Welcome to the Fall 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt!

There are nine puzzle contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all. The contest is live between October 4 and 9, and this hunt is open internationally! To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by October 9, at noon Pacific Time.

Read the exclusive content offered by all the contestants, add up the clues, and enter for our grand prize: one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on my team! 

I am part of the PURPLE TEAM.

If you want to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and the full list of prizes up for grabs, at the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

I’ve hidden my favorite number further down this page. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PURPLE TEAM, and then add them up. Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the entry form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.



I am excited to host JULIA EMBER for this YA Scavenger Hunt!

julia                             unicorntracks

Julia’s debut YA fantasy UNICORN TRACKS was published in April this year by Harmony Ink Press. It’s an absolutely riveting story:

“After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study Unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.”

“The concept was so fresh and original, and the characters were adorable and rich. With shades of The Monstrumologist and The Abyss Surrounds us, I highly recommend Unicorn Tracks!” – Heidi Heilig, author of The Girl from Everywhere. 

   “Beautiful YA Romance full of excitement and adventure. Kara and Mnemba’s romance is healing and hopeful and lovely to read.” — Suki Fleet, author of This is Not a Love Story, Foxes and The Glass House.

Connect with Julia:

Author Website
Twitter: @jules_chronicle

Purchase Links:
Publisher – Harmony Ink Press
Barnes and Noble


raising and rehabilitating.png

Raising and Rehabilitating the Orphaned Unicornalis Kardunn by Kara Harding

Due to the actions of poachers and increasing urbanization, Nazwimbe’s unicorn population has been declining for the past decade. Despite the joint efforts of wildlife parks, safari companies and conservationists, the unicorns are dying faster than they are breeding.

An unfortunate side effect of the declining population has been a rise in the occurrence of orphaned foals. Often these wandering young ones become separated from their mothers during when construction encroaches on the unicorns’ natural habitat or left alone when its mother dies. The question on many an animal lover’s mind is: what should you do if you come across one of these babies? Is it possible to successfully raise a baby unicorn and then rehabilitate it in the wild?

While many people dream of keeping a unicorn as a long term pet or riding animal, these graceful and elusive creatures belong in the wild. Adult unicorns are antisocial creatures who prefer to dwell alone or with a selected mate. Furthermore, when spooked they can exhibit a type of aggressive battle frenzy, which makes them unsuitable for riding or farm work. Unicorns can only be broken for physical labour under extremely cruel and inhumane treatment and this cannot be encouraged. However, baby unicorns make captivating companions and do not develop their more fearsome attributes until after adolescence.

As many know, unicorn newborns can range greatly in physical size. Along among animal species, the Nazwimbie white unicorn can choose to shorten or lengthen its gestation period in response to environmental conditions. The foal may arrive at any time between four and eighteen months in gestation. All critical development occurs in those first months, but an early born foal may be very physically small. Physically small individuals should be kept warm and indoors initially, not in a barn with horses.

A newborn unicorn can be fed on a combination of mare’s milk and added, pureed fruit. Unicorn milk is extremely sweet and many newborns will not take to horse’s milk without the addition of fruit or honey, even though it provides everything they require for nutrition. The foals should be nursed five-eight times daily, dependent on appetite. You should continue to give your foal this combination until they reach approximately 250lbs in weight. For the average foal, this is usually about six months. Foals born very early may need to be nursed for up to a year, while those born late may only require a month or two.

While it is nursing, your foal will desire constant companionship. When you cannot be with the creature yourself, we recommend a goat or small pony as a surrogate companion. Many horses are afraid of the unicorn foals due to their growing horns. He will also require constantly grooming, to stimulate the loss of his baby hair to be replaced by adult hairs. It is essentially that your foal is cared for by a small and select group of people.

Unlike horses, unicorns are extremely adept at distinguishing between ‘known’ humans and the concept of ‘strangers’ without ever becoming truly socialised to human  as a species. However, the further you expand your baby’s social group, the less his instincts will function.

Once the foal reaches the required size for weaning, you should move it and its companion animal outside into a paddock. This is because if the unicorn is housed indoors beyond this point, it may grow too attached to life inside and fail to develop proper foraging skills. You should feed your unicorn baby by dispersing fruits among the grasses, as well as tree leaves. Make games out of this in the paddock and hide the items as well as possible. Your baby will also eat grass, but by hiding its favourite treats, you will teach it to forage more effectively.

After the foal is sufficiently weaned from milk onto foraging, you should no longer touch it. This can be a heart-breaking and difficult period for caregivers, but as long as your foal has bonded sufficiently to its animal companion, it will be fine. After a further period of four weeks, you should move your foal and its companion into separate but adjoining paddocks. As the foal grows older and moves towards puberty, its natural desire to seek out seclusion will begin to take over and it will gravitate towards its former companion less and less.

When the foal’s horn starts to turn silver, you can tell it has entered adolescence. At this point, the paddock should be left open. Over the following months, your foal will gradually begin to branch out and explore. It will often return in the evening for a month to the safety of its paddock, but excursions will grow longer and more spaced out.

After three months, the paddock can be repurposed. Your unicorn has made its home in the wild.



Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 13. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PURPLE TEAM and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author, MARIA E. ANDREU!

Before you leave, don’t forget to enter my own Rafflecopter giveaway (opens in new window) where you can win signed paperbacks of FJORD BLUE and my debut novel SUPERMASSIVE – and last but not least a signed copy of Julia Ember’s UNICORN TRACKS!


SLJ TEEN LIVE virtual conference 2016

SLJTeenLIVE_2016_HeaderIt’s that time of the year again!

On August 10, I’m participating in School Library Journal’s TEEN LIVE virtual conference on YA literature. This is a FREE event, and it’s possible to pick up lots of goodies (posters, excerpts, arcs etc.) and not least interact with authors. The conference is from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. (EDT), and the content will be available to the (registered) audience for a time afterward too🙂

I’m scheduled to chat with you at the Harmony Ink Press booth from 01:30 to 02:00 p.m. (EDT). There are three other Harmony Ink authors also chatting that day: Julia Ember, Joanna Parkhurst, and Jo Ramsey. Two other HIP authors will participate on two of the conference panels: Nyrae Dawn is on the Mental Health in YA Lit panel, and Rachel Lou is on the Genre-Bending SFF panel.

See you there!

Summer Reading

School is out! I have all the time in the world to read and write! In theory, anyway – but let’s not get technical.

Summer is the time of year when I read the most. This year I have only a vague idea about what to read, but here’s a list of book I absolutely HAVE to read:

I LET YOU GO by Claire Macintosh. Because my students, who graduated this spring, gave it to me. The title is so appropriate for that occasion, it makes me want to sob. I’m also allowing myself a glass of Prosecco and a huge bag of candy to celebrate that I shepherded them safely through high school and that they all passed their Norwegian exams, which I have prepared them for – to the best of my ability –  for the past three years🙂 The class also gave me a book in Norwegian that I’ll be reading this summer: Miriam Kristensen’s JEG HAR VENTET PÅ DEG, which has a title that also makes me sob in this context: “I’ve been waiting for you”. By the time August arrives and school starts, I’ll be eagerly awaiting my new classes, and history will in many ways repeat itself.

THE DIARY OF PELLY D by L. J. Adlington. I’m participating in a Ph.D. student’s research project about using dystopian YA novels when teaching English, and I got to choose between a few titles. This was one that I hadn’t read already, so I’m looking forward to reading it & thinking about teaching at the same time – while on vacation! A teacher never stops thinking about work, you know!

HERE ARE THE YOUNG MEN by Rob Doyle. I have to read Irish authors regularly, and since I’m going back to Dublin (another happy sob story there) this summer, I’m building up to it by reading a gritty but likely realistic story about three Irish lads roaming through Dublin looking for trouble (I assume!).

THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY by Shaun David Hutchinson. It’s been waiting patiently on my Kindle for way too long.

THE STORY OF A NEW NAME by Elena Ferrante. I’ve read the first book in the series and I need more. Must get my hands on a copy first, though.

I also need my fill of feel-good, chick-lit and romance, but I’ll take those titles as I go.



I’m participating in Julia Ember’s Pride Month Challenge #ReadProud in June – and not just because she’s put FJORD BLUE on her list of suggested reads!

It’s not just a challenge – it’s also a chance to win Amazon gift cards, so do sign up on Julia’s blog and read along!

These are the LGBT titles I’m planning on reading in June:
Week 1 – Trans YA: IF I WAS YOUR GIRL by Meredith Russo
Week 2 – Middle Grade YA: GEORGE by Alex Gino
Week 3 – POC authors: TREASURE by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Week 4- Gay YA: JERKBAIT by Mia Siegert