Tag Archives: Coming of Age

From Tweens through Gold to Adult

Author Cagey Magee, creator of the newly released Cass and Wat (NorthWatch – Book 1), offers some insights into what inspired him to write these wonderful books. NOTE: The second book in the series, Cass and Logan, is currently in the final editing stage, and will release on December 16, 2019. Indeed, it’s already available for pre-order.

We’ll have easy purchase links for the debut novel below, but first, we turn this over to Mr. Cagey Magee.

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Once upon a time, my wise and wonderful partner and wife, Dot, and I were walking through a regrettably now extinct Borders Bookstore when she pointed to a huge hardback book. “Kids are wild for that,” she said. “They are actually reading again, even Jeffrey, who once stuck a book to the ceiling of my library.” As a librarian, researcher, editor, and writer, Dot knew who-read-what in the greater New York City area. Like the other books of Ms. Rowling’s estimable series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire created devoted readers of all ages as well as a devoted group of notably insignificant detractors.

A few days after Dot’s and my Borders visit, I was leaving work and noticed an eleven-year-old girl, the child of a staff member, waiting for her mother and reading Goblet. I asked if she enjoyed reading such long books. “Oh, this is my third trip through. I love it. Every time I read it, I see something new.”

A few weeks ago, with all of the initial four-volumes of my “NorthWatch” series in existence in one form or another, I asked an English teacher from a prestigious upstate school what tweens and teens were reading these days. “They aren’t,” he said, “unless they care about making a decent grade, and that’s a far from universal pursuit.”

“NorthWatch” contains no magic wands, but it’s fun, just the same. I wrote the series because the tale and the world it predicts intrigue me, because I believe that an immense core of visionary tween and teen readers still exists, and because I find it great fun to consider the young adults of the future and what they will likely do. Even now, they’re influencing the world.

Fourteen-year-old Cassie Watson and her HeEm don’t play by the same rules in 2037 as they would today; neither will others of their age and time. That’s a good thing despite those parental curmudgeons who refuse to believe that adolescence is one of the most golden times of life, to be enjoyed by parents and anticipated by tweens.

Many prominent folks in every life pathway from Confucius to Disney to Prince embraced the necessity of always moving forward. Prince said, “Young folks are the ones with the ideas and constantly moving forward.”

I wish I had said that. Oh, perhaps I did—there’s more than one way to draw a hero, especially if it’s Cassie Watson.

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The eBook is now available at most major retailers, and the paperback is up at Amazon and in the works at Barnes and Noble.

 

 

Cass discovers an intricate pattern of betrayal as she protects her family and her father’s presidential campaign.

“The relationships and intrigue come out brilliantly. The young protagonist is a fascinating character with a unique perspective on life, one that helps to deepen the use of humor in the story. The reader will want to unravel the mystery, to identify the mind behind Cass’s predicament and to find out if she can live up to her goal. This novel is hilarious, highly engaging, and entertaining.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Christian Sia (5 STARS)

Cass, thirteen, seeks to escape her captors, protect her little brother, and assist her presidential-candidate father, Glen “Wat” Watson. Oddly, Cass finds herself confined to a luxurious suite in NorthWatch Castle—the Watsons own the castle and the Maine Coastal Island it dominates. How can Cass’s family not be behind this?

“Cagey Magee brings new meaning to coming of age thrillers in Cass and Wat. …brings his characters alive with vivid personalities and redeemable qualities. …overall, I was spellbound. I was impressed with the ending and look forward to more novels from this author.” ~ Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews, Peggy Jo Wipf (5 STARS)

 

And to pre-order the second book, just visit the book page HERE, where you’ll find the appropriate links.

Cass is counting down to her father’s inauguration when she realizes that Mac Beverly may be alive. Her 2036 kidnapping now seems a lovely vacation.

Cass Watson tries to put her kidnapping last year behind her as her father’s inauguration approaches. On her first day of school, though, the WatTechPrep parking lot explodes outside her window. More incidents follow. When her father vanishes on the eve of his inauguration, Cass becomes certain that her kidnapper, Mac Beverly, has returned.

Author Jessica McHugh Discusses the Making of YA Coming-of-Age Series “Darla Decker Diaries”

This 3-part (for now) series will soon move to Round 2.

GUEST POST
Jessica McHughAuthor Jessica McHugh has dropped by to talk a little bit about her writing of Darla Decker Hates to Wait, the first book in the new young adult coming-of-age series called the Darla Decker Diairies. Early reviews are nothing short of stellar, so if you’ve not yet discovered this edgy new series, with Book 1 out and Book 2 coming soon, now is the perfect time. And now, we’ll let Ms. McHugh tell you how this entertaining series came to be.
 
 
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Breathing Real Life into a Fictional Young Girl

It began on April 12, 1989 with blue markers and heart stickers. Like a lot of girls, I kept a diary while growing up. Seven, actually. I spilled my heart and soul on those pages from the time I was seven years old until sixteen or so—about boys I “loved,” classes I hated, girls who annoyed me, punishments I received, and my great concern over discovering my brothers were (GASP) smoking cigarettes! Despite being afraid my family would sneak a peek at my diary, I was pretty honest with the pages—if you can’t be honest with your diary, who can you be honest with?

As I organized my Writing Hut one day, I stumbled upon those childhood diaries. Browsing through the silly entries and outlandish illustrations, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be neat to base a series of YA books off of these? And to be as honest as these entries?”

Of course, I couldn’t do that. In late 2010, I was already slaving away on revisions for my Tales of Dominhydor series, editing my historical fiction Verses of Villainy, writing my novel PINS, and getting ready to oversee the production of my play Fools Call it Fate. Plus, after Dominhydor, I swore I’d never write a series again.

But once the title Darla Decker Hates to Wait popped into my head, I was doomed—or blessed, depending on the day. I was a huge Ramona Quimby fan when I was younger (I even have a Ramona Quimby diary!), but I wanted to raise the age and the edginess a bit. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t banish the idea to write a Judy Blume-esque series focusing on the frank nitty-gritty of growing up. That meant talking about French kissing, smoking, shoplifting, divorce, death, masturbation, and more, from the time Darla is eleven to when she graduates high school.

I tried to talk myself out of it, but Darla Decker quickly forced her way into my heart. In February 2011, I surrendered, and announced that I would write the series.

I’m afraid I’ll spoil you if I talk about too much, but rest assured, there’s lots of life on the horizon for Darla and her friends. I know basically where this series will go (and end), but if anything, these books have taught me to expect the unexpected. The first instance of that involved creating Darla’s circle of friends. I’d plotted out Darla Decker Hates to Wait to the fifth chapter before I began writing, believing a character named Nate Young would be Darla’s nemesis. Yet as I continued to weave the world of Shiloh Farms and Fairmount Middle School, Darla and Nate convinced me that they were meant to be friends. Best friends, even. That unexpected development led to one of the most enjoyable duos I’ve had the pleasure to write. Since I’m currently editing the third book Darla Decker Shakes the State, and writing the first chapter of the fourth, Darla Decker Plays it Straight, I can assure you that Darla and Nate only get more entertaining as the books go on.

Using my diaries and personal experiences, I’ve created an honest world in which Darla dwells. Not only are her thoughts and fears evident, an entire community functions in the background, from parents and teachers to classmates and neighbors. Writing a series as quickly as I’ve written the Darla Decker Diaries allowed me to immerse myself in this universe, in the hearts and minds of every character, no matter how small. I’ve felt their joys and sorrows, and honestly, it makes me wish I’d paid more attention to those background folks when I was Darla’s age. It’s a little painful, actually, because I have to be her age again as I write these books, and she doesn’t notice them any more than I did.

Ignorance is bliss—until it isn’t, and Darla will have her rude awakening, like most of us do as we grow up. Still, as protective as I am of my little Darla-ing, I must admit I’m also excited to run her through the pubescent wringer.

Darla Decker Hates to Wait by Jessica McHugh

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3D-DarlaDeckerHatesToWaitPatience is not Darla Decker’s strong suit. Surviving sixth grade is tough enough with an annoying older brother, a best friend acting distant, and schoolwork. After adding instructive kissing games and the torturous wait for a real date with her biggest crush, Darla is perpetually torn between behaving like an adult and throwing temper tantrums.

Games of flashlight tag, and the crazy cat lady roaming Shiloh Farms in a “demon bus,” serve as distractions during her parents’ quarrels and her anxiety about show choir auditions. Yet the more Darla waits for her adulthood to begin, the more she learns that summoning patience won’t be the hardest part of being eleven.

A frank and funny look at the path to adulthood, Darla Decker Hates to Wait begins a journey of love, loss, and the nitty-gritty of growing up through Darla Decker’s eyes.
 
 
 

Darla Decker Takes the Cake by Jessica McHugh

3D-DarlaDeckerTakesTheCakeComing December 1, 2014.

A week at Camp Wakonda is exactly what Darla Decker needs. Having said goodbye to sixth grade and her best childhood friend, she’s ready to create new memories and meet new people. Unfortunately, entering summer camp on a whopper of a lie and a fight with a fellow camper isn’t the best way to begin.

Aided by her schoolmate Nate, Darla navigates the twists and turns of life at summer camp while pretending to be Wakonda’s only “undercover counselor.” Despite the lies, older guys, bullies, and breakdowns, Darla discovers the truth about friendship through the mayhem and magic of camp.

A frank and funny look at the path to adulthood, “Darla Decker Takes the Cake” continues the journey of love, loss, and the nitty-gritty of growing up through Darla Decker’s eyes.

Evolved Publishing Releases 4 New Books June 2, 2014

It’s Launch Day!

It’s another one of those great days, when we bring new books into the world for your reading pleasure. In this case, this is the second of 2 book launches 2 weeks apart, a particularly fun time.

This time around, we have 2 children’s picture books for the tikes 3-8 years old, a young adult novel for readers 13 and older, and an epic fantasy for readers 15 and older. So we offer great stories across multiple genres. Check them out!

CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK (3-8 Years Old):

3D-SammyStealsTheShowSammy Steals the Show by
Emlyn Chand (Author) and Noelle Giffin (Illustrator)

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Sammy is a talented young cockatiel who loves to sing out of his open apartment window for all of Australia to hear. One day, he watches a reality singing competition with his human friend, Lisa, and knows that if he could just audition, he would surely win.

What follows is a masterful escape, an eventful journey to the Sydney Opera House, and an audition the crew of Sing Your Heart Out will never forget. Will Sammy take home the title of Australia’s next rising star, or will he find something more important along the way?

There’s only one way to find out: join Sammy in his humorous adventure of fame, friendship, and fun, in this edition of the color-illustrated Bird Brain Books series for children.

3D-ValentinaMaskedMummyValentina and the Masked Mummy by
Majanka Verstraete (Author) and Noelle Giffin (Illustrator)

COMING WITHIN A FEW DAYS….

When noises shake Valentina’s bedroom in the middle of the night, and her resident ghost, Jerry, hides under her bed, the little vampire girl tumbles into yet another adventure.

Eager to investigate the source of the uproar, she bumps into her brother Vlad in the hallway. He’s as clueless as she is, but at least he’s not as terrified of the noises as Jerry.

The trio follows the noise to the museum room, where they find an opened sarcophagus, and a mummy wearing a mask….

Valentina and the Masked Mummy is the third in this fun and exciting new series for kids. Be sure to check out Book 1, Valentina and the Haunted Mansion, and Book 2, Valentina and the Whackadoodle Witch, both of which are now available.

YOUNG ADULT – COMING OF AGE, GIRLS (13 and Older):

3D-DarlaDeckerHatesToWaitDarla Decker Hates to Wait by
Jessica McHugh

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Patience is not Darla Decker’s strong suit. Surviving sixth grade is tough enough with an annoying older brother, a best friend acting distant, and schoolwork. After adding instructive kissing games and the torturous wait for a real date with her biggest crush, Darla is perpetually torn between behaving like an adult and throwing temper tantrums.

Games of flashlight tag, and the crazy cat lady roaming Shiloh Farms in a “demon bus,” serve as distractions during her parents’ quarrels and her anxiety about show choir auditions. Yet the more Darla waits for her adulthood to begin, the more she learns that summoning patience won’t be the hardest part of being eleven.

A frank and funny look at the path to adulthood, Darla Decker Hates to Wait begins a journey of love, loss, and the nitty-gritty of growing up through Darla Decker’s eyes.

Watch for Book 2 in the Darla Decker Diaries series, Darla Decker Takes the Cake, coming in late 2014.

EPIC FANTASY (15 and Older):

3D-ShadowSwarmShadow Swarm by
D. Robert Pease

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Aberthol Nauile doesn’t know that he once led legions in a war that had raged since the dawn of time, against an enemy that could not be killed. He doesn’t know that he rode on a dragon with his father, or that his mother died while giving birth to him. He doesn’t know that he once saved his great, great, great grandfather by defeating the black enemy on the slopes of a volcano.

Aberthol doesn’t know that he beheld the creation of the world, as his grandfather eight generations before took the planet, ravaged by a war of the gods, and began anew.

All he knows is that he awoke in a coffin deep within a tomb, and now the whole world thinks he is their savior. All he really wants to know is his name, and why he keeps hearing voices in his head.

Be sure to check out D. Robert Pease’s Noah Zarc series of middle grade sci-fi adventures.