Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes!
By participating in this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
This is my third time participating in the hunt (one for each book--this time around I'm promoting The Entropy of Everything (the Indestructibles Book 3) and somewhere out there you'll find exclusive content, a preview of the yet untitled Book 4 in the series (the Indestructibles first cosmic adventure!). But to find that hidden content, you'll have to keep looking. This is a scavenger hunt after all!
I'm on TEAM BLUE this year with a lot of other fantastic authors you might want to check out.
So first up: you might want to know the rules, right? Because who doesn't want to enter to win free books by tons of amazing authors? Here you go:
Entry Form: Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on Team Blue, and then add them up. 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 4TH, 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 signed 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 5th! There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM, but there is also a RED, GOLD, ORANGE, PINK, PURPLE, TEAL, and GREEN team (which is one more than my SECRET NUMBER, 7... you may want to write that down)! Check out each team for a chance to win eight 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.
Okay, we've got the basics out of the way. Now the fun stuff. During this scavenger hunt I'm hosting the exclusive content offered by one of my Blue Team colleagues: Joshua David Bellin.
A bit more about him:
Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since the age of eight (though the first few were admittedly very short). He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, two children, a cat, a carnivorous fish, and a lizard. SURVIVAL COLONY 9 is his debut novel. The sequel, SCAVENGER OF SOULS, comes out in summer 2016.
You can learn more about Joshua at his site here as well as on his blog here. Hint: If you're participating in the scavenger hunt, and if you've read this far I'm sure you have, you definitely want to swing by his blog. Just sayin'.
Joshua is highlighting this scavenger hunt is: SURVIVAL COLONY 9:
In a futuristic landscape of dust and ruin, fourteen-year-old Querry Genn searches for the lost memory that might save the human race. Querry is a member of Survival Colony 9, one of the small, roving bands of people who remain after devastating wars destroyed the planet. And now the Skaldi have come to scavenge the few who are left. Monsters with the ability to consume and mimic human hosts, the Skaldi have targeted Querry and his colony. If he can recall his forgotten past, he might hold the key to defeating the Skaldi. If he can't, he's their next victim.
Sounds fantastic, right? So how would you like some exclusive free content from Joshua? Check out below for a short story he's provided exclusively for the scavenger hunt!
A Chimaera Story with Four Morals
Author’s note: I wrote this science fiction short story in summer 2011, just before I started writing SURVIVAL COLONY 9. It tells the tale of a boy and his father in a war-torn, post-apocalyptic world. It’s not directly related to SURVIVAL COLONY 9: the characters and world are different, the boy is much younger than the narrator of my novel, there’s no colony, no Skaldi. Still, I think the tale that would blossom in SURVIVAL COLONY 9 must have been germinating when I wrote this. It’s not a prequel, but perhaps it’s a premonition.
© 2011 Joshua David Bellin
Kevin kept his Chimaera in the backyard, staked to the turf to prevent it from singeing the picket fence. Each of its triune parts screamed danger: its frontal lion’s head a fusion of fangs and fire, its midsection all crimped goathorns and spiked eyeflanges, its whiplash snaketail streaming venom like confetti. You had to wear protective gear to approach it. When they’d bought it from the GenetiPet store three years ago on Kevin’s eighth birthday, it was little more than a cub, tiny fleshbumps on rump and thorax the only intimation of the horrors to come. A new iteration of the recombinant critter GenetiPet had cooked up years before, the Chimaera 5000 had turned out far more lethal than anyone dared imagine, more lethal, even, than the discontinued Manticores that had stung their owners with scorpion tails and munched their legs with rancid cherub faces. As then, there were exposés, lawsuits, recalls. But Kevin begged his father to let him keep his pet, and in the end, being an indulgent parent, the man gave in.
For really, Kevin’s Chimaera was a gentle beast, prone to pawing for shanks of horseflesh, pleased to let its owner, clad in his flame-retardant jumpsuit and balanced atop a stepladder, scratch behind its mane and fondle its horns. On the rare occasion Kevin was allowed to take it, muzzled and hooded and tail-tied, on excursions to the park, other children migrated over, their own Rocs and Griffins and Kelpies forgotten as they stroked the monster’s fur where silky leonine gold met bristly caprine gray. It made a deep noise in its twin throats like a steam shovel, its amber forward eyes squeezed shut. Kevin wished then he could reach up and give its neck a hug to show it was specially his very own, but it was fully six feet at the shoulder and so the best he could do was tickle its belly and watch it squirm with pleasure.
Then the war came. Rockets sizzled through the sky, boomed underfoot. Kevin’s Chimaera jogged and howled through the night, covering its lion eyes with its front paws in a gesture almost human. Kevin’s mother was killed when the hospital was hit by a Think Bomb and disintegrated. Soon the street was a vacant lot of rubble and ash. Kevin and his father set out for the west, where, rumor had it, oases remained. Before they left, an argument ensued.
“We can’t take that thing with us,” Kevin’s father insisted. “We’ve got nothing to feed it, nowhere to keep it. It’ll make us a target to anyone who’s watching.”
“Please, Dad!” Kevin begged. “I’ll take care of Benjy, I promise! He’ll eat anything, birds, snails, frogs! He won’t be any trouble at all!”
“Son,” the man said sadly, “I’m not sure there are any birds, snails, or frogs left.”
“But he’ll die!” Kevin whined. “If we leave him alone he’ll die!”
“Son,” the father tried again, but then another thought struck him. “All right,” he said. “Maybe he’ll even turn out to be useful.”
“He will, Daddy, he will!” Kevin beamed. Turning to caress his pet’s throat, he didn’t see his father’s look, didn’t dream what use his father had in mind.
They started west, traveling by night. Their meager store they carried in a sort of hammock they’d made of a laundry bag and slung over the creature’s back. During the day they slept beneath bridges, then in woodlots, then in barns, the Chimaera muzzled and hooded, leashed and tail-tied, heaped with branches or straw. Though there was in truth little for it to eat, a bird here, a snake there, it didn’t complain, even when the rumbling of its vast empty stomach kept the man up with memories of how his lost wife used to snore.
Each night they crept steadily in the direction they saw the sun set. But there was nothing there, only scorched fields and burned-out shells of buildings and the constant whine of missiles overhead and concussions in the gut of the earth. As the days passed and their food dwindled, the father began to eye the Chimaera greedily (as, he thought, it did him). By now the beast’s ribs showed like barrel staves and its straggly mane drooped to the ground as it panted along beside them. In a week at best, he judged, it would be gone—gone, or well-fed with its human consorts. The deed would have to be done soon.
He fashioned a skewer from a walking stick. He scouted the beast’s flanks for the most vulnerable spot. He wished there were a way to anesthetize it, both to ease its passing and to ensure that once struck it would not return the blow. Watching it, though, it occurred to him that physical weakness coupled with doltish devotion would probably take care of that. The real issue was what to tell Kevin, whether to tell Kevin.
In the end he decided to come clean—sort of. “Benjy is dying, Kevin,” he announced one gray dawn, the Chimaera lying beside their campfire drawing shallow, labored breaths. “He won’t last much longer. It’s not right for him to suffer so.”
Kevin looked at his father in the firelight, his young face registering grief at the assertion but no awareness of the implication.
“Back home,” his father continued, “we’d have called it ‘putting him to sleep.’ It means when an animal gets too old or too tired or too sick to care for, we help him.”
“Help him?” Kevin’s eyes were wide.
“Help him to die.”
All at once, as is the way with children, Kevin connected the sharpened stake and the Chimaera’s shrunken sides and his father’s grimace, and he flung himself on his pet, hugging its sallow hide, burying his face in its belly. He would not be moved, and the man let him cry. It was harder, he thought, for a child on the verge of manhood than for a child still a perfect child. The boy could no longer harbor any illusions.
That day, once Kevin had cried himself to sleep, the man finished the job. The animal never protested, never flinched. Whether too exhausted or too faithful to retaliate, it lay on its side, one front paw held feebly in the air, while he drove the stake home.
Children learn about the real world through fantasy, the man reminded himself as he twisted his weapon deep into the creature’s paunch. And therein, perhaps, lay the problem. For a child’s sake a man may keep up the chimera of hope. There comes a time, however, when boy turns man, and must face the truth.
So did Joshua's short story and book catch your eye? Check out his website for information on where to find his work.
Want a chance to win copies of books by Joshua, myself, and many more? Keep pursuing the scavenger hunt and gathering up those secret numbers (in case you missed it above, my number is 7). How do you keep going, you might ask? Well you'll want to follow the trail of the scavenger hunt to the next author on the hunt, Leah Bobet, author of the (amazingly titled) AN INHERITANCE OF ASHES. Her blog can be found here!
A special note for INDESTRUCTIBLES readers--I'm officially giving away a copy of Book 1 in the series as part of this contest, but if end up winning and you're a reader of the series and already have a copy of Book 1 in your possession contact me through the CONTACT page above or online (firstname.lastname@example.org or @mattphillion on Twitter, or even on Facebook (facebook.com/whoisindestructible) and let me know ahead of time, and I'll happily swap out Book 1 for Book 2 (Breakout) or the newly released Book 3 (The Entropy of Everything). Just be sure to reach out as soon as you know.
Are you participating? Leave a comment below and tell us how you heard about it! Which authors are you most looking forward to reading? Have you found someone through past scavenger hunts you really enjoyed?
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.