New to My Shelves!

I ended up going to my local library's book sale last weekend because I needed to get out of the house. I figured it was close by, so if I got dizzy or sick, I'd be able to get home quickly. (Other than work, I've pretty much been confining myself to my bedroom for the past two weeks. That's how bad my headaches and how bad the dizzy spells have been.) I didn't stay too long, but I was able to grab a few good books during my quick trip. The rest were all from Book Outlet... except for The Return & Ready Player One.

From the library book sale:
  • Wonder Woman by S.D. Perry & Britta Dennison
  • The Nimble Man (The Menagerie #1) by Christopher Golden & Thomas E. Sniegoski 
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Wizard Heir (The Heir Chronicles #2) by Cinda Williams Chima
  • The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
  • Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare
I'm not a big DC fan. I know, I know, I just prefer Marvel, but even I can admit the awesomeness that is Wonder Woman. This book was only $0.80, so I couldn't pass it up! As for Bared to You, a friend of mine recommended the Crossfire trilogy to me since I don't care for Fifty Shades of Grey, so I was excited to find the first book at the library's used book sale for only $1!

From Book Outlet:
  • Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
  • The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst
  • Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Erin Hicks
  • Scan by Walter Jury and Sarah Fine
  • Extraction by Stephanie Diaz
  • Elusion (Elusion #1) by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam
From Amazon:
  • The Return by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Confession time: I have yet to finish Sentinel. I started it, and then I put it down for some reason. I'm going to have to finish it soon so that I can read this, because I love Seth.

From LootCrate:
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This is actually my second copy of this book, so I'll probably end up giving it away to my brother or something. I started reading this book back in October of last year, and I was actually really enjoying it, so I'm going to have to pick it back up now. Also, I'm going to need LootCrate to include books more often.

What books did you get this week?

<3 Nicole


STOUTHEARTED Short Story Featuring Bradley!

Please note, this short story has not been edited. I'm having trouble staying in front of the computer for long periods of time, so sitting in front of it for long periods of time isn't going to happen.

This is a short story. It will not be expanded upon. I just wanted a chance to focus on Bradley and Kyle's relationship before the events that take place in STOUTHEARTED, while also showcasing what Bradley was going through before he left on his rescue mission. I wanted it to showcase their relationship before everything went to hell, so this is a scene that is a lot lighter than the one that takes place in STOUTHEARTED:

Silence surrounded me as I slipped outside of my living quarters, immediately drawing me back to the Outbreak. It was haunting, the silence, the way it clung to the air – the way it made you even more alert to the world around you.
I closed my eyes and leaned against the building, crossing my arms over my chest.
“So much has changed,” I mumbled.
And it had.
Everything that I’d known before the Outbreak seemed to get swallowed by the darkness. What little I’d managed to keep safe – Kyle – could leave me at any moment. We kept sending men out on rescue missions, and it seemed as though each time, less and less of them made their way back home. Kyle’s turn was coming soon, and I wasn’t ready to lose him.
A few feet away, the sound of a twig snapping beneath the weight of a booted foot alerted me that I wasn’t alone. “I was wondering where you were,” Kyle’s voice tore through the silence.
“I needed to clear my head,” I answered. “Why? Did you really miss me that much?”
“Oh, but of course,” he teased. “What’s going on? You haven’t seemed like yourself all day.”
He reached up and pulled my arms free, entwining his fingers with mine as he stood in front of me. Almost immediately, my body reacted to his touch. With him, I felt safe. With him, I felt at home. “You’re trying to distract me, aren’t you?”
His lips rose into a smirk as he leaned forward and pressed a quick kiss on my cheek. “It’s working, isn’t it?”
I lowered my head and smiled, knowing that if I meant his stare I’d give into him. “You know what’s wrong, Kyle. How many men have we sent out now? How many of them have returned?”
Kyle released one of my hands and lifted his hand to my chin. “Hey, look at me.” He gripped my chin firmly within his grasp. “I’m not leaving you. Do you hear me? You can’t get rid of me that easily, love.”
Before the Outbreak, I would have believed him, but afterwards? I knew better than to think that anything was guaranteed.
Life was fleeting. We were pieces of a bigger story, one that would eventually come to an end, so we had to take what we could when we had it. And now that I’d had Kyle, I wasn’t willing to send him off into the unknown.
The world out there? It hadn’t fully recovered from the Outbreak. Namely the East coast. The land was barely clinging to life. We didn’t know what to expect. The Hovercopters we’d sent out there with our men had never returned. We’d lost track of them shortly after they’d landed.
All we knew was that, whoever was out there? They had come to expect us.
By continuing to send our men out there, it was basically accepting a suicide mission.
“I’m just worried, Kyle. We don’t know what’s out there. We don’t know if it’s a trap. All we know is that our men haven’t come back, and we don’t know what happened to them.”
“That’s exactly why I need to go,” he answered. “Someone needs to find them and bring them home.”
“That someone does not need to be you, though,” I countered.
Maybe it was selfish, but I didn’t care.
When you managed to lose everything else that you cared about? You did everything you could to hold onto what little remained. Everything.
Kyle pressed his forehead to mine and leaned in, his warm breath beat down on my face as he spoke. “You’re right, it doesn’t have to be me, but it’s my turn, Bradley. Just like it’ll be your turn in a few months. This is our job. This is what we choose to do. I love you, and you know that, but if I can, I’m going to bring our guards home.”
He didn’t allow for me to speak as he grabbed a hold of my chin and leaned in. His lips met mine in a frenzy, immediately overpowering all worry in my mind. When I was with him? When his lips met mine? Nothing else mattered.
I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him closer. I felt his heartbeat pounding against my chest, mimicking my own.
Kyle pulled away suddenly, a grin wide on his face. “Let’s go back to bed, okay?”
“You are the king of distractions,” I joked. “I’m not dropping this conversation that easily. I’m not going back to bed until you promise me you’ll come back.”
It was stupid. I knew that his promise would mean nothing, but I still needed to hear it.
I needed to believe that he’d do everything he could to ensure he’d make it back to me.
I needed to believe that he still stood a chance at succeeding where the other guards had yet to succeed.
I needed him.
“I’ll be fine,” he promised. “I’ll be back before you even have time to miss me.”
I’ll be back before you even have time to miss me. His words repeated in my mind as I stared back at him.
“Okay,” I answered. It wasn’t much, but it would have to be enough. “Until then, I’m not letting you out of my sight.”
Kyle tightened his grip on my hand. “Trust me, I’m counting on that.”
Please do not post this story anywhere else. It is ONLY meant to be posted here on my blog. It'll also be included in the omnibus edition of THE OUTBREAK DUOLOGY, which I'm still writing more bonus content for.

<3 Nicole


Pre-Scheduled GIVEAWAY!

To make up for my absence online, I'm giving away ONE book of your choice (up to $15) through Book Depository to ONE lucky winner.

Now, since I'm not planning on being online too much in the next week or two as I come off of one batch of medicine and prepare to head to yet another doctor for even more tests, I can't promise that the winner will be announced on a certain date.

The giveaway will be open until March 6th, 2015. I'll TRY to pick a winner within 48 hours after the giveaway ends, but again, it could take me a few days before I do so.

The rules for the giveaway are as follows:
1. You must be AT LEAST thirteen years of age to enter.
2. Book Depository must ship to your country.
3. You must complete each task listed in the Rafflecopter form below.

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Bonus giveaway: If you purchase a copy of PROGRAM 13 (the eBook is only $0.99 through all eBook retailers) and e-mail me proof of purchase, you'll be entered into a giveaway for a $5 Amazon gift-card. (US only for this bonus giveaway.) E-mail all proof of purchase to NicoleWritesYA@gmail.com --- purchase needs to be made between 2/20/15 and 3/6/15. If you already own a copy of PROGRAM 13, you can substitute another of my titles for your entry.



An Important Update.

Well, this is a post that I’ve been dreading writing.
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t been around much. My Facebook page has been quiet, my Twitter and Tumblr have both been quieter than usual, and I haven’t really written a dang thing in weeks.
I assure you, there is a good reason for this.
Remember those health issues that I’ve been dealing with for nearly two years now? Well, they’re back with a vengeance. Last week, I had to rush to the doctor’s because I started getting sick at my desk at work. My throat was closing more so than usual, and swallowing was incredibly difficult – so taking a Tylenol to relieve the swelling wasn’t exactly possible at the time. Now, this is something that has been happening at least once a week for the past two years, but it had never gotten this bad. I was in tears and had to leave work and have my mother take me to the doctor’s.
As my doctor’s office has been running various tests on me for some time now, trying to figure out what the heck is going on, they’ve been trying different methods with each visit hoping that something would work. About a month before this rush appointment, my doctor put me on antibiotics for a throat infected that she felt had settled in my throat and chest. The antibiotics at the time seemed to work, but after I finished those, the pain was back just as bad. So when I went back to the doctor’s office a month later and they still claimed I had an infection? I was a bit surprised. They’d done a strep test, but as I don’t have tonsils or adenoids (those were actually taken out twice due to the roots being left in the first time), they ended up ruling that out. Still, since he wasn’t sure what was going on, he gave me a new batch of antibiotics and some acid reflux medicine. (They really are just giving me everything and anything at this point to see what works and what doesn’t.)
Everything seemed better.
Until the following Sunday night when I started choking and couldn’t catch my breath. Again, this is something that happens every now and again, so at first, I wasn’t entirely alarmed. Until twenty minutes went by and I was still having trouble breathing. This led to me having my parents drive me to the ER. That ten minute drive was honestly the longest drive of my life. I was in serious pain, and swallowing water was beyond difficult.
When I arrived there, it was empty, which resulted in them taking me back right away, thankfully. But, just like my doctor, the ER doctor’s response to my symptoms was simply, “I don’t know.” They ended up giving me a shot to open up my airwaves, as well as a prescription for pills to take for the next six days. That night, after the shot, I was able to get back to sleep.
But things seemed to get worse after that.
I ended up going into work late on Monday because I needed to get my medicine. And then I ended up leaving early on both Tuesday & Wednesday with a fever – it’s also worth noting that the amount of medicine they’d had me on (five pills, two of which I had to take multiple times a day) seemed to be disagreeing with one another. (I’d told the ER about the medicine from my doctor, but they weren’t concerned when they gave me the new medication.)
So yeah, I’ve pretty much been spending my time in bed for the past couple of weeks. I’m in a serious amount of pain, I’m almost out of the medicine from the ER doctor – which means I’m sure my throat will start acting up again relatively soon, and I’m beyond weak/dizzy.
I was hoping to get back on a strict review schedule and to have some release dates ready for all of you, but honestly? I’m so beyond on everything right now, there’s no way I’ll be able to release ANYTHING until late March. Right now, I’m just worried about figuring out what is going on.
I have to make an appointment with a specialist and they are going to have to do some tests, I’m hoping once that is all taken care of, I’ll be able to focus on my writing and reading again. Until then? I apologize for the silence.

I'll be back soon, I promise. 
I will schedule a few giveaways on here and Facebook for the next couple of weeks, so be sure to follow along! 
<3 Nicole


Cover Reveal: The ELEMENTAL Series by Elana Johnson!

About ELEMENTAL RUSH: Eighteen-year-old Adam Gillman has trained for twelve years to earn a coveted spot on the Supreme Elemental’s elite sentry squad. His brother, Felix, is the commander, but Adam is still thrilled when his official assignment to serve Alexander Pederson comes.

He moves into nicer quarters and can stop getting up at four a.m. to complete his mandated work out time. He still rises early though, because he needs the solitude of early morning to practice his airmaking Element—something that Adam has kept secret from everyone, even Felix, because he can’t be both an Airmaker and a sentry.

When Alex assigns him to kill a group of rogue Elementals, he balks at completing his mission for the first time. See, his only friend is Isaiah Hawking, and he’s the Earthmover on the accused Council. When faced with the prospect of killing him, Adam finds he can’t do it.

He’s well trained in assassination, but he thought he’d be murdering bad guys—not innocents.

When Alex buries the Elemental Academy—and kills over one thousand Elementals—in a fit of rage, Adam’s loyalty cracks. When he discovers that Alex is really a woman, and his brother’s lover, he defects. He hops from city to city, from Elemental school to Elemental school, always escaping only minutes before Felix can embed a knife in his heart or a tsunami can make a classroom his watery grave.

He tries to fight back, but he’s just one Airmaster with exceptional tracking skills. He does his best to warn those in danger, but as the last Elemental school goes up in flames, he knows he needs to get some real firepower on his side.

ELEMENTAL RUSH is a prequel novella to the full-length futuristic fantasy novel, ELEMENTAL HUNGER.

Buy Links:

About ELEMENTAL HUNGER: The second installment in the Elemental series, a new futuristic fantasy for young adults and new adults from acclaimed author Elana Johnson, ELEMENTAL HUNGER is a full-length novel that continues the story that began in ELEMENTAL RUSH, an Elemental novella.

Sixteen-year-old Gabriella Kilpatrick can shoot fire from her hands, which would be great if she didn’t get blamed for a blazing inferno that kills 17 schoolmates. When Gabby is commanded to Manifest her Element, everyone knows what she is: a genetic abnormality. Not to mention guilty.

So she does two logical things to survive.
1. She runs.
2. She hacks off her hair to assume a new role—that of “Gabe”, because in her world, only boys are Firemakers.

Not only does she have to act like a guy, she has to pretend to know everything a Firemaker should know. When Gabby meets Airmaster Adam Gillman, he believes her act and pledges to serve on “Gabe’s” Council. But Adam has the mark of a sentry and spent years obeying Alex, the Supreme Elemental. And Alex wants Gabby-the-genetic-freak dead and gone before she can gather the magical protection of a full Council.

With Adam’s lies that sound like truths and rumors that Alex isn’t really a Firemaker—or a man—Gabby sets out to charter a Council of her own. In order to uncover the truth, Gabby will have to learn who she can trust, how to control her own power, and most of all, how to lead a Council of Elementals, most of whom have more control over their power than she does. If she can’t, she’ll find herself just like those 17 schoolmates: burned and six feet under.

Look for the third and final installment, ELEMENTAL RELEASE, the final Elemental novella.

Buy Links:

About ELEMENTAL RELEASE: Two months after returning to the capital city of Tarpulin with a Council of his own, Airmaster Adam Gillman is ready to start repairing the relationships in his life. Up first: his Councilman and the girl he’d like to be more than friends with, Gabriella Kilpatrick.

But first, he has to figure out how to be the Airmaster his Firemaker needs. In order to do that, Adam attends Elemental training and discovers that to truly command the air, he must first be in control of his emotions. And in order to master those, he has to grieve for the loss of Hanai, make amends with his brother, and earn the trust of Gabby.

Amidst all that, Adam must also learn how to grapple with the jet stream, because a dangerous Airmaster is loose in Tarpulin. And Adam will need to find his emotional center in order to work with the atmosphere and defeat the threat.

Buy Links:

About Elana Johnson: Elana Johnson’s work, including Possession, Surrender, Abandon, and Regret, published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster), is available now everywhere books are sold. Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download, as well as a Possession short story, Resist

Her self-published novels include two YA contemporary novels-in-verse, Elevated and Something About Love, as well as a YA/NA futuristic fantasy series, which includes Elemental Rush, Elemental Hunger, and Elemental Release.

School teacher by day, Query Ninja by night, you can find her online at her personal blog or Twitter. She also co-founded the Query Tracker blog and WriteOnCon, and contributes to the League of Extraordinary Writers.

Social Media Links:
League of Extraordinary Writers: http://leaguewriters.blogspot.com/

Rafflecopter Code: Win $10 for helping to spread the word about the new ELEMENTAL series covers! 

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