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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Friday, July 22, 2011

27 Book Lovin Bitches Ebook Tours guest post: the tinkerer's daughter by Jamie Sedgwick


Few things in life compare to curling up with a good book. The characters breathe, the story moves, the scenes come alive. A well-created story reveals itself to us. As the pages turn, we gradually learn about the characters and their world. We explore new places and we puzzle together the pieces until we know them as well as we know ourselves.
Storytelling is a symbiosis of imagination, where we take the author’s world and make it our own. This is a special experience; it’s a place we can revisit time and again to recall that feeling. I still get it when I read some of my favorite books. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth is like an old familiar jacket that I wear when I want to feel cozy and comfortable. Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf are old friends, people I know so well that I know what they’ll say next because I’ve heard them speak so many times before.
This is the feeling I look for when I open a new book. I want to believe. I want to be immersed in this new world and cast of characters. I want it to breathe with life. I want the characters to reveal themselves to me page by page. As a writer, this experience is what I seek to emulate in my own stories. This is the experience I try to create for you.
I’d like to leave you with the opening paragraphs of a couple of my books: 


The Darkling Wind
 (YA contemporary fantasy)

The electricity was out that night, and it was by the light of a crackling fireplace that Grandpa first told me about the darklings. Thunder rumbled across the sky and lightning flashed in Grandpa’s eyes as he spoke.
I listened in rapturous and terrified wonder to his tales about the sinister creatures. They stole through open windows and unlocked doors in the dark of night, looking for children to steal. Whenever there was lightning, Grandpa said, it was a sure sign that the darklings were gathering. They lived in a storm and came forth on a wild and howling darkling wind.
My nightmares were haunted by Grandpa’s darklings when I was little, but as I got older I started to forget about them. I had decided that they were mythical creatures, like werewolves and zombies and vampires. They were stories made up to frighten little kids at bedtime. But I was wrong. I found that out the year I turned fourteen…

The Tinkerer’s Daughter 
(YA fantasy/steampunk)

My only clear memory of my father is from the day he left me. That frosty autumn morning remains vivid in my memory as if I were there now watching the scene play out, though I can’t seem to recall any other day before it.
Patches of frost glistened under the early morning sun and a cold wind howled across the southern plains, funneling up into the tiny valley around us. The trees blazed with fiery colors, painting the mountains in broad swaths of crimson and gold. Behind us, I could see the mouth of the valley and the plains spreading out, and beyond that, the narrow line of trees that sprouted up from the muddy banks of the Stillwater River.
I was riding in our old hay cart in tow behind my father’s great stallion, bundled against the cold in a heavy wool blanket. I remember the uncomfortable shaking of the cart and the incessant squeaking of the rusty old leaf springs as we rattled up the mountainside.
Up ahead I saw the awkward shape of an old windmill rising up out of the hillside, and behind it a distant curl of chimney smoke drifting through the trees. The windmill blades were not spinning, despite the breeze.
Then, just as the trees began to close in around us, Father reigned in his stallion and brought the cart to a shaking halt. I craned my neck around as he dismounted, and watched him walk towards me. He lifted me to his chest and I readily accepted his warm embrace. His skin was abrasive, his beard like steel wool against my cheek, but I pressed myself closer. I was afraid. I’d never been away from our tiny homestead before.
cover blurb for The Tinkerer’s Daughter:

Breeze is an outcast, a half-breed orphan born into a world torn apart by a thousand years of war. Breeze never knew her elven mother, and when her human father is recalled to the war, he leaves her in the safest place he knows: in the care of a reclusive tinker.

The Tinkerman's inventions are frightening at first -noisy, smelly, dangerous machines with no practical use- but when the war comes home, Breeze sees an opportunity. If she can pull it off, she'll change the world forever. If she fails, she'll be considered a traitor by both lands and will be hunted to her death.

excerpt from The Tinkerer’s Daughter :

Analyn’s brush hit the floor at the same instant the door flew open. Tinker and Daran burst in, their eyes searching for the cause of the outcry. Tinker saw me sitting on the counter and froze. He glanced at the cap and then back at me, and his eyebrows narrowed. Daran looked at his wife questioningly, and then followed her gaze to me and did a double take. His jaw dropped.
“What have you done, Tinkerman?” he said.
“Half-breed,” Analyn hissed. “He’s created an abomination.”
I glanced back and forth between the three of them, my heart in my throat. I didn’t know what an abomination was, or what the term “half-breed” meant, but Analyn’s cold stare gave me a wrenching feeling in my gut.
Seconds ago she’d been such a sweet, kind woman… the change had been instantaneous. It was terrifying to see her change like that. I had no idea what I’d done wrong, or how I could have incited such venomous anger. I wanted to crawl down a hole and die.
“Breeze, put on your hat and go wait for me in the wagon.” Tinker’s voice was stiff and controlled, but I could hear the anger behind his words. The situation was so unfair, so hard to understand. I wanted to break down in tears.
“But Tinker…” I started to object. I wanted to explain that it wasn’t my fault, that I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“Do it, now,” he said firmly. It was clear from his tone that I’d better do it. I grabbed my hat from the counter and yanked it over my head. I jumped down, and ran outside. Fortunately, I had the good sense to keep my fingers on that stick of candy.
I waited on the wagon, my heart thumping wildly and my eyes downcast so that no passing stranger might see my tears. A light snow had begun falling and the flakes drifted down around me, settling onto the padded bench beside me and onto the floor of the steamwagon, dusting everything in a thin layer of white. The steam engine in the back chugged along, idling and belching out clouds of hot vapor and releasing a loud hiss every few seconds.
I held out my hands, letting the flakes settle onto my palms where they dissipated almost instantly. I heard harsh voices drifting out through the mercantile doors, and I tried not to listen. I didn’t want to hear any more. I didn’t entirely understand what had happened, but I had enough sense to know that I was in trouble. And that, for reasons that were beyond my understanding, I was bad.
Eventually Tinker came out of the store. He was carrying canvas bags full of food which he carelessly tossed into the back of the wagon. He didn’t say a word as he climbed into the driver’s seat and released the brake. In fact, he didn’t speak at all as we raced down the busy street, weaving a dangerous path through the traffic. He ignored the waves and angry shouts of people he’d nearly run over.
It wasn’t until we were well out of town, speeding across the frozen ground with scarves wrapped around our faces to protect us from the icy snowflakes that I found the courage to speak. I did so reluctantly, uncertain of whether Tinker was still angry with me. I pulled my scarf down under my chin so I could speak.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to make you angry.”
“I know,” he gave me an understanding look. “All of this, this trouble, it’s not your fault. It’s not about you, not really.”
“But those people… Analyn, she hated me.” I said. “It’s because of my ears, right? Because I look different?”
He gave me a sad look and paused before he replied, as if he were trying to find the right answer. When he finally spoke, it was a very unexpected question. “Do you know where your father is?” I shook my head. It had been a month since he left, and the memory was still painful. Until then, Tinker and I had never spoken of him.
“He went to war. Do you know what war is?” I nodded. I had heard the word, and was familiar with its meaning in a naïve sort of way. “Astatia, the kingdom of men,” he continued, “has been at war with the Isle of Tal’mar for centuries.”
“So my father went to fight the Tal’mar?” I asked. “Why?”
Tinker chuckled a little. “That’s a very intelligent question,” he said. “Too bad more people aren’t smart enough to wonder the same thing. There are different reasons I suppose. Territorial disputes, vengeance killings, anger over past wrongs. It seems men can always find a reason to kill one another. But in truth, I doubt anybody remembers how it got started. Humans and Tal’mar are so different, maybe there’s no greater reason than that. Maybe two peoples so different can never get along.”
“But we get along,” I argued, and he smiled.
“That we do. But we’re both very, very smart.” We both laughed at that.
We were quiet for a few minutes while I thought it over. Then I had an epiphany. “Analyn shouldn’t hate me for being Tal’mar,” I postulated, “because I’m human, too!” It seemed perfectly sensible to me that I should have friends on both sides of the conflict. After all, I was both sides. Human, Tal’mar… if anyone should have been able to get along with both races, it should’ve been me.
Tinker took a deep breath. “Analyn and the others don’t hate you, Breeze. Not exactly, anyway. When a human looks at you, they see your ears. They don’t care about who you are inside, because on the outside you look like Tal’mar. To them you are Tal’mar. That makes you the enemy, and possibly even a spy. So they fear you, and mistrust you. Unfortunately, the Tal’mar will do the same if you ever meet them. You may have their ears, but you’ve got the build and coloring of a human, so they won’t trust you either.”
It was a lot for a child my age to absorb. I considered what he’d said, and a thought occurred to me. It was a desperate thought, the sort of idea that only an innocent child could conceive. “What if the war was over, Tinker? Maybe then they wouldn’t hate me.”
Tinker sadly shook his head. “I’m afraid it’s not that easy, Breeze. There’s been talk of treaties and such over the years, but nothing ever came from it. The distrust runs too deep, and has been ingrained into peoples’ minds for too long. The humans and Tal’mar hate each other. They always have, and they always will.”
I shivered, not from the icy windborne snowflakes that cut into my face, but from the coldness that was growing inside of me. How could I have been born into a world so cruel? I’d started out knowing nothing about the world, and had found that the more I knew, the more I hated it.
I didn’t like feeling that way. I didn’t like the hopelessness that was gripping me, the promise of a future full of loneliness and rejection. Then something happened. It was a like a switch got flipped in my mind.
I’m going to change things, I decided. I’m going to find a way to make them like me. I’m not going to live my whole life like a hermit in the mountains, even if Tinker says I will. Someday I’ll be able to go to town, maybe even live there…
And I was off, dreaming about changing the world in ways that no one with any sense would have ever bothered dreaming. Little did I know that in setting such high hopes, I was making my inevitable defeat even more painful. But I had the mind of a child, and the ability to hope and dream bigger than anyone. And why not? No one else stood to gain or lose as much as me, the half-breed.
I didn’t bother telling Tinker of these thoughts because I knew he wouldn’t agree. I just kept them hidden inside of me, sowing them like carefully tended seeds. I became convinced that someday, when I was smart enough, I could change things. Someday I wouldn’t be Breeze the half-breed, I’d be just another person… just like everyone else.
I was wrong, of course. I could never, ever be just like everyone else.


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where The Tinkerer's Daughter can be purchased:

i would like to thank Jamie Sedgwick for guest posting today and to you as well for stopping by.





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