Musings of a YA author throwing herself into the fray. Join me on the journey ...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

YA Scavenger Hunt is Here!!!!!!!

And for a bunch of chances to win signed copies of Tempest Rising and Tempest Unleashed, the first two books in the Tempest Maguire trilogy, The International Kissing Club (a book Tracy wrote with Emily Mckay and Shellee Roberts, an ARC of Emily McKay's The Farm, plus an ARC of Doomed and a fun prize pack with a Farm Backpack and all kinds of Doomed, International Kissing Club and Tempest swag,   rack up points by doing one or more of the following:
  1. follow me on Twitter at @TracyWolff (1 point)
  2. get friends to follow me on Twitter (1 point per friend)
  3. like my Tempest Rising page on  Facebook(1 point)
  4. Like my brand new Doomed Facebook page
  5. get friends to follow me on Facebook (1 point per friend)
  6. Follow this blog
  7. email me at and let me know you want to be part of my Doomed street team!
  8. Leave a comment on this blog post.

 Leave me a comment here under this blog post telling me if you like the Tempest Revealed excerpt and how many points to give you. Just leaving a comment counts 1 point. (And if you have done any of 1-6, give me your user names and your friends’ user names so I can credit your points.) The drawing will be random, but the number of points you get determines how many times your name will be put into the hat.

Tempest Revealed
I dropped in on the wave just as it crested. As I did, I made the mistake of looking toward shore—exactly what my dad had told me not to do. I could see him there, standing under a light and looking out at me. I couldn’t see his expression, but I figured it wasn’t happy. But if I nailed this wave, all would be forgiven.
I turned to look down at the wave and realized that I couldn’t see anything—the lights on shore had disrupted my vision, just as my dad had said they would. I felt a moment of panic at the idea of surfing this wave, which was high enough that riding its crest felt like being at the top of a mountain. And then it was too late to do anything but ride as I plummeted down the sheer, flat face of the most mammoth wave I’d ever ridden.
It was amazing, exhilarating, terrifying and awe-inspiring all at the same time. More than once I thought I was going into the drink, but I managed to hold on—by my toenails sometimes—until the wave brought me in. I didn’t get as close to shore as my dad did, didn’t get a chance to shoot the barrel as the wave turned choppier, started to break up.
I jockeyed for position, hung on as long as possible, then dropped out right before the thing crashed into the surface of the ocean. As the waves bumped me around some—the water was getting rougher—I fumbled for my board. Once I found it, I straddled it and let out a war whoop of epic proportions. My dad echoed it from his spot on the water. He was paddling out to meet me and probably do the whole crazy thing again, and I couldn’t wait. I’d ridden the hell out of that wave and couldn’t have been prouder.
Grinning, thrilled with myself and the whole world, I turned toward my dad, wanting to share my exhilaration with him. He was close enough that I could see his grin and I smiled back, waved a little. He was as stoked as I was that I had not let that swell take me down.
“That was awesome, Temp—”
He stopped talking mid-sentence, a strange look crossing his face before he disappeared suddenly beneath the choppy surface of the ocean.
            What the hell?
“Dad!” I called, but he didn’t answer. Seconds later, I saw his board floating several feet away.
            Confusion turned to alarm and I ditched my board, diving deep between the crests of one wave and the next. As I did, I blew the air out of my lungs and let my gills take over so that I wouldn’t have to worry about hitting the surface for air. Though I was prepared, that first breath of salt water hurt like a bitch as my human lungs fought instinctively to reject it. I ignored the pain, ignored the messages that warned me I was drowning, and dived deeper. Swum faster.
            As I did, visions of sharks and swordfish and even huge, carnivorous seals ripped through my head. As did images of Tiamat and her vicious pet, the Lusca. Something had my dad—of that I had no doubt. Now it was  a matter of finding out if it was just an animal doing what came naturally to it or if it was a darker, more dangerous force.
            Smart enough to know I wasn’t going to be able to find him out here in the dark, I closed my eyes and tried to focus through the terror ripping me apart. A couple deep breaths, a little shot of power, and I’d created a large, encapsulated ball of light that illuminated the ocean around me. I quickly tethered it to me with another blast of power, so that it moved where I did, and then I went deep. 
            As I dove, I didn’t know what to wish for: a shark could very well have killed my father by now. But then, so could Tiamat—unless she wanted something from him. Like to use him as bait to make me swim directly into one of her traps.
            If it was her, she was getting her wish because while the logical portion of my brain was shouting warnings at me, I was paying it absolutely no attention. Sheer terror had seized control of me and I was bumbling around like a total frube, desperate for some—any—sign of my father. It had been two and a half, maybe three minutes since he’d been grabbed. I only had a couple more to find him before brain damage started to kick in.
            Freaking out, panicked beyond just about anything I had ever felt before, I forced myself to surface. To look out over the black water and try to see if I could spot anything. But there was nothing but the inevitable push and pull of the waves and the glowing blue of the algae all around me. In the distance, I could see the lights of my board glowing purple against the dark water, but there was no sign of my father.
            And that’s when it registered. While the ocean all around me was lit up an other-worldly blue, there was a heavy concentration of the phosphorescent light about thirty feet in front of me. Heavy enough that it meant something was there right now disturbing the algae.
            I shot forward, using every ounce of power and strength I had to swim faster than I ever had before. I got there in seconds—I’d never been more thankful for the whole mermaid thing—and then dove deep, circling the lit up area much like a shark did its prey.
            And that’s when I saw him, floating along beneath the surface. His arms were above his head, his legs slightly open. His eyes were closed, his face lax, and I knew. I just knew that I was too late. That my father was dead because I hadn’t been strong enough to stop it.
            I arrowed through the water toward him, so close to hysteria that I forgot how to breathe through my gills. Instead, I opened my mouth and ended up gulping in huge swallows of salt water, choking on it.
            My human body wanted to cough, to expel the noxious stuff, but I held it down with sheer will alone. If I had any chance of doing CPR, of getting the water out of his lungs, every second counted.
            I reached my father moments later, wrapped my arms around his waist and used the powerful muscles in my legs, muscles I’d spent the last year building, to kick us straight up to the surface.
            As I broke through the water, I dragged air into my abused lungs even as I tried to figure out if my dad was breathing. He wasn’t—of course he wasn’t—so I whirled around in a desperate bid to find shore. In just the last few minutes the ocean had grown much choppier, though I didn’t know if it was from the incoming storm or my own freaked out emotions. It didn’t matter either way, I supposed, not when the end result was the same. We’d been pushed farther out to sea by the seething, roiling waves, shore much too far away to reach in time to save my dad, even for me.
            Wrapping my arms around him again—this time above his waist and below his breastbone—I drove my fist directly back and into the bottom of his lungs. Water shot from his mouth, so I did it again and again and again. It was awkward as hell with the waves building up all around us, but I forced my body to relax. To just ride out the waves. Soon, I had determinedthe timing of the ocean, and what part of the wave I needed to be at to squeeze the most water from my father’s lungs.
 I rode the waves for long seconds, not attempting to fight them or get closer to shore, but simply trying to clear my dad’s lungs enough that he could breathe. I was focusing so completely on the task that when it finally happened, when he spit out a huge mouthful of water and then started to cough, I could barely believe it. I kept pounding my fist into the spot below his sternum until he started struggling against me.
And even then, even as I heard him draw one loud, shaky breath into his lungs, I still didn’t believe it. “Daddy?” I shouted to be heard above the roaring of the waves, slipping back into the childhood endearment as if it were a comfortable old slipper that had just been waiting for me to find it again.
“What happened?” he gasped between coughing fits.
I was hoping he’d be able to tell me that. “I don’t know. Are you okay?”  All his limbs were attached and he didn’t seem to be bleeding, but something had obviously happened to him out here. 
Something that seemed less and less like an animal attack and more like—
At that moment, something wrapped itself around my ankles and tugged. Hard.

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Amy Plum! Happy Hunting!!!!! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tempest Revealed!!!!! 1st Excerpt!!!!

Here's an excerpt from Tempest Revealed!  I'm so excited to finally be sharing it with you :)  Let me know what you think!
When I woke up, I was floating. Sabyn had unchained me but was keeping a close eye on me from his spot across the room.  It took a second for me to register that I was still alive.  I allowed myself a moment of pure relief before whirling toward Sabyn yet again.  I sent out the most powerful blast of electricity I could muster. It should have been enough to knock him on his ass, if not fry him completely, but nothing happened. In fact, he just stood there, smirking at me as I blasted him again and again and again.
It only took a couple times for me to figure out that it wasn’t that Sabyn was repelling the electricity, it was that I wasn’t actually firing any. Just like I wasn’t shooting any energy pulses either. My powers had completely dried up.
Are you done? he asked. Because there are things I’d like to talk about, and frankly, you don’t look like you can do that and listen at the same time.
I sent another blast his way. Then another. And another. Still nothing. What did you do to me?
If you’d calm down a little bit, maybe we could talk about it.

I did scream then, reaching deep inside myself for the reserves of power I rarely had to draw on. I fired absolutely everything I had at him and prayed.

All he did was yawn. Then he walked toward the door, his total disregard for my powers obvious in the way he turned his back on me—something he never would have done before.

Okay. All right. The words came out hoarse and breathless, a testament to just how hard I’d been fighting him. What do you want to talk about?

I knew you’d come around.

I coughed, then felt my gills ooze a little. When I put my hands up to them it was to find out that I was bleeding. Sabyn had really done a number on me.

I’m sorry about that, he said. I guess I was too rough.

I didn’t bother to answer. He’d smothered me into unconsciousness, so yeah, I had a tendency to see that as “too rough.”

What do you want, Sabyn? I’m too tired to play games.

Even after your nap? I’m so sorry to hear that. He gestured to the floor. Why don’t you have a seat, get comfortable? He pulled a picnic basket into the room, set it down next to me. Maybe something to eat will help with your exhaustion.

I stared at the basket in disbelief. I’m not hungry.

He shrugged his shoulders. I guess that depends on how badly you want answers. Besides, who knows when I’ll decide to feed you next.

You are completely revolting.

And you are a total pain in the ass, but here we are anyway. He held out a kelp bar. Try it. It’s pretty good.

I don’t think so.

He shrugged, then took a big bite. Suit yourself.
Sabyn settled with the picnic on the ground, or at least as close to the ground as he could get with the sea water pushing at him. Merpeople, like other half-human sea creatures, have a built in resistance to the ocean’s buoyancy, which allows them to counteract it any time they want. It doesn’t mean they’ll be able to walk on the ocean floor without effort, but it does mean that they won’t float more than an inch or so above it unless they want to. My resistance isn’t as good as a full merperson’s but I can usually stay two or three inches above whatever it is I’m resting on. Unless I’m concentrating. Then I can lay on a bed or walk on the ground like any other merperson.

            Are you going to tell me what’s going on here, Sabyn? You can’t actually think you’re going to get away with holding me prisoner.

            He laughed. Who’s going to stop me? Kona? From what I hear, he can barely stand to be in the same ocean with you. Besides, he’s got other problems right now.

            My blood ran cold. What do you mean?

            You screwed things for a lot of people when you took off for home last week. Now Coral Straits is mine, and Kona’s kingdom … well, let’s just say it’s not really his anymore. But don’t feel too bad; his people are probably relieved. He’s been having a rough time over there since you dumped him.

            Sabyn’s words hit me hard, made me focus on the guilt that was always just below the surface. I wanted to lash out at him, to tell him off, but I couldn’t. I needed him. Not just for me—I was more than happy to piss him off when I was the only one at risk. But Sabyn had news of Kona, and that I wanted desperately. He might not be my boyfriend anymore, but that didn’t mean I didn’t still care about him. If something else happened to him because he was helping me … I’d never forgive myself. And I would make Sabyn, and Tiamat, pay.

            I’d never been particularly bloodthirsty as a human. Even as a mermaid, I would rather flight than fight if I could get away with it. But I’d had about enough of Sabyn and Tiamat and all the other sea monsters they had working with them. If I got out of this damn dungeon alive, I swore I would take them all down, no matter what it took. Their reign of terror had to end.

            But I was smart enough to know that there was no way I’d get a chance to escape if I didn’t play nice with Sabyn. Oh, I didn’t necessarily expect him to buy it—he wasn’t a total idiot, after all. But he was vain, really vain, and if I worked it long enough, maybe his guard would slip. If not today, then some time soon.

            Hating myself and what I had to do, I settled down next to him and his ridiculous picnic. I even grabbed one of the disgusting kelp bars and took a bite, praying it wasn’t poisoned.

            He didn’t say anything while we ate, and neither did I. I was smart enough to know that I had to wait for him to take the lead or I would never get anywhere. But it was so hard, when I was dying to know where Kona was. Not to mention what he had done to my powers. If there was ever a time I needed them, this was it. I couldn’t do anything without them.

            Sabyn forced me to sit there, watching him go through a truly disgusting amount of food. I knew it was for effect, that he was showing me he was the one in control. But even understanding his motivation, it was difficult not to grab one of the kelp and veggie sandwiches and cram it down his throat until he choked on the stupid thing. Except he was a merman so he couldn’t actually choke. More’s the pity.

            Finally, when I felt like I was going to lose my mind if he made me wait one more second, he pushed his plate away with a huge sigh. Beer? he asked, holding out a brew made of red algae. It was Kona’s favorite brand and my heart thumped a little in my chest when I saw it.

            I shook my head. I hated the stuff. Besides, the last thing I needed right now was to cloud my brain with alcohol.

            So, Sabyn said after taking a long drink. I have a proposition for you.

            Finally. What do you want?


            Excuse me? Surely I’d heard wrong. Then again, he looked surprisingly earnest when he leaned forward and reached for my hand. I yanked it away before he could get a good grip on it, then folded my arms over my chest in case he hadn’t gotten the hint. I had to admit I felt like I was in the middle of a particularly weird and horrifying episode of The Twilight Zone. Or maybe X-Files. That show has always freaked me out.

            I waited for him to say more, but he didn’t. Nor did he do anything besides stare at me with a wounded expression on his face. Like my not wanting him to touch me had somehow offended him. Which was so ridiculous it made me long for my powers even more. There was nothing I wanted at that moment as much as the ability to blast him into next week.

            Finally the whole nervous talker thing got the better of me and I demanded, Sabyn, what the hell are you up to?

            I thought that was obvious. I’m taking over your kingdom.

            Yeah, I got that. But what are you doing bringing me picnic lunches? We’re pretty much the definition of mortal enemies at this point.

            I think that’s a little harsh, don’t you?

            You shot me with a dart gun, stripped me of my powers and chained me in a dungeon. And that was just today.

            Yes, but that was for your own good.

            My own good? I almost choked on my utter incredulity.

            In case you didn’t notice, people weren’t exactly overjoyed to see you today. He gestured carelessly to the world outside my dungeon walls.

            I didn’t talk to anybody. That’s the whole point. You have my people so terrified of you that they wouldn’t even come greet me.

            That wasn’t terror, Tempest. That was disgust. I didn’t seize control of Coral Straits. It was given to me in a gift box, all wrapped up with a shiny bow.

            I don’t believe you.

            He shrugged. Fine, don’t believe me. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Your people sold you out.

            I wanted to ignore him, to discount everything he was saying. But he was so calm, so rational, so sure of himself that it was hard to do. Besides, I could still see Bali’s face, could see all those people who saw me come into town today and went out of their way not to talk to me. After seeing Sabyn, I had decided it was fear that motivated them. But what if it was something else? What if they had chosen Sabyn as a leader? They could have been avoiding me because no one wanted to be the one to tell me. Or worse, because they’d known what was waiting for me and they were okay with me being hurt, imprisoned, trapped.

But still. Why would they do that? I demanded. Even as I asked, I was aware of the irony of seeking answers¸ reassurance, from the man who had put me in this situation.

My guess? They don’t like your ties to the human world. Every time things get rough, you run home to your daddy and that human boyfriend of yours. You have to admit, it’s a little pathetic.

I wasn’t about to discuss Mark or my family with Sabyn. They were none of his business and, truthfully, I hated that he knew anything about them at all.  I decided to change the subject. So, at risk of sounding like a broken record, what are you doing here? If you have the monarchy of Coral Straits all tied up, what are you doing in this dungeon with me?

He smiled, then, and it was such a cold, slimy thing that I had to force myself not to shudder. The way he was looking at me made me feel like Little Red Riding Hood at the foot of her grandmother’s bed after the big bad wolf had climbed into it—like I was lunch and I just didn’t know it yet.
Funny you should ask, he told me, tipping his beer toward me in a little salute before he drained the bottle and tossed it back into that ridiculous picnic basket. I’m here to ask for your hand in marriage.