Well, almost. I'm not sure exactly when the next book in the Library of Athena series, THE MIRROR OF YU-HUANG, will be officially released from Zumaya Thresholds, but I know it should be soon. The edits are all done and I've seen samples of the cover art, and the book is being formatted and laid out. But I figure sooner rather than later I should, yanno, tell everyone about it. We're going to get it out in time for holiday shopping (yay!).
I've talked about writing this book, and editing this book, and the trauma when I thought this book might not have a new home, but never about the ACTUAL BOOK. Which seems kind of ridiculous, come to think of it. Anyway, here's the cover blurb:
Confucius never said anything about this.
Megan’s dreams of a fun and relaxing Christmas holiday have just turned into a nightmare. First, the headmistress of her school strong-arms her father into hosting a huge New Year’s ball at their manor home. Then she ends up with a Chinese ambassador, his family, and his staff as houseguests. Megan’s been unlucky with houseguests in the past—like one of the guests died kind of unlucky.
She tries to relax and enjoy the holidays, despite her home being turned into Grand Central. But her worst fears are realized when she receives a mysterious gift, one that links her to the Library of Athena, a secret store of rare and magical books she protects. Now she’s on her guard, hoping to identify the culprit and learn just how much he or she knows about the Library before someone gets hurt, or worse: she winds up inside another enchanted book.
And here's a little tiny teaser:
“Rachel, it’s gorgeous!”
Rachel twirled in the middle of Megan’s room, her long black skirt billowing around her.
“I don’t know. Do you really think so?”
“Yeah. You look like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A perfect Holly Golightly.”
Megan loved old movies, and she was especially fond of those that starred Kate or Audrey Hepburn. Her DVD collection was bursting with their films – from Adam’s Rib to Sabrina. They always cheered her up, with their happily-ever-after endings and gorgeous, glamorous costumes. They also reminded her of her mother, who used to take Megan to revival movie houses when she was younger. Her memories were full of rainy Saturday afternoons in musty old theaters, sharing stale popcorn and watered-down soda.
Rachel’s ball gown was black satin with a full skirt and sparkling sequins along the strapless neckline. Her long neck was accented by both her black hair, piled on top of her head, and the string of pearls around her neck—a Christmas gift from her parents. Rachel played with the top of the dress, pulling it up.
“I’m afraid this thing is going to slip off, and I’m going to have a wardrobe malfunction. I hope no one steps on my skirt. Oops, almost forgot these.”
She retrieved a pair of elbow-length black gloves from the bed and pulled them on. Then, she leaned close to the vanity mirror and checked her makeup. She didn’t usually wear any, and it only added to the impression she was older than fifteen.Megan looked herself over in the full-length mirror on the back of her closet door and smoothed a wrinkle in her royal blue dress with off-the-shoulder neckline and long sleeves. It also had a floor-length skirt, although not as full as Rachel’s, and featured a short train. She wore her mother’s pearl earrings, and her hair, too, was pulled up. Wisps of auburn curls framed her face, and strands of small pearls had been woven into it by the stylist. He had ooohed and ahhhed and told her how beautiful she looked while he used enough hair spray to punch a new hole in the ozone. It was going to take her days to remove all the pins and wash away all of the stiff and sticky gunk.
Rachel stood next to her and whistled.
“Too bad Diedrich’s not here, we’d have to follow him around with a mop to clean up all the drool.”Megan’s rouged cheeks grew even pinker as her face flushed. She remembered the envelope Diedrich had sent yesterday—it sat on the desk, half-opened, where she had dropped it. She had been distracted by Chao right after it arrived, then summoned back to the parlor by Harriet and the impatient seamstress and hadn’t had a chance to look at it. Every time she thought of it, there was some other ball-related thing to do.
She wished she had invited him, for reasons other than to be her date. She could do with his brand of comfort.Rachel smoothed her dress and gave one last look in the mirror.
“Okay, I’m ready. How about you?”Megan didn’t feel ready. Her knees had turned to jelly, and her stomach lurched like she was riding over deep potholes in a car with no shock absorbers. It was the same sensation she got before a hockey game—anticipation mixed with a healthy dose of pure fear. She didn’t know anything about being at a formal ball, and she didn’t know any of the fancy dances people did at the cotillions that older girls went to. Her mother had pestered her to learn, but Megan had fought against taking ballroom dancing lessons, citing their un-coolness and pleading torment by her peers should they find out.
She sighed, wishing she had listened to her mother. Those dances couldn’t be too hard, though, right? After all, B-list celebrities on that TV show learned to do them.Who am I kidding? In these shoes, I’ll fall over my own feet. I’ll just stay away from the dance floor.
She glanced at her satin high heels and hoped she would make it down the stairs without tumbling end over end. Harriet had drilled her on walking in heels, but at this point, she would be happy if she ended the evening with them still on her feet.
She pulled her wrap around her shoulders and struggled with the wave of anxiety that flooded through her. She tried channeling Kate Hepburn, but it didn’t work as well as she’d hoped.“Meg, did you hear me? I asked if you were ready. You’re not still thinking about that necklace are you?”
“Not really, but now that you mention it, maybe I should stay up here. I could hack into the new security cameras and—”
“Absolutely not. First of all, there’s no way you can skip this. Your dad would flip, and so would Professor Spencer.” She considered that for a moment, perhaps weighing the idea of seeing the headmisstress’ head spin off into space, then shook her head and dismissed the thought. “Second, you need a night like this. You know, to have fun. You remember fun? You’ve been kind of stressed out, in case you haven’t noticed.”
How would she keep an eye on Chao, Ping, and Ling in a crowd of hundreds while wearing high heels?Rachel linked arms with her.
“Let’s go, Cinderella, our adoring public awaits.”
As soon as I have more details re: the release, I will post them!