Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed - a sneak preview unwrap today

Today I will be revealing the cover for "Charmed", the second book in award winning author Jen Calonita's wildly popular "Fairy Tale Reform School" series.  

Unwrapping the cover....     Ta!!  Da!!...

Author:  Jen Calonita

Ages 10-13

Grades 5-8

About Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed:

Charmed is the exciting sequel to the wildly popular Flunked -- second in the brand new Fairy Tale Reform School series where the teachers are (former) villains.
It takes a (mostly) reformed thief to catch a spy. Which is why Gilly Cobbler, Enchantasia’s most notorious pickpocket, volunteers to stay locked up at Fairy Tale Reform School…indefinitely. Gilly and her friends may have defeated the Evil Queen and become reluctant heroes, but the battle for Enchantasia has just begun.

Alva, aka The Wicked One who cursed Sleeping Beauty, has declared war on the Princesses, and she wants the students of Fairy Tale Reform School to join her.  As her criminal classmates give in to temptation, Gilly goes undercover as a Royal Lady in Waiting (don’t laugh) to unmask a spy…before the mole can hand Alva the keys to the kingdom.

Her parents think Gilly the Hero is completely reformed, but sometimes you have to get your hands dirty. Sometimes it’s good to be bad…

Excerpt from Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed:

Miri’s voice crackles through the magic mirrors in Fairy Tale Reform School. “Let the first annual Wand What You Want hour begin!”
Wands begin popping up in kids’ hands as we walk through the halls, and we all cheer. Pop! My wand arrives in my hand—long, dark-gray, and nicked like it’s seen a few battles. Hmm…what to try first… I’m just about to test the wand out, when I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Instinct tells me to dive out of the way. When I look up, I see a classmate spelling the troll next to her. The girl turns into an ice sculpture. Geez, that was close. I better stay alert.
Pop! Pop! Pop! Kids begin casting all around me. The crowded hallway is suddenly full of talking woodland creatures, toads, fireworks, and a pretty impressive cloud raining licorice. Kids are cheering and fighting, and the sound of all those wands working is enough to give me a headache. I hurry away from the spell zapping, looking for somewhere to practice alone.
The chaotic hallway disappears behind me, and a new empty hall arrives in its place. I happen to know this hall leads to the school courtyard so I hurry down it and head outside. Ahhh…this is more like it. The warm sun is shining bright high above the castle walls, making me wistful for adventure. I can never sit still for long.
“Pardon the interruption! We hope you are enjoying your wand experience, but remember, all wands disappear at the hour mark so choose your magic wisely,” Miri says. I’m relieved to find no mirror in the courtyard, which means she can’t see what I’m up to. That magic mirror is forever tattling on students for bad behavior. “As a reminder, flying is not advised.”
“Not advised, but she didn’t say it was against the rules,” I say to myself. I flick the wand over my stuffy, uncomfortable pale-blue uniform and turn it into a comfy peasant shirt and pants. I swap out my ugly school shoes for my beloved lace-up boots. Now that I’m comfortable, I get to the task at hand. I’m sure an actual spell would work better, but since I don’t know one, I just imagine myself flying, and Bam! I’m slowly floating up, up, up in the air. Score!
A Pegasus flies by me pulling a coach with four students in it.
Hi, Gilly!” they shout and wave.
When you save your school from a wicked fairy, people tend to remember your name. Even if you don’t remember theirs.
“Hi!” I say, lying back like I’m floating on a cloud. Wow, this is relaxing. I stretch my arms wide and—oops!
My wand falls from my grasp. Uh-oh. I begin to plummet, spinning faster and faster with no sign of stopping. Before I can even think of a way to break my fall, whoosh! I feel my body hit a blanket and bounce up, then land again on a magic carpet.
“Ten minutes into Wand What You Want, and you’re already having a near-death experience?” my friend Jax asks. His curly blond hair looks white in the bright sunlight. 

Pre-Order Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed:

This is where the magic began...

Praise for Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked

"Fairy Tale Reform School has a clever concept and a fresh and funny take on the enchanted world. (I always wanted to know what happened to Cinderella's stepmother too!)"-Julia DeVillers, author of the Liberty Porter, First Daughter series and co-author of the Trading Faces series
"Spell-binding and wickedly clever."

-Leslie Margolis, author of the Annabelle Unleashed novels and the Maggie Brooklyn mysteries

Enter to win an Advance Copy of Fairy Tale Reform School: Charmed: 

Jen Calonita has published more than a dozen novels, has seen her works translated into nine languages, and is the recipient of the Louisiana Young Readers Award. When Jen isn't plotting, she lives in New York with her husband, two sons, and their feisty Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Visit Jen at

An interview

Welcome to the Mixed-Up Files, Jen! Tell us how you came up with the idea for Flunked: Fairy Tale Reform School?

Whenever I’d read a fairy tale or see a fairy tale movie, instead of focusing on the happy ending, I was fixated on the villains. If they didn’t die, what happened to them? Did they go to fairy tale jail? Were they banished to a foreign land? What if they–gasp–said they were sorry? From that seed, the idea for Fairy Tale Reform School was born. I liked the idea of it being run by some of the biggest former baddies in the fairy tale world — the wicked stepmother, evil queen, big bad wolf and the sea siren. But of course, villains being good can be harder than it seems.

You used many well known fairy tale characters in the story. Why did you decide to make Gilly, a shoemakers daughter, your main character?

I wanted a character that readers could relate to and I find the best way to do that is explore a character with flaws. Gilly is certainly the most flawed character I’ve written, but I absolutely adore her because she’s real. Stealing comes easily for her so she thinks that makes it okay, which it’s not. She also thinks her prejudices against royals are justified. They aren’t either. Nothing is as clear cut as it seems and Gilly struggles to realize that doing the easy thing doesn’t make it the right thing. She has to learn to think about more than just herself.

One of the things I found interesting were the profiles of the staff of Fairy Tale Reform School. What made you decide to put those in?

I’ve always been a fan of books that had supplemental material. I feel like it really helps with the world building. Since Gilly is the one who tells the story, we don’t always get to see how the villains became so “good.” The HappilyEverAfterScrolls allow us to tell the villains’ story in a fun way. The scrolls were so much fun to work on.

This is your first middle grade series. What did you like about writing for this audience? Any challenges?

I’m loving writing for this age group. My boys are 10 and 6 and they’ve been begging me to write something they could read. I find it’s great to have a sounding board for that age group in my own home! When I was working on Flunked, I’d go to my older son and read chapters and he’d tell me if they were exciting enough or if they needed more action. Sometimes I’d think I was being perfectly clear about a scene and he’d say, “I don’t get it.” It really helped me gear the story to his age group.

Do you have a favorite middle grade book or series?

Well, I know I’m not alone in my love for the Harry Potter series. The greatest thing has happened in our house–my oldest son started reading it and fell in love with the world too. We got to read several of the books together and I wouldn’t allow him to watch the movies till he’d finished the books. I didn’t want him to lose out on a moment of it. Seeing him enjoy it as much as I did was something I’ll never forget. Either was getting to go to Universal in February and explore Diagon Alley. It was incredible seeing this world come to life in front of our eyes.
I also really love Sarah Mylnowski’s Whatever After series and Ridley Pearson’s Kingdom Keepers series. We’re BIG Disney people in our house!

What’s next for Gilly and her friends? Any hints?

The sequel to FLUNKED will be out around this time next year and I can tell you the school will be getting a new teacher with some swashbuckling teaching methods. Hint, hint. I can’t wait for readers to experience Gilly’s next big adventure.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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