The Young Adult Summer Scavenger Hunt

In June, I’ll be participating in the Alliance of Young Adult Authors’ massive young adult scavenger hunt. This is a chance to meet some new authors, grab a bunch of free books, and sign up to win a whole bunch of epic prizes!

So the big question is what do you get from me, right? Anyone signing up to my mailing list from now till the end of the contest receives a free short story AND is entered to win free copies of “Dark Empire” and “Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter,” with one lucky winner receiving both.

Double your chances to win free books by liking my Facebook page, too.


Each author will be given a special keyword, which will be bolded and all caps like this: BUTTERFLIES.

All you have to do is visit all the author’s sites in this order, write down the special keywords to discover the short story, then enter the giveaway with the completed short story HERE (link will be posted soon).

There will be one main giveaway for the main prize, but most of the participating authors will also have smaller giveaways for free books, amazon credit and author swag, so make sure you read their post carefully to see what else they’re offering while you’re on their site for the keyword.


  1. Cindy Ray Hale
  2. Katherine Bogle
  3. Melle Amade
  4. David Kudler
  5. A.M. Yates
  6. Alethea Kontis
  7. Stevie Rae Causey
  8. Katlyn Duncan
  9. Debbie Manber Kupfer
  10. Meredith Efken  
  11. Meredith Rose
  12. Lara Ann  
  13. K.M. Robinson
  14. J.A. Culican
  15. Heather Karn
  16. Rob L. Slater
  17. Dylan Keefer
  18. Sarah K. Wilson  
  19. L.J. Higgins
  20. Gina Marie Long 
  21. Em Kazmierski
  22. Travis Hall
  23. Heather Young-Nichols
  24. Anna Santos
  25. J.L. Weil  
  26. Jo Schneider 
  27. Rebecca Fernfield
  28. Kristin D. Van Risseghem
  29. Martine Lewis 
  30. Tara Benham
  31. Stacy Claflin
  32. Beth Hammond
  33. Erica Monroe Cope
  34. Nicole Zoltack
  35. Char Webster
  36. Sabrina Ramoth
  37. T.J. Muir
  38. Raquel Lyon
  39. Beth Rodgers
  40. S.L. Beaumont
  41. Eva Pohler
  42. Melanie McFarlane
  43. Cheryllynn Dyess
  44. Audrey Rich
  45. Amanda Zieba
  46. Sandie Will
  47. Elle Scott
  48. Angie Grigaliunas
  49. Ashley Maker 
  50. Mandy Peterson
  51. Audrey Grey
  52. Elisa Dane  
  53. Amy McNulty
  54. Melinda Cordell
  55. Monica Leonelle
  56. Claire Luana
  57. Frost Kay
  58. Preeti C. Sharma
  59. Bentz Deyo 
  60. April Wood
  61. Lena Mae Hill
  62. Angel Leya
  63. Wendi Wilson
  64. Wendy Knight
  65. Chogan Swan
  66. Tamara Hart Heiner
  67. Norma Hinkens
  68. Patti Larsen
  69. Megan Crewe  
  70. Jamie Thornton
  71. Jessie Renée
  72. T.A. Maclagan  
  73. Lydia Sherrer
  74. Phyllis Moore
  75. P.D. Workman
  76. J.A. Armitage
  77. K.N. Lee
  78. Angela Fristoe
  79. Rhonda Sermon
  80. G.K. DeRosa 
  81. Erin Richards
  82. Ali Winters
  83. Larissa C. Hardesty
  84. Kristine Tate
  85. Debra Kristi
  86. Bella Rose 
  87. Cortney Pearson
  88. Jeff Kohanek
  89. Kristal Shaff
  90. Rachel Morgan  
  91. Emma Right
  92. C.L. Cannon
  93. Joanne Macgregor
  94. Lindsey Loucks
  95. Farah Kuck
  96. Erin Hayes
  97. Jesikah Sundin
  98. Dorothy Dreyer
  99. Danielle Annett
  100. C.J. Ethington
  101. L.C. Hibbett 
  102. Madeline Dyer
  103. Katie John
  104. Nicole Schubert  
  105. Rachel Medhurst 
  106. Tee G Ayer  
  107. May Freighter 
  108. Heather Dyer
  109. Jen Minkman  
  110. J.L. Gillham
  111. Karen Tomlinson
  112. Kate Haye
  113. Tom Shutt
  114. Martina Billings
  115. Jo Ho
  116. Brian King
  117. Inna Hardison
  118. Rachel Bateman
  119. Sally Henson  
  120. J.L. Hendricks 
  121. A.L. Knorr  
  122. T.M. Franklin  
  123. Konstanz Silverbow
  124. felisha Antonette
  125. Jake Devlin
  126. S.F. Benson
  127. Laurie Treacy
  128. Emily Martha Sorensen 
  129. Leia Stone
  130. T. Rae Mitchell
  131. J. Keller Ford
  132. Kat Stiles
  133. Jessica Hawke
  134. Elyse Reyes
  135. Sophie Davis
  136. Bianca Scardoni
  137. Jenetta Penner
  138. David R. Bernstein
  139. Olivia Wildenstein
  140. Derek Murphy
 For rules, updates or trouble-shooting, make sure to check out this main post which will stay updated.



Authors will post the rules and the full list of participating authors, then have their post up and visible on their site/blog, with their keyword, by June 1st. Readers just need to go through the list, find the words, and use the story to enter for the grand prize on the main contest page.


Play the game, put together the short story, and win fabulous prizes.

Join my mailing list and receive a free short story, and automatically get entered to win copies of my books. Like my Facebook page to double your chances to win!

I will draw a runner-up (Redeeming the Demon’s Daughter), first prize (Dark Empire), and grand prize (both!) winner by choosing random numbers from my mailing list subscribers. I’ll repeat the process on my Facebook page.

Winners will be notified privately by email for the newsletter winners and publicly on my Facebook page. Facebook winners will need to send me an email address to receive the Kindle e-book prizes. For the sake of transparency, I’ll post the winning numbers on my newsletter and on my Facebook page.

Happy hunting!

Poop-tastrophes and Foolish Flight Attendants

I recently flew between Atlanta and Dallas on Delta Flights 2110 and 1710 (on September 11! #NeverForget) with my 13-month-old son. I checked in online the day before, with my app and my Precheck hoping to get my boarding pass so that he and I would not have to jump through any more hoops than necessary. My ticket listed him as “infant in arms” so the airline knew, and the TSA should have known, that I was traveling just with him and that we were assigned a single seat.

Seat Assignment Fiasco

The app refused to issue me a seat assignment until I arrived at the airport and went to one of the airport kiosks to print a boarding pass. Of course, when I arrived in Atlanta, after bumping into a former colleague who was very interested in hearing what I’d been up to since moving to d different company, I made it to the kiosk slightly later than I should have. And of course there was a massive line for checking bags and the like, but the kiosks were empty enough that I walked right up to one and got my boarding pass and seat assignment.

In Dallas, though, I did the kiosk check in and still wasn’t assigned a boarding pass. They insisted that I then proceed to the gate agent with my temporary pass to get a seat assignment and boarding pass. Surely that was a remarkably inefficient use of time and resources for everyone involved, considering that I was a ticketed and confirmed passenger for the entire trip.

Then I proceeded to the TSA Precheck line, armed with my boarding pass, ID, stroller-stacked-with-a-carseat, strapped-on diaper bag, and small, light carry-on suitcase. Needless to say, my hands were full. And people are very kind to parents traveling alone. I had several people ask if I needed assistance, wait to make sure I could manage my items, and even load some of the items on the belt for me as I wrestled the munchkin. They were very kind, and I sincerely appreciate their help.

In Dallas, though, the TSA agent couldn’t properly read my boarding pass to accept that I was traveling with pre-check and with an infant in arms. I had to show him both markings on my “temporary” document, another problem that could have easily been avoided had I been allowed to check in properly the first time.

Poor Design

Then, while trying to load all my piles of stuff onto the conveyor in Dallas, they have a table, a 3-ish foot gap, and then the conveyor belt. So if you loaded all your stuff onto the table hoping to slide it straight onto the conveyor, it was a no-go. Thank you, wholeheartedly, to the kind fellow passengers and the agent who helped me manage the luggage and stroller and car seat in addition to a squirming munchkin.

Something must have set off the metal detector in Atlanta, so I got hand-swabbed before being sent on my merry way, and then I loaded all my belongings back onto the stroller in reverse order and the munchkin and I got moving again. I think we hopped on the train after walking a couple of terminals, because the airport has an awesome ceiling display between Terminals A and B that I absolutely love.

The munchkin found this much less interesting than I did, although he napped on the MARTA ride into the Atlanta airport and was now awake. I was also eager to get to the gate so that I could change his diaper before we boarded. By the time I made it to the airport bathroom, set up my diaper changing materials, and popped his diaper open, I was surprised to find a perfectly clean diaper, which means not even a single drop of liquid making the blue stripe on the front of the diaper. So I wrapped him back up and loaded him back up and returned to the gate, having missed my opportunity for early boarding.

Once again, though, people kindly let me through, recognizing that I would need some additional time to get all my stuff situated with the baby. And a very kind lady actually did hold the munchkin while I folded up the stroller and carseat before we boarded.

So I popped our big bag in the overhead bin and D and I sat in our aisle seat, where he proceeded to wave at all the passengers and flirt indiscriminately with anyone who paid him a moment’s attention.

Really Poor Design

Since he was sitting on my lap, I figured when I felt some motion in his diaper area that it was finally time to change him. So I picked up diaper clutch and wipes and carried him to the bathroom. Where Delta had a ledge about four inches deep and 15 inches long on which I was expected to change my squirmy toddler. #NotGoingToHappen

The flight attendant studied my predicament and offered to put down some paper towels so I could change him on the floor, and a very helpful gentleman in first class had the clever idea of putting down an airplane blanket atop that so that we had a bit more of a barrier between the baby and nasty floor. And note that he didn’t suggest it. He hopped right up, told me to wait a moment, and DID it for me.

So I got down to business and found when I opened things up that he was still wearing a perfectly clean, dry diaper. In addition to feeling very foolish now I am growing concerned. When D finally did his business, I knew it was going to be a big diaper. #LittleDidIKnow

So I return to my seat after the nice gentlemen offers to hold D while I pack up my stuff and tells me we had a good trial run and would be set for the real one. The flight attendant tosses the full towel/blanket set-up in the trash and I returned to my seat.

Then we got our drinks and snacks on a tray table that had seen better days. I put my seat-mate’s spare newspaper on the tray before accepting our refreshments, since D would drop his pretzels and put them in his mouth anyway, and the cleanliness of that tray was suspect. D really enjoyed his apple juice and pretzels. Shortly thereafter, we get our tables cleared and D starts squirming and fussing.


A few minutes later, in rapid sequence–I kid you not–the pilot turns on the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign and D moves just enough for me to notice a big brown blob on my pants. Then the pilot announces the descent and another flight attendant passing by refuses to let me change D’s diaper. “You should have done it earlier,” she says, as if I didn’t try to do just that and as if I have any control over anyone’s bowel movements.

I politely explain to her that I’m covered in poo and that the baby is covered in poo under our blanket (wish I’d used the Delta blanket that time). There was actually even poo on the edge of his pacifier, which has a stuffed animal attached. The poo was on the stuffed toy’s foot, so far enough from his mouth. But honestly, was I going to take away my kid’s pacifier before we descended and let him scream bloody murder on the airplane? No, I was not. Judge away.

Anyway, she was singularly unhelpful and awfully smug. And there was nothing I could do. Of course, having finally emptied his little belly, D fell promptly asleep for the entire descent. Once the plane landed and the folks in the seat across the aisle cleared out, I quickly slid over to start cleaning D up. After all, my seatmates wanted to get out and I couldn’t put the munchkin back in the carseat while covered in poo. So I spend the next several minutes cleaning up D, changing his clothes, collecting all the soiled items, which now include the changing mat, the blanket, his clothes and pacifier, and the dirty diaper and the wipes, etc. There wasn’t anything I’d be able to do about my own pants until later, but I wiped up the majority of the mess and the cleaning crew gave me a trash bag to contain all my stuff in. I was definitely the last person off the aircraft.

More Questions Than Answers

The big question, though, in all of this, is where are the changing tables in the airplane bathroom? They could easily install one over the toilet that folds down and offers enough space to actually change a baby and is much less gross (admittedly not for me but for other more squeamish passengers) than trying to change a diaper on a vacated seat. At some point as a parent poo stopped bothering me. But the plane floor still takes the cake for being an absolutely vile spot for diaper changing.

Shame on you, Delta, for not considering this critical way to make parents traveling with small children better able to contain their kids’ messes. It’s already overwhelming to travel with a small child, but then being stuck between two equally inappropriate choices when it’s time to attend to their basic needs is simply ridiculous.

As a resident of the Atlanta area, I’ve long chosen Delta as my airline of choice, but this lack of family-friendly aircraft, the ridiculous staff member, and the difficulty of getting an assigned seat, and it makes me question this decision to be a loyal customer. I also know just how many of my friends with small children also read my blog (thank you all!), and I hope they, too, consider the challenges they will face choosing an airline that can’t accommodate the basic needs of their children.