YA Scavenger Hunt 2015: Days of Future Past


Note: The hunt is now over. Thanks for playing!

Welcome to the 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 signed 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!

There are EIGHT contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM–but there a whole bunch of other teams, for a chance to win a whole different set of signed 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 orange team, and then add them up.

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 4th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

I have the incredible honor of hosting Sarvenaz Tash, who is an awesome buddy of mine and a fellow Apocalypsie – that was our community of 2012 debut YA/MG authors. If memory serves, she was the very first person to ever do a blog interview with me, before CROAK ever even came out – and now look at us, plastered all over the YASH with multiple books under our belts like a couple a’ real swell so-and-sos.  Let’s all learn some more about her, shall we?


Sarvenaz Tash was born in Tehran, Iran and grew up on Long Island, NY. She received her BFA in Film and Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. This means she got to spend most of college running around and making movies (it was a lot of fun). She has dabbled in all sorts of writing including screenwriting, copywriting, and professional tweeting. Sarvenaz currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

For more information, check out her website , and buy her books here!



Boy meets girl…at the most amazing concert the world has ever seen.

Michael is unsure about most things. Go to college? Enlist in the military? Break up with his girlfriend? All big question marks. He is living for the moment and all he wants is a few days at the biggest concert of the summer.

Cora lives in the town hosting the music festival. She’s volunteering in the medical tent. She’s like that, always the good girl. But there is something in the air at this concert and suddenly Cora finds herself wanting to push her own boundaries.

When Michael and Cora meet, sparks fly, hearts race, and all the things songs are written about come true. And all the while, three days of the most epic summer await them…


Here’s Sarv:

When I first got the idea to set a novel at the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, this is the opening I ran to my computer to write. A lot changed from this page to the final draft (including the dynamics of Cora’s family), but this is the spark of Cora’s voice that started it all for me.

When I was seven, the circus came to our town. This may not seem like

anything exciting to most people. But here in Bethel, New York—in 1959—it was

about as thrilling as anything ever got. Especially to a seven-year-old.

I went, of course. The whole town did. I sat in between my parents, with my

grandma at the end of the row. At the other end of the row were the Yasgurs, behind

me were the Murphys and partially blocking my view was Eric Ansalm’s big, poofy

red hair. I knew every single person in that audience.

At the time, I thought it was the most dazzling event in the world. The

acrobats’ skirts shimmering a dozen colors underneath the hot lights. The roar of

exotic animals I’d never seen before. The smell of melting butter permeating every

part of the tent we sat in. My fingers were sticky with cotton candy and popcorn, and

I licked the sweet and salty right off of them as I watched a man in a tall hat

command the attention of everyone in the room.

It was the greatest show on earth.

What I didn’t know, what no one in that audience could possibly know, is

what awaited our sleepy little farm town just ten years down the road. When Mom

was gone, but I still lived in the big yellow house with Dad and Gram. When what I

knew best in the world was the most efficient way to pull on an udder. When I’d only

been kissed twice in my life, at two separate school dances, by Eric Ansalm—only

the second one involving even a little tongue. When I was seventeen.


Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by Sarvenaz, me, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 28. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the orange team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

9780544307100_hresOOH A GIVEAWAY

In addition to all of the fabulous prizes you can win throughout the hunt, I am giving away an extra super HELLHOLE prize pack – including a signed copy, a free audio download, and swag! To enter, fill out the form below – and get as many bonus entries as you can by following me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, this blog, signing up for my mailing list, or by leaving a comment telling me about your favorite concert memory. Good luck!

Giveaway now closed.


It just so happens that I am in the midst of raising money for diabetes research, so while you’re here, consider donating to my team. If you do, in any amount, I will send you a neato scythe pendant!


And lastly, I make monsters. If you are in the market for an ugly but lovable stuffed friend, please visit my store.


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, head over to the website of the next author: Amy McNulty!

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News and Upcoming Events, Fall 2015

Hello all! I’ve been away for a bit because of a lovely jaunt over to California (short version: really great trip; long version: I’ll post a recap sometime soon with a picture of a giant artichoke) but I am back now with a little roundup of what’s been going on over the past few weeks:


  • HELLHOLE was published by Penhaligon in Germany:


And also has this amazing inside cover flap illustration:


And there’s an audiobook as well!


I’ll be doing giveaways for both of these foreign editions soon!

  • My next book, WAX, coming 8/2/16, got an awesome cover:


  • HELLHOLE was featured on both Amazon and Audible as being one of the Best YA books of the year so far
  • CROAK was selected by Katie at Audible as one of her Editor’s Picks

Upcoming Appearances


Northern Kentucky YA Fest
I will be appearing with over 20 more YA authors in a day full of panels and Q&As and signings and fun.
Saturday, October 24th
Erlanger Branch of Kenton County Public Library
401 Kenton Lands
Erlanger, KY 41018

And more!


I am once again raising money for the annual Step Out: Walk To Stop Diabetes event in Boston on October 17th. Please consider donating to my personal fundraising page here and learn more about my team, Punch You In The Diabetes, here. Everyone who donates, regardless of the amount, will get an awesome CROAK SCYTHE PENDANT!




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Fan Art #7

It’s fan art time! Let’s kick things off with a little love for HELLHOLE:

Max and Lore_Molly V

Max and Lore (and dinosaur), by Molly V.

Driggs4_Zil Sacan

Driggs, by Zil S.

Cordy2_Anna B

Cordy, by Anna B.

Scythes_Eden Grey

Shrinky Dink Scythes, by Eden G. and the Kenton County Library Teen Book Club

Lex_Alex N

Lex, by Alex N.

Thanks to all the artists! And keep ’em coming – remember, if you send me fan art I will send you a signed bookplate!

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WAX cover reveal!

I mentioned way back in October that my next book would be titled WAX and that it would be about a creepy candle factory, but since then I have been skimpy with the details. ALL OF THAT CHANGES TODAY.

WAX will be released on August 2, 2016.

You can pre-order the Kindle version here (hardcover not on sale yet, but you can request to be emailed when it is).

Here is the synopsis:

Paraffin, Vermont, is known the world over as home to the Grosholtz Candle Factory. But behind the sunny retail space bursting with overwhelming scents and homemade fudge, seventeen-year-old Poppy Palladino discovers something dark and unsettling: a back room filled with dozens of startlingly life-like wax sculptures, crafted by one very strange old lady. Poppy hightails it home, only to be shocked when one of the figures—a teenage boy who doesn’t seem to know what he is—jumps naked and screaming out of the trunk of her car. She tries to return him to the candle factory, but before she can, a fire destroys the mysterious workshop—and the old woman is nowhere to be seen.

With the help of the wax boy, who answers to the name Dud, Poppy resolves to find out who was behind the fire. But in the course of her investigation, she discovers that things in Paraffin aren’t always as they seem, that the Grosholtz Candle Factory isn’t as pure as its reputation—and that some of the townspeople she’s known her entire life may not be as human as they once were. In fact, they’re starting to look a little . . . waxy. Can Poppy and Dud extinguish the evil that’s taking hold of their town before it’s too late?

And here is the cover!


Once again, the geniuses over at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have captured that squishy blend of humor and creepy in a simple pop of a design. I friggin’ love it. Special thanks to the designer, Lisa Vega, and the artist, Steve Gardner, who sculpted the wax so well I think he might have secretly been a character in the book who came to life and HOLY CRAP MY SUPERPOWERS ARE REAL.

A cover reveal is also being hosted by the good folks over at YA Books Central, where a giveaway is happening – enter there for a chance to win a signed advanced copy (as soon as it becomes available).

So that’s it for now. I know, a year is a long way away. We will probably all be living in spaceships by then. But what better way to pass the light-years than with a good book about evil candle people?

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Kitten Overload

I have a confession to make: I’ve been holding out on you, internet. For the past month and a half, I have been volunteering at my local animal shelter, specifically at its Kitten ICU.

That’s right. Kitten ICU. As in, I get to feed and hydrate and pet and snuggle dozens of mewling little kittens.

It is…heaven.

I haven’t posted any pictures because–I don’t know, because I’m a moron. Because it’s summer and I’m lazy. Because the toxic levels of cuteness have had a deleterious effect on my brain. But now it’s time. It’s time to show you the kittens.

Brace yourself.

I can’t remember the names of them all, since the same ones aren’t always there from week to week, but there have been some real humdingers. Some of my favorites: Sergeant Fuzzyface, Jake from State Farm, Sriracha and Pepper Jelly, Tiny Ninja, and Belt.

And then there’s this guy, Booker, whose name clearly should have been Crazy Eyes:

And last but not least, the current tiny queen of my heart, Pirate Lola. She was born with a weird eye and is going into surgery today, so let’s all send a big wave of hugs and catnip her way:


Once they’re healthy, all of these kittens will be released to the adoption center and placed in loving homes. If you are an animal lover, I highly recommend donating time, money, and/or supplies to your local shelter or humane society. It’s highly rewarding. And devastatingly adorable.


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Reader mail: Where can I read [your book] online for free?


Oh, ew. Ew. I feel icky. I hate answering this question. But answer it I must.

First of all, thank you for wanting to read my books. Really. I realize that on this planet there are trampoline gyms and elephant rides and a whole host of other fun things you could be doing with your time, so I appreciate the fact that you wish to devote it to eyeballing my words. I am touched and humbled.

That said…

Authors and artists do what they love because they are passionate about creating the things that they love to create. Generally speaking, they do not do it for the money (of which, sorry to say, there is precious little for most). But artists still need money to live. Painters can’t use their artwork to put a roof over their heads; paintings are made of canvas and are bad at keeping the rain out. Authors can’t eat their books; I have tried and while they don’t taste half bad, they offer little in the way of nutritional value. In order to enable artists and authors to keep producing the things that their fans are hungry to consume, artists and authors need to make some bank.

Anytime you find one of my entire books online, it’s a safe bet that it has been put there illegally. For every person that reads it, there’s one book sale that I haven’t gotten. For every book sale that I do not get, I make a little bit less money. For every little bit of money I lose, the chances of me continuing to write for a living diminishes, along with the chances of you getting to read any more of my books. See how that works out badly for everyone? It’s like when Tinkerbell starts to die in Peter Pan. You must save her! You must believe in books! CLAP IF YOU BELIEVE IN BOOKS! CLAP LOUDER OR THE FAIRY DROPS DEAD! There, you did it. If we all clap, we all save the fairy. Look at her, flying around like a spaz. We did that.

All THAT said…

I understand that not everyone can afford to buy books all the time. And I would be a monster if I were to suggest that purchasing my books is the only way that I wish you to enjoy them. After all, I am an artist, and artists want people to enjoy their art more than anything. (Yes, even more than money.) Luckily, there are options:

  • You can get my books from a library. Libraries are THE BEST THING ON EARTH and my dirty secret is that I borrow books from libraries far more often than I buy them. If I can do it, you can do it.
  • But what if your library doesn’t have my books? You are in luck once again–librarians are super nice and helpful people who, if you ask nicely, will either order a copy or find one from another library or do anything in their power to help you read it.
  • Another library option, courtesy of commenter Bob Holt: “You don’t even need to GO to a physical library. Most libraries today circulate e-books via Overdrive or some other publisher-approved service, accessible online with just your library card. Yes, there is DRM, and you have to wait in line, and there are due dates, but the libraries provide this service to YOU for FREE while still allowing publishers (and hopefully authors) to receive some payment.”
  • Borrow my books from a friend. Go for it! Pass it around school like a sexy doodle of that hot new chemistry teacher.

So please keep all of these options in mind the next time you want to find my books (or any other authors’ books) for free online. We are not being greedy, money-hungry corporate monsters. We just want to keep writing what you want to keep reading! And not have millions of fairy fatalities on our collective conscience.

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