Read This!: THE TOMBS by Deborah Schaumberg

The TombsThe Tombs by Deborah Schaumberg

Summary: New York, 1882. A dark, forbidding city, and no place for a girl with unexplainable powers. Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl pines for the life she had before her mother was taken. She fears the mysterious men in crow masks who locked her mother in the Tombs asylum for being able to see what others couldn’t. Avery denies the signs in herself, focusing instead on her shifts at the ironworks factory and keeping her inventor father out of trouble. Other than secondhand tales of adventure from her best friend, Khan, an ex-slave, and caring for her falcon, Seraphine, Avery spends her days struggling to survive. 
Like her mother’s, Avery’s powers refuse to be contained. When she causes a bizarre explosion at the factory, she has no choice but to run from her lies, straight into the darkest corners of the city. Avery must embrace her abilities and learn to wield their power—or join her mother in the cavernous horrors of the Tombs. And the Tombs has secrets of its own: strange experiments are being performed on “patients”…and no one knows why.

Sixteen-year-old Avery Kohl has been working as a welder in an ironworks factory ever since her mother was locked in the Tombs asylum and she and her father had to flee their respectable middle-class life. The skills Avery has developed in creating perfect metal connections are only appropriate, as she discovers that she has powers that let her see the connections between lives, and help heal other people’s auras. But in New York City in the throes of the Industrial Revolution, such powers are dangerous, and there are plenty of greedy men who want to use Avery’s powers for their own gain – just as they have been using her mother’s. When Avery’s burgeoning powers attract attention from the mysterious men in crow masks who drag people off to the Tombs, she has to go into hiding with her mother’s Romany friends. She hatches a desperate plan to free her mother…only to find that the greedy industrialists are getting ready to unleash an awful plan on New York City, one that threatens the lives of every worker in every plant and factory. And Avery and her friends may be the only ones who can stop it. Filled with intrigue, adventure, romance, and all the cool steampunk flourishes a reader could ask for, Schaumberg’s debut melds history and fantasy to create an absorbing world just beyond the known.

THE TOMBS is out now.

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Happy Birthday to Me! The DAGGER AND COIN cover is here, and it’s beautiful!

Today is my birthday, and I had such a great present this week: the official cover reveal of Dagger and Coin this past Thursday!  Thank you so much to YA Books Central for hosting it!

For those who haven’t seen the gorgeousness yet, here it is:















Like the cover of Sword and Verse, this cover features art by Colin Anderson. I love the way he worked in elements of Soraya’s story, but in a way that reflects the design of the first book too.  Don’t they look beautiful side by side?


Dagger and Coin will be published November 18, 2018 by HarperTeen. You can read more about the book here.

And make sure to head over to the cover reveal page at YA Books Central to enter a giveaway for an Advanced Reading Copy and a personalized bookmark with your name in the language of the gods!


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DAGGER AND COIN cover reveal!

Today’s the day! Join me today at 11 AM EST for the reveal of the beautiful cover of Dagger and Coin over at YA Books Central!

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DAGGER AND COIN update – and cover reveal coming soon!

I’m so excited to announce that the paperback version of Sword and Verse will be published on October 23, 2018, followed by the hardcover release of Dagger and Coin on November 20, 2018!

Join me on Thursday, February 8 at 11 AM EST for the reveal of the beautiful cover of Dagger and Coin over at YA Books Central!

And here is the official description of the book:

Dagger and Coin by Kathy MacMillan ~ Coming November 20 from HarperTeen

Soraya Gamo was meant to be queen of Qilara, until an Arnath slave rebellion destroyed the monarchy and the capital city.  Now, improbably, she sits on the new Ruling Council beside her former enemies, finally holding the political power she always wanted – but over a nation in ruins.  As she works to rebuild Qilara, she can, at last, use what everyone once told her to hide: her brain.

But not everyone is ready to accept the new equality that the Ruling Council has decreed between the Arnathim and Qilarites. So when a slave ship arrives in the city, full of Arnathim captured before Qilara fell—the civil unrest that has been bubbling since the rebellion erupts.

Forced to confront her own prejudices, Soraya struggles to gain the trust of the Arnath people she once disregarded and establish peace in what has become chaos. With the threat of attacks high, Gelti, a former guard captain, trains Soraya in self-defense. As the two grow close, tension within the city ramps up, with danger, betrayal, and deception meeting Soraya everywhere she turns. Friends become foes, adversaries become companions, and the clashing of classes threatens to unravel all the good Soraya has been trying to do. Can Soraya, raised to be a proper Qilarite lady, learn to be a true leader? Or will the sins of her past forever haunt the footsteps of her future?


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FREE Webinars for Readers and Writers from the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Region

Check out these upcoming webinars hosted by the MD/DE/WV Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. These webinars are FREE and open to everyone, as part of the Read Local Challenge, which gives you the chance to win prizes by reading books by featured authors from Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.  Join us as these authors discuss their inspirations and challenges and answer your questions! A recording of each webinar will be available after the event.  Please register at the links below to receive access information for the live event or recording.

Saturday, February 24 at 3 PM Eastern: A Conversation with Middle Grade Authors R.D Henham and Deborah Kalb. Register here.


Saturday, February 24 at 4:30 PM Eastern: A Conversation with Picture Book Authors Ann McCallum, Karen Leggett Abouraya, and Lezlie Evans. Register here.


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Register now for the 2018 SCBWI MD/DE/WV Annual Conference!

2018 SCBWI MD/DE/WV Region Annual Conference:  25 and Still We R(ev)ise

May 17-18, 2018 at the Maritime Conference Center  (Linthicum Heights, Maryland)

Logo design by Mary Barrows

OK, so I might be a little biased about how awesome this conference is, as I am one of the organizers!

But, seriously, look at this faculty! (Full bios)

  • Opening Keynote: James Ransome
  • Closing Keynote: Hena Khan
  • Editors: Stacey Friedberg (Dial), Celia Lee (Scholastic/Cartwheel)
  • Agents: Quressa Robinson (Nelson Literary Agency), Penny Moore (Empire Literary)
  • Art Director: Laurent Linn
  • Authors and Illustrators: Raúl Colón, Pintip Dunn, Meg Eden, Laura Gehl, Maria Gianferrari, Tamara Girardi, Leah Henderson, Carollyne Hutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd, Sue Macy, John Micklos, Jr., Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Laura Shovan, Meera Trehan, Lakita Wilson

And look at all the cool stuff that is available to conference registrants!

  • Schedule a session with a headshot photographer during the conference and get a professional author photo for only $40!
  • Have your book stocked in the conference bookstore and participate in our Saturday signing!
  • Promote your 2017 or 2018 release through our conference slideshow!
  • Sign up for a manuscript critique, portfolio review, or social media consultation!
  • Drop-in Query or First Page Critique Booth for only $10!

And look at these amazing breakout and workshop topics!

Full schedule with session descriptions ~ Suggested Programming Tracks

  • Writing Like an Illustrator & Illustrating Like a Writer (Laurent Linn)
  • Query Letters (Penny Moore)
  • Marketing and Promotion Forum (moderated by Kathy MacMillan)
  • In the Trenches: From the Query to the Call (Leah Henderson, Courtney Pippin-Mathur, Maria Gianferrari, John Micklos, Jr., moderated by Meera Trehan)
  • Social Media’s Role in Your Book Journey (Lakita Wilson)
  • The Art of Daydreaming (Raúl Colón)
  • First Looks Panel (Raúl Colón, Laurent Linn, James Ransome, moderated by Rebecca Evans)
  • Their Voice, Their Perspective: Writing Cross-Cultural Stories We All Deserve (Leah Henderson)
  • Facts Can Be Fun: Writing and Selling Nonfiction (John Micklos, Jr.)
  • The Online Pitch Contest Phenomenon (Tamara Girardi, Laura Shovan, Meg Eden, Pintip Dunn)
  • Getting Gritty: Dealing with Dark Subject Matter in YA, MG, and Picture Books (Stacey Friedberg)
  • Research Tips Every Nonfiction Writer Needs To Know (Sue Macy)
  • And Still We R(ev)ise (Laura Gehl, Carollyne Hutter, Megan Wagner Lloyd, Sue Macy, Lakita Wilson, Moderator: Suzanna Banwell)
  • The Market of Picture Books (Celia Lee)
  • Agents and Editors Panel with Stacey Friedberg, Celia Lee, Penny Moore, and Quressa Robinson
  • Developmental Editing: Being Your Own Editor (Quressa Robinson)
  • A Rhapsody of Color (Raúl Colón)
  • Exploring Your Illustration Style (Laurent Linn)
  • First Pages Plus (Stacey Friedberg and Penny Moore)
  • Picture (Book) Perfect

You’re convinced, right? Well, don’t delay!  Register here today!


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Everything I Can Tell You So Far About My New Book

Earlier today I finally got to announce the title of my upcoming YA novel:

Dager and Coin by Kathy MacMillan

I’ve been working on this book and unable to say much about it for more than two years, so it’s exciting to finally be able to share more!  Here’s what I can tell you about it so far:

  • Dagger and Coin is due out in Fall 2018.
  • Dagger and Coin picks up about 30 days after the events of Sword and Verse. However, I prefer to think of it as a companion novel rather than a sequel, because it focuses on a different protagonist and can be enjoyed even if you haven’t read the first book.
  • The cover is just as beautiful as the cover of Sword and Verse and was done by the same artist, Colin Anderson. Hopefully I will be able to share it soon!
  • The main character in Dagger and Coin is Soraya Gamo, the heiress who was engaged to Mati and was all set to become queen. We saw in Sword and Verse that Soraya was much more than just a pretty rich girl, and in this book she has thrown her lot in with her former enemies in order to pursue her ambitions.
  • Many of the major players from Sword and Verse appear in this book, especially Raisa, Mati, and Jonis. We also get to know some minor characters from the first book better: Deshti (Raisa’s adversary in the Arnath Resistance), Alshara (Soraya’s younger sister), and Gelti Dimmin (that handsome guard captain).
  • Decisions made in Sword and Verse come back to haunt our characters in Dagger and Coin, particularly a big one made by Mati. Sword and Verse was about upending an unjust system; Dagger and Coin is about the messy, seemingly impossible task of constructing a better one in its place.
  • This book is unabashedly, fiercely feminist. In 2016, I thought, “Oh, I wish this book were out now! It’s so relevant!”  In 2017, I thought the same thing. Sadly, I don’t think this story is going to get any less relevant in coming years.
  • I like to think of this book as a tale of a well-educated female policy wonk battling her misogynist foes. In case you are wondering about my politics. 😉
  • I’m just going to put this out there right now, because some people have mentioned it: Soraya and Jonis are NOT EVER going to be a couple. Just not going to happen.  Soraya’s relationship with Jonis is arguably the most important one in the book, but don’t look for kissing there.  Just don’t.
  • Look for kissing (and more) elsewhere, though. There is romance in this book, just not with Jonis.
  • Like Sword and Verse, Dagger and Coin can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. Of course, it also features lots of rewarding tidbits for readers of both books!  And yes, if you read Dagger and Coin first, it will give you lots of spoilers for Sword and Verse, so be warned if that sort of thing bothers you. (Personally, I love spoilers, but I am weird that way.)
  • I’m seriously considering making myself a bingo card of all the things that Soraya will undoubtedly be called once the book is out in the world.  I mean, she’s an ambitious woman, see, so of course that means she must be inviting the whole world to comment on what’s wrong with her.  A few of my predictions: too proud, too strong, too passive, too emotional, too icy, too ambitious, too shrill, too slutty, too prudish, too petty, too demanding, too calculating…
  • The story of the gods comes into play in Dagger and Coin, but in a different way than it did in Sword and Verse, because Soraya’s relationship to the gods is completely different from Raisa’s.
  • I really, really love this book and I can’t wait to share it with you!
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Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly WomanToo Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman by Anne Helen Petersen

Summary: There have been unruly women for as long as there have been boundaries of what constitutes acceptable “feminine” behavior, but there’s evidence that she’s on the rise–more visible and less easily dismissed–than ever before. In Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud, Anne Helen Petersen uses the lens of “unruliness” to explore the ascension of eleven contemporary powerhouses: Serena Williams, Melissa McCarthy, Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, Nicki Minaj, Kim Kardashian, Hillary Clinton, Caitlyn Jenner, Jennifer Weiner, and Lena Dunham. Petersen explores why the public loves to love (and hate) these controversial figures, each of whom has been conceived as “too” something: too queer, too strong, too honest, too old, too pregnant, too shrill, too much. With its brisk, incisive analysis, Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud will be a conversation-starting book on what makes and breaks celebrity today.

This book is a wonder. Peterson articulates so many frustrations and furies that I have personally felt, and that I know other women have felt, and documents the way our society attempts to limit women in a way that is precise, articulate, and utterly undeniable. Her choice to center each chapter around a specific female celebrity and how she is supposedly “too” something is inspired – these studies are not so much about the women themselves as they are about how the women are seen, discussed, and applauded or vilified by the world around them. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who is interested in understanding what all women experience in large and small ways as they dare to exist in a world that constantly tells them that they only have worth in relation to men.
Some choice quotes:

“’Shrillness’ is just a word to describe what happens when a woman, with her higher-toned voice, attempts to speak loudly. A pejorative, in other words, developed specifically to shame half the population when they attempt to command attention in the same manner as men.”


“To be an unruly woman today is to oscillate between the postures of fearlessness and self-doubt, between listening to the voices that tell a woman she is too much, and one’s own, whispering and yelling  I am already enough, and always have been.

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Win a copy of the SWORD AND VERSE audiobook!

I’m hosting a January giveaway celebrating my favorite narrator, Emily Rankin, who embodies Raisa’s quiet strength on the Sword and Verse audiobook. (Don’t believe me? Seriously, go listen to the sample.)

You could win a signed copy of the Sword and Verse audiobook on CD!  Enter below on Goodreads by January 14!



Goodreads Audiobook Giveaway

Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan

Sword and Verse

by Kathy MacMillan

Giveaway ends January 14, 2018.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


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FREE Webinars for Readers and Writers from the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Region

I am excited to be serving as moderator for these two FREE webinars on January 4, 2018. The MD/DE/WV Region of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is hosting these webinars, which are open to everyone, as part of the Read Local Challenge, which gives you the chance to win prizes by reading books by featured authors from Maryland, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and Virginia.  Join us as these authors discuss their inspirations and challenges and answer your questions! A recording of each webinar will be available after the event.  Please register at the links below to receive access information for the live event or recording.

Thursday, January 4 at 7 PM: A Conversation with Middle Grade Fiction Authors Laura Shovan, Leah Henderson, and Barbara Carney-Coston.

Register at

Thursday, January 4 at 7:45 PM: A Conversation with Picture Book Authors  J.H. Diehl, Amy S. Hansen, and Rebecca Evans.

Register at

Be on the lookout for more exciting FREE webinars with Read Local authors in upcoming months!

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