Monday, March 12, 2018

The Initiation by Chris Babu #YA #Sci-Fi

The Initiation


Genre: YA sci-fi
Release Date: February 27th 2018
Permuted Press


Everyone is equal. But no one is safe.

In a ruined world, Manhattan is now New America, a walled-in society based on equality. But the perfect facade hides a dark truth.

A timid math geek, sixteen-year-old Drayden watches his life crumble when his beloved mother is exiled. The mystery of her banishment leads him to a sinister secret: New America is in trouble, and every one of its citizens is in jeopardy.

With time running out, he enters the Initiation. It’s a test within the empty subway tunnels—a perilous journey of puzzles and deadly physical trials. Winners join the ruling Bureau and move to its safe haven. But failure means death. Can Drayden conquer the Initiation, or is salvation out of his grasp?

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Playlist for The Initiation

Stranger Things (feat. OneRepublic) by Kygo              
Unstoppable by Sia                                       
Mad World by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules              
Like I Do by David Guetta, Martin Garrix & Brooks         
Destiny by Zero 7                                         
Beautiful (feat. Winona Oak) by What So Not              
Adventure of a Lifetime by Coldplay                      
Promises by Nero                                        
On My Way to Heaven by Above and Beyond                                                      
Dark Down Below by Kloud                                  
Lost in the World (feat. Bon Iver) by Kanye West        
Dangerous (feat. Sam Martin) by David Guetta  
Bird Set Free by Sia           
Stay for it (feat. Miguel) by RL Grime
Poetic by Seinabo Sey

About the Author:

Chris Babu grew up in North Haven, CT, playing soccer and the violin in his free time. After devouring The Shining under the covers with a flashlight when he was eight, Chris was hooked on fiction. He's always had a thing for young adult books. But he's also a major science and math nerd - physics being his favorite - and he has a math degree from MIT.

For nineteen years, he worked as a bond trader on Wall Street, riding the subway to and from work every day. He traded mortgage-backed securities for Bank of America and then Deutsche Bank, where he eventually ran the MBS trading desk. Now Chris writes full-time, always with his trusted assistant Buddy, a 130-pound Great Dane, who can usually be found on his lap. They split their time between New York City and the east end of Long Island. Their omnipresence at home drives his wife Michelle and daughter Lily crazy. The Initiation is his first novel.

Guest Post:

Bob the Garbage Man and My Writing Process

What had happened to me?

I used to work on a trading floor in Manhattan, elbow-to-elbow with 500 other traders. I’d take the subway every day, alongside five million other daily riders. I lived in an apartment building with 400 tenants.

But here I sat, on the floor of my house in Long Island. My Great Dane, Buddy, was stretched out on the couch, fast asleep. It was 7:00am on a Thursday, and I hadn’t seen another person in three days.
I’d always fancied myself as independent, and mentally strong. I didn’t need other people. I had my computer, my thoughts, my words, and my dog. But holy crap was I lonely. I thought about driving into town to walk around the grocery store. Maybe getting an unnecessary haircut? Fate had something else in mind.

With no public garbage collection in our town, you either pay a private company to do it or go to the dump yourself. We use Norsic. Just then, the deep rumble of the miniature garbage truck broke the morning silence.

In my slippers and pajama pants, I hurried out the door. As I approached Bob, I was grinning like some kind of madman.

Bob didn’t even look up. He continued collecting the empty boxes I’d broken down.

“Hey, man!” I shouted. “How you doin’ today?”

“Uh, good. You?”

“Great. Yeah, awesome. Looks like another nice day.”

“Yup.” He grabbed a bag of trash.

“Say, you wanna come in for some coffee?” I hooked a thumb behind me towards the house. “I was about to put on a pot.” (Lie)

Bob wrinkled his nose. “Uh… no? No, I got a lot more houses to pick up. Thanks, though.”

I tried to hide my disappointment. “Yeah, totally. I don’t want coffee either. Pfffft.” I waved a hand through the air. “Coffee,” I mumbled, shaking my head. “Hey, see ya next week.”

“Okaaay,” he said, refusing my eye contact. I never saw him again. Now he comes when I’m sleeping.

So, yeah. Writing, for me, is a solitary affair. I choose to do it this way, because I’m much more productive when I’m isolated, without distractions. I generally alternate weeks in the city and country, lest my daughter forget who I am, or I go insane.

It’s easy for Bob to avoid me because I’m a night owl. Unencumbered by a day job, my schedule has drifted toward my natural state. Maximum Chris Babu. I work all night, seven days a week. I sleep during the day, which is perfect in the city because my daughter is at school.

The downside is the world is up when I’m not. I wake to 857 emails, 34 twitter notifications, 75 Facebook ones, 88 texts, and several voicemails. This is a source of some anxiety. Despite my high tolerance for sleep deprivation, a daytime conference call or a doctor’s appointment is a problem.
I don’t work at a desk. I write on the floor, lying on my stomach, propped up on my elbows. Nobody can believe I do this, but it’s true. No, it’s not my back that suffers, it’s my elbows. They look like ground beef that’s been left out on the counter for days. I have a gorgeous desk, and I’ve tried it, yet it feels too stiff and formal for me. Buddy never leaves my side, and often sits on my back (he’s 130 pounds).

When working on a novel, I try to write at least 2,000 words a day. I won’t cut myself off there, like Stephen King does. The most I’ve ever written in a day is 6,000 words. Often, I’m writing blog posts and drop the 2000-word quota. I wish I could say I wrote every day, but sometimes I’m “marketing”—social media posts, working on my website, or sending emails.

When I begin a writing session, I always edit what I wrote the previous day. Not a thorough edit, just a quick cleanup of ridiculously bad prose or terrible ideas.

I’m a thorough outliner, sketching a complete book, scene by scene, before I write a word. I incorporate character arcs, and theme in my outline. It takes more time than writing the book, since the story creation requires so much thought. I worked off a thirty-page outline for The Initiation.
For the sequel, I tried to loosen up, to benefit from the spontaneous idea generation that can occur when you’re “in the zone.” It worked well, and I now appreciate the art of pantsing a little more. While I still outline each scene, I don’t choreograph every action. I let the scene unfold as I type and see what happens. Yeah, sometimes bad stuff happens, but I’m free to delete it. Keeping that in the back of my mind seems to max out my creativity.

I’m fortunate to write full-time, because I’m incapable of sneaking in twenty minutes of writing here or there. If I’m working on a novel, I need a block of at least four uninterrupted hours. Getting mentally into the story world, and inside the characters’ minds, takes me time. That doesn’t mean I don’t grab a snack every seven minutes when I get stuck on something. Because I do.

Unless I’m asleep, I’m listening to music on my headphones. I don’t try and match the mood of the music to the scene, as some writers do. My playlist is a rotating mix of classic rock, rap, top-40, electronic dance music, classical, and even country!

I'm still a student of writing. Part of my daily process is following writing blogs, and reading guides on writing. I'm always trying to improve my craft by learning new skills.

The final component of my process is reading. MUST read every day!

Chris Babu is either a former bond trader who writes, or a writer who formerly traded bonds. He desperately hopes he’s the latter. His debut YA novel, The Initiation, came out February 27th from Permuted Press. He can also be found at

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