The blog’s been on hiatus while I’ve been frantically trying to get everything done by the end of the year. However, my latest novel has just been released, and I can’t keep quiet about it! THE COUNTDOWN CLUB is a young adult suspense novel close to my heart, just out from Bella Rosa Books. I hope that you’ll check it out!
I’ve got a guest blog and giveaway going on right now on Deborah Blake’s blog here. I’ve got a “meet my character” post up with Lily’s Reviews for Jack, the harder-edged of my POV personas in THE COUNTDOWN CLUB, and a post on why I write what I right up on Slippery Words. But if that’s not enough, you can learn more about the book and read an excerpt below.
About the Book
“Mysterious and cleverly plotted, The Countdown Club is a must read for fans of One of us is Lying.” ⸻Amy Christine Parker, Author of Gated, Astray, and Smash and Grab
Making her way through high school in her art geek bubble, Rayna Butler is used to being largely ignored by her classmates. Sure, she marches to her own beat—her Kool-Aid dyed hair and her edgy paintings make that perfectly clear. So when she arrives at school one normal Monday morning and finds a handwritten note in her backpack that reads “Six days to die,” she’s sure that it’s just a friend playing a prank on her.
Jack Harkness is one of the toughest guys in school, a loner hiding his painful home life. When he also receives one of the threatening notes, he doesn’t take it for anything he can’t handle.
Rayna and Jack soon discover that even more students have received threatening notes, although each has a different expiration date. “Six days to die”. . . “Two days to die”. . . “Twelve days to die”. . . there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. And none of the kids appear to have anything in common.
The students take the threats with varying degrees of seriousness . . . until the first murder. Class salutatorian Liam is the first to go, when his house mysteriously burns down around him and his mother as well. Certain that their days are numbered, Rayna and Jack convince the others to join together to track down the killer before their time is up.
Six Days To Die.
The note was handwritten in bold, angry lettering, the pen nearly slicing through the page and the “i” in Die dripping blood-red ink. It stared up at Rayna from just inside her backpack. Her breath caught, and she whipped her head around to catch anyone watching or aiming their phone to record the moment their sick joke hit home. Because it had to be a joke, right? Anyone who could get close enough to slip a note into her backpack without her noticing could surely have done worse.
But no one was looking or laughing.
She wanted to shrug it off. She wasn’t the kind of girl who made waves. Or enemies. But the news was full of people bullied or beaten just for existing. Being different. Saying no.
Six Days to Die.
A chill ran straight up her spine, raising the hairs on the nape of her neck beneath her Kool-aid blue ponytail. Her heart was pounding, and her breath was coming way too fast, and yet didn’t seem to be bringing any oxygen with it. If she kept up like this, she was going to pass out. She needed to calm down.
Now that she thought about it, she’d left her backpack unattended at lunch while she ducked out to the ladies’ room. Well, not unattended exactly. She’d asked Evan to keep an eye on it, but he wouldn’t have taken that too seriously. Why would he? He could have gotten distracted talking or even… Evan was always pulling pranks. He could even have done this himself. If so, she was going to kill him. Literally. Today. Screw the six-day waiting period.
But her breathing didn’t slow. There was no relief at a mystery solved. She knew in her heart Evan wouldn’t do this. It was too mean-spirited. And on top of that, there was no pay-off. They didn’t have fifth period together, so he’d never get to see her reaction.
But no one was paying any attention. Or if they were, they were damn good at hiding it. Just in case, maybe she should tear up the note to show how little it meant to her. To prove that she wasn’t freaking out.
As soon as she could bring herself to touch it.
The bell rang and Ms. Ibrahim told them all to take out their textbooks and turn to chapter twelve. Still Rayna stared at the note. It was just a piece of paper. Probably harmless, but what if the note itself was the threat? It could be laced with poison or powder or something that would mess her up on contact. It would have to be a slow-acting poison to make her suffer for nearly a week. But wouldn’t that be too unpredictable? How could the killer know it would take six days, no more, no less? And why give a warning so she could get a head start on a cure rather than wait, thinking she had the flu or something?
Unless there was no cure.
“Vanessa?” Ms. Ibrahim said sharply. “Something wrong?”