Monday, June 27, 2016

Whoa, it's been a while!

Hi, there! I'm still alive, still writing books, and can't wait for some of my new ones to release!

First, there's Unnatural Deeds, coming out November 1, 2016! It's a twisty, dark contemporary thrilled, and this is what it's about: 

A novel of infatuation and obsession, Unnatural Deeds has an electrifying ending that readers won't see coming.

Victoria Zell doesn't fit in, not that she cares what anyone thinks. She and her homeschooled boyfriend, Andrew, are inseparable. All they need is each other. That is, until Zachary Zimmerman joins her homeroom. Within an hour of meeting, he convinces good-girl Vic to cut class. And she can't get enough of that rush.

Despite Vic's loyalty to Andrew, she finds her life slowly entwining with Z's. Soon she's lying to everyone she knows in an effort to unravel Z's secrets. Except Z's not the only one with a past. Victoria's hiding her own secrets, secrets that will come back to haunt her...and destroy everything in her path.

So far, reviews have been trickling in, not that I try to pay much attention to them. But so far people have been extremely kind and flattering of it, which makes me happy.

But that's not all. I have more exciting news. I'm re-releasing DROWNED, as well as it's three other companion books, later in the year.  The new DROWNED, which is actually Book 2 in the series,  is out now:

Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

But the actual order is this:

Book 1: BURNED
Book 3: BURIED

The first book in the series, BURNED, is coming August 1!:

I’ve heard tales about the sun and the moon. My mother used to tell me they were never in the same place in the sky, and that once, people would tell the time of day by them. She was never fortunate enough to see such a thing with her own eyes, but her own parents spoke wistfully of them often, making the world above, the world lost to us so many years ago, seem magical and fantastical.

In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would see that world.

Spoiled, pampered Aliah has found her way to someplace very different from her technologically-advanced underground world. A place where people fight for survival, and even the king is a violent savage. The inhabitants of this place are all coming to terms with a frightening reality: Inch by inch, the kingdom of Tides is dying.

But are these people truly lost? The more time she spends with King Wallow, the more she begins to settle in, and forget the life she left behind. Still, this kingdom is not kind, and there are horrors and secrets behind every wall. Is it possible to survive, or is finding a way back home her only chance?

The last two books will come later this year and sometime next year. I'll tell you about those soon! :)

So, what else have I been up to? Well, not much.  Let's see. I recently became a consultant for Perfectly Posh because I LOVE their products.  Crazy, right? I never thought I would ever sell anything like this, but I love it so much I had to feed my addiction. I am having so much fun doing it!  If you haven't checked them out, please do! And hit me up at my Posh group on facebook or via email at cyn at cynbalog dot com because I LOVE talking about Posh almost as much as I like talking books. Which says a lot!!

xo, Cyn

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Latest Book Deal News!

I've been waiting to announce this for what seems like ages-- though it really hasn't been. But I've been excited, and time always seems to drag when you're waiting for something! So without further ado, here it is:


I am so excited to have sold my 8th contracted book! This one is a little different-- a twisty dark contemporary. As the title, taken from Macbeth, would suggest, UNNATURAL DEEDS is also a story of obsession, desire, and betrayal. It's about a shy and awkward girl named Vic who meets the suave, effortlessly popular new boy at school named Z and gets in way over her head.

My path to this book deal wasn't easy. I had quite a few starts and stops while writing it, and many people told me it wouldn't sell. Not to mention, the market for YA is ever-tightening as more and more YA books crowd the market. So I'll be honest and say I had little hope for the book when it went on submission this March, despite the fact that several people were VERY passionate about it. I had amazing readers who are also amazing authors in their own right-- all of whom were very positive about the book. But most positive of all was Mandy Hubbard, who has been my critique partner for over 10 years and is also now my agent. When was considering shelving the book, she looked at it and said, "Pfft, I could sell this," and gave me a list of changes to consider.

So I made her edits and I'm happy to say that I had interest from editors and sold UNNATURAL DEEDS faster than any book I've ever put out on sub, in a little over one month.

Which just goes to show you how subjective this business is, and why you should never give up. It only takes one person to fall in love with it.

So now, instead of waiting for the announcement, I'll switch to waiting for the day I can finally share the finished book with you. Fall of 2016 will be here in a heartbeat!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Scholastic Book Club Flyer (May 2015)

I've been busy! Writing like crazy. Planning a few events for the fall, including YA Fest and RWA NJ. Just trying to step back and enjoy things instead of constantly looking at the business end of things, which can really zap the creative energy. Don't get me wrong, being published is GREAT, but after some time of doing it, you start thinking "what'll sell? what'll sell? what'll sell?" and sometimes that overshadows writing what you love.

Anyway, this month, I noticed a small box on my doorstep, and what should be in it, but the audio books I'd been anticipating, PLUS more copies of DROWNED.  Paperback ones. I scratched my head. I didn't expect them, and especially didn't expect to see them with the bright red SCHOLASTIC name on them, since heck! I'm published by Harlequin! 

But then I realized it was all part of this:

And so now I am happy. And if you have a teen in your life, hey-- six bucks for a book. Gotta love Scholastic Book Clubs. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cover Reveal for The Summer After You And Me!

As a Jersey Girl, I'm so happy to be participate in the cover reveal for The Summer After You and Me!

Release date: Spring 2015, Sourcebooks Fire
By Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?


Where to find Jen Doktorski:
Twitter: @jdoktorski

Thursday, October 2, 2014

YA Scavenger Hunt!

Hello and Welcome to the 2014 Fall YA Scavenger Hunt!

I am Cyn Balog/ Nichola Reilly, your hostess for this leg of the hunt.

About Me

  • I write and read just about anything.
  • I like to bake pies and do crossword puzzles.
  • I am obsessed with caramel and zombies, but would probably not like a caramel-covered zombie.
  • I don't drink coffee because caffeine has been known to keep me up for days.

On this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each participating YA author, you also get a secret number. Add up the numbers, and enter it for a chance to win a major prize–one lucky winner will receive at least one signed book from each author on my team in the hunt! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online until noon PST on Sunday, October 5th!

You can start right here or you can also go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage to find out all about the hunt. There are several contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter as many as you like! I am a part of the GREEN TEAM–but there are also other teams, and if you do the that hunt too you’ll have a chance to win a whole different set of signed books!

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, see the full list of prizes up for grabs, or if you get lost along the way, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage.

Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the GREEN team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!). Hint: the secret number is highlighted in GREEN Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify. Rules: Open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, I’ll introduce the author I am hosting on this hunt.

I am super excited to be hosting…


Suzanne's Bio: Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing, she teaches dance and music to middle schoolers and entertains her shiba inu, Lego. Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
________________________________ ___________________________

The title of the book Suzanne is highlighting for this scavenger hunt is: THE OTHER ME. Here is a little bit about it!

Fifteen-year-old Treasa Prescott thinks she’s an alien. She doesn’t fit in with the preppy South African private school crowd and feels claustrophobic in her own skin. Treasa is worried she might spend life as a social pariah when she meets Gabriel du Preez.
Gabriel plays the piano better than Beethoven, has a black belt in karate, and would look good wearing a garbage bag. Treasa thinks he’s perfect. It might even be love, as long as Gabriel doesn’t find out she’s a freak. As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.
But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.


Mix-tape Music

The Other Me is about two complicated and conflicted young people who find each other and themselves in music when Gabriel starts playing piano for Treasa's school choir. Music is an integral part of the story, be it Beethoven or Marilyn Manson. Every song or piece mentioned in the book is important to my characters and often lends extra meaning to the scenes or provides subtext to what's happening in the main storyline.

In the novel, Gabriel lends Treasa the album Mechanical Animals by Marilyn Manson. At the time, I considered having Treasa reciprocate by making Gabriel a mix-tape, but it never happened in the story. So here's the mix-tape Treasa would've made Gabriel with a note about why she chose these songs. The Other Me is set in the year 2000, so some of these are definitely a blast from the past!











Dear Gabriel,

Thanks so much for lending me 'Mechanical Animals.' I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I actually kind of love it. There's something really honest about Manson's lyrics, which I appreciate, even if the CD cover is freaking my mom out.

Since you lent me your album, I thought I'd make you a mix-tape – well, CD I guess, to say thank you! Here's why I chose these songs.

1. This is my favourite choir song and I think you play it so much better than we sing it. Have you seen The Thin Red Line? I love that the movie opens with this song playing in the background.

2. Another choir favourite. We sang it last year, but I think we would've sounded so much better if you'd been the one playing the piano for us then.

3. This one's obvious! It's been a favourite of mine for ever, but I don't think I've ever heard anyone play it as well as you.

4. This piece reminds me of a Jo'burg storm. Have you played this before? If you have, I'd love to hear you play it sometime.

5. I know you're playing this next term and I just want to say WOW! I'm impressed already. I can't wait to hear you play this.

6. Before you introduced me to Manson, this was as about as close to heavy metal as I got. Still love this song. It's great for keeping me awake while I'm trying to do math homework. Also, I really like the lyrics...

7. Eddie Vedder rocks! Do you know this band? I'm sure you do. There isn't anything I don't love about this band so here's my favourite song off their album TEN.

8. I know I wasn't old enough to really know what was happening in 1994, but I'm so sad Kurt isn't with us any more. I wish I could've seen this band live just once. The lyrics of this are horribly ironic, don't you think?

9. This last song is actually kinda new to me. One of Jordan's recommendations, but I really like the guy's voice and I think the imagery conjured by the title is really cool. Jordan painted something like that last year. And of course the lyrics – this line in particular keeps haunting me: “And what do you want? I want to change”

I hope you enjoy this music as much as I do. See you at choir practice!


Cyn here. Wow, guys, that sounds amazing. Boys with dark secrets? Sign me up! But really...I thought there would be 13 songs on this mix-tape, but it looks like just 9. Maybe you can read it and come up with the other 4?

If you think THE OTHER ME is just what you’ve been looking for, you can order your copy on Amazon.

Ready to move on to the next link in the hunt?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Writing With Two (or More!) Personas-- With Special Guest, Anna Staniszewski!

If you know me really well, you'll know that I write under several different pen names. Some I am open about. Some I am not. The top question I get is, "Why?" So I thought I'd invite another author who writes under more than one name to explain what it's like to have more than one "writing persona." Please welcome Anna Staniszewski to the blog!

I’ll be honest. Writers tend to have multiple personalities. We not only spend a lot of time talking to ourselves, but many of us also work on projects that are so different, they might as well have been written by different people. For some of us--like Cyn--we even write under different names for different genres.

When I first set out to get published, my work was DARK. Think isolated villages with corrupt leaders and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Ultimately, one of those projects was able to get me an agent, but none of them managed to find a publisher. Luckily, I had another part of my writing personality--one I hadn’t really explored yet--that “wrote funny.”

As my agent and I were struggling to sell one of my dark projects, I was writing aprank list cover 2 wacky story about fairy tales. I was very lucky when we found a publisher who not only liked it but wanted me to write more. Since then, I’ve written several more “funny books” for Sourcebooks, but funnily enough, each of my series has gotten a little darker. In The Dirt Diary series, the character is dealing with divorce, bullying, and identity issues--all told in a light, funny way.

Meanwhile, the book that I’m working on next, I’m With Cupid, is about a girl reaper and a boy cupid who accidentally swap powers. Dark? Yes. Funny? I hope so! I guess it’s taken me a while to find a way to combine my dark persona with my funny persona, but I’m excited that it’s finally happened. I think my dark projects might have been taking themselves too seriously before; maybe they were waiting for me to develop another writing personality that would finally make them work.

Anna's Bio: Anna StaniszewskiBorn in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. Currently, she lives outside Boston with her husband and their crazy dog. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time reading, daydreaming, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the Dirt Diary series. Her newest book, The Prank List, released on July 1st from Sourcebooks. You can visit Anna at .

So what do you think? Do you write under more than one persona? Why?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another Glamorous Release Day!

So today, this little baby crawls out into the world:


It feels like a long time coming, especially since I wrote the first draft of this book in 2009. So it's a little surreal to see it as an actual book, living somewhere other than on my hard drive.

As I've mentioned numerous times, I work full-time, so what does glamorous release day entail?  Not much-- it's the same as any other day. Outside my family, not many people in my real world know or care that I write, so I will not get my Book Birthday Crown. Wah. That's okay, after five other book releases, I've stiffened my upper lip.

Anyway, here it is, and there it goes. Thank you to all of those who have supported me by buying my books and helped me to make this latest dream a reality. Because I never forget that, despite the lack of hoopla and shiny tiaras. It still is a dream, even after all these years.


Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

Praise for DROWNED:

“Despite the presence of royalty and two hunky boys, Drowned is not your average post-apocalyptic fantasy romance. The unusual setting of a human settlement on the brink of collapse and several simmering background mysteries . . . keep the pages turning.” – Booklist

“Full of suspense, romance, and mystery, Drowned is a thrilling read that will appeal to fans of dystopian adventures.” – VOYA

“An atmospheric, uneasy tale of survival.” – Kirkus

“Suspense mounts as Coe and Tiam explore the labyrinth beneath the royal palace and the mysteries of their island’s past. A fantasy twist toward the end of this series opener from Reilly fits perfectly with the fairy tales Coe retells throughout the novel.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“This suspenseful and dramatic tale will make readers feel just as trapped as Coe feels by the rising tides. Coe is an interesting and well-developed character that teens will root for every step of the way, and the other inhabitants of her island provide foils and allies alike. The book ends on a cliff-hanger, and readers will clamor for a sequel.” – School Library Journal  

"This is a world like you've never seen before but with themes and issues that strike surprisingly close to home. A thrilling, brilliant read!"  -- Aprilynne Pike, NYT Bestselling Author of Wings

"A resourceful and smart heroine and a society literally on the edge of survival. Take a deep breath. Once you start reading, you won't be able to stop!" -- Maria V. Snyder, NYT Bestselling Author of Poison Study

 "A gripping and romantic tale featuring a truly original heroine facing seemingly insurmountable odds. I loved it!" -- Morgan Rhodes, NYT Bestselling Author of Fallen Kingdoms