Hooray! You’ve found my stop on the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt!
I’m Cole Gibsen. I write young adult and new adult fiction, compete in agility trials with my Australian Shepherd, and rock out in a band on weekends. My upcoming YA book about bullying, LIFE UNAWARE, will release April 28th, 2015. One small-known fact about myself, when I’m not writing I work as a jedi fighter pilot. True story.
On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 5th!
You can start right here or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt “How to Hunt” Page to find out all about the hunt. There are Eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or both! I am a part of the RED TEAM–but there is also other teams and if you also enter their hunts you’ll have a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, see the full list of prizes up for grabs, or if you get lost along the way, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.
Looking for my exclusive bonus content??? Somewhere on this blog hop, I’ve hidden an exclusive vlog of me and my buddy Jack. You are NOT going to want to miss that. You’ll have to follow the links at the end of each Scavenger Hunt Post. .
Before you go on though, check out the amazing author I’m hosting. But, first, a few rules.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number will be BOLD.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt.
I am super excited to be hosting…
Bio: J.A. SOUDERS is the author of the Elysium Chronicles (including RENEGADE, A DARK GRAVE, and REVELATIONS) and lives in the land of sunshine and palm trees where she spends her time writing about the monsters under the bed, day dreaming about living in an underwater colony, and failing miserably at playing video games.
The book J.A. is showcasing on the fall hunt is:
The thrilling conclusion to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller series for teens
In this conclusion to J. A. Souders’s thrilling, twist-filled Elysium Chronicles series, Evie Winters and Gavin Hunter return to the isolated, dangerous underwater city that they fought so hard to escape.
Back in Elysium at last, Evie has finally found her true self hidden under layers and layers of false memories implanted by the woman she knew as Mother. Thanks to the intervention of her father, she knows the horrible truth about Mother and her insidious plans for her city. With the help of the love of her life, Gavin, and her best friend, Asher St. James, she’s determined to free her people from the cruel dictatorship of Mother’s laws. But how do you free people who don’t know they need rescuing?
Working with the growing Underground rebellion, Evie tries to remove Mother from her position by force—with disastrous results. As the body count rises, Evie must find a way to save Elysium before Mother destroys them all.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? You have to put this book on your to-read list now! For more information about this book or to check out J.A. Sounder’s other books, check out her website. J.A. Sounder’s books are always amazing. I wonder if she’s working on a fourth, or even a 5th.
Now for the top-secret deleted scene.
I’m so excited to participating in YASH again and be able to promote the third and final installment in the Elysium Chronicles.
This is a scene from the original rough draft of REVELATIONS (book 2 of the Elysium Chronicles). The original draft of the manuscript was over 100k words, and I ended up cutting a lot. Despite this particular scene being one of my favorite scenes that I wrote for this book, it was decided after much thought and many, many discussions that it didn’t move the story along and it would have to go. But I’m excited to share it with you now.
In the original draft, The Surface was essentially killing Evie, so she’s extremely sick. She’s weak, hallucinating, and still has no idea who she is or where she came from. This particular scene takes place in Rush Lake City a few weeks after Asher and Evie’s arrival in Asher’s grandmother’s house.
Without further ado, I give you my favorite deleted scene from REVELATIONS:
The next night Asher pushes his head through the bedroom door and gives me a smile when I look over at him.
“Hey.” He walks to me before carefully sitting on the edge of my bed. “How are you feeling?”
“I’m fine.” He gives me a look and I say, “No really. I’m tired, but I’m fine.”
He continues to gaze at me with the look that says he doesn’t believe me, but he doesn’t push it. But, still, it makes me angry and I push myself off the bed and start to limp over to the balcony. Before I can so much as take a single step, he’s right next to me. But he doesn’t offer to help me.
“Well, aren’t you going to help me?” I smile when I say it to lessen the bite.
He hasn’t done anything wrong. Not really. I’m just tired of being trapped. Tired of being helpless. Tired of being worried over, and petted and stroked, soothed by the others because they’re afraid for me. Afraid of me.
He laughs, which causes the tight ball of anger in my stomach to loosen.
“Nope. Last time I did that I got my head taken off. I enjoy it where it is, thank you very much.”
Even I have to laugh at that.
When I open the door, the cold takes my breath away, but I carefully make my way to the bench on the balcony and sit to stare up at the stars. The cold wind bites and snaps at my skin, but I don’t care.
“They’re not as pretty here.” It makes me sad. Everything here is so pretty, but the one thing that gave me joy back in the village isn’t here. They kind of remind me of myself with their faded lights, and I’m reminded that every day I’m fading. Slowly. Bit by bit.
He sits next to me, his hand resting on top of mine. I’m too tired to pull away and it feels so nice, I don’t really want to anyway. It’s the small comforts now.
“No, they’re not.” His voice is soft. “It’s all the city lights. They’re jealous of the stars, and try to drown them out.”
I know it’s not true, but it’s a nice thought. “You’re probably right.”
We sit side-by-side, both of us lost in our thoughts. I know something is bothering him, but I also know that he’ll tell me what it is. Especially if it has something to do with me. That’s one of the things I like about Asher. His unwavering honesty. No matter how terrible–or how difficult–he will always tell me the truth. Even when I don’t want him to.
My mind flits over to Gavin and my heart squeezes. Mother, I miss that boy. I miss that stupid little smile he gets when he looks at me and doesn’t think I’m looking. I miss the way just the touch of him makes my heart swell and how he looks at me like I’m the only one in the world. Or at least the only one that matters. I miss how he paces every time he’s frustrated, or trying to figure something out, or nervous. I even miss that he doesn’t tell me everything. Even as frustrating as it can be.
“More test results came back,” Asher says, yanking me from my thoughts.
“Hmm?” I turn to face him. I’m numb now. I can’t seem to find the energy to care about the results, but for Asher’s sake, I try to force enthusiasm. “Oh. That’s great. Any news?”
“Nothing we don’t know already.”
I nod and turn my face back up to the stars. That didn’t seem all that bad, but Asher still acts like something is bothering him.
“The doctor wants to draw more blood tomorrow.”
I sigh, but nod. That’s not entirely unexpected, either. And again, I don’t really care. “Of course. Whatever he thinks is necessary.”
“Evie? Look at me.” His voice is still low, but there’s something in his tone that has fear pushing past the numbness.
I turn to face him, furrowing my brow.
“They want to study your nanos. They think that…that they might have something to do with you being sick.”
“My…nanos?” Nanos were what destroyed that town. What turned living, breathing people into rock and stone. My hand shakes and I frown even more as terror makes my heart kick in my chest. “I have nanos in me? How do you know?”
“Gavin told me,” he says without meeting my eyes. “I-I thought you knew that.”
Another one of Gavin’s omissions. For a minute, anger chases the terror away. So, even though there’s bad blood between Asher and Gavin, Gavin still told Asher things about me. Maybe even everything about me. So, Asher was good enough to trust with my secrets, but not me.
When Gavin gets here, I’m so going to tell him exactly what I think about that, and then I’m going to demand he tell me absolutely everything. And if he thinks he can talk himself out of this one, he’s got another think coming.
But then I remember Gavin isn’t here. Isn’t coming. Ever. And that numbness returns, replacing the anger. Concealing the fear. And then I can only nod.
“Ah. I see. So are they like the ones that killed those people? Am I going to turn into stone like they did?”
Something like sadness flashes before his eyes and he stretches out his hand. Probably to take my hand, but I slide it out of reach.
He rakes it through his hair instead and tugs on the ends. “Yes. And no. It’s not the same kind, I guess. More…complex or something. They don’t really know, but they want to find out.”
“So…I won’t turn to stone?”
He shakes his head. “They don’t think so. From what Gavin said, they’ve been there a long time and were meant to help…not hurt. They just want to do more testing to see if they’re malfunctioning.”
I shrug, grateful for the numbness. Being numb is so much better than fear. Better than feeling your heart break into tiny pieces. Better than any of the emotions I could, probably should, be feeling right now.
“Of course. Whatever they think is necessary.” I’ve never really thought about how we all call the doctors ‘they.’ Never their names. Just ‘they.’ Should that bother me?
He sighs. “You don’t have to worry.” He grabs my hand and squeezes it before I can pull away again. “I’ll be there for you. I won’t leave you by yourself. I promise.”
For a minute, a spark of anger ignites in me, as I remember Gavin saying that in the village right before the trip. I can’t stop myself from saying, “I’ve heard that before.” I turn away from him, as self-pity pricks at my heart. “But it’s a lie. It’s always a lie.”
His hand jerks on mine, but I don’t look at him and I don’t apologize.
Embarrassed and hurting, both physically and mentally, I push myself away from Asher.
“I’m sorry. It’s not your fault. I know that. It’s mine.” I stand. I have to get away from here. From him. I need to be anywhere but here.
He grabs my wrist and tugs gently, stopping me from leaving. “It wasn’t yours either. It’s no one’s fault but the birds. He was protecting you.” He frowns at me. “You know that, don’t you?”
I rub my hand under my running nose. “But he wouldn’t have had to protect me if I hadn’t been so weak. If I hadn’t been sick.” If I wasn’t still sick.
“Weak?” He laughs. “You think you were weak? Excuse my French, but you totally kicked ass! The way you took care of the two birds that came after us after basically being on death’s door the night before was like something out of a comic book.”
I lift my brows at him. I didn’t hear a word of French. “You make that sound like it’s a good thing, when all it does is make me a…freak.” That was one of Gavin’s little brother’s words. He’d never said it to me, and to the best of my knowledge he’d never said it about me, but it was a word he liked to use. A lot. I’d made him tell me what it meant once and ever since I’d known it applied to me. After all, who other than a freak wouldn’t remember anything of their past and dreams of monsters on a nightly basis?
And kill giant man-eating birds with their bare hands.
Anger flashes across Asher eyes and he pulls me back down so I’m sitting on the floor in front of him. He takes my face in his hands, forcing me to look at him. “You are not a freak. You hear me? Different doesn’t make you a freak. Different makes you special. And special is good. Special is what makes you you and I would never change a thing about you. You are amazing and wonderful and…perfect just the way you are.”
He’s saying it to make me feel better, but all it does is make me sigh and try to look away. “I wish people would stop saying that. Everyone is always telling me how perfect I am. How beautiful. How lucky I am to be perfect. To be this amazing, perfect person. But I’m not. I’m not amazing. Or wonderful. I’m not perfect. I’m damaged,” I whisper. I don’t even know how I know it or who told me that. Certainly no one here, but it’s true. It’s probably from my time from before here. The time I can’t remember. That proves I’m not perfect.
He stares at me for several long seconds, then takes my hand, and lifts me to my feet. “Come on. I want to show you something.”
“A-all right.” I’m a bit confused, but follow him anyway.
He leads me down the hallway to what appears to be a library. Along the walls are paintings–lovely paintings actually.
He turns to me. “Pick your favorite. The most perfect one you can find.”
Frowning, but intrigued enough to see where this is going, I study each painting carefully. I even try to take a step toward one, to examine it closer, but he holds his hand out to stop me.
“Just from here. We’ll look closer in a minute.”
Flattening my lips into a straight line, I go back to looking at the paintings. Finally I point to one. “That one. With the roses. It’s perfect.”
He barely glances at it. “It’s very pretty, but it’s not perfect.”
“Of course it is. Look how beautiful it is.”
He shrugs. “I happen to think that one over there is perfect.” He points to one that shows a nightscape and reminds me a bit of the creepy town with all the statues. It’s haunting and not something I’d consider perfect by any means.
“Do you agree it’s perfect?”
I shake my head slowly.
He nods rapidly. “Exactly!” He continues before I can question him. “Now lets look at yours closely. Shall we?” He pulls me over to the picture of the roses, while confusion rolls around in my head.
“What do you see?”
It’s still the picture of the roses, but I’m sure that’s not what he wants me to say. There is obviously something there besides the roses, so I look closer.
But I can’t find anything. “The paint is cracking?” I finally say.
“Yes! And, if you look closely enough, you’ll see it’s fading in spots. There are flaws all over it. Look here,” he points to a large ding in the frame of the picture. “It’s even damaged a bit.” He turns to me. “Does that change how you feel about the picture? Or is it still perfect to you?” He looks me in the eyes, but I’m still confused. “My favorite painting is the same way, but it’s still perfect to me.”
And then it hits me. It’s taken me a minute, but I finally understand what he’s trying to tell me. There is no perfect. His perception of perfect and mine are different. Everyone’s perception of perfect is different. And the best part of all of it–the part that makes me feel as if a weight has been lifted–is knowing that like the pictures that are still perfect to us despite their many minor flaws, he can still think I’m perfect. No matter how broken I am.
I love bonus material! If you think this series is just what you’ve been looking for, you can buy your copies here.
Thank you so much for visiting my website! Since you’re getting to know me, you should totally check out #OneVoice–the anti-bullying awareness Facebook run by Entangled Publishing. It’s definitely something you’re not going to want to miss.
If you’re looking for the next stop on the hunt, all you have to do is go here. Good luck!