DIE ONCE MORE, excerpt #2 (meet Ava)

How about another excerpt of DIE ONCE MORE to liven up your weekend? Just over a week until it releases! (February 3.) But if you really want to, you can pre-order it here: (Amazon/B&N).

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Here’s your first view of Ava. (Yes, her!) This is near the beginning of the book when Jules meets the Council of New York bardia.
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A woman sitting next to Gold jumps in. “For those of you who don’t already know of him, Jules Marchenoir is an accomplished artist. Perhaps those involved in the visual arts could provide him with necessary supplies, get him set up with a studio, and tell him when the life drawing group meets.”

The woman is stunning—in an exotic kind of way: long black hair, copper-colored skin, almond eyes, and high cheekbones. I rack my brain but am sure I haven’t seen her before. I would have remembered. So how does she know me?

“Thank you,” I acknowledge gratefully.

She nods, but frowns, like the interaction is distasteful to her. Like I’ve offended her.

How bizarre. I must have met her before—it had to have been at a convocation. Did I try to pick her up or something? I doubt it—I restrict true flirting to human girls for just this reason. Why risk offending someone who could hold a grudge for eternity? Not to mention the danger of them falling in love. And who wants that?

Or at least that’s how I used to think. Pre-Kate. She changed my game. Now I’d give up all the flirtations in the world just to be with her. Something pings sorely in my chest, and without thinking, I raise my hand to press it, drawing concerned looks. My kindred think I’m mourning. Let them. I am.

Gold breaks the silence. “Anyone else have a question?” He peers around the table. “No? Well, then I’ll speak for all of us to say, ‘Welcome, kindred.’ We’re glad you’re here, Jules Marchenoir.”

“Welcome!” several say together, like a cheer. People rise to go, several crowding around me to introduce themselves. Several ask about the French Champion—Kate. They want to know more details about how she emerged, and it is quickly obvious that their own numa problem is beginning to approach what we experienced in France.

My gaze drifts across the table to the girl who spoke earlier. A group of people stand around her, and the face that was stony with me is now radiant as she speaks with them.

A beautiful girl. Normally that would draw me like a moth to flame. Even with my no-kindred-lovers rule, a bit of playful banter and a shower of compliments (and the enjoyment of her inevitable response) would do my spirits a world of good. But not now. I don’t even have it in me to say hello.

Her eyes lift and meet mine, and the coldness is like an ice ray.

What? I ask her silently, shrugging my confusion.

She rolls her eyes—actually rolls her eyes!—and turns her attention back to the person she’s talking to.

Disconcerted, I look back to a man standing with his hand out and remember that I’m supposed to shake. No bises—cheek kisses—of course.

Faust appears and stands by my side as the room empties. “Need
anything?” he whispers to me.

“Yes,” I whisper back. “I would give my immortal soul to get out of here and walk.”

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Concorso per i miei lettori italiani / Contest for my Italian Readers

 

italianGuardate cosa mi sono appena arrivate dall’editore italiano, De Agostini! Le copie in copertina rigida di Die For Me. (Con Aprilynne Pike che mi pubblicizza sulla fascetta del libro :D).

Voglio fare un giveaway, solo per i lettori italiani, che durerà per alcuni giorni. Quello che dovete fare è postare in un commento sulla mia pagina facebook qui sotto l’immagine di un attore italiano o attrice italiana che vi ricordi uno dei personaggi del libro. Sceglierò a caso tra tutti i commenti il vincitore lunedi mattina (26 gennaio) e gli invierò una copia firmata con dedica. Vi do un paio di giorni per trovare la persona giusta (e per condividere la notizia con i vostri amici italiani).

Pronti… partenza… Via!

(This is a contest for my Italian readers where they’re supposed to post photos of Italian actors they think could play the parts of the characters in DIE FOR ME. Participate on my Facebook page!)

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DIE ONCE MORE excusive excerpt

Yesterday I told my Facebook followers I would run an excerpt today, and asked who (besides Jules) they wanted to be in it. Almost everyone says Kate or Vincent. And since I don’t have a good representative scene with both of them, I’m going to give you part of The Talk. Are you ready?

die-once-more-coverFrom DIE ONCE MORE, Chapter 8

Walking into my room is like traveling back in time. It’s like nothing ever happened to drive me away. I breathe in the paper-and-ink smell of my workspace and realize how much I’ve missed my home. I brush my fingertips over my drafting table and know how much I love my kindred. I belong here, not in New York City. What the hell is wrong with me? I think, as I stretch out on my time-worn couch in the middle of my attic room. Surely this thing with Kate isn’t traumatic enough to keep me from all of this. My mind wanders and I begin to relax, cocooned in the safety of the familiar surroundings.

And then there is a knock on the door and she walks in. And all those thoughts disappear like smoke in a gust of wind, and the full-on pain hits me square in the chest.

She is ravishing. There is a wild look to her now that she is undead. The look all bardia have, the one that attracts humans, that makes them lay their lives in our hands. It’s a complete lack of fear of death. A recklessness coming from knowing we are almost impossible to destroy. And it has turned Kate’s natural loveliness into a savage beauty. The golden bardia aura surrounding her amplifies the effect, and my heart has no chance. I am once again lost.

“I’m sorry to barge in on you,” she says, and her voice hasn’t changed and she is once again the Kate I knew.

I prop up on my elbows and say, “That’s okay. Come in,” but immediately regret it. I want to see her, but I need her to leave. She sees the struggle in my eyes, and then looks down at the couch—the historic couch, where for a couple of wild, passionate moments she was mine—and her face turns red.

“I didn’t try to contact you because I thought you didn’t want it,” she says.

There’s no correct response to that, so I watch her, silent.

“But now that you’re here, I was hoping we could talk,” she says, still standing in the doorway. She waits, and I have to say something.

“Okay, let’s talk.” I try to sound nonchalant, but my heart is beating a million miles an hour, and I’m having a hard time breathing. “Let me just open a window.” I get up off the damned couch, throw open a couple of windows, and, returning to the rug in the middle of the floor, sit down on it, cross-legged. I motion for her to sit across from me, and she does.

I wait for her to speak, trying to look her in the eyes without flinching. Those eyes. My chest hurts.

“I want to apologize,” she begins.

“You don’t have to—” I say, but she holds a hand up to stop me.

“I never knew,” she says. “I saw how you were with other girls, and I thought I was the same. A harmless flirtation. A bit of fun. I thought you did the things you did and said the things you said just to make me feel good—to get a reaction—not because you meant them.”

“That’s how it started,” I say honestly. She’s watching me with sad eyes, and I have to look away. I swing my gaze to the ceiling, run my fingers through my hair, and take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. “Then things changed.”

“I wouldn’t have been as friendly if I had known,” she says.

“Then I’m glad you didn’t know.”

“I wouldn’t have allowed Vincent to possess you . . . to use you to kiss me. I wouldn’t have let it go that far.” There are tears in her eyes.
I don’t know what to say. I wish to God that hadn’t happened either, because seeing her expression when she realized it wasn’t Vincent she was kissing was like a knife to the chest. On the other hand, it was my one and only chance to have her, so I wouldn’t have traded it for the world, even with all that pain.

“Come here,” I say, and she scoots across the rug toward me until she can lean into my open arms. I hold her while she cries and feel something inside me snap into place. A piece of me that began shifting when I walked through the front door and realized this is where I belong. I am finally accepting it. This is the only way it will ever be between me and Kate. And it hurts like hell, but there’s nothing to do about it except to pick myself up and move on.

DIE ONCE MORE, available Feb 3. And if you want, you can pre-order here!

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Exclusive interview with budding journalist from California

Hi Chloe,

You recently interviewed me for your school newspaper regarding my experience living in Paris near where the Charlie Hebdo massacre occurred. Your teacher cut the article, saying that it wasn’t something they did for the school newspaper. Well, interviewing readers isn’t something I do for my blog. But there are these things called BEING FLEXIBLE and DOING THE RIGHT THING that I think are pretty great. However, I am not running a school newspaper, so I should probably shut up and start asking you questions.

Amy: How old are you and what grade are you in?
Chloe: Currently, I am 18 and a senior in high school.

Amy: Is your school public or private? How many students? And is there a lot of cultural and religious diversity or it is mainly one race and/or religion?
Chloe: My school is public and there is a lot of cultural and religious diversity on campus with a student body of 728.

Amy: Have you written for the school newspaper before or was this going to be your break-out article?
Chloe: I have been writing for my school newspaper since I was a junior last year. This year I am actually the section editor of news and opinion, so you would think I would have more freedom in choosing what articles go in our newspaper. Fun fact, I also published an opinion article in England last summer with the Manchester Evening News. I wrote about Manchester United and whether or not their fans are loyal in the U.S. I enjoyed all the comments I got from that ranging from angry sports fans to a lot of happy Brits.

Amy: Are you thinking about a career as a journalist or writer?
Chloe: I am completely committed to the becoming a journalist, more specifically an investigative journalist. I am never quite satisfied with the shallow surface kind of stories, so I am determined to be the one that digs deeper to find the real truth. I actually finished up all my college applications a couple days ago and every single one of them is known specifically for their journalism program. My first-choice school is the American University of Paris :).

Amy: What did your teacher say when you approached her about the interview?
Chloe: When I first proposed the article to my teacher she was hesitant. Her main concern was the “sensitivity” of the issue and she would not want to insult any particular religious groups on campus. (I actually have friends from Iran who are Islamic and they do not stand by the actions of the terrorists and thought that the story should be written.) But the fact that I was able to get first hand photos from someone who was there got her to say yes.
The final decision had to come from the editor in chief. She also agreed with my teacher in regards to the issue being sensitive and potentially insulting. But I already had the whole idea organized with photos, layout, interviews, etc. to pitch to them (most people aren’t organized straight off the bat when it comes to choosing stories and setting it up at our school newspaper). So it was yes, but a shaky yes.

Amy: So what happened to make them change their minds?

Chloe: Days later, I had the article fully put together with all the photos oriented correctly, title done, you name it I had finished everything. I asked them to approve it and my teacher turned to the editor in chief and said, “Didn’t you tell her that we cut it?” to which the editor in chief replied, “I thought you were going to tell her.”
At first they just said that they had to cut a few articles. The newspaper was going to be too long and it was a cost issue. I asked why they were cutting mine when other articles weren’t even finished and didn’t have photos, art, or design. And when I pushed, they admitted it really wouldn’t have been received well and they did not want to create conflict because our school newspaper doesn’t do such sensitive topics.

We kept another article about a school play and soccer game, but got rid of fresh material that would actually get students thinking for once about real world issues. My biggest grievance is the fact that this piece was going to be a student reaction so that the students on campus would actually understand what is going on with the situation and participate in the discussion. My school needs to be informed of a lot of things. I lost count of the students who thought Charlie Hebdo was in Germany.

Amy: What did you feel about having the article rejected?

Chloe: There is a code of ethics that can be found in our school newspaper manual. And in it is a section titled “Minimize Harm”, so I guess I was screwed in the beginning, huh? It says be compassionate for those affected by your actions, be cognizant of the views of your town when writing about sensitive topics, and lastly, show good taste.

I was trying to be compassionate to the best of my ability, but with such a controversial issue like this, it is so hard. My town doesn’t really have an opinion, and I thought I was showing good taste. I can say with absolute certainty that my teacher and editor in chief were just scared of the backlash. My school newspaper has never written an article like this before, so naturally I knew there would be concerns, but such concerns should not have stopped the article from being published.

Amy: What type of content does your school newspaper usually carry? (Give us a couple examples of typical headlines.)
Chloe: Fluff is our typical story in the school newspaper. “New school musical comes out in January”, “Varsity soccer player [insert name here] leads the team to victory”, “New [insert city/town/building name] sign is put up downtown”, “What are your healthy new years resolutions?” are just some of the stories we write. EVERYTHING is about what is going on in our school and only sometimes do we stray away from that with random things going on in town or a short opinion piece about TV shows or something.

Amy: Do you think your school newspaper would be improved if it occasionally touched upon world news or political subjects? And do you think that provoking debate among students would be dangerous in your particular school?
Chloe: YESSS, our school newspaper would be a hundred times more interesting with current events or political stories. Every year there are conventions across the U.S. where school newspapers and yearbooks go to learn in various workshops and also enter their publications in different contests. Our yearbook is doing just fine, winning a couple of awards here and there, but our school newspaper has yet to win anything for a long time.

I go to all these workshops and meet people who cover anything from gum chewing to murder and politics. I have wanted to write about more diverse subjects for as long as I have been in our school newspaper. I currently get to write two small news briefs about events going on in the world for each issue of our school newspaper, but a lot of the ones I pitch get cut.

Most importantly, no one really reads our school newspaper. Maybe if we covered more real world issues, then they would actually start. The Speech and Debate team at our school is one of the top 5 in the nation, so students debating issues is what we win awards for. If there was actually something in our school newspaper that sparked a debate, then people would actually give us feedback.

We have a part of the school newspaper that tells people to write “letters to the editors”, but no one writes because there is nothing to say. Who would take the time to give us feedback on a school play article?

Amy: What interested you in holding this interview with me?
Chloe: I was determined to get someone in Paris who was passionate about the issue and you fit the bill perfectly. I also wanted find someone who spoke English, so the fact that you are American is a bonus! (Ha ha!) :) In order to give real credibility to the article, I wanted perspectives of a person (or persons) who was there and could actually give accounts of it all. Anyone can read an article from Fox News and get their “insider” information from there, ughhh. But who can say they talked about Charlie Hebdo with someone in Paris? Students at my school would have loved to see your quotes in the article and the photos you took. I know I did.

Amy: Are you involved or interested in other political subjects?
Chloe: Its hard to be involved in issues and politics when your town’s biggest concern is surfing, but I am definitely interested.

I would say that I am more liberal in my political views, but I try to remain open minded. In presidential elections, I always pay attention to both candidates and learn about their stances on issues. A new California senate seat is opening up and I want to know who California will have represent us.

One issue that I am still fuming about is Obama not going to support France in the unity walk with the other world leaders. We need to support our allies. It is hypocritical not to when they are giving us all their support.

A smaller issue that I am passionate about is animals. I have been working at an animal shelter for two years and the only reason I work there is because they do not euthanize animals. I think that it is the most inhumane thing that you can do to an animal that cannot fight for its reason to live. I hate animal abusers. These creatures who put so much faith and trust in us unconditionally should never be abused. They should never be in dog fights. They should never be left on the street because you are too lazy to care for them. And dogs should never be subjected to spiked training collars or shock collars. My friend used to have those very collars on his dog and a very very persuasive person put an end to that. ;) I could go on for ever, but I am going to cut myself off here before I start a full-on rant.

Amy: Do you think that teenagers can make a difference in the world? Do you feel like you (and your fellow young adults) have a voice?
Chloe: My favorite quote is the perfect way to answer this. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” No matter what age you are, you can make a difference if you want to. Just because we are young does not mean that we can not be heard. It is just about wanting it enough. You cannot just go halfway or else what is the point?

Amy: Thank you Chloe for giving us a glimpse into your experience.

Amy to readers: Give this girl a scholarship! Is she awesome, or what? This is going to be one investigative journalist I think we’re all going to want to watch for in the future.

Officially a fan of Chloe from California,   Amy Plum

 

FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO READ CHLOE’S SUPER-CONTROVERSIAL  INTERVIEW WITH ME, HERE IT IS:

Chloe: As a Paris resident, how has the Charlie Hebdo attacks impacted your daily life?

Amy: The last week has been exceptional, because the murders are all everyone has been talking about, people have been worried about their safety and the safety of their children, and we’ve ALL been worried about how this might affect our children emotionally. Besides that, you hear sirens all the time, and there is a huge police presence in the street. However, going forward, I’m not sure how it will affect my daily life. I know that I won’t ever feel as safe here again. I never worried about violence in Paris. In the 8 years I’ve lived here, I had two drunk teenagers shove me once, and had a guy grab me between the legs as he skated past. But I’ve never really felt in danger until now. Knowing that something like that can happen in my safe little neighborhood has really shaken me.

The much sought-after Jan 14 edition of Charlie Hebdo.

Chloe: What is your stance on the whole situation? Did Charlie Hebdo provoke such attacks?

Amy: Charlie Hebdo’s role has always been to be provocative. Their goal was to make people re-think what they took for granted—to shake them from becoming numb to fixed (and perhaps flawed) ways of thinking. Yes, they made people angry. They offended people. But nothing justifies violence. To say that they provoked the attack is saying that responding to someone offending you by shooting them in the face is a logical, justifiable action. Which is just crazy and wrong.

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Chloe: No U.S. leaders were present at the unity walk, even the French ambassador who was in Paris at the time, what message do you think that gives?

Amy: Before people even commented on that, I looked at the group of leaders and said, “Where’s Obama?” It was a noticeable absence from one of France’s biggest allies. I won’t say what message I think that gave, but I can honestly say that, as an American, I was ashamed.

Chloe: Why did you decide to write all those notes from people of facebook for the memorial? I think you said there was about 300 that you wrote out.

Amy: As soon as news got out about the massacre, the outpouring of support from my readers was overwhelming. For many, I am the only person they know who lives in Paris. For a few, I had the honor of introducing Paris to them through my books. Everyone who has read the DIE FOR ME series knows how I feel about the city. My love for it is jam-packed into every page of those books. So the messages of support and love and care started pouring in.
And in many of the notes, I recognized the same desperation I was feeling. People wanted to DO something. But what is a teenager in Missouri going to do? Or a grandmother in Canada? Or a college student in India? Without really thinking it through, I offered to write down personal messages and take them to the memorial where the people of Paris could read them.

In the end, I posted 344 messages from 31 different countries. And the response of those who came to the memorial was overwhelming. People were standing around reading each and every message, truly touched that people from all around the world had written them. They took photos and videos of the notecards. And it was on the news and in the newspapers in several countries. My readers are truly awesome. I was so honored to be able to be their messenger.

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Chloe: Lastly, is there anything else you would want to say or add to students who will be reading this?

Amy: We are all humans, no matter what color our skin or what religion we practice. No matter how cool or dorky, no matter our jean size, no matter what part of town we’re from or how much money we make. We all have the same hearts beating in our chests, the same minds, the same emotions. Take care of each other. Love each other. Support each other. You are the hope for the world.

P.S. When the following bloggers heard that Chloe couldn’t publish her article, they did it for her. Check out the people who supported Chloe’s effort!

Shadow Hunters Unite

Cody Pimps Authors

Vicki Leigh

and 2 others who haven’t sent me links yet (one in German).

 

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The Post Where I Feel Weird Talking About My New Book

I have been putting off this post for days. It makes me feel uncomfortable to talk about my upcoming book in the midst of the tragedy here in Paris. Especially a book about hot guys with swords. Although maybe hot guys with swords is exactly what we need right now: a distraction from real life. One that includes hot guys. And swords.

I don’t think I can do the whole Julesfest I planned. I can’t go quite that far. But I can tell you what I think you will like about DIE ONCE MORE. These aren’t quite spoilers, but I wasn’t going to tell you this much.

For those who are new to my books, the DIE FOR ME books are set in Paris and center around beings called “revenants.” The good revenants, bardia, die saving someone’s life, resurrect, then spend eternity in a cycle of sacrificing themselves for humans and reanimating at the age they died the first time. (Thus immortal.) The evil revenants, numa, died betraying someone to their death, and are kicked into the same eternal cycle of betrayal, murder and reanimation.

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DIE ONCE MORE is the 5th book in the series. It is a digital novella (ebook only) and is from Jules’s point of view. Jules Marchenoir is an artist who died at age 19 at the battle of Verdun (1916) while saving artist Fernand Léger’s life. He is charming. Very. And, unsurprisingly, many readers liked him as much, if not more, than the main character of the books, Vincent. This book starts when Jules leaves Paris for New York. And this is why I think you will like it. I wasn’t going to give these details, but after last week, I think I will. Here are 11 Things.

1. I made some of the heroes of 9/11 into bardia. Meaning, I honored some of those who died saving lives that day by making them into superheroes. Because that was the biggest praise I could give them as a novelist.

2. I suggested (or Theo Gold did, rather) that bin Laden was a numa overlord. Because that was the biggest f*** you I could give him as a novelist.

3. You will see what it means to be a revenant in New York. Different ways of doing things. Amazing headquarters in a place I used to know in Brooklyn (where I lived for years).

4. There is a dramatic bardia/numa faceoff with the guns + sword combo that New York revenants use.

5. Jules will meet someone else. And believe me when I tell you it’s not insta-love. Insta-hate, more like.

6. She is awesome and kick-ass.

7. I take you back to Paris. Everyone in the old books is there.

8. I take you to Brittany, to where Bran lives amongst the ancient standing stones. (And is “healing” Louis.)

9. Kate and Jules have A Talk.

10. There is a wedding (Ambrose and Charlotte).

11. There is a kiss. On a roof. Overlooking Paris.

Is that enough? Again…I want to avoid song and dance. So I’ll just say…my novella DIE ONCE MORE is releasing in 2 weeks on Feb 3, and can be pre-ordered now. (Amazon, B&N) It costs less than a cup of coffee (in Starbucks), which makes me happy that it’s easily accessible to everyone. And I would be honored if you read it.

Sorry not to use pictures of shirtless guys this time. I hope you’ll understand that even promoting the book in the same space I’ve been talking about tragedy makes me feel a bit compromised. But I will follow up with some excerpts in the next 2 weeks. And I will answer questions. Let me know what you want.

(For those who ABSOLUTELY NEED pictures of shirtless guys, here is a link to the last Julesfest.)

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