Tag Archive for Kevin Keele

Short Excerpt, EXIT 13: THE WHISPERING PINES — Pub Date 2/7/23!

 

 

What follows is a brief excerpt from my new book, EXIT 13: THE WHISPERING PINES (Scholastic, February 2023, grades 4-6). The McGinn family, including siblings Willow and Ash and Daisy (their goldendoodle), find themselves in a mysterious motel. The family is caught in a rift in time, trapped in place, but they don’t know that yet. The elevator pitch for this series was “Schitt’s Creek” meets “Stranger Things” — and our first story in the series will take Willow and Ash deep into the dark, dangerous, forbidding woods. In this scene, we’re early in the book, after a fire alarm rouses the guests. Illustrations by Kevin Keele. 

Kristoff, dressed in black lace-up boots and a dark trench coat, walked along the length of the hotel, stopping to speak briefly with each guest. They scratched their heads, yawned, headed back inside. At last, Kristoff came to the McGinns. He paused for the briefest of moments as he observed Mr. McGinn’s blazing pink boxers, knobby knees, pale shins. He glanced at Mrs. McGinn, her face covered in a mask of green moisturizer. Something flickered in his eyes. A private joke. “I’m awfully sorry,” he finally said. “There was a small kitchen fire –- nothing, really –- it’s embarrassing — and, well, there are safety protocols to follow. It’s safe to go inside. I’m so sorry for your inconvenience.”

Mr. and Mrs. McGinn were too tired to talk. Feet dragging, they shuffled back into their room. Ash paused at the doorway with Willow. He watched as Kristoff rounded the corner, headed toward the back of the building. Ash shuddered and felt cold all over.

“That’s him,” he whispered to Willow.

“What? The clerk?”

“Yeah, I’ve seen him before.”

“Well, duh, yeah, he’s the cutie who checked us in,” Willow said.
Ash frowned at his sister.

“Cutie? Him? He looks like a vampire!”

“Yeah, and that’s my type!” Willow protested. “The haunted, hunted kind.”

“You don’t have a type. You never even had a boyfriend,” Ash said.

“Did, too. Angel Villar, we had two beautiful weeks together.”

“That was third grade!”

“So?”

“So?! You broke up with him when he put jelly in your hair during a spelling quiz.”

Willow grinned and held up her hands. “What can I say? We were wild and crazy kids.”

“You used to complain that he farted all the time,” Ash recalled.

“Well, yeah, there was that –- the whole toxic gas problem.” Willow paused, thinking it over. “Maybe Angel was lactose intolerant?”

Ash shook his head. He grabbed Willow by the sleeve and pulled her inside the room. “Anyway, he was the guy I saw outside the window.”

“Angel? My farting boyfriend? What’s he doing here?”

Ash groaned.

“I’m kidding!” Willow said. “Lighten up, LB. What do you mean, ‘He was the guy’?”

Ash turned serious. “I recognized the way Kristoff walked, like he’s leaning into the wind. And the coat, the way it billowed behind him. He was with that creature with red eyes. I saw those two go into the woods together.”

“You didn’t tell me there was a guy,” Willow countered.

“I’m telling you now,” Ash replied.

“There was a guy and a creature with red eyes?”

“Yes! And the guy was Kristoff!” Ash said.

Willow eyed her brother thoughtfully. Was he just imaging things? Why didn’t he mention it before? “Okay, color me curious,” Willow said. “Let’s do it.”

“Do what?” Ash asked.

“Let’s follow my vampire hottie.”

 

IN STORES, FEBRUARY 7th! PRE-ORDER NOW FROM YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL, INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE. IT REALLY HELPS!

EXIT 13 Features a Unique, Hybrid Format w/ Graphic Novel Component

 

The EXIT 13 series comes in a hybrid format. While most pages are traditional type, the book breaks out into a graphic novel format every once a while. I think it’s effective and enormously appealing. Art by Kevin Keele.

 

 

So while there are entire chapters of standard text, there are also these cool, dramatic sections that break into illustrated pages. For example . . .

 

 

EXIT 13 is available exclusively from Scholastic Book Fairs and Scholastic Book Clubs. It will be available in stores — officially published — in February, 2023.

Thanks for stopping by!

Meet Ella, the First Young Person on the Planet to Read “EXIT 13: THE WHISPERING PINES”

This is Ella, a 4th-grader from Colorado. 

After an exhaustive search, where no money was spared (or spent), we determined that Ella is officially the first young person on the planet to read the first book in my new series, EXIT 13. 

Just look at that smile. She’s obviously in thrall. 

Thank you, Ella, for being such an enthusiastic reader. I’m lucky to have on my side (and in my family!). 

The Whispering Pines is available exclusively through Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs. 

It will be available in stores in February, 2023. 

On a personal note, this is my first book with Scholastic in a dozen years. I began my publishing career back in 1986 with Scholastic. In many ways, professionally, it’s where I grew up. I published all sorts of books with them over the years, various and sundry, including the Jigsaw Jones mystery series. However, I was given my hardcover home at Macmillan by Jean Feiwel, and I’ve mostly published with Feiwel & Friends over the last decade. I’m grateful to co-exist with them both. But, yes, it feels nice to be back with this particular series where I first began. I thank Debra Dorfman (Lakow to me) for that.

Here’s the cover of the second book in the series, The Spaces In Between. Let’s admit it: Illustrator Kevin Keele does a killer job with these covers. Even better, there’s a graphic novel element to these hybrid books, enhancing the overall Cool Factor!

Teachers, Librarians: I have a few extra books in my closet. Happy to send a signed copy your way if you hope to share it in your school or classroom. Just zing me at jamespreller@aol.com and write “Free Book” in the subject heading. While supplies last. 

Thanks for stopping by!

EXIT 13 — Here We Go!

I published my first book in 1986 at age 25 and this new one arrived yesterday. 36 years. Still a thrill. And actually this one especially so, written during one of the most challenging periods in a long career. A new series with Scholastic, “Schitt’s Creek” meets “Stranger Things” with a touch of Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary.” Fast-paced, creepy, mysterious, and hopefully addictive. The first book will be offered exclusively by Scholastic Book Fairs this Fall, available far and wide in February. EXIT 13!

Here’s the cover of the second book, which is — amazingly — even better.