PW #106: Adult Contemporary Romance: CLAIMING HEARTS AND SPACES

Manuscript status: Finished with one-week delivery. (Author is out of the country.)

Mentor Name: Heather Van Fleet
Mentee Name: Morgan Crane
Title: Claiming Hearts and Spaces
Category: Adult Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 99,000


Income slashed, career-driven Madison can’t afford rent. Unfortunately, the only suitable roommate she can find is an ex-mobster…and the guy who swiped her purse. But Cole defies her expectations—he’s charming, sexy, an amazing cook—yet he’s frustratingly hell-bent on keeping his heart and secrets buried. When the mob calls though, Cole’s dark past and present collide, putting Madison in the deadly middle.


The manuscript I’m editing looks like a massacre, mimicking the current state of my life. Red ink bleeds from the pages, smearing onto my hand as I slash at its imperfections. Spotting the words financial success, I scratch it away with my pen.

“Yeah, not in this world.”

A scrape sounds from my right. When I look up, I catch the lady beside me at the bar roll her eyes before she scoots her stool a few inches away. My lips curl in annoyance, but I don’t bother wasting a breath to snap at her. She doesn’t know I’m not this hostile person, that I’m actually a professional enjoying a necessary cocktail after a monumentally bad day. All she sees is the psycho sitting by herself on a Friday night, mumbling under her breath as she murders her work assignment.

Taking a deep breath, I slide my left hand down the slate pencil skirt I wore straight from the office, hopeful it smooths the jagged edges of my emotions breaking through. It works, moderately. Until the same lady divulges to her girlfriends that she’s celebrating her latest promotion.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” The pen I’m holding cracks under the pressure of my grip.

I should be thrilled another woman is succeeding in her industry—girl power and all. But how can I celebrate another’s success when mine has just been unjustly ripped from my fingers?


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. Please send a query and first 100 pages to querymichelle (at) fuseliterary (dot) com and mention Pitch Wars in the subject line!

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    • I’ll join Michelle (hi, Michelle!) in requesting. I like the voice! Could you send a query and 3 chapters to submissions[at]stonesong[dot]com?

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  2. This voice is wonderfully strong and intriguing–I totally want to buy Madison a drink after her shitty day. Can I see the full ms as a PDF, please, along with the query to Pitch Wars in the subject line, please. Thank you!

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  3. I’d love to take a look at this! Please feel free to send a query and the full manuscript (word doc) to, w/PitchWars in the subject line. Looking forward!

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