Friday, October 28, 2011

"Shaken": A Novel of Mass Destruction

I'm pleased and proud to announce the release of my second young adult novel, Shaken. It will be available as an E-book in November, followed very shortly by the paperback version during the holidays. Echelon/Quake, my publisher, has just sent the cover, which I really like. It’s bleak looking, but reflects the tone of the story. I also love the tag line Karen Syed, Echelon’s CEO, added under the title…“A Novel of Mass Destruction.” I love that because it tells any potential reader know exactly what to expect (kind of like Snakes on a Plane). In fact, maybe the book should have been titled, Shaken: A Novel of Mass Destruction.

Anyway, I must hand out massive kudos to Karen, as well as Jenny (J.R. Turner, to you), who has worked extensively with me during the revising process of both of my novels. These two ladies totally rock. I don’t know if we’ll ever meet in person, but they can consider themselves hugged. When I started Shaken, I set-out to write Die Hard for kids, and with their help, I think I’ve accomplished that.

To celebrate the book’s upcoming release, presented below the opening chapter of Shaken. And, of course, your feedback and opinions are always more-than-welcome.


The lights flickered and Natalie felt like she was losing her balance. She wasn’t dizzy, though the illusion of the room spinning was similar. Her body slowly swayed back and forth as if she stood on a boat at sea. She tried to steady herself with a nearby table, but if anything, the sensation grew more intense.

The fake crystals of the cheap chandelier hanging over the dining room table tinkled. This wasn’t just in her head.

“Whoa!” Lucy cried from upstairs.

Trinkets on the shelves rattled. Another cheesy painting, this one on the dining room wall, fell off its nail and slapped face-down on the floor.

What the...

A jarring jolt under her feet, under the floor, dropped Natalie to her knees. She struggled to stand, but the floor shifted so abruptly she could barely stay on her hands and knees. The bookshelf toppled over; an avalanche of paperbacks barely missed her. The living room window imploded as the frame caved in.

Something struck her head; Natalie yelped as white dust and plaster billowed to the floor.

Oh, God, her mind panicked. She scrambled under the dining room table. The ceiling is falling!

From somewhere upstairs...a high-pitched scream. Natalie barely heard it over the roar of the trembling cabin.

“Lucy!” She crawled from under the safety of the table. Ignoring the raining plaster from above, she scooted on all fours to the nearest kitchen counter and used it to pull herself to her feet. The floor literally shook.

Dishes, glasses, pots and tumbled from the cupboards and crashed to the floor. The sink faucet snapped; water erupted from the ruptured spout and drenched the crumbling ceiling. The window over the sink exploded, showering her with glass. A shard gashed her cheek; warm blood rolled down her face.

Lucy kept screaming upstairs.

“Hang on, Lucy! I’m coming!” She barely heard herself. Natalie scrambled out from beneath the table and though she gripped the counter, she could hardly stand. How was she even going to reach the stairs, let alone climb them? She felt like she was being shaken to death.

She stared in horror as a crack appeared between her feet, ran across the floor, up the wall and onto the ceiling. There was a splintering whack! like a gunshot, and seconds later the room was split into two. Part of the upper floor collapsed, crushing the dining room table she had cowered under a minute earlier. A huge support beam snapped and dropped from overhead. Natalie dove out of the way, just as it swung like a wrecking ball and smashed the kitchen counter to pieces.

The lights went out. Natalie screamed in the dark and the world shook apart around her.

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