February 1

Quinn Invisible: Read Another Excerpt

new books

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m hard at work on a new novel that I’ve tentatively titled Quinn Invisible. The title Quinn Invisible will probably change (and if anyone has any ideas for a title after reading the excerpts, feel free to suggest one in the comments), and you can read the book’s summary here. I’m guessing I’ll end up tweaking the summary as well before the book goes to print.

Anyway, in this excerpt, we meet Quinn’s aunt and guardian, Maureen Callahan, for the first time. Quinn has been living with Maureen for a month at the time this scene takes place, and I think you’ll see that they’re struggling to get along. But thanks to Maureen, we also get a second-hand meeting with Evan Thalmann, the twin brother of Quinn’s late best friend Emma. You’ll get to know Evan much better later on–I promise. :)

So, take it away, Quinn and Maureen (and, please keep in mind–this is a draft. I can’t guarantee what’s below will end up in the final novel):

“Are you planning to lie around all day?” Maureen asks as she looms over me, her hands on her slender hips. Although today’s a Saturday, I’m still surprised she’s come outside to the pool to harass me rather than staying locked in her home office, racking up billable hours.

I lower my sunglasses just enough that I can stare at her unfiltered from my perch on the chaise lounge. “I’m working on it,” I tell her, my voice flat. Lying around doing nothing has been my life plan for the last month, and I don’t see that changing until school starts.

“Well you can’t be working on your tan,” she points out. “Callahans don’t tan—we burn.”

Maureen is pale and auburn-haired like my dad, her younger brother. My mom, on the other hand—the former Molly Quinn—was more of a pure redhead, a curl-free rust-red that I inherited. Between my Callahan side and my Quinn side, I’m dually afflicted with the Irish curse of fair skin and freckles and so direct sunlight is not my friend. And despite Maureen’s jab about working on my tan, I’m wearing a long-sleeved gray t-shirt, rolled up jeans, sunglasses, and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap. Only my ankles, feet and hands are exposed, and I made sure I slathered those with sunscreen before I came outside.

“That’s why I’m dressed like I’m in hiding,” I tell Maureen, pushing my sunglasses back up on the bridge of my nose.

“Well, you’ve definitely been acting like you’re hiding from something,” Maureen counters in her best authoritative lawyer voice. “I don’t think you’ve left this house since you moved here.”

She’s right—I haven’t. While I know my self-imposed exile can’t last forever because school starts before Labor Day and it’s already the first week of August, I plan to avoid leaving the friendly confines of Chez Maureen as long as possible. Shady Springs is just small enough that even if I go out to run a quick errand, I’m destined to run into someone I used to go to school with at Harrendale Preparatory Academy. And although my family scandal took place almost four years ago, people here have memories as long lasting as their money.

So, for now, I just want to hide out. For now, I just want to be invisible.

“You know, Evan Thalmann keeps coming by looking for you,” Maureen notes, and my heart pounds in my ears on hearing Evan’s name. Evan and Emma were twins, and the three of us had been inseparable for as long as I could remember, until…

Well, until my mother did whatever she did or didn’t do that night nearly four years ago. Obviously, Evan and I haven’t spoken since—he preferred to avoid me rather than torment me during the time I remained at Harrendale after the incident—so to say I’m surprised he’d be seeking me out now would be the understatement of the century.

“Evan Thalmann,” I repeat once my heart has slowed to a normal rhythm, not bothering to mask the disbelief in my voice. “Evan Thalmann has been coming by looking for me.”

“Well, I assume that’s what he’s doing. He drives by here every few days. Slows down, never stops.”

I roll my eyes at Maureen behind my sunglasses. “That’s not coming by,” I point out. “That’s a drive-by. In fact, it’s borderline stalking. And if you think my social drought is going to end with Evan and me hanging out together, you’re insane. His dad probably just wants him to check up on me to make sure I haven’t killed anyone since I came back to town.”

“Quinn,” Maureen mutters under her breath.

“He thinks my mother killed his mother and his sister,” I go on. “Trust me—he’s not looking to sit around and relive the good old days.”

“I never said he was,” Maureen says. “I just thought you’d be interested in the fact that he’s obviously curious about your moving back here.”

Like I said above, you’ll get to know Evan LOTS better later on. If you’d like to read the previous excerpt from the book, click here.

I hope to be releasing further excerpts in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes glued to this site. I’m hoping to release the novel this spring so keep your eyes glued here for that as well!

January 10

New Year, New Novel

new books

It’s a new year, which means new books. 2014 was my best year as a writer (thanks to my awesome fans embracing the last two books in the In Your Dreams series) and I have every hope that 2015 will be even better.

new novel

New Year, New Books (although these are old books).

Since I know my fans are hungry for a new novel, I wanted to share what I’m working on currently. I don’t have a release date for this new novel as yet–I don’t even have a title–but I’m hoping to get this book out sometime in the next few months.

new novel

A new series? Hooray!

This new novel will be the first in a Young Adult mystery/suspense series and features another kick-ass heroine. Her name is Quinn Callahan, and let’s just say Quinn has been through some stuff. Here’s the blurb (as it exists now, anyway–it will likely change as I get closer to publication):

After her cop father is killed in the line of duty, Quinn Callahan returns from New York to her hometown of Shady Springs, Missouri, to live with her aunt. Unfortunately, Shady Springs holds nothing but pain for Quinn, whose mother allegedly murdered Quinn’s best friend Emma and Emma’s mother before killing herself, leaving Quinn a bullied outcast at her upscale prep school. After almost four years away, Quinn finds not much has changed other than her bullies have grown older, taller, and even more cruel. And Emma’s twin brother Evan is still indifferent to her, which is more painful than any bully’s prank given how close they were as kids.

Determined to clear her mother’s name, Quinn begins re-investigating her loved ones’ deaths with the help of some new friends and–eventually–Evan. But will Quinn be able to live with what she learns about her family and Evan’s in the process? And can she face the possibility of losing Evan from her life again when the investigation has brought them closer together than ever?

(Even as I’m reading this now I’m thinking, “Yeah–that needs some editing.”)

Get to know Quinn a little better here with a little teaser from the first chapter (and, again, this is all subject to change during editing):

When your dad’s a cop, you spend your life primed for the knock at the door, the phone call in the dead of night, the message telling you to go to the principal’s office in the middle of the day. The fear isn’t primal or unchecked, rushing through you like adrenaline. Since it’s a daily thing, the fear is in the blood, pulsing through your system mostly unnoticed.

When the moment finally came for me, it came in the form of my dad’s partner, Danny McMurtry, sitting on the steps of our two-flat in The Bronx waiting for me to come home from an early Saturday morning run to the bodega down the street. My plan had been to get some eggs, bacon, and pancake mix to make breakfast for Dad when he got off his graveyard shift so I could send him to bed with a full stomach. But when I caught sight of Danny from a few yards away, his head bowed, his hands folded in front of him as his elbows rested on his knees, I knew. As I started up the steps, I tried to play it cool, said “Hi, Danny,” as if I had no idea what was coming next, but as soon as he said, “Quinn, I need you to sit down…” I didn’t need to hear any more.

And so I hugged the paper bag with my breakfast ingredients, went numb, and didn’t really listen. I just watched as Danny’s pale lips, set against his even paler, freckled skin, formed words with no sound. He was a TV character speechifying about something or other, but the TV was on mute…

So, yeah…Quinn’s in a pretty bad place when the book opens. This book is a little darker than the In Your Dreams series, but in a good way. And there’s some humor in the darkness as well (think of this series as Pretty Little Liars crossed with Veronica Mars, maybe?).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy your introduction to Quinn Callahan, and if anyone has any ideas on what I should call this thing, let me know. :)  Stay tuned for more teasers from the new novel as it develops.