Tag Archives: RT Booklovers Convention 2014

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.


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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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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Publishing Your Best Book on Book Country

Posted by May 15th, 2014

The RT Booklovers Convention 2014 is well underway in New Orleans. We are having a fantastic time meeting romance writers and readers in this colorful, fun-loving city.

Today is the second of our Book Country panels here at #RT14:

Publishing Your Best Book on Book Country

Book Country is an online writing and publishing community featuring all of your favorite romance categories. Lucy Silag will demonstrate how to join Book Country, and how to publish and distribute your book across all of the major retail platforms. Book Country’s best-in-class, a la carte publishing services (from cover design to author-marketing tutorials) are turning this community of writers into published authors. This panel will include Book Country giveaways — books written by published Book Country authors — and exciting raffles for 2 Custom Cover Trios and a Discover Publish Package.

Event Date: Thursday, May 15, 2014 – 4:00pm to 5:00pm

Panelist(s):Lucy Silag (Book Country, Book Country Community and Engagement Manager)

Location: 4th Floor

Room: Iberville

Add it to your agenda here.

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#RT14: Workshopping Your Best Book on Book Country

Posted by May 14th, 2014

Good morning, New Orleans! If you are here at the RT Booklovers Convention, let’s meet up!

Today is the first of two RT14 Book Country panels:

Workshopping Your Best Book on Book Country

Book Country is an online writing and publishing community featuring of all your favorite romance categories. Lucy Silag will demonstrate how to join Book Country, workshop your book, and connect with fellow romance writers to get constructive feedback on your writing. Writers are doing their best work with the help of Book Country’s thriving member base, and agents and editors are taking notice. This panel will include Book Country giveaways—books written by published Book Country authors—and exciting raffles for feedback sessions on your manuscript.

Event Date: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 – 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Panelist: Lucy Silag, Book Country Community and Engagement Manager

Location: 2nd Floor

Room: Studio 4 – (Preservation Hall)

Add this event to your RT14 Personal Agenda.

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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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RT Booklovers Convention 2014: What Alys Arden Is Excited About

Posted by May 12th, 2014

Join me in welcoming Book Country member Alys Arden back to the blog! Alys workshopped her first book, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, on Book Country (I blogged about reading it here, and she celebrated its release here), and is now hard at work on the sequel, THE ROMEO CATCHERS. A New Orleans native, Alys is the perfect writer to help us get ready for our trip to NOLA for the RT Booklovers Convention this week. Read on for her tips about what to add to your conference itinerary.


Conference App screenshotYou know you are the biggest nerd on the planet when you get completely overwhelmed with giddiness after the RT Booklovers Convention releases the 2014 iPhone app, and you are dancing while it downloads.

Besides the content and participating author list, I am particularly excited about the convention this year because it’s taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, my hometown! And if you know anything about me, or have read my work, you know that my affection for New Orleans runs deep.

Post-download, I subsequently spent the rest of the afternoon reviewing every single panel/event, cross-referencing timetables and maps to create a customized schedule with the perfect blend of inspiration, information, boundary pushing and networking. I had to calm myself down a few times when I realized that two (or four) of my top picks were happening simultaneously, like, why is the Veronica Roth chat happening at the same time as the Urban Fantasy Panel? WHY?!


I am currently in the process of writing a sequel to my first novel, THE CASQUETTE GIRLS, (which I workshopped on Book Country last year!) It’s a YA Paranormal Romance that takes place in the New Orleans French Quarter, so you’ll see a pattern in my top picks for #RT2014:

the casquette girlsBOOK COUNTRY: “How to Workshop Your Best Book” Wed. May 14th, 12 p.m.

Why you should be excited: Have you ever finished writing a chapter/novel/poem/short story/love letter/whatever and wished you could read it with totally fresh eyes? Or even better, have someone beta read it with unbiased eyes? That’s one of the reasons I joined Book Country (okay, also, I’m an Internet junkie and I will try anything once… okay, not anything.) As a first time writer, I thought I’d have to beg and plead for people to read my work – this wasn’t the case at all. Not only did several people from the community give me feedback on my then work-in-progress novel, but one morning I woke up to find a message from Lucy, saying that she wanted to workshop THE CASQUETTE GIRLS.  Her detailed feedback was invaluable. I still go back and read it, to this day. I only bring this up because three of the prizes being raffled at this panel are workshopping sessions with Lucy! YOU WANT TO WIN THIS PRIZE, just sayin’. Continue reading

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Bestselling Romance Author Julie James on Remembering the Big Picture

Posted by May 6th, 2014

It happened one wedding coverHappy Book Birthday to today’s blog guest, bestselling author Julie James! IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING is Julie’s seventh novel. We caught up with this beloved Berkley Romance author to find out more about her writing process, how she manages to balance writing and motherhood, and her plans for the RT Booklovers Convention next week.


Lucy Silag: Your previous books are workplace romances, but IT HAPPENED ONE WEDDING takes place in a firmly personal realm. What was different about writing in this setting?

Julie James: That was a deliberate choice—before I knew anything else about the story or the characters, I told my editor that I wanted to write a book where the hero and heroine did not meet through work. As you mentioned, my previous books all had been set up that way, and I wanted to do something different this time. Main characters Sidney and Vaughn meet when her sister gets engaged to his brother and are  then thrown together repeatedly as the maid of honor and best man in the wedding. This idea came to me pretty quickly, but the specifics of the story beyond that took a bit more time to develop. Continue reading

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