Sunday, August 29, 2010

Novel Graveyard

Another installment of NEVADA FALLS--an unedited, unpublished manuscript from my graveyard. Catch up on the story HERE, or you can read all of the other graveyards.

I sometimes skip chapters to keep the length short for posts, and there is swearing, so you've been warned. :-)

NEVADA FALLS

“What’s the damage?” Marisol asked as I sat down at our lunch table. Trevor had fifth period lunch, so the table consisted of Marisol and me. Oh, and occasionally Dante Walker. But he didn’t count. He was a freshman.

“Detention all next week,” I said in between bites of my salami sandwich. “With Becker.”

“Shit,” she said. “You didn’t get suspended? Girl, you are lucky.”

I nodded. “If they knew about the firecrackers, I could have been arrested. Nice job, by the way. Totally believable.”

“Why, thank you,” Marisol said, bowing her head.

“Maybe you should try out for the school play.”

“I’d rather stab myself in the eye with this spork, but thanks for the suggestion.”

“Snob.”

Just then, I caught sight of Becker, making his way from the lunch line. He’d changed. Damn. I really wanted to capture a picture of him in pink with my camera phone. I had forgotten to take one earlier.

“Ugh,” Marisol said. “Looks like Mr. Fantastic got his mommy to bring him more clothes.”

“Looks like it.”

I ran my eyes over him. His shirt was new. Preppy. I hated it on him. Becker looked natural in a uniform or T-shirt. Not these sweaters or button-up crap.

Then I wondered who he was dressing for these days.

As if to answer my question, he sat at a table full of cheerleaders. I looked down and picked up my sandwich.

“Trevor got called into the office,” Marisol said.

I paused mid-bite. “For what?”

“Your uncle called him in to talk about getting punched by Becker.”

“Is Becker going to get suspended?”

“Nope,” she said, sipping loudly from her milk. “Trevor covered for him.”

“What?” He was such a coward.

“He didn’t want to get punched again. You can’t really blame him, Nevada.”

“I can. And I will. I got detention for sticking up for him when he won’t even stick up for himself.”

Marisol scowled.

Something bumped me hard from behind. I knocked into the table and spilled my orange juice. “Ow,” I yelled, spinning around in my seat.

“Sorry,” Olivia Shepard said, as she tossed her bleached hair over her shoulder. “You should watch where you’re going, Pierce.”

“What? I’m sitting down, you twit.”

She stopped in her flip-flops. “Excuse me?”

Stupid cheerleaders. They thought people feared them because they could do a high kick. Yeah, well, I wore boots. I’d say we were about even.

“Look, Shepard.” (As in the dog) “I was sitting here, minding my own business. You’re the fool who can’t walk straight. Now go find someone else to worship you.”

“Everybody hates you,” she hissed. “And although the little stunt you pulled on Becker may have cracked everyone else up, I think you’re a bitch.”

I sucked at my teeth and titled my head. “And I think you’re a skank.” I yawned. “Wow, Liv. This is super fun and all, but unless we’re going to go at it, I’d like to finish my lunch.”

“But you should probably skip yours,” Marisol called out to her. “Because your ass looks really fat in that cheerleading skirt.”

And Olivia’s mouth fell open with a combination of anger and self-consciousness. The popular were so easy to mindfuck.

***

There was something about an unfinished home. It was full of possibilities. I stepped in through the wooden doorframe onto the concrete slab. It wasn’t dark outside and I looked up through the slats that would some day become a ceiling and saw the stars.

Then I took a breath and began wandering around. I’d been to this neighborhood before. Track homes. Built in about six months. I visited at least once a week, watching as the foundation was poured, the framing began, the siding went up. It was fascinating. The best part was at the end, after they drywalled. You could walk through a home.

I sometimes wondered what types of families were moving in. If they had kids. If they had pets. If they had dads.

Crossing over to the next house, I was excited. It was my personal favorite. They’d just finished the outside stucco and the front door was hung on its hinges. Sometimes when they got this close to completion the builders locked the doors. I tried it and smiled when it opened easily.

It smelled like plaster. I moved through the huge living room, the kitchen, the family room. The house had to have at least five bedrooms. It was the nicest on the block. Or would be when it was done.

I ran my hand over the banister as I climbed the steps. Last time I was here, they were still nailing down the stairs and I couldn’t reach the second floor. I was excited to see what was up there.

Not one. Not two. But three bathrooms were being built. What sort of family needed three bathrooms on one floor? When this house was done, I was going to come back and pretend to sell Girl Scout cookies or something, just to see what sort of people lived here.

Other than the master, the bedrooms were small. There was still one more on the other side of the hallway. I walked toward it. The door was closed. I turned the handle.

“What the hell?” a female voice yelled.

I jumped back, frightened. Then I froze as I looked in the room. There was Olivia Shepard, on the floor, on top of a blanket, half dressed.
With Becker.

My stomach turned. At least this time he had his shirt on.

“Get out!” Olivia screamed. “What are you some sort of perv?”

I turned my back to them, but I was so stunned. She was my nemesis. And he was my ex-boyfriend. Oh my God. They were about to screw in my favorite house! What were the chances?

“Nevada?” Becker was out of breath. Practically whispered my name.

But then something else hit me. My face hot with embarrassment, I slammed the door and rushed toward the stairs. Wow. I couldn’t believe what just happened. I couldn’t believe that I had to see it.

No wonder that wench had shoulder-bumped me at lunch. She was doing Becker. Ugh. She was so gross. And he was so freaking predictable. I was glad I silly-stringed his ass.

I practically ran out the front door and made for my house. I was halfway there when I realized something. I’d forgotten my backpack. At the sex house.

Shit.

Later that night, as I stared at the ceiling from my bed, all I could think about was Olivia’s high-pitched squeal. Her leopard print bra. The way her lip stick was smeared across her cheek.

But then, I thought about Becker. The way he whispered my name. And how, in some sick and twisted way, I wanted him to do it again. The way he used to.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mockingjay Release

Last night was the midnight release of Suzanne Collin's final book in the Hunger Games trilogy MOCKINGJAY. And I was there! It was super fun and the first thing I did when I got my book was open to the last three pages and read. Yep. That's how I roll.

But no spoilers here. Instead, PICTURES with my friends Lisa Schroeder (dressed as Katniss) and Sara Gundell!



The scene outside Powell's City of Books. The line wrapped around the building, but when 12 hit, it moved super fast. Big thumbs up to Powell's!



Catching up on CATCHING FIRE in line. Luckily me and Sara are both Peeta fans (BE QUIET!) so we reread his makeout scene.



Things got a little tense in line...



But we worked it out.



And finally we got inside:



And all was right with the world....




Enjoy the book!!!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Novel Graveyard

Continuing the Novel Graveyard from yesterday, here is more of Nevada Falls. It is my unedited, unfinished book. Catch up on the story HERE or view all the other Novel Graveyards HERE


NEVADA FALLS-by Suzanne Young
The office secretary stared at us. Becker and I sat shoulder to shoulder (not by choice) on the waiting area couch. Becker was still half-naked. And his blond hair was stained pink, even though he had picked most of the string out of it. We matched.

“Mr. Martinez will be out in a minute,” the secretary called, even though we hadn’t asked.

“Great,” Becker mumbled.

“Hey,” I said to him. “That means you get to show off your pecks a little longer, tough guy.”

“What is your problem, Pierce?” He turned suddenly, startling me. Maybe now wasn’t the best time to continue harassing him. Becker was heaving in breaths and…oh my God. Was he going to cry?

“Are you going to cry?”

“Shut up, Nevada,” he said. I paused. I hadn’t seen him cry since the day he’d come to the hospital. The day of the accident.

My eyes met his and I was surprised by how incredibly sad he looked. There was a tug at my heart. I turned away and stared down at my gloves.

“You’re such a…” He stopped and then crossed his arms and slid away from me.

“Such a what?” I asked. I didn’t know what he thought of me anymore. I hadn’t talked to him in eight months. I hardly even looked at him.

“Nevada? Becker?” Principal Martinez interrupted from his doorway. He wasn’t too bad as far as principals went. At least he didn’t look at me like my teachers did. It probably helped that he was my uncle. My father’s half-brother. Wait. Did that make him my half-uncle?

I stood up, grabbing my pack from the floor near my boots. I could feel Becker behind me. He must have been really uncomfortable. With the whole shirtless thing still going on.

“Rita,” Mr. Martinez said to the secretary as we walked past her. “Can you get a extra shirt from the nurse’s office?”

Becker’s mouth opened. “You had shirts this whole time?”

Mr. Martinez nodded and motioned for us to sit down. Becker scoffed and took the uncomfortable chair on the left. He then scooted it as far away from the other chair as possible. He was being a bit overdramatic if you asked me.

“Baby,” I mumbled as I sat down.

“Bitch.”

I shot him a look just as my uncle sat at his desk. “Now,” he said, folding his hands in front of him. “Who’d like to start?”

Neither Becker nor I moved. There was a quick knock at the door as the secretary entered. Holding a pink t-shirt.
“Sorry,” she said, looking at Becker. “I only had a large in the female.”

I cracked up.

“I’m not wearing this,” Becker said as he took the shirt from her hands.

“Yes, you are,” Mr. Martinez said. “The district has rules about proper attire. And no attire at all is a violation. Just put it on.”

Becker waited and for a second and I didn’t think he was going to listen. Then, begrudgingly, he slid the pink fabric over his head and straightened it on his chest. He was a Panther. In Pink. I freaking loved it.

“Cute,” I said.

“We’ll talk later, Pierce,” he replied.

“Enough,” Mr. Martinez interrupted. “Nevada, where is his shirt?”

“Gross, I didn’t take it.”

“She superglued me to my chair,” Becker said. “I had to take it off to get up.”

I swear, there was a brief smile on my uncle’s lips. “Wow,” he said, but I was pretty sure he was stalling so that he didn’t bust out laughing.

“And she sprayed me with silly string. The whole can.”

Mr. Martinez took his folded palms and put them against his mouth as he nodded.

“He can’t prove any of that,” I announced. Well he couldn’t. There weren’t any witnesses.

Becker turned to me, his mouth hanging open. “You’re seriously going to deny it?”

“I plead the fifth.” I looked down to pick at my fingers and then paused. The index finger of my black glove was bright pink from spraying the can.

“Hah!” Becker called, pointing at me. “See.”

My uncle glanced at my hand and then dropped his eyes. I wasn’t sure if he was thinking about my pink finger or my gloves. Or the scars underneath them.

“Nevada,” he asked. “Why on Earth would do something like this?”

He sounded disappointed. It flooded me with painful memories. He sounded like my father.

I met his eyes. “He punched Trevor in the hall the other day, and when we reported it, the security guard and your secretary didn’t believe us. I didn’t think it was fair for Roid Rage over here to go around punching people.”

“I don’t take steroids,” Becker said.

“You sure?” I asked. “Have you checked your package lately? I hear it shrinks your testicles.”

“Nevada!” Mr. Martinez snapped.

“I saw it on Discovery Health,” I mumbled.

My uncle held up his hand. “That’s enough. Both of you, after school, all next week. You’re lucky I’m not suspending you.”

“So lucky,” I said.

Mr. Martinez shot me a look then motioned toward the door. “Back to class.”

I got up, thrilled that stupid Becker would have to spend the day in a pink Panthers t-shirt, but my uncle ruined the fun.

“And Becker, you can call your parents to bring you down another shirt if you want.”

“Oh, great. Thanks,” Becker said with more sarcasm than necessary. Mr. Martinez huffed.

As we parted ways in the waiting room, I glanced at Becker. “Good luck, loser.” “I’ll be seeing you after school, Nevada.”

He wasn’t looking at me, but the way he said my name gave me chills. Not because I was scared of him. Please.

But because my name in his mouth… it reminded me of all the times he stood on the sidelines, watching me during practice. It reminded me that I used to love him.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Novel Graveyard

Figured it was time for some Novel Graveyard action. Novel Graveyard comes from my unpublished, UNEDITED drafts of books I didn't finish. They are mine. And sometimes they're kind of fun, so I don't get rid of them. Instead I built a file graveyard for them to rest in. Check out other Novel Graveyard pieces HERE.

This excerpt is from a book called Nevada Falls. It's about a girl who returns from summer with wildly dyed hair and scarred hands that she keeps covered with gloves. There's some mature language, so you've been warned.


NEVADA FALLS

As the class was distracted, I opened the tube of superglue. My seat was in the last row and I darted my eyes around to make sure nobody was noticing me. But I didn’t have to worry. Nobody ever noticed me anymore unless I made them. Like by dying my hair pink.

I leaned forward, looking at Becker. His back was pressed against his chair, but his shoulders were slumped enough to give me a little wiggle room. Very carefully, I put the tip of the superglue against the Formica chair. And squeezed. Slowly the glue traveled down the back, soaking into Becker’s sweater, bonding it to the chair. I pressed my lips together to keep from laughing.

Once the tube was nearly empty, I pulled back my hand. Then I ducked low at my desk and slid the glue into my pack.

Becker sighed and pushed himself against his seat. I briefly worried that
he’d feel the wetness, but he didn’t seem to notice. The boy was seriously brainless. I got my can of silly string and hid it under my desk, coughing to cover the sound of the pop as I took off the cap. No one turned.

Now I just needed to wait.

Five minutes passed and then suddenly there was a series of loud snaps from just outside the door. Marisol screamed. It was pretty convincing.

“Mrs. C,” she cried. The entire class jumped up and ran for the door.

Except Becker. When he tried to move, his sweater pulled him back into his seat. “What the hell?” he said, trying to turn to see what he was snagged on. But his entire cotton-wool-blend was permanently cemented in place.

With the classroom emptying into the hallway, I jumped up in front of Becker and began to press the nozzle of the silly string. An explosion of pink flew all over him. He tried to scream, but the string filled his mouth. He choked, spitting it out and tried to shield his face as I unloaded the entire can on him.

“That’s what you get for being a prick,” I hissed. “Mess with Trevor again and next time those firecrackers will be up your ass.” There I went again with the graphic stuff. My brothers must have been rubbing off on me.

The can fizzled. Becker’s eyes opened, his entire body lost in a pile of pink string. He started to talk but then I heard, “What in the world?” from the doorway.

I turned. Mrs. Cosgrove.

She looked confused. I couldn’t blame her. Becker did look pretty ridiculous.

“…yeah. Some freshman tossed them on the ground and ran. I thought he was shooting at me…” Marisol was still in explanation mode when she came in behind Mrs. Cosgrove. She covered her mouth when she saw us.

My teacher balled her fists. “Both of you,” she said darting her look between Becker and me. “To the principal’s office. Now!”

I tried not to laugh. Because Becker was trying, without success, to free himself from his chair. Finally, he had to take off his silly-stringed shirt, leaving him bare-chested. It was a nice chest. He’d always been in great shape.

“Look,” Overgrown Idiot called. “Becker’s a male stripper.”

“Take it all off, big boy,” a cheerleader laughed, pulling out a dollar bill and waving it in the air. I hated her, but that was kind of funny. I temporarily forgave her for being a shallow bitch all the time.

Becker stood up, coming chest to face with me. I hadn’t realized he’d gotten so tall. And muscular. And clearly pissed off. He narrowed his eyes.

“I’ll get you back, Pierce,” he growled. I tightened my jaw.

“Bring it on, French.” Jocks never scared me. No. Macy’s makeup counters. Now those were scary.

Becker shook his head and walked past me, bumping my shoulder on the way. The class continued to catcall as he stomped out. I followed slowly, smiling at Marisol.

“Nice job, freak,” Overgrown Idiot said.

“Bite me,” I replied and walked out into the smoke filled hallway.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Now that's a hot kiss!

My guest poster extraordinaire is back to talk about hot kisses in YA! I'll admit that the kissing is my favorite part of a book--go figure! Personally, I have to say that Perfect Chemistry sort of nailed kissing, and don't even get me started on The Demon's Covenant! But let's read more about Kari's list!! Also, on her blog you check out her cross-story character hook-ups!!

If you haven't read these books, this may contain spoilers. You are warned.

I’m here again, taking over Suzanne’s blog. We’ve covered the hottest boys and the hottest girls, along with the best covers. Up today is hottest kiss! As always, this list is based on books I have read… which hasn’t yet included Personal Demons, Anna and the French Kiss or Nightshade but very reputable sources assure me they have some contenders.

10. Camille and Oscar (Everlasting by Angie Frazier):

She’s engaged. He’s just a sailor. There are so many reasons any kind of relationship between this two is wrong. So what happens when they say forget that and kiss? Amazing things. He doesn’t even need to put his hands anywhere besides her sides and hips (he’s a gentleman. Just made it sexier, huh?) to light the pages on fire. I wouldn’t mind having a lip locking session with this Irish sailor.

9. Ellie and Will (Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton):

As sweet and tempting as their first kiss is, I’m going to zero in on one that involves some root beer floats. This is definitely a case where less is more. Take that as you will and let your imagination run with it. Yep. You can now see why it’s hot. Add in the history of these two, their connection… their attraction… Oh, sorry. I was fantasizing. Also, Will has a six foot broad sword. Ellie has swords that light on fire…. Oops. More fantasies.

8. Alec and Magnus (The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare):

They like each other. It’s painfully clear. For a long time. But one of them is dragging his feet. One of them has his reasons for delaying. But when they finally get past that? Oh yes. It’s perfect and steamy and cheer-worthy.

7. Zoey and Doug (Forget You by Jennifer Echols): Zoey and Doug have an interesting connection and relationship. And yes, it most definitely translates in their kisses. The scene in the car, reenacting a certain event…. Did you just heat up? Me too. The sexual attraction and tension between them is rapt… and their kisses do the release justice.

6. Isabel and Cole (Linger by Maggie Stiefvater): Ignoring the fact that Cole is conveniently, accidentally naked the first time these two kiss (he’s a wolf- no judging), this kiss is still downright sexy. This is amped up by the fact that we get both their thoughts on it…and yes, it’s as hot as they think. Besides, what else is a girl supposed to do when she finds a hottie roving her house naked?

5. Violet and Jay (The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting):

We all saw it coming. We were all waiting for it. Eventually we were cussing them out to just kiss already. But who knew when these two finally would kiss, there’d be something like fireworks? As far as above the neck kissing goes… Derting takes the cake. The kisses between these two are some of the most erotic I’ve read. And they’re only PG-13.

4. Brittany and Alex (Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles):

There’s a reason Simone just won a RITA for Best Romance with this book. The natural chemistry these two have is, well, perfect, and it blazes with every kiss and touch. From their first to the tormented ones to the last, each kiss will stir a few things up in readers….in a few places.

3. Jacinda and Will (Firelight by Sophie Jordan): Angsty and tormented, passionate and hungry, Jacinda and Will share some pretty intense kisses that are filled with more than just the fire she produces. Not to mention, there is some teasing lead up to the first time they kiss and it only gets hotter from there.

2. Hannah and Wyatt (Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves): This one is downright visceral. Coated in blood, guts and other monster muck, Hannah and Wyatt’s hunger for each other is disturbingly fantastic. Dia writes this one in a way that is grotesquely hot and will appeal to the naughtier side of pretty much everyone.

1. Rose and Dimtri (Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead):

If you want sexual tension and a long build up, this is the way to go. Not only does the buildup add to the overall affect but this kiss is just… epic. A mix of passion, intensity and release, this will heat you up and turn you on. Add in the slightly scandalous element of their age difference and the fact that he’s her mentor…and this one has no other competition.


Thanks again, Kari!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Signing: Starring Richelle Mead

Last night me and my friend Lisa Schroeder headed to our local Powell's to see... RICHELLE MEAD!! The place was packed. Can you find me???



Richelle was awesome! Really funny and witty. And there were a couple of times when she was talking about wanting to gouge out her eyes where I thought, I do that too!



At the very end, I went up to introduce myself--we have the same agent and share a publisher. But instead of being able to articulate that in an intelligent way, it came out more like, Um... hi..... um. hee hee. Yeah, so.... I write books. (Or something awesome like that).

Despite how it looks I actually have crushing social anxiety disorder. I'm shy, you guys!! But to Richelle's credit she was very sweet and didn't even call security.



AND I read most of Spirit Bound last night and LOVED IT!