Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Trailer: The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). From the promotional copy:

The holidays are filled with joyful noise. But Christmas is sometimes wrapped in quiet: “Searching for presents quiet,” “Getting caught quiet,” and “Hoping for a snow day quiet.” 

Irresistibly cute, soft colored pencil illustrations of bunnies, bears, and more paint a magical holiday picture indeed.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cynsational News & Giveaways

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

So You Want to Write for a Living from Marion Dane Bauer. Peek: "You want your writing to be your work, your primary work. What does it take to make that happen?"

KidLitopia: official site of writer/editor Shannon Barefield, this haven of support for kidlit writers features biography, blog, editorial services, and free downloads. Shannon donates five percent of her income to literacy nonprofits.

What's in a Name? by Daphne Grab from Crowe's Nest. Peek: "I flew home thinking about what it might have been like to grow up Daphne Grahb.  Would I have been more elegant and dignified?"

Author Insight: An Expanding Audience from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: "Teens are no longer the sole audience for Young Adult fiction. Has the fact that more adults are reading the genre impacted the way you write?"

The Problem of Conflicting Feedback by Carmen Martino from Teaching Authors.  Peek: "...latch on to the feedback that feels 'right' or 'true' first."

Time Management:Time for Creativity by Gail Gauthier from Original Content. Peek: "More creative work is done, he claims, by those people who can tolerate the creative discomfort and stick with a problem longer."

Turning a Self-Published Book Into a Traditional Publishing Contract: Some Hard Numbers from Janet Reid, Literary Agent. Peek: " realistic about what self-publishing is, and what it can accomplish. And more important what it can not accomplish." Source: April Henry.

Let's Hear it for the Boys (& Girls) by Kathy F. from Stellar Four. Peek: "Just because the girl doesn't outrank the boy doesn't mean that he is inferior or less important. Also, acknowledging that a woman has skills and may be better suited to take the lead in a situation is not a reflection on the loss of masculinity, it shows using your brain to go for the winning strategy." Source: Bookshelves of Doom. See also Guys Talking to Guys (Or This is What Makes Us Boys) by Deena from Author2Author.

Want Lines from Mette Ivie Harrison. Peek: "A 'want-line' is what the character wants right now, and it drives every scene. While a primary goal can be the want-line in many scenes, it can also be set aside for the scene at hand." See also Part 2. Note: inspired by the wisdom of Holly Black.

Set Goals Now for 2013 by Kristi Holl from Writer's First Aid. Peek: " will you get from where you are to where you want to be?" See also Kristi on Writing for the Christian Market.

How Children See the World: Picture Book Advice from the 17th Texas Book Festival by Carmen Oliver from Hen & Ink. Peek: "They may not have the verbal sophistication to describe the art but they know how to convey the right feeling." Don't miss Part 2.

Physical Attributes Thesaurus: Eyes by Becca Puglisi from The Bookshelf Muse.

Literary Agent Interview: Agent Elena Mechlin of Pippin Properties from Writer's Digest. Peek: " terms of fiction, certainly my tastes run more literary, contemporary, or historical rather than sci fi or fantasy."

Over and Over by Crescent Dragonwagon from The Horn Book. Peek: "As I write these words today, Charlotte is ninety-seven and I am fifty-nine. I see to her care. When she wrote Over and Over, she was forty-two and I was four, and she saw to mine. It is also fall, maybe her last on this green-and-gold spinning globe."

Round Two of Kidlit Cares: Super Storm Sandy Relief Effort from Joanne Levy. Peek: " online talent auction to benefit the Red Cross relief effort for Sandy." Agents, marketing pros, editors, authors, art directors, and illustrators have donated various items/services (signed books, critiques, Skype visits, consultations) to be auctioned off to the highest bidder, with donations being made directly to the Red Cross disaster relief fund. Note: Scholastic is Donating One Million Books and Teaching Resources to Schools and Libraries Affected by Hurricane Sandy, and Simon & Schuster is also donating, including to shelters.

Old Fairy Tales for New Readers by Nikki Loftin from ALSC Blog. Peek: "...I have hope – that books like mine and so many other authors who are re-imagining fairy tales, will lead curious young readers (and even their teachers and librarians) back to the old stories, and ignite a passion for them."

What are Awesome Gate-Crashing Authors Thankful for This Year? compiled by Pamela K. Witte from Ink and Angst. Contributors include Cynthia Leitich Smith.

See also Cool Writing Links from Stina Lindenblatt and Publishing Pulse from

Cynsational Giveaways

The winners of author-signed copies of Eighth Grade Is Making Me Sick by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Elicia Castaldi (Random House, 2012) were Alicia in Alabama and Bernice in Illinois.

The winner of a bookplate-signed copy of League of Strays by L.B. Schulman (Abram/Amulet, 2012) was Lauren in North Carolina.

Check of the Class of 2k12's Epic End-of-the-Year Giveaway and enter to win a copy of the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market 2013 from Kristi Valiant. See also New YA Lit in Stores & Giveaway of Elemental by Anthony John from Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing.
This Week at Cynsations

Austin Scene

First off, check out 2014 Children's-YA Books by Austinites. See also the 2013 list!

This week's event highlight was the launch party for Dear Teen Me, edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally (Zest, 2012) at The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas. The theme was homecoming. See author interview with EKA. Photos by Dave Wilson Photography; used with permission.

E.K. Anderson & Nikki Loftin
Bethany Hegedus & Salima Alikhan
Cynthia & Greg Leitich Smith
Frances Hill Yansky & Brian Yansky
Jo Whittemore
Mari Mancusi, Mary Lindsey & Nikki Loftin
Nikki Loftin, Jessica Lee Anderson & Cynthia Leitich Smith
Stephanie Pellegrin & Jenny Moss
Back: Jo Whittemore, Don Tate, P.J. Hoover, front: Jessica Lee Anderson & K.A. Holt
In other exciting news, Jeff Crosby and Shelley Ann Jackson gave a terrific presentation on picture books at the Austin SCBWI meeting at BookPeople.

Photo by Mark G. Mitchell; used with permission.

More Personally

I unveiled the cover of my upcoming graphic novel Eternal: Zachary's Story, illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick, Feb. 2013). Gorgeous, don't you think? Please also note that the Feral Nights ARC giveaway is still ongoing.

Congratulations to the winners of the 2012 National Book Awards, particularly Goblin Secrets by William Alexander (McElderry) and The Round House by Louise Erdrich (Harper).

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Cynthia Leitich Smith will sign from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 1 at The BookSpot in Round Rock.

2013 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers will be March 15 to March 17 at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Study with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lauren Myracle and Candlewick editor Andrea Tompa.

Extended Three-Session Intensive Workshop: Harold Underdown and Eileen Robinson will be running a three-part revision intensive in Westport, Connecticut, over three Saturdays in January, February, and March. Peek: "Bring your picture book, nonfiction, or novel manuscript and get multiple rounds of feedback as well as revision techniques."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Voice: Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Tiffany Schmidt is the first-time author of Send Me A Sign (Walker-Bloomsbury, 2012). From the promotional copy:

Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her on-again, off-again soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. A sign that the summer before senior year will be the best one yet.

But when Mia is diagnosed with leukemia, the only sign she wants to see is that she will survive cancer and still be the girl she’s always been—top student, top cheerleader, and top of the social food chain.

Until she’s better, Mia doesn’t want anyone to know she has cancer. She doesn’t want her friends’ pity. And she certainly doesn’t want to start feeling something more than friendship for the one person who knows her secret, her best friend, Gyver. But the sicker Mia gets, the more she realizes that not even the clearest signs offer perfect answers, an in order to discover what will happen in her life, she will have to find the courage to live it.

Could you tell us about your writing community-your critique group or partner or other sources of emotional and/or professional support?

Emily and Tiffany
There have been so many people who supported me and pushed me along this path to publication, but here I’m going to focus on one: Emily Hainsworth.

Emily and I met on Twitter—way back in 2008. I was teaching sixth grade and directing the school musical. I’d tweeted something about having the songs to “Annie” permanently looping through my head and @Emily_ya responded by tweeting a lyric. I don’t remember which—if I’d known this was going to be the beginning of such a treasured friendship, I’d have favorited the exchange.

We started tweeting pretty consistently—to the point that my husband would ask if I was talking to “Emily Why Aye” every time I was at the computer – and in March of 2009, she suggested swapping pages of our respective works in progress.

I didn’t sleep that night. First, because I was kept up reading her fabulous pages. Second, because I was so worried about what she’d think of mine… what she’d think of me!

I just searched my inbox way back to those first emails and pulled some snippets from Emily’s response:

I really do like your writing - it's like a comfortable pair of pajamas: I get into it easily, and feel comfortable with it. Yay!

I'D LOVE to keep CP'ing w/ you! There are so many things to worry about in finding a CP - Will we like each other? Will we be interested in the stories we're each trying to tell? Do we like each others' style? Will we get constructive feedback we can find a way to use?

So far, I'm just nodding YES, YES, YES, YES!! :D

Isn’t it obvious why I adore her?

The work in progress she was reading was Send Me A Sign. I could only give her chunks, because the book wasn’t done. Her encouragement made me want to finish it, pushed me to write more, faster, because I wanted her feedback and encouragement.

Em and I have each had very different roads to publication, but we’ve been constants in each other’s journeys. She’s the first person I called when I got an offer of representation from my dream agent, and she was also the person I called, emailed, texted after every rejection.

I remember whisper-squealing when her book, Through To You (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), sold—the whispering only because I was holding a sleeping infant. I wanted to shout hooray at the top of my lungs. And this spring she held her newborn and whisper-squealed for me when I called to tell her that my second book, Bright Before Sunrise, had sold.

I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t have made it to this point with Emily. The fact that we were both scheduled to be Fall 2012 debuts made the process even more special—it’s been fabulous to have to have someone going to commiserate and celebrate with as I deciphered copy edit code, brainstormed revisions, planned release parties, saw my first reviews… – and then Emily’s release date was changed…

…to the same date as mine!

So on 10/2/2012, I get to celebrate twice as hard— once for Send Me A Sign, and once more for Through to You.

As someone who's the primary caregiver of children, how do you manage to also carve out time to write and build a publishing career? What advice do you have for other writers trying to do the same?

I was five months pregnant with twins when Send Me A Sign went out on submission in September 2010. I was also setting up my classroom and getting ready to start another year teaching sixth grade. Or, at least part of a year… the twins were due mid-January, so I had originally hoped to teach until the winter break.

Nope. My doctor had other ideas. He insisted I stop working at 28 weeks, which was okay with me. I was over-the-moon about the idea of having twelve weeks of full-time writing before my Schmidtlets arrived.

Nope. On my first day out of the classroom, I learned that those ‘little twinges’ I’d been feeling for the past month were actually contractions. I was put on bedrest. The only time I was to leave the space between my headboard and footboard was to go to the bathroom and go to the doctors.

It took a little while to get used to being trapped in a bed. As someone who fidgets and fusses and does her best drafting on a treadmill desk, lying still and writing were not compatible activities. But a month into bedrest I was starting to get the swing of things. I had lofty goals of finishing my second novel’s revision… Nope.

The Schmidtlets continued their pattern of interrupting any plans I’ve dared to make by arriving eight weeks early. They spent a month in the NICU and came home with all sorts of medical accessories—monitors that false-alarmed constantly and had me jerking from pseudo-sleep to see if they were still breathing.

It was chaos—it still is chaos. They’re nearly two now. A hundred percent healthy. Tearing up my house and getting into whatever mischief they can manage.

It would be a lie to say I enjoy every minute of it – cleaning applesauce off puggle #2 this morning wasn’t particularly fun – but they are the loves of my life.

This is not to say they are my life. It’s so important to me that while "mother" is a cherished part of my identity, it is not my whole identity. Writing has been a passion of mine since long before they were born, and it will still be one of my passions after they’ve grown up and moved out (sniffle).

So, how do I do both? It’s changed a lot over the past twenty-one months – It used to be that I could snuggle a baby in the sling while simultaneously walking on my treadmill desk and working on a book. It used to be that I could read whole chapters aloud and they’d stare at me with Momma-is-Magic eyes. It used to be that I could rock a napping baby with one foot, pat a sleepy back with one hand, and use my free hand to mark up revision pages.

Now I don’t want pens or markers anywhere near toddler hands.

But, naptime is magic. From the time I put them in their cribs until the time I take them back out is sacred. This means setting myself up to make the most of those precious minutes. It’s not time for Twitter or texting—those can be done in stolen seconds while I fill sippy cups or wait for someone to be “all done” on the potty seat.

It also means mentally preparing—since I can recite Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton (Little Simon, 1982) in my sleep, I can use the morning’s fourth (or eighth) read to think about what I want to get done in my own book once they’re asleep.

Same with strolls around the neighborhood, as the Schmidtlets chatter back and forth in a hybrid version of English and twin speak, I mentally plan the scene that I’ll throw onto paper once they’re in cribs.

And I jot notes everywhere. On my phone. On papertowels and receipts. I keep notepads in all the diaperbags, the car, their stroller, their nursery, and their playroom—occasionally this leads to I thought I wrote that scene. Didn’t I? when I can’t remember where I wrote something down. I’ll also record voice notes on my phone. Or call and leave myself a voicemail message with something I don’t want to forget.

I don’t have any magic answers—if your kiddos are anything like mine, they seem to delight in changing things up as soon as you’ve mastered a functional routine. And what works for my family, probably won’t work for the unique challenges of someone else’s.

But, for me it comes down to a simple statement: I need to write. It would be easy to make excuses, but I want it too badly. So, instead, I make the most of the opportunities and time I have.

And I think the fact that the twins say, “Momma book,” whenever they see the cover to Send Me A Sign is their way of saying they’re proud of me too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cover Reveal! Eternal: Zachary's Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Ming Doyle

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the cover for Eternal: Zachary's Story by Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrated by Ming Doyle (Candlewick, Feb. 2012). From the promotional copy:
Reckless guardian angel Zachary has an unusual assignment. He’s meant to save the soul of Miranda, high-school theater wannabe turned glamorous royal vampire. 
Completely devoted to Miranda, Zachary takes his demotion to human form in stride, taking a job as the princess’s personal assistant. 

Of course, this means he has to balance his soul-saving efforts with planning the Master’s fast-approaching Deathday gala.

Vivid illustrations by Ming Doyle elevate this darkly funny love story to a new dramatic level with bold black-and-white panels.
Cynthia Leitich Smith’s New York Times bestseller is reimagined as a graphic novel seen through the eyes of Zachary, teenage guardian angel. 
Cynsational Notes
Read the prose novel first!

Eternal: Zachary's Story is told from Zachary's point of view and includes new scenes not seen in the preceding prose novel Eternal (Candlewick, 2009, 2010).

Read an excerpt of the prose novel from Candlewick.

Check out curriculum connections for the Tantalize series from the Texas Library Association and a reader's guide from Cynthia Leitich Smith's official author site.

Reminder! "Cat Calls" and "Haunted Love," two YA short stories (set in the Tantalize universe) by Cynthia Leitich Smith are available for free download from U.S. and U.K. e-retailers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Career Builder: Janet Tashjian

By Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

What memories of your debut author experience stand out?

When Tru Confessions came out fifteen years ago, I had my very first book signing at a Borders Bookstore in Cranston, Rhode Island.

(A moment of silence for Borders, RIP.)

Lots of friends and family came, but I was utterly shocked to see my tenth grade English teacher, Mrs. Harrower, there. I hadn't seen her since I graduated from high school and I don't know how she found out about the signing, but I just about burst into tears when I saw her. She was a truly great teacher; to this day, I remember all the figures of speech I learned in her class.

She passed away a few years later, but the photo of the two of us at that book signing sits on the desk where I work today.

Do you have a publishing strategy?

Henry Holt, 2012
I wish I had a publishing strategy! I find myself instead getting dragged along by my story ideas.

I'm the kind of writer who has a lot of ideas all vying for my attention so it's a constant struggle to decide which stories to tell next. I envy writers with a clear cut game planfortunately or unfortunately, that's never been me.

Would you describe your career as a hike up a mountain, a winding road, a path of hills and valleys or hop-scotching from rock to rock across the rapids? Why?

I think of the Myth of Sisyphus all the timewith Sisyphus pushing that boulder up the mountain just to watch it roll back down at the end of the day. So he gets up the next day and rolls it back up the hill again...and again and again.

I've been writing for so long and have so many notebooks full of pages and pages from all my booksit feels like I've spent my life writing words, crossing them out, then writing different wordsover and over again.

But don't think I believe that being a writer is a futile, frustrating, or thankless jobthere's something comforting about spending your time doing something tangible and predictable. I agree with Camus' conclusion that "One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

Have you made an affirmative decision to alter your focus?

When my son Jake started having a difficult time reading and when so many teachers and librarians began asking me on school visits to talk about reluctant readers, I shifted my focus from YA booksmostly my Larry booksand decided to go back to the world of middle grade readers for awhile.

I wanted to write about how reading might be hard for lots of kidsmany of them boysbut that stories were still important. Jake had been drawing his vocabulary words for years - he's a visual learner and that's how he studied them - so it made perfect sense for him to do the novels' illustrations.

I'm incredibly proud of My Life as a Book (2010), My Life as a Stuntboy (2011) and the upcoming My Life as a Cartoonist (all Henry Holt and/or Square Fish) because I not only got to collaborate with my son but have reached so many kids like him who really need visual support when they read. It was never done as a career move, just purely to help kids like Jake.

That being said, my new book, For What It's Worth (Henry Holt, 2012), is a return to YA, a rock-and-roll book for all the music nerds.

Cynsational Notes

The Career Builders series offers insights from children's-YA authors who written and published books for a decade or more. The focus includes their approach to both the craft of writing and navigating the ever-changing business landscape of trade publishing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Post: Karen Rock on Let's Hear It for the Boy(s)!

By Karen Rock
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Writing books that appeal to boys is a joy and a challenge.

Here are some “boots on the ground” perspectives from readers, teachers, and librarians, as well as invaluable insights shared by children’s authors Darren Shan, Ellen Hopkins, Tim Wynne-Jones, and break-out debut novelist, Scott Blagden on how to reach this important readership.

Darren Shan, international bestselling author of such series as Demonta and Cirque du Freak, cautions writers not to care too much about writing what is ‘good for boys’ or ‘good for reluctant readers’. “What I do is try to remember what I was like as a teenager, then write a story that I think the teenage me would have loved.” In fact, according to Darren, “It's not a case of trying to work on their level, which is a mistake a lot of writers make -- because teenagers, like adults, work on all sorts of different levels.”

Eighth-grader Brian Rivera is currently reading the Cirque du Freak series. A selective reader, he pointed out that Darren’s novels appeal to him because of their unique, relatable characters, surprise plot twists and non-stop action.

Tim Wynne-Jones, best-selling children’s author and the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award winner for his juvenile/YA crime book, Blink and Caution, agrees that action is critical in capturing the young male demographic.

When a second grade teacher told him a reluctant reader read his YA thriller, The Boy in the Burning House, he was impressed the child had read such challenging material and thought, “Maybe what he craved was action. Not just rock 'em-sock 'em action, but things actually happening.”

In fact, Tim believes that action-driven novels deserve as much respect as character-driven novels, particularly when it comes to appealing to boys. He recalls his youthful enthusiasm for The Hardy Boys series which eventually lead him to read Ian Fleming and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “Give a character, male or female, a good strong motivation for getting off his butt and doing something and I'm there.”

Gavin Fritz, an eighth-grade student, gives a book about five to ten pages before deciding to continue. If he’s not drawn in by a relatable character, a compelling idea, or fast-paced action, he moves on, one of the reasons he prefers reading series to single titles. For Gavin, a series provides a level of reassurance that if he likes the initial book, he’ll have sequels he can count on enjoying in the future.

Joshua Balan, a home-schooled seventh grader, couldn’t agree more. He’s an avid reader who frequently purchases audio books so that he can, “play my video games and follow a (favorite) book series at the same time.”

In the context of his multitasking generation, his actions make perfect sense. Why wouldn’t he listen to a novel while IM chatting with internet videogame teammates, tweeting, Skyping, and checking his iPhone for texts? It’s certainly a consideration when looking at audio book production, distribution, promotion, and usage.

Literature Club Notebooks
Stafford Middle School librarian, Russell Puschak, observes that boys tend to gravitate towards topical nonfiction works as often as they do fiction. Many are information driven readers when the subject interests them, such as cars, wars, technology, sports, science…. the topics are as unique and as varied as the individuals who read them. Good news in the wake of new Common Core Standards that emphasize the need for more nonfiction.

Gross-out books, human interest stories, and sports pieces are perennial favorites for boys in instructor Jeanne Damone’s fifth grade classroom in Canajoharie, New York. The books are highly sought after and to the victor goes a prized spot on her orange “reading spot” couch where the other boys huddle, laugh, and discuss.

But don’t count out female protagonist driven stories either, Jeanne contends. Her male students rave about class read, Sahara Special by Esme Raji Codell. They identify with its main character, Sahara Jones, regardless of her gender, because she is funny, relatable, and as prone to mistakes and trouble as they.

Ellen Hopkins, bestselling, award-winning author of YA verse novels such as Burned, Crank and Identical, would agree with Jeanne’s assessment that gender is not a major factor in creating protagonists that appeal to boys, a fact proven by her loyal male fan base.

She says, “I think boys like my books for the same reason my girl readers like them. I respect my readers enough to write honestly--the absolute truth as I see it. I don't sugarcoat the issues or tie everything up in a nice, neat bow. The characters I write read 'real,' and because I don't rely on extraneous language or descriptions, readers are drawn into the story. If I were to give advice to a writer wanting to reach a boy audience, it would be not to hold back. To write the absolute truth, even within fiction. To create multi-layered characters and relationships that matter, because that's what we're all looking for, isn't it?”

Fans of Ellen Hopkins
Cody Fulmer, a high school junior and aspiring YA novelist, seeks out authentic books written by authors such as Ellen and John Green. “I like (characters) to be a bit…mature. I like when we can hear everything that runs through the character’s mind – whether they are thinking appropriately or not. It adds a sense of humor to the book. Censorship in a piece, to me, doesn’t make it realistic. I think the YA author would really have to get into the mind of a modern day teenager to have that accurate description. If you can’t get directly into the mind of a teenage boy – you probably won’t sell well to that demographic.”

Debut YA author Scott Blagden wrote Dear Life, You Suck (Harcourt, March 2013) with those factors in mind. “To me, the most important aspect of writing stories for teen boys is voice,” he says. “The voice has to be authentic. No teen boy wants to listen to some out-of-touch adult pretending to speak their language. It’s obvious and it’s hypocritical and kids hate it. All kids, not just boys. Teen boy voice is often (not always) profane, sarcastic, angry, ridiculing, defensive, judgmental, gross, inappropriate, and over the top. Even if the reader doesn’t talk that way, they love to read about snarky characters who do. Especially if it’s done in a funny way.”

Gender generalizations are perilous at best. While boys’ tastes are as eclectic and varied as they are, one universal truth holds true. They seek authors who speak to them through relatable characters, meaningful action, and authenticity.

It’s time to get those fingers tapping; you’ve got a conversation to start!

Cynsational Notes

More on Karen Rock
In a quest to provide her eighth grade students with quality reading material, English teacher Karen Rock read everything out there and couldn’t wait to add her voice to the conversation of books.

Now a debut YA series author, Karen is thrilled to pen stories that teens can relate to. When she’s not busy reading and writing, Karen is downloading live versions of favorite songs, watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" marathons, obsessing over reality TV contestants (Adam Lambert you were robbed!), cooking her family’s delizioso Italian recipes, and occasionally rescuing local wildlife from neighborhood cats.

She lives in the Adirondack Mountain region with her husband, her very appreciated beta-reader daughter and two King Charles Cavalier Cocker Spaniels who have yet to understand the concept of “fetch,” though they’ve managed to teach her the trick!

Check out her website, her co-author website, her Facebook page, and follow her on twitter @karenrock5.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Trailer: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Compiled by Cynthia Leitich Smith
for Cynsations

Check out the book trailer for Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen, 2012). From the promotional copy:

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. 

Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. 

But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

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