Welcome to the 2017 Young Adult Scavenger Hunt!

I’m Claire Luana, and I’m delighted to be a host for this awesome YA Scavenger Hunt!

A little about me:

  • I live in Seattle, Washington.
  • I have two dogs named Jameson and Guinness.
  • Cadbury Mini Eggs are my Kryptonite.
  • I’ve summited four mountains.
  • I’m a lawyer for my day job.
  • I know how to Scottish Highland Dance.

 

I’ve written three young adult fantasy novels. Moonburner and Burning Fate are published, and Sunburner is coming this August!

 

You are currently hunting on TEAM PURPLE!!!

Looking for my exclusive bonus content from my novel, Moonburner? You’ll have to keep searching.

But, first, a few rules.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE RULES

DIRECTIONS: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on TEAM PURPLE, and then add them up to win these amazing books (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!)

HINT: THE SECRET NUMBER IS HIGHLIGHTED IN PURPLE!

ENTRY FORM: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

RULES: 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 SUNDAY, APRIL 9th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast. This contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, April 9th!

There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM but there is also a RED TEAM BLUE TEAMORANGE TEAMGOLD TEAM, and GREEN TEAM! Check out each team for a chance to win six different sets of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt!

Take it away Dorothy…

 

 

 

Dorothy Dreyer is here to talk about her upcoming book, Entangled Souls!  Dorothy is a Philippine-born American living in Germany with her husband, two teens, and two Siberian Huskies. She is an Amazon category bestselling author of young adult and new adult books that usually have some element of magic or the supernatural in them. Aside from reading, she enjoys movies, chocolate, take-out, traveling, and having fun with friends and family. She tends to sing sometimes, too, so keep her away from your Karaoke bars.

Her new book, Entangled Souls, launches April 18th. Here’s the blurb

Her whole life, Lexi has known that the voices she hears in her head—omens and harbingers of important things to come—are part of being a witch. But what she doesn’t know is that a soul has escaped its reaping while on her family’s property. When handsome stranger Caden shows up on his motorcycle to tour the vineyard she grew up on, she isn’t aware that he is a Valkyrie searching for the lost soul. All she knows is that the deep attraction she feels for him is undeniable.

When Caden finds out Lexi is a witch and asks her to help him track down the soul, Lexi must come to terms with the fact that Caden is immortal and decide if her feelings for a soul reaper are worth the risks.

Find out more about Dorothy, or be the first to hear when Entangled Souls launches, on her website!

Or, you can find her on:

For any author, having their book made into a movie or TV show would be a dream come true. Just in case ENTANGLED SOULS ever needs a casting call, here are some ideas of who would make great fits for the roles. [All pictures taken from the celebrities’ Twitter, Instagram, and IMDB pages and do not belong to me.]

⇐ Indiana Evans as Lexi Montgomery

Though she’s Australian, I’m sure Indiana Evans could pull off an American accent for this role. Lexi is smart, sexy, and full of determination. She’s troubled by the voices in her head, but she’s also motivated to deal with them. She is a witch, after all. She’s got a soft spot for Caden and can’t resist him, despite her best friend Britta teasing her about having a type.

 Tyler Blackburn as Caden ⇒

Caden looks like a bad boy and act like a bad boy … heck, he even rides a motorcycle and wears a leather jacket, but this Valkyrie has a heart of gold, especially when it comes to Lexi. Immortals are forbidden to get involved with mortals, but Caden thinks Lexi is worth breaking the rules for. Something tells me Tyler Blackburn would be perfect for this role.

 ⇐ Ashleigh Murray as Britta

Britta is witty and doesn’t take any crap. She’s a strong character, a strong feminist, and a loyal friend. She’d do anything for Lexi—except let her make a mistake and get hurt.

Dan Benson as Hamlin ⇒

Hamlin is a goofy, rule-bending, flies-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. I needed someone funny and full of character to fill his shoes. I think Dan Benson fits the bill.

Entangled Souls comes out April 18th via Kindle Worlds (US only). Give it a read and let me know who you would pick to play these characters!

Wow, thanks so much Dorothy! Exciting that Entangled Souls launches in less than 33 days!

And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Claire Luana, and more! To enter, you have to find my secret number. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the purple team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!

DANIELLE PAIGE!

But before you do, enter to win eBook copies of my two books, Moonburner and Burning Fate, and a $20 Amazon gift card!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Now head over to your next author to continue the hunt!

BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is the book review where I will absolutely gush about Illuminae, a YA space opera that is a combination of Battlestar Galactica, the Walking Dead, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. This book was un-put-downable, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

First: We must speak about the format. This book is told as if someone was looking back and investigating what happened, and the events unfold through a review of interviews, video transcripts, classified documents, and internal messages. The book itself is gorgeously laid out, filled with images, redaction, unique charts, illustrations, etc. It really is a work of art. I mean, look at these images below! I myself listened to the audiobook, which was also amazing, with a full cast, sound effects and everything. It was like you were listening to a movie. Really well done!

Illuminae is set in the fairly distant future, where intergalactic mining is controlled by the United Terran Authority. The story begins by an illegal mining outpost, Kerenza, being attacked by rival mining conglomerate Bietech. Main characters Kady and Ezra broke up the morning the attack, but still are friendly enough to flee the planet together. They end up on separate ships as part of a small fleet fleeing the attack. The jump drives on the ships are damaged, and so they are forced to undergo a six month trip to the nearest jump point, before they can return to more populated space. The catch: they are being chased by a Bietech vessel that wants to kill all the survivors so word of the attack will never spread. Plus, the main ship, the Alexander, has an artificial intelligence system, AIDAN, that was damaged in the attack, and begins to make independent decisions with sinister results. Plus, a bioweapon used by Bietech in the original attack mutates into a super-freaky pathogen that begins spreading through the fleets. 

Kady and Ezra are adorable and hilarious and super sarcastic. Kady is a talented hacker who starts digging when she realizes things aren’t as they seem in the fleet. Over the course of the book, they grow closer (seen through a series of IMs), and fall back in love. This all against the backdrop of some seriously crazy stuff that is happening throughout the fleet. There are so many twists, turns, and chilling moments in this book, it’s funny, romantic, exhilarating, and suspenseful all in one package! 

I cannot recommend this book enough! I am heading straight to the sequel, Gemina, which tells another piece of the story of the attack. Apparently, the book has already been optioned for a movie, which is absolutely perfect.

World Building: Going Deep versus Going Wide

World Building: Going Deep versus Going Wide

I thought the following article was a helpful primer on the concept of world building, which is key in fantasy writing!
This article is reprinted by permission of the author, Randy Ingermanson.
 
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 16,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.

Going Deep or Going Wide

World-building is a large topic with many aspects. We’ll focus on people groups this month, but keep in mind that it’s not the only aspect. 

Generally, novelists choose to go either deep or wide in constructing people groups. 

“Going deep” means focusing on one single people group that’s different from the one the target audience belongs to. (For example: Amish fiction, targeted to non-Amish readers. Alternatively, World War II fiction set in Nazi Germany, targeted to American readers.)

“Going wide” means having many different people groups that interact with each other. (For example, The Lord of the Rings has humans, hobbits, elves, dwarves, orcs, trolls, wizards, balrogs, ents, and more. The humans have several different people groups—the villages around Bree, the Rohirrim, and the men of Minas Tirith. The elves are likewise split geographically into people groups that live in Mirkwood, Lothlorien, and Rivendell.)

So how do you construct a people group? You have a lot of options, but they boil down to asking two very important questions:

  • What do all members of this people group have in common?
  • How does this people group split up along party lines?

Going Deep

As an example, in the Harry Potter series, the main people group is composed of the witches and wizards. There is a second people group composed of muggles—non-magical people. But the Potter series goes deep—the witches and wizards get the great majority of the air-time in the series. 

  • What do the witches and wizards have in common? They all have the genetic ability to do magic.
  • How are they split along party lines? They differ in their attitudes towards muggles. Lord Voldemort’s party believes that muggles should be ill-treated. They can be killed, tortured, or harassed at will. Witches and wizards who have muggle ancestors are considered “mud-bloods” and should be repressed. Albus Dumbledore’s party believes that muggles should be treated with decency and respect. 

Notice a key point. The storyline of the Harry Potter series is driven by the party differences among the witches and wizards, not by their commonality. Yes, it’s interesting to see how magic plays a role in their ordinary lives, and this provides a lot of local color to the story. But the great arc of the storyline is driven by Lord Voldemort’s attempt to take over the magical world, and Albus Dumbledore’s efforts to defeat him. 

The Potter series goes deep, and the story is driven by internal factions within one people group. 

That’s not the only option, however. You can go deep but have the story be driven by the battle of your main people group with some other people group. As an example, the movie Independence Day told the story of an invasion of planet earth by aliens who are mostly not seen. 

Another option is to go deep and have the main conflict be driven by differences between individuals in the main people group. As an example, an Amish romance novel would feature a single people group and could have no factions at all but could simply focus on the classic romance storyline—will the hero and the heroine get together? In this case, your main work in constructing your people group is understanding the things that your people have in common, especially those things that are different from the ordinary world of the target readers. 

Going Wide

When you have multiple people groups that play a central role in your story, you now have a third question:

  • What are the central conflicts between your people groups?

In The Lord of the Rings, we have many of these:

  • The orcs hate pretty much all the other people groups, and are slaves of Lord Sauron, who is not an orc but created them for his own purposes.
  • Elves hate the orcs and will never cooperate with them, but they might choose to insulate themselves from the orcs, giving them free rein. The elves have the right to leave Middle Earth if they choose. Elves are impervious to disease and aging, but they can be killed. So doing battle with orcs has an enormous cost—the elves risk dying in battle.
  • Dwarves also hate orcs, but they don’t like elves either, and it’s very difficult to get the elves and dwarves to cooperate to defeat their common enemy. Dwarves have fewer options when it comes to insulating themselves from the orcs. They can’t flee Middle Earth, as the elves can. Dwarves have a love for gold that makes it possible, in principle, to buy their allegiance to the dark side. But they much prefer to keep to themselves.
  • Humans mostly hate orcs, but some of them have gone over to the dark side and collaborate with them. Humans look with suspicion on the elves and dwarves and believe that they have to rely on themselves to get anything done. The humans are ready to fight, but they live shorter lives than the other people groups, and they sometimes feel like they are doing most of the work in battling evil, while getting little reward for their trouble.
  • Hobbits are barely aware of the wider world. They know that the elves and dwarves and humans and orcs exist, but they don’t think that the wars of these outsiders make a difference to them. Hobbits are happy to keep to themselves and live their own lives. 
  • Ents are a frozen race. They’re essentially immortal, but they’ve lost the ent-wives, so they aren’t reproducing. They’ve secluded themselves even more than the hobbits in their own little enclave. They’re also very slow to make decisions. But once they choose to fight, they are extraordinarily powerful.
  • Wizards are sent into Middle Earth in the guise of men. It’s not clear what wizards are, but their role is to guide the free peoples of Middle Earth to maintain their freedom, but without subjugating them. Wizards can go over to the dark side, and one of them does.

So The Lord of the Rings has one central conflict—Lord Sauron and his orc minions are trying to subjugate the elves, humans, dwarves, and hobbits. The wizards, led by Gandalf, are trying to resist Lord Sauron and ultimately defeat him. 

Sauron’s strategy is to divide and conquer. He’s helped by the natural animosities between the elves, dwarves, and humans, and he does his best to boost these animosities.

Gandalf’s strategy is to unify and resist. He must get the elves, dwarves, men, hobbits, and ents to set aside their differences and fight Sauron. No easy task, but if it were easy, there wouldn’t be much of a story. 

When Sauron and Gandalf learn that the One Ring of Power still exists, the race is on to find it and use it to tip the balance of power. But the Ring is so corrosive that it can only be trusted in the hands of the hobbits, who are least susceptible to its power.

Homework

1) Are people groups an important aspect of your story world? (If your target audience is essentially similar to all the characters in your story, then the answer is probably no.)

2) How many important people groups do you have in your story? (The important ones are usually the ones that contribute at least one primary character.)

3) For each people group, what does this group have in common? What binds it together? (This could be religion, philosophy, geography, customs, or anything else that tends to make different people think that “we are all in this together.”)

4) For each people group, what are the internal factions that tend to destroy the group unity? Why do these factions exist? What drives the conflict between them?

BOOK REVIEW: Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman

BOOK REVIEW: Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman

Excuse me while I gush about Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman! I absolutely adored this book! Plus, that cover!?! Swoon! I want to get the cover designer for one of my next books!

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden guild mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers–and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

Nothing in Vengeance Road is particularly novel or new. In fact, the book seems to run through several comfortable old tropes: girl disguises herself as boy (I did that one in my own book!), teen finds out there is something mysterious about her family after it’s too late, girl can’t stand cute boy until she realizes she can’t live without him, the Western trope of the search for gold and buried treasure. But, but, this is the perfect example of how old tropes can be phenomenal if they are executed well. And boy, are they executed well. 

As a writer, you strive for an authentic voice for your character, which is often an ephemeral “you know it if you see it” (as in a failure of voice is only conspicuous in its absence). Not this book. The voice makes the book. The main character, Kate, sounds like she’s from the old west. The way she thinks, the way she talks, the euphemisms she uses. Here’s a quote:

“The bartender’s right ’bout one thing–the place is busy considering it’s the Lord’s day. What the stout fella don’t seem to realize is that a strong drink can numb the soul good as any prayer. Hell, I muttered ‘Oh, God’ ’bout a dozen times after I found Pa swinging, and it ain’t like it brought him back to life.”

The whole book is like that, It’s really fun to read.

Kate’s a great character, tough, determined, single-minded to a fault. She doesn’t want any help in her wild quest to avenge her Pa, knowing that it will probably spell her doom. When Jesse and Will refuse to let her travel alone, the friction between them is both comical and poignant. The romance that blooms between Kate and Jesse is sweet and believable, without being over the top. Waylan Rose and his Rose Riders make passable villains–tough, scary, cruel. We don’t actually see much of them, but they are bad-ass enough fill Kate’s journey with suspense and drama. 

Bowman also does a great job of exploring the historical setting of this novel, in 19th century Arizona. The conflict and distrust between settlers and Native Americans plays an important role in the story and an interesting backdrop to the rest of the plot. 

My main complaint, if I had one, would be that the plot is a bit predictable at times, especially the big revelation at the end, which I kinda saw coming. But, like I said, that’s not much of a complaint, because the prose and the characters were so enjoyable that I loved every minute of it!