Twisted Blog Tour: Excerpt from Brett’s Story!

I’M BAA-AACK. I’ll probably do a proper recap of my time away from the blog eventually (because it’s been a crazy few months), but for now I’m here for a kinda very exciting reason.

As you may know, the Ch1Con team has spent this fall teaching two fantastic young writers about the publishing process in our inaugural mentorship program. The final step of this program is the release of an anthology featuring these up-and-coming young authors’ short stories (as well as some of our own). The anthology is called Twisted, because these stories all have some pretty killer plot twists (pun possibly intended).

The paperback and e-book editions of Twisted are available now for order on Blurb.com, and the e-book will be available soon on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

I’m absolutely in love with the short stories in this anthology, and am so proud of all of the talented young authors.

In honor of Twisted’s release, we’re holding a mini blog tour on the mentors’ blogs. The tour includes interviews, excerpts from the anthology stories, and more. The blog tour schedule is below:

Today I am thrilled to host an excerpt from Brett Jonas’s short story, “Maybe”! I love this story, because it’s so full of fun coincidences and sooo much banter (one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE THINGS EVER in fiction).

Besides being one of my favorite people to ever live, Brett Jonas is a professional fangirl who has been writing YA novels since she was fifteen. After being homeschooled her whole life, she’s now taking classes at the local community college and working in her family’s business, Goat Milk Stuff, with her seven younger siblings. When she’s not writing, reading, working, or doing homework, you can find her wasting time on Twitter, where she loves making friends and using too many exclamation points.

You can find Brett online at: Twitter / Instagram / Website

And now, without further ado: an excerpt from “Maybe”! Leading up to this, the main character has been on the phone with her mom, who’s trying to set her up with her friend Maggie’s son, Josh. Only there are a lot of Joshes in the world (and our main character, here, already has a date).

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My doorbell rang and I sighed. “That’s probably the maintenance man coming to fix the leaky drain he’s already ‘fixed’ three times. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Love you, sweetie.”

“Love you too.”

My socks slid along the linoleum as I hung up and tucked my phone into my back pocket. I undid the latch and opened the front door, only to stop short when the man who appeared was definitely not Bill, our building’s janitor and handyman.

“Um, hi,” he said, brown eyes meeting mine. “I just wanted to come over and introduce myself. I’m Josh, your new neighbor.”

Of course he was a Josh. Make that six Joshes I knew who weren’t Maggie’s son.

Oh, wait, this must be the source of all the banging next door. It wasn’t actually a herd of elephants?

“I’m Kassidy,” I said, opening the door the rest of the way. “Want to come in?”

He was definitely a lot hotter than an elephant.

“Sorry for all the noise.” He walked in and I closed the door behind him. “My brother’s helping me put together some stuff from Ikea. My mom wanted me to have an apartment that looked decent, probably in the hopes of me getting a girlfriend.” He stood awkwardly in the middle of my living room, glancing around.

“I see.” What was I supposed to say to that? I turned to see what he was looking at, my eyes landing on my new fancy shmancy Keurig. “Do you want some coffee?”

“I would actually love a cup,” he said. “I can’t find my coffee maker and I’ve been dying for some caffeine.”

I gestured to my machine, walking over to the cabinet with the mugs in it. “Well, my mom just got me this, so I’ve been having lots of fun with it. The pods are in the drawer underneath it—help yourself.”

There was a light in his eyes as he sorted through the pods from the sampler pack and selected a dark roast before taking the mug that I held out to him. “You’re my hero,” he said, inserting the pod and pressing the start button. He leaned against the counter, resting his elbows against it as he waited.

“What are neighbors for?” I asked as I opened the drawer of pods, the edge of the drawer barely grazing his side. I was close enough to smell his cologne, which somehow managed to be both spicy and freshly clean at the same time.

“Coffee, sugar, and killing spiders,” he said instantly, grinning at me.

“Yes, well, I can generally manage to kill my own spiders, but coffee and sugar are always appreciated.”

His coffee finished brewing and he picked up the mug, holding it close to his chest like it was something magical. Which, of course, it was.

“Sugar or milk?” I asked as I started my decaf.

“Nah, this is good.” He brought the coffee towards his nose and took a deep whiff.

“So why did you come to Jeffersonville?” I looked up at him. He was tall enough that I had to do that, which was unusual. I usually towered above everyone.

“I got a job at Amazon,” he said.

“Oh, fun.” And there went any chance that he was Maggie’s son.

He laughed. “Not really.”

“I’ve heard,” I said. “I work at the Kohl’s on Charlestown Road.”

“That sounds like a way better job.”

“Have you ever worked retail?”

He shook his head, and I snorted. “That’s why you think it’s a better job.”

The song “What Is This Feeling” from Wicked started playing, and he blushed all the way to his military-cut brown hair. “Excuse me,” he said hurriedly, switching the mug to his other hand and pulling his phone out of his pocket. “What?” he demanded.

“Quit flirting and get back over here,” I could barely hear. “I’m not doing all this shit for you.”

“Calm down,” Josh said. “We both know you’re only here because Mom said you needed to come.”

“We both know that you would have been homeless for the past two months if I hadn’t let your ass sleep on my couch, so you owe me one. Get back here or I’m leaving you alone with a bed that’s half put together.”

Josh sighed as he hung up and slid his phone back into his pocket. He stared down regretfully at the coffee. “Sorry about that. My brother… well, I’ll be glad to have my own place. I’m sure I’ll see you around, Kassidy.”

“You can take the mug,” I said, smiling at the way his grip tightened on it.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, as long as I get it back before too long.”

He smiled. “Thanks. I’ll see you around. Can I return it later tonight?”

“Well, I have a date tonight, but you can always knock on my door and see if I’m here.”

**********

Aaand yeah. Want to read the rest of this adorable story? You can check it out in Twisted, available now!

 

Thanks for joining me for the first stop of the Twisted blog tour, and make sure to check out the rest of the tour over the next couple weeks too!

~Julia

 

NaNo Day 19: Interview with Brett Jonas

Sorry for writing two days’ posts within twelve hours of one another, but I have a busy day ahead of me (class, work, dress rehearsal, choir concert–then MOCKINGJAY PART 2 OHMYGOSH IT IS FINALLY HERE I CANNOT HANDLE IT).

With that in mind, I don’t have any NaNoing planned for the day. (The current goal is just to stay awake and on my feet until the end of it, to be honest.)

So: seems like a good time to share an interview!

Like the past couple years, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.)

Today’s interview is with Brett Jonas, my favorite goat milk enthusiast and one of this year’s creative consultants for Ch1Con. Here we go!

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer, reader, Christian, and chocolate lover. After being homeschooled my whole life, I’m currently taking classes at my local community college and working in my family’s business, Goat Milk Stuff, with my seven younger siblings. I also spend way too much time procrastinating on Twitter.

2. Have you done NaNoWriMo before, or is this your first time? What are your thoughts so far?

I have done NaNoWriMo several times, but I’ve never gone for the full 50k during the month of November. I’ll do 50k during the camps in the summer months, but with November being the busiest time of year at work, I generally go for 25k. Right now, I’m just hoping I can make the 25k this year – I’m farther behind than I’ve ever been.

3. Can you tell us about your novel?

This is my first time ever writing contemporary, so I’m really nervous about it, but also pretty excited. It’s these two nerds who fall in love with each other and I’m having so much fun slipping in ALL THE FANDOM references. LOL (You can find a summary on my Nano page, because I can’t for the life of me come up with a short pitch yet. http://nanowrimo.org/participants/booksquirt/novels/hanover)

4. In addition to doing NaNoWriMo this year, you’re also a college student, working at your family’s super cool business (www.goatmilkstuff.com), volunteering as one of Ch1Con’s creative consultants, and more. How do you balance so much at once?

Balance? Hah. What’s that? But seriously, I’m not quite sure how I manage to do it all. I had two manuscripts land in my inbox this week that needed to be beta read and returned within a week, in addition to my homework and regular work. Nano got dropped in the process. But, since I’m only going for 25k, I’m only 5k behind schedule and I’m hoping I can catch back up – after I catch up on the homework that I abandoned to get these novels back to their authors. Oops? (Erica Cameron and Breeana Puttroff are brilliant, by the way, and I will drop everything to read their books any time. LOL)
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6539315
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5170812.Breeana_Puttroff

5. Any tips for fast drafting a novel?

My biggest tip for fast drafting is to run word sprints. Find a buddy – whether online or in real life – and set a timer. Race the clock, and at the end, report your word counts to each other. Whether you sprint for 15 minutes or an hour, if you sit down and focus on writing as fast as you can for a pre-determined amount of time, you’re bound to get a fair amount of words. And, it’s fun!

6. Quick: what is your #1, go-to snack food for when the writing (or revisions) get tough?

Chocolate. My family makes some pretty amazing chocolate covered goat milk caramels and they are the best. Popcorn is a good writing snack too, if I’m in a salty mood instead of sweet.

7. And last but not least, where can we find you online?

You can find me at brettjonas.com, on Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Instagram. I’m most active on Twitter, but I have some pretty awesome writing inspiration boards on Pinterest, and in the next few months there will be baby goats galore on my Instagram. You know, if cute baby animals are your thing. 😉

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6548838-brett-jonas
twitter.com/booksquirt
pinterest.com/booksquirt
instagram.com/booksquirt

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Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Brett!

Goal for Today: 0
Overall Goal: 30,000
Current Word Count: 34,514

~Julia