Welcome to YASH--AKA the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt. I'm Eva Pohler--a USA Today bestselling author of over twenty-five novels in multiple genres, including mysteries, thrillers, and young adult fantasy based on Greek mythology. My books have been described as "addicting" and "sure to thrill"--Kirkus Reviews. I'm so pleased you stopped by!
There are FOUR contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM. Be sure to enter the contests for the blue team, gold team, and purple team as well.
I also have a Rafflecopter giveaway below where you can enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback edition of The Underworld Saga 1-3.
Check out the grand prize for the RED TEAM:
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.
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 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
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 POST
Please welcome S.E. Anderson!
S.E. Anderson loves books, outer space, and tea. She's the author of the STARSTRUCK Saga and the upcoming YA travel romance, AIX MARKS THE SPOT. She is currently working on her PhD in Astrophysics and Planetary sciences in Besançon, France.
After an incident with a hot-air balloon causes college-dropout Sally Webber to lose her job, she sets off to find direction in her life. Crashing into a teleporting alien, however, is not on her to-do list. A hilarious Sci-fi adventure about adulthood, anxiety, and aliens.
Keep reading to see S.E. Anderson's EXCLUSIVE BONUS STORY.
To enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Eva Pohler, and my fellow authors on the RED TEAM, you need to know that my favorite number is 8.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the RED TEAM and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep hunting, you need to check out the next author, Brendan Reichs! But before you go, be sure to enter my Rafflecopter giveaway below and read the cool EXCLUSIVE bonus science fiction story by S.E. Anderson. Best of luck!
Also, DOWNLOAD THIS FREE interactive text-based choose-your-own adventure game based on the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece (PG 13). It will entertain you for hours while teaching you about nearly every god and goddess in the Greek pantheon!
It works on PC, tablet, iPad, ereader devices, but not mobile phones. Click here to download.
And now for S.E. Anderson's EXCLUSIVE BONUS STORY!
The Trouble with Temples
“That’s because it’s not here,” said Engi, taking a large bite out of her binoculars, plastic chunks sliding down her transparent throat and disappearing behind the lapel of her shirt.
“You do realize that was our only pair?” Chosu hissed, wetting his eyeballs with his forked tongue as he scanned the jungle valley. Two days now they had been hunting for the temple, which should by all means be an easy find, seeing as how it was a temple and all.
He glanced back at his cameraman, Trox, who was turning his charms on the new sound tech, Moxie.
He had worked with the man for a few decades now, the two of them exploring the deepest jungles and most arid deserts in search of the greatest treasures of exoarcheology, bringing the history of the furthest reaches of the galaxy onto the screens of billions of viewers. In this time, they had never failed to find a story, and Trox had never failed to seduce someone on the crew. Except, perhaps, today. There was after all a first time for everything.
So long as this wasn’t going down as our first failure, thought Chosu, wishing their only pair of binoculars wasn’t currently being dissolved in the bright pink acid of his producer’s stomach. Engi was better than anyone else at finding even the most hidden treasures, having a true, uncanny knack for uncovering even the darkest of histories. Though not today, apparently.
“Well, we won’t be needing them, seeing as how the temple isn’t here,” said Engi. “The terrain must have shifted since the records were archived.”
“It has been ten thousand years,” said Trox, peeling his eyes from Moxie. She didn’t seem to notice him staring: they all were, seeing as how it was their first time working with - or even encountering - a human before. Such frail creatures, Chosu worried the expedition would be too much for her branch-like legs, that climbing such steep cliffs would damage the hinges of her articulated joints. He shuddered at the thought of what the human had called her skeleton, a separate entity that lived under her skin and controlled her ever move.
Moxie brushed her prism of hair away from her face, pinning the rainbow behind her ears as she dropped to the ground, pressing her face to the dirt. Trox hoisted the camera on his shoulder, launching his drone with the other. The bot swirled and swooped overhead, cheering at having been let free.
“And marker,” Trox growled. The camera-bots were always so happy to fly that their woops of glee frequently ruined the audio. And seeing as how their sound girl was currently the one with thick brown soil pressed up against her face…
“What are you…” Engi started, but the human swatter her silent.
“Shh! I’m the sound engineer. So trust me when it comes to sound, alright?”
Trox panned the camera to Chosu’s face, and he let out a heavy sigh. This was not the right time for a talking head.
“We’re not turning back,” he said curtly.
“I didn’t say anything!” Trox stammered.
“No, but you were thinking it.”
“No I wasn’t!”
“Loud enough that I heard to too,” said Moxie, “now will you shut up?”
Engi gave her arm a jiggle, forcing the watch she had absorbed earlier to rotate around. “If we leave now, we can get tomorrow’s shuttle and get a week’s head start on the next story. Chalk this up to a training exercise.”
“No,” said Chosu, feeling the heat rise in his jelly, “this is the temple of Melmamun we’re talking about! The last great queen of the Ostrun! If we leave now, this planet’s history will begin fifty years ago, with the first settlers, and gloss over the great empire that once was.”
“Will you shut up?” Moxie snapped, “Gods, you’re the worst so-called explorers I’ve ever worked with.”
Chosu’s jelly was piping hot now. “You listen to me, human,” he spat, wetting his eyeballs with his tongue again. They dried out fast in the jungle heat. “You’re part of my expedition, and I hired you for one job and one job only: to run sound. If you’re not able to do that…”
“Nope, definitely not able to do that,” she said, sitting up and tossing him her equipment. Chosu grunted as his belly absorbed the brunt of the impact, and most of the dangling cables, which had never been plugged in to begin with.
“Why you…” he gasped, expelling the expensive material from his gut. “Now listen here, you’re my employee…”
“I quit,” she said, removing the battery pack from her hip and tossing that to him too. She reached down to the glowing red button recording light and promptly ate it. “It’s odd to me that your species makes jellybeans, despite being a jelly-based life form. Still, can’t complain, tastes amazing. Anyway, you can head back to the shuttle now, nothing to stay here. Oh, me? I’m going to stay on this planet. I feel an odd connection to the life forms here. I’ve decided to become a hermit and live out the rest of my life in quiet contemplation of that tree, whom I’ve fallen in love with.”
“She’s bonkers,” Trox muttered, calling the drone bot back to his wrist. It let out a heavy, sad sigh as it alighted. “Completely insane.”
“What the hell is this, Moxie?” Engi spat, “you can’t just quit!”
“I don’t see why not, you haven’t paid me yet,” she shrugged, “and you don’t even have to worry about buying me a ticket off this planet, seeing as how I’m staying. So get going, you don’t want to miss your ride home!”
“The nerve,” Chosu spat. “You have an opportunity to be a part of a Kaals Chosu expedition, and you just throw it all away for a tree?”
“Remind me, have you ever met a human before?”
“Then just blame it on the temperament of our species, because that’s what we do! Travel around, throw away get experiences for the trees that we love. Now go, or you’ll miss your takeoff window.”
She seemed extremely pushy. Maybe it was a trait of her wild species, or else there was something more to it. “What are you hiding?”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
“No I’m not. I managed to get hired on a Kaals Chosu expedition, so I can’t be that bad.”
“I think she’s found something,” said Trox, jelly vibrating with the thrill of truth. “She found the temple, and she doesn’t want us to know! Where is it? Right below our feet all this time?”
“Veesh, you people won’t leave me alone, will you?” she said, rolling her eyes and using one of her stiff appendages to kick the tree she had supposedly loved. Instantly the jungle shimmered and shifted, revealing a massive temple of ancient stone, a complex so big it could have been an entire city. Turrets of eroded stone rose from the jungle floor, overgrown with green.
“Gods,” Engi took in a sharp breath, “Trox, please tell me you got that.”
“I did, but I don’t think sound was rolling,” he said, his voice a low whisper.
“This is where we part,” said Moxie, “goodbye. Nice knowing you. Please don’t let me know when this airs.” Without waiting another second, she stormed off towards the main entrance, quickly swallowed by the darkness beyond.
“Humans,” hissed Trox, “never hiring one of those again.”
“Yet she found it,” said Chosu, “she found and dismantled a ten-thousand-year-old cloak, all with dry eyes.”
“Well then,” said Engi, retrieving the sound tech from the ground at his feet, “are we doing this?”
A low rumble made them all turn, but it stopped just as quick. It was a sound like thunder but emanating from deep within the ancient temple itself. Chosu cringed as a giant stone boulder rolled out of the door and past where the trio was standing.
“What is she doing in there?” he asked, more to the gods than to his loyal remaining crew.
“We’d better follow before she brings the entire thing down,” said Trox, launching a whooping drone into the air. “Or we won’t have enough footage!”
Chosu didn’t need to be told twice. Together they dashed into the gaping entrance, into the dark passageway beyond. The walls inside were spiked, thousands of projectiles embedded in the stone, all over except for a human shaped space.
“She must have been hit hard,” said Engi, pointing at where Moxie’s head had been. “How is she still standing?”
Chosu couldn’t answer. It must have been a human thing, he decided: but what a terrible species if it was.
They lit their solar torches and trudged onwards into the heart of the temple. Along the way, it was easy to see the places where booby traps had gone off, entire sections of the floor having collapsed, stones rained down from the ceiling, even what appeared to be a dead Leedull, a dangerous and supposedly extinct beast once native to the planet.
“Remarkable,” said Engi.
“Which part?” Asked Chosu, “the part where our former sound engineer made it through every trap alone and seemingly unscathed, or the part where a Leedull came back from the dead to try and eat her?”
“There were rumors the Ostrun had incredible technology,” said Trox, scanning every surface with the lens of his camera, “but stasis that held up ten thousand years?”
“They had a cloaking device that kept this place hidden that long,” Chosu replied, “I wouldn’t put it past them. Wait, do you hear that?”
There were voices coming from down the long stretch of booby-trapped hallway. Somewhere at the end of the tunnel, women were speaking. Moxie wasn’t the only one there.
Trox motioned to the drone, which flew down the hallway – silently, thank the gods – as he pulled the sound-pods from his belt. They swallowed them whole, letting the voices fill their minds.
“I just can’t believe you,” said a voice. Not Moxie’s, Chosu could tell, but his translator was still converting it into what his brain interpreted as female. “You just had to pull me back, didn’t you? Just couldn’t let me sleep?”
“Sleep?” now this was definitely Moxie, but she was flustered now. “Sleep? You were dead, Mel! I thought you would be happy to see me, let alone be alive again!”
“I was on a higher plane of existence! Do you know what it’s like to be confined to three dimensions again? This is unbearable!”
Chosu glanced over at his crew, but they looked as shocked as he was. Their tongues were dabbing furiously at their eyeballs, their anxiety palpable.
“I’m sorry, hun. I really thought I was doing you a favor,” said Moxie, sighing heavily. “I’ll put you back under as soon as we catch up, is that alright?”
“I knew it!” said the stranger. “You’re not here for me. Well, you are, but only for what I can do for you – isn’t it? You want a favor!”
“You do owe me.”
“Blayde! We broke up - How long’s it been? Oh, ten thousand years? – you can’t just come back into my life like it’s nothing! Did you trample my booby traps?”
“I swear I’ll put them back!”
“You’d better! I don’t want any assholes finding me and blasting my tomb all over their screens for entertainment.”
It hit Chosu all at once. Mel – Melmamun. The temple and her burial place. And Moxie, who wasn’t Moxie, bringing the long-dead, ancient queen back to life. He found his jelly heating and shoved that feeling deep back down inside. Even Trox seemed bashful, which was a new look for him.
“It is a very nice tomb, my dear,” said Moxie-Blayde, “How’s the afterlife been?”
“Oh, you know, it’s a little hard to compare to three-dimensional life,” said the undead queen Melmamun, “The parties are off the hook, though. Spend a lot of time watching life evolve, placing bets. I got addicted to Civilization for a while – I can’t tell you when or how long, time doesn’t work for me like that anymore. Or it didn’t, before you brought me back.”
“If you didn’t want to be reanimated, you shouldn’t have put yourself in stasis.”
“Fair point,” Mel muttered. “Right. What do you want?”
“What? That’s it? No asking how I’ve been, what I’ve been doing?”
“I don’t really care, Blayde. We’ve been apart for ages. That, and the puny lives of lesser-dimensional beings no longer concern me.”
“Well then, if that’s how it will be,” Blayde scoffed, “I’m looking for my brother. Remember Zander?”
“How could I forget? He almost usurped my throne.”
“Sorry about that, again. I had nothing to do with that.”
“Well it hardly matters now. What about him?”
“Well, I seem to have lost him,” said Blayde, “and seeing as how you were drifting about in higher dimensions, I was wondering…”
“Wow,” said Mel, letting out a low whistle, “You really didn’t wake me up for conversation. Let me guess: you lost your brother, puttered around the universe for a while, then… you heard someone had found my last resting place, didn’t you? How hard was it to infiltrate the expedition so you could use me as your brother-spotter?”
There was a brief moment of silence, long enough for Chosu to lose his breath and find it again. This woman Blayde had been using them since the very beginning: yes, to find the temple for herself, but not for gold or glory. For her… brother?
“It’s been decades, Mel,” said Blayde. “I’ve never lost him this long. I don’t know where he is, or where he could be. And he could be literally anywhere in the universe. I wouldn’t have come if I wasn’t at the end of my rope.”
“You see, this is why we broke up,” said Mel, “you don’t care about who people are. Just what they can do for you.”
“Well, unlike you, I’m not stalking my exes,” said the former queen, “or their particularly rude family. So I don’t know where he is. My instincts tell me he’s in this galaxy, though.”
“Thank you,” said Blayde, sighing heavily, “that really does narrow it down.”
“Great,” said Melmamun, “now can you put me under again? I’m starting to get the feeling back in my legs, and quadrupedal movement is so limiting. Hey, are you filming this? What the hundred hells, Blayde?”
“Pull it back! Pull it back!” Screamed Chosu, and the drone wailed as Trox called it in.
“Please, don’t make me!” it sobbed, “I like flying!”
“We have to get out of here!” Engi screamed, as the walls began to tremble and shake. The wrath of the ancient queen, risen from the dead, was hot at their heels, and so they ran, ran lest the anger catch up with them and crush them entirely.
They flew out of the temple just as it collapsed around them, running to safety as the earth swallowed the entire structure whole. Behind them, all that was left was a flat expanse of dirt where the ten-thousand-year-old temple had once stood.
That, and the human.
“Hey,” she said, waving casually, “can anyone give me a ride off this planet? Apparently, I need to stay in this galaxy. So I’m not testing the winds of improbability today.”