Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for DEFY THE STARS by Claudia Gray and it's super cool since it's release day wooo hoooo!! I freaking LOVED this book! I have a deleted scene from DEFY THE STARS to share with you today! And make sure to enter the giveaway below!
Haven't heard of DEFY THE STARS? Check it out!
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that's now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth's robotic "mech" armies for decades with no end in sight.
After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel's programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis--even though her plan to win the war will kill him.
Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel's devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.
Now on to the deleted scene!
A note from Claudia.
This was a hard one for me. For the most part, the stuff deleted from my books was deleted for a reason! But I found a section of the first draft of DEFY THE STARS that I think might be fun to go over.
As you'll learn when you read the book, when Noemi and Abel go to the Kismet system, they wind up working on a lunar base. Originally, however, they wound up on Kismet itself. That had to be rewritten for a variety of reasons, but I still like this well enough to share it.
(And by the way, Rin Watanabe made it through to the final book, but her name is now Riko!)
When they reach the resort, Abel catches glimpses of the paradise they're here to serve—a long curve of shoreline decorously dotted with white canopies for guests' beach chairs, and an enormous, opalescent structure that must be the resort hotel itself. But the temporary workers are taken to the back, given plastic packets containing uniform clothing (sarongs, T-shirts and shorts, all decorated in scrollwork versions of the resort logo), and assigned jobs.
As their employer promised, they're to work at the bar.
Nobody told the head bartender.
"I'm going to kill Ma," says the supervisor, a woman roughly thirty years of age with cropped-short black hair named Rin Watanabe. "I hire my own bar staff! They've already gone through orientation!"
Harriet shrugs, overdoing the innocent act slightly. "All we know is we were told to come here."
Rin breathes out sharply and rolls her eyes. "It's not your fault. I get that." Squinting, she examines them each in turn. "Here's the situation: You don't ask questions. You don't interfere with my operations. And you don't tell tales outside this bar about anything that happens in it. Understood?"
"Completely," Abel says. The others nod.
Rin doesn't look entirely satisfied, but she stops protesting and starts showing them around the bar. "As you can see, we have three hundred cabanas set up along the beachfront." Pale-blue tents shelter long, luxurious chaises on this stretch of pearly sand. "You'll be assigned specific cabanas to cover. If you're behind the bar—" she points at Abel here. "—you only mix drinks for those patrons. If you're waiting on those patrons, you cover everything they need, everything they want, and go only to the assigned bartender for their drinks. Got it? Fine."
It seems to Abel that Rin is distracted, her mind already on something else. Humans often become inefficient when handling multiple tasks. He sees one element Rin may have neglected to mention. "Do any Dog or Yoke models assist?" They would be ideal at stacking boxes of liquor, or cleaning up after patrons.
"We don't use mechs at the Orchid Riviera." Rin walks over to a newly delivered crate and runs her scanner over it. "People appreciate knowing that human beings take care of everything here."
Abel wants to object. Mechs can outperform humans at most tasks, especially the kinds of things this resort seems to need. But Noemi speaks first. "Because it makes the visitors from Earth feel powerful—being able to order around other people. They wouldn't get the same satisfaction from giving orders to machines."
Does she want to get caught? Abel can't imagine what else Noemi hopes to accomplish by talking like a Genesis propagandist.
"Sounds like you've got a good head on your shoulders." Rin gives Noemi one appraising glance before gesturing toward the exit. "Go on, get changed, and get to work. You'll get your housing assignments later—but don't worry. I'll make sure the two of you get a tent of your own."
Noemi looks thunderstruck. Abel isn't sure why. The assumption that they were a romantic couple may have been what got them this job; they can hardly abandon the ruse now.
"Great," Noemi finally manages to say. "Just great."
In the evening, the delicious scents from the resorts kitchens creep into the back passageways used by the Vagabonds—yet when they queue for their own dinners, served in a sort of makeshift cafeteria outback, the stuff spooned onto their trays is bland nutrient mush.
"They called it bean salad," Noemi says as she frowns at her plate.
"I think we can safely assume that was a euphemism." Abel doesn't care for his own sake; although he can taste the differences in food, he's not programmed to mind.
This is nutritious enough and will not poison either of them. Therefore it is an acceptable dinner.
Harriet and Zayan seem to agree. As Zayan wolfs his down, Harriet laughs at Noemi's discomfiture. "Come on! Maybe it's not the best meal we've ever had, but—well, it's food, isn't it?"
"If you say so." Noemi takes a bite and winces, but dutifully keeps going.
Their shared quarters that night turn out to be anything but romantic—it's an individual tent, a fairly flimsy one that hardly amounts to more than a piece of fabric pinned down around a pole. The blankets they're given feel scratchy, nor does the pillow provide much support. As Noemi tucks her blanket around her, as far from him as she can get given the tent's close confines, Abel assesses their level of shelter. The warm weather here means sleeping outside should pose no danger of death or shock due to exposure. And the blankets are at least waterproof, should it rain.
"I don't know what you do all night while human beings sleep," Noemi says wearily, "but whatever you do, don't stare at me."
"You do?" Her curiosity overcomes her distrust. "But—well, why? Doesn't that just make you useless for a few hours a day?"
"I don't need as much sleep as a human, so I would always be able to serve if needed."
"But why sleep at all?"
"The same reasons humans sleep. My bodily functions need time to process, plus my memory capacity requires flushing of irrelevant data. Sleep provides a chance to do this. Did they not teach you this on Genesis?"
"It's not something we specifically went over. We only ever saw Charlies and Queens, and they weren't taking any naps in the middle of a battle."
"Understandable." Abel lies back onto his pallet and folds his blanket neatly atop him.
They lie there for a few long moments, wordless, hearing only the roll and rush of the ocean waves. The view will be beautiful in the morning, Abel decides. He can appreciate beauty; Mansfield gave him that gift.
He should go to sleep now and allow Noemi to do the same. Yet he has to know:
"What do you think of the Vagabonds? Of Kismet?"
"I think humans who aren't living on Genesis are even worse off than I ever imagined they could be."
Abel hadn't anticipated such a clear answer. "You acknowledge the harm done by your planet's succession?"
"By us? We didn't do this to them. Earth's greed and short-sightedness did all that. If they hadn't ruined their own world for everybody, none of this would be happening." Noemi stirs beneath her blanket, restless in her anger. "What I see is how we would've been treated by Earth. They'd have cheated us, ruined us, turned our world into another monument to selfishness. Thank God we seceded when we did.
Otherwise, we'd have been dragged down with them. We saved ourselves. We saved a world."
Abel doesn't argue. Partly that's because Noemi remains seriously overtired and must sleep soon. Getting involved in a political argument will only keep her awake.
But he also remains quiet partly because—just a little, on a level he hadn't understood perform—he agrees with her.
Claudia Gray is a pseudonym. I would like to say that I chose another name so that no one would ever learn the links between my shadowy, dramatic past and the explosive secrets revealed through my characters. This would be a lie. In truth, I took a pseudonym simply because I thought it would be fun to choose my own name. (And it is.)
I write novels full-time, absolutely love it, and hope to be able to do this forever. My home is in New Orleans, is more than 100 years old, and is painted purple. In my free time I read, travel, hike, cook and listen to music. You can keep up with my latest releases, thoughts on writing and various pop-culture musings via Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads or (of course) my own home page.
If you want to contact me, you can email me, but your best bet is probably to Tweet me. I don’t do follows on Twitter, but I follow everyone back on Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.
Giveaway Details:1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of DEFY THE STARS, US Only.
3/27/2017- BookHounds YA- Guest Post
3/28/2017- Page Turners Blog- Review
3/29/2017- Adventures of a Book Junkie- Guest Post
3/30/2017- Novel Novice- Review
3/31/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Guest Post
4/3/2017- NovelKnight- Review
4/4/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
4/5/2017- La La in the Library- Review
4/6/2017- Once Upon a Twilight- Guest Post
4/7/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review