Ravage: Cover & Summary!

All right Deviants readers, you’ve been waiting patiently and now I can finally share the cover and summary for the third book in the trilogy, RAVAGE. I gave a sneak peak last week on Twitter and Facebook, but this is the first time you’ll get to read where the story is going next. Be warned: If you haven’t read VESPER or HAVOC yet, you might want to skip the summary — it’s spoiler-tastic!

Ravage: A Deviants Novel

RAVAGE: A Deviants Novel

The war against BioZenith is on.

Since she first came into her mysterious new superpowers, Emily has watched one of her packmates disappear through an interdimensional portal; she’s been hunted by creepy, body-snatching Shadowmen; she’s managed to form an alliance with the same telekinetic cheerleaders who once tried to take her down; and she’s discovered that her believed-to-be-dead mother is one of the BioZenith scientists responsible for her strange abilities.

Now it’s up to the Deviants to put together the last pieces of the puzzle, which includes tracking down the final, mystery member of their kind and forcing their parents to reveal why they mutated their own children. Emily fears the answer is far more sinister than anyone ever thought: after all, why would a parent risk a child’s life unless the stakes were high…scary, world-ending high?

Tired of being at the mercy of adult conspiracies, Emily forms a plan with the other Deviants: Destroy BioZenith before anyone can use the knowledge within the facility to aid the Shadowmen. But that’s only if BioZenith—or something worse—doesn’t capture them first.

~~~

I adore this cover! Ali Smith and the Balzer+Bray design team did a fabulous job. I think it’s especially cool how Emily is now facing opposite how she was on book one, with her hair up in a ponytail to show she means business! As for the book itself, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–shiz gets crazy. The book is the longest of the three at 400 pages and there’s plenty of twists and turns to be had before you reach the final pages.

RAVAGE will be available in hardcover and as an ebook January 2013!

Secret New Series, Revealed!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that for the past year and a half I’ve occasionally mentioned a ~secret children’s series~ that I couldn’t give any details about. And if you’re like some of my followers, not knowing what it was drove you mad. Mad, I say!

So I’m happy to say that today I can announce my brand new series.

Introducing THE LAST DOGS, a four-book middle-grade adventure series which I’ve written under the name Christopher Holt. The series is being published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, with the first book–called The Vanishing–coming out this September in hardcover, ebook, and audio book formats. This will also be my first illustrated series, with exterior and interior artwork by incredible artists Greg Call and Allen Douglas! Here is the official cover and summary for the first book:

The Last Dogs: The Vanishing

THE LAST DOGS: THE VANISHING

by Christopher Holt

When all the humans in his world disappear, Max, a yellow Labrador Retriever, begins the search for his family. He knows that if he can just find Madame Curie, a wise, old black Lab, she’ll be able to help. Madame had a premonition of astonishing events to come–she might know where Max’s family is.

But Max can’t make the journey alone. Joined by friends Rocky and Gizmo, Max sets off to find Madame. Along the way, the trio must face a pack of angry wolves, forage for food in a land where kibble is akin to gold, befriend a house full of cats, and outsmart a gang of subway rats. Ultimately, they’ll have to escape from the biggest threat of all: the Corporation, a “perfect” society for dogs and by dogs, where nothing is quite as it seems.

The Last Dogs: The Vanishing is a thrilling adventure and a tale of three unlikely friends on an epic quest to find their people–and bring them home.

~~~

THE LAST DOGS series is funny, exciting, and surprising, and it’s a series I think kids are going to love. I’ve had an absolute blast writing the books. I’m in the middle of the third book right now, and I can’t wait for you to see how unexpected and thrilling the journey of our dog heroes will become.

The first book is coming to stores everywhere on September 4!

By the way, Deviants fans: Word has come down from the delightful folks at HarperCollins that I’ll be able to unveil the cover and summary of the final book in the trilogy in just a few weeks. Be sure to check back soon for more info on the last part of Emily Webb’s journey!

Get ready to wreak some HAVOC

Look at that blog title. Puns! Puns ahoy!

So I’m deeply ashamed that I haven’t had a blog update in, oh, 7 months or so. But in my defense, it’s ’cause I been busy busy busy. And also Twitter has destroyed my ability to type more than a few characters.

BUT! Today I have a new book out! Yaaaay! So of course I gotsta hit up the interwebs and tell people about it.

If you recall, on a cold wintry day this time last year, a little blue book featuring the word VESPER hovering in front of a plume of red smoke hit the shelves. That would be book one in my YA sci-fi trilogy Deviants, which is published here in the states and in Canada by the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins. That book told the tale of a geeky girl named Emily Webb who found herself going wild at night… and then turning into a werewolf… and then learning a crazed scientist wanted her dead because she’s actually been genetically engineered to be said werewolf. And oh yeah, there are others like her, too.

Enter HAVOC. Whereas VESPER was a sort of coming-of-age prelude to Emily’s wild world, HAVOC digs deeper into the mysteries with more characters, more dangers, higher stakes, and lots of action. Here’s the official blurb!

HAVOC: A Deviants Novel

HAVOC: A Deviants Novel

Emily Webb thought life would go back to normal after she and pack-mate Spencer Holt killed the man who tried to murder them and their fellow “Deviants.” Or as normal as it could be, after finding out she has nighttime superpowers . . . and she’s a werewolf. But when Emily wakes up one night to find an otherworldly shadowman watching her, she knows the danger has only just begun.

Determined to find answers, Emily and Spencer, along with the third member of their pack—football player Dalton McKinney—set out to find the people who made them what they are, and why. And as Emily and her friends get closer to the truth, they realize they aren’t the only ones in town with special powers: The most popular girls in school just might have a secret of their own—and they just might have it out for Emily.

But other kinds of Deviants will be the least of the pack’s problems if they can’t get their own powers under control. With each nighttime shift, Dalton’s behavior grows more erratic, and Emily’s transformations begin to evolve in mysterious ways. With shadowy beings stalking the Deviants at every turn, a mysterious company doing all it can to keep the truth hidden, and the secrecy of her strange new identity in jeopardy, life threatens to spiral out of control for Emily. And soon all these dangers will come together in one terrifying confrontation that may force her to make the toughest choice of her life.

OMG intriguing! Some early reader reviews of come in from folks who haven’t read VESPER but did read HAVOC, and apparently it actually works on its own, too. So if less self-discovery and more action appeals to you, feel free to jump into book two first.

HAVOC is now in stores everywhere, but if you prefer ordering online or you’ve got one of those fancy ereaders, here are some links!

US: IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & NobleBooks A Million
CANADA: IndieBoundAmazonChapters Indigo
EBOOK: KindleNookiBookstoreGoogle eBookEpubKobo

Don’t forget that you can browse inside the book on HarperTeen before you buy. And if you enjoy VESPER, HAVOC, and the Deviants series, like us on Facebook for more updates!

~~~

VESPER: A Deviants Novel

Since I’m all pimpin’, all the time today, I’d be loath not to mention to those of you who have been meaning to check out VESPER but still haven’t that the first Deviants book is now out in paperback. Even cooler, for one more week only, the VESPER ebook is only $0.99 as part of HarperTeen’s Epic Reads’ Epic Deals along with ten other awesome YA books. Get all the details on the $0.99 ebooks on their Facebook page!

All right, backslash end promo and all that. I’m off to write more books — including the third Deviants book! — but keep following my blog and follow me on Twitter @jeffmsampson for more updates!

Sequels: Havoc and Unleashed!

It’s been ages since I’ve had an update, but that’s only because I’ve been crazy busy writing books the past six months. Not a bad problem to have, right? But this week I have news on two sequels and so I had to take the time to share!

First up is a look at the cover and summary for HAVOC: A Deviants Novel, the follow up to my recent YA release VESPER. The cover and summary may change a little by the time we have a finished jacket later this year, but this is pretty close to what you’ll see on shelves come this January. Be wary: if you haven’t read VESPER yet, the HAVOC summary is super spoilery:

HAVOC: A Deviants Novel

Emily Webb thought life would return to normal after the death of the man who attacked her and her fellow “Deviants.” Or as normal as it could be, after discovering that she has nighttime superpowers . . . and she’s a werewolf. But when Emily awakes one night to find an otherworldy Shadowman watching her, she knows the danger has only just begun.

So Emily and her pack-mates set out to find the people who made them what they are, and why. But as they get closer to the truth, they realize they aren’t the only ones in town with special powers: The most popular girls in school might just have a secret of their own–and they might just have it out for Emily.

With shadowy beings stalking them, a mysterious company doing all it can to keep the truth hidden, and the secrecy of her new identity in jeopardy, life threatens to spiral out of control for Emily. Soon these dangers will come together in one terrifying confrontation that may force her to make the toughest choice of her life . . . so far.

I’ve seen a lot of people finish VESPER and ask for the sequel right away because of the reveals in the final pages. HAVOC pumps up the action and begins to unravel the mysteries, perhaps in unexpected ways… as well as paves the way for the explosive finale in Deviants book 3, which I’m writing right now. I can’t wait for you to get your hands on the book this winter, January 2012.

~~~

Out this month I have another sequel, this one to my children’s fantasy book MONSTER SLAYERS, which I wrote under the name “Lukas Ritter.” MONSTER SLAYERS: UNLEASHED follows heroes Evin and his friends as they strive to save the world from a monsterpocalypse that they (as the title says) unleashed:

Monster Slayers: Unleashed

Evin, Jorick, and Bet unleashed an onslaught of captive monsters while under a mind-altering spell. Now the monster horde is heading straight toward cities and villages filled with people who aren’t prepared to face the deadly threat. It’s up to Evin and his friends to alert the famous Knights of the Cobalt Tide of the impending danger before anyone gets hurt, and to slay as many of the evil monsters as they can along the way.

But an unexpected attack leads the Monster Slayers onto a ship instead–a ship that is soon hijacked by a medusa obsessed with taking out vengeance on the humans who trapped her people in the now destroyed dome. Trapped at sea and surrounded by deadly creatures, can Evin, Jorick, Bet, and some new friends stop the medusa’s evil plot? Or will this voyage doom them all?

The publisher has decided that this sequel will currently be an ebook exclusive, meaning that there is no print version at this time (though I’m told one is possible if the book sells well enough). If you have an ereader and would like continue the adventure started in MONSTER SLAYERS, here are some places you can pick up the ebook: KindleNookeReader

That’s all for now, but I should have more news on HAVOC — including info on advance reader copies — very soon!

VESPER is here!

I should have made this post two weeks ago when the book actually came out, but man does time zip by when you have a new book released!

As the title says, my new YA novel Vesper, the first in the Deviants series, is finally here! Here’s the deets:

Vesper: A Deviants Novel

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely—something not human?

“Middle-grade author Sampson’s quick-paced YA debut, first in the Deviants series, gives [spoiler!] an SF twist…. Sampson lets Emily’s story unfold with small reveals, and intriguing details build this into a cohesive page-turner…. Enticing hints of a deeper backstory, combined with a cliffhanger ending, should leave readers eager for the next book.”
- Publisher’s Weekly

“This smart and good-humored [novel], the first in the Deviants series, should tickle the fancy of girls who like their genre reading spicy without being crude…. [Readers] will enjoy the ride as [Emily] sleuths the other Emily’s death … Intercut between these high-action chapters are scenes from Emily W.’s interrogation by what is clearly an evil force. This conceit proves an effective and unusual way of alerting readers to the potential of Emily W.’s … world.”
- Booklist

“Addictive and surprising. I couldn’t wait for night to fall to see what Emily would do next!”
- Lauren Kate, New York Times bestselling author of Fallen

~~~

If Vesper intrigues you and you’d like to get your hands on a copy, the book is now in stores all over the US and Canada. But don’t let dreary winter weather keep you from reading — if outside is currently a frozen tundra, you can also order the book online or download it as an e-book:

US: IndieBoundAmazonBarnes & NobleBordersBooks A Million
Canada: IndieBoundAmazon - Chapters Indigo
E-Book: KindleNook

If you’d like to learn even more about Vesper and the Deviants series, some links: The Vesper book pageDeviants series Facebook pageBrowse inside the book at HarperTeenCheck out the Vesper trailer on YouTube

I’m so excited the book is finally here! I’ve already finished writing Deviants #2 and am about to dive into the hugely epic book #3. These two won’t be out until Jan. 2012 and Jan. 2013 respectively, but I’m doing my best to make them worth the wait!

Woo Christmas Eve!

So it turns out having a debut novel come out while also working on several other books can make you totally frikkin’ busy. And also not shave for a month so that you end up looking like Alan Moore. So that’s my excuse for not blogging more often (even though I totes had procrastination days when I could have, but let’s ignore that).

Basically most of my day to day life involves writing and books now, with the exception of evening treks to a friend’s house to watch Community and Top Chef All Stars (hootie hoo!), amongst our other shows, and the occasional movie outing (omg Social Network and Black Swan!). As such, today’s blog post is not about Christmas plans (as my frenzied writing marathons kept me from shopping, which delayed Christmas, which means I RUINED CHRISTMAS OH GOD). But it is about a completely awesome and unexpected Christmas Eve gift I got this morning.

The package, with a note from my editor, Kristin:

And what could possibly be inside? Oh, what’s this? Two finished copies of Vesper fresh off the press? It’s a real book?! Hells to the yeah!

This little book took four years from inception to existence, and it was a long and depressing and exciting and anxiety-fueled but ultimately rewarding experience. In one month this will be on shelves around the country. I am scared to death of what people will think. That hasn’t stopped me from obsessively reading reviews anyway. For any of you guys who takes the time to read this, I really hope you like it. If you don’t, uh, well, maybe not directly tell me about it.

Okay! So happy Christmas Eve to all that celebrate. I’m thinking friends and I may spend ours with some adult beverages and a bad Christmas-themed horror movie. We’re traditional like that.

Vesper: The Cover!

Vesper: A Deviants Novel

Here is the final, pre-blurb cover for VESPER, the first book in my new YA series Deviants. It comes out at the end of January/early February. And I LOVE this cover. Like, a lot.

I haven’t been blogging much since I’ve been dealing with an annoying leg infection for like a month and a half, but I’ve been cheered up the past few weeks by tons of awesome book bloggers featuring Vesper as a book to watch in 2011 (or, at least, as one that has a cool cover). Look at all these awesome people: Dark Faerie Tales, Once Upon A Review, Extreme Reader Book Reviews, Reading Addict, La Femme Readers, The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Reviews, The Bookologist, Tynga’s Reviews, and Angieville.

I’ve no doubt that the rising number of people adding Vesper to their to-read lists on Goodreads is because of these bloggers, so yay! If you haven’t added Vesper as to-read yourself, it’s never too late! Oh and if you want to casually vote on my book in those list of 2011 books it’s on, I won’t mind, promise.

Lastly, Kelsey over at the fabulous The Book Scout blog did the very first interview with me about Vesper for her Introducing 2011 series. You can read it here.

And now I need to run off and continue living the glamorous life of a YA author, which involves me doing the dishes and then elevating the wonky leg. I hope you guys love the cover for Vesper as much as I do!

Books Books Books

Oh mah god, how can a whole month DISAPPEAR? I swear just yesterday it was the beginning of May. Now it’s nearing the middle of June, which is lame ’cause I cannot stand the heat. At all. And it’s getting hot. I dream of getting one of these:

Future Fan

That circle blasts AIR. Without the use of blades. Is that not the coolest, most space agey thing EVER? But until they’re not HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS I’ll just deal with my janky, old, regular fan. Even if it does get super dusty.

Anyway, so the past month disappeared because of, as always, book stuff. The days all fly by fast and furious, especially since I’m working on the sequel to Monster Slayers at the exact same time I’m writing Deviants book 2. Two more different books I can not imagine, for realz. My mind can barely contain all the madness. So let’s see what’s gone down lately….

Monster Slayers at B&N

  • Yes, we totally picked the pen name “Lukas Ritter” so it’d be shelved next to Rick Riordan‘s books. It was a coincidence that both Monster Slayers and Red Pyramid came out on the same day though.
  • Monster Slayers is also my first eBook! Honestly, I never really paid attention to eBooks because I’m a freak who needs to feel pages, and who wants my house built entirely from hardcover novels one day, but knowing that my books are available on, like, Kindles and Nooks and shiz kind of makes me want to get an eReader. You can get the Kindle version on Amazon, or get the ePub format one at the Sony eReader site. Much like the crazy blade-less fan above, this makes me feel like we’re in Star Trek.
  • Remember The Death and Life of Emily Cooke, the first book in the Deviants series? Of course you do, I’ve been talking about it since forever. Well, this is the book of a million titles. Originally it was called Wildeside. Then it was The Savage Files. Then The Vesper Files. Then, at long last, the Emily Cooke title. And all was well and good . . . until a few weeks back I learned that marketing at HarperCollins wanted a new title. Something shorter and punchier. We were happy to oblige, and thus the book became (bum ba da!) Vesper: A Deviants Novel. I love the new title because it allowed me to dig through the text and make some changes that I think added some really cool connotations to the overall mythology of the series. But, uh, since you haven’t read word one yet, that probably doesn’t mean much.
  • The new title needed to be decided on quick because Vesper is going to become an ARC any day now! Recently I received the galley pages for the advance readers copy, which filled me with glee since it was the first time I got to see the manuscript in a format other than a plain Word document. You can check out some photos I snapped in my Facebook album. And if you really want, you can strain your eyes to read the first couple paragraphs of the book…
  • I also got the cover for the ARC and ohmigod, it is so damn cool. I can’t post it because we’re getting the finished cover anytime now, but judging by the text only version I was sent, the final cover is gonna rock, like, super hard.
  • The ARC cover revealed to me that the official release date for Vesper: A Deviants Novel is January 25, 2011. That’s only six months away! That kind of blows my mind, even more than the space fan.
  • In a few scant weeks I’m being flown to Washington D.C. by Wizards of the Coast to sign Monster Slayers at ALA. I’m a little bit scurred because I’ll have to fly on a plane all by my lonesome and probably rent a car and all that, but I’m excited to sit down in the always-awesome Wizards of the Coast booth and meet the publishing folk and librarians who stop by. My back has been killing me lately (ugh, so out of shape), so I may not walk around much . . . though I may not be able to resist the allure of free ARCs everywhere.
  • Finally, in a little more than a month I’m turning 28. TWENTY-EIGHT. Oh lawd, how did I get so old? I started working at writing professionally when I was 18 — I was a right little upstart filled with hubris and big plans. I decided I would be published by 21 and afterward become world famous. I sort of hit then first part of that goal (I was published right before I turned 23), but now I look back at wee little me and say, “Oh man, I wish I still had your thick, luxurious hair.” And also, “Haha, teenage me! If only you knew the work to come. If only you knew.” I’ve been working as a writer in publishing for a decade now, and it’s only now that I’m having the big-ish releases I dreamed of. So note to anyone reading this who wants to be an author: settle in for the long haul, or don’t settle in at all. Seriously.

And I think that’s all. Man no wonder the days are flying by all fast and furious. What’s worse is all this writing stuff is keeping me from the important things like playing Prince of Persia, Alan Wake, Picross 3D, and The Sims 3: Ambitions. Don’t my editors and agent know there’s important virtual work to be done? My Sims author isn’t going to sit down and write his novel all by himself, now will he?

Until next time….

Return of the Book Pimper!

So I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I have a book out in a few weeks called Monster Slayers by “Lukas Ritter.” Have I mentioned it? I can’t recall. I’ve been so mum on the subject.

Okay, yeah, no, it’s been full force pimping lately. An endless gale of pimp whooshing into your homes via computer screen. I’m basically that cardboard cutout of The Critic from the show The Critic saying, “Buy my book!” over and over again. But it’s my first hardcover release! It’s exciting! EXCITING!

Anyway, so it’s time for another weekly dose of Monster Slayers/Lukas Ritter news round up!

Several months back I was tasked with writing a short story based on Monster Slayers that takes place before the book. The resulting story, “Training Day,” is now on the Wizards of the Coast website. Click on the cool picture to check it out!

Monster Slayers: Training Day

The story was posted alongside a neat D&D game that I had no idea was being created. Written by Wizards editor Susan Morris, The Heroes of Hesiod game is FREAKING ADORABLE. It’s based on the “Training Day” short story, includes characters from the Monster Slayers books, and you are rewarded with CANDY. This is designed as an easy D&D game for kids ages 6 and up and as such includes cute little beholders and dragons to fight. I am totally gathering five friends to play this. Click on the baby monsters to check it out:

Monster Slayers: Heroes of Hesiod

And lastly, the first part of the interview I did with my editor Nina Hess is now online to read. We basically went back and forth Interview magazine style, which was a lot of fun. This first part deals with more general talk about Monster Slayers and how it came to be. The second part, which will be posted next week, goes into the nitty gritty of how we work together for those interested in the editor-author relationship. Follow the plush bouncing beholder to read part 1:

Beholder

And that’s it for today’s Monster Slayers promo blitz. Now I must dash off to lunch with a friend so I can come back and (gulp) actually work on writing a book for once.

Meet Lukas Ritter

My editor at Wizards of the Coast–Nina Hess–and I recently did a back and forth interview about working together on Monster Slayers that’s going up in several parts in the coming weeks. She started off with an intro to my alter-ego Lukas Ritter by detailing how we came to work together seven years ago. Check it out!

Out of the Slush Pile: The Tale of Lukas Ritter

There have also been a few reviews popping up for Monster Slayers from the copies of the ARC that went out. Here’s a couple totally chosen at random that are in no way being excerpted solely because they were positive:

“Lukas Ritter weaves a magical tale that will keep young readers entranced by the story.”
- Reading Review (I should note that the reviewer mistakenly thinks this book takes place in the Dragonlance world; it does not.)

“With non-stop action and adventure, unique monsters, and a bit of magic, this is an exciting story for young and old alike.”
- SciFiChick.com

Thanks, randomly chosen reviewers! I’ll leave you guys with a sneak peak at the cover for Monster Slayers 2, since it’s too cool not to share. The full thing is TOTALLY AWESOME and I’ll post it as soon as they let me!

Monster Slayers 2 Snippet