A great way to start a trilogy

From now until the end of November, book 1 of the Embodied trilogy of Young Adult fantasy-sci-fi novels, Silent Symmetry, is priced at only 99 cents or 99 pence for the Kindle ebook. (Due to international currency shenanigans, the book is $1.32 in Canada.)

But there’s more! This weekend, subscribers to my eNewsletter will be receiving a special coupon code for 33% off the second ebook in the series, Starley’s Rust. So sign up by clicking here – it takes about 15 seconds – and you’ll receive hot-off-the-press news about my upcoming work in your inbox every couple of months, plus exclusive offers like this.

Silent Symmetry has received some great independent reviews, with people saying things like, “I’ve never read about such mysterious creatures before and this book had that and more,” “I loved the natural way the author wove the tale, interlaced with questions resolving and mysteries uncovered. Even the ending left questions begging for a sequel,” and “I would recommend it, not only to my young adult friends, but my adult friends as well.”

Silent Symmetry photo

The paperback version of Silent Symmetry. Click on the image to go to the ebook’s Amazon.com page.

Starley’s Rust has received acclaim from Broken Pencil Magazine:  “Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction,” and CM Magazine: “Imaginative concepts, and well-written … this trilogy should appeal to readers looking for an unusual thriller. Four stars out of four.”

The mysteriously untitled final novel in the trilogy is with my editor right now and will be out in early 2016.

Back from vacation with a new story

In some parts of the world, spring has sprung. In the Dominican Republic, where I visited last week, it even felt like summer, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius (86 F). And while I was in the Caribbean, it was -30 degrees (-22 F) in Montreal, where I live. That’s quite the contrast! In fact, last month was officially the coldest February on record in Quebec. Lucky me, I thought, as I lay in a beach lounger last Friday, looking up at palm trees while sipping something called a Coco Loco. Then a bird pooped on me. This has happened to me once before (bizarrely, also on vacation; maybe I shouldn’t get out more) and this time I’m happy to say that it was a much smaller bird with a correspondingly smaller payload.

Breath Less cover

What does this have to do with writing? Sometimes unexpected things can fall from the sky and you’re left staring at them thinking, “Well, I guess I have to deal with this now.” When I geared up for the launch of Starley’s Rust in mid-January, I didn’t expect to embark on another work of fiction until I began the as-yet-unnamed conclusion of the Embodied trilogy. Then suddenly, plop! the idea for Breath Less came to me.

Breath Less is a short story for Young Adults. It’s set one sweltering summer sometime in the future, and I guess you’d call it a sci-fi romance. Talaya, a teenage girl, is trying desperately to revive a boy called Adam whom she met the day before and has now passed out in her backyard pool. But things aren’t what they seem…

I decided to publish Breath Less “live” in three sections on Wattpad, and now the last one is online. Maybe I’ll also make an ebook version at some point, but right now I’m keen to know what readers think of it, rather than attempting to sell it.

So if you’re interested to know why a girl who takes her books out for a drive is attracted to a boy who dives into a pool but can’t swim, click on the cover and log in to Wattpad.

Starley’s Rust – Pre-orders and NetGalley

It’s an exciting week, and not just because millions of turkeys are running for their little lives (good luck with that) but because Starley’s Rust, book 2 in the Embodied trilogy, is finally, utterly and completely finished. DONE! Like, totes, as its main character Kari might say. The publication date is January 15, chosen for the simple reason that 15.1.15 looks so cool. It’s a tiny bit less cool in the US, where it’s written 1.15.15, but either way it’s a cool number because if you add up the digits they total 13 and if you add up the numbers they total 31, which is 13 backwards (like, obvi, as Kari might say).


Whichever way you write it doesn’t matter, since you can pre-order Starley’s Rust right now from Amazon! All you have to do is click on the cover photo right here, then do whatever Amazon tells you to do.

The other cool thing that’s happening to Starley’s Rust is that it’s now available on NetGalley, a service used by publicists to get review copies of upcoming books into the hands of reviewers. For independently published authors, reviews are the lifeblood of the marketing process, so I’m praying harder than a pre-Thanksgiving turkey that Starley’s Rust will get the coverage I think it deserves.

SR cue cards

And now… drum roll… it’s time to take down the Starley’s Rust scene cards from the wall of my office. They’ve been there for months and it’s going to seem strange to hold them in a tiny stack in my hand, but once the book is a book, sayonara my little friends! Besides, right next to them are dozens of scene cards for the final book in the Embodied trilogy. It’s been nice knowing you, Starley’s Rust. But we’ll be hanging out for a little while longer anyway.


On that note (or stack of them), here’s wishing  all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving!

The Embodied on Instagram and Pinterest

Yesterday was a lovely, sunny day here in Montreal, and I walked down to the neighbourhood known as the Monkland Village with my kids to have a coffee and pick up some groceries. That was the outline of my story. But the story I told my kids was: “LET’S GO AND HAVE CUPCAKES! (And then I’ll go in the store.)” This story was a big hit, and two store-made cupcakes were subsequently demolished and consumed. I just wanted a nice cappuccino to sip while the cake destruction was taking place. However, at the counter I was tempted to eat something sweet. Not an entire cupcake, but something… And that’s when I saw an entire tray of these:

The Embodied trilogy, embodied as a chocolate!

The Embodied trilogy, embodied as a chocolate!

For any of you who have read book one of my Embodied trilogy of young adult novels, you’ll know that pyramids play a significant part. Guess what? In the soon-to-be-released book 2, they acquire an even deeper significance. So I had to buy one and eat it. It was good (thank you, Cho’cola!). Everyone was happy.

So what does all this have to do with Instagram, I hear you ask, as your mind wanders towards the candy jar? I had already made a decision to give the Embodied trilogy a presence on Instagram and Pinterest, and when the server handed me the stylish plate with a single chocolate pyramid on it, I knew exactly what image I would be posting first.

Here’s the link to the Instagram version. Pinterest coming soon!

It’s fun to expand beyond words sometimes. Maybe one day the Embodied trilogy will be a graphic novel. Or a cupcake. Now to find a pyramid-shaped baking tray… Oh, and learn how to bake.

Conversing (sort of) with other human beings

I like chatting to people. Friends, strangers, mascots… But being stuck at my desk most of the week either writing or writing about writing isn’t conducive to the aforementioned chatting. I’m therefore thinking of striking up a conversation with my blog followers. How? In a completely unnatural, stilted way, that’s how!

Here’s the plan: people will ask questions in the comments section of this post and (if there are enough questions) I will then video myself answering them, one after another in a chatty, engaging way in front of my laptop camera, possibly wearing a burgundy long-sleeve tee, as in this screenshot:

Young adult novelist JB Dutton, smiling

Me, JBD.

I’ll upload the resulting video to YouTube and post it right here too. So… ask away! Anything you like about the writing process, my books, my shirt, life in general. Anything. After all, I get to pick which ones I answer.


Look… a Nook Book!

Unbeknownst to me, Silent Symmetry sneakily popped up in Barnes & Noble’s online store for Nook books sometime over the weekend. For those of you outside the US, Barnes & Noble is a humongous bookstore chain and the Nook is their ereader. (Canadians: think Indigo and Kobo.) Nook gives authors tremendous reach, but since lowly Canucks can’t distribute directly to the Barnes & Noble online store, I needed help from the helpful folks at Smashwords. Here’s a clickable screenshot that will take you to Silent Symmetry’s page on BN.com.

BN screenshot

The iBookstore is now Symmetry-cal

Yes, that was the best headline I could come up with on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It took a week, but someone at Apple has finally run over to the iBookstore and breathlessly handed the shiny new Silent Symmetry EPUB file I uploaded last Sunday to the iBookstorekeeper, who then lovingly placed it in a prime spot on their shelves while wearing white kid gloves.

This is an Apple-esque screenshot. I must now go outside and enjoy the sun with my kids.

iBookstore screenshot

Silent Symmetry’s final Amazon KDP Select free promo

Tomorrow marks the 180th day since Silent Symmetry was published on Amazon. In that time I’ve used eight of the ten KDP Select free days allowed by Amazon to get the book into the hands of about 6,000 targeted readers. As I wrote somewhere else, for an unknown novel by an unknown author, this is the equivalent of major radio airplay. Is it translating into sales? Slowly but surely. And as the first book in the Embodied trilogy, I’m looking at the long-term picture in terms of building an audience.


Summer sounds of Silent Symmetry

I’m using the last two free days today and tomorrow, so we’ll see how many new readers will come on board. I’ve also taken the first steps towards publishing Silent Symmetry for Apple iPads and iPhones, and for the Nook, Sony and Kobo ereaders (I have to wait till at least Thursday to publish according to the KDP Select agreement) so I’m excited to be able to get the book into the hands of a bunch of people who might have been missed so far.

It’s all about the readers. And the ereaders…

Photo credit: Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter / CC BY-NC