Thursday, September 15, 2011

YA Indie Carnival!

Welcome to The Shootin' Gallery and the tenth post in the YA Indie Carnival. The carnival is designed for authors, readers and reviewers of YA Indie books. Each Friday this team of YA Indies will post on a common theme.

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for… LAST WEEK’S GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Congratulations to krystallarson! You’ve won an ebook copy of Soul Quest! I will email you soon with instructions.

Thanks so much to Krystal and everyone one else who participated in the YA Carnival Giveaway! I appreciate you’re interest and support here at Amy Jones Young Adult Fantasy Fiction! 

Winning contests is awesome but there is more. This week’s post theme is Back to School. In this post I have published an excerpt from Soul Quest. This selection outlines a typical day at Forest Hills High School for my young demi - Oracles and their human friends. In this scene Liv and her friends are running for student government and their opponent is a super, nasty piece of work!

Chapter Twelve
Time - September 8 - 11, 2014
Place - Forest Hills High School
Queens, New York

"One of the greatest
discoveries a man makes,
one of his great surprises,
is to find he can do what
he was afraid he couldn't do."

- Henry Ford

We couldn't believe our eyes Tuesday morning when we walked into the commons area to find Shy's banner had been replaced on the wall. Apparently Shy sweet talked the administration into believing that because he was a new student at Forest Hills High he had not understood clearly the rules involving the campaign budget. I suppose it may have been true. I do not recall seeing him at the meeting last week when all of the rules were explained. Shy told our Principal, Mrs. Long, that he was afraid his parents would be disappointed with him if the banner was removed. They had spent a great deal of money on the banner and would be angry to learn about Shy's ignorance and carelessness regarding the campaign's policies. He explained that he was afraid it would prevent his parents from supporting the school in the future no matter what the school might need. I suppose Mrs. Long felt she couldn't risk losing any financial help the Donovan's could offer so she allowed the banner to remain.

After that things got ugly. Shy's camp believed they were one up on us when Mrs. Long allowed the banner to stay but their confidence fell quickly after the student body watched our video during home room. After that the banner was entirely forgotten. It could have been invisible for the lack of attention it received. All day long our class mates complimented and questioned us about the video repeatedly. It was definitely an ego booster for Brayan whose pride had been bruised the day before. Today he was the man on campus. He answered endless questions about his equipment and the software he used to create the video.

"It really isn't complicated at all. I'd be happy to show you how it works." he had said, grateful for the appreciation.

Amber was practically a celebrity. The chorus teacher even approached her and encouraged her to audition for the ensemble. Freshman never made ensemble and Amber was thrilled at the idea.

"Can you believe it?" she squealed. "Mrs. Conner said I should try out for the ensemble. I've got to tell my Mom." she babbled as she fished her cell phone out of her purse at the lunch table.

All of the attention made Shy's camp jealous and angry. Wednesday morning they went to Mrs. Long to insist that our team be disqualified from the campaign on the grounds that we knowingly broke the rules regarding campaign budget. Can you believe the audacity of some people? They were armed with quotes of prices for the equipment that was necessary to make such a video and the cost of the labor we would have been charged. Mrs. Long called both groups into the conference room so she could hear both sides of the story. We explained that no money was spent to create the video beyond the blank DVD it was recorded on. All of the equipment belonged to or was borrowed from members of our campaign committee. Brayan explained what equipment was used, where it came from and how everything was orchestrated. Ms. Sprenkle, the school computer teacher, was present for the meeting and corroborated Brayan's testimony. She assured Mrs. Long that everything Brayan was saying was possible. Mrs. Long decided since it could not be proven that we had gone over budget and because she had allowed Shy's campaign to keep their banner on display she was going to allow the campaign to continue as scheduled. She instructed both groups to focus on the debate that was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. There would be absolutely no new banners or videos created by any team. Once she finished lecturing us she wished all of us luck and sent us back to class.

Mrs. Long made the best decision she could about the campaign. Unfortunately, teenagers are not as reasonable. Tension began to mount among the freshman class during seventh and eighth hour Wednesday afternoon. Word got out that we were still in the race and Shy's followers were not happy. Things escalated Thursday morning. Things were getting out of control all over campus and the students were beginning to take sides. Most of our posters were torn down and destroyed or vandalized with a huge X drawn through them or words scribbled out and replaced by words that would change the meaning of our slogan to something less than flattering. Forest Hills High was turning into a war zone. Students were arguing. Fights broke out. People were being expelled. Someone even set the trash receptacle on fire in the boy’s bathroom. It was ridiculous to think that all of this had been caused by a banner and video created for a high school government campaign. I felt sorry for the upper classmen. Their debates for class office took place this morning amongst all of our shenanigans and were cut short when the fire alarm was set off by the burning, boy’s bathroom. Why was this happening? It seemed as though the less confrontational our team tried to be the more confrontational our class mates became. Even Shy remained calm and diplomatic while his supporters grew enraged. What was it about him that made them so devoted to him? They behaved like a bunch of crazed groupies. It was as if they were under some type of voodoo spell. They were like cult followers. Seriously people, he's running for class president. Get a grip.

"This is getting way out of control." I heard Laith say, echoing my exact thoughts.

"This is not how I intended to start my freshman year at Forest Hills. Nor is it anything close to the way I envisioned becoming involved in the school." I added and Laith, Brayan and Meena all nodded in agreement.

"What do you want to do about it?" Jedd asked with desperation in his voice.

"We can't go on like this." Drue said equally distraught by the situation.

"We are going to do the right thing… which isn't always the easiest thing." I said soberly.

Everyone looked at me with puzzled expressions. That is, everyone except Laith. He looked at me and turned up the corner of his mouth into a tiny, hopeful smile. Maybe we could set things right again.

"You can't always get what you want." he surrendered and everyone understood.

At that precise moment Mr. Stein called Laith and Shy to the podium to begin the freshman class presidential debate. Two podiums were placed at opposite sides of the stage with three chairs placed between them. Mrs. Long sat in the middle seat with Ms. Sprenkle just to her right. Mr. Stein was now taking the seat to Mrs. Long's left. Shy made his way to his podium on stage right, while Laith crossed the stage to whisper something into Mrs. Long's ear. Mrs. Long rose from her chair and accompanied Laith backstage for a few moments. The crowd of students assembled in the school's auditorium grew quieter wondering what was going on. Shy's face remained serene and unaffected but Mr. Stein and Ms. Sprenkle looked as curious as the student body. Finally Mrs. Long and Laith returned to the stage. She spoke into Laith's microphone.

"Students of the class of 2018, your class mate, Laith Lightfoot has something he wishes to say to you."

Shy's face still remained serene but I could have sworn I saw him flinch for just a second. Laith took the microphone as hushed whispers were murmured throughout the auditorium. He stood silent and still for a moment collecting his thoughts before he spoke.

"It was never my intention to upset any of you with this campaign. Nor was it a goal for any of my campaign team. We only wanted to become a part of this school in a way that would be helpful. We wanted to do good things for the school and for the community and for you. So far we haven't done any of that. I'm afraid we've done quite the opposite. We've upset a lot of people, caused a lot of trouble and divided our classmates rather than unite them. We've decided that maybe we are not the right government at this time for Forest Hills High's freshman class." Laith had to pause as shouts of protest and outbursts erupted through out the auditorium.

Our camp was not giving up on us so easily while Shy's camp seemed to be encouraging us to continue our farewell. More arguing and shouting filled the auditorium. Students stood up in the isles as school faculty and staff members attempted to usher them back to their seats. The war zone that had been the hallways this morning seemed to be reforming in this open yet contained space which was not good.

"Stop it!" Laith shouted with all of his might.

He wouldn't have needed the microphone but the added volume added muster to his plea. Everyone fell silent and stared at him. Laith closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. His fists were balled up and every muscle in his body was tensed. He continued to take deep breaths, breaths that seemed to have a calming effect on the entire room as they sounded through the speakers in the walls. Slowly he relaxed muscle by muscle just as the rest of us did. He opened his eyes and looked out into the room.

"This is exactly what I am talking about. We don't want any part of this." he whispered and with his shoulders slumped forward he strode quickly offstage.
The rest of us followed naturally. We made a united front in the beginning so it only seemed appropriate to end the same way.

We found Laith sitting on the steps in front of the school house. We all joined him but said nothing. He needed time to sort through his feelings and pull himself back together. It was quiet inside the school for the moment. I can only assume Shy is giving his acceptance speech as president of the freshman class. Well if everything returns to normal it will be for the best. We stayed with Laith for several minutes more until the bell rang releasing students from the assembly to their eighth hour classes. Finally, we trudged off to our eighth hour classes as well. Eighth hour was very quiet for Jedd and me. No one spoke to us but it didn't feel like we were being punished. It felt more like what we had done for Laith. They were giving us space and respect and I appreciated it.

"Maybe things will be OK after all." I said to Jedd as I collected my books and belongings when the bell rang releasing school for the day.

My hope was quickly snuffed out when Mr. Marshall requested our attention before we walked out of the class room.

"Mr. Bellamy and Ms. Glyn." he said as he gestured with his pointing finger for us to approach him.

"Now what…" I heard Jedd mutter under his breath. "Hasn't this day been awful enough?" he continued as we walked toward Mr. Marshall's desk.

"Relax you two. You aren't in any trouble but Mrs. Long would like to see you before you leave campus today, alright?" he said and we nodded and trudged off toward the main office.

When we arrived in the main office we were greeted by the rest of our campaign team and Amber White. Amber was talking hurriedly while she glanced around the room looking over her shoulder as if she was afraid of being caught doing something she shouldn't. We heard Mrs. Long's office door open and Amber took her cue to split. As she passed me she squeezed my arm and smiled at me and Jedd.

"What is going on?" I whispered to Brayan. I figured he would know the most since it appeared that he and Amber were now ‘together’ like a couple.

"After we walked out of the auditorium the Shy camp went crazy cheering and celebrating. Shy got cocky and took the microphone at his podium to start his ‘thank you’ speech. That was about as much as our camp could take and they started booing him and screaming Laith's name." Brayan started to explain half scowling and half smiling.

"You’re kidding. How did Mr. Perfect handle that?" I asked.

"Yeah, I've been noticing that too. He never seems to break a sweat, does he?"
Brayan agreed and we all nodded with our arms folded and eyebrows arched. "Well, guess what? This time he cracked." Brayan laughed.

"No way…" Jedd said in disbelief.

"Yep, he did. He started saying something about how Laith bailed on them and they ought to wise up and follow a real leader." the way Brayan said this was comical. He tried to mimic Shy's voice quality and gestured style.

"Whoa, I bet that went well." Jedd added sarcastically.

"Yes, well… in the words of my lady, Amber, that is when all hell broke lose." he laughed and we all joined him. Amber is about the sweetest girl you could ever meet but she has quite a potty mouth. "Anyway, long story short, Mrs. Long broke up the squabbling, made Shy sit down and proceeded to renounce him as class president." Brayan said.

"What?" Jedd and I blurted out at the same time.

Everyone broke into laughter again. Brayan looked at Laith.

"Apparently she disagrees with us buddy. She thinks that we are the right government at the right time for the freshman class." Brayan smiled and we all smiled with him.

Friday was mostly uneventful. Elections for class officers were held during home room. Of course there was no real contest for the freshman class as my campaign team's names were the only names on the ballot. Every other contestant had either been disqualified by Mrs. Long or bailed out by there own right. Shy and a few of his cult followers were absent today. Mrs. Long had expelled them for their poor behavior at the debate assembly. They would not return to school until next Wednesday. We would have three whole school days of peace. Maybe that would provide enough time for things to simmer down. I certainly hope so. When the bell rang at the end of Theater class Amber approached me.

"Hi Liv. I'm sorry I ran out on you like that yesterday but I was afraid I was going to get busted by Mrs. Long. She threatened expulsion to any student who breathed a word to you guys about what happened in the assembly after you left. She said she would handle it but you know I had to tell you guys!" she jabbered on in her bubbly way.

"You mean, you had to tell Brayan!" I teased.

"Well yeah, that too." she shrugged knowing she was caught crushing on her new boyfriend.

"What about you and Jedd? Are you guys to - geth - er?" she asked grinning, framing the word together with fingered quotation marks. "Or are you just friends?" she smiled wider using the fingered quotes around the words just friends this time. I rolled my eyes.

"I don't know what Jedd and I are." I admitted frustrated.

What were we now? We had always been friends, best friends in fact. Now it felt to me like we were something more but did it feel that way to him? Amber watched me curiously, assessing my reaction to her line of questioning.

"Do you need some help with that?" she finally added. Her eyebrows raised in suggestion.

"No!" I blurted out.

She raised her palms to me in surrender. "OK, it’s cool." she said as we walked toward the hallway.

She was quiet for moment. She would glance at me from time to time as we headed down the hallway toward our next class. She looked as if she were debating on whether or not she should say something to me.

"What?" I smiled inviting her to embarrass me further.

"Well, I was just wondering if you wanted to go into the city with me this weekend? There is this really cool club that plays indie rock music." she hesitated for just a moment. I just stared at her in confusion and then with pleading eyes she begged me, "Brayan wants to go but my Mom won't let me go by myself with a boy."

"Oh." was all I said.

"You and Jedd could go with us." she said hopefully. "I mean… you are friends." she repeated using her finger quotes around the word friends again. She was getting on my nerves.

"If I say yes will you stop saying friends like that?" I snapped as I gave an annoying impression of her flexing her fingers repeatedly. She laughed at me.

"Yes, I promise." she squealed in delight as she bounced up and down the hallway clapping her hands. "I'll call you after school Liv!" she called to me as she ran down the hallway.

"Great. Falling in love makes you insane." I muttered to myself.

Before you head off to the next booth in the carnival please don't forget about...

Soulless is a novella and will be available for free download @ on October 31, 2011!

The Guardians of Souls, Book Two in The Soul Quest Trilogy. It is available on Amazon NOW!

Carnival of fun!

The Ferris Wheel

Dani Snell: An awesome reviewer.

The Rockin' Roller Coaster

Patti Larsen: Author of The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, and The Diamond City Trilogy.

The Kissing Booth

Courtney Cole: Author of Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian. Also a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.

Cotton Candy Corner

Wren Emerson: Author of I Wish and a contributing author in the upcoming anthology that I am participating in (The Glassheart Chronicles).

The Fun House

Nicole Williams: An indie author of paranormal fiction. Her titles include: Eternal Eden and Fallen Eden. She is also participating in the Glassheart Chronicles. Here is the link to my review on Goodreads.

The Dunking Booth

Fisher Amelie: Author of The Understorey, as well as a contributing author in The Glassheart Chronicles.

The Carousel
Laura Elliott: Author of the recently released Winnemucca!

The Haunted Castle

Rachel Coles: Author of Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms.


T.R. Graves: Author of Warriors of the Cross.

The Face Painting Booth

Cydni Tefft: Author of Between

The Fortune Teller
P.J. Hoover: Author of Solstice
Congrats to P. J. for her recent
book trailer award for Solstice!

Popcorn and Caramel Apples!
Alicia McCalla: Author of Breaking

Pony Rides!
Heather Cashman: Author of Perception

The Petting Zoo!
Cheri Schmidt: Author of Fateful and Fractured

Fire Breather!
Suzy Turner
Author of December Moon and Raven

Clown Sherif!
K. C. Blake Author of Vampire Rules

Elephant Trainer!
Gwenn Wright
Author of Filter

Kimberly Kinrade
Author of Bits of You, Pieces of Me and Forbidden Mind

The Giant!
J.L. Bryan
Author of Paranormals series- Jenny Pox. Tommy Nightmare & Alexander Death

Don't forget to make a comment and join my followers! I love hearing from my old friends as much as I love making new friends!


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  2. Amy, this sounds like the current political climate in the U.S. ;) Were you influenced by it?

  3. Oh! I'm going to have to carve some time out of my busy life to read this. Have a good weekend.

  4. I really like your excerpt, and the dialogue is dynamic. I need to read the rest of this. Sorry I'm very late posting, I not online Friday.

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