If you read the blog regularly enough, you know I’ve been hard at work on my YA near-future science fiction novel Cloud Nine. I handed the final version over to my beta readers earlier this week in the hopes they’d connect with my unapologetic heroine and be a little creeped out by how plausible the conditions in the book are. What kind of a friend would I be if I didn’t unsettle them a little bit, right?

One of the things about Ally, the heroine, is she is always eager for a fight. Part of her journey here is learning to not burst with emotion and to delay her need to whip a fist out. The book starts out with her fighting. It’s her first reaction and natural. Learning to temper her anger is a slow process and she’s fortunate to have some good guidance. That said, the book ends with an epic, bloody fight—but it’s one with purpose. It’s the kind of fight Ally chooses to participate in for the right reasons instead of it being her first reaction.

I haven’t written a Write Like A Fighter post about it yet, but there’s a lot to be said for the fighter spirit. The willingness to get injured in the name of winning a fight matters more than we often talk about. It’s the moment when your loved ones are at your side that you have to choose to make a sacrifice of pain to save them. My favorite thing about Cloud Nine is that heart, the soul of a fighter, prevails.

As I’m in hurry-up-and-wait mode on this manuscript, I’ll give you a peek at the opening fight and a taste of the tone you’ll read in Cloud Nine:

It didn’t take a boot pressed to my windpipe to know oxygen mattered.


But it was a hell of a reminder.


“How’d you weasel your way in, Ally?” Mark’s foot pressed hard enough to make me forget his stupid question.


Blackness crowded my vision, but I knew he was glaring down at me. The spittle flying alongside each accusation landed on my cheeks. Done. With. This.


I arced my arm around his leg, letting my knuckles collide with the back of his knee.


Air. Sweet, sweet air.


I bucked my hips and rolled out from under Mark’s falling body, scuttling away in a less badass crab walk. Leah clutched her backpack to her chest. She was ten feet away. Mark had forgotten her. He always forgot her once I threw a punch.


Once a few feet separated us, I popped to my feet. I kept my hands in front of me, but open. Just in case. “You want to tell me what that,” I gestured to the ground where I’d just been pinned, “was all about?”


“Don’t even.”


“What? Are you still not over my ‘don’t touch Leah’ policy?” I spared a glance to my sister. She had turned as though her profile would make her disappear. I couldn’t keep protecting her like this.


“How did you get into Cloud Nine?” Mark’s words made my head spin.


Seriously? I didn’t even apply. Why anyone would want to live miles above the earth baffled me. “You need to check your sources.”


“Your sister ain’t a reliable source?” His hand stabbed through the light fog surrounding us, cutting straight at Leah.


My brows furrowed until the rubber around my goggles pinched at the skin. I edged around to see her clearly, but I wasn’t about to give Mark my back. “Leah?” I should have yelled, but instead her name stretched slowly from my lips.


Instead of owning up to it, my sister darted around the corner. Her action the same as driving her boot into my gut. I stepped forward, ready to follow her, but Mark’s hand gripped my upper arm.

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