LINK by Summer Wier: Exclusive Excerpt!

I’m thrilled today to get to participate in the blog tour to help launch debut novel Link by Summer Wier! For my tour stop, I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt from the YA scifi. However, don’t let the amazingness of the excerpt stun you from reading to the end of the post, because there’s also a link to a giveaway hiding out down there. (So awesome, right?)

Let’s do this thing.

Link CoverAbout LINK:

For seventeen-year-old Kira, there’s no better way to celebrate a birthday than being surrounded by friends and huddled beside a campfire deep in the woods. And with a birthday in the peak of summer, that includes late night swims under the stars.

Or at least, it used to.

Kira’s relaxing contemplation of the universe is interrupted when a piece of it falls, colliding with her and starting a chain of events that could unexpectedly lead to the one thing in her life that’s missing—her father.

Tossed into a pieced-together world of carnivals and gypsies, an old-fashioned farmhouse, and the alluring presence of a boy from another planet, Kira discovers she’s been transported to the center of a black hole, and there’s more to the story than science can explain. She’s now linked by starlight to the world inside the darkness. And her star is dying.

If she doesn’t return home before the star’s light disappears and her link breaks, she’ll be trapped forever. But she’s not the only one ensnared, and with time running out, she’ll have to find a way to save a part of her past and a part of her future, or risk losing everything she loves.

Dreamy, fluid, and beautiful, Link pairs the mystery of science fiction with the minor-key melody of a dark fantasy, creating a tale that is as human as it is out of this world.
Available now from Amazon, and other retailers.

Book Trailer:

About Summer Wier:

Summer Wier Author PhotoSummer Wier is an MBA toting accountant, undercover writer, and all around jack-of-all-trades. Link is her debut novel and the first in The Shadow of Light series. She has three short stories appearing in Fairly Twisted Tales For A Horribly Ever After and co-authors the Splinter web serial. When she’s not digging through spreadsheets or playing mom, you can find her reading/writing, cooking, or dreaming of the mountains in Montana.
Check out more of YA author Summer Wier on her blog, twitter, facebook, and goodreads.

Ready for this excerpt?

*****

“Are you calling me reckless?” Faye would laugh out loud at anyone who considered me reckless. I shoved his shoulder again, harder this time, catching him off guard and knocking him over.

“Oh, you’re absolutely reckless.”

He pounced on me. In a single movement, he grabbed my arms, crossed them in front of me, and held my hands behind my back. I didn’t know how I hadn’t seen it coming; Fischer pulled this move on Faye all the time, especially when he wanted something. I squirmed to escape, but made little progress against his strength.

“Give up?” His words purred into my ear, sending goose bumps over my skin.

“Not a chance.” I protested, but if he held me any longer, the temptation to give in might be too much to escape.

I ripped my arms from his hold, but he tackled me and we tipped to the floor, landing face to face. An uncomfortable burning sensation blossomed in my chest and sank into my stomach. I couldn’t deny that I was attracted to him. He looked like the very epitome of the smooth-talking, confident bad boys Faye read about in her trashy romance novels, but there was something missing—something I couldn’t quite place.

He brushed a strand of hair from my cheek. “Your eyes. They’re amazing.”

“You think so?” He probably said that to all the girls. I blinked nervously, to the point of being a little awkward, and pushed his hand away. “They’re just regular old eyes, really.”

“No, they’re different. Dark, reflective.” He traced his finger down the side of my face. “Like the wom—” His voice trailed off, and the weight of his body pressed against me. His lips were inches from mine. The thought that he might kiss me made me wonder if my heart could explode out of my chest.

But instead of closing the gap, he retreated. “Do you believe this is real? That I’m real?” His question took me by surprise, but the breath of distance between us granted relief.

I didn’t know what was going on in my head or how—or if—I’d imagined such a vivid world, but I knew I wouldn’t be here forever. “I don’t know.”

Disappointment filled his eyes, and his expression hardened. “You will.”

Screams from the steaming teapot seared the air. Evan got up, removed the kettle from the heat, and set it on the hearth. Placing one hand on the mantel, he stared into the fire, as if I’d somehow offended him and he was composing himself.

Why would he ask me that? Did he believe this was real? That I wasn’t a dream; that somehow this was happening right now? “What makes you think this is real?”

Without turning around, he said, “Each of us has a story, and they all begin the same. I didn’t fully understand the consequences of the choice, if you can even call it that, but this is my reality now. Real life, real feelings.”

The haunting warning of the fortune teller flashed into mind. “Evan, do you remember the old woman at the carnival?”

He turned to face me, suddenly recovered and interested in my words. “Why do you ask?”

“Another dream,” I said distantly, as her riddle echoed in my head. “‘End of starlight, Link undone. Choice of lives—’”

“‘Or trapped in one,’” we finished together.

My eyes snapped to meet his. “You know it?”

He about-faced, grabbed the kettle, and hurried to the kitchen. After pulling cups from the cabinet, he silently prepared our tea. My mind raced with the possibilities of how he knew the verse. Another piece of information I’d created in my subconscious? My forehead started to throb, and I rubbed the skin where my stitches should have been.

Silence grew to tension as he returned with two chipped mugs and sat one on the floor in front of me. I glared, waiting for him to say something.

“You’re not the only one who’s seen her. And it’s hard to explain if you don’t believe,” he finally answered.

Sipping from the cup, I thought about what he said. I didn’t know what to believe, but Evan knew more than what he’d shared in his vague explanation. Hints of ginger and lemon flavored the unusually sweet tea. Their tang left my tongue slightly numb. The warm drink was soothing, and I finished it quickly.

“What do you mean ‘not the only one’?” My words slurred as my mouth filled with sweet effervescence, making it hard to speak.

Noises distorted and echoed throughout the cabin, and my vision melted from the outside in. Evan sat quietly, sipping his tea, watching as I tried to maintain balance.

“Since the day I came here, I hoped that I wouldn’t always be alone. Pulled from friends, family—a life much like yours, I’d imagine.” The loneliness and sadness with which he was burdened could not be concealed. It showed in the weight of his brow, misery seeping into his gaze. He caught me in his arms as I fell over. “Consider this a favor. Go home, Kira. Enjoy your life, before you lose it.”

I stared at him in horror. What had he done to me? I couldn’t move my arms or legs. My eyes glazed over, erasing the present scene from view. As the tingling sensation throughout my body turned to numbness, I drifted into darkness.

*****

If that excerpt doesn’t make you run out to buy this book immediately, I don’t know what will.

Now, as promised, Summer’s also putting on a tour-wide giveaway.

She’s put together a bundle of some of her favorite YAs (including a copy of Link!) and she’s going to raffle it off to one lucky reader.The books are:

Giveaway Graphic

You can enter the giveaway at the link below:

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway!

Thanks to Summer and REUTS Publications for allowing me to participate in the Link blog tour, and make sure to grab your copy today!

~Julia

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Wordy Wednesday: The Sun and More

I’m in Michigan! I moved back to my apartment at school a couple days ago (but as of an hour ago I’m home-home again for a couple days, to get caught up on doctor appointments and family time and all that).

At this point, I have less than a week left before senior year begins, which is CRAZINESS. I’m honestly terrified for how I’m going to handle everything I signed on to do this year, but almost all of it’s fun stuff, so fingers crossed everything works out.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get ahead on reading for my literature class (it’s on film adaptations, so we’re reading The Great Gatsby and Emma and a ton of other fantastic works) and getting back into a regular routine of eating decently and working out. (Although also, I ate nothing but takeout and barely exercised AT ALL while in NYC and I lost seven pounds, sooo.) (I mean, I’m pretty sure it was seven pounds of muscle.) (But still.)

It was while I was on the treadmill today that I got an email from Writer’s Digest letting me know that my short story “The Sun and More” received an honorable mention in the Children’s/Young Adult category of the 84th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition! (Wow, that was a mouthful.) I’d honestly forgotten I’d even entered anything, so it was a surprise (and such a good one).

People have been asking where they can read the story, so I figured I’d post “The Sun and More” as a special Wordy Wednesday. (I’ll write the writing process post that won last week’s poll next week.)

Without further ado:

**********

[Pulling this down for a lit mag submission. Sorry, but thanks for your interest in “The Sun and More”!]

 

**********

Thanks for reading!

~Julia

Ch1Con Blog Tour: Interview with Ava Jae!

It’s finally my turn to host a tour stop for the 2015 Chapter One Young writers Conference blog tour!

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ch1Con is a writing conference both for and by teens and young adults. Our 2015 event will take place Saturday, August 8th in Arlington Heights, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. 2015 registration is currently open on the Ch1Con website for writers from a middle school to undergraduate level and at an early bird discount price of $39.99. Our speakers will include YA author Kat Zhang (The Hybrid Chronicles, HarperCollins), renowned freelance editor Taryn Albright of The Girl with the Green Pen, and YA/NA author Ava Jae (Beyond the Red, Sky Pony Press).

Instead of me spending my tour stop rambling endlessly about the conference (because let’s face it, I do that enough anyway), I figured you might appreciate learning about one of our speakers instead. So, say hello to the one and only Ava Jae!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetAva Jae is a YA and NA writer, an Assistant Editor at Entangled Publishing, and is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. Her YA Sci-Fi debut, BEYOND THE RED, is releasing March 2016 from Sky Pony Press. When she’s not writing about kissing, superpowers, explosions, and aliens, you can find her with her nose buried in a book, nerding out over the latest X-Men news, or hanging out on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Goodreads, Instagram, or YouTube channel.
    **********
    Your debut novel, BEYOND THE RED, comes out with Sky Pony Press in spring, 2016. What was the process like for getting your publishing deal?
    Oh boy. I’ll give you the super abbreviated version: I wrote nine books, queried four of them (one of them twice, several years apart), put them away, wrote a tenth book which ended up being BEYOND THE RED, swapped with critique partners, revised, revised, revised, started querying again, entered a randomly-chosen blog contest, won runner-up in said blog contest which led to a request from my awesome agent, signed with her, revised tons more (and more, and more), went on submission…and finally announced the publishing deal October 2014. 🙂
      When did you start writing? Was it with the goal of someday publishing a novel, or just for fun?
      I kind of started twice? The first time I was eleven and wrote I think maybe fifty pages before I lost interest and forgot about it. Second time I was thirteen, and it evolved from “I’m going to write this story that popped in my head” to “I’m going to write this book” to “I’m going to get this published.” By the time I’d finished that book, I knew without a doubt I wanted to be an author. And so began many years of writing and querying…
        Besides being an up-and-coming author, you’re also currently a college student, assistant editor for Entangled Publishing, and prolific blogger and vlogger. How do you balance all of that? What does your average day look like?
        I mean, my day kind of varies depending on my school schedule. Some consistent things: I get up between 5:00-5:30 AM every day, get as much writing/blogging/homework/editing things done as I can before class, go to class, and try to relax after class if I can (because usually I’m too tired to do anything else).
          The only way to do it, really, is to have a set schedule. On days I have not as much class, I focus on getting as much homework and writing/blogging stuff as I can. I write posts every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, edit and schedule posts every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, film vlogs every Saturday or Sunday, edit vlogs every Friday-Monday, and catch up on whatever I need to over the weekend on Wednesdays. When I get an editing deadline for work, I make sure to be honest with my boss about when I can realistically get things done (so important!). I schedule things out way ahead of time, divide work up throughout the week, and keep a to-do list that I check off every day.
            Over the summer it’s much easier without classes to worry about. *sigh*
              What are some of your interests outside of the publishing world?
              Movies! I love movies. Fun fact: I actually have an Associates in Film/Digital Media and went to a fancy art school for a year to pursue a degree in Visual Effects (like, all that CGI stuff). I also really love drawing and digital art—I used to do a ton of digital paintings on Photoshop, and while I haven’t had time lately, I’m hoping to pick that up again over the summer. I’m pretty artsy I guess. 🙂
                If you could change or improve one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be?
                I mean, I guess I wish it was easier to make a living with your writing? Because it’s super super super difficult. But it’s pretty well known that you don’t go into the publishing industry to make tons of money—it’s a labor of love. And ramen.
                  Your writing is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. What’s your favorite part of working with your literary agent?
                  Revisions! (I’m probably going to regret saying this—hi, Louise!) But seriously, I really do love revising even when I’m banging my head against the keyboard trying to figure out how to fix a plot hole. And Team Fury is ridiculously awesome when it comes to getting great revision suggestions. Also, Louise’s enthusiasm for every book is pretty awesome. It’s kind of impossible for me to have a conversation with her that doesn’t make me really excited and happy, which is pretty much the best thing. 🙂
                    If you could give one piece of advice to young writers, what would it be?
                    Don’t set a deadline for yourself. For years I was determined to get published before Christopher Paolini (I’m competitive, okay?), and that didn’t happen, and it was pretty hard to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to be a published (or agented) teenager.
                      Don’t do that to yourself. Take time to hone your craft, to write the most amazing books possible, to learn how to become a better writer, and develop a thick skin, and get to really know the publishing industry. You already have the advantage of starting early in life—now use the extra time you have to become the best possible and don’t worry about getting published before you turn twenty. I promise you’ll be just as happy at twenty-five or thirty or whenever it happens for you.
                        And lastly: Where can people find you online?
                        Everywhere! I’m on Twitter, tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, YouTubePinterest and Goodreads. I am the social media.
                          **********
                          Thanks for letting me interview you, Ava! I’m so excited to hear you speak at the conference.
                            Ava has very kindly offered to give away a query and first five page critique as part of the tour stop. Check it out at the link below!

                              AWESOME CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY RIGHT OVER HERE!

                              If you’re a writer from middle school to undergraduate age (approximately twelve to twenty-two) and are interested in attending and/or learning more about the conference, you can check us out at the links below. Early bird registration ends May 31st!

                              Website: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              Twitter: @Ch1Con
                              Tumblr: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              YouTube: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
                              Pinterest: Chapter One YW Conference
                              Facebook: Chapter One Young Writers Conference

                              The Chapter One Young Writers Conference.
                              Every story needs a beginning. This is ours.

                              ~Julia

                              Dissonance Cover Reveal!

                              I’m psyched today to participate in the cover reveal for a super cool indie book!

                              Mariella Hunt is a fellow young writer. We’re both beta reading a manuscript for a mutual friend, and Mariella is so sweet I had no choice but to offer ze blog when she said she was looking for places to host the cover reveal for her debut YA novel Dissonance.

                              About the book:

                              Fifteen-year-old Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.

                              When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met.

                              Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her. The cure she needs is rare, requiring of him a difficult sacrifice. Allie soon suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll turn her world around.

                              But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.

                              About Mariella:

                              Mariella Hunt is a writer with a strong love for coffee and guinea pigs. She likes using big words in everyday speech, and keeps journals of quotes from the greats.

                              Most days you’ll find her on a well-loved armchair, reading–or working on one of her many projects. As she cannot stick to an outline, she rewrites way too much.

                              Find Mariella Online:

                              Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mariellahuntauthor

                              Twitter – https://twitter.com/mariellahunt

                              Website – http://mariellahunt.com/

                              And Finally, the Gorgeous Cover:

                              So pretty, right? Dissonance will be out soon!

                              ~Julia

                              #VeryRealisticYA

                              This weekend I helped put on a couple events at my university. I volunteered Friday at our first annual Publishing Career Forum, then Saturday I co-ran orientation for my study abroad program from last summer to Oxford. (I’m so jealous of the group that gets to go this year.) (For real, no matter what university you attend, if you’re interested in spending your summer in England, the St Peter’s College Summer School at Magdalen College, University of Oxford is the way to go.)

                              Outside of those events, I’ve also been doing a ton of homework, and Ch1Con work, and revising, and last night I did my laundry and cleaned my room at 2 AM, and yeah. As much as I love my classes, I am 110% ready for this semester to be over.

                              The other thing that happened this weekend is that a certain Teens Can write, Too! founder started an INTERNATIONALLY TRENDING HASHTAG.

                              Despite John’s status as my arch nemesis, even I have to admit that this hashtag is completely brilliant. Last I checked, it had been tweeted with over twenty thousand times and has been featured in articles from places ranging from Buzzfeed UK to The Huffington Post. And the results range from the hilarious, to the serious and important.

                               

                              As Dahlia Adler so perfectly puts it:

                              It’s funny, because just a few days before this whole thing started, a group of us were discussing on Twitter the way being the creator of something popular gives you power. And with that power comes the responsibility to try to do good with it. 

                              More than anyone else, John was a proponent for the fact that if someone is listening, it is your job to draw focus to minority voices.

                              True to his word, John has taken the platform #VeryRealisticYA gave him to draw attention to the need for diversity in literature.

                              So, basically, John is an incredible human and he is SO deserving of all the attention he’s getting and I’m proud to have an arch nemesis who is so good.

                              And now, a couple more of my favorites from #VeryRealisticYA (although really, there are SO MANY MORE GREAT ONES you can find on Twitter):

                              Off to drown in homework! (#VeryRealisticNA)

                               

                              ~Julia

                              NaNo Day 2: Homework. And, Yeah, Homework.

                              A breakdown of how I spent my time yesterday:

                              • 5% Revising
                              • 10% Homework
                              • 10% Hanging out with friends. (To any lovely Oxford people reading this, especially Jenny: HI. I LOVE YOU. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR VISITING.)
                              • 75% NaNoWriMo

                              … Which is how I ended up writing 6,034 words before Day 1 was done.

                              Because of that, though, I’m way behind on homework now, so I’m going to have to spend the rest of today trying to catch up writing the two papers due this week. (Luckily my goal for today was only to write a thousand words, so I did that as soon as I got up, and now I’m off to the Land of Homework.)

                              If you’d like to keep up with the Ch1Con team’s NaNoing as a whole, team member Emma is posting our word counts and favorite lines from each day on the conference Tumblr. Check that out here.

                              Goal for today: 1,000.

                              Overall goal: 6,000.

                              Current word count: 7,140.

                              How’s NaNoWriMo going so far? Did you have a good first day? Let me know in the comments!

                              ~Julia

                              NaNo Day 1: Welcome, Welcome

                              … to another year of NaNoWriMo and blogging every day in November!

                              Besides the fact that I’m pretty sure this November is going to kill me (SO MUCH GOING ON), I’m also really excited.

                              I’m writing a YA contemporary this year that’s basically just going to be a big ball of fluff, and the protagonist is super snarky, and yeah. It’s fun.

                              Description from my NaNo profile:

                              Morgan never thought her aunt Margaret would die. More than that, she never thought Aunt Margaret would leave her a weird task to complete before she could collect her mysterious inheritance: spend one month living without fear. But Aunt Margaret was the most fearless person Morgan knew, so she’s terrified of where this next month might lead. And why Aunt Margaret gave the same task to Riley–the boy who first taught her what it was like to be afraid.

                              Are you competing in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you writing about? (Also, you should add me as a buddy!)

                              Goal for today: 5,000.

                              Current word count: 3,065.

                              Happy NaNoWriMo if you’re competing, and Happy Not Being Sleep-Deprived for a Month if you’re not! May the plot bunnies be ever in your favor.

                              ~Julia

                              YA Author Panel

                              Just got back from attending a YA author panel!

                              It was at a Barnes & Noble and six authors participated. They were all brilliant and lovely: David James (Between the Stars and Sky), Andrea Hannah (Of Scars and Stardust), Kate Bassett (Words and Their Meanings), Rebekah L. Purdy (The Winter People), Bethany Neal (My Last Kiss) and M.G. Buehrlen (The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare).

                              I’m yet to read any of their books, but I’ve been dying to get my hands on a couple of these, so the panel tonight was the perfect excuse. (And after hearing the authors speak, I can guarantee they ALL sound amazing!)

                              Highlights:

                              Bethany Neal has a room dedicated to writing, which she calls her “writertorium.”

                              When asked to describe their books in five words, all six authors included “kissing.” (Gotta love YA.)

                              Rebekah L. Purdy mentioned how The Winter People came from a short story she wrote for creative writing class in high school. She got an A- on it and NOW IT’S A BOOK.

                              There was some major Maggie Stiefvater love going on, especially from David James. (I won a signed copy of Between the Stars and Sky for knowing the title of the third installment in the Raven Boys cycle, which came out this past week. My reaction: HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THE TITLE OF THE THIRD INSTALLMENT IN THE RAVEN BOYS CYCLE, WHICH CAME OUT THIS PAST WEEK?)

                              And finally: I went with Mel, who I hadn’t seen in forever. And she always makes things more fun. (Thanks again for holding my obnoxious B&N bag while I got my books signed!)

                              Oh, and bonus highlight: Three out of six YA authors agree I was ROCKING my red beanie tonight.

                              WIN_20141025_222321

                              #Swag

                              Been to any cool author events lately? Let me know in the comments!

                              ~Julia

                              Wordy Wednesday: The End Where I Begin, Chapter Fourteen

                              This weekend was fall break for my university, so Hannah, a friend from Oxford, and I just got back from being outdoorsy up north for a couple days.

                              We went horseback riding on trails surrounded by trees showing off their orange and red (with a guide who potentially was a murderous gang member hiding out in northern Michigan based on his teardrop tattoo, BUT WE’RE STILL ALIVE SO WE’RE GOOD), hiked to a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, and made s’mores over a camp fire that lasted approximately two minutes before rain drowned it.

                              We watched many movies, and played Jenga, and sang through Spotify’s Disney station like four thousand and one times.

                              We made blueberry bread, and drank lots of apple cider, and spent the entire trip in crewnecks and sweatpants/leggings.

                              So, all in all, a really nice break.

                              But now we’re back home and I’ve got a midterm in a few hours that I’m terrified for and yeah. (Don’t’cha love school?)

                              This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a chapter from my 2013 NaNoWriMo project, The End Where I Begin. As always, a reminder that this has seen little to no editing and I’m still in the process of writing the novel, so there will be mistakes and inconsistencies and all that fun stuff throughout.

                              Read previous chapters:

                              Chapter One

                              Chapter Two

                              Chapter Three

                              Chapter Four

                              Chapter Five

                              Chapter Six

                              Chapter Seven

                              Chapter Eight

                              Chapter Nine

                              Chapter Ten

                              Chapter Eleven

                              Chapter Twelve

                              Chapter Thirteen

                              **********

                              Chapter Fourteen
                              “I don’t understand. Collapse? Collapse of the reality?”
                              Dr. O’Brien nods. He uses his lab coat to pat the sweat gathered on his brow.
                              Dr. Reede’s voice is uncharacteristically thick and she concentrates on a spot above my head. “Not just the Fourth Reality, either. The actions of the Second Origin have led to the collapse of every reality before ours within the Quantum. The fact that the Fourth Reality version of Miss Carp has essentially hijacked the Fifth Reality version of her is just the first of the atrocities the Second Origin is likely to cause now that they are here.” She focuses her gaze right on me. “One of the reasons we brought you here today is because we need your help.”
                              Dr. O’Brien nods. “It is difficult to hear, we know, but we have no way of stopping the Second Origin from within the Fifth Reality, because they are already here. It is too late for us.”
                              I look between them. “What do you mean ‘too late’?” My voice raises an octave. “They’ve caused the collapse of the realities before ours. The major events that happen in one reality bleed into the next, and somehow that’s led to the Second Origin existing within our reality—which means we’re doomed? The Fifth Reality is going to collapse the way the Fourth did?”
                              “Not necessarily.” Dr. O’Brien says the words slowly, like this is a point he has been hoping to reach. “We do have a chance to save the Fifth Reality, and stop the Second Origin all together before they spread like a plague throughout the rest of the Quantum. That’s why we need your help.”
                              “Help?” I scoff. “How can I help?” The hopelessness is building inside me—a hollowness in my stomach; my heart pounding too hard against my ribcage.
                              “The Fourth Reality attempted to warn us about the threat of the Second Origin by messaging us. Evidently that did not work.” The barest of grins flickers across his lips. “We plan to send a person to the Sixth Reality, instead.”
                              “A person. To another reality.” My mouth falls open. “That’s possible?”
                              “More than possible.” Dr. O’Brien’s grin widens. “It’s been done before.”
                              “Why? How?”
                              Dr. Reede interrupts. “That is not relevant to the task at hand.”
                              I fall back in my chair. My Identiband flashes back and forth, back and forth, but I ignore it. “I’m sorry. Right.” I shake my head, but my pulse is no longer pounding out of fear. Adrenaline shoots through me, and I want to move—excited. The Fifth Reality does not need to collapse. “You want to send me? Why?”
                              “You are young, and although you did not choose to be, you are connected to the activities of the Second Origin, because of Miss Carp. This combination of factors makes you the most practical candidate.”
                              A smile finds its way onto my face. The idea of traveling to the Sixth Reality is daunting, but I will do it no questions asked if it means saving my dad and Calvin, Amelia and Eric. “What will I have to do once there?”
                              Dr. Reede returns my smile, although hers does not appear natural. “Do not worry about that now. We will provide further directions when you arrive.”
                              Dr. O’Brien clears his throat and we turn to him. Dr. Reede’s lips twitch, but she does not speak.
                              “We must let you know,” Dr. O’Brien says, “once you leave the Fifth Reality, because of the linear nature of the Quantum, you will have no way to return. You can only travel between realities in one direction. But know that you will be saving countless lives by leaving.”
                              “I realize that.” I feel as if I am standing at the top of a building, about to fall. “I’ll do it.”
                              “Thank you.” They stand and walk for the door. With shaking legs, I get to my feet.
                              Their backs are to me as I ask, “When?”
                              Dr. Reede does not look back as she opens the door. “This evening. Before things have a chance of getting any more out of hand. We had hoped to give you more time, but the actions of the Second Origin yesterday, by kidnapping you, have proven that we must do this as soon as possible.” She exits.
                              Dr. O’Brien turns to me, one foot in the conference room and the other in the hall. “You have an hour to say your goodbyes. We will meet you in the building lobby at 1600.”
                              “Okay.”
                              He dips his head, then is gone.

                               

                               

                              I don’t leave the conference room at first. Its elegance is far less intimidating now that I am alone. Or maybe it’s just that I am preoccupied by the enormity of what I have agreed to do.
                              I don’t want to lose Daddy and Calvin. I can’t imagine a life without Amelia and Eric and even the other students at New Capital High who I dislike or do not know as well. Even Ramsey.
                              But they will all die—I will die—if I do not do it. So that is why I said I would.
                              The actual act of doing it, however, will be more difficult than the initial decision, and I don’t know how I am supposed to say goodbye to the only people I have ever known. I don’t even know what the Sixth Reality is like.
                              Is it as healthy as the Fifth Reality? As clean, with our bicycles and electric trains? Our nice, structured neighborhoods and yearly Recruitment Assemblies?
                              We have had our problems—the wars from when I was little prove that—but we are strong. How could a single terrorist cell pull us apart? How have they destroyed so many realities already? The realities in the Quantum are held together by the Thread of Reality. As long as that Thread exists within a reality, it is connected to the rest of us. It cannot be destroyed.
                              The Quantum is in a state of constant expansion. To destroy a part of it is like dividing by zero—it shouldn’t be possible.
                              Yet the Second Origin has found a way to do it.
                              Heat spreads through me. Anger. I step towards the door, and my knees no longer tremble beneath my weight.
                              I glance at my Identiband. Moisture has gathered beneath it and it slips, loose, around my wrist. I don’t want to have to worry about whatever’s happening with my eyes right now, not when so much more is at stake, but the bracelet is fine. Just a brilliant, bright, solid green.
                              I leave the conference room and the door automatically slides shut behind me.
                              Just under an hour. I have just under one hour to say goodbye—forever.
                              I open the door to the stairwell and a low, sharp click echoes off the walls. Then the entire thing explodes.

                              **********

                              Thanks for reading!

                               

                              ~Julia

                              Giveaway: FALLING INTO PLACE by Amy Zhang!

                              So I’ve been promising to do a giveaway for approximately forever, but as I’m sure we’ve already established a thousand times, I am the laziest human being alive. Sorry about how long it’s taken to get this up. (I ran out of ways to procrastinate today. It’s a sad life.)

                              Anyway: Amy Zhang was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Chapter One Young Writers Conference, and we absolutely loved having her! Amy is hilarious and smart and seriously so talented oh my gosh. (I want to be her when I grow up.) Her debut novel, a YA contemporary called Falling into Place, came out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins in September and is just as incredible as you’d expect.

                              From GoodReads:

                              On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

                              Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

                              Sounds great, right? Well, now it’s your chance to win a copy of Falling into Place!

                              You have two weeks to enter using one or more of the options in the Rafflecopter giveaway linked below. The giveaway will end at midnight Friday, October 17.

                              CLICK HERE TO ENTER ALL YOU COOL READERS!

                              Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

                               

                              ~Julia