Announcing…A COLD LEGACY!

For those of you who participated in the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt last week, you may have already discovered what the title to the third Madman's Daughter book is. If you're still wondering, the title is...

My editor and I came up with this title because we wanted something that captured the mood of the book, which takes place on the desolate Scottish moors in winter, and also addresses the overarching stakes of the book…if Juliet will follow her father's dark legacy into madness or not. 

Here's a (not quite finalized) description of the book:

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

When Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—she is forced to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Most important of all, she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps, her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity.

What do you all think? Do you like the title? Intrigued by the description? What do you think will happen in the book?

HER DARK CURIOSITY's latest reviews

Good reviews from School Library Journal and Voya Magazine!

Gr 8 Up-Megan Shepherd's deliciously dark and exciting sequel to The Madman's Daughter (HarperCollins, 2013) continues with Juliet's return to London after her escape from her father's island. Life is somewhat easier for Juliet now that she is back-a former colleague of her father's has taken her under his wing so that she does not want for anything, she has a job developing grafted rose bushes, and her friend Lucy has welcomed her with open arms. But not all is well. The serum her father, the infamous Dr. Moreau, developed to keep her symptoms at bay is no longer working and she cannot seem to perfect a new and stronger dose; she misses Montgomery, her old friend and new lover; and one of her father's monsters, Edward Prince, now known as Dr. Jekyll, has also returned to London. To make it worse, a serial killer, dubbed the Wolf of Whitechapel, is murdering people who have wronged her, and a Scotland Yard inspector keeps questioning her about her father. Somehow, Juliet holds the key but can she survive long enough to save the ones she loves and unmask the conspirators who are behind the terror?

Shepherd masterfully blends yet another classic horror story into a new setting, and the continuing echoes of H. G. Wells's The Island of Dr. Moreau combined with Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde result in a book that resonates with evil and suspense. While the novel can be read independently of the first title, as enough of the backstory is given to make what is happening clear, readers will have a more satisfying experience if familiar with the previous installment. The psychological questions that Prince/Jekyll raises as to evil, desire, and nature vs. nurture add a depth of richness not often seen in young adult literature.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas

This sequel to The Madman's Daughter (HarperCollins, 2013) delivers on the promise of the first novel.  Juliet Moreau escaped the island and is living under the guardianship of an ex-member of the King's Club of colleagues connected to her father. Juliet conducts research on her serum since its effectiveness is waning.  She also feels guilty about helping kill her father on the island and is heartbroken about Montgomery's choice to stay.  Soon, Juliet is concerned about the Wolf of Whitechapel murders since the wounds are very similar to the Beast creature from Edward's transformation.  Juliet's best friend, Lucy, has two suitors, Inspector Newcastle and the mysterious Henry Jakyll, who are not all they seem.  Juliet must tread carefully, while also dealing with the return of Montgomery and tracking down Edward's beast side as the Wolf of Whitechapel.

The cliffhanger ending combines elements of The Island of Dr. Moreau with elements of  Frankenstein, adding moral dilemma.  The love triangle issue is still active for Juliet but the thrust of the plot and character development is focused on the Prometheus moral dilemma and fans of the first novel will not be disappointed.  Intrigue and true reader engagement is promised.  This book is an excellent sequel and readers will eagerly await the final installment in the trilogy.  Characters and plot continue to be strong and the mash-up of classic literature with modern paranormal fiction is still refreshing and appealing.  This novel will provide crossover appeal to both older teens and adults.-Karen Sykeny.

YA Scavenger Hunt!

Hi! I'm Megan Shepherd, and this year I'm participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt, a game that lets readers win prizes while getting to know some great YA authors and books. You have a chance to win a book from every author on the hunt (50 total!) as well as read exclusive content the authors are putting up just for this game.

This is me:

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And these are my books:

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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 homepage.

This year I'm on the RED team

This year I'm on the RED team

THE RULES

Directions: Somewhere in this post I've listed my favorite number and bolded it. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the red 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 by April 6, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Note: There are TWO 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 team for a chance to win a whole different set of signed books.

ONTO THE GAME!

Today, I am hosting author Susanne Winnacker on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! 

Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, two dogs and two bunnies in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.

Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here!

Her latest book is DEFECTOR (The Variants Series).

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DEFECTOR description:

Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit. When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA’s efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for—even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

Doesn't that sound great?? I give it 100 points for making me dying to read it!

And Susanne has provided some exclusive content as part of the hunt, this excerpt:

Note from Susanne: This scene is from the beginning of DEFECTOR. Tessa is on a new mission. She has to pose as Senator Pollard because he’s been getting death-threats. Now she’s supposed to give a speech in his body.

Five hundred people made up the audience – law students and journalists, and possibly someone intent on Senator Pollard’s death.

“You’re safe,” Alec said under his breath. “Don’t worry. Security measures were tripled.”

“If it’s so safe, why am I here and not Pollard?” I whispered, glaring at his back, as I lumbered up the stairs onto the stage. A wave of applause welcomed me and I raised my arm in Senator Pollard’s trademark greeting. Every gesture, every move was perfect. Nobody would realize I wasn’t him – not even his enemies. I walked up to the speaker’s podium in the center of the stage as the clapping ebbed away. I let my gaze swivel over the audience, looking for anything out of the ordinary. But there was nothing. Most of the blue chairs were occupied by men and women in their twenties. They’d probably fall right off their seats if they found out a sixteen-year-old girl was actually the speaker.

I cleared my throat and opened my lips to recite the speech, but the words faltered in my mouth. Something was off. The hairs at the base of my neck rose. I wasn’t exactly sure what caused me such discomfort. A wall of silence lay before me as people stopped talking to stare at my mute form. I coughed and glanced at the notes on the speaker’s desk in front of me.

My voice was calm and businesslike as I started the speech. I’d seen videos of Senator Pollard giving speeches and knew that he was a good orator. He possessed the natural charisma and verbal skills to grab an audience – which made this that much harder for me. I forced myself to look up every now and then to smile at my audience and search the auditorium for suspicious activities. A few minutes into my speech, I raised my head again, my mouth already dry from reading, and the words died in my throat. Every muscle in my body bristled with anxiety.

My eyes landed on a familiar face in the audience. It was the man who’d been watching me a few weeks ago back in Livingston, the man who was most likely a member of Abel’s Army. He was leaning at the back of the auditorium, returning my gaze with unsettling calm. Brown hair, pale skin, dark sunglasses, unidentifiable age. He wore a long beige coat. What was he hiding beneath it?

Alec stared at me, then followed my eyes across the room. Of course he hadn’t seen the man before, but he could feel how nervous I was. The man was wearing exactly the same sunglasses and coat he had last time. Was he the only Variant in the room? Was he here to enact some sinister plan?

I took a deep breath and continued my speech. The audience was starting to whisper about my strange behavior, and I couldn’t risk losing their attention. Alec gave me a tiny nod and moved off to the side of the auditorium as he tried to make his way toward the back. The man’s eyes flitted briefly to Alec but then returned to me – as if Alec wasn’t even worth his attention. I couldn’t sense Holly anywhere near me. Where was she? Maybe she was also heading for the strange guy.

Connors and Orlov had picked up on the tense atmosphere of course (they weren’t that bad, no matter what Major might think) and were watching Alec’s progress across the room with barely hidden contempt.

Maybe I should give them a sign to follow Alec. I didn’t like the thought of Holly getting involved in a possible fight.

A loud boom sounded in the auditorium, and with a rumble, a shock wave thrust me backwards. A second later, everything was pitched into darkness. I tumbled down the stairs of the podium unable to stop Senator Pollard’s tall body from hurtling forward. My face smashed against the ground, and I tasted blood in my mouth, coppery and warm. My nose was clogged with liquid and when I touched it, pain shot through my face. Probably broken. I gagged. My ears rang but slowly my hearing returned. Screams and shouts surrounded me on all sides. The auditorium was filled with bitter grayish mist that stung in my eyes and nose.

I tried to jump to my feet, but the ground had started shaking. I knelt, trying to find my balance. Pollard’s body was more difficult to maneuver than my own and the trembling ground wasn’t helping one bit. Panic flashed through me. I had to do something. Could I risk changing back to my own body? I still heard shots and shouting. How could anyone fire when they couldn’t possibly see their targets in the darkness?

Where were the others?

“Tess!” Holly’s scream echoed in my skull. I stumbled to my feet and changed back to my own body. The ground vibrated under my feet and a sudden burst of motion sickness hit me. I forced myself to remain calm. My clothes began to slip off, much too big for me now that I was no longer Senator Pollard. I hastily changed into Alec’s body, which was better for fighting. Tightening the belt a notch, I looked around. “Holly?” I called in Alec’s deep voice. “Holly, where are you?” She’d sounded so scared.

GIVEAWAY!

In addition to the YA Scavenger Hunt megaprize you can win (all 25 signed books from both the red and the blue teams), I'm giving away some prizes just on this blog. Enter below to win signed copies of both my books, as well as fun & tasty swag.

CONTINUE THE HUNT

Thanks, Susanne! Are you readers curious about what exclusive content I'm going to reveal as part of the hunt? I'll give you a hint…it has to do with the third and final Madman's Daughter series book! You'll have to keep hopping blogs until you find the Red Team author who is hosting my content.

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Tera Lynn Childs! Continue the game by visiting her blog here.

The End

It's done.

The third and final book in the Madman's Daughter series is submitted to my editor and is being copyedited right now. What can I tell you about this book? Not the title…yet. But I can tell you it's my favorite of the three. It wasn't necessarily the easiest to write, but it was the most enjoyable. It was truly fun to write, which can't always be said about most books. There was so much I adored about it: creepy children with mismatched eyes, fortune tellers, a crumbling manor with secret passages and hidden rooms, a chapel full of dead bodies, the wild Scottish moors. It's inspired by Frankenstein, which gives you a good idea of the mood of the book. It's a little bit twisted. A little bit grotesque. A little bit haunted, I hope.

I was surprised by how emotional I got wrapping up Juliet Moreau's story. I tend to be a very structured writer, meaning I like outlines and plotting charts, and I look at all of my stories a little bit objectively, like trying to put together a puzzle. I don't get as emotionally involved in my books as some authors seem to do. But writing the final few chapters of the last book had my heart in knots. These are characters I've been with for four years now. I have all their pictures up on my walls. I've given them all so many challenges to face. Without really meaning to, I started to really care about them, and what happens to them. Which is why, when I reached the very end of the last book, and had to bring everyone's story to a close, I could barely type. Some of them have happy endings. Some of them don't. But I hope the book ended where it should, and I hope you all love it as much as I do.

Every time someone writes me to say kind things about the series, I still have to pinch myself. It has been such a pleasure telling Juliet's story, and I'm grateful for everyone who has been intrigued enough to pick up a copy, and for my publisher for putting these books out into the world.

It comes out January 2015. I hope it will be worth the wait!