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Tell Me - Caroline Dombrowski

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Caroline edited me for the Timid Pirate Coming Home anthology. I also met her at a reading for that book. She is wonderfully professional and very sweet. I’m sorry this “Tell Me” is a little late. I blame it on convention travel.

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Cobalt City Rookies: A Young Adult Superhero Trilogy

Sometimes a break in a Dungeons and Dragons game leads to publishing a book. Or, in this case, three. Nathan Crowder (Publisher at Timid Pirate) and I (Editor at Timid Pirate) were chatting about the state of young adult fiction, and how rarely we come across books that are what we wanted to read as teens. Before we got back to dice, we were on the path to the trilogy releasing November 1.

Cobalt City Rookies is a trilogy of young adult novels that all feature superheroes coming into and owning their strengths. This trilogy takes the mission of Timid Pirate, "Everyone is a superhero," and extends it to teen protagonists. It's a fun balance, because being a teen in the U.S. is one of the most powerless times of anyone's life. It's really a time of arbitrary rules mixed with confusion and social experimentation. Having superpowers can be a great asset, like helping you figure out if your potential girlfriend is your secret enemy, but can also lead to having to withhold information or lie to friends or family. The challenges faced by these superhero teens are often mundane (what to wear), but complicated by having a secret identity (where to hide a spare knife).

One of the books--Kensei, by Jeremy Zimmerman--has a gossip blog at the center of much of the mayhem. In Wrecker of Engines, Rosemary Jones invented a Vespa-riding, homeschooled hacker who must stop a librarian who messed with a supervillain's steampunk machines ("I wouldn't plug that in."). And another (Tatterdemalion, by Nicole Burns) has organized gang activity and missing high school students. These are stories where non-super-powered teens also have strength and humor, and that's my favorite part. Because in these three books, a range of people intersect and have to come to terms or fight their way out. The adventures encompass bicycle-powered airships, sparks of flirtation, roller derby, wolves, and much more. These are tales of an individual fighting to understand his or her self, and negotiate a place in family and society. All with awesome fight scenes. It's exactly what I wanted to read as a teen--and something I love reading now.


Caroline Dombrowski wields a red pen and track changes to support and develop the compelling and hilarious. In addition, she pickles food and trains vines. Follow Timid Pirate at www.timidpirate.com, where you can subscribe to the email newsletter, subscribe to our podcast Cobalt City Adventures Unlimited or on Twitter (@TimidPirate). Cobalt City Rookies is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble November 1.