Saturday, September 24, 2016

Promo Tour: The Lying Planet by Carol Riggs

Title: The Lying Planet
Author: Carol Riggs
Series: None
Genre/Age: Sci Fi/YA
Publisher: Entangled Teen
SynopsisPromise City. That’s the colony I’ve been aiming for all my life on the planet Liberty. The only thing standing in my way? The Machine. On my eighteenth birthday, this mysterious, octopus-like device will scan my brain and Test my deeds. Good thing I’ve been focusing on being Jay Lawton, hard worker and rule follower, my whole life. Freedom is just beyond my fingertips.

Or so I thought. Two weeks before my Testing with the Machine, I’ve stumbled upon a new reality. The truth. In a single sleepless night, everything I thought I knew about the adults in our colony changes. And the only one who’s totally on my side is the clever, beautiful rebel, Peyton. Together we have to convince the others to sabotage their Testings before it’s too late. 

Before the ceremonies are over and the hunting begins.

Inside the enormous building, I walk by rows of empty bleachers. My footsteps slow as I near an imposing apparatus.

The Machine.

A full three meters tall, the Machine’s silver arms flare out from a single seat, making it look like a predatory mutant octopus. A plexifiber dome encloses and protects it. A biolock secures access to the dome. It looks almost alive, as though it’s waiting, sleeping…conserving energy until it’s time for the graduation ceremony.

Shivers crawl down my arms. Eerie as it is, the Testing Machine is my ticket out of Sanctuary. It’ll show what I’ve contributed to the zone and prove I’m worthy to join the colony of Promise City. Thanks to the uncanny way it judges us—and the Board rewarding high scores and threatening banishment for low ones—productivity has skyrocketed. The Machine boggles my mind. For the last six years it’s been here, ever since kids were eighteen and old enough for the Testing to start up, it has held the power of life and death on this planet.


A rowdy whoop echoes around the stadium, making me flinch.

“Hey, Lawton, ogling the beast?” a deep voice calls. “Making sure it’s recording every single one of your dedicated community services?”

I turn to find one of my friends wearing a helioball cap walking into the building. Nash Redmond. A ludmium-powered pruning device and a maintenance bucket dangle from his hands. Two of our other friends are on landscaping duty with him, carrying tools and wearing gloves. Leonard walks beside him, his lanky form mimicking Nash’s casual walk, but Peyton copies no one. Her petite, tomboyish body moves toward me with purpose. Her uniform is mismatched, an orange shirt paired with dark blue pants.

“Hey, Nash,” I say. After what we’ve seen at the education compound, I don’t know how he can act normal, almost cheerful. I give Peyton a half smile. “Why are you still hanging out with these guys?”

She grins, her slightly crooked teeth crisp and white against her naturally brown skin. “They’re insane. I adore insanity.”

“I hope you don’t regret it.” I toss a meaningful glance at the Machine, and it’s not reassuring that she shrugs. She’s changed over the seasons, gone renegade. Ever since that one Harvest Equinox party two years ago, when we stopped hanging out. Now she skips education sessions with Nash and Leonard and works at community service only long enough to log in her required hours. I doubt she’ll flunk and get banished, but she won’t score very high. Apparently the Machine doesn’t spur everyone into being more productive.

“Peyton doesn’t care, so why should you?” Nash asks me. “All we need to do is pass the Testing, not reach superhero-level scores. Take me, for instance. Do I look worried? No, because tomorrow at my ceremony, I’m gonna pass.”

Interview with an inhabitant of the planet Liberty

Earth girl, the year 2147: Hello? This is Kasie McCormick from Earth, messaging the planet Liberty. Is anyone connected to the interplanetary hub right now? I have to do a project for my Social Awareness class, and I need a willing victim.
[ping!] Liberty dweller: Yes. Hi, Kasie, I’m on the hub. Ask me anything.
Earth girl Kasie: Awesome! What’s your name, Liberty dweller? Tell me about yourself.
Liberty dweller: Okay, I’m Jay Lawton. I’m 17, almost 18. Turning 18 is a big deal in my colony. We have this silvery Machine that’s shaped like an octopus, and it scans our brains and Tests us on graduation day. If we score high, we get cool rewards like a wristcomm. The really high scorers get a cloudskimmer or a hover vehicle. That’s what I’m aiming for. I’ve logged in a lot of extra hours working in my parents’ garden and collecting eggs at the chicken compound.
Earth girl Kasie: Uh, that’s…weird. I mean, cool. So what’s the deal with Liberty? I mean, you’re basically from Earth, since humans colonized your planet 90 years ago, right?
Liberty dweller Jay: Yep. Then 25 years ago we had a war, and now most of the planet is bombed out and destroyed. My colony  is called Sanctuary, and it’s a safe zone we’ve rebuilt. Refuge and Fort Hope are the other 2 safe zones. We stay away from the outer zones where there’s still a lot of genomide dust.
Earth girl Kasie: What in the twelve galaxies is “genomide dust”?
Liberty dweller Jay: It’s this deadly powder that gets on your skin and in your lungs. Causes genocide, or mass killings. It’s a chemical that burns you—so it’s nothing you want to be around. If the Machine scores us low at our Testings, we’re branded with a “B” on our foreheads and banished to the outer zones where the dust is. Trust me, that’s great motivation to work hard and obey all the strict rules around here.
Earth girl Kasie: Ugh, I bet. Let’s talk about something less creepy. What kind of music do you listen to—any favorite groups?
Liberty dweller Jay: We don’t have recorded music or CDs. At the Nebula, where secondary session kids over 13 hang out and eat, we have live music with technoguitars and singing. I’ve never heard anything besides that. We don’t have movies, either.
Earth girl Kasie: Seriously? Sounds pretty boring. What do you do for fun around the zones?
Liberty dweller Jay: We play helioball, which is this floating, color-changing blob that each team tries to catch when it turns the highest-scoring color. And in the fall we have a Harvest Equinox party. Dancing, sack races, and bobbing for greshfruit, which is sweet like an apple but soft like a nectarine.
Earth girl Kasie: Nice. How else is Liberty different from Earth?
Liberty dweller Jay: Well, we have two moons. Their magnetic pull causes the water from the underground tables to rise every night for an hour starting at 1:00 am. That’s a good thing, because it irrigates our yards and gardens. It never, ever rains here. We also have 13 hours in a day and 8 days in a week, Monday through Restday.
Earth girl Kasie: No rain at all? Wow, interesting. I sure could use an extra day of the week and an extra hour in the day. Especially with this project that’s due tomorrow… So who are your friends?
Liberty dweller Jay: My best friend is Harrel, and my girlfriend’s name is Aubrie…there’s also Peyton, who’s distractingly adorable and clever, and Leonard, who has this annoying scratchy voice and quirky sense of humor. I used to hang with the last two friends back in primary sessions, but they’re rebels now.
Earth girl Kasie: Uh…why are you whispering all of a sudden? Did your parents tell you not to be on the hub right now?
Liberty dweller Jay: It’s night time and I’m not supposed to be awake. And I’m hearing this really freaky noise. Oh, man, I gotta go—  
Earth girl Kasie: Wait! I have one more question… Hello? [dead silence]
Earth girl Kasie: Are you okay, Liberty dweller? Jay—Jay?

I’m a writer of Young Adult fiction. My YA sci-fi debut novel, THE BODY INSTITUTE, explores themes of body image and identity. My YA fantasy, BOTTLED, released July 7, 2016, from Clean Reads. My YA sci-fi, THE LYING PLANET (formerly called Safe Zone), will releaseSeptember 19, 2016, via Entangled Teen. I live in the beautiful, green state of Oregon and have a Studio Arts degree. I’m an SCBWI member.

You’ll usually find me in my writing cave, surrounded by my dragon collection and the characters in my head. I enjoy reading–mostly young adult novels–as well as drawing, painting, and quilting. I also attend writing conferences, walk with my husband, and enjoy music and dance of all kinds.

Find me on Facebook here:…
Tweet with me on Twitter. @Artzicarol:
Email me! carolriggsauthor [at] gmail [dot] com

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