RT Booklovers Convention 2014: What Alys Arden Is Excited About

Posted by May 12th, 2014

Join me in welcoming Book Country member Alys Arden back to the blog! Alys workshopped her first book, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, on Book Country (I blogged about reading it here, and she celebrated its release here), and is now hard at work on the sequel, THE ROMEO CATCHERS. A New Orleans native, Alys is the perfect writer to help us get ready for our trip to NOLA for the RT Booklovers Convention this week. Read on for her tips about what to add to your conference itinerary.


Conference App screenshotYou know you are the biggest nerd on the planet when you get completely overwhelmed with giddiness after the RT Booklovers Convention releases the 2014 iPhone app, and you are dancing while it downloads.

Besides the content and participating author list, I am particularly excited about the convention this year because it’s taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, my hometown! And if you know anything about me, or have read my work, you know that my affection for New Orleans runs deep.

Post-download, I subsequently spent the rest of the afternoon reviewing every single panel/event, cross-referencing timetables and maps to create a customized schedule with the perfect blend of inspiration, information, boundary pushing and networking. I had to calm myself down a few times when I realized that two (or four) of my top picks were happening simultaneously, like, why is the Veronica Roth chat happening at the same time as the Urban Fantasy Panel? WHY?!


I am currently in the process of writing a sequel to my first novel, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, (which I workshopped on Book Country last year!) It’s a YA Paranormal Romance that takes place in the New Orleans French Quarter, so you’ll see a pattern in my top picks for #RT2014:

the casquette girlsBOOK COUNTRY: “How to Workshop Your Best Book” Wed. May 14th, 12 p.m.

Why you should be excited: Have you ever finished writing a chapter/novel/poem/short story/love letter/whatever and wished you could read it with totally fresh eyes? Or even better, have someone beta read it with unbiased eyes? That’s one of the reasons I joined Book Country (okay, also, I’m an Internet junkie and I will try anything once… okay, not anything.) As a first time writer, I thought I’d have to beg and plead for people to read my work – this wasn’t the case at all. Not only did several people from the community give me feedback on my then work-in-progress novel, but one morning I woke up to find a message from Lucy, saying that she wanted to workshop THE CASQUETTE GIRLS.  Her detailed feedback was invaluable. I still go back and read it, to this day. I only bring this up because three of the prizes being raffled at this panel are workshopping sessions with Lucy! YOU WANT TO WIN THIS PRIZE, just sayin’.

YA: “When I Fall in Love” Romance in YA Wed. May 14th,  3:45 p.m.

Why I’m excited: The “exciting (but peril-fraught) topic” of writing about teen romance is a subject that I am constantly thinking about and debating. I can’t wait to hear what authors like Claudia Gray have to say on the topic!

URBAN FANTASY: Legwork of the Damned Thur. May 15th, 10 a.m.

Why I’m excited: An urban fantasy panel IN NEW ORLEANS? Given that I write NOLA Urban Fantasy, this one is a no brainer. I can’t wait to mingle with other writers/readers who have an obsession with “real-life facts that are stranger than fiction.”

Plotting Out Your Series When You’re a Seat of Your Pants Writer Thur. May 15th, 11:15 a.m.

Why I’m excited: I am a weird hybrid of a person who does an enormous amount of research, but then when I actually put fingers to keyboard, I go where ever the wind (or caffeine) takes me.

BOOK COUNTRY: “How to Publish your Best Book” Thurs. May 15th, 4 p.m.

Why you should be excited: So, you’ve written a novel, it’s ready for the world, and you have no idea what to do next? Querying, agents, PoD, oh, my! In today’s fragmented publishing landscape, there are so many options. I should know, I explored many of them before publishing my baby. Book Country has a plethora of tools for authors who are ready to publish, and they are going to walk you through them in this panel. Did I mention they are also raffling away free publishing packages, including professional, custom cover design?

SOUTHERN URBAN FANTASY: It’s More than Just Geography Thur. May 15th, 4 p.m.

Why I’m excited: The atmospherics that the South can bring to writing go way past wrought-iron fences, lazy accents and French last names. Cultural appropriation is a topic that makes my blood pressure rise, so a panel dedicated to the cultural gumbo that is Louisiana has me SUPER excited.

PARANORMAL: Under construction – Paranormal World-building Across Genres. Fri. May 16th, 1:30 p.m.

Why I’m excited: My work tends to cross genres, and this panel aims to cover the topics across urban fantasy, young adult and historical romance – all of which I write for on a daily basis. It’s often said that New Orleans is the main character in my novel, a comment that I could never refute. World-building is hard enough on it’s own, when you start to cross genres, you add layers upon layers of complexity that can be just delicious. I can’t wait to meet other people who have trouble staying in just one world!

That’s it for now. If you are in New Orleans for the convention, feel free to come and tell me hi (look for the girl with purple hair.) I’ll be posting more #NOLAsecrets to Twitter throughout the week. Oh, and if you are in the mood for a little romance, New Orleans style, scroll down to read the prologue for my current work-in progress, THE ROMEO CATCHERS. It’s twist on a local urban legend…

New Orleans by Alys Arden

New Orleans foggy by Alys Arden

Photos of the different moods of New Orleans by Alys Arden.

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THE ROMEO CATCHERSThe story goes something like this, at least, according to Ren…

It was a cool January night in the year 1840. Monsieur Gardère, the patriarch of a well-to-do Creole family in the Faubourg Marigny decided to take his wife and four daughters out to dine in the View Carré. His eldest, fifteen-year-old Violette, claimed to be sick and stayed home while the others went out to feast on turtle soup and frog legs. Halfway through the étouffée, Papa got that feeling that Papas get. With a throaty grumble, he stood from the table, claiming he’d forgotten his billfold back home. He encouraged his family to enjoy the food and the music which was about to start. “I’ll be back before the bread pudding arrives,” he said when his wife’s brow furrowed.

His frustration grew as his carriage crossed Bourbon Street, and suddenly for the first time, he regretted having allowed his children to be born so far from France. “She’s never coming into town for carnival season again,” he grumbled. “She can stay back at Chatsworth, safely separated by the bayous from these cité-garçons.” He coaxed his horse to trot faster.

Monsieur Gardère was in such a state of panic by the time he reached his Esplanade Avenue home, that he barely had the reigns looped around the pole on the street before he jumped away from the carriage. Inside, he made sure that his step was light, but it was too late, for he had already slammed the front door too hard, signaling a warning sound to his daughter. The sounds of scurrying feet, shuffling the ceiling above enraged him, but Monsieur lost another precious hunter’s moment when he paused on the stairs wondering whether he should go back to his study to load his gun. Non, the sight of the barrel alone will put the fear of God in him! he decided. Thinking about that pretty-faced boy’s hands touching his first-born child made him take the stairs three at a time. When he burst through her bedroom door, he found Violette in bed, lying underneath a duvet. Alone. Just as he had left her two hours behttp://bookcountry.wpengine.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpfore.

But the faint scent of citrus tickled Monsieur’s nose. His back stiffened. “Where is he?”

Read the rest on Book Country!  

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Alys Arden author photo for RTAbout Alys Arden

Alys Arden’s first book, the Amazon bestseller THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, is for sale now. Connect with Alys on Book Country, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and her website.

Want to meet up at the RT Booklovers Convention this week? Be sure and let us know that you will be there!

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