Query. Sign. Submit. with Agent & Author Eric Smith!

meEric Smith is an agent with P.S. Literary Agency. He represents a little bit of everything. “On the adult side of things, I love accessible sci-fi and fantasy, as well as accessible literary fiction. Accessible is something I stress a lot, because I like books anyone can read. If the world building is too exhausting or the novel is impossible to understand… hard pass. I also work on Young Adult books across all genres and non-fiction (cookbooks, memoir, pop-culture).”

He only responds to the projects he’s interested in. Consider it a pass after 6 weeks.

Eric is also a young adult author and The Girl & the Grove,  is now available from Flux! He is represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary.

Connect with Eric …grove

Twitter (@ericsmithrocks) * website (which features his books as well as his authors’ - www.ericsmithrocks.com)

Get the book …

The Girl & the Grove (Available now!) * Reclaim the Sun (2020)

QSS intro

From an agent perspective …


What advice would you give to querying writers?

To do your research, and to be patient. And when it comes to that research, make sure you’re reading where that research is coming from. Are you reading something from someone in the industry? A published author? Someone with an agent? It always shocks me to hear writers echoing back really terrible advice they’ve read on some misc. blog. Doing research is great. Making sure that research is legit? Even better.

Is there anything you see way too much of in the queries you receive?

I sometimes get the occasional query letter where the writer is trying to be funny, and it tanks. Humor is great. Being lighthearted, also great. But like, tread carefully. If I get a query that’s full of jokes and snark, I’ll assume the writing style is like that. And if you’re not making me laugh… we’re kinda done.

Is it okay for a writer to nudge concerning queries or partial/full requests?

Absolutely. You should never be afraid of doing that.

What does it take for you to offer representation?

Honestly, I just have to love the story and the writer. That’s it. There’s no magical equation to it all. Book has to be awesome, and the author has to be someone I’d want to work with for a long time. That’s all I need. Good book, good person.


Are there any specific questions you’d recommend that a writer ask when talking with offering agents?

I think it’s always a good idea to talk about where they potentially see your book. Now, this isn’t you asking, “where are you going to sell my book.” Because that’s not an answerable question. This is just getting a feel for where they feel your book could potentially be. You want an agent who knows the marketplace and has a good sense of where they’d go with your project.

Also, maybe see if you can chat with the agent’s current clients. If they say no, my goodness, is that a red flag of the highest order. You should be able to drop a client a line and ask what their experience is like. But, just be respectful of the client’s time. If you send an email that’s a novel full of questions, you might not get an answer back, if they are on deadline or just, you know, living their life.

“But they don’t have any clients!” You scream. That’s okay. If they are a shiny new agent, ask them how their agency is going to support them. Do they have the ties needed to pitch your book around? Get a sense of their passion, if they lack the experience. Every agent was a new agent at some point.

How long do you prefer an author take to get back to you once you’ve offered?

I don’t really care. I’d love to hear back soon, but I don’t give deadlines. The publishing industry is too small to burn bridges and not take your time. Get back to me in a few months if you have to. It’s fine.

This does not mean if an agent gives you a deadline, that that’s a bad sign. Plenty of agents do give a deadline. That’s just a personal preference of mine.

What is it like waiting to hear back from a writer you’ve offered representation?

I get pretty antsy. I don’t think writers realize that agents get just as worked up as they do, waiting to hear back if we’re going to work together. And then, once you’re signed by an agent, it gets kicked up a level, and when an editor offers… then it’s THEIR turn to get worked up waiting to hear back.

Publishing is just a business full of anxiety. I don’t know why we do it.

How do you get to know editors and what they’re looking for?

It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot because I’m an agent based in the Midwest. The closest publisher to me is Sourcebooks, and they’re a solid three hours away in Chicago. I don’t get to do the fancy New York City lunches with editors, so writers tend to wonder how I’m able to get to know folks.

Hi, have you met the Internet?

I spend a lot of time emailing editors, introducing myself, talking to them on Twitter, hopping on the phone… all of that helps in a huge way, and keeps me in the loop. I do fly out to events like ALA or BEA, which is certainly a great networking opt. But with the joys of the Internet, it’s just a quick email, and sometimes, a pick-your-brain phone call.

Is it okay for a client to check in if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

Of course! An author should never be afraid of their agent. You need to have an open dialogue with them. Communication is SO important.

As an agent who is also an author …


How is the process of querying and signing with an agent different for a writer who is also an agent?

This question is so funny, because I feel like I get asked if the process is easier because I’m an agent and like, know editors.

It’s not. It’s probably worse.

Because while my book is on submission, I’m actively pitching and talking to these editors and publishing houses, and some of them have my book. And it’s just terrifying. So that anxiety authors feel while on sub? Imagine your book is on submission to all these people… and you still have to talk to them every day.

How is the process of going on submission different for a writer who is also an agent?

It’s not. Though I do ask my agent to avoid pitching editors I’m actively working on things with. I’d like to keep things not weird. But that becomes impossible anyway, because I’m not going to micromanage my agent and have her run every editor by me. I’m not a monster.

How do you balance the work of both an agent and an author?

I don’t. I wrote my latest book, Reclaim the Sun, two years ago. Once it comes out, I anticipate I’ll just do a lot of crying in the shower when it’s time to write something new.

Thanks so much, Eric!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener

* Posted September 2018 – Always check for current info and guidelines.

Query. Sign. Submit. Debut! with Annie Sullivan

Annie Sullivan Headhsot FINALAnnie Sullivan is a young adult author and her debut, A Touch of Gold,  is now available from Blink/HarperCollins! She is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis.

Touch of Gold Final Cover ImageConnect with
Annie …

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book …

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Indiebound

Query into


What advice would you give to querying writers?

Do not give up. Every writer’s career timeline is different. Some writer friends who got agents after me got published before me. Others who started at the same time as me (who are AMAZING writers) are still looking for agents. So much is out of your control—market conditions, agent moods, agent clients who may have written something similar to your work. There’s no shortage of reasons why an agent will reject you. But if you stay with it and keep writing, I really think you can make it.

What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

Really narrow down your list based on what you want. Is having an agent in New York important to you? Do you want an agent/agency that handles movie rights? If you want to write outside your genre, will that agent represent that (or will another agent in the agency)? Is the agent editorial? Do you share the same vision for your career? Having no agent is better than wasting time with a bad agent. Look into their sales records. However, don’t dismiss newer agents outright (assuming they are with a reputable agency) because they may have more room on their client list and may be being mentored by other big name agents in their agency.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I loved http://www.literaryrambles.com/. It had so many great interviews with agents, and even if that particular agent didn’t represent what I wrote, I could research the agency and see if anyone there might be interested.

How did you keep track of your queries?

I had a massive color-coded spreadsheet that kept track of every agent I sent to, when I heard back from them, and what their response was. This was instrumental in making sure I didn’t query someone twice—and when my first book didn’t get me an agent, I had all the info on hand to know about when I’d hear back from agents on my second book based on their previous response time.

I treated looking for an agent like a job, and it really helped. I highly recommend this approach.


Are there any specific questions you’d suggest writers ask an offering agent during “The Call”?

While an agent probably won’t tell you everything they’d like to see revised before you go out on submission, I think it’s good to ask for general ideas of what they think you might need to revise. This way, you can see if your visions match up. It’s not going to be a good fit if they want drastic changes that you aren’t going to want to make.

What was the week surrounding your offer(s) of representation like for you?

It was crazy. I had gotten two offers and was trying to decide between agents. I was researching like mad and reaching out to clients to see what their experience was with the agents.

How editorial is your agent? Is it what you expected?

My agent is very editorial, which I like. I’m great with plot, and she’s amazing with making sure my characters really shine—so we make a great pair. Having an editorial agent makes me feel like I’m presenting my best work to editors when I go out on submission.

It is to some extent what I expected. But overall, I just love that my agent never mandates I make a certain change. She’s always open to collaborating and discussing the direction.

Do you send sample chapters to your agent or do you wait until the manuscript is finished?

I pretty much just send her a draft when I’m done with it. Sometimes she asks me what I’m working on, but for the most part, I decide what I want to do next because I know if I’m not in the mood to write a certain story, then it won’t turn out well. I go where my imagination tells me to!


What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Always, always, always be working on the next book (unless it’s a sequel). There’s so much pressure to have a great follow up book that many writers freeze when it comes time to write their sophomore book. But, if you have something virtually ready to go by the time book 1 gets a deal, there’s a lot less pressure.

How much contact do you have with your agent when you are out on submission?

I like to know anytime we get news. My agent emails if I get a rejection and calls if I get an offer. Let’s just say I learned to hate the sound of emails coming through on my phone for a little bit there ;)

Is there anything you learned while being on submission that you didn’t know before?

Hearing back from editors can seem like it takes forever. I refreshed my email so often in the days after we went on submission only to learn that it could take months to hear back from editors.

Did you know there was interest in the book before you got an offer or was it a surprise?

I knew there was interest, so it wasn’t a surprise. But I felt oddly at peace as I advanced through the process because I felt like this was finally really going to happen.


What have you learned about being a debut author?

While it’s so exciting to have a book coming out, it doesn’t change your life as drastically as you might think it will. One day you don’t have a book on shelves and the next day you do. So the best thing to do is write book 2 and keep working hard!

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

There is so much support from fellow debuts. We all tweet about each other’s books and give each other advice. I love the community aspect of it so much because you don’t feel like you’re competing with anyone. You just feel like you’re all on this journey together.

Have you done any conferences, book festivals, or events as an author? What was it like?

I went to BookExpo and BookCon this year, and I had the time of my life!!! Since I’m a reader at heart, I was right there in line with everyone else fangirling over Rick Riordan and Marissa Meyer and so many other famous authors. Gail Carson Levine even asked me to come sit with her. I was over the moon and didn’t want to leave. Also, did I mention free books? I felt like a kid in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!

What was it like to see your cover?

I nearly cried when I saw it! I love the gold coming down from the top, and the gold hand holding the rose really just highlights the story well.

Thank you, Annie!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener

Query. Sign. Submit. Debut! with Dana Davis

Dana DavisDana L. Davis is a young adult author and her debut, Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now,  is now available from Harlequin TEEN! She is represented by Uwe Stender at Triada US.

Connect with Dana . . .

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Get the book . . .

Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Query into


What advice would you give to querying writers?

I’d say to make sure your work is polished and as perfect as you can make it before you start submitting to agents. This means possibly hiring a copy editor. Getting sensitivity readers and beta readers. Definitely do your homework. This is your shot… your chance to shine. You don’t want to blow it because “your” should’ve been “you’re” or an agent can’t get passed all of your grammatical errors. It might seem tedious but it’s worth it in the long run!

What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

This is such a great question! Happy to offer my thoughts on this. To me… an agent’s accessibility is key. You want an agent who has time for you. So many writers long for the big, prestigious agencies but if an agent is representing J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John Green…do you really think they’d have time to help you hone your craft? Don’t necessarily think big. Think practically. What agent fits your style and/or personality? Follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Maybe get to know them and see if they’d be a good fit for you. I get so sad when writer friends of mine tell me their agent won’t return their calls or emails. You want an agent who respects writers and has a passion and respect for them.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

To be honest this was quite some time ago, so I don’t remember the name of the book. But it definitely was a lit agency book that I picked up at my local Barnes and Noble. I remember my friend and I sat on the floor together and excitedly researched agents. It was the best purchase of my life.

What was your method for querying?

I don’t believe in sending out mass e-mailings. I say start with 3-10 and see what the response is. You might get feedback that your manuscript needs work. But hey, if you feel you have a perfect product and are anticipating a fight to acquire your manuscript…then by all means…send to however many you can! But if you’re still trying to figure things out and aren’t quite sure… I say stick with smaller batches for querying.


How did you know your agent was the right one for you?

His honesty. Uwe was so complimentary and genuine. I remember I was driving and had to pull over and just got this amazing feeling that he was the real deal. He also wasn’t afraid to tell me the manuscript needed work. I trusted him completely.

Once a writer has signed with an agent, what’s the next step?

The next step should be revisions. An agent’s job is to sell your manuscript, sure. But his/her most important job is to give you the feedback you need to make your manuscript shine. It’s those edits that will make it stand out and sell. If an agent can’t guide you properly they’re not a good agent.

What is the revision process like between you and your agent?

It can be tough. Especially if you’re the type of person who is set in their ways. I once had my agent tell me the entire last 100 pages of a manuscript I was working on was tough to read. “Unreadable” I think is what he said. LOL. I can laugh now, but at the time I was pretty frustrated that all that work was going to be deleted. Like I said before, you really need to trust your agent so that when you get notes that are contrary to what you want, you’re on board to make changes. If you think your agent doesn’t have a clue what he or she is talking about…might not be the right choice and could mean it’s time to find a better fit.

At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?

Immediately. I never start drafting if I don’t run an idea by my agent first. Because my agent reads so much, he can tell me if my idea is already out there. I once pitched to Uwe at Triada this “amazing” idea I had. I was so geeked out about it. It involved a magic mirror and another dimension. He listened and didn’t say a word. And then when I got done he listed about TEN books with the exact same plot! So he told me if I was going to write it, I should try hard to be very different than what’s already been done. It was great info to get because instead of writing that book, I wrote Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now.


What is a typical first round like once a writer goes on submission?

Think Slow. Then think slower. Then even slower than that. Now that you’re asleep. Wait two months and you’ll get your first reply.

Do you see the feedback from editors?

I always asked for editor feedback! I want to grow as a writer. And many of these editors know a thing or two about writing. So their feedback is invaluable. And sometimes it’s nice to see why they’re passing. I had one editor pass on a manuscript of mine because they had one almost identical to it coming out soon. Totally helps you to not take things so personal. Plus they may pass for whatever reason but love your writing. So it’s encouraging!

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

Believe it or not it’s a slow process too! They need to show it around to the other editors at the pub house. And if everyone is on the same page…it’s time for acquisitions. Which is basically a presentation to the sales and marketing team about why they think this book would fit their particular imprint. It can takes weeks or even months after an editor says they want to make an offer on your novel. Publishing is so slow!

Did you ever have a Revise & Resubmit? What should a writer consider when deciding whether or not to take one on?

I had a few revise and resubmits on TSLHN when we first started sending the manuscript out. First of all, a “revise and resubmit” is HUGE. No agent or editor is going to want to be bothered with having to read your manuscript a second time if they don’t really love it. They’re so busy and on average get 200 emails a day. So if they actually have taken the time to give you notes and want to read your manuscript again…take advantage. This is what ultimately led to me selling my debut novel. We sent TSLNH out to about 3 editors and all three said “please revise and resubmit.” So we took the book off submission and I rewrote the entire novel. It was the best decision!


What is the best thing about being a debut author?

The free books! Lol. Kidding. I’d say the interviews. I really love chatting with people about my experiences as a writer or a parent or what inspired me to write TSLHN. It’s been so lovely getting to know other debut authors as well! I’m a part of a group of debut authors and we keep in touch daily and even have get-togethers. I have made so many wonderful friends over the past two years leading up to publication.

What else are you working on along with all the promotion?

I do a lot of animation. I’m a voice over artist. That’s currently my day job. I’m also working on my third novel! It’s a fantasy and I’m outlining as we speak. I can’t wait for this story to be out in the world. I love writing so much. When I envision my retirement, I see me at my laptop still. I will always be writing.

Thank you, Dana!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
Read inspiring stories of writers getting agents
Learn about Tools for Writers- like Scrivener

Ten Tips for WriteOnCon 2018


Write on Con is an online writing conference (that only costs between $5-15!) and it’s INCREDIBLE. You won’t believe the resources, insider tips, and feedback available for writers. Here are ten tips to help you get started.

*(If you're not registered yet, there's still time! http://writeoncon.org/)

To get the most out of the conference . . .

1.  Follow on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for the forums. You should do this before the conference even begins. You can even start posting in the forums ahead of time. Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WriteOnCon) Twitter (https://twitter.com/WriteOnCon)

2. Set up your profile. Once you're in the forums, go to "Profile" at the top and "Edit Profile" on the right. Fill in as much as you want, and upload a photo under "Avatar" if you want more than the generic avatar. (More below on what to put in "Signature" box under "Personal")

3. There are threads in the forum to post your query, first 250 words, and first 5 pages. This is a great chance to get feedback on your work.  If you choose to, you can edit based on comments and get additional feedback on the new versions. *If it’s not a complete ms, you can mark it as a WIP so agents/editors know. It does not have to be complete.

4. Read the "PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE POSTING" post at the top of the category. It will tell you how to format your subject line and post, and gives you some general rules.

5.  You can add links in your signature and you should. That means people can find all of your work, whether it’s your own post or when you comment on someone else’s. Because, let’s face it, when you read a great query or sample, you want to read more! You can also add your title and pitch if you’d like, or your social media links.

Here’s how- (option 1)

Once you have your posts up, copy the urls and paste them on Notepad or in Word. Go to Profile, then Edit Profile. Under Personal, add the links in the signature box. Here’s a sample signature line (obviously there would be different urls).

MG Query: http://www.writeforapples.com
MG First 250: http://www.writeforapples.com
Website: http://www.writeforapples.com
Blog: http://www.writeforapples.com

Type whatever you want linked, and put the url next to it.

Here's how - (option 2)

If you want things listed so people can simply click on them, you can embed the link in your text. For example,

YA Query ~ YA First 250 ~ YA First 5 pages


Query ~ First 250 ~ First 5 pages

Once you have your posts up, copy the urls and paste them on Notepad or in Word. Go to Profile, then Edit Profile. Under Personal, use the code below and replace YOUR URL HERE with your link and YOUR TEXT HERE with the text you want to link. (Adjust for however many links you need.)

[url=http://YOUR URL HERE/]YOUR TEXT HERE[/url] ~ [url=http://YOUR URL HERE//]YOUR TEXT HERE[/url] ~ [url=https:YOUR URL HERE/]YOUR TEXT HERE[/url]

Whenever you post or make a comment, your signature will appear below your post.

6. Comment in the forums and make friends! It’s so much fun to read everyone’s work and you get to help out other writers at the same time. Again, make sure you link to to your query, first 250 words, first 5 pages, and website/blog/twitter handle so people can find you and return the favor.

If you want to follow someone, click on his/her name and click "Follow" over on the right on the profile page.

7. Find a critique partner. There's a place in the forums called "Critique Partner Connection." Post your own info or respond to other posts to connect. Or if there's a query or sample you love that you'd like to read more of, you can always message that person and ask if he/she is looking for a critique partner. (Keep in mind that some people are all set with critique partners, so don't be offended if they say no thank you.)

8. Check the schedule. There are so many great things that go on on during this conference.  Seriously, there are plenty of chances to learn.

If you signed up for the extended registration, it'll all still be available later if you can’t be there for it.

9.  Take a few notes. This is a great opportunity to get that personal first line when you send out your query letter. Look for those tidbits from agents during chats and forum posts and let them know you learned a lot from them at Write On Con! It’s also a good way to help you find agents that might be interested in your work.

10.  Have fun!


More of Ella and Skyler's story will be here in 2018, but for now . . .

How about a first look at the cover?!

© Anabelle Metayer

Twelve-year-old Skyler is in for a summer of adventure in Venice, Italy, as she pursues a dream opportunity in this hilarious MIX novel that’s a companion to The BFF Bucket List.




Thanks for stopping by to celebrate! :)

book birthday

No Place Like Home final without MIX

watch the book trailer 2

Just in case you want your very own copy, or if you want one to give to a kid (or adult) in your life . . .

Amazon * B&N * Simon & Schuster
IndieBound * ​My local indie- Monkey See, Monkey Do

About the book . . .

Kenzie Rhines doesn’t have a home—she has too many. Her dad’s job keeps them flying around the country, which means “home” is whatever fancy hotel they’re currently staying in and “school” takes place 30,000 feet in the air. And since it’s just the two of them, she has no choice but to be his travel partner. Kenzie loves the constant adventures, but she wouldn’t mind planting her feet in one place for longer than two seconds, having her own bed, and maybe even finding a best friend she can talk to.

When Kenzie’s dad surprises her with the news that they’ll be in Las Vegas for an extended business trip, she’s thrilled he wants to enroll her in a local middle school while they’re there. And even though it's the longest she’s been in one place in years, Kenzie knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s on the move yet again. So, for the first time in her life, she decides to take some risks: why not let the cutest boy in school know she’s got a bit of a crush on him, give it a shot and audition for the school musical--The Wizard of Oz (her all-time favorite movie), and run for VP of her class?

Thanks to her plan, Kenzie discovers a courage she didn’t know she had—and finally feels like she belongs somewhere. But when things start to get complicated, Kenzie discovers that she’ll have to face the consequences of everything she’s done since her arrival--and that maybe home isn't necessarily a place on a map, but where your heart is.

More info here! Visit my website at deeromito.com.


NO PLACE LIKE HOME releases tomorrow! To kick things off, I invite you to watch and enjoy the book trailer . . .

Available for Preorder …
No Place Like Home final without MIX
Amazon * B&N *
Simon & Schuster * IndieBound 
​My local indie- Monkey See, Monkey Do


It’s BEST. NIGHT. EVER.’s Book Birthday!!

BestNightEver_cvr[2745]“This eventful middle school dance is told from seven points of view by seven different writers. Under Malone’s editorship, they pull it off with seamless chemistry and strong character building. A fun, fresh take on a classic theme.” – Kirkus

”Readers will laugh as they learn of the misgivings, revenge, and eye-opening revelations that ensue. VERDICT Tweens interested in funny friendship drama will eat this one up.” - School Library Journal

* Get the book     

* Add it on Goodreads

Writing BEST. NIGHT. EVER. with middle school photossix friends required some reminiscing about our own middle school dance memories . . .


IMG_9481I loved middle school dances. It was something fun to do with friends, and there was always a plan to go out to eat after or sleepover at someone’s house. There weren’t as many shenanigans as there are in BEST. NIGHT. EVER., but there certainly was always drama. I’m not sure why these two moments in particular stand out, but what I remember most is dancing with a boy I liked (you know, like-liked) and singing “I’ll Be There for You” with my friends in the middle of the dance floor. Because maybe I didn’t end up with that boy, but I certainly found one I love to dance with. And my friends . . . well they’ve always been, and still are, there for me. <3


My first dance was in eighth grade, and I rachele alpine author pichad been looking forward to it for weeks.  I chose the perfect hairstyle, outfit, purse, and even got some makeup that I was going to wear for the first time.  Newsflash..trying out new make-up for the first time and making a major fashion shift might not be a good idea for a middle school dance!  I still bust out laughing when I think about all the make-up I caked on my face and the outfit I wore.  I planned it out a week in advance and laid pieces of it on my bed as it all came together.  It consisted of jean shorts worn over black tights, a flannel shirt that I borrowed from my grandpa (FYI...I was 5’4, my grandpa was 6’5), a black belt that went around the shirt, white sneakers, and a black cowboy-like hat.  Uhm, yeah, I’m not sure what I was thinking!  My friends all showed up in jeans and tee-shirts, but I remember walking into the dance and owning that outfit, every last crazy bit of it! 


I remember being invited to a “sock hop” in the school gym in Stephanie Farisfifth grade and thinking that meant we’d be hopping around in our socks. Instead, it was a fun dance with 50s music. We couldn’t summon a poodle skirt on command, so we had to settle for rolling up my jeans and wearing my stepdad’s Oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up. From fifth grade on, I loved everything 1950s and even worked at a 50s diner in college. I’m pretty sure my love for all things 50s started with that sock hop!

Read more middle school dance memories from Jen, Ronni, Alison, and Gail over at Kidliterati!

Giveaway image

Enter to win a book from one of the seven BEST. NIGHT. EVER. authors! (Best. Night. Ever. not included)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal!! THE FORGOTTEN SHRINE (Bounders 3) by Monica Tesler

A First Look at The Forgotten Shrine (Bounders 3) Cover

I am so excited to share the cover of The Forgotten Shrine, the third book in the Bounders series, my middle grade science fiction adventure series from Simon & Schuster.

One of my favorite things about writing a series is watching my characters grow up in the pages of the books. Their world views evolve, their friendships deepen or take different turns, and they start to edge farther from childhood and closer to young adulthood.

It’s been especially cool to see Jasper and his friends age on the book covers. That part of the process is largely out of my hands, so I’m always excited and a bit nervous to see the finished product.

BOUNDERS High Res coverI adored the cover of my first book, Bounders. It was illustrated by Antonio Caparo, an incredibly talented artist. The first time I laid eyes on the cover illustration, I gasped. It was so moving to see an artist’s interpretation of characters that once existed only in my head. I loved that the illustration included all five kids, the core characters of the series. Antonio really captured each of them. Mira especially is so spot on. Look at the way she’s tuned in to the lights she’s manipulating!

When it came time to illustrate the second book in the series, things took an unexpected turn. The first book was retitled Earth Force Rising for its paperback release, and Bounders became the name of the whole, five-book series. Also, it was decided that the first book would get a new cover.

EF Rising high resThe supremely talented illustrator, Owen Richardson, was brought in to work on the first two books. I love the sense of action and adventure (and aliens!) captured on the Earth Force Rising Cover. Plus, it’s fun to see Jasper on the move! I really appreciate some of the artistic choices that bring continuity between the hardback and paperback covers of the first book, like the color scheme and the same Earth Force uniform design.

Tundra Trials high resThe cover for The Tundra Trials, the second book in the series, features Jasper, Mira, and a space elevator, something I decided to include in the series ever since reading a science article on the concept. The illustration perfectly captures how I conceptualize the space elevator in my mind. I love the color scheme of the cover and the image of Jasper and Mira gazing down on Gulaga. Doesn’t that planet look cool? Also, take another look at Jasper. He’s looking older, right? There’s my guy, growing up.

So that brings us to the cover for The Forgotten Shrine, also illustrated by Owen Richardson. I absolutely adore this cover (and it’s my kids’ favorite)! There’s lots of action and danger and intrigue! In fact, there’s so much intrigue I can’t even tell you exactly what’s happening on the cover. Are they underwater? What are those scary creatures with the sharp teeth? You’ll have to read to find out! Now glance back at The Tundra Trials. See how Jasper and Mira are looking older on The Forgotten Shrine cover? The kids are really growing up before our eyes!

Forgotten Shrine High Res

With awesome illustrators and my talented in-house designer, Karin Paprocki, I’ve really lucked out in the covers department. I can’t wait to see what they’ll dream up for the fourth and fifth books in the Bounders series. I guess that means I better get back to writing so I can provide some inspiration.

The Forgotten Shrine releases on December 12, 2017. It’s now available for preorder at IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and many other retailers. You can also preorder a signed copy of The Forgotten Shrine (or order a signed copy of any of my books) from my local independent bookstore, Buttonwood Books and Toys.


Jasper can’t wait for his sister, Addy, Forgotten Shrine High Resto finally join him at the EarthBound Academy. But as soon as they arrive at the space station, Jasper and Addy are separated when Jasper’s pod is sent on a secret mission to the underwater planet of Earth Force’s shady new allies, the Alkalinians.

At first, Jasper and his friends are excited by the incredible virtual reality technology that the Alks use, but the kids soon realize that this technology might be masking a sinister agenda. Jasper and his friends are certain that the Alks are laying a trap for Earth Force. But with Admiral Eames blind to the danger, Jasper and his pod mates must take matters into their own hands.

Will Jasper’s pod disobey direct orders to uncover the Alks’s true plans? And if so, will the kids be able to stop them before their treachery ripples across the entire galaxy? They need to act fast or it could mean devastation for Earth Force and death for the Bounders—including Addy.


Monica Tesler lives outside of Boston with her husband and their two boys. She can be found online at monicatesler.com, and on twitter and instagram as @monicatesler.

Learn Scrivener at Midwest Writers Workshop!

Hey, Scrivener fans . . . What’s that? You’re not using Scrivener yet? Not to worry, this is for you too!

join me mww17_Scrivener is a writing program that makes it easy to stay organized AND it saves you time! Want to learn more about it? Check out my tutorials here.

OR . . . you can come to an amazing conference and join me at Midwest Writers Workshop in July! Okay, okay, I understand you might be there to see Angie Thomas (THE HATE U GIVE) or Becky Albertalli (SIMON VS. THE HOMOSAPIENS AGENDA) or all the fabulous agents and editors who are attending.

But if you’re interested in learning Scrivener, or making sure you’re getting the most out of it, I’ll be teaching a beginner session, an intermediate+ session, and an intensive. The intensive is best for those with a basic understanding of the program, but savvy beginners are welcome to come see what it can do! Find more info at http://www.midwestwriters.org/.

I hope to see you there. Smile