Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to Fall 2020 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! 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 several contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM–but there is also a red team and a blue team.

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

Scavenger Hunt Post

Today, I am hosting Joshua David Bellin on my blog for the YA Scavenger Hunt!

Joshua David Bellin writes science fiction and fantasy for teens and beyond. His books include the Survival Colony series, the Ecosystem Cycle, the deep-space adventure FREEFALL, and the Book of the Huntress. He likes extreme environments, survival stories, and monsters. Really scary monsters.

Find out more information by checking out Joshua’s website and his Facebook page.

Exclusive Content!

YASHers, I’m thrilled to host the cover reveal for Joshua David Bellin’s next release, THE GREAT FOREST. Isn’t it gorgeous? THE GREAT FOREST will be out October 6!

THE GREAT FOREST by Joshua David Bellin (Mostly Wind Books)


Before Sarah of the Ecosystem Cycle, there was another Sarah—her mother.

A sixteen-year-old apprentice, Sarah longs for the day when she can delve beyond the confines of the village of stone. With the guidance of a young Sensor named Abraham, she learns that she possesses a unique power, one that enables her to Sense living things others cannot. But her master, Aaron, forbids her to leave the village on pain of losing her position within the Sensors’ ranks.

When an unidentified predator appears in the Great Forest surrounding the village, Sarah and Abraham are convinced that only her power can save their people from destruction. Little do they know that there are those among the Sensors who will do anything—even kill—to prevent Sarah’s secret from coming to light.

THE GREAT FOREST is an Ecosystem prequel novella that takes readers into a world where humanity fights for survival and Nature reigns supreme.

Sounds awesome, right? Pre-order it now on Amazon!

Hint, Hint, Hint…

Don’t forget to enter the YASH contest for a chance to win a ton of books! To enter, you need to figure out what my secret number is. Once you have it, add up all the secret numbers of the authors on the Purple team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

So what’s my number? Here’s a hint. To raise Beetlejuice from the grave, you’ll need to say his name a certain number of times:

Another hint:

And I’m sure you’ve worked it out by now, but because good things come in threes, here’s my third and final hint:


In addition to my YASH prize giveaway, I’m running a Rafflecopter giveaway. Enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon eGift Card and a paperback copy of my paranormal YA, THE ABDUCTION (Entangled Teen), when it’s released on April 6, 2021! Please be sure to check the terms and conditions listed at the Rafflecopter link.

Continue the Hunt

To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next #TeamPurple author, Shannon A. Thompson!

Good luck!

Counting Down to Cover Reveal Day!

I hope you’ve been keeping safe and taking good care of yourself during the COVID-19 crisis. My thoughts are with all who are affected and with health care workers the world over.

In a bit of welcome news, my publisher is hours away from exclusively revealing the cover of my new paranormal YA novel, The Abduction!

Here’s how you can get your first look, plus have a shot at winning a copy of the book:

On Friday, April 17, US time, head over to Entangled Teen’s Instagram account, where you’ll find the cover in the form of puzzle pieces. Solve the puzzle, screenshot it, and repost to your account tagging @entangledteen. One random winner* will be chosen by Sunday, midnight US EST. The copy of the book will be shipped shortly before its release on February 2, 2021!

*If the winner lives in the US, they’ll score a paperback; if they’re outside the US they’ll receive an e-copy.

Don’t miss a thing! Click here to visit and follow @entangledteen on Insta.

I’m sure you’re wondering what on earth The Abduction is about, so here’s the blurb:

It’s my senior year, and I’ve never felt more helpless. Mom is MIA, Dad can’t deal, and this strange exhaustion is making me fall asleep in class. It’s like I’m falling apart.

And then there’s Hayden, the cute new boy in school—who weirdly can’t seem to keep his eyes off me.

But when Hayden approaches me, claiming he and I have been routinely abducted by aliens since childhood, that’s when things hit a whole new level of strange. Because I’d remember something like that.


Slowly, I start to realize there are blocks of time I can’t account for.

And when I begin having horrible nightmares—which match Hayden’s stories—I realize I might have to put my trust in this boy to have any hope of uncovering the truth.

But it turns out the abductions are just the beginning…and it isn’t only our freedom on the line. It’s our lives.

See you on Instagram Friday, April 17 for the big reveal! Until then, stay safe and keep reading.



It’s Official!

Normally, on the eve of November, I’d be gearing up to torture my brain and fingers by participating in NaNoWriMo. By now I would have publicly announced my intention to write 50,001 words in 30 days. My pantry should be overflowing with writing necessities like M&Ms, Cheetos, and ginger ale. A few weeks ago, however, I decided to give NaNo a miss because of extenuating circumstances. (I still bought a couple of M&Ms packets, though. It pays to be prepared for anything.)

But I’m officially thrilled—thrilled!—to announce something else: I’ve signed a new print book contract with Entangled Teen! The Publishers Marketplace screen grab below is teeny-tiny, so I’ll just type out the blurb for ya here:

Vanessa Barneveld’THE ABDUCTION, pitched as Veronica Mars meets The X-Files, about a skeptical teen girl who’s told by the new boy in school that they’ve both been alien abductees for years, but soon discovers her problems are closer to home when she exposes a government operation whose leaders will stop at nothing to prevent the truth from getting out there, to Stacy Cantor Abrams and Liz Pelletier at Entangled Teen, by Beth Miller at Writers House (world).

Keep your eyes peeled for release date news, book cover reveal, and other fun stuff…like UFOs!

Happy Halloween!



NaNoWriMo – Day 30

Last day of NaNoWriMo! I wrote 1,000 words last night. My NaNo total so far is a nice round 35,000. My manuscript is a healthy 60K. OK, maybe ‘healthy’ is the wrong description. There’s a lot of waffle to edit out!

Well, how did I get here while working full-time and still having a life? I used my trusty Be Focused productivity app, which kind of works like high-intensity interval training. 25 minutes of writing, followed by five minutes of rest, 25 minutes of writing, five minutes rest, etc, etc, until eventual collapse.

What else helped?

  • Support from my husband and friends, particularly my understanding workmates at the day job.
  • Snacks. Lots of snacks. M&M’s, Cheetos, macadamia nuts, chocolate-coated hazelnuts. I will really need to do high-intensity interval training after this challenge!
  • Having a relatively low target of 30K. 50,000 is the usual NaNo goal. But I knew November was going to be a busy month, so I gave myself a target I knew I could achieve.
  • Craft books like Erika Kelly’s ‘Build-a-Book: A Prewriting Process‘. This one’s an excellent book to pick up before you start writing so you don’t get stuck.
  • Stila Stay All Day foundation and concealer to hide my gradual transformation into a zombie.
  • Music, of course! I can’t listen while I write; I get too distracted. But I do play a few tracks before and after a writing session for inspiration.

My playlist song for the final day of NaNo is ‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton-John. I was going to post ‘(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life’, from ‘Dirty Dancing’, which is the ultimate ‘finale to anything’ song, but I’ve not listened to ON-J all month! Shame! One of my life goals is to be able to sing this song without frightening the cats.

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo? What were your survival techniques? Do you have an ultimate movie/musical finale song?

Download ‘Xanadu’ by Olivia Newton-John from iTunes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 29

It was a dark and stormy night… Seriously, it was. Yesterday was pretty wild weather-wise. Severe storms, floods and gusty winds battered Sydney all day and all of the night. Our roof leaked, but apart from that we came out of it OK compared to many others. Writing was also OK. I pulled 567 words from my brain last night, bringing my November total to 34,000.

My playlist song of the day is ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. I’d almost forgotten how much I loved this song until Day 27, when I heard it again in a cool little bar called Grandma’s.

Download ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group from iTunes.


Bonus track — ‘Summertime Blues’ by Eddie Cochran.

NaNoWriMo – Day 28

Day 28! Yesterday, after work, I stepped outside of the NaNo bubble and experienced real life with some dear friends, including fellow writer and chocolate enthusiast Annie West.   Later, I put down 100 words, which is 100 more than I expected to write!

Today’s playlist song of the day was written by Lucy Schwartz and performed by Clare Bowen (aka Scarlett O’Connor in the series ‘Nashville’). This song means a lot to me, and Clare’s stripped-back rendition makes me wanna cry. I believe it was recorded at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, where I once saw a bluegrass show. That was the same whirlwind trip where I flew about 20 hours from Sydney, and within an hour of landing was at an outdoor Duran Duran/Nile Rogers gig. I was six rows from the front. It was rainy. It was stormy. But the show went on. Made friends with a lovely couple from Arkansas (I think?) who offered me a poncho. Careless memories!

Download this live version of ‘Black Roses’ from iTunes.

Bonus track – ‘Careless Memories’ by Duran Duran. Download it here.

NaNoWriMo – Day 27

Last night, I wrote 1,503 words, which brought my November total so far to a hopefully auspicious 33,333. Any number over my 30K target is a good number!

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Lead singer Karen O’s tears in this clip are for real. The thing that upset her was unrelated to #NaNoWriMo, no, no, no. (Read this interview if you’re curious.) But just quietly, doing this challenge can bring a writer to tears.

Download this version of ‘Maps’ by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs on iTunes.

A softer version of the song, with a string section attached, is available here.


NaNoWriMo – Day 26

Day 26! I wrote 1,555 words yesterday. Much of it was just dialogue, which is an oddity for me. Anyway, that brings my NaNoWriMo total to 31,830, well past my goal for the month. I’ll do my best to limp to 40,000 or thereabouts by the end of November.

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Life on Mars?’ by David Bowie. Hard to believe he’s gone.

Download ‘Life on Mars?’ by David Bowie on iTunes.


Bonus track – ‘Sorrow’ by David Bowie.

Download David Bowie’s remastered version of ‘Sorrow’ from iTunes.


NaNoWriMo – Day 25

Wow, we’re in the last week of NaNo already! Where did November go? Yesterday, I wrote 1,001 words, which took me *over* my 30,000-word target for the month. Yay! The official NaNoWriMo target is 50K. My book is far from finished, so I’m going to spend the next five days getting as close to that goal as I can.

Today’s playlist song of the day is ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & the M.G.s. Way back before my now husband and I started dating, I borrowed this Booker T album from him repeatedly, as well as the Stone Roses’s first album and Single Gun Theory’s ‘Like Stars in My Hands’. I couldn’t get enough of those albums, and listening to them now brings back great memories.

If you’re on Facebook, my generous friend and romance author Anna Campbell is giving away two Kindle downloads of my debut YA book, THIS IS YOUR AFTERLIFE, today! Head to Anna’s author page for a chance to win. No geographical restrictions. Contest closes 12pm Sunday US EST/4am Monday Australian Summer Time/5pm Sunday UK time.

Download ‘Green Onions’ by Booker T. & the M.G.s from iTunes.

NaNoWriMo – Day 24

Day 24! Yesterday, I wrote 2,018 words. (Yes, I deliberately stopped there because it’s the year 2018.) Then my boss treated me to the ‘Jersey Boys’ musical, which we’ve both seen in various cities around the world. It’s so worth seeing over and over again. We had second-row seats, but the seats directly in front of us were empty. Perhaps those ticket-holders were busy doing NaNoWriMo.

My playlist song of the day is ‘Walk Like a Man’ by the Four Seasons. Check out the cool kids dancing in the clip below. Two things I’ll have to do once NaNo is over — see the ‘Jersey Boys’ movie and rewatch ‘Heart and Souls’, in which Robert Downey Jr and co sing ‘Walk Like a Man’. Magic!

Download ‘Walk Like a Man’ by the Four Seasons on iTunes.


Rent ‘Heart and Souls’ on YouTube. (Warning – the preview starts with loud yelling.)