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Thursday, August 23, 2012

PSC: Story and giveaway by Nina Berry


Our guest post today is by Nina Berry, author of a new YA urban fantasy series. Her first book, OTHERKIN, came on on July 31 so you should rush out and buy it if you enjoy the story that Nina's contributed to the event. =) Nina's taken the time to share a real-life story about one of her own summer camp experiences and the lovely folks at Kensington have provided a giveaway of her debut YA novel to boot!

Please join me in welcoming Nina to the blog!


At four a.m. the sand on Oahu’s North Shore lay cool and white. The full moon spread silver over the waves and descended toward the horizon like an plump lady gingerly settling onto a delicate chair.

Camp Mokuleia setting slide 1“Your cabin is special,” Mr. White* said, smiling under his mustache at the dozen of us ranged sleepily before him. “You’ve come together as a team more than all of the other cabins here at Camp Moluke’ia. So we’re giving you a special task. It won’t be easy. But we think your group can handle it.”

I glanced around at the six boys and five other girls in my cabin at this supposedly “life-transforming” camp arranged by our school. So far we’d fumbled down a cliff, panted through an obstacle course, and washed the dinner dishes together. How did that make us special?

The group ranged from our school’s most popular football player to the probable valedictorian. But I didn’t know or trust any of them. Worse, one of them was Ethan Payne,* sarcastic surfer dude supreme. When I walked in the door the first day of school he had shouted, “Not Nina Berry!”

It had been downhill from there. I’d managed to avoid direct contact with him for the last 36 hours, and my main goal for the duration of camp was to keep doing that. So much for “life-transforming.”

“You’ll select a leader, then put these on.” Mr. White pulled some black cloth strips from his pocket. “Blindfolds. Then your leader will walk you out to the edge of the reef and back. The tide’s coming in. So you better hurry.”

Camp Mokuleia setting slide 2WHAT? Eleven of us were supposed to walk onto the reef at night blindfolded with one person to guide us? Yes, the tide was down, the warm salt water barely covering the top of the coral. But if one person fell, it could take everyone else down like a row of dominoes. And who had the skills to be our leader?

Oh wait, oh no! Not…

Yep. Ethan Payne. After Mr. White double-checked my blindfold, it was Ethan Payne who tentatively placed my hands on the shoulders of the person in front of me.

“Short steps!” He shouted. “Let’s go!”

I shuffled forward, flinching as water whooshed over my ankles. The cool breeze lifted the hair from my sweating neck.

“You’re about to hit the reef,” Ethan said, somewhere up ahead. My toes clenched the sand in fear. “Lift your feet high, and step down gently. I’m standing on it now, and it’s kind of like a velvet rug over a pile of rocks. So don’t worry about it.”

Moments later, the soles of my feet brushed something bumpy and fuzzy. Coral. And hey, Ethan wasn’t lying. Walking on it wasn’t hard, although I kept imagining I was about to plunge into a crevice inhabited by a giant moray eel. The water remained shallow, silky, and warmer now than the air. Maybe Ethan wasn’t going to kill us after all. As long as we didn’t run into trouble…

Then the person in front of me tripped, yanking me forward. I flailed, despairing, reaching forward into blackness… And grabbed onto a firm bicep as a hand grabbed my elbow.

“You’re okay,” said Ethan. Then he lifted me to my feet and held on till I was steady.

Camp Mokuleia setting slide 5“Thanks,” I said. And I meant it.

Inch by inch, with stubbed toes, wet shorts, and half-laughing screeches of terror, we made it to the end of the reef. Thanks to Ethan. When he told us to take our blindfolds off, we whooped out at the vast night ocean, looping our arms around each other.

At breakfast we heard the truth. Every cabin had walked the reef at different times during the night. Mr. White had lied to us about being special.

But we didn’t care. We felt special because of what we’d done together. Over the next few days the people I’d feared became close friends. And even though that bond started to evaporate back at school, for a while, whenever we passed in the hallway, we’d slide each other a knowing smile.

That crazy night at camp made me appreciate that even a sarcastic surfer dude can have unexpected depths. I realized maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to judge, or to be afraid. Has summer camp ever changed your mind about something – or someone?

*People’s names have been changed to protect me at high school reunions.

[Jenn's note: All images are from the Camp Moluke’ia website.]


More about OTHERKIN:

Nina Berry Otherkin Sixteen-year-old Desdemona Gray doesn’t even bother with crushes on cute boys now that she’s forced to wear a hard plastic back brace all day. What guy would want to literally have to knock on a girl to be let in? So she squashes down every impossible desire until an uber-awkward brush with a boy brings out all her frustration and she changes…into a tiger. In that bewildering moment, she is captured by Ximon, the leader of a fanatical group hell-bent on wiping out the five remaining tribes of shape-shifters, known as the otherkin.

With help from a handsome, mysterious fellow captive named Caleb, she escapes and goes on the run, finding allies and learning the truth behind the legends of wizards and were-creatures. Then Ximon goes too far, and Dez must tap into all her buried desires to find her inner tiger and save herself, her new friends, and the boy she loves.

Read an excerpt

Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository



To enter the giveaway, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

US/Canada only

Ends Wednesday, September 5th, 2012
(like all of our Paranormal Summer Camp giveaways)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Nina Berry Nina Berry grew up bodysurfing in Hawaii, learned to throw snowballs at the University of Chicago, and now lives and works in Hollywood, pretending to lead the glamorous life. Along the way she got a screenplay optioned, wrote for a TV show called Ghost Stories, and has worked on shows like Married…With Children and That 70’s Show. Inspired by novels she loved as a teen, OTHERKIN is her debut YA paranormal. When not writing, Nina loves to travel, read, and tweet links about saving big cats in the wild. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


Born and raised in the Toronto area, Jenn moved to St. John's, Newfoundland, eight years ago for school. She's still in school (thankfully on another degree!), now trapped in her dissertation. When she's not dissertating, which happens more often than it should, Jenn spends her time reading, watching movies, playing volleyball, travelling, and enjoying the local music scene. Her latest addictions: yoga and Almond Crunch cereal.

30 People left their mark' :

  1. Thanks for a great post and giveaway! I never went to summer camp... wish I had though :)

  2. To be honest, I really don't remember that much about summer camp. I know that I went, but nothing really sticks out. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  3. I only went to summer camp once in 4th grade and I don't remember it very well, except that the one person who was a total troublemaker in our class ended up winning the award for the most number of ticks on his body that week. Best wishes on the book - I don't read that much YA, but I can't resist a tiger shifter!

  4. I have actually never went to summer camp so I don't have a story to tell, but thanks for the giveaway!

  5. I never went to summer camp either. The only camp was Girl Scouts and I really don't remember much. Thank you.

  6. I've never been to summer camp. When I was in grade school we got to go to camp once and it was a lot of fun, but I didn't have a problem with anyone to need to change my mind about them.

  7. I went to summer camp once, was sick as a dog and never went again.

  8. I did not go to summer camp so it has not.

  9. I have a US address, and I have actually never been to a summer camp before. But I have been to church groups, and in these groups my mind has been changed about certain things in life.

  10. I have never been to summer camp before. Thanks for the chance to win!

  11. I'm another one that never went to summer camp but I have definitely wondered a time or two if I had missed out on something great. Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  12. Yet another great giveaway. By the way what is summer camp? :)

  13. Yay giveaways. I live in the US. 8) Crossing my fingers

  14. I never been to summer camp, but I have gone camping with my family during the summer. Thank! :D

  15. Never went to summer camp.Thank you for sharing and for this chance to win.Have an awesome weekend

  16. I never went to summer camp either. I did go to girl scout camp which was just spending the day in the woods. Nope, didn't change my mind about anything. Well, it may have started my dislike for campfire songs.

  17. I never went to summer camp, instead my family always went camping with several of their friends and their families during the summer. We all had a great time!

  18. I never went to summer camp.

  19. I have never been to summer camp. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance.

  20. Went to 4-H camp one summer and pulled the wires out of my braces in an attempt to come home. It didn't work.

  21. I have never gone to summer camp myself.

  22. I never went to summer camp. Thanks for having the giveaway.

  23. I never went to an actual camp for summer - it sounds fun.

  24. I went to a sleepaway summer camp and HATED it the first few days! I was so homesick and wanted to leave, but my parents wouldn't let me, jerks! Haha but after a while it wasn't so bad and by the end I didn't want to leave!

  25. I loved summer camp even though one night the whole cabin was acting weird and according to all my friends I was talking in my sleep and in the middle of the night I screamed out "I'm a Rockstar" lol, Thanks for the giveaway! Great Post!

    1. Sorry forgot to say I have a Canadian address :D

  26. I can't say that summer camp has ever changed my mind about something or someone. I only went for one week once when I was about 12 years old. It was my first time away from home, and my two friends from school were in the same cabin with me. It was a lot of fun, but I don't recall any life-changing moments.

  27. I never went to a long summer camp -- I did some weekend camps, but nothing too long. I wasn't a really outdoorsy kid, so the idea of camp didn't really appeal to me. I did usually wind up making lots of great memories with friends, who still talk about inside jokes we had while there, so that's something.

  28. went to 4-H camp several times and Girl scouts camp. Loved them all.