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Guest Post: Delta Legend by Kelan O'Connell

Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Delta Legend by Kelan O'Connell
Website | Blog

     When 16-year-old Oakland California teenager, Calvin Pierce, makes a bad decision and winds up getting arrested, his mother is quick to take action. Determined not to lose a second son to the drug and gang violence of the inner city, she sends Calvin to spend the summer working for his great uncle in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
     There in the predominately-white region of agriculture and recreational boating, Calvin’s a fish out of water with a chip on his shoulder. But when severed body parts start floating to the surface, his summer of proving himself takes on new meaning.
      Something deadly is lurking in the deep murky waterways of the Delta. Now the daunting task of containing the living incarnation of a mythical creature falls to Calvin and his ragtag posse of oddball characters.
If You Build It... 
by Kelan O’Connell 

I was raised with three older brothers, no sisters. I wasn't a tomboy, but I could hold my own with boys for the most part. When mixing it up with my brothers, it would never be said that I fought fair. What I lacked in physical strength, I made up for in cunning... along with biting and scratching. I'd say my greatest strength as a kid was my ability to wiggle out of a stronghold or a confined space. The fact that I was petite only encouraged my brothers to see how many different physical spaces I might actually fit inside of. Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time in lockers, dresser drawers, and laundry hampers. Shockingly, I am not claustrophobic. Desensitization training—it works.

So, you can see how creating a male main character for my book, Delta Legend, wasn't completely foreign territory for me. While I knew I could never pull off writing first-person narrative for Calvin, I had no doubt I could effectively represent him in all his guy-ness. And in a YA literary world brimming with strong dynamic female MC's, I was eager to break from the pack. Oh, there's plenty for chicks of all ages to relate to in Delta Legend—Mei Li handily carries the female dynamic of the story, no problem. But beyond my choice of a male protagonist, I was determined to write a book that BOTH sexes could relate to and embrace. Maybe even connect over.

If you're reading this guest post, chances are you're female. And not surprisingly, three months after self-publishing Delta Legend its primary audience remains female. Why? Well, as a whole, us gals are simply the more voracious readers. We're also more connected and tuned-in to what's new, what's hot, what's coming down the line in the world of All Things YA, thanks to great Book Blogs like this one. But I'd dearly love to see more guys join us in this passion for reading. They seriously need to figure out that reading is not only entertaining escapism for them, it's downright sexy to us. Think about it: Guy reading a book while drinking a latte outside a coffee house or guy standing around texting. Who's hotter? Please. So, what's it going to take to get more of them to see the light? Two things, really.

1. More YA and YA Crossover novels guys can relate to (If you build it ...)

2. Cool, smart, savvy YA-lovin' women steering guys in the direction of great reads. (This part will require some finesse, not unlike coaxing a squirrel to eat from your hand, or luring E.T. with Reese's Pieces.)

Hey, I've done my part. I've even stocked Delta Legend with the literary equivalent of a HungryMan Dinner: fishing, WaverRunners, beer, speed boats, wake boarding, along with hearty servings of carnage, action, and laughs. Did I mention beer? Now here's your part: Get out there and recommend Delta Legend to a guy. Go on, I'm authorizing you to use my book to strike up a conversation with the opposite sex—like that cute guy in geometry, or the sexy- geeky one who works in the marketing department. You know, the one who recently broke up with his girlfriend?!?! Yeah, HIM. I just set you up with the perfect conversation starter, and one that's got a shelf life.

You're welcome.

The first six chapters of her debut YA Crossover can be found at

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