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Brooke Shaffer

Author, Ski Patroller, and Pasta-Eater Extraordinaire

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More Fun in the Amazon!

So, I've gotten reports from multiple people who ordered through Amazon that your ship dates have been pushed back from reasonable dates like March 20th and such all the way to the end of April or even into May.

1. I am aware of it.

Once is a fluke, three or more times is something serious.  I don't like it any more than you do.

2. I can't do much about it.

Problem is, I can't do anything about it.  My printer/distributor is on their game getting everything out as they are supposed to.  The problem lies with Amazon, whatever their problem is.

3. But I might be able to help a little.

If you are in my area and we can meet, my proposal is that you can

a. Cancel your Amazon order (ensure you get your proper refund) and buy directly from me.
b. Cancel your Amazon order and go through another retailer like Barnes & Noble.
c. Continue with your Amazon order.  I will give you a book to read now.  When your book arrives, you hand that book over to me.  Since you have already paid through Amazon, everything is solid there.

I am sorry that this has happened.  Some may have more luck with Barnes & Noble, and you shouldn't have any problem with e-reader versions.  If something else happens or there is a break, I will let you all know.

-Brooke Shaffer

Fun Facts About Deserts and Jungles

You might be thinking, "Huh?  But Charleston is in the mountains!"  Well, my little observant reader, that is very true.  However, the majority of Tick Tock does not occur in Charleston, but in a desert and a jungle.  In order to get you excited and a little more acquainted with the conditions, here are some fun facts about said landscapes.

Desert

  1. Deserts are formed as extreme temperature variations and little precipitation cause rocks to crack and break down. Sudden bouts of heavy rain precipitate flash floods which wash everything away.
  2. Deserts are classified by the amount of precipitation received annually.  Thus there may be hot deserts (Sahara) and cold deserts (Antarctica)
  3. There are also less extreme semi-arid deserts which receive more precipitation than hyperarid deserts, but are still deserts.  They may act as the go-between for an arid desert and surrounding fertile lands.
  4. Coastal deserts are defined as strips of land near a large body of water with cold currents that pick up little to no moisture.  Temperature ranges are narrow, but lack of precipitation classifies the area as a desert.  Examples include Chile and Baja California.
  5. Sandstorms are less frequent than dust storms, but they can be considerably more damaging.  During a sandstorm, the particulate matter becomes electrically charged which can interfere with telecommunications and cause headaches and nausea in people.
  6. The driest desert on Earth is the Atacama desert in Chile, where it is suggested that the region received no rain between 1570 and 1971.  Even today, some weather stations have recorded no rain, and the overall precipitation is less than 1mm.
  7. Desert plants have small or no leaves and must store water for long periods of time.
  8. Desert animals are called xerocoles.  Birds are the most well-adapted to desert climates as they can move quickly to get to food and expend the least amount of energy to get there by gliding on air currents.  This also keeps them away from the hot desert floor.
  9. Deserts are often rich in metals and minerals such as gypsum, sodium nitrate, copper, iron, and uranium.
  10. Mars is the only other planet in our solar system where deserts have been identified.

Jungle

  1. Jungles are areas of dense vegetation heavily dominated by trees.  The term used to be applied to tropical rainforests, but has since fallen out of use.
  2. Jungles differ from rainforests in that jungle ground level vegetation is often unnavigable by humans, and requires cutting, where rainforests are open in their lower levels owing to lack of sunlight.  Jungles and rainforests may occupy the same or neighboring areas.
  3. Tropical rainforests are characterized by warm and wet climates with no dry season.  Tropical dry forests have marked rainy and dry seasons.
  4. Dry forests are less biodiverse than rainforests, but are still home to a significant number of plant and animal species.
  5. More than half of the world's plant and animal species are found in rainforests and jungles.
  6. Typically, soil quality is actually quite poor.  Rapid decay due to the climate does not build up and what little there is, is used up quickly by the surrounding vegetation.
  7. Rainforests in volcanic soil, however, are high in nutrients.
  8. Over 1/4 of the world's natural medicines have been discovered in rainforests and jungles.
  9. In 2007, there were 67 confirmed uncontacted tribes in Brazil.  There were 44 on the island of New Guinea.
  10. Central Africa is home to the Mbuti pygmy tribe and have been the subject of numerous studies.

So that's it.  A little taste of stuff to get you excited and thinking about the upcoming landscape of Tick Tock.

-Brooke Shaffer

All the updates!

*crawls out of hiding*

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and all that other stuff.  I was busy hiding in a hole trying to survive, but I'm back now.  All is well.

Okay, updates.  Good things are happening.

First, the paperback edition of "Time to Kill" is only days away from being available (darn weekends and holidays, anyway).  Same size, slightly lower price, and with half the cover bulk.  And half the cover protection!  Yay!

Second, there are rumors of another Chivalrous Welshman book somewhere in the world around the area where I call home.  I don't know about this, but it has something to do with political intrigue with the Hands, double-crossing the Zero Hour, traveling to distant planets, and facing off against some very ugly wild animals.  Could just be me.

That's about it for now, actually.  Except for that part where book five has a pretty awesome ending, book six has a very sad ending, and all that.  But you know.  Details and stories for later.

-Brooke Shaffer

10 Fun Facts About: Charleston, West Virginia

  1. The first capitol building was built in 1885, but burned down in 1921.  It was rebuilt, but burned down again in 1927.
  2. During the first fire, ammunition on the first floor was set off, causing people to flee in terror.  Two men also stole a fire truck, but were later apprehended by the police.
  3. The current capitol building is the tallest in the state at 292 ft with 3 stories.
  4. Charleston is home to the first brick-laid street in the world, laid in 1870.  It is known as Summers Street.
  5. Charleston is simultaneously the most populous city in the state while being the least populous state capitol.
  6. The city spans both sides of the Kanawha River.  This comes from an Iroqouis word meaning "water way" or "canoe way."
  7. During the Civil War, Charleston was divided between the Confederates and the Union.  On September 13, 1862, Confederates seized the city, but the Union returned six weeks later and held it until the end of the war.
  8. The city spans both sides of the Kanawha River.  Kanawha comes from an Iroquois word for "water way" or "canoe way."
  9. Original Native American tribes in the area include the Cherokee, Iroquois, Monacan, Nottaway, and Shawnee.  There are no federal reservations in the state today.
  10. Charleston's sister city is Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.

10 Fun Facts About: The Appalachians

Because they really are important to Tommen, and the story at large.  So here are ten fun facts about the Appalachian Mountains.

  1. The mountains are named for the Apalachees, a Native American tribe in the region
  2. Mount Mitchell in North Carolina is the highest peak, at 6,684 ft
  3. It is also the highest peak east of the Mississippi
  4. Elisha Mitchell was the first to successfully climb the mountain in 1835, hence Mount Mitchell
  5. The Appalachians are over 1,600 miles long, spanning 14 states and provinces
  6. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is known to have hurricane force winds over 100 days out of the year
  7. The Appalachian Trail is 2,200 miles long
  8. There are 8 national parks and 6 national forests dotting the mountains in various states
  9. The Appalachians contain significant deposits of coal, iron, salt, copper, petroleum, and natural gas
  10. Red spruce is the most prominent tree in the northern region

Book Signing at Horizon

If anyone is going to be hanging out around downtown Traverse City on October 14, from about 4pm-6pm, come by Horizon Bookstore to say hi and get your book signed. Don't have a book, well you can buy one at the signing or from any number of other outlets.

Problems and Solutions (Answers Anyway)

So, I've been getting reports that some Amazon pre-orders are self-canceling.  I looked into it and now I have an answer.  Amazon is dumb and apparently doesn't make a distinction between pre-order and out of stock (talking about the print book only, as far as I know, all digital pre-orders are still on track).

Amazon has a neat feature where if an item remains out of stock for thirty or more days, any orders are automatically canceled so you aren't kept waiting forever and a day.

So that's what happened.  It mistook pre-order for out of stock, so as thirty days goes by with no "stock" it cancels your pre-order.  So, here's what you can do:

1. Ensure that the order was canceled and you got a full refund

2a. Re-pre-order the book from Amazon

2b. Re-pre-order the book from Barnes & Noble

2c. Wait until the book comes out fully on September 1, then order from Amazon or your favorite bookstore

2d. Wait until the book comes out fully on September 1, then get it personally from me (assuming I know you and have a way to contact you)

Sorry for the confusion and the blind-sided sudden cancellations.

Pre-Order Now!

Pre-orders are now available!  Go here for the full details.  Or you can look it up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your favorite ebook vendor or local bookstore.

Not Exactly John Wayne Here

Apparently I was a little slow on the draw Friday when I finally got everything sent in, submitted, uploaded, and whatever else.  So, while everything is fully ready and (almost) available, it's not yet available-available.  Theoretically, it should only take another business day or two.  Fingers crossed.

I'm not doing this on purpose, people.  Believe me.

Ho Hum, A Little Behind

I know I said that the eBook was (tentatively) going to be available for pre-order today, but file formats and the Powers That Be are a little fussy.  This one's on me.  The good news is, I think I have things figured out and know what I need to do to appease the Hands that reign over my project.

So, new target date is July 15.  Even better would be if it's available sooner, but that's the goal.  Wish me luck.  Actually, no, don't wish me luck.  Wish me sense.  What in the world am I doing?

-Brooke Shaffer

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