Friday, July 9, 2010

Great News!! Tor Buys The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove

I am really thrilled to announce that The Shadow Girl of Birch Grove, my young adult gothic, has been bought by Tor Books.  I really love this story and I'm so glad it will be published in hard cover, as well as paperback.

Here's a description:

Jane Williams has suffered personal tragedy and learned to survive by hiding in the shadows of life.  She thinks she will never escape the misery of her foster home when she's offered a full-scholarship at an elite academy.  The school even offers Jane a place of her own to live, the old groundskeeper's cottage in a dense grove of birch trees.

The very pale and very elegant headmistress, Mrs. Monroe, is especially kind and suggests that Jane earn spending money by tutoring her son, gorgeous Lucky.  A popular group of girls take Jane into their circle, and the challenging classes are all she could have hoped for.

It seems too good to be true.  It is.

I received a tremendous amount of support for this book from many of you.  Some read the free online manuscript and sent me comments, and others offered suggestions.  Many mentioned the book on their blogs, or Tweeted, or said something on Facebook.  A few terrific people passed along the book to their teenagers, whose opinions were especially appreciated.

A very special shout-out goes to Amanda at LoveVampires who read and loved the book, then created a cover design for it.  Amanda, you're all kinds of wonderful!  Those who reviewed the book helped -- from established and respected  reviewers like Patricia Altner to enthusiastic newbies, because the reviews were shared with my editor.

I also had a correspondent who helped me fix many typos in my free online read at Scribd (where it became the #1 Young Adult novel).  It was amazing to me that anyone would take the time to carefully read the manuscript and note the errors.  I didn't get around to fixing all of them, but thank you for your time and effort.

I feel very lucky to have help from all of you.  You kept me hopeful! 


In other news, I watched a bit of Moonlight last night.  I had tried to watch the first episode of the now cancelled show when it premiered.  I could not get into it.  Anyway, last night's show seemed much better.  The cast was at their ease, especially doing their American accents, and seemed more confident, flirty, sexy, dangerous.  I'll definitely start watching it.

E! Online says:
So why is the CW airing Moonlight now? I'm told that the decision was made in part to keep [Alex] O'Loughlin's fan base chugging along, in the hopes they'll follow him to the new Five-O this fall. (The CW and CBS are all one family, you know.) Plus, maybe you've heard, people kinda like vampires these days? So the ratings shouldn't be too shabby either, and will keep the TV audience busy.

Please save us from this.  The SyFy Channel (stuupid renaming of the Sci-Fi Channel) is remaking BBC's terrific and ongoing serie Being Human, about a werewolf, vampire, and ghost who are roommates.  Why, why, why?  The show is already seen here in the US.  It's already in English.  It's already got an amazing cast.  It's already way better than anything the SyFy Channel is going to do.

As proof, they've hired the least menacing bad guy in the history of menacing bad guys, the "Let's got to Ikea and then we'll have a Frappuccino while you admire my Dockers" yuppieish actor Mark Pellegrino.  I have nothing personally against this actor, although I wish he'd either shave or grow a beard, make a frickin decision.  My theory is that he's a really great, responsible, and nice actor and everyone loves to work with him, so he gets cast as an unconvincing Lucifer in Supernatural and an unconvincing eternal menace Jacob in Lost.

I think that Pellegrino should play the earnest, but occasionally misguided hunky boyfriend in some show.  I could see him as that.  I could see him as a really great, devoted teacher or a father of triplets (hilarity ensues!).  You should watch the original, smart, scary, funny, sexy, thrilling BBC version of  Being Human.  Rent the DVDs because BBC America chops out huge sections to shove in commercials.  (Yes, I've written to them about it.)  You can find out more about it at the show's website.


The original show and the one I like.

I'm kinda loving this song.

Annie, the ghost, is one of my favorite characters. I think she's lovely and heartbreaking.

Have a great weekend!


Maria Lima said...


Congrats on the sale.

Anna said...

Yah! Congrats Marta!

Missy said...

Congratulations! I'm so excited and cannot wait to get my hands on a hardbound copy!!

mountie9 said...

Congrats Marta! I'm super glad for you and cannot wait to buy a physical copy. I'm getting better with reading online or with my Kobo -- but I much prefer to have the book in hand. I loved this story and cannot wait to see it published. Keep us up to date with publication dates and stuff so that I can blog about it. I also love the cover that Amanda did!

Froggy said...

Thats awesome news Marta!! I am thrilled for you!!! Congrats!

Marta said...

Hi, everyone! I've been on the edge of my seat about this, and the deal was finalized this week, but I couldn't mention it until the announcement. Thanks for all your support! I'm especially excited that it will be my first hard cover book in English. (The Russian publisher of my Casa Dracula series puts them out in hard cover.)

Yes, Amanda designed a terrific cover in the desired black/blue scheme!

Taschima Cullen said...


RachaelfromNJ said...

I am SOOOOOOOOOOO happy for you!
I knew this book would sell! It's fantastic!! WOW! Awesome news Marta!!! CONGRATS!

Marta said...

Thanks, Taschima and Rachael! I'm really excited to have this at Tor, since they bid on my first two Casa Dracula books. While I love writing comedy, I'm equally happy writing something more somber.

Kristen Painter said...

Big congrats on your new sale to Tor! Awesomeness!

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...


And I can't believe they're remaking Being Human. I've only watched the first season, but I agree...the cast is fabulous! And it's already in why redo it? Though I have to admit, I'm a Smallville fan, so seeing that Sam Witwer (who played Davis in Season 8) will be in it will probably make me at least watch an episode or two. But I seriously doubt it will have anything on the original!

Nicole_Hadaway said...

ROCK ON MARTA!!!! That is awesome news about Shadow Girl, and from what I've seen about Tor, they are really picking up some great paranormal-themed books lately. WOHOOOO!!!

Totally with you on the Sci-Fi (whatever!) channel's remake of Being Human. Some things just shouldn't be messed with, especially since I'm an anglophile and adore their tv shows. Sci-Fi can make quality programming (Farscape, Warehouse 13), but really. Really?!

Marta said...

Hi, Kristen, thanks!

Hey, Nat, thank you. As for Being Human, the usual thing is for remade shows to be dumbed down for Americans. We are totally smart and we don't want dumbed down shows. Then they often hire British actors to put on American accents, and the actors are so focused on their speech that they come off as stiff and uncomfortable for a few episodes. Then the network cancels the show. And then they do it all over again.

tina werner said...

congratulations!!! such wonderful news!!!

Marta said...

Hi, Nicole, Tor has a great rep as a publisher of genre fiction, so I'm delighted. Do you like Warehouse 13? I tried to watch it, but it was awfully cutesy and I wondered if it was a children's show. I really liked their production of The Lost Room miniseries, though.

Thanks, Tina!

Derek Tatum said...

Congratulations on the sale!

MOONLIGHT ended just as it was hitting its stride. In one of the final episodes, St. John makes a knowingly snide comment about the emo scene that could have opened the character up more. I would have loved to have seen that aspect of his personality explored. We've seen "the reluctant vampire" character so many times, but how many times have we seen "musical elitist vampire?" And then the show ended.

Zita said...

Congratulations! How wonderful!! Well, the next time you are out and about, drop on by and we'll celebrate!

Marta said...

Thanks, Dr. Derek! It was ridiculous how much money was spent promoting that show and then it was just dropped without giving it a proper chance to develop.

Zita, aren't you in Canada? Okay, the next time I go to Canada, I'll look you up. We'll have a beer, go ice fishing, and chat about international relations...and vampires!

Cora said...

Congratulations on the sale!

I love Being Human, too, and don't see the sense of that or any other US remake of a British show. Most of them fail in less than a season anyway. See what happened to Life on Mars and Coupling.

Karen W. said...

Congratulations, Marta! Woo hoo! I'm really happy for you about the sale!

I'm glad you enjoyed the episode of "Moonlight" you watched. The series definitely got MUCH better after the first few episodes, and there's great chemistry between Mick and Beth. It's not so hard watching Alex O'Laughlin either! :)

Dot S. said...

Congratulations on your book deal! Not surprised one bit.

wiliqueen said...

Congratulations on the Birch Grove pickup! That's such fantastic news!

I'm doing my best to reserve judgment on the BH remake, only because (a) the original isn't going anywhere (I have to remind myself of that one firmly sometimes!), and (b) what little we've heard from TPTB indicates that they're committed to making their own show rather than a pale rehash. If they really do that, the premise is flexible enough to do that. The key thing that sets BH apart is the way it focuses on this little chosen family, and leaves the world-saving and apocalypse-of-the-week to its bigger-canvas cousins. That can be done in Boston as well as in Bristol; it's just a matter of whether it will.

I've never seen Pellegrino in anything, so I have no opinion there, though I did wince a bit at the sound-bite description of his character as "charismatic." There's such incredible storytelling value in the way Herrick seems so ordinary in and of himself, all the while pulling the strings to exploit the talents of others, notably the way he used Mitchell as a people magnet and trained him to be a walking propaganda machine. If this Bishop is supposed to have that magnetism of his own, it takes us back to the dynamic of Adrian Lester's Herrick from the pilot, which is the much more commonplace take on the vampire leader.

But this is pretty much all speculation on my part, and I[m not doing a very good job of sitting on my hands about it, am I? *sheepish g*

I hadn't seen that Annie vid before -- nice one! I have one in the works for her...

Kimberly Swan said...

Wonderful news Marta...big congrats!! :)

Book Sp(l)ot said...

ooh! congratulations!!! It sounds like a fantastic book, too :D I can't wait for there to be another book from you :) I love the cover, too. Congratulations on having a YA coming out (and a hardcover)!

I need to keep up with my Google Reader so I don't miss things like this.

(oh and I still think of SyFy as Jiffy Peanut Butter but with an 'S')

Anna D said...

Congrats on the book deal! Is the cover going to be the same or will that change?

Marta said...

Hi, all!

Cora, I really couldn't understand the Life on Mars remake: an American version of the English show with an Irish actor putting on an American actor and Harvey Keitel chewing up the scenery. Besides, I love Philip Glenister.

Karen, I was surprised at how much more I liked the show when I saw it again.

Kimberly, Dot, and Booksplot, thanks!

Wiliqueen, TPTB usually screw things up. As for Pellegrino, he is the opposite of charismatic. He's laid back and utterly contemporary, which is why he doesn't work as someone timeless and powerful. Hope you'll share your Annie vid! I love her.

Hi, Anna, yes, the cover will change and it's possible the title will change, too. You never know what you'll get once, but Tor is a great publisher so I'm very hopeful.

Shell said...

Congrats on your book being picked up by Tor. I really enjoyed reading it and can't wait to see it all shiny and new in bookstores.
I watched two episodes of Being Human which I dig...all I can do i shudder at an american remake of the show.

love said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sai said...

Hi, Anna, yes, the cover will change and it's possible the title will change, too. You never know what you'll get once, but Tor is a great publisher so I'm very hopeful.

Marta said...

Hi, Sai, I've got my new cover design in the sidebar now. The title is now Dark Companion, and I'm thrilled to be with Tor. They do a great job with books and I love working with my editor.

VillageTalent Network said...

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