Author: johnmcusick

Agent with Folio Jr., representing picture books, middle grade, young adult, and everything in between. Author of GIRL PARTS and CHERRY MONEY BABY. Mostly harmless.

Announcing A New YouTube Channel: Agent Brain / Writer Brain

Hey there #amwriting crew, you may have noticed things have been a bit sleepy on the blog lately, but that’s not because we haven’t been busy!

The past few months have been a whirlwind both personally and professionally (lots of exciting announcements to come).  But you may have noticed I’ve been a bit lax on the craft and business posts lately. Well there’s a good reason, I swear.

The past few weeks my wife (former lit agent and all-around publishing maven Molly Cusick) and I have been working on a video series. We want to take the same advice, feedback, and how-tos you’ve found on this site and via our conference visits and webinars, and offer them in a new way. Now you can start watching our new YouTube channel all about the craft and business of writing. We call it: Agent Brain / Writer Brain.

Why not check out this video on querying? We’ve posted a few so far, on topics like raising the stakes, writing with scenes, and crafting your query letter, and if you like what you see, please give us a like and subscribe. That way you’ll always know when we’ve posted a new vid, and it will also help more writers find us through YouTube’s search algorithm (which is pretty cool).

We’ll be posting new videos pretty much every week, so check back in for more. And in the meantime– keep writing!

– John & Molly

Advertisements

Announcing the New Novel by S.K. Ali

#LoveAZ

Happy Pub Day to Don Zolidis and Kayla Cagan!

It’s a big double pub day today– congrats to Don Zolidis on his debut novel, THE SEVEN TORMENTS OF AMY AND CRAIG, and to Kayla Cagan on her follow to Piper Perish, ART BOSS!

Seven Torments Cover
“Appealingly realistic… Outrageously funny… Full of humor and heart, this refreshingly unromantic romance is highly recommended for most collections.”―School Library Journal
Janesville, Wisconsin (cold in the sense that there is no God)
1994
The worst thing that’s ever happened to Craig is also the best: Amy. Amy and Craig never should’ve gotten together. Craig is an awkward, Dungeons & Dragons-playing geek, and Amy is the beautiful, fiercely intelligent student-body president of their high school.
Yet somehow they did, until Amy dumped him. Then got back together with him. Then dumped him again. Then got back together with him again. Over and over and over.
Unfolding during their senior year, Amy and Craig’s exhilarating, tumultuous relationship is a kaleidoscope of joy, pain, and laughter as an uncertain future-and adult responsibility-loom on the horizon.
Craig fights for his dream of escaping Janesville and finding his place at a quirky college, while Amy’s quest to uncover her true self sometimes involves being Craig’s girlfriend, and sometimes doesn’t.
Seven heartbreaks. Seven joys. Told nonsequentially, acclaimed playwright Don Zolidis’s debut novel is a brutally funny, bittersweet taste of the utterly unique and utterly universal experience of first love. (Disney-Hyperion)
“There may not be another book published … that is more perfect for artistic ART BOSS cover[readers] who love stability yet crave adventure.” —Teen Vogue

Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, authentic book. Warhol-obsessed Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What should I wear?

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper’s dream forever, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyranny thwarts every attempt at happiness for the Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much? (Chronicle Books)

Julie Murphy’s DUMPLIN’ to Netflix!

Fantastic news, friends: the film adaptation of Julie Murphy’s #1 New York Times-bestselling YA novel, Dumplin’ (HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray), will be released on Netflix later this year! The movie stars Danielle Macdonald (PATTI CAKE$) as self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson, and Jennifer Aniston as Will’s mom, a former beauty queen dumplinnetflixwho now runs her small-town pageant. Will signs up for her mom’s pageant as a protest that escalates when other contestants follow in her footsteps, revolutionizing the pageant and their small Texas town. With starry Texas nights, a swoon-worthy romance, red candy suckers, and a Dolly Parton soundtrack, the book–and now the movie–will be sure to steal your heart.

Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) directed the movie, with Dolly Parton recording new versions of her classic songs with collaborators such as Sia and Miranda Lambert in addition to six new original songs co-written by Parton and Linda Perry. The debut single from the soundtrack, “Here I Am,” will drop on September 14th.

For more information on the movie, check out the press release from the Hollywood Reporter! And congratulations, Julie!

Pre-order PUDDIN’ on Barnes & Noble & Amazon, or read DUMPLIN‘ before you see the film!

Congrats to Jorge Lacera on his latest illustration deal!

So I’m a bit late sharing this news here, but I’m so excited to announce the latest illo deal for artist Jorge Lacera! Check out the announcement in PW:

Screen Shot 2018-08-15 at 11.50.48 AM.png

Regular readers may recall that last year Jorge and his wife Megan signed a two-book deal last year with Lee & Low for their creation ZOMBIES DON’T EAT VEGGIES. We’re so excited to add Disney-Hyperion to Jorge’s list of publishers!

Check out more from the Lacera family at http://www.studiolacera.com/

Congrats Jorge and Deborah!

Hafsah Faizal’s WE HUNT THE FLAME gets a cover!

In case you missed it, last week Entertainment Weekly offered a sneak peak at Hafsah Faizal’s May 2019 debut, WE HUNT THE FLAME! I highly recommend you check out the article, since Hafsah has some really beautiful things to say her cover and what it means to her as an #ownvoices author.

Chances are you’ve seen the cover (it’s been all over the internet by now), but in case you haven’t, check it out!

WE HUNT THE FLAME Final Cover.jpg

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man to kill in the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her village. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating men foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira were exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir showed any of the pity or compassion he felt, his father would dismiss him as weak. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya — but neither of them want to be. Their paths cross when Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can save their cursed world, and Nasir is sent to kill her. But an ancient evil stirs, and the prize may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Find WE HUNT THE FLAME on Goodreads, and visit Hafsah online at HafsahFaizal.com and on twitter @hafsahfaizal.

Congrats to S.K. Ali on her Two Book Deal!

S.K. Ali’s SAINTS AND MISFITS has touched so many readers and received so much praise, including becoming a William C. Morrow finalist. Today we get to announce there’s lots more to come from @sajidahwrites!

Check out the announcement from Publishers Weekly:

DdbkxrKV4AAIWZ8.jpg

Congrats S.K.!

You can check out SAINTS AND MISFITS on Goodreads, and pre-order on AmazonB&N, and Indiebound.

 

 

Happy Pub Day to ASH PRINCESS!

It’s here it’s here! Happy Pub Day to Laura Sebastian and ASH PRINCESS!

It’s rare as an agent to read a client’s work first as a fan. I had that privilege with Laura Sebastian’s ASH PRINCESS, and I am so excited that today readers everywhere can dive into this beautiful, moving, wickedly engrossing series. Congrats Laura!

Get your copy today at Amazon, Indiebound, and B&N.

For fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, ASH PRINCESS is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess—a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner. For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside. Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

What folks are saying:

Tense and imaginative, this story of a diminished yet vengeful princess inciting a rebellion to recapture her rightful place of power strikes a timely chord. Ash Princess is a smart, feminist twist on a traditional tale of a fallen heroine, with plenty of court intrigue, love, and lies to sweeten the deal. Good luck putting this one down.” —Virginia Boecker, author of The Witch Hunter series

“The story leaps and twists like a swordswoman, and its blade carves the characters anew and divides them against themselves. This searing page-turner is a compelling examination of the complexities of both evil and resistance.”—Sarah Porter, author of Vassa in the Night

“Laura Sebastian has created a dark and spellbinding epic in Ash Princess. Brace yourself, because Theodosia Houzzara—wounded, driven, and deadly—is going to carve out a place for herself in your heart.” —Sara Holland, New York Times bestselling author of Everless

“An emotionally complex, breathtakingly suspenseful series starter.”-Booklist

For fantasy fans, especially those who enjoy strong female protagonists, this book will be an easy sell. Theo is tough, honorable, and relatable in her emotions [and] Sebastian has built a beautiful and complex world.”-VOYA

“Delivering a narrative that crackles with political intrigue, powerful and debilitating magic, and the violent mechanisms of colonization…[Ash Princess will] submerge readers in a turbulent and enthralling plot.”-Kirkus Reviews

You can find Laura on twitter— go give her an e-high five today!

The ASH PRINCESS Book Trailer is Here!

For fans of Victoria Aveyard’s RED QUEEN and Sabaa Tahir’s AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, ASH PRINCESS is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Pre-order/Order your copy today: http://bit.ly/2J7nkb4

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess—a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner. For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside. Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

What folks are saying:

Tense and imaginative, this story of a diminished yet vengeful princess inciting a rebellion to recapture her rightful place of power strikes a timely chord. Ash Princess is a smart, feminist twist on a traditional tale of a fallen heroine, with plenty of court intrigue, love, and lies to sweeten the deal. Good luck putting this one down.” —Virginia Boecker, author of The Witch Hunter series

“The story leaps and twists like a swordswoman, and its blade carves the characters anew and divides them against themselves. This searing page-turner is a compelling examination of the complexities of both evil and resistance.”—Sarah Porter, author of Vassa in the Night

“Laura Sebastian has created a dark and spellbinding epic in Ash Princess. Brace yourself, because Theodosia Houzzara—wounded, driven, and deadly—is going to carve out a place for herself in your heart.” —Sara Holland, New York Times bestselling author of Everless

“An emotionally complex, breathtakingly suspenseful series starter.”-Booklist

For fantasy fans, especially those who enjoy strong female protagonists, this book will be an easy sell. Theo is tough, honorable, and relatable in her emotions [and] Sebastian has built a beautiful and complex world.”-VOYA

“Delivering a narrative that crackles with political intrigue, powerful and debilitating magic, and the violent mechanisms of colonization…[Ash Princess will] submerge readers in a turbulent and enthralling plot.”-Kirkus Reviews

 

GIRLS ON THE VERGE explores the state of reproductive rights for teens in 2018 America

So you may remember I posted about this deal last year. Today I’m so jazzed to share the cover of Sharon Biggs Waller’s stunning contemporary YA debut GIRLS ON THE VERGE.

Girls on the Verge_Cover

When 17-year-old Camille discovers she can’t obtain an abortion anywhere near her small hometown, she sets off for a Planned Parenthood clinic in the next state. Accompanied by Annabelle, the one-time star of her high school who has wound up stocking shelves, Camille embarks on a road trip of self-discovery in this coming-of-age story pitched as Going Bovine meets Thelma and Louise.

GOV is coming April 2019 from Holt, so stay tuned for more info about this moving and important story. In the meantime, you can check out Sharon’s historical YA, THE FORBIDDEN ORCHID (Viking Children’s Books) on Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or check it out on Goodreads.

You can also find Sharon at her website, instagram, and on Facebook.