Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to my strange little corner of the internet! I'm C.J. Redwine, author of speculative fiction books and teacher of writing workshops. Below this post, you can find plenty to read if you scroll through the blog posts I used to write before deadlines ate my soul. Some of them are pretty funny. Especially the ones before I sold books and became a slave to Microsoft Word. :)

On the side bar, you can find other places where I continue my bid for world domination across the interwebs. I'm often on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Sometimes I use Tumblr because I'm a fangirl at heart and my fandoms live there. I also use Pinterest, mostly for storyboarding and inspiration. You are welcome to interact with me in any of those places. I rarely bite, and anyway, I've had all my shots.

If you're looking for a description of/covers of/where to buy my books, the Books tab at the top of the page is your best friend. You can also use the tabs to find out where I'll be doing events, how to contact me for interviews or blurbs, and other little goodies. Please read my FAQ before contacting me because every time someone reads my FAQ before asking me something, a baby unicorn gets its horn.

If you're a super fan of my books and want to join a community of people just like you, you can request membership in my Fans of C.J. Redwine Facebook group. I post new messages there often, answer questions, give sneak peeks, behind the scenes info, and exclusive giveaways, and it's one of the best ways to interact with me on a daily basis.

Thanks so much for reading!


Thursday, October 2, 2014



Hello! I am C.J. Redwine,

your hostess for this leg of the hunt.

About Me

I love fairy tales, Harry Potter, and Sherlock. I'm the author of the Defiance trilogy, a post-apocalyptic fantasy from Balzer + Bray. I live in Nashville with my husband and children. If the novel writing gig ever falls through, I'll join the Avengers and wear a cape to work every day.

You are currently hunting on

Computer generated image with clipping path - Team.

Looking for my exclusive bonus content? You’ll have to keep searching as it is hidden somewhere on this blog hop! Before you do, check out the author I'm excited to be hosting!

But, first, a few rules.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM GOLD, 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 SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5TH, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

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, October 5th!
There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of  GOLD TEAM but there is also a RED TEAM, TEAM INDIE, ORANGE TEAM, BLUE TEAM, & GREEN TEAM! Check out each team for a chance to win six 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.

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…
Victoria Strauss

VICTORIA'S BIO: Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the /Stone/ fantasy duology (/The Arm of the Stone/ and /The Garden of the Stone/) and /Passion Blue/ and /Color Song, /a pair of historical novels for teens. In addition, she has written a handful of short stories, hundreds of book reviews, and a number of articles on writing and publishing that have appeared in /Writer’s Digest/, among others. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

Victoria is co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a unique anti-fraud resource that provides warnings about the many schemes and scams that threaten writers. She received the Service to SFWA Award in 2009 for her work with Writer Beware, and in 2012 was honored with an Independent Book Blogger Award for her work on the Writer Beware blog.

She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her long-suffering husband (who doesn't understand her need to write but fully supports it), two rambunctious cats, and a large and unruly garden. Visit her at her website:

  The book Victoria is showcasing in the YA Scavenger Hunt this season is
Here's a little book teaser,
Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed – or cursed – with a spirit’s gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors she creates in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilità. It’s here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness, and rekindled her passion to become a painter – an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilità bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession – the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue – Giulia realizes she’s in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color for themselves. Faced with the prospect of lifelong imprisonment in the convent, forever barred from painting as a punishment for keeping Humilita’s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist’s apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilità’s precious blue. And Venice, with its graceful gondolas and twisting canals, its gilded palazzi and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

To buy this book go to

Oh, and did I mention  my favorite number is 5???


"According to common writing wisdom, a novel should start as late in the story as possible, to avoid a slow beginning and (hopefully) hook the reader’s interest. For Color Song, my first draft opened with the funeral of Giulia’s mentor—the moment right before the cascade of events that force Giulia to flee the Convent of Santa Marta with the secret of Passion blue.

As it turned out, though, my editor and I decided that the story actually needed to start much earlier—a whole year earlier, in fact. So my original Chapter 1 wound up on the cutting room floor. Here it is!"



Padua, Italy

Convent of Santa Marta

Early September, Anno Domini 1488

The bell of the convent of Santa Marta had begun tolling at dawn. For hours yet it would continue, in slow and solemn rhythm, until darkness brought this day of mourning to a close. Standing at the back of the church, Giulia imagined she could feel each peal inside her chest, shaking her like a second heartbeat. She was included among the other novices for once; Suor Margarita, the novice mistress, had decided it was easier, even though Giulia was supposed to be kept separate. The vaulted nave was packed with mourners: nuns in their white habits and black veils, gray-clad novices, family members of the deceased and representatives of the public decked out in sober finery. Scores of candles burned in sconces and chandeliers, and garlands of late-summer flowers decorated the walls. The mixed smells of beeswax, crowded bodies, and wilting blossoms made Giulia feel sick.

I'm dreaming, she thought. Soon I will wake up.

But of course she wasn't dreaming. It was real, all of it: the church, the crowd, the awful reason for this gathering. Suor Humilità Moretti--artist of genius, Maestra of the only workshop of female painters in the world, Giulia's beloved teacher--was dead.

Giulia had wept the night before, but now she could not shed a tear. Nor had she cried two days ago, when Suor Margarita had taken her to view Humilità's body, laid out in the parlor where the nuns received visitors, so that mourners from outside the convent could pay their respects. Many had come: fellow artists, merchants and nobles for whom Humilità had painted private commissions, associates of Humilità's father, Matteo Moretti, who was himself a painter of fame. Kneeling by the coffin, Giulia had kept her gaze averted--she had not wanted to see Humilità's face, waxy-yellow with her final illness, sunk in on itself in death. She'd felt Suor Margarita's disapproval, and knew that her dry eyes only confirmed the novice mistress's opinion: that she was a liar, a hypocrite, a girl who cared for no one and nothing but herself.

There were only a few at Santa Marta who did not share that judgment. Humilità had been one. The murmur of voices and rustle of clothing fell to silence as the newly-elected abbess, Madre Magdalena, paced toward the altar, her steps keeping time with the cadence of the bell.

The sun, streaming through the church's great rose window, fell directly on the magnificent altarpiece painted by Humilità herself, kindling to jeweled brilliance the gorgeous colors for which her workshop was known: pulsing reds, dazzling yellows, radiant whites, brooding greens--and, most ravishing of all, the shimmering blue that had made her famous, a color so profound, so matchlessly pure and mysteriously luminous, that it had earned its own name. Passion blue.

Instinctively, Giulia's hand went to the small waxed canvas pouch she wore at her neck, concealed beneath her shapeless novice gown. She'd made the pouch many years ago to hide her own secret. Now it hid Humilità's as well, passed on almost with the workshop mistress's dying breath: the formula for Passion blue’s making, which Humilità had guarded for more than twenty years and never shared with anyone, ever.

Until now.

Giulia shivered. There were painters in Padua who would give gold for that formula, who would be furious that it had been bestowed upon a mere apprentice. And Domenica. Domenica, who expected the secret to come to her. How angry will she be? Madre Magdalena brought her staff down on the marble floor with a crack. The ceremony began. A choir of nuns sang hymns, their voices rising in exquisite counterpoint to the tolling of the bell. Madre Magdalena delivered a funeral oration, praising Humilità's many virtues and achievements. There was more singing. Then, as the priest in attendance spoke the words that accompanied burial, Humilità's coffin was lowered into the marble crypt at the foot of the altar--a great honor, for normally only abbesses were interred there. The thump it made as it came to rest echoed throughout the church.

Giulia closed her eyes, fearing she would faint. The priest spoke a final blessing. Madre Magdalena struck the floor with her staff once more, dismissing the gathering. The nuns began to file through the door that led back into the convent. Suor Margarita snapped her fingers, the signal for the novices to line up to follow. Giulia took her place behind the others. As she passed out of the church, her vision blurred with the tears that had not fallen earlier, she heard the harsh scrape of the crypt's lid sliding closed, sealing Humilità forever into the dark.

Before you move on to the next hunt, make sure to enter my exclusive giveaway below for a chance to win a signed copy of DEFIANCE, the first book in my Courier's Daughter Trilogy.

Ready to move on to the next link in the hunt? Then head on over to visit author Patty Blunt's page.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Introducing Starfish Project

You all know that speaking up for women who are being exploited is a passion of mine. I'm so excited to have found a tangible way to help. Please read the following post and see how you can also become an advocate for these women. And be sure to check out my special giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Let me tell you about an amazing charity, a great cause, and some fantastic deals.

Exploitation of women all over the world, especially in Asia, is a huge, overwhelming problem. Reading stories of these girls and hearing statistics often makes the problem seem completely unfathomable and people just don't know where to start. But this issue must be tackled. Every woman, no matter where in the world and no matter her background, is important.
Every woman deserves the chance to provide for her family, grow, and feel valued.

Starfish Project

I want to share with you an amazing organization called Starfish Project which works with these women in three different cities in Asia. They find these women, befriend them, and give them a way out by providing them a range of social, emotional and practical opportunities. While in the Starfish program, women can live in the shelter, receive counseling, get work training, and have a job to provide income for themselves. Their job is to make beautiful jewelry. By buying a piece of jewelry you make these programs, and lasting change in these women's lives, possible.
You become an advocate.

But wait, there's more!

This summer, Starfish Project is hosting a sale! They are offering a discount on over 150 of their pieces for two weeks only.

50 | 50 Summer Sale

50% off orders over $50

on over 150 participating products

July 1 12:01 am EST through July 15 at 11:59 pm EST

By purchasing jewelry you are becoming an advocate for exploited women in Asia. Your purchase will give them work for their hands, hope for their hearts, and the knowledge that they are valued by someone who doesn't even know them.

This is an online exclusive deal for two weeks only.

This sale only lasts for two weeks but the Starfish story is both continuing and growing. Would you become an advocate and join the Starfish Project?

You can become an advocate by:

- Buying their jewelry and telling your friends. Find all the summer sale items here.

- Following the story on their blog, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram
Would you share this post with your friends or on social media?

If you have twitter you can click here to tweet

Thanks for becoming an advocate for women in Asia. The problem is huge, but together we can make a difference.

Note: I am sharing this charity and this deal with you because I am an advocate. I do not receive any commissions or free products for this post.

I am so passionate about Starfish Project, that I want to add an extra incentive! I know you'd already love to help because hey, great cause and awesome jewelry, right? Well, I want to reward you for helping and for spreading the word to others. So after you've done your shopping, come back here and enter to win an additional piece of jewelry of your choice (one piece up to $40 value)! The entry form is below.

Go forth and advocate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 3, 2014

OUTCAST Pre-order Contest!

On July 1st, Quinn's story will hit e-readers across the world. I'm very excited to share this DEFIANCE prequel with my readers! Here's a look at OUTCAST:

A thrilling, dangerous adventure, this digital prequel novella to C. J. Redwine's Defiance and Deception features Quinn, a popular character from the series. 
Quinn Runningbrook knows a hundred ways to kill a man and make it hurt. He can track, ambush, and torture his prey with terrifying skill—just like his father taught him. But every kill consumes another piece of him, and Quinn longs to stop, to save himself and his sister, Willow, from becoming like his father—a man who kills for entertainment. 
But when Quinn refuses to torture a group of trespassers caught too close to the Tree Village where his family lives and instead kills them quickly, he disobeys a direct order from his father . . . and Willow is forced to take his place. Suddenly, Quinn isn't the favored apprentice to the family business of "protecting" the Tree Village anymore. Willow is. 
When Jared Adams—a courier from the nearby city-state of Baalboden—is caught traveling too close to their borders, Willow is ordered to kill him. But Quinn knows that Jared doesn't deserve torture or death. And he realizes he has to take action . . . or the fate chosen for Willow and himself by their father will remain carved in stone.

Ready to find out how Quinn became the stoic boy who refuses to carry a weapon? Want some betrayal, family bonds, loyalty, death, and danger? This is the story for you!

In honor of OUTCAST, I'm running a pre-order contest. Everyone who pre-orders OUTCAST and sends a screen cap of the receipt (no need to show me any private financial info, just the Amazon or B&N page showing that it's been ordered) to goes in the running for some fun prizes. There are also additional ways to earn entries, as you can see from the entry form below. 


1 Grand Prize: A signed ARC of DELIVERANCE and a signed set of bookmarks featuring cover art from DEFIANCE, DECEPTION, and DELIVERANCE.

1 Second Prize: A signed ARC of DELIVERANCE

2 Runner Up Prizes: A signed set of bookmarks featuring cover art from DEFIANCE, DECEPTION, and DELIVERANCE


*You must be 13 or older to enter. If you win and are under the age of 18, you must have a parent or guardian email me your home address because giving your personal info to strangers on the internet is dangerous, even if you think the person can be trusted. :)

*Contest is open internationally.

*Contest is open until 10 p.m. CST Friday May 23rd, 2014.

Links to Pre-order:

Good luck!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Survey Time!

I'm getting ready to list my summer workshops (and am also planning ahead for fall) and would like to get some feedback on what you'd be interested in taking. The survey is quick! Two questions. :) Thanks in advance for taking the time to fill it out.

PLEASE NOTE: You may choose as many answers as apply to you.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Monday, April 7, 2014

YA Scavenger Hunt Winner!

The Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt is over, and it's time for me to announce the winner of the giveaway I hosted on my blog! I offered entrants the chance to win either a copy of Defiance or an advanced review copy of Deliverance, winner's choice. I used to choose the winner from the 196 entrants. And the lucky winner is

Ina Warren

Congratulations, Ina! I'll ship out your copy of DEFIANCE this week!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the Spring 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt!

Hi there! I'm C.J. Redwine, your host for this leg of the hunt. 

I love long walks on the beach, going to the movie theater, and writing epic fantasy novels wherein I put my characters in the worst possible situations and then sit back and eat cookies while they struggle to survive. If my writing career ever tanks, I'll put on my black cape and be a super hero instead.

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 6th!

You can start right here, or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or both! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM--but there is also a red team and if you do the red hunt too 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? You'll have to keep searching. Somewhere on this blog hop, I've hidden a poem Rachel wrote to Logan right after he was declared her Protector. Before you go on though, check out the amazing author I'm hosting. But, first, a few rules.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number is  in BLUE. 

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...

Amy Christine Parker

Amy's bio:

AMY CHRISTINE PARKER writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and one ridiculously fat cat. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter @amychristinepar.

The book Amy's bonus material comes from is ASTRAY, book 2 in the GATED series! (Look at that cover! I totally want this book!)

Here's what the book is all about:

Lyla is caught between two worlds. The isolated Community that she grew up in and the outside world that she’s navigating for the very first time. The outsiders call the Community a cult, but Pioneer miraculously survived a shooting that should have killed him. Are the faithful members right to stay true to his message? Is this just a test of faith? One thing is for sure: the Community will do anything to bring Lyla back to the fold. Trapped in a spider’s web of deception, will Lyla detect the sticky threads tightening around her before it’s too late? She’ll have to unravel the mystery of what Pioneer and the Community are truly up to if she wants to survive.

To start at the beginning of the series, check out Amy's books here.  Chilling and fabulous ... you won't regret it! Here's a peek at GATED, book one in the series:

A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths. 
Appearances can be deceiving.
 Lyla Hamilton is a loyal member of the Community. Her family was happy to be chosen by Pioneer to join such an lovely gated neighborhood. Here, life seems perfect.
But after meeting Cody, an outsider boy, Lyla starts questioning Pioneer, her friends, her family--everything. And if there's one thing not allowed in the Community, it's doubt. As Pioneer cleverly manipulates his flock toward disaster, the real question is: Will Lyla follow her heart or follow Pioneer over the edge?
From the outside looking in, it's hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker's beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Besides the fact that we're both writers, Amy and I have one other thing in common. We both have extremely fat cats. I don't know how fat Amy's cat it, but I'd be willing to bet my best pair of Iron Fist stilettos that my cat weighs at least 5 lbs more. He is one faaaat cat. You can learn more about Amy (and her fat cat) at her website.

Now, let's get to the epic bonus content Amy provided for the hunt! 

Are you ready?

Are you sure???

Here we go! Amy is giving us a sneak peek at the first chapter of ASTRAY, which doesn't hit the shelves until 8/26/14! I'm super excited to read it!

Warning: if you haven't read GATED yet, there are spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.


I tug on a pair of Cody’s jeans and his baggiest sweatshirt. Pulling my hair into a tight bun and covering it with one of his baseball caps, I check the mirror one last time and try to find some speck of courage in my expression, but my face is all pale terror.

Can I really do this?

I try a few guy-like slouches. With any luck, once Cody finishes giving me a fake beard and I cover my too shapely body, I’ll be believable enough as a guy to fool Pioneer, the Sheriff, and anyone else we run into. I don’t want anyone other than Cody to know that I’m there. I’m not sure I can face Pioneer otherwise.

I hurry out of the bathroom. Cody looks at me and smiles. I have to look away because I’m unnerved enough right now. I can’t deal with the circus that happens in my stomach whenever he looks at me like that.

“Not bad. You’re not dude-like just yet, but we’ll fix that.” He grabs my hand and pulls me downstairs and then into the basement. We tiptoe to the far corner where Cody keeps all of his monster projects and make up tools. He pulls over a metal stool and I perch on it. My hands land in my lap and I rub my thumbs across my jeans. I breathe in and out.

“Ready?” Cody’s all shiny eyed and eager. I’ve just given him a way to practice what he loves. I’m his personal special effects project this morning. Oh who am I kidding? I’m his personal project in a lot of ways. He doesn’t seem to mind, but it’s bothering me more and more. Who wants to be the most broken person in the room all the time? That’s why I’m going to the hospital today, to start repairing the damage that Pioneer did to me. Seeing him again is the first step.

“Yeah,” I say. I watch as he picks up what looks like a tube made out of dark brown hair and unrolls it. He holds it up to my face and compares it to my real hair color.

“Close enough.” He’s not really talking to me as much as himself. He cuts off a few inches of the hair and fans it out between his fingers before laying it across the table beside me. I glance down at the Wolfman head he’s been working on and the severed limbs beyond it. It’s realistic enough that most people would probably get grossed out just looking at it, but I don’t. Once you’ve seen real blood and gore the fake stuff isn’t all that believable, no matter how good it is.

Cody leans over and grabs the TV remote off of the table. “This’ll go faster if you watch something,” he says as he turns on the TV and hands me the remote. I’m pretty sure that he’s not worried about me being bored. He’s trying to get me to stop thinking about Pioneer. The only problem is that ever since I left Mandrodage Meadows, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. When I close my eyes he’s there. I’m back in the stable reliving the moment right after I shot him. I see the blood blooming across his dingy white shirt all over again. Sometimes I think I can even catch the coppery scent of his blood in the air. And the blood of my best friend, Marie. Pioneer slit her throat so he could “send her to be with the Brethren in a better place”. There isn’t a TV show that can compete with those memories. Still, I scan through the channels.

Suddenly, like my thoughts conjured him up, Pioneer’s face fills up the screen. It feels like my heart freezes up. He’s staring right at me. I turn up the volume.

“Alan Cross, who now calls himself Pioneer, along with his followers spent the last ten years isolated in an apocalyptic compound.”

Cody grabs the remote out of my lap—I must’ve dropped it, but I don’t remember it falling. “That’s enough of . . . ”

“No, wait! I . . . I need to see this,” I say even though part of me wants to cover my ears and squeeze my eyes shut. If I can’t deal with seeing Pioneer on a television screen how can I expect to do it in person?

Pioneer’s face fades and a new image of the hospital flashes across the screen. Gathered on the sidewalk just outside the entrance are my friends. They’re huddled together on their knees, their hands upturned towards the sky—every one of them in the exact same position. They smile at the camera. The look on their faces . . . it’s eerie how happy they seem. My stomach roils and I have to swallow to keep from gagging.

“ . . . his followers say that they will continue to show up at the hospital until Pioneer is released.”

Julie’s face fills up the screen. She grins widely at the camera. “He’s alive! Pioneer should’ve died, but he didn’t.” She looks over at Mr. Brown who is standing nearby and he beams at her.

The man holding the microphone gestures to the way she’s sitting. “You’re all kneeling. Why?”

Julie laughs, a high pitched tinkly one that sounds nothing like the laugh she does whenever she finds something truly funny. I hate it. “We kneel because we want to show Pioneer our obedience and renewed faith.”

The interviewer tries to look serious, but he’s having a hard time.

Julie looks at him and her mouth twists. Her grin turns into a smirk. “You’ll remember this moment—when you refused to see the miracle of his survival. On earth’s last day you won’t be mocking us anymore. You’ll know he was right—that you’re gonna die.”

“Totally deluded, the idiot,” Cody shakes his head angrily and taps hair onto my chin. I don’t look at him, because I don’t know what to say. I believed in Pioneer once . . . does that make me an idiot too? I bite my lip and try to focus on the screen so I won’t cry.

“ . . . they have begun to share their message publicly on YouTube through taped sermons Pioneer gave in the last ten years.”

Footage of Pioneer standing in front of our old clubhouse pops up. I suck in a breath. I can see myself in the background. This past me smiles as Pioneer walks towards her and holds out his hand. I watch as she leans her cheek into his palm. My heart starts to hurt. Even though I don’t want to, part of me misses that girl and her belief. I haven’t felt sure about anything at all since I left the Community. My mouth tastes sour and I look away, up at Cody. Has he spotted the old me?

“The end is coming isn’t it?” I watch as my parents, my friends and past me nod and clap.

Cody lets out a disgusted sigh and I stand up and lunge over the table to hit the TV’s power button, getting beard hair stuck to my shirt in the process. I slam back into my seat and hold my head in my hands. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that past me was nodding right along with everyone else . . . or the fact that present me still has an inexplicable urge to. My brain feels like it’s split in half and past me and present me haven’t decided who’s in charge yet. Maybe seeing Pioneer today is a mistake. Maybe it’ll tip the balance in past me’s favor. I start to shake, I can’t help it. I am suddenly overcome by nerves.

“We don’t have to do this, you know. I could go by myself and tell you all about it afterwards.” Cody studies my face. He touches my cheek with his fingertips. They’re warm. I move away almost by reflex. It isn’t because I don’t want him to touch me. Pioneer always told us to steer clear of Outsiders and my body still hasn’t figured out how to make disobeying him a regular habit. I guess this means that past me still has the upper hand. It makes me want to punch something.

If my recoiling from his touch bothers Cody, he doesn’t show it. Instead he picks up more hair and starts filling in my beard.

I don’t know if I should apologize or just ignore what’s just happened. After a moment of silence I choose ignoring. “I need to see him. Make sure.” I don’t finish this sentence. I’ll just sound weird. After I shot him twice in the chest, almost exactly in the heart, I was sure he would die, but he didn’t—even after lots of complications. I can’t seem to stop myself from wondering if maybe he really is what he says he is. How else could he have survived it all? If I can’t see Pioneer as a man I’ll never get rid of the part of me who still wants to believe in him.


Love it! If you think this series is exactly what you've been looking for, head here and grab your copy of GATED so you can get started on this fabulously chilling read soon! 

Before you head to the next stop on the Scavenger Hunt, guess what? I'm offering a bonus prize to one lucky entrant! I'll be giving away the winner's choice of a copy of DEFIANCE, the first book in my trilogy, or an advanced review copy of DELIVERANCE, the final book (comes out 8/26/14).

Simply fill out the entry form below and leave a comment on this post answering the following question: If you were the hero/heroine of a fantasy novel and you were facing a villain with an army of assassins and a fire-breathing dragon on his side, what would your weapon of choice be?

*Contest is open internationally. Winner will be drawn Monday, April 7 by 8:00 a.m. CST. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. No purchase necessary. Incomplete entries will not be considered. Please note that the entry form has 5 questions. Scroll down on the side of the entry form to answer them all.

Be sure to check out the next stop on the Hunt after the entry form!

The next stop on the Hunt is here! Go forth and scavenge!


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