Welcome to the Fall 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt!! UPDATE: The Scavenger Hunt is now CLOSED.
This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out more about the hunt. This time around there are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the RED TEAM – but there is also a blue, gold, green, orange and indie team as well for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!
Looking for my bonus content? Keep searching! Somewhere along the way I’ve hidden a deleted scene from THE OPAL CROWN, the sequel to THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK, which releases on October 28th! Before you go on though, check out the amazing author I’m hosting. But, first, a few rules.
Scavenger Hunt Puzzle
Directions: Below you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the RED TEAM and then add them up.
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 5th at noon Pacific time. Entries sent without the correct number or contact information will not be considered.
Sound Good? All right, let’s get ready to rumble!
Scavenger Hunt Post
Today I’m hosting the fabulous Jennifer McGowan. Jennifer was born in Ohio, grew up in Montana, and studied in Paris. She fell in love with the Elizabethan era as a college student, and is now an unrepentant scholar of that period, happily splitting her time between the past and the present. An RWA Golden Heart Award winner and multiple finalist, Jenn is the author of Maid of Secrets, Maid of Deception, and the Maids of Honor e-novella A Thief Before Christmas. She lives in Ohio. Visit her (and the Maids of Honor) at JenniferMcGowan.com.
Elizabethan glamour and intrigue abound in this heart-pounding follow-up to Maid of Secrets, which Kirkus Reviews called “lively and fast-paced” with “plenty of action and plot twists.”
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Purchase MAID OF DECEPTION Here
Today Jennifer has graciously offered to share with us a deleted scene. Without further ado, here it is!
Deleted Scene from… Maid of Wonder, a Maids of Honor novel:
~this scene details the Maids defending a small group of Travelers (the nomadic people who eventually were referred to as “gypsies”, given the –incorrect– assumption that they were Egyptian due to their dark skin).~
“We cannot let them be harmed when they have no one to defend them,” Jane says. She reaches up to rebind her hair into thick plaits. At her side, Meg is doing the same.
“They have others to defend them,” Beatrice snaps. “Stefan Bihari has always defended his own!”
“Bihari!” A memory flashes in front of my eyes. Another forest, several weeks back. Another place. Beatrice’s home in Northampton, Marion Hall. The Great Labyrinth. The music, the dancing—it all comes rushing back. “They are Travelers!” These men and women are outlaws in England. They have journeyed all over the continent from Egypt, but they find no lasting welcome here, and precious few households suffer them to live on their lands. In fact, to give a Traveler rest is to risk beheading. Beatrice’s family took that risk, at great potential cost to them. But her home is days away, and these people—these people. . . I remember something else. “They gave me the obsidian stone!”
Beatrice turns just as Anna pushes forward. “Stefan Bihari is not with them,” Anna says, squinting into the bright sunlight. “These aren’t his people.”
“Then even more so should we keep away!” Beatrice retorts. “This is not our fight.” Far below, we see one of the men reach out and push a boy to the side. An older woman quickly steps forward and earns a backhand to the face for her troubles, then the man follows the woman as she stumbles away. The move seems to be the turning of the tide—the men surge forward to throw the women to the ground, and—
—And we are over the side of the wall.
Our dresses are day gowns, made of sturdier wool than our court finery, and we have been taught enough to be ready for any challenge. Still, Anna and Beatrice have some trouble with the wall, and we spend precious time directing them down to the point where they can make the drop without risk to ankle or knee. As soon as we are all on the ground, we turn, Meg and Jane to the fore, and Beatrice, Anna and me following behind. Anna is actually the last of our loose group, as she works best when she can see everything at once.
We race through the forest, our quarry only a quarter-mile off. By the time we arrive, however, great damage has been done. Children are silently beating at the fires set by the attackers, who are now busy trying to subdue the women. The women themselves are doing their level best to help each other, but they are not trained for combat, and though they outnumber the men, a few of them have already crumpled to the ground.
What strikes me most about this battle, however, is its comparative silence. The children do not scream, the women do not cry out. This is a crime that no one will stop—for the Travelers are not citizens of England, they are not citizens of any land. They do not merit the Queen’s favor.
The men are likely villagers, and as such they serve the Crown. They do merit the Queen’s favor.
But not ours.
“Stop!” Anna hisses, pointing to a pile of discarded silks as we pause at the edge of the clearing. We gather them up—beautiful scarves and embroidered kerchiefs, tossed aside like rags. Quickly we tie them around each other’s faces, so that we look. . .well, we look ridiculous, but at least there is no way we could be identified. There are six men, and five of us. Very good odds, except for the children.
And so it is the children that I am to help, even as my fellow Maids rush forward. I am not tall or strong, but I am quick and have a character that young people trust—even with my face wrapped like a brigand’s. I catch up a hatchet and start hacking away at the section of wagon that has been set to blaze, grimly appreciating the foresight of the Travelers. The wood of this wagon is wet. It smokes but does not blaze out of control. The children catch on quickly to what I am doing, only their fear and confusion prevail. They begin attacking me, tiny hands pulling at my hair and clothes.
“Fly!” I shout. “Find your brothers!” For these are only girls and small boys. There will be older brothers, somewhere. There have to be.
Startled by the command in my voice, the children scatter. I swing the axe again and again, seeing nothing but fire and smoke. I work my way down the wagon, interrupting the path of the flames, knocking sections of burning wood into the dirt. Sweat stings my eyes. I hear a scream and I turn—
The world around me has turned into a nightmarish landscape.
The Maids have run at the men in two pairs—Meg and Jane, Beatrice and Anna. One of the men is already down, the others are made of hardier stuff. Our clothes betray us all as women, and as such the men feel an unfounded confidence. They are thinking with their fists, believing their greater size and muscle should win the day. And ordinarily, they would be right. Worse, we’re hampered with our skirts—well, not all of us, it seems. I stare at Jane. Beneath her proper bodice and sleeves, her skirts have been unlaced and torn away, the padding as well, leaving her only in her shift, which looks two sizes too big for her body, and oddly shortened and slashed besides. Not that anyone usually sees one’s shift, but. . . It seems to be working for her, as she is able to use her feet and her legs as well as her hands. It seems that Meg no sooner sets up a combatant, then Jane attacks, her boots driving into guts and groins, her knife flashing out. Beatrice and Anna have a different strategy, toppling their men to the ground and pinning them, using the incredible bulk of their skirts to help subdue the attackers while they knock them senseless.
I see all of this in a sudden sweep, and then I’m turning, and there is a man in front of me. Two men, in fact, and I bring my axe around, planting my feet. The men take one look at me, and at the scuffle, then one of them gives a high, sharp whistle. I blink, and realize this man’s clothing is ragged but brightly colored beneath his short cape, his skin nut brown.
The Maids roll away from their quarry even as the men rush in, and we all assess this new threat—but there is no danger here. These are the escorts for the women and children, and they have larger problems than us. They must get their wagons and their people away from here, fleeing deeper into the forest until they can repair what the villagers have damaged. They must leave their groaning assailants on the ground, and pray those worthies only saw five women attacking them from out of the trees. If the villagers think they were beaten by mere maidens, they may choose to avoid discussion of this matter entirely. It’s the Travelers’ only hope of getting away.
By the time the Travelers think to look up again, the Maids of Honor are long gone.
Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a ton of signed books by me, Jennifer, and many more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 8! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize! But before you go…
I’ll be giving away a signed copy of THE OPAL CROWN as well as a copy of THE PRINCESS IN THE OPAL MASK, here on my blog. Simply enter the rafflecopter giveaway below, and I’ll post the winner next week!
About THE OPAL CROWN:
Action, romance, sibling rivalry and court intrigue combine for a page-turning read in this sequel to The Princess in the Opal Mask, which VOYA called “engaging and action-packed.”
Only One Princess Can Wear the Crown . . .
A year after her betrothal to the Kyrenican prince, no one has suspected that Princess Wilha has been a decoy—and that Elara, her secret twin sister, has been pretending to be Wilha all along. Back in Galandria, their kingdom is deteriorating, and returning home could bring peace—or add fuel to the slow-burning fire.
When their father, the king, mysteriously dies and Elara and Wilha’s younger brother, Andrei, claims the Galandrian throne, he reveals the girls’ deception. Viewed as traitors, they realize they are now fighting for their lives—and for their country.
In Jenny Lundquist’s concluding sequel to The Princess in the Opal Mask, Elara and Wilha must decide who will become queen. Or rather, who will become the next savior for their people.
Pre-order THE OPAL CROWN Here
Thank you for stopping by! To keep going on your quest, you need to check out the next author, Page Morgan.