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Friends with Books #2

The Spring 2011 Edition

What's worth reading in early 2011? This season I'm highlighting books from my friends, Chris Eboch, Eric Luper, Jeff Sampson, and Cynthia Leitich Smith. And there's video!

Chris Eboch

Chis is the RA from New Mexico SCBWI and one of my blogmates from The Spectacle. Chris is a traditionally published author who is also the most knowledgeable person I know about the fast-moving world of self publishing where she is pioneering the move into new book formats and platforms.

The Eyes of Pharaoh, set in Egypt in 1177 BC, brings an ancient world to life. When Reya hints that Egypt is in danger from foreign nomads, Seshta and Horus don't take him seriously. How could anyone challenge Egypt? Then Reya disappears. To save their friend, Seshta and Horus spy on merchants, soldiers, and royalty, and start to suspect even The Eyes of Pharaoh, the powerful head of the secret police. Will Seshta and Horus escape the traps set for them, rescue Reya, and stop the plot against Egypt in time? For ages nine and up. $6.99 paperback, $2.99 e-book. Read the first chapter at

Eric Luper

Eric is a friend from the Class of 2k7. His books are full of wicked humor and Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets is more of the same. When I was a Cub Scout, it never seemed fair that while we were tracking chipmunks and making bird feeders, the girls were taking on the sales and marketing for a major baked goods company and handling wads of cold hard cash. Eric's woven that situation into a laugh-out-loud premise that I've been dying to read. 

Jeremy Bender vs. The Cupcake Cadets
Balzer + Bray, 2011

Jeff Sampson

Years ago, Jeff and I both used to spend our off-time in Verla Kay's writing chat room, socializing with other authors and discussing the craft and theory of writing. Those were some good times. Jeff has always a big series fan and has written several middle-grade books in the Dragonlance series from Wizards of the Coast. Vesper is his first YA title starting a series in a world that is all his own.

Vesper: A Deviants Novel
Harper Teen, 2011

Cynthia Leitich Smith

I was introduced to Cynthia, like many people, through her Cynsations blog–a major online resource for children's and YA books. Cynthia was hugely supportive when my first book came out and was one of the first boosters for the Class of 2k7 group of debut authors that I founded. When I served as co-director of the 2010 New England SCBWI conference, we brought Cynthia up from Texas to give a keynote address that blew everyone away. Her commitment, drive, and ability are a constant source of amazement and inspiration.

Cynthia's newest book, Blessed, crosses over the casts of two of her previous YA romantic fantasies, Tantalize and Eternal.

Candlewick, 2011

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