"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

YA Scavenger Hunt Fall 2019 (WITH BONUS GIVEAWAY BELOW!)

Welcome to the 19th YA SCAVENGER HUNT!

Hi! I'm P. J. Hoover, your hostess for this site of the YA Scavenger Hunt. Thanks so much for visiting and playing along!

A little bit about me:

* I write books for people of all ages!

* I have two tortoises (and two dogs and two kids) :)

* I can solve a Rubik's Cube with my eyes closed!

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 72 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 GOLD TEAM--but there is also a red 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 gold 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 KAITLIN BEVIS and her lovely book BLOOD AND OTHER MATTER on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

A little bit about KAITLIN:
Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book and a pen. If the ending didn't agree with her, she rewrote it. Because she's always wanted to be a writer, she spent high school and college learning everything she could to achieve that goal. After graduating college with a BFA and Masters in English, Kaitlin went on to write The Daughters of Zeus series and the young adult horror story, Blood and Other Matter.

If you want to learn more about Kaitlin Bevis, visit her Website, sign up for her Newsletter, or view her on Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | Linked In | Google + | Youtube 


Blood moon rising…

Derrick Hernandez and Tess D’Ovidio have been best friends forever. There’s nothing they wouldn’t do for one another. But their childhood bond is put to the test when Tess shows up on Derrick’s porch covered in blood…

Tess has no memory of what happened. She’d gone to a bush party with one of the football players. She remembers the bonfire…and then, nothing. Working backward, Tess and Derrick learn that she and seven other players were the only ones to make it back from the party alive.

During the next few weeks, each of the survivors is plagued with nightmares that reveal fragments of memories from the horrific night. But when the young men start dying under mysterious circumstances, Derrick can’t figure out if Tess is next—or if she’s somehow responsible. All he knows is that he has to save his best friend—or die trying…


Music plays a large role in Blood and Other Matter, so I definitely had to come up with a soundtrack for key scenes, characters, and the general mood of the story. Take a look at this scene from Blood and Other Matter, then check out this exclusive playlist. 

Seeing her happy was great and all, but I drew the line when her playlist shifted to songs from animated musicals shortly after crossing into Florida.
“Oh, come on!” She blocked my hand from reaching the skip button. “It has words and everything!”
“Stupid ones.”
“You didn’t think they were stupid when you made me watch this movie every day for a—Unbelievable Skies!”
“Oh, my God!”
“Indescribable feeeeeeeelings.”
This drive would never end. “Tess, I will pay you money, just stop—”
Her voice cracked on a high note, and I gave in, reciting the words in the most irritating monotone I could manage. Tess shoved my shoulder, but her eyes sparkled. I upped the ante, infusing every line in “my” part of the song with whatever annoying technique—shouting the lyrics Marine style, introducing accents, or shifting the words around until they said something perverse—I could.
She kept singing through peals of laughter. I might have sung a line or two in earnest by the end, but she’d never be able to prove it.
When my alarm went off, signaling half an hour before moonrise, we parked in a beach lot and headed toward a set of wooden stairs leading toward the ocean. Fishing my keys out of the pocket, I dropped them over the railing.
“Were those your car keys?” Tess leaned over the railing. “Derrick! Why would you—”
“Just making sure we can’t go anywhere if SPOILER HAPPENS.” I glanced at the shadowy scrub brushes they’d landed in, barely visible in the dim light coming from the street light above the stairs. I’d find them, eventually. “Come on.” I kicked off my shoes, grabbed Tess’s hand, and pulled her down the stairs and toward to the shoreline, stopping when the edge of the waves licked at our feet.
With a mischievous grin, Tess kicked the freezing water toward me.
“Hey!” I cried, kicking it right back.
She dodged, shrieking, and ran up the shore. Laughing, I followed after her, launching an all-out sand fight, running up and down the beach like the idiot tourists we were.
“I surrender, I surrender,” Tess gasped a few minutes later, out of breath. “God, this is so incredible.” She spread her arms wide, her gesture taking in the whole ocean. “I mean look at this.”
“It’s really dark.” Another few miles and we’d have made it to the populated strip down the beach, but I didn’t want to risk SPOILER. The twinkling lights from hotels, bars, and the tiny parking lot behind us provided some illumination but not much.
“We could stay here, you know? Find our own little street corner. Set out a hat. Sing our amazing duets. There’s got to be some demand for mangled cartoon lyrics.”
I sputtered a laugh.
“It’s not even a little tempting?” she teased.
“Actually, it kind of is.”
Now she laughed in earnest. “Which part?”
The part where I’m with you. I glanced down at my feet, half buried in the sand.

Obviously “A Whole New World” from Aladdin made it into my playlist along with a few other special animated features. Tess also loves listening to theatrical scores. She explains why in the scene below.

As we moved the futon into the office, her playlist shifted. “Oh, my God,” I groaned, recognizing the score to one of Tess’s favorite movies. “This doesn’t even have words.”
Tess shifted her grip on the futon as we moved sideways into the room. “So?”
So?” I recognized that spark in her eye. Hopeful, almost reveling in the prospect of more familiar banter, I continued. “I never got what you and Ainsley saw in these scores. I’m not saying there’s nothing to respect with instrumental music, but if you’re going to listen to it for hours on end, why not Mozart? Or something classical?”
“Or something impressive enough to be worth your precious time?” Tess mocked, walking backward.
“Well, yeah.” We sat the futon down. “What’s the appeal?”
“I don’t have a visual with classical music.” We went back to my room to grab extra bedding and Tess’s stuff. When we walked back into the office, a softer song began. “See there—” She jabbed a finger toward the phone. “I can tell you exactly what character walked on screen because that’s her song. But it ties in perfectly to this next part, because that’s his song. And the way they twine together?” She grinned, looking more at ease than I’d seen her in weeks. “It’s like a million little puzzle pieces, only better. They stand apart but put together, they make this big thing and there’s emotion and resonance and imagery. I mean, if I hadn’t seen the movie, this would have no meaning to me. Pretty, but incomplete.”
“It’s part of a bigger picture.” I thought back to my stargazing.
“I like the pieces.” She shrugged, throwing a pillow on the futon. “I like the familiarity of them when I hear them in the next song.”
“I get that.” 

The score she’s listening to in this scene is How to Train Your Dragon 2. The How to Train Your Dragon series has one of the most amazing scores, for the record. If you haven’t listened to it, you’re missing out.

Of course, not every scene involving music was quite as happy-go-lucky. Blood and Other Matter is, after all, a horror story. 

“And our scars remind us that the past is real,” Aaron sang, drumming his fingers against his leather steering wheel as he waited for the red light to turn green.
He’d driven all night and had no intention of stopping till he hit the California coast. Hell, he might hop a plane and keep going. New Zealand was supposed to be awesome pretty much any time ever. Taking off after the funeral and popping up in New Zealand would be a bitch to explain to his dad later, but he’d rather face the music than end up six feet under.
“Play it off as grief!” About time he got to use something from this whole fiasco. Everyone was waiting for him to snap. Maybe they’d back off when he came back, figuring he’d got it all out of his system.
“Don’t do this,” Josh had begged after the funeral. “We’re safer together.”
Aaron snorted. He didn’t trust Josh not to throw him under the bus when death came knocking.
“She’s not going to get any more of us,” Josh had promised, grabbing at Aaron when he tried to walk away.
“You heard Hernandez!” Aaron had snapped, shoving past Josh and throwing open the door to his car. “She was with him when Harrison died.”
“He’s lying. Covering for her. She probably told him everything.”
But Aaron had seen Derrick’s face before Josh told him off. He'd looked scared, not furious. God help them all if Derrick Hernandez ever figured out what they’d done.
“At least, what I think we did.” The emptiness in his memory gnawed at him, but he could fill in some gaps. “I’m not insane, I’m not insane,” he sang, laughing in time to the music. God, he hoped that was still true.
Once he’d slammed the door on Josh and peeled out of the parking lot, he hadn’t dared stop driving for anything but gas. Speaking of . . . . Aaron glanced at the fuel gauge. The needle sat at a quarter of a tank. Already?
He kept his eyes peeled for an exit, shuddering at the murky shadows stretching beneath the street lights. His mind flashed back to the nightmare vision of shadows entering Harrison’s body. Man, he was going to need so much therapy.
“I’ll take it,” he muttered, shielding his eyes against the headlights of an oncoming car. “If it means I’m alive, I’ll sit in therapy sessions all day.” His stepmother would be thrilled. Another fault to pick apart.
Light rain splattered against the windshield, intensifying as he drove deeper into the storm. The brights did funny things to the rain pouring from the sky. Raindrops transformed into sheets of water, driving into his windshield. He flipped the brights off and eased up on the gas when brake lights flashed ahead of him. No sense outrunning the shadow monster only to end up a splatter on the side of the road. “Take a breath, man. You’re far enough away.” He’d driven all night and felt confident in his escape, now that several state lines separated him from Fairdealings.
The cars in front of him started moving again, and before long, he found himself on an empty stretch of road, able to drive as fast as he wanted. Normally he loved driving like this, but he couldn’t take his mind off of Josh, begging him not to go.
“I don’t want to bury any more friends, man. Please. Stay here.”
Stupid Josh. Team building, good luck charms—hocus pocus the lot of it. He’d never wanted to go along with Josh’s good luck ritual because the whole thing sounded stupid and wrong, on lots of levels. He was Baptist, for Christ’s sake.
His fuel light pinged on, and Aaron tensed, his eyes scanning the horizon for signs of civilization. God, what if he got stranded out here? He couldn’t risk calling home. This was all Josh’s fault. If he hadn’t guilted Aaron into holding his tongue and made him go along with—
“He can’t make you do anything. Man up.” Aaron refused to play the victim.
Besides, Josh’s crazy ideas worked. Aaron could have written off their first win as luck or coincidence, but he’d felt the way they’d played. They’d been unstoppable. So the bonfires became a tradition, and they hadn’t lost since. Obviously, something went wrong the night of the last bonfire, but he couldn’t remember what. Maybe he should have told the sheriff everything he knew. But they were a team. Teammates had each other’s back. They worked together, they—
“Die together?”
Aaron whipped around in the driver’s seat and almost sent the car sailing off the road. “Who said that?”
The voice laughed. He’d heard that laugh in the school hallway so many times but never with so much darkness. “It wasn’t me,” he protested, scanning the backseat as his memories came flooding back.
The backseat was empty. Stiffening, he turned to check the seat beside him. Nothing there, either.
“Oh,” he breathed, turning his attention back to the road where he’d somehow managed to stay in his lane. Awesome driving skills for the win. Maybe hearing voices was a sign he should turn in for the night. Too much Red Bull, not enough sleep.
Aaron took another breath and laughed at his overreaction. Up ahead, his headlights illuminated a road sign, and he sat up straight, squinting to make out the glowing white writing.
“Now Entering Willow County, Alabama?” No. He’d crossed three state lines. There was no way—
A whimper tore at his throat when he realized the next exit led to his house. “Oh, God.”
Yeah, he’s got nothing to do with this.
A symbol flashed through his brain, burning like a brand. A crescent moon painted in blood on trembling flesh. The same moon glared down at him from the heavens in accusation.
“I’m not the one who lit the match.” Aaron’s mind raced. He couldn’t die. Not like the others. “It wasn’t me. I’m sorry!”
You’re sorry?
Aaron screamed as the voice rebounded in his skull, reverberating, vibrating in blistering agony. “Please,” he begged, tasting blood.
“Please!” A distraught scream reverberated through his mind. “Don’t do this! Please! What are you doing? Stop!”
“Stop,” he echoed, desperate to stop the siege of memories and guilt.
I deserve this.
“No,” he choked out around a mouthful of salt and copper. “I don’t deserve this!”
A lie. He’d known the second the match caught flame they’d screwed up. Big time. Everything that followed was bought and paid for with their stupidity.
I deserve this, the voice insisted.
Blood, screams, tears, begging, and death all came back to him in brutal slow motion. “I deserve this,” he realized.
The rain stopped. Aaron blinked at the sudden silence, deafening in its wrongness, then his mouth dropped open. Light fractured and glittered off the frozen droplets hanging in the sky.
The pitter-patter of raindrops began anew, but the droplets didn’t move. They hung, suspended in the air. Then the dripping sound morphed into the rush of rainfall, and the droplets vibrated before they started moving again. But they moved in the wrong direction. The rain fell up.
“Holy hell,” Aaron craned is neck to look up, forgetting all about the voice in the empty car.
You’re driving! The sensible part of his mind reminded him. He jerked his eyes back to the road. A slim figure stood in front of him. Before he could stop himself, he swerved. Tires squealed, the car spun. Then, with a splintering crash, the car slammed into a grove of trees, flattening around him instantly.
I’m not dead. His harsh breathing filled his ears as the chaos of the crash melted into silence. Humming. He could hear someone humming a haunting melody. “No,” he gasped. “Please, no.”
The headlights illuminated the slim figure moving between the bits of wrecked metal with a familiar gait.
“It’s you,” he whispered. “But why?”
When it knelt, looking him in the eye, everything inside of Aaron went cold. The eyes looked familiar, but the soul looking out of them didn’t. “What are you?”
The creature flashed its teeth in a savage smile, both familiar and strange. “Everything you asked for and more.”
Aaron shuddered at the sound of its voice. It replicated the inflection and speech pattern perfectly, but something about the cadence sounded off.
“You know what to do.” The creature handed him a jagged piece of metal.
He did, didn’t he? “Stop.” Aaron’s fingers closed around the cold metallic shard. “Don’t do this!” His hand shook as it drew back of its own accord. “Please, stop!” His hand tensed, then plunged the shrapnel into his upper arm.
Aaron howled in pain as he ripped the metal out of his flesh. Blood sprayed across the windshield. The creature grabbed his shoulders and yanked him through the too-small window. His body broke and shattered to fit through the frame.
It growled, its eyes sparkling with a feral delight as it put its lips to the stream of blood.
Aaron kept waiting for shock to knock him out. With all that blood, he figured he’d bleed to death in a matter of seconds. A quick death, albeit a painful one. But Aaron felt each grunt and sigh from the creature as it buried its face in his flesh and drained him of blood with gleeful gluttony. His body went cold; his nerves died in a screaming blaze of agony; his heart spasmed and stopped; and still, he felt the pain. It drank and drank while Aaron twitched and died. But death was only the beginning.
The creature released him and stood, brushing itself off as Aaron’s body fell limply against the twisted frame of the car. Aaron tried to cry out, but his voice no longer responded to the impulses of his mind. The creature vanished into shadows, leaving Aaron broken, mangled, drained, and yet somehow still aware.
Time passed in a haze as his body grew cold and stiff around him. Headlights passed over the wreck, slowed, stopped. Footsteps, a hushed phone call. Flashing lights glittered against the wet pavement. Gloved hands, then bits of chilled metal probed at his flesh. Someone closed Aaron’s eyes, and darkness overtook him. A voice pronounced him dead, and the full horror of the situation hit him. What would happen when he started to rot? Would they do an autopsy? Embalm him? Cremate him? At what point would the pain stop? What happened if it never did?
“Aw man, I hate when it’s a kid,” one EMT said to another, tucking plastic fabric around Aaron.
“Yeah, you never get used to it,” the other said. “But it looks like he went quick. See.” A gloved finger traced over Aaron’s upper arm. “Something went clean through the brachial artery. He probably didn’t feel a thing.”
The EMT zipped the body bag, oblivious to the corpse’s silent screams.

Aaron definitely had different taste in music than Tess. The songs featured in that scene are Almost Easy by Avenged Seven-Fold, and Scars from Papa Roach.  

Not every song playing in my mental playlist got a nod in the story. The song that set the mood for Blood and Other Matter is Bottom of the River by Delta Rae

 And the song that inspired Blood and Other Matter is A Lifetime by Better than Ezra


OKAY, that was awesome!!!!! Thank you, Kaitlin!!!

Here's the entire Gold Team and all the amazing books you get to learn about!

Don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, KAITLIN BEVIS, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 27. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the gold team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!


I'm giving away my latest YA book, THE HIDDEN CODE, to ONE lucky winner! All you have to do to enter is subscribe to my mailing list by filling out the Rafflecopter below! (US addresses only)


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, KRISTIN JACQUES! Follow this link to keep going!

1 comment:

Melissa Williams said...

The Hidden Code Escape Room Game in your bonus content was a lot of fun!