Excerpts/Stories

Welcome to the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt!

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Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt

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Welcome to Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt! My name is Amy Nichols and I’m your host this leg of the hunt.

AmyNichols_square_smA little about me:

– I’m the author of YA science fiction novels NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE (Knopf 2014) and WHILE YOU WERE GONE, which hits shelves on August 4.
– This year I got a ukulele for my birthday. Today I learned how to play “Creep” by Radiohead.
– I study karate.
– Benedict Cumberbatch likes my handbag.

Somewhere on this hunt, I’ve hidden a bonus scene from NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE from Warren’s POV and I can’t wait for you to read it! But before you go looking for it, you have to read on so you can check out the amazing author I’m hosting!

First, though, a little about the YA Scavenger Hunt:

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!

red teamYou can start right here or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. I am a part of the TEAM RED–but there seven other teams out there and if you do those hunts, too, you’ll have a chance to win seven different sets of signed books! If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Check out all the amazing authors on Team Red:

Team Red (Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

How to complete the hunt

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on Team Red, and then add them up. (Don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)

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 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

And now…the fun part!
I am so excited to be hosting…

Sarah Negovetich

Sarah Negovetich headshot
About Sarah:

Sarah Negovetich knows you don’t know how to pronounce her name and she’s okay with that.

Her first love is Young Adult novels, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty; it’s accurate if not exactly motivation. We should come up with a better cliche.

Sarah divides her time between writing YA books that her husband won’t read and working with amazing authors as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. Her life’s goal is to be only a mildly embarrassing mom when her kids hit their teens. Find out more about Sarah at www.sarahnegovetich.com.

The book Sarah is showcasing on the Spring 2015 Hunt is…

RITE OF REJECTION

Rite of RejectionAbout the book:

Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.

A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.

But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence, Rebecca must embrace the criminal within.


And now…a bonus scene from RITE OF REJECTION!

This scene takes place during Rebecca’s first morning in the PIT. Daniel has rescued her from a precarious situation and the rest of the group is not happy that he brought her back to their home. Told from Daniel’s POV, we get a look at what happens once Rebecca is made to leave.

“It means we need a test.” Molly is dead serious staring Rebecca down.

“A test.” I rub my hands over my face. What is Molly thinking? This girl just got here and she couldn’t even make it through breakfast without getting herself tangled up in a dangerous situation. There’s no way she’s capable of completing some harebrained scheme Molly and Elizabeth cook up.

“Yes, a test.” Elizabeth is so excited she completely misses the look I shoot her. “It’s perfect. If Becca can prove she’s trustworthy and won’t be a thorn in my side, then I’ll think about letting her join our little party.”

“What kind of test?” Eric asks, without missing a beat. He may have signed her dance card, but I’m not a fan of how he’s standing so close to Rebecca.

Elizabeth has all but tuned the rest of us out now. She’s almost impossible to reason with when she gets like this. I know she’s just trying to protect us, but from what? Rebecca is about as innocent as they come. I mean, Cardinal on a cracker, yesterday she was convinced she was some kind of criminal monster just because the Machine told her so.

“I’ll need a few days to work out the details. Until then she can lay low, somewhere else.”

“Why can’t she—?”

Son of a…Eric is definitely ticking me off now. I clench my fists and resist the urge to knock him on his smug rear end. Who put him in charge of Rebecca’s well-being?

“No. Elizabeth’s right.” Molly’s voice calms the room. “She can’t stay here until we’re certain. She’ll be fine on her own for a few days.”

I don’t buy that for a second, but I’ve never been able to argue with Molly. “Come on, Rebecca.” I don’t waste a minute looping my arm through hers and walking her toward the door. “I’ll walk you back to your bunkhouse.” And try to convince you to stay safe inside until your test is ready.

“No, I’ll take her. Becca and I have some catching up to do.” Eric takes her arm and leads her out the door before I can say a word.

“Her name is Rebecca,” I mumble at the door, though Eric can’t hear me.

“Uh oh, looks like someone has himself a little crush.”

I turn on Elizabeth and work my face into a blank stare. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Right.” She drags the word out into at least four syllables and shoots Molly a look that says exactly how much she believes me. “And what was all that gentleman business there by the door?”

“Nothing.” Nothing I want to talk about.

“That’s funny,” Molly says with a lilt to her voice making it clear she thinks the situation is hilarious. “I don’t recall you ever offering an arm to me or Elizabeth for a walk home.”

“That’s because I like my limbs firmly attached to my body.”

The girls shoot each other another look.

“Look, you’ve seen her. Rebecca is helpless out there.” I wave my hands at the door as if she’s right there. “If she’s going to be a part of our escape plan, we need to teach her how it works in the PIT.”

They exchange glances again and I can feel the warmth spreading up my neck and ears. “Eric’s been here all of five minutes and is just as naïve as she is. The two of them alone together are practically begging to get into trouble.”

“Daniel, if you care that much about her, why don’t you just go out there and make sure they’re safe.” Molly doesn’t even look up from the dress she’s sewing, but I don’t need to see her face to picture the I-told-you-so smile covering it.

“I…that’s not…”

“Oh give it up, Daniel.” Elizabeth throws her pencil and I just barely dodge before it hits me in the forehead. “It’s pretty obvious you’ve got a little puppy dog thing going for sweet, little Becca. I couldn’t care less, though Eric may have other ideas. Just don’t forget the game plan. We’re trying to get out of here, not play house with the new Rejects. Okay?”

“It’s not me you should be talking to.” I jerk a thumb over my shoulder to the door. “Talk to Eric who seems to think Rebecca is his consolation prize for failing Acceptance. I know what’s at stake and I’ve got way too much to deal with without adding in some puppy dog thing.”

“Alright.” Elizabeth throws her hands up in surrender, though we both know I’m full of crap. She always could read me better than anyone. “Let’s figure out this test to see if Blondie even gets to stick around.”

She launches into a rundown of ideas, but I can’t concentrate on any of them. My brain keeps wandering out to Rebecca…and Eric. The way he stood so close to her and touched her without asking, as if she was already his wife. Practically engaged! As if agreeing to dance with him gives him some sort of claim over her. I’d give up my daily slice of bread for the chance to wipe that simpering grin off his face.

But he’s Elizabeth’s brother, and even though she hates that he’s here, she’s been almost chipper since he arrived.

The door swings open and bangs against the wall, shaking the bunkhouse and showering us in a fine layer of dust. “I’m back.”

I do my best to ignore Eric’s entrance, but he’s not the kind to be ignored. “Isn’t Becca just the best? I know you have your doubts, E, but I know we can trust her. This is all going to work out perfect.”

I agree that we can trust her. Rebecca is innocent and kind to a fault. The exact opposite of the type of person who belongs in the PIT. It’s Eric I don’t trust. He can make all the school-boy claims he wants, but I’m going to make it my personal mission to make sure Rebecca survives until I can get us all out of here. Because even more than love, we all deserve our freedom.


Oh man, that was good! I could read that, like, 12 (that’s right, TWELVE) more times! Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let Sarah know in the comments below.

Purchase your copy of RITE OF REJECTION today:

Amazon
B&N
Kobo
iBooks

Ready to continue the hunt?

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My Fiction Project 2011

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A couple of months ago, I participated in Art House Co-op’s Fiction Project 2011. It’s an art/story project where they send you a notebook, you fill it with stories and art, and they send it on tour and house it in their gallery/library. Art House is currently updating their website, so the fiction books aren’t online yet, but hopefully they will be soon. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the photos I took of my project before I sent it off.

I chose to illustrate my story “Beneath the Crape Myrtle“, which was published by Plain Spoke and The Liars League a while back. You can read the story in its entirety on my website. It’s about a dog. A ghost dog.

I dedicated my fiction project version to Holly.

Here are the photos. When the link at Art House goes live, I’ll post it as well.

Chasing Rabbits

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(I’ve pulled this story in order to spiffy it up and submit it to literary journals. I’ll let you know when and where it gets published.)

The Cat

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My daughter and I recently finished writing a story together. We took turns, each writing a line and then waiting for the other to find it and respond (much like Clementine and her father).

When my daughter wrote the last line, she added a title and a dedication. Here is the story. We hope you enjoy it.

The Cat

To my mom who helped me make this book.

Once upon a time, there was a cat. He was orange.

And a girl named Amy.

She was not orange.

She was pretty.

One day the cat looked at Amy and said, “Meow.” This meant…

“I love you!”

And Amy looked at the cat and said, “Meow.” This meant…

“I love you, too!”

And they sat there thinking of each other.

The End.

Copyright © 2010 by Amy K. Nichols


Sleep Eater

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A late-night and somewhat silly entry for today’s 500 Club over at The Parking Lot Confessional. I chose the second prompt (“If I could just get her to say it, this would all go away”), modifying it slightly. I used the Write or Die 2.0 software to crank out 500 words in 20 minutes and this is what my brain came up with. Not sure why. Hope it isn’t my subconscious telling me something…

Sleep Eater

Okay, I confess I have a thing about being right. I’ve always been that way, so there’s not much I can do about it now. Let’s just say thirty-some years of practice made perfect. So when Carol told me my leftovers were still in the fridge, I flat-out told her she was wrong.

“I saw them in there earlier today,” she said, popping open a can of Sprite. She took a long drink and set the can on the counter. “Go look.”

“It’s not there.” She was wrong and that was that.

“Did you look?”

I rolled my eyes. Same tactic she always used. Did I look? Of course I didn’t look. I didn’t have to look. I just knew.

“You didn’t look, did you?” She laughed and took another drink. “Just go open the door. Ten bucks says it’s still there.”

You know what they say about money, don’t you? The first one to mention money loses. “You’re on.”

I slid my chair back from the table and walked to the fridge. Simon, our Aussie, lifted his head to watch me. Fridge means food, right? He’s no dummy.

“Get that tenner ready.” The stainless steel handle chilled my hand as I pulled the fridge open. With a flourish of my hands, I presented the truth to my dolt of a girlfriend. “Voilà.”

“You didn’t even look!”

“I don’t have to. The cheesecake isn’t there. It’s gone. I just know it.”

She sauntered over, swirling the Sprite like a vintage Merlot. The look on her face made it clear she thought she was right. She stopped before the open door and peered inside. Careened her head to the side to peer past the ketchup. “White box?”

“Yep.”

“Styrofoam?”

“Yep.”

She reached into the cold, beyond the bread, beyond the pickle relish. Move dthe hot dog buns and kim chee aside. Reached in almost to her shoulder and pulled something out. A white box. Styrofoam.

My voilà hand dropped at my side. Couldn’t be. I squelched a momentary dizziness that threatened to unsettle me.

“What was it again?” she asked, waving the box in my face. “New York style, or one of those hoity-toity cheesecakes? Red velvet flavor, or maybe lemon raspberry? That one’s yummy.”

“Open it,” I said.

“Are you kidding me?”

“Open it.”

She rolled her eyes and popped the styrofoam latch.

Empty. Just as I’d suspected.

“Ha!” I pointed my finger at her. “I knew it! You ate my cheesecake.”

She looked confused. “But…” Her mouth moved without speaking as her eyebrows worked over some difficulty. Her next lie, perhaps. “But…I didn’t.”

“That’s it? You didn’t? That’s all you got?”

“I didn’t.”

“Oh, come on. Don’t lie.” If I could just get her to say it — to say I was right — we could get on with our lives.

She got in my face then, and her teeth flashed with each enunciated word. “I didn’t eat your stupid cheesecake.”

“Then who did?”

“I don’t know.” She drained the rest of her Sprite, set the can on the floor and crushed it under her heel. “Maybe Simon. I heard him up and about last night.” She left the kitchen.

I looked at Simon, dozing on his side on the cool tile, looking all fat and happy.

I got in his face. I wouldn’t back down this time. “You ate my cheesecake, didn’t you? Tell me the truth.”

Copyright © 2010 by Amy K. Nichols