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.
I’ve summited four mountains.
I’m a lawyer for my day job.
I know how to Scottish Highland Dance.
I love country music and I’m learning to play the mandolin.
I’ve written three young adult fantasy novels. Moonburner and Burning Fate are published, and Sunburner is coming next year!
You are currently hunting on TEAM PURPLE!!!
Looking for my exclusive bonus content from my new novel, Sunburner? 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, OCTOBER 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, October 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 TEAM, ORANGE TEAM, GOLD 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.
I am super excited to be hosting Robert Slater, an author friend of mine who also lives in the Western Washington, where we only get 21 days of sun a year! Here’s Rob:
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest [Hoquiam, Washington], PURPLE TEAM member, Robert L. Slater, wanted to be an astronaut or a rock star. At 42, he gave up those dreams to become a writer of science fiction and fantasy, where he can pretend to be both.
Like some of his characters, he has a propensity for speaking in lines from 80s movies, drinking Mountain Dew and eating pizza. He loves music as a listener, a zealous fan, a guitar player, and a singer/songwriter.
After nearly 20 years as a schoolteacher, he is beginning to have a hint of insight into young-adulthood. He has been in that hood a long time!
His first novel ALL IS SILENCE features a teen with a past and maybe not much of a future. Then a pandemic hits.
In a future that could be ours, Lizzie, a suicidal teen-age girl, barely navigates her own life. Then everything falls apart. In an apocalyptic land nearly deserted by disease, she lacks reasons to live until a shocking turn of events reveals a phone number. Her call pulls her dangerously cross-country to meet a stranger she thought was dead.
Rob will give you an intro into the bonus content:
The two following scenes were the first I wrote about Lizzie, my young adult anti-hero protagonist in ALL IS SILENCE and STRAIGHT INTO DARKNESS and the forthcoming NO MAN’S LAND. I’ll give short intros to each.
Original Lizzie scene written in summer of 2011 perhaps, at least a year before ALL IS SILENCE came to be during NaNoWriMo 2012. Warning: Censored swearing. Like the novel these were deleted from it is intended for older young adults.
Original Working Title: Zombie Zoo
Lizzy stared across the shotgun in her lap at the body on the floor. Damn fool hadnít absorbed all the pellets. Half of the canned goods in the pantry had small holes still leaking liquids. F***ing a**hole. Not like there weren’t more canned goods than any of the survivors could ever eat in their lifetimes or before the cans rusted away or the food went bad. Besides she’d always hated her step-dad’s choices in food: Garbanzos, Mixed veggies. Creamed corn. Pickled beets.
But did she want to stay in the house now? No way in hell she was going to bury it. It. Not human. Humans didn’t act like that to other humans. Even under these conditions. She drug the body out the front door, wryly observing that her visitor had ruined mom’s creme-colored carpet. NO way those stains would ever come out. She let his body roll down the stairs, ‘Fair Warning.’ She hoped the others were close enough to see the results.
She dead-bolted the door. Plenty of windows if someone really had a death wish and she’d hear them. She strode through the house checking all the windows and doors. She knew how hard this house was to break into, she’d been locked out of it enough. He step-dad had always threatened that she would get kicked out the day she turned 18. Well, I’m leaving a little early, dickhead. I won’t be 18 for three more months. Hell, I might not make it to 18.
She finished her inspection at the upstairs shower. Thank god the electricity and water hadn’t failed. How long would that take? She closed and latched the door then shoved the window to make sure it was locked. She set the shotgun upright on the toilet tank. Within easy reach. She longed for the time a few days ago when she thought she was the last person alive in a hundred miles. That illusion had been shattered rather unpleasantly.
Her black knit dress was stained with blood and the other bodily fluids. She’d have to get more clothes. She’d want more skirts like it, calf length and dark. Let you pee without getting tangled up. In case you were surprised. She’d been wearing her mary janes but her combat boots were coming out of the closet or out from under the pile of dirty clothes on her floor. Second hand at Sally Annís, they were actual combat boots, not some Hot Topic knock-off.
She stripped off her t-shirt happy to find no blood or bodily fluids. It had a graphic that looked like kanji but read ‘F*** You,’ if you rotated it sideways. Mom had never let her out of the house with it on.
She jerked the water knob and twisted it all the way to hot. She grabbed the shotgun and sat down to pee. For the umpteenth time she checked that the magazine was full and that one shell waited in the chamber. Maybe her OCD would come in handy in this brave new world. She didn’t bother to wipe, reset the gun on the toilet and climbed into the steaming hot shower. She wanted to sear off the top layer of her flesh. The regular cuts on her arms had healed to angry white lines, though a few still stood out red from the last time she’d used her knife. So long ago. A thought flashed through Lizy’s head, but she shoved it aside. How easy would it be just to go to sleep? Mom had enough sleeping pills in her cabinet, but no, the last experience had led inevitably to this moment. But maybe she’d take the bottle with her.
The water poured down drenching her hair, dead and faded from too many bleachings and colorings. The water was hot, but not too hot. The Dickhead wanted to save electricity so the hot water was set to 110 degrees.
As she soaped herself she dispassionately looked at her own body. She’d always been a bit on the soft side, but two weeks of being sick, plus the aftermath had given her muscles a tightness and tone they’d always lacked. If Chad could see her now would he even recognize her? Her hair had grown out enough that sheíd seen dark roots at the scalp and heíd never seen her with hair more than about an inch long. It was long enough now to lay down. Rinsing the soap off she felt the stubble in her armpits and on her legs. F*** it. Sheíd always thought shaving was stupid.
Under the hot faucet she let it flow over her face, rinsing her mouth, letting the water in and out. She scrubbed at herself. Suddenly tears flowed. Where the hell was Zach? How come he hadn’t been around when the a**hole and his gang had showed up? He’d promised to be back. Like he’d ever been on time.
For the all times she’d wished everything and everyone would go away, now she wished she wasn’t alone. She sank down into the water, tears washed away by the deluge. With hair in her eyes and shaking with sobs, she wrapped her arms around her legs and gave in. She’d never cried before. Not like this. Not since she was a little kid. Never let anyone in. No weakness. Weakness got you pushed around. Like her mom. Always needed a man. What kind of man was never as important as the fact that he had testosterone and a penis. Her body wracked with all the pain she’d never shared. And the only people she really cared about: Mom and Billy. Gone.
When the water changed from warm to lukewarm to cold in a matter of seconds she broke out of it. She gritted her teeth, slammed the knob in, shook her hair and scraped the drops of water from her body. Her legs complained as she stood and her fingers had gone all wrinkly. She grabbed the fluffy towel with ‘For Guests’ emblazoned on it. The ‘good’ towels her mom always said. Like they’d ever had any f***ing guests since Auntie died.
The crying had done her good. She felt wrung out, but clean inside and out. When she stepped out of the tub a wave of dizziness swept over her she realized how hungry she was. She wrapped the fuzzy towel around herself and pulled the T-shirt over her damp hair. Funny how free she felt. She glanced at her face in the mirror amazed that her face did not look more like she’d been crying. She smirked at herself. Not bad for a vigilante killer. She snagged the shotgun off the toilet as she headed downstairs.
20 minutes later one of the last pizzas from their store run was sitting half eaten on the table. Sheíd never eaten like that. A half-finished beer sat next to the pizza. Lizy belched. Tasted as bad the second time. D***head certainly had no taste.
Author’s Note 2016: Writing’s a bit rough, but the essence of Lizzie is there. I changed the spelling of Lizzie’s name and this scene disappeared only to be found again after I had finished the book.
The next scene was the Original Opening Scene of ALL IS SILENCE as written during National Novel Writing Month [NaNoWriMo] 2012. That month I wrote 60, 000 words. In December I wrote an additional 20,000 words. The first draft was 100,000, but I wrote most if it in that short time. My other working titles after ZOMBIE ZOO included:
AND EVERYTHING AFTER
ALL IS SILENCE IN THE WORLD
ALL IS SILENCE
No good sleeping in when her little brother, mom and mom’s live in boy-friend, man-friend, were making so much noise. She pulled a black hoodie and jeans over her t-shirt and underwear, ran her fingers through her short hair. The Boris Karloff buzz-cut had grown out to a boyish length and she wasn’t taking so much crap about it anymore. She had stuff to do. The flood was coming and they needed to move the house.
She didn’t know how she knew it was so important, but the urgency was undeniable. She grabbed the combat boots and pulled them on over heavy socks–too much dirty work for the Docs. Lizzie’s little brother, Jason was giggling along with her momís chuckle. She’d never been into Saturday morning cartoons–too silly and obnoxious. She slammed the door and headed down the long hallway.
“Thanks for letting me sleep in,” she said to the room.
Her mom shot her an odd glance from near the stove. “It’s almost dinner-time, lazybones.”
Jerkwad, mom’s boyfriend laughed loudly. “When you turn eighteen-“
“You’re not my dad,” she cut off the response she wanted to say aloud.
“What’re you gonna be when you grow up, sissy?” Jason asked.
Lizzie glanced at the clock–6:18. But the light was wrong. “We’ve got to get the house moved. The floods are coming.” The rain pounded on the window.
All three of them stared at her.
Jerkwad spoke. “What the Hell are you babbling about?”
“The water’s rising. The rain. The news said-“
“You ain’t watched the news, Lazy.” Jerkwad shook his head, grinning. “You’ve been asleep all day.”
“Mom?” Lizzie begged. “Make him shut up.”
“He’s right, Liz. What’re you talking about?”
Jason chimed in, “You goin’ Crazy Lazy on us again?”
“I hate you all! I hope you all die in the flood. Iím moving the house.” She grabbed a Coke out of the fridge and raincoat off the peg. “I’m moving the house.” She slammed the door. Its aluminum weight did not give her the satisfaction she wanted. When had the heavy wood door gotten replaced?
The rain pelted her as she pulled on the hoodie and jacket. She turned to the house and found the old single-wide trailer she’d lived in as a kid. Weird. Where was the house? This would be easier to move. She grabbed Jerkwad’s work gloves that never got used and headed around to the front. She started tearing the lower panels away to get to the wheels she knew were under there. Inside she could hear them laughing and joking. Lazy Lizzie was turning into Crazy Lizzie again. She shoved in her earbuds and hit shuffle on her phone. Something metallic and grinding from the 80s soothed her anger. Good working music. With a vengeance, Lizzie tore away more aluminum panels, sending them flying as they broke free.
The sound of a phone cut through as the song ended. Isn’t someone going to answer it? They call me lazy!? She sent the last panel flying across the yard. How had she done that so fast? The phone still rang. She shook her head in disgust and pulled open the back door to the little kitchen. The house was cold and empty. She slammed the door. The solid wood reverberated. What the Hell was going on? The ringing continued, but Lizzie couldn’t find the phone. It wasn’t on the wall. “Where’d you guys go?” she hollered. The phone stopped. Mom had been cooking. In the new house. Then it was the single-wide. Now she was back in the house, but it was empty. Am I going crazy?
A new screeching sound replaced the phone. Jason’s stupid freaking bird screaming alarm clock. Damn thing could wake the dead. I must be dreaming. It is morning. The dream spun downward as Lizzieís body sank into the bed. She sighed. For a minute she’d wondered if they were right and the Crazy Lizzie had returned.
You can read the FINAL beginning to the novel here. To learn more about Lizzie and The Deserted Lands, sign up for the newsletter here, then you can download a free standalone novel set in the Deserted Lands universe. Once you sign up, you’ll get more free fiction and information on when ALL IS SILENCE and other stories are on sale. You can also enter my Rafflecopter contest on my blog for a chance to win Deserted Lands prizes [signed e-book download cards and a t-shirt.]
WOW, thanks so much Rob! I hope you liked reading a little bit of Lizzie’s story! Now, it’s almost time to head over to your next author!
But before you do, enter to win eBook copies of my two books, Moonburner and Burning Fate!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks so much for stopping by! Now head over to your next author to continue the hunt!
At long last, Moonburner is officially an audiobook! You can buy it through Audible, Amazon, or iTunes. If you aren’t an Audible member, you should think about it, it’s amazing. Every month you get a free audiobook, plus you get 30% off all audiobooks, all for $14.95 a month. As an Amazon prime member, you can get a three-month free trial membership, or as a regular old human, you can try it for free for a month. (Plus, if you start a new membership and Moonburner is your first purchase, I get $50 bucks from Amazon! So, that would be awesome.)
To celebrate the launch of Moonburner in audiobook form, I am hosting a giveaway! Enter to win one of five free copies of Moonburner, or a three month subscription to Audible!!! If you are already an Audible member, you would be entitled to three book credits. The Giveaway ends October 1!
INTERVIEW WITH MY NARRATOR, EMMA LYSY
I detailed the process of turning a book into an audiobook in this blog post here. But everyone I talk to about audiobooks are also super curious about audiobook narrators! How do you become one, what’s the technology like, etc. So to celebrate Moonburner’s audio launch, I’ve interviewed Moonburner’s narrator, Emma Lysy, to answer your burning questions!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself!
A: I live in Lansing, Mi – before that Orlando, FL; before that – Southwest Michigan. My black cat Bende is very interested in narration work, as he must be locked in a separate part of the house while I’m recording because he’ll do anything it takes to try to get into the booth with me.
Q: How did you get into working as an audiobook producer?
A: I’d always been interested in narration, and the larger world of voice over in general. I remember going to an acting workshop with a guy who was one of the few actors who made their entire living from acting alone, and 98% of that came from commercial work. He told me I was good at the acting part of it and had an interesting voice. I don’t have the hearty baritone necessary to land the Toyota commercials he was doing, but I did love reading and listening to books. When the opportunity presented itself, I took it! Even though I had no idea what I was doing and definitely had a lot of learning to do.
Q: Tell us about your process. How long does it take? What is your equipment like?
A: I know some narrators’ ratio of time worked to finished product is something like 6:1 on a good day. That is, there are 6 hours of work (prep, outtakes, retakes, mastering, editing, etc) to every 1 finished hour of audio. This also depends on how much you outsource and how much you do yourself, but it’s a lot – I’ve met people who believe a 5 hour book can be easily produced in a day because it’ll only take 5 hours. If only this were true. Equipment wise, it can be as fancy or spendthrift as you need. The basics of a good setup are a good, dead room (noise wise, that is), a computer, and a mike. That said, while you can technically produce an audiobook these three things, investing in better equipment, tailoring your space to reduce noise, and hiring professionals is the real baseline of a quality production.
Q: How do you decide what the characters should sound like?
A: Sometimes the book tells you – so and so is a 90-year-old woman. So and so has an accent, etc. But beyond that it’s largely intuitive. It’s an extension of the acting you’re already putting into that character based on their words.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of producing an audiobook?
A: It’s a lot of work. But, it’s the kind of work that streamlines itself as you do it longer. When I first started I could hardly record a 15-minute chapter at a time, I would just get bored and want to stop. But now, it’s easy to sit down and do a three-hour session in the morning and again at night. Being challenged isn’t a bad thing, in fact if your work isn’t challenging you, than I can’t imagine it’s very fun.
Q: How do you pick which projects to work on?
A: A combination of numbers, what I think my voice will suit, and whether I like it. Any one of those can be top priority for different projects. Sometimes you’ll sacrifice good numbers for a project you like, or vice versa. Mostly though, it’s going to come down to numbers. How I’m paid (sometimes in royalties, sometimes up front – sometimes a combo of both), how the book is selling, etc. While narration is art and I love it, it’s not something I’d do for free. But I’ve had the privilege to get to work on some books that were a pleasant combination of well written and best selling.
Q: Tell us about a few of your favorite authors/books.
A: My favorite books are the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman. They’re so strange and surprising and they stay in my head for days. Also Beauty, by Robin McKinley – a fantastic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It cuts down on drama but doesn’t in any way sacrifice storytelling and character. A Series of Unfortunate Events – particularly as read by Tim Curry – shaped my youth. Shannon Hale, David Sedaris, Michael De Larrabeiti are other favorites. I’m also a fan of memoirs by funny women, and those are always my favorite audiobooks. Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch have written my favorites.
Q: Are you involved in other aspects of the publishing world?
A: I’m also a graphic designer (emmalysydesign.com
! I know, it’s a shameless plug) and specialize in book and audiobook covers!
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you!
A: I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose. I know this is over the internet, but I swear it’s true