Monthly Archives: November 2013

NaNoWriMo Finish Line

Posted by November 30th, 2013

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo 2013! We’re so proud of each of you! Whether you finished all 50,000 words or only got a couple of chapters down, we’re happy that you made time for writing this month.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Congratulations to NaNoWriMo 2013 participants and finishers.

Book Country sponsored NaNoWriMo because our missions align — we both work to support writers. If you’ve joined us recently, welcome to Book Country! We’re looking forward to reading your manuscript and helping you on your journey as a writer. Check out our tips on how to use Book Country.

As you start to revise and publish your NaNoWriMo novels in the upcoming months, please tell us! We want to showcase NaNoWrimo books and feature them on Book Country. Email us once you’ve uploaded it and tell us the title.

As most of you know, our very own Community & Engagement Manager, Lucy Silag, participated in NaNoWriMo. She’s been writing about her experience on the Penguin USA blog. I’ve really loved hearing about how she balanced a full day job with huge writing goals.

I also found the conversations on the discussion boards inspiring, especially the daily check-ins. Stay tuned! We’re creating an “I Wrote A Novel, Now What?” forum to keep the conversation going, as well as lots of tips from publishing experts on what to do as your manuscript takes shape from a very fast first draft to a polished novel ready for publication.

As you think about publication, I encourage you to consider Book Country if you’re self-publishing. In addition to the support of this community, we also have some special offers just for NaNoWriMo participants.

To celebrate 30 days of hard work, take 30% off Book Country’s Landmark publishing package through December 31, 2013 with code NANO. We’ll also feature all novels in the bookstore.

And here’s one for the winners only:

To celebrate your achievement, we want to help spread the word on your book. BookStubs are like gift cards for your eBook – give them out to reviewers, bloggers, and fans to get your eBook into the physical world. Order BookStubs a la carte or through Book Country publishing packages and we’ll double your order through December 31, 2013.  (And, yes, of course you can redeem this offer alongside your 30% discount on the Landmark package for being a NaNoWriMo participant. Great job!)

If you’ve met a writer who just finished NaNoWriMo and who isn’t a Book Country member yet, invite them to join us. We’d love to share our writing and publishing community with them. And give them a hug. Or a drink. Or both. They deserve it. Congratulations to all of the Wrimos! The whole Book Country team is really proud of you.

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Thanksgiving 2013: Why We’re Grateful

Posted by November 27th, 2013

thanksgiving card final

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WILD CARD Author Jamie Wyman Gives Writer Thanks

Posted by November 26th, 2013

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Today we’re celebrating Book Country writer Jamie Wyman, whose debut book, WILD CARD, was released from Entangled Publishing yesterday. We are *so* excited that yet another manuscript workshopped on Book Country has found a home. 

We’ve given Jamie the spotlight and a chance to give thanks to the people who’ve helped her through her journey to publication. Take it away, Jamie! ~NG

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It’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about. We’re all toting our Pumpkin Spice everythings over rivers and through the woods. The balloons are getting inflated for the Macy’s parade, and people are griping that it’s still too early for Christmas carols. And as the weather turns chilly, we take a moment or two to turn our thoughts inward and count our blessings. It’s a time to give thanks.

This year I have much to be thankful for. You see, the Book Country project formerly known as “Technical Difficulties” is a real book called WILD CARD. Yesterday I officially released my debut novel into the wild.

While the book itself is two years in the making, this release has been a longer time coming. And now that this day is here, I feel a bit like Pinocchio. This must be what it’s like to live without strings, to be a “real author”. It’s surreal, to be sure. And there’s no small amount of terror that people will hate the book, or that I won’t be able to live up to deadlines, expectations and such as I move forward into a full on writing career. But above all else, there is gratitude.

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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Mimi Speike

Posted by November 25th, 2013

mimi_speikeToday we have one of our most seasoned Book Country members, Mimi Speike, as our guest. We caught her at an opportune time–as she’s making final revisions to her historical fantasy series and is preparing to launch them into the world. 

NG: When did you fall in love with writing?

MS: I wrote in school, of course. I didn’t start writing for my own pleasure until around 1984. An idea got hold of me and wouldn’t let go. I’d always read. I began to examine style, particularly that thing called flow. I started writing Sly! and fell so in love with the somersaults that you can turn with well-chosen words that I’m still at it. This is the greatest game there is.

NG: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about yourself as a writer? What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?

MS: I’ve learned to follow my gut. Screw rules. My Intrusive Author style is universally despised, apparently. But, that’s my voice. I’m sticking with it.

Biggest challenge? The one we all face: self-doubt. Once in a while, I manage to subdue debilitating insecurity, only to be seized by its equally evil twin, unabashed arrogance, no improvement in terms of objectivity. I don’t think in terms of overcoming. I try to balance the Jekyll and Hyde of my authorial personality, and let it go at that.

NG: How did you go about cultivating your writing style, and what role humor plays in the SLY series?

MS: I admire nineteenth/early twentieth-century lush description. I try to emulate it. That whole out-of-fashion scene-setting really turns me on. I also adore exceptional grace of phrasing; I think of it as a musicality. I scour the classics for vocabulary, sea terms in particular. I have a pirate episode in Sly! What do I know of the sea? Nada! Two Years Before The Mast, set two hundred years after my period, furnished information on shipboard routine. That has to do, until I lay hands on more timely material.

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Keep kids creatively occupied with Book Country coloring sheets while you are writing this holiday season!

Posted by November 22nd, 2013

Book Country Coloring Sheets Image

The holiday season is almost upon us!

If you are anything like me, your writing schedule gets totally thrown during the holiday season. Between cooking, shopping for and wrapping presents, entertaining houseguests, and going to parties, my word count stalls at the end of the year. I know that for writers who are also parents, this time of year is even trickier because kids are out of school and in need of entertainment and care.

That’s what gave me the idea of Book Country coloring sheets. If you’re hanging out with kids this holiday season, grab some crayons, markers, or colored pencils, and download and print Book Country genre flags for them to color in while you write. They’ll learn a little about literary genres, and you’ll be able to steal a few minutes to work on your WIP.

Here we offer six kid-friendly Genre Flags, ready to be colored in:

As you can see from our examples above, coloring is not just for kids! We took a breather at lunchtime this week to color in Genre Flags ourselves. We highly recommend coloring as an activity for relaxing and recharging during this busy time of year!

Check out this picture of Nevena coloring–relaxed indeed!

Book Country coordinator Nevena Georgieva colors a Book Country Genre Flag

Share the fruits of your artistic labor with us by tweeting photos to @BookCountry and tagging Instagrams with @BookCountryOfficial. We can’t wait to see how you bring these Genre Flags to life!

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Behind the Scenes of a Literary Dystopia with Chang-rae Lee, Author of ON SUCH A FULL SEA

Posted by November 21st, 2013

 Chang-rae Lee (c) Annika LeeAward-winning Riverhead Books author Chang-rae Lee took the time to answer a few behind-the-scenes question for us about his new literary dystopia, ON SUCH A FULL SEA, which comes out in January 2014.

Lucy: The titles of your books (NATIVE SPEAKER, THE SURRENDERED, ALOFT) are easy to remember, but also poetic, evocative. Tell us how you choose titles in general, and how this title was chosen.

Chang-rae Lee: Choosing a title is rarely easy. I start thinking about possible titles early on in the writing, testing out candidates as I go along, for meaning and a certain ‘music’ – both have to feel right. ON SUCH A FULL SEA was especially difficult, and came quite late in the process. I happened to be reading JULIUS CAESAR by Shakespeare and came across the phrase in a famous quote by Brutus, in which he advocates via metaphor the seizing of an opportunity. I simply liked the ring of it, too, immediately picturing my heroine on the ‘tide’ of her adventure, and so leaped on it. Continue reading

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How to Fill Out Your Book Country Profile

Posted by November 20th, 2013

Book Country members are writers who come from all corners of the globe and all walks of life. They write in over sixty literary categories. Some are writing series of epic novels; others are perfecting each word of a short story. Lots of us are new to writing; on the other hand, many members draw from years of writing experience.

I also know that, like me, niclf loves JANE EYRE, and I know that she’s a Brit teaching English abroad. I know that DCLabs (hailing from Canada) works in IT and loves Fantasy and Historical Romance. I know Leonardo Ramirez is the author of Young Adult Steampunk and Science Fiction novels who’s favorite books are THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS and STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND. Angela Donnell, whose book SYZYGY is an Editor’s Pick this month on Book Country, is a graphic artist who is learning Japanese.

How do I know so much about our members?

Because they’ve filled out their Book Country profile! And so should you.

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Win Margaret Atwood’s Postapocalyptic Trilogy!

Posted by November 19th, 2013

maddaddam_sweepstakes_image_finalThis week we’re celebrating dystopian and postapocalyptic fiction, and we knew we had to talk about one of the genre’s biggest names: Margaret Atwood.

I first encountered Atwood’s work in a college class called “Post-collapse and Postapocalyptic fiction.” Out of the eight books assigned in the course, three were Atwood’s! While that reflects my professor’s utter devotion to her writing, it’s also a testament to the vast array of issues and themes that she explores in her body of work — no single novel could tell the full story of her contribution to the dystopian/postapocalyptic fiction genre.

The MaddAddam trilogy, which just came to an end a few months ago with MADDADDAM, shows how man-made environmental cataclysms can cause unimaginable devastation and wipe out the social order as we know it. With her brilliant cautionary tales, Atwood imagines what could be if present social and environmental problems spiraled out of control, unattended. This is postapocalyptic writers’ hardest task — acting as our internal barometers.

Thanks to our colleagues at Doubleday Publishing, we can give a copy of Margaret Atwood’s entire MaddAddam trilogy to one lucky Book Country member!

To enter our sweepstakes, tweet your Book Country username to us @BookCountry on Twitter. Use the hashtag #winbookcountry so we can see your entry. We’ll draw a winner at random.

Here’s the Sweepstakes’ official page, where you can read the full rules.

Good luck and happy (postapocalyptic) writing!

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Member Spotlight: Meet Horror Writer Nikki Hopeman

Posted by November 18th, 2013

Today we’re joined by Book Country member Nikki Hopeman, who has wonderful news to share with the community: her debut horror novel HABEAS CORPSE was just released from Blood Bound Books.

Nikki has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hall University, and has worked as a “mad scientist” at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products laboratory–two talents that have undoubtedly helped her with her first zombie novel!

Here we’re talking about her the publication process and her fascination with dark fiction and zombies. ~NG

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Your debut novel HABEAS CORPSE just came out–congratulations! Will you tell us more about your book’s journey: from the muse descending upon you to the book capturing the attention of Blood Bound Books?

The roots of HABEAS CORPSE formed during a graduate school class when I read Richard Matheson’s short story, “The Funeral.” In Matheson’s story, we meet a vampire who is disappointed he’ll never have a funeral, so he throws his own and invites an interesting mix of supernatural friends. Chaos quickly ensues. I’d just finished reading Jeff Lindsay’s DEXTER series, and the two worlds collided. I initially wrote a short story about an entirely supernatural forensics squad, but a friend told me I had the makings of a novel. After a few false starts, I realized the best character from the story was the evidence-eating zombie, so I kept him and made everyone else human. I finished the first full draft and approached RJ Cavender and the editorial department to help me polish the manuscript. When we finished, he acquired the novel for Blood Bound Books. It was really fast, and my head might still be spinning. Continue reading

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Plotting a YA Dystopian Series: Use the Title & the Cover to Your Advantage

Posted by November 15th, 2013

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YA dystopian books sure have been on my mind lately. As I’m waiting for the CATCHING FIRE movie to come out and I’m reading through the last installment of the DIVERGENT series, I can’t help but wonder about the secret ingredients of a successful YA dystopian series.

What you need, of course, is a great story. The stakes in the genre are higher by default, because of the overwhelming menace of the totalitarian dystopian society. In that sense, YA dystopian books are like regular YA on steroids: the protagonist needs to overcome tremendous hurdles and dangers, and often experiences the death of a loved one. The possibility of discovery–and punishment–by the big-brother government overshadows our character’s journey through the book and keeps us on our toes. 

And one of the best ways to reach out to your audience and give them a taste of the series is to come up with a great title and cover design!

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