2019 FALL Y.A.S.H. - YOUNG ADULT SCAVENGER HUNT
Hi guys! Welcome to my blog. My name is Elle Scott. I write YA fiction that stretches reality, always with a hint of romance. I love the colour yellow (yay #TeamGold), sitting in sunshine, collecting notebooks, and singing around the house at the top of my lungs.
You are currently on Team Gold’s leg of the hunt. Somewhere in this round, I’ve hidden the first chapter of my upcoming release THE SHADOW SOCIETY. If you haven’t come across it yet, keep searching through Team Gold to find it.
On my stop for the hunt, I’m hosting the lovely SHERRY D. FICKLIN and showing you her bonus content. I’m also running a giveaway, sharing my secret number for you to collect, and showing you where your next stop is.
If you don’t know the rules for the hunt, you can find all the juicy details at the bottom of this page.
So buckle down, this is going to get exciting…
I’m honoured to introduce you to:
SHERRY D. FICKLIN
Sherry is a full-time writer from Colorado and the author of over a dozen novels for teens and young adults including the best-selling Stolen Empire series.
She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large hot white-chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.
THE HOLLOW QUEEN
As a princess of the Romanov Empire, Elizabeth has enjoyed a life of luxury and privilege. But the sudden deaths of her parents leaves her unprotected—awash in the dangerous tide of her family’s political rivals.
When the supreme council crowns her half-nephew Peter II in her place, Elizabeth is left with no title, no power, and no allies. Now little more than a bastard in the eyes of the world, she is sent to serve in the palatial home of Prince Menshikov—the real power behind the boy king. But Elizabeth refuses to fade quietly into the background. Determined to uncover the truth behind her mother’s murder and expose the men who mean to rule Russia in secret, she grows closer to the handsome young king and swears to protect him and his rule at any cost. But the forces that oppose them are as dark as they are far-reaching—and this time, Elizabeth could lose more than just her title…
Don't miss the series dubbed a "must-read romance" by the USA Today and "An entertaining and racy read" by School Library Journal. The Hollow Queen is a scandalous glimpse into the life of one of the most vibrant women in history.
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A BONUS GIFT FROM SHERRY
This awesome dream casting is from Sherry’s novel The Hollow Queen. She’s also been generous enough to give us an excerpt from this intriguing story.
The Hollow Queen *Excerpt*
The following day, a nervous energy fills the palace as it prepares for the coronation ball. Maggie and I take our breakfast outside on a blanket to avoid the noise of the kitchens below. The sun is already bright and the air unseasonably warm. I stretch out, enjoying the feel of it against my skin. Lady Olivia joins us, keeping me in pleasant conversation as Maggie works on her stitching.
“Are you terribly excited?” Olivia asks, fanning herself as she lays across my legs. “I am. I’ve never been to such an event.”
“Nor have I,” I say. “Though I have attended balls in Paris, such decadence like you could not even imagine. Louie had elephants brought from India, and he rode them around the courtyard. The creatures trampled half the gardens.”
“I’d give anything to see a real elephant,” Maggie says absently.
“Perhaps, for your next wedding, your brother will bring one for you,” Olivia suggests.
Maggie frowns, but stays quiet.
“Or maybe he’ll bring one for the king’s wedding. I’m sure if you tell him Louie did, he’d feel the utmost desire to outspend the French king.”
I shrug. “I still don’t understand why the ball is here. The Winter Palace is the royal residence. It should be held there. And the palace is so much grander.”
“He hates the Winter Palace,” Maggie offers, setting her sewing aside. “I think something terrible must have happened there. After your father died, Menshikov never stepped foot in it again. Even when your mother took the throne, he only met her here.”
“He and my father were close. Perhaps it is his grief that keeps him away,” I offer, doubting the words before I even speak them. “Maggie, do you happen to know what became of my mother’s belongings? She had a few items I might like to keep, tokens to remember her by.”
“I do not, but I’m sure I could find out if you’d like.”
I wave her off. “It’s fine. Do not burden yourself with it.”
“What are you wearing tonight?” Olivia asks.
“I’m not sure. The king has ordered a dress made for me.”
“I’m told the seamstress worked all night on it,” Maggie adds. “I’m sure it will be lovely.”
“It was generous of him, to be sure. I’m sure whatever it is, it will be fine. It is not for me to outshine our king.”
Olivia smirks. “As if you could help it. All eyes will be on the pair of you, the last of the golden-haired Romanovs. Walking behind him will not make it less so.”
“We will not be the last for long,” I assure her. “Peter will be wed soon enough, and a swarm of flaxen-haired babies will fill the palace.”
Olivia shoots a look to Maggie before shaking her head. “Maria, Peter’s fiancée, has fallen gravely ill. Prince Menshikov has ended their engagement for fear the girl will not survive.”
“Oh,” I say, turning to Maggie. “I’m so sorry for you. I do hope your niece recovers.”
She shrugs. “It’s the pox, I’m afraid. Even if she survives, her face will be quite scarred. My brother will have to look for some other means to link our family to the crown.”
Her tone is bitter, and I can’t help but frown. “Do you think he will raise you as an option?” I ask gently.
“Could he?” Olivia asks. “She is a widow, after all.”
I shoot her a reproving glare. “He could.”
Maggie looks away. “He may. While the king is fair and kind…”
“You would not have him,” I say, completing the thought for her.
“I married once for advantage. If I marry again, I would have it be for love—to a man I adore. I have no desire to be used in my brother’s political machinations.”
“Were I not already wed, I’d marry Peter in a moment,” Olivia says. “He is quite beautiful. And he seems kind. I think he would be a gentle husband.”
“My father was kind,” I say absently. “Most people don’t realize that. He was so fierce to the world, but with us, my mother, my sister, and me, he was always very gentle. Sometimes, when he was distraught, I’d sneak into his office and play music for him as he worked. I think it eased him. Afterward, he’d sit me on his knee, kiss me on the forehead, and then tell me how proud he was of me. He had this smile—it could make you feel like the most important person in all the world. King Peter has a smile like that—the kind that warms you just for being blessed enough to see it. It’s the only piece of him that seems familiar to me.”
“Then I wish I could have known him as you did,” a voice from behind me says. I jerk, Olivia rolling off my legs as we stand, both of us curtsying.
“Your Majesty,” we offer in unison.
“Ladies,” Peter says, bowing his head to us. “I wonder if I might borrow Lady Elizabeth for a few moments.”
“Of course,” I say, taking his arm when he extends it to me.
Once we are a bit away, I lean into him. “Don’t you have a coronation you should be preparing for?”
He raises an eyebrow. “Ordering me about already?”
I laugh. “No, only curious what has you distracted on such an important day.”
“I was hoping you’d help me with something.”
“Anything,” I say without hesitation.
“It’s a bit silly,” he whispers. “But I’ve never worn the crown before, much less walked in it. I find that every time I put it on, it falls right off my head. Is there some trick to it?”
I smile, but I manage not to laugh. “If you knew how many hours my mother made us practice for exactly that, you wouldn’t think it so silly a request.”
“Truly?” He rakes his free hand through his hair. “I’m relieved to hear that. I was afraid my head was oddly misshapen.”
“Your head is perfect, I’m sure. And I’d be happy to assist you with this terrible burden.”
“You’re teasing me,” he says, nodding. “It’s all right. I’m sure I deserve it.”
“I would never,” I say with mock innocence. “Well, perhaps just a bit. But I will help. We cannot have our king lose his crown mid-ceremony.”
“No, we wouldn’t want that,” he agrees.
“Come along then,” I say, leading him into the palace and then the ballroom where his makeshift throne sits.
“Clear the room,” I order the staff before pointing to the chamberlain. “And you, fetch His Majesty’s crown and five thick books from the library.”
When they obey without hesitation, Peter shakes his head.
“How do you do that?”
I offer him a curious glance. “Do what?”
“You walk into a room, and everyone immediately turns to you. They look to you for direction without even meaning to. You give an order, and they move. I have yet to experience that.”
Considering the question, I motion for him to sit on the throne. He takes the seat without question, and I smirk. Once he realizes what he’s done, he shakes his head again.
“Witchcraft, surely,” he says.
I entwine my fingers, my palms pressed to my bodice. “It’s a power that comes from within. I was raised to believe when I spoke, it should carry a certain authority. I spoke with the expectation of being obeyed. There’s a surety to it, a confidence, that urges people to obey, almost without considering it.”
“They listen to you because you expect them to?”
“It’s more than that. Our family has a divine nature. People can sense it. We speak not just with our own words, but with a weight others cannot match. Even now, with no title, no political power at all, if I were to give an order that were to go contrary to something the prince said, there would be an almost instinctual need to obey me. They would need a moment to try to reconcile it in their mind.”
“Like at supper last night,” he says. “Honestly, I haven’t enjoyed a meal that much in ages. Authority aside, there is a light in you, Elizabeth, and it draws people to you.”
“If you imagine there is a power I possess which you do not, then you are mistaken, Peter. People want to follow you. They want to look to you as their sovereign and protector.” He makes a face as if he doubts my words. “Lady Olivia reminded me only today that you and I are the last of the golden-haired Romanovs. The last of an empire. Whatever light you think is in me, it’s inside you, too. I see it. And today, so will the whole of the nation.”
His expression softens. “I wish I could see myself as you do.”
“You will,” I promise. “Start today. When the chamberlain returns, bid him leave the books and crown and go. Tell him we are not to be disturbed. Say it as his king, with all the authority of the grace within you.”
“I will try,” he says.
“There is no trying to be a king—there is only being a king,” I say softly. “Don’t imagine you are playacting as something you are not. Simply be who you are, who you were born to be.”
“Lizzy,” he begins softly, but the chamberlain returns before he can say anything else.
Folding myself to my knees at the foot of the throne, I bow my head, accepting the books as he hands them to me. Reaching out for the crown resting on the red velvet pillow, Peter takes it smoothly. I glance up and see him straighten, leaning forward with his chin up, his voice strong.
“Thank you,” he begins. “Now, leave us.”
The man bows obediently.
“And we are not to be disturbed. Do you understand?”
The man bows again. “Of course, Your Majesty.”
Once he’s gone, I raise my head to Peter, who’s grinning widely. He motions to me. “I mean, of course it’s easy to do when you’re sitting like an obedient puppy at my feet.”
“Be honest. It felt good, didn’t it?” I say, standing.
“Yes. It felt…right.”
Laying the books on his lap, I take the crown and pillow, moving to the side and setting it on the ground. Stepping back, I motion for him to stand.
He raises one eyebrow and reclines, appearing far too pleased with himself. I laugh.
“All right. Would you please join me, Your Majesty?”
After he stands, he walks over to me, books in hand. I take the heavy toms, resting them on my head. Stepping back, I spin on my toe, dancing along with music that’s only inside my head. Every move, every gesture, is poised and graceful. Finally, I return to him and curtsy.
“You make it look easy,” he says.
Taking one of the books off my head, I lay it on his.
“Before the day is done, so will you,” I promise, taking his hands and leading him through the dance.
It takes a few hours, but, as promised, he’s soon gliding across the floor with all the books atop his head while I watch. When he returns to me the final time, he bows, taking my hand and kissing it softly, never dropping a single volume.
“Perfect,” I praise, taking the books and setting them aside. I lift the crown in my hands. “Now, for the real thing. Please kneel, Your Majesty.”
When he obeys, I take a moment to run my fingers through his hair before laying the crown on his head.
“The shape is perfect, as I assumed,” I tell him when he offers me a confused look.
He rises to his feet, sweeping me into his arms and gliding me across the floor. We work through a few tricky movements before he sits back on the throne.
I clap once. “My King, it’s as if you were born with that crown on your head.”
He smirks. “For the first time, it feels like it fits. I think I have you to thank for that.”
I curtsy. “I’m at your disposal.”
“You know…” He stands, lifting the crown from his head and setting it on the throne as he walks toward me. “Menshikov told me to be wary of you, that you were here to steal my crown. He told me I must always be on my guard in your presence, lest you beguile me the way your mother beguiled the last king.”
Raising one hand, I shrug. “I would like to someday earn your trust, but I do not blame you if you believe him. In my experience, a king must be incredibly careful in whom he relies, and you would always do well to use caution and judge for yourself.”
“I admit I find your presence soothing in ways I did not anticipate,” he says. “There is always such chaos around me, so many faces all avoiding my gaze as if they are keeping some dark secret from me. But you’re different. You look at me without fear or deception. I feel like you are the only person who truly sees me at all—and I’ve known you less than a day.”
“I think, perhaps, that some part of you has always known me. Like recognizes like, after all. And while we may be different, we are both made of mightier things.” Hesitating, I chew at my lip before deciding how to continue. “Peter, when I came back, I had no idea what to expect of you. I imagined you might be cruel or cowardly or somehow unworthy of the burden you now carry. Had that been the case, I’m sure I would feel very differently right now. You cannot imagine my relief to have met you—to begin to know the man you are. There is a bond between us. I feel it as well. And it gives me the greatest joy.”
With a smile, he holds his hands out and I lay mine in them. “Sometimes, I wonder how it is you know exactly what I need to hear—if they are your own words or only my thoughts reflected back at me.”
“Don’t worry. Soon enough, I’m sure I’ll have to tell you something you don’t want to hear, then you’ll know I was speaking my true mind the entire time,” I swear. His smile falters, and I squeeze his hands in mine. “You look troubled. What is it?”
“I was just thinking how much I wished you could stand at my side tonight.”
“I’ll be right behind you. If you should begin to falter, simply look back at me and you will know you are not alone.”
He forces a smile, but there is no relief there.
“Wait,” I say. Releasing his hands, I draw the tiny knife from the folds of my gown. If he’s nervous or afraid I mean him harm, he does not flinch. I grin up at him, pulling a coil of golden hair free from my head and slicing it off. Putting the knife away, I twist the hair into a small knot and lay it in his palm.
“It is customary for a lady to give a token to a soldier before he rides into battle, to ensure his safe return.”
“Is that what I am? A soldier marching off to war?” His tone is light, but my expression is serious.
“You are far more than that, Peter. But wherever you go, take a piece of me with you. I only hope it gives you strength to know I am with you, always.”
He twirls the hair between his fingers for a moment before tucking it into his pocket. “I will treasure it. I only wish I had something to give you.”
I laugh. “That’s not the tradition.”
“Then I will make it a new one,” he says, his chin high in defiance. “What would you have? Name it and it is yours.”
I twist my hands for a moment, considering my request before speaking. “My Pushka.”
He furrows his brow. “What is a Pushka?”
“My dog,” I admit, glancing down and then up into his eyes. “He was taken from me when I arrived at the Winter Palace. I miss him terribly.”
Peter shakes his head. “You realize you could ask for anything? Gold, jewels, exotic flowers—-and you ask for your dog?”
“Don’t tease me. He’s special. I fell ill before my father died, and Pushka was by my side until I was well again. In my delirium, I thought he was a beast sent to carry me to the afterlife, but, as I healed, he was my guardian angel.”
“If he is that important to you, I will fetch him at once.”
“Truly? Peter, that would be wonderful. Thank you.” Without thinking, I lean forward, pulling him into my arms for a hug. He stiffens for a moment before wrapping his arms around me and holding me close.
Embarrassed by my reaction, I step out of the embrace, flushing. “My apologies, Your Majesty. I didn’t mean to overstep.”
“No,” he says, blushing himself as he rakes a hand through his hair. “It was…nice.”
“It’s getting late. I think you should begin preparing,” I offer, changing the subject. “As should I.”
“Of course, I didn’t mean to keep you,” he says, motioning toward the door.
“No,” I say, shaking my head. “It was nice. I’ll see you soon.”
I curtsy and take my leave, forcing myself not to look back over my shoulder until I’m at the door. When I finally give into the urge, I see Peter staring after me, the crown of Russia in his hands.
THE NUMBER YOU NEED TO KNOW IS:
One more thing before I go. My book BETWEEN THE EARTH AND THE STARS is free and exclusive to my subscribers. I only send 1-2 emails per month, plus any time sensitive ones, like new releases or fun scavenger hunts like this one. I also like to think I’m fairly light-hearted and somewhat entertaining (you’ll see from my first email, if I’m for you or not).
Anyway, check it out if you’re interested
Thanks so much for spending some time with me, I hope you’re having a blast meeting everyone.
To continue on this blog-hopping journey, your next stop on the hunt is COLLEEN HOUCK
HOW TO YASH.
Pick a team or a specific author. Start there. Go to their site (we link to each author's sites here on the YA Scavenger Hunt website).
Find their YA Scavenger Hunt post. It should be super easy to tell which one it is because it will have our graphic on it.
Read their post which will include an author bio, book info, exclusive content, (not always but in most cases) a giveaway, and a link to another author's webpage.
Look for a number on the post. This could be big and colored. It could be "you need to know..." It should be pretty easy to figure out which number you need to know. Write this number down on your answer sheet found on the STUCK page.
Click the link at the bottom of the post so you can continue the hunt within that same team.
Repeat steps 2-5 until you have visited all the authors for one team.
Add up the numbers that you collected from all the authors of one team. Visit our ENTER HERE page, find the appropriate Rafflecopter, and submit your entry.
Repeat for every team that you want (there are five in total - Team Gold, Team Blue, Team Green, Team Red, Team Purple)
Optionally, watch your TO BE READ list grow and grow.