Monthly Archives: August 2014

Noelle Pierce: Feedback on REACHING FOR THE MOON

Posted by August 29th, 2014

Noelle PierceNoelle Pierce, who’s been an active Book Country member since it’s beta-days, won a one-on-one manuscript feedback session at RT14. We chatted at the convention about her Regency Romance REACHING FOR THE MOON, which began as a NaNoWriMo Project.

I love the premise of this novel: Lady Anne Marwood is to marry Thomas Oakes, a noted ladies’ man with far less noble birth. Thomas and Anne were once friendly acquaintances–in fact, in another novel by Noelle, set in the same world, the two of them conspired to make a match between each of their best friends. But due to an embarrassing incident at a ball, they’re now engaged, however extremely wary of one another. Thomas doesn’t believe he’s good enough to marry Anne, and Anne believes Thomas feels she’s trapped him–and now hates her. Additionally, strong-willed Anne is completely horrified at the prospect of her husband having mistresses, common to men of the era. Continue reading

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David Busis: What PREP Means To Me as a Writer

Posted by August 28th, 2014

Labor Day weekend always reminds me of one of my favorite books, PREP, by Curtis Sittenfeld. I read it obsessively over a Labor Day weekend many summers ago, barely doing anything else until I’d finished it. In graduate school, I met a writer named David Busis, and when he told me how much he loved the book, too, I knew that we’d be friends. In admiring the same book, we spoke something of the same language. When the two of us had a chance to take a writing workshop with the author, Curtis Sittenfeld, we were like giddy children all semester. Not only is Curtis a fantastic novelist, she’s also a great writing teacher, generous with her time and insights.

PREP on RandomHouse.comI asked David, who recently became a Book Country member, to write a blog post for us about what PREP means to him as a writer.

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When I was teaching at a prep school, I asked the head of the English department if he liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s PREP. He complained that Lee, the main character, never changes. Actually, Lee grows up, but you can only measure the change by triangulating between yourself, the high school protagonist, and the adult narrator.

Like Lee, I experienced adolescence as a maelstrom of desire, a time when the most pedestrian feelings of rejection and loneliness sometimes seemed poetic and noble because of their intensity. Most of the things I wanted—a school prize, a girl, an invitation—seem unimportant, though they felt more urgent than almost anything else has since. I love the book for reminding me of that urgency. Continue reading

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Ask an Editor: Jessica Renheim Answers Your Questions!

Posted by August 27th, 2014

http://www.penguin.com/meet/publishers/dutton/Today we present another round of your questions for an editor–this week, answered by Dutton associate editor Jessica Renheim. Jessica has worked with New York Times bestselling authors like Brad Taylor, Dan Savage, Richelle Mead, and Kelley Armstrong. Read on for her advice to members of the Book Country community.

1.  What should a person look for in an editor? (Specifically for ones who will be working closely with you.) Also, should you have your manuscript completely finished before looking into editorial services? – Amber Wolfe

If you’re an aspiring writer who’s interested in traditional book publishing, then the first step is finding a literary agent who can represent your work and connect you with an editor and publisher. There are great sources online like Publishers Marketplace and the Literary Marketplace that can help you research agents and determine individuals who are the right fit for your manuscript; you don’t want to blindly query agents (or editors) who only work on nonfiction if you’ve written a psychological thriller, for example. Find an agent who specializes in the genre you’ve written, who feels passionate about your work, and who can help you find an editor who feels the same way. In terms of manuscript length, literary agents usually have their preferences listed on their websites for how to submit queries and material to them. Continue reading

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Book Country Sponsors Slice Literary Writers’ Conference

Posted by August 26th, 2014

I’m excited to introduce the Book Country community to Maria Gagliano and Celia Johnson. They are the cofounders of Slice Magazine, a literary magazine dedicated to connecting emerging writers of poetry, literary fiction, and narrative nonfiction with one another. The Slice Literary Writers’ Conference continues that mission with two days of programming dedicated to illuminating craft and publishing topics. Book Country has signed on to be a sponsor of this year’s conference because we admire their mission of helping writers find their audience.Slice Literary Writers' Conference

Our sponsorship includes a scholarship for one MFA student to attend the conference this year. We’re excited to tell you more about that scholarship recipient in a future post. In the meantime, I wanted to give Maria and Celia a chance to tell you why they began doing this incredible event, and why you should keep this conference on your radar.

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We’re excited to host Slice magazine’s fourth annual writers’ conference in Brooklyn on September 6 and 7. My Slice co-founder Celia Johnson and I started Slice eight years ago as a print literary magazine dedicated to helping emerging writers find an audience for their work. In that time, an amazing community of writers, readers, and publishing professionals have rallied around Slice’s mission, working together to foster the next generation of great writers. Continue reading

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How to Rate Books on Book Country

Posted by August 25th, 2014

how to rate

What is the Book Country Rating System?

When you give a peer review on Book Country, the focus is to help the writer improve her work and writing skills. Unlike other websites where the rating system only indicates how much you liked a book, the Book Country “nib”rating system is primed to help you give comprehensive feedback and to help writers know how much work is needed to improve their manuscript. Below is a guide on how to rate books on Book Country. Continue reading

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Ask an Editor: Alexandra Cardia Answers Your Questions!

Posted by August 22nd, 2014

Book Country Ask an EditorWelcome to Part III of Book Country’s Ask an Editor blog series. Alexandra Cardia, Assistant Editor at Riverhead Books, talks about the most rewarding thing about being an editor and deciding whether to work with a particular manuscript. Read Part I and Part II of Ask an Editor.

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1.  Generally how far do you read into a submitted book before deciding it’s trash or good enough to work with? – BoJo Johnson

It really depends on the project. Nonfiction projects are generally submitted as a proposal, and I read proposals front to back; you need to, I think, to get a full picture of the work. For fiction, how far I read into a work is generally dependent on two things: First, if I connect to the writing. If I don’t, I’ll know that pretty quickly and know that the work is probably a pass for me. Second, if I like the writing, I’ll read for story. This can take anywhere from a couple dozen pages to the entire manuscript. Sometimes I’ll read an entire manuscript and only then know that it’s not the right fit for me. So it really does depend on the work! Continue reading

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Read and Review Top Rated Books on Book Country

Posted by August 21st, 2014

Book Country Top Rated August Ten new books are featured in the Top Rated section on the Read and Review page. The insightful feedback you give to your peers helps make Book Country a supportive community for writers. We are excited to share with you the books that garnered so much positive feedback! Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Mystery Writer Steve Yudewitz

Posted by August 20th, 2014

Steve YudewitzIt’s my pleasure to welcome Mystery writer Steve Yudewitz to the Member Spotlight this morning. Steve’s been a Book Country member since the early days of the site. He’s a generous reviewer, and his hard work giving feedback shows as he produces each new draft of his book DEAD MAN’S FLOAT.

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Lucy Silag: Tell us about yourself: who you are and how you see yourself as a writer.

Steve Yudewitz: People describe me as quiet, loyal, and frequently prompt. I’m a secret optimist, a sports fan, fond of technology, a lover of Science Fiction, and consider myself innovative. Like many creative types, I am cursed by being fascinated about a wide variety of topics and blessed with the curiosity to learn more about almost everything. I value the remarkable array of wise, strong, funny, compassionate, talented people that make up my family and circle of friends. They constantly inspire me. Continue reading

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The 3 Golden Rules of Writing Romantic Suspense by P.A. DePaul

Posted by August 19th, 2014

I absolutely love Romantic Suspense, both as a reader and as the author of the “SBG” romantic suspense series. Writing Romantic Suspense is fun, but like any genre it has its own rules. Here are my top three guidelines for writing this genre, illustrated with examples from my new book, EXCHANGE OF FIRE, out today from Penguin’s InterMix imprint.

Develop Balanced Alpha Characters.

What do I mean by this? Simple, the hero and heroine should be equally matched. This does not mean the characters are perfect or they’ve suddenly become invincible. Rather, their strengths and weakness ‘fit’ together, allowing them to defeat the enemy and find their HEA (“happily ever after”) together. No one wants to believe a gun-toting Special Ops hero falls for the mousy seamstress who is afraid of her own shadow. Um, ew!Exhange of Fire

In EXCHANGE OF FIRE, Wraith (our heroine) is a kick-butt sniper of SBG’s Delta Squad who is on the run and hiding in a small town. Her match is our hero Casper Grady, former marine, successful business owner and Wraith’s boss. These two complement each other with their skills and training and they work together as equals to defeat multiple enemies on their path to happy ever after.

Create A Strong Storyline Conflict By Using Villains.

In a typical romance, the Storyline Conflict is based on the relationship itself; the hero and heroine’s lives prevent them from forming the relationship. In Romantic Suspense, the storyline conflict happens outside of the hero and heroine’s relationship. To accomplish this, Romantic Suspense has a villain (or in my case, multiple villains). These villains give the storyline intensity by raising the stakes and presenting consequences that affect more than just the hero and heroine. Will the hero and heroine stop the bomber in time? Can the hero and heroine get that vital piece of intel back to command post before the military is deployed? Continue reading

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Jaycee Ford Publishes WATCHING FIREFLIES!

Posted by August 18th, 2014

Watching FirefliesWe are so excited for Book Country member Jaycee Ford! Tomorrow she is publishing her first book, WATCHING FIREFLIES. We are so proud that workshopping the book on Book Country was a part of her amazing journey.

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Since I was young, I always knew that I wasn’t exactly bred for a normal life, but my life was like every other kid. I grew up and went to college. I partook in all of the normal college things, but there was something that I just didn’t know. I graduated in History because I loved History. I got married in my mid-twenties. I got a dog. I loved my life, but life was still … normal. Something was missing.

One Saturday, my husband was out fishing, and I was reading most likely my hundredth book of year. We were being normal. I didn’t finish the book and couldn’t tell you what it was. I pushed myself off of the sofa and turned on my computer. I sat in front of a blank Word doc and a blinking cursor. In that moment, I became a seat of your pants writer. I didn’t know it then, but my publishing journey had begun.

What! Continue reading

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