Monthly Archives: January 2015

“Keep writing, no matter what.” Book Country Member Kelli Mahoney, winner of The Writers’ Academy Sweepstakes

Posted by January 28th, 2015

Book Country Member Kelli MahoneyBook Country member Kelli Mahoney won the intensive creative writing course offered by Penguin Random House Writers’ Academy in our sweepstakes last November. The Writers’ Academy is offering a new online creative writing class for beginners with Jane Lawson in March. Kelli shares what she’s learned from Michal Shavit, Editorial Director at Harvill Secker, and the best writing advice she’s received from the course. Connect with Kelli on Book Country

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Janet Umenta: What has been your favorite session so far in the course?

Kelli Mahoney: I don’t know if I can choose a favorite.  Every week poses a challenge and an opportunity to push me outside my comfort zone.  The writing assignments push me to create a more compelling and cleaner story, and the advice provided in the videos and readings are priceless.  I do like the progression from character development to plot.   Also, the writing prompts have opened up the flood gates of creativity, so sometimes we’ll have a 500 word piece to write that suddenly becomes a 6,000 word chapter of the book I’ve been working on. Continue reading

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Enter THE THORN OF DENTONHILL Sweepstakes!

Posted by January 27th, 2015

THE THORN OF DENTONHILL Giveaway

Congratulations to Book Country member Marshall Ryan Maresca! His debut fantasy novel, THE THORN OF DENTONHILL comes out February 3, 2015! Marshall originally workshopped THE THORN OF DENTONHILL on Book Country, and was picked up by DAW Books.

To celebrate Marshall’s release, we are asking you to describe your own fantasy world in one sentence in the discussion thread for a chance to win one of ten advance copies of THE THORN OF DENTONHILL!  You may also email your submission to info@bookcountry.com with the subject line “THE THORN OF DENTONHILL Sweepstakes.”

To help you get started, Marshall shares his advice on the worldbuilding process below. The deadline to enter is 11:59 PM Eastern Time on February 2, 2015 Continue reading

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New Waiting to be Discovered Titles on Book Country

Posted by January 26th, 2015

Waiting to be Discovered Titles on Book Country

We have ten new books featured in the Waiting to be Discovered section on the Read and Review page! Help a writer write their best book by posting feedback.

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Five Reasons to Take an Online Writing Class in 2015 by Sharon Oard Warner

Posted by January 21st, 2015

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”                          – Zen Master Shunryo Suzuki

First Ranamin adOL.inddMost beginning writers are anxious to shrug off the adjective, which they perceive as a pejorative. When I was beginning to write, I wanted nothing more than to be taken seriously. Now, I can pass as an expert fiction writer. I am a professor in English Department at the University of New Mexico where I teach creative writing to undergraduates and graduate students. I also serve as the founding director of the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference, an annual week-long event that is currently in its seventeenth year.

Why, then, have I decided to shrug off the expert mantle and assume the role of beginner again. Why am I taking a writing class online? Here’s why:

In October of 2014, I finally published my fourth book—and second novel—a family story set in New Mexico called SOPHIE’S HOUSE OF CARDS. It’s a good novel. I’m proud of it, but the sad truth is that I spent the last thirteen years of my life completing it.  At that rate, I will complete only one or two more novels in my lifetime, and I won’t have much fun in the process.

My reasons for enrolling in “Write Where You Are: a Mindful Approach” might be different than yours.  But if you are wishing and hoping to write more in 2015 (more, say, than you wrote in 2014), if you’re striving to compose better, fresher prose, consider the following: Continue reading

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Top Rated Books on Book Country

Posted by January 20th, 2015

Top Rated Books on Book Country

Top Rated Books on Book Country

A new set of Top Rated books is featured on the Read and Review page. We are excited to share with you the books that garnered great positive feedback! Continue reading

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Apply to the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program!

Posted by January 14th, 2015

NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship

Center for Fiction

Attention NYC writers! The Center for Fiction is hosting the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program. Nine fellows will each receive a $4,000 grant, the opportunity to meet with agents, free admission to all Center for Fiction events for one year among other great benefits. Sara Batkie, Awards and Programs Manager for the Center, shares how the fellowship program helps writers and the success past fellows have achieved. The deadline to apply to the 2015 NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program is January 31, 2015.

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Janet Umenta: For a writer, what are the advantages of living in NYC?

Sara Batkie: I’d say that the biggest advantage by far for writers in NYC is the literary community here. It’s not just that many great writers make their home in the city or that so many MFA programs are here; it’s that there’s always something literary going on. Almost any night of the week you can go out and find great readings at bookstores and event spaces like The Center, where you can hear from and meet your favorite authors or discover a new, exciting voice. While a large part of being a writer is sitting in a room and getting the work done, equally important I think is going out into the wider world and meeting the other people who are doing the same work you are, getting to know them and what they’re writing too. Often a writer will find his or her first great supporters, and eventually lifelong friends, this way. There are other great cities where this happens obviously, but New York has sheer volume on its side.

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Book Country Member D.J. Pizzarello on Publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others

Posted by January 13th, 2015

Book Country Member D.J. Pizzarello on Publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others

Congratulations to Book Country member D.J. Pizzarello on publishing COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others! D.J. workshopped several short stories on Book Country and received outstanding feedback. We recently featured D.J. on the Member Spotlight. In this Q&A, D.J. shares what surprised him most about the publishing process and advice he would give to other writers considering the self-publishing route. You can purchase COLLECTED STORIES: Angel of Mercy and Seven Others on Book CountryAmazon, and other major online book retailers. 

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Janet Umenta: After years of writing, what was the moment like when you decided you were ready to publish?

D.J. Pizzarello: I’d actually decided to publish some years before I finally took the plunge. I felt strongly that my stories should be told, that I had something to say others might find interesting, perhaps even thought-provoking. I’ve always loved language, loved trying to express myself in inventive ways. So I spent some years working on stories I’d already written, revising, and revising, and revising—and at times, creating new ones. At a point, fairly recently, I decided that my work was ready to be published. How did I feel at that point? Ready, eager, energized. Raring to go. Continue reading

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Waiting to be Discovered Books on Book Country

Posted by January 12th, 2015

Book Country Waiting to be Disocvered January 2015

Ten new books are featured in the Waiting to be Discovered section on the Read and Review page. This is a great opportunity to help a writer start the new year right! Read our guide on reviewing books on Book Country.

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Book Country Editor’s Picks for January 2015

Posted by January 7th, 2015

January Editor's Picks on Book CountryWe’re excited to share with you the ten titles featured in the Editor’s Picks section. Check them out and leave a review!

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Write Start Author Series & Contest from Biographile and Paste Magazine

Posted by January 6th, 2015

Calling all Book Country writers! Are you ready to start a great story this year?

Biographile, a Penguin Random House blog dedicated to biography and memoir, is going to be a wealth of inspiration and advice for aspiring writers all through the month of January. Already an excellent place to brush up on the craft of writing (check out our post from last month with Biographile’s Joe Muscolino), they’re amping it up with the Write Start Author Series. More than forty published authors are going to share tips for getting started on a new project . . . just in time for a new year in your writing life.

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From Biographile:

At some point most writers will face this struggle, the furious and paralyzing reality of squeezing perfect ideas into imperfect words.

We at Biographile feel your pain, so we’ve spent the past few months asking forty-plus authors to share their hard-earned writing advice to remind you you’re not alone. For the month of January, in the spirit of new beginnings, Biographile will be spending each day celebrating the craft of writing by giving you all the basics to get started.

Additionally, the awesome folks at Paste Magazine are hosting the Write Start Contest, perfect for Book Country writers! Continue reading

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