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 SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the Gold Team–but there is also a rainbow of other teams, all 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.
I’m writing this YASH post on the eve of the scavenger hunt, and I can hear a barred owl vocalizing to another owl in that iconic who-cooks-for you call. Owls always amaze me, and somehow when I hear them in the fall, they make me think of people I miss and people I’ve lost. I’m not sure why, but the sound of owls calling comforts me when I’m grieving. In Kristi’s YASH content, she talks about her own personal experience communicating with people from the other side and how it helps her own grieving process.
Inspiration for Countdown Café: A Tale from the Other Side
By Kristi Helvig
I’ve spoken before about the initial inspiration for my short story, Countdown Café, from the speculative fiction anthology TICK TOCK: 7 Tales of Time. It came from stumbling upon a coffee shop across the street from my subdivision that I’d driven by for years, years, before realizing it was there. I found it one day by accident, and wondered how I could have possibly missed a place that was literally across the street. Being a sci-fi and fantasy author, and a huge Twilight Zone fan, I thought it would make for a cool story to focus on a shop that only existed at certain times—for certain people.
What I haven’t really discussed at length is the other element of the story which addresses the connection we have to our loved ones on the other side. Maybe it’s partly that I’m a clinical psychologist, or maybe it’s that I’m open with people about my own experiences, but I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me their accounts of communication with deceased loved ones—including pets. Numerous friends, acquaintances, family and clients who have started out by saying to me, “I’ve never told anyone this story before because it sounds crazy, but…”
I’ve had experiences with ‘the other side’ since I was a little girl, but it has always been a comfort rather than something to be feared. One of the more recent experiences was when I was with my mother several weeks before she died. She was in her bed and I sat next to her, knowing it would be the last time I would see her in this lifetime.
I suddenly felt the presence of my deceased grandmother, my mom’s mother, in the room with us, and it was such a warm and loving energy.
I turned to my mom and said, “Mom, grandma is here.”
My mom, who was so weak at that point, said, “I know. She’s been communicating with me.”
I tried, and failed, to fight back tears and nodded. “I think she’s waiting for you whenever you’re ready. We love you so much, but it’s okay to go. We’ll be okay.”
My mom then told me my dad was not ready and she was worried that he wouldn’t be okay. I had a long, tearful talk with my dad that night, and told him that she was holding on for him, and she needed him to tell her it was okay to go. He admitted he had been telling her not to go, and agreed to talk to her. Shortly after he told her he would be okay, my mother died with him at her side. She has visited me several times since her death, sometimes with messages, but more often, I just feel her presence, especially around my children.
I’ve found that along with inevitable sadness for those left behind, there is also grace and beauty in death, and I wanted to explore that in a story. There have been so many real-life stories about the uncanny closeness of twins, so Countdown Café explores the aftermath of grief when one twin loses the other.
I hope you enjoy it, as well as the other stories by my amazing fellow authors in the TICK TOCK anthology. We feel so lucky to have received the awards and acclaim we have for this anthology. Also, we can soon reveal the awesomely creepy Turkish version of the Tick Tock cover so check www.wickedinkbooks.com for details on that, as well as news on our next anthology coming in Spring 2017. I’m also giving away a signed copy of TICK TOCK at my stop on the blog, so make sure to enter at www.kristihelvig.com/blog.
Thank you, Kristi, for that amazing story! And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Kristi Helvig, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number corresponds to the number of goats I own: 10. 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 also giving away two special prizes. One for the person who can answer the question mentioned on my exclusive content, which you’ll find somewhere on your YASH travels. The other prize will be chosen from the comments. Here is the question I’d like you to answer: what is your Harry Potter patronus and what is your house? Mine is the Siberian cat and I am in Hufflepuff.
Update: Comment box is now working!
Continue your YASH hunt you’ll need to visit the next author, Rachel Davidson Leigh!
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