Welcome back to Day #2 in this week Blogoversary event filled with awesome authors stops, and great giveaways!
Today I have none other then the awesome
Kristen Simmons dropping by. We have a great interview with Kristen, and extra scene written by Kristen Simmons, and she has generously offered to sponsor the giveaways for today! So have fun with me and Kristen today and enter to win some great ARTICLE 5 stuff! :)
article 5 #1
(Article 5 #1)
Published: January 31st, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
(Article 5 #1)
Published: January 31st, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.
breaking point #2
(Article 5 #2)
Published: February 12th, 2013
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Sci-f
(Article 5 #2)
Published: February 12th, 2013
Genres: YA, Dystopian, Sci-f
After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.
Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….
Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.
Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways.
With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?
Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.
And all that’s left is smoking ruins.
Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.
With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.
Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.
Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.
At fighting back.
ALICIA: Hi Kristen, I am THRILLED to have you here on Addicted Readers! I am such a BIG fan of the ARTICLE 5 series! :)
ALICIA: 1. I have to tell you that I just LOVE Ember and Chase! They are perfect in every way. Together and apart! When you sat down to write these charterers, did you know what type of characters they were going to be from the beginning, and how much have they changed from your initial draft?
KRISTEN: Oh they CONSTANTLY surprised me! I had a pretty good outline, but most of the time I felt like they just read it over and laughed. I could imagine Ember saying, "Funny author. You actually think you're the boss of me, don't you?" I tried, I really did, but they were in charge from day one.
Throughout the drafts they stayed much the same in terms of personality, but it was their actions that jumped off the script. That being said, in early drafts Tucker actually dated Ember, so that was...um...different.
ALICIA: 2. I heard Dystopian was one of the hardest series to write. Did you think the ARTICLE 5 series was harder then you initially thought it would be, and if so, what did you discover later on that was the most challenging about it?
KRISTEN: The ARTICLE 5 series challenged me in many ways. It's harder in some ways to write a dystopian story, because you typically have to work within an already existing framework - like the US for instance - and then destroy it. You have to think of all the consequences of that destruction, and what led it to be the way it is now. At the same point, that can actually make it easier because you don't necessarily have to start from scratch. The hardest part for me was always keeping descriptions of the world tight so that they didn't disrupt the flow of the plot. I often get lost in wordiness and go on and on and on...
ALICIA: 3. Which book was your favorite to write in the ARTICLE 5 series, and what about that book made it your favorite?
KRISTEN: They were all my favorite for different reasons. I loved ARTICLE 5 because I loved the tension between Chase and Ember, and I loved watching Chase's recovery. He's so sad and broken through much of it, and relies on Ember's forgiveness to bring him back. I loved BREAKING POINT because I liked looking at the resistance - in terms of the actual resistance, and the resistance Ember experiences with her own feelings about Chase. And I loved THREE because I enjoyed following Ember's journey to strength.
ALICIA: 4. In 10 words, can you describe the ARTICLE 5 series?
KRISTEN: How about: Teens lose each other, find each other, and fight back.
ALICIA: 5. Now that the ARTICLE 5 series is over *Sigh* is there anything in the works for you as far as a next book/series is concerned, and do you think you'll ever write another dystopian book/series again?
KRISTEN: As a matter of fact, yes! I can guarantee I will because I already have! THE GLASS ARROW is my next young adult book and comes out in the winter of 2015. Here's a brief description:
In a society where women are endangered, one girl is caught in the wild and sold for breeding purposes. Also, METALTOWN, which comes out in 2016, has a dystopianish ring to it. I love dystopians! What can I say?
ALICIA: - You are born an ARTICLE 5 violator. The Mortal Militia is coming for you, you have two choices: Run and get as far away as possible, or stay and take a stand and recruit others to take a stand with you! What do YOU do, Kristen?
KRISTEN: Grab the closest supplies and lock myself in a closet, then dream about how I wish I was tough enough to fight back. I might throw things out the closet door occasionally. Like popcorn...or hangers...TAKE THAT MM!
ALICIA: - Finally, Kristen, would YOU survive in the world of ARTICLE 5?
KRISTEN: No way. I'd probably pass Ember in some transport on the way to a safe house. (Hopefully not the one on the coast though...)
ALICIA: Thank you so much for doing this interview with me Kristen, it was so much fun, and I can't wait to see what's in store for you're coming books! :)
KRISTEN: Thank you for having me, Alicia! This was very fun, and I'm honored to be a part of your blog. Happy reading!
ALICIA: If the Article 5 series was opted into a movie, which actors/actress would you like to play the parts of your main characters?
KRISTEN: I really like Nina Dobrev for Ember. She's so cute, and such a little ass-kicker. She'd be a perfect Ember in THREE. And though I LOVE Channing Tatum, I think Mark Salling would make a super handsome Chase.
Nina Dobrev as:
Mark Salling as:
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I was raised in Reno, Nevada—just below Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains—with horses and dogs and Red Angus cattle. When I was little I had a colorful imagination (read: I was a cheerful liar), and loved to write stories. I rocked spandex shorts and slouch socks, put too many scrunchies in my side ponytail, and watched The Goonies approximately one kajillion times. For a brief time, I dedicated myself to a future in professional hockey after careful study of The Mighty Ducks.
I have an awesome Extra Scene from ARTICLE 5
WRITTEN BY: KRISTEN SIMMONS
You can find more of the extra scenes on Kristen's blog HERE!
DISCLAIMER: These scenes are not professionally edited.
WARNING: The following scenes contain spoilers and swear words.
EXTRA SCENE #1
By: Kristen Simmons
- This first scene takes place in ARTICLE 5 just after Ember falls asleep in the truck Chase has stolen (pg. 131). They’ve recently crossed the border into the Red Zone, and while Ember is still struggling with whether or not she can trust Chase, Chase is struggling with his own issues: indoctrination by the MM, the secrets he carries about her mother, and the need to maintain a wall between them because of those secrets. Also, due to what he’s been through, he’s hypervigilent, and has a difficult time trusting her, despite how much he wants to. At this point it’s still easier for him to shut down all feelings in order to keep them alive. Or so he thinks…
His eyes adjusted quickly to the failing light. Ready. That was how he had to be – how they’d trained him to be. It was how he knew they’d be. But she wasn’t ready. He remembered the way she stared out the windshield earlier: blank, unfocused. Unaware that the highway was just under three miles due south. That the woods provided a thick enough barrier to their six and nine, but left their front right side exposed. He knew their best cover was twenty yards southeast behind an outcropping of limestone, that he only had one full magazine in his 9mm and no extra, and that her height meant a shorter stride and a slower run if they had to punch through this landscape. But she knew none of this. And that compromised his mission.
Yet, she was the mission.
She’d fallen asleep, staring out into what she’d dismissed as darkness. He wasn’t sure she was asleep at first. She was so still, her cheek on her knee, her arms wrapped around her shins, that he wondered if this was a trap. Her baiting him to sleep so what, she could push him out? Take the car? He shifted in his seat, crossing his arms more tightly across his chest. He wouldn’t put it past her.
Then her hand had suddenly fallen, and her knees had slouched to the side. No change in her respiration. She really was asleep. Damn.
Her hair was uneven; a long piece he’d missed when he’d hacked it off earlier trailed to her shoulder, curling on that ratty old gray sweater where the rest of it was shorn to the chin. The way she leaned he could see her neck.
He looked away, scanning what area was visible. The cab smelled like peanut butter from those sandwiches she’d made earlier. Who made peanut butter sandwiches anymore? He hadn’t had one since…
Chase! You have to tell me what’s going on!
Her voice filled his mind. The way she’d said his name did something to him. He ran a hand over his face, forcing his jaw to unclench. Chase. It made him remember the way his mother said his name. The way his C.O. Crawford, and even Tucker had said it. The way he’d heard it from the other kids as a child. The way she’d whispered it all those months ago when they’d been in her bedroom. His name from her lips combined it all, brought it all together, all those boxes meant to stay separate. All those pieces of him that didn’t need to know about each other.
She’d been so scared when she’d said it. Like she’d been during the overhaul. Scared of him.
He swore under his breath, turning his body away, so he couldn’t see her in his peripheral vision. She couldn’t do that, mix everything up like that. This was a mission, just like any other mission. Secure and deliver the passage. If everything else got kicked in, he’d screw this up, and he couldn’t screw anything else up. This, he had to do right. This was the only thing that mattered. And then, then everything could bleed together, then it could tear him apart. It could kill him, he realized in a detached way. It could kill him, and maybe that would be for the best.
He took a deep breath. Why the damn peanut butter? And worse, the cab smelled like her. Like her hair when he’d held it in his hands outside. Like the air, and fresh clothes, and her skin. He’d spent too much time in the barracks, too much time around men. Not that he hadn’t seen a woman. But the Sisters that cleaned the base smelled like antiseptic, and the girls the FBR hired for socials reeked of perfume and liquor.
The more he breathed, the more he couldn’t stand it. It gave him a heady, disconnected feeling, like when he thought about the frightened way she’d said his name. He was not many people all in one. He was the leftovers, the body that survived while the rest of him had died. He had to remember that.
He placed his hand on the door handle, glancing back at her once, and then eased it open. It squealed but she didn’t move. He found he didn’t want to wake her. He took the firearm and tucked it into the front of his waistband and slowly settled the door on the lock, feeling the bite of the cold air, and the crunch of the iced dew on the grass beneath his boots.
Like a wolf he stalked the perimeter, head low, eyes peeled. He separated the night sounds into compartments, the way his training had taught him. Sounds from his stride, sounds from the wildlife and the wind, and all else.
With his hearing so deliberately acute, he thought again of how he’d found her at the reformatory. That scream that had come from the building before he’d gotten inside. It had raked through his blood like acid, that scream. He’d know her voice anywhere, and that sound was like nothing he’d ever heard her make, like if he heard it again it would snap him in half. Like a fool, he’d almost ruined everything, torn apart that pathetic guard, torn the damn door off its hinges. If the soldier outside hadn’t complied when he’d said they needed to leave immediately for the trial, Chase would have killed him.
He wasn’t an idiot. He knew what happened between soldiers and girls. They’d been practically shoved down his throat since he’d made rank, but he hadn’t been able to stomach it. The desperate way they looked at you, hoping that just an idle conversation would earn that paycheck at the end of the night.
Had he been too late at the reformatory? Had one of them touched her? Who had put those cuts on her hands, he wondered, a wave of fury rising so suddenly within him he lost his focus and jolted at the crackling of twigs beneath his step.
Goddamn it. She was supposed to have been safe at that school. Safer than home anyway.
He closed his eyes, willing home to disappear, like everything else he’d destroyed.
He walked the perimeter twice more, but something had taken hold of him, something foreign and unwelcome, nestling deep in the cavity of his chest, and clawing up his throat, until his breath came faster. Faster.
He needed to get back to the car. Maybe they should leave tonight, chance the roads, drive without the headlights and duck off to the side at the first sign of a highway patrol. Maybe he should just leave her here; she’d probably be better off without him. But the vehicle didn’t even have keys if she even knew how to drive. She’d get herself killed faster than he could. Maybe he should tell her everything. Tell her the truth. Give her the gun and the money and let her make up her own damn mind about what she wanted to do.
Maybe, he thought morosely, she’d just kill him and save him the trouble.
And then he heard her again in his mind. That scream, and his name, spoken out of fear. Enough to make him sick. Alone, she was a magnet for trouble. She always had been. Alone, they wouldn’t just kill her, they would hurt her.
A renewed sense of fury staked through him. Nothing could happen to her, nothing else. The fury blended with purpose, and transformed the mission into something more than a mission, until every fiber of his being was dedicated to only one thing: her safety. She could hate him all she wanted, but he couldn’t tell her what had happened. Not yet. Not until they got to that safe house Jesse had talked about. Then, and only then, would she know.
The feeling took him by storm, and within seconds he found himself back at the truck, standing close enough to put his hands on the hood, staring through the windshield at her face, just visible above the dash, as his breathing settled. How long he stood there he didn’t know. He lost track of the minutes, forgot temporarily that his back was open and exposed on their southeast side.
Slowly, he rounded to the driver’s side, peeling back the door so that it barely squeaked. He slid inside to the bench seat, and settled carefully so that the change wouldn’t disturb her. He closed the door, wincing when it whined and clicked.
It was cool inside the cab from when he’d left the door ajar during his rotation. Small wisps of breath formed in front of her mouth. The moonlight made her skin pale silver, but he wondered if her nose was actually red with cold, like it used to get when they were kids and they played in the snow.
Christ, he thought. Get it together, Jennings.
He took off his flack jacket, again moving slowly so as not to disturb her. Gently, he placed it over her back, and her whole body, still tucked in a ball, disappeared beneath it. She was so small. He sometimes forgot how small she was.
She shifted then, and he held his breath, honestly even considering stealing the jacket back so she wouldn’t sense anything was amiss. But he couldn’t because in that moment, she did something completely unexpected.
Eyes still halfway closed, as if she was asleep and yet not asleep, she eased herself down to the seat, knees still pulled against her chest. Her head came to rest on his thigh. One hand slid beneath his knee, like it might a pillow, the other curled into a fist atop his leg. It wasn’t until his eyes found those raised wounds on her knuckles did he realize he’d been holding his breath.
He should wake her up. She wouldn’t like this if she knew about it; she definitely wouldn’t once she knew what he’d done. It seemed disrespectful to let her lay like this, like he was taking advantage of her. But she made a soft, murmuring sound, and all thoughts of moving her disappeared.
He leaned down to spread his jacket over her curled body and caught a glimpse of her ankle peeking out. He had touched that ankle once, with her permission. He could again, he realized, and she might never know, but he didn’t, because he knew he didn’t deserve to. He covered her protruding leg, with a hard, hollow feeling in his chest, and a deep dizzying breath.
He removed his gun from his waistband and set it on the dash. She didn’t like guns; it seemed wrong to keep one so close while she was vulnerable like this.
He forgot himself then, looking down, seeing the way her hair fanned across his thigh. How many times had he remembered this image, of her head on the pillow in her bedroom before he’d left? Sometimes it never fully went away, clinging so tightly to his senses he thought he was going crazy. Her even breaths warmed his leg, and he felt a sudden twinge in his shoulders. The release of muscles he hadn’t even known had been taut.
He watched her breathe, and felt her breathe, and closed his eyes, exhausted. He didn’t remember the last time he’d been tired. He’d made a habit of sleeping only when necessary, and never wasting time about it. Shutting off, senses never fully relaxed. Never knew when someone might try to jump you; it had happened often enough when he’d been a soldier.
But even before. He hadn’t slept soundly during the War, resting in cars like this one, or on cots in the Red Cross Camps, or even on pallets of damp cardboard somewhere off the main drag. It wasn’t safe to sleep then. And before that, when he’d lived with Jesse, he’d had the nightmares. Always the same one. He was sitting in the back with his sister, his dad driving, his mom in front of him in the passenger seat. Rachel was fixing her hair, and then they were spinning, spinning, before it all ended.
He was spinning now. Lightheaded. Tired. He was forgetting his life in reverse, and then he was eight and she was six, and they were playing outside a haunted house, spinning, spinning.
“Ember,” he breathed. She didn’t stir. Ember, Ember, Ember.
Thanks everyone for joining me for Day #2 in my Blogoversary Event! Stop back tomorrow for Day #3 with the creative and talented