Dragons Walk Among Us by @DanRiceWrites is a Middle-Grade and YA Event pick #ya #yalit #giveaway
Title: Dragons Walk Among Us
Author: Dan Rice
Genre: YA Fantasy
Allison wants to survive high school by just fitting in. Instead, she discovers she is a shape-shifting monster. Can she accept being different is beautiful and save everyone she loves?
“First place goes to an extremely talented photojournalist,” Mr. Eldridge says in a voice raspy from years of smoking. He’s always entreating his students not to take up the habit. “Please, join me in recognizing Leslie Chapman for her amazing photograph entitled Blaze at the Museum.”
“No way,” I whisper as the gymnasium erupts in applause.
Everyone is clapping.
Everybody loves Leslie.
I hang my head. Haji pats me on the shoulder, and I look up. Leslie, holding the first-place plaque, stands next to Mr. Eldridge. She smiles, showing off blindingly white teeth. I swear, she must whiten them every day.
As much as I hate to admit it, Leslie’s photograph of the fire that destroyed a museum in downtown Seattle is brilliant. The shooting flames reflect off the building’s metallic skin, making the metal and fire seem alive. I guess my photo isn’t as excellent as I thought.
I wish I am anywhere but here, like at crosscountry practice. At least then I could stare longingly at Jason as he bounds over the ground like a gazelle and talk to Dalia with her neon pink hair bobbing in time with the patter of her feet.
The district official escorts Leslie from the podium. The urge to pee hits me. Too much coffee. I’m about to make a beeline for the bathroom when the official returns to the mic.
“We have one more award. Mr. Eldridge, please do the honor of announcing the grand-prize winner.”
Grand-prize winner? I exchange a puzzled glance with Haji, who shrugs.
“The grand prize goes to a young lady with a professional eye for photography. It’s been a real treat to teach her. Allison Lee, come on up. Her photograph entitled Joe was chosen by the judges for the grand prize because it captures something quintessential about the subject.”
My jaw goes unhinged. I utter a squeal before clamping my mouth shut and covering my face with a hand. Haji beams, and people clap. I maneuver through the crowd to stand next to Mr. Eldridge by the podium. He shakes my hand and gives me the plaque. It’s shaped like Washington State with a camera etched in the upper left-hand corner on the Olympic Peninsula. Across the top of the state, it reads 1st Annual High School Photojournalism Contest. Below that, Grand Prize is etched across the state, followed by my name at the bottom.
Staring across the crowd, I don’t feel absolutely horrible having so many people watching me. I barely notice Leslie standing up front, her eyes narrowed in a drop-dead glare. At the back of the gymnasium, my father smiles and waves at me. I wave back, delighted that he made it to the ceremony to watch me take home the grand prize.
Mr. Eldridge shakes my hand again. “Excellent work, Allison. You really deserve this award.”
The district official smiles and ushers me off the podium. I reenter the crowd and head straight to the bathroom. I’m floating in the pristine water off a tropical paradise. Life can’t get much better than this. It’s like all my greatest dreams are coming to fruition. The only thing that could make it better is if an editor from a major newspaper materializes out of the crowd to recruit me as a staff photographer.
I enter the girls’ locker room that smells of deodorizer and scoot past rows of lockers for the stalls. I balance my plaque on the toilet paper dispenser while I get down to business. I shut my eyes, not quite believing that I’m the grand-prize winner. I can’t wait to tell Dalia and Jason and Joe.
I stop at the sink to wash my hands. The door to the locker room creaks open. I look in the mirror both to admire my green hair and to catch a glimpse of the interloper. I clench my jaw. It’s Leslie staring at me balefully.
“Your photograph is fake.” Leslie snarls. “Just like you. Fake. Fake like your hair. Ugly like your slanted eyes.”
I freeze, the lukewarm water cascading over my hands. The words remind me of a fact I try to ignore. The reality that my face is a mixture of Asian and Caucasian features. My cheeks pale as Leslie marches across the locker room.
“You don’t deserve this.” She snatches my plaque off the counter. “Your photo isn’t documentary or photojournalism. It’s a portrait of your friend.”
She looms inside my personal space, scowling down her nose at me. The standoff might last for five seconds or five minutes for all I know. With a scoff, she twirls away and strides for the exit, pausing to deposit my plaque in the trash can.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
· Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0951NLKCK
· BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/dan-rice
What makes your featured book a must-read?
After being blinded by an unprovoked attack, Allison Lee agrees to undergo an experimental procedure to regain her vision. But there are unexpected side effects…like seeing dragons invisible to everyone else. This page-turning fantasy is an award winner and the first in a series. Its sequel, The Blood of Faeries, comes out this winter!
Enter to win a $20 Amazon US or Amazon Canada gift card
Open Internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or CA account to win.
Runs September 6 – September 14, 2022.
Winner will be drawn on September 15, 2022.
DAN RICE pens the young adult urban fantasy series The Allison Lee Chronicles in the wee hours of the morning. The series kicks off with his award-winning debut, Dragons Walk Among Us, which Kirkus Reviews calls, “An inspirational and socially relevant fantasy.”
To discover more about Dan’s writing and keep tabs on his upcoming releases, visit his website: https://www.danscifi.com and join his newsletter.
Social Media Links:
· Website: https://www.danscifi.com
· Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanSciFi
· Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanRiceWrites
· BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/dan-rice
· Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danricewrites/
· Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@danricewrites