Pitch Madness … submission deets
Aug27

Pitch Madness … submission deets

  It’s here! Well, not quite yet. The submission windows for the semi-annual Pitch Madness go live on Saturday, September 1 at 12PM EDT (NY time) and 6PM EDT (NY time) and another window has bee added for Tuesday, September 4 @ 10AM EDT (NY time). The game theme this time is Paintball (Great suggestion SM Johnston of YATopia!). What’s Pitch Madness, you ask? Well, its a game where we bring together a bushel of agents to compete for your pitches. There’s three other blogs joining me in this funtastic event. So I guess I’ll start by introducing them first.                                      YATopia Blog  Shelley Watters Erica M. Chapman                      Here’s the crazy awesome agents participating… Dawn Frederick – Red Sofa LiteraryBrittany Howard – Corvisiero AgencyJohn Cusick – Scott Treimel NYVictoria Marini – Gelfman Schneider Lit.Judith Engracia – Liza Dawson & Assoc.Louise Fury – L. Perkins AgencySarah LaPolla – Curtis Brown Ltd.Brooks Sherman – FinePrint Literary ManagementMolly Ker Hawn – The Bent Agency   We’ll have more about the agents up in our Meet the Agents’ post coming September 4 and 5. Now, here’s the submission deets … Shine up your 35-word (exact-anything over will be disqualified) pitches and the first 150-words (if the cut-off falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence) of your finished Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade fiction. We’ll pick 60 entries to move on to the Agent Pitch Match.  We’ve doubled the number of entries we’re taking in this time. There will be a percentage of what genres make it in based on all the agents likes. You guessed it, there will be more YA in the contest than Adult, but the main thing we’re looking for is the WOW factor. Only one entry per person. We have two submission times, and this year we’re holding it on a Saturday.  The windows open on September 1 … 1ST SUBMISSION TIME: 12:00 pm EDT (EST-NY time) first 100.2ND SUBMISSION TIME: 6:00 pm EDT (EST-NY time) first 100.  And we’ve added another submission time for September 4… 3RD SUBMISSION TIME: 10:00 am EDT (EST-NY time) first 100. Submissions will be emailed to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. All email submissions received before the submission times will be deleted. Only the best of the best will make it to the final round. Submissions will be emailed to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com.  Here’s how to format your entry … Subject line: Pitch Madness: TITLE Name: Brenda Drake Title: The Britanika Journals: Around the World in 80:45:07 Genre: Middle Grade Adventure Word Count: 50,000 Max and Annika use a transporting globe to find her missing father. With evil...

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Query Workshop B-11: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD
Aug25

Query Workshop B-11: RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD

It’s the final day of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. This final day is only on my blog. They’re winners of a drawing on the Beyond The Hourglass Bridge Blog  So here’s my next critique…        Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous. But she’s not. Especially when it comes to school bullies and flying by the seat of her pants. So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy—farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West—she crumples her ‘to-do’ list to prove she really can be daring and impulsive.  And at first, searching for gold with Jake and their quirky Grandpa Jim in his beat-up motorhome is the grand adventure she’s always wanted—especially when Maggie learns they can use the money to save a camp for troubled youth. But her new found courage falters when she realizes they must outsmart and outrun a dangerous thief who is also after the treasure.  The race is on. But, just as the cousins think they have solved the mystery, Jake is captured, and all the‘to-do’ lists in the world won’t save him. Only Maggie can, if she finds her bravery.  RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD is a 41,500-word middle grade mystery where Maggie’s present-day adventures parallel Butch Cassidy’s past until mystery and history collide. This book contains sneaky bits of Utah history and has the potential for a series of fast-paced adventures across the fifty states.  With a Master’s degree in Elementary Education, I have been both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher.I am a regular attendee of writers’ conferences and have three published magazine articles. I created the successful marketing website, Giveaway Today,with an apex of 176,000 page views per month. I believe you would be interested in my middle grade novel, RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD.     “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous.(There’s not enough voice in this opening and something is missing here for the hook. Maybe a descriptor. Like… Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy would give up living her life by her lists if she were brave and spontaneous like her quirky Grandpa Jim.)  But she’s not. Especially when it comes to school bullies and flying by the seat of her pants. So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy—farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West (Do we need this? Doesn’t everyone know who Butch Cassidy...

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Query Workshop B-12: LISTEN TO ME
Aug25

Query Workshop B-12: LISTEN TO ME

It’s the final day of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. This final day is only on my blog. They’re winners of a drawing on the Beyond The Hourglass Bridge Blog  So here’s my next critique…         Dear AgentName, Since she was six years old, Stacy has seen her future self whenever she looks in the mirror. Growing up with your future self in the mirror has its perks: “Older Me” has supported Stacy through her parents’ divorce, bullying and a broken heart. She’s been a trusted confidante who can’t get Stacy in trouble and who won’t torment her like most of her peers. But at seventeen, Stacy’s beginning to wonder if she wants to become the 29-year-old she sees in the mirror. When Older Me tells Stacy not to declare her feelings for her best friend, Mark. Stacy refuses. To keep Stacy from getting hurt, Older Me is forced to admit she’s lied about not remembering her past — Stacy’s present. Older Me claims she did it to help Stacy to avoid mistakes she made. But soon Stacy learns Older Me enjoyed the life Stacy wishes for — popularity, success, and most of all, Mark. Stacy can’t see how her derided, lonely, high school experience could ever be superior to Older Me’s seemingly perfect alternative. With their relationship strained to its limits, and the clock ticking towards eighteen (the age Older Me was when Stacy arrived in her mirror), Stacy is determined to do whatever it takes to find her version of Older Me’s life for herself – even if herself is the person she’ll hurt most. LISTEN TO ME is a YA contemporary that plays with the time-space continuum, complete at 89,000 words. The premise was inspired by the www.dearteenme.com website in which adult authors write letters to their teen selves. Thank you for your time. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear AgentName, Since she was six years old, Stacy has seen her future self whenever she looks in the mirror. Growing up with your future self in the mirror has its perks: “Older Me” has supported Stacy through her parents’ divorce, bullying (comma here – This is where I usually give my CPs my argument for the serial, also known as Oxford, comma.) and a broken heart. She’s been a trusted confidante who can’t get Stacy in trouble and who won’t torment her like most of her peers. (I’d make sure to give her current age upfront. I love this concept!) Ever since seventeen-year-old Stacey entered the first grade, she’s seen her future...

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Query Workshop B-13: THE SIMPLE TRUTH
Aug25

Query Workshop B-13: THE SIMPLE TRUTH

It’s the final day of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. This final day is only on my blog. They’re winners of a drawing on the Beyond The Hourglass Bridge Blog  So here’s my next critique…        Dear Awesome Agent, Seventeen-year-old Johnny thought getting beaten and branded out of gang life was the worst thing imaginable. He was wrong. When a couple of thugs chase him away from the shelter he currently calls home and into a different neighborhood, a woman helps him escape and then offers him a place to stay. Motivated by food, clean clothes, and a shower, he accepts, vowing to make a break for it at the first sign of trouble. Seventeen-year-old Alicia has kept quiet about a lot of the changes her mom made after her brother, Danny, died—a new neighborhood, new school, and new dreams. But when her mom saves a thug from the streets, she draws the line. She’s been avoiding scum like Johnny her whole life. But her mom is on a mission and fails to listen which means war. Johnny’s gotta go. But as Johnny and Alicia begin to trust each other, they realize they have more in common than avoiding scum: Guilt.  Johnny’s guilt over his girlfriend’s death doesn’t allow him to trust his feelings, and Alicia’s guilt of surviving her brother has left her ignoring her dream to dance. When trust begins to turn into something more, Alicia’s mom makes it perfectly clear she won’t tolerate a relationship between the two, leaving Johnny with a choice: give in to his feelings for Alicia and end up back on the streets, or bury his feelings like he’s buried those he loves. THE SIMPLE TRUTH, a YA contemporary romance manuscript complete at 60,000 words, is a story about finding truth in dreams, hope, and love. I hope it will appeal to readers of Simone Elkeles. Thank you for your consideration.  ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““` B’s critique … Dear Awesome Agent, Seventeen-year-old Johnny thought getting beaten and branded out of gang life was the worst thing imaginable. He was wrong. (Okay, I’m hooked.) When a couple of thugs chase him away from the shelter he currently calls home and into a different neighborhood, a woman helps him escape and then offers him a place to stay. After causing his girlfriend’s death, he doesn’t feel worthy of the kindness. (You should mention the girlfriend’s demise up here before tying it in with Alicia’s brother. You mention it as something that drives her in her paragraph but not in Johnny’s – make...

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Query Workshop B-9: THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD
Aug24

Query Workshop B-9: THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD

It’s day five of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. I’ll have three more queries from the winners of a drawing on Katherine Amabel’s (@katherineamabel) blog Beyond the Hourglass Bridge up tomorrow on the blog. Come back tomorrow to critique them and get more entries for the critique prizes, which will be announced on Monday. And here’s my next critique…        Dear Agent, Eleven-year old Izzy has read every fairytale there is, so she knows that when the faeries steal a child, they always leave a changeling in its place. But when her little sister, Hen, disappears, there’s not a changeling in sight. She’s just gone. The old woman next door knows something she isn’t telling. Izzy follows her into the woods, down a twisted passage, and into the enchanted forest of the Edgewood.  But Faerie is a much more savage place than Izzy’s fairytales. Within hours of their arrival, ghostly cobwebs attack the old woman, and Izzy barely escapes becoming cocooned in their icy tendrils. Fleeing for her life, she runs into a group of outlaw changelings, shape-shifting orphans more likely to steal her shoes than help her out. She befriends them, and learns they’re the last three changelings left in Faerie – all the others have mysteriously vanished. The new friends set out on a joint search-and rescue mission across eastern Faerie. But when they discover Hen and the missing changelings have been imprisoned by an evil queen, they know they’ve taken on more than even a changeling can handle. If Izzy and her friends can’t stop the queen, she and her sister will never go home, the entire changeling race will be enslaved, and Hen won’t be the last human victim of the queen’s sinister plans. THROUGH THE EDGEWOOD is a middle grade fantasy adventure, complete at 70,000 words. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear Agent, Eleven-year–old Izzy has read every fairytale there is, so she knows that when the faeries steal a child, they always leave a changeling in its place. But when her little sister, Hen, disappears, there’s not a changeling in sight. She’s just gone. (This is your hook paragraph. I’d separate it from the rest of the paragraph. And I’m hooked here.) Izzy suspects the old woman next door knows something she isn’t telling. So Izzy follows her down a passage twisting through the crowded trees to the enchanted forest of  the Edgewood.  But Faerie (How does Faerie connect to the Edgewood? Is Faerie in the Edgewood? Make that clear with a better transition.) is a much more savage...

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Query Workshop B-10: PIECES OF REVENGE
Aug24

Query Workshop B-10: PIECES OF REVENGE

It’s day five of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. I’ll have three more queries from the winners of a drawing on Katherine Amabel’s (@katherineamabel) blog Beyond the Hourglass Bridge up tomorrow on the blog. Come back tomorrow to critique them and get more entries for the critique prizes, which will be announced on Monday. And here’s my next critique…        Dear (NAME), Anastasia Snow has lost everything. Her family, her home, her humanity. Now, six years after her family’s brutal murder she is finally strong enough to bring those responsible to justice. For years, Anastasia has been training her body and her mind, preparing for the day she will meet those responsible for her ruined life face to face. Armed with her combat skills and a memory that keeps hold of every little detail, she heads to Chicago to uncover the answers to questions that plagued her existence for years. Kallos Enterprises is a company set on improving the genetic structure of an individual. Or so they say. Anastasia knows better, she’s seen first hand what kind of monsters lurk behind the pretty walls of that company’s skyscrapers. Her plan is to infiltrate the one company responsible for her broken life, exposing them for who they are. After arriving in the city, she meets the mysterious Logan, a boy from her past who changes all the rules. She doesn’t remember him, but he remembers her. The feelings and emotions he evokes in her are more than she can handle, more than she thought she was capable of. The world around them is changing and Anastasia must fight against time to right the wrongs of Kallos Enterprises. Together Anastasia and Logan uncover secrets that threaten to change the world forever. With a madman threatening their every step, Anastasia and Logan must fight with everything they have in order to survive. Complete at 69,500 words, Pieces of Revenge is a Young Adult thriller, that is full  of fast paced action, car chases, and just a bit of romance. Thank you for your time and consideration. I have attached (WHATEVER ASKED FOR) for your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique …  Dear (NAME), Anastasia Snow has lost everything. Her family, her home, her humanity (How did she lose her humanity? Was she left for dead and survived?) . Now, six years after her family’s brutal murder, she is finally strong enough to bring those responsible to justice. (I’m hooked.) For years, Anastasia has been training her body and her mind, preparing for...

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Query Workshop B-7: DARKLING
Aug23

Query Workshop B-7: DARKLING

Before we start I have winners for the three entries into the query workshop from Beyond The Hourglass Bridge Blog. All three critiques will be up on my blog on Saturday. Winners please email me your queries stat at brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. If you don’t wish to participate, please let  me know and I’ll choose another winner. And the winners from Random.org are… Aimee SalterE. ArroyoEmily Cushing  It’s day four of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…              Dear Awesome Agent, Seventeen-year-old Taela does what she has to survive, but she doesn’t think of herself as a murderer. When the sister she idolizes is executed for treason, Taela vows to avenge her death–even if it means killing the kingdom’s only hope for salvation. Some believe renegade leader Hawke is destined to save their land from an ancient evil. To Taela, the drunken ass who charmed her sister and left her to die is no hero. With the element of surprise on her side, Taela sets out after the seasoned warrior, determined to thrust her dagger into his heart. The road to revenge leads her to the mysterious Darkling Forest where, lost among shape-shifting trees, Taela has disturbing prophetic visions. When a soldier with no soul attacks, she learns innocent men are being turned into drone soldiers for the king’s army. She puts her vendetta aside to make a truce with Hawke. Their fragile alliance will be put to the test when Taela discovers the truth about her sister’s death, and it forever ties Taela’s destiny to the very man she wants to destroy. DARKLING is a YA Fantasy novel, with series potential, complete at 72,000words. It will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore or Leigh Bardugo. Thank you for your time and consideration. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear Awesome Agent, Seventeen-year-old Taela does what she has to do to survive (or you can use–> does what she must to survive), but she doesn’t think of herself as a murderer.(Nice hook!) When the sister she idolizes is executed for treason, Taela vows to avenge her death–even if it means killing the kingdom’s only hope for salvation. Some believe renegade leader, Hawke, is destined to save their land from an ancient evil. To Taela, the drunken ass who charmed her sister and left her to die is no hero. (I’m sold.) With the element of surprise on her side, Taela sets out after the seasoned warrior (Confused here – if it’s Hawke, just say so. You already set him...

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Query Workshop B-8: THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON
Aug23

Query Workshop B-8: THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON

Before we start I have winners for the three entries into the query workshop from Beyond The Hourglass Bridge Blog. All three critiques will be up on my blog on Saturday. Winners please email me your queries stat at brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. If you don’t wish to participate, please let  me know and I’ll choose another winner. And the winners from Random.org are… Aimee SalterE. ArroyoEmily Cushing  It’s day four of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…            Dear Agent, THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON is a 70,000-word YA dystopian fantasy novel. It can stand alone, but has trilogy potential. Sixteen-year-old Lori Gibbs’s parents have registered her in Easten’s Talent Show. If she impresses the judges, her parents move into the Palace for life. If she fails to impress, she’ll hang. Easten is a fertile island surrounded by metal walls to keep natives in and visitors out. In Easten, pride is everything, and a parent’s pride rests in how talented their child is. Lori can fly, a rare gift, and with that comes her parents’ plan for her life: levitate, impress, secure them a Palace room so everyone knows they created the best child, and then go home to pop out her own talented children. But ever since Lori’s best friend was hung for not impressing, Lori has had trouble controlling her anger towards Easten’s system. And worse, she starts to bond with another contestant, even though unapproved friendship is forbidden. Davis is a smart, timid fifteen-year-old with a talent of holding his breath. His mom is dying of cancer, so she figured she had little to lose by registering him. While Davis is sure he’ll do well, Lori knows the truth. Davis’s talent is just as lame as his love for Easten and even lamer than the boy whose talent was picking up marbles with his toes. Lori devises a plan to save Davis. If she doesn’t try, she’ll lose her only friend and become a part of the system she’s vowed never to follow. But if she gets caught, she’ll hang alongside him. If you would like to read sample chapters or the full manuscript, please let me know. Thank you for your time and consideration!    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique …  Dear Agent, THE SHOW MUST NOT GO ON is a 70,000-word YA dystopian fantasy(pick one or the other)novel. It can stand alone, but has trilogy potential. (Don’t do this) I prefer to start with the hook and put the title and word count...

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Query Workshop B-5: DISTANT HORIZON
Aug22

Query Workshop B-5: DISTANT HORIZON

It’s day three of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…              Dear Agent, When eighteen-year-old Jenna Nickleson is targeted by the Camaraderie of Evil for having super powers, she escapes the Community and joins her grandfather’s team of rebels. But being able to make vines grow isn’t much of a weapon against beasties, monsters that throw fireballs and can rip out a person’s throat. So when Jenna hears a young man screaming for help in one of the beastie creation facilities, she tries to rescue him. That’s one less beastie she’ll have to kill later– and she’s never liked killing anyone, even beasties. Unfortunately, she’s not able to save him before the horrible transformation is complete, and now that she’s seen where beasties come from, the idea of killing innocents is even more appalling. She’d rather stop the ones who created the monsters. She gets her chance when her stunt catches the attention of the malicious Brainmaster, a telepath in charge of overseeing beastie creation. Brainmaster gives Jenna an ultimatum: join the Camaraderie and help create the monsters, or become one herself. With Brainmaster attacking her mind, Jenna has to figure out what’s real and what’s just a figment of the telepath’s cruel imagination, or she’ll never have a chance to destroy the beastie creation facilities. Please consider DISTANT HORIZON, a 99,000 word young adult dystopian adventure.    “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear Agent, When eighteen-year-old (I’d lower her age – eighteen is New Adult) Jenna Nickleson is targeted by the Camaraderie of Evil for having super powers, she escapes the Community and joins her grandfather’s team of rebels. But being able to make vines grow isn’t much of a weapon against beasties, monsters that throw fireballs and can rip out a person’s throat. What is the Camaraderie of Evil? We don’t need to know the name of this evil entity. Why is she targeted? What is the Community? Do the other rebels have super powers? Since we don’t know this world yet, your opening is confusing. There is a hook in there and I was curious about parts of this opening paragraph. So when Jenna hears a young man screaming for help in one of the beastie creation facilities, she tries to rescue him. That’s one less beastie she’ll have to kill later–and she’s never liked killing anyone, even beasties. Unfortunately, she’s not able to save him before the horrible transformation is complete, and now that she’s seen where beasties come from, the idea...

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Query Workshop B-6: BETTER LIVES
Aug22

Query Workshop B-6: BETTER LIVES

It’s day three of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…   Dear Agent, Arrogant prep-schooler Marc Andrews knows stealing the physics final was a dumbass idea.  But when his roommate and self-appointed jiminy-cricket, Tim, suggests that giving back the test is his last chance to do the right thing, Marc laughs in his face.  He should have listened. After that, his life goes to hell.  Marc’s hearing thousands of people’s thoughts in his head, all telling him what he already knows – he’s a shitty person.  Only continuous drinking shuts them up.  Believing things are improving when he meets hot, badass Bethany, a girl he actually likes, they only get worse.  After their first date, Marc wakes up in the loony bin, committed after killing Bethany while driving drunk.  He escapes, discovering the asylum’s a fake, located in strip-mall five miles from campus. Quickly recaptured, Marc learns the truth.   His kidnappers are really the Sipala, aliens, disguised as humans, who are slowly taking over the planet.   The Sipala believe it’s a fair deal for humans, preventing them from destroying the Earth.  Marc’s informed that this destruction would’ve been his fault.   As the future president, he starts a global nuclear war.  Being a shitty person is one thing, but he’s shocked that he grows up to attain a Hitler-Stalin level of evil.   Forced to experience, first-hand, the atrocities he’d have caused, Marc’s grateful to his captors for not becoming a monster.  That is, until, he learns that a faction of Sipala, who want the Earth for themselves, are planning to kick off Armegeddon as previously scheduled.   Marc can’t let the horrors he’s experienced happen for real.  It’s up to him, with help from unexpected allies, to escape, save the planet, and maybe even become a decent human being in the process. Inspired by a Christmas Carol (but with aliens), YA novel, BETTER LIVES (90,00ish word WIP) starts as a contemporary prep school story, before taking a Tarantino-like twist into science fiction.  Thank you for your time and consideration. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique …  Dear Agent, Arrogant prep-schooler (I’d lose this and just put his age.) Marc Andrews knows stealing the physics final was a dumbass idea.  But when his roommate and self-appointed jiminy-cricket, Tim, suggests that giving back the test is his last chance to do the right thing, Marc laughs in his face.  He should have listened. I like this opening and I’m hooked. The jiminy-cricket reference is great, but I worry that it might be too...

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Query Workshop B-3: OF ICE AND ASHES
Aug21

Query Workshop B-3: OF ICE AND ASHES

It’s day two of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…   Dear Super Agent, Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted. Hideous black spider-web scars mar the other survivors of an elemental explosion, but Wren’s skin is pale and perfect—and dangerous. Her icy touch causes excruciating pain for everyone except the caretaker her father left her with. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without inciting the usual cringes and gasps of fear. When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for her condition. Instead, she declares the Tainted—all those damaged by the explosion—are diseased and demands that their blood be purged. To begin, she executes Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. Wren barely escapes in search of the Tainted outcasts hiding at the fringe of the land—the deformed ones Evangeline banished after the explosion. They might hate her for not being exiled with them. They might fear her as much as everyone else fears her. But with the fires of Tainted bodies burning at night, she’ll have to decide: wield her frightening ability to save the only people like her—even if it means taking a life—or wait for Evangeline to find her. OF ICE AND ASHES is a stand-alone 76,000 word YA fantasy. Thank you for your consideration!  “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear Super Agent, Sixteen-year-old Wren is Tainted. Hideous black spider-web (spiderweb) scars mar the other survivors of an elemental explosion, but Wren’s skin is pale and perfect—and dangerous. Her icy touch causes excruciating pain for everyone except the caretaker (I’d add a word or two here to say why the caretaker isn’t affected by her touch.) her father left her with. Wren would give anything to walk through her home without inciting the usual cringes and gasps of fear.     When Evangeline, the supervisor of the elemental caves, calls a public meeting, Wren hopes it’s to announce a cure for her condition. Instead, she declares the Tainted—all those damaged by the explosion (I’m confused. Isn’t everyone damaged? Or did some escape the elemental explosion? Clarify this.)—are diseased and demands that their blood be purged. To begin, she executes Wren’s caretaker in front of the entire town. Wren barely escapes in and searches for the Tainted outcasts hiding at the fringe of the land—the deformed ones Evangeline banished after the explosion.(This aside after the emdash seems out of place to me. It should be right after “outcasts”. It’s more of an afterthought where...

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Query Workshop B-4: MOONDREAMER: The Sowing
Aug21

Query Workshop B-4: MOONDREAMER: The Sowing

  It’s day two of the query workshop with me and three of my blogging friends. Two queries on four blogs for ten days. It’s going to be awesome. And here’s my next critique…   Dear Judges, Syxx is a Moondreamer: A rare type of Fae that can make wishes come true, and will things into being. On her way home from a concert, the Fae Council manipulates her and hundreds of other Fae into attending a creepy traditional breeding ceremony. The ceremony is vital to the Fae’s survival, but the Council’s methods are heinous WTF-ery. They force a glamour on any Fae who refuses to participate and the children conceived are forever separated from their parents. No one has ever dared to openly challenge the eight Fae Council members, but a secret resistance movement has been gaining momentum. The resistance believes they need a Moondreamer to overthrow the Council, but Syxx’s powers are still developing and untamed. With help from her new friends – a sexy half-incubus and a sweet leprechaun – Syxx steps into the role of revolutionary. She knows that revolutionaries have a nasty habit of losing their heads, but she’s their only hope. There’s no way in hell she’s going to abandon her new friends. If she fails, the council will force her to breed. If she is discovered, they will kill her. There aren’t enough o’s in ‘hell no!’ MOONDREAMER: THE SOWING, an upper young adult urban fantasy is complete at 68,000 words. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““ B’s critique … Dear Judges, Syxx is a Moondreamer: (I’m not a fan of using colons in query letters, but it could just be a stylistic choice.) A rare type of Fae that can make wishes come true, and will things into being. On her way home from a concert, the Fae Council manipulates her and hundreds of other Fae into attending a creepy traditional breeding ceremony. Ha! That is creepy, and intriguing at the same time.  The ceremony is vital to the Fae’s survival, but the Council’s methods are heinous WTF-ery. They force a glamour (what kind of glamour?) on any Fae who refuses to participate and the children conceived are forever separated from their parents. No one has ever dared to openly challenge (Challenge what? Openly challenge them about the ceremony? Their cruelty? Taking the children? Just use a few words to clear that up.)  the eight Fae Council members‘ cruelty, but a secret resistance movement has been gaining momentum. The resistance believes they need a Moondreamer to overthrow the Council, but Syxx’s powers are still developing and untamed. With help from her new friends – a sexy...

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