Hi, friends and readers! Today, I'm participating in the bi-annual YA Scavenger Hunt! Read on to get exclusive content from awesome YA authors, plus clues for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team!But don't wait: 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 all about the hunt.There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the ORANGE TEAM--but there is also a red team, a gold team, a blue team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE Directions: You'll notice that I've hidden my favorite number somewhere in this post. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the orange team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).
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 byApril 3, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POSTToday, I'm hosting the fabulous Sarah Jude on my blog for the YA Scavenger Hunt! Here's a little about Sarah: Sarah Jude lives by the woods and has an owl that lands on her chimney every night. She grew up believing you had to hold your breath whenever you passed a graveyard or a bridge spanning water. Now she writes about cemeteries, murder, and ghostly apparitions. She resides in Missouri with her husband, three children, and two dogs. P.S. I hear she has 17 caterpillars, too, but she keeps it under raps because they're just not gothic enough ... Check out Sarah's website to find more about her gothic novel, THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS! It goes on sale May 3 (can't wait!), but you can pre-order it here.
Learn a little more about Sarah's book below. And that cover! *SWOONS*
Stay on the roads. Don’t enter the woods. Never go out at night.
Those are the rules in Rowan’s Glen, a remote farming community in the Missouri Ozarks where Ivy Templeton’s family has lived for centuries. It’s an old-fashioned way of life, full of superstition and traditions, and sixteen-year-old Ivy loves it. The other kids at school may think the Glen kids are weird, but Ivy doesn’t care—she has her cousin Heather as her best friend. The two girls share everything with each other—or so Ivy thinks. When Heather goes missing after a May Day celebration, Ivy discovers that both her best friend and her beloved hometown are as full of secrets as the woods that surround them.
EXCLUSIVE CONTENT You guys are lucky, because Sarah is sharing a prologue of THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS, along with the original draft she wrote back in 2012! Props to Sarah, because I don't think I'd let anyone come near my original drafts with a ten-foot pole ...
"I’m sharing the first draft of part of the prologue to compare to its final version. The changes that were made tightened the prose, but surprisingly, much of the book’s opening remained the same."
THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS – First draft of the prologue excerpt from September 2012
Dad finished spilling the kerosene by the barn and drew a trail of fuel on the ground as he backed away. Once the pail was empty, he threw it inside. I couldn’t see into the shadows filling the barn. The body lying facedown on the stone floor might still have a pulse. It might still be breathing. And if it was, then I could be chased again. I stared at the kerosene soaking the ground. A shiver tugged at my neck, my chest rising and falling with shallow breaths. Pain clutched my body. But one clear thought pierced through the muddle in my brain, and it made me sick.
I wanted the barn to burn.
“Timothy,” Mom called to Dad and fished a book of matches from a small pocket on the front of her apron. “Use these. They burn up. Destroy the evidence.”
My father took the matches before stretching one hand potent with fuel to take mine. He was strong. My throat ached when I swallowed. It could have been from an urge to cry. Or from all of my screaming. But now I was quiet, and I stayed silent as he let go of my hand, struck the match, and threw it into the fuel snaking away from the barn.
The fire didn’t whoosh to life like I’d expected. First, the match hit the ground and breathed for a moment. Then a blue worm of fire emerged from the earth and devoured one blot of fuel before moving to the next. Upon reaching the barn, the worm bloated into a dragon that flamed yellow and orange. The wood plank construction hammered by my great-great-grandfather when he was a young man crackled and popped, bone-dry from drought. With the fire now twisting through the barn, fat coils of smoke erupted from the doors and windows. The pulse of the body inside thump-thump-thumped in my head, and I could feel it running over me, growing frantic. Dying.
“Mom?” I whimpered.
“It’s only fair,” she said.
Dad didn’t speak. Rage had made him do the unspeakable. For me, even though I’d survived. For the ones who hadn’t. Fire was cleansing. Fire was vengeance. The fire burned red, as red as the ruffles of Heather’s skirt. As red as Heather’s hair.
THE MAY QUEEN MURDERS - final version of the prologue excerpt, publishing May 3, 2016, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Papa trailed kerosene on the ground and retreated from the stable before tossing the pail inside. I couldn’t see into the shadows. The body lying on the stone floor might yet have a pulse. A shiver tugged at my neck, my chest rising and falling with shallow breaths. One clear thought pierced my mind’s muddle, and it sickened me.
I wanted that body to burn.
“Timothy.” Mama fished a book of matches from a pocket in her apron and gave them to Papa. He took the matches and stretched one hand to hold mine. He was strong. My throat ached when I swallowed, from being choked in an attempt to silence me. Now I said nothing as Papa struck the match.
The fire didn’t whoosh to life. First, the match hit the ground and breathed. Then a blue worm of flames emerged from the earth and devoured one blot of fuel before moving to the next. Upon reaching the stable, the worm bloated into a dragon that blazed yellow and orange. The wood planks hammered by my great-great-grandfather when he was young crackled, bone-dry from drought. Fire twisted through the stable while coils of smoke erupted from the windows. The pulse of the body inside thump-thumped in my head. Frantic. Dying.
“Mama?” I whimpered.
“It’s only fair,” she said.
Papa didn’t speak. Rage had made him do the unspeakable. For me, even though I’d survived. But also for those who hadn’t. Fire was cleansing. Fire was vengeance. The flames burned red, as red as the ruffles of Heather’s skirt. As red as Heather’s hair.
Thanks for sharing that, Sarah! Don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Sarah Jude, and more! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the orange team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT To keep going on your quest for the hunt, check out Maria E. Andreu's blog!