Monday, September 27, 2010

In My Mailbox: Enchanted Ivy and Ice!

Look what my editor sent me!!! Finished copies of Enchanted Ivy and the paperback of Ice, both of which are coming out on October 12th.

I'm so thrilled with how these turned out and I'm so grateful to the publishing magicians at Simon & Schuster who turned my manuscripts into these beautiful books.

You can't really tell from the photo, but the Enchanted Ivy cover is all shimmery!!!!!

I'm a very lucky Sarah.

15 days until Enchanted Ivy -- and the paperback of Ice too!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drink, Slay, Love

I have BIG news!

You know that Top Sekrit Project that I've been talking about? Well, it's not top secret anymore! Here's the announcement in Publishers Marketplace:

Children's: Young Adult
Sarah Beth Durst's DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, about a vampire girl who develops a conscience after she is stabbed through the heart by a unicorn's horn, to Karen Wojtyla at Margaret K. McElderry Books, in a two-book deal, by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger (world).

Words cannot express how excited I am about this. So I shall resort to sounds:


I have had the best time writing this book. Seriously, it has been so much fun that I have felt secretly guilty for enjoying the process so much.

Most of that is due to Pearl, my vampire girl. She's kick-ass. And, you know, mostly evil. I love her. I wouldn't ever want to meet her in a dark alley, but I love her.

I also love my unicorns. These are not your run-of-the-mill fluffy My Little Pony unicorns. These are were-unicorns who slay vampires (because who better to hunt vampires than someone with a built-in stake).

So. Much. Fun. To. Write.

And I am so thrilled to finally be able to tell you about it. I have been sitting on this news for a while, but now it's official!

DRINK, SLAY, LOVE will be out from Simon & Schuster in fall 2011, followed by an untitled second book in fall 2012. I am sooooo happy that I get to continue working with my wonderful editor, Karen Wojtyla, on these books. And I am sooooo grateful to my amazing agent, Andrea Somberg, for putting this deal together.

I shall now commence the Snoopy Dance of Joy!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Enchanted Ivy Excerpt

Got a present for you. Close your eyes...

Cancel that. Forgot you can't read with your eyes closed. Okay, eyes open but imagine yourself unwrapping a box. Inside the box is... a new puppy!!!

Okay, no, just kidding. It's Chapter One of my new novel Enchanted Ivy!

"Almost there," Grandpa said.

Pressing her nose against the car window, Lily frowned at the strip malls, gas stations, and industrial parks as they rolled by. "Really?" she said. She'd expected to see something a bit more picturesque than Walmarts and Home Depots en route to her dream school -- at least a stately forest or a field with a few photogenic cows. And she should hear trumpets playing, plus a massive choir announcing in verse the approach of her destiny.

Maybe she'd built up this moment a bit too much.

Click here to read the rest of the first chapter.

Go ahead. I'll wait. *drums fingers* Are you back yet? No? *attempts to whistle and fails* How about now? Or now?

You're back! Yay! So, did you like it?!?!!?!?!?!?

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Danke Schoen

Sprechen sie deutsch?

I don't. Or really, any other language besides English, though I do know how to say "turtle" and "squid" in sign language. A full semester of it in college and that's all that stuck. Anyway, I am filled with this desire in learn German because I just found out that... (and here is where you can insert a drumroll, if you like)... a publisher in Germany has licensed the German language rights to both Ice and Enchanted Ivy! There are going to be German editions of my books! In, you know, German!

My German publisher is EGMONT Verlagsgesellschaften.

I think I will spend tomorrow learning how to spell that.

I am so over-the-moon thrilled about this that all I can say is...

Danke schoen!!!

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kirkus Review of Enchanted Ivy

Kirkus, Kirkus, KIRKUS!!!

Kirkus is one of the big trade publications that review books. It has a reputation for tough reviews. It also has a name that's fun to say loudly while bouncing on your desk chair after receiving the news that KIRKUS LIKED ENCHANTED IVY!!!

Here is the full review:

"Blithe and flighty at the beginning, the protagonist and plot quickly darken and deepen in this fantasy and magical coming-of-age story set at Princeton. During Reunion weekend, a mysterious group of alumni offers high-school junior Lily Carter admission if she can find the Ivy Key and pass the Legacy Test. With the help of her dueling love interests -- tiger-haired Tye and knightly Jake -- and the gargoyles on campus, Lily finds the key, along with unexpected information about her late father, her addled mother and her esteemed grandfather. Discovering the key also triggers a war between the group that recruited her and the fantastic residents of a parallel world, whose battles engulf the campus. Durst deftly layers in mythologies, drawing upon the vaunted status of the Ivy League schools, students' stories and superstitions, common tropes of fantasy literature and the propaganda of war. A refreshing entry in the urban-fantasy field and a solid adventure tale." -- Kirkus


30 days until Enchanted Ivy!

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Working on my Project

While attempting to work on my latest writing project, I wandered over to Laini Taylor's blog, where I found this video by Levni Yilmaz. It is genius and must be viewed by all humans. That is all.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Choosing the Right Place

Junior year of high school, my parents told me that I could only apply to five colleges. This was entirely for my own good. Left to my own devices, I would have applied to five hundred colleges. (I was a wee bit anxious about the whole thing.)

This limitation didn't stop my obsessing, of course. I needed to pick the "right" five.

My dad and I visited a total of 22 colleges during my junior and senior year of high school. We even video-taped our visits (though most of the time, we'd forget until we were driving away, and I'd just stick the camera
out the window and roll film -- unsurprisingly, my mom couldn't watch those videos without getting seasick).

It's not like college campuses are so different from each other. Classrooms, check. Dorm rooms, check. Gym. Student center. Really, your college experience is going to be shaped a lot more by what you are like than what your college is like. Also, who lives on your hall freshman year and whether your roommate is awesome or a raving lunatic.

(My roommate and neighbors were awesome. Also, some of them read this blog. *waves*)

Anyway, when I walked onto the Princeton campus, it felt RIGHT. As I've said before, it was the trees that wooed me: the elms, the oaks, the sycamores, and especially the flowering magnolia-like trees that fill the campus with their perfume every spring.

Picking a setting for a book is a lot like choosing the right college. You agonize over it. You do some research. You visualize your characters in that setting. You try to anticipate how it will change your story and the impact it will have. And in the end, you bite the bullet and decide based on a hodgepodge of actual fact, pure conjecture, and a large dose of random chance.

Once you make that decision, the ramifications are HUGE. Setting shapes both plot and characters, often in ways that surprise you. Eventually, the setting becomes so integral to the story that you can't imagine ever having considered another choice.

I chose to set Enchanted Ivy at my alma mater because I love adding magic to places that I love. It's basically wish fulfillment for me. (I did a similar thing in my debut novel Into the Wild by setting it in the town I grew up in. It's one of the perks of the writing gig.)

The campus quickly became my inspiration and an integral part of the characters and plot. I used the gardens, the eating clubs, the gargoyles, the front gate, even the mascot. The story would literally not be the same if it were set anywhere else.

35 days until ENCHANTED IVY!

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