May 16

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: Quinn Invisible

cover

I’m so pleased to be able to reveal the cover for the first novel in the Quinn Callahan Chronicles, Quinn Invisible. Rather than torture you with a bunch of flowery words, let’s just cut right to the reveal, shall we?

Here’s the cover:

cover

I hope you think it’s a gorgeous as I do.

I’m hoping that by tomorrow or Monday, I’ll have some pre-order information to share with all of you. If everything goes well, the book will be available on June 15.

In the meantime, I’d like to whet your appetite by sharing another excerpt. In this scene, Quinn and Evan Thalmann are at Busch Stadium when they run into some members of Evan’s family:

*****

The Cardinals take down the Cubs, and Evan and I start filtering out with the rest of the crowd. He takes my hand and I stay close to him so we don’t get separated, but the human traffic thins out the closer we get to the front of the stadium.

“Anything else you wanted to do while we’re downtown?” he asks, lifting my hand to his lips.

“I don’t know. Maybe we could—”

I freeze, whatever I was going to suggest fleeing my brain as I stare ahead of us.

Franklin and Bryce Thalmann, flanked by a group of men I don’t recognize, stroll down the landing from the other side of the stadium, both of them business casual in white polo shirts and crisp pants. They’re engaged in conversation with their companions and haven’t looked ahead to see that they are on a collision course with Evan and me, assuming we keep walking forward toward the exit.

Evan drops my hand, which tells me he’s seen them as well. I yank the ponytail holder from my hair and fluff my locks into my face as I turn my head away from them. We’ve just passed a souvenir shop, and right now would be a really good time to browse for some t-shirts I have no intention of buying. I whisper to Evan, “I’ll be back there,” as I tilt my head toward my destination.

“Okay,” he whispers back, walking forward into his inevitable meeting with his father and grandfather as I make a beeline for the souvenir store, where I pretend for the next few minutes to be extremely interested in everything Cardinals. But what I’m really doing is stealing sideways glances at the Thalmanns through the window, my face hopefully hidden by a veil of hair and a t-shirt display.

Bryce looks nearly the same as I remember, with maybe a little more gray in his brown hair now and the smallest of paunches at his waistline. As he and Evan talk, he pushes his sunglasses up on his head and for the first time, I note the resemblance between Evan and his father, a resemblance that wasn’t evident four years ago. Now that Evan is teetering on adulthood, I can see that he has his father’s sloped nose and strong square jaw, two physical traits that trace back at least as far as Franklin in the Thalmann family bloodline.

Franklin, in contrast to his son, appears to have aged quite a bit since the last time I saw him, his face as pruny as a hand that’s been in the bathwater too long. The hair at the top of his head is nothing more than a few wiry gray strands flanked by bushier sections on either side above his ears. Rather than sunglasses, he wears eyeglasses with thin sliver frames, which he takes off so he can wipe his eyes after roaring with laughter at something Evan’s said.

For a few seconds, jealousy gnaws at me. I know Evan lost so much four years ago—I would never deny that. But he still has his father and his grandfather, as well as a sister, regardless of how close he is to any of them. I only have Maureen and my grandmother, and I technically don’t have my grandmother in my life in any meaningful way. But the pang of envy passes once I remember Evan’s comment about how he and Bryce barely talk, while Franklin lives by himself on a farm outside Shady Springs, not too far from where my Quinn grandparents used to live. And Evan and Darcy have never been especially close—I don’t think he’s mentioned her once today or any other time we’ve been together over the last week.

Once the jealousy dissipates, it’s replaced by another emotion—disgust.

*****

You’ll have to read the book to find out Quinn’s problem with the Thalmann family :). If you’re interested in reading other excerpts from Quinn Invisible, you can go here, here, here, or here.

Once again, I’m hoping to have the book out on June 15. And don’t forget–Quinn Invisible has a Goodreads page, so you can add it to your “to read” list.

May 5

Quinn Invisible: Another Excerpt and Release Information

Quinn Invisible is creeping ever closer to becoming a real live book. The cover is almost finished (so there will be a reveal on that soon), and the book is going out to Beta readers shortly. Right now, I’m looking at a tentative release date of June 15, so stay tuned for information about pre-orders.

Quinn

Hooray–Quinn Invisible is almost a real live book.

In the meantime, to tide you over, here’s another excerpt from the book. In this scene, Quinn is going over some of the information about the deaths of Quinn’s mother and of Quinn’s best friend left to her by her father on his death. The information leads her to think about the last time she saw her best friend, Emma Thalmann alive, when they were in seventh grade:

*****

I find the file folder with the initial police report and pull the folder and all of its contents out of the box. Rather than thumbing through it on the floor, I take the folder to my desk and sit down, opening my laptop once again. After I log in, the timeline file immediately pops up on the screen, the last entry informing me that the police arrived on the scene at approximately 9:05, after Bryce and Franklin Thalmann arrived at the house from the St. Louis offices of Thalmann Quinn. I glance back at the police report to see that police interviewed Bernard McCants, a security guard at Thalmann Quinn St. Louis, who confirmed that the Thalmanns left the offices together at 8:25, which fits the timeline of them arriving at the house at approximately 8:57.

I thumb through the report again, hoping to flesh out our timeline even more. “Records obtained from Sentinel Security note that the keypad on the front gate to the Thalmann home was accessed at multiple times on the date of October thirtieth…” I read aloud to myself, letting my eyes skip over the times listed that were during the day.

Someone accessed the keypad at 7:36pm—this would have been right before Emma was killed. Emma had been at my house until about fifteen minutes before, which would fit with the timeline—she walked home from my house, used the keypad to open the gate to the Thalmanns’ driveway and, a few minutes later, was shot just inside the Thalmanns’ front door.

Lifting my eyes from the report, I stare ahead at the countryside scene in the painting hanging over the desk, the tears in my eyes blurring the wildflowers together into a giant lavender and pink mess.

Emma left my house angry that night—angry that she’d caught Evan and me kissing on the couch in my living room. I was lying half-upright against a pile of pillows stacked against the arm and Evan was leaning over me, his hand just underneath the hem of my shirt, when we heard Emma clear her throat and drop her backpack next to her on the floor in the entryway from the front hall. We’d been so busy making out we hadn’t even heard her come in.

“So, Darcy wasn’t kidding,” Emma said, hands on her hips as Evan disentangled himself from me and scrambled to the other end of the couch. Darcy had caught us kissing in the Thalmanns’ garage during her going-away barbeque the weekend before she left for college. We made her swear not to tell Emma, claiming that we were just messing around and Emma didn’t need to know, and Darcy laughed and called us “stupid children” in that condescending way she talked to just about everyone.

Why Darcy told Emma—and why she waited over two months to do so—I may never know.

“Em, look…we’re just messing around,” Evan told her, which kind of wounded me at the time. I’d really wanted Evan to ask me to be his girlfriend, as much as being boyfriend-girlfriend could mean at twelve years old. People in our class were just starting to “date”—Emma had already gone out and broken up with Cole Lautendale during the first two weeks of school—and those relationships never consisted of much more than having parents drive the couple to the movies or the pair sneaking off to make out somewhere during somebody’s birthday party. But Evan asking me to be his girlfriend meant that we would have had to tell Emma, and would have had to assure her that nothing was going to change. Evan would always be her brother no matter what, obviously, but we would have had to convince her that nothing would change with the friendship the three of us had shared almost since birth—no easy feat since my friendship with Evan had already morphed into something more, something neither of us could or wanted to define, so why wouldn’t Emma assume my friendship with her would change, too?

“Yeah,” I chimed in, pretending not to be hurt. “It’s not like we’re boyfriend-girlfriend or anything.”

“So why all the sneaking around?” she asked, crossing her arms over the front of her Harrandale Student Council t-shirt. Emma had been elected president of the seventh grade during the third week of school after a successful campaign managed by Evan and me. She was supposed to be over at Christina Axtell’s house with the rest of the seventh and eighth grade officers planning the Lower School’s Halloween dance, and Evan should have left for home nearly an hour before, but we’d lost track of time. Apparently, the meeting had ended early and since Christina lived only two doors down from me, Emma must have thought it would be nice to stop by on her way home, a decision Evan and I were obviously making her regret.

“If this whole thing is no big deal, they why not tell me about it?” she kept on.

“Um…maybe because of the way you’re acting right now,” Evan said. “Maybe because we knew you’d make it a bigger deal than it is.”

“So, if this is no big deal, then that means it’s going to stop, right?” she challenged. “And I don’t have to worry about my brother and my best friend hooking up behind my back and keeping secrets from me?”

I looked at Evan, he looked at me, and Emma rushed in to fill our silence with bitter laugh.

“Okay, then,” she said. “While you two are busy figuring everything out, I’m going home. Let me know when you guys have decided whether or not you’re going to keep screwing up our friendship. In the meantime…”

Emma reached her hands behind her neck and fumbled around for a few seconds before bringing them back in front of her body. From the couch, I could see she was holding the ends of a gold necklace in either hand, the pendant in the shape of half a heart dangling in the middle of the gold chain.

“Emma,” I whined, sitting up, my hand instinctively flying to my own necklace with the other half of the heart. We’d bought the pendant together at the mall last year, the gold heart engraved with “Best Friends.” I took the “Be” and “Frie” side of the jagged split while Emma took the other.

Evan looked back and forth from his sister to me before he figured out what was going on with the necklace. “Em, don’t be such a drama queen, okay?” he begged.

In response, Emma just held the necklace out in her left hand so we could get one last look at it before she opened her backpack and dropped the necklace inside. After grabbing her backpack up from the floor, she turned on her heel and marched back into the hall, the front door closing behind her seconds later with an angry slam.

I never saw my best friend again.

****

As usual, I’m still editing, so what’s above may not appear in the final version of the book in the form that it exists above.

Again, I’m hoping for June 15 for a release date, so stay tuned! Don’t forget that Quinn Invisible also has a Goodreads page, so head on over and add it to your “to read” list.