Category Archives: Romance

Takeaways from Moonlight & Magnolias 2015

Posted by October 5th, 2015

mm 2015It was great to be a part of Moonlight & Magnolias 2015. This was the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers (a regional chapter of the Romance Writers of America). Longtime Book Country member Noelle Pierce was conference chair, and she did a truly fabulous job for a seamless, fun, productive gathering of 200+ high-spirited romance writers. (In fact, Noelle was a winner of the Maggie Service Award for her contributions to the chapter this year. Go, Noelle!)

Here are four key takeaways from Moonlight & Magnolias 2015:

Romance writers have a strong support system. More than any other genre group of writers I’ve worked with so far, romance writers band together to lift up their own. First off, they read–and buy–a ton of books in their own genre. They also follow one another on social media, review each other’s books online, and cheer on both new writers and long-held favorite authors. Georgia Romance Writers have taken it one step further in real life.  For the last 33 years, they’ve maintained a robust schedule of meetings and events, an incredible mentoring program, and the prestigious Maggie Awards to honor standout books in the genre. Romance writers should absolutely be taking advantage of these resources, whether on the national level, or by seeking out their local chapter. Not a romance writer? Follow the example of romance writers by finding similar ways to support and celebrate your own genre writing community. Continue reading

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Book Country at Moonlight & Magnolias 2015

Posted by September 30th, 2015

I couldn’t be more excited to head down to Atlanta this weekend for the Georgia Romance Writers regional conference, Moonlight & Magnolias 2015!

Official MandM logo general

I’ll be the featured industry speaker on Saturday afternoon. Here are the details:

Saturday, October 3
2-3:50pm
Atlanta Marriott Northwest at Galleria

Treat Your Book Like a Start-Up

Join us to learn about Book Country, Penguin Random House’s writing and publishing community, and how the site has helped writers to write their best books, connect with audiences, and publish with the support of a community. This session is designed to help Georgia Romance Writers figure out the next step toward reaching their writing and publishing goals. Each participant will leave with a customized, immediate, and actionable plan for their book or work-in-progress based on where they are in the writing process. Continue reading

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4 Reasons to Go to a Writers Conference

Posted by September 29th, 2015

We’ll be meeting up with longtime Book Country member and romance writer Noelle Pierce this weekend at Moonlight and Magnolias 2015, the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta. Below Noelle (who’s been involved in the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference for many years) offers 4 reasons to go to a writers conference.

  1. To network with other writers at various stages in their careers. A conference is one of the best places to meet a critique partner or writing mentor. It’s also a place to be with like-minded individuals. I cherish those few days a year where I can walk up to virtually anyone and have something in common with him/her.
  2. To pitch to editors and/or agents. Some of us have a hard time translating our enthusiasm for a project into the written word. Sometimes talking about our stories leads to an infectious excitement that makes others want to hear more. If you’re one of the latter, then a conference is the perfect place to get your story to an industry professional. This doesn’t have to be at a formal pitch session, but at a luncheon or at the bar. NEVER, under ANY circumstances, follow an editor or agent into a restroom to pitch. It won’t end well. In that same vein, I’ve met editors and agents when I didn’t have a book to pitch, and we ended up talking about the stories anyway. They often suggest I query them when the story’s ready, which means I have something specific to put on the query letter in that “why I chose to send this to you” section.
  3. To hone your craft, get inspired, or learn something new about the changes in our industry. Workshops are part of conferences. You can take sessions with bestselling authors, eager to teach you what they know. Learn about different topics, such as branding yourself, audiobooks, or even how a seasoned pantser can learn to embrace the joys of plotting (I’m a plotser, myself, so I see the good in both). Characterization, dialogue, setting up Goal-Motivation-Conflict in scenes, how to format your book for self-publishing, how to find time to write, what to look for in a book cover…these are all areas I’ve had the pleasure of learning at various conferences. If there’s an area you need to improve, workshops are the place to do it.
  4. To meet readers. There is usually a book signing that takes place at the conferences I’ve attended, and those are usually open to the public. Some conferences rely heavily on authors attending (e.g., Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference), but many are also open for readers and fans to attend (e.g., The Romantic Times Convention). Some, like Authors After Dark, are more geared toward the readers/fans, with only a relative handful of writers attending as “authors.”

Continue reading

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Jessica Hawkins

Posted by September 15th, 2015

Today we’re following Book Country member Jessica Hawkins, contemporary romance author of The Cityscape series and the Night Fever serial), around San Francisco as she knocks an author signing event out of the park.

8:00am

1__writingToday is my 5th author signing in 2 years, the San Francisco Golden Gate Author Event, which mostly consists of writers in my genre, contemporary romance, and its subgenres, like paranormal or YA. It doesn’t start until late morning, so I squeeze in a coffee and few hundred words before I have to head over to the hotel.

10:45am

2_signingsetup

Set up takes about half an hour & I’ve been assigned an assistant, who helps me construct my banner and lay out my books. (I’ve brought 8 titles, so it’s harder than it looks to display them all.) Also on my table: my iPad, for my book trailer & mailing list, and to accept credit cards; tote bags, which are a great advertisement for an event like this; swag like rack cards, business cards, and buttons. Continue reading

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Romance Awareness Month: 5 Romance Projects to Read on Book Country

Posted by August 3rd, 2015

August is Romance Awareness Month! What better way to mark the occasion than by immersing yourself in a great love story? Here, we’ve highlighted five must-read Book Country romance manuscripts for you to peruse and enjoy. 

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What-the-Earl-WantsWhat the Earl Wants by Tabetha Waite

A missing heirloom. A gambled away inheritance. These are just some of the elements of Tabetha Waite’s rolicking historical romance. The writer calls herself “a dreamer who was born just 200 years too late,” and we can see why: she has cooked up quite the riveting story. In this snippet from the novel, the main heroine, Miss Athena Hawthorne, has just found that nothing is left of her father’s estate, when she runs into a handsome stranger:

“Athena looked up, prepared to give the individual a proper set down for nearly running her over, but the retort instantly faltered when her gaze caught the expensive flash of a maroon, superfine coat of quality. Not only was that enough to give her pause, but the man above her was absolutely enormous! Tall and broad shouldered with a three layered greatcoat and top hat that only enhanced his size, his face was shadowed, but she could discern his intent stare as it lit on her—could feel it upon her skin. And when he spoke, it was with a rich, smooth timbre. ‘My apologies, miss. I’m afraid I was in a rush and didn’t see you.’”

Sometimes-MomentsSometimes Moments by Len Webster

The self-proclaimed “romance-loving Melburnian” has written a touching contemporary love story that’s worth a blissful afternoon of relaxation. One day Peyton Spencer wakes up to find that the boy who she believed was “the one” is about to leave town—and her—forever. Now, years later, he walks back into her life without a care in the world. She would never allow him her heart’s redemption. Could she? In the following passage, Peyton has just learned the devastating news:

“‘That’s it, you’re just up and moving to the city. That’s all it took. Two days and you changed your mind,’ she cried. She told him she loved him. He never said it back but he never pushed her away. That night they went to the lake. She gave him her innocence and told him that she loved him. Two days later, and he was leaving.”

Continue reading

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Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

Posted by June 17th, 2015

Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

Book Country member and best-selling author Len Webster shares the final days before the publication of SOMETIMES MOMENTS. Len workshopped SOMETIMES MOMENTS on Book Country.

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48 HOURS TILL PUBLICATION

With forty-eight hours to go before I published my third romance novel, SOMETIMES MOMENTS, I found myself considerably overwhelmed. To the point where I wanted to throw up. Not like a little. Like I got wasted just before 10PM on New Year’s Eve and ended up in a disgusting and highly unlady-like puking fest.

Forty-Eight Hours to Publish My Book by Book Country Member Len Webster

 

 

 

 

 

True story?

You’ll never know.

When it comes to publishing, time has been both my friend and my enemy:

Friend: I am excited that all the work I put into writing and editing SOMETIMES MOMENTS would finally result in a book.

Enemy: I still have a million things to do, but not enough time before the release to do them.

Damn, time.

WHAT I STILL HAD TO DO:

Create promotional pictures and keep a careful eye on my pre-order sales.

I also had to tell my brain to stop overthinking “No one will like it!” thoughts and replay some “Someone will love SOMETIMES MOMENTS!” ones in my mind before I fell asleep. Continue reading

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Member Spotlight: Meet Jayden Abello

Posted by June 2nd, 2015

Member Spotlight: Meet Jayden AbelloWe’re happy to feature Jayden Abello on the Book Country blog! Jayden is currently workshopping BREAKING THE BAND. BREAKING THE BAND is a finalist in The Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest. Connect with Jayden on Book Country

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Janet Umenta: In your Book Country profile, you list Colleen Hoover and Tammara Webber as your favorite authors. How have these authors influenced your writing?

Jayden Abello: Collen Hoover and Tammara Webber were the first two New Adult authors I ever read. SLAMMED and EASY both pulled me in with their amazing characters and realistic story lines. I’ll try to study them to figure out the story beats and the act structure, and I just can’t. Once I turn the page, I get sucked into the stories every single time. I’ve read those books countless times. They’re that good.

When those books came out, New Adult was barely a thing. But I had ideas for similar types of stories floating around in my head for years. Seeing how they were able to captivate the market made me think my ideas could find readers as well. So I started writing. And rewriting. Continue reading

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Give a Character a Valentine Sweepstakes!

Posted by February 10th, 2015

BC-Valentine600x400 (3) revised
FLASH SWEEPSTAKES ALERT! With Valentine’s Day just 4 days away, we thought it would be fun to give away one Book Country notebook to 10 random contestants of Book Country’s Give a Character a Valentine Sweepstakes! To enter, answer in the discussion thread: What fictional character would you give a valentine to? 

You may also email your submission to info@bookcountry.com with the subject line “Give a Character a Valentine Sweepstakes.” Sweepstakes ends at 11:59pm ET  on February 10, 2015. Good luck! Continue reading

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How I Turned My Hilarious Love Life into a Science Experiment (and later a Novel) by Melissa Pimentel

Posted by February 4th, 2015

LOVE BY THE BOOK by Melissa Pimentel

Melissa Pimentel is the author of the newly published LOVE BY THE BOOK, which details her foray into following a different dating guide for a month in London and blogging about her experience. This “science experiment” eventually led to Melissa landing a publishing deal with Penguin Books! Melissa shares her whirlwind journey to publication with us below. 

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  1. First there was the idea. It was 2009, and I was single, living in London, and finding that, when it came to men, things seemed to be getting lost in translation. Frustrated by my lack of success on the dating front (and always in search of a funny story), I decided to turn my life over to the experts: every month, I’d follow a different dating guide and record the results.

Continue reading

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Exclusive Cover Reveal for TRYST by Book Country Member Alex Rosa!

Posted by November 18th, 2014

We are pleased to reveal the cover for TRYST, the debut New Adult novel by Book Country member Alex Rosa! Alex first workshopped TRYST on Book Country, which was then picked up by InterMix, a Berkley/NAL’s e-initial imprint. TRYST will be out March 17, 2015.  Read our interview with Alex and her editor, Kristine Swartz, about creating the cover below.  Continue reading

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