Monthly Archives: June 2013

New Book Country Now Live!

Posted by June 24th, 2013

Great news! We’re live in public beta.

Book Country is the best online writing and publishing community.We changed the navigation so you can easily find what you want. You’ll see four main sections of the site: Read & Review, Connect, Learn, and Publish.

We brought over your books, reviews, connections, and profile so all you have to do is click the login button at the top of the screen. The first time you login, we’ll ask you to enter a new password. This is part of the integration process.

When you login, you’ll see that there are a lot of new features. We created an intro video to show you what’s new.

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The Young Adult Fiction Flag

Posted by June 21st, 2013

Welcome to Book Country, Young Adult fiction writers!

Young Adult Writing FlagWe wanted to expand Book Country to include young adult writers. There are quite a few of you on the site already – and we love your work – and wanted to give you a place to connect with each other and workshop your books.

Young adult books are oftentimes emotionally wrenching journeys for the reader. The protagonist straddles the divide between childhood and adulthood, gingerly making his or her way into the world.

Young adult books help teens weather that transition, but they also let adults revisit the stormy, exciting time of their high school years. These stories are not watered down versions of adult books but stand on their own as works of adventure and art.

Young adult writers, this flag is the banner under which you can gather your troops and spread your writerly wings on Book Country. Upload your book on Book Country now.



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Setting the Scene

Posted by June 19th, 2013

Award-winning horror author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro lets us glimpse into her writing process.

The latest title in the Saint-Germain series.

As I discuss in Fine-Tuning Fiction, it is part of a story’s structure to hook the reader early and keep the reader involved in the tale as long as possible. This is what the “Presence” does, the establishment of the what-where-when-ness of it all, so that the whos in it may be reinforced by their environment. Usually this needs to be accomplished in the first paragraph of the story or chapter—which is a discreet unit within a larger story—there by shock, or by seduction. It can also help you avoid the dreaded Expostulatory Lump by giving needed information up front as part of setting the scene.

This is the opening paragraph of Part III, Chapter 1 of my current writing project, the 27th Saint-Germain book, Sustenance. [Story-text in italics, my commentary in bold.]

A light spring mizzle was falling, looking like a dusting of minute diamonds in the shine of the streetlamp.This tells the reader that it’s a misty night in mid-May.Across the Seine and a short way ahead of them, the Louvre appeared to be a painted backdrop, its image flattened by mist and the night. In Paris.There was almost no wind on this cool, late evening, though the damp was adding a chill to the air; sidewalks and streets shone black, and the river glinted silver where the spill of lamplight struck it; a barge headed upriver was leaving a frothy, spangled wake behind.The night is cool. The river is beautiful but also a bit threatening.It was almost midnight and the streets were nearly empty of traffic; only the two-toned whoop of an ambulance a block away gave any reminder that this was a large, active city, not a forgotten, abandoned relic of a metropolis. It is 1950 and there are still reminders of World War II around Paris.

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Meet Shannon LC Cate

Posted by June 17th, 2013

Book Country Member Spotlight Q&A

I feel a responsibility to tell the truth as I experience it. –Shannon LC Cate.

Book Country writer Shannon LC Cate talks about her upcoming book and her writing process.

Shannon LC Cate

We’re happy to welcome Book Country writer Shannon LC Cate to the blog. Shannon’s debut novel, Jack, is forthcoming from Musa Publishing in September 2013. She’s also been writing about family, parenting, politics and religion since 2000. We sat down to talk about Book Country, the writing process, and getting published.

Nevena: Congratulations on selling Jack to Musa Publishing! Can you take me through the publishing deal? 

Shannon: I had submitted Jack to a handful of literary agents. (I workshopped my query here at Book Country.) Three requested the manuscript in full and one of those wanted a revise and resubmit. I did the revision but still got a final “no thanks.”

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Revealing the Science Fiction Flag

Posted by June 14th, 2013

Presenting the Science Fiction Flag!

ScienceFiction_ScifiOnce a writer chooses a genre on the map, it becomes a home. Science fiction writers, we wanted to give you a home that captures the immensity of the art that you create!

Science fiction seeks answers. It’s entrusted with the important function of imagining the future.

In some cases, it warns us about what might come to pass, projecting how human choice entwined with new technology could define—and possibly destroy—the world as we know it. It demands that we take into consideration ethical questions and issues to ensure that we preserve our humanity. Sci fi books serve a great purpose. Continue reading

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Writing Mystery with Linda Rodriguez

Posted by June 13th, 2013

Every Broken Trust

“No one can be a really good writer without reading. A lot.” ~Linda Rodriguez

“No one can be a really good writer without reading. A lot.” ~Linda Rodriguez

We are thrilled to welcome mystery novelist Linda Rodriguez to Book Country. Linda’s second novel, Every Broken Trust (St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books), just hit the shelves with one reviewer calling it “one of the best traditional mysteries I’ve read this year.” Her first novel, Every Last Secret, won the Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery Novel Competition, which got her a publishing deal. We’re talking with her about her mystery novels and writing success.

Nevena: Thanks for chatting with us, Linda. Congratulations on the publication of Every Broken Trust! How did the adventures of Skeet, your college campus police chief, come to you?

Linda: I had spent years as the director of a campus women’s center, and I had occasion to work with the campus police, so I knew that most colleges have real police forces. I wanted to make Skeet a campus police chief with a big-city homicide division background. As I explored her character to discover why she would have left the Kansas City Police Department for a campus force, her irascible father and possessive ex-husband sprang into life. The further I went into Skeet’s character, the more this world and these people came to life around me. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Marshall Maresca

Posted by June 10th, 2013

Science fiction and fantasy have always captured my imagination—they offer endless possibilities.

Marshall Maresca is a Book Country member from Austin who primarily writes city-based traditional fantasy—a place where urban, epic, and traditional fantasy stories coalesce. On his blog, he lets readers look under the hood and see maps from his fantasy worlds. For the member spotlight, we chat with Marshall about his books, fantasy worldbuilding, and writing villains. 

Nevena: Thanks for joining us. Let’s get to brass tacks: when did you start writing and what inspires you to carry on?

Marshall: I was dabbling for quite a while, more talking about what I wanted to write instead of actually writing it. In 2007, though, I went through a bit of a crisis of vocation—I had been saying I wanted to be a writer, but what was I really doing about it? So that’s when I put my nose to the grindstone to really get projects done. And, now, with three novels out shopping with my agent, and a fourth about to go out, I’ve come too far to give up! Continue reading

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Getting Paranormal with Elisabeth Staab

Posted by June 6th, 2013


ElisabethStaab_bc“It’s about taking what’s commonly accepted and familiar, then finding the tweaks that make it yours.”

I’m excited to welcome paranormal romance author Elisabeth Staab to the blog. Elisabeth is the author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Yavn series. (You’ll love her books if you are a fan of J.R. Ward!) She sat down to talk with us about writing and reading paranormal, vampires, and the secret sauce to creating steamy love scenes. 

Nevena: Thanks you so much for joining us, Elisabeth! Why do you write paranormal romance?

Elisabeth: Thanks so much for having me!

I fell in love with vampires way back during hair braiding and Cheetos munching sessions at a slumber party, when I first saw Michael kiss Star inThe Lost Boys. I point to that as my big moment growing up when I realized that these otherworldly creatures could be something more than just horror monsters. In general, the whole “unexplained phenomena” business always rang my bell. I was the one who told ghost stories and pulled out the Ouija board at parties. So many of us thrive on that mystery, I think. The “what if” factor. What if the leather-clad biker gassing up his crotch-rocket across from you at the Shell station is really a vampire on his way out to fight the bad guys who are threatening his turf? You never know.

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Flights of Fantasy

Posted by June 5th, 2013

A Taste of Book Country 2.0

Here comes the new Book Country fantasy flag!


In the Acacia fantasy series I’m reading now, the heroine, the warrior Mena, flies on her winged creature Elya to achieve new heights, find new worlds in the blue empyrean. Elya is her friend, protector, and healer. She helps her fulfill her destiny.

Fantasy writers, we want to give you a dragon upon whose wings your fancy can fly while writing! With the help of whom you can reach out for your destiny.

Fantasy books are a place of refuge and reimagining. They are not bound by reality, but contain within them thousand of worlds and creatures; they house within their pages thousands of possibilities and dreams. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Alexandria Brim

Posted by June 3rd, 2013

Book Country Member Spotlight Q&A

“When I was younger, I’d read about history and feel as if it always happened somewhere else.”


Alexandria Brim is a historical fiction writer from Staten Island. She combines her love for history and fiction into one with her writing. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) as well as Hearts Through History, a subgroup devoted to those who write historical romances. She also joined the Summer Writer’s Club challenge. 



Nevena: Welcome to the spotlight, Alexandria. Why do you write?

Alexandria: And we start with a philosophical question! Just kidding. I tell people it’s a compulsion because it really is. Twitchy fingers urging to hold a pen or fly across a keyboard, stories pouring forth. Characters to create, worlds to build, plots to agonize over. It’s fun, it’s frustrating, but in the end, it’s what I do.

Nevena: I love your writer’s manifesto! But how do you fit writing into your life?

: I try to fit it in whenever I can, usually late at night—thank goodness for insomnia. When I’m busy, I sometimes carry a notebook with me. Last year at AnimeNext, a convention dedicated to all things anime and manga, I spent some time sitting on the floor writing while a few friends made some purchases. My friends and I had cosplayed, so people wanted pictures. Thankfully, I had dressed as a child character, so no one cared that I took pictures on my knees. This way I could keep writing until the last possible moment, and then resume the minute they walked away. Continue reading

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