I am very excited to announce the sale of my 9th book ~ my 4th book with Holiday House Books for Children, my 1st illustrated book (and my 1st comedy)!
Here’s a little more about the story:
Eleven-year-old Nico Lombardi, an orphan unfairly indentured at a remote mountain inn, turns to purloining valuables from the guests to finance his escape. While he mourns the loss of his honesty, the inn fills with a group consisting of the three surviving members of a tontine and their assorted family members. The last of the three alive will win a fortune. During their stay, a number of small mysteries ensue. Is the painting over the mantelpiece a lost masterpiece or a forgery? Why are so many guests creeping around in the dead of night? Is somebody plotting dastardly acts to ensure which finalist wins the tontine? Are all the guests even who they claim to be? Might one, in fact, be an undercover detective investigating a series of thefts at the inn?
Much to his chagrin and regret, Nico knows exactly where the misplaced silver cigarette case is, but he has no idea what happened to the decanter of very bad sherry, the lawyer who never turned up, and the four missing eyebrows. Nico’s future seems more precarious than ever because even if he can elude the detective, survive atrocious banjo playing, and escape the grasp of the vile innkeeper, where will he go when he has no one left in the world who cares about him?
I am super stoked about this book being illustrated, and I can’t wait to see how Matt Schu (website here) brings Nico and the rest of the characters to life!
Today is release day for my eighth book for teens and middle grade readers, The Carrefour Curse! Inspired by my childhood love of all things gothic, including gothic mysteries by Mary Stewart, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Virginia Coffman — but especially the supernatural soap opera, Dark Shadows, The Carrefour Curse features a crumbling mansion, dark family secrets, intergenerational trauma, and doors that open to other times.
★ “[A] standout, genre-bending dark fantasy. . . . Salerni enlivens classic horror tropes and gothic ambience, complete with a sentient manor house, blending wry humor with atmospheric descriptions. . . .”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ “Salerni’s gothic charmer is deliciously creepy and atmospheric, building an immersive fantasy world that gently explores intergenerational trauma. . . . An enchanting and evocative tale.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“A fun page-turner that touches on the deeper themes of family, identity, and what it means to pay for the sins of the past.”—Booklist
“Spooky, dark, and enthralling. I couldn’t put it down until every mystery had been solved.” —Cassie Beasley, New York Times bestselling author of Circus Mirandus
I’m really excited for young (and not as young) readers to get their hands on this book.
Remember: What Crossroad House wants … it gets.
I have exciting news to share! Holiday House has purchased a third book from me, a spooky MG that I wrote in homage to a supernatural television show I fixated on as a small child — a show which is probably (definitely) responsible for my fascination with all things gothic and ghostly.
Here’s a slightly longer description:
Twelve-year-old Garnet Carrefour and her mother, Emerald, are summoned against their will to Crossroad House, their family’s ancestral home, to witness a transition of power. Once a whimsical place where Emerald and her cousins employed magic to entertain their friends, Crossroad House is now a crumbling ruin. The dying family patriarch fights to retain his life by stealing it from others. Every accident that isn’t an accident, every unexpected illness, and every unexplained disappearance grants him a little more time.
While the wary family takes magical precautions and squabbles over who will inherit the old man’s power when (if) he dies, Garnet encounters a suspicious visitor in the family cemetery, ghosts in the attic, doors that lead to other times—and a curse that has decimated three generations of her family and now threatens Garnet’s existence.
Inspiration for this story comes partly from an Ambrose Bierce vignette entitled The Spook House, but mostly from the supernatural soap opera, Dark Shadows. When I was a small child, my mother used to put me down for a nap so she could watch the show. I would sneak out of bed, creep down the hall, and secretly watch from behind a sofa until I got caught (or until it got too scary and I had to run back to bed). I can’t wait to share THE CARREFOUR CURSE with everyone in 2023!
In other news, the release date for JADIE IN FIVE DIMENSIONS has been pushed back to October 5 due to a delay in the printing process, but on a brighter note, good reviews are rolling in!
Kirkus says: “A thrilling ride through a multidimensional universe and high-stakes action. Though the techno-speak is complex, the storyline is anchored by emotional themes of family, adoption, loyalty, and trust. Readers are invited to enter this imaginative world and consider the far-reaching possibilities.”
Booklist says: “A mind-bending, multidimensional adventure that also takes a deep dive into geometry and physics. Salerni offers a page-turning adventure tale and adeptly breaks down the math and science elements behind multidimensional theory for middle-grade readers. The book also has heart, touching on the emotional lives of two adopted 13-year-olds and the true meaning of family.”
Hurray for Jadie! I can’t wait for the world to meet her this fall — and Garnet Carrefour in 2023!
I am excited to share the gorgeous cover for my next book, coming from Holiday House on September 7, 2021. But before I do, how about a summary?
Geometry. Physics. Monsters. Kidnappings. Spies. Conspiracies. Multi-dimensional universes nesting together like Russian dolls.
Jadie Martin grew up believing she was abandoned by her parents as an infant and left to die in a snowbank. Beings from the fourth dimension rescued her and placed her with a loving adoptive family. Now thirteen, Jadie acts as an Agent for those beings, also known as Seers. She uses the alternate geometry of 4-space to travel all over Earth, performing missions calculated to guide her world toward a brighter future.
But when Jadie breaks the rules to cover an assignment for another Agent, she discovers that her origin story is a lie. Her birth family has suffered multiple tragedies and disasters engineered from 4-space, including the devastating loss of their baby girl. Doubting the Seers, Jadie starts asking questions. Why are her missions so important? Do they really make the world a better place? What do the Seers really want? And what will all-powerful four-dimensional beings do to a rebellious human girl when they find out she’s interfering with their plans?
And now the cover, by artist Kristina Kister …
It’s a gloomy, gray day in Pennsylvania — the perfect weather for the launch of Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts!
Buried family secrets. Vengeful ghosts. Two very different cousins.
Last week, I revealed the cover for Eleanor, Alice, & the Roosevelt Ghosts. This week I have a sales announcement to share!
Jadie in Five Dimensions is a mind-twisty, space-bendy adventure into geometry and physics. Inspired by Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland, which fascinated me in middle school, and with homage to the great science fiction writer William Sleator (especially The Boy Who Reversed Himself), this story has undergone many revisions over the span of 5 years before transforming into a version worthy of publication. I have changed point of view and verb tense, rearranged events, refined the science and math elements, and dropped the number of POV characters from 6 to 3. (6 POVs? What was I thinking?) I can’t wait to work with my fabulous editor and the staff at Holiday House as Jadie’s story bounds into the finishing laps of its journey toward bookhood. read more…
I am very excited to finally share the gorgeous, wrap-around cover commissioned by Holiday House for my upcoming new release, ELEANOR, ALICE, & THE ROOSEVELT GHOSTS (9/1/20). I’ve been blessed with some beautiful covers in the past, but this one might just be my favorite!
But first, a summary …
It’s 1898 in New York City and ghosts exist among humans.
When an unusual spirit takes up residence at their aunt’s house, thirteen-year-old Eleanor Roosevelt and her cousin Alice are suspicious. The girls don’t get along, but they know something is not right. This ghost is more than a pesky nuisance. The authorities claim he’s safe to be around, even as his mischievous behavior grows stranger and more menacing. Could their aunt and her unborn child be in danger? read more…
A little over ten years ago, MG/PB author Nancy Viau and a friend were discussing book signings and the awkwardness of sitting at a table alone while shoppers dash by, avoiding eye contact at all costs. They wished there was a way for authors to combine signing events so that no one would have to sit alone. Nancy conceived of a way to do just that, and the KidLit Author Club was born on January 1, 2010. KAC is made up of authors from NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, and VA who banded together to promote, market, sign, and sell their books at bookstores, schools, libraries, conferences, and festivals.
I wasn’t part of the club back then but joined in 2013, shortly after the release of my second book, The Caged Graves. By then, the KidLit Author Club not only organized multi-author signing events, but they had started attending conferences, making presentations as a team, and basically providing a support network for fellow members. They spread the word about new opportunities, recommended other authors for events they were unable to attend themselves, and generally provided advice on how to promote books without going crazy. read more…
Since the death of my dog Sorcia in January, I’ve been volunteering at CompAnimals, a no-kill, all-volunteer pet rescue shelter in Landenberg, PA. Although they take in all animals in need, they specialize in hard-to-place cases — animals missing fur, missing limbs or eyes, needing surgery, etc.
Take SAM, for instance. Picked up by animal control on the streets of Baltimore, Sam was discovered to have multiple broken ribs and vertebrae in various stages of healing, indicating long-term abuse. My family temporarily fostered Sam, giving him some much needed pampering before CompAnimals sponsored his FHO surgery to remove the crumbling ball of his hip joint which was causing him pain with every movement.
At long last, I have news to report that doesn’t involve dogs, vacations, or my quirky daughters.
In a slightly different version of this pitch, I can summarize the story this way:
In an alternate U.S. history where ghosts are strictly categorized as Friendly, Unaware, or Vengeful, 13-year-old introvert Eleanor Roosevelt and her flamboyant cousin Alice match wits with a ghost in their aunt’s house, which, although diagnosed as Friendly, demonstrates secret Vengeful behavior that might put their aunt and her baby at risk.
With cameo appearances by Nellie Bly, Nikola Tesla, and Theodore Roosevelt.
I’m really excited for this book, which features several strong female characters from history, as well as a woman who might not have made the history books, but who nevertheless had a strong influence on the people who did: the oldest sister of Teddy Roosevelt, Anna “Bye” Roosevelt Cowles. read more…
The beginning of 2019 was a hard time for us. Thank you to everyone who extended their condolences on our loss of Sorcia, our beloved GSD of nine years. We still miss her every day. I look for her when I go to bed late at night, thinking I need to let her out to pee, and I still expect her to appear when we pull into the driveway and press the garage door button—wriggling out from underneath the door as soon as she can fit.
But she’s not there.
At some point in late January, with both daughters back at college and my husband away on a business trip, I missed my dog enough to fill out a volunteer application for the local animal shelter. Best decision ever. read more…
Good-Bye to 2018. An okay year for me. Not a great one. Not the worst. But sadly, it’s ending on a very down note.
After exhibiting weird symptoms over the past few months — such as facial swelling that looked like a reaction to a bee sting or spider bite, but wasn’t — my sweet dog, Sorcia, has been diagnosed with an advanced case of lymphoma. The mysterious swelling, as it turns out, was an auto-immune response related to the cancer. Although blood tests in September showed no signs of an elevated white blood cell count, x-rays taken two days ago indicate a large tumorous mass in her chest and other small masses spread throughout her organs.
Sorcia is 11 years old. The disease is greatly advanced. We have elected not to put her through traumatic surgeries and chemo therapy in the hopes of dragging this out for months. Instead, she’s under sedation, and we’re saying a gentle good-bye.
Until this past week, Sorcia suffered no pain. There was that weird facial swelling, but it bothered us more than it did her. read more…