Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Reading in Colorado Springs

For those of you who are in Colorado Springs, or who have friends or family in Colorado Springs: I'll be doing a reading/book signing there on Saturday, August 4th from 5-7pm.  I'll have books available for purchase, too.  Please help me spread the word!

 Click on the image to see it larger.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A new review :)

5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet story with an informative twist!, July 20, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Secrets of a Summer Village (Paperback)
This book was very nicely written and you start to get into the characters' lives and their growing relationships. It is about an American exchange student who travels to Turkey for the summer and the evolvement of her relationships in Turkey as well as back home.

It is very clean but still interesting so safe for a younger teen to read without worrying about language and overt sexual descriptions. I enjoyed that, without knowing it, you learned a lot about the Turkish culture and way of life as well.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Promotional Poster Part Deux

I can create book covers, but I am not too talented in the computer graphics department.  Thus, my lovely husband created a much nicer promotional poster for me:

I like the way it keeps the theme of the cover art without everything being in all the same places.  Like.

How I created the cover of Secrets of a Summer Village

Creating the lettering is the hardest part

The good thing about quilling is that you can move the pieces around on the page until they look right.

Front cover, finished but not glued
back cover quilled image
The cover of Secrets of a Summer Village was made using colorful strips of paper and glue in a technique called quilling.  The technique is very old, we could even say ancient, but as of late has been rising in popularity.  If you're interested in doing some quillwork yourself, there are lots of sites that talk about it, but I found this blog entry about quilling letters very useful: http://miyyahatkertas.blogspot.de/2012/07/tips-quilling-typography.html.  Another blog that has paper art techniques in general, and includes both quilling and other techniques, is: http://www.allthingspaper.net.  Enjoy!

I made a promotional poster for my book.  It's not fancy schmanzy because I am not a graphic designer.  But it'll have to do, and I think it's attractive enough because the book cover apparently attracts attention.  At least that's what I've been told.  But it matters less what I think than what you think... what do you all think?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Indy Bookstores, a guest blog, and book 2

The other day, I decided to start calling independent bookstores to see if they'd carry my book.  I started in Olympia, Washington, the hometown of the protagonist of Secrets of a Summer Village.  There are three indy bookstores there.  The first one, Last Word Books, said they'd love to take some copies on commission.  It was totally easy and they were incredibly friendly.  I love Olympia, and thank you Last Word Books.  The second one, which I often frequented while in Olympia, Fireside Books, said they would have loved to, but they're closing in a month :(  Sad.  The third one, Orca Books, shocked me when I introduced myself.

"We already have a copy of your book - Secrets of a Summer Village, right?" 

I was floored.  Long story short, I found out that a friend and former colleague of mine asked them about my book, and I guess suggested that they carry it.  So they did.  As easy as that.  So if any of you have local independent bookstores you frequent, please ask them if they'd be interested in carrying my book! It works, apparently.  Have they sold my book?  No.  But they needed a little promotional data - some quotes from reviews recommending it.  I sent those along, and hope that they are able to sell the book. 

In further news, a guest blog I wrote was featured today.  Please check it out: http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/guest-post-what-kind-of-writer-do-i-want-to-be-by-saskia-akyil/

Finally, book 2 is coming along.  I have about 2,000 words written.  Next to nothing, I know, but it's flowing easily, and I'm very happy with it.  If you need some perspective, I'm aiming for around 60,000 words for this one.  Secrets of a Summer Village is around 90,000 words.  So, 2000 down, 58,000 to go.  It sounds daunting, but it's not that bad at this rate - it's taken me two days to get the 2,000 words, and I haven't been working that diligently on it.  Now, let's see how much I can write in the next half hour..... MY personal key to writing is writing in very short spurts... because sometimes that's all I have :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Flamingnet Reviews

There is a fabulous book review website out there in Cyberspace, called Flamingnet.  I think its name is unfortunate, both because it's hard to pronounce and because the name doesn't give anyone a clue what kind of a site it is.  Even so, it has been found.  New books are offered for review on Flamingnet to reviewers - who are adolescents!  I honestly care what adolescents think of my book because I wrote it for them.  Yes, adults seem to really like it, too, but they are my secondary intended audience.  My primary intended audience is aged 12-18.

Here's how it works: a book is offered to Flamingnet for review (they prefer electronic copies, but paper will do).  Then, if a reviewer picks it, reads it, and writes a review, the review is posted.  But it's not as simple as that.  It's also a learning experience for the teen readers, because they are given guidance by adult volunteers as to how to write a review.  It's a wonderful program, something I would have loved to have been a part of as a young reader.

I submitted my book for review by Flamingnet at least nine months ago, and I was a little bit saddened to think that it hadn't been picked.  Actually, I was more than a little bit sad.  Because I want young adults to pick my book.  I wondered what they didn't like about it.  I wondered if the cover wasn't "sexy" enough to compete with attractive vampires and dystopian universes.  And then, when I had all but given up, I got an e-mail from Flamingnet that my book had gotten reviewed!  Not only that, but it got seven out of ten stars, and a smiley face.  Here's their content rating criteria:

 This smiley face stands for general readers, for any age. Our reviewers feel that these books are appropriate for the age level for which they have been written. Books with this designation were judged to contain nothing that would be considered offensive. These books are generally absent of violence, sex, drugs, swearing, and crude comments. The vast majority of books listed on Flamingnet are of this type. Assume that a book on our site has this designation if it does not have one of the next three content ratings.

 A smiley angel rating means that this book is faith-based and the story or content is written from a religious perspective. These books often stress morals and integrity, along with their message about the importance of faith and worship.

 A surprised smiley face rating means that we recommend adult guidance when considering this book. These books may contain some profanity, sexual comments, and can also deal with the issue of drugs and alcohol. Parents, teachers, and librarians may want to read these books before recommending them to a student.

 Books with this smiley face rating are suggested for mature readers only, and contain material that is deemed unsuitable for children to young teens. These books can contain sexual situations, extreme profanity, and extreme violence. 

I was thrilled to receive a smiley face. That's the kinda book I want to be writing.

And now, the review:


Flamingnet Student Book Reviewer  AScho
When 17-year-old Rachel Guo learns of an opportunity to spend the summer abroad in Turkey, the opportunity seems almost too good to pass up. She anxiously wonders if she will like her host family and whether she can assimilate to a completely different religion and culture. When Rachel meets her host family, especially her host sister Aylin, her fears are put to rest and she begins to experience a life very different to her own in Washington. As Rachel grows closer to Aylin, she discovers that despite a few differences in culture, the two teenagers are very much the same. As the summer progresses, Rachel finds new experiences, especially in her blossoming romance and Turkey s exciting culture.
Secrets of a Summer Village, a novel by Saskia Akyil, is a culturally rich tale that weaves American and Turkish traditions with love and friendship. I found the book to be engaging as well as enlightening, and I learned about Turkish customs, from reading coffee grounds to the many sayings for good luck. The plot held my attention at first, but could have been more engaging and tended to be slightly repetitive as the action progressed. I enjoyed learning about Turkey, and I could also easily relate to the two main characters. Overall, I would recommend this book to teenage girls interested in becoming more culturally aware, as well as anyone looking for a unique summer read.
Reviewer Age:16
Reviewer City, State and Country: Bayside, WI USA

Here's a direct link to the review on Flamingnet: http://www.flamingnet.com/bookreviews/newreviews/newbookreview.cfm?title=Secrets%20of%20a%20Summer%20Village%20(eBook)

Thanks, Flamingnet reviewer!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Good things happen when you're out of town

I went away for a week, and lots of nice things happened while I was away!  For one thing, I didn't spend much energy thinking or worrying about Secrets of a Summer Village, its sequel, or my other book.  And while I was busy not worrying, there was some minor action:

1. I was a guest poster at a very beautiful expat website: http://www.zurika.com/2012/06/guest-post-so-want-expat-writer.html.  

2. My book was reviewed by a very nice reader who won my book through the Goodreads giveaway.  I believe she's a librarian.  

Secrets of a Summer Village is a perfect summer read for middle school age youth and older. It tells the coming-of-age story of 17-year-old Rachel who ventures abroad to Turkey from her home in Washington state. Rachel lives for one month with her Turkish host family. There she has a 17-year-old "sister" named Aylen and an older "sister," Leyla. The family has moved to their summer home on the sea for their vacation. Most of the action during the story takes place in this summer village. 

The characters bond almost immediatelty and Rachel finds herself feeling like she has been in Turkey much longer than a few days. While there Rachel meets a boy, falls in love, and experiences jealousy in her interactions with other girls. She goes through the brief courtship of the older sister, Leyla, and stays in Turkey longer than the original month in order to take part in Leyla's wedding. 

Both Rachel and the reader learn much about modern family life in Turkey and many of it's customs. The author is able to insert all these facts into the book in a way that is natural and that doesn't detract from the story line.The story itself is told in a more simplistic style, using language that reflects the unsophisticated characters of both Rachel and Aylen. The fact that there is no profanity used and that there is only the mention of physical attraction rather than overt sexual references, makes the book more approachable by readers in the middle school age range. However, older readers might just find the book a refreshing change from other young adult novels being written today.

I enjoyed this book and felt that I learned a lot about Turkey and its way of life. I recommend the story to readers age 11 and up.

(In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.)

She posted the review on Amazon, too, and gave the book 4 stars :) (note: she spelled the charatcter Aylin's name wrong. But I forgive her fully.)

I've got some more guest posts coming up soon, and will keep you all posted.  

In other news, I've had more rejections of my children's books.  But I have not given up.   I just read our children the stupidest bedtime story last night.  And it was published. It's about underwear.  Sadly, they liked it.  But my books are better. I think. 

I've made zero progress on my audiobook, but will work on that furiously for the next few weeks.  My goal is to have the audiobook 100% done in two weeks, and the editing done before July 25th.  Better get working.....