Sunday, March 01, 2015

Announcing THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA Trilogy!

I am so very, very excited to announce that I've sold a new trilogy of books for adults!!!  An epic fantasy trilogy!!!!!!!!!!!  In the biggest book deal of my career to date!  Series title is THE QUEENS OF RENTHIA and they will be published by HarperCollins / Voyager in 2016 and 2017.  Here's the announcement from this week's Publishers Weekly Book Deals:

Durst Delivers 'Queens' to Harper

In a three-book deal, Harper Voyager's David Pomerico preempted world rights to Sarah Beth Durst's fantasy trilogy, the Queens of Renthia. Durst, who was represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, said the series is set in a world "where everything in nature has a spirit -- and where those spirits are bloodthirsty killers who seek the death of all humans." Book one, The Queen of Blood, is set for a fall 2016 publication. Durst has written a number of fantasy novels for children and adults, including the YA title Chasing Power (Bloomsbury) and the adult title The Lost (Mira), both published in 2014.

I am doing a serious Snoopy dance of joy right now, complete with Muppet flailing arms and high-pitched squeals:  

As mentioned in the PW announcement, Renthia is a world where everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow...  But these are not the sweet, frolicking nature sprites from a pastoral tale.  The spirits that reside within this land want to kill all humans, the way white blood cells want to kill a virus.  Only a few women are gifted with the power to control the spirits.  To defend their people, these women must fight to become queens... or die trying.

Tentative titles and publication dates are:

Book 1: THE QUEEN OF BLOOD -- October 2016
Book 2: THE RELUCTANT QUEEN -- February 2017
Book 3: THE QUEEN OF SORROW -- June 2017

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am about this trilogy.  I love epic fantasy.  Really, really love it, as in spent an inordinate amount of my childhood pretending that I was a magical sword-wielding princess on a quest, drawing massive maps of nonexistent lands, and reading David Eddings's The Belgariad so many times that Polgara, Silk, and Durnik felt like real people.  So to be writing books born from this tradition...  Let's just say my ten-year-old self would be doing a lot of cartwheeling if she knew.

Right now, I'm in the middle of writing book one, and I am loving working on it so much.  It feels exactly like writing is supposed to feel, as if I have plunged through a portal into another world.  I feel so incredibly lucky and thrilled and overjoyed, and I can't wait to welcome you to Renthia and share this world's stories and people with you!

Just don't try to visit Renthia in person, because those trees... they'll totally kill you.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

CHASING POWER Comes Out Today!

I am thrilled to announce the release of my new book, CHASING POWER!!!

CHASING POWER is a fantasy novel for young adults, published by Bloomsbury.  It's about Kayla, a sixteen-year-old girl who can move things with her mind, and Daniel, a boy who can teleport across continents and who lies as easily as he travels.  Together, they embark on an Indiana-Jones-style adventure to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother.  But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family, and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.

The idea for this book came from one of those questions that you ask your friends late at night after you've finished dissecting everyone's personal lives, speculating on the future of various relationships, and musing over the awesomeness of avocados.  Namely: "If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?"

My answer for years has been telekinesis.  At a very formative age, I saw "Escape to Witch Mountain" and loved everything about it, including its cheesy special effects, overacting adults, and harmonica solos.  I also read (and reread and reread...) the wonderful book THE GIRL WITH THE SILVER EYES by Willo Davis Roberts.  So telekinesis has been on the list of awesome-things-I-want-to-write-about for a very long time.

But the novel wasn't truly born until I decided to give my girl very, very limited powers.  Kayla can't toss around cars or planes like Jean Grey.  She can't lift an X-wing fighter out of a swamp.  She can lift things about the size and weight of a credit card.  Maybe a pencil.  So she has to be clever and use her power creatively, if she's going to survive.

I had so much fun writing this book.  It was an adventure that took me around the world (not literally, of course -- in real life, I stayed nicely close to my refrigerator), up mountains and into catacombs and as close as I'll ever get to a lava lake.  Writing it felt like hanging out with very cool friends, the kind of friends who always make you laugh and who always share the salsa.  I hope you have fun reading it!

And if you're in the NYC area, I'll be signing copies of CHASING POWER this Friday (10/17/14) at 6pm at Books of Wonder.  I hope you'll come and say hi!

More about CHASING POWER, including the first two chapters, can be found here.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Congratulations to Chasing Power Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the CHASING POWER giveaway!

The winner is: Erin P.  Congratulations!

For those of you who didn't win and are now bereft, here is a song about pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows to cheer you up:

Also to cheer you up... CHASING POWER comes out on Tuesday!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014


My new YA novel CHASING POWER comes out from Bloomsbury in exactly one week!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of this, I'm doing a giveaway of a signed copy of CHASING POWER:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
CHASING POWER is the story of Kayla, a sixteen-year-old girl who can move things with her mind, and Daniel, a boy who can teleport across continents and who lies as easily as he travels. Together, they embark on an Indiana-Jones-style adventure to find and steal an ancient incantation, written on three indestructible stones and hidden millennia ago, all to rescue Daniel's kidnapped mother. But Kayla has no idea that this rescue mission will lead back to her own family, and to betrayals that she may not be able to forgive... or survive.  Click here to read the first two chapters.

One week until pub day!!!  *runs in circles, flails arms like Muppet*

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Thanks for participating in YASH!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the YA Scavenger Hunt!  I hope you had fun!  A special thank you to everyone who entered my CHASING POWER giveaway!  I loved reading all the comments.

The winner of a signed copy of CHASING POWER is: Katrina T.  Congratulations!

For those of you who didn't win... I will be hosting another giveaway here tomorrow!  And then CHASING POWER comes out a week from tomorrow (Tuesday 10/14/14).

Other YA Scavenger Hunt winners, including the grand prize winners, will be posted by 5pm today (Monday 10/6/14) on the YASH blog.

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Fall 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to the fall 2014 YA Scavenger Hunt!

I'm Sarah Beth Durst, your host for this leg of the hunt.  I'm the author of nine fantasy novels for children, teens, and adults, including CONJURED, VESSEL, and ICE.  My next YA novel, CHASING POWER, is coming out in a week and a half (!!!) from Bloomsbury, and my next middle-grade novel, THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, is coming out in fall 2015 from HMH/Clarion Books.

Other facts about me:

- I have ridiculously curly hair that once trapped a yellow-jacket and has been known to swallow bobby pins whole.

- I don't have a pet dragon but wish I did.  Ditto magic wand, unicorn, or any superpower (other than hair that won't straighten even when completely soaked).

- If I could have any power (and assuming that I couldn't choose to cure diseases or feed everyone in the world), I'd want telekinesis.

- I'm afraid of skunks and Frisbees.

- My favorite number (which you need to know to win this scavenger hunt!) is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

I'm thrilled to be participating in the hunt this year!

The YA Scavenger Hunt is a biannual event started by author Colleen Houck.  This fall, 125 YA authors are participating (including yours truly).  On this hunt, you will have access to exclusive bonus material from each of the participating authors, plus every author will also include their favorite number.  (If you missed the hint above, mine is 42 and has been every since I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at a highly impressionable age.)  Add up all the secret numbers, and you can enter for the grand prize: one signed book from each author in a team.  But play fast: this contest will only be online for 72 hours!

You can start right here on this blog post, or you can go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt, including links to all the authors participating.  (There's also a handy "How to Hunt" page.) This year, there are six contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all.  I am a part of the Gold Team.

You can also win individual giveaways on some legs of the hunt, including this one!  Scroll down to enter to win a signed copy of CHASING POWER.


Directions: Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up.

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, Oct 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. 


Today I am hosting Susanne Winnacker for the YA Scavenger Hunt!  Welcome, Susanne!  Happy to have you here!  *shares chocolate-covered raisins*

Susanne Winnacker studied law before she became a full-time writer. She lives with her husband, two dogs and two bunnies in Germany. She loves coffee (in every shape and form), traveling and animals. When she isn't writing, you can usually find her in the kitchen, experimenting with new vegan dishes.


Tessa has finally made peace with her life as a Variant. She and long-time love Alec are officially a couple, and for the first time, she has everything she wants.

But the air is tense at FEA headquarters. An agent has disappeared, and rogue variant organization Abel’s Army is likely the culprit.

When Tessa is summoned for her second mission, she is unexpectedly launched into a massive conspiracy. Her best friend Holly is kidnapped and Tessa knows it was meant to be her. But who is after her? And more importantly, why?

When the FEA's efforts to rescue Holly don’t yield any results, Tessa takes matters into her own hands. Desperate to save her friend and uncover the mystery behind Abel’s Army, Tessa launches her own investigation—but nothing could prepare her for what she finds. Everyone in her life is harboring secrets: Alec, her estranged mother, even the father she never knew.

The truth will take her out on the road and out of her comfort zone, with danger lurking everywhere. Summoning all of her courage and strength, Tessa must decide who can be trusted and what is worth fighting for -- even if it means going against the life she thought she wanted. Her final decision will leave readers breathless.

For more information, visit Susanne's website or blog.  And you can learn more about DEFECTOR here.


Susanne's bonus material is a deleted scene from DEFECTOR.  Click here to read!  (Spoiler alert: This scene gives away major plot points from IMPOSTER.)


In addition to participating in the Scavenger Hunt, I am also offering an extra giveaway.  (Note that you do not need to participate in the hunt to enter this giveaway.  It's open to both hunters and non-hunters.)  If you'd like to win a signed hardcover copy of CHASING POWER, please enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author, Rebekah L. Purdy

And when you've finished visiting all the Gold Team authors, add up all our favorite numbers (again, mine is 42) to find the secret code to enter for the grand prize.

Happy hunting!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

CONJURED Paperback!

Things that are bendy:

1) Squirrel tails
2) Garden hoses
3) My hair
4) Olympic gymnasts
5) Polaroids
6) Pipe cleaners
7) Really old carrots
8) Fresh chocolate chip cookies
9) Ferrets

For those of you who prefer your books in a more fun, bendy format..... I'm excited to let you know that today is the pub day for the paperback edition of my recent YA novel CONJURED!

CONJURED is a fantasy novel for young adults, published by Bloomsbury.  It's about a girl in the paranormal witness protection program, who, haunted by visions of carnival tents and tarot cards, must remember her past and why she has strange abilities before a magic-wielding serial killer hunts her down.

It was a Mythopoeic Award finalist and a Cybils Award finalist, as well as a Junior Library Guild Selection.  Horn Book Reviews said, "Disorientation, curiosity, and fear course through the story, offering tight suspense and satisfying mystification even up to the last pages. An unusual blend of magical worlds, psychological thriller, and teen romance."  And Kirkus Reviews said, "Durst excels at describing grotesque violence and gorgeous magical transformations alike, painting a touching portrait of first love against a backdrop of Twilight Zone–type terrors."

More about CONJURED, including the first chapter, can be found here.  If you're interested in the story of where CONJURED came from, you can read it here.

And if you'd like to see more things that are bendy, check out these Cirque du Soleil contortionists.  (I listened to a lot of Cirque music while I wrote CONJURED.)

Happy reading!

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Excerpt from CHASING POWER

Two months until CHASING POWER comes out!!!  I can't wait for you all to meet Kayla!  She was so much fun to write.

I just added the first two chapters to my website, so you can get a taste of her story.  Here's how it starts:

Razor blade.



A ball of tinfoil.

A dull fishing hook.

Kayla checked each pocket in her jean shorts, knotted the straps of her bikini top tighter, and pulled on her favorite black hoodie. She frowned at her bare feet. She'd blend in better with flip-flops, but she could run better in sneakers, if anything went wrong. After a half second, she chose the sneakers. She believed in herself, but she also believed in the supreme idiocy of people and their tendency to interfere in the most inconvenient way possible.

Click here to read more.

If you're a reviewer, librarian, bookseller, or other publishing industry professional, please note that the eGalley (digital advance reader copy) of CHASING POWER is now available.  Click here to request it on NetGalley!

In related news, CHASING POWER received a lovely review from Kirkus:

"Snappy dialogue, snarky teens and explosive exploits. A quick but complex read -- enjoyable on both counts." -- Kirkus

As well as two blurbs from two wonderful writers:

"A riveting adventure tale. Action-packed, suspenseful and a lot of fun!" -- Melissa de la Cruz, New York Times bestselling author of the Blue Bloods series

"Chasing Power took me on a magical rollercoaster ride through dusty tombs and ancient catacombs at such breakneck speeds, the only thing I could do was tightly grip the safety bar and hope I made it through to the other side. Part Indiana Jones, part Jumper, the heroes travel faster than the speed of light but even that isn't quick enough for them to escape the treachery, mystery, and danger waiting around every corner." -- Colleen Houck, New York Times bestselling author of the Tiger's Curse series

And I also got word last week that production has started on the CHASING POWER audiobook, which I'm really, really excited about.  I can't wait to hear what Kayla sounds like -- you know, outside of my own head.  (Kind of a freaky thing when the voices in your head start actually talking out loud...)

Anyway, I hope you all have been having a wonderful summer, and I hope you enjoy the excerpt from CHASING POWER!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I have news!!!

Look what appeared in today's Publishers Weekly Children's Bookshelf:

Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books has acquired YA author Sarah Beth Durst's debut middle-grade novel, The Girl Who Could Not Dream. The book tells of a girl whose family owns a secret store where they buy, bottle, and sell dreams, but who can't have any of her own, and the adventure that she and her pet monster go on when someone starts kidnapping dreamers. Publication is planned for fall 2015; Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger negotiated the deal for world rights.

Pausing now to toss confetti into the air and dance madly under it...

I am so, so, so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you keeping track, this will be my twelfth book, and it means I am now writing young adult books (ages 12+), middle grade books (ages 8-12), and books for adults.  I am so very grateful to have the opportunity to write for all these markets and I hope to write tons more of each in the years to come.  The next YA book, CHASING POWER, will be out in October, and the next book for adults, THE MISSING, will be out in November.  After that comes THE FOUND (adult) in April and THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM (MG) in fall 2015.

As to why I chose to write an MG novel...  Honestly, it's the same reason I chose to write an adult novel, or a YA novel for that matter.  I didn't choose.  The story chose.  I know that sounds a bit twee, but it's true!  I had the idea for a dream shop, and every time I imagined the store, I pictured a young girl in it, shelving bottles of dreams, wanting to drink one...  That made this story an MG.  Others are YA.  Others are adult.  Story ideas don't come out of my brain wearing labels, but once they do worm their way out of there, it's usually not too difficult to parse them into buckets.  And I'm quite grateful to now have a third (MG) bucket for my ideas.

My new MG publisher, the Clarion Books imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has been absolutely wonderful, and I'm thrilled to be working with Anne Hoppe, my amazing new MG editor.  Currently, I'm in the middle of revisions for THE GIRL WHO COULD NOT DREAM, and I am loving working on it.  I can't wait for you all to meet Sophie and Monster!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THE LOST comes out today!

Lost your way?

Your dreams?


Welcome to Lost...

I am so very thrilled to announce the release of my new book, THE LOST!!!  This is my first book for adults, and the first in a new trilogy, published by Harlequin/Mira.

THE LOST is about a woman trapped in a town full of only lost things and lost people.

One morning, Lauren Chase gets into her car to go to her dead-end job, but instead of making a left at the light, she drives straight.  And drives and drives until she runs out of gas in a town called Lost.  Once there, she can't leave.  Lost is surrounded by an impassable wall of dust.  And the only people who aren't trying to kill her are a mysterious wild man called the Finder and a knife-wielding six-year-old girl...

If you're interested, you can read the first two chapters here.

I loved writing this book.  I felt like I was breathing with Lauren, laughing with her, crying with her.  Usually, I swear by outlines, but this one... I followed Lauren to Lost and discovered its quirks, horrors, and beauty with her.  I fell in love with this bizarre town where socks and keys clog the gutters, feral dogs roam the alleys, suitcases litter the parking lots, and a single red balloon always floats overhead.  And I can't wait to share it with you!

So, welcome to Lost!  I hope you find what you're missing.

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