1) HOURGLASS sold three years ago today! That’s crazy, especially since I just scrapped the draft of the third book in the series — out June 25th in a bookstore near you, ALLEGEDLY — and started over. Because I am crazy. I blame Kristen Cashore.
2) TIMEPIECE has been nominated for the Hypable Award for the Best Book of the Year! My competition includes J.K. Rowling. It’s an honor to be nominated. No seriously, because Hypable is awesome, and my name is on a list with J.K. Rowling’s. I’m jazzed. Not Jasper Hale jazzed. Just generally jazzed.
3) TIMEPIECE has been nominated for two YABC Choice Awards! YABC is a great site that reviews young adult books, and it’s a safe place for teachers/parents to send kids to make their own choices about what to read because it’s profanity free!
UPDATE! 4) I just heard from my editor that TIMEPIECE has been nominated for Best YA Novel over at MTV Hollywood Crush!
I need to mention that I don’t look at these lists when I see the links go up because they make my stomach hurt. AND, there’s a spectacular level of awesome when there’s No Freaking Way you’ll win, because then you just get to enjoy the process!
And not at all profanity free, IN CELEBRATION of the NOMINATIONS, I’m sharing a deleted scene from TIMEPIECE! This scene is the perfect example of how you sometimes write something that isn’t wrong, but isn’t quite right for the final draft, either. Fun note: a high school friend of mine, Josh Green, owns a bar called Doc Holliday’s in downtown Nashville, and this seemed like the perfect place to put Kaleb to get into trouble. In the final draft, he goes to a bar in downtown Memphis instead. (Plot purposes. Sorry Josh.) For all you fans of the show NASHVILLE, when you’re compelled to come this way, you should visit Doc Holliday’s! It’s right next to the Wild Horse! (And the bar is called Billy the Kid in the scene because of permissions and what not.)
Enjoy this DELETED TIMEPIECE (and completely unedited!) scene, and please do not repost, but feel free to link here!
I knew exactly where I was going, and exactly why I shouldn’t be.
I parked in an overnight garage, prepaid, and left my keys with Dave, the usual parking attendant.
“You sure, dude?” He lifted his white visor to scratch his forehead and peer up into my eyes. “The cops are really coming down hard lately, with all the new Vandy freshman.”
“Which is why I’m not driving.”
He nodded. “Take it easy, bro.”
“I’m taking it, but not easy.” My words echoed off the cement walls of the garage as I hooked a right onto Second Avenue.
It was still early. I went straight to Billy the Kid’s so I could get in without using my fake ID, and tucked myself into a four-seater in a corner. I ordered chili cheese fries with extra jalapenos, put my back against the wall, and watched the Saturday afternoon humanity flow in and out. Kids wearing the cheap cowboy hats sold in the gift shop, tourists fresh from the Grand Ole’ Opry, shoppers carrying bags from Hard Rock Cafe. A microcosm of country music fandom.
I tried to relax and let all the emotions flow over me, coasting the way I usually did in groups, waiting for Ben to show so I could get my drink on.
Just after eight, he stretched his hand out in front of me.
I slid him the parking garage claim receipt and he tucked it into his back pocket. A Southern Comfort and Coke appeared on the scratched vinyl tabletop. I downed it in three gulps.
“I’ll open a tab.” Ben was tall and slender, a cross country runner, he’d told me. He signaled to the girl behind the bar to bring another drink over. “Haven’t seen you in a while.”
I wondered if he really knew how old I was. I’d shown him my I.D. once. He’d never asked to see it again, but he always required the claim ticket for my car before he served me. I didn’t like lying to him, even by default.
Ben was one of the few ‘civilians’ who knew about my ability, and the revelation had happened purely by accident. I’d touched him on the day he’d buried his wife. Considering I was already three drinks deep, I hadn’t stopped myself from asking him why he was tending bar when he was so full of grief.
His pain had been so bad I’d taken a little. Only a little. Just enough to make him coherent. In hindsight, granting coherency to someone I’d taken emotion from wasn’t such a good idea, but he had reminded me so much of my dad grieving for my mom that I couldn’t help myself.
That had been eight months ago. He kept me in whiskey, and saved the sofa in the back for me to crash on when he didn’t think I should drive. I didn’t have to explain why I was there.
To forget. Just forget.
The drinking part of the evening’s plan was well under way when I saw her. Dark hair, short skirt. Ready for a good time and nothing else, according to the emotion I could pick up from across the room. Exactly the way I preferred them. All it took was a single smile. Two drinks later her hand was on my thigh. Ten minutes after that we stumbled to the back and found ourselves up against a wall.
She was tall and curvy, but not as curvy as Lily. Her hair didn’t smell like citrus and vanilla.
Lily. Why the hell was I thinking of her?
I slid one hand under the girl’s shirt, trailing my fingers up her spine to the clasp of her bra. She hooked her thumbs in my front belt loops, and her lips found their way from neck to my earlobe.
“What are you waiting for?” she whispered.
The words were wet, or maybe that was just her tongue in my ear. I flattened my palms against her back. She slid her hands into my jean pockets and rose up on her tiptoes.
She was hot enough and I was drunk enough. But suddenly the thought of kissing her, or doing anything else with her, turned my stomach.
My mind flooded with images. Dad, tears still on his cheeks from crying over my mom. Emerson and Michael on the overstuffed orange chair, they way they always seemed to be together, yet separate at the same time.
Lily, pressed against me for that brief moment at the masquerade. The apron strings wrapped around her waist.
Images bled into emotions. Lily’s freedom on the dance floor. The joy that permeated the pool water when she dove in. Michael’s fear for Emerson. Ava’s relief for my kindness toward her.
The worry in my dad’s voice when he’d told me about Chronos.
I’d come here to forget, and all I could do was remember.
I wanted the crushing sadness I felt to go away, especially when I realized it was coming from me.
The girl didn’t wait any longer for me to kiss her. Her lips tasted like fake cherries. “We can go to your car. Or here will be fine.”
I looked into her eyes and realized I didn’t know her name.
“Hey,” I stopped and gently pushed her away. “I’m drunk. You’re drunk. This is … stupid.”
“You didn’t think so five seconds ago.” Pride.
“It’s me. You’re obviously a really sweet girl, and I never should’ve … forgive me?”
“Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.” She smoothed down her skirt. “You’re really hot. I guess that was it.”
“Do you have a ride home? Besides your car? You’ve had a few -”
“I can walk to my apartment from here. Thanks.” She pulled a lipstick out of her cleavage and reapplied before wobbling her way back out to the bar.
Once she’d gotten a fresh drink and rejoined her friends, I took a seat on a barstool directly in front of Ben to watch him mix up a gin and tonic. He jerked his head in the direction of the girl.
“Changed your mind?”
“Came to my senses.” I scooped a handful of wasabi peas out of a bowl and tried not to think about how many germs I was about to ingest. My blood alcohol level would probably kill them anyway. “Realized she was a person instead of a thing. Can I ask you a question?”
He took a plastic swizzle stick loaded with lime slices, stuck it in the G&T, and slid it to the end of the bar. He wiped his hands on a towel before leaning over to listen. “Go for it.”
“Women.” If I felt any pain from him at all, I’d turn my question into teasing. Ask about his preference of real versus fake or something equally lame. But he was fine, so I went ahead. “How do you know when you’ve found something … someone … who could be special?”
“I hate to go with the standard here, son, but it’s true. You just know.” He picked up a stray drink menu, scratching at a splash of what looked like dried salsa. “Do you think you’ve found someone?”
I felt a tinge of sadness from him, but it quickly changed to melancholy. He looked up at me and grinned. I noticed the shots of silver in his black hair. They had to be new. “Do you need another drink?”
“How about a plain Coke?”
“Oh. This is serious.” He scooped ice into a glass, added some grenadine, and a couple of cherries. “I have a deep-seated need to actually mix a drink if I’m going to give advice.”
I laughed and settled in for a cherry Coke and a counseling session.
“What’s different this time?”
I took a long drink and chased a piece of ice with my tongue. It was the rabbit pellet kind. Excellent for crunching. “I wish I could tell you exactly. I’m going to sound like a total chick, but it’s like there’s … sunshine in her soul.” I groaned. “Thinking about her makes me happy, which is stupid because she hates me, and because I don’t really know her.”
“Are you sure she hates you?”
“I grabbed her ass at a party. In public. Without her permission.”
“Ooof.” He winced. “What did she do?”
“Smacked me across the face and called me a douchebag.”
“Was it worth it?”
“Totally.” I fished around in the glass for one of the cherries. “Not copping the feel. Being called out when I deserved to be. Meeting someone that strong.”
“You’ve never felt this way about a girl before? And call them girls, not chicks. Especially if you’re trying to see them as ‘people’ over ‘things.’ Hold on.” He nodded at someone behind me and grabbed a frosted beer mug from the cooler. He placed it under the tap and gestured for me to keep going.
“I’ve sort of felt this way before. Unfortunately the girl was Lily’s best friend. Who is now one of my best friends.”
Ben took the mug and passed it to a guy behind me in exchange for a ten-dollar bill. “What does she have to say about it?”
“She doesn’t know. Em sees the attraction. But I’m not sure she thinks I’m capable of a relationship. That hurts a little bit.” It felt so damn good to be honest with someone who wouldn’t judge me for telling the truth. “I’m not sure I am. But I don’t think taking random girls to the back hallway of a bar is going to cut it anymore.”
Not since I’d seen and felt the way things were between Michael and Emerson. How it could be with someone you cared about.
“The choices you made tonight are a pretty good indication of where you stand. Things seem to be changing.” Ben put the money in the register and leaned on the bar. “If you feel this strongly, it’s foolish not to pursue her, don’t you think?”
“I don’t know. It’s probably foolish to even consider it.” I sighed. “Ben? You can’t serve me alcohol anymore. I’m not exactly legal.”
His mouth formed a thin, angry line. “Do you know how much trouble you could’ve gotten us both in?”
“I’m sorry. I really am.” I stared down at the scarred bar top. “I just figure if things are changing, I might as well be honest.”
“Do you still have the ID that says you’re twenty-one?” he asked.
“Are you going to hand it over?”
I put my hand on the pocket that held my wallet. “Not yet.”
Hope you liked! Let me know in the comments!