I'm thrilled today to host author (and fellow YA Scavenger Hunt vet) Joshua David Bellin as part of his blog tour. His new book, Ecosystem, is a thrilling new sci-fi adventure, available now. Read on to find an excerpt from the book! Here's a bit about the story:
Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.
Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.
A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).
Hello and welcome to this spring's Young Adult Scavenger Hunt, a huge biannual event organized by author Colleen Houck. It's a chance for you, the readers, to find out about dozens of authors, discover exclusive, never-before-seen content, and win some pretty outstanding prizes. Below, you'll find a clue you need to win the big prize from this hunt--a copy of a book from every author on Team Blue! (And yes, you can enter to win the grand prize for all six teams--and at twenty authors per team, that is an outstanding amount of new reading material up for grabs to this hunt's winners. The hunt is only life for 120 hours, from noon PST on Tuesday, April 3, through noon PST on Sunday, April 8.
This is my sixth season participating in the hunt, and I'm thrilled to be back. For those who haven't stopped by this page before, my name is Matthew Phillion. I'm the author of the YA superhero series, the Indestructibles, as well as a spinoff book about Atlantis called Echo and the Sea, and a newly launched novella series called the Dungeon Crawlers. As I said above, I'm part of the Blue Team this hunt, alongside 19 other fantastic authors. You can find out so much more about the hunt at the official Young Adult Scavenger Hunt website, including how to find the other five teams--Green, Gold, Pink, Purple, and Red! Information on all the teams can be found here as well.
How the Scavenger Hunt puzzle works
Here's the official stuff you need to know to participate:
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the Blue Team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).
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 April 8th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Now onto the best part: our featured author!
Featured Author: Jessica Kapp!
I'm thrilled to be hosting first-time YASH participant Jessica Kapp.
Jessica Kapp always thought her penmanship would improve with age. She even wished for it on her eleventh birthday. But after having a hard time deciphering her own writing, she realized she’d never be the girl who stayed in the lines or dotted her I’s with hearts.To improve her legibility and speed, she hijacked her grandma’s typewriter—a really cool one with white correction tape—and started creating fictional worlds.
That same grandma took Jessica to her first writers’ group meeting where she shared a story about fairies.
The writing sucked, but with time, Jessica’s craft began to improve. Sadly, her penmanship has not.
Jessica enjoys writing Young Adult Contemporary and Speculative Fiction. Story ideas often strike at inopportune times, and she’s been known to text herself reminders from under the covers.
She lives on a small farm in Washington with far too many goats and an occasional cow.
Jessica is featuring her book Body Parts, "Never Let Me Go meets The Island for YA―perfect for fans of Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young," which can be found online here. It sounds like a fantastic story. Here's a preview:
Raised in an elite foster center off the California coast, sixteen-year-old Tabitha has been protected from the outside world. Her trainers at the center have told her she’ll need to be in top physical condition to be matched with a loving family. So she swims laps and shaves seconds off her mile time, dreaming of the day when she’ll meet her adoptive parents.
But when Tabitha’s told she’s been paired, instead of being taken to her new home, she wakes up immobile on a hospital bed. Moments before she’s sliced open, a group of renegade teenagers rescues her, and she learns the real reason she’s been kept in shape: PharmPerfect, a local pharmaceutical giant, is using her foster program as a replacement factory for their pill-addicted clients’ failing organs.
Determined to save the rest of her friends at the center, Tabitha joins forces with her rescuers, led by moody and mysterious Gavin Stiles. As they race to uncover the rest of PharmPerfect’s secrets, though, Tabitha finds herself with more questions than answers. Will trusting the enigmatic group of rebels lead her back to the slaughterhouse?
Bonus Content: A Playlist for Body Parts
For her bonus content, Jessica has provided an awesome playlist for her book by chapter. Check it out below! Act 1:
Memento Opening music
Abstraction: The House Where You Were Born
The Fray, How to Save a Life
Cold Play/Fix You
Cold Play: Trouble
The Fray: Happiness
Gavin confesses: Cold Play: The Scientist
Point of no return: Piano Sonata no 14. In C Sharp Moonlight
Hoobastank: The Reason
Rihanna: Shut up and drive
AND We found love by Rihanna
Tabitha’s Song: Skyfall
Paige’s song: Alone In The Dark" Music by Vadim Kiselev
Gladstone City Songs: Theme song Nip Tuck
Cold Play: Don’t Panic
Ry’s song: Daughter /Medicine: The Wild Youth 2011 Pick it up and start over
Gavin and Tabitha’s song (chapter 10): Jasmine Thompson and Gerald Ko Cover
Gavin’s song: The Fray, Say When
Continue the hunt!
To enter the contest to win a copy of a book by every author on the Blue Team, you'll need to know my favorite number--lucky number seven (7). Add up all the numbers from all 20 authors on the Blue Team and you'll have the secret code to enter to win!
From here, you'll want to visit the post by authors Leah and Kate Rooper, authors of the book Just One of the Royals. You can find their post here.
Good luck, and happy hunting!
Comment below and let everyone know if this is your first YA Scavenger Hunt, or if you're a regular participant. Which teams are you competing to win this year?
Follow me on Twitter at @mattphillion and tweet using the the hashtag #whoisindestructible between now and April 8th to enter to win a copy of the first Indestructibles book! A winner will be chosen at random. Already a fan of the Indestructibles? You can swap out the first book for any one book in the series, winner's choice.
Hey, everyone. I had so much fun writing the Indestructibles novella "Roll for Initiative" I immediately wanted to do more with that fictional world the heroes journeyed to. Return to the cursed game universe of that short with "The Players Guide to Dungeon Crawling," a whole new series, currently in Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. It's free starting Thursday, March 29 through midnight on March 31--grab a copy and let me know what you think of the new cast! Here's a quick description:
"For six lifelong friends, it was supposed to just be a simple game night.
But when they break out a new, classic high-fantasy style game—half tabletop RPG, half dungeon-crawling board game, simultaneously familiar and unexplored—for a test run, they find themselves transported into the game’s setting, living the lives of their made-up characters, where the dangers, and the monsters, are deadly serious.
Left with little choice but to jump headlong into their roles, Cordelia, Morgan, Jack, Eriko, Tamsin, and Tobias will have to become the heroes they were just pretending to be to stop a nightmare creature’s reign of terror… or find out if life and death in this fictional setting is as real as it seems."
"Roll for Initiative just may be my favorite short story featuring the Indestructibles. Only, this one runs around a hundred pages, so it's more a novella than a short story. Life lessons are learned in this adventure, namely, don't take anything from Doc Silence's study. Let's see if Entropy Emily takes the lesson to heart, seeing as how she's the culprit...
"Thing is, newbies to the Indestructible universe will get only a whiff of how dope this series is. In terms of boss superhero storytelling, Matthew Phillion has got a black belt and a PhD. Vintage cape & cowl elements mash with whimsy and an amiable sending up of role-playing games."
What happens when the Indestructibles get trapped in a cursed board game reminiscent of Dungeons and Dragons? We find out who the bard is, first of all. Plus all sorts of random geeky fun. Get Roll for Initiative free on Amazon Kindle from now til December 31 at midnight!
The Indestructibles, a team of super-powered teenagers, have been busy. Whether saving the world or traveling to alternate timelines, there isn’t much downtime. But when small respite from the action leads them to start bickering with each other, Entropy Emily, the gravity-controlling resident instigator, decides the best thing her teammates can do is have a game night, and leads them—not entirely voluntarily—into a game that seems to be a cross between a classic pen and paper role playing game and dungeon-delving board game. Unfortunately, she pilfered the game from their mentor, the magician Doc Silence—and it turns out the game just might be cursed.
One roll of the dice and the team ends up trapped in a medieval setting, without their powers, and armed with swords, bows, and a little bit of magic. They’ll have to use their wits to figure out the rules of this cursed game, and convincingly play the roles they’ve been assigned, to find their way home.
When you’re a hero, even game night turns into a life and death adventure. Will the heroes find their way home? Or will they remain trapped forever as paladins and bards, rangers and wizards?
I've been writing and inviting other writers to talk about #1Page1Panel - taking a single page, and a single panel on that page, that has stuck with you for years and years and talk about what makes it memorable and meaningful to you. Colin, whose new book, Infinite Velocity, has just launched this fall, has chosen a great page for his panel--one you might remember reading if you're an X-Men or Wolverine fan. I'll let Colin tell his story in his own words:
#1Panel1Page: Ultimate X-Men Vol. 1, Issue 41
Some brief context. When I was a kid X-Men spoke to me in a way that other super heroes couldn’t. Naturally Batman was cool, but I wasn’t Bruce Wayne. A group of youngsters who had trouble fitting in though, right up my alley.
For reasons beyond my understanding I gravitated towards Wolverine and began to scoop up tons of X-Men comics in the early nineties. But as I got older I strayed away awhile until one day I found myself in a comic book store wanting to get caught up. This was the early 2000’s and Mark Millar was helming a new reboot of the franchise for Marvel with Adam Kubert. It was more modern and edgy, but maintained all the great traits I had known and loved about the franchise. This was Ultimate X-Men
Forty-one issues in and Brian Michael Bendis is having a run in the series. For my money it’s better than it’s ever been. Bendis gets the characters he writes and it shows. This issue reads like a one act play primarily between two characters. Wolverine and a mutant we only know as ‘J-’ whose abilities only manifested the previous night.
The new mutant had accidentally murdered 265 people in his hometown, including his girlfriend and school right before his own eyes. His power, vaporizing organic matter. After realizing what had happened J hides himself away in a cave. That’s when Logan comes in lighting a fire and cracking a beer. He sits down and the rest of the issue is told as an exchange of dialogue between the two.
As subtle as this issue and this one page is it also holds so much authentic storytelling in it. Wolverine is there for one reason. It had to be him, no one else could have survived the new mutant’s power if it happened. But more importantly it had to be Logan because he’s the only one morally flexible enough to do what was needed. In the Ultimate X-Men universe Xavier, and Magneto before him, uses Wolverine like a hitman on several occasions. By all rights he had always been a hired gun through the years. He was good at it. During the entire conversation Logan drinks beer, it’s part of who he is. But I think he’s trying to numb the pain of what he has to do on this particular night.
The painfully beautiful thing about this page is that the kid realizes if things had gone just a little different he could have been an X-Man too. Instead now he’s a mass murderer. Both of them know what’s coming. Death. For Logan it’s the thing he’s best at, but the new young mutant is better. For decades the core of the X-Men has been about taking in scared kids who can’t control their powers, training them to understand their abilities and use them to protect humanity instead of harm it. But for the first time, in this one book and on this one page, they don’t.
You infer a little about Logan’s mission which has clearly been sanctioned by Xavier. If this mutant joined the Brotherhood, or even just ran away, countless people could die. Everywhere he went there would be a death count. Not everyone who becomes a mutant gets to fly or move objects with their minds.
Not everyone gets to live a normal life; occasionally not everyone gets to live. So Logan tells him to finish his beer. The boy may have murdered 265 people, but he wasn’t a killer so he responds ‘Just do it.’
You never see it, in fact you never even see Logan pop a single claw, but it happens. This story isn’t packed with ‘SNIKT’ action sequences, there’s no battle, no good versus evil, just two mutants talking towards the inevitable ending. It’s a quiet story about ethos and integrity and I believe it’s one of the better issues out there. There’s emotion in the silent panels and there’s heartbreak at the end. Bendis gets it and without even using any of Wolverine’s trademarks he tells you everything you need to know about that character. He’s the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn’t very nice.
My immense thanks to Phillion for inviting me to participate in #1panel1page. He and I both have a special place in our hearts for X-Men and this issue. We’ve talked about it several times and I was very excited at the chance to deconstruct it this way.
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I've mentioned this over on social media, but wanted to also post the link here--had a great interview with Under the Capes, a great geek culture podcast I had a chance to meet up with this summer during Boston Comic Con. The recording can be found here. Check it out!
I was invited as a guest on the talk show the Daily Glow on Little Things network a few weeks back to talk YA books, superheroes, and literacy. Had a great time! The video is available online--check it out to find out my darkest secret pre-author life.
Reading reviews of your own books is probably the most nerve-wracking part of being an author, but I always look forward to seeing what SuperheroNovels.com has to say - they're always honest and the reviews are incredibly well-crafted.
Find out what they think of Echo and the Sea in their latest review here!
Just a quick note that I'll be at Boston Comic Con this coming weekend (August 11-13) at booth AA939, and then down at Terrificon at Mohegan Sun the following weekend (August 18-20) with plenty of copies of all the Indestructibles books plus Echo and the Sea available! Let me know if you're going to be at either show and I'll keep an eye out for you!
Matthew Phillion is the writer of "The Indestructibles," part-time actor, occasional filmmaker. Currently on the lam in Salem with his trusty dog, Watson.