Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy birthday to me, Happy ARC day to you!!

Today is my birthday, and I kind of feel like celebrating with gifts.  Plus, SE FOSSE PER SEMPRE (the Italian version of HEREAFTER) just spent its second week on the bestseller list.  So...yeah...celebration is totally in order.

But since I've received a LOT of gifts this last year (um, a debut novel and a baby, anyone?), I think I'll GIVE gifts to celebrate.  That means two ARCs of ARISE, the sequel to the Internationally Bestselling HEREAFTER, are yours for the taking! 

So here's how it will work: one ARC will be given away to someone who just comments, as chosen by Randomizer.org; one ARC will be given to the person with the most "points."  You can get a point each by commenting here, following this blog, liking "Tara Hudson" on Facebook, liking "Hereafter" on Facebook, commenting on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and Tweeting about the contest.  One "point" for each thing you do - including if you already follow those things!

The contest will last until 8 pm, EST, February 3rd.  I'll announce winners the morning of February 4th.  Open internationally.

Just to give you a taste of what awaits the two winners, here's the first chapter from ARISE, below!

CHAPTER ONE


The entire world had gone dark, and I had no idea why.



No matter how widely I opened my eyes, no matter how many times I craned my neck or spun around in search of even one speck of light, I found none. There was nothing but thick, impenetrable darkness.


Before I’d opened my eyes to all this pitch-black, I had the vague impression that I’d just been someplace warm, familiar. Someplace safe.


But wherever I was now, I didn’t feel safe at all. I felt sightless and trapped. Like I was on the verge of being consumed by the darkness . . . like it was trying to eat me whole.


Although I couldn’t see, I could still hear things: the swish of my long dress as I whirled in useless, searching circles; the hiss of my increasingly panicked breath.


I heard something else, too—some sound I couldn’t quite identify. Not at first.


It started softly, almost muffled. A strange noise echoing out from beneath layers and layers of cotton. But as the sound grew in volume, it also deepened. Slowly, it transformed into something stronger. Something that more closely resembled a continuous thudding.


When the thudding gained a certain steadiness—a rhythm—I sucked in one sharp breath.


I recognized the sound now, and it made me want to scream.


If I were anyone else—anything else—I probably wouldn’t have reacted that way. After all, the rhythmic thudding of a heartbeat usually meant something positive. It meant life.


But for me, an audible heartbeat meant only one thing: someone nearby was dying.


It wouldn’t be me, of course. I hadn’t felt a genuine heartbeat in my chest since the day I drowned, on the night of my eighteenth birthday more than ten years ago.


The sound I heard now was definitely made by a living heart. And I couldn’t fight the horrible suspicion that it belonged to someone I loved.


Joshua Mayhew, for instance. Or even his little sister, Jillian. Both very much alive, and both of whose heartbeats I monitored carefully after I’d worked so hard to protect them.


Hearing that terrible thudding now, I forced myself to calm down and focus more intently on the darkness. I strained and squinted, peering into the dark until, blessedly, weak light began to shimmer along the edges of my vision. I watched each new sliver closely, silently praying that it would reveal the owner of that heart. Selfishly praying that it wouldn’t be Joshua. As I waited impatiently, another realization struck me: I could rely on senses other than sight and hearing. This was strange, considering the fact that ghosts can’t smell, taste, or feel anything outside themselves. At least not very often.


Yet I could smell a sweet, musty decay all around me. It overlay the scent of damp air; and, combined, the scents had an almost disorienting effect. The smells, the heartbeat, the shifting darkness—all of it made me dizzy and uncomfortable.


Thankfully, the light grew brighter, and I could finally see that I stood in a dim room. Across from me, heavily slatted shutters ran from a wood-planked floor up to a beamed ceiling. The shutters blocked most of the light from what could only be the sun, shining outside a wall of windows.


Furniture filled the room: randomly placed chairs and end tables, as well as a low coffee table that flanked a couch. Flung across the couch, in some sort of makeshift slipcover, was a white bedsheet. And flung across the sheet was a person.


At first I thought she might be a child. On closer inspection, I realized the tiny figure was actually closer to my own age. She had curled into a protective ball on the couch, spine pressed to the back cushions and sharp hip bone jutting up in the air. Her head lolled sideways onto one of the couch’s arms, and her dark brown hair cascaded in a tangle to the floor.


Even in the darkness of the room I could see the unhealthy sheen of her skin. Sweat glistened upon her sunken cheeks, and her eyes fluttered behind their closed lids.


Something about the girl’s face gave me an actual chill. Something about her features . . .


I leaned closer for a better look,. and, at that moment, the girl opened her eyes to stare blankly into the room. Her eyes were red rimmed and unfocused, addled by either sleep or some kind of chemical. Probably the latter, judging by the overturned prescription bottle that had spilled a rainbow of pills across the table in front of her.


Under normal circumstances—if anything about this scene could be classified as normal—I would have been worried about this girl. However ineffectively, I would have tried to find someone to help her. I would have grasped at her with my dead, incapable hands.


But these were not normal circumstances.


Because just one sight of the girl’s eyes rooted me to the floor. Those eyes, though bloodshot and bleary, were still a luminous green, shining out from a face I knew very well.


My own.



40 comments:

  1. Omg! Happy birthday! :D And oh. Thank you so so so so so so much for this giveaway. <3 Want an ARC of Arise so so so so much. <3 :D Dying to read it :) And omg! Thank you for sharing the first chapter! :D:D
    +1 comment :D
    +1 follow your blog as Carina Olsen :)
    +1 liking Tara Hudson on facebook as Carina Olsen :)
    +1 liking Hereafter on facebook as Carina Olsen :)
    +1 commented on facebook :)
    +1 follow on twitter as @CarinaOlsen :)
    +1 tweet: https://twitter.com/CarinaOlsen/status/165085948365897730
    Love, Carina

    ReplyDelete
  2. ahhh this is soo awesome!!

    commented on the post!

    Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/apedulla/status/165085961284362240
    Follow u on twitter at @apedulla

    Follow the blog, facebook, all of them:) + the book (Amanda Pedulla)

    Thanks Tara!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy birthday!!! Since it's Groundhog Day, too, do you end up reliving the day over and over again? :)

    +1 comment
    +1 GFC follower - starryeyedjen
    +1 liked TH on FB - Jeannette Bruce
    +1 liked Hereafter on FB - Jeannette Bruce
    +1 commented on TH FB page
    +1 tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/starryeyedjen/status/165087908179611648
    +1 following on Twitter - starryeyedjen

    Thanks for the chance to score an ARC! I loved Hereafter! :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Happy birthday to you and thank you for this giveway and the first chapter of Arise!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Birthday!! You share a Groundhog's Day Birthday with my son :)

    +1 comment on blog
    +1 follow blog
    +1 Like Tara Hudson on FB - Jacque Smith
    +1 Like Hereafter on FB - Jacque Smith
    +1 Comment on FB - Comment on the Hereafter pg
    +1 Follow on Twitter - 4_RPattz
    +1 Comment on Twitter- https://twitter.com/4_rpattz/status/165098007673569280

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy birthday & thanks for the chance to win!

    +1 comment here
    +1 GFC follower dani_nguyen
    +1 twitter follower @Dani_Nguyen
    +1 tweet https://twitter.com/#!/Dani_Nguyen/status/165097904711802883
    +1 FB http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=344970982191050&id=100002144458886

    ReplyDelete
  8. Happy Birthday! My birthday is this month too and I'm going to be giving away some signed books to celebrate :) Giving is fun!

    +1Commenting
    +1Blog follower
    +1Twitter follower @Kr15tina
    +1Tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/Kr15tina/status/165106667703373825
    +1Facebook author page, Kristina Ebert
    +1Facebook book page
    +1commenting on FB

    Extras:
    -friends with you on Goodreads
    -have both books in my TBR pile
    -added Arise to my Wishlist on Amazon

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy birthday!

    +1 Commenting here
    +1 Already liked on Facebook Tara Hudson :D Emma Smile Yeo
    +1 Blog followed (Emma Yeo)
    +1 Commented on Facebook x
    +1 Liked the hereafter page
    +1 Following on Twitter @xemmawhyx
    +1 Tweeted here - https://twitter.com/#!/xemmawhyx/status/165112052648648705


    Put your blog on my Google homepage, can't wait to hear if you have any more news about the book and Arise is already on my to be read list on Goodreads ready for when it comes out :D

    Loving the first chapter

    Hope you have a great day :) x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy Birthday Again!!! I hope I win!! The book sounds really good! I'm a stay at home mom with twin 3 month olds.

    +1commenting
    +1facebook author page
    +1facebook book page
    +1commenting on facebook
    +1 shared link to contest on wall :)
    +1 blog follower

    ReplyDelete
  11. Happy birthday!!

    bmweida at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  12. Happy Birthday!!

    Thanks for the chance. I did all the points.

    FB Jennifer Eckels-Alston

    Twitter @drakijenn

    ReplyDelete
  13. Happy Birthday, Tara!!! You rock! ^_^

    Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/StatesOfDecay/status/165120353851547648

    FB Author page + FB Book page LIKE: www.facebook.com/statesofdecay

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations, what a great year! Fun giveaway, happy birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy Birth Day to you! Having a baby certainly makes you think about the day differently.

    Loved Hereafter! Can't wait for Arise.

    Laurayjames26(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Birthday Tara! And thanks for the contest :)

    +1 Commented on Post

    +1 Follow the blog: magan bagan

    +2 Liked you and Hereafter on FB: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000701590130

    +1 Commented on FB: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=143723495747112&id=163401313716811

    +1 Follow on Twitter: @maganbagan

    +1 Tweeted Contest: https://twitter.com/#!/maganbagan/status/165161480638046208

    ReplyDelete
  17. Happy Birthday! I hope it is a joyous occasion!
    +1 Comment on Post
    +1 Blog follower (stellaluna_skywind)
    +1 Like Tara Hudson on fb (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1053447686)
    +1 Like HereAfter on fb (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1053447686)
    +1 Comment on Tara Hudson on fb (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1053447686)
    +1 Follow on Twitter (@severielle)
    +1 Tweeting about the contest (https://twitter.com/#!/Severielle/status/165174200565379074)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy birthday! I would loooovvvvveeeee to win an arc!
    +1 following TH on fb (as Ariel Boeger)
    +1 like Hereafter on fb (as Ariel)
    +1 following this blog (as mustlovebooks)
    +1 for commenting on here
    +1 for commenting on facebook

    ReplyDelete
  19. Happy birthday!!! I'm so excited for ARISE

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy Birthday - hope your having a blast.
    Thanks for the awesome chance to win, I am desperate for more and can't wait for Arise

    +1 comment on blog
    +1 follow blog
    +1 Like Tara Hudson on FB - Becky Earl
    +1 Like Hereafter on FB - Becky Earl
    +1 Comment on FB - Comment on author page.
    +1 Follow on Twitter - @ Bsrmy_Bex

    ReplyDelete
  21. Happy birthday and thanks for the giveaway! :)

    +1 Follow Blog: Veronica W.
    +1 Liked "Tara Hudson" on FB
    +1 Like "Hereafter" on FB
    +1 Commented on FB (under ARC post)
    +1 Follow on Twitter: @veronicawalker
    +1 Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/veronicawalker/status/165209142473138176

    roniwalker7(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Oh! Happy Birthday to you! Thank you so much for this opportunity! Here are my points:

    +1 Comment on post
    +1 Already following GFC: Christina
    +1 Liked "Tara Hudson" on Facebook: Christina Bodden
    +1 Liked "Hereafter" on Facebook: Christina Bodden
    +1 Commented On Facebook: Christina Bodden
    +1 Following on Twitter: @Caymanian_girl
    +1 Tweet: https://twitter.com/#!/Caymanian_girl/status/165218020837433344

    Total: 7
    Thank you so much again! and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. ♪♫♪♫•¸♥Happy Birthday!•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ To You ♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Happy Birthday!•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ To You ♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥Happy Birthday! ♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥•*¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ Happy Birthday! ♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♪♫♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ Happy Birthday! To You!
    +1 Comment
    +1 Following Blog as SusieB
    +1 "liked" Tara Hundson on Facebook as Susie Branun
    +1 "liked" HEREAFTER on Facebook as Susie Branum
    +1 commented on Facebook as Susie Branum
    +1 I am following on Twitter (@SexySusie85)
    +1 for Tweeting https://twitter.com/#!/SexySusie85/status/165220998281560064

    ReplyDelete
  24. Happy birthday! Can't wait to read this one!
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follow via GFC- Chey
    +1 Liked your page on Facebook- Cheyenne Teska
    +1 Liked Hereafter on Facebook- Cheyenne Teska
    +1 Follow on Twitter- @ohaiitschey
    +1 Tweet- https://twitter.com/#!/ohaiitschey/status/165239951259205632

    Thanks again! <3
    mcrs_venin(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  25. No no no... must resist reading chapter one cause that would just make the wait for Arise even more torturous :)
    Happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I seriously CANNOT wait to read this!!! You are the best ever! Happy birthday darlin! :-)

    valialind(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  27. Happy birthday!
    +1 Comment
    +1 follow via GFC- autumn miller
    +1 liked your Facebook page - Autumn Miler
    +1 liked hereafter Facebook page- Autumn Miller
    +1 commented on Facebook - Autumn Miller
    +1 follow on twitter- @vampirefan2
    +1 tweet, I tweeted it from @vampirefan2 I can't get the link.

    Bowlingtowin(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  28. HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!! 1comment,1liked Facebook,1 commented on Facebook, 1followed on twitter, 1tweet @dolphinrj and followed blog.. I already own the book on my I book but would live a hard copy:) Thank You ,

    ReplyDelete
  29. Aw! Hopefully you, the books, and your baby are all doing well :-)

    5 POINTS
    +1 Comment
    +1 Follow the blog (via GoogleReader)
    +1 Like Tara on Facebook
    +1 Like Hereafter on Facebook
    +1 Follow on Twitter

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm excited about Arise! I just read (and reviewed) Hereafter and am looking forward to seeing where Amelia and Joshua head next!
    http://raidingbookshelves.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/hereafter-by-tara-hudson.html

    +1 Comment
    +1 Follow the blog (via GoogleReader)
    +1 Like Tara on Facebook
    +1 Like Hereafter on Facebook
    +1 Follow on Twitter

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi,
    Arise looks so good - especially if it is as good as this first chapter! Hope you had a great birthday x

    Here is my entry to your contest :D
    +1 Followed on twitter as @SmileyLoveLife
    +1 Commented here
    +1 Tweeted here https://twitter.com/#!/SmileyLoveLife/status/165464705220100096
    +1 Like Tara on Facebook
    +1 Like Hereafter on Fb
    +1 Followed blog by GFC :D
    + Commented on facebook (Christine)

    Think I got all the points :)
    Hope you have a good weekend - and thank you for the giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  32. LOVED Hereafter, have read it twice already, the story is great and this first chapter makes it even better :D


    +1 Liked on twitter (Meggie Why)
    +1 Tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/MeggieWhy/status/165467736351326208
    +1 Liked on Facebook (Meggie Rose)
    +1 Liked Hereafter on Facebook (Meggie Rose)
    +1 Commented on facebook
    +1 For Google Friend Connect
    +1 Comment

    And... I think that's it!

    Hope you had an amazing birthday, keep writing - and thank you so much for the giveaway :D

    ReplyDelete
  33. I can't wait for Arise, I love it so much, you are such a great writter Tara. Happy Birthday. :D

    ReplyDelete
  34. Happy Birthday Tara! (It's my birthday too!) Hope it was a good one!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    lyssad87(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Happy Birthday and thank you for the giveaway!
    +1 comment
    +1 blog follow Andrea Thompson
    +1 twitter follow @BookishAndrea
    +1 like Tara Hudson on FB Andrea Pierce Thompson
    +1 like Hereafter on FB Andrea Pierce Thompson
    +1 comment on FB

    6 total
    andreat78@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

    isa_mar_91@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Ack! I think I'm too late, but I did everything anyway: followed, commented, liked on facebook x2, twitter, tweeted. So excited!Hereafter is my favorite 2011 book! https://twitter.com/#!/SabrinaMK/status/165649698756108289

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hey everyone! Thank you SO much for the birthday wishes, and your incredible enthusiasm for ARISE! The winners of the ARISE ARCs are Carina Olsen and BarmyBex...please send me your addresses at tara@tarahudson.com, and I'll mail them Monday. Can't wait till you all get to read ARISE - stay posted for another contest at the end of the month!

    ReplyDelete