Meet the Pitch Wars Agents … and submission info./guidelines!
Jul31

Meet the Pitch Wars Agents … and submission info./guidelines!

    We’re so excited for Pitch Wars 2014! The agent round isn’t until November 4-5, but we thought it would be fun to announce the agents now, so you can see all the fabulousness waiting for you if you are chosen by one of our amazing mentors. So grab a cool drink, sit by the pool or find some shade, and get to know the agents for Pitch Wars. But before the big reveal, here’s some more information about Pitch Wars, such as our exciting mentor wishlist blog hop and everything you need to know to submit to the contest this year. For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine. The mentor also critique his/her writer’s pitch to get it ready for the agent round. To do this, the mentors read all their applications and choose the writer they want to mentor for two months to get them ready for the agent round. Writers can pick up to four mentors to submit to. How will you decide what mentors to submit to? Come back August 4 for our Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop. The mentors’ bios and wishlists will be posted to their blogs, and you can hop around and find the right matches for you. And visit the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars to get to know the mentors personally (um… virtually). The hop will go on until 8/18, which is submission day!! Here’s a list of your mentors until then: Pitch Wars Mentors Mentors will pick one alternate each in case their writer drops out of the contest. The mentors will critique the alternates’ pitches & first chapters only. We may or may not have an alternate showcase on a day other than the agent round for the top picks. Stay tuned for more information about that later. This year, we’ll have an easy submission form courtesy of Dan Koboldt. The form will go live at midnight (EDT – New York time) August 18 and remain open for 24 hours. What will you need to enter in the form? Your top four (max – you don’t have to pick 4, but you are limited to 4) mentors, your email address, title of the manuscript, category and genre, your query letter (sorry no personalized queries this year), and the first chapter of your completed manuscript (Word .doc or .docx format).  The sample chapter should be manuscript formatted pages (12pt, double-spaced). All of this will be fill-in-the-blank on the form. Submission Guidelines: Only Middle Grade, Young...

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A Publishing Journey by RC Hancock … from contest to published!
Jul31

A Publishing Journey by RC Hancock … from contest to published!

Available to pre-order here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Add it to Goodreads! A Publishing Journey by RC Hancock My first novel I wrote and queried on my own. It was a lonely time and after 100 or so rejections, I shelved it. With my second novel (early 2012) I started to reach out to fellow writers for support as much as advice. On Query Tracker they helped me with my agent letter and I heard mention of blog hosted writing contests. They sounded like a lot of fun, and when this mysterious person named Brenda Drake made a post on QT about her 35-word contest, I knew I had to give it a try. I was elated when Agent Sara Sciuto “shot me” with a paintball and asked to see my ms. Even more exciting, she soon had me revise and resubmit. (This was my R&R first ever!!) Although Ms. Sciuto ended up passing, she helped me so much by guiding me in fixing Bruno’s parents and tweaking characters’ motivation to make the whole thing more realistic. She also recommended I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Brown which completely overhauled my writing style. Now that I had a taste for contests I entered them ad nauseum with mixed results. I ended up with an offer from a small press, as well as another R&R with another awesome agent who had me completely rewrite the first half and change the entire conflict in the novel. She was brilliant and she did wonders for my story but she was also exceptionally busy. That’s why when a friend (and talent manager) got me another offer for publication with a larger press, I asked her to be my agent. (This was a tough decision, but decided in the end it was better to have a brand spanking new agent who had nothing but time and enthusiasm for me than being on someone’s back burner.) I’ve loved working with the people at Cedar Fort. They’re very professional and I absolutely love the cover they’ve designed for me. I’m currently in the last round of substantive edits and will start copyediting in Sept. December 9th seems so far away, but at least my book is up for preorder now on Amazon, so it feels like something is finally happening. Now I’m working on book #3. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last five years: Take it one step at a time and appreciate every single person who helps you along the way. Forge friendships and working relationships. Read blogs and stay connected. Not only is it great for morale, you’ll hear about...

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From Blog to Book: A Pitch Wars Experience by Jason Nelson & his book release!
Jul30

From Blog to Book: A Pitch Wars Experience by Jason Nelson & his book release!

I’m  so excited to have Jason Nelson here to day during the release week of his novel, FREE AGENT. I couldn’t be more proud to say I’ve watched his journey from Pitch Wars mentee to published author. Scroll down to read about his Pitch Wars experience and how he got his agent and book deal. And don’t forget to check out his amazing novel and grab a copy today!    Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads When it comes to crafting happily-ever-afters, the Agency is the best in the land of Kingdom. The Fairy Godfather Grimm can solve any problem—from eliminating imps to finding prince charming—as long as you can pay the price… Working for Grimm isn’t Marissa Locks’s dream job. But when your parents trade you to a Fairy Godfather for a miracle, you don’t have many career options. To pay off her parents’ debt and earn her freedom, Marissa must do whatever Grimm asks, no matter what fairy-tale fiasco she’s called on to deal with. Setting up a second-rate princess with a first-class prince is just another day at the office. But when the matchmaking goes wrong, Marissa and Grimm find themselves in a bigger magical muddle than ever before. Not only has the prince gone missing, but the Fae are gearing up to attack Kingdom, and a new Fairy Godmother is sniffing around Grimm’s turf, threatening Marissa with the one thing she can’t resist: her heart’s wishes. Now Marissa will have to take on Fairies, Fae, dragons, and princesses to save the realm—or give up any hope of ever getting her happy ending…   From Blog to Book: A Pitchwars Experience By Jason Nelson Rewind time, if you have a tardis handy (and if you do, there’s going to be a Dalek invasion last Thursday unless someone prevents it), and go back two years. This would be the era of the first Pitchwars. And there you would find me, wondering if I could enter it. I had a manuscript, a book I called “Free Agent.” I had a pitch which I felt was clever and which gathered a number of requests. What I didn’t have was any idea of how much work was still to come, or how important the connections I’d make would be. It’s important to note that when I applied to pitchwars, I wasn’t selected to work with a mentor, but Tina Moss selected me as one of her alternates. Tina is a ninja in both the figurative and near literal sense. She’s a great writer and she could kill me with a piece of spaghetti. She helped me hone my pitch...

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DEATH BY HIGH HEELS by Violet Ingram released this week!
Jul29

DEATH BY HIGH HEELS by Violet Ingram released this week!

You can buy it now! Secret Cravings Publishing Spending time with a dead guy, being interrogated by the cops and getting stitched up by a cute ER doc wasn’t exactly the evening plans private investigator Kimberly Murphy envisioned. Especially the getting caught standing over a dead body, again, part. Only this time it wasn’t her fault. Just once she’d like it if homicide detective Grant Tompkins didn’t assume she was guilty. To clear her slightly tarnished name, Kim goes after the clever killer while avoiding a certain hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind – not that she’d mind. Too bad Kim’s efforts lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. Kim will need all her skills and a bit of luck to outwit a killer who’d like to put an end to Kim’s meddling permanently. Excerpt… Cops hate it when you vomit all over their crime scene—a mistake I had no desire to repeat. Then again, the fact I’d just trampled all over this scene was probably a whole new mistake I should have avoided. I stared at the corpse and fought the urge to hurl. If only I hadn’t answered the door, I’d be eating dinner instead of standing in my neighbor’s apartment looking at a dead guy. Said dead guy was just sitting there in the chair. You would think he was asleep–if not for all the blood and guts spilled onto his lap. I tore my eyes from him and asked the question I most wanted the answer to. “What the heck did you hit him with?” Lindsay dropped the strand of blonde hair she’d been twirling and glanced down at the floor. “My shoe.” “Huh?” “I’ve already told you. Twice. I hit him with my shoe.” “Damn it, Lindsay, you can’t kill someone with a shoe!” “Hello, they’re Via Spiga.”   Violet Ingram is a wife, mother, and author. She and her husband have been married for over 24 years and they have 5 children. Violet’s love of books was the direct result of having spent Saturday mornings going to libraries with her mom. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and Encyclopedia Brown were the first books she fell in love with. Violet lives in Ohio where she is busy at work on her next book. Violetingram.blogspot.com Twitter: @violetingram Facebook: Violet...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor, Dan Koboldt & host, Brenda Drake!
Jul28

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentor, Dan Koboldt & host, Brenda Drake!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Dan Koboldt Website | Twitter Dan Koboldt works in genetics, writes in science fiction, and does his best not to mix up the two. He’s a husband, a father of three, and an avid bowhunter. He hosts #SFFpit, a twice-annual Twitter pitching event (inspired by #PitMad) geared at sci-fi and fantasy authors. He’s written a sci-fi novel about a Vegas stage magician who takes high-tech illusions of magic into a medieval world that has the real thing. He’s represented by Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary Agency.   Dan’s critiques …   Critique #61: First Page When my grandfather learned I was pregnant with my daughter, alone at nineteen, he hugged me and chuckled near my ear. “You naughty girl.” That total acceptance and lack of admonishment was something I felt so completely, but only from him. (Good line). I certainly didn’t give it to myself. (redundant). I was a single mother, but not the kind who did things like this. Yet here I was, in a situation where I wasn’t in control. I was in fear for my life. (A lot of telling is going on here. SHOW us the situation, and let us realize the stakes on our own). Again. If I died this night, or if I had to live with shooting someone’s son, my headline would begin, “Stereotypical Slutty Single Mom,” that’s all anyone would remember. But that’s not who I was. I was an otherwise good girl. (more telling, but I mind it less here because it’s in character). I’d grown up active in the Protestant church I liked to say my paternal grandmother built, as she held court every Sunday in the front pew. I was a mom who put her child first. I sacrificed friends and youthful transgression, which frankly I’d done plenty of for my good girl roots anyway. If I was found they found me dead, and the trail was followed the trail to that bachelorette party, to the two strippers that followed me home, high-fiving each other in my rear view mirror, that’s the only part of my story anyone would remember in the history of our...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Renée Ahdieh & Rebecca Yarros!
Jul25

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Renée Ahdieh & Rebecca Yarros!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Renée Ahdieh Website | Twitter| Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads Renée has written for Condé Nast Traveler and Seen Magazine, and is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her spare time, she likes to dance salsa and collect shoes. She is passionate about all kinds of curry, rescue dogs, and college basketball. The first few years of her life were spent in a highrise in South Korea; consequently, Renée enjoys having her head in the clouds. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and their tiny overlord of a dog. Her YA fantasy THE WRATH AND THE DAWN will be published by Penguin/Putnam in 2015.   Renée’s critiques …   Critique #57 – Query: Dear Illustrious & Beneficent Agent (sounds legit): I am seeking representation for DOWN FOR THE COUNT, an 87,000 word work of New Adult Mythic Fantasy, based on that takes the classical tale of Persephone, then adds enough detail to explain her transformation from minor agricultural goddess to powerful, feared deity. Other modern retellings, like the original sources, have left out this part of the story. So, let me begin with the caveat that my opinion is my opinion alone, so grain-of-salt-it however you will, but the first sentence is a bit long for a query. Stick to the straight and narrow. As far as the reasoning for why you wrote the book/why it’s unique, I think it’s better to presume rather than assume, when it comes to agents. Presume he/she knows about the tale of Persephone, rather than run the risk of irritating an agent by implying ignorance, however indirectly. Or, perhaps, having an agent go, “Well, actually, there is THIS retelling . . . ” Persephone’s name means “bringer of death,” but the only thing she kills are the flowers she picks. She prefers to be called Persie, more suitable for a virgin goddess Greeks call “the Maiden.” The prior set of sentences is coming off as too “telling.” The subsequent set of sentences is much more voicey and fun. Unfortunately, I’m worried an agent might stop reading...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Brighton Walsh & Jennifer Blackwood!
Jul24

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Brighton Walsh & Jennifer Blackwood!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Brighton Walsh Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Pinterest Brighton spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible. She is represented by Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Agency. Brighton’s debut novel, Caged in Winter, will be published November 4, 2014 from Berkley/Penguin. You can pre-order it now!   Brighton’s critiques …   Critique #53 – First Page: Lily Ellis wished her parents had waited until after breakfast for their latest fight. Or chosen to have it anywhere other than the kitchen. She was hungry. More description here. (i.e. her stomach rumbled loud enough to shake the walls.) But knowing better than to walk in on them mid row, she waited at the top of the stairs and stared at the wonky family photo slipped off its nail. Not surprising after all the recent door slamming. Hanging lopsided, their smiling faces looked ready to fall out of the frame and on to the floor. She straightened it up; saving them all and wishing it were as simple as that in real life. Great detail painted in this paragraph! Milo nudged her hand with his nose. Thank God she had him. Her hero dog, her best friend, rescued four years ago when she was eight, from a shelter when no one else wanted him. Funny, it felt like he’d been rescuing her ever since. Nice—in just a sentence, we see how much he means to her. His ears pricked up at the sound of his name. This is a little confusing here. Maybe say something about the sound of his name coming from her parents drifted up from downstairs. “I heard that too.“ What did Milo have to do with...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Karma Brown & Stephanie Scott!
Jul23

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Karma Brown & Stephanie Scott!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Karma Brown Website | Twitter KARMA is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer, who probably spends too much time on her laptop in coffee shops. When not writing, she can be found running with her husband, coloring (outside the lines) with her daughter, or baking yet another batch of banana muffins. Karma lives just outside Toronto, Canada with her family, and her women’s fiction debut, COME AWAY WITH ME, hits shelves July 2015 (MIRA/Harlequin Books).   Karma’s critiques …   #Critique #49 – Query: Dear Mr. /Ms. …….., I am writing to you because I have read your profile on the…………… website. <= Good! Now tell agent what it was about his/her profile that made you send this query. Just keep it short and sweet. My {insert word count} novel, Our Man in Malacca OUR MAN IN MALACCA, is an espionage thriller. <= I might put this line up in your introduction, then get right to the story in the next paragraph. [new paragraph) This Cold War era tale is set in Malacca, Hong Kong, Sulawesi, Singapore, Manila and Bali. <= This feels like info better suited to the end of this section. The Organization’s man in Malacca is Donald Leonard. **I think this is stronger opening line for your ‘what is this book about?’ section => When (who is this guy? Maybe a quick detail or two to give us an idea of who our main character is) Donald Leonard responds to an innocuous employment ad in the San Francisco Chronicle he believes he is applying for a job with a private shipping company. After a succession of escalating and sometimes bizarre interviews he is recruited into the Organization (what’s the “Organization”?). I’d like to hear a little more about these “bizarre interviews” – keep it short, but inject a compelling detail or two that lets us know this is definitely NOT a private shipping company. You said this is a thriller, and your query should showcase that! He works and travels undercover, in due course, throughout Asia as a coffee bean merchant. So, he just accepts this undercover gig? How is...

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Another Pitch Wars alum success story… with Laura Shovan & Joy McCullough-Carranza!
Jul22

Another Pitch Wars alum success story… with Laura Shovan & Joy McCullough-Carranza!

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we are so happy to have Laura Shovan and her Pitch Wars mentor, Joy McCullough-Carranza, here for a little Q and A. Laura recently signed with Stephen Barbara with Foundry Literary. So as to not make this post a novel, we’ll jump right into the interview. Laura, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Joy? I was on the fence about applying. High-concept novels earn a lot of attention in pitch contests. I wasn’t sure that my novel-in-verse, written in the voices of an entire fifth grade class, was a good fit for an online competition. Pitch Wars mentor Veronica Bartles, who is one of my CPs in real life, encouraged me to give it a try. Before I applied to anyone, I queried each of the MG mentors about novels-in-verse. Were they open to working on one? Joy’s response was an enthusiastic yes, with a list of her favorite MG verse novels. I also applied to Joy because of some things we (freakishly) have in common: both of us have worked in the schools as writers-in-residence; Joy is a playwright, I have a BFA in Dramatic Writing. Add to that some Harry Potter geek-banter on Twitter, and I knew Joy and I would work well together. You definitely seem cut from the same cloth. And Joy, what about Laura’s application made you choose her? I knew the moment I read Laura’s query and sample pages that I really wanted to dive into this manuscript. I loved the premise, the diversity of the characters, and the sheer amazingness of the POETRY. I also knew it was a manuscript that might not shine in a contest setting – sometimes the quieter ones just don’t, and I had been there myself, futilely entering quiet manuscripts into contests. So I decided I didn’t care about that – I wanted to work with Laura, and my only concern was that I might not have that much to offer her. She’s a brilliant poet, and I know extremely little about poetry. But I knew my background as a playwright would lend itself well to the ensemble nature of her book, and I saw ways the story could be strengthened to really let her characters shine, which I hoped would make up for my lack of poetry knowledge. I’m so, so happy it worked out. Well, it seems it definitely helped. So Laura, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? The actual revision period is a blur now! A few months before...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Natasha Neagle & Shana Silver!
Jul22

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Natasha Neagle & Shana Silver!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Natasha Neagle Website | Twitter | Facebook Natasha writes diverse YA thrillers about characters with more guts than her and is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc. She considers herself a diehard fictional character shipper and has way too much fun shopping for makeup and shoes. She is a firm believer that the best way to hear music is live, and can always be found on Twitter, especially if Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead is on. Natasha lives in Northern Virginia with her superhero husband, two crazy-smart kids, and their demon-possessed cats.   Natasha’s critiques …   Critique #45 – First Page: Hazy voices floated into the kitchen of The Chocolate Cottage, whispering of true love and destiny and happily ever after. My first thought is that this feels wordy. You could essentially say the same thing by flipping the sentence and cutting some of the words to tighten it. Whispers of true love and destiny and happily ever after floated into the kitchen of The Chocolate Cottage. Penelope Dalton rolled her eyes at the love-sick customers out front. Is it necessary to give us Penelope’s last name right away? You tell it to us when you could always introduce it later in dialogue or internal thought. You give us some body language here and introduce us to the character, but I’d like to know her thoughts. In the next sentence you do that, but it feels more like you’re telling us her thoughts than simply giving them to us as internal. You have a chance to reel in your reader with her voice and hook us in the first paragraph. Consider rewording the following sentence to do that. It’s not that she didn’t believe in the magic of her chocolates, but why someone would pin all of her happiness on finding a man eluded her. Sighing, she refocused on the bowl of dark chocolate melting on the gas burner. I highlighted the word chocolate to show its repetition. Consider rephrasing to avoid this issue. When I see the word too close together, I’m pulled out of the story...

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July Workshop with Nazarea Andrews and Pitch Wars Mentor, E.M. Caines!
Jul21

July Workshop with Nazarea Andrews and Pitch Wars Mentor, E.M. Caines!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques … Nazarea Andrews Website | Twitter Nazarea is a YA writer. A self-professed geek. A mom (3 beautiful girls) and wife. A unabashed book addict. She likes chocolate and tequila, good times and laughter, weekends with family and times spent at the beach or the mountains. She’s a cynic with a romantic streak, sarcastic to a fault. She’s also the blog tour specialist at InkSlingerPR, and the founder of Writer’s Road. She’s represented by Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary. Nazarea’s books … The World Without a Future Amazon She was born the day the world ended… Nurrin has lived her entire life with zombies—trapped behind walls meant to keep them safe. She’s mostly happy there. But when a zombie horde breach the walls of her Haven, she has to trust her brother, Collin, and his best friend to keep her alive. He just wants his past to die… Finn O’Malley has given up on voicing warnings that are ignored. No one cares that the zombies are changing. Now all that matters is keeping Collin and Nurrin safe from what’s outside the walls of a Haven. But when Nurrin’s best friend picks up a contact infection, he agrees to get the medicine needed to save his life. Forced together, relying on each other in a strange Haven, zombies aren’t the most dangerous thing they’re facing. In their world, only one thing remains true: everything ends in blood. The Horde Without End Goodreads It was supposed to be over… Returning from Haven 18 was supposed to be the end. But nothing is ever easy—and in a world full of zombies, finding the missing is next to impossible. There are breadcrumbs. Tiny clues. But what are a few tiny clues in a world of the dead? Nurrin is desperate to find her brother, but that will mean trusting Finn O’Malley. A man shrouded in secrets, who kills as easily as breathing. And the more she learns about him, the more questions she has. But she has learned one thing—the zombies are changing. Adapting. And this time, the Haven walls won’t keep them out.   Nazarea’s critiques …  ...

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July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Gail Nall & J.C. Nelson!
Jul18

July Workshop with Pitch Wars Mentors … Gail Nall & J.C. Nelson!

Welcome to the July Query & 1st Page Workshop with some of our PitchWars mentors. We selected many wonderful writers from a drawing held in June to participate in the workshop. Each mentor has graciously critiqued either a query or first page for two writers. The writers are anonymous and the titles/genres are hidden. Follow along all month to view the critiques. We welcome comments and further suggestions, but please keep them kind and respectful. Here are the next two mentors and their critiques …   Gail Nall Website | Twitter | Goodreads Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. When she’s not writing books, she manages grants for a homeless shelter and chases her toddler. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail’s middle grade debut, BREAKING THE ICE, will be out from Aladdin/S&S on January 13, 2015. She is also the co-author of the upcoming RSVP books with Jen Malone (Aladdin/S&S, May 2015 and Spring 2016). She blogs at Writing and Stuff, Tweets as @gailecn, and is on Goodreads. BREAKING THE ICE is available for preorder now! Amazon | Barnes & Noble Kaitlin has always dreamed of being a champion figure skater, and she’s given up a lot to pursue her passion. But after having a totally uncharacteristic and decidedly NOT figure-skating-approved tantrum after getting her scores at a major competition she’s dropped by her coach and prestigious skating club. When no other club in town will have her, she’s forced to join the ridiculed and rundown Fallton Club, jokingly referred to as the Fall Down Club. At first Kaitlin thinks this is a complete disaster, but after meeting some of the other skaters, including a boy (who happens to have the most perfect hair she’s ever seen) Kaitlin thinks it might actually not be so bad. But when she’s tasked with learning a whole new program right before Regionals and figures out that almost all the other skaters target Fallton, she thinks joining the Fall Down Club may just be the second biggest mistake she’s ever made. In this figure skating themed debut, Kaitlin learns that when you fall down, you have to pick yourself up – even if it’s in front of judges and a crowd.   Gail’s critiques …   Critique # 37 – First Page: Cash crept up to Mrs. Donnelly’s porch and dropped the paper bag on the doorstep. He pulled a lighter from his pocket and looked over his shoulder. “The coast is clear,” Aaron whispered from the bushes. “Do it!” Cash ignited...

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