Tag Archives: Agent Lady

Announcement: MY FIRST YA BOOK DEAL!

1 Mar

Y’all. Y’ALL. I know that this has been a crazy week already, what with the Cavendish cover reveal and all (yay!), but . . .


(Yes, this post will probably be quite caps locky. I’M SORRY OKAY.)

So, if you’ll recall (from various blog posts and tweets galore), I’m a little obsessed with The Nutcracker.

Oh my god I’m like twirling around right now. TWIRLING.

Well, okay, so, about a month and a half ago, this happened:

YES. This is the book formerly known as Cracked, my Nutcracker re-telling which has been such a dear, crazy project of mine for months and months (and years, really, when you think about how long I’ve loved The Nutcracker), and now it is BECOMING REALITY.

I can’t say much right now about Winterspell yet, but I can tell you at least a little bit more! Read on:

To find her abducted father and keep her sister safe from the lecherous politicians of 1899 New York City, 17-year-old Clara Stole must journey to the wintry kingdom of Cane. There, Anise, queen of the faeries, has ousted the royal family in favor of her own totalitarian, anti-human regime. Clara’s only companion is 18-year-old Nicholas, Cane’s rightful prince, whom she freed from a curse that left him trapped in disfiguring faery magic — but time is running out, for both Nicholas and Clara’s family. A deadly secret threatens to destroy Clara and Nicholas even as it binds them irrevocably together. And the land of Cane is anything but sweet.

Words cannot even BEGIN to describe my excitement about Winterspell. Not only is it my first foray into YA fiction (eeeep scary but awesome!), it is a re-telling of one of my favorite fairy tales, and it also gives me an excuse to watch A WHOLE LOT OF FREAKING BALLET YESSS. Which includes Center Stage, right? I mean, I’m totally using this as an excuse to watch Center Stage.

Also I’m excited because this means I can NERD OUT ABOUT THE NUTCRACKER WHENEVER I FEEL LIKE IT. Oh my god, y’all, I need a fan or something, I’m swooning over here.








*bounces away to find cheese*

Announcement: AHHH MY SECOND BOOK! (and a giveaway!)

30 Nov

[Update: Scroll down for the winner!]



If you’ll recall from back in March, when The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls sold to my brilliant editor, Zareen Jaffery, at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, it sold as part of a two-book contract.

Cavendish is a standalone middle grade novel, so my second book for S&S will also be a standalone middle grade novel, and now — dah duh-duh DAHHH — I can finally talk about it! And this publishing stuff is all very strange to me because, you know, the FIRST book’s not even out yet, and here I am talking about the SECOND one, but NEVERTHELESS.

Are you ready? AGH, I don’t know if I’m ready! I might have to dance around a bit.

Now, about the book.

Are you ready?




The October Year

(coming August 2013!) | Goodreads

13-year-old Olivia Stellatella and her father have sold all their belongings to keep her father’s orchestra from going bankrupt. Now, they live out of suitcases in the back rooms of Emerson Hall, where the orchestra performs.

Olivia hates it there.

She hates her squeaky cot and shabby clothes. She hates her father, too, for being so obsessed with music that he drove Olivia’s mother out of the house and got them into this mess. Most of all, Olivia hates the orchestra. It’s the orchestra’s fault that her father’s the way he is. She can’t wait for it to fail.

Until the ghosts come.

They’re lonely, frightened, and stuck in our world. Only if Olivia and the 14-year-old usher, Henry, can help the ghosts solve the mysteries of their deaths — deaths that are somehow related to the Hall’s past — will they be able to move on and find peace. But time — and money — is running out. The mayor wants to bulldoze the Hall to the ground, which would put Olivia and her father out on the streets and trap the ghosts in our world permanently. And other ghosts — bad ones — will do anything to keep them here. As the “ghosts of Emerson Hall” craze sweeps the city, Olivia faces life-changing family secrets and must fight for her life when her world, and the world of Death, collide.

Inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, When You Reach Me, and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, as well as my own experiences as a musician, The October Year is a middle grade ghost story about loss, magic, music, and the power of friendship.


I’m SO excited about this book. It came out of nowhere and has quickly become incredibly special to me, a precious little surprise book-baby from the bespectacled stork that flies around bringing writers their ideas. You know. BECAUSE WRITING IS EASY LIKE THAT.

In fact, I was SO very excited that I made a temporary The October Year cover for you. It is, among other things, evidence that I should never, ever design covers.


To celebrate this excitement, I’m holding an October Year-inspired GIVEAWAY!

What’s the booty? (Heh, booty.) The BOOTY is a MAGICAL PRIZE PACK containing the following:

  1. a hardcover copy of Rebecca Stead‘s brilliant When You Reach Me
  2. a paperback copy of Gaston Leroux’s gothic classic The Phantom of the Opera
  3. a hardcover copy of Brian Selznick’s enchanting The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  4. a $20 AMC gift card, so that you can go see Hugo (Martin Scorsese‘s film adaptation of Hugo Cabret) in theaters! (I guess you could see something else, but I would love you bunches if you DID go see Hugo, which everyone is raving about — including my editor! — and if you DO go see something else . . . just don’t tell me!)

These (brand new!) books would make great gifts this holiday season, or fantastic additions to your personal library! And Hugo looks beautiful, doesn’t it?

How to win:

  • comment on this blog for +1 entry!
  • tweet about The October Year and/or this contest and copy your tweet’s link below for +2 additional entries!
  • add The October Year to your Goodreads to-read list and copy your Goodreads profile link below for +3 additional entries!

This contest begins NOW and is open until next Wednesday, December 7 at 12:00 p.m. CST!

Also, I love you, international people, but this contest is for residents of the U.S., Quebec, and Ontario only, simply because, as far as I can tell, these are the only places where AMC theaters operate. However, don’t worry — I’ll have many more October Year-themed giveaways in the coming many months!

And, most importantly of all, thanks to all of you for celebrating with me!

EDIT: and the winner is…

Reut (@reutreads)!

Congratulations, Reut! Please contact me at clairelegrandbooks[at]gmail[dot]com!

And thank you again, everyone, for your words of encouragement and excitement. I can’t wait to share The October Year with you (and host more giveaways as the pub date approaches)!

Apparently I Need More 80s In My Life

12 Oct

So, during an awesome conversation last night with Agent Lady during which we discussed very productive thoughts regarding a current WIP, this happened:

Agent Lady: “You know, like in Legend, with the dancing dress?”

Me: “…Legend?”

AL: “You know, with Tom Cruise and Tim Curry and what’s-her-face from Ferris Bueller? Mia Sara?”

Me: “…?”



AL: “Wait, you mean you’ve seriously never seen it?”

Me, ashamed: “No…”


At this point, she proceeded to tell me all about the UNICORNS in the movie, and I watched a few Legend clips on YouTube, and oh my goodness, y’all. I really MUST purchase this DVD. The Ultimate Edition, that is, which includes both the U.S. theatrical cut (and the godawful, cheesy Tangerine Dream 80s music) as well as the original cut, shown everywhere but the U.S., with a gorgeous score by the one and only Jerry Goldsmith. See, for example, THIS scene:

P.S. The original Jerry Goldsmith score is available for purchase on iTunes. I’M JUST SAYING.

Man. Diana should be proud. I only found out about this movie late last night, and I’m already nerding out with trivia and whatnot.

Anyway, this is not the first time this situation has arisen, wherein Diana talks about an awesome 80s something-or-other, and I just kind of stare at her blankly through the phone, and then she gasps in horror and proposes that someday we shall have to have an 80s movie marathon, to catch me up on all the glorious 80s-ness of which I’ve been deprived. (See: She-ra)

I guess because I was born in 1986, I just missed out on all this awesomeness due to my age. And the fact that instead of She-ra and Legend, I watched Star Trek: The Next Generation pretty much exclusively (thanks, Mom and Dad; no, really). In fact, I think the only 80s fantasy movie I’ve ever seen is The NeverEnding Story, which, I mean, if there’s one 80s movie I needed to see, maybe it was that one, even though all I remember about it at this point (haven’t seen it since I was quite wee) is a giant flying dog and WHEN THE HORSE DIES.

But I haven’t seen Legend. Or Labyrinth. Or The Dark Crystal, or Willow, and I only recently saw the animated The Last Unicorn (which…I didn’t think was all that great, I have to say, but nothing could live up to that beautiful book), and I’ve only seen The Princess Bride once, and I was little, and I don’t remember anything about it except that I felt kind of meh about the whole thing.

I feel like I’m missing out on this entire universe of nerd-fantasy-pop culture dominated by creepy Muppets and synthesizers. And that I should rectify this situation as soon as possible (as well as give The Princess Bride a second chance).

Have y’all seen these movies? Which are your favorites? Which should I, a sad, sad 80s newb, start with? And, most importantly, f I watch enough of them, will I grow numb to the gross synthesizer music?

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