From the Eye of the Storm #58: The Hacker's Key

Hello all. Winter is still being coy here in the greater DC area, but I went on a short trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit family and got to experience a proper snowfall.

Anyway, I’m burying the lead here. So soon after my Ranger of Marzanna announcement, I’m pleased to share more good news, which recently appeared in Publisher’s Weekly:

Zachary Clark at Scholastic has bought The Hacker's Key, a middle grade debut by Jon Skovron (the Empire of Storms trilogy; The Ranger of Marzanna). Pitched as Alex Rider meets Ally Carter, the novel features a girl raised by a criminal mastermind who must use her unique skill set to locate a dangerous weapon and keep it away from government agents and villainous syndicates alike. Publication is slated for fall 2020; Jill Grinberg at Jill Grinberg Literary Management did the deal for world English rights.

And here’s the cover:

Hacker's Key cover

Yes, my first middle grade novel! Writing it was an absolute delight. It's a globe-trotting non-stop adventure, chock full of secret agents and STEM. I can definitely see myself writing more for this age group. Heck, if sales are strong enough to interest Scholastic, maybe even a sequel to this one.

So here is the current release schedule: The Ranger of Marzanna, which is for adults, will be out in April. That will be followed by The Hacker’s Key, which is for kids, in the fall. Then The Queen of Izmoroz, which is the sequel to Ranger, will be out the following spring of 2021, with the third book of that trilogy, The Wizard of Eventide, out a year later in the spring of 2022.

Oh, and there’s still another completely unrelated project under contract with a third publisher that I can’t talk about yet. I think the original plan was to have that one out between Queen and Wizard, maybe fall of 2021 or something, but due to complications that had nothing to do with me, that plan may be scuttled, in which case, I have no idea when that one will be out, or even announced.

Now Listening

Grimes has released a new album called Miss Anthropocene. While Claire Boucher herself has gotten a bit…celebrity-ish, dating Elon Musk, doing Adidas commercials, announcing her pregnancy on Instagram, getting into beefs with Zola Jesus and Azealia Banks, and doing a makeup tutorial for Vogue, her artistic evolution continues unimpeded. It’s a darker, more uneasy album than 2015’s Art Angels. Almost brooding at times, which is new for an artist who usually creates soundscapes described as “etherial”. But when have I ever turned my nose up at “darker” or “brooding”?

Here’s a video for “Violence”, one of the singles off the new album.

By the way, for those of you in the greater Washington DC area, I’m planning to do a couple of events in late April and early May to celebrate the launch for The Ranger of Marzana. More on that next time!

Talk soon,
_j