Featured Book of the Week: Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Monday, November 9, 2015

Featured Book of the Week
Iron Trial
 Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst -- and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .

From the remarkable imaginations of bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a heart-stopping, mind-blowing, pulse-pounding plunge into the magical unknown.

About the Authors

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare) and The Darkest Part of the Forest. She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

To find out more about Holly Black check out her web site.

Cassandra Clare was born to American parents in Teheran, Iran and spent much of her childhood travelling the world with her family, including one trek through the Himalayas as a toddler where she spent a month living in her father’s backpack. She lived in France, England and Switzerland before she was ten years old.

Since her family moved around so much she found familiarity in books and went everywhere with a book under her arm. She spent her high school years in Los Angeles where she used to write stories to amuse her classmates, including an epic novel called “The Beautiful Cassandra” based on a Jane Austen short story of the same name (and  which later inspired her current pen name).
After college, Cassie lived in Los Angeles and New York where she worked at various entertainment magazines and even some rather suspect tabloids where she reported on Brad and Angelina’s world travels and Britney Spears’ wardrobe malfunctions. She started working on her YA novel, City of Bones, in 2004, inspired by the urban landscape of Manhattan, her favourite city. She turned to writing fantasy fiction full time in 2006 and hopes never to have to write about Paris Hilton again.

Cassie’s first professional writing sale was a short story called “The Girl’s Guide to Defeating the Dark Lord” in a Baen anthology of humor fantasy. Cassie hates working at home alone because she always gets distracted by reality TV shows and the antics of her two cats, so she usually sets out to write in local coffee shops and restaurants. She likes to work in the company of her friends, who see that she sticks to her deadlines.

To find out more about Cassandra Clare and her books check out her web site.

Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop

Monday, November 2, 2015

Michael Northrop

When Davey wakes, just as the sun is rising, he can't wait to slip out of the crammed hotel room he's sharing with his family. Leave it to his parents and kid brother to waste an entire day of vacation sleeping in! Davey heads straight for the beach, book and glasses in hand, not bothering to leave a note. As the sparkling ocean entices him, he decides to test the water, never mind that "No Swimming" sign. But as the waves pull him farther from shore, Davey finds himself surrounded by water -- and something else, too. Something circling below the surface, watching, waiting. It's just a matter of time.
Author Post

From Start to Fin: How I Wrote Surrounded By Sharks
By Michael Northrop 

I’ve always been fascinated by sharks—fascinated and, OK, more than a little scared. But I faced a few big obstacles when I set out to write a gripping survival story about sharks. The first obstacle: Shark attacks are seriously rare. In fact, you are more likely to get killed by a vending machine falling on you than by a shark attack. But vending machines are nowhere near as cool or scary as sharks. There’s a reason my book isn’t called Squashed By Snickers!

The second obstacle: I was determined to write about realistic sharks, not malicious movie monsters. In real life, sharks are cautious hunters. They rarely encounter people, so when they do, they are usually more curious than aggressive. They aren’t sure what we are, much less if we’re on the menu.

But in order for the book to work, the danger from the sharks had to seem both very likely and very serious. I accomplished that by putting the main character, Davey Tsering, right in the middle of the sharks' world. A powerful riptide pulls him far out into the ocean—and pulled me past both obstacles.

Out there in the open ocean, so far from land (and vending machines), a shark attack isn’t unrealistic at all. In fact, it’s just a matter of time… 

About the Author

My name is Michael Northrop, and I am a writer living in New York City. I am the author of Scholastic’s new multi-platform series, TombQuest. Book 1: Book of the Dead was published on January 27, 2015, and spent three weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. I am also the author of four young adult novels: Gentlemen (2009), which earned a Publishers Weekly Flying Start citation; Trapped (2011), an Indie Next List selection; Rotten (2013), one of the Bank Street College of Education’s Best Books of the Year; and Surrounded By Sharks (2014), one of E! Online’s Best Summer Reads. My first middle grade novel, Plunked, was named one of the best children’s books of the year by both the New York Public Library and Bank Street and was selected by NPR for its Backseat Book Club.

I am originally from Salisbury, Connecticut, a small town in the foothills of the Berkshire mountains. It was a great place to grow up (to the extent that I did), falling out of trees, shooting BB guns at soda cans (and my brother), and kicking field goals for my high school football team.

Since moving to New York to attend NYU, I have worked at The World Almanac and Sports Illustrated Kids, where I was a senior editor from 2000 to 2008. I have moonlighted as a standup comedian, earned a black belt, and taken up running. I’ve been to the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and spring training. And my writing has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, People Online, The New York Times Upfront, Notre Dame Review, McSweeney’s, Weird Tales, and many other places.

Three random facts about me:
1) I am dyslexic and had to repeat second grade.
2) I once stepped on a yellowjacket nest and was stung approx. 75 times.
3) According to family lore, I am distantly related to Jonathan Swift, who wrote
Gulliver’s Travels.

Three of my favorite things:
1) Watership Down (book)
2) Jaws (movie)
3) Spicy tuna hand rolls (food)

If you would like more information about Michael Northrop check out his website

Featured Book of the Week: Tesla's Attic by Neal Schusterman & Eric Elfman

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tesla's Attic 
Neal Schusterman & Eric Elfman

After their home burns down, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother, and their father move into a ramshackle Victorian house they've inherited. When Nick opens the door to his attic room, he's hit in the head by a toaster. That's just the beginning of his weird experiences with the old junk stored up there. After getting rid of the odd antiques in a garage sale, Nick befriends some local kids-Mitch, Caitlin, and Vincent-and they discover that all of the objects have extraordinary properties. What's more, Nick figures out that the attic is a strange magnetic vortex, which attracts all sorts of trouble. It's as if the attic itself has an intelligence . . . and a purpose.

Ultimately Nick learns that the genius Nikola Tesla placed the items-his last inventions-in the attic as part of a larger plan that he mathematically predicted. Nick and his new friends must retrieve everything that was sold at the garage sale and keep it safe. But the task is fraught with peril-in addition to the dangers inherent in Tesla's mysterious and powerful creations, a secret society of physicists, the Accelerati, is determined to stop Nick and alter destiny to achieve its own devious ends. It's a lot for a guy to handle, especially when he'd much rather fly under the radar as the new kid in town.

About the Authors'

Neal Shusterman is the author of many novels for young adults, including Unwind, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers, Everlost, and Downsiders, which was nominated for twelve state reading awards. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows such as Animorphs and Goosebumps. The father of four children, Neal lives in southern California.

Eric Elfman is an American writer interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy, UFOs and paranormal events. He is the author of 12 books for middle-grade and young adult readers, including the first book of the Accelerati Trilogy, Tesla’s Attic (Disney-Hyperion Books, 2014, Publisher’s Weekly review here), which he co-wrote with Neal Shusterman. Among Elfman's other books are Almanac of Alien Encounters (Random House, 2001), Almanac of the Gross, Disgusting, and Totally Repulsive (Random House, 1994, an ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers), and Very Scary Almanac (Random House, 1993). He is also author of several The X-Files novelizations.

Edison's Alley, which Elfman also co-wrote with Shusterman (the sequel to Tesla's Attic, and the second book in the Accelerati Trilogy), will be released by Disney-Hyperion Books in February 2015.

Feature Book of the Week: The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe by Dan Poblocki

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dan Poblocki

Has Gabriel created a monster?

Something sinister lurks in the woods outside of Slade.

Gabe has seen it, or he thinks he has - a shadow standing at the tree line, watching Gabe's house with faintly glowing eyes.

Despite Gabe's misgivings, his new friend, Seth, relishes the creepy atmosphere of the forest. It's the perfect setting for his imaginary struggle against the Hunter, a deformed child-eating creature said to leave the bones of his victims in his wake. It's just a game, but it's all a bit much for Gabe, who quickly loses interest as summer ends and the days grow shorter.

But then strange things start to happen. Frightening things. And Gabe knows it has to do with the dark figure watching him from the edge of the woods.

Is Seth out to teach Gabe a lesson? Or is the Hunter more than just a myth? Gabe isn't sure which option is more horrifying, but he's determined to learn the truth before someone gets hurt . . . or worse.

Author's Post

No ghost, no monster, no Darkness can match what it feels like to encounter a bully, to learn how to stand up for yourself, to finish a test on time and get a passing grade, to come home to an empty house, to make yourself dinner, to do what’s right when you face so much pressure to do what you know is wrong, to be good. This is why I wrote The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe. I needed to. I’m sharing it with you because I know you can handle it. Because we all went through it. Because some of us still are. 

About the Author 

Dan Poblocki is an American author of mystery and horror novels for young people. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, During his pre-teen years, his family moved to Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Dan currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his partner and their two scaredy cats. 

Dan graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in theater. Subsequently, he toured the United States playing ultra-challenging roles such as Ichabod Crane in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Shoemaker in The Shoemaker and the Elves to packed houses filled with literally thousands of screaming children. (He hopes they weren’t screaming in fear.) Though “the profession” begged him to continue, Dan gave up early on his promising acting career to focus on other creative endeavors. While exploring those various artistic options, Dan held a number of jobs in New York City including: a floral groomer, an audience-wrangler for a popular game show, a computer analyst, a chemotherapy-unit assistant, and a traveling bathing suit sales-dude. 

That’s right. A traveling bathing suit sales-dude

Dan now writes full time. He's probably working on something new this very minute!

To find out more about Dan Poblocki visit his website.

Feature Book of the Week Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Monday, October 12, 2015

Brandon Mull

In a world that lies between reality and imagination, a “fanciful, action-packed adventure” awaits (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Come and claim it in this first book of the Five Kingdoms series, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fablehaven and Beyonders series.

Cole Randolph was just trying to have a fun time with his friends on Halloween (and maybe get to know Jenna Hunt a little better). But when a spooky haunted house turns out to be a portal to something much creepier, Cole finds himself on an adventure on a whole different level.

After Cole sees his friends whisked away to some mysterious place underneath the haunted house, he dives in after them—and ends up in The Outskirts.

The Outskirts are made up of five kingdoms that lie between wakefulness and dreaming, reality and imagination, life and death. It’s an in-between place. Some people are born there. Some find their way there from our world, or from other worlds.

And once you come to the Outskirts, it’s very hard to leave.

With the magic of the Outskirts starting to unravel, it’s up to Cole and an unusual girl named Mira to rescue his friends, set things right in the Outskirts, and hopefully find his way back home…before his existence is forgotten.

About the Author

Brandon Mull is the author of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling Beyonders and Fablehaven series. Brandon resides in a happy little valley near the mouth of a canyon with his wife and four children. He spent two years living in the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile where he learned Spanish and juggling. He once won a pudding eating contest in the park behind his grandma’s house, earning a gold medal.

I’ve always secretly wanted to write books.

I often kept the desire secret, because I knew that succeeding as a novelist would be a challenge, and I didn’t want people worrying about me or thinking I was crazy. As a kid, I lived in my head a lot, making up adventures, and sometimes sharing my imaginary games with siblings and friends. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always spent a huge portion of my free time daydreaming and making up stories. As I aged, those stories became more elaborate and compelling, and I decided that I wanted to share them with others. That was when I became serious about writing.

I figured that if I could learn to write a good scene, I could eventually write a good novel,

so through high school and college I mostly practiced by writing short fiction. After graduating from Brigham Young University in 2000, I started working on my first full-length novel. It was rejected by many agents and publishers before an editor at Shadow Mountain Publishing found promise in it. Shadow Mountain did not purchase that first book, but they asked to see something else, and the book I wrote for them was Fablehaven. So Fablehaven was published by the first publisher who saw it, after I did a lot of work shopping around that first book. The first book has not yet been published, but I expect to rewrite it someday and show it to publishers again.

Learn more about Brandon Mull on his website

Feature Book of the Week: Prisoner B- 3087 by Alan Gratz

Monday, September 28, 2015


Prisoner B-3087
Alan Gratz

Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story.

Author Post

Prisoner B-3087 was really tough book for me to write, because some of the things that happened to Jack were so horrible. At the same time, I think it's really important that we never forget those things happened, and so I was glad to be able to work with him to tell his story.

Jack and his wife Ruth took his story to Scholastic, and they immediately saw that it would make a great book. But neither Jack nor Ruth are writers, so Scholastic asked me to write the book. Once I heard Jack’s account of his time in the camps, I couldn't resist—it was such an incredible story! In particular, I liked that he survived. So many stories of the Holocaust of course did not end so well.

I worked on the book for a while before I ever met Jack in person, using what he and his wife had told Scholastic about his experiences in World War II and doing a lot of research on the concentration camps on my own. Then, about halfway through writing the first draft, I got to fly to New York and meet Jack. We spent the afternoon at the Holocaust Museum in Manhattan, where some artifacts of Ruth's time during the war are on display.

Jack's memory isn't what it once was, and he wasn't able to remember the answers to some of the questions I had for him. But then, when he read my first draft of the book, a lot of things came back to him! I think he needed the world of the book to help jog his memory. I'm pleased that I was able to write something that brought the past to life again for him, even if a great deal of that past was painful. Jack is one of the bravest people I've ever met.

Thanks so much for choosing Prisoner B-3087 for the Area-Wide Book Battle! I hope you enjoy it.

Alan Gratz

About the Author

Alan Gratz's first novel, Samurai Shortstop, was named one of the ALA's 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults. His second novel,  Something Rotten, was a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers, and was followed by a sequel, Something Wicked, in October 2008. His first middle grade novel, The Brooklyn Nine,was one of the ALA's Top Ten Sports Books for Youth, and was followed in 2011 by Fantasy Baseball. His latest novels are Starfleet Academy: The Assassination Game and Prisoner B-3087His short fiction has appeared in Knoxville's Metropulse magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and in the anthologies Half-Minute Horrors and Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction, which benefits victims of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

As the first Artist in Residence at the American School in Japan in 2010, Alan spent six weeks teaching historical fiction-writing to middle school students in Tokyo, and he was the Thurber House Children's Writer in Residence in 2011, living and writing in James Thurber's attic for a month while working with young writers from all around the Columbus, Ohio area. 

In addition to writing plays, magazine articles, and a few episodes of A&E's City Confidential, Alan has taught catapult-building to middle-schoolers, written more than 6,000 radio commercials, sold other people's books, lectured at a Czech university, and traveled the galaxy as a space ranger. (One of these, it should be pointed out, is not true.)

Alan was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, home of the 1982 World's Fair. After a carefree but humid childhood, Alan attended the University of Tennessee, where he earned a College Scholars degree with a specialization in creative writing, and, later, a Master's degree in English education. He now lives with his wife Wendi and his daughter Jo in the high country of Western North Carolina, where he enjoys reading, eating pizza, and, perhaps not too surprisingly, watching baseball. Learn more about Alan Gratz at his website.

Feature Book of the Week:Sidekicked by John David Anderson

Monday, September 21, 2015


John David Anderson

The Avengers meets Louis Sachar in this hilarious and action-packed tween novel by John David Anderson, which Publishers Weekly called a "superhero story that any comics fan will enjoy" in a starred review.
Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn't mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there's Drew's power: Possessed of super senses—his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet—he's literally the most sensitive kid in school. Then there's his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than fighting crime. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.
But this is all before a supervillain long thought dead returns to the city of Justicia, superheroes begin disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew's two identities threaten to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It's what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to disappear?

Author Post

Imaginations are heady things.

Sometimes, a lot of times, I use my imagination to get away. That’s the joy of being a writer (or one of the joys anyways, outside of all of the free chocolate you get when you go up to people and say, “Yo, I’m a writer, give me some chocolate.”)—this ability to transcend the mendacity of daily life to go open wardrobe doors and fight frosty queens alongside goat people or whatever. Or to blast off to outer space and pretend that Pluto is not only still a planet, but is, in fact, inhabited by a race of hyper-intelligent toddlers who have constructed a world completely out of Lincoln Logs. Imaginations are the ultimate escape routes. They are the travel agents of the mind. 

Sometimes, not too often, my imagination lets me get away with stuff. Like when I told my mother that I accidentally spilled fruit punch all down the front of my shirt because a bee landed on my thumb and scared the bee-jeezus out of me, causing my hand to jerk uncontrollably, when, in actuality, I had just poured it on my chest deliberately because I was pretending that an alien was bursting out of my chest and the fruit punch was the closest the thing we had to fake blood—the ketchup bottle being mostly empty and our jelly always being grape. On a related note, I probably watched too much cable television as a kid.

Sometimes, every once in a while, my imagination gets away from me. Those are the best times of all. Some people call them “moments of inspiration.” You can’t predict them. Sometimes they’re short little bursts, like brain sneezes. Like when you are thinking about something completely normal, like what to make for dinner, and all of the sudden an image of a chainsaw-wielding psycho zombie clown with one eyeball and a giant red bulbous clown nose like a ripe tomato pops into your head and asks you if you’d like some cotton candy, and you think to yourself—Man, where did that come from?

Or maybe that’s just me. Clowns freak me out a little.
Sometimes they are long reveries, those foggy, surreal daydreams, like you’re thinking in pastels or watercolors, everything swirling and chaotic and weird, but you catch hold of something, an inkling, a teaser trailer (complete with John Williams musical score) and your like, “Whoa. I gotta write this down,” but you don’t, because you are forgetful. And that darn clown is still chasing after you.
Still, it sits there, this fleeting inspiration, somewhere in that marvelous contraption we call a brain. And it germinates. And you work it lie a cow works cud, sometimes with that same doe-eyed expression that a cow gets, turning it over and over in your head, adding logic and form, pulling threads from the complex webs that populate the other places in your skull, and tying them all together, until you’ve taken that inspiration and turned into an idea. I’m told that’s called being creative.

Sidekicked started with one of those brain sneezes. An image of a boy dangling above a pool of acid waiting for someone to save him and knowing that no one’s gonna. And I pulled and tied and wove and trimmed and tucked and cursed until I had an idea, a question really, about who this kid was and why he wasn’t getting saved, and then those questions got answers and those answers became a novel. But it all started with that one image—and I have no idea where it came from or why, of the thousands of brain sneezes I get a day, that one stuck with me.    

People are always asking me where my ideas come from (after telling me that they don’t actually have any chocolate and I should really stop asking). I give all kinds of answers. Fairies. Muses. Other books. The world around me. Conversations with my kids. Things I overhear at the Great Clips. The truth is, I really don’t know.

We really don’t know. The imagination is still a mystery to us. A beautiful, wonderful, perplexing, frustrating, enchanting mystery. It may not exactly be the thing that makes us human, but it certainly makes being human more interesting. And I couldn’t imagine being without one.

Just don’t tell the clown.

About the Author

John David Anderson writes novels. Lots of novels. He just doesn't always get them published.  He is the author of SidekickedMinionStandard Hero Behavior, and the soon-to-be-released The Dungeoneers. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He does not wear ties but will wear sandals in the snow. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, making board games, chocolate, not putting away his laundry, watching movies, and chocolate. Those aren't his real teeth. Seriously. The middle four on top? Lost 'em in a car accident. It's all right, though, the plastic ones look nice and he can still eat corn on the cob. Learn more about John David Anderson on his website.

Feature Book of the Week: The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

Monday, September 14, 2015

Featured Book of the Week
The Neptune Project 
Polly Holyoke

Nere feels more at home swimming with the dolphins her mother studies than she does hanging out with her classmates. Nere has never understood why she feels so much more comfortable and confident in water than on land, but everything falls into place when Nere learns that she is one of a group of kids who-unbeknownst to them-have been genetically altered to survive in the ocean. These products of "The Neptune Project" will be able to build a better future under the sea, safe from the barren country's famine, wars, and harsh laws.

But there are some very big problems: no one asked Nere if she wanted to be a science experiment, the other Neptune kids aren't exactly the friendliest bunch, and in order to reach the safe haven of the Neptune colony, Nere and her fellow mutates must swim through hundreds of miles of dangerous waters, relying only on their wits, dolphins, and each other to evade terrifying undersea creatures and a government that will stop at nothing to capture the Neptune kids...dead or alive.

Fierce battles and daring escapes abound as Nere and her friends race to safety in this action-packed aquatic adventure.

Author Post 

I was excited to learn that The Neptune Project was going to a part of the Pattonville Area-wide Book Battle. I’m thrilled that students in Missouri will be trying to remember the details in my story because I spent months doing research to get those details right.
I have always been fascinated by the sea. Growing up in Denver, Colorado, I loved the rare family vacations where I actually had a chance to see the ocean and the beach. I’d gaze at the waves and wonder what it was really like beneath them. When I got home again, I’d talk my friends into playing dolphin and mermaids with me by the hour. In my twenties, my husband and I took up scuba diving, and it was so cool! I finally had a chance to see for myself the amazing world under the waves.

When I first dreamed up the premise of my Neptune books, that a group of genetically altered kids would have to go live in the sea, I faced two challenges. I didn’t know any oceanography and I really didn’t know genetics. But I grew up in a family where if I didn’t know something, my parents encouraged me to look it up. When I was little, that meant digging into the Encyclopedia Britannica. We were the proud owners of both a kid set and a grown up set.  I remember gazing at fascinating pictures and reading articles about everything from dinosaurs to dolphins. Later, when I went on to college, I went to a small school that encouraged its students to do detailed research using all sorts of original sources and documents.

That’s why I was confident I could do the research for a book set almost entirely in the sea, and I was right. I dove right in, so to speak, and had a blast learning all about the rich marine life of the Channel Islands and the Northwest. I found out that dolphins sleep with one half of their brains awake, and that orcas live in family groups their entire lives. Sea wasps, or box jellyfish, actually kill more people every year than sharks do. Every day I learn more fascinating facts about the sea.

           Orcas swimming in the Gulf of Alaska


I recently heard a local library director just assumed I was a marine biologist. I also had a young fan tell me, “I had no idea all those cool animals were down there.” Those are some of the nicest compliments my research and my books have ever received!


I grew up in Colorado and love hiking, camping and skiing in the mountains. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude from Middlebury College in Vermont and earned my teaching certificate from the University of Colorado. I taught middle school social studies for almost a decade before leaving teaching to concentrate on my writing career. I've always LOVED reading and wrote my first book, RUSTLERS OF THE HIGH COUNTRY, with my best friend when I was in fifth grade. This remarkable tale about two little girls outwitting horse thieves never was published, but it did get me hooked on writing stories.

My husband introduced me to scuba diving, and I've been fortunate enough to dive all over the world. Like my heroine, Nere, I am claustrophobic, though, so I don't dive in wrecks or lava tubes anymore.

I live with three sweet dogs, two lazy cats and a very nice husband who puts up with piles of books all over our house. I love going to work in my pajamas and getting paid for daydreaming.  

If you would like to know more about this author or her books check out her website.
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