Thursday, October 8, 2015

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Quanta by Lola Dodge

UFI welcomes Author Lola Dodge. Thanks for Joining us!!

Teenage Garage Sale 

I have to start out by warning you that I was a teenager in the 90s, so this is going to be a super 80’s/90’s adventure. The scariest thing is that I actually still have a lot of this stuff in my parents’ attic… Oops. Please don’t judge me for my bins of stuffed animals. I promise, I’m an adult now (somewhat).


1. Legolas life-sized cardboard figure
I was obsessed with the Lord of the Rings movies when they were still coming out and I had this guy in my bedroom for a few years. He was 50% for the elvish eye candy and 50% for hiding around the house to freak out my family members.
Okay. Maybe I’m not ready to part with him.

2. Used lacrosse gear
 I played lacrosse from middle school until after college, and wracked up a ton of battered sticks and goalie gear. You know you want a gently used pelvic protector in your life. Or a funky chest pad? Dented helmet?
Price: It’s free! Please take the stinky things away.

3. Tacky costume earrings
At the height of my awkward phase, I was wearing windpants everyday, but my momma taught me that you can still be feminine as long as you’re wearing cute earrings. I interpreted cute as bulky, dangly, and tacky as anything. Realistic popcorn, present boxes, gold stars that dangled to my shoulders.
Price: Also free. Take them, or I’m going to start wearing them again.

4. Care Bears
 You’d think I would’ve gotten rid of these before, but I have really a lot of them. Like… hundreds? Or I did at one point. Now I have at least one of each bear/cousin in mint condition in storage. It’s totally normal. TOTALLY. NORMAL.
Price: Just kidding. You can’t have them.

5. Super 90’s T-shirts
When you’re wearing wind pants every day, you really need to pick a stylish matching top. Luckily the 90’s were big on ridiculous T-shirts. Aussie T’s were my favorite (TEN DAYS WITHOUT SOCCER MAKES ONE WEAK), but my collection has a wide range of gems like Peace Frogs and Just Hafta play lacrosse.
Price: $1/shirt. No sizes smaller than XL because baggy is fashion.

6. So many paperbacks
 I don’t want to give away books, but that bookshelf isn’t doing much good while I’m traveling around Asia. I’m a Kindle convert until I move back to somewhere permanent, but I have no idea when that’s going to be. In the meantime, help yourself to my collection of YA fantasy, romance, sci-fi, and fun non-fiction.
Price: Free to a good home if you promise not to bend the spines.

7. ALL THE 90s MUSIC (Why did I think that CD subscription was a good idea?!)
Stacks and stacks and stacks of CDs.
Stacks and stacks of CDs. Jock Jams (Volumes 1 to Infinity), *NSYNC, Sisqo, Usher, TLC, Limp Bizkit, The Fugees, Britney Spears, Destiny’s Child, No Doubt, Alanis Morisette. AND MORE!
Price: I’ll pay you not to tell anyone about this.

::author photos:LOLA DODGE.jpgLola is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University—and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.

Find Lola and her books

The Shadow Ravens #2
Just because Quanta can see the future doesn’t mean she can change it. She’s spent most of her life imprisoned, feeding her captors information to keep herself alive, but she’s finally reached the endgame and her death creeps closer by the moment.

The son of two senators, Altair Orpheus leads a life of privilege that provides the perfect cover for his side job: working with the rebel Shadow Ravens to undermine the ruling Seligo government. Everything is running like clockwork until he crosses paths with Quanta. As he watches her deftly maneuver through life in a perverse prison, his plastic heart melts. A jailbreak would be suicide, but Tair is willing to sacrifice everything to give her a chance at happiness.

Now Quanta senses a terrifying new future brewing. She and Tair are bound together, but every image of them kissing, snuggling, and acting knee-weakeningly happy is balanced by a much darker possibility. They’ll be picture perfect together, but only until time rips them apart. How can she follow her heart when she’s seen how their love plays out?

Altair’s POV

Mother smiled like a cat, full of ambition and smugness. “Someone wants to meet you.”
Someone? Suddenly, I knew where this was going. “Mother—”
“There are the Astors.” Mother gave a demure wave and started gliding toward a trio standing near an ice sculpture. Her fingers clamped my arm, dragging me along. Father walked on my other side, sandwiching me in place.
No way to run without making a scene. Senator Astor and her husband stood waiting with their daughter.
A set-up.
My free hand bunched into a fist, but I tucked it into my pocket. I couldn’t make a mistake in front of this audience.
Mother exchanged greetings, then made a sweeping gesture. “This is my son, Altair. Altair, this is Layla Astor.”
Layla’s blonde hair tumbled in artful curls and braids. She wore tasteful neutral makeup that emphasized her full lips and emerald green eyes, but a hint of darker eyeliner smudged like a leftover from some previous night’s debauchery; that was half of what I needed to know to escape the conversation.
And I would escape. I had no interest in these shallow romances meant to gain my family position.
“It’s so nice to meet you, Altair. I knew your sister at academy.” And that was why Cass had been invited. Some common bond to me to a potential future mate.
Good thing Cass had stayed home. She’d hate the situation as much as I did.
The girl extended her arm, flashing her Green Helix and I couldn’t avoid the handshake. “Likewise.” Layla’s rough fingertips gave me the last clue I needed. Calluses from playing an instrument. Between that and the eyeliner, I had an excellent guess at how to get rid of her. Rather than sell her out in front of her parents, I offered her an arm. “I was just about to admire the ice sculptures. Would you care to join me?”
“I’d love to.” She smiled and placed delicate fingertips on my arm.
Our parents grinned conspiratorial smiles as we strolled away. No doubt they’d already picked a wedding date. I waited until we were out of modified earshot to speak. “How upset would your family be if I mentioned that you play in a band?”
“Very.” Layla tensed, and her expression and tone shifted from vapid politeness to shrewd consideration. “Not that you should know.”
I shrugged. “I won’t say a thing as long as you don’t press an engagement.”
“Thank God.” Layla shuddered. “Our mothers schemed this one. I thought you were in on it.”
I grinned. I didn’t often stumble onto others faking their way through Helix life, but every so often an ally dropped in my lap. “Should we small talk for a few minutes and then pretend to offend each other?”
Layla pressed her lips together, eying me up and down. “If you’re up to it, I have a better suggestion.”
“Oh?” I handed her a drink taken from a passing tray. Our parents still watched from across the room.
“Let’s meet for coffee. We could draw this out for months.”
“A faux courtship?” It had promise, although there were certainly risks.
“You’re the first guy they’ve set me up with who’s not a self-centered ass.” Layla’s mischievous smile made her eyes sparkle. “My girlfriend would love you.”
Her voice was clear of subterfuge and I found myself smiling back. “Next week? I’m sure our parents already exchanged our contact information.” And faking a relationship would save me getting blindsided at every event.
“Call me.” She finger-waved and then headed for a crowd of friends, who proceeded to glance my way, slipping a few quickly smothered cackles. I nodded before heading off to work the crowd.
Despite my parents’ efforts, the night was going better than expected.

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