Thursday, March 3, 2016

Escape from the Past: The Kid


Time-traveling gamer, Max, embarks on a harrowing journey through the Wild West of 1881! After a huge fight with his parents, Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.

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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE

Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn host.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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 Enjoy an Excerpt:

My chest began to throb without warning, then tighten. Had it been this painful last time? Ten months had passed since I’d last played. I smiled despite the pain. I couldn’t wait to sneak up on Bero. Hug Juliana. The pressure on my body increased. She’d be mad, of course, but then she’d kiss me. Maybe we could sneak into the barn tonight.

The weight on my lungs grew. Breathing stopped. My vision filled with the red haze of oxygen deprivation. I tried to gulp, but my ribs were glued to my sides. I was stuck...and terrified. The fog turned gray...then black. Like last time, I managed to stand, but my legs and feet stood rooted like the giant oaks in Hanstein’s forest.

My heart pounded in my neck, the only sign I was still alive. The fog deepened. Why was this taking so long? Still the pressure held as if I’d been thrown under a boulder. I was dying.

I’d made a huge mistake.

It’s easy to forget fear. Stuff happens and you get distracted. After a while all you remember are the good things. Now that I was unable to move, unable to do anything, I remembered the way I’d felt the first time I landed in the game. I’d felt terror.

And terror was back now in full force, squeezing my middle and poking at my heart. As the pressure lifted and the fog cleared, the sense of impending doom gripped me with such force that I fell forward. I’d made a horrible mistake.

Stumbling, I stubbed my toes and suppressing a shout. In the near darkness, a rock or cliff rose wide as a house and three stories high. I only saw its outline, a black edge against the starry sky above.

The whistling I’d heard earlier definitely came from between the giant rocks. The air was filled with the scent of grasses, grit and something like sage. Had I returned in the summer?

Behind me the area appeared more open. Maybe I was down near the river and Luanda’s house. Should I move in the dark or wait? I’d get lost, wandering off in the wrong direction.
A cold wind dug under my shirt and nipped at my skin. I tugged my sweater closer around me when I saw something glowing on the ground like a huge red eye.


“Not a move, Boy,” the voice hissed. “Or I’ll blow a hole through your gut.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”

Social Media Links
Twitter: @aoppenlander

Buy Links



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The Pros and Cons of Critique Groups
By:  Annette Oppenlander

I’ve been in critique groups since 2009 and consider them invaluable. I can’t even list the hundreds of things they taught me. Here are just a few amazing things they did for me.

  1. Teach me about punctuation and dangling participles
  2. Were available every two weeks through all kinds of weather and holidays
  3. Kept me on track with bi-weekly submissions
  4. Pointed out inconsistencies in my plot, short comings of my characters, superfluous paragraphs and chapters, confusing sections, questionable endings, etc.
  5. Patted me on the back when I was down and pulled me down when I was getting full of myself
But the longer I’m writing the more I’m finding that critique groups can be a mixed bag. Don’t get me wrong, I think critique groups are an absolute necessity for any writer, especially new(er) writers. They provide valuable feedback for everything from grammar and spelling to plot development, dialogue and beginning chapters. But I’ve heard and read plenty of nightmare stories.

If you are in a group and your gut tells you that something isn’t quite right, it may be time to move on. Here are a few points that make a critique group questionable:

  1. Your critique partners tear apart your work without providing constructive suggestions.
  2. Your critique partner considers him/herself an expert in a particular area though s/he is unpublished or self-published.
  3. You write a much different genre, i.e. fiction versus non-fiction, screen plays versus fiction, poetry versus fiction.
  4. Your critiques come back to you under-edited with little or no constructive comments. Your critiques return with too much editing and potentially in the voice of the editor.
  5. Your group meets off and on without a reliable schedule and meeting format. Some members only submit sporadically and often suffer from writers block.
Being in a critique group isn’t just about receiving feedback for your work. You learn as much if not more when you edit your fellow writers’ manuscripts. Over time this practice hones your eye for what works and what doesn’t. You will learn to express the shortcomings of a paragraph or a chapter in a constructive way. You will learn how to suggest improvements. 

A good critique group keeps a writer on task and on schedule. Even if there isn’t one nearby, you can find groups in your genre online through forums and blogs. Ask around in your area, contact fellow writers, peruse notice boards in bookstores and make contacts at conferences. In a pinch you can start exchanging your work with just one other writer. Once you find/develop the right group, you’ll never look back.


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