YASH Fall Scavenger Hunt!

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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! At 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 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 120 hours!

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Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are FOUR contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM--but there is also a gold team, a blue team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of 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.


Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red 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 October 6th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.


Today, I am hosting Kate Karyus Quinn who is an avid reader and menthol chapstick addict with a BFA in theater and an MFA in film and television production. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her husband, three children, and one enormous dog.


Kate is sharing an exclusive sneak-peek scene from Fire & Flood (Mount Olympus Academy, Book #1). Enjoy!

Killing With Your Bare Hands is in a room that is half classroom, half gym. Cassie and I take a seat near the back while the other students seem to already have their cliques. Of course, it is halfway through the term. Tina is surrounded by a whole gaggle of girls with resting bitch face.

The class is taught by an extremely tall, very hot, very shirtless man who introduces herself as Kratos.

I turn to Cassie and jerk my head in the teacher’s direction. “Mr. Kratos?”

“Drop the Mr. He’s just Kratos.”

“Okay, but Kratos…he’s a god, right?”

“Demi-god, technically,” she whispers back. “Of war.” Her eyes widen dramatically, like she finds this both scary and exciting.

I guess that also sums up how I feel about this dude—er, god. I can’t seem to rip my gaze away from his bare torso. Golden skin covers bulging muscles. So. Many. Muscles. He is definitely a badass. He has it written all over himself. Like literally. It’s tattooed across his back.

He sidles past my desk, giving me a little smirk to let me know he saw me checking him out. Then he tells us to open our books to page three hundred and five. It’s a chapter titled, “They’re Not Actually Dead Until They Piss Themselves.”

“Alright, who wants to walk us through strangulation?” Kratos asks.

Almost everyone immediately raises their hands. Great, so not only is this the most difficult course, but it’s full of overeager super achievers. Kratos skims over the extended arms and then does the classic teacher thing of picking a guy at the back who seems more interested in studying the ceiling.

“Val,” Kratos nods to him. “Please come to the front of the classroom.”

The boy stands and for the first time I miss my inhaler. This school is overrun with extremely good-looking people, but there’s something about Val that’s more than just pretty. He walks to the front, all liquid and smooth, like he’s not made out of flesh and bone. I realize pretty quickly he might not be. I have to remember I’m not in high school anymore—I’m at Mount Olympus Academy. He’s got his uniform a little bit punked out, like my roommate Tina, but he’s wearing a t-shirt with a cute bunny rabbit under it, which feels very not-vampire to me.

“What is he?” I whisper to Cassie.

“And for your victim,” a hand settles onto my shoulder, heavy and squeezing more than necessary. “The new girl, who likes to talk during class.”

Everyone giggles. Even Cassie, although I’m starting to realize it’s her auto-response to everything. Kratos propels me to the front of the class, while I fight the urge to adjust the back of my skirt and make sure I didn’t tuck it into my underwear when I used the bathroom.

“Hi,” I say to Val when I get up to him, and he nods, using the motion to both acknowledge me and toss a shiny black curl out of his eyes.

“Hey,” he responds, his voice low and slightly rumbly. The last thing I need is some dumb crush—especially after my last one ended so badly. And yet with just that one word I can feel the fascination forming. My eyes latch onto his shirt, which is a sunny yellow. This close, I can read the words printed above the trembling rabbit, which say, Inside I’m just a scared wittle bunny wabbit.

“Your shirt is great,” I say, nervously.

“I know,” he agrees in a way that is both dickish and inexplicably attractive. I frown as the shivers travel down my spine. I refuse to fall under this guy’s spell. And that means no more sweet little Edie. I’m in the assassination class now. I need to be a badass.

“Not that you care, but I’m Edie.” Okay, that was more passive aggressive than badass. I’ll have to keep working on it.

“No,” Val replies with another hair flip. “You’re dead.”

And then I’m in the air—not because my wings are out, but because Val’s got my neck in one hand.

I automatically grab Val’s wrist and pull, but it’s like steel. I look down into his bright blue eyes, silently begging him to stop because I don’t have the ability to speak right now.

He doesn’t, and Kratos begins to narrate my death.

“You can see by the way her color is changing that the oxygen has been cut off. First the skin will go gray—”

At their desks, students lean in closer, taking notes on my skin tone. Tina is in my line of vision and her gleeful smirk enrages me. My lungs are on fire, black spots popping in my vision. I claw and scratch at Val’s hands, but I’m not even leaving marks on his skin. My vision begins to darken and my chin slumps onto my chest.

I’m about to pass out. My eyes flutter closed. Suddenly the eyes of the thing inside me stare back. They are angry. And they remind me that I’m not completely defenseless.

My wings pop. I open my eyes and glimpse them in my peripheral vision. They are lustrous and bright red with anger. The sight of them gives me strength. I give a gigantic push, both wings wafting around me, creating a draft that makes Val unclench his fist and sends him sprawling back onto his ass.

There’s a gasp from the whole class as I settle back onto the ground, and I don’t know why. Surely on a campus full of vampires and werewolves, a girl with wings is not a big deal? But people aren’t looking at my wings. They’re looking at Val—who is on fire.

“Oh shit,” I yell, but Kratos is already on it, casting a heavy blanket over Val and rolling him across the floor until he’s just a tube of cloth, with feet sticking out the bottom and hair out of the top. Singed, smoking hair.

“I’m so sorry,” I say, running up to Kratos, who gives me a shove that sends me rolling down the aisle.

“Don’t approach without permission,” he shouts, casually flipping the blanketed Val into the air, unrolling him. He hits the ground, blackened skin smoking. There are only scraps left of his t-shirt that I’d admired a few moments ago. His perfect face is still perfect, but the rest of him…

He’s ruined. He’s dying. The skin on his chest is peeling away, revealing white bones beneath.

And somehow, I did that.

And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Kate Karyus Quinn, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 9! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red 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 Lish McBride! And don’t forget to scroll down to enter to win an ARC of BE NOT FAR FROM ME!

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Rachele Alpine On Letting Go When It Comes to Marketing

It’s time for a new interview series… like NOW. No really, actually it’s called NOW (Newly Omniscient Authors). This blog has been publishing since 2011, and some of the earlier posts feel too… dated. To honor the relaunch of the site, I thought I’d invite some of my past guests to read and ruminate on their answers to questions from oh-so-long-ago to see what’s changed between then and now.


Has how you think (and talk) about writing and publishing changed, further into your career?

I spent sooooo much time promoting and marketing my first book, and I’ve now learned that there is only so much you can control with book sales (which is VERY little).  I put some time into marketing, but most of my focus on writing more books in hopes of ensuring the longevity of my writing career. 

Let’s about the balance between the creative versus the business side of the industry. Do you think of yourself as an artiste or are you analyzing every aspect of your story for marketability? Has that changed from your early perspective?

I don’t analyze a book for marketability as I’m writing it, but you better believe that if a book sells, I think about how to market it.  I always try to think of one fun or clever way to market a book that hopefully gets people talking about it. 

I’m also more deliberate and specific about what I do to market a book.  When I first started writing, I felt as if my marketing was hit or miss as I tried to figure out what worked.  I spent a lot of time (and money) doing things that might not have been worth it.  Now, I am more aware of how I spend my time.  

The bloom is off the rose… what’s faded for you, this far out from debut?

I spent so much time marketing and talking about my first book.  It was pretty much 24/7 long before it came out and long after it came out.  And the truth was, it didn’t make a difference in terms of sales when compared to my other titles.  After publishing six books, I’ve realized that the buzz around a new book only last for so long and then you need to move on to writing the next.  I live by the Elsa philosophy and after a book comes out and a couple of months have passed, I “let it go.” 

Likewise, is there anything you’ve grown to love (or at least accept) that you never thought you would? 

I’ve always been an introverted person, and it takes me a long time to warm up or talk to people I don’t know.  I was always a bit weary of social media, how easy it is for readers to contact authors, and speaking to groups.  However, I have to say that I love hearing from readers, especially young readers. Because I write a lot of middle grade books, I handwritten letters from young readers.  Although answering them is time consuming, I love writing back.  There’s just something awesome about getting and sending snail mail.

And lastly, what did getting published mean for you and how was it changed (or not changed!) your life?

Before being published I did have the notion that it would change my life.  The reality is that it hasn’t.  Most of my release days now pass with small fanfare from my family and a few friends.  Otherwise, once one book is out the focus is mostly on writing the next. 

I now view writing and publishing as my way of doing something in this crazy world that we’re currently living in right.  We are surrounded with so much hate right now and it’s impossible to not do try to make a difference.  Words hold so much power, and it’s that power that I focus on in hopes that I’m contributing a small part of working toward the change that is so needed in our country today.  I have a quote by Margaret Atwood hanging in my writing office, “A word after a word after a word is power.”  It’s pretty much my writing mantra these days.