Another Pitch Wars Success Interview with Jennifer Hawkins and Kes Trester!
Jan30

Another Pitch Wars Success Interview with Jennifer Hawkins and Kes Trester!

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today I am so beyond excited to introduce you to Jennifer Hawkins and her Pitch Wars mentor Kes Trester for a Q and A regarding her recent success! Jennifer recently signed with Louise Fury with The Bent Agency. So as to not make this post a novel, we’ll jump right into the interview. Jennifer, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Kes? I recognized her name and remembered her entry (because it was fantastic) from a previous Pitch Wars. I thought it’d be great to work with someone who has been on both sides of the mentor line. I also loved her experience and accolades in the film industry. I think we all, as authors, would love to see our work adapted for the screen someday, and I knew she’d have insight on whether or not I stand a chance against those rather impossible odds. I started following her on Twitter long before the submission window opened and liked her right away. Kes, what about Jennifer’s application made you choose her? I had a checklist of qualities I kept in mind when reading submissions: *  A voice that jumped off the page (our revision deadline was too short to instill it if it wasn’t already there). *  Writing that demonstrated he or she put in the time to revise and polish.  I wasn’t looking for perfection, but you can tell who is serious about Pitch Wars by this yardstick. *  A genre and plot that would appeal to our agent panel.  These busy agents put in a lot of valuable time to read our selections, and it’s incumbent upon us to respect that. *  Diverse characters.  It wasn’t a deal-breaker, but how wonderful if Pitch Wars could shine a spotlight on racial and/or sexual diversity. *  An enjoyable read.  I knew I would spend a lot of time with this book and wanted it to be rewarding for both of us. Jennifer’s ms hit all the marks.  Then I emailed her as I was winnowing down my selections to ask if she would trust me if I suggested we change a major plot point.  Her immediate response was so warm, excited, and open-minded that I knew I’d found my mentee. Jennifer, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? The revisions were no joke. The changes Kes suggested terrified me at first. But I didn’t enter Pitch Wars so someone could tell me how perfect my manuscript was; I entered so someone could tell me how to make...

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Pitch Madness 2015 … introducing the teams!
Jan28

Pitch Madness 2015 … introducing the teams!

Pitch Madness 2015 SORRY! Edition   The Pitch Madness submission window will be open for 72 hours starting on February 20! 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 February 20 until 11:59PM EST on February 23. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted. Make sure to perfect your entry. If you make an error, you may not resend. There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult (never before published) fiction only, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. All genres (i.e. fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, and so on) are welcome to enter. This time around we will not accept non-fiction. Only one entry per writer. 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 and where to send when the submission window opens. Pitch Madness will be on four blogs and each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 15 entries. We’ll have a team of first readers who will check for formatting, grammar, and content and put their top picks through to the hosts. All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness!   Introducing Round 1  Readers in alphabetical order by last name (because I love them all equally)  …     Sarah L. Blair Website | Twitter   K.T. Hanna Website | Twitter    L.L. McKinney Website | Twitter   Jami Nord Website | Twitter     To help us choose the best pitches for the market, we have our Market Insider finding pitches that will appeal to agents  …   Lady Lioness, Assistant to a fabulous Literary Agent Website | Twitter   And choosing in the final rounds are your hosts and their teams …    ________________________________________________________________     The Red Team  On Brenda Drake’s blog with Kimberly P. Chase …      Brenda                                     Kimberly Twitter                                      Twitter | Website   Their support readers  … Naomi Hughes Twitter | Website Fiona McLaren Twitter | Website   ________________________________________________________________    The Green Team On Summer Heacock’s blog with Dannie Morin …      Summer                                            Dannie Twitter                                            Twitter | Website...

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RODIN’S LOVER by Heather Webb … release day!
Jan27

RODIN’S LOVER by Heather Webb … release day!

Barnes & Noble      Amazon      IndieBound Synopsis: As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness. Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape. Blurbs: “Masterfully crafted…a larger-than-life love story full of passion and tragedy. Webb captures the era and characters to perfection.”–RT Book Reviews, starred review “You’ll be drawn into this story of obsession and passion.”–Cosmopolitan “Heather Webb’s emotionally charged novel and rich language mirror Camille Claudet’s talent as a sculptor.”–New York Journal of Books   About the author …   Heather Webb Website | Twitter: @msheatherwebb | Facebook | Pinterest |Google+ Heather Webb is an author, freelance editor, and blogger. Her first women’s historical, BECOMING JOSEPHINE: A NOVEL, has already been featured in The Wall Street Journal and released as a lead title from Plume/Penguin December 31, 2013. Her novels have been translated to three languages and have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, France magazine, All You magazine, the Houston Chronicle, and The Portland Book Review. As a freelance editor, Heather spends oodles of time helping writers find their voice and hone their skills–something she adores. As a military brat, Heather naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French Education and a Master of Science in Cultural Geography. For nearly a decade, she taught high school French before turning to full time writing and...

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NAKED by Stacey Trombley … cover reveal!
Jan26

NAKED by Stacey Trombley … cover reveal!

Naked by StaceyTrombley Release Date: 07/07/15 Entangled Teen 305 pages  Summary: The best place to hide is in a lie… I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much. I ran away to New York City…and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad. Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad. The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York. Someone knows who I really am. And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed…   Pre-Order Links: Amazon│Barnes & Noble│Kobo Books   About the author: Stacey Trombley lives in Ohio with her husband and the sweetest Rottweiler you’ll ever meet. She thinks people are fascinating and any chance she has, she’s off doing or learning something new. She went on her first mission trip to Haiti at age twelve and is still dying to go back. Her “places to travel” list is almost as long as her “books to read” list. She wants to bring something new to the world through her writing, but just giving a little piece of herself is more than enough. Keep a look out for her debut novel NAKED, coming from Entangled Teen in 2015. Author Links:     Cover Reveal Organized...

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Guest Post … Moving beyond Solitary: Practicing Perseverance by Amy Bearce
Jan24

Guest Post … Moving beyond Solitary: Practicing Perseverance by Amy Bearce

Moving Beyond Solitary: Practicing Perseverance By Amy Bearce Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary process. Many of us who write enjoy that isolation. Perhaps we are introverts or maybe we just like dissolving into other worlds we create. But there comes a point in time when we want to share our story with others. And that means putting yourself and your work in front of other people. This often begins by letting a trusted friend or two read your manuscript. It could also mean joining a critique group. But if you have hopes of publication, eventually, you will have to show your work to agents and/or editors. It’s time to enter the querying stage. That can be incredibly hard. “Just a little hike, they said. Huh.” If you are shy as well as introverted, it can be downright terrifying. But it’s important to stick with it and keep trying, even when you don’t see a lot of results at first. The query process can be long, tedious, and full of rejection. One way to make things more interesting and fun is to enter online contests, such as #PitMad and #PitchWars. It opens the door and invites other people to enjoy the story you’ve created. In the meantime you meet some really great people. Editors and agents will get to see your pitch. You will no doubt compulsively refresh your Twitter page and email to see if you get any comments. When you don’t, it can be crushing. “Oof.” But keep at it. You never know when connections you’ve made will lead somewhere you didn’t expect. Perhaps my experience will encourage you. I wrote my first manuscript over ten years ago. Let’s just say…it had a lot of problems. I’ve written several more since then. A few years ago, I started a fourth book and it was much better than the others…and I did some planning…but I got bogged down halfway through. Then I wrote a fifth book about a too-nice kid from a supervillain family. I was sure The Worst Villain Ever would be it—the manuscript to finally be published. I entered it in #PitMad and other competitions. I submitted it for critiques at conferences and received valuable feedback. A few requests for fulls and partials came in, but nothing else happened. I was confused and more than a little heartbroken. I really thought (and still think, for the record) that this was a good story. Others said they loved it. But no offer came, and I finally stopped pitching this manuscript and went back to work on the one I had abandoned. I spent the next...

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Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 7
Jan23

Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 7

15 critiques for ’15! My wonderful critique partners have started a new freelance editing business and agreed to sponsor my January workshop. Jami Nord and K.T. Hanna have helped me spruce up my manuscripts and now they’re helping fifteen lucky and brave writers with theirs. The winners have already been picked. This is the last day of the workshop, go back and read Jami’s and Katie’s critiques from the previous days and learn from their advice. Today’s final three were a joint effort by  Jami and K.T.  We aren’t mentioning names or titles. It’s up to the writers if they want to reveal themselves. If you’re interested in hiring Chimera Editing Services, go visit the website to learn more about their reasonably priced services … Chimera Editing Services   Critiques by …     K.T. Hanna        &                  Jami Nord    1st Critique…  Query: Dear (Agent), (Personalization goes here) Space, the final chance for true romance: To Captain Mark(,) life should be an adventure. Opposing the tyrannical Company is not so much a political statement as something fun to do. Sitting around in a more settled life feels like death, so when he wakes from cryogenic sleep the first thing he wants (after a cup of coffee) is to get back to the action. He and his ragtag crew of rebels had gone into hiding because they were low on supplies so the first order of business is to restock somehow. They only have enough energy left in the fuel cell for this one last blastoff, and the solar panels are damaged, so this means tThe next time they land may be their last. The thought of eeking out a living while stuck on some terrestrial rock terrifies Mark, as does getting caught by the Company and being sentenced to an accountant’s life in the pod-farm; so wWhen his ship comes upon an interspace cruiser, though they have never stooped so low before, he decides to go pirate on it. (Watch long run on sentences too close together like that. It feels rambly, though I like the touches of voice this has as well.) Pilot Brit loves the adventurous life too. She can scrap it up with the best of them, and she flies Captain Mark’s ship skillfully by the seat of her pants, a major source of pride for her. However, when they become stranded on a life-sustaining planet(,) she discovers her desire to play house with Mark and wants to explore these feelings further. Unfortunately(,) her violent past makes her body unwilling to allow close encounters of the male...

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Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 6
Jan22

Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 6

  15 critiques for ’15! My wonderful critique partners have started a new freelance editing business and agreed to sponsor my January workshop. Jami Nord and K.T. Hanna have helped me spruce up my manuscripts and now they’re helping fifteen lucky and brave writers with theirs. The winners have already been picked. In the next few days, stop by and read Jami’s and Katie’s critiques and learn from their advice. Today we have our next two critiques up. We aren’t mentioning names or titles. It’s up to the writers if they want to reveal themselves. If you’re interested in hiring Chimera Editing Services, go visit the website to learn more about their reasonably priced services … Chimera Editing Services   Critique by K.T. Hanna …   Query: Dear Agent, Grief is hard enough to deal with without feeling like you don’t belong. Nine year old Alice “AJ” Johnson has felt like an outsider since his father’s death nine months ago. Classmates tease him, and Lauren, his mom, is lost in her own grief and doesn’t seem to notice how hard it’s been for him. Sheryl, Lauren’s wife, tries her best to comfort both, but doesn’t always succeed. She’s grieving too. His dad was his best friend, there by his side through everything. They went on adventures together, and his dad taught AJ to love the outdoors. Then one bright August day, his dad was gone, buried in the ground. The only place he has been able to find peace are in the woods behind his school. It’s quiet; his only company the birds singing in the trees. No one bothers him there since they are rumored to be haunted. When his mom tells him just before school ends for the year that they are moving, AJ decides to run away. So AJ takes what looks to be the shortest path, one that cuts right through the woods. But this ends up being a mistake. Lost in the Dead Woods, a world for the dead, AJ finds dangers he’d never thought existed, and a friend that helps him realize change isn’t always a bad thing. [AJ’s dad was his best friend. They did everything together, until his dad’s sudden death left him alone. His mom, lost in her own grief, is distant, and her wife Sheryl isn’t much help. The only place he feels less alone is the woods behind his school, rumored to be haunted. When his mom tells him they’re moving when the school year is over, AJ decides to run away. He takes the shortest path through the woods, but the rumors aren’t unfounded. Lost in the...

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BRING THE RAIN by Lizzy Charles … cover reveal & ARC giveaway!
Jan21

BRING THE RAIN by Lizzy Charles … cover reveal & ARC giveaway!

Lizzy Charles Young Adult Coming February 17, 2015 Synopsis One summer to make the choice of a lifetime… Everything is waiting in Paris for Autumn—her new home, her mom, the Louvre, and a life where she can experience art, and not just look at it. But to get there, she’ll have to survive the summer in the least colorful place she can imagine — her father’s Oklahoma cattle ranch. Autumn finds the perfect summer distraction in Colt, the one cowboy hotter than the July sun. But Colt is her father’s ranch hand, and he won’t go for the Manhattan-style fling that she’s used to. The closer they become, the more she questions which side of the ocean she belongs. Then her father reveals an unforgivable secret, and Autumn’s illusions shatter. Will the secret destroy everything? Or could Oklahoma hold the greatest masterpiece of all—a love that could mend her heart?   Goodreads   Excerpt Light arms make for easy dancing, even to drawn out country tunes. Turns out, cowboys aren’t bad dancers. They know where to put their hands on your waist to help you sway. They share well too, making sure a new hat accompanies each tune. When my chest burns, I know I’ve hit my limit. “Sorry,” I say to the only guy at the party wearing a baseball cap. “I need a break.” “I can take you outside if you want?” This brown-haired-brute’s eyes are a bit swollen, and lips raw. I swear I saw him making out on the steps during my last spin on the dance floor. “No thanks, I’m good on my own.” I quickly zigzag through the crowd and slip out the back kitchen door. If it wasn’t for the couple making out in a hammock, I would’ve barreled right into the gray weave. There’s a deserted tree a few hundred yards out from the house. Brushing my ballet flats through the crisp grass, I do a quick snake check. Phew. I take a seat, tilting my head toward the sky. The darkness is alive and glittering. I breathe out, the beauty above. Stars like this never happen at home. Here, Hercules and the dippers are too obvious. And, with a jostle of my memory, I can find the Queen and the Dragon too. I wish I had my paints and a canvas so I could try to capture it. I’d make my own Starry Night, but my brush strokes would be looser here than Van Gogh’s. A breeze moves through my hair, reminding me to take a deep breath. It instantly relaxes me; somehow one breath here is better than any...

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Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 5
Jan21

Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 5

15 critiques for ’15! My wonderful critique partners have started a new freelance editing business and agreed to sponsor my January workshop. Jami Nord and K.T. Hanna have helped me spruce up my manuscripts and now they’re helping fifteen lucky and brave writers with theirs. The winners have already been picked. In the next few days, stop by and read Jami’s and Katie’s critiques and learn from their advice. Today we have our next two critiques up. We aren’t mentioning names or titles. It’s up to the writers if they want to reveal themselves. If you’re interested in hiring Chimera Editing Services, go visit the website to learn more about their reasonably priced services … Chimera Editing Services     Critique by Jami Nord…   Query: Dear (Agent), (Personalization goes here) Seventeen-year-old Ryan Fisher is a liar. She lies to her friends about the huge scar on her chest. She lies to her parents about her new job. She even lies to herself about the future she doesn’t want. (I really like this repetition here. It’s a great opening.) The only people she doesn’t lie to? The police, when they arrest her for property damage and assault. It’s not like she killed anyone; she was only trying to help a stranded sea turtle. The arrest is only the crest of a tidal wave for Ryan that began with a life-altering heart surgery. (I don’t see the connection between the arrest and her dream job. It seems like this is missing a connective line, like, “But when the manager of the Gulfarium approaches her, impressed by her quick thinking and offers her a job, she thinks her dreams have come true.” This would also fix the wordiness in the line after.) So when her dream job falls into her lap, she doesn’t pass up the chance, even though it’s the last thing her micro-managing parents want for her. It’s at the Gulfarium, wWorking alongside the dolphins she loves, that Ryan runs into her ex-best friend, Grayson Finley, the boy who left town—and her—without a goodbye. Doing what she does best, Ryan lies and tells her (micro-managing) parents she got a job at a health clinic(,) and then spends her afternoons at the Gulfarium doing grunt work with her new care-free friend, Brooke. She’ll do anything to keep one foot in the future that she’s dreamed of. But when her mom finds out about the lie? Bye-bye dolphins and dreamy ex-best friend. But the eternal grounding Ryan receives can’t stop her when a hurricane barrels toward the coast, threatening not only the Gulfarium, but (and) the only people who see the...

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Enter to win a signed copy of THE CONSPIRACY OF US by Maggie E. Hall!
Jan20

Enter to win a signed copy of THE CONSPIRACY OF US by Maggie E. Hall!

  I was so lucky to attend Maggie E. Hall’s signing for THE CONSPIRACY OF US at Bookworks in Albuquerque last week. The evening was filled with friends, readers, and fun facts from Maggie about how her travels played a part in her inspiration for the story.  Not only did I get a signed copy for me, but I also got one to giveaway to one of you all (along with some cool swag). All you have to do for a chance to win the signed copy of THE CONSPIRACY OF US is enter the Rafflecopter below. And here’s some more information about this fabulous read. And I mean FABULOUS!  Amazon  *  Barnes & Noble  *  Books-A-Million  *  Book Depository A fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with. About Maggie… Maggie E. Hall is a world traveler and has worked as a bookstore events coordinator and marketing manager. You can learn more about her at her website, follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or join her at YA Misfits where she blogs about young adult literature.     Enter the Rafflecopter now! a Rafflecopter...

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Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 4
Jan20

Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 4

  15 critiques for ’15! My wonderful critique partners have started a new freelance editing business and agreed to sponsor my January workshop. Jami Nord and K.T. Hanna have helped me spruce up my manuscripts and now they’re helping fifteen lucky and brave writers with theirs. The winners have already been picked. In the next few days, stop by and read Jami’s and Katie’s critiques and learn from their advice. Today we have our next two critiques up. We aren’t mentioning names or titles. It’s up to the writers if they want to reveal themselves. If you’re interested in hiring Chimera Editing Services, go visit the website to learn more about their reasonably priced services … Chimera Editing Services   Critique by K.T. Hanna …   Query: Dear Agent, Seventeen-year-old Lacey’s heart has always been frosty, but teaming up with fiery rivals to save her family’s homeland might be the only solution when the territory’s clans are threatened by a slew of murders. [This is a lengthy sentence that needs to be read multiple times to get the full meaning. It truly feels like most of it needs to be at the end. You’re listing stakes immediately before we understand anything about Lacey or her family] Lacey is a Lycov: heir to the political dynasty that’s ruled Blackwood for decades – and the only dynasty that has magic. Her father’s sudden death leaves her heading [ awkward phrasing – I take it you mean to be the head of the family] Blackwood sooner than planned, but court politics are in Lacey’s repertoire. She’s raring to whittle her sharp words into diplomatic tools until her biggest opponents, the Arduins, decide to sashay [needlessly frivolous word choice. I’m assuming they don’t literally dance back into their circle] back into the narrow circle of Blackwood’s elite. [This whole second paragraph is awkwardly phrased with odd word choices. Alternate example: Lacy, heir to the political dynasty of Blackwood, is a Lycov. Her father’s sudden death leaves her at the head of the only magic family, plunging her into the world of diplomacy and court politics she was raised to conquer. But when the Arduins return to the narrow circle of Blackwood’s elite, full of accusations about Lacy’s family misusing their magic, she realizes there is no room for the arcane in politics.] When the Arduins accuse Lacey’s family of using their icy magic to manipulate the public, Lacey realizes there’s no room for magic in politics. Dissent over the Lycovs’ ability is growing, so preserving her father’s lie that the family gift skipped her generation seems like a good plan. After all, One...

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Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 3
Jan19

Query & 1st Page Workshop with Chimera Editing Services … Day 3

  15 critiques for ’15! My wonderful critique partners have started a new freelance editing business and agreed to sponsor my January workshop. Jami Nord and K.T. Hanna have helped me spruce up my manuscripts and now they’re helping fifteen lucky and brave writers with theirs. The winners have already been picked. In the next few days, stop by and read Jami’s and Katie’s critiques and learn from their advice. Today we have our next two critiques up. We aren’t mentioning names or titles. It’s up to the writers if they want to reveal themselves. If you’re interested in hiring Chimera Editing Services, go visit the website to learn more about their reasonably priced services … Chimera Editing Services   Critique by Jami Nord…   Query: Dear (Agent), (Personalization goes here) When Raz walks into advanced algebra on the first day of senior year, she hasn’t a clue that the secrets she’s been keeping about her dysfunctional family and her escape plan are about to unravel before her eyes. It’s hate at first sight when she sees Logan, a bad boy from the other side of town, who accuses her of being a thief. On the surface, they couldn’t be more different: she’s a brain and he’s barely passing, he’s chased by every girl in school and she doesn’t even have a boyfriend, she’s half Italian and half Jewish and he’s multiracial. When she’s forced (How? Does she get caught doing something she shouldn’t? Or part of a class, like peer mediation?) to tutor him, she discovers he’s about to threaten everything she’s worked so hard for (Again, how? Be more specific). When Raz doesn’t fall for his superficial charm, Logan realizes that Raz really cares about him and isn’t afraid to break through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep them apart. SECRETS (64,000 words) is a completed (Redundant. Please, everyone, don’t query incomplete novels. It wastes the agent’s time and your chances at that agent/agency. Don’t be that person.) contemporary young adult story (told in the alternating points of view) of two lonely teens who need a best friend to trust and love. Written in both Raz’s and Logan’s point of view, the novel presents a fresh teen perspective, portraying their thoughts, insecurities, hang-ups and urges, making it easy for any teen to identify with. Strong themes of acceptance, diversity, courage and independence are woven through the book, providing a powerful read that boldly faces the difficulties of mixed racial relationships. (This would do much better worked into the description of the plot. I don’t know enough about the plot here to spell it out, but...

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