Updated 4/6/15 – This hunt is over.
Today kicks off the Spring 2015 YA Scavenger Hunt, and there are tons of great prizes to be won. You decide how much effort to put into it, but the rewards will definitely be commensurate with the time you spend visiting various sites and gathering clues.
There are eight teams: RED, BLUE, GOLD, GREEN, ORANGE, TEAL, PURPLE, & PINK.
I’m on the TEAL team this time around.
If at any point, you get stuck, check out the How to Hunt page for help.
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! Either way, it’s up to you. Pretty exciting stuff, right?
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.
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 teal 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 Sunday April 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
I have the pleasure of hosting the talented O’Dell Hutchinson, author of FINGERS IN THE MIST. Let’s get to know him better before I show you the good stuff, okay?
About Mr. Hutchinson, in his own words: “O’Dell Hutchison was born in a small rural town in Idaho. There were no Redeemers there (that he knows of). After attending college in the Pacific northwest, he found his way to the Houston area. He currently lives in Katy, TX with his dog, Gia. By day, he is an IT Trainer/Instructional Designer. He spends his free time reading, writing, laughing and wishing the weather in Texas allowed for more outdoor activities without dying of heat stroke or carbon monoxide poisoning. He also acts and directs at various theaters around Houston.”
About FINGERS IN THE MIST:
Sixteen-year-old Caitlyn Foster never believed in the legend of the Redeemers. That was before the trees started to whisper her name. Before a murder of crows attacked the town. Before she and her family came home to find a bloody handprint on their front door, marking one of them as a sacrifice. As Caitlyn’s friends are ripped from their homes, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the Redeemers come for her. Caitlyn has the power to stop the terror, but she’ll have to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice herself to save those she loves.
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?
Now, let’s get to Mr. Hutchinson’s bonus content. You lucky readers get to check out this exclusive deleted scene from FINGERS IN THE MIST:
Intro from O’Dell Hutchinson:
This was the original opening chapter of “Fingers in the Mist”. When all was said and done, I took a different approach, mainly because it felt as though it was taking too long to get to the action. So, here’s Cait in all her snarky glory, making her way to Highland Falls with a mysterious stranger (who didn’t make it into the final cut of the book). Enjoy!
If my mother were still alive, she would definitely have a seizure if she knew that I’d hitched a ride with some hairy dude with a naked woman tattooed on his forearm. Then again, it’s because she’s dead that I’m stuck in a jacked up old Ford with Bubba the boozehound, headed to middle-of-nowhereville.
“Is the music okay, miss? You can change the station if you’d like, or I can turn it off.” Bubba is nothing if not polite. Then again, aren’t most serial killers? That’s how they rope you in. Still, I’m not worried. Bubba seems more like a Teddy Bear than a Ted Bundy, and even if he does try to skin me, I won’t go down without a fight. I may look small and fragile, but I can cause some major damage if I need to.
“The music is fine,” I say with a wave of the hand. It’s actually not fine — it sucks, but it’s his truck. He can listen to whatever he wants, even if his taste in music consists of some whiny-voiced redneck crying about his lost dog–or wife–one of the two.
“What’s your name again?”
I should warn Bubba against allowing someone in his truck when he doesn’t even know his or her name. He should have asked this question before he offered me a ride. I may look harmless, but for all he knows, the slim brunette with high cheekbones and heavy lashes he picked up is actually a killer ninja. Of course, I’m not, but he doesn’t know that. You can never be too careful in these situations.
“Brenda,” I lie. I’m not stupid. Unlike him, I learned all about stranger danger in school.
“Nice to meet you, Brenda. I’m Daryl. You can call me Daryl.” He laughs at his lame joke, and I smile in response. He pops the tab on a can of Pepsi and offers it to me, but I decline. He takes a swig and sticks the can between his legs. “Where are you going again?”
“Is that a real place?” he asks, as if I’d just told him that I’m headed to Narnia.
“Yes, it’s a real place.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Not many people have.” I glance at my iPhone, and shriek when I see that I finally have service. “Can you stop the truck for a minute?”
“Why?” He slows down and navigates the creaky old Ford onto the shoulder of the highway.
“I finally have service. I need to try my dad again. I’ll just be a second.”
I climb out of the truck, so he can’t hear my conversation, and hit the speed dial button. On the fourth ring, the answering machine picks up. I hold the phone away from my ear so I don’t have to listen to my stepmother’s sickeningly sweet greeting. I’d already left three messages from the bus station. Where are they? My dad was supposed to pick me up two hours ago.
“Hey, it’s Cait. Again,” I speak low so the D-man can’t hear me from his truck. “Umm, where are you guys? You were supposed to pick me up two hours ago. Anyway, I’m on my way, so if you haven’t left yet, don’t bother. I hitched a ride with someone. By the way, his name is Daryl, and he drives an old white Ford. License plate number D46WW5. You know, in case I end up dead or something. By the way, he thinks my name is Brenda. This may come in handy if there’s an interrogation or something.”
That last part will send my father into a frenzy, as it should. This is his fault. If he’d been at the bus station, I wouldn’t have had to hitch it in the first place.
“Everything okay?” Daryl asks as I climb into the truck.
“Car trouble.” I’m getting good at this whole lying thing. “They said to thank you for driving me. My dad will totally give you gas money for your troubles.”
“It’s no trouble. I was headed this way anyway.”
We drive for another hour, and I have to force myself to stay awake. After the four-hour bus ride, and two hours at the station waiting for my lame-ass dad, I’m tired and bitchy, and I need a nap. Just as I’m about to nod off I see our exit up ahead.
“You need to get off here.”
“You sure?” He slows down and takes the exit, the truck bouncing over uneven pavement. “There’s nothing out here.”
I point at the sign ahead of us, which reads “Highland Falls 15 Miles”, with an arrow pointing to the left.
“I’ve driven this highway I don’t know how many times and I never would have guessed there was a town out here.”
He’s not the only one. Highland Falls isn’t exactly the world’s most happening place.
He hangs a left, navigating the truck under the highway overpass, taking the two-lane road up the mountain. I find myself grasping the “oh shit” handle as he speeds along the twisting highway, the tall pine trees flying by us in a blur.
“Does my driving scare you?” He must have noticed my white knuckles and shallow breathing.
“It’s just that there are a lot of deer out here.” This is actually true. I’ve spent almost every summer here for the last eight years, and there’s always someone who crashes their car trying to avoid a suicidal Bambi.
“I didn’t even think about that,” he says, slowing the truck to a more reasonable speed.
Just as I release my grip and settle back into my seat, he slams on his brakes, practically throwing me through the windshield.
“Damn. They must have had some bad storms out here. If I didn’t know better, I might think a tornado tore through.”
I follow his gaze and see fallen tree branches lying across the road. The further he drives, the thicker the mangled trees become. He swerves around them, barely dodging a fallen pine tree that blocks our lane. I look to my right to see the river rushing by us, angry and with a purpose. The water almost reaches the side of the road. I’ve never seen it that deep.
The truck crests the top of the next hill, and as we make our descent toward the bridge, I see why my dad didn’t show up today. Water flows over the bridge, and several large pine trees lay in front of it, blocking it off.
“There’s no way we’re going to make it across that bridge.” Daryl is great when it comes to stating the obvious. “Is there another way into town?”
“No, this is it.” I cannot be stuck out here with this guy all night.
Daryl stops the truck just before the first fallen tree and opens his door. I grab my purse and follow him, praying for a cell phone signal, happy to see one tiny, hopeful bar when I click my phone on. Rather than try my dad again, I hit the speed dial button for the only other person I can think of who might help me. Unless he’s still mad at me over what happened the summer before last.
“Trevor? Hey, it’s me, Cait.” I’m so relieved to hear his voice I could cry.
“Cait? … are you?”
Damned crappy reception.
“Can you hear me? I’m at the bridge. I’m trying to make it into town.”
All I hear is static on the other end of the line.
“Trevor? Are you there?”
Daryl watches me as I pace back and forth. He’s kind of starting to freak me out a little bit.
“… washed out … get past …”
“I can’t hear you. You’re breaking up. If you can hear me send some help. I need to get into town. Hello? Trevor?”
Three short beeps punctuate the end of the call and I stuff the phone into my pocket.
Daryl leans against the hood of his truck, scratching his beer belly. “You could ride to Cool Rock with me and get a room there. Maybe the road crew will have this cleared up in a few days and then your parents can come get you.”
“I don’t have money for a room.” All I have in my wallet is a twenty and a couple of fives. If my mom were still alive I’d have a credit card I could use, but those days are long gone. Besides, Cool Rock is at least a two-hour drive in the opposite direction, and I’m already over Daryl. “You can go ahead and go. They’ll be here soon.”
“How are they going to get to you? They can’t cross that bridge. It’s going to take them at least a couple of days to clear out all these trees, and they can’t even begin to do that until the water recedes.”
“What are you, the road whisperer or something?” I know I probably shouldn’t be a smart ass right now. This guy was nice enough to give me a ride, and I’m still not convinced he’s not a serial killer; I probably shouldn’t piss him off.
“I work for a road crew. I see this a lot.” My bitchy attitude doesn’t seem to bother him. He just shrugs and runs a hand over his smooth, bald head.
“Seriously. You don’t have to stay. I’m fine.” I take a seat on the trunk of the fallen tree in front of us and stare at my phone.
“I can’t leave you out here. I’ve got a daughter of my own about your age, and I’d be beyond pissed if I knew some guy had just dropped her off in the middle of nowhere.”
“I’m fine. I can take care of myself.” Why is he so insistent that I leave with him?
“I can’t let you stay here.” He sits next to me and places a hand on my knee. “It’s not safe.”
“My friend is coming for me.” There’s a burning sensation in my stomach, and my skin begins to tingle, a response I’m all too familiar with — a response that never leads to anything good.
Don’t stop playing! To continue hunting for clues and reading more exciting, exclusive content, click on to JEN MCCONNEL’s blog. I know she has some delicious goodies waiting.
Finally, this post has been sponsored by the number 88 . (Psst. This is an important clue. Remember it!)
PS – Go look for my exclusive content, too! I have a new music video for The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things for you. Happy hunting!