Thursday, May 31, 2012

LET THE SKY FALL Cover Reveal!

It's SHANNON's turn!!!

We are so excited to reveal our second Thirteeners cover! It's Shannon Messenger's LET THE SKY FALL and it is absolutely gorgeous! Go ahead and take a moment and soak it in. See what we mean? Just gorgeous! If you happen to notice a lot of oooooohing and ahhhhhhing today, we can assure you that it's people getting their first glimpse of this amazing cover and then reading the blurb.

Vane Weston should have died in the category five tornado that killed his parents. Instead, he woke up in a pile of rubble with no memories of his past—except one: a beautiful, dark-haired girl standing in the winds. She's swept through his dreams ever since, and he clings to the hope that she's real.  
Audra is real, but she isn't human. She's a sylph, an air elemental who can walk on the wind, translate its alluring songs, even twist it into a weapon. She's also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect him at all costs.  
When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra has just days to help Vane unlock his memories. And as the storm winds gather, they start to realize the greatest danger might not be the warriors coming to destroy them, but the forbidden romance growing between them. 
Does that sound amazing? Of course it does! It's written by the incredibly talented Shannon Messenger, after all! And it has air elementals! If that isn't the coolest sounding thing, we don't know what is! So you can go congratulate Shannon on her blog here and then run over to add it on Goodreads here! LET THE SKY FALL will be available in March of 2013.

Congratulations Shannon! Gorgeous book cover, gorgeous author, fantastic book!
We just couldn't be prouder of you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Elle Cosimano Cooks Her Own Dare!

Man this post is gonna make you soooooo hungry! You've been warned! Today I have the pleasure of introducing Elle Cosimano to the blog today where we dared her to teach us how to cook a food item that is featured in her book. This dare comes by the fabulous Caroline Richmond, thanks Caroline for an awesome dare! And let me tell you, Elle rose beautifully to the challenge! I've watched it several times just so I could drool over the food.

Bio: Elle grew up in the Washington DC suburbs, the daughter of a prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rides a Harley. She majored in Psychology at St Mary’s College of Maryland, and set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. Sometimes she writes in a tree house overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The rest of the time, she finds inspiration with her husband and two young sons near their home in rural Virginia. Her debut YA thriller, DEAD BLUE, will release in Fall 2013 from Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers.

She blogs here, twitters here, and facebooks here. Now you can go stalk her!

Friday, May 25, 2012

April Tucholke Takes The Truth

Okay, so my turn to fess up again. Laura wrote in and truthed me this: What is the worst thing you’ve ever read?

I’m going to cheat a bit, because the poem below is both one of the worst things I’ve ever read...and one of the best. It was written on plain, lined notebook paper, in a gender neutral hand. I found it in a tiny drawer inside a wobbly little table in the coffee shop I used to frequent back in college. Who wrote it? Why did they love chicken so much? Why is it so...strange? Why paste, of all things?

White. So Glorious.
A beak for rummaging.
How I long to pet your white feathers. 

Come to me as I yearn to boil you in water. And nibble on your flesh.
Eat you. Eat you. Eat you. 

I feed you only to kill you.
Your feathers are the color of paste.

I like paste.

I paste when the wind blows.  
As the wind blows through your feathers.
Your feathers, the color of paste.

Did you write this poem? If so, then…I love you. Write me at fridaythethirteeners[at]gmail[dot]com and tell me the name of the coffee shop where I found it, so I know it’s really you.


1. What's the worst thing you've ever read? 
2. What are your favorite chicken poems? Are there any other chicken poems? Besides, of course, that brilliant one by William Carlos that sucker.
3. Fill in the blank: So much depends up a ___ ___ glazed with rain water beside the ___ ___
4. What's the worst/best line in the poem above? I paste when the wind blows or I feed you only to kill you or Come to me as I yearn to boil you in water?
5. Can you write a chicken poem as good as this one?

Next up: Ellen Oh. Send her truth and dares here. If you are a published (or soon to be published) author, sign up to guest post with us.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

DUALED Cover Reveal!

One of the best parts about being part of this wonderful group of tremendously talented authors is that we get to celebrate with them when amazing milestones are achieved. And the first public milestone (after the deal is made) is usually the book cover. So we Thirteeners are incredibly happy and proud to share our very own Elsie Chapman's cover for her fantastic book DUALED.

Ok, not only is this one heck of a cool looking cover, but did you check out that tagline?

You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

That tagline is just about as cool as the book! And the book, the book!!! What can I say about the book other than it is freaking awesome!!! It deserves all these exclamation points I'm throwing around like confetti here! Don't believe me? Read this:

Would you live through the ultimate test of survival?

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West's confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she's no longer certain that she's the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
DUALED will be out on February 26, 2013 from Random House. Mark it on your calendars!

Congratulations, Elsie! Your cover is absolutely fabulous, just like you!

Photo credit: Michael Meskin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Alison Cherry Takes The Truth

Our guest author today is Alison Cherry. 

Bio: Alison Cherry is originally from Evanston, IL and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. Before she started writing, she worked as an electrician, a theatrical lighting designer, and a photographer for the Metropolitan Opera. Her debut novel, RED, is coming from Delacorte Press in the fall of 2013. Visit her at or (@alison_cherry).

Alison chose this truth from Chantele Sedgwick: If you could switch bodies with any character for a day, who would it be and why?

YA Characters I'd Most Like to Switch Bodies with For A Day:

1) Katsa from GRACELING. I freely admit that the biggest draw here is Prince Po, on whom I have a MASSIVE crush. (I may or may not have written an entire gushy blog post on why Po is so dreamy.) But I also wouldn't mind seeing what it's like to be able to win a fight with a mountain lion with my bare hands or to shoot arrows accurately in the dark. My only reservation is that Katsa would have control of MY body for a day, and I have this feeling she wouldn't respect that body's limitations. I'd probably wake up with a concussion and several of my limbs in casts.

2) Lola from LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. I am not a terribly splashy person on the outside, but deep inside me lives a flamboyant girl who longs to be free. I would LOVE to play dress-up in Lola's closet—actually, that's probably what I'd spend the entire day doing. Oh, and making out with Cricket Bell, swooniest boy in all the world after Prince Po. I'm not sure Lola would like hanging out in my body for a day, but I do have a couple of wigs and fun hats to make her feel at home.

3) Hermoine Granger. I mean, if I could be a witch for a day, why not be the smartest, most accomplished witch? Plus, Hermione has a Time Turner, which I could REALLY use, especially during revisions. Actually, if I used the Time Turner, I could stay in her body for way longer than one day. I could.... wait, I might be overthinking this. 

4) Zuzana from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. I don't think I'd enjoy being Karou—all those angel/demon conflicts would stress me out, and Akiva's not really my type. But if I were her best friend, I'd still get to live in Prague and be an artist, and maybe Karou would give me some scuppies so I could have little wishes every once in a while. And I'd be able to walk in really tall shoes, something I suck at in real life. Plus, it's pretty much my goal in life to be as funny as Zuzana.
YA Characters I'd Least Like to Switch Bodies with For A Day:

1) Fire from FIRE. Sure, my red hair causes problems sometimes. It's impossible to hide in a crowd. People I met once for two minutes are always recognizing me on the street, and I never have any idea who they are, leading to some intensely awkward situations. But Fire's red hair makes men want to rape her and monsters want to eat her. So I'll stick with my own non-magical hair, thanks very much.

2) Tris from DIVERGENT. I would be THE WORST DAUNTLESS EVER. I'm afraid of everything. I hate heights. I could never jump out of a moving train. It would take fourteen years to go through my fear landscape. And one of the things I like least in the world is needles, so I would NOT take kindly to being injected with various serums at every turn. *shudder* Let's be honest, I'm Amity through and through. Give me some banjos and hydroponic plants and leave me alone.

3) Katniss from THE HUNGER GAMES. This seems fairly self explanatory. Not a huge fan of killing people, running for my life, sleeping in trees, getting my flesh charred, being stung by genetically altered insects, or eating raw grousling. Plus, when it comes down to it, I'm not really Team Peeta OR Team Gale. However, if I got to be Katniss on the day she went to that crazy Capitol banquet and ate everything in sight, maybe I could be convinced.   

Next up: April Tucholke. Send me truth and dares here. If you're a published (or soon to be published) author, sign up to play.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Shannon Messenger Takes the Truth

Phew--it's been a CRAZY week (and I ALMOST forgot that it was my turn!) But I remembered just in time, and I decided to tackle a truth (despite having SEVERAL evil dares in the queue with my name on them *ahem*. I will get to one of those next time, I promise!)

Anyway, I'm tackling a question a LOT of you asked, so I hope you enjoy!

Got any burning questions you're dying to ask us? Or maybe you have some terrifying dares you want to torture us with. Feel free to submit as many as you want by going HERE. And come back next week to see April take on a truth or dare.


Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she learned--among other things--that she liked watching movies much better than making them. So she left LA and moved to suburbia where she would have time to eat too many cupcakes, own too many cats, and write lots and lots of books. LET THE SKY FALL is her first young adult novel, coming in Spring 2013 from Simon Pulse. She is also the author of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, book one in a middle grade series launching Fall 2012 (S&S Aladdin). Find her online at

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kristen Kittscher Takes the Dare

For this week's guest post, Thirteener Elsie Chapman dared author Kristen Kittscher to do a write-up based on a truly hilarious Twitter conversation discussing potential book titles.

Bio: Kristen Kittscher’s debut middle grade mystery THE WIG IN THE WINDOW (Harper Children’s) will be released in Summer 2013. It follows the comic misadventures of two tween sleuths who suspect their school counselor is a dangerous fugitive — and just might be right! A former middle school English teacher, Kristen lives in Pasadena, California with her husband, Kai. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her running her after-school tutoring business or taking orders from her hopelessly spoiled pets. You can follow her antics on Twitter, her website, or at the YA/MG mystery writers' blog, Sleuths, Spies & Alibis.

I knew the title of my middle-grade mystery/comedy, THE WIG IN THE WINDOW, offered the potential to spawn some equally mysteriously silly sequel titles. After all, there’s not much of a limit to alliterative weird things that can be placed in architectural features:  The Rhinestone in the Rootcellar! The Pancake on the Patio! The Lollipop on the Lanai! 

 However, I didn’t realize the true wealth of possibilities until I announced my recent sale of WIG’s sequel, THE TIARA ON THE TERRACE. Title silliness took over my Twitter feed. Some felt strongly I should continue my head-centered theme: THE HEADGEAR IN THE HALLWAY. THE EARLOBES IN THE EAVES. Others felt that a dental focus could prove interesting. THE VENEERS ON THE VERANDA. Yet more – indeed, maaaaybe a Friday the Thirteener I know – let things turn, um, south? There was talk of other P words, a pantry – and a mystery we were all certain we didn’t want to solve.

The richest potential, though, lay in new genres. Why limit myself to middle grade mystery? Versatility is key in a landscape of ever-changing publishing trends. Dystopians are big. Maybe it’s time for THE ACCORDION IN THE ASHES, my futuristic look at a world in which polka music has died and destroyed civilization along with it. Paranormal romance might be fading, but maybe I could bring smexy back and stay true to the teeth/head theme with THE FANGS IN THE FOYER.

Perhaps the wisest career advice was the suggestion that I write erotica for the very mature with THE DENTURES ON THE DUVET. It is always good for career longevity when a fan base can age up with an author. Way, way up.

But why stop at the human – or even otherworldly – realms? A literally captive audience in homes across the world has long been ignored, with nothing but the occasional Animal Planet show and access to a window. For years they’ve had to be content playing second fiddle in cozy mysteries or cuddling up with the likes of Dr. Evil. It’s high time they get out of the litterbox and into the spotlight.

I bring you – courtesy of a Friday the Thirteeners dare – an excerpt of the first thriller for the feline market, THE WHISKERS IN THE WOODSHED. In this scene, two kitten sleuths are spying on their school counselor. Those who accuse me of having taken an excerpt from THE WIG IN THE WINDOW and doing a find/replace with cat names are spreading vicious lies. It’s well known that cats have school counselors and opposable thumbs. Also, I changed at least 10 other words:

I caught a glimpse of a black shape in the flower bed directly under Dr. Snuggles’s kitchen window. My tail went stiff. It was Mittens. She was going to get us caught. I knew she was.
“Get your binoculars, Fluffy.” Mittens’ meow quavered over the walkie-talkie. “Now.”
From inside came a dull grunt and thwap of a cleaver. In a daze, I rummaged in the catpack. My paws shook as I adjusted the binoculars and looked toward Dr. Snuggles’s kitchen. A slight gap in the blinds gave me a direct view.
Still holding the phone tucked between her shoulder and neck, Dr. Snuggles hunched over something on the floor. I chuckled, relieved. Mittens was playing it all up, of course. It’s not like you can murder someone while chit-chatting on your cell. I was about to lower the binoculars when my eye caught sight of the cleaver.
I gasped. It sat on a large carving board, smeared with blood. Even more blood pooled in the board’s gutters like a moat. Splatters of crimson covered the sink, the faucets, and the tile countertop.
Dr. Snuggles hoisted something up then let it thud to the floor. On her second heave, I saw it was an oversized trash bag.
The Director of Counseling at Luna Vista Middle School had just butchered someone with a cleaver, and now she was cleaning up the body parts as if she were gathering some old odds and ends for Goodwill.
Dr. Snuggles looked up. Mittens must have seen it when I did. Emblazoned across her downy white fur were the unmistakable outlines of two bloody pawprints. In their final moments, grasping claws had streaked long red ribbons down her chest.
“Run!” Mittens yowled.

Will Mittens and Fluffy escape Dr. Snuggles in time? Find THE WHISKERS IN THE WOODSHED! Coming soon — or whenever feline literacy rates catch up. 

Of course, while these upcoming projects will certainly keep me busy for quite some time, I'm always on the look-out for new title and genre ideas. What do you suggest?

(Many thanks to Lucky 13ers Alison Cherry, Elsie Chapman, Emma Pass, Caroline Carlson, Debra Driza, and Brandy Colbert for their title suggestions and Twitter rowdiness.) 

Thanks so much for playing, Kristen! The hashtag world may never be the same again.

Thirteener Shannon Messenger is up for Truth or Dare this Friday! Submit one to her here; if you're an author and would like to play, contact us here!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stephanie Kuehn Takes The Dare

For this week's guest post April Tucholke dared author Stephanie Kuehn--whose debut book is set in a boarding school--to tell a wild story from her own private school days.

Bio: Stephanie Kuehn holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, and is now working toward a doctorate in clinical psych. When not reading, writing, or madly cramming for an exam, she can usually be found outside, playing with her family. Stephanie lives in Northern California with her husband, three kids, and many, many animal friends. Her young adult debut, CHARM & STRANGE, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2013. You can connect with Stephanie on twitter or her website. She also blogs for YA Highway.

And the story:


 Okay, so I was asked to share an embarrassing boarding school story. This should be easy, I thought, but now, as I sit down to write I realize there are so many embarrassing stories I could share. Like the time I heard through the gossip grapevine that a senior boy had a crush on me. Said boy also had chicken pox at the time, and even though I’d never had the pox (and still haven’t had them to this day), I went and visited him in the infirmary. Yes, I sat there in a cloud of his scabby germs and attempted to flirt, only to learn the following day that he’d been talking about “a different Stephanie.” Sigh.

However, the story that haunts me to this day is one that’s perhaps more shameful than embarrassing. See, boarding school isn’t all that different from any other kind of prep school—you have a large group of achievement-oriented teenagers who, during their free time, kind of just want to go crazy. Only at boarding school you live with your teachers 24/7, which means you’re accountable to school rules 24/7. This leads to a lot of sneaking around.

The school I went to was known as an “artsy” school. This meant, first and foremost, that we were bad (really bad) at sports. It also meant that the other schools around us thought we were weird. And, in fact, we were kind of weird. Case in point: the two boys who started the school “Bingo Club.” Every month or so, these guys would get on stage during our boring morning assembly and stutter through some lame-sounding announcement for a Bingo Club meeting. They’d talk about how fun the club was. And how they liked to play other games too, like Uno and Connect Four and Pictionary and Risk. Then, basically, the whole school would laugh at them. But what a lot of people didn’t know was that the Bingo Club announcements were actually weird-boy code for “we’re throwing a huge off-campus party this weekend.

Well, usually these parties were held at day students’ houses, but on one occasion, the Bingo Club decided to throw a “camping” party. “Bring tents!” the boys said. “There’ll be a keg!” “Tents?” we wondered. “Camping?” This seemed odd since the school was located in the Boston suburbs, but the boys assured everyone they’d “found the perfect spot.”
So, here’s the shameful part: In order to go to the party, my friends and I told our dorm parent that we were staying at a local girl’s house. We had the girl’s mom call in and give us permission to sign out of the dorms overnight. Then later, we called her mom back and said we weren’t coming over after all. Since we’d already been signed out, this gave us the freedom to…stay out all night at the party.
But alas, everything went horribly awry. The “perfect camping spot” turned out to be “private property,” and the cops showed up at the party in record time. We were hauled in and handed over to the school for discipline. And because the school had a serious honor code, my friends and I got in trouble, not for being at the party, but for lying to get out of the dorms. That lie earned me a (well-deserved) weeklong suspension!

Thanks for amusing us the heck out of us with your bad girl ways, Stephanie.

So...which is your favorite boarding school book?

1. Prep
2. Catcher in the Rye 

3. Looking for Alaska
4. Harry Potter
5. Jane Eyre
6. Paper Covers Rock
7. Dreams of Significant Girls
8. A Separate Peace
9. Jellicoe Road
10. The Bruno and Boots series

Or movie?

1. Halloween H20*
2. Rushmore
3. The Covenant*
4. School Ties
5. Scent of a Woman
6. X-Men
7. Dead Poet's Society
8. She's the Man*
9. The Emperor's Club
10. Cracks**

*Did you pick one of these? Awesome. Please defend it in the comments.

**Which boarding school books/movies did I miss? 

Next up: Natalie Whipple. Send her truth and dares here. If you are a published (or soon to be published) author, sign up to guest post with us.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mindy McGinnis Takes the Dare

We've probably all worn clothes our mom didn't care for at one point in time. My mom and I had an ongoing prom dress feud during my high school career, so when I spotted this dare from Larissa Hardesty I knew it was time to relive the past:

Find and post and old video of yourself from high school. Or make a video montage of old pictures of yourself from high school - bonus points for embarrassing pics :P 

And what better way to relive the embarrassing pictures of the past than to create an embarrassing vlog in the present? I call it, "Garment Disagreements with Mother."

Thanks for playing, Larissa! For your prize I'll send you a copy of Spring Fevers, an anthology of short stories that I contributed to.

If you've got a Truth or Dare for the lovely Thirteeners, let us know by hitting up the Truth or Dare page!

Mindy McGinnis is a YA librarian and writer repped by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary. Her debut YA novel, NOT A DROP TO DRINK will be available from Katherine Tegen/ Harper Collins, Fall 2013. Mindy blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire, and serves as a moderator on the writing forum AgentQuery Connect. She also contributes to the group blogs From the Write Angle and The Lucky 13s.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Alexandra Duncan Takes the Dare + Short Story Winners

I promise to get around to embarrassing myself in a minute, but first, some important business: the winners of our short story contest. (Drumroll, please!)

The grand prize goes to. . . Leigh!

And our runners-up are. . . Silverpool and Christina.

Congratulations, guys! Thank you so much for playing. E-mail us at fridaythethirteeners[at]gmail[dot]com to claim your prizes.

And now, on to the humiliation. . .

The last time I played Truth or Dare was at my friend Nicole's birthday party during my senior year of high school. Most of our truths involved boys, and I don't think there was a single dare in the mix. What had happened to the halcyon days of mixing together weird things from the fridge and then making each other eat them? Or sneaking out of the house to jump on the trampoline at midnight? So, when I heard about the idea of the Thirteeners, I knew immediately I had to play, and I knew I wanted to start with a really good dare.

Amy Conroy sent in a perfect one:

Read a bit of a story from when you were younger (child to teenager, the youngest piece that you can find).

I'm not sure about the wisdom of letting my 11 year-old self's writing out into the world when I'm trying to have a career convincing people to read the things I write now, but it wouldn't be a dare if it didn't hurt a little, right?

Thanks for the awesome dare, Amy. Since this is my first time playing, you get to choose a prize - a $13 gift certificate or a copy of Booklife, by Jeff Vandermeer (my favorite guide to the writing life). E-mail me at fridaythethirteeners[at]gmail[dot]come and let me know which you'd like.

Thanks again for playing! Check back with us this coming Friday, May 4th, for a post by the lovely and talented Mindy McGinnis.

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins in Fall 2013. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, and her personal blog.