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Read Chapter Two of @JenniferMEaton ‘s FIRE IN THE WOODS for free! Question and answer session after. @Month9Books

Woo-hoo! Here we are at day two of five chapters of FIRE IN THE WOODS. Enjoy!

Fire in the Woods Cover

Chapter 2

Trumpets!

My eyes popped open as round after round of incessant choruses of Reveille echoed over the base PA system, shocking the world and demanding everyone get up and take notice that the ungodly time of O-six-hundred-hours had arrived.

A groan escaped my lips as I pushed up off my desk. Every muscle in my neck and back screamed at the same time. I must have fallen asleep waiting for my pictures to upload. Rubbing the back of my neck, I stood as the last trumpet bellowed its obnoxious call.

God, I hated that stinking song.

The screen-saver flicked off when I jiggled my mouse. The website from last night was still waiting for me to confirm my order. I smiled and clicked the button. I’d be a few hours before the store opened and I could pick up the pictures that would change my life. Once I added the best of yesterday’s shots to my portfolio, no one would dream of refusing my college application.

The sun sparkled through my windowpanes. In the distance, three dark birds circled over the forest in a beautiful, blue sky. A thin tendril of smoke trailed from the trees, a small reminder of yesterday’s chaos. The coolness of the glass enlivened my skin as I pressed my forehead against the window. Despite the unbelievable shots I’d taken, I was glad it was finally over.

I stumbled through the hallway and peeked in dad’s room. His bed hadn’t been slept in. So much for his day off. Ignoring the grumbling of my impatient stomach, I treated my sore muscles to a shower and got dressed.

The digital clock on my dresser blinked four-seventeen. So much for the fool-proof back-up battery. I made a mental note to fix the time later.

While liberating a few knots from my hair, I made a beeline to the refrigerator. Fruit, eggs, milk … Boring. I shoved aside a few food savers and smiled.

“Bingo.”

I slid out a plate of German chocolate layer cake. Smacking my lips in anticipation, I plopped back in front of my computer and scanned the photos I’d sent to the drugstore print shop. I could hear Dad now, “Why don’t you just send the pictures to the PX. It’s cheaper.”

Yeah, they’re cheaper all right—and pixely.

Not to mention the fact that they might confiscate a few of the shots I’d taken of the soldiers. My brow furrowed as I scanned the photos of the platoon gathered near the edge of the forest. In every shot, the soldiers were facing the woods. If they were there to keep the people safe, wouldn’t they be facing out?

Swallowing down the last bite of cake, I walked downstairs and peeked out the front window. No sign of Dad yet, but I wasn’t about to sit there and wait for him. I dialed up his cell, but his voicemail answered.

“Hey Dad, it’s Jess. Everything’s fine. No problems last night. I’m going to walk down to the drugstore to pick up some pictures, okay? Don’t worry, I’m going in completely the opposite direction from where the fire was, so I won’t be anywhere near the cleanup. See you later.”

I hung up and grabbed a notepad and pen. Standard Major Martinez protocol dictated a note as well as a message. I flipped to an empty page and let him know where I was going, sealing it with a smiley-face.

Outside, a summer breeze caressed my face. I inhaled the crisp morning air and crinkled my nose at the slight hint of smoke lingering from the fire. Yuck.

Quiet greeted me throughout the compound, as if yesterday’s calamity never happened. Funny, how quickly everything adjusts back to normal. I guess the fire really wasn’t as big a deal as I thought.

The heaviness still hung in the air, though. Not that I thought a plane crash would take it away. Everything about Maguire, and the other three military bases I’d lived on, stifled me like a prison without walls, and the pressure seemed to tighten every day.

Day trips with Mom used to help, but now that she was gone, and with Dad sinking further and further into his shell … Well, things just weren’t the same without Mom.

Relief swept over me as I passed the guard shack and walked into the real world. I laughed at myself. I was only a few feet away from military ground, and most of those houses were probably still Army or Air Force families all squashed together since they merged Fort Dix with Maguire. It was civilian land, though, and it smelled like freedom. Well, smoky freedom at the moment, but still freedom.

I headed toward the woods and allowed my thoughts to drift up and away, clearing my mind and letting it wander. Senior year began in a few weeks, and I’d have to start looking for colleges.

Looking … funny. There was only one choice. Columbia. Their arts department was the tops. My application was already filled out, and these photographs were going to cinch it for me.

Dad dreamed of me going to West Point. We’d already sent in the paperwork, but I didn’t care that every Martinez since my great-grandfather went there. I had to live my life, not his.

A larger than life advertisement on the side of a passing NJ Transit bus made me smile. Fire in the Woods, starring Jared Linden and Chris Stevens. In theaters September tenth. Jared leaned forward in the photo, ready to pounce off the side of the bus. Chris Stevens stood beside him, shirtless with hands in pockets and beautiful blond tresses falling seductively toward one eye. I loved Chris’s new haircut, and Jared—Yum. Five foot ten inches of pure tall-dark-and-handsome. They were both just to die for.

A sudden movement drew my attention from the bus. I skidded to a stop. To my right, maybe a hundred feet from the forest, stood the most beautiful buck I’d ever seen. I held my breath trying not to move as he stared me down. A majestic twelve-point rack of antlers scrolled from his head, and his white and brown tail flickered incessantly. After a long, breathless wait, his mouth swirled in a chewing motion. Nature in its most beautiful form.

An eerie shadow cast across the grass as the sun shone through his rack. The silhouette formed little fingers that seemed to reach for me. Wow. If I took that picture at just the right angle …

Shoot. My camera sat safely at home, not attached to my hip where it should have been. Diversity in the portfolio was a must. I needed a picture of that guy. I inched forward and the buck raised his head, shifting the shadow from sight.

“It’s okay,” I whispered. “I won’t hurt you.”

I reached into my pocket and fumbled for my phone. The aperture on the camera feature opened, and I lifted the screen toward him. Without warning, the deer sprang into the air. It flipped its tail toward me and bolted into the woods.

“Awe, man.”

Clutching my camera-phone, I ran to the trees and squinted into the brambles. The buck’s dark, shiny eyes blinked within the brush. He chewed twice before he trotted deeper into the foliage.

“Come on, dude, I just want a picture.”

I ramrodded my way into the forest, the branches whipping back as I set them free. The morning warmth gave way to cool, damp air beneath the trees as I hopped over a group of fallen logs and ducked under a giant poison ivy vine climbing up a tree. I paused, listening to the woods. Silence greeted me, followed by the chirps of two birds chasing each other from tree to tree in the upper canopy. I slowed and fought to catch my breath. He was gone.

My chest throbbed as I leaned my hands on my knees. Sheesh, he was fast. I chuckled to myself. What was I thinking?

A puff of smoke rose over some brush on my right. I pulled the bushes aside and found the remains of a small smoldering campfire. Some people were so irresponsible. I tossed dirt on the embers until they winked out. Good deed for the day: done.

Turning to head back out of the woods, I froze. A noise blasted through the forest, screeching like a smoke alarm gone haywire. A stabbing pain tore into my brain. I slammed my hands over my ears, but I couldn’t fight the drills boring inside me. Head pounding, I howled, but my own voice fell victim to the vibrations within my mind.

I dropped to my knees. “Please stop! Make it stop!”

The squalling encompassed everything. Tears pooled in my eyes, blurring my vision before trailing down my cheeks. I wailed in misery.

Until it stopped.

I shook, reeling from the unexpected silence. A faint hum lingered, a frightening reminder of the sound’s intensity. Hands still covering my ears, I sucked in a short breath and dared another. Holding as still as possible, I scanned the trees.

What the heck was going on?

Sobbing, I blinked back fresh tears and wiped my cheek clean. A leaf fell to the ground at my feet, but the rest of the forest remained motionless. The chirping birds had vanished. Nothing stirred to disrupt the eerie quiet—not even a gentle rustle of the wind.

I cringed, frightened by a thrash behind a large fallen tree. Ignoring the instinct to flee like the buck, I inched forward and peeked over the log.

A guy, maybe seventeen or eighteen, lay curled in a ball on the ground. His hands pressed against his ears as he whimpered through twisted lips. A tight-fitting white tee-shirt clung to his back, slightly untucked from his faded blue jeans. His soulful whimper clawed my heart as he rocked steadily on the woodland floor.

Biting my lip, I mustered up the courage to speak. “Are you okay?”

He grunted. “Please stop! Make it stop!”

“The noise? But it’s gone now.”

He twitched and moaned. The brush beneath him crunched with every movement.

“It’s okay,” I said. “Just breathe. It’s over. Everything will be all right.”

Panic centered in my chest, as if something reached inside me and tugged. A haze seeped into my thoughts, and I shook my head to clear it. What was wrong with me?

The boy hadn’t reacted to my questions, almost as if he couldn’t hear me. A helpless, panicked swirl within my ribs gave me pause. I had to do something, but what?

My hands balled into fists. “What’s wrong?”

I shoved aside a stray branch and jumped over the log. The boy stopped rocking as I approached, but his body quaked with long, labored breaths.

“It’s okay. It’s over.”

He didn’t respond. I looked through the tree trunks and over the bramble and ferns … only leaves and vines and trees blending into more trees for as far as I could see. There was no one else to help him. I ran my fingers through the hair at my temples, massaging the sensitive skin where my brain still pulsed with a dull ache.

Pull yourself together, Jess.

The guy pushed up on one arm. His long, dark bangs fell over his face. Cautiously, I placed my hand on his back.

“Hey, are you all right?”

His entire body flinched. He popped out of his crouch, shifting away with a cry of alarm. He kicked his feet against the leaves and dirt, backing himself away. A murmur escaped his lips as he smashed against a tree trunk. His turquoise-blue eyes widened. His gaze darted in every direction.

Were his eyes actually turquoise? I tilted my head to the side. Yeah, they really were. Must be contacts or something.

I raised my palms, keeping my distance. “It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.”

He focused on me, mouth open, taking in huge gulps of air. His right hand reached up and held his left shoulder as he bit his bottom lip. Beautiful white teeth grazed his slightly tanned skin before he closed his eyes and swallowed hard.

I stepped closer. “Are you hurt?”

The guy scrambled away, sliding beside the tree.

I raised my hands. “Okay, okay. I was only trying to help.” I eased down on a patch of moss. “What do you think that was anyway?”

His eyes centered on me—freaking me out with their odd color. I wanted to look away, but I couldn’t. My eyes burned and grew heavy—until he blinked.

A waft of air entered my lungs, and I let it out slowly. Why was I holding my breath? I rubbed my eyes. What was wrong with me? I felt, I don’t know, different—like a cloud covered me. No, like a blanket. A nice, safe blanket.

A wince contorted the boy’s face as he stretched his neck. He crinkled his nose, his breathing settling to a more normal pace.

His gaze seemed to search through me, and the foggy feeling deepened. I relaxed, taking in his strong round cheeks and delicate jawline. I must have won the lottery or something … stuck in the middle of the woods with a guy who—come to think of it—looked a lot like Jared Linden.

“So,” I began, trying not to focus on those muscular arms nearly busting out of his tight tee-shirt. “What’s your name?”

“Your name?” His hair fell in loose waves along the bangs, flipped back over short-cropped sides … exactly like Chris Stevens’s hair, but much darker—almost black.

“Yeah, you know—your name.” I pointed to my chest. “I’m Jess.”

I waited for an introduction that didn’t come. He just looked at me, blinking hard like something was stuck in his eyes.

“And you are?”

He squinted. “David?” His eyebrows arched, almost as if he were making sure his name was okay.

“Are you asking me, or telling me?”

A maddening grin shot across his face. Jared Linden eat your heart out. Damn, this guy looked like he should be on a magazine cover, not out traipsing around in the woods—or whatever he was doing out here.

“David,” he said. “My name is David.”

“Okay, now that we got that out of the way, are you all right? Is your shoulder hurt?”

He shifted to the left. A grimace twisted his lips. “My shoulder? Umm, yeah. It hurts in the back.”

“I took first-aid last year. Do you want me to take a look at it?”

“Take a look at it?” He blinked twice.

“Yeah. You’ll need to take your shirt off, okay?”

“Shirt off?” He placed his hand down, crushing the jagged leaves of a fern.

“Okay, did you hit your head or something, because you’re, like, repeating everything I say.”

He blinked his eyes hard again. His breathing came in shallow wheezes, as if every lungful hurt. I half expected to find a gunshot wound, but I’d probably have seen the blood by now. At least I hoped so. It’d be embarrassing if I passed out and he ended up taking care of me instead.

“Here. Let me help you.” I reached for the bottom of his tee-shirt and helped him lift it over his head.

“Ouch.” David grabbed his shoulder before I could get the shirt over the other arm. The white fabric hung in the crook of his elbow, dragging the ground and picking up a few pine needles.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you.” I shifted to kneel behind him. His gaze tracked me like I had a knife or something. “Okay, let’s take a look.”

I chewed the inside of my cheek and took the longest look of my life. He was flawless. Absolutely flawless. Slightly bronzed, unblemished skin covered strong shoulders. He almost seemed air-brushed. I reached out to touch him, and his muscles rippled and tensed.

A gasp escaped my lips. Dang. I mean seriously: Da-ha-hang. If I didn’t distract myself, I was gonna drool all over him. “So, what do you think that loud noise was?”

“Loud noise?”

“There you go again, repeating me.” My jaw fell open. “Holy cow. You weren’t in the plane crash were you?”

“Plane crash?”

“Still repeating.”

He shook his head. “No. No plane.”

A light wind blew overhead, bringing life back to the forest. The birds resumed chirping as I slipped beside him. “Did you see it, the crash?”

He nodded. “Yes.”

“You didn’t get hit by shrapnel or anything, did you?”

His lips formed a word, but stopped. “I, I don’t know.”

“Crap, talk about picking the wrong time to be in the woods.” I moved behind him again, and ran my hand along his back. I couldn’t find any trace of injury, but his skin seemed hotter than Hel…well, really hot.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”

His shoulders twitched. “You asking if I was okay.”

“Don’t you remember holding your head and screaming in agony?”

He rubbed his forehead. “Oh, umm, yeah. It was … strange.”

“Strange is kind of an understatement, don’t you think?” I removed my hand. “I can’t see any swelling. Where does it hurt?”

“In the shoulder middle.”

I ran my hand across his back lightly once, and applied gentle pressure in the center of the blade.

He cried out.

“Oh, Sorry.” It hit me that I’d barely passed first-aid class. I had no idea what I was doing.

He grumbled, flinching. “Can you first aid it?”

I laughed. “First aid it?”

“Can you help me?”

I sat back, just missing a daddy long-legs scurrying across the ground. “David, I think you need to go to a hospital.”

He raised his hand. “No. No hospital.”

“But you’re hurt. You probably need an x-ray.”

“No. I definitely don’t need one of those.” He stood and cried out, clutching his arm.

“Listen, are you in trouble or something? Are you running from the police?”

“No … not the police.”

I propped myself against a small tree. “So you are running. From who? You’re not, like, a criminal or anything, right?”

“No. I just don’t want to be found.” His gaze drifted downward.

Way in the back of my mind, a little trickle of doubt and fear struggled against an overwhelming need to help him. I should have done the smart thing and run, but I couldn’t just leave the poor guy there.

“Listen. You don’t have to tell me what’s up, but you’re hurt. You at least need some ice.”

He looked up. “Ice?”

“You know—to keep it from swelling.”

A deep furrow crossed his brow. “Can you get me ice?”

“I guess. Do you want to walk back to my place with me?” I shuddered. Did I just invite a guy I didn’t even know back to my house?

“No. Bring it here.”

Relief washed over me, but not because I was afraid of David. I was more afraid of Dad finding me alone with a boy. Bring ice? No problem. I glanced around the trees, no longer sure which way I’d come from.

“The only problem is I’m not sure I’ll be able to find you again. I’m not even sure if I can find my way out.”

He motioned behind me. “You are six-hundred and twenty-seven point five meters north east of where you entered the woods.”

I stared at him as my geek-meter went haywire. “You’re kidding, right?”

He paled slightly and shrugged, glancing away. “Yes, of course. You did come from that direction, though.”

He was probably some kind of a math nerd or something. Damn cute math nerd, though. “Okay. I’ll be right back.” I started walking.

“Jess?”

My hair grazed my check as I turned back toward him. “Yeah?”

David eased himself against the log. “Thank you.”

“No problem.” As long as my dad isn’t home, that is.

I imagined all the possible Major Martinez interrogation questions. None of them ended up good. I turned to the woods and quickened my pace. I had to get in and out of the house before Dad got home.

[end of chapter two preview]

So there’s the second chapter of FIRE IN THE WOODS. What did you think of Jess and David? What would you do if you found a hurt boy in the woods? Does anything odd seem to be going on?

To read the third chapter of FIRE IN THE WOODS click here. (Available after December 3)

JenniFer_EatonF

Vlog – Video Blog “What makes you book different?” This is the one where my dog Burbs!

Fire in the Woods CoverHere’s installment four of my video interview tour for FIRE IN THE WOODS.

Fire in the Woods CoverA visit from my hermit crab, and “What makes your book different?”

Guess what? FIRE IN THE WOODS is still $.99 but you have to act fast. Prices return to normal some time tomorrow.

Woa!

To celebrate Month9Books’s birthday, all Month9Books titles on ebook were only $.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

And the price of FIRE IN THE WOODS has not increased to $3.99 yet!

 

Say_What

If you haven’t picked up FIRE IN THE WOODS yet, Now is your chance to get it for only $.99.

Fire in the Woods Cover

Awesome!

Zing to Amazon to pick it up:

http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Woods-Jennifer-M-Eaton-ebook/dp/B00MLDECDK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411521702&sr=1-1&keywords=fire+in+the+woods

Zing to Barnes and Noble to get my copy:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-in-the-woods-jennifer-m-eaton/1120148885?ean=9780692242018

JenniFer_EatonF

FIRE IN THE WOODS is $.99 Today Only! Do you have your copy yet?

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Woohoo! News flash!

Woa!

Today only, to celebrate Month9Books’s birthday, all Month9Books titles on ebook are only $.99 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!

Say_What

If you haven’t picked up FIRE IN THE WOODS yet, Now is your chance to get it for only $.99.

Fire in the Woods Cover

Awesome!

Zing to Amazon to pick it up: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Woods-Jennifer-M-Eaton-ebook/dp/B00MLDECDK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1411521702&sr=1-1&keywords=fire+in+the+woods

Zing to Barnes and Noble to get my copy: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-in-the-woods-jennifer-m-eaton/1120148885?ean=9780692242018

JenniFer_EatonF

Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday to Month9Books! Win a Kindle LOADED with books! (Including mine. Woohoo!)

Welcome to Month9Books Birthday Bash! We’re so excited  you’re all stopping by! This is going to be an awesome event with many tour stops  featuring our authors! The full schedule is below and make sure to stick around  for the EPIC Giveaway taking place!
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Here’s a quick note from Georgia McBride, owner of  Month9Books!
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“Month9Books is turning 2 this year and I could not be  happier. We are living proof that if you have a dream to write, create and  inspire, you should follow that dream and let nothing keep you from realizing  it. Thank you to all the readers, writers, agents, partners and friends who  have made this possible. We write for you.
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–Georgia McBride, Publisher and Owner of Month9Books”
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While all of the posts are from our authors that have books  out already we also want to look forward to some of the 2015 titles we can’t  wait to share with you!
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Here’s a slide show of some our 2015 books!

We have a ton of sequels coming as well as new books from  awesome debut authors and we’re so excited to share them all with you! We have  something for everyine from every genre from Sci-Fi to Fantasy to Paranormal and Horror!
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Giveaway Details:
(1) New Kindle with touchscreen (US only) loaded with all  our Month9Books titles. US Only.
(1) Paperback prize pack of 5 Month9Books Titles. US ONLY.
(2) eBook Prize Packs of 5 Month9Books titles. International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Meet the Authors and amazing host Blogs!

All posts will be live on October 31st!

Jessica Arnold will be hosted by Read for your Future

Vanessa Barger will be hosted by Pretty Little Pages

Lisa M. Basso will be hosted by In Vogue with Books

Sarah Bromley will be hosted by A Book and A Latte

Steve Bryant will be hosted by Jump Into Books

Brynn Chapman will be hosted by A Backwards Story

Nicole Conway will be hosted by Two Chicks on Books

Scott Craven will be hosted by Books and Ashes

Ty Drago will be hosted by The A P Book Club

Dorothy Dreyer will be hosted by Her Book Thoughts!

Dorothy Dreyer will be hosted by Oops! I Read A Book Again

Jennifer M. Eaton will be hosted by Book Briefs

Kit Forbes will be hosted by Book Lovers Life

Janice Gable Bashman  will be hosted by All Things Urban Fantasy

Amanda Gray will be hosted by Aspiring Joy

Kelly Hashway/Ashelyn Drake will be hosted by Book Geek Review

Elizabeth Holloway will be hosted by Tales of a Ravenous Reader

Missy Kalicicki and Abi Ketner will be hosted by Once Upon A Twilight

Nicola Marsh will be hosted by ReadWriteLove28

Georgia McBride will be hosted by YA Sisterhood

Jen McConnel will be hosted by A Dream Within A Dream

Jackie Morse Kessler will be hosted by Dark Faerie Tales

Beck Nicholas will be hosted by The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club

Michelle E. Reed will be hosted by Doodle’s Book Reviews

Heather Reid will be hosted by Bookish Things & More

A. Lynden Rolland will be hosted by Fiction State of Mind

Kristal Shaff will be hosted by Chicklit vs Fantasy

Pab Sungenis will be hosted by Classy Cat Books

Rachel Tafoya will be hosted by Jessabella Reads

Vicki L. Weavil will be hosted by Magical Urban Fantasy Reads

Longest. Edit. Ever. The tediousness of overused words.

I usually edit out overused words last, but since a few beta readers pointed some out… I started fixing, and then the overused words snowballed.

I always have overused words. I think all authors do… but the quantity of words, sometimes appearing five times on the same page, astounded me.

Was it the speed I was writing? The lack of read-throughs before going to beta? (I usually read my manuscript five to ten times before going to beta)

I’m not sure, but I’m definitely not happy. What a terrible, tedious week.

Repeated words might not seem like a big deal, but they ruin the flow of a novel. They stand out, and can pull the reader from your story and remind them they are “only reading”.

Shame on me

That is NOT what I ever want to do to my readers. It is my job to help them escape for a little while. If they are reminded it is “just a book” then shame on me.

That’s why I took an entire week to tackle this before submitting to my editor. The only problem is that another beta pointed out a portion that would be more intense if I made one small point in the story a touch harder on my characters… and I agree.

So that leaves me with two weeks left to do another developmental edit/rewrite on the beginning of the story, and finish the re-write of the ending that I inadvertently started while getting rid of the repeated words in the last two paragraphs. PLUS do a complete final read-through start to finish.

Two weeks until the deadline?

Arghhh! PictureNo, this is not where I would like to be so close to the novel being due… Especially since ASHES IN THE SKY went up on Goodreads this weekend, and  I was supposed to start EMBERS IN THE SEA last Wednesday.

Tons, tons, tons of pressure… But I WILL get this manuscript in on time.

And I will try my best NOT to make sleep optional.

What words have you seen overused in novels?

Lesson Three from the Gold Mine Manuscript Red Line: Action Action, where is the Action?

For an intro into where these tips are coming from, please see my post: A Full Manuscript Rejection, or a Gold Mine ?

Gold_Mine_Manuscript

IFire-in-the-Woods-Cover 3D’ve heard contradicting opinions on this.  Some people say exposition is important.  Some people say don’t start right out with action because you don’t have a character basis of who to “root for” yet.  Personally, when I’m reading something, I want to be slapped in the face immediately with excitement and fill me in on the boring stuff later. (Anyone who has read FIRE IN THE WOODS knows what I mean by this. :-) )

So, when my BP (Beta Partner) had a story that started with tons of talking and setting, I said, “According to what I’ve read, this is okay.” But, being the good beta partner that I am, I let her “have it” and told her I was bored.  But, all the exposition stayed (with some trimming to six pages).   (I’m not saying she trimmed for me…  I believe she has five beta partners, so I’m sure there were a wealth of comments to revise from.)

 Unfortunately though, the publisher found it to be an unnecessary character study and suggested cutting the first five pages completely.  What was after these five pages, was a brief conversation of a dream that actually had relevance to the story (almost a page long) and then the action started.

The publisher’s commented that the first five pages were not engaging.  What I got out of that, was that they didn’t want to see a few kids hanging out and talking.  They wanted something to HAPPEN.  The story actually does, I must admit, start right where they suggested… The dream is a foreshadowing, and then the action that is the catalyst that changes the MC’s life forever happens right afterwards.

***Always start the story as close to the life changing event as possible***

So, what gets lost in the first five pages?  Well, the set up of the friendship between the two MC’s, which can be played out pretty quickly in the next pages, and (ouch) a lot of setting.  To me, that’s no biggie, but my BP is a big setting person.  She likes her imagery.  Now she needs to work in her sweeping mansion and grounds into the action scenes or between them.  It will be a little work.

Moral of the story:  Setting is important, but not too much up front.  Make sure something happens in the first page or so to drag your reader in.

Also see my post on how I changed (and am still changing) my first page after a contest judge didn’t find my first page exciting enough— and there was hardly any setting there at all!

Go back and make your first few pages ROCK!  If you don’t excite the reader right away, they might put your novel down and buy something else.

Gack!

Jennifer___Eaton

It’s the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt! Are you ready to win a ton of signed paperbacks?

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Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. And to make it even easier here is a special “how to hunt” Link.

There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN TEAM, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting the lovely and talented Bree Despain for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Bree Despain is the author of the Dark Divine trilogy and the Into The Dark trilogy.  Bree rediscovered her childhood love for creating stories when she took a semester off college to write and direct plays for at-risk, inner-city teens from Philadelphia and New York. She currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband, two young sons, and her beloved TiVo.
 
Find out more information by checking out the Bree’s  website or find more about Bree’s book here!
 
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT
 
 
So, Ms. Bree, what are we going to be looking at, here?
This is an exploratory scene I wrote when I first got the idea for THE SHADOW PRINCE way back in 2007. I was trying to figure out who my characters were and what they wanted. This scene didn’t make it into the final version of the book–mostly because a lot changed since I wrote this initial scene (like Daphne lives in her father’s mansion not at a boarding school with a roommate, and the book is written in first person instead of third). However, it was the way I FELT when I wrote this scene–and how that feeling stuck with me–that caused me to return to write this book in 2012. Now I’m thrilled that seven years after writing this little exploratory scene, the story is a shiny real novel sitting on bookstore shelves.
Awesomeness!  Let’s take a looksee!
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            Her scent was everywhere, circling Haden as he stood in her room.  It was a sweet smell, but not too sweet, like fresh fruit just on the verge of being ripe.  There was another scent also, much more bitter and distasteful to him. The roommate, he thought and shut and locked the bedroom door, afraid of being interrupted before he got what he came for.

            He bypassed the bitter smelling bed and the track trophies and went straight to the side of the room that smelled the most like her.  Her walls were bare, her drawers held nothing but clothes.  Her bed was covered in the plain green bedspread provided by the school rather than something brought from home.  He was hoping her belongings—pictures, posters, letters, anything—might give him clues about her.  Help him know her.  But her lack of belongings told him more than any picture could.  She was alone, lonely.  She didn’t belong here—just like him.

Her rumpled blankets were permeated with her scent.  Haden crouched down to breath her in, letting the tantalizing taste roll over his tongue.  His hands grew hot, his fingers burned red.  He stepped back.  He shouldn’t be here. How could he even think of inviting such pain and danger into her life?  He was about to leave when he saw something that made him pause.  A black case stuck out from under her bed.  He pulled it out and placed it on top of her blankets.  He popped the locks, sensing her hands had recently been in the same place.  He pulled out the instrument he’d seen her playing.  It had had a voice almost as beautiful as hers.  He held it in his arms the way he had seen her do it and placed his fingers on the strings.  The cool metal felt soothing to his scorched fingertips—that is until he tried to strum them the way she had.  The metal stung his burned fingers and the pain radiated up his arm and pierced his shoulder.  He almost dropped the instrument but caught it in his arms, cradling it because he knew it was important to her.  Determined, he tried to play it again.  He ignored the pain and strummed the strings and tried to pick out the song he had heard her play.  Frustrated he tried again and again.  He cursed when the notes came out sour, nothing like her music.

Most things came easy to Haden—it was his gift.  Like how it only took one turn around the campus with Dax to learn how to drive a car or how he mastered the English language in a matter of days when it took others months of practice.  But for some reason, mastering this instrument eluded him—just the way she eluded him.  He had to find a way to her. A way to make her trust him.

He heard voices in the hall.  That bitter scent wafted under the door.  Haden realized he had stayed longer than he had intended.  Classes were over now.  He carefully put the instrument away and went to the window.  As he climbed onto the sill, he saw something that could possibly help him sitting under the filmy green drapes.  Haden tucked it into his pocket and opened the window.  It was three stories down with thorny bushes directly underneath.  There was a jangling sound outside the bedroom door that sounded like keys.  Haden patted his pocket. With his prize secure he jumped lithely from the window.

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And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Jennifer M. Eaton, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 5Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the GREEN TEAM and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Elizabeth Holloway
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What the heck is the YA Scavenger Hunt?

scavenger hunt

Let the games begin!

Well, in a few days, anyway.

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The YA Scavenger hunt is this awesome web-based scavenger hunt where you can win tons of signed paperback books from some really great young adult authors!

scavenger_hunt_2All you have to do is follow the links between the blogs, find the magic numbers on each post (don’t worry, we won’t make it that hard), tally up the winning number, and then enter to win a signed paperback from EVERY author on the team!

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Yes, you read that right. If you win, you will receive TWENTY signed paperbacks (Including mine if you play for the green team) And you can follow the hunt for more than one team for the chance to win more great books. There are a hundred paperback books in all up for grabs!

How_stinking_cool_is_that

Here’s the team breakdowns, and the books that you can win. So start planning!

The YA Scavenger Hunt begins at noon pacific time on Thursday, October 2nd and runs through Sunday, October 5th.

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TEAM RED INCLUDES:

TEAM GOLD INCLUDES:

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TEAM GREEN INCLUDES:

TEAM ORANGE INCLUDES:

TEAM INDIE INCLUDES:

TEAM BLUE INCLUDES:

There are so many books here I don’t even know where I would begin. I hope you all are as excited as I am! The YA Scavenger Hunt begins at noon pacific time on Thursday, October 2nd and runs through Sunday, October 5th. That means to get through the entire hunt you’ll need to go through 1.5 teams per day!

Leave a comment below to tell me which team you are the most interested in checking out!

Today’s the day! Release day for FIRE IN THE WOODS!

Fire in the Woods Revised Cover

I’m super excited to announce that my debut young adult novel FIRE IN THE WOODS is officially available in ebook format. What a great feeling!

A little elf told me that the paperbacks will be available in about a month. Double excitement!

Here’s a few quotes from early reviews from the blog tour:

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“Hot alien, quirky heroine & exciting plot… what’s not to like?” HERBOOK THOUGHTSREADS

Teens will read it for the constant action, snappy dialogue and authentic characters. Adults will ponder the deeper thematic messages for days after closing the book on the final chapter.” Sharon Hughson

Def can’t put this down” Lainey’s Reviews

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It’s great to know that my story is now officially out in the world. I hope Jess and David can help make a few people smile.

Blurb:

Fire in the Woods Revised CoverWhen a plane crashes in the woods near Jess’s home, the boy of her dreams falls out of the sky—literally.

But David’s not here to find a girlfriend. He’s from another planet, and if Jess can’t help him get back to his ship, he’ll be stuck on Earth with nothing to look forward to but the pointy end of a dissection scalpel. But her father runs their house like an army barracks. and with an alien on the loose, Major Dad isn’t too keen on the idea of Jess going anywhere.

Ever.

So how the heck is she supposed to help the sweetest, strangest, and cutest guy she’s ever met? Hiding him in her room probably isn’t the best idea. Especially since her Dad is in charge of the squadron searching for David.

That doesn’t mean she won’t do it.

It just means she can’t get caught. Helping David get home while protecting her heart—that’s gonna be the hard part.

After all, she can’t really fall for a guy whose not exactly from here. As they race through the woods with Major Dad and most of the U.S. military one breath behind them, Jess and David grow closer than either of them anticipated. But all is not what it seems. David has a genocide-sized secret, and one betrayal later, they are both in handcuffs as alien warships are positioning themselves around the globe. Time is ticking down to Armageddon, and Jess must think fast if she’s to save the boy she cares about without sacrificing Earth—and everyone on it.

Buy at Amazon.com

Buy at Barnes and Noble

_JenniFer____EatoN