Category Archives: Young Adult

Alys Arden Rereleases THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape/Amazon Publishing

Posted by November 17th, 2015

The YA paranormal novel and self-publishing phenomenon by Book Country member Alys Arden was picked up by Skyscape in a 2-book deal.

Join us in celebrating Alys at an online launch party for the rerelease on Saturday, November 21, 2015 from 1:30-6:00pm, featuring giveaways, author chats, and more!

TCG now availableAs you’ve probably heard on Book Country, member Alys Arden has had quite a writing and publishing journey over the last 3 years! Her debut YA paranormal novel, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, was originally workshopped here on Book Country and elsewhere on the web. She used this exposure to get writing feedback and to find an audience of readers. On Halloween 2013, Alys self-published THE CASQUETTE GIRLS and won acclaim from reviewers and bloggers (including a starred review from Publishers Weekly–see the quote below!) At the end of 2014, she found agency representation by ICM Partners, and early this year announced that she had sold THE CASQUETTE GIRLS to Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) in a 2-book deal. After editing, rewriting, and designing a beautiful new cover, the rerelease went on-sale today! Continue reading

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Book Country at Moonlight & Magnolias 2015

Posted by September 30th, 2015

I couldn’t be more excited to head down to Atlanta this weekend for the Georgia Romance Writers regional conference, Moonlight & Magnolias 2015!

Official MandM logo general

I’ll be the featured industry speaker on Saturday afternoon. Here are the details:

Saturday, October 3
2-3:50pm
Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria

Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up

Join us to learn about Book Country, Penguin Random House’s writing and publishing community, and how the site has helped writers to write their best books, connect with audiences, and publish with the support of a community. This session is designed to help Georgia Romance Writers figure out the next step toward reaching their writing and publishing goals. Each participant will leave with a customized, immediate, and actionable plan for their book or work-in-progress based on where they are in the writing process. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Catching Up with Alys Arden

Posted by September 8th, 2015

Alys Arden 8.8.2015It’s always wonderful to have Book Country member Alys Arden visit the blog. Today she’s here to update us on all the exciting things that are in the pipeline for her and her bestselling self-published young adult novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS (originally workshopped right here on Book Country!).

Lucy Silag: We know you’re re-releasing THE CASQUETTE GIRLS with Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon Publishing) but we need more details! Fill us in on how it got picked up, what’s new, and when we can buy the new version.

Alys Arden: THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, along with its unreleased sequel, were both acquired by Skyscape early this year. They are re-releasing a new edit of TCG with a new cover (see below), which was just revealed last week! When I re-drafted the manuscript for Skyscape, my objective was to polish it up without changing SO much as to confuse people who don’t want to read the new version and wanted to skip to book two, but I wanted to add some exciting new things for fans who do want to dive into the new edit. As for what’s different . . . there are a few brand new scenes; my beta readers said Nicco is more sinister in the version. Oh, and there is a new layer to the curse! I really had fun focusing on the magic and the witches in this draft. There are a few more hints about things that will happen in book two, a few more clues. *wink* One of the scenes that I ended up totally re-writing, and had so much fun with, was Adeline’s fight scene in 1728. I’ll just say . . . it’s a bit bloodier, now. The pre-order went up this week, and the book will be released on November 17th.

THE CASQUETTE GIRLS
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How Book Country Helped Me Land a Book Deal

Posted by August 25th, 2015

Please welcome Book Country member Audrey Greathouse to the blog! I met Audrey at the San Francisco Writers Conference on a panel designed to let conference participants practice their agent pitch before going to the formal pitch session the following day. Audrey’s pitch for her young adult novel THE NEVERLAND WARS was one of the best in the room: a modern retelling of Peter Pan featuring fourteen-year-old girl Gwendolyn, in denial about growing up. I knew that Audrey would be a terrific addition to our community because at the conference I saw that she is curious, kind, enthusiastic about meeting other writers, and, of course, very hardworking! Her great news this week is that all that hard work paid off: THE NEVERLAND WARS has been picked up for publication by Clean Teen Publishing. Read on to hear how Book Country was a big part of helping her land a book deal.

Audrey Greathouse's blog

From Audrey Greathouse’s blog, audreygreathouse.wordpress.com

So I got my contract signed, my forms filled out, and everything else tidied away and put in the mail last week. The good folks at Clean Teen have them now, and I just get to look forward to scheduling a video chat with the ladies in charge. I think it’s pretty neat that my publisher’s chief officers are all Texan women. That’s just neat. Who would have even conceived of such a thing fifty years back? The internet and twenty-first century are ushering in a lot of interesting change and putting a lot of power in strange geographical places now that anybody can be anywhere.

Which brings me to Book Country.

I am so lucky I found this website and had a chance to discover the possibilities of it while I was at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference six months ago (I can’t believe it’s already been half a year!) I hop around the west coast too much to regularly attend any writers group, but with Book Country I can be anywhere. It’s easy to log on and review manuscripts, and it’s so nice to know that mine is up and open to members for review too. I could not have made the revisions I did without the feedback of the Book Country community, and I feel so grateful to the people on that site who have made it what is it. Continue reading

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Character Development: Creating Unforgettable Characters with Rachel A. Marks

Posted by August 17th, 2015

Darkness-BrutalPlease welcome Book Country member Rachel Anne Marks back to the blog! Rachel’s been a wonderful force of positivity and wisdom here on Book Country for going on three and a half years. We were absolutely thrilled when Rachel announced that Skyscape had picked her up for a 2-book deal. Her young adult debut, DARKNESS BRUTAL, is on sale now. Rachel stopped by the blog this morning to share insights on the incredible character development that keeps her readers coming back for more.

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When we open a book, we begin a journey, and there are several things that help us decide if we’ll keep going. We ask ourselves if we want to hang out in the world of the book, if the questions raised seem interesting, but we also want to follow the lead subject on their journey. As a reader, this is one of my biggest questions when I start reading a novel: do I connect with the main character?

And as a writer, it’s even more important. In order to show a story through the eyes of another, we need to have a strong link to their motives, fears, and conflicts. We need to be almost literally in their shoes if we want the reader to feel that way too. Continue reading

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Ten Awesome Authors to Follow on Tumblr!

Posted by April 28th, 2015

Ten Awesome Authors to Follow on Tumblr!

Twitter: 140 character updates. Facebook: your grandmother’s 80th birthday. Tumblr: anything and everything! Tumblr is a microblogging website where users post things like GIFs of their favorite TV scenes and thousand-word essays comparing the 15th century Medici family with the Kardashians. On average, users spend 14 minutes on Tumblr, which is longer than the average Facebook or Twitter visit. Tumblr is a great avenue to showcase your writing and engage with an eager audience. To get a better sense of what Tumblr is about, here are ten awesome authors to follow: Continue reading

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“There is always a reason to not give up.” Interview with Aisha Saeed, Author of WRITTEN IN THE STARS

Posted by April 22nd, 2015

Interview with Aisha Saeed, Author of WRITTEN IN THE STARSAisha Saeed is the author of WRITTEN IN THE STARS, which is published by Nancy Paulsen Books. Aisha is also co-founder and Vice President of Strategy of We Need Diverse Books. In WRITTEN IN THE STARS, Naila, a smart Pakistani-American high school senior, is forced into an arranged marriage by her own parents. I was stunned by the trials Naila had to face. In our interview, Aisha shares what the hardest chapter was for her to write, the specific technique she used to query agents, and what has surprised her most since joining the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. 

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Janet Umenta: Did you draw from any real-life conversations while writing WRITTEN IN THE STARS?

Aisha Saeed: I definitely drew from real-life experiences while writing WRITTEN IN THE STARS. Growing up, I had childhood friends who were coerced and pressured into marriages they would not have chosen for themselves. While my novel is entirely fictional, those stories always stayed with me and served as the inspiration for my novel. Continue reading

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Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015

Posted by February 11th, 2015

San Francisco Writers Conference 2015Starting this Thursday, February 12th, I’ll be representing Book Country at the San Francisco Writers Conference 2015. BC member Andrea Dunlop will be there as well, on behalf of Girl Friday Productions. I’m also hearing that other members are going to the conference. Please chime into this discussion board and let us know if you’ll be there, too!

Here’s my event schedule–if you’ll be there, please come say hi! Continue reading

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SPARK by Book Country Member Atthys Gage: On Sale Today!

Posted by December 17th, 2014

SPARK by Atthys GageCongratulations to longtime Book Country member Atthys Gage! His debut YA novel, SPARK, was originally workshopped on Book Country, and came out today from Lycaon Press.

Lucy Silag: Tell us about your first “spark” of the idea for SPARK. How did that idea grow and change over time and drafts?

Atthys Gage: It’s hard for me to pinpoint, but there is a persistent image that I associate with SPARK: someone is walking past a vacant lot; there are a couple of homeless types standing around a big metal drum, warming themselves on the scrap-wood fire lit within; sparks fly upward. The only thing is, that scene doesn’t appear in the book and never did in any version. It is, apparently, a sort of catalyst scene. Like an enzyme, it allowed the process of writing the book to take place but wasn’t consumed in the process.

LS: What has surprised you most about the experience of taking your book from an idea to a finished product?

AG: I was struck by how my own feelings changed as we neared the end. At first I was willing to fight for every little thing. Or, if not fight, then endlessly agonize over how to fix something that wasn’t quite right. By the end, I was more likely to just eliminate the problematic passage with a sweep of the blue pencil. It’s almost as though the book itself was so ready to be done and out in the world that it began resisting my efforts to fix it anymore. I’d reach out to straighten a clause or rub out a questionable comma, and it would slap my hand away like a moody teenager. Just leave it alone! Go away! I honestly think the poor thing was tired of all the attention. Continue reading

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Alys Arden’s Book Trailer for THE CASQUETTE GIRLS!

Posted by October 30th, 2014

We are so excited to showcase member Alys Arden‘s book trailer for her YA Paranormal novel THE CASQUETTE GIRLS!

I love trying new things. I love telling stories. I love working with different mediums. That’s how I started writing in the first place and how I came to make a book trailer for THE CASQUETTE GIRLS.

One of my favorite aspects of making the trailer was watching figments of my imagination turn into tactile objects. Whenever our production designer, Matt Whittle, would text me questions like “Okay, what does the altar at Vodou Pourvoyeur look like in your head?” I’d get really excited. First I’d send him any actual description from the book, and then he’d really dig into my head, “Tell me everything.” After I garbled everything out, I’d get a text a couple days later like, “Is a complete cat skeleton overkill?”

To find out the answer, watch the trailer!

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