Welcome, one and all, to the Fall 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt!
I am thrilled to be participating this go around and so glad all of you stopped by. In case you, like me, have never hunted before, this is a bi-annual event dreamed up by author Colleen Houck to give brilliant readers like you an awesome time. Not only do you get to view exclusive content from some of your favorite authors, you get to discover new authors to fill those empty spaces on your bookshelves, and you also have the chance to win several mind-blowingly awesome prizes.
Want to find out more?
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page. There are EIGHT teams and contests running simultaneously, and you can enter one … or if you’re feeling especially crazy and ambitious, you can enter them all. By some strange trick of fate, I wound up on the PINK TEAM, but you can check out all the other teams for a chance to win several different sets of signed books.
How does it work?
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to follow the hunt from site to site over the next 72 hours, collect the clues for the PINK TEAM, and add them all up to enter for a chance to win one book from each author on my team! On each site, you will find a secret number. Add up all of the numbers for the PINK TEAM and enter them into the rafflecopter here to enter the giveaway.
(And be sure to read to the end to find out how to enter my bonus giveaway!)
When does it begin?
The clock, my friends, is already ticking.
Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 4th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Today, I’m thrilled to be hosting fellow fantasy novelist Nicole Zoltack on the blog!
Nicole Zoltack loves to write about knights and battles and first kisses. When she’s not having her characters go to war, she’s spending time with her growing family or riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns!) or going to the PA Renaissance Faire dressed in garb. She’s always on the lookout for something fun or exciting to do!
I think she’ll fit right in here, don’t you? (Because knights, battles, and unicorns … ’nuff said.) Nicole is sharing some exclusive content with us today, but first, a bit about her book!
The war between Specia and Arnhem has reached the sea, and now the selkies are involved. Selliki has long loved the mage Gabrael, but no union between a selkie and a human has ever had a happy ending. Each night, they experience terrible, real dreams that show how doomed their love is. But the war threatens not only their love but the entire world. Lucifer has aligned himself with Specia and wants nothing less than to bring about the Apocalypse before its time. In the last battle, trolls fight icthyocentaurs, dwarves armed up against the Drow, angels against demons. Only one kingdom will prevail; that is, if the world doesn’t end.
Book Three in the Kingdom of Arnhem Series
Exclusive Scene: Selliki’s and Gabrael’s first meeting
Takes place a few years prior to the events in Champion of Valor.
The sea would always be a part of Selliki’s life—she was a selkie after all, part seal, part human, all magical—but even she had to admit she felt more at home walking on two legs on the soil in the hot sun than most of her people. So it was no surprise that she was the mediator between the selkies and the haugtrolds, the mound trolls who lived on the land above their underwater city.
Now that her business under the sun had been conducted—negotiating trades that benefited both sides—she didn’t want to rush back home. She wandered through the trollish city of Talhil, and beyond it, to the wide expanse beyond. Glancing behind her, she felt almost alarmed. No water was in sight.
But she didn’t turn around. Curiosity had always been her biggest weakness.
So she continued on. At least the clouds brewing in the sky were dark. Rain would help to keep her connected to the water.
This land… it seemed so ordinary, and yet it was so strange. It existed so far above her watery home, the people here so strange. Stuck in only one form. She could hardly imagine that. Her seal skin she had strapped onto her back. As soon as she would slip back into it, she would be a seal again, one with the waves.
Above the sea, it proved impossible for her to determine how much time had passed. Her legs were strong, though, and she pressed on, not wanting to leave just yet.
A horse neighed, and she startled. It had appeared as if out of nowhere. Could it be magical itself? So beautiful, with a flowing mane despite the creature being dripping wet.
“Do you like the water too?” she asked as she petted him.
The strangest sensation washed over her the moment she touched him. The water within her body turned to ice, and she could not move, frozen.
“Do not touch it!” a loud voice cried out.
“Too late,” she tried to say, but her lips would not move.
A ball of fire blasted so close to her that her body almost felt as if some of the ice within had melted. Almost.
Another fireball. This one struck the horse. It reared, its front hooves pawing frantically in the air.
A hand shoved Selliki to the side just before the hooves came crashing down right where she had been frozen in place. She watched in horrified fascination as a man with long white hair conjured up one last fireball that melted the horse away into nothingness.
He turned to face her, holding out a hand. “I’m sorry I was so rough with you…”
Her arm almost didn’t want to cooperate, but she brought it up. His hand felt so warm, almost too hot, and he helped to pull her to her feet. “You weren’t too rough.” She managed a shy smile.
“Kelpies are…” He shook his head. “They are killers. They like to drown their captives.”
“Drown?” She rolled her eyes. “That’s not likely.”
He frowned. “I don’t understand.”
Of course. He didn’t realize what she was.
Selliki giggled. “I’m a selkie.”
His eyes widened. “A selkie? That’s amazing. I’ve never met one before.”
“Well, I never met a man who could throw fireballs before.”
“I’m a mage.”
“So you have magic too,” she breathed. The trolls did, to some extent, with their ability to dance on the wind and fly, but to be able to control an entire element like fire… “That’s amazing.” She shivered.
“You’re still cold.” He pulled her close and hugged her for only a moment before jerking away to put space between them. “Ah… here…” A wave of his hand, and a ball of blue fire appeared, hovering above his palm. “This will keep you warm.”
Selliki flushed. His hug had been surprising, but she hadn’t minded it at all. “If you hadn’t come along…”
“You might’ve been able to fight him off yourself,” he protested. “Being a selkie…”
“It almost froze me. You saved me.”
“I…” He hung his head, but he was smiling. Such a tender smile. He had such kind and warm eyes. “You’re such a long way from home. Are you here by yourself?”
“Yes.” She straightened her shoulders. Her hands were near the fire, and warmth spread throughout her body, but she didn’t like what he was implying. “I might not have realized that was a kelpie…” Or even knew what kelpie was. “But I can take care of myself.”
He grinned. “I don’t doubt it. Still…” He glanced around. “Were you exploring?”
“Yes,” she said eagerly.
“Well, would you like a guide?”
“Wonderful.” His smile grew, and something in her stomach twisted in a pleasing way. “I’m Gabrael, by the way.”
He held out the hand not holding the fire, but she flung herself at him for another hug.
That might have been the first time Selliki crossed paths with Gabreal, but it wasn’t the last, and later on, when he confessed he loved her, she had long known she’d loved him, dating all the way back to his being her guide and showing her some of the wonders of the world above the sea, including his heart.
But love between a human–even a mage–and a selkie… how could that ever work for the long term when her body and heart could only ever be truly happy in the water?
Thanks, Nicole, for sharing that with us!
To enter the grand prize giveaway, you’ll need to know that my favorite number is 17. Add up the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PINK TEAM to find the secret code to enter for the grand prize.
In the meantime, I’m also hosting a bonus giveaway here that you won’t want to miss! Three lucky winners will win their choice of one of my novels, Orphan’s Song or Out of Darkness Rising! Enter through the Rafflecopter below.
But don’t stop here! The hunt’s afoot. Visit author JESSICA L. BROOKS to find your next clue! Thanks for stopping by!