Six Sentence Sunday 7/10

If you want more than six, you're gonna have to buy the book.

Here are my six sentences, taken from Chapter Fourteen of my book Tenderfoot. If you were looking for seven, you’ve come to the wrong place. Go see this guy instead.

The water looked wonderful. What the heck. I stepped toward the trees where Nick couldn’t see me, throwing up my shields for good measure. I dropped the rucksack and stripped. The sunlight touched my bare skin with a friendly caress as I pulled my swimsuit on.

Digging one heel in to push off, I ran to the edge and flew.

Six Sentence Sunday is graciously hosted by Sara over at SixSunday.com. You can check out other author entries at her website or follow along on Twitter, searching by #SixSunday.

Tim Ellis’s Featured Author

Battle Park, Chapel Hill, NC

Today Tim Ellis has been kind enough to feature me as an author on his blog timellis.weebly.com. I talk about the various forms of writing I’ve used throughout my life and how this experience applies to the creation of Tenderfoot.

Tim is the author of ten books in multiple genres with a new one, The Flesh Is Weak, due in August. Check out his bio as well, it’s an inspiring story!

Big thanks to Tim for the feature!

Six Sentence Sunday

Six sentences is all you get after Saturday night!

A Short Excerpt from Tenderfoot

I turned my head toward the waving shadows on the grassy ground. Like before, things I should not have been able to see at such a distance became instantly clear, popping into focus, like I was standing a few feet away instead of hundreds. The noise of the leaves grew louder, a caressing noise as they brushed each other. I inhaled deeper, catching traces of people who had recently walked through, each scent unique. The smell of exhaust and diesel wafted down from the cars passing on Franklin Street. How could I have not noticed all of this before?

Six Sentence Sunday is graciously hosted by Sara over at SixSentence.com. You can check out other author entries at her website or follow along on Twitter, searching by #SixSunday.

Tenderfoot: A Fairy Tale

My personal copy of Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales, received when I was 10 or 11 years old.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Jules. She was happy. Her family moved from place to place where she had grand adventures with her friends. Then one day, her mother died in a car crash. She was very, very sad.

Soon the time came for her to make her way in the world. Jules decided that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill would be a fine place to continue her studies. Jules made new friends. Yet strange things kept happening! Her eyes played tricks on her and she heard things she did not want to hear. Familiar foods tasted weird. Jules didn’t know what to do!

Then Jules met Nick. He was scary and mysterious. Jules got mad at herself for wanting to find out more about him, especially since there was this nice boy named Andrew. Andrew was skilled with a sword. Jules thought that was hot. Between the two of them, Jules felt like she was in over her head!

So Jules ran. While she ran the trails of Battle Park, she thought about Nick. Nick knew something. Jules decided to find out what. She went to see Nick’s band play where the most amazing thing happened. Nick’s music created a magical energy! This both amazed and frightened Jules. During a break, Nick was mean to her. He told a story about being a Troll! Jules didn’t want to believe it but Nick wore the same exact pendant! Why did they have matching pendants? Why did Nick say he knew Jules her whole life? What a liar! Worst of all, he kissed her in front of everybody!

The next day Jules confronted Nick. He told her a fantastical tale about the strange things happening to her. Jules felt a little bit sad that she was never going to be normal like her friends. At least she wasn’t alone anymore. She had Nick now.

And boy did she! Nick would not go away, no matter how much Jules ignored him. But it;s hard to hate someone who takes you on a cool hiking trip to South Mountains State Park. They went swimming and Jules got to see his cave. Nick even taught Jules how to put her shields up so she could have some privacy. She didn’t want him spying on her and Andrew. Jules liked Andrew alot. Maybe too much. They would run together in the mornings. Jules felt hopeful. Love does that.

Then a horrible thing happened. Nick set Andrew up! This made Jules angry. She didn’t like being angry. She was better at being sad and depressed. Anyway, Jules was sooo angry she stopped talking to Nick! But Nick had a plan to get her to talk to him. On Halloween, he dressed up like a fencer and challenged Andrew to a duel. Andrew didn’t even know it was Nick! But Jules did.

So Jules made a really hard decision. She ran away from both of them. And that’s why she was alone when trouble found her…

I faithfully marked off each story read in Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales

Help Me Find Jules’ Voice

I need your help.

I am making a book trailer for my book, TENDERFOOT, and am looking for a young woman who would be interested in lending her voice to my project!

Yup, I’m looking for Jules!

Specifics: I am looking for a young woman in her late teens to early twenties who would be willing to record several paragraphs, spoken from the perspective of Jules, the main character in the book.

I would request that it be recorded using iProRecorder App for iPhone, available for $4.99 on the iTunes store. This app creates a nifty audio file that is emailed.

And it will take a whole five minutes to do!

Renumeration: Whether I use the file or not, I will reimburse for the app download via PayPal. If I choose your voice, I will give credit at the end of the book trailer in a BIG FONT, post it in a million (literary) places on the Internets, and make you rich and famous! Okay, not so sure about that last one, but would you settle for a $25 gift card to the store of your choice?

Interested? I knew you would be! Contact me at amymytupper (at) gmail dot com for more deets.

Thank you!

Excerpt On IndieBooksList

Battle Park, Chapel Hill, NC

Today Indie Books List is featuring an excerpt of TENDERFOOT!

This excerpt is taken from Chapter 8, when Jules goes to see Nick’s band play. There’s a bit of a confrontation and Jules gets a wee bit upset. Hey, at least Jade had a great time!

Many thanks to Shania Richmond for the share!

Follow to Indie Books List

Terry Moore’s Francine Has Read Tenderfoot!

An original sketch by Terry Moore, owned by Trevor Tupper. June 2011

Money can’t buy love.

This axiom is repeated everywhere: books, songs, movies.

However, money can buy a really awesome gift for your wife. And what better way to show your writing-obsessed wife who has suddenly stopped doing the necessary tasks of life like feeding you or bathing the kids (we won’t mention the cleaning of the house), you support her 100% on whatever path “the book” takes her down than buying an original sketch that ties together the two awesome worlds of Strangers In Paradise and TENDERFOOT, straight from the man himself, Mr.Terry Moore?

Well, this wife is convinced there exists at least one true fan – my poor suffering husband! Today is 1 year to the day that my brain was taken over by Jules, Nick, and Andrew. And how cool is this sketch?

There sits Francine, one of Terry Moore’s famous characters from Strangers In Paradise, reading a book. What book is that? Why, it’s TENDERFOOT! And yes, she really is making a comparision between my troublemaking character Nick, and Freddie, her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend/frenemy. Gotta love it!

Feel free to click on the link to admire the picture up close. See all the awesome reviews on the back of my book? The hilarious cover of Twilight? Even Jules pendant?

My husband is a HUGE fan of Terry Moore and has been for the longest time. I have to say, now I am too. Thanks so much to Terry for humoring my wonderful husband!

Meet Jules Jennings, International Student

DSC04389

American School of Paris Yearbook, 1987

WHY JULES IS AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT

Early in the process of writing TENDERFOOT, Jules’ back story needed to be imagined. Where was she from? What was her life like there? What impact did it have on her character and behavior?

If you’ve read my bio, and I’ll assume you have, you may have noticed a few similarities between Jules’ background and mine. We both lived as Americans abroad in Paris, France, attended international schools teaching American academics, are from families that place a heavy emphasis on travel, and have a world view a bit outside of the mainstream.

Why do Jules and I share this background? There are several reasons. But first, I will define the term “international student” as it is used in the book:

An international student is a child of school age (not post-secondary) who moves with their family from a place they consider “home” to another country.

  • While the student has left behind extended family, friends, and community, they continue to live with their nuclear family.
  • The international student has a place and culture they identify with and which they consider “home,” but it is not where they live. For the purposes of this book, the home country is the United States and its culture. Pearl S Buck, while an American ex-patriot, would not count in this definition because she was raised in China and self-identified with China, not the United States.
  • Frequently, the international student moves more than once to another country and there is set time or place for the next move. This makes the future uncertain.
  • This definition stands in contrast to students who visit another country and attend school for one school year while living with a foreign host family.

Here are the reasons why Jules is an international student:

Write about what you know.

  • It’s a common rule of thumb for writers. I’ve lived through the experience of being ripped up from one culture and plunked down in another. Got that one down cold.

The international student experience is relatively unknown.

  • If someone knows of another book where the main character is an American who has lived abroad as a teen, I’d love to read it! Please leave a note in the comments.

In the United States, the international student experience usually is thought of as students from other countries coming to America for a school year in high school as opposed to American students leaving the country with their families.

  • This assumption provides an opportunity to flip the meaning and make it something unique.
  • As this is a rare experience, it is something new to share with readers.

The international student experience is interesting.

  • With a unusual situation comes unique opportunities. During the three years I spent at the American School of Paris, I visited the U.S.S.R. on spring break, went with two grades of students to Ullswater, England to attend Outward Bound, and performed on choir/band trips with students from other international schools in West Berlin, Frankfurt, and Vienna. The trips I missed? Ski trips every February to the Alps, sports trips all over Europe for competition, and a spring break in North Africa. These were just the school trips. My family traveled Europe extensively the three years we lived there. Opportunities abound for the exploration of other cultures.
  • More nationalities than Americans attend international schools: I had friends from all of the Scandinavian countries, France, Spain, various Arab countries, and a sprinkling of others. The funny thing was, as different as our native cultures were, we formed strong bonds with each other because of the us vs. them mentality: the internationals speaking English versus the French!
  • As a teenager, having access to a transportation system as comprehensive as that of Paris is very cool. The students at my school ran all over town on weekends, frowning at the embarrassing American tourists in their white sneakers and fanny packs. (It was the ’80s.) We didn’t have to be sixteen years old with a driver’s license and access to a car to get away from our parents. I was thirteen when my parents let me take the metro to meet friends on the Champs-Elysees to see an (always American) movie. This type of freedom is unusual and liberating.

The experience of the international student applies to military brats but in a different way.

  • While I was a pseudo-military brat, I never lived on a military base like the kids I saw when we went shopping for American goods on base at Ramstein, Germany or SHAPE, in Belgium. I believe their experience is different from the one experienced by international students because in these military towns, the students do almost all of their socialization on base. Schools and shopping are usually located on base, so these students have less interaction with the native community.

Parental and societal expectations are different in the international community.

  • There is both the internal and external pressure on a student to succeed – and to succeed at a level that is equal or higher to the parents’ success. This can be a tall order when the parents are given pay and responsibility commensurate with a job working abroad. As students, we were expected to not only attend college but to attend a great college. We took International Baccalaureate and Honors classes and were expected to bring home good grades. The internal pressure came from trying to measure up and find a way in the world that would allow us to live this kind of lifestyle on our own.
  • Other cultures live by different rules of law and teenagers like to push boundaries. This equals potential diplomatic incidents. For example, if your kid gets arrested by the French police, there is no phone call home, plus they can hold you as long as they like, releasing you only when they have something worked out with your Embassy/Consulate. The ramifications could be huge. Being a teenager abroad poses different challenges than found in the United States. My mother happily repeated the stories of the (few) kids who experienced these ramifications to keep me in line. It worked.
  • In line with following local laws and customs, international students receive greater responsibility at a younger age than peers back home. Was I running around Paris at age thirteen? Yes. Was I expected to be home on time, not get mugged by the Gypsies, stay with my friends at all times, and to keep a distance from suspect individuals? Yes. I was forced to learn and use French and understand the laws and customs of the French, and in doing so, learn about the larger world.
  • Living within the French community, we made friends with multiple families in our French apartment building. We held open house parties for our French neighbors and attended their dinner parties. One family was kind enough to invite us to their summer home for a week in southwest France. While speaking French with them for a week was difficult, it was worth the struggle. Getting to experience another culture full-time is an amazing opportunity.

Finally, the most important reason for while Jules is an international student: the development of backstory is enhanced by drawing on rich cultures.

There are three types of cultures intersecting in TENDERFOOT; a public university in the American South, the cultures of France and Sweden, and the world internal students. All of these cultures add to the story.

  • Jules has lived in Manhattan, Paris, and Stockholm. The moves were traumatizing to her. She finds the campus at UNC-Chapel Hill warm and welcoming and chooses it because it is a place where she feels safe… for a time.
  • Jules’ family has extensive roots through her mother’s side in Sweden and much of her backstory is provided by the modern-day culture and folklore.
  • Manhattan, New York, is a popular location for setting movies and TV shows. It is Jules’ home base because most readers will be able to picture living there and what that is like.
  • Paris, France, because again, it’s something I, as an author, know something about and can impart to the readers.

These rich cultures provide Jules with several personality traits:

  • She is not afraid to pick up and move on, but she loathes it.
  • She has a larger understanding of the world than her peers. Her friends Jade, Jenny, Michelle, and Priya act as controls.
  • She is quick to spot danger because of her upbringing.
  • She clings to the familiar.
  • She is a people-watcher and likes to figure out people’s motivations.
  • She always feels like an outsider.
  • She’s developed enough adult distrust of the world that she questions everything and uses sarcasm as a defense.
  • She’s always moving somewhere new, i.e. always a Tenderfoot.

I hope you enjoyed my blog about Jules Jennings, international student, the main character and narrator of TENDERFOOT. I invite you to meet her for yourself!

Tenderfoot Haikus

Nature's canopy, a picture captures moment, lovely Battle Park

 

As a reader, I like to be surprised. This was my central thought while writing the blurb, or description for TENDERFOOT.

Yet, as an author, I like to leave clues. And while I won’t be expanding the book’s blurb or openly discuss the plot developments (Ever feel like you’ve seen the movie after you’ve seen the movie’s trailer?), I might pull out the breadcrumbs and put one here, one there.

Why, look! Here are some now…

TENDERFOOT
Folklore retold is
Paranormal fantasy –
Scandinavian.
 
JULES
College life dawns,
annoying Troll legacy,
Andrew is the one.
 
ANDREW
New morning sunrise
my heart, hand, and sword –
Jules has them all.
 
NICK
Eighteenth summer,
it starts over again –
This one will resist.

The World of Tenderfoot

The Old Well, UNC-Chapel Hill

When I set out to write the story of Jules, Andrew, and Nick, I had to choose a  setting. Where did their story take place? Was it during a historical period? Were they on another planet? What rules governed their world?

After considering a universe of ideas, I settled on Chapel Hill, NC in the current day. Why Chapel Hill? There are several reasons. First, I live nearby so I had access to do first-hand research. (Never underestimate the fun in first-hand research!) Second, Chapel Hill is a place that is fairly well known because of the academic reputation and athletic records of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Using a town that is known would allow me as an author to concentrate on the finer points of the setting (like the inside of a dorm) without having to describe the larger setting of Jules’ world because information is easily accessible on the Internet. Besides, Chapel Hill is a wonderful example of a charming town and gown city in the South. I chose current day to add to the readers understanding of the setting and culture.

Setting Jules’ story in a known location in the current day highlights the contrast between the unusual things happening to her and the normal life of her friends on campus. Despite the fact that Jules’ roommate Jade is a cheerleader on a prestigious college cheerleading squad, Jade acts as a control versus Jules. The normal versus the abnormal. The understood versus mystery. The predictable versus the unexpected.

The “normal” setting works to heighten Jules’ fear of being outed as “different.” All she wants is to be normal and fit in. Don’t we all?

To make Jules’ world as accessible as possible, I used real names for campus locations and street names. The businesses off campus are renamed but if you really wanted to know where certain scenes happen, it’s not hard to figure out. It was a thrill to visit Battle Park, adjacent to the campus, and take the photo for the cover of the book. A visit to South Mountains State Park is scheduled in two weeks. I plan to take a slew of photos and video.

I’ll admit I am a fan of Twin Peaks and was excited to visit the Double R Diner in North Bend, Washington and order a slice of cherry pie. This is my way of paying it forward. The next time I’m in Chapel Hill, I may have a beer at “Hilltop” and toast Jules, Andrew, and Nick.

The Bad Guy in Tenderfoot: Who is it?

When I began writing Tenderfoot, I had three characters. Jules – the narrator, Andrew – the love interest, and Nick – the man of mystery. They established their personality traits fairly quickly. Nick’s voice was the most challenging to pin down, in keeping with his ‘difficult’ nature, but with a little work, they had voices. Then I diagrammed the possible relationships between the characters until I settled on the ones Tenderfoot was written around. But that left one question: who was the bad guy?

Since the basis of the story is Jules’ discovery of her paranormal abilities, she couldn’t be the bad guy. Andrew, the athlete who dreams of earning a spot on the Olympic fencing team? Nope, that would be unfair to the readers. What about Nick, the campus rock star who annoys the living daylights out of Jules, a freshman on campus trying to find her bearings? That sounded great! Except for one thing. I, the author, developed a soft spot for Nick and couldn’t pull the trigger. (Whoops! That’s okay, I don’t feel bad about it. Nick has that affect on people.) The position Nick’s character occupied was the natural choice for a villain. With it filled, I was left where I started. Who was the bad guy?

I kept stumbling over this assumption about Nick until I found a way to use it to my advantage in Tenderfoot. Why not Nick? He’s pushy, he crosses lines, and he doesn’t apologize for doing so. But what if he had a reason for his behavior? What if all his actions were tied to one goal? What if that goal had something to do with a… bad guy?

In writing Jules’ story, the bad guy makes a single appearance. Like any good villain, this one, a Backahasten, serves his purpose. He’s menacing, he presents an obstacle to the main characters, and you never know if he’s right around the corner.

The best part about the bad guy? He’s back for Blinded, the sequel to Tenderfoot! I can’t promise the readers will meet him more than once, (although it’s possible since the book is in progress) but I will leave you with this: the bad guy’s story will finally be told.

Themes

I’m 1500 words into BLINDED. Already, a major theme of trust vs. faith has popped up. I can’t wait to develop it further.

When I wrote TENDERFOOT, I wasn’t able to articulate the major theme until I’d revised the story several times. Then one day it was clear: loss vs. discovery. Over and over, Jules experiences the give and take of losing something yet discovering something else. I think her life experience gives her voice a bittersweet edge. The audience hears this in her thoughts and gut reactions. She’s a girl who has survived. She also has a little more experience in saying goodbye than the average person. That was something I pulled from my own experience as an American living abroad. The adventure of living in another culture (discovery) vs. giving up everything or everyone that you know (loss.) Jules has moved twice internationally. Her third move, to college, becomes the third time she says goodbye and leaves her former life behind. But this is the first time she gets to make the choice for herself. It puts a responsibility on her that she is not comfortable with, yet must accept. Jules recognizes she had to make this choice while begrudging her own sister for staying close to home.

This being a story of paranormal fiction, Jules’ loss and discovery is larger than herself. It is a change that sets off a wide-reaching chain of events.

Contact Me!

Dear Reader,

I would love to hear from you about my book! I care deeply for my characters and I hope you do too. I am fascinated by the fantastical yet contemporary world they live in, perhaps a little too much.

When I started this journey on June 16th, 2010, I had no idea what I was getting into. Right from the start, these three characters – Jules, Andrew, and troublemaker Nick, established themselves as real people with their own motivations and conflicts. As their story progressed, they even hijacked the story line a few times.

They continue to inspire me as I complete the plotting of the second book in the series, BLINDED.

How do Jules, Andrew, and Nick inspire you? I’d love to hear!

And please, if I used one too many commas or got some detail incorrect, let me know so I can correct it. I am a stickler when it comes to writing – which is why I edited my final final revision one last time. The eyes alas, they do not see.

You can email me at amymtupper at gmail.com or drop a comment on Facebook where I can be found as Amy Tupper, Indie Author.