11/30 WINNER!
Nov30

11/30 WINNER!

Still procrastinating! And still doing MULTIPLE winners! And now, without further ado . . . today’s winners are . . . Eboni Collins, Kelly Heinen, Pete Catalano, and Cait Spivey! @MadSeasonGirl, @Aightball, @Pete_Catalano, and @CaitSpivey   Congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting ! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week on the spreadsheet of doom, I promise! You still have ONE more chance to win, and I WILL be doing multiple winners per...

Read More
11/29 WINNER!
Nov29

11/29 WINNER!

You guys are terribly confusing. I like easy choices; it’s too hard to pick between all of you. So today, tomorrow, and Sunday will have at least two winners! (Also, I don’t want to write my infectious disease paper. Doing crits is one of my favorite procrastination techniques.) And now, without further ado . . . today’s winners are . . .   Talynn Lynn and Mande’! @TalynnL and @Darle78   Congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting ! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week on the spreadsheet of doom, I promise! You still have two more chances to win, and I WILL be doing multiple winners per...

Read More
An Interview with Maria Vicente
Nov29

An Interview with Maria Vicente

Hey, it’s Rae again! For those of you just tuning in, here’s my spiel: As writers, we all Google-stalk agents (and often editors). Come on, admit it, you do. And if you’ve done your homework – and you should have done your homework – you can probably rattle off your dream agent’s most recent sales, submission guidelines, history as an agent, favorite font, and caffeinated beverage. But did you know that agents are people, too? Quirky, nerdy, hilarious, and downright interesting people? These aren’t your standard interviews. These are about the people behind the profile pictures. The ones you would not only want championing your book, but also sitting at your coffee shop table, talking to you over something warm and delicious – caramel apple cider, if you’re me. Note: This is NOT an invitation to coffee shop stalk them in real life. Be polite. Use common sense. If I find out you have used these interviews for evil purposes, be warned – I shall find you. Enjoy! Today’s interview is with Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary!   Rae: Who would you pick to write your bio? What would it be titled? And if it were optioned to a movie, who would play you? Maria: I’d love for my bio, Just Another Girl in a Story, to be written like a folk or fairy tale, so I’d probably choose someone like Erick Setiawan or Soman Chainani who are skilled at blending prose and magic. If optioned into a movie, I have no choice but to go with Katie Holmes as the lead actress (and hopefully the screenplay would be written by Wes Anderson).   Rae: Oh, prose and magic . . . the two best parts of your job, no doubt! What fictional academy/university/school would you most want to attend? (i.e. Starfleet Academy, Hogwarts, Jedi Academy, Camp Half-Breed, Battle School in Space, Beauxbatons, etc) Maria: My answer to this will always be Hogwarts. I belong in the Ravenclaw tower.   Rae: So much Hogwarts love! Where are my fellow Jedi? So which fictional characters would you drag to Hogwarts to be your confidante?Enemy? Idol? Kick-butt ally? Maria: Confidante: Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter; Enemy: Serena van der Woodesen from Gossip Girl; Idol: Olivia Dunham from Fringe; Ally: Elphaba Thropp from Wicked   Rae: Ok, that is a fantastic list. I may have to use that list for my zombie apocalypse survival team. What fictional food/beverage would you most want to try? Maria:I’d love to have an Everlasting Gobstopper from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I imagine it’d taste the same as the Gobstoppers available for purchase, but how amazing is it that it would never disappear?  ...

Read More
11/28 WINNER!
Nov28

11/28 WINNER!

It’s Thanksgiving, so I’ll keep this short and sweet after reiterating the business from yesterday: 1- Remember when I said I stalk the #PitchWars feed obsessively? I wasn’t kidding. I don’t miss a single tweet. So please, for the love of Pete, do NOT tweet @ me directly. I will see your tweets as long as “Rae” and #PitchWars are mentioned. 2- I don’t repeatedly point out the contest guidelines like this to be mean. When you’re querying (or applying for a job or applying for #PitchWars), you do yourself a HUGE favor by following their guidelines! Failure to do so puts you at a disadvantage right from the get-go. Will an agent still take a look at your work? Sometimes. Will they be mildly perturbed? Again, sometimes. Just remember that your first impression is VERY important. You only get one (sometimes two, if you’re lucky), shot at this. Why would you want to give an agent the impression that they weren’t important enough to you to take 30 seconds to read through their submission guidelines?   Random trivia: I will spend most of the day doing this. And now, without further ado . . . today’s winner is . . .   Lynnette Labelle! @LynnetteLabelle   Congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting — after you spend a ton of time with your families! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week on the spreadsheet of doom, I promise! You still have three more chances to...

Read More
Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov27

Happy Thanksgiving!

A warm wish for a Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who celebrate it! I’ll be on vacation with the family, but Rae will be around giving away her free critiques. I’ll post submission details for Pitch Wars on November 30 and the winners of The Great Mentor Hunt on December 1. Then I’ll see you all back here for the submission window on Monday, December 2. I can’t wait to read (well, what I can) all the wonderful entries come in for the mentors.    ...

Read More
11/27 WINNER!
Nov27

11/27 WINNER!

Guys, I’ve been seriously overwhelmed by the response to this. You guys are absolutely fantastic! And your posts have been making my week! I have some quick business to take care of before I announce the winner: 1- Remember when I said I stalk the #PitchWars feed obsessively? I wasn’t kidding. I don’t miss a single tweet. So please, for the love of Pete, do NOT tweet @ me directly. I will see your tweets as long as “Rae” and #PitchWars are mentioned. 2- I don’t repeatedly point out the contest guidelines like this to be mean. When you’re querying (or applying for a job or applying for #PitchWars), you do yourself a HUGE favor by following their guidelines! Failure to do so puts you at a disadvantage right from the get-go. Will an agent still take a look at your work? Sometimes. Will they be mildly perturbed? Again, sometimes. Just remember that your first impression is VERY important. You only get one (sometimes two, if you’re lucky), shot at this. Why would you want to give an agent the impression that they weren’t important enough to you to take 30 seconds to read through their submission guidelines? 3- Random trivia: Toby gets very sad when you don’t follow the submission guidelines. Look at that face. Do you want to make Toby sad? And now, without further ado . . . today’s winners are . . .   Kimberly VanderHorst and Janet Wrenn! @Kymburleev and @KitaraLeMur Yes, that’s right! Winners in the plural! I couldn’t decide today, so there was a tie! Besides, tis the day before Thanksgiving, which means . . . um . . . ok, I have no good rationale. But I hit 200 followers, so that’s a milestone! Which means extra love today. So there.   Anyway, congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week on the spreadsheet of doom, I promise! You still have four more chances to...

Read More
11/26 WINNER!
Nov26

11/26 WINNER!

Once again, you guys didn’t make this an easy choice! Today, I’ll let you see a tiny bit of my process. 1- I stalk the #PitchWars feed obsessively. 2- I do ctrl+F and find everything that says “Rae” and “#PitchWars” 3- I frown disapprovingly at anyone who has tweeted to me directly. (Seriously, guys, my phone blew up while I was sleeping this morning. Fear the cranky.) 4- I keep a chart of participants. 5- I sort each day’s tweets into five categories: Epic, Excellent, Great, Meh, and Desperate. 6- If I have a tough decision, I twitter-stalk you. 7 – I pick a winner! The end! Random trivia: I have a birthday card from John Williams. Yes, THAT John Williams. So without further ado . . . today’s winner is . . .   Kathleen S. Allen! @kathleea   Congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week on the spreadsheet of doom, I promise! You still have five more chances to...

Read More
Holiday Guest Post by Jennifer Malone…
Nov26

Holiday Guest Post by Jennifer Malone…

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! When Brenda asked me to blog about a favorite holiday tradition, I knew just what it would be. You see, you’ll soon be curling up on the couch to nap, watch football, and dream about turkey sandwiches. Me? I’ll be shaking off my food coma to spend my evening wrapping presents. Am I crazypants? Well, yes. But, not in this instance. Wrapping these gifts in the last few days of November signals the start of our holiday season. There are twenty-four in all. And each one is a book. When I was a little girl, every Christmas Eve would find my younger sister and me in Dad’s lap, listening intently to The Night Before Christmas. He’d read the words, we’d wonder aloud who the heck would go to bed wearing a kerchief, and then we’d scramble upstairs to our own sugarplum dreams. That book became linked to some of my happiest childhood memories and I knew, when I had children of my own, that I wanted to give them the same gift. But, ya know—in the spirit of modern parenting—even better. And bigger. So, five years ago, when my twin boys were six and my daughter was a toddler, I collected every holiday-themed book we owned (some handed down, some bought by us), wrapped them all up, and stuck them under the tree on December 1st. We didn’t quite have twenty-four, so I supplemented with a few favorites (after all, what says “peace on earth” better than Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Attack?) I brought my wide-eyed children in to peer at the tree and explained that we would open one each night until we reached Christmas Eve. I’d wrapped the recordable Hallmark book that has my dad reading The Night Before Christmas in a different colored paper, so we knew which to open last. Needless to say, our literary advent calendar was a huge success. This will mark our sixth year and we’ve since amassed enough holiday books (with the help of friends and neighbors who’ve donated generously to our collection) to open TWO books a night. Come December 26th, those books will get packed away, where they’ll wait to be discovered anew next year. In the early years, it was all about ripping the paper off those presents, regardless of what lived inside. That was when they were extra little and read-alouds at bedtime happened every day of the year. My boys are eleven now. They’re still hanging on to Santa, but I suspect this will be the last year for that (believe me, I never imagined we’d have the birds and the bees talk...

Read More
11/25 WINNER!
Nov25

11/25 WINNER!

Ok, you guys did NOT make this easy! I was actually laughing and reading some of your tweets out loud to my hubby. Now I could go on and on about how hard you made it or my painstaking process of combing through a Twitter feed, but I know you’ll skip all of that and go straight to the winner, so without further ado . . . today’s winner is . . .   Shannon Renee! @WritingElements   Congrats!!! I will DM you the details shortly! And for the rest of you, please keep tweeting! If I favorited your tweet, you are definitely doing something right! I will be keeping an eye on you and looking for your tweets this week, I...

Read More
There’s something special about this time of year …
Nov25

There’s something special about this time of year …

Tomorrow kicks off my series of guest posts from writers in our community. Come visit the blog each day and discover some fun holiday memories, recipes, crafts, traditions, and whatever else my wonderful guests choose to share with us. Here is the schedule for the blog until Christmas… November 25 – Giveaway Galore by Rae – tweet each day until 12/1 for a chance to win a critique. Details here. November 26 – 27 Holiday Guest Posts November 28 -29 Thanksgiving Holiday November 30 – Pitch Wars Submission Guidelines December 1 – Winners of The Great Pitch Wars Mentor Hunt announced. December 2 – Pitch Wars submission window December 3 – 23   Holiday Guest Posts December 11 Pitch Wars mentor picks announced. December 24 – January 2 Christmas Holiday January 3-7 – To be announced January 8 – #PitMad Twitter Pitch Party January 9-21 – To be announced January 22-23 Pitch Wars Agent Round I leave you with a holiday song that is special to our family. My family lost a dear loved one many years ago, before I was born. As my grandfather drove his wife and two young sons home from the hospital, this song played on the radio. My father was just a boy when his sister passed away, but he always sang this song while I was growing up, and he would cry even though the years had added up to decades, then to a century. It was as though his sister was telling them that she was going home for Christmas and would be with her maker, safe and without pain. I didn’t even know her, but I feel the loss and hope in this song. May you be home for the holidays, safe with your families. And if you are not home or are alone for the holidays, know that our writing community is with you in spirit.  Love, hugs, and best wishes to...

Read More
An Interview with Sarah Negovetich
Nov22

An Interview with Sarah Negovetich

Hey, it’s Rae again! For those of you just tuning in, here’s my spiel: As writers, we all Google-stalk agents (and often editors). Come on, admit it, you do. And if you’ve done your homework – and you should have done your homework – you can probably rattle off your dream agent’s most recent sales, submission guidelines, history as an agent, favorite font, and caffeinated beverage. But did you know that agents are people, too? Quirky, nerdy, hilarious, and downright interesting people? These aren’t your standard interviews. These are about the people behind the profile pictures. The ones you would not only want championing your book, but also sitting at your coffee shop table, talking to you over something warm and delicious – caramel apple cider, if you’re me. Note: This is NOT an invitation to coffee shop stalk them in real life. Be polite. Use common sense. If I find out you have used these interviews for evil purposes, be warned – I shall find you. Enjoy! Today’s interview is with Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Agency! Rae: Who would you pick to write your bio? What would it be titled? And if it were optioned to a movie, who would play you? Sarah: I want Jenny Lawson, AKA The Bloggess, to write my bio and we’d call it Never Grow Up: The long tale of a short girl. She is hilarious, has a fetish for taxidermy, and a geek inspired potty mouth. I’m certain she would make me sound way cooler than I actually am. Jennifer Lawrence would need to play me because we share a lack of a verbal filter. Also, despite being well into my 30s I like to pretend I’m only 20. Rae: What fictional academy/university/school would you most want to attend? (i.e. Starfleet Academy, Hogwarts, Jedi Academy, Camp Half-Breed, Battle School in Space, Beauxbatons, etc) Sarah: Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy, Hoggy, Hogwarts. Teach me something, please! Rae: What fictional character would be your confidante? Sarah: Elizabeth Bennett and I could be besties forever. I can picture us sitting on a lounge, drinking spiked coffee and mocking everyone worthy of our vivacious sarcasm. Rae: What fictional food/beverage would you most want to try? Sarah: I finally fulfilled my dream of trying Butter Beer this past summer. After that it would be a toss up between Fizzy Lifting Drinks (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) because flying is cool and the Eat Me cake (from Alice in Wonderland) because I am super, crazy short and being tall for a day would be interesting. Rae: You are faced with your nemesis! You instantly grab your trusty __________? (lightsaber, phaser, wand, mace,...

Read More
The Great Pitch Wars Mentor Search … extra mentor applications up for grabs!
Nov21

The Great Pitch Wars Mentor Search … extra mentor applications up for grabs!

The Great Pitch Wars Mentor Search is on! Mentor bios and wish lists went up on all of the mentors’ blogs yesterday (see the linky list below) and Pitch Wars contestants are already pulling out their hair stressing out trying to narrow down the mentor choices to that magical number 4.  Brenda and I have been watching the #PitchWars feed on Twitter, and we’ve noticed several of you talking about how you wished you could submit to just one more mentor, because narrowing the list down from your top five choices is sheer torture. And as fun as it is to watch you suffer because we love you and hate to see you suffering, we’ve decided to give some of you a break. Hidden within the mentor’s wish list blog posts, you’ll find a series of secret words and letters (some of the longer words may be broken up and spread between two or more blogs). Find all of the words and unscramble them to find the line from one of our favorite picture books by a very famous children’s author. (Hint #1: the book was inspired by a real location in the author’s hometown.) Once you have unscrambled the quote, email your answer to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com with the subject line: PITCH WARS MENTOR BLOG HOP CONTEST. Have your entry in by November 30 at 10PM EST. On December 1st we will put all of the correct entries into a virtual hat and randomly choose FIVE winners. The winner gets to submit an extra mentor application for Pitch Wars, when the submission window opens on December 2nd. (In other words, he/she can submit to 5 mentors instead of just 4). Hint #2 -Fill in the blanks:  _ _ _    _ _ _ _    _ _    _    _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _    _ _    _ _ _   c  a n   _ _ _ _,  _ _ _ _    _    _ _ _    _ _ _ _    _    _ _ _    _ _    _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _. Although you are not required to follow any of our fabulous mentor’s blogs in order to enter the contest, it might be nice to show them some love by clicking those little “follow” links. If you’re really stumped, there’s a link to an extra clue (and our stories about why this picture book is so special to us) hidden on one of the “Glad Someone Read to Me” stories on the #GSRtM Tumblr: http://gladsomeonereadtome.tumblr.com. Happy hunting! Veronica Bartles...

Read More