We’ve added new Top Rated books on Book Country’s Read and Review page. Check them out and add them to your list for the Give the Gift of Writing Feedback Review Challenge! Continue reading
Lucy Silag: Tell us about your first “spark” of the idea for SPARK. How did that idea grow and change over time and drafts?
Atthys Gage: It’s hard for me to pinpoint, but there is a persistent image that I associate with SPARK: someone is walking past a vacant lot; there are a couple of homeless types standing around a big metal drum, warming themselves on the scrap-wood fire lit within; sparks fly upward. The only thing is, that scene doesn’t appear in the book and never did in any version. It is, apparently, a sort of catalyst scene. Like an enzyme, it allowed the process of writing the book to take place but wasn’t consumed in the process.
LS: What has surprised you most about the experience of taking your book from an idea to a finished product?
AG: I was struck by how my own feelings changed as we neared the end. At first I was willing to fight for every little thing. Or, if not fight, then endlessly agonize over how to fix something that wasn’t quite right. By the end, I was more likely to just eliminate the problematic passage with a sweep of the blue pencil. It’s almost as though the book itself was so ready to be done and out in the world that it began resisting my efforts to fix it anymore. I’d reach out to straighten a clause or rub out a questionable comma, and it would slap my hand away like a moody teenager. Just leave it alone! Go away! I honestly think the poor thing was tired of all the attention. Continue reading
The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is a one-week intensive workshop in fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, playwriting or poetry for LGBTQ writers. Hosted by the Lambda Literary Foundation, it is an amazing chance to learn from the LGBTQ writing community. Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of Lambda Literary, shares what to expect in the Retreat and how you can apply. The application deadline is January 5, 2015!
Lucy Silag: Tell us about Lambda Literary as a whole–what are some of the main goals of the organization, and what’s your role within it?
Tony Valenzuela: I’m the Executive Director of Lambda Literary.
I’ll start by telling you our mission: “Lambda Literary believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read.” Our programs – the Lambda Literary Awards, the Lambda Literary Review, LGBTQ Writers in Schools, and the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices – serve emerging and established writers, readers of all stripes looking for the next great book to pick up, librarians and booksellers interested in stocking their shelves with the best contemporary queer literature, publishers who want their titles reviewed and to win awards, and students who want to discuss queer literature in their classrooms. No other nonprofit organization in the world does as much to advance LGBTQ literature. Continue reading
We are happy to introduce Book Country member Jean Marie Wiesen! Jean is currently workshopping CASE OF THE MISSING LOOK-ALIKES, which was a November Editor’s Pick. Jean shares how she discovered Book Country and tips for building suspense in novels. Connect with Jean on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: How did you discover Book Country?
Jean Marie Wiesen: There’s an interesting story behind how I discovered Book Country. The phrase, “There are no coincidences,” most assuredly comes into play. I have a mutual friend with one of your soon to be published members, Alex Rosa, whose book, TRYST, is being launched by Penguin in March 2015. Oh dear, is that a shameless plug by moi! It most definitely is because if it weren’t for Alex, I wouldn’t be here. Originally, I’d planned a trip to the San Diego area right around Labor Day, but due to a variety of reasons, it was postponed until mid-October. Had I gone in September, our mutual friend Randy more than likely would have been too busy to have chatted with me to discover that I’d written a book, and in turn, not introduced me to Alex. In October, things were far less active, and Alex had the time to spend with me and told me about Book Country and all of her positive experiences here.
Within a few days of my arriving home, my book was up for peer review on Book Country. Alex stayed in touch with me the entire time via email. Continue reading
We’re excited to share with you ten new books featured in the Waiting to Be Discovered section! We’ve selected a great mix of genres, including Young Adult, Women’s Fiction, and War/Military Fiction. Check them out and join Book Country’s Give the Gift of Writing Feedback Review Challenge! Continue reading
Joe Muscolino, head staffer at Penguin Random House’s Biographile, recommends these five pieces for Book Country writers.
Here, as part of our month-long “Good Prose Month” series, the Copy Chief of Random House provides a fascinating collection of obscure and playful writing distinctions, from A(ntiques) to X(-ray). Continue reading
Welcome Alex Maher to the Book Country Member Spotlight! Alex lives in Australia with his family. His most recent project on Book Country is THE INVISIBLE PEOPLE, which was an October Editor’s Pick. Alex shares what drew him to writing horror, and the mistakes he made when he first started writing. Connect with Alex on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: What were your favorite books in school?
Alex Maher: Hmm, tough one. At school, we were forced to read all kinds of stuff that I was not interested in. I can’t honestly remember reading anything at school, novel wise. Home was different. I was quite a bookworm for fiction as a kid.
The first ‘real’ novel I read was LORD OF THE SPIDERS by Harry Harrison. I was about eight or nine. I loved it. I then went on to read other adventures/fantasy. Stuff like BATTLE CIRCLE and the big four ‘Tolkiens,’ but then I found SciFi. By age twelve, I was into Niven and Pournelle. FOOTFALL and LEGACY OF HEOROT come to mind. Continue reading
Welcome Andreé Robinson-Neal to the Book Country Member Spotlight! Andreé is currently workshopping FROM REALITY’S EDGE, which was featured in the Waiting to Be Discovered section in October. She recently published AFTER with Christine F. Anderson Publishing & Media. Connect with Andreé on Book Country.
Janet Umenta: NaNoWriMo 2014 ended last week. When you finished NaNoWriMo 2013, what did you do afterwards?
Andreé Robinson-Neal: When November 2013 ended, I celebrated making my word count. By November 27th, I had passed the 50k word count and was thrilled. And then I panicked. After all, I was ‘finished’ — now what? I had a mess of words on a page that had made me bleary-eyed for the past month. I set them down and concentrated on a few other things before getting back to the business of editing it.
JU: How does being an editor influence your writing process?
AR: I know that editing has helped me in more ways than I can describe. I see things that make me think, Wow! That was a great image — I felt that character’s experience! and then there are things that make me think, Wow! I hope I never do that! Editing certainly keeps me on my mental toes because I have to research things to make sure I am offering the best advice to a writer. I don’t just write things like, ‘Consider revising this sentence — it is unclear.’ I like to offer support by saying why something is unclear or indicating what I think the writer meant so he or she can take that information into consideration during the after-edit review. Continue reading
‘Tis the season for gifting! What better gift to give a writer than detailed, honest, and constructive feedback on their work-in-progress?
That’s why we’re launching a new challenge this month: Give the Gift of Writing Feedback! Pledge to review four books on Book Country this month, and give your writing community the feedback they need to make their books better in the new year.
How does it work?
- Head over to this discussion thread and make your pledge!
- Throughout the month of December, review four Book Country books (one for each week of the month). Find books via other members who’ve taken the pledge, browse this month’s Featured Manuscripts, or explore the Book Country Genre Map to find books in the genres you love!
- Read and review at least three chapters of the work-in-progress.
- Remember, you can save your review for later. Just don’t forget to post it by New Year’s Eve, or you won’t have won the challenge! 🙂
- Support others who’ve taken the pledge–connect with them on Book Country and social media, comment on their review with thanks, comments, and questions, and return the gift of feedback by reviewing their book!
- Share the feedback you are giving or receiving on social media by using the hashtag #GiftofWritingFeedback. We’ll cheer you on!
Happy reviewing–and thank YOU for giving the gift of writing feedback to your community!
Questions? Email us at support@BookCountry.com.