Category Archives: Women’s Fiction

A Day in the Life of a Writer: Julia Fierro

Posted by November 10th, 2015

CUTTING TEETH revised coverWriters, if you don’t know of Julia Fierro yet, it’s high time you did! Julia is the founder and director of Brooklyn’s Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop, the author of the sharp, darkly comic novel CUTTING TEETH (also a Landmark Title on Book Country), and a truly delightful literary personality. Recently, Julia moved with her family to Los Angeles, but luckily for us in New York, she visits regularly to take part in readings, conferences, and panels (like our “Building a Writing Community Online + Off” panel at BookCourt this fall). She photo-documented a day in her life on one of her trips back to the East Coast this fall, showing us what it’s like to be in the thick of the literary scene in New York City.

8:30 am

Julia 1The water is choppy today on the Long Island Sound. Brrr. Definitely not in LA anymore, but the fall chill (my father calls it fresca!) is lovely after the heat in CA. Just a few more hours visiting with my parents in Mekamah Beach.

9:00 am

Julia 2My dad made me breakfast (including soup from the vegetables in his garden). He’s wearing his favorite Diet Coke hat. Continue reading

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER: Meg Mitchell Moore

Posted by October 7th, 2015

THE ADMISSIONS coverMeg Mitchell Moore‘s new book, THE ADMISSIONS, came out from Doubleday in August. Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand said of THE ADMISSIONS, “This book was brilliant and enjoyable on every level. I LOVED IT! It’s my money-back guarantee of 2015.”

Today we’re following Meg through a typical day in her life as a writer in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where she lives with her family. On deck is writing time, of course (check out the gorgeous writing space she rents downtown), and a book club event at the Reading Public Library, proof that getting involved in your community is a win for both writers and readers.

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6:00 am

mmm1 600My day begins as exotically as all my weekdays begin: lunchboxes! Hooray. Also, cappuccino (not pictured). I’m a Nespresso fan. Did I say fan? I meant addict.

7:40 am

mmm2 600After the usual rush of do-you-have-your-homework and did-you-brush-your-teeth and where-is-my-other-sneaker the three kids are out the door. The middle schooler goes first (6:55 bus but today her nice dad gives her a ride so she has a few extra minutes) followed by the fifth-grader and third-grader on a later bus. By 7:40, they’re all gone. Whew. Continue reading

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COVER REVEAL + VIDEO: Andrea Dunlop, LOSING THE LIGHT

Posted by August 31st, 2015

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountryAs you know, Book Country member Andrea Dunlop‘s book was picked up by Washington Square Press (an imprint of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster) last fall. We’ve pretty much been in a perpetual state of celebration since then!

Today, we have lots of exciting updates for you on Andrea’s book, originally workshopped on Book Country with the title THE SOJOURN.

First off, THE SOJOURN has a new title: LOSING THE LIGHT.

Secondly, LOSING THE LIGHT will come out on February 23, 2016! You can already preorder it from retailers. Woo-hoo!

We’re also super excited to reveal the cover for LOSING THE LIGHT this morning! Check it out: Continue reading

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Natalie Baszile quote: “When I get too bogged down . . .”

Posted by July 31st, 2015

Natalie Baszile quoteNatalie Baszile quote

Want more writing wisdom from authors? Check out our Author Interviews.

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Ask a Literary Agent: Amy Cloughley Answers Your Questions

Posted by July 13th, 2015

Amy CloughleyPlease welcome literary agent Amy Cloughley of Kimberley Cameron & Associates to the blog today! Amy’s in the market to acquire the following types of books: Historical; Literary; Mainstream; Mystery and Suspense (all types but NO paranormal); Thriller (legal, grounded, psychological); Women’s Fiction; Adult Nonfiction (pop culture and humor, sports, narrative, memoir–travel). Like Book Country, Amy will be at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference at the end of this week. If you’ll also be at #PNWA15, you’ll be able to find Amy at the Agent Forum on Friday, July 17, at 10:00am, and at Power Pitch Sessions A, D, & E on Friday and Saturday.

When do you need an agent?  How do you know when you are ready as a writer to take this step? – Claire Count

There are a variety of great options for publishing your work, but if your goal is to be traditionally published, your odds of success increase quite a bit if you work with a qualified agent. Although many small/mid-sized publishers will consider unagented work, most of the larger houses will not, and the publishers who do often give priority to agented submissions.

You will know you are ready to take this step when your manuscript (or book proposal for nonfiction) is your best, most polished work. Although an agent will often provide some feedback to clients, an agent is typically looking to take on projects/clients who are as close to ready for the marketplace as possible. So be sure to do your research and due diligence. What is the typical word count for your genre? Is your POV clear and consistent? Are your main characters fully developed? Is your pacing appropriate for your genre? Did you have quality beta readers provide feedback? Did you identify a few current comparable titles to include in your query? There are numerous websites such as WritersDigest or here at BookCountry, as well as countless books and classes, that cover how to prepare your manuscript for publication. Applying this information will help your manuscript get an agent’s attention. 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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Member Spotlight: Meet Writer Andrea Dunlop

Posted by August 8th, 2014

Andrea Dunlop on Book CountrySo excited to have my friend and fellow Book Country member Andrea Dunlop back on the blog this morning! I just read Andrea’s book, THE SOJOURN, and I was blown away by how good it was. Just as I was finishing the book, Andrea wrote to tell me that she’s signed with literary agent Carly Watters. If you haven’t yet checked out the excerpt of THE SOJOURN that is available to read on Book Country, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP!

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Lucy Silag: Tell us what compelled you to write THE SOJOURN.

Andrea Dunlop: It was inspired by the time I spent in France as a student. Traveling abroad for the first time is an incredibly heady experience, it has a way of blowing open your perspective on life.

LS: How long have you been working on it? What is your writing and revising process like?

AD: I’ve actually been working on the novel off and on for twelve years now, if you can believe it. There have been many, many versions of the story but it always came back to the friendship between [main characters] Brooke and Sophie. I’ve gotten lots of feedback from different sources over the years that have helped me shape the book: fellow writers, agents, professors, I ended up hiring a developmental editor and I can’t overstate the difference that made. After you’ve been working on something for a certain amount of time, you lose perspective on it. It really helped me to just let go and be willing to do whatever it took to make the story better. 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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How BookBub Helped My Books Sell by Therese Walsh

Posted by July 9th, 2014

the moon sisters“It’s sort of miraculous,” one of my author friends said late last year of BookBub, a website/newsletter used to promote quality e-books with temporarily (and drastically) slashed prices. She had moved from traditional publishing into the world of hybrid-publishing—still accepting contracts with publishers but self-publishing older books that had gone out of print. When she decided to run a sale on one of her self-published books, decreasing the price from $4.99 to $1.99 for a few weeks, she contacted BookBub and was accepted for inclusion in a one-day email promotion. Sales increased once the price of her book dropped, she said, but truly spiked once BookBub’s e-blast reached its subscribers. The benefits didn’t end there; her numbers remained boosted for months after the end of the sale, and she began to sell more of her other novels as well. “It’s a whole new world,” she said.

I’d heard from other friends about the potential impact of BookBub, too, and so when my publisher decided to put the eBook of my latest novel on sale and utilize BookBub to get the word out to over 500k women’s fiction readers, I took a keen interest in the event. Sales for the eBook of THE MOON SISTERS had never really taken off. Though I didn’t hawk over my numbers, the best ranking I’d noticed on Amazon was in the range of 10k for the e-book. Nook numbers were similarly meh at Barnes and Noble. If the $10.99 price point—standard for an eBook when the bookshelf-book is a hard cover—repelled the e-book audience, would the $1.99 sale make a difference, and if so, how much of a difference?

BookBub1

May rolled around, and the two-week sale of the e-version of THE MOON SISTERS began. Though the BookBub announcement wouldn’t release until midway through the sale, word-of-mouth (and Facebook and Twitter) did a lot, and numbers quickly improved on the sales front. The day before the BookBub, numbers for the eBook of THE MOON SISTERS on Barnes and Noble were in the 900 range, and were in the 2k range on Amazon; a huge improvement.

I woke early the morning of the BookBub promotion and turned on my computer, full of anticipation. But nothing significant had changed. “Hang in there,” a friend coached. “My BookBub email hasn’t even arrived yet, and it’ll take a while for sales numbers to be reflected online, too.” Her reassurances made perfect sense, but I did spend a few hours wondering if I’d become the anomaly.

And then, boom. Continue reading

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Jill Shalvis on Romance Heroes: “No one wants to see a big strong hero using a baby voice”

Posted by May 13th, 2014

We’re spending the morning with the hilarious Jill Shalvis, author of the Animal Magnetism series of romance novels published by Berkley. Jill is one of the headlining authors at this year’s RT Booklovers Convention in New Orleans this week. We can’t wait to see her at the conference!

Animal Magnetism books in the Penguin bookstore

Lucy Silag: Your Animal Magnetism books star characters who work with animals—a kennel owner, sexy vets, shelter workers. That’s not your everyday premise for a series of romance novels, but it totally works! Tell us about how love blossoms among the animals in Sunshine, Idaho.

Jill Shalvis: In my mind, there’s nothing sexier than a guy who loves and can take care of animals.  That’s how this series was born.  I kept circling back to this idea of a bunch of guys for whom animals were their whole life.

LS: It seems like it would be terribly difficult to gracefully write about pets—if it were me, I would devolve into baby voices and cooing. How do you do it? Continue reading

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