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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Authors are Rockstars Tour: Elizabeth Richards - Deleted Scene + Giveaway!!

I'm really excited to be hosting the amazing Elizabeth Richards for the tour!! I absolutely loved her first book, Black City, and I just know that Phoenix is going to be equally as amazing. Richards has an original mind, combining the paranormal with the ever-popular dystopian genre. I am obsessed with her books and I definitely wish that more authors would jump on that bandwagon. While I can't wait to read Phoenix, I also can't wait to see what other awesomeness she is going to come up with next! Also, she used to review video games which was my dream job as a kid, so I think she might be able to give me some pointers on getting into that industry :)

About the Author: 
Elizabeth Richards is an award-winning journalist, who spent her early career reviewing videogames before making the bold (or crazy) move into travel writing, despite suffering from terrible travel sickness.

In her spare time, she ran a successful lifestyle website aimed at teenage girls, where she got to interview many of her favorite bands, go to gigs and basically blag loads of free swag all in the name of ‘research’.

Elizabeth lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with her husband.

Hello Explorers! I’m delighted to be stopping by Literary Exploration today for the Authors are Rock Stars blog tour! *throws horns* I thought I’d share some deleted scenes with you today from my latest novel PHOENIX (A Black City Novel).

In the very first draft of PHOENIX, Ash, Natalie and Elijah take refuge in a town called Dusty Hollow, in the Barren Lands. The Dusty Hollow scenes never made it to the final draft of PHOENIX, due to a few changes in the narrative, although keen-eyed readers will see a reference to the town in the book. Here are a few snippets from those deleted chapters. Both scenes are told from Natalie’s POV.


“We’re nearly there,” I tell him. “Just another few steps.”
Ash simply grimaces in response, clearly in agony.
Elijah wrinkles his nose. “Can you smell that?”
The scent hits me a moment later: rotting meat. We cautiously approach the town, passing a hand-painted sign saying Welcome to Dusty Hollow. I cover my nose. Swinging from a nearby wooden pole is a corpse, the flesh almost entirely stripped from its bones. Even so, I know who the person is…or was. I recognize the rose emblem on the shredded robes: it’s Emissary Wood, the envoy of the Barren Lands. I remember seeing him on television a few weeks ago, arrogantly claiming he was going to ‘reclaim the Barren Lands’ from the outlaws that have overrun the state. Nailed to the pole are five other human skulls: I’m guessing they’re Wood’s guards. A buzzard flies overhead, waiting for us to leave so it can finish its meal.
No one says as word as we enter Dusty Hollow. It’s not so much a town, but a junkyard, with a long pathway carved through rows of rusting train carriages, which are being used as makeshift homes. The place is eerily quiet, seemingly deserted, as we walk down the main street, our feet kicking up clouds of red dust. A hot wind rolls through the junkyard, stirring the glass wind-chimes hanging above the doorways. I blink against the scorching heat. We have to get Ash inside and soon, but where? I glance up at one of the train carriages and catch sight of a rag-curtain twitching in the dirty window.
We’re not alone.

The sound of Ash screaming my name fades as I’m dragged into the second carriage, which has been converted into a makeshift bedroom. Someone’s tried to make it pretty, with faded watercolor paintings on the metal walls, and scarlet rags over the dirty windows, which just makes the stuffy carriage all the more depressing somehow. The door locks behind me.
“Let me out!” I scream, pounding my fists against the door. “If you hurt Ash I’ll kill you!”
“There’s no pointing yelling, darling. Ain’t no one coming for you,” a female voice drawls.
I turn to see a woman in her mid-twenties glaring back at me through the gloom. I presume this is Trixie. She’s wearing a dusky pink corset, a short bustle skirt, and red knee-high stockings. Down her arms are strange tattoos and it occurs to me the symbols look familiar, although I can’t place them. Her hair is dyed rose-pink to match her outfit and her lips are slathered in gloss. She would be beautiful except for the gruesome scars running from the corners of her mouth towards her ears, giving her a permanent, frozen smile.
Behind her, four other women are draped on the bed like wilted flowers. They’re all similarly dressed, their hair matching the color of their outfits: purple, green, yellow and blue. Their eyes are glassy with Haze.
“Looks like you got competition, Trixie,” the skinny woman in purple says.
The other women giggle.
“You shut it Violet.” Trixie eyes me up and down. “What’s your name, precious?”
I ignore her and rush straight for the window, hoping to escape. I pull back the rag curtains and cry out in frustration when I see the thick steel bars covering the glass. The women all laugh, like it’s some big joke. Think Natalie, there has to be a way out of here. Of course, I know there isn’t. This isn’t a bedroom, it’s a cell.

PHOENIX (A Black City Novel)
Ash and Natalie are just starting to build a life together when things in the United Sentry States go from bad to worse. Ash and Natalie find themselves at the center of turmoil when dictator Purian Rose threatens Natalie’s life unless Ash votes in favor of Rose’s Law—a law that will send Darklings and other dissenters to a deadly concentration camp known as the Tenth.

When Ash can’t bring himself to trade Natalie’s life for those of millions of Darklings, her fate is sealed. Enter Elijah Theroux, the handsome Bastet boy Natalie once saved from her mother’s labs, where he’d been experimented on and tortured. It was his venom the Sentry used to create the lethal Golden Haze, the heart of the government conspiracy that led to Black City’s uprising and Ash’s rebirth as the Phoenix, the face of the rebellion. Elijah is back and Ash doesn’t like him; it’s clear he’s taken with Natalie, and Ash fears she may have feelings for him as well.

But Elijah also may have the answer to taking down Purian Rose for good—a powerful weapon called the Ora. Ash, Natalie and Elijah just have to escape Black City undetected to find it. But fleeing the city and finding this weapon (if it even exists) are easier said than done, and the quest could tear Ash and Natalie apart, even pushing them into the arms of others.

Giveaway Deets
- International
- One winner will receive a hard copy of Phoenix and bookmarks
- I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Blog Tour: Letters to Nowhere - Excerpt and Giveaway!

Letters to Nowhere by Julie Cross
Pages: 360 pages
Publication Date: August 1st 2013
Publisher: Julie Cross

Genre: Mature Young Adult Contemporary

From the International Bestselling Author of the Tempest Series...

Set in the tough world of Elite Gymnastics...

I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan--being around him, talking to him, thinking about him--makes me feel like I can finally breathe again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder--what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be...maybe...probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him...well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.
Excerpt from Letters to Nowhere
After physical therapy, Blair and I were in the locker room gathering our stuff when she begged me to come over and hang out. “Please, Karen. I’m going nuts, totally nuts! My mom is practically sobbing, saying I’m going to get so behind and I’ll never be ready in time for Nationals and she should have taken me for x-rays last week. I can’t deal with her right now.”

I kept my eyes on my locker and continued stuffing items into my gym bag. “I’m totally behind in calculus. I got a B minus on the last quiz. And now I’ve got three assignments to make up . . .”

This was a complete lie. I’d never received a B on anything and I was way ahead in all my classes. I didn’t even have any work to do this week.

Blair folded her arms across her chest and stared me down. “I’m not taking no for an answer, Karen. Are you trying to isolate yourself or something? Because that’s not healthy.”

I fumbled with the zipper on my jacket feeling flustered by her direct approach to a subject she had not been direct about before. “It’s not that, I promise. I’m not trying to be alone.”

“You heard what Bentley said,” she demanded, stepping closer and invading my personal space.

“We need to support each other. Even if it means telling your teammate that she’s too injured to participate in camp, or that she really needs to spend the day locked up in her best friend’s bedroom, listening to music and possibly eating large amounts of candy.”

Intense anger bubbled up inside me, something so fierce I hardly recognized myself or my voice when I stood up and faced Blair. “If you were my best friend you’d figure out that maybe walking into your house is going to make me think of nothing but those two policeman showing up to tell me my parents are dead!”

Author Bio:
I live in central Illinois with my wonderful husband and three kids currently between the ages of 7 and 12 (the kids not the husband). My writing journey began in May, 2009 with a short story in a notebook.

Within a year, I had written seven (some good some God-awful) young adult novels. Not being a college graduate and having spent the previous fifteen years teaching gymnastics and working as a YMCA Program Director for Recreational Gymnastics, professional writing wasn't in my plans. Not even close. But ever since the day I started that short story, I haven't been able to stop. It was love at first sight.

After about a year of writing, I had a three book deal with St. Martin's Press, and a film option with Summit Entertainment. Crazy, right? I know. It wasn't until August of 2011 that I quit working full time in order to be at home with my kids more and of course, write more. My young adult time travel debut novel, Tempest, released on January 17, 2012. The rest of my personal story remains unwritten.

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