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I hope you've all had a happy holiday season. 2014 was a productive and exciting year for me, full of writing, signings and school visits. I'm thrilled that The Neptune Challenge, sequel to The Neptune Project, will be released by Disney/Hyperion May 19, 2015. It's also available for pre-order now.

About The Neptune Challenge

In The Neptune Challenge, my readers will learn more about Dai's mysterious origins and what life is like for the kids at Safety Harbor. Nere and her companions must go on a dangerous mission to rescue two of their kidnapped friends. All the same characters and dolphins return, along with some intriguing new ones. Even though this second Neptune book is full of nonstop action, I still explore some deeper themes. The Neptune Challenge includes a Dr. Frankenstein of the sea, and a complex group of kids who face difficult moral choices. For this book I spent hours researching killer whales. I didn't realize they live in small family pods their entire lives, pods which are led and taught by older females. I'd love to go diving up around Vancouver Island where my story takes place, but the water there is REALLY cold and dark and full of currents. Maybe next year?


The Neptune Project Honors for The Neptune Project
  • Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist 2014-2015 (TX state reading list)
  • Nominated for the Black-eyed Susan Book Award (MD state reading list)
  • Bank Street Best Children's Books of 2014
  • Finalist 2014 Green Earth Book Awards
  • Finalist Texas Book Awards
  • Selected for Scholastic Book Fairs and Clubs

Praise for The Neptune Project

"Almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, forcing the reader to flip the page for more. In addition, the book revels in the beauty of the underwater world and the creatures that inhabit it. The relationship between the teenagers and the dolphins—who actually become characters themselves—is especially well crafted. There is even a touch of romance when Nere becomes the object of a romantic rivalry between two boys—quiet, reliable Tobin and sarcastic, daring Dai. With both romance and adventure, The Neptune Project will attract male and female readers."

"Holyoke keeps her prose well-pitched to her audience, providing enough violence and even death to create suspense but muting it appropriately. She creates an interesting and diverse set of characters, including the dolphins. The science-fiction elements are nothing new, but they are built on good information about oceanography.
This suspenseful, undersea dystopia should keep middle schoolers hooked."
   —Kirkus Reviews

School Visits

Because The Neptune Challenge was selected to the Bluebonnet Master List, I've had some wonderful adventures traveling all over Texas this year visiting schools, including weeks with the bright students and fabulous librarians of the Northwest and Northside school districts, and I'm looking forward to teaching in Midway ISD and Round Rock ISD in a few weeks. I'm different from most authors in that I am an experienced middle school teacher, and I can teach writing workshops along with conducting a lively assembly that encourages students to become better writers. My workshop "Let's Get Specific and Let's Get Creative" is designed to help both fourth and seventh graders prepare for their STAAR writing assessments. You can read more about my school programs at the workshops and school visits page on my website. Please contact Lisa at hyperionvisits@aol.com if you have questions about my honorarium rates or availability.


Girl Scout Workshop Girl Scout Workshops

Once again this fall I've helped several Junior troops to earn their Scribe Badge and Seniors to earn the Novelist Badge. The girls always seem to enjoy meeting a published author, and I enjoy encouraging them to write! I still have a few slots open on my calendar for this spring. I'm willing to drive within a half-hour of my house in Plano, or to meet with your troop at the Joann Fogg Service Center. Please see my workshops and school visits page for more information.

Upcoming Events and Appearances

February 21, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM
Book signing
Blue Willow Books
14332 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079

February 27
Highland Park Literary Festival
Highland Park, TX

March 7
North Texas Literary Festival
Irving, Texas

April 15 3:00-4:00 PM
Texas Librarian Association Conference

Public Library Events

I've had a great time visiting with public library book clubs that read The Neptune Project. I've also taught several workshops at municipal libraries for young writers on world building, great openings and developing real and unforgettable characters. These enthusiastic kids at the Wylie Library book club asked me terrific questions!


Favorite Student Comment:

"My friend and I are going to write a book together now because you and your friend Laurie did that in fifth grade. Is it okay if we put you in our acknowledgements?"

Pre-order Reminder

The Neptune Challenge is available for preorder now. If you email me your snail mail address, I will send the Neptune fan in your life a signed book plate and a bookmark.

Indiebound Barnes & Noble Books-A-Million Chapters Indigo Powell's Amazon

In Conclusion

Watch my website for an announcement for the date of the launch party for The Neptune Challenge at the Park and Preston Barnes and Noble in Plano in late May. On my website I also frequently hold contests where readers can win signed books and cool Neptune swag including signed bookplates, Neptune bracelets, dolphin pendants etc. In the meantime, here's wishing you and your families a happy, healthy 2015!

Polly Holyoke

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