die achte wachterin

Isn’t the cover so pretty? I’m seriously in love with it. German friends, check it out on the publisher’s website or on Amazon!

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Thank you to everyone who entered and helped make the BLACKOUT launch a smashing success! And now for the winners, who were chosen at random by the fine algorithms at Rafflecopter…

The winner of a signed copy of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN is: Cassie Bergman! 

The winner of a signed copy of BLACKOUT is: Victoria Alexander!

And, finally, the winners of the Kindle Paperwhites, complete with copies of both books are: Jaime Arnold and Agata Karpowicz! 

WOOHOO! Winners, I’ll be contacting you soon!

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Can you even believe it?!? I know I barely can. It honestly seems like just yesterday I was locking myself away in my bedroom, ignoring my kids (but not in a “someone should alert DCF” kind of way), and trying desperately to squeeze out the words to this book. But that was . . . *closes eyes and concentrates* . . . a year and a half ago. Wow. And now BLACKOUT is here. What’s it about? Well, if you haven’t heard, it picks up right where THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN leave off, and I’ll just let the good copy editors at Skyscape explain the rest.

Blackout cover2

Seventeen-year-old Amanda Obermann (code name: Iris) has more on her mind than usual. As a member of a covert government organization called the Annum Guard, which travels through time to keep history on track, Iris has been getting some particularly stressful assignments. Plus, Jane Bonner, the Guard’s iron-fisted new leader, seems determined to make life as hard as possible. Thankfully, Iris has Abe (code name: Blue), her boyfriend and fellow Guardian, who listens to her vent—and helps her cope with her mentally ill mother’s increasingly erratic behavior.

When Guardians start to disappear on their assignments, Iris makes a terrifying discovery: a “blackout” squad is targeting anyone who gets in the way of a corrupt force that’s selling out both the Annum Guard’s missions and Guardian lives. Together, Iris and Blue must go undercover to untangle the Guard’s elaborate web of secrets and lies. But when Iris discovers that the terrible truth may involve her own father, a former Guardian undone by his own greed, she must decide how much she’s willing to risk to rescue her friends…and how dangerous the consequences will be for all of humanity.

A thrilling time-traveling adventure that spans from Abraham Lincoln’s assassination to the Cuban Missile Crisis and back to the present day, this pulse-pounding sequel to The Eighth Guardian reveals that playing with time can turn into a deadly game.

I’m SO EXCITED that this book is finally out there in the world, and to celebrate, I’m giving away some pretty cool prizes. (If I do say so myself). I have TWO Kindle Paperwhites, a signed copy of THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN, and a signed hardcover of BLACKOUT ready and waiting to be shipped from me to you. There are numerous ways to win entries—Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and an entry just for being awesome. So let’s do this thing and spread the word! I hope you love BLACKOUT as much as I do! (Oh, and under the Rafflecopter form, I’ve included an easy Tumblr link and an image to post on Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Reblog on Tumblr.

Instagram image:

Blackout repost image

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SkyAuthors site banner

First of all, a HUGE thanks to all the students, teachers, and schools who participated in this contest. It was an honor for us, SkYAuthors, to read the amazing work of the next generation’s writers. You all blew us away at your talent! Thank you for putting yourselves out there and for sharing with us your beautiful stories.

From Christina FarleyJessie HumphriesLori M. LeeRysa WalkerChuck Wendig (and Ryan Gosling), here’s a super sexy slow clap for all of you…

Now, as a refresher, here are the winning categories:

  •  One winning school with the most entries (which will win a pack of thirty (30) Kindle Paperwhites).
  • One winner for each grade 6-12, which makes 7 total grade winners (who will each receive: One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One ($20 Amazon Gift Card); and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books.
  • Two Overall runners up for all grades (who each win One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One $20 Amazon Gift Card; and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books).
  • One Overall First Place Winner (prizes listed below)


Without further ado, here are the winners:

School With The Most Entries:

Northwest Technical And Career Academy

(Which is extra super exciting because a few of us SkYAuthors were able to visit this school!) Way to go, NWTCA students and teachers!
2014-10-16 11.29.51

6th grade winner: Mia Ottaviano

School: Woodstown Middle School

Teacher/Mentor: Mrs. Collins

7th grade winner: Emmeline Song

School: The Avery Coonley School

Teacher/Mentor: Michelle Schaub

8th grade winner: Juliana Morell:

School: Woodstown Middle School

Teacher/Mentor: Mrs. Jennifer Kelly

9th grade winner: Kayla Stuhlmann

School: Basic High School

Teacher/Mentor: Mauseth

10th grade winner: Madison Matthews

School: Panther Creek High School

Teacher/Mentor: Daria Johnson

11th grade winner: Kelly Litts

School: St Thomas Aquinas High School (Meredith note: THIS IS MY ALMA MATER!!! YAY, KELLY!!)

Teacher/Mentor: Amy Schaak

12th grade winner: Emily Espanol

School: Northwest Career and Technical Academy

Teacher/Mentor: Debbie Olsen/Josh Symmonds


Runners Up:

1. Kai Garrison

School: Coronado High School

Teacher/Mentor: Mr. J. Watkins

2. Emilee Resop

School: Northwest Career and Technical Academy

Teacher/Mentor: Debra Olsen


And for the OVERALL FIRST PLACE WINNER … drumroll please….

korean drums

Juliana Gessner

School: Ronald Reagan IB High School

Teacher/Mentor: Ms. Weinfurter

Juliana, come on down…

come on down


You have won Two (2) Kindle Fires HDX 

(One for yourself and one for your nominated teacher-mentor, Ms. Weinfurter).  

Also if you choose to complete your story/short story, the SkYAuthors will assist in getting the story published. 

in awe 

Congratulations, Juliana! Your entry totally blew us away. The odds of you winning this contest were less than .01%…and you did it! This is how…

There were four of us in that dank little cell: the doctor, the nurse, the dead man, and myself. The doctor was etching an escape plan in the dust while the nurse looked on with eyes full of practiced admiration. The dead man sat slumped in the corner, his chains rattling ominously. Beneath us the floor rocked and swayed with the swell of the waves, obeying the commands of the never-ending storm. It had been raining for days now. It was like the sky was trying to drown the ocean, and succeeding.

“Those nasty brutes may look tough,” said the doctor, his voice hoarse and strained, “but they’re poorly organized, and the storm should’ve worn ‘em out by now. If we could just break that lock–” his plan was interrupted by a bone chilling scream from above deck. There was a frantic scramble of stomping boots, followed by shouts, screams, begs for mercy. The ship rocked back and forth with more force than ever before, throwing us around like rag dolls, until–

Deathly silence.

I opened my mouth to speak, but it like my words had been stolen. We waited for a sound, any sound to indicate the survival of the pirates who’d captured us.

Tick… Tick… Tick… Tick…

My eyes slid to the watch on the dead mans wrist. Its face was shattered and the minute hand was missing. It was the only clock in the room.


Again, thank you to all who participated. 

***All winners must contact Jessie Humphries at jessiehump(at)gmail(dot)com within thirty (30) days, to claim their prize and provide mailing information.***

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Great news! School Library Journal reviewed the audio edition of The Eighth Guardian and gave it a wonderful starred review!

Gr 7 Up –Action, conspiracy, love, and war are just a few of the fascinating elements in McCardle’s debut. Amanda Obermann’s mother is bipolar, her dad’s death is a mystery, and she’s a junior at Peel Academy, most of whose graduates go on to work for the FBI or CIA. Amanda, along with her classmates, is a genius. She’s already looking forward to working for the CIA with her long-term boyfriend, Abe, when they graduate next year, until her name is called at the graduate ceremony…as a junior! Instantly Amanda’s world comes crashing down. She is taken against her will to a top-secret government agency and is forced to take tests to be part of Annum Guard. Failure in Annum Guard results in life in prison. She’s stuck. She has to say goodbye to everything: her name (she’s now Iris), her family, Abe. The more she learns about Annum Guard, the further she wants to run. Narrator Amy McFadden flawlessly articulates the action throughout the story, giving life to all the characters. Listeners will eagerly be awaiting a sequel. Slight cursing will make this title appropriate for slightly older tweens, while some ethical themes make it ideal for discussion groups. Give this title to fans of time travel and historical fiction. A first-rate listen.–Amanda Schiavulli, Finger Lakes Library System, NY

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I’m so excited to finally announce this! It’s been in the works for a long (loooooong) time. I’m teaming up with my publisher, Amazon Children’s Publishing/Skyscape, and five other amazing authors within Amazon/Skyscape family, and together we’re launching THE SKY’S THE LIMIT writing contest!

Who else is involved? Why, these awesome folks:

  • CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of GILDED and SILVERN and currently lives in Clermont, FL. Visit her at www.christinafarley.com or @ChristinaFarley on Twitter.
  • JESSIE HUMPHRIES is the author of KILLING RUBY ROSE and RESISTING RUBY ROSE, and currently lives in Las Vegas. Visit her at jessiehumphries.com or @JessieHWrites on twitter.
  • LORI M. LEE is the author of young adult fantasy GATES OF THREAD AND STONE, and lives in Wisconsin. Visit her at lorimlee.com or @LoriMLee on Twitter.
  • RYSA WALKER is the author TIMEBOUND, the first book in the CHRONOS Files series, which was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Time’s Edge, the second book in the series, is scheduled for release in October of 2014. Visit her at www.rysa.com or @RysaWalker on Twitter.
  • CHUCK WENDIG is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of BLACKBIRDS, DOUBLE DEAD and DINOCALYPSE NOW, and is co-writer of the short film PANDEMIC, the feature film HiM, and the Emmy-nominated digital narrative COLLAPSUS. He lives in Pennsylvania. Visit him at terribleminds.com  or @ChuckWendig on Twitter.

For all the details, please go to our website: www.skyauthors.com

But here’s the short version:

Contest Rules

  • Open to all students in grades 6-12 in the United States
  • Any genre or theme (fantasy, sci-fi, romance, mystery, etc.)
  • Maximum of 250 original words
  • Inappropriate language or gratuitous violence is grounds for disqualification.


  • Send your 250 word first page of a story at our website: skyauthors.com
  • Make sure to include your full name, high school, mailing address, email address, and a nomination for a teacher-mentor who helped you with your submission
  • Submissions must be emailed by midnight on November 1, 2014


  • One winning student will win: One (1) contract to publish a short story and Two (2) Kindle Fires HDX (one for themselves and one for their nominated teacher-mentor).
  • 2 runners-up will each receive: One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One ($20 Amazon Gift Card); and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books.
  • 7 winners (1 per grade) will receive: One (1) Kindle Paperwhite; One ($20 Amazon Gift Card); and all six (6) of the participating Skyscape’s authors books.

AND The school with the most entries will win a pack of thirty (30) Kindle Paperwhites!

***Teachers/students/librarians: All authors will be doing limited visits/presentations (in-person and via Skype) so please contact the authors near your region for a spot before they all fill up!***


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I’m so happy to be a Pitch Wars mentor again this year! First, here’s a little about me.

  • I’m now a full-time writer. Before this, I was a full-time lawyer. And I still squeeze being a full-time mom into the mix.
  • My debut novel, THE EIGHTH GUARDIAN, was released in May. Confetti! It’s a fast-paced thriller set in a world of time-traveling teens employed by the US government. (Because you can take the girl out of the law, but you can’t take the law out of the girl…)
  • The sequel, BLACKOUT, comes out in January, and I’m hard at work revising the third book.
  • Basically, I’m busy all the time. I live on coffee and KIND bars. (The dark chocolate  nuts and sea salt variety, to be specific).

If you write any of the following, we might be soul mates and you should put me on your submission list. Please note, I’m mentoring YA only this year!

  • Historical.
  • Fantasy.
  • Historical fantasy!
  • And especially, historical fantasy based on underrepresented cultures.
  • Thrillers. Anything fast-paced, high-adrenaline, super-actiony. (That’s a word).
  • As a general rule, the darker, the creepier, the better with me. And if you’re not 100% sure whether I’d like something, feel free to ping me on Twitter and ask! @MeredithMcP

We will probably not be a good match if you write the following. (And, I mean, I’m sure you’re still awesome, and I totally still want to hang out with you.)

  • Contemporary romance.
  • Anything light-hearted in tone.
  • Time travel. I know, I know. I write it. It’s my speciality.  But that’s actually why I’m not taking any time travel on. I make it a general rule not to read a genre I’m actively writing, and, from a legal standpoint, I can’t read it right now anyway. So please, don’t waste a spot on me if you write time travel. It’ll be deleted unread. (To be blunt.)

So why would you pick me?

  • I was a Pitch Wars mentor last year. My amazing mentee got ten—ten—agent requests and wound up signing with one of them only weeks later.
  • I think I’m pretty decent at reading a manuscript, identifying the problem areas, and working with a writer to figure out how to fix them.
  • I also think I have a pretty decent knowledge of the industry. What’s selling, what’s not, what agents and editors are looking for at the moment, what they’re not. And that will always be in the back of my head.

And that’s it! If you think we’re a good fit, I hope you keep me on your list. And if not, then I wish you all the best! Good luck to everyone!

Check out the other mentors here!

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