As promised here’s surprise number 3 for Valentine’s day (some of you may already know this, hence why it’s third. :P) ! And actually I have some more great news to add to this! But as all good teasers, it’s at the bottom of the post.
First: (Drum roll please!) The title for book 2 of the Elysium Chronicles is…
Also, it has a release date! 🙂
It will be coming out November 5, 2013! (It’s also available for pre-order already on Amazon.)
Plus, RENEGADE will be coming out in trade paperback October 8, 2013! (Pre-order here.)
And the best news of all? I’ve seen the cover for REVELATIONS. It’s gorgeous. It’s perfect. It’s even better than RENEGADE and it’ll be revealed on Monday, February 18th! I’m so excited.
If you’re a blogger, I’m definitely still looking for help revealing the cover. Fill out the form below and I’ll contact you. (Err. The link isn’t working at the moment. I’ll update when I get it fixed.) Otherwise, you can also email me at j.souders (at) jasouders (dot) com.
As surprise number 2 for Valentine’s Day, I’ve written a quick short about the first time Evelyn met Timothy. I wanted to give fans a special treat that wasn’t spoilerific and I love Timothy, so I wanted people to see a bit more of him. If you’ve read RENEGADE, then you know why I say that… Anyway, I wanted to write something that doesn’t spoil RENEGADE for those that didn’t read it. This scene is EXTREMELY rough, but I hope you’ll enjoy it all the same. HAPPY Valentine’s day!
My Maid laces the ties in the back of my pink dress. I don’t really like the color pink, but Mother insists to wear it today. It’s Valentine’s Day and purple just won’t do. She’s wearing red for the occasion, but she can. She’s Coupled.
I glance over to her. She’s standing next to my bed, flipping through the papers in her hand and mumbling. And even though she’s obviously upset by whatever she’s reading, she’s beautiful as always. Her blond hair is down and brushes her shoulders in soft waves. Her eyes are especially blue today and her skin has the perfect dewy look to it that I envy. The lights outside my window cause the water to lay a wavy shadow over her face.
I gasp when the Maid pulls the ties too tight, then hiss out a breath when Mother glances my way over the top of her papers. She purses her lips. “Now, now, Evelyn. Stop squirming. You’re not a child any longer.”
I straighten my back and try not to let it bother me that I can’t really breathe. “Yes, Mother.”
She watches me carefully, her eyes narrowed before she turns to the Maid pulling little pots and brushes from a case. “Darken her eyes and lips. She’s of age now. She needs a more mature look.”
“Yes, Mother,” the Maid says and starts working on my face.
A few minutes later, Mother’s lady’s Maid pokes her head. “The guests have arrived, Ma’am.”
Mother smiles and waves the woman away and turns to me. “Meet me in the ballroom when you’re finished. I have a gift for you.”
My stomach churns in anticipation, but I only smile my acknowledgement.
Ten minutes later, my hair in an intricate up-do that has my curls in a riot over the top of my head. The symbol of my rank sits on top of them like a tiara. My rose necklace rests in the hollow of my throat and I run my fingers over it nervously.
I stand outside the ballroom, my heart in my throat. This is my first event after coming of age. I’ll be expected to entertain the Suitors Mother invited. I’ve practiced and practed what I’m to say and when and to whom, but I’m terrified my condition will act up and they’ll realize how strange I am.
The room is decorated in pink and red hearts and the cupids that are so synonymous with the holiday. Pink and red streamers crisscross the ballroom and the chandeliers sparkle like diamonds. The roses from my garden are on each of the tables lining the wall and their smell drifts to my nose calming me.
I step through the doors and the Guards nod at me as I pass through. My plan is to go straight to the hors d’oeuvre table. The petit fours are so cute with their pink and red frosting and shaped into tiny hearts. But Mother sees me instantly and waves me over. She’s standing next to a fairly tall couple. They’re both taller than Mother, which definitely makes them taller than me.
They both smile when I step up to them. I return it with one of my own.
Mother introduces them as Scientists from Sector Three. I curtsy. “It’s wonderful to meet you. I’ve always had a fascination with Sector Three,” I say as I was trained. It’s true. I’ve always been fascinated by the new things that the Scientists come up with. So it comes out with an excited appearance that I don’t have to fake.
The woman starts talking, but I stop paying attention. Coming up behind them, his hands carrying two plates of hors d’oeuvres, is a young man my age. At least I think he is. He’s just as tall as the man in front of me, and despite the fact that almost everyone in Elysium looks the same, he looks remarkably like the couple. His eyes are the same light blue and, when he stops behind the woman, he holds himself just like the man. His dark blond hair—the same color as the woman’s– is slightly longer than usual and has dripped into his eyes. I know it’s wrong, but I have the sudden urge to brush it away. And I can’t stop myself from staring.
I start and blink quickly, trying to pull my attention from the boy to Mother. From the slightly frustration in her tone, it sounds like this wasn’t the first time she’d said my name.
She purses her lips, but only says, “I was introducing you to Timothy.” She flutters her hand toward the young man. “He’s the Whitworth’s son. He’s just passed Suitor exam.”
The young man bows. “It’ll be a pleasure to be one of your Suitor’s, Miss Evelyn.”
Our eyes lock together and my belly flops around as I stare at him. He’s my Suitor? I’d be lying if I didn’t say the thought pleases me. He’s perfect, I think, giving him the once over. Tall. Gorgeous. Perfect. I repeat in my head.
His lips–perfectly symmetrical lips, I notice–lift in the corners to smile at me. It’s not hard to see he’s amused at me. I bite my bottom lip, and turn, my face burning in embarrassment at being caught staring.
“Evelyn!” Mother hisses.
With an inward wince, I force myself into another curtsey. “My pleasure, Sir,” I say.
Mother narrows her eyes at me, her reprimand clear. “Why don’t you too, get to know each other, while I talk business with the Whitworths’.”
The band switches to a waltz and he offers his arm. “Would you care for a dance?”
Instead of answering, I take his elbow with my gloved hand, allowing him to lead me to the dance floor. Even though we’re careful not to touch skin-to skin–Un-Coupled peoples aren’t allowed to touch skin-to-skin–we lean close to each other so we can hear each other as we talk.
He smells like a mix of oil from Sector Three and soap. It’s an interesting and nerve wracking mix. I never would have thought I’d enjoy the smell of oil and soap on someone so much. We spend the entire night talking and even when another Suitor cuts in, it isn’t long before I find myself dancing with Timothy again. Each time we join each other in another dance, he holds me in a slightly tighter embrace. Never too much. Never enough for the Enforcers to notice, but some part of me—the part that’s obviously lost her mind—wants him to take me in his arms and hold me close. Place his lips against mine in a kiss. But he never does, which is just as well. It’d be suicide if he did.
But each time one of those other Suitors comes, Timothy looks like he’s going to argue. And as foolish as I know it is, I can’t help but feel excited about the prospect that he doesn’t want to share me.
Finally at the end of the night, exhausted with my legs and head aching, I smile as he says goodnight, bowing, then watch as he leaves a mixture of emotions flowing through my blood.
Mother joins me almost the instant he’s out of sight. “What do you think, Evelyn?”
I smile, thinking of how perfect his hands felt in my gloved ones. “I think I would be honored to have him for a Suitor.”
Mother smiles at me, running her hands over the curls on my head and staring in the direction Timothy left in. “Happy Valentine’s Day, Evelyn.”
In case you didn’t know, surprise number 1 is that A DARK GRAVE (Gavin’s short story) is free today and tomorrow. If you want to give me a Valentine’s gift in return, I’d love to get it under 100 on the free kindle store, so please feel free to share the link with everyone. 🙂
BTW, for those that have been asking, A DARK GRAVE is not on anything other than Kindle right now. I do apologize for the inconvenience of that, but stay tuned because that may change.
I do have a few more surprises planned for today, so stay tuned, ‘K?
Everyone is talking about Lance Armstrong and how he admitted to cheating (finally) after all these years. Most everyone is asking why? But I’m not. That’s the only part that’s obvious in all this.
Why did he cheat?
Because he wanted to win. He wanted to be the best. He wanted the money and sponsorships and fame that go along with winning. And he felt the only way to do all of that was to cheat. But he didn’t just cheat to win. He cheated all the men racing against him. He cheated each and every single one of his teamates and not just because his name and theirs are besmirched, but because he convinced many of them to cheat as well. He cheated the US out of being proud of our athletes. Something that’s been hard pressed lately due to steroid abuse and strikes in MLB. Strikes in our NHL. And many more problems in other sports that I just don’t feel like listing. And, worst of all, he cheated our children out of looking up to him as a role model. In all aspects (minus one), he would and had been a great one.
It’s a shame, but unfortunately, it seems to be the “cool” thing in sports. When you can’t win the honest way, cheat.
However, the question, I’m really asking is “Why now?” Why did he admit to cheating now, especially since there wasn’t any real point to it. His medals and wins had already been taken away. His reputation already destroyed. Why did he decide to confess now and not a few months ago? We’d all but forgotten the issue. I for one stood behind him. There’d been no proof he’d cheated. Blood and other testing seemed to point to his innocence. So why admit now that he cheated when he could have just let people speculate? When a lot of people defended him and believed him? I guess that’s just something we’ll never know.
Well, today, sadly, marks the end of my debut year! It’s been a roller coaster ride of awesome and I’m both sad and relieved to see it end. I’m so grateful for every single one of you who made this year as awesome as it could be and I can’t wait to ride the hopefully as fantabulous, but slightly less hectic sophomore year roller coaster.
Yes, for those that have been asking, there will be a second book to the Elysium Chronicles. I can’t say too much about it, but I’m busily working on edits for it and I know the cover designer is working just as hard to bring you an even more gorgeous cover. I’ve been in discussions with my editor about the cover and I’m extremely excited to see how it all turns out. And yes, there is a title and I LOVE IT, but I don’t think I’m allowed to share it yet, so I guess we’re just going to have to patiently (*snort*) wait. 😛
And now onto the best part of this post. A DARK GRAVE (Gavin’s short story prequel) is FREE today and tomorrow to celebrate the New Year! Just click here to go to the Amazon download page.
So here’s to the ending of 2012 and the beginning of an even better 2013!
I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. Can you believe it’s almost 2013?! I can’t. This year has just flown by! It’s been filled with some awesome times and I’m so sad it’s coming to an end, but 2013 looks like it’ll be even more awesome and I can’t wait to see what it brings.
A few housekeeping details and then I’ll get to the reason for this post. First, while I’m taking a minor break from my internet hiatus to post this, I’m actually away from my “office” until January 7th. I won’t be answering emails or be on twitter or facebook until then. Although I reserve the right to change my mind before then. 😛
That being said, I’ll be starting the new year with a bang and doing a lot of events. At least one a month. January has three already lined up! Why so many? I’m excited to say I’ll be participating in The Sunshine Tour with at least 10 other YA authors! For more details, check out the Sunshine Tour’s site. And keep an eye on my events page. And I’ll be participating in several conferences that I’m extremely excited about, those are of course listed on my events page.
And now (drum roll please), without further adieu, the reason for my post. I’m pleased to announce that Gavin’s short story prequel A DARK GRAVE is now available in English on Kindle!
Here’s the beautiful cover art done by the fabulous Eithne O’Hanlon, the same artist who did the cover for RENEGADE!
And here’s the blurb:
An Elysium Chronicles short story: the beginning.There is only one place forbidden to the people of Gavin’s village; the island just off the shore, rumored to be haunted. Cursed.All who venture to the island disappear.But Gavin doesn’t believe in such things. He is a hunter; since his father’s death, he is the only one who can provide for the family. Silly rumors of ghosts aren’t going to stop him from crossing the dark waters to the island in search of fresh game…
It’s available on kindle now for only $0.99 (FREE if you’re a Prime member), but I’ll be having an after Christmas/New Year’s special where it’ll be free on New Year’s eve and New Years day. More details here.
I hope you all enjoy Gavin’s story and have a great New Year’s!