Announcing Pitch Madness Clue Edition!
Jan31

Announcing Pitch Madness Clue Edition!

  The Pitch Madness submission window will be open for 24 hours on March 10! Pitch Madness is a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents. I will have an agent introduction post up soon. The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST on March 10 until 11:59PM EST. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. Please note: All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted. There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult completed fiction, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. This time around we will not accept non-fiction. Only one entry per writer this round. What do you need to enter? A 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of your finished manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence. I will post formatting instructions before the submission window opens, along with the email address to send your entries to. Pitch Madness will be on four blogs and each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 15 entries. I will have a post up soon to introduce the hosts, co-hosts, and slush readers. We’ll have a small team of first readers checking for formatting and putting their top picks through to the hosts. This time around, the hosts and co-hosts of each blog will choose their team of slush readers for the second round. Some blog teams may opt out of having slush readers. So I won’t be choosing all the slush readers this go around. All the twitter fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchMadness!   Here are the links to the blogs joining me for the contest:   Summer Heacock’s blog (aka @Fizzygrrl)   Sharon Johnston’s blog (aka @S_M_Johnston)   Rebecca Weston’s blog (aka @callmebecks)   Here’s the schedule … Hosts and their teams Introduction on March 3 Agent Introduction on March 4 Rules of the Game on March 6 Formatting Instructions March 7 Submission window will be on March 10 and will be open for 24 hours The first slush round will be March 11-12 The final round will be March 13-17 The top 60 picks for the agent round will go up on the blogs on March 18 at 12:01AM EST (NY time) March 20 at 12PM EDT (Noon) the agents requests are revealed, and right afterward is the tying agents challenge...

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WICKED AT MIDNIGHT by Delilah S. Dawson releases today!
Jan28

WICKED AT MIDNIGHT by Delilah S. Dawson releases today!

Amazon Congratulations to Delilah S. Dawson on the release of WICKED AFTER MIDNIGHT! This sounds so fun! Here’s more about this fabulous book … Only rebellious Demi Ward could be bored with her life as a contortionist in Criminy Stain’s magical traveling circus. But being a cabaret star in the City of Light is dangerous . . . especially for an audacious Bludman. After Demi’s best friend, Cherie, is brutally kidnapped en route to Paris by a roving band of masked slavers, passionate highwayman Vale Hildebrand shows up to save the day. With his help, Demi rises to the top of the cabaret scene as part of her plot to find Cherie—but what she really discovers is a taste for Vale’s kisses. Meanwhile, wealthy suitors vie for a night of her charms, crowding the glittering club where Demi commands the stage with a host of colorful daimons. She is soon seduced by a smoldering portrait artist whose ties to a secret society could be the break she and Vale need on their hunt. But—unlike the Paris that Demi read about in college on Earth—the Paris of Sang is full of depraved pleasures and deadly surprises. . . . Review: Rising Star Dawson ventures back to the land of Sang in the third installment of her inventive steampunk vampire series. The dark underbelly of life in the Paris cabarets is vividly explored as this stubborn heroine must deal with the fallout from her decisions. Gritty, thrilling and sexy – Dawson is really on a roll! -RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 stars HOT review   Delilah S. Dawson Website Twitter...

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WAKEWORLD by Kerry Schafer releases today!
Jan28

WAKEWORLD by Kerry Schafer releases today!

Buy it today! Goodreads Congratulations to Kerry Schafer on today’s release of WAKEWORLD, the second in the ‘Books of the Between’ series. Here is the blurb to whet your appetite …   Vivian Maylor is trying to hold it together. But her attempts to build a life with the man she loves seem doomed by the dragon inside her yearning to break free. Vivian is a dreamshifter, the last line of defense between reality and the dreamworld, and the only one of her kind. Weston Jennings also believes he is the only one of his kind. He fears his powers as a dreamshifter, and resists learning to control them. After suffering a tragic loss, Weston heads deep into the woods of the Pacific Northwest to embrace a safe life of solitude. But when a terrible mistake leads to an innocent’s death, his guilt drives him to his former home, where he encounters what he never thought he would find: another shifter. Now Vivian and Weston must work together to defeat a new threat to the dreamworld.   ”…vigorously narrated within spectacular and vivid settings, with action that rarely slackens. Best of all, it’s set forth in prose so evocative that it practically leaps off the page.”– Kirkus Reviews   Kerry Schafer Twitter Website Facebook...

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The Pieces of Advice to Young Writers … Guest Post by Paul Smith
Jan27

The Pieces of Advice to Young Writers … Guest Post by Paul Smith

Cc: Abee5 The Pieces of Advice to Young Writers by Paul Smith Nowadays enough young people want to try themselves in writing. Nevertheless, it is easier to say than to do. You can take a clean sheet of paper, put it behind you (or open a window of the Microsoft Word) and… There is a question “What should I do next?” Here are some pieces of advice that can help you to start your work and finish it successfully. The first phrase is very important in the literary work. Try to catch the attention of the reader from the first line. Do not lull the reader to sleep by the long and boring opening part. It is better to start from the interesting, exciting episode. After this, you can explain what is what during the narration. The author surely has to know what he is writing about very well. If you do not know anything —try to find out this, to get the necessary information is not so difficult today. It is look strange when in the fantasy book the knight brandishes the 40 pounds two-handled sword or when horses can ride the whole week without the rest. It is necessary to read “An Introduction to the Literature” to begin with. There are elements and art bases of the creation of the literary work. At least, you will not lose anything. Any work of literature is some kind of triad, unity of three components: idea, plot and language. Idea is what the author wants to tell by his work. Plot is in which form he does this. Language is the tool of the implementation of a plot, which realizes idea. “The author should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed”. – Ernest Hemingway. Yes, it is enough difficult to devise the original idea. However, there is only one piece of advice: seek and ye shall find. You have to try if you really want to leave your traces in the literature. There are too many clichés in the modern literary works. It is important to write in your own manner. Moreover, often the protagonist makes unexpected and incomprehensible things. In consequence of this, here is one more recommendation: put yourself in the place of the hero and imagine if you could, being in full mind and health, to do the same. Considerable significance in the perception of any work plays the author’s attention to the details arousing in the reader the feeling of reliability and authenticity. In general, you should not neglect the details. Describe everything: colors, weather, sounds, temperature, and tactile sensations. Add...

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Pitch Wars … the winning teams!
Jan24

Pitch Wars … the winning teams!

Rae and I would like to thank all the mentors, mentees, alternates, and agents for making this Pitch Wars such an awesome experience. In our opinion, all the writers are winners. The writers not only got some valuable coaching, but also a chance to meet other writers striving for the same goals … getting published. This community amazes us every day and we love seeing everyone supporting each other. If you didn’t get any requests, your agent match just wasn’t in this contest. Please query widely and never give up. Your dream could be just around the next corner. Here’s a reminder of what the top three writers with the most agent requests will be receiving … Each  member of the team with the most requests will receive a $75 gift certificate for services. Plus each will get a $20 Amazon gift card. Here’s the details for the literary publicity certificates…     The second and third teams with the most/biggest agent requests will receive a $15 Amazon gift card each. And here are our winning teams …   In first place with eleven requests is: PW-11 SEA WOLVES MENTOR: Stacey Lee MENTEE: Bethany Smith   Our two runners up with nine requests each are:   PW-23 THAT NIGHT ON BLOSSOM HILL MENTOR: N.K. Traver MENTEE: Alison Green Myers   PW-36 HURRICANE DAUGHTER MENTOR: Jaye Robin Brown MENTEE: Nina Moreno   * Winners please send me the email address where you would like to receive your prizes here.   Here’s some information about our sponsor…   Jen Halligan offers literary publicity and a wide range of author services. Formerly known as A Book and a Latte PR (as part of Jen’s YA book blog), the company was rebranded as JHPR in December 2013. Jen specializes in YA and NA fiction, as that’s where her heart is, and building author platforms. She loves working one-on-one with authors and helping them achieve their dreams. Whether you’re looking for full time publicity, or would just like to schedule a blog tour, cover reveal, or other online promotion, Jen can help! Publicity is not a one-size-fits-all business. A package can be customized to meet your needs and budget. For more information check out the website here. And check out her book blog A Book and a Latte!...

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BURN ME by my wonderful critique partner, Shelley Watters … cover real!
Jan24

BURN ME by my wonderful critique partner, Shelley Watters … cover real!

  Burn Me By Shelley Watters An Adult Contemporary Romance Releasing April 29, 2014 Published by Swoon Romance   After her twin brother dies in a house fire, firefighter Katrina Hale is determined to prove she’s stronger than the flames. But while her focus on her career leaves little room in her life for romance and her current relationship fizzles, she soon discovers fighting fires is nothing compared to the scorching desire she feels in fellow firefighter Greyson Neal’s arms. Firefighter Greyson Neal is the type of guy girls dream about when they want their knight in shining armor to wear bunker gear. But he’s not interested in fulfilling every girl’s fantasies. Now he wants the one woman he can never have, and she seems hell-bent on getting herself killed to prove that she’s worthy of her job. Kat must choose between her career and her heart, and fight to keep them both when an arsonist threatens to take it all away. About the Author Shelley Watters writes romance for young adults and adults. She lives in Arizona with her husband, two kids and two dogs. She loves listening to music, reading good books and letting her imagination go wild as she creates new worlds and torments her characters in delicious ways. Facebook |...

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PITCH WARS IS LIVE!
Jan22

PITCH WARS IS LIVE!

Welcome agents (and those just reading for fun) to Pitch Wars! It’s been a crazy few months of selecting mentees and working hard to get their manuscripts in top shape for the agent round. Congratulations to the 52 mentees for surviving this rigorous boot-camp for writers. And a huge thank you to all the mentors who generously gave their time to help out their team of writers. To learn more about our mentors go here. Find out more about our fabulous agents here! Also, find out more about our sponsor, Jen Halligan PR, and the wonderful gifts our mentor/mentee teams with the most requests will be receiving here. ALTERNATE SHOWCASE The mentors also picked alternates in case their mentees dropped out for any reason (getting an offer hopefully). So to show our appreciation for them waiting in the wings, the mentors worked with them to get pitch ready and we’re holding a special Alternate Showcase for their pitches on the following blogs… Middle Grade: Veronica Bartles Young Adult: Stacey Lee Jaye Robin Brown Dannie Morin N. K. Traver New Adult & Adult Lady Lioness Nazarea Andrews   Our top picks follow this post. There are 52 of them, so check them all out. If you are not an agent on our panel, please no comments in the pitch posts. The comments are now open to all. Thank...

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PW-1 (MG): MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS

MENTOR: Marieke Nijkamp MENTEE: Brooks Benjamin TITLE: MY SEVENTH GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS CATEGORY / GENRE: MG / Contemporary WORD COUNT: 54,000   PITCH: Dance studios are for sell-outs. At least that’s what Dillon’s dance crew keeps saying. But when a chance to compete at the biggest dance academy in the state falls in his lap, he has to decide what’s more important: sticking to his crew’s rules or freestyling his way into solo greatness.   EXCERPT: My downward spiral into the land of two-faced backstabbery started that day. The day I posted my routine on Dance-Splosion’s website. They were giving away a three-week summer scholarship to one lucky dancer. It was the last weekend of the summer. I headed downstairs where the lighting sucked and it had this weird, someone-farted-in-an-old-shoe smell that never went away. But it was the only place in our house that had enough room to dance. I sat my phone on an end table and hit record. “Hi, my name’s Dillon Parker. I’m twelve years old and I go to Sunnydale Middle. I hope you like my dance.” My heart was already trying to crash through my ribcage. Especially since I was about to pull off a face-melter in jeans. Dance tights would’ve been better. But I didn’t have any. And I wouldn’t buy any, either. Not until I was a real dancer. I’d know it when I got there. Sort of like how you can be feeling perfectly fine and then sneeze and know right then that you’re gonna have a cold. That’s what I was waiting for. That tingly sneeze sensation. I had the dance fever. Now all I needed was to catch a dance cold. But I wasn’t gonna get there on my own. I needed that scholarship. Don’t get me wrong—my dance crew was like my family. But being the only untrained dancer on the team was like being the one kid in homeroom who forgot to wear underwear—or...

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PW-2 (MG): PROFESSOR PLUTONIUM

MENTOR: Shannon Duffy MENTEE: Jeff Chen TITLE: PROFESSOR PLUTONIUM CATEGORY/GENRE: MG Humorous Adventure WORD COUNT: 46,000   PITCH: Calvin and Hobbes meets The Da Vinci Code. Tony Pluto quests to become super-spy Professor Plutonium, but blocking his mission are a sixth-grade kingpin, a Princess Bride giantess, and a little brother who also wants to become Professor Plutonium (or maybe a dog). When Tony discovers an encrypted contest, a secret agent’s life can finally be his—if he cracks the code before his rivals.   EXCERPT: Tony Pluto’s head swirled with visions of spy gadgets and ultra-secret codes. Everything, yes everything, would be different once he became Professor Plutonium. No one would push him around, not even his archenemies at Franklin Elementary. After all, who would dare mess with a secret agent more awesome than James Bond? No one, that’s who! Never again would Tony have to dig spitballs out of his ears, because Professor Plutonium would rule the school. A squeaky voice snapped Tony from his trance. “Do I have to do this?” said his little brother, sniffing at a bowl of red-speckled corn flakes. Billy, a miniature version of Tony, tugged at the collar of his Boston Red Sox T-shirt, smaller but otherwise identical to Tony’s. Bright rubber wristbands covered his forearms, making it look like a rainbow had thrown up on him. “Hurry up and take a bite,” Tony said. “I have a lot of inventions to finish before I can become Professor Plutonium.” He leaned over his notebook, open to a page that read: SECRET AGENT NoTEBook ULTRA-MEGA TOP SECRET, LEVEL INFINITY+1 Do not read on penalty of TORTURE and then DEATH (and then EVEN MORE TORTURE AFTER THAT!)   Super-secret Plutonic Inventions (SPIs) SPI #14: Mouth-melting Cereal Test Subject: Billy Pluto   Billy dragged one hand across a dripping nostril. “Why do I gotta do it?” Tony sighed. Six-year-olds know so little about the ways of the...

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PW-3 (MG): SUPER JAKE, NOT-SO-SUPER FREDDY, AND ME, THE KING OF CHAOS

MENTOR: Veronica Bartles MENTEE: Naomi Milliner TITLE: SUPER JAKE, NOT-SO-SUPER FREDDY, AND ME, THE KING OF CHAOS CATEGORY/GENRE: MG Contemporary WORD COUNT: 44,000   PITCH: Ethan relies on top hats and magic wands to get through endless ER visits with his special needs brother. But when Jake’s latest trip to the ICU threatens to cancel Ethan’s biggest performance, he must decide whether he wants to be a master magician or “Jake’s big brother.”   EXCERPT: Whether my audience is nine-year-old Superheroes with plastic hammers and shields, or ninety-year-old great-grandparents with white hair and walkers, everybody loves magic. Especially me. Today’s audience of three-year-old girls includes Princess Leia poking Pocahontas; Belle whacking a ballerina with a balloon; and Snow White screaming for mommy. Welcome to my world. I started doing magic shows a year ago, at the beginning of sixth grade, and I loved every second of it. Then school ended, summer started, and my seven-year-old brother was bored. “Ethan, why don’t you put Freddy in your act?” Mom suggested. “He could be your assistant.” Sometimes I think her favorite thing is finding new ways to ruin my life. Faster than you can say “Abracadabra,” I explained why her latest idea was even worse than usual. “What if I accidentally saw him in half?” No loving parent could argue with that. Next day, Freddy pranced into the living room wearing a top hat that practically covered his eyes, black shirt and pants, and a crooked red bowtie. It was like staring at myself in one of those funhouse mirrors, where everything is exaggerated. And scary-looking. “Doesn’t he look wonderful?” Mom gushed. “He certainly does.” Dad put his arm around her waist and pulled her close. I hate mushy stuff as much as anyone, but my parents used to be like that all the time. Until Jake was born and Mom got nervous and Dad got sad and everything...

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PW-4 (MG): A LANGUAGE DARK AND LOVELY

Mentor: Brent Taylor Mentee: Rachel Moser-Hardy Title: A LANGUAGE DARK AND LOVELY Category/Genre: MG Fantasy Word Count: 88,000   Pitch: Some books have a peculiar habit of causing trouble. When Lily finds a book only she can read, she must use it to stop her villainous father’s rise to power. However, a blackbird steals the book. Excerpt: The forest untouched by daylight had many names. To some, it was the “Nightlands.” To others, it was the “Traveller’s Doom.” Some called it the “Tread-Not Woodlands,” and many, the “Dark Moon Forest.” But one child had the misfortune of calling it home. Twigs and branches snapped beneath her feet as she scurried among the tall, decaying trees. She pulled her black shawl tighter around her shoulders as the familiar coldness of the forest settled into her bones like snow collecting in an open chimney, extinguishing the fire within. She was late. She had spent the evening shopping for bread and fruit in the village, under orders of her Masters, and had been instructed by none other than her Great Master to return precisely at midnight. However, the merchant of the bread shop had accused her of being a thief (apparently, she looked the sort), and after a dismally long argument, she had been shooed out of the shop with a rather uncomfortable dustpan. Now she was returning seventeen minutes late without the desired bread. Double trouble. The child, a bit preoccupied by her current predicament and fears of what her punishments might entail, did not notice the little blackbird with snowdrop gray eyes following her every step.  The blackbird fluttered from branch to branch, never letting the child slip out of his gaze. She was easy to follow, her icy blonde hair contrasting drastically with the blackness surrounding her. She hurried on and on through the dense trees, unknowingly leading the blackbird exactly to the place for which he had been...

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PW-5 (MG): THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY

MENTOR: Joy McCullough-Carranza MENTEE: Laura Shovan TITLE: THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY CATEGORY/GENRE: MG Contemporary Verse Novel WORD COUNT: 19,000 PITCH: Miss Hill’s class is determined to rescue Emerson Elementary from demolition, but popular Ashlie Hawk has a secret: Her father’s behind the plans to raze their school. For this class of student poets, it’s a revolutionary year in fifth grade.   EXCERPT: Notebook By Edgar Lee Jones Yo, Notebook. I am your poet. I will fill you with words. I don’t mind writing a poem for our teacher, some rhymes Miss Hill will feature in our class book. Notebook, hope you don’t mind waiting in my backpack. I know you’re hating the dark in there, smells murky as old turkey. But you got nothing to fear. After school, I’ll take you out in a sunny place, tell you what life’s all about for a fifth grade poet. Fresh air, blue sky, my notebook and I. History By George Furst My name is George Washington Furst. Don’t laugh. My parents are History teachers. They met at George Washington’s house, a museum called Mount Vernon. Vernon is the name of our cat, who lives with me and my mom. My dad doesn’t live with us. He moved out and took half the furniture, so probably we won’t visit Mount Vernon on my birthday like usual because nothing’s like usual. If Mount Vernon is standing after 250 years, why do people want to demolish Emerson Elementary? School is the only place I can count on to never change. If I’m elected Class President, I’ll explain to our principal that buildings can last 250 years. If I save our school, maybe Dad will get it: some things are worth...

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