Category Archives: Romance

4 Reasons to Go to a Writer Conference by Noelle Pierce

Posted by October 17th, 2014

Noelle PierceIf you’re a writer and you’re trying to decide whether to go to a regional or national conference, then my advice is to go. Granted, my experiences are limited to conferences related to the romance genre, but I think some things are going to translate no matter what genre is represented. Whether it’s a national or regional conference, there are going to be pros and cons—and I feel in most cases, the pros will outweigh the other.

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What conferences can give you:

1.  Networking with other writers at various stages in their careers. A conference is one of the best places to meet a critique partner or 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. Continue reading

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Self-Publishing Was Right For Me by Ani Bolton

Posted by September 8th, 2014

In 2005, I wrote a weird book. A really weird book that no one knew what to do with, including me.

My pigeonhole at the time was Historical Romance. I’d gotten a good agent, and she was shopping my novel. I was working on a follow up, but I didn’t want to write a story about dukes or balls. I wanted to write a novel about war and magic. So that’s what I did.

Steel and SongThe novel that became STEEL AND SONG: Book 1 in the Aileron Chronicles flowed right out of me. My then-agent was baffled by it. It wasn’t a paranormal romance. It wasn’t epic fantasy. It was somewhere to the left of what was considered marketable: a dieselpunk romance with magic and war. A heroine who was mouthy and a hero who was a coward. In other words, never going to sell.

So I left the draft on a flashdrive (how quaint!) thinking that was that. I started working for book packagers, ghost writing several YA novels. My day job became very intense. Writing novels was taking a back seat, and honestly, the stuff I was writing wasn’t singing to me anymore. Even though I was the co-founder of a highly regarded writing community, my love for the industry and for writing had taken a beating. I needed to check out for a while. Continue reading

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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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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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Jaycee Ford: Early Feedback on ORDER OF THE GARTER

Posted by July 30th, 2014

ORDER OF THE GARTER on Book CountryBook Country member Jaycee Ford won a one-on-one manuscript feedback session at RT14. Jaycee asked me to take a look at a historical romance that she is working on called ORDER OF THE GARTER. I love anything historical, and was even more intrigued that the book takes place in New Orleans (where Jaycee is from) and NOLA is where she and I met! I was so excited to re-visit the Big Easy via Jaycee’s sexy book.

ORDER OF THE GARTER is the story of Ella Harrison, a beautiful, charming “lady of the night” who makes her living charming the pants of the men of New Orleans in Storyville, the red light district, in 1915. Determined to stay unattached, afraid of wanting more, Ella’s carefully compartmentalized world is shaken up when she meets not one but two dashing men eager to sweep her off her feet.

Reading ORDER OF THE GARTER left me with a few writing takeaways that I wanted to share with the community.

 

What’s working:

Jaycee’s commitment to the historical setting really wins over the reader. In Storyville, a district in early 20th-century NOLA where prostitution was decriminalized, she’s found a true historical oddity. The city printed up “blue books”–basically, a directory and tourist’s guide to every prostitute in the city. I love how Jaycee uses the “blue book” to kick off ORDER OF THE GARTER and then subtly threads historical details into the story, so that the situation is normalized for the characters, but still feels intriguing and rare for the reader. Continue reading

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Alex Rosa: From Book Country to InterMix!

Posted by July 18th, 2014

In spring of 2013, I was looking for constructive peer reviews and decided the best place to start was Book Country, Penguin’s writing community. I had only heard good things when it came to reader feedback. I posted my New Adult Romance TRYST to workshop on Book Country. TRYST is a sexy story about the forbidden romance that grows between main characters Skyler and Blake (check out the teaser I created for it below!).

Long story short, TRYST got the attention of a staff member on the site, which eventually led to an editor expressing interest in the story.

Enter girly scream here.

It started with, “Hey, I like your story” (Thanks, Nevena, for all your feedback!), which delighted me to no-end, and that eventually led to, “Oh hey again, your book TRYST has been selected as an Editor’s Pick!” That got me even giddier. This led to, “Would you at all be interested in being part of a Member Spotlight on our blog highlighting the New Adult genre?” The answer to this is rhetorical and I immediately agreed, stoked that I was even getting any attention at all on the site. This is where things get a bit crazy. The next question dropping in my inbox is, “Hi Alex, your book TRYST has caught the eye of an editor at Penguin, do you mind if I pass your info onto her?” *faints* It was one of those messages that you think you made up, or blame on the copious amounts of coffee you devoured that morning, and attribute the vision to caffeinated hallucinations. Continue reading

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Alys Arden: Early Feedback on THE ROMEO CATCHERS

Posted by June 27th, 2014

THE ROMEO CATCHERSAt this year’s RT Booklovers Convention, we raffled off 1-on-1 manuscript feedback sessions with yours truly. Book Country member Alys Arden was one of the winners. It’s fitting that she won this package, because the first book I ever read and reviewed on Book Country was THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, which Alys published on Halloween 2013. Now she’s hard at work on the sequel, THE ROMEO CATCHERS. As a big fan of the first book, I was super excited to jump into the next volume.

As usual, reading the work of another writer was very helpful to me in thinking about my own views about good writing. Much of my review will only make sense if you’re also reading her book (which you should!), but I wanted to share a few takeaways that I hope will resonate for the rest of the community as they write and revise their books.

 

What’s working:

I am not a huge fan of prologues. Writers need to win over readers from the very first sentence, and I think writers have more success when they immediately include concrete details about setting, specific characterizations, and most importantly, strive for clarity. Prologues, on the other hand, tend to be vague and sometimes dreamlike. They often hint at a situation that for which the reader does not yet have a context. This can be confusing and even off-putting to readers. I think the reason Alys succeeds here is because the prologue is a self-contained story. It does the job of hinting to the reader of what’s to come–historical significance, a later threading in of this urban legend–but it’s also enjoyable for its own sake. Continue reading

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Share your LGBTQ Writing on Book Country

Posted by June 20th, 2014

share your GLBT Writing on Book CountryWe celebrate LGBTQ writing all year round, of course, but during Pride Month we want to take a minute to highlight the areas of our Genre Map that especially focus on LGBTQ themes: F/F Romance, M/M Romance, and Young Adult LGBTQ.

Curious to learn more about these growing genres? Eager to share and get feedback on your LGBTQ writing from a community of like-minded writers? Join us on Book Country. It’s a safe and supportive space to develop writing with LGBTQ themes, no matter what genre you write.

Introduce yourself to the community here!

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Why I Love My Book Cover by Elizabeth Andrews

Posted by June 18th, 2014

HuntingMedusa cover.jpgThis is going to sound just terrible, but as a reader, I rarely shop for books by the cover art.  When I go shopping for books, I almost always have a list of books I’ve culled from favorite authors’ websites, or recommendations from readers I trust. I can appreciate all of the lovely covers on the shelves in the store–though I will profess a bit of a bias against all the copy-cat covers on erotic romances these days–fruit and flowers?  Those do not scream “hot romance” to me.  Give me a hot, shirtless hero on the cover, whether he’s alone or with his heroine. I am, after all, a romance fanatic.

That is one big reason why the cover for my book HUNTING MEDUSA makes me so happy when I look at it. (And, okay, I might have petted it a few thousand times.) But it isn’t just the mostly-naked hunk looking all broody and dangerous. No, the talented artist who worked on my cover art managed to work a bit of the setting into the background, and there’s the heroine, defiant and still vulnerable. Plus there’s a nifty little symbol tucked into the corner that will continue throughout the trilogy, and that makes me smile. The first time I saw it absolutely thrilled me, seeing all those little touches put together after all the work I’d put into the book. Plus, seeing the cover art made the book feel even more real than everything leading up to that point. Continue reading

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