Thursday, June 19, 2014

ESSENCE by Lisa Ann O’Kane Excerpt

Photo Content from Lisa Ann O'Kane

Lisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE.

Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.


Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: 05 June 2014
Format: Paperback
See: Full bibliographic data
Categories: Science Fiction
ISBN 13: 9781783450107 ISBN 10: 178345010X

Quotes from ESSENCE 

"I felt stunned. And Amazed. Like I'd never even seen the sky before. And then, just when I thought my mind couldn't process any more beauty, the first meteor streaked like an artist's brush across the eastern horizon."

"The weight of his stare was unnerving and I suddenly felt like I may drown, too. He wasn't finished. "You need to sit down, Red. You're not gonna like this."

Autumn escaped a cult, but now she realizes she’s fallen into another.
Growing up in San Francisco’s Centrist Movement, sixteen year-old Autumn Grace has always believed emotions—adrenaline, endorphins, even happiness—drain your Essence and lead to an early death. But her younger brother’s passing and a run-in with a group of Outsiders casts her faith into question.

Ryder Stone, the sexy, rebellious leader of the Outsiders, claims Essence drain is nothing more than a Centrist scare tactic — and he can prove it.
Autumn follows Ryder to his Community of adrenaline junkies and free spirits in Yosemite National Park, and they introduce her to a life of adventure, romance, sex, drugs and freedom. But as she discovers dark secrets beneath the Community’s perfect exterior, she realizes the more she risks in search of the perfect rush, the further she has to fall.


Ryder took a few moments to show me our gear—a much less complicated assortment than what Trey and Adrian used to rock climb.

“Okay, let’s get terminology straight first. This”—he said, motioning to the coiled rope at his feet—“is called webbing. It’s made of nylon, and it’s weaved to be flat, almost like a seatbelt. Even when it’s pulled tight, it’s still pretty springy; that’s why it always jumps around when you walk. Different from the old tightropes of circus days.”

He picked up three D-shaped metal clasps. “These are called carabiners; we’ll use them to secure the webbing between trees.” Chuckling at my head nod, he said, “There are tons of ways to string a slackline, but the easiest is what we’re gonna do today. See two trees you like?”


“For starters, you wanna look for two trees about 20 feet apart. Strong ones. In a nice flat place where the ground isn’t too rocky. See any trees like that?”

I pointed to two pines, and he nodded. “Perfect.”

He picked up the webbing and a few large sticks. “Wanna help me wrap ‘em? We’re gonna want the line to be low, maybe even with your mid-thigh?”

He instructed me to hold the sticks vertically against one of the tree’s trunks while he wrapped the webbing around it. Once the webbing was secured by a carabiner, we stretched the remaining length across the clearing and secured the other end to the second tree. I cushioned its loop with a few more sticks while Ryder wrapped it, and then we took turns pulling it tight with the second and third carabiners.

When the slackline was officially ready, Ryder instructed me to take off my shoes. “You gotta feel the webbing, Red,” he said, kicking his own pair into the dirt. “Every tiny vibration; every little inconsistency and flicker. You gotta know that webbing better than you’ve ever known anything in your entire life. Can’t fake it, or you’ll fall.”

I smiled at the intense way he scrutinized me while I took off my own shoes. “Got cute feet, Red,” he said and planted a quick kiss on my cheek.

“You wanna take your time standing up,” he continued, coming to stand beside the webbing. He placed his right foot on it—like Shayla had during moonbows—and then he stood still for a moment, eyes focused forward.

“See how I’m not just popping up to stand? Taking a moment to feel the webbing and gather my thoughts before I start. Gotta clear all that shit out before you get up. Just… whoosh. You know?”

He closed his eyes. Tension seemed to drain from his face, and then… Whoosh. One quick exhale, and he was standing.

He was… beautiful. Of all the words in the world, it was the one that jumped to my mind first. In an instant, I knew it was the right one.

Gone was the Ryder I thought I knew—the Ryder that smoked cigarettes and swaggered and laughed and flirted with me. Gone was the guy I met in Golden Gate Park, the guy who skinny-dipped on top of Vernal Falls and kissed me on the Housekeeping Camp bridge.

In his place was this man—this laser-focused, intense and centered man. His expression was calm, and his eyes never left the slackline as he took one step, then two steps, then three steps forward. His arms, held outward from his sides, swayed slightly as he corrected his balance, and his movements were fluid and graceful as a cat’s.

Desire swept through me at the memory of those arms wrapped around me, and I felt pride swell inside me as well. Ryder thinks I’m capable of doing this, too.

In several short steps, he made it to the other side. As he turned to face me, his face melted into a grin. “Ta da!” he said. “And that’s all there is to it. Ready to give it a try?”

You can purchase ESSENCE at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LISA ANN O'KANE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive an E-Copy of ESSENCE, a Vintage Yosemite Map Pendant, Two collectible ESSENCE Buttons and a Metal Cuff..

JUNE 18th WEDNESDAY Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace FAVORITE BOOKS
JUNE 21st SATURDAY A Dream Within a Dream DREAM CAST 
JUNE 22nd SUNDAY Rose's Book Corner EXCERPT 
JUNE 24th TUESDAY Forever Obsession REVIEW 
JUNE 25th WEDNESDAY Random Redheaded Ramblings REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
JUNE 26th THURSDAY Confessions of a Readaholic THIS OR THAT 


  1. Hello Lisa Ann O'kane,
    I can't wait to read this book and I just love the cover. We also have something in common. I also was a Zoo Keeper! I still work with a few unusual exotic pets but normally see companion animals for training and behavior problems now. Congratulations for the release on ESSENCE.

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  3. LISA ANN O'KANE, & ALL the Booknerds; You guys rock!!!! Thanks for the awesome giveaway, & the Blog post!!!!!! Have an AWESOME day/evening & Happy reading/writing/blogging!!!! :)