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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

Like the Hunger Games? Hope you enjoy my new book, Testament, coming this Friday!!

Are you as anxious as I am for Catching Fire's debut on Friday? I'm thinking I'll hit the midnight showing again just like I did for Hunger Games(at least this time I don't have to go teach in the morning!). Well, Friday is a special day for another reason. My Dystopian novel, Testament, will be debuting in honor of Catching Fire's release because I would have never written the book without having read and enjoyed The Hunger Games.

Here's the blurb:

Five years ago, catastrophic earthquakes, massive floods, and violent storms caused the collapse of the global economy and a massive political upheaval. In a world thrown into chaos after The Great Fall, greedy CEO’s enforce the Golden Rule—whoever has the most gold, rules the land. Any hint of rebellion against the domineering government ends in either death or imprisonment. 

Fiery and beautiful Cadence O’Bryant has trouble keeping silent against the new order, a trait that often lands her in trouble. Having lost her parents to rebellion, her life now is about survival. She despises the new political regime and wishes for time when life held order, and love was a possibility, not an impossible dream. Her worst nightmare comes in the form of the Emperor’s decree—all young women are to compete in a competition of beauty, intelligence, and most of all obedience, for his son, Kellan’s, hand in marriage. Cadence fears not only to lose herself to the male dominated society that now prevails, but also that hers and her brother, Griffin’s, secret will be revealed, which would be a death sentence.


Determined and handsome Micah Greene harbors an even deeper secret than the fact he is in love with his best friend’s sister, Cadence. The secret is one his father died to protect, but it’s also one that unites him to Cadence and their cause. On the eve of their separation, Micah reveals his heart to Cadence. But is it too late? Is it possible he might lose the woman he loves to his nemesis, Kellan Quinn, the Emperor’s son. 

Will Cadence be chosen by Kellan, or will she be able to choose her future? Will Kellan’s sexy good looks and promise of stability tempt Cadence to fall for the future Emperor and hurt her one true friend. Passion is burning, but for whom will it burn the brightest for?

As revolution brews in the province, love may need to take a back seat. Will Cadence have the option to love either man, or will she have to fight for everything she’s ever loved, including her freedom? 


Four years ago when I was writing Young Adult, my then agent asked me if I thought I could write a Dystopian novel since books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner were so popular. Since I like a challenge, I said yes, and the novel, Testament was born. Originally, it was imagined as a trilogy, and when I sold it to a small publisher last fall, it was also intended as that. However, the book is now a stand-alone.

Here's a scene where Cadence is interacting with her older brother, Griffin, and his friend, Micah...There is a definite love triangle in Testament, so be forewarned...well, not with her brother, lol.

            When I swung open the door, I was relieved to find it was only Micah.
           “Hello again,” he bellowed cheerfully.
 “Evening. I see you’re just in time for dinner.” Micah was known to try to mooch off our table whenever he could. It was just him and his mother left at home, and she had suffered a mental breakdown after the Great Fall and barely kept a job.  
            A broad smile filled his face as he tried to nonchalantly ask, “Oh, were you guys eating this late?”
            He followed me back to the table. A few sniffs of the acrid smelling air and his smile faded. “You burned dinner again?”
            “I don’t recall asking for your input, Micah.”
            He wrinkled his nose as he eased into a chair across from Griff. “Well, it doesn’t matter because I didn’t come to eat.”
            “Oh?” Griff and I echoed at the same time.
            Micah quickly shook his head. “No, I wanted to know if you guys had heard the news.”
            “Of course we have. You and I were there, remember?”
            “No, no, no,” Micah said, waving his hand dismissively at me. “I’m talking about what happened after Richard met with his advisors.”   
            Griff looked at me, and I shook my head. “No, we haven’t heard anything about that.”
            Micah’s full lips curved into a knowing smile. Crossing his arms over his chest, he puffed himself up like he held the keys to the greatest secret in the land. As we sat waiting for him to speak, he took a long swig from Griff’s cup.
            I rolled my eyes. “Oh for pity’s sake, Micah, tell us the damn news.”
            “Well, Richard has decided not to replace Venessa with any of the girls from the neighboring provinces. After her show of defiance, he says he can’t be sure those girls have been instilled with the proper values necessary to be a bride of Kellan.”
“Ugh, spare me,” I muttered.
 “May I continue?” Micah asked.
“Whatever.”
He drew in a dramatic breath. “So, the plan appears to be for Kellan to choose his own bride.”
 “And just how does he plan to do that?” Griff asked.
            “Richard is demanding all the girls of seventeen to be brought to the palace. Once they are there, Kellan will pick by looking and talking to the girls.”
            Griff’s dark brows furrowed. “Why seventeen?”
            “Richard consulted his advisors—”
“His quack psychics and healers you mean,” Griff interrupted.
Micah ignored him and continued speaking. “The advisors said, when examining Kellan’s charts, that the numerology is perfect for a girl of seventeen to align with him. So, all that’s left is for him to a pick a girl of seventeen from a group of seventeen.”
I gasped. “You don’t mean to tell me it’s going to be like one of those beauty pageant things they used to perform?”
            Micah nodded. “Yep, he says he wants Kellan to have the most beautiful girl in the province and one that has a good head on her shoulders.”
            “You mean, one that has absolutely nothing in her head,” I replied.
            “It’s the way of the land now.”
            “It doesn’t mean it’s right. What kind of happiness will it make for Kellan to have a wife he can’t talk to and will only do his bidding like a slave?” I argued.
            Leaning back in his chair, Micah placed his hands behind his head and grinned. “Sounds good to me.”
            I smacked him on the head. “Ugh, you’re just as bad as the rest of the Neanderthal-minded men at the palace! A beauty pageant. What a ridiculous idea,” I huffed, grabbing up my half-eaten stew and taking it to the sink.
            “I imagined it would get those feminist sensibilities all riled up again,” Micah said, giving me a wink.
            “So what if I think the idea is archaic and completely sexist? It’s not any worse than what they’re doing now by having history repeat itself with the children of the CEO’s marrying off just like they were kings and queens.” I leaned back against the counter. “Besides, it’s not like Kellan is asking me.”
            Micah joined me at the counter. “But he might.”
            “Um, I think that’s highly unlikely.”
            “You did share quite the interlude this afternoon,” Micah said, wagging his eyebrows.
            Griff jerked his head up at me. “What’s this?”
            I crossed my arms over my chest and shot a nasty look at Micah. “Oh yes, china ground into my hand by his father’s boot heel sure makes for a romantic moment.”
            “That’s what happened to your hand?” Griff asked.
            I could feel his anger growing. Quickly, I waved my bandaged hand dismissively as if it was commonplace for the ruler of the land to inflict bodily harm on me. “Yeah, but it was an accident. Don’t worry about it.”
            Sensing Griff’s anger, Micah changed the subject. “Well, I still think you have a good a chance as any of the other girls at catching Kellan’s eye.”
            I snorted at the absurdity. “Oh yes, what a cliched romance that would be. I can see the headlines now, ‘Girl from the gutters charms Prince Charming, and they live happily ever after.’”
            Micah stared at me before glancing over his shoulder at Griff. “She just doesn’t get it, does she?”
            Griff grinned and shook his head.
            “And just what, supposedly, do I not get?” I demanded.
            It was Griff who answered me. “How old are you, Cady?”
            “Duh, you know exactly how old I am, brother dearest.”
            Griff raised his eyebrows at me. “So, you’re seventeen—the exact age Richard is requesting for Kellan.”
            “It’s not happening, Griff,” I insisted.        
            “It could,” he replied, his voice barely a whisper.
            Micah took advantage of my disbelief to reach around me for my bowl. When he’d stuffed his mouth full, he said, “And I think she has a pretty good chance, don’t you, Griff?”
            “Excuse me?” I demanded.
            Micah drug his shirt-sleeve across his mouth. “Oh come on, Cady, don’t you ever look in a mirror?” He leaned over, his lanky frame towering over me. “Or do you keep that pretty little head of yours in books all the time?”
            I shoved him away. “And just what are you trying to say?”
            Griff leaned back in his chair. “Hell, Cady, stop being such a shrew. Micah’s telling you that you are beautiful.”
            Shaking my head in exasperation, I said, “I must’ve done more than burn that stew because you two are acting positively drunk.”
            Griff grabbed my arm before I could whirl away from the kitchen. “Has it been so long that you’ve forgotten what our father and mother used to say?”
            I bit my lip as the tears stung my eyes. My parents had named me Cadence for the way I reacted to music and singing when my mother was carrying me. As the years went by, they said they should have named me Ashlynn, because in my mother’s homeland of Ireland, it meant beauty. Thinking of my parents sent a jagged knife of pain tearing through my chest.
            Griff was right. Not so long ago, I had been sort of beautiful. I mean, I’d worn pretty clothes and makeup, and my long, auburn hair shone. But all that was gone now.
            When I finally met Griff’s eyes, tears glistened in his. I nodded my head. “That’s ancient history…I’m a mess now.”           
            “Shoot, I’d say you’re the most beautiful mess I’ve ever laid eyes on,” Micah said, leaning over me.
            “Oh, please.” Even though I brushed him off, I couldn’t help the hot embarrassment that I was sure colored my cheeks at Micah’s response. For the last few months, it felt like things were changing between us—or at least they were changing for him. It didn’t help matters that behind Micah’s back, Griff claimed Micah didn’t come to the house to see him, but instead it was all about the fact he was in love with me. In the end, I didn’t know how I felt. I’d never had a boyfriend. Lost in the raging storms of loss and grief, I never could shake the dark clouds long enough to find my way to love.
            Sensing the awkwardness that hung in the air, Micah cleared his throat. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a mess now. Richard has offered his finest designers and stylists. You get the works for the pageant.”
            “But what if I don’t want Kellan? What if I want love and romance and not some deranged pre-arranged marriage?”
            “Well—” Griff started to argue, but I quickly interrupted him.
            “And has the whole world gone completely crazy now? Girls used to go off to college at eighteen, not sauntering down the aisle of a wedding chapel to become breeding machines. Does any of that matter anymore?”
            “You know it doesn’t, so why do you ask?” Griff replied, meekly. A defeated look settled in his eyes. It broke my heart.
            “Because as long as we voice why we hate it, we still have a voice—we have a reason to keep going and not accept the change!”
            Without another word, I whirled out of the kitchen and burst through the back door. Racing through the neighbor’s yards, I dodged fresh linens hung on the clotheslines. Washing machines and dryers were a thing of the past for working class people like us. Now, we resorted to a life before all those modern technologies.
            I flopped down on the hillside, overlooking a bleak canyon. Tears that I had been holding back started flowing down my cheeks. I didn’t bother wiping them away. Instead, I let them drop down onto the emerald grass peeking out from my shoes.
            Griff came to find me as soon as Micah left. “We need to talk about this.”           
            I wiped my eyes. “There’s nothing to talk about. I won’t do it.”
            “You heard what Micah said. Richard has ordered a decree, so there’s no way of getting out of it, especially with you working at the palace.”
            “Fine. I’ll just quit. I’ll hide out here in the canyons. You can tell everyone your crazy sister, who couldn’t cook, ran away.”
            “It won’t work, Cady.”
            I stared up at him. “This is about more than me being a feminist who doesn’t want an arranged marriage.”
            Griff stared down at his hands. “I know that.”
            “What if they were to find out about us?” I asked, in a hushed whisper.
            “How could they?”
            I arched my eyebrow. “If Kellan were to pick me, he’d eventually have to see me naked. I mean, that’s what husbands and wives do, right? And when he did, he would see the tattoo.” 

3 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I'm happy it's not a trilogy. I enjoy a good stand alone book. Trilogies and series are goo too though. Anyway it sounds good and I look forward to reading it.

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