YASH Spring 2020
I am again a participant in the YA SCAVENGER HUNT!
yes, the world's in peril at the moment, but let's all take a pandemic break with some escapist fiction!
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! On 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!
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 blue team, a gold team, and a purple team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
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 APRIL 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
Meet Melinda Cordell
I'm hosting Melinda Cordell. Tell us about yourself Melinda:
I'm a former horticulturist, a chicken wrangler, and my superpower is distraction.
My latest series is the Dragonriders of Fiorenza. Fia, an enterprising young dragonrider sees her father kidnapped before her eyes -- so she pulls her assassin grandmother out of retirement and puts a hit out on the kidnappers to rescue him. Assassin's Blade, the first book, will be out on May 7th!
Wow that sounds great! I love dragons! Sometimes I wish I had FIVE dragons. Yeah, FIVE of them. Really!
Where can people go to learn more about you and your cool book ASSASSIN'S BLADE?
My site is https://melindacordell.com/ and the book can be found at https://melindacordell.com/dragonriders-of-fiorenza/ (or click the cover below)
My father’s been kidnapped.
The kidnappers demand a ransom that’s impossible to pay. If they don’t get it in two weeks, they will kill my father.
Mama won’t survive his murder. She’s already fallen unconscious.
If we can’t pay, my brother and sisters will end up homeless.
So I’ve pulled my assassin grandmother and my pudgy war dragon out of retirement.
Together, we’re going to find the kidnappers and rescue my dad.
And we’ll make those bastards pay.
Set in an alternate medieval Italy with dragons and magic, ASSASSIN'S BLADE is for fans of the Venatrix Chronicles by Sylvia Mercedes, or the dragon books of Ursula K. Le Guin and Anne McCaffery. You'll love taking flight in ASSASSIN'S BLADE.
And now an exciting excerpt!
This is an excerpt from Assassin’s Blade, when Fia’s father is kidnapped and Fia and her dragon Ryelleth wing after them in pursuit.
Ryelleth roared and reared up, taking the brunt of the flames against her chest – a war dragon maneuver done to protect their riders. Fia made herself as small as possible on Ryelleth’s back as blistering heat and deathly flames broke against Ry’s body as a wave breaks across the rocks.
Fia held her breath to keep her lungs from being scorched by fire, and she shut her eyes tight, clinging to Ryelleth. The flames went on and on until every part of her screamed with pain from the fire and the super-heated air.
With a surge of power, Ryelleth winged up into the air, out of the flames, rising higher and higher.
Now cool air surrounded Fia. She wheezed in air, immediately choking – but her goatskin gloves were burning. She smacked them out on the sides of her asbestos dress, wincing in pain. She’d been burned but there was no time to look at the damage.
“I told you to spend a few coins on asbestos gloves,” she muttered to herself, seizing the forward strap. Her hands were shaking, but she leaned against Ryelleth’s neck. “Pursue,” she called, voice quavering.
With a roar, Ryelleth pitched herself directly at the green racer, which was rising swiftly out of the fogbank.
As the green racer rose, Fia could see two people on its back. One was its dragonrider. The second man was her father, wearing his red robes of state.
“Daddy!” Fia shouted, though the deep bruise in her side hurt at her cry. “Ry, follow them! Don’t let them get away!”
Ryelleth growled with determination and blazed after them in pursuit.
The small green dragon clapped its wings and shot away so fast that Fia couldn’t help but gasp. The racer dragons were bred to be light, powerful – and very, very swift.
There was no way that Ryelleth, her big pudgy dragon, could keep up with that. She thought of how the only exercise her dragon got was in ferrying people from city to city. But Fia leaned forward on Ryelleth’s neck like a jockey urging her horse on to a win. “Pursue them!” she cried. “Go, go go go.”
Ryelleth lowered her head and her wings came down like thunder, and they were roaring through the air.
Fia’s fingers went white-knuckled on the forward strap. She had never gone this fast before in her life, and her eyes behind her streaming veil went wide. Ryelleth was keeping up with the green racers.
Now they were slowly staring to gain on the racers. “Get ‘em, my good girl,” she cried to Ryelleth as the freezing wind smacked her veil against her cheeks and neck. Fia pressed herself against the dragon’s back to lower her wind resistance, tightened her legs against Ry’s sides, thrilling at how swiftly they were flying. She’d never known Ry could travel like this. The jeweled tone of the dragon’s scales brightened and glowed from her internal fires, and sparks went eddying and flying past from her hot breath.
One of the riders glanced over his shoulder at them, then shouted something at his partner. Her father, lying face down across the back of the right-hand racer, kicked and squirmed. The rider shouted something and brought down a leather crop across her father’s back.
“No! You bastard!” Fia screamed. “Ry, fire upon the dragon on this side.” Fia struck the left side of Ry’s neck.
At the signal, a gout of flame roared out at the dragons.
Immediately the left-hand dragon peeled off and came for Fia and Ryelleth while the second dragon flew on.
Fia swore. That was a mistake, for now the dragon with her father would have a chance to get away while the oncoming dragon engaged them in a fight.
The green racer circled back and spat a line of fire. Fia’s heart dropped. She curled against Ryelleth’s back, heart rattling with terror with the hard beat of Ry’s wings.
Ryelleth flung herself up so fast that for a split second Fia, within the straps that held her on, was flung face-down on her dragon's back. The racer’s fire broke against Ry’s belly, the dragon’s body and wide wings protecting Fia. Ry blasted fire in return as she climbed and climbed straight up in the air.
Fia felt her dragon’s momentum stall as they hung for a moment in the. Then to Fia’s horror, slowly, as in something out of a nightmare, they began to fall backward.
WOW - if this sounds amazing to you too, don't forget to visit
Look at all the amazing books to win above! Want them? Then, don't forget that I really like FIVE. You'll need that number (added to all the other RED TEAM numbers to enter).
Now, on to the next author in the hunt: TERA LYNN CHILDS
The pandemic goes on. We are more isolated than ever, and yet even in isolation, we are one world, and one species, all in the same predicament together. I've been posting images of my family on facebook and wanted to share some of the moments of joy, we've found, amid the fear.
Stay safe. Stay sane. We'll get through this.
The End of What We Knew
Occasionally there is an event or change that alters human society forever. The World Wars, the development of the Internet, and so on. The current pandemic is one of those events. All over the world, people are suddenly confronted with a situation more surreal than any they've encountered. Here in the USA, many states are already on lockdown. Stores are running out of food and essentials, restaurants and theatres are closed, and people are confined to their homes. Fear, apprehension, and hope drift in the air, along with a very real virus.
I'm not attempting to sensationalize. While many continue to doubt the severity of this pandemic or the necessity of quarantines and social distancing to prevent a complete collapse of our healthcare systems, the very real ramifications of this event have already started.
In this scenario, I suppose I'm lucky. My wife and I both already work from home, and our kids are here. We have internet, we have electricity and food. I'm young and healthy. And yet, I'm just as concerned as the rest of the world. Today I checked my calendar. I had a scheduled virtual visit and had forgotten the time. While looking I noticed something else, Monday was supposed to be my son's day to "lead the class" at his preschool. With no warning, I broke down. Tears welled in my eyes and I felt such overwhelming sorrow I couldn't move.
In some ways it was foolish. Even on the personal level, I've lost more. We've a scheduled trip to DisneyWorld, a massive surprise birthday party for my 40th (Disney emailed and ruined the surprise) and my daughter's first birthday. I'm doubtful that's on. And of course, with him home, I'm attempting to homeschool, losing time to write or cook or take care of the house, and so on. I've a cousin who's already run out of toilet paper. A close friend who cancelled her wedding. And a host of theatre friends suddenly out of work. Since my children were born, I've felt a duty to give them the best life possible, and now just worry about keeping them safe. And don't get me started with the real fear of our funds in the market. Yet, that simple fact, my son was going to miss being the "class leader" sent me spiraling. This wasn't fair. Not to him, not to any of the kids. Students who will miss half a year of school, or their graduations. And what of special needs kids? Or anyone who NEEDs socialization? My son's very social, and thrives with play time. How will he cope long-term without?
No, this won't end tomorrow. No, this won't be easy. After a single week of social distancing, I'm ready to move on. And the doubt about the future is real. Many models such as this one in the Washington Post forecast the event could last a year or more. A year of social distancing, closures, small biz collapsing, arts and nonprofits failing, and entire industries such as entertainment, cruises, and so on coming to a halt. And if you're reading this, at least you too have internet and electricity. Not everyone does.
Hopefully, the virus is under control earlier. I've already started a new novel set during this historic and unfortunate circumstance. Perhaps the most important thing in all of this is HOPE. It's still there. As mentioned, it floats in the wind. It's sometimes muffled behind fear or doubt. Not knowing how this'll play out is hard. Will we be isolated a week or a year? And what will the world look like after this?
There's a certain REM song that comes to mind. The lyrics are critical. It's not just the "end of the world" - no, it is in fact "the end of the world as we knew it." In this case, that might be true.
At this point, we just have to wait and see. Stay safe, and stay sane.
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.