Today I’m excited to welcome author Annie Twitchell’s blog tour for her newly released novel, Through the Pages. I can say first hand that this book is fantastic, and I highly suggest that you check it out! In this stop on the tour, we’re taking a sneak peek at one (maybe my favorite 😉 ) of the characters in the story.
Jeremiah Gordon was born in 1998, the fourth out of eight children. Growing up, he felt as though he was destined to be forgettable, but a chance encounter with Irene as a teenager turned that idea on its head. He works as a mechanic, which he loves, and he’s making quiet plans for how he can improve the efficiency of the garage. He is NOT looking forward to when self-driving cars are common.
When he’s not working, he likes to hang out with Misty, play video games with his younger brothers, and go for long drives on the back roads. He’s gotten lost more than once and spent the night in his truck, but when the sun comes up he finds the way home again. He tolerates cats, as long as he’d not expected to take any ownership of them, likes country music, and takes his coffee black.
Want more of Jeremiah’s story? Read on for further details about the book and author!
Spring will always follow Winter.
Misty doesn’t know who she is. Nineteen years old, she’s trapped inside who she has been, with no idea who she could be.
When she goes to Mill’s End to take care of her stubborn, book-loving grandmother, she finds herself torn between past and present. The answer to who she is lies hidden in her grandmother’s library. Her path to find herself takes her through the fading pages of dusty books and the memories of a woman who has lived a full life. It is up to Misty to write the final chapter to the dearest story of them all.
Annie Louise Twitchell is a homeschool graduate who is obsessed with dragons and fairy tales. She enjoys reading, writing, poetry, and many forms of art. When she’s not writing, she can often be found reading out loud to her cat, rabbit, and houseplants, or wandering barefoot in the area around her Western Maine home. In addition to seven published works, she has several poetry awards and pieces in four anthologies.
You may have been here. It’s only a short trip you have planned. You get in the car and peak at the gas gauge. It’s getting pretty low, but stopping for gas is a pain, and after all, you aren’t going that far. Naw, I’ve got plenty for now…I’ll just stop later.
Woah! Careful now…because actually, that’s the Devil talking.
Those were my exact thoughts the other evening. Some friends had invited me to dinner. They live a few miles outside of town. Now I had heard that a particular major road was closed due to construction, but I really had no idea what part of it was actually closed, as I do not frequently travel there.
At any rate, on this evening I had completely forgotten about any streets being closed anywhere, so I just went on my merry way.
I headed out of town and was quickly reminded by an ominous orange sign.
“Road Closed, X Number of Miles Ahead. Follow Detour”
Oh man, I totally forgot! How many miles out are they? Well, I really wasn’t sure and I’m still relatively new to the area and don’t really know my way around as far as shortcuts. Not wanting to take any chances supposedly, I follow the advertised detour. What could possibly go wrong?
This was when the drama started. Well, it was probably a lot more dramatic in my head at the time than it really was, but whatever. It makes for a good story after the fact I guess.
I should mention here that I recently had to get a newer vehicle. So A, I’m still getting used to it and figuring out how many miles I really have left before empty. And B, I went from a car to a SUV…so gas just doesn’t go quite as far now.
So I was following this detour…and still following the detour. At least the orange signs haven’t just disappeared, that’s a good thing, right?
Eh, yes, but not really.
Eventually, I started thinking (I know, novel idea). I must be too far north now. Maybe I should try turning off on the next county road heading west…that should bring me closer to where I need to be, in theory.
But there seemed to be no good place to pull off and I didn’t feel like ending up in a ditch or something. Plus there was another car right behind me. Frazzled and frustrated, I kept going.
At some point, I looked down at the clock. That’s when I realized that I’d been driving for a lot longer than I thought I had. Where the time went, I couldn’t tell you. Then I glance at that gas gauge.
Oh, shoot. That short trip? Yeah right. Now I was feeling stupid. And why the heck am I still going north? I need to turn around.
It really felt like the middle of nowhere at the point. I mean, there were more Amish buggies out there than cars. Okay, not really. But I did come across quite a few of them.
I still really needed to turn around, but darn it, there was still another car on my heels. Look, I know you are probably following this eternal detour too, and you’re late too, but pleeeaaaase back off a bit more so I can think!
Now I was seeing signs for towns I’d never even heard of before.
Gas was getting lower, but I was still pretty confident here. After all, the gas light hadn’t come on yet. Heck, my old car didn’t even have such a feature.
I finally get to a place where I can safely stop. Ironically, I’m pretty sure that there was a working, open, gas station at this junction. But we won’t talk about that, okay? Okay.
While stopped, I finally decided to take out my phone and try using the GPS to find a different route back to where I needed to go (another novel idea a little late, wow!). I get turned around and head on my way, following that lady’s annoying voice. GPS Lady told me to take the next right onto some back road.
I came up to it and what do you know, there was nothing other than a big orange sign in the middle of the street! “Road Closed.” What in the world?!? Never mind, probably wouldn’t be a good Idea to take even if I could…recalculating.
I passed by the same Amish buggy I had already encountered going the other way. He gave me a funny look like, “I’ve seen you before tonight…I bet you were following that never-ending detour too…hahaha.”
At this time my friend called, wondering if I’m still coming and such. I sheepishly explain the situation. They inform me that the road is actually open at their place and apologizes for forgetting to mention it. By then, I had pulled off onto a side road to talk.
New plan…just go back and come the normal way I knew how to go. Cool. I felt better as continued back the way I came towards town. For a moment. Before things got really dicey.
That little orange gaslight came on.
Uh-oh. That happened a lot sooner than I thought it would.
I was still kind of far out. Nothing left to do now but hope and pray I could make it back. Maybe there is actually more gas in there than what it seems to say.
I could swear that I could actually see that needle moving towards E in real time. I imagined that the next thing I would be doing was making a very embarrassing call to my friend. I kept trucking. I cheered for downhill parts of the road so I could use gravity to my advantage. (“I’m glad it’s downhill from here”…That’s happened a time or two going places with my mom, 😉 )
I was pretty mad at myself for not turning around sooner. Oh well, just hope for the best at this point.
Well, friends, I’ll just say it now- I made it back to town! Those were some tense moments, but I did not run out of gas after all. I tested the limits, but they were not exceeded. I’ve almost never been that glad to see a gas station.
I arrived at my destination- after getting the gas this time- and the day ended well.
Do I now know where that road is actually closed? Nope, still don’t.
Do I want to find out first hand? Nope, not unless I have plenty of gas and lots of time to kill.
And that, folks, is why you should always stop for gas first, before leaving town. Because ya never know. Unless you like to live dangerously, but that’s your call. Lesson learned here…for a while anyway 😉
Her name is Helga Schneider, and she resides in Frankfurt, Germany. She makes her living selling chairs… homemade by her of course. She has a dog named Bernie and an English Lop rabbit named Herman. Most of her friends are children.
Once upon a time, inspired in part by one of her young comrades, and also by the tragic local lack of Swiss cheese, Helga decided to take a camping trip. A camping trip to Switzerland. In the middle of the winter. Because I guess when a woman needs to have Swiss cheese, a woman will do whatever it takes to get it, right? It’s a completely logical decision!
But poor Helga, she had all sorts of problems as she tried to make her travel preparations. It seemed like she’d never get on that train to Zurich. So was she ultimately successful? Well, she did make it on the train eventually, but I don’t know if she ever completed her mission. Why?
See I never actually finished the story. Helga Schneider to Switzerland was my first attempt at writing a “novel” over ten years ago now. The actual memory of how it came about is fuzzy. But my friends and I were goofy middle school age girls that had an obsession with The Sound of Music. My brother and I were also learning world geography in school, and we had a fascination with the countries of Germany and Switzerland.
Out of all this somehow came Helga Schneider. As well as an entire cast of supporting characters. Local Deli owner, Peter Steinburg. Helga’s rival in the church woman’s fellowship group, Mrs. Beatrice Schultz. The Mary Poppins-ish Umbrella Lady, who peddled whatever the weather demanded (Pouring down rain outside? She’d be at your door with Umbrellas. Freezing your fingers off? Never fear, she’d have mittens by the dozen!).
My friends had characters too, and so did my brother. My mom even got on board and wrote about the dairy farmer and gourmet chef, Zelda Von Schneardenhook of Braunschweig (Sorry if I butchered her name, Mom 🙂 I know there were more that I can’t recall right now. We have many of the original stories saved, but I don’t have them to reference right now as didn’t bring them with me when I moved to Ohio 😦 Sorry Helga! I’ll come back and get you sometime!
But anyway, those were the days. We had grand plans for multiple series of books featuring these characters. Then we grew up and moved on. As I look back on it now, Helga Schneider, in all her hilarious misadventures, taught me so much
First of all, she ignited the creative writing spark in me. Ever since I started with Helga, I’ve been writing some sort of story. I learned that I loved writing. When we wrote those silly stories, we didn’t know any better.
Those stories weren’t necessarily “good” by the standards of the publishing world anyway. The plots were lacking. Some parts were incredibly dull, other parts were trying so hard to be funny that they didn’t even make sense. Helga and friends lived in Germany, but we were American kids, who had never really been anywhere. Did we research the countries and cultures of our characters? Of course not- if someone from Germany actually read those stories, they would probably laugh and throw the book or even be offended.
I simply wrote because I was in love with it. I didn’t care what other people thought- as long as they just laughed along with me at the silliness. Of course, as you get older, you lose your innocence. You begin to realize that many things in life aren’t so black and white. As I continued to write, I learned that there are so many elements that you have to take into account when you write, to make a good book. It was a lot- and still is a lot to take in.
Sometimes I get so caught up in getting the story right and making sure it has all the right things in the right places. I can lose sight of why I’m even writing it. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the blissful days of Helga. Now, of course, I realize that there is a place for this in writing, certain things are absolutely crucial to making a story good and realistic. I’m in the middle of that right now… editing a manuscript, doing a lot of research to make sure things are accurate, and trying to make it better overall.
But at the end of the day, and especially when I get frustrated, I have to remember why I’m writing. I have to remember Helga, and what she taught me. I write first because I love it. Because I have a story that I want to tell. I hope that people will read them and enjoy them, but if not, that’s okay too. The story was written. That is half the battle after all, and what matters most.
So thank you, Helga Schneider. For starting it all, for showing me so much. May I never, ever forget you. And thank you to my friends and family who also wrote and laughed along with those stories- Mom, Dad, Grandma, James, Cassidy, and Em. Those times meant the world to me ❤
To any other writers reading this… what about you? Do you have a distinctive character that started it all for you? One that helps keep you grounded today? I’d love to hear about them!
Okay, here we go again. I had planned on starting blogging around this time last summer. I launched this site and made an intro post of sorts…and then that was it. Stuff happened I guess (eh, probably more like I got lazy and decided to watch too many dumb YouTube videos instead of writing, but… :p) and I didn’t keep up with it.
But, it’s 2018 now, and it’s time to give it another go. Back in January, I made a resolution that 2018 was going to be the year that “writing things get done.” I was going to get serious about improving my craft and such. So here we are now, about halfway through 2018. How is that going you may ask? Well yes, I have made some writing progress, but not quite as much as I would have liked to.
Oh well, you just have to keep moving forward, right? It is only July, there is plenty of time left yet this year to accomplish things. I have established two main writing goals for the rest of this year. Whether anyone reads this or not, hopefully publishing these goals publicly will at least help me stay accountable 😉
Goal #1- Restart my Blog and Write There Regularly
Yep. Well, by writing this post I’m already making progress on this. Yay! Little victories! What is my purpose for doing this? For one thing, I hope to write content that others enjoy reading and will hopefully help brighten someone’s day. For another, just to write more, and get better at it. After all, that is how you get better at anything- by doing it.
Recently I have also become rather self-conscious about sharing my work with other people. I used to like reading things I wrote to others. What changed? Maybe because I had received some harsh (but constructive) criticism in the past. Perhaps because what I’ve been writing now is more raw and meaningful than it was before. If you write, I’m sure you’ve been there and understand the struggle on some level.
If I want to publish my work, I need to get over it. I have to be able to accept criticism in order to improve. I have to put it out there. Putting content out on this platform is a step in the right direction. I’m aiming to post once a week. Okay, in regards to letting people read my work- on to my next and final writing goal for this year.
Goal #2- Get my Current Manuscript to a Professional Editor
As of right now, I’ve been working on “Hazel’s Story” for a little over two years. I’m almost done with the second draft, and this draft comes in at around 67,500 words, phew! I want to do one more round of edits myself, then it’s time for the all-important outside opinions. I would like to be sending this project off by the end of the year.
I do not plan to try to publish traditionally. I’ve been researching the ins and outs of independent publishing for several years, and that is the route I’m choosing. There are a lot of different options out there nowadays. It certainly has its set of challenges, but I want to experience it. I’m interested in the entrepreneurial side of things almost as much as the actual writing.
That being said, I will be working with others (editors, cover designers, etc.) to make sure my work is the best it can be before launching it. To get this puppy presentable, I need to buckle down and write and do it every single day. Even if it’s just ten or twenty minutes, something is better than nothing.
Well, that is about it for this post. It is super nice outside, and I should get out of the house for a while. Oh and also need to do other fun things like laundry. Ugh, not… haha! Hope you stick around for more, I will try my best to make it enjoyable and worth your time 🙂