2016 Fall YASH with J. KELLER FORD
Welcome to Fall 16 YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event is designed as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to find new favorite authors and win some great prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content, you’ll get a number clue from each author for the team hunt. Add up the numbers for each individual team, and you can enter for our prizes–one lucky winner will receive ONE SIGNED BOOK from each author on the hunt team! This year there are 6 teams total you can explore and enter the giveaways for! But you have to play fast. This contest will only be open for 5 days! go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt, the rules, the other teams, and all the prizes up for grabs!
This is one of my favorite events and I love taking part, and this time I’m on #TeamBlue 🙂
How to play: Each author on my #TeamBlue have listed a certain number; collect the numbers of all the authors on #TeamBlue and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). 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 9th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
I am hosting author J. Keller Ford and her new book
IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING
A realm on the brink of war. Three teens destined to stop it. One dragon bent on seeing they don’t…
For her exclusive content, J. Keller has given me the original first chapter of IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING!
I gotta say, between the cover and little blurb and now seeing this cut chapter, I am really interested to learn more 🙂 I think you all will be too!
Don’t miss your chance with this one.
David Heiland woke to the sound of the garbage truck rumbling down the street.
“Crap! She’s gonna kill me!”
He scrambled to get dressed then raced from his room to the end of the hall, stumbled down the servant’s stairs into the kitchen, and out the back door. Hurdling over the porch banister, David landed in the soft snow. Cursing at not grabbing his coat and gloves, he squashed the overflowing garbage into the bin and lugged it down the long driveway to the curb, arriving just in time for its contents to be discarded. Two houses down, Mrs. Fenton, a small, spidery old woman with crooked fingers and waist-length strands of white hair, dragged her empty bin to the side of her house.
Leaving the empty bin behind, David ran up the drive to the home he shared with his governess, Nan – a colonnaded mansion nestled in the magnolias and oaks at the end of a cul-de-sac.
Inside the foyer, he stomped the snow from his shoes, and then stepped into the central entryway. He stopped for a moment and gazed at the grand staircase, making a mental note to remove the Christmas garland from the sweeping banisters that sloped to each side in a curl above the long hallway.
Entering the antique-infested parlor to his right, David collected his book from the top of the glass-cased credenza. He had just entered the adjoining dining room when the front doors burst open, ushering in a gust of damp wind. What the hell?” he said, returning to the foyer. He
pushed the heavy doors closed and clicked the deadbolt. “There, open now,” he challenged them. Behind him, the grandfather clock chimed seven times.
The smell of fresh-brewed coffee beckoned him down the hall. He picked up an envelope from the floor – Nan’s name, ‘Lysbeth Perish’, written in a distinct but unfamiliar hand across the front. Tucking it alongside his book, David ambled into the greatroom at the rear of the house. The morning news droned from the television above the stone fireplace. Nan’s voice called out to him from the kitchen.
“Good morning, honey. Did you sleep well?”
He glanced to his right to see her pouring a cup of coffee.
“Yep,” he said, tossing the letter on the lapis countertop.
Nan looked up. Her mouth broadened into a wide smile; her bright blue eyes twinkled with amusement. “What’s with the hair, sweetie? Ever hear of a comb?” She remotely clicked off the television.
He shrugged, running his fingers through his shoulder-length brown hair. “It’s windy as hell out there, and do you have any idea how cold it is?” He snatched an apple and vaulted over the back of the couch into the soft cushions.
“I haven’t been out yet but all the news channels are saying this is the coldest day Havendale has seen in almost a century. Speaking of which – would you do me a favor and stoke the fire, please?”
He rolled his eyes and shut his book. “Sure, why not. It’s what I live for. By the way, I found that letter on the floor in the entry. It’s addressed to you.”
“On the counter.”
Nan flipped her auburn hair over her narrow shoulders, pulled up her sleeves and examined the envelope. “How strange? Where did you say you found this?”
“Next to the stairs.” He threw the apple core and a log on the fire. They both crackled and popped. “I thought maybe you dropped it.”
“No. I’ve never seen it before.” Frown lines etched across her forehead as long, delicate fingers slit open the envelope and unfolded the page.
A gasp caused David to look up. Her hand clutched the blue stone dangling from her neck. Their eyes locked. Then, without a word, she fled out the back door.
“What the…?” Dropping the poker, David hurdled over the couch and rushed after her.
“Nan?” He walked the entire veranda but she was gone. Vanished. All he found was the letter clinging to the bottom step. Snatching it, he hurried back to the warmth of the kitchen. Pressing his back to the door, he read the words:
My dearest Lysbeth,
Please forgive my quick hand but time is short and the danger here grows stronger every day. Even as I write this, the enemy draws closer. It is difficult to recognize friend from foe. No one is protected from the darkness that pervades our lives. I can only hope our son remains safe in your care. With luck, we shall return to you both on the tenth day of the new year. Please pray the heavens will guide us home. With deep affection.
There was no signature.
David collapsed in a chair at the kitchen table and read the letter again, trying to wrap his mind around the strangely written words and their implications. His brow furrowed. The words didn’t make sense. He reached for the phone.
The longest ten minutes of his life passed before his best friend, Charlotte Stine, knocked on the door. He ran down the hall and ushered her inside. She barely had time to remove her coat before he dragged her to the kitchen.
“David, what’s wrong with you?” She pulled the wool cap from her head, smoothing her waist-length chestnut hair over one shoulder.
He tossed the letter on the table. “That’s what’s wrong with me. Go on. Read it.”
Charlotte sat down and read the words – twice – and then shook her head as if ridding her mind of a bad dream. Nervous laughter escaped her throat. “That – that’s just twisted, David. It’s gotta be a joke. Your folks are dead.”
“Of course they are. I mean, Nan would have told you otherwise, right? This is just somebody screwing with your head.”
“Then why did she look like she saw a ghost when she read it?”
Charlotte shook her head. “I don’t know but there’s got to be an explanation. Come on. Think about it. Why would she lie to you about your parents?”
“I don’t know, but this letter freaked her out and I have to find out why.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I’ll confront her when she gets back.”
“And what if you find out she lied to you?”
He leaned against the counter, his thumbs hooked on his belt loops, a blank look on his face. “I don’t know.” He glanced up at Charlotte. “I don’t know.”
The kitchen fell quiet. Charlotte read the letter again. “You know, it says they’re coming home on the tenth. That’s Monday. That only gives you two days – “
“I know.” David sat across from her staring into space. He remained quiet for some time before he said, “Do you really think this could be somebody’s sick idea of a joke?”
Charlotte shrugged. “Maybe. Either way, it’s not good.”
David snorted. “You’re not kidding.” He hunched over, his elbows on his knees, and cracked his knuckles. A stray breeze rushed inside as the back door opened and Nan stepped inside.
She smiled at Charlotte and said, “Hello.”
Charlotte stood and returned the greeting. Looking somewhat awkward she said, “I was, –er, just leaving.”
David followed Charlotte to the foyer and helped her with her coat. “Thanks for coming over,” he said.
“No problem.” She glanced down the hall then back at David. “Call me if you need to talk, okay?”
He hugged her and said, “I will. Bye.”
David closed the door and plodded down the hall. He found Nan standing beside the fire in the greatroom warming her hands. She regarded David warily out of the corner of her eye.
He straddled the arm of the couch, his arms crossed about his chest in a protective manner. “So, are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
She glanced at him, a penitent look on her face. “There’s nothing to tell, David.”
His blue eyes darkened to black. “What do you mean there’s nothing to tell? What about this?” He thrust the letter toward her.
She patted her pants pockets, her eyes widened in surprise. “Where did you get that?”
“Hmm, let me think…you dropped it?”
She straightened and faced the fire. David waited for her to continue. Irritated by her silence, he said, “I’m waiting.”
I don’t know what you want me to say, David.”
“How about telling me what you know about my parents and what this letter means? Then, you can tell me why you lied to me for fifteen freaking years! Why did you tell me my parents were dead when you knew damn well they weren’t?”
“Do not put words in my mouth, David. I never told you your parents were dead. You presumed them to be so. It was the way you dealt with them not being around.” She brushed past him.
“But you let me believe it. Why? Why would you do that if it wasn’t true? Why would you lie to me?”
“I did not lie to you.” She poured a glass of juice.
“Yes you did! This letter confirms it!”
She swallowed the contents and set the glass on the counter. “You shouldn’t always believe what you read.”
“Then what should I believe? You?” David asked. “Perhaps if you told me the truth -“
She spun around. “What truth do you want, David? The one that applies now? Five minutes ago? Last year? There are so very many to choose from.”
“What in the hell is that supposed to mean? The truth is the truth. Period.”
“No. The truth is a very slippery fish, David – hard to grasp and even harder to hang onto. Just when you think you have it, it slips through your fingers and each time you reach for it, you grasp a different one. This is a very strange fish you’ve discovered and there are many things about it you do not understand.”
“Then explain them to me. I am almost sixteen, you know. I think I can handle it.”
She turned her back to him and faced the sink. “I can’t.”
He blinked. “Can’t or won’t? All it takes is a simple yes or no. Are my parents alive?”
She turned, her face set hard, her tone unyielding. “I can’t tell you that.”
“Why not! They’re MY parents. You have no right to keep them from me!”
“As your legal guardian I have every right to do what I feel is in your best interest. You may not agree with my decision, you may not understand it, but you will abide by it. I will not be swayed by your emotional whims.”
David snapped. “M-my whims! Is that what you think this is? A whim? You are so full of sh….”
“Enough!” Nan shouted, her anger stretched beyond her ability to control it. Her chest was rising in shallow, quick breaths. “You will not be disrespectful to me. Now go to your room until you can speak to me without yelling or cursing.”
He laughed. “Go to my room? Are you joking?”
She glared back at him as though challenging him to speak. “Do I look like I’m joking?”
The letter crumpled in his clenched fist. “You’re IMPOSSIBLE!” David stormed down the hallway and slammed the front door behind him.
J. (Jenny) Keller Ford is a scribbler of YA speculative fiction. As an Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights, and wondrous magic to permeate her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love. Things that keep her sane: her family, furbabies, dragons, books, nature and coffee.
As always with these hunts I am also doing an additional giveaway! Two lucky winners will receive $20 gift cards from the book retailer of their choice (Amazon, B&N, iBooks) and One grand prize winner will receive a custom-made piece of jewelry inspired by my LEGENDARY SAGA and another very special prize 😀 Together the two prizes are worth $90! That means I’ll have 3 winners–what a coincidence, the third book of my series RELICS OF CAMELOT is one of the grand prize books <3
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And don’t forget to enter the main contests for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me and more! Remember to add up all the numbers of the authors on #TeamBlue and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
<3 always LH
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! JULIE REECE