Publishers Weekly has reported on several bestselling series which concluded this fall. It might be a great time to dig into one of these since you’ll no longer have to wait for the last book. Although I’ve read Neal Schusterman and Kendare Blake, I’m unfamiliar with their latest works. I must admit, these seem pretty dark but maybe winter calls for these dark tales…
Neal Schusterman- author of Unwind, Everlost, and Downsiders, and many others. He also writes screenplays for movies and TV (including Goosebumps & Animorphs).
His latest series is called Arc of the Scythe (trilogy). In a time when humanity has solved hunger, disease, war, and death, only the Scythes can end life and keep the population under control. Two reluctant apprentices, Citra and Rowan struggle to learn their craft and requisite lessons.
Kendare Blake- author of Anna Dressed in Blood and Antigoddess.
Her latest series is titled the Three Dark Crowns. On the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplet sisters is born. Each possesses a special kind of magic. The night the sisters turn sixteen, a battle to the death for the throne begins.
Holly Black- author of 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.
Her latest series is called The Folk of the Air (trilogy). Jude and her two sisters are stolen to live among the fey. Eventually, Jude becomes entangled in royal faerie matters.
Hey, gang! I’m Lydia. In Ellis’ book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds- A Ghost Story, I was the fourteen-year-old moving to Upstate New York dealing with the ghost of a Dutch girl from the 17th century. At the time, I thought ghosts weren’t real, but first-hand experience has a way of shattering your reality. Today I have the chance to grill the writer— I mean ask a few behind the scenes questions. Some I have an inkling about, others I’m just as clueless as the reader is.
I’m like totally over this, but how was it that Annika
became your favorite?
Yeah, about that. You were always intended to be the main character but by the end of the story, it was obvious Annika had taken over. Partly, it was the history of the period that was so captivating and interesting. 17th century Holland and what Annika’s family goes through during the boom and bust of the tulip market grips us. That’s not to say what you experience is to be trivialized. Lydia- your world changes alongside Annika’s. You both make moves and go through things neither of you expect.
That’s for sure! And now that I know Annika’s whole story, I get why she acted the way she did. It was just so scary and aggravating at the time. But, like I said- I’m over Annika being more of the focus of the book.
Speaking of our connection, how am I like you? What makes
You deal with the same mother/daughter issues but with a
maturity I didn’t have. We both are “book” people and have a love for animals.
Both of us struggle to find our place in the world. Don’t we all?
What was the toughest scene in the book to write?
You know this one.
Yeah, but I gotta ask.
The incident when Mom had to call the ambulance.
Because it really happened that way.
Right. That scene was written from experience. It was just before Christmas and I was starring at the Christmas tree. The lights started to behave strangely. I witnessed a bizarre and beautiful phenomenon, I later learned was called “aura”. Events intensified where I lost my ability to speak and access language. My brain shut down. Some people call this a stroke in slow motion. Very scary. In fact, it was and is the scariest thing to ever happen to me. And these incidents continued for twelve years. Imagine, experiencing unpredictable, stroke-like symptoms for a dozen years… That’s why this scene was so hard to write and re-read.
Would you say this is your most personal book?
Absolutely. We’ve already talked about the migraine connection but there are other elements as well. In the dedication, I mention being a toddler and talking about a ghost I would see at night. This book also explores mother/daughter issues I myself experienced. Lydia is far more perceptive and processes these topics with insight I didn’t possess at her age. In many ways, the book was cathartic in allowing me to explore themes of illness, emerging spirituality, healing, and personal power.
Can I have a sequel?
No way! Sorry, my dear, your story has been told.
Is Annika getting a sequel?
This is starting to sound like whining. I’ve already given
you credit for being mature. Now, what impression are readers going to be left
Oops. I just want you to know that I’m available should
another plotline jump into that writer head of yours.
Anyway, thanks for hanging out today! Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds is out in print and e-book. Follow the links below.
Two worlds collide in this haunting tale. When fourteen-year-old
Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects
is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter
mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen
unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to
Upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet
lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease. When Lydia’s
father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by
the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines
has never been easy, but now Lydia has to contend with what she may have
inadvertently brought home with her.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
“YA Author Ellis Nelson knows how to thread
a carefully spun tale with some little known, wildly interesting,
historical facts and wonderful family dynamics. She paints memorable
portraits of the different countries and eras – including the scents,
fragrances, smells and stenches that so clearly define those ancient
times in Holland . . . right into the New World! As an avid reader, I enjoyed the love for details, the historic research, and the way the author stuck – with unwavering rhythm – to her theme. . . ”
“… author, Ellis Nelson, accomplishes so much more. She ties the old
world (Amsterdam) and the new world (New Amsterdam/New York) into one
intriguing thread. Then she weaves that thread into a present day story
of a young visionary, Lydia, who stumbles upon the unfinished business
of her invisible counterpart, Annika, from the 17th century. The
stories of both girls are complete, one illuminating the other. Through
these points-of-view we experience the everyday angst of adolescence
in both natural and supernatural ways. Mystical insights, historical
realities, and future possibilities gild this lily of a story (or I
should say, this prizewinning tulip) into a work of art.”
“Timeless Tulips is the third novel I have immersed myself in by
gifted author, Ellis Nelson. As with her other books, this story is
exciting, suspenseful, and definitely unique. The plot twists in
unexpected ways and is filled with shadowy circumstances. A wonderful
“Speculating on tulips was a twist. Nelson brings the setting, characters, and events to life with a deft hand.”
“… loved the Amsterdam, Dutch heritage aspect, since I’m of Dutch ancestry. Wonderful ghost story!”
If you follow my blogs, Facebook, or Twitter feeds, I’m sure it looks like I’m not doing a whole lot. But since being back in country (since late Oct.) things have been very busy. Personal challenges continue— my mother died in April and the house hunt continues.
Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds, my new book was released this spring. Since the publisher does not have ebook rights, I’ll be releasing an ebook this fall. It will be an expanded version of the print book with additional material. My goal is to release this in time for Halloween since it’s a ghost story. Stay tuned for more on that.
Additionally, I’m working on a new novel that’s about three quarters complete. No title yet. This has been a fun book to work on. It’s required some research into the history of Colorado’s start and the history of tuberculosis (the White Plague). The book is a visionary tale about girl who grows up in a 19th century, Colorado town known for its dry climate and healing waters. With a father in the mortuary business, Tallulah has always been around TB and death. Tally’s mother died when she was born, and she longs to know more about the woman who should have raised her. Two peculiar town residents, who Tally is warned to give wide berth, sisters Dottie and Lottie (rumor has it) can speak to the dead. Can Tally persuade them to help her? I’m hoping to finish this by the end of the year. Add your title ideas in the comments section. PLEASE!!
Another manuscript I’ve been sitting on for a while, I think I’m going to self-publish soon. The Greening of the Laurel is a visionary, YA book in thriller mode. Ryan’s junior year is turned upside down by a series of bizarre visions and freaky encounters with fire. Eventually, Ryan ends up in the ER. He finally comes face to face with the man who claims to have all the answers. But how can quantum physics and timeless spiritual mysteries be colliding with Ryan at the center of it all? Can he really believe he had a past as a medieval heretic where he hid what has become known as the lost Cathar treasure, a manuscript containing the hidden truth underlying the universe? Can he trust a secret society that claims to need his help if science is to move forward?
Not at first, but as events threaten his family, Ryan returns to southern France to find the document he once allegedly hid. In 1244, he watched two hundred of his countrymen burn as he and two others slipped away in the night carrying a manuscript the world desperately needs. Surrounding Ryan are members of the Green Laurel, back to ensure his safety. Also, back are the dark forces of the Church who want nothing more than to exterminate the remnants of the Cathars and the truth the future requires. Without the manuscript, science cannot advance. A single unified theory will never be found and, all along, Ryan’s very existence remains in peril.
And although I’ve never had any luck with picture books, I’m currently circulating a manuscript with agents starring Mona Lisa. A cute story, but no bites yet!
Look for these books at your library or purchase from your favorite vendor.
THE GOOD FIGHT by Anne Quirk
“George Washington vs. King George. Benjamin Franklin vs. his son William. John Adams vs. Thomas Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton vs. everyone!
Join author Anne Quirk and illustrator Elizabeth Baddeley as they referee four fascinating historical throw-downs between the founding fathers . . . and prove that the United States of America is a place worth fighting for.”
ALEXANDER HAMILTON- THE OUTSIDER by Jean Fritz
“Acclaimed biographer Jean Fritz writes the remarkable story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s most influential and fascinating founding fathers, and his untimely death in a duel with Aaron Burr.
Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton arrived in New York as an “outsider.” He fought in the Revolution and became Washington’s most valuable aidede- camp. He was there with Washington, Madison, and the others writing the Constitution. He was the first Secretary of the Treasury as the country struggled to become unified and independent.”
IN SEARCH OF MOLLY PITCHER by Linda Grant De Pauw
“When Peggy McAllister learns about the Rattletop Award for
“excellence in eighth grade social studies,” she is determined to win
it with a research paper on a Great American Hero. But when she chooses Molly
Pitcher, the famous Revolutionary War heroine of the Battle of Monmouth, as her
subject, she runs into difficulties. With the help of her Greatgramps, a
retired private investigator, his lady friend Mrs. Spinner, a local historian
and secret author of historical romance novels, and Ms. Guelphstein, a
dedicated reference librarian, Peggy sorts through a maze of confusing and
contradictory evidence to identify the “real” Molly Pitcher.”
JOHNNY TREMAIN by Esther Forbes
“Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith
with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident,
forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for
the patriotic newspaper, The Boston Observer, and as a messenger for the
Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph
Warren. Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events shaping the American
Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington.”
BACKYARD BALLISTICS by William Gurstelle
“This bestselling DIY handbook now features new and expanded projects, enabling ordinary folks to construct 16 awesome ballistic devices in their garage or basement workshops using inexpensive household or hardware store materials and this step-by-step guide. …This book will be indispensable for the legions of backyard toy-rocket launchers and fireworks fanatics who wish every day was the fourth of July.”
There was a time in seventeenth century Holland when the tulip was a hot commodity. The most sought-after tulips suffered from a virus that broke the colors into streaks. Eventually, a whole speculative trade came into existence in which people who bought the bulbs never saw and never possessed them. Traders sold bulbs from catalog drawings like those presented here. Tulip fever reached its height in the winter of 1636 when a single bulb traded as many as ten times in a day. One bulb might sell for as much as a grand house in Amsterdam. Then abruptly in February, there came a day when traders just stayed home. The bubble had burst. Fortunes had been made and lost. Today tulips are a common garden flower seen in spring everywhere. But once they were treasure!
My new book, Timeless Tulips, Dark Diamonds, has half of the story take place during this fascinating time. https://amzn.to/2WnlqZX
When fourteen-year-old Lydia travels to Amsterdam with her parents, the last thing she expects is the weird incidents that plague her stay. Curtains flutter mysteriously, and unexplained shadows move through the kitchen unnerving her. But Lydia is more concerned with the potential move to Upstate New York. She dismisses the odd occurrences blaming them on jet lag and the various symptoms of her migraine disease.
When Lydia’s father lands a new job and the family moves to an area first settled by the Dutch, the bizarre happenings continue. Suffering from migraines has never been easy, but now Lydia has to contend with what she may have inadvertently brought home with her.
This is a book that fits the category of visionary fiction. Teenager
Marlena Oliveira came into the world as a healer. Unfortunately, her mother
uses her for her own gains and by the time Marlena is eighteen, she has led a
life of prayer and healing but knows nothing of the world. She increasingly
questions her gifts and the direction of her life until she seeks out a scientist
who can help her explore her talents. She meets a boy, rebels against the
imposed prison lifestyle her mother requires, and strikes out to find her own
The scenes of Marlena performing her healings are well done and as believable as mystical states can be described. The teenage longing for maturity and independence ring true. This is a well-written book. The part that didn’t go down so well was the all or nothing kind of approach, the author insisted on. Either Marlena had to choose to remain a healer in the image her mother had chosen for her or leave the healing world for the mundane. Why? I wonder why Marlena couldn’t have found her own way of remaining a hands-on healer. Why the rush for conventionality? Perhaps this choice would require an adult audience? Too risky for YA? I wonder.