October 3, 2015

The Storm Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Storm! Today I have a great excerpt from the book to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!!

The Storm (The Rain #2)
Author: Virginia Bergin
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopia
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


"I'll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses - a thing I didn't even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don't they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse."

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead . . . and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe - at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes - and her mouth - shut. It's not going to happen. When she realizes what is going on - the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects - Ruby flips out . . . and makes an even more shocking discovery: she's not useless at all. The Storm begins . . .


From Chapter 8 of The Storm by Virginia Bergin

By the time I’ve finished, my tray is so heavy, my arms are questioning how long they can hold it as I turn and… So the whole place is pretty much empty, right? There are a few people left, lingering over le top nosh, but I want to sit away from people. I want to stuff my face in peace, then find a place to sleep—­in this canteen if I have to. I look to the far end of the room; it is darker there, the lights down at that end off already, chairs stacked on tables. Only one person sitting there, alone.

I must be really, really, really hungry, because I suddenly feel all shaky and my stomach does this funny flip.

As I get closer, I see that he has a book open in front of him…but he isn’t trying to read in the darkness; he is just staring out of the window—­into space, I presume, because you can’t see into the stadium from here and the view’s not all that, just more boring buildings. But at least he can see the view; he’s got new glasses.

D-­A-­R-­I-­U-­S   S-­P-­R-­A-­T-­T

I wish I knew how terrible I look, but maybe I don’t look terrible at all. This is not because I care about what Darius Spratt thinks, you understand. This is for the sake of my own dignity. There’s quite a lot of black makeup gloop on my hands, but it can’t really be smudged all over my face, can it? (Oh yes, it can!) On my tray, the tiny upside-­down reflection of me in the spoon (for quicker stew shoveling) gives no real clue—­because the light is so bad, I suppose. I’d rustle up some inner dignity, but I won’t be able to hold the tray for long enough to get that done. I take a deep breath and a long, shaky walk across that room.

I spill my water putting the tray on the table. It goes all over my food.

The Spratt, startled, looks around and—­

“Ruby!” he gushes.

This makes a change from what he usually says to me, which is, “What have you done to your hair?” That will be coming, I am sure. For now, the gushy voice is the least of it—­he actually surges to his feet and opens his arms and—­

I dump myself down as elegantly as I dumped the tray. There will be no hugging here, I can assure you.

“Hi,” I say—­as curtly and as crisply as I can manage.

The Spratt gawks at me with joy and—­oh no! You’re kidding me! Glistening tears well in his eyes. (TEARS OF GUILT. Should be.) The effect on me is horrific; I have had a very traumatic time and very little sleep and so, in my weakened state, I feel a surge of emotion at the sight of his familiar, nerdy face. (See how dreadful apocalypses are?)

“Siddown!” I hiss.

The Spratt sits back down—­but he can hardly stay in his seat; he leans across the table at me, and I see his hand creeping across it toward my hand, which is just lying there, dog dead exhausted by all the goings-­on. I grab my spoon and shovel stew into my face. It is hard to swallow. I am starving, and the irksome presence of the Spratt is putting me off my food.

“You’re alive…” he breathes at me.

Yup. He is definitely one of the smart, useful people. I nod at him in a mean sort of way, eyes narrowed; if my mouth wasn’t crammed full of unswallowable cold stew mush, I’d tell him straight out what my look is intended to convey: “NO THANKS TO YOU.”

“Did you find your dad?” he blurts.

How did he do that? How did he just manage to pick the one question that stabs me straight in the heart? I have been back in the Spratt’s company for approximately ten nanoseconds and already I am wigging out. Right. I’ve got to shut him up. I need to swallow so I can talk. I grab his mug of—­cocoa? He’s drinking cocoa?!—­swig, and force that stew mush down.

“Oh, Ruby,” he whispers softly, like he already knows the answer. So softly and kindly and sweetly, I feel myself choking up—­which is even more annoying than wigging out.

I shove my plate of food away, mainly so the spoon is out of reach. Otherwise, I would be tempted to find out if you can stab with one. Instead, I stab with words.

“Did you find your mom?”

The Spratt is adopted. He now basically has a snowflake’s chance in hell of finding her.

He glances around, and I think he’s about to yell at me, which I already know in a way—­but only in a certain sort of way—­I would deserve for asking such a cruel question—­but no: “I did,” he whispers, his eyes wide with the marvelousness of the thing.

The seething troll monster of my own feelings bristles. I’d slap it, but it is covered, all over, in razor-­sharp spines. It has a heart though; somewhere in the gargantuan raging mass of its troll body, a small, sad, human heart beats.

“Really?” I say.

“Kind of,” he says. He glances around again. “I looked it up,” he whispers—­so I’m guessing he wasn’t supposed to or something. “I know who she was—­her name and where she lived. I just don’t know what happened to her, you know…”

I do know. I know exactly. And I know exactly what that feels like. And I also remember the too-­many times (twice) the Spratt dared to point out to me that my dad was probably dead, and the troll monster wants to say this now, to him, about his mom, and see him hurt, but I just can’t stand it. I can’t stand any of this. I get up, shoving my chair backward.

I don’t know where I think I am going. I have nowhere to go.

I burst into tears.

“Ruby!” says Darius.

His arms are around me. His arms do not feel the spines. The troll monster shudders and judders with tears.

Ah-­hoo, ah-­wah, ah-­wooh, blubs the troll.

But you will notice that it was the troll that was crying and not the small, sad human heart. 
Virginia Bergin learned to roller-skate with the children of eminent physicists.
She grew up in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in a house tied to her father’s job. Her parents, the children of Irish and Polish immigrants – and one Englishwoman – had moved from Liverpool to the south of England in search of work.
Virginia studied psychology but ruined her own career when, dabbling in fine art at Central St Martins, she re-discovered creative writing. Since then she has written poetry, short stories, film and TV scripts and a play that almost got produced – but didn’t.
In between and alongside more jobs than you’ve had hot dinners, she has worked as a writer on TV, eLearning and corporate projects and has 22 broadcast and non-broadcast TV credits, from children’s favourite Big Cat Diary Family Histories (BBC) to the award-winning series Africa (Tigress Productions for National Geographic). Most recently, she has been working in online education, creating interactive courses for The Open University.
She has lived in North Wales, London and Bristol. In May 2015, she moved from a council estate in Bristol to live in rural Somerset, somewhere between Taunton, Chard and Ilminster. Her nearest neighbour is a horse. (Biography + photo taken from author's website.)

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  1. I'm not exactly the person who could manage to live through the end of the world but maybe a machete, solar powered flashlight, and clean bandages. When I die whoever loots me will be happy at least xD

  2. Knife, Survival Book, and First Aid Kit ! This series sounds really amazing but I went to Amazon and Rain is not available in ebook :(

  3. Water, warm clothing, a weapon.

  4. My love, my hope, my dreams~ jk

    A machete, warm clothes and food

  5. Weapons, First Aid Kit, and warm clothes.

  6. Food, Shelter and a Book. Thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  7. I'd have to have lots of flint, a weapon of some sort and a solar flashlight.

  8. I'd have to have lots of flint, a weapon of some sort and a solar flashlight.

  9. I would have to have food, books/Kindle, batteries, blanket and a weapon probably matches too.

  10. Matches/lighter fluid, books, water.

  11. I would want to have food, water and clothing!

    kimberlybreid at hotmail dot com

  12. My knife, my kindle / a few books, and my fiance.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Some pharmoceutical trio appropriate to ameliorating whatever my impending doom -- maybe a lethal dose of something, an anti-anxiety med, and some high dose broad efficacy antibiotic like cipro...definitely some meds to escape body, mind, and or soul as may become necessary! Maybe just a few good books? I am not a big optimist, but my main goal would to make survivable tolerable. Thanks for the interesting q -- looking forward to this read! Cheers, Kara S