Tag Archives: Dystopian

Guest Post – The Art Of Survival In A Dinosaur YA Book by S M Wilson


Today I am roaring with excitement to have the awesome S M Wilson on Tales with a fab guest post to celebrate the release of her debut YA, The Extinction Trials.

The Extinction Trials was released on the 28th December 2017 published by the wonderful Usborne and I’ve heard if you are a fan of dinosaurs then this is the book for you!

So today S M Wilson tells us all about the art of survival in a dinosaur book…..lets jump straight in!

#ExtinctionTrials


Stormchaser wants to escape her starved, grey life. Lincoln wants to save his dying sister. Their only chance is to join an expedition to a deadly country to steal the eggs of vicious dinosaurs. If they succeed, their reward is a new life filled with riches. But in a land full of monsters – both human and reptilian – only the ruthless will survive. Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games in this epic new series.


The Art of Survival in a Dinosaur YA book……

otherwise known as picking your favourite dinosaur to eat someone and losing characters along the way….

We’ve all settled down to watch the next episode of Star Trek and noticed the previously unseen Ensign sitting at the front of the Enterprise.  Any Star Trek fan at this point sighs and says “Well, they’re going to die!”  And within five minutes, they generally do.

That’s also the trouble with writing a book that spends a long time on a continent filled with deadly dinosaurs.  There have to be some spare characters to lose along the way.  So how do you decide?

Here’s the thing.  I hadn’t really.  I didn’t start this book knowing who was going to come to a grim end beforehand.  Things tended to happen…spontaneously.  As did the dinosaur killings.  They were mainly motivated by the landscape around them and the fact I wanted a few surprises in the stories.

Storm and Lincoln were always my main characters, but that doesn’t guarantee survival.  I also have a group of three friends, a stranger, and a whole host of other finalists who end up on the dinosaur continent.  And every story needs a bad guy.  A Darth Vader.  Mine is called Reban Don.  But why have one bad guy when you can have two?  Enter Galen.  Bad guy number two.  But as you automatically eliminate one of these from your mind, just remember, where’s the fun in killing the bad guy?  Isn’t it more fun keeping him alive and a constant threat?

You have no idea how much pleasure I took in flicking through a dinosaur encyclopaedia thinking, ‘Okay, who can eat…..’

It would probably surprise you how much we don’t actually know about the dinosaurs we’ve discovered.  Scientists have looked at bones and stomach contents and came to some conclusions.  But do we really know how clever they were?  How they hunted?  How they lived?  There are really so many unanswered questions.  Since I started writing Extinction Trials I’ve found so much speculation and differing opinions online.  T-rexess had feathers.  The discovery in South Korea – is it an Ultrasaurus or a Supersaurus? Did newborn pterosaurs actually walk instead of fly?

For me as an author it means I can have a little leeway when I write.  Here’s a spoiler.  My pterosaurs  might attack humans at one point.  Do we have any evidence of this?  Well no.  Pterosaurs and humans didn’t exist at the same time on Earth, but on my Earth?  Well, anything can happen – and usually does.

So hold on to your hat – or your stomach – when you read Extinction Trials and just remember that no character is safe………………

You can buy a copy of The Extinction Trials here or from your local bookshop!


About S M Wilson

Susan Wilson lives on the west coast of Scotland with her fiancé and two sons. She’s worked in the NHS for 25 years – her day job is as a nurse in public health – her dream job is writing fiction. Her love of YA fiction started as a teenager and has never stopped. The Extinction Trials was written for her two sons to try and infect them with the same love of reading that she has. Watch out – she’s hoping it’s contagious!

​You can find out more on her website – www.susan-wilson.com

Susan also writes romance as Scarlet Wilson. She’s written over 30 books for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Tule Publishing and Entangled Publishing. She’s also been a double Rita Finalist for RWA and been nominated for the RoNA Rose award five times, winning it in 2017. You can also find her here

You can find out more on her website – www.scarlet-wilson.com

You can also follow S M Wilson on twitter – @susanwilsonbook


Blog Tour

You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!

#ExtinctionTrials


A huge thank you to S M Wilson for such a fab guest post and to Stevie at Usborne for asking me to host and be part of the blog tour.

As you’ll see from the graphic above, the tour ends on Sunday evening on #SundayYA. Susan will be a guest during the chat, and will *DRUM ROLL*, officially reveal the title and the cover for book 2.

Usborne will then be sending out the January Usborne YA newsletter the following week with an exclusive chapter extract from book 2, and another chance to win a signed copy. Firstly, if you’re not signed up to the newsletter – do it! It’s a fun one, and the host competitions all the time.

bit.ly/2otCikx 

Have you read The Extinction Trials?  What did you think?  What was your favourite part?  If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy?   I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Guest Post – 5 Steps To Creating Your Ideal Villain by Jacqueline Silvester


I am so excited to have been asked to be the final stop on the amazing Wunderkids blog tour!

Wunderkids by Jacqueline Silvester was released on the 18th June 2017 and is set to be a dystopian YA thriller that will have you turning the pages!

Today I have the lady herself on Tales with a super guest post about creating the ideal super villain….


15-year-old Nikka is invited to attend Wildwood Academy, a prestigious but secret boarding school for talented youth located deep in the Californian mountains. Once there, Nikka quickly falls in love with her bizarre classes, the jaw-dropping scenery and… two very different boys. However, Wildwood Academy has a dark and twisted secret, one that could cost Nikka the one thing she had never imagined she could lose, the one thing that money can’t buy. It is this very thing that Wildwood Academy was created to steal. Nikka can stay and lose everything, or she can risk death and run.


5 Steps To Creating Your Ideal Villain

A good villain is very important. Villains create opposition to the desires/motives of your protagonist. Villains also create instability, they cause chaos, and they can add a lot of entertainment value to your story.

Step 1- Flesh out your villain

Who is your villain? What does he look like? How does he move? What are some evil things that he does or has done? Does he torture people? Does he eat them? Is he a dictator? A traitor? A pirate? A monk? Perhaps he’s just a normal person with a sinister agenda?

How does he act? Is he manic? Eerily calm? Does he like to watch people scream?

You get the picture.

Ask yourself 1000 questions, Pinterest relevant photographs, and re-watch films with your favorite villains, then hone in on what your villain looks like. Describe how they speak and how they move. Once you have a general idea of what your villain is like, you can start working on how they came to be that way.

Step 2- Backstory

If you believe in the idea that no one is born evil then you are expected to explain how your villain became evil in the first place, and your explanation needs to be convincing. This is where backstory matters. Was your villain neglected as a child? Seduced by greed and corruption? Irreparably hurt by someone? Did they watch their parents get taken away, like Magneto? Were they abused like the Joker? Or driven to insanity like Harlequin?  Can you tell I really like Marvel?

Write a paragraph about your villain’s history, and then create a timeline of events and actions that have shaped them and led them down the wrong path. Personally, I like villains with sympathetic backstories, because they make you question yourself as a reader/viewer, how could you empathize with someone who has done such evil things? Think back to the Darkling, or Maleficent.

Step 3- Motivation

What does you villain want? What are their end goals? What are their motivations in the long term? What (if anything) would technically make your villain happy? What would satisfy or appease them? Villains who are simply born evil and have no concrete desires or motivations are flat.

Step 4- Develop their fear factor and their duality

What is it that truly makes your villain scary? Is it a lack of empathy? Or excessive cruelty? Senseless actions? Limitless control?  Not all villains are grand or epic; a high school bully can be a villain, or a nasty parental figure. What’s important is not the extent of their villainy, but the way that they make people feel. Think about what you are afraid of. To some people a politician who is threatening their freedom is a villain; to others it can be a cruel teacher that made them give up on their dreams. It’s important to decide what exactly makes your villain scary. How will they wake fear/anxiety/terror in your protagonist and your reader?

The best villains are full of duality. Beautiful exteriors combined with horrible motives, like Mrs. Coulter from the Dark Materials trilogy, or a peaceful and comforting air combined with malicious plans. There is a reason that evil porcelain dolls, killer clowns, child ghosts, and many other such polar combinations are so prevalent in horror. We fear that which deceives us, and we find duality fascinating. With that same duality in mind you should try to humanize your villain so that the readers can empathize with them. Everyone loves a villain you can root for like the Darkling, Loki, Mystique and Cat Woman.

Step 5- Flesh out the relationship between your villain and your protagonist

Plan out their relationship, what are its parameters? In what way does your villain create opposition for your protagonist? Draw a timeline of their lives intersecting. You don’t have to follow the timeline exactly but it’s helpful to draw something out. Harry Potter’s entire life was affected by Voldemort’s actions, in one way or another. Now that you know what your villain looks like, how they became this way, what motivates them, and what humanizes them, all that is left is to figure out how these factors will affect your protagonist and their journey.

For a list of notable bookish villains visit a previous stop on this tour hosted by @Popthebutterfly.

Thank you so much to Michelle for hosting this last stop on the Wunderkids books tour! It was an amazing and fun ride, full of wonderful bloggers and epic questions.

You can buy a copy of Wunderkids here


About Jacqueline Silvester

Jacqueline has had a colourful and dual life thus far; she’s lived in a refugee camp in Sweden, a castle in France, a village in Germany, and spent her formative years in between Los Angeles, London and New York. As a result, she speaks four languages. Jacqueline has a Bachelors in English Literature from the University Of Massachusetts, and a Masters in Screenwriting from Royal Holloway, University Of London. After graduating she wrote her first novel and began writing cartoon screenplays. The two years she spent in an arts boarding school in the woods have inspired the particular world described in her debut novel Wunderkids. She lives in London with her husband, her excessive YA collection and a hyper husky named Laika. Wunderkids has been translated into a number of languages and featured in Vogue magazine!

You can find out more about Jacqueline Silvester on her website – www.jacquelinesilvester.com

Or why not follow her on twitter – @Jacky_Silvester


Blog Tour

Catch up of the rest of this epic fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Jacqueline for such a fab guest post and for having me as part of the tour!

Have you read Wunderkids?  Did you enjoy?  What did you love about it?  Who are your favourite villian and why?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of the post or tweet me on twitter using @ChelleyToy !

Happy Reading!

Guest Post – Blurring the Line Between Science Fact and Fiction by Sarah Govett


Today I have a fab guest post from the lovely Sarah Govett, author of the brilliant YA dystopian The Territory trilogy!

The Territory and The Territory:  Escape were released in 2015 and 2016 published by Firefly Press and with the third book in this fab trilogy due very soon I thought it would be perfect to showcase these fab books on my blog!

Today Sarah chats about blurring the lines between science fact and science fiction in this fab guest post….


Noa Blake is just another normal 15 year old with exams looming. Except in The Territory normal isn’t normal. The richest children have a node on the back of their necks and can download information, bypassing the need to study. In a flooded world of dwindling resources, Noa and the other ‘Norms’ have their work cut out even to compete. And competing is everything – because anybody who fails the exams will be shipped off to the Wetlands, which means a life of misery, if not certain death. But how to focus when your heart is being torn in two directions at once? One of The Telegraph’s best YA books of 2015

The year is 2059. Fifteen-year-old Noa Blake has passed the exam to stay in The Territory but her childhood friend Jack has been shipped off to the disease-ridden Wetlands, a death sentence in all but name. Noa and Raf have vowed to rescue him, but how? With an electric fence, gun towers and a police state monitoring their every move, getting into the Wetlands looks impossible, let alone getting home again. Second in The Territory trilogy, The Territory, Escape follows Noa, Raf and Jack as they battle through a world of raiders, mosquito swarms and psychopathic prisoners. Noa faces her own battle too is it just friendship that drives her and if not, is Jack still even hers to claim?


Blurring the Line Between Science Fact and Fiction

Today, on the 1st July I’m going to be at Bradford Literature Festival discussing ‘The Reality Behind Dystopian Futures’ and it’s got me thinking again about the world of The Territory (my dystopian trilogy) and whether it could ever come into being. Officially categorised as ‘fantasy’ (on the cover) or ‘science fiction’ (on Amazon), the more I read and research, the more I think that a better descriptor might be ‘speculative fiction’ in the Margaret Atwood sense of a future that could really happen.

In The Territory half of Britain is underwater as a result of flooding caused by unchecked global warming. OK, so I admit, this is unlikely to be the case in 2059, the year the series is set, but I would posit that it is an exaggeration rather than a mere flight of fancy. Research group Climate Change has predicted that a 4C temperature increase (the most likely scenario given the current rate of increase) would result in a sea level rise that would submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people worldwide. Closer to home this would mean in London areas including Battersea, Chiswick and the entire borough of Lambeth would be submerged, vast parts of Edinburgh, Liverpool and Belfast would disappear and almost all of Cardiff and Dublin could be underwater.

It would be nigh impossible to fit and feed the current population in a dramatically reduced land mass so very difficult decisions would have to be taken. In The Territory the new authoritarian government, the Ministry, has introduced an exam everyone has to sit aged 15. Pass and you get to stay on the dry land, the Territory, fail and you’re shipped off to the malarial wetlands for a life of misery if not certain death. The Minister claims that the system is fair as it applied to everyone regardless of colour, class or creed, but the reality is very different. Exams prioritise logical subjects at the expense of more creative ones and the richest people in society can pay for a procedure on their kids whereby they can upload information from computers directly into their brains, virtually bypassing the need to study.

So could this happen?

Well, again it’s probably not as far a stretch of the imagination as it might at first seem. Elements already exist. We currently examine teenagers within an inch of their lives. I’ve worked as a private tutor for the past 13 years and I’ve seen first hand how much pressure our education system places on young people. Some kids, including very bright ones, fall to pieces in exams – exams which are going to determine their future. Indeed in 2015/16 alone Childline conducted 3077 counseling sessions on coping with exam stress. Moreover, our education system does elevate logical subjects – Maths beats History, Science tramples over Art. And Students who are ill-prepared by their schools have to compete against peers who have been spoon-fed the answers by their teachers or family members and private tutors.

As for the more sci-fi element – the Childes who can upload – well, in the summer of 2015 the Director of Engineering at Google predicted that by 2030 people would be able to connect their brains to the internet via DNA nanotubes and thereby be able to artificially enhance their own intelligence. So we’re not a million miles away.

Finally malaria – could this come to Britain? When I wrote book 1, I’d kind of assumed that this wouldn’t happen, well not within my lifetime. But then, when I’d finished, I did some research and found that climate model scientists have predicted that by 2030, mosquitoes carrying the malarial plasmodium will be able to breed in Southern England  for up to 3 months of the year. 2030 is the year to watch out for.

In summary, I would hate the world of The Territory to come into being, but maybe, on the current path we’re on, certain elements are inevitable. The important thing then, is to change that path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can buy Sarah’s books here or from your local bookshop! 


About Sarah Govett

I read law at Trinity College, Oxford. After qualifying as a solicitor, I set up my own tutoring agency, Govett Tutors, which specialises in helping children from all backgrounds.

I have also written for children’s television. I have two young children, and live in London with my stand-up comedian husband.

You can find our more about Sarah on her website – www.sarahgovett.com

Or why not follow Sarah on twitter – @sarahgovett


A huge thank you to Sarah for such a fan and thought provoking blog post and to Karolina Davison for organising.

Have you read The Territory or The Territory:  Escape?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – The Salvation Project by Stewart Ross


Today, 20th June 2017, is the release day of a new YA Thriller published by Kindle Press, The Salvation Project by Stewart Ross the third book in The Soterion Mission!

The Salvation Project is a fab new dystopian YA that is not to be missed!

To celebrate The Salvation Project release I wanted to shine the spotlight on the book and it’s author.  There will also be a fab blog tour which starts tomorrow with a tour wide giveaway!


Humanity’s hope of salvation lies within a single laptop…

A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse this pandemic died before their Salvation Project was complete, leaving behind the results of their research in a sealed vault – the Soterion.

122 years have passed. The civilisation of the ‘Long Dead’ is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by brutal tribes of Zeds. Cyrus, Miouda and Sammy flee their burning city with a laptop rescued from the inferno. They believe it contains the key to the Salvation Project. But its batteries are dead, there is no electricity to power it, and murderous Zeds will stop at nothing to get it back…

You can buy a copy of The Salvation Project here

Or why not add the book to your Goodreads list here


About Stewart Ross

Stewart was born in Buckinghamshire and educated in Oxford, Berkhamsted, Exeter, Bristol, and Orlando, Florida. He taught at a variety of institutions in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the USA, and Britain before becoming a full-time writer in 1989.

With over 300 published titles to his credit, he is now one of Britain’s most popular and versatile authors. His output includes prize-winning books for younger readers, novels, plays, three librettos, a musical, and many widely acclaimed works on history and sport. Several of his books are illustrated with his own photographs.

Stewart also lectures in France and the UK, gives talks, runs workshops, and visits schools. He is an occasional journalist and broadcaster. His brother, Charlie Ross, is the celebrated auctioneer.

In his spare time Stewart enjoys travel, restaurants, sport, theatre, photography, art and music. He lives near Canterbury with his wife Lucy, and – occasionally – his four children and two grandchildren. Each morning he commutes 10 metres to work in a large hut in the garden.

You can find out more about Stewart on his website – www.stewartross.com

Or why not follow Stewart on twitter – @Booksmyth

Or Facebook here

And also You Tube here


Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Salvation Project by Stewart Ross

The Salvation Project

by Stewart Ross

Giveaway ends June 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 


Blog Tour

You can follow the fab blog tour for this book at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Faye Rogers for asking me to host the spotlight and having me as part of the fab blog tour!

Have you read The Salvation Project?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

Spotlight – Shattered Minds by Laura Lam


I am super excited to have been asked to be part of the blog tour for this amazing book, Shattered Minds by Laura Lam!

Shattered Minds was released on the 15th June 2017 published by Macmillan and is set to be a brilliant Sci-Fi / Dystopian read.

Shattered Minds stars a female ‘Dexter’ with a drug problem and a conscience, in a terrifying near-future where technology rules our lives and haunts our dreams. It’s set in the same world as False Hearts.  The book tackles hacking, celebrity, unlikable female protagonists and villains and the blurred lines between them…

So today I will be spotlighting the book, sharing and extract and I also have a fab giveaway!


She can uncover the truth, if she defeats her demons

Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.

Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.

To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one
of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they
might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.

You can buy a copy of Shattered Minds here or from your local bookshop!


Extract

THREE (cont)

CARINA

The Zealscape, Green Star Lounge, Los Angeles,

California, Pacifica

 Carina stumbles home, clutching her coat around her thin shoulders.

The police who came to the Green Star Lounge wanted to interview her about what had happened, but she put on the ‘I’m-an-unhinged-Zealot’ act, flying spittle and all, and they left her alone pretty quickly.

They decided she was lucky to be the only survivor. They let her go. One drug-addled woman is clearly not the cause of the malfunction of the Zeal lounge. It’d been a slow day, but thirteen Zealots are now dead. Who will mourn them?

The images play in her mind as Carina totters on unsteady feet. The bee. The rose. The thorn. The blood. The eyes. And then the dead girl with the same mismatched eyes. Carina knows her Zealscape intimately. Every corner. Every seam. Every brick. She’s built it so carefully over the last six months.

This is something else.

She reaches her apartment, tucked into the Chesterfield Square neighbourhood of South Los Angeles. Once, these few blocks had one of the highest crime rates in the world. Now, most of the inhabitants are Zealots plugged into their dreams. It is a ghost town.

The entrance to the apartment building senses her VeriChip and she sends the passcode from her eye implants to the door. The metal grate scrapes open. She makes her slow progress up the stairs, pausing to catch her breath every few steps, her knees shaking. This apartment was cheaper than one with an elevator. She underestimated how quickly her health would start to deteriorate. Falling against her front door, she sends the next passcode to the lock.

Once Carina was tidy, but now her clothes are scattered around the apartment, and she hasn’t even bothered sending the bots around to clean. She tends to throw away clothes when they’re too dirty to wear, buying cheap new ones from the replicator. The sweat-stained sheets on her bed need changing. This is the place where she has a few hours of fitful sleep or eats some tasteless, vaguely nutritious food before going back to the Green Star Lounge.

This is the place where she looks at the scan of her brain, trying to find out why it’s broken and she now wants to kill everyone she comes across. Setting the program to load, she goes to the bathroom.

Her tooth is still there, the eroded root crusted with dried blood. She washes her hands, and the tooth disappears down into the pipes. She tongues the empty space in her mouth where it used to be, wincing at her sore gums. It could be fixed, but it’d mean more time out of the Zealscape or away from the project.

Then it hits her: the lounge will almost certainly be closed tomorrow and she doesn’t know how she will get her dose of Zeal.

She should care more about the people who died. She should worry that going back to the same lounge, or another one, means it could happen again, and she might not be so lucky if it does. But she can’t care about anything except finding that next hit.

Carina collapses on the sagging couch. The wallscreens are always turned off. The kitchen cupboards are empty, so if she wants to eat, she’ll have to order NutriPaste from the replicator, as that’s all she can afford. The thought of its chalky texture turns her stomach. So she sits. Bee. Rose. Thorn. Blood. Eyes, one green, one blue.

What do they mean? Is it gibberish, some strange side effect from a virus let loose in the Zeal program subsystem? The bit of her that was once a neuroprogrammer is curious, but that part is mostly swallowed up by Zeal apathy. She can only care about her main project.

Her brain scan has loaded. It floats in the middle of the living room, taking up most of the space. Her implants are old and need refreshing, but they work well enough for the Zeal, and that’s all she cares about.

Carina can find nothing physical to explain the gradual unravelling of her mind. Her prefrontal cortex seems normal. Her ventromedial cortex is not shrunken, so decision-making should also still be fine. Her dopamine receptors are shot, but that’s more thanks to the Zeal than any existing precondition. The way she processes emotion and empathy is different, but she’s been like that since she was a teen and it doesn’t really show on her brain. Once, her emotions had been entirely walled away. For years, nothing had touched her.

It was only once she started feeling again that she also started wanting to kill.

She’s been trying to get back to how she was five years ago. She might have created a somewhat workable code, but she doesn’t have the proper equipment, nor a lab. Once, she toyed with going back to Sudice for access to the Los Angeles lab. It would have meant Roz would find out her address, but Carina thought enough time had passed that it might be all right. Her recent Zealscape vision, if it’s true, kills that plan.

She sends her brain scan away, too tired to try and puzzle over the code any more. She hasn’t made any real progress in months, anyway. Her concentration is shot, and she’s lost her touch. Somewhere deep inside her, she wonders if she’s too far gone ever to find some semblance of normalcy. Or if she even cares.

Carina turns on her implants and brings up photos of the old team at Sudice. There’s Dr Mark Teague, smiling and waving at the camera, his tanned skin glowing, silver hair glinting in the overhead lighting of the lab. There’s Dr Aliyah Zahedi, with her enigmatic smile, dark skin, orange hair a little mussed from running frustrated fingers through it all day while running her trials. She’d been the quietest of the bunch, but with a wicked sense of humour. And there’s Dr Kim Mata – part-Japanese, hair just starting to grey and cut into a short bob. Even though Mark is twice her age, Kim looks older, as she’s one of the few people in Pacifica not obsessed with flesh parlours. Carina hasn’t thought of Kim, her constant nicknames, her wheedling jokes, in months.

Dr Roz Elliot is not in the picture.

Carina hasn’t thought about any of them much in the last few months. When she left Sudice eight months ago, they were often in her thoughts. Then the Zeal took over. She’d befriended them, as much as Carina could be friends with anyone. She’d grown used to them, admired their minds enough that they became real to her. Even when she started wanting to kill everyone around her, Mark, Kim and Aliyah were safe. Fundamentally, they were good people, and Carina only kills criminals – at least, so far, though she fears her control weakening.

Carina opens the staff image of Dr Elliot and narrows her eyes as she takes in the perfect dark-blonde bob, the bland smile for the camera. There’s a criminal. There’s someone Carina wouldn’t mind hurting.

Carina has no recording of that vision in the Zealscape. If she had, she could send it to the authorities, let them deal with whatever Roz has done. No proof, no crime.

Opening up the other staff photos, her gaze lingers on Kim. She’s a head and a half shorter than anyone else on the team. Flyaway hair always escaping her bun and framing her face. Kim could probably tell her something about what happened today, but Carina doesn’t want Kim to know just how far she has fallen. She looks at Kim’s wide smile as she displays one of her precious collectable figurines, proudly balancing it on one palm, its tuft of pink hair almost tickling her nose. Kim looks goofy and playful, and not at all like one of the best neuroprogrammers in Pacifica; not like a woman traumatized by the murder of her wife. Carina turns off her implants.

She sits and stares at the blank wall for hours, blinking slowly. At some point past midnight, basic human survival instinct kicks in. Mechanically she goes to the bathroom, then the kitchen to order some NutriPaste from the replicator, grimacing at the taste and drinking water to wash it down.

Zeal withdrawal is already kicking in. Her limbs twitch as though they’ve been electrocuted. Her mouth is dry no matter how much water she drinks. The synapses in her brain aren’t firing quite right – thoughts spiral into nothingness. There are no urges to harm anyone in this plane of reality. They are safe, as long as she has her dose.

The images are still loud and clear. The dead girl’s face, staring ahead, accusatory.

‘I didn’t kill you,’ Carina says out loud to the blank wall. ‘Get out of my head.’

The girl doesn’t answer. She can’t. Carina bashes her fist against the wall. It hurts, but even the pain is distant.

She isn’t sure whether she wishes she’d died tonight or not. Admitting that uncertainty only cements the fear lingering in her fractured thoughts. Sometimes Carina wants to fix whatever’s wrong with her and find a way back to life. Other times she wants nothing more than, if not to die, then to cease to exist. A subtle difference. That feeling is growing stronger as more of her is consumed by Zeal.

 Carina doesn’t sleep. She waits for morning, where she’ll find another Zeal lounge and plug back in.

SHATTERED MINDS by Laura Lam is OUT NOW, published by Pan Macmillan, £12.99 Hardback.


About Laura Lam

 

Laura Lam was raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams. She relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, whom she met on the internet when he insulted her taste in books. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. At times she misses the sunshine.

You can find out more about Laura on her website – www.lauralam.co.uk

Or why not follow Laura on twitter – @LR_Lam


Giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With thanks to the lovely people at Macmillan I have a signed copy of False Hearts and a copy of Shattered Minds by Laura Lam to giveaway to one lucky winner!

You can enter on twitter by clicking here

UK Only

Ends 27th June 2017

Good Luck!


Blog Tour

You can catch up on the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!


A huge thank you to Laura and Alice at Macmillan for having me as part of this fab blog tour and for asking me to host the giveaway. 

Have you read any of the Shattered Minds?  What did you think?  Are you intrigued to go and grab a copy?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button above or tweet my on twitter using @chelleytoy!

Happy Reading!

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