Author of YA & Adult fiction
Elle Cosimano

News & Launch Updates

WOW! Lots of news to share!

Danke, Germany! German rights to NEARLY GONE have sold to Literarische Agentur Silke Weniger for publication in Spring 2015!

Trade reviews have been coming in and I couldn’t be happier to share this one from School Library Journal:

“A tour de force that is unputdownable. Eloquently written and packed full of suspense, debut author Cosimano strikes gold with this page-turning thriller.” – School Library Journal, starred review

Or this one from VOYA:

“NEARLY GONE, the author’s debut novel, is a suspenseful page-turner that will leave teens on the edge of their seats. Cosimano’s character development makes almost everyone a suspect, and action and mystery readers will enjoy this whodunit until the very end.”  –  VOYA, Voice of Youth Advocates 

Publisher’s Weekly had this to say:

“In an impressive debut… a good choice for fans of “savant” procedurals and dramas like Bones, Elementary, or Numbers.”  – Publisher’s Weekly, featured review 

And Kirkus calls NEARLY GONE:

“Tense and engaging… well worth the effort of suspending one’s disbelief.”  –  Kirkus Reviews


Meanwhile, I’ve been gearing up for the release of NEARLY GONE, and we’ve got some amazing indie booksellers lined up to help us launch the book in style!

I’ll be signing pre-release copies of NEARLY GONE at the NoVA Teen Book Festival (sponsored by One More Page Books) in Arlington, VA on March 8th, and speaking on a panel chat about bad boys and why we love them. Come check out the panel discussions, break-away sessions, and an impressive list of YA authors who will be speaking on a range of topics.

The following week, I’ll be touring the DC/NoVA area and visiting some of your favorite indie bookstores!

I’ll be at Politics & Prose (DC) at 7pm on March 13th.

You can find me at Curious Iguana (Frederick, MD) at 7pm on March 14th.

And I’ll be wrapping up my launch week at the extraordinary Hooray For Books (Alexandria, VA) on the afternoon of March 15th.

Please spread the word! And do let me know if you plan to attend any of the week’s events so we have enough books and cupcakes for everyone. I hope to see all of you there!

Check out the events page for details.

Word On The Street Giveaway!

Advance Reader Copies are in, which means people (other than my editors and my mother) are reading NEARLY GONE!

And some of them are saying really amazing things!

“A thrilling debut! Clever and captivating, Elle Cosimano’s NEARLY GONE is a sinister game of cat-and-mouse. Nearly Boswell is definitely the girl you want on your side if you’re ever framed for murder!”  —  Kimberly Derting, author of THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE

“Smart, scary, and beautifully written. With a heart-pounding romance and a heart-stopping plot, NEARLY GONE is a thrill-ride of a book. An amazing debut that kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last page!”  — Megan Miranda, author of FRACTURE and HYSTERIA

“NEARLY GONE is fast-paced, smart, and keeps you guessing till the end. Start this book with a clear schedule because you won’t be able to put it down!” — Kim Harrington, author of THE DEAD AND BURIED and FORGET ME

“NEARLY GONE is a smart, gripping thriller about a clever girl from the trailer park, a boy from the wrong side of the law, and a killer who kept me guessing. This chilling murder mystery left me racing to the finish and biting my nails every step of the way.” –Megan Shepherd, author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER

“NEARLY GONE is a hell of a ride. Her twisted characters and breakneck pacing had me tearing through the pages to discover the killer. Just be prepared to stay up past your bedtime!” –Jill Hathaway, author of SLIDE and IMPOSTOR

To celebrate, I’m giving away five of your favorite books from these thrilling YA authors, plus a few NEARLY GONE swag bags!

WINNER #1: The Kimberly Derting Prize Package: Your choice of one of Kimberly Derting’s books plus a NEARLY GONE swag bag!

WINNER #2: The Megan Miranda Prize Package: Your choice of one of Megan Miranda’s books plus a NEARLY GONE swag bag!

WINNER #3: The Kim Harrington Prize Package: Your choice of one of Kim Harrington’s books plus a NEARLY GONE swag bag!

WINNER #4: The Megan Shepherd Prize Package: Your choice of one of Megan Shepherd’s books plus a NEARLY GONE swag bag!

WINNER #5: The Jill Hathaway Prize Package: Your choice of one of Jill Hathaway’s books plus a NEARLY GONE swag bag!

Feeling lucky? Enter the drawing between September 25th and October 16th! Then follow me on Twitter, like me on Facebook, add NEARLY GONE to your Goodreads shelf, and subscribe to my blog for more information. I’ll be announcing the winners here on October 18th!  GOOD LUCK!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Big Reveal

Have you seen it? Less than 24 hours after YA Books Central revealed the cover of NEARLY GONE, we had almost 1,000 unique hits, and approximately 1,450 entries into the giveaway for a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC). We registered almost 70 tweets, and over 100 likes from the giveaway. And this doesn’t count all the RTs and shouts that came as a result of the reveal announcement!

What was all the fuss about?

Here’s the official summary of the book:

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother’s job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone’s skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn’t trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn’t figure it all out soon—she’ll be next.

And here’s what people are saying about NEARLY GONE:

“Smart, scary, and beautifully written. With a heart-pounding romance and a heart-stopping plot, NEARLY GONE is a thrill-ride of a book. An amazing debut that kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last page!”  — Megan Miranda, author of FRACTURE and HYSTERIA.

“NEARLY GONE is fast-paced, smart, and keeps you guessing till the end. Start this book with a clear schedule because you won’t be able to put it down!” — Kim Harrington, author of THE DEAD AND BURIED and FORGET ME.

“NEARLY GONE is a smart, gripping thriller about a clever girl from the trailer park, a boy from the wrong side of the law, and a killer who kept me guessing. This chilling murder mystery left me racing to the finish and biting my nails every step of the way.” –Megan Shepherd, author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER


And here is the chilling and perfect cover, designed by Greg Stadnyk and the team at Kathy Dawson Books (an imprint of Penguin):



What can you do to help us promote NEARLY GONE? Easy!

Step 1: Pre-order the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or inquire about it at your favorite independent bookseller. A healthy number of early pre-orders will encourage retailers to stock more of the book, libraries and schools to order it for their shelves, and the publisher to enthusiastically promote it at book fairs and industry events.

Step 2: Add NEARLY GONE to your Goodreads shelf. Goodreads is a social networking site for readers, and a great way for people to discover new books. While you’re there, we’ve been nominated to some debut lists, so please take a moment to vote for NEARLY GONE. A small handful of votes will increase exposure and help new readers find us!

Step 3: Share the link to the cover reveal, and encourage your reader-friends to enter the prize giveaway for a signed Advance Reader Copy (ARC) of NEARLY GONE.

Step 4: Tell any high school teachers, librarians, or independent book sellers you know about NEARLY GONE. I’ll be offering school and library visits (both in person and via Skype), book signings, book club discussions, and Common Core Standards-compliant discussion materials for teachers. I look forward to getting out into the community and meeting with readers!

My thanks to everyone who shared, tweeted, and pre-ordered yesterday! You made it a special and memorable milestone, and I’m thrilled for what’s ahead.





The Convict Who Came To Dinner

I’m not a religious woman. I appreciate the symbolism of my culture – the nuance and metaphor – over the literal translations of the traditions we pass from generation to generation. One of my favorite traditions happens during Passover, when we open our doors for the prophet Elijah.

During the sedar, a meal commemorating freedom and redemption, a place setting is left vacant at the table, and a glass of wine poured for Elijah. A child is asked to open the door for his spirit, so that he may enter the hearts of those who celebrate, fill us with assurances of freedom, instill us with hope, and inspire us to build a better world.

There are many literal interpretations of this ritual found in the writings of the Talmud. But for me, the symbolic gesture – opening the door and leaving it ajar throughout the Passover meal – is an expression of trust. We are safe. We are free to dine and worship without fear. The seat remains empty each year, and the wine remains in that symbolic cup until the end of the night when someone always drinks it. Silly to let it go to waste. After all, it’s a celebration. A night when we luxuriate in the pleasures of free men.

I think of Elijah during Thanksgiving, when two seemingly non-related meals collide in one foggy childhood memory.

The night James came to Thanksgiving dinner.

My father brought James home from work and introduced him to our extended family. James was a quiet man with a warm smile. Like my father, he was a decorated war veteran, except James walked with the aid of a cane. And though I was only eight years old at the time, I recall his polite and genuine appreciation for the meal, and for my family’s hospitality. Sad, I thought, that he didn’t have his own family close by. Generous, I thought, of my family to share a seat at our table with this lonely man.

As polite conversation turned toward James, my Uncle asked him, “So you work together?” We kept eating, shoveling in rounded forkfuls of turkey and stuffing. Chasing it with sweet potato casserole and wine. My father was a prison warden. Surely, James was a fellow administrator, a counselor, or a guard. None of us looked up when my Uncle asked, “What exactly do you do at the prison, James?”

A quiet beat passed while James wiped the corner of his mouth with a fine cloth napkin. “Twenty to life,” he said over the clinking of silver on china. “For Murder One.”

Knives poised over plates and forks fell silent while we all waited for a punch line that never came.

When I looked up from my plate, James didn’t look any different. He was still a gracious guest with a gentle face. He still limped from wounds suffered in defense of our country. He was a good man who’d made an angry choice that had cost him twenty years of his life, and taken another.

It’s been more than thirty years since James came to dinner. But I never forgot that Thanksgiving. Or his grateful smile when James thanked my mother, and my father drove him back to prison. How in the blink of five courses, he made me think differently about people. About good and bad. And about what hope, freedom and redemption really mean.


Note: this is a re-post of an original post which can be found here at Ink & Angst. James’s name has been changed in this story.


19, 2012 |

Filed in:

Elle's Life,Holding Smoke |



Where I've Been

I’m shaking the dust off my blog and realizing it’s been a while since I’ve been here. Too long.

Truth is, I’m in the process of re-designing. My talented friend, Tessa Elwood at Pop Color Web Design (oh, did I  mention she’s also a brilliant writer and photographer?) is working up an amazing custom site and I can’t wait to unveil it. Meanwhile, I’ve been guest blogging, interviewing, and visiting some great places. In case you missed them, here’s where I’ve been and a sneak peek at some of the exciting places I’m going.

Recently, I was a guest blogger at the YA Muses where I talk about writing The End.

blogged at Ink & Angst about Artist Statements and my acceptance into the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. I’ll be spending three days in Lake Tahoe this May with NYT Bestselling author Ellen Hopkins, working on my WIP. It still feels strange and wonderful to say this out loud.

My book recently appeared in RT Book Reviews Book Buzz. Find it under “Young Adult” in the section called Piquing Curiosity.

Here is my Author Interview at Greenhouse Literary Agency. Yep, I’m official!

I’ve become a member of The Lucky 13s, an amazing group of children’s and YA authors debuting in 2013.

Here’s my SAT Interview at Writer, Writer Pants On Fire. LOVE the name of this blog!

I recently appearared in the Big Sur Writing Workshop Blog and the Henry Miller Memorial Library Blog.

My book recently appeared in Bookshelves of Doom: Upcoming YA Titles and Daisy Chain Book Reviews.

My book has been added at Goodreads and Library Thing.

I’ve joined the International Thriller Writers Association.

I’ve registered to attend The Writer’s Police Academy in September.

I’m donating a query critique for Crits for Water in June.

Finally, this Monday, April 9th, you’ll find me guest blogging with the fine romance authors at Chicklets In The Kitchen where I’m sharing my favorite Passover memories and a recipe for Matzo Brei.


That’s it. Why are you still here? Go read something.


05, 2012 |

Filed in:

Dead Blue,Website and Media,Writing |



The Big News

If you’ve ever asked me to list my favorite books, you know I am a huge fan of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, and her prequel Fire. I recommend this series to everyone, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of her next story. These beautiful books were edited and introduced into the world by a woman named Kathy Dawson. So imagine, if you will, that breathless moment when I learned that the very same Kathy Dawson, acquiring editor at Dial/Penguin Books for Young Readers, contacted my agent and expressed an interest in purchasing my book.

I might have babbled a bit.  And then I might have cried. Wild chair dancing might have ensued.

I am the happiest writer in the world to finally be able to share this announcement from Publishers Marketplace:

Children’s: Young Adult
Elle Cosimano’s DEAD BLUE, in which a math-genius from a DC trailer park is the only student able to solve complex clues left by a serial killer targeting classmates, thus making herself the main suspect, and a sequel, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, to Kathy Dawson at Dial Children’s, in a good deal, for publication in Fall 2013, by Sarah Davies at the Greenhouse Literary Agency (World). Posted: January 9, 2012 at 10:11 p.m. Eastern

If you love YA, you will probably recognize a few of the hugely successful titles released by Penguin Books for Young Readers. I am astounded and honored to be in such company.

Special thanks to my amazing agent, Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency, who believed in Nearly’s story and challenged me to make it better. To my crit partners who read my book (multiple times in various stages) and offered guidance and support: Tamara Ireland Stone, Megan Miranda, Kelly Barwick, and Tessa Elwood. To my dear friends at “Ink & Angst” who cheered me along the way. To fellow Greenhousers who welcomed me with open arms. And most especially, my friends and family outside of my writing world who encouraged and believed, even when it seemed like such a crazy pipe dream. For those who stood by me, I am eternally grateful.

Here’s to chasing down dreams and making them real… and finding joy in the journey.


10, 2012 |

Filed in:

Dead Blue,News |



A Matter of Perspective

I took art class in 9th grade.  I don’t remember the name of the class or even the name of the teacher.  I just remember this one project.

The medium was pencil and the assignment was to illustrate perspective using a horizon line. Those were the only guidelines I recall.  I came up with a sort of contemporary fantasy — a dolphin jumping out of an ocean composed of Tron-like lines.  There were ripples in the grid where the dolphin breached the surface and mountains in the background. (Don’t ask why my dolphin was surfing the Rockies in outer space… I don’t have an answer.)

I spent weeks on the damn thing.  I agonized over the contours of the dolphin.  Was he precise in size, shape, and shadow?  Were my lines technically accurate as far as measurement and proportion?  I kept my pencil lines to a whisper, so I could fix mistakes without anyone knowing I’d made them.  When I turned it in, I was sure it was perfect.

The teacher didn’t agree.  I got a B minus.

I was crushed. (Yeah, I was one of those kids.  Total Type A Brian Johnson “…and when you pull the trunk the light was s’posed to go on. My light didn’t go on…” kind of kid. Doesn’t ring a bell?  Google it.)

When I asked my teacher why my project wasn’t good enough for an A, he told me my drawing was too light.  That I didn’t push hard enough with my pencil, and while it was technically accurate, my picture felt flat.  He pointed to it and said, “What you’ve drawn is a dolphin jumping on paper, but your assignment was to make him leap off the page.”

I walked away from the conversation never really understanding what he meant.

Fast forward twenty-three years.  I’m revising my manuscript for DEAD BLUE for the third time when Brian’s damn elephant light comes on!  I get it now.

See, when I was drawing that dolphin scene, I kept my pencil tip dull.  At the time, I told myself it was intentional.  That my light hand gave the picture a gauzy mysterious feel.  But in hindsight — this post is about perspective after all — I wasn’t being honest with myself.

I wasn’t pushing that pencil hard enough because I was too chicken-shit to take the risk. Deep dark marks are hard to erase.  They reveal mistakes, and I didn’t trust myself enough to sharpen the damn pencil and really cut in.  No part of my picture really scratched below the surface.  It lacked depth and contrast.  My teacher was right.  It wasn’t airy and mood-driven. It was flat.

And I think that’s what’s been missing in all these words on the cutting room floor.  Trust.  And maybe a little fearlessness.

It’s round three and I’ve got my chewed up pencil.  My eraser’s worn down to the metal and I finally sharpened the tip.  No matter which way I hold it, it’ll cut deep.

So thanks, Brian and your elephant trunk light.

On Selflessness and Sacrifice

It was a blistering cold day, that Valentine’s in 2006.  But I was shivering with excitement. Not from the weather. I’d spent days planning it. Coordinating and negotiating it to the smallest detail.

I’d bought a car.

And not just any car.

I’d ordered the ultimate “I Love You” present. I’d secretly purchased my husband the 2006 World Car of the Year — the BMW 330xi — brand new in sparkling graphite metallic finish, with every imaginable option. Did I mention it was new?


Per my instructions, it was waiting for him on the dealer lot, dressed with an obnoxious (and none-too-masculine) red ribbon and a sign in the windshield that said “SOLD to Cosimano.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face.

The scared-shitless one, when he turned to me and whispered “What the hell did you do?”

You see, I’d just gone back to work after four years of Stay-Home-Motherhood. I’d dieted my way back into my executive clothes, and clawed my way through 12 hour work days while juggling day care and bedtime. Because I wanted to. Because I needed to.

And he’d supported me, without hesitation or question or judgement. When I’d wanted to be home with them, he’d said we’d make it work. And now that I was ready to go back, his response was the same. He diapered and changed, bathed and fed, medicated and cuddled our children without once complaining that I should be home doing it. He gave me the freedom to climb my way back up the ladder. And climb I did.

And when I wanted to show him how much I loved him for it — in a grossly indulgent over-expression of my gratitude and admiration — I did.

He’s been driving his dream car for five years.

Until last night… when he waved good bye to that car without hesitation or question or judgement, so that we can afford to pursue my dream — my dream — for one more year.

Sometimes our love isn’t measured by what we give to each other, but rather by what we’re willing to give up.


31, 2011 |

Filed in:

Elle's Life,Writing |




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Writing Like Real Estate

In my previous life, I sold houses. Lots of them. I guess you could say I was pretty good at it. The more time I spend immersed in the writing world, the more parallels I find between selling a book and selling a house. It’s just a different kind of property.

Lindsey For Sale Sign

This month, I’ve worked closely with my agent to determine the new direction for my book. As we explore new tones, new themes, new characters, and new plotlines, we’ve come to the decision that the book will be… well… entirely new.

I’ve survived the emotional loss and mourning process after the burial of my first completed draft. I am starting my novel again… nearly from scratch… knowing it will be stronger, tighter, and more gripping for the changes.

As I’ve shared this news with friends and family, people have asked questions, like why didn’t you just choose an agent that likes your book the way it is? Or why not just ask your agent to submit it in “as is” condition? Maybe it will sell?

I didn’t even have to think about the answer; it came as easy as breathing. Because if I think of my book in terms of real estate — it’s my property, and it’s extremely valuable to me, so it’s a reasonable analogy — my answer is no.

Here’s why…

Let’s say you have a house, and you want to sell it. You want to list it for the best possible asking price, and you want it to show well. Not only that, but you want the listing agent to be savvy, aggressive, and honest in their counsel. You want more than just a lop-sided “for sale” sign in the yard and a half-assed ad in the Sunday paper. You want the best possible contract with the best possible terms. So you interview and hire the most professional agent to list your home.

That über-agent will walk through your home, show you the comps, present a comprehensive marketing plan, and tell you what you need to do to make your home show-ready. If they’re good at what they do, they’ll be honest with their feedback. If the house really sparkles, then it will demand a higher asking price from the market, and maybe even yield multiple offers.

In my case, my agent told me the house has incredible potential, but it needs work. We can make it better… and this will involve a few pretty significant repairs. I had a choice. I could go with an agent who might be willing to slap a for sale sign on it and throw it out into the market without much due diligence. It would be a numbers game, a gamble on the possibility of a sale. Or I could choose the savvy agent (who’s going to expect some elbow grease from me) to make sure the property sells for the best possible price.

No contest. I chose Agent #2.

So this is me… stripping ugly wallpaper and threadbare carpeting, remodeling kitchens and baths, giving my story a stronger foundation with crisp decor and a shiny coat of paint. This story is a reflection of me and my choices. So, this is me… working harder, putting my best foot forward, even if it means taking a step back. Because anything worth having is worth working for.



18, 2011 |

Filed in:

Dead Blue,Elle's Life,Writing |



Interviewing Your Agent

“How did you land your agent?” This is the most frequently asked question I’ve heard from writer friends since I signed with The Greenhouse.

I’m not going to bore you with “how”. There are hundreds of insightful blog posts and websites devoted to this subject, and they all essentially say the same thing:

  1. Read a lot of books
  2. Write the best book you can
  3. Find brilliant critique partners
  4. Research agents, the industry, and the process
  5. Write a kick ass query letter (I can’t emphasize this enough)


That’s it. There’s no substitute for elbow grease, and no secret weapon. I am convinced there’s no love potion or Cupid’s arrow as effective as a solid query letter — and an intense amount of work and patience.

So let’s say you’ve made it this far. An agent loves your manuscript. Now what? You’ve been jumping up and down, waving your arms in the air, screaming “pick me, pick me” for years, and suddenly an agent is holding your beloved darlings and the tables are turned. What do you do?

Google wasn’t much help with this. There are so many of us out there trying to get through the first hurdle, it seems the next step is often overlooked.

The answer? You interview them.

With the help of agented colleagues and friends, I’ve compiled a list of interview questions I found helpful during the process, and a few words of advice to consider when choosing an agent.

NOTE: Revised 12/16/2011 – an updated list may be found in my guest post at Ink & Angst – No Such Thing As A Dumb Question.

Without further ado…


I received the greatest advice from a widely known, award-winning author while attending a conference last year. She told me to choose an agent I felt comfortable with.

Your relationship with your agent is a long partnership. You hold hands and take risks together (as my agent told me) and you should feel confident in that partnership. Your agent should be someone you trust to guide you through the publishing waters and keep you afloat. If they don’t return calls, don’t answer your questions, or if you feel uncomfortable picking up the phone or asking, there is probably a reason. Compatibility is important, in any successful long-term relationship. You’ve got to like each other, believe in each other, and trust each other.

If any agented colleagues are reading along, and have additional interview questions to add, or feedback to share, I welcome your comments.

Good luck out there!