THE BONE HARVEST: opening scene

Hello friends and followers! I’m looooong overdue for a blog update, and plan to write a proper one soon! With the release of IT FALLS APART over the summer there is so much to reflect back on and celebrate—and look forward to!—but I’m also right in the middle of a big “day job” transition right now that’s taking up almost all of my time and attention. THAT SAID, I’m sad I haven’t had much time lately to write, or blog! So I’m going to do the next best thing and share an excerpt from my current WIP with you! I’m hoping it will inspire me to get back to working on this book ASAP and inspire you to want to read more of my writing! (Btw, have you read IT FALLS APART? Have you recommended it to a friend? Have you left a review? *wink*wink*)

Here, for your reading pleasure, is the opening scene from…

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Oxygen levels are low.

I ignore the comment as best I can, wishing the robotic voice emanating from the computerized self-preservation pack, or SPP, I wear on my back would keep his warnings to himself for once.

“Thanks, Spencer. I know.” I smack a hand against the airlock’s control panel to encourage it to open. 

Merely keeping you informed, Nina. Oxygen levels have dropped 0.37% since my last warning.

“It’s fine. I’ve got this.” I retrieve my multi-gadge from the back pocket of my charcoal jumpsuit and twirl it in my hand until the screwdriver head appears, then cram it into the crease of the console, popping open the cover.

“Got it,” I say. “Now to figure out what’s keeping this airlock from sealing properly.”

Perhaps you should have waited for Harley, like he wanted you to.

I roll my eyes. “I didn’t need to wait for Harley,” I say, remembering the caution from my mentor all too clearly. “Like I said, I’ve got this.”

I spin my multi-gadge to reveal the laser-head, then aim it into the console, tucking my chin-length hair behind my ear. I can see where the wires are frayed—a loose connection in the computer, enough of one that it can’t figure out how tightly to seal the inner doors.

You were supposed to check in at the Job Desk at 1730 hours.

This time I ignore Spencer’s comment. It’s not that I don’t appreciate him figuratively—and for the most part, literally—always having my back, I just need to focus and get this airlock fixed so I can prove to Harley I’m capable of handling these repair jobs unsupervised.

1730 hours was 10 minutes ago. 

Still ignoring, I twist the frayed wires together where they should be attached, trying to remember everything Harley taught me about wiring as I go.

Oxygen levels are still dropping. Do you know what will happen if you run out of Oxygen?

“I have a rough idea,” I say, working as fast as I can.

What about if the wires you are fusing malfunction and the outer doors open? Do you know what will happen then?

“That’s not going to happen,” I say, but even I can hear the uncertainty in my voice. “The outer door is fine.”

There is no pressure in space, Nina.  The air in your lungs would expand, ripping the fragile tissue open— 

“Okay, thanks,” I bite back. “I get the picture. Not helpful, Spence. Not helpful.”

I take a deep breath, which is probably a mistake. I’m starting to feel a bit lightheaded. With everything set the way I want it, I begin re-fusing the wires with my laser, but then my hair fans out to obstruct my view, causing me to reactively drop my multi-gadge onto the grated, metal floor of the airlock. “Shit.”

I scoop it back up, then clench it between my teeth while shrugging Spencer off my back, letting him slide to the floor so I can retrieve a hair elastic from my pocket. With the multi-gadge still in my mouth, I pull my sleek, black hair into a ponytail, its violet tips funneling out from the pinch like a crest of purple feathers.

I detect an abrupt plunge in elevation. Did you drop me, Nina?

With my hair fully off my face, I return my attention to the control panel. “No, I’m just giving you a five-minute break, Spence.”

Self-preservation packs do not require breaks.

“Well, then feel free to keep talking. Just not about lungs bursting open. In fact, the entire subject of bodily harm is off the table,” I say, continuing to work on the wires. “Tell me a story—or a joke.”

Alright. A structurally-modified self-preservation pack walks into a bar. "What can I get you?" the bartender asks. "I need something to loosen up," the structurally-modified self-preservation pack replies. So the bartender serves him—

A screwdriver,” I say, right alongside him. “Is that seriously the only joke you know?”

When a joke is that funny, you only need one. 

“Hmm.” I bite my lip, examining my work. “That’s debatable.”

I fiddle with a few more wires, then spot another connection that’s coming lose. What a rat’s nest. This airlock was due for an upgrade a long time ago. 

I am sorry for having to do this, Nina, but I am not programmed to have a choice.

“Having to do wha—?”

A blaring alarm overrides Spencer’s ability to respond, tearing my question apart before a robotic voice much deeper than Spencer’s relays a dire warning:

EMERGENCY. EMERGENCY. OXYGEN LEVELS ARE DANGEROUSLY LOW. EMERGENCY. EMERGENCY...

***

If you want to read more, you can find another small excerpt from THE BONE HARVEST here.

celebrating IT FALLS APART

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Hello, blog friends! I hope you are all enjoying your summer. Mine (so far) seems to have flown by in a blink. Thankfully, I have enough mom-ninja in me to sleep with one eye open so I figure that balances things out. Maybe. Kinda. Whatever. The point is, we're already halfway through August and how did that happen?!

I recently received my final score for RWA's Golden Heart contest, in which I entered my YA romance, IT FALLS APART. Though the book didn't final, I was pleased and proud of my 8.9 score. When you're an aspiring author, you have to take every small victory for what it's worth, and in a sea of rejection, it's worth A LOT. So let's celebrate, shall we? I had hoped to get this up right after I received my final score, but then we went away on vacation and, well, you know... 

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from prom night in IT FALLS APART as much as I enjoyed writing it:

I watched as my friends joined the already crowded dance floor, then was surprised to look up and see Luke standing beside me.

“Hey pretty girl, wanna dance?” He punctuated the question with a mischievous grin. “I know we’re not really supposed to, but I can’t look at you all night and not ask.”

“Believe me, the feeling is mutual.” I stood and slipped my arm through his. “In fact, I was just about to ask you.”

He led me to the center of the room, a small clearing in a forest of swaying couples. I expected him to put his hands on my hips, like most guys do when they’re dancing with someone for the first time, but he let them slide a bit further, toward my back, bringing me that much closer as I wrapped my hands around his neck.

“This is cozy,” I said as we too began to sway.

He leaned in and whispered in my ear, “And yet not cozy enough.”

A shiver ran up my spine, and I had to keep myself from pulling him even closer. Instead, I made small talk. “Are you having a good time?”

“For the most part.” He shrugged, briefly taking in the room around us. “The chicken was a little rubbery.”

I laughed. “It always is.”

“Are you having a good time?” he asked, his eyes back on me, causing my skin to warm.

I smiled. “I am now.”

He stared at me for a moment, the hint of a grin crossing his face, but then it wavered, his expression becoming more intense as his eyes roamed over my features carefully, eventually landing on my mouth. His fingers shifted on my back, settling a little lower, curling eagerly at the tips, struggling for restraint. Responsively, I let my thumbs brush against the nape of his neck, where soft hair met smooth skin. It was too subtle for anyone nearby to notice—they were probably too wrapped up in each other anyway—but it didn’t help with keeping things friendly. It felt like there was some unseen force pulling us together.

I breathed deeply, then glanced around the dance floor, looking for Meera. I spotted her at the edge, her head against Yuvin’s shoulder as they oscillated slowly.

“I don’t think I want to dance anymore,” Luke said, drawing my attention back to him.

Confused, I studied his face for a moment. Was he upset? Angry? No, his expression was fraught and hazy. I recognized it from every time he’d ever grabbed me and kissed the hell out of me.

“Okay,” I breathed. And without another word, he clutched the tips of my fingers in his and hastily led me from the dance floor.


home for a rest excerpt II

To celebrate being in the revision stage (yes, revisions should be celebrated!), here's an excerpt from HOME FOR A REST, my adult contemporary romance.

"But Kate, you already shared an excerpt wth us here!!" 

First off, whoa, calm down, guys. The second exclamation mark really wasn't needed. And second, yes, I did already share an excerpt, but this book is new and exciting territory for me, so you get more! If you plan to read both excerpts in a row, read the one I've linked to above first, because the below selection is from later in that same chapter. Enjoy!

Jamie kicked off her boots and hung her coat on a hook by the door, the same one she’d been hanging it on since she first befriended Ryan back in high school. But a lot had changed since then. A lot had changed since earlier that evening.

Ryan flicked on a few lights as they moved through the house toward the kitchen.

“It’s been a while since I was last here,” Jamie commented. If she’d been nervous before, it was nothing compared to what she was feeling now.

Ryan glanced back at her as he flicked on the coffee maker. “Yeah, I suppose it has. BBQ?”

“Christmas party.”

Recognition washed over his face. “Ah yes, I remember. Josh brought that guy who openly complained about everything.”

Jamie nodded. “That was the one.” That guy had been a dick.

She suddenly found herself doubting all of it. Ryan's motivation for bringing her here, the possibility of what might happen, the fact that he’d said anything about kissing her in the first place. And even if she wasn’t misreading the situation, she wasn’t sure this was even something she wanted. Sure, there was a big part of her—a huge part of her—that really, really wanted it, had wanted it for years, but how did that fit in with the person she’d become over the past few months? Was this her moving on? Was she even ready for that? Because nothing about this felt like the casual fun her sister had insisted she needed. Besides, Ryan had said he was done with one night stands. And that was the last thing Jamie ever wanted to be to him anyway.

“You’ve got your pick of desserts.” Ryan turned around from the fridge, his strong arms loaded down with trays of squares, cookies, and entire pies.

“Holy crap,” Jamie said as he lay them out on the kitchen table. “You weren’t kidding about the food.”

He grabbed two plates and two forks. “I never kid about food.”

Her eyes roamed over the options, happy to focus on something other than their current situation for a moment. “Can I have a little bit of each?”

She hadn’t really meant it as a serious question, but Ryan smiled and nodded, his eyes locking with hers. “You’re welcome to have anything you want, James.”

And with that, it was game back on. God, the way he looked at her. So transfixed. He’d always managed to make her feel like she was the only girl in the room, even when she wasn’t. He excelled at focussing on people, addressing their needs. It was part of his undeniable charm—and probably why he was so good at his job. He’d probably made dozens and dozens of girls feel that way. But even knowing that, he still somehow made Jamie feel exceptional. Maybe it wasn’t real, but it still felt so damn good. And right now, that was what she wanted to focus on. Not what she should be feeling, but what she wanted to be feeling. And as Ryan stared at her from across the table with a wicked grin spread across his lips, she knew exactly what she wanted to be feeling. 

 

 

friday5 for March 31, 2017

I think I know what happened.

The Friday5 has gone through a few different incarnations over the years, and most recently, in an effort to focus my thought processes surrounding it, I introduced categories. But instead of making the Friday5 more streamlined, I think I actually just made it into another daunting weekly task, which is why I haven't done one in so long (well, that and, let's be realistic, my ongoing excuse that life is busy and stuff, guys. Like, hella busy.) Anyway, long story short, I'm gonna go back to basics, as in the freestyle Friday5 of yore, and hope it's something I can really get into again. Because while the Friday5 has never generated much discussion here on the site, I know you guys read it. I mean, you're reading this right now, aren't you? ;)

So, here we go! The freestyle Friday5, which definitely won't be weekly, but hopefully will be more frequent than it has been, and may contain anything from personal thoughts, to pop culture news, to memes, to book trailers, to funny videos, and of course, because it HAS been a longstanding staple of the Friday5--noteworthy new YA :)

1. How's the WIP coming along?

First off, thank you for asking. It's going well, but not as well as I'd hoped. And I don't mean that from a "this plot isn't working" standpoint, I mean it from an "I really hoped to be finished the first draft by now" standpoint. But I've recently launched a full-scale freelance editing business over at www.paperpoppyeditorial.com (check us out for all your editing and copywriting needs!) and that's taken time away from writing--paid time, I should add. You can't argue with that. 

But back to the WIP. I'm at the climax of the story. It's exciting and passionate and it features a major conflict that even has me wondering how my characters will overcome it. But I'm not wondering much because I already know how they will. I have it all mapped out in my outline. But it still breaks my heart to see them fighting. They're good people, my protagonists. They've been lovers for a short time, but friends for much longer. I think you'd like them. I'm going to help them sort out their differences, and then I hope you get to read their story one day ;)

2. Speaking of the WIP...

Having only written YA before now, diving into an adult contemporary romance has been quite the adventure, and sometimes challenge. But thankfully, my years spent working on the other side of the desk as an editor of romance fiction, have left me intimately familiar with the genre. At first, I was a bit intimidated to write the kind of romance I love to read--sweet, emotional, complex, and definitely sexy--far sexier than the comparably tame, mostly off-the-page (though, not always fully off-the-page...) sex scenes I've written in my YAs. But it's actually been a blast. Romance is fun. Hooking people up is fun, and while I don't want to share anything too explicit here on the blog, here's a little taste of Home for a Rest, in what I'm going to dub #foreplayfriday (Is that a thing? Cause it should be...):

3. Presented without comment

Okay, a little comment...BUFFY!!!! If you follow me on Facebook, you know I've been all about EW's Buffy reunion this week (limited edition covers, you guys!). But this. THIS. Making all my dreams come true. Only complaint? Needs more Giles and Faith. But I'll still take it.

THe SCOOBY GANG'S ALL HERE...for the most part

THe SCOOBY GANG'S ALL HERE...for the most part

4. Have you been listening to S-Town?

S-Town, the new podcast from the people who brought us the highly addictive Serial is definitely worth a listen. It's not true crime like Serial, but it is a fascinating story, well told by Brian Reed, and it might just break your heart. It definitely broke mine. And even if you aren't affected by the story's events the way I was, it's still a compelling look at how bizarre life can be, even when you live in a crappy, little town (and maybe even especially because of that). I think most of us can relate to that in one way or another. 

5. Noteworthy New YA: HEARTS & OTHER BODY PARTS by Ira Bloom

Sisters Esme, Katy, and Ronnie are smart, talented, and gorgeous, and better yet . . . all three are witches. They have high school wired until the arrival of two new students. The first is Norman, who is almost eight feet tall and appears to be constructed of bolts and mismatched body parts. Despite his intimidating looks, Esme finds herself strangely -- almost romantically -- drawn to both his oversized brain and oversized heart. 
The second new arrival is Zack, an impossibly handsome late transfer from the UK who has the girls at school instantly mesmerized. Soon even sensible Esme has forgotten Norman, and all three sisters are in a flat-out hex war to win Zack. But while the magic is flying, only Norman seems to notice that students who wander off alone with Zack end up with crushed bones and memory loss. Or worse, missing entirely. 

-Courtesy of Indiebound

 

Happy Weekend!

home for a rest

Sorry for the radio silence folks. I've been working hard to finish my current WIP, but of course, life and freelance work keep getting in the way, as they tend to do (and no, I'm not complaining!). Regardless, the WIP is coming along, and while I don't have a synopsis to share with you just yet (which is unusual for me as I'll often write the blurb first), I just offered to share an excerpt when my FB page hit 100 likes, which it did, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! So as promised, I've posted a little snippet HERE from the rough draft of my current WIP, Home for a Rest, a contemporary romance set in fictional Port Ophelia, Ontario (Canada represent!) featuring Jamie and Ryan, two old friends whose lifelong flirtation is poised to erupt into something much, much more.

I'd better get back to writing now... Enjoy! 

friday5 for May 31, 2013


1. Let's catch up--how have you been? Sorry for the lack of a Friday5 last week. Things have been busy. The early part of summer is a crazy busy time when you work in publishing with conference prep (BEA, a conference I'd love to attend one day, is happening right now!) and lots of exciting stuff happening in-house. We're on summer hours now, which means I get Friday afternoons off (so yay to that!), BUT I plan to use that time to work on my current WIP (which is me finally finishing the back-half of my NaNo project) and do summery things like taking my daughter to the park and gardening and beating the crowd en route to the cottage and you know, summery stuff like that. While the blog isn't going to be on hiatus for the summer, posts will possibly be even more inconsistent than usual. I am hoping to start throwing in more non-Friday5 posts soon as well. I have a few topics for The Writer's Arsenal that I'd love to discuss (cause, whoops, neglect and all that) so those will hopefully happen it the coming weeks too!

2. Before we get to pop culture news, and since I mentioned that my Friday afternoons have kickstarted me lavishing more attention on my WIP, I wanted to share a snippet because--full disclosure--there is some stuff in this book that I find myself giggling at when I'm skimming through it, which yeah, whatever, you're probably not supposed to find your own writing funny, but some of the characters in this one are just so much fun to write. For your reading pleasure, here's a sample:
First I hit up the hardware store. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but when people go about nefarious deeds in movies, they tend to always hit up the hardware store. I’d already thrown some rope, duct tape, a hatchet and a butane lighter into my basket when I dropped the damn thing at the sight of Monica folded over the paint service counter, clutching a coffee, her blonde hair braided down her back as she rested her head in her arms.
She startled at the sound, whirling around to face me as I scrambled to gather everything I’d dropped and duck behind a rack of carpet samples.
“Luce?” She tilted her head forward, her sunglasses falling down the bridge of her nose. “Lucy!”
“Oh hey!” I said, as though I’d only just noticed her. “What, uh, what are you doing here?”
“Dad’s making Stephen and I help him paint the back fence. He got us up at the crack of dawn.” She took a long swig of her coffee. “Stephen’s just arguing with this Cook’s Hardware lifer about whether or not Dad pre-paid for the paint.” She nodded toward the end of the service counter where sure enough, Stephen was looking through an order binder with a thirty-something-year-old guy wearing a yellow Cook’s Hardware apron.
“What about you?” Monica asked. She glanced into my basket, her expression nonplused as she returned her gaze to me. “What’s with the serial killer supplies?”
“Uh…” I stalled, absolutely nothing coming to mind. “Umm…” A total complete blank. “They’re for a friend?”
Monica gasped. “You liar! Lucy Girard, why are you lying to me?”
“Because it’s a surprise? For…you?”

3. This kinda blew my mind. So brilliant. The marketing team behind The Hunger Games franchise continues to impress. If I'm ever lucky enough for there to be a film based on one of my books, it's entirely possible I'll be all "HUNGER GAMES MARKETING TEAM ASSEMBLE!" How cool would that be?!

4. Arrested Development is officially back, y'all! (I think that was the first time I've ever said y'all. It felt wrong. I apologize.) Because of life obligations, I did not marathon the whole thing in one sitting and I think that's kind of good because I've enjoyed digesting it in smaller marathonettes (when you only watch 3-4 episodes in a sitting instead of an entire season like a crazy person). I get the impression from the interwebs that people who tackled the thing as a whole were left unable to appreciate it as much as they might have if they'd spread it out a bit more. There is a lot going on in these episodes and I've personally been very pleased with the quality. I'm ready for more! Is it too early to say bring on season five?

5. Day job represent! Today I'm featuring a new release by one of Harlequin Teen's own--Katie McGarry. Dare You To is the highly anticipated follow up to 2012's Pushing the Limits.

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Rainy kisses, amiright?

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. "Dance with me, Beth."

"No." I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again....

"I dare you..."


If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all....
(Summary from Goodreads.com)
If you're looking for a swoon-worthy (and I mean swoooooon-worthy) summer beach read, look no further. Katie's books are some of the very best contemporary YA romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The plot is tight, the characters are fantastic and if you're into YA romance at all, you will not be able to put this one down.

Happy weekend!