke whispered, horror dawning on her face.
   “We all did,” said Sam. “We’re just the ones that got unlucky.”
   “Maybe she chose us,” said Anneliese.
   “I bet she wanted to be in the teachers’ cabin,” Sam said. “She probably put all their names down and everything.”
   Iris glared at her and thrust up her middle finger, though she couldn’t hide the red-hot blaze stinging her cheeks.
   The retreat had officially just become hell. And to think she’d played a part in saving Samantha’s life. She should have burned Cory’s note.
   “Hey, Pris,” Sam said sweetly. “Take the bunk next to us.”
   “Okay!” She pranced over. “At least I got some of the people I wanted to room with.”
   Iris busied herself with her sleeping bag, face hot.
   Please let me die soon.
   She unrolled the sleeping bag on the bare mattress, over what looked like coffee stains—or shit stains. Fuck this retreat. The zipper screeched open, and she yanked back the top layer.
   Something came into view, and abruptly skittered deeper into the folds.
   She took one look and screamed.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ALL NEW Entanglement Bonus Material

You guys remember Entanglement? It was my first book, and wow, it’s been a long time (almost two years since I released it). To this day, Entanglement remains my number one bestseller, which means many of you probably discovered me through Amber and Aaron’s struggle to prove they were each other’s halves (soulmates). I haven’t done much in that world for a long time . . . until now.

I’ve now officially released a bunch of bonus material for Entanglement, including deleted scenes, an alternate sequence in which Amber and Aaron meet under completely different circumstances, and even an intimate look at what it might be like to meet your half on your eighteenth birthday.

I’ve published some of this stuff on my blog, and if you dig around, you might be able to find it, but a lot of these extras have never been released before, and I think fans of the story will some of this stuff incredibly fun.

So if you’re an Entanglement fan, check out the bonus material here.

Finally, if you haven't already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter below for updates on all my new releases. I announce all my books a month early and offer sneak previews and free pre-release copies only to subscribers, so make sure you're on the list:

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Time’s Beginning (God’s Loophole Final Book #4) Teaser

Getting amped up for the final book in the God’s Loophole series? Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite, told from the chef’s perspective:

Rafi cinched his bathrobe tighter around his waist as he entered the kitchen. Motion activated fluorescent lights sputtered to life above him, and aisles of spotless, stainless steel counters flickered into view.
   He hesitated.
   Something felt off here.
   His eyes darted to take in details—the hanging ladles, perfectly still. The cabinets, all closed. The shadows, unmoving. Yet the back of his neck still prickled.
   Just make their dessert and go.
   He continued toward the storeroom, his pulse agitated. They were getting nothing fancy tonight, just pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough. Though he cringed at the thought, his supply of eggs had dropped dangerously low. He needed to conserve.
   Speaking of eggs . . .
   He inhaled deeply, and his nose wrinkled. The odor of sulfur lingered in the air, rotten eggs. Damn him, he’d let the trash go too long.
   Tomorrow. He’d get it tomorrow.
   In the storeroom, a single light flickered eerily in the corner. Not surprising. Ever since the hull breach, electricity had been sporadic. Still, the place unnerved him, and he touched his walkie-talkie to make sure he still had it.
   He hurried to the walk-in freezer and pulled the key from around his neck.
   An icy chill brushed his neck.
   Like someone right behind him.
   He whipped around and scanned the storeroom, hardly breathing, as goosebumps spread down his back. The fluorescent lamps buzzed like insects.
   Compose yourself, Rafi.
   The storeroom was empty, clearly.
   He fumbled with the key, his sweaty fingers clumsy on the metal, and jabbed at the lock.
   Rafi rarely locked the freezer. But after this morning, he and McCoy had done a more thorough inventory and discovered more food missing than just the pasta. Now the security officer insisted he lock up everything, even the spices.
   At last, the key slid into the keyhole. Rafi gripped the handle and heaved open the freezer, straining his arms. The massive door budged slowly.
   He slipped inside the freezer, and the wash of cold air spurred a shiver. His breath misted, frosting on the metal racks.
   He found a tub of vanilla ice cream, half empty, and a tube of oatmeal raisin cookie dough, but not chocolate chip.
   Come on, where is it?
   Shivering now, he ran his gaze up the racks, over vacuum-sealed meat, Costco bags of frozen vegetables, Tupperwares of leftovers—
   Just then, a breeze whipped through the freezer door, whistled through the racks, and crawled up his robe, enveloping him like icy claws.
   He spun, his heart jolting, pounding now. The lights outside the freezer flickered. He saw nothing.
   Screw this.
   He grabbed the tube of oatmeal raisin dough, balanced it on the ice cream, and turned to flee.
   Then the light inside the freezer flickered.
   He froze, trembling.
   Suddenly, the freezer door slammed shut. The impact rattled the walls, knocked food off the racks. The cookie dough slipped out of his hand, thudded on the floor.
   Above him, the light gave a final dying flicker and winked out.
   He stood in pitch black. Only his raspy breath broke the silence.
   Only his breath . . . and the sound of claws scraping against steel.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Upcoming Release Dates of God’s Loophole #4 and Timeloopers #2

With the recent release of Heaven’s Enigma, a lot of you are probably wondering when the final book in the God’s Loophole series will be coming out. Good news. The book is mostly complete—and it’s long, about a hundred pages longer than the others in the series, so lots to look forward to. It still needs a bit more editing, and then I’ll put it up for pre-release. I’m thinking that will happen in November sometime, and that it will officially be released in January.

I’m currently writing book two in the Timeloopers series, The Ghost at Retreat Lake, and I’ll be putting that one up for pre-release soon in the next few weeks. Right now, my estimate is that it will officially be coming out mid-November or early December. These dates are sort of rough right now because I shifted my whole schedule up (after I accidentally released Heaven’s Enigma early) so they might change in the future, but I will try to stick to them.

To make sure you get an announcement when these books officially hit the shelves, make sure you sign up for my email list below. I only announce my own books, and it’s my way to stay in touch with all my fans, so I encourage you to join! I usually send one or two emails a month, and you can unsubscribe at any time. Also, if you’re interested in reviewing any of these books early, I invite everyone on my newsletter to be a pre-release reviewer, so if you join my newsletter, you’ll get a chance to read them a few weeks or months early for free. You can subscribe right here:

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