Sunday, February 24, 2013

VESSEL is a Norton Finalist!

Last week, I was here:

And I got a phone call.

"Here" was the Bahamas, where I went on a big family gathering vacation.  "Here" had sunshine, beaches, pools, and pina coladas.  Also dolphins.  (I HUGGED A DOLPHIN!!!  THESE ARMS.  HUGGED.  A.  DOLPHIN.)  "Here" also had very spotty Internet access and very expensive international long distance rates.

We had tried and failed (twice) to buy a phone card that worked, but we discovered that we could use Skype to check our voicemail from our hotel room on certain evenings when the wind was blowing just right and the moon was aligned with Jupiter.  We figured that was good enough.  After all, we were in the same hotel as half the people who call us (his family) and the other half (my family) knew we were there.

Still, though, just in case, my husband did the traditional please-work-Wifi dance and called our answering machine... and there was a voicemail message.  From Rachel Swirsky.  Calling on behalf of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  She left a phone number and no other details.

We knew the nomination process for SFWA's Andre Norton Award had closed a few days prior.  And we knew that voting is scheduled to open in March.  So we hoped.  Crossed fingers.  Maybe a few toes.  Possibly did a dance for luck (just possibly -- I'm not admitting anything).  And then I called.  The conversation went something like this:

ME: Hi, this is Sarah Beth Durst, returning your call.

RACHEL: I'm sorry, but the phone connection isn't good.  Who is this?

ME: Sarah Beth Durst.  You called me earlier?

RACHEL: The phone keeps breaking up.  I didn't catch your name.  Who is this?

ME: Oh, sorry, it's my fault.  I'm out of the country.  It's not a very good connection.  [insert nervous laugh]  This is Sarah Beth Durst.

RACHEL: I'm sorry.  I can't hear you.  But I have your number on the caller-ID.  I'll call you back.


ME: That won't work.  This is a Skype...  Oh, I think she's gone.

HUSBAND: What did she say?  Are you a finalist?!?

ME (wailing): I DON'T KNOW!!!

We then concocted various plans for how to quickly obtain a phone card since calling directly from the hotel would cost the equivalent of all the cursed gold in the Pirates of the Caribbean.  None of these plans were particularly feasible so we settled on the much-more-sensible option of emailing her.  Which I did.  And she wrote back almost instantly that.......

VESSEL is a finalist for the Andre Norton Award!!!!!!!!  (Note: the superfluous exclamation points are mine.)  She asked, "Do you accept the nomination?"  And I wrote back the (hopefully) professional equivalent of YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As soon as the news was public, I sacrificed a few pineapples to the Wifi gods so I could tweet and update Facebook, which involved accidentally posting the same thing three or four times -- sorry, Facebook friends!

Twas quite an awesome week.  Dolphin Hugging + Norton Nom = Very Happy Sarah!

Click here to see the full list of finalists.  I feel so incredibly lucky and honored to be among such great company.  Congratulations to all the awesome Norton and Nebula finalists!  Looking forward to seeing you at Nebula Awards Weekend in May!

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Friday, February 15, 2013


I have news to share about my next YA book...  It has a new title!  And a release date!  And a shiny, new ISBN number!  I feel like a mother whose new baby has just taken her first steps.  And then performed a pirouette while juggling a baton lit on fire!!  Or maybe not that last part.  But something like that.  Anyway, without further ado...

The book formerly known as SWEET NOTHINGS is now... CONJURED.  Set to come out on September 3, 2013 from Bloomsbury/Walker.  ISBN# 978-0802734587.

I really love the new title.  And I'm very excited to have an official pub date that I can start counting down to!

And that ISBN number!  She's a beauty, yes?

Plus, there's already an Amazon page and a Barnes & Noble page, complete with new book descriptions.

From the Barnes & Noble page: 

From the acclaimed author of Vessel and Ice, comes a mind-bending, haunting thriller that illustrates that who we are born does not dictate who we choose to become. 

And from the Amazon page: 

Eve has a new home, a new face, and a new name—but no memories of her past. She’s been told that she's in a witness protection program. That she escaped a dangerous magic-wielding serial killer who still hunts her. The only thing she knows for sure is that there is something horrifying in her memories the people hiding her want to access—and there is nothing they won’t say—or do—to her to get her to remember.

At night she dreams of a tattered carnival tent and buttons being sewn into her skin. But during the day, she shelves books at the local library, trying to not let anyone know that she can do things—things like change the color of her eyes or walk through walls. When she does use her strange powers, she blacks out and is drawn into terrifying visions, returning to find that days or weeks have passed—and she’s lost all short-term memories. Eve must find out who and what she really is before the killer finds her—but the truth may be more dangerous than anyone could have ever imagined. 

Yay!  It's such a rush when all this stuff starts coming together.  A little over a year ago, this book was in my head.  And then it was a file in my computer.  And now there's an ISBN number.  CONJURED will be my seventh book, so I've been down this road six times before, but I'm still just as excited and thrilled and terrified as I was the first time.  And I love every bit of it.

So, what do you all think?  Do you like the new title?  Description?  ISBN number?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Who Done It?

Not so long ago, I was invited to a party at an old pickle factory with 80+ other YA and children's book authors.  It was hosted by the most cantankerous book editor ever: Herman Mildew.  As grumpy as Cruella de Vil, as socially maladjusted as Voldemort, as fussy as Sauron, Herman was despised by all.  And before the end of the party, he was dead.

We were asked to submit our alibis.  Jon Scieszka collected them in an anthology, proceeds to benefit literary non-profit 826nyc.  That anthology is out today from Soho Press: WHO DONE IT?

My alibi may or may not involve dragon's blood...

I hope you'll join me in wishing a fond farewell to Herman Melville and a very happy book birthday to WHO DONE IT? 

Thank you, Soho Press, for inviting me to the party!

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