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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: sneak peek, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 78
1. JUNE UPDATE!

COMIX! I'm on sabbatical for the year.  While I will be making various appearances in Europe and beyond, mostly I'll be spending time at the home base in Paris, France drawing and doodling.   You can check out my experiments over at Universal U-Click for a comic-strip-doodle-thingie called PARIS DOODLES . The strip runs drawings, dining room dinner doodles, and photos on weekdays.

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2. The Door by Andy Marino

The Door by Andy Marino book cover

The Door (for ages 8-12)

For all you fantasy fans, The Door is an intriguing new book that you have to check out!

Have you seen a mysterious door and wondered where it leads? When Hannah’s mom is killed, Hannah starts to explore the lighthouse where they live . . . and one door leads to unexpected places. Hannah finds herself in an alternate world, but before she can get out, she has to find her family, too.

Sound like a door you want to open? Click here to read Chapter 1.

Let us know in the Comments what some of your other favorite fantasy books are.

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3. The Door by Andy Marino

The Door by Andy Marino book cover

The Door (for ages 8-12)

For all you fantasy fans, The Door is an intriguing new book that you have to check out!

Have you seen a mysterious door and wondered where it leads? When Hannah’s mom is killed, Hannah starts to explore the lighthouse where they live . . . and one door leads to unexpected places. Hannah finds herself in an alternate world, but before she can get out, she has to find her family, too.

Sound like a door you want to open? Click here to read Chapter 1.

Let us know in the Comments what some of your other favorite fantasy books are.

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4. Grimmtastic Girls Little Red Riding Hood

Grimmtastic Girls book cover

Red Riding Hood Gets Lost

Tomorrow are the auditions for the school play at Grimm Academy, and I can’t wait to try out! I want to play the lead, Red Robin Hood. But it’s my first time auditioning and I’ve got stage fright! How grimmiserable!

It doesn’t help that my friends and I are all worried about the E.V.I.L. Society that’s making trouble at the Academy. If only I had a magical charm to help us figure out what’s going on – and maybe help me get the lead in the play!

Any suggestions to help me get over my stage fright? I’m so glad I have my grimmtastic friends Cinda, Snow, and Rapunzel to help me out. I know I can always count on them!

Love,
Red

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5. The Finisher Sneak Peek

The Finisher book cover

The Finisher (for ages 10-14) by David Baldacci

You know when you read the first sentence of a book, and you just KNOW it’s going to be good? I recently had that experience with a new book called The Finisher by David Baldacci. It’s a fantasy that takes place in a world where things are very wrong, and one girl must think fast and defy the odds to do what’s right.

Here is the first sentence that hooked me . . .

I was dozing when I heard the scream.

Read a sneak peek of the first 2 chapters.

Let me know what you think in the Comments. Are you going to keep reading this book?

image from kids.scholastic.com— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

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6. Whatever After: Bad Hair Day

JKT_9780545627283.indd

Bad Hair Day Cover Reveal

Last year, STACKS readers voted to select the title of the 5th book in the Whatever After series. In this book, Abby travels through the magic mirror into the Rapunzel story, and the winning title is Bad Hair Day. Want to see what the title will look like on the book? Check out the cover!

JKT_9780545627283.indd

What do you think? Whatever After #5: Bad Hair Day will be available on April 29!

Tell us in the Comments which Whatever After cover is your favorite. Visit the Whatever After site

 to see them all.

Thanks to all of you who voted!

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7. Too busy drawing to feed the hungry blog...



I've been too busy drawing to feed the hungry blog.  But here is a sneak peek sketch from a new book that showed up last week. This is a book with lots of fun characters. This is nice since it seems lately I've just being doing books about animals.

Lately I have done 2 cat books, 1 gator book, 2 worm books, 2 mice books, 1 pig book and a panda book. But people are endlessly fascinating and I like to draw them.

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8. DON'T PIGEONHOLE ME!

Great excitement here at Knuffle Manor as our preview copy of DON'T PIGEONHOLE ME! TWO DECADES OF THE MO WILLEMS SKETCHBOOK has arrived! The project is a labor of love, compliling 20 editions of my annual sketchbooks that I've sent to clients and pals every year over the holidays. Some of the sketchbooks are collections of gag cartoons, some are stories, some are funny, some are serious, some

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9. Emblaze by Jessica Shirvington Tour-Special Short Story PLUS Giveaway

 
Violet Eden is back in the newest volume of the Embrace series! If you love angels and paranormal romance, you need to get your hands on this series! Violet is a great character and I can't help but like her and want to read more about her. And Lincoln-he's just awesome! With kickbutt characters and lots of action, you don't want to miss out on this series.
 
I have a special short story in honor of Emblaze-the book releases on March 19th so hopefully this will hold you over until the release date. :) I also have a chance to win a copy of Emblaze for one lucky reader thanks to Sourcebooks Fire.
 
 CLAUDIA – FAMILY TIES BY JESSICA SHIRVINGTON

My feet tangled beneath me and I stumbled forwards, almost taking a full-on nosedive.
I couldn’t believe it!
I found my balance, hitched my backpack up and powered on.
I was going to be late, again, and Giuseppe was going to kill me.
No, worse, he was going to fire me.
Last time was ‘the last time!’ he’d said, shaking his finger at me, blowing the greying curls that fall over his eyes.
But I needed that job. I needed all of my jobs. So I kept running, knowing that by the time I arrived at the Pizzeria I’d be disgusting and sweaty, and in-desperate-need-of-deodorant. Plus, I was still in my Hades wait-staff uniform, another thing that never went down well. Working a full cycle of shifts at Hades and the opposite at Giuseppe’s had me slogging from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. seven days a week and constantly running from one side of the city to the other in the 30-minute-between-shifts gap.
I rounded the corner, almost there.
Giuseppe would forgive me. And if he started yelling, I’d just cry. That always worked. He was a tyrant, but the man couldn’t handle tears.
I pulled up short of the restaurant when I heard an all-too familiar whistle. Panting, I looked around until I spotted him. The second I saw my brother, Sean, my stomach churned. Something was wrong.
What now?
What more could possibly go wrong?
As if our lives didn’t suck enough already.
He was hidden beneath the shadow of a sunken doorway across the street. I put my hands on my hips and waited. If he wanted to talk to me he could damn well cross the road.
I could just about feel one of his heavy sighs from over the street. He was only three years older than me, but he’d assumed the man-of-the-house role a while back and since then he acted as if he was twenty-two going on fifty.
“Real discreet, Claudia,” he said harshly, pulling me by the arm to the side of the pavement. He was wearing his street clothes, which meant he hadn’t been working one of his legit jobs today. I tried not to notice.
“Sean, whatever it is, I don’t have time. I’m late for work again. Giuseppe will give my job to one of his five million cousins if I don’t hurry up.”
His expression softened. I wasn’t the only one who worked constantly. There was a time when all Sean did was chase his med degree and chase girls. He was so different back then, but those days were well and truly gone. Everyone thought he’d have this amazing future, become some kind of medical savior. I guess in a way he had – just not the way he’d thought he would, and not the way that guaranteed any kind of bright future either. Sean was our family’s savior. After what Dad did … Sean kept us all going, kept us together and safe. He looked over his shoulder. He was scared.
More than usual.
I grabbed hold of his clammy hand. “What is it?”
He shook his head, more to himself than me. “We have to go, Claude’s. We have to pack up and leave.”
“But, but … we need more time! We don’t have the money yet!”
“Shh,” he snapped, his eyes urgent as he looked up and down the street. “I have it. I pulled in a favor. Claudia, we have to finish this. We’ll give them the money after your shift tonight and then we’re out of here. All of us.”
“Why? I mean, if you have the money, wasn’t that the whole point? If we give it to them won’t they leave us alone? This is supposed to be the final payment.” We’d worked so hard for the last year. It had all been leading to this. Every single cent we’d made had gone to them.
 “They’ll never leave us alone, Claudia. I … I don’t know what they are but they know things … and they can do things that normal people can’t. I … I saw one of them this afternoon …” he paled and grabbed me by the shoulders as if to steady himself. “I can’t even tell you, it was so horrible. I just know we have to go. We have to get Taylor and Mum away from this place.”
I knew he was right. Deep down, I’d always known the men who Dad had been mixed up with before he died were not normal. I don’t know how, instinct I guess. Sean had always known too, even if we hadn’t wanted to admit it to one another. It was why we’d being working so hard to pay off Dad’s debt. Whatever gambling mess he’d gotten himself into, it had ended up costing a lot more than simple interest. I knew I wasn’t the only one in my family who suspected his death wasn’t just a simple car accident. Sean and I had never told Mum about what his body looked like when we’d gone to identify him. We never would.
I nodded.
“I can ask for my pay tonight. Here,” I fumbled in my bag, pulling out my wallet. “I have my pay from Hades, too.”
Sean sighed with relief as he took the money. My contribution was important, but Sean was the one who brought in the big bucks. He’d given up everything and I knew he couldn’t be doing anything good to bring in the kind of money he was. I wished I could hate my father for it. But he was a victim too.
“I’m going to get us away from all this, Claudia. We’ll go somewhere else and start fresh. We’ll get Taylor into a good school. You’ll be able to go back to art school. Everything will be better.”
I looked toward the pizza restaurant. I could hear Giuseppe’s booming voice. “I better go.” I threw my arms around my brother and he hugged me back briefly.
“I have to go organize a few things. Stay in the restaurant until I get back. Then we’ll go give them the money and we’re gone.”
I bit my lip nervously, but nodded. “Be careful, Sean.”
He mustered a small smile. “Don’t tell anyone, okay. We have to just disappear.”
He was looking around again, pulling his hoodie over his head. Whatever he’d seen had more than frightened him.
“I know. I won’t.”
* * *
I watched the clock on the wall. Giuseppe yelled at me for twelve minutes, which was a long time even for him. I tried to turn on the waterworks but they didn’t come. I don’t know if it was because I was too petrified something might go wrong with Sean’s plan or if I was too excited about the prospect of finally being free of Dad’s unfortunate legacy.
Sean had known about Dad’s gambling when he was alive. Apparently a few weeks before the accident Dad had broken down and told him he was in trouble – that the people he owed money to were dangerous and would come after him. Sean had dropped out of university and started his first shift at a bar that night. I remember yelling at him the next day – not knowing why he’d done it – calling him a deadbeat loser.
I went through the motions. Collecting dirty plates, loading them up on my already tired arms. At least working here, the customers didn’t get too drunk or handsy. Some nights after a shift at Hades my overly pinched ass was the sorest part of all. Here, I just had to put up with being yelled at by Giuseppe and Mario and Antonio and, well, there were a lot of them, for six hours. At least this would be my last six hours of that.
I took a deep breath while making my way to the next table, topping up their wine. Everything was about to change. If Sean and I could just pull this off, if we could get Mom and Taylor packed up tonight, by tomorrow … by tomorrow we could be starting our new life. I could get another job and actually use the money for something I wanted. I knew the first thing I’d buy – after a haircut. Paint.
“Pizza, Claudia!” Mario yelled at me, from behind the wood-fired oven.
I collected the three scorching hot pizzas, which meant one was, resting against my wrist, but I was used to it. I’d been working there for over a year, my arms had burn scars that I was sure would never go away. I delivered the pizzas and noticed new customers seated in the dinky corner. We were obviously full – it was always the last table to go.
I headed over, recognizing one of the diners. Violet Eden and I had gone to the same school, but I’d been ahead of her and apart from the one community art course, we rarely crossed paths. But now this was twice in a few weeks. Weird how that can happen – as if someone is suddenly supposed to be in your life for some reason.
She was looking at me, panic drawn all over her face. Last time I saw her she was at Hades with some hottie, getting drunk on the sly. Nothing I hadn’t done a couple of years back – half her luck. Anyway, she’d forgotten my name. It’s so easy to tell when people do that – maybe because it happened to me all the time, all they see is my bright red hair. Taking those last few steps. I twisted a little so my name badge would be in her line of sight and as I stopped in front of her table I flicked my hair back giving her full view. I could tell the moment her eyes latched on to the golden nametag by the relief flooding her features.
“Hey, Violet,” I said.
“Hey, Claudia. So this is the other place you work at,” Violet said, recalling our last conversation. At least she’d remembered that.
“Yeah, unfortunately.” I smiled but something about her was off. She was tense, sitting high in her chair, holding the menu with an almost desperate grip. I thought she looked a little frightened. I leaned towards her, about to ask if she was okay, before stopping myself. I barely knew her, and I was about to know her a whole lot less once this city was in our rearview mirror. So instead, I decided on something more neutral. “Shitty tips and crap boss, but it works,” I said with a shrug, using the movement to step back a little.
Violet smiled awkwardly, looking between her dinner partner and me. I looked at him for the first time and almost fainted right there.
“Claudia, this is Phoenix,” she said, kind of leaving things there, up in the air. I wasn’t much help. I was speechless. He was beautiful. I mean, not hottie like – he was utterly, earth-shatteringly and painfully beautiful.
Did people like this actually exist?
He had this presence around him, some kind of humming vibration coming off him and I … Oh. My. God. I just wanted to dive in, lose myself in it.
He didn’t even look at me but it didn’t matter. I felt as if he knew exactly what I was thinking. I stared. I wasn’t usually brazen with guys and especially not ones who looked like that … but I couldn’t look away, couldn’t bear to take my eyes from him, even if all he was doing was staring at his menu, completely disinterested in me.
“Pleasure,” he said, now looking over his menu to Violet.
But when he spoke something happened; a feeling foreign but not, came over me as if it wasn’t mine but had being molded from me somehow. A sureness … that Sean had been right. We needed to leave this city, get as far away from here as possible. Strangest of all, I knew the light-bulb moment had something to do with the guy sitting at the table, Phoenix.
I swayed, overwhelmed, and had to brace a hand on their table.
Violet was watching me strangely. Fair enough, I was macking on her dinner date. How did she suddenly have all these adorable guys around her?
“Hi,” I said, trying to recover, looking at Phoenix. “Can I take your order?”
Violet cleared her throat. “I’ll have the Diavola pizza, thanks.”
I saw Phoenix smirk. He was looking at her so intently. She had her eyes cast down, avoiding his. I almost reached out and slapped her. It wasn’t just that I’d been unlucky in love with a string of guys that fit into the live-and-learn category of life, it was that with everything my life had – or rather had not – turned into, to have one person look at me the way he was looking at her just for one moment. I couldn’t imagine a more heavenly thing.
Phoenix glanced my way briefly. “The same, and a glass of the Cabernet,” he said dismissively.
I nodded, writing it down, trying to process the overpowering influx of emotion I was experiencing. Yet again, I was so sure all of a sudden that I had to leave – had to get away.
I staggered away from the table, desperately needing to get away from them, but half wanting to grab a hold of Phoenix and beg him to take me away. But with each step my mind seemed to clear. I had no idea what was going on, but the feelings that had started to stir when I’d been near that guy stayed. The weirdest thing of all was that, I felt as if Phoenix had been trying to help me. I shook my head at myself. Crazy. He didn’t even know me.
I went to the bathroom to pull myself together. Whatever had just happened, it didn’t matter. We were leaving. Everything would be okay. I splashed water on my face and reloaded the toilet-paper holders before heading back out to the busy restaurant, grabbing empty glasses from tables as I passed. That was Giuseppe’s rule, ‘never waste a walk anywhere; you go to the kitchen, bring something with you! You leave the kitchen, you take something out!’
“Pizza! Claudia!” Mario yelled. I grabbed the pizzas and got back to my tables, avoiding Violet and her friend. When I spotted Giuseppe I even got up the gall to ask him for my pay at the end of the shift.
He spat out a string of words in Italian and marched off. I smiled. For Giuseppe, that meant yes. I actually felt bad that I would have to leave without saying goodbye. Maybe Sean would let me write Giuseppe a letter once we were settled.
“Pizza! Claudia!” Mario yelled, again from behind the wood-fired oven. I made my way over to the two waiting Diavola’s. Violet’s order.
I dropped the dishes on their table quickly, trying not to look at Phoenix. Now that I’d managed to get my head straight, I didn’t want to risk it all muddling up again – and I didn’t want to do something stupid like throw myself at him right in front of Violet. For some reason I couldn’t trust myself around that guy so I concentrated on my other tables, hoping that I might be able to make some extra tips.
When the peak-time slam settled down, I offered to go out back and start on clean up. It was usually the job everyone avoided, but I wanted to do something nice for Giuseppe and it meant I could daydream about where Sean and I would take the family.
Taylor would be so excited. She hated her school. We’d had to move her into a public school six months ago because we couldn’t cover the private tuition fees. She didn’t complain but the new school didn’t have a music department and I’d heard her crying every night for the first few weeks. Taylor had an amazing voice – I’d never heard an eight-year-old like her. And she loved choir. There was something about her – she was good. Sean and I both knew it – of all of us Taylor was the best. She would do something amazing with her life. Make a difference. And Sean and I would do anything to protect her so she could.
I started wiping down the prep benches and putting away ingredients in the cool room. I wouldn’t care if I never ate a pizza again in my whole life. Pizza and the occasional pick up from the kitchen at Hades had been the basis of all our family meals for the past year. There is only so much pepperoni one person can take.
I hummed to myself as I worked. This was it. Everything would be better once we were gone. We’d done the best we could, paid off Dad’s debt and now it was time to get on with our lives. Maybe Sean would go back to med school. Maybe Mum would be happy again and let go of some of her guilt. I think she knew what Sean and I had to do to keep us safe – she just couldn’t bear to talk to us about it. Mum was an Irish woman and her pride had been stripped away, but with this new start …
I tied the rubbish bags and used my back to push open the alley door that led out to the bins. Caught up in the disgustingness of my shoes sticking to the dirty ground, I didn’t even look behind me and backed right into what felt like a brick wall. A very human-shaped brick wall, that is.
I dropped the rubbish and tried to spin around, but I barely made any progress before an arm closed around my neck and started dragging me into the darkness of the alley while I gasped, watching the kitchen door slam shut.
Beyond the sounds of my scuffling feet and strangled whimpers I could hear the noises of the world around me – the traffic, the hustle, the buzz of distant voices in the air. But they were so far away. Already I feared I would never again be a part of those noises coming from the end of the alley – the sounds of life.
I screamed, struggling to get away from the person dragging me into the darkness. But he was so strong, it barely seemed an effort for him to counter my attempts until, all of a sudden, he dropped his hold on me so fast I fell to the ground. Too sacred to look around and face my captor, I scrambled on hands and knees, my sights fixed on the kitchen door. If I could just get inside …
But he grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled so hard the fabric ripped apart.
I heard a growl. I froze. Whatever feral noise that was, it was not anything human. Did he have an animal with him? Before I could stop myself I spun around in a crouch to see him and terror I’d never believed existed encased me.
He was incredibly tall and eerily thin, except for his shoulders which seemed to be twice the width of him. He sneered at me wickedly, as if enjoying my fear and ran an eager hand through his bright white hair that stood out like a beacon on his otherwise black outfit.
“You should not have tried to leave. You belong to us.”
Oh God, help me!
I desperately looked down the end of the alley.
“No, no,” I stammered. “We … we have your money. My brother will be here any second. We have all of your money!”
He watched me with hungry eyes that had me trying to shuffle back.
“Your brother needs to be taught a lesson. You’re it.”
He was going to kill me. Sean would come to get me in an hour and he’d find me dead. I didn’t want to die.
“Please!” I panted between fear-filled gulps. “Please, we’ll do anything. We’ll get you more money.”
“Should’ve thought of that before.” He shrugged. “But they don’t send me to negotiate,” he growled.
I backed up until I hit the wall, sobbing and let out a final scream.
The man moved fast, inhumanly fast, grabbing me by the hair, pulling me to my feet.
All I could think about was Taylor. I prayed that she would at least go on. That Sean would find a way to keep her safe – I knew he would.
The tall blond winked as his hand moved back. He was going to beat me to death and by the look in his eyes – he was planning to take his time.
But just before his hand should have collided with my face, he stopped, his arm dropping and his attention drawn to the end of the alley.
I strained under his tight grip to see what he was looking at. Someone was walking towards us.
I started to scream again, a high-pitched desperate holler for life.
The man yanked me savagely, twisting me so my back was to him and his arm, once again, was around my neck.
When the person coming down the alley was only meters away I saw who it was.
Phoenix.
Violet’s friend.
But he looked different. Stone faced his cold eyes were fixed on the man holding me. Suddenly, I didn’t know if things had just improved for me or not.
‘This is not your business,” the man holding me said menacingly.
Phoenix shrugged like he didn’t have a care in the world. He didn’t look frightened at all. “Just made it mine, Cherub,” he said the last word with venom.
“She’s our property,” the man snarled.
Phoenix didn’t respond. I wondered if he was considering just walking away. If he did, I was dead.
Footsteps pounded down the ally and another figure came into view.
“Violet!” I screamed before I could think. “VIOLET! HELP ME!”
The man yanked my head back, his grasp on my neck tightening while his other hand clamped down over my mouth.
I kept my desperate eyes on Violet.
Oh God. I’d just brought her into all of this. What had I done? She couldn’t help me, how could she? She was just a girl, younger than me. She was watching on, petrified. If I had another chance I’d yell at her to run.
Phoenix whispered something harshly at her but then he turned back to us, a different type of resolve now on his face as he positioned himself between Violet and us.
“Release her,” he said, his voice quietly rebounding off the alley walls threateningly.
I felt the man back up half a step and he did something to me. It felt as if thick syrup was poured over my body, inside and out, covering all of me and then hardening, like glass. Impenetrable glass. And I was locked within.
He threw me down, my head smacking into the concrete and looked at me with absolute hatred as he commanded, “Kneel before me.”
I couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to kneel for him even though deep down I was still there, was still petrified, he owned me. I had to do as he commanded.
I crawled to his feet, blood dripping from my head onto my hands and I knelt.
“Beg me to take your life,” he spat at me.
My mind fought feebly. Sean was supposed to come for me. Was this the price I would pay for dreaming? Would this be the price Sean would pay, too? My heart pounded with fear as the tall man’s image morphed into something terrifyingly creature-like. I considered I might already be dead and in some kind of hell. Either way, I was in absolutely no doubt, I must do as I was told.
“Kill me. P-p-please,” I stuttered, tears streaming down my face.
“No! Let her go!” I heard Violet scream. But it was all too far away now. “Claudia! Claudia, run!” She may as well have suggested I fly. Did she not see the terrible things surrounding me?
The man pulled me up, spinning me to face Violet and Phoenix and put a hand flat on either side of my face, holding me still.
“If you want her, come and get her,” he challenged, adding another word at the end I did not know; “Grigori.”
He lifted me into the air, holding me out toward them.
Pain registered distantly. People were not supposed to be held mid air by their heads, but I just dangled, completely disconnected, locked away in my glass prison.
I knew what he was going to do. As if he had somehow whispered it tauntingly in my ear.
Violet launched herself toward me, panic-stricken but brave, eyes on mine, arms outstretched. She knew too.
And then, I saw Phoenix. As if he’d somehow forced me to look in his direction and instantly … everything, all the pain, the fear, even the feelings of entrapment vanished. I was me and I was not afraid.
I was at peace.
 
Want to win a copy of Emblaze?
 
-Open to US Addresses only
-Ages13+
-One entry per person
-Contest ends Feb. 21 2013
 
 
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10. A Busload of Pigeon Books!

This April will be the 10th Anniversary of the publication of DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! and to celebrate this spring Hyperion is publishing collection of 3 Pigeon books (DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!, THE PIGEON FINDS A HOTDOG!, & DON'T LET THE PIGEON STAY UP LATE!) in a collection entitled IT'S A BUSLOAD OF PIGEON BOOKS! I just received my preview copy and I'm really excited!

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11. I'M OFF! (see ya in NYC)

I'm heading to NYC for work and to see old pals. Tomorrow night I'll be awarding old pal Chris Cerf with a Carle Honor at a swanky party for the Eric Carle Museum. Friday, I'll be at Books of Wonder reading from a sneak peek copies of Elephant and Piggie's soon to be published LET'S GO FOR A DRIVE! in addition to GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE DINOSAURS. Elephant and

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12. Infinity Ring Sneak Peek

InfinityRingINFINITY RING

Hello, readers! I'm Nick Eliopulos, editor of the new series Infinity Ring which launches on August 28th. Infinity Ring is a fun, action-packed time-travel adventure. But when I think about Infinity Ring, the first thing that pops into my head is ice cream.

That might sound weird. But let me explain. When I was a kid, ice cream didn’t come in as many flavors as it comes in today. But I still had a difficult decision to make every time my mom and dad took me out for a cone: Chocolate or vanilla? Having to choose just one was almost enough to break my little heart. Fortunately for me, I found a way to beat the system. If I ordered vanilla and my brother ordered chocolate, well, then we could share. Problem solved . . . deliciously.

InfinityRing1Infinity Ring is a little bit like that. What do you do for fun? Do you like to read a book, or do you like to play a video game? If your answer is BOTH, then Infinity Ring is for you. Seven books. Seven game episodes. All set in a different time and place as three kids bounce around history trying to fix the Great Breaks -- moments when history as we know it went completely wrong.

You can read about what happens when they go to 1492 Spain to save Christopher Columbus from being thrown overboard right off the Santa Maria and into the Atlantic Ocean. Then you can log on to the game online (or on your mobile device!) to walk around 1792 Paris, solve puzzles, and figure out how to steal the Hope Diamond before the bad guys do.

The cherry on top is James Dashner, the unbelievably cool author of the Maze Runner series (for ages 12 and up) and the 13th Reality series. Working with James has been a dream come true. As the mastermind of the entire Infinity Ring storyline, he came up with a long list of all the fun ways history could go wrong. (Just wait until you see what he has planned for poor Alexander the Great.)

You don’t have to take my word for any of this. You can get a sneak peek right now. Watch the video. Read the first chapter of A Mutiny in Time. Explore the streets of Paris during the French Revolution. If you check it out now, you’ll earn a special medal that is available only to those who check out the site before August 28th.

I’m going to log on to get that medal for myself. But first I’m going to have some ice cream. Ever since I discovered Neapolitan, I just can’t get enough.

--Nick, Scholastic Editor

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13. Thanks to you (E+P style)...

Elephant and Piggie's WE ARE IN A BOOK! spends another week on the New York Times Bestseller list at #4!  Thanks, you! Speaking of Elephant and Piggie, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette likes LISTEN TO MY TRUMPET! An Elephant and Piggie reminder: in October their newest adventure, LET'S GO FOR A DRIVE!, will be published. I hope you enjoy it (there are lots of Pigeons to spot in this one)!

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14. Thanks to you!

There's nothing like taking a break and coming back to great news like this:  Thanks to you, last week THE DUCKLIING GETS A COOKIE!? spent it's 16th week in a row on the New York Times Bestseller List at #8.   But, just in case it felt lonely, Elephant and Piggie joined it with their adventure WE ARE IN A BOOK! at #4! YOWZER! Many thanks and excitement all around. Speaking of

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15. THANKS TO YOU & BEA recap

Thanks to you THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE?! spends its 9th week on the New York Times Bestseller List at #6!  Thanks you! I also got a chance to thank some of you in person last week at Book Expo America in NYC.  I had a good, although very busy, time.  It was nice to see various librarians, booksellers, editors, agents, & blogger pals in addition to catching up with the likes of Jon

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16. Sound Bender Sneak Peek

SoundbenderDo you love stories with fast-paced action, trips to remote islands in the Pacific Ocean, and sound bending? "Wait. What's sound bending?" you ask. It's an amazing ability where you can hear the history of an object just by touching it. When Leo turns 13, he finds out that he has this ability. As Leo touches an unusual helmet among his uncle's valuable artifacts, he hears odd noises and realizes he must find out the story of this mysterious helmet.

Intrigued? Read the first chapter of Sound Bender by Lin Oliver and Theo Baker.

If you could hear the history of one object in your house or school, what would you pick? Tell us in the Comments!

—Vanessa, Scholastic Staffer

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17. Behind the Scene - cover shoot sneak peeks!

In the Home Stretch


Okay so I am almost there - only 3 weeks until the launch! Can you believe it?

I got over the hump this weekend. My copy edits are done and my cover is done (yay!) Now, my hubby and I are just working on formatting which is a pain in the arse. Ugh! I'm moving through all the interviews as they are scheduled.  Reviews are starting to come in and they are very positive. I'm so thankful for all the support I'm getting.

Nerves are starting to build and doubts are starting to set in - especially when I'm tired. What if they don't like it? What if I'm not good enough? What if I fail? Will people get the book? Will people support me? Will my book stand out in the thousands of books out there?

I push those down and keep pushing forward but it's hard. Because when you are traditionally published - you have agents, and marketing teams, and editors that love your work. At the end of the day, right now, it's just me.

Now I need to start planning my online launch party - which will have tons of prizes, gifts, and surprises. I'm going to do a chat too. Maybe on my process, book and marketing. I'm scheduling a few different times so everyone can come and I'll let you know more then.

Tomorrow, I will publish the "OFFICIAL Untraceable Blog Tour" which kicks off next week! My tour guides rock!

Behind The Scenes Sneak Peeks

Big cover reveal on Friday! Yikes! I love it Vania did an awesome job and found the PERFECT model. She. Is. Grace.

Starting this afternoon, stay tuned to Novel Novice's blog and Vania's blog this week - they are doing a big expose, showing different cover shots for Untraceable with the REAL ONE popping up on Friday. You can also follow them on Twitter: Vania and Novel Novice.

I'm about to pee in my pants with excitement. I. Can't. Wait. for you all to see it. EEEEPS!

I'll be sharing a few EXCLUSIVE 'behind the scene' photos from the shoot all week long.....

This is exactly who Grace is to me.
Vania at work


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18. Tomorrow Girls

Tomorrowgirls4If you were sent away to a secret school, what's the one thing you would bring with you? And then, what would you do if they took it away?image from rights.scholastic.com

In the Tomorrow Girls series by Eva Gray, four thirteen-year-old girls meet at a top-secret school, and though they’ve been sent there for their own safety, they quickly realize that their school is not what they think it is. In this terrifying future world where America’s at war and everything is chaotic, they must rely on each other to survive.

There are now four books in the Tomorrow Girls series. Check out the first chapter of Book One: Behind the Gates, and let us know what you think in the Comments!

—Vanessa, Scholastic Staffer

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19. 2012 Sneak Peek

It’s sneak peek time!
 The ALA Midwinter conference was in my backyard this weekend (so fun!) and I was there for the awards announcement yesterday morning. There were a few poetry titles scattered amongst the prizes: Thanhha Lai’s National Book Award winning Inside Out and Back Again received a Newbery honor, the Coretta Scott King Author Award included honor books The Great Migration by Eloise Greenfield and Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack, and the Pura Belpre Award went to Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, with honors to Margarita Engle for Hurricane Dancers. (Interesting that multicultural poetry is getting such recognition—so worthy!)

I also had the opportunity to chat with the publishers, peruse new books, pore over catalogs, attend previews, and gather my annual “sneak peek” list of the poetry titles that are scheduled to be published in 2012. Of course this is subject to change with additional titles possible as the year rolls along.

Please let me know of any others I can add. I’ll be coming back to this posting throughout the year and adding titles, hoping to offer a one-stop spot here for referencing a 2012 list of poetry for kids throughout the year (and beyond). Meanwhile, I am THRILLED to share 50+ titles of poetry for young people (including novels in verse) coming soon…


1. Argueta, Jorge. 2012. Guacamole; Un poema para cocinar/ A Cooking Poem. Ill. by Margarita Sada. Groundwood.
2. Calhoun, Dia. 2012. Eva of the Farm. Atheneum.
3. Coombs, Kate. 2012. Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems. Ill. by Meilo So. Chronicle.
4. Corcoran, Jill. Ed. 2012. Dare to Dream… Change the World. Kane Miller.
5. Curtis, Tony. 2012. An Elephant Called Rex and A Dog Called Dumbo.
6. Cushman, Doug. 2012. Pigmares. Charlesbridge.
7. Engle, Margarita. 2012. The Wild Book. Houghton Mifflin.
8. Farish, Terry. 2012. The Good Braider: A Novel. Marshall Cavendish.
9. Farrar, Sid. 2012. The Year Comes Round: Haiku Through the Seasons. Ill. by Ilse Plume. Whitman.
10. Florian, Douglas. 2012. Poem Runs; Baseball Poems and Paintings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
11. Florian, Douglas. 2012. Unbeelievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. Beach Lane.
12. Franco, Betsy. 2012. Double Play. Tricycle/Random House.
13. Frost, Helen. 2012. Step Gently Out. Ill. by Rick Lieder. Candlewick.
14. Grady, Cynthia. 2012. I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery. Ill. by Michele Wood. Eerdmans.
15. Harrison, David. 2012. Cowboys. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
16. Heard, Georgia. Ed. 2012. The Arrow Find

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20. Starting an Elephant & Piggie (and CYBILS finalist)

When I start working out an Elephant and Piggie story I take all of my sketches, notes, and pagination charts from my notebook and transfer the story into very rough drawings on small pieces of drawing paper. This serves as a pitch for the story and a guide for the rhythm of the story.  It's so rough that it's easy to cut out, repose, or otherwise alter every beat quickly while still

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21. Storm Runners Sneak Peek!

StormrunnersAction! Adventure! Survival!

In Book #1 of the Storm Runners series by Roland Smith, Chase and his friends Nicole and Rashawn have just survived Hurricane Emily, the storm of the century, but in Book #2: The Surge, their troubles are just beginning. If you love action and adventure, you won't want to miss this sequel.

Although they've made it to the safety of Nicole's family's farm -- the winter home of the Rossi Brothers' Circus -- the floodwaters are rising and they need to reach higher ground. The circus's lions have escaped their cages, and a dangerous and unpredictable leopard is also on the loose. Have Chase and his friends lived through a terrifying night only to face a new disaster? Read the first chapter of Book #2: The Surge.

AND . . .  Book #3: Eruption is coming out on March 1. Read a Sneak Peek!

Leave a Comment to tell us what you think. Personally, I am very happy to be safe and dry!

image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

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22. Look what just came into the studio:

My advance copy of THE DUCKLING GETS A COOKIE!? It's always a big thrill to see the finished product a year after completion of the book.  It's like an old friend unexpectedly showing up for dinner. I hope you enjoy the Pigeon's latest adventure when it comes out next month!

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23. Fear Sneak Peek and Gone Kindle Ebook Giveaway!

Exciting news! Michael Grant has recorded 3 extra special videos, each of which reveals a secret about FEAR: A GONE NOVEL.

HarperTeen is having a contest: to get one of the videos exclusively for this blog I need your help.

Please visit this link: http://bit.ly/GSQMLN to see the sneak peek of Fear: A Gone Novel. That's it!  Just visit the link!

Despite the hunger, despite the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new existence they've built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear. 

As a thank you I have a Kindle copy of Book #1 in the Gone series for one lucky winner!  So if you have not yet started this series now is your chance.


In the blink of an eye.
Everyone disappears.
Gone.
Everyone except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Gone, too, are the phones, internet, and television. There is no way to get help.
Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.
It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen and war is imminent.
The first in a breathtaking saga about teens battling each other and their darkest selves, gone is a page-turning thriller that will make you look at the world in a whole new way.




Please visit this link: http://bit.ly/GSQMLN

As a thank you I have an Kindle gift copy of Gone for one lucky winner. To enter simply visit the link above and then fill out the rafflecopter form. Ends 3/30/12. Open to anyone who can receive and read a Kindle ebook.



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24. Uncontrollable Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak peek at the first chapter of Uncontrollable scheduled for late summer.

Hope you like it!


To catch up on The Nature of Grace series, you can purchase Untraceable at all major booksellers including your local indie bookstore, B&N, and Amazon.

More to come later!

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25. Big News!

The old mailbag was stretched to the limit this week with the arrival of my preview copies of the BIG BOOK version of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!  This book is HUGE! How HUGE? Here it is in relation to a quarter: Here it is in relation to it's older, smaller uncle: The BIG BOOK version will be available on June 12th.  Perfect for classrooms, libraries, or homes with BIG kids... Read the rest of this post

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