Inspired by Adventure
Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek
Not long ago, I returned from a month in Costa Rica, staying at a friend’s house with an incredible view of Lake Arenal and the volcano in the distance. I was there on a mission: to work on Book of Angels, the second book in my Night Angels Chronicles. I flew from Los Angeles to El Salvador to San Jose, in Costa Rica, and from there I had to take a tiny Cessna plane through the clouds and a thunder storm to Liberia. I was the only passenger and I maintained a calm façade while underneath I was screaming, No!!!! Please get me there safely, please! And into the thunder clouds the pilot would happily fly. I was ready to kiss the ground when I arrived.
I have always been an adventurer at heart and a romantic. I remember the first time I saw Romancing the Stone and thought, oh, why can’t that happen to me! I wish I was mousey Joan Wilder, who writes romance fiction and dreams of her wild adventurer, sweeping her off her feet, and then, pow, it happens and she turns into a sexy beauty as a result.
And now, there I was in the jungles of Costa Rica, beneath a live volcano, writing just like Joan!
I didn’t meet the man of my dreams, sigh, but I had plenty of inspiration to write about him, or rather, the fulfillment of Sera’s dreams: Peter, the otherworldly Night Angel with whom she falls in love. Of course, love is complicated, and Sera can’t be sure whether Peter returns her love or whether he is just pretending, in order to gain control of the key.
In Costa Rica, I was staying way up a hill, on a dirt road, with no form of transportation except my feet. All I did was write and dream. Ok, I drank beer, too, on humid afternoons with the sweat on my brow, the beer ice cold, and I would step outside and pick a couple of mandarins off the tree and squeeze the juice into the beer. I can still taste it and feel the breeze from the fan on my skin. On the occasions I ventured down the hill to the little restaurant, I had to pass the dogs that lived in the houses along the way. They were mean little creatures and they would bark and snap in an annoying fashion. Then, there were the wild dogs that would show up sometimes, not rabid, but vicious. I armed myself with a long staff and I had to literally fight them off. That was when I most felt like a character in my book — like I was on a quest, holding that staff and fighting my way down to my goal. I also had to fight my way back up again but usually I could find some nice person to give me a ride.
I zip-lined, an experience that was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time—the best kind of adventure, where there is the potential for disaster but it all turns out ok in the end.
Besides Costa Rica, I have had the good fortune to write in some places with incredible views. But I would say the view I had in Costa Rica, of Lake Arenal below and the volcano in the distance, was one of the best.
Sometimes I would watch in fascination as a mist slowly enveloped the lake and crept up the mountain, as if it wanted to smother me. This was inspiring, because Key of Mysteryhas scary moments involving mist. Every afternoon the sky released a downpour of rain, complete with thunder and lightning. Another exhilarating experience, I never tired of it. Once, I got caught in a downpour in the middle of the jungle and I ended up soaking wet. I didn’t care. It was wonderful.
Where was my hero? Only in my imagination. But it was still fun to fantasize about him.
Maybe at my next destination, riding horses across the steppes of Mongolia, sailing down the Nile to Karnak, or visiting a temple in Tibet, a shadow will appear against the sky, a man in a hat, and it will be him. Maybe.
Or maybe not. Sometimes be best part of being in a relationship is imagining it. Follow the path where it leads....in my case, I always take the one that leads to adventure.
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Key of Mystery
by KH Mezek
Evernight Teen Publishing, 77K
“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”
When Sera’s father is killed in a horrific accident, all he leaves behind is a mysterious key. Sera places the key on a chain around her neck and vows to avenge her father. Strange characters arrive in town including the otherworldly Night Angels, who claim to be sent for her protection.
Sera falls hard for one of them—exotic, arrogant Peter. But what if his promise of love is only a ruse to gain access to the key? As Sera’s connection to the key grows, so do her supernatural powers. Guided by clues left by her father, Sera searches for the hidden chamber beneath the city, hoping to save what lies within before the sinister mayor and his deadly followers drown humanity in a bloodbath.
14+ due to adult situations
Before my dad’s death and the move to Cliffside, I had known only lies. I hadn’t seen the truth about myself, my family, or my friends. But here on the ground, covered in blood and dirt, and most likely dying, I knew I didn’t want to go back there. I wanted to stay with the truth. The truth hurt like hell, but it was better than being numbed by ignorance.
“No.” I think I said it out loud, but it sounded more like a gurgle. I tried harder. “Never give you the key.” I gasped. “Never.”
He hissed in anger. “Then I will turn you into undead.”
I knew he was bluffing. If he turned me into one of them, he would never get the key. I had to willingly give it to him, with a rational mind, and those undead were anything but rational.
Gore howled like he had on the plateau, and the nail raked across my face, penetrating deep into my skin. He reached down and licked the blood with his long snake tongue, a poison so painful seeping into my flesh that I almost passed out again.
When he spoke next, his tone was venomous, each syllable biting as if they were his teeth. “Clever girl, I will do something better. I will turn your brother into undead. Think on that.”
I made a feeble sound of terror, struggling to get up and unable to move.
He laughed. “You will give it to me now. Or else your brother will end up like this.” He grabbed one of the undead and pulled the grotesque, dead-eyed face down next to mine. Then, he tossed it away like a stick.
This was the end, then. Gore had won. I had to at least try to save my brother, even if Gore's promises were lies. With unbearable effort, I reached up and tried to undo the chain. I couldn’t. I tried to pull it up over my head but somehow, it became tangled in my torn clothes. I was too weak and the problem of removing the key from around my neck overwhelmingly impossible.
“Come, little bitch, quickly.” Gore’s fingers dangled in front of my face, as if itching to undo the chain for me. But he was powerless to do so.
A growing uneasiness rippled through the undead standing in a circle behind him. Low moans rose from cavernous mouths. Any second now, surely Gore would unleash the hoard upon my brother to devour him. Why, oh why, couldn’t I undo the chain?
I grabbed the key and pulled with all my remaining strength, whispering, “I want this. I want to give him the key. I do.”
About the Author:
Karen Hunt is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth who live in remote, violent and poverty stricken areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London and a village in Yugoslavia. She writes her YA works under the name KH Mezek. Key of Mystery, book I in the YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, was published February 5, 2016 with Evernight Teen.
NIGHT ANGELS Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nightangelschronicles/
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