Pitch Wars Success Story with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl
Feb28

Pitch Wars Success Story with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl

Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Annette Christie and her Pitch Wars mentor Sonia Hartl! Annette recently signed with Jess Dallow of Brower Literary Management, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Annette and Sonia as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Annette, what was it about Sonia that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? In the weeks leading up to Pitch Wars, I learned Sonia is the perfect combination of approachable and intimidatingly knowledgeable. When I read her bio, I could see we have overlapping tastes and senses of humor. I knew I wanted to learn from her and connect with her. Sonia, what was it about Annette’s FLORENCE LEARY’S THEORY OF FLIGHT that hooked you? It was so fun and fresh! I love characters with interesting hobbies, it was one of my top wishes, and Annette’s ms about a girl who games the reward points on credit cards to fly everywhere for free was so intriguing. I’d never seen anything like it before. I checked out her pimp my bio and began stealth stalking her before the submission round, keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that the writing would hold up. When her ms landed in my inbox, I fell in love with her voice right away and I jumped on the request before I even finished the first chapter. Annette, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Sonia’s notes made so much sense. She had a really clear vision for where my manuscript needed to go, which made my job a lot easier. Revisions started out just swimmingly. And then I hit a wall. I remember the day I spent hours tweaking one chapter and still couldn’t get it right. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. That’s when I remembered writing isn’t meant to be a solitary vocation. I reached out to Sonia and to my critique partners. They helped me take a sledgehammer to that wall. Everyone who’s ever been involved with Pitch Wars says the community is the best part. It truly is. Sonia’s been my cheerleader and sounding board through this whole process—and she’s not going anywhere now. She’s a fiercely loyal person, someone you definitely want to have on your side. The class of 2016 is comprised of creative, intelligent, and hilarious people. My book, and my writing in general, is so much better because of this community. Sonia, tell us about your experience mentoring Annette. Annette was an absolute dream to work with. She took tough critique like a...

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The Way Back to Us by Julia Bade (aka Donna Munoz) … new release!
Feb27

The Way Back to Us by Julia Bade (aka Donna Munoz) … new release!

Read it today on Kindle Unlimited or Purchase it for $2.99! Amazon I’m thrilled to share with a new release from Donna Munoz writing as Julia Bade, THE WAY BACK TO US. Donna was my Pitch Wars mentee in 2014 and is part of our writing community. We’re so thrilled for her and her release! Give it a look today! About the book … Lexy is in a love triangle. What a cliché, right? Only it’s real life, and it involves two brothers… Simon and Max Hyatt. Simon was Lexy’s world. He had tapped into her very soul, kept her secrets, and loved her deeply. After pledging his love and promising to marry her, his parents died in a horrific accident and Simon had disappeared. And now he’s back, but even in the vaguely familiar, they’ve become strangers. Max, Simon’s charming and well-meaning older brother, decides to play cupid. He just wants his brother to find the happiness he deserves. Big Mistake. As Max spends more time with Lexy, they get closer. She helps him through his demons and breaks down his walls. But the harder Max pushes Lexy onto Simon, where he believes she belongs, the stronger their own chemistry builds against the boundaries Max has reluctantly set. But Lexy is no one’s fool. She knows exactly what she wants in life, and it doesn’t include a love triangle between brothers, only Lexy can’t deny everything wonderful she had with Simon, and she also can’t ignore everything she’s creating with Max. And then comes the announcement that Max is to be deployed, setting off a series of life-changing events. Time is running out. Lexy’s heart has reluctantly chosen one, but she could never tread on the bonds of brotherhood. At least not intentionally. About the author …   Julia Bade loves LOVE! She is a busy wife and mom in Texas whose guilty pleasure is writing romance stories during her alone time at three in the morning! A mom of a kindergartner, 3-year-old twins, a 17 and 20 year-old, she loves going a hundred miles an hour. She had no idea that her time as a college cheerleader was really training for her life that was to come! Julia loves to write about people in love and the challenges that make it all worth the fight. Her husband is her soul mate and best friend, and she is indebted to him for all the nights he’s had to sleep with the glow of her laptop screen blasting him in the face just so they could be near each other. Julia is a member of Savvy Authors, a freelance...

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Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition … submission window
Feb24

Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition … submission window

  The Pitch Madness 2017 submission window is now open! To submit your manuscript pitch into the contest, enter your information in the form below. What is Pitch Madness? It’s a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents. (See who they are here.) The submission window is open from NOW and until 11:59PM EST on February 24th. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. Make sure to perfect your entry. If you make an error, you may not resend. 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. If  you’ve entered this manuscript into contests before, you CAN still enter Pitch Madness. 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. Only one entry per writer. Each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 10 entries. We have a team of first readers who will check for formatting, grammar, and content and put their top picks through to the hosts and cohosts. This year’s first round readers and teams can be found here. The agent round will be on March 16 and 17. To see our amazing line up agents go to this post here. All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness! Hope you’ll enter and good luck!   Entry Form … The submission window is now closed!...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen
Feb14

Pitch Wars Success Story with Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen. Jeanne signed with Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Jeanne, Laura, and Tricia on their Pitch Wars Success. AND HAPPY VALENTINES’ DAY! WE LOVE YOU! Jeanne, what was it about Laura & Tricia that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? There were a lot of wonderful mentors, but the thing that kept me coming back to Laura & Tricia’s Wish List was when they said, “If you’re looking for a mentor to help clean up an almost-there manuscript, someone else will be a better coach…” I loved this because I knew they were going to expect a lot from me and that they would help me dig deep into the heart of Ruby’s story to tell it in the best possible way. Plus, they are like SO AMAZINGLY TALENTED! Laura & Tricia, what was it about Jeanne’s RUBY IN THE SKY that hooked you? Tricia: Reading submissions was an educational process. We adored the heart in the middle-grade submissions, which was exactly what we asked for. Because we were working as a team, we also had to agree on shared criteria. Jeanne presented us with a manuscript that was the perfect blend—a likeable narrator, an intriguing plot, gorgeous writing, and real characters with real problems.  We loved what we read and had a good sense of how we could help Jeanne as well. Laura: Tricia and I sent follow-up questions to several PitchWars hopefuls. One question was, “Why are you the right person to tell this story? We’d like to hear about your expertise/real life experiences connected with the characters and their story.” Jeanne’s thoughtful and honest response sealed the deal for me. Through Ruby, she’s exploring how an admirable quality like courage might be confusing for a ‘tween. In RUBY IN THE SKY, a parent’s courageous act upends the main character’s life. Jeanne, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Rigorous – in the best way possible. I still can’t get over how hard Laura & Tricia worked reading, editing, encouraging, skyping. They went above-and-beyond. I was so happy I’d met deadline on the first round of revisions, I hadn’t expected the second-round edits to be so intense. But I love that feeling — when you’re totally immersed in your story (it was time for the kids to learn how to cook...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Judy Lin and her mentors Janella Angeles and Axie Oh
Feb13

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Judy Lin and her mentors Janella Angeles and Axie Oh

  When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Judy Lin and her mentors, Janella Angeles and Axie Oh. Judy signed with Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Judy, Janella, and Axie on their Pitch Wars Success! Judy, what was it about Axie and Janella that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Judy: When I first read Axie and Janella’s bio I thought they both sounded like they would be a lot of fun to work with. Originally I wasn’t even sure my book was going to appeal to them because it’s not an epic fantasy! But I decided to take a chance and submit to them because they love a lot of the same books & media that I love. I felt they would understand my book on a deeper level because of my MC’s experience growing up in an Asian household and they also had non-western settings on their wishlist (my book is set in Taiwan). Janella and Axie, what was it about Judy’s HUNGRY GHOSTS that hooked you? Janella: The most important and hardest thing a writer can nail—a killer voice. Judy’s leapt off the page from the first chapter, and kept me reading and laughing all throughout. Even though our wish list seemed to skew toward the epic and lush fantasies as Judy had mentioned, we instantly connected to the voice and knew right away that this was something special. Along with connection to voice, I also felt close to the characters and the project in general, being an Asian writer myself who yearned for more Asian stories as fantastic and genuine as Judy’s. Axie: Yes! The protagonist in HUNGRY GHOSTS had me laughing, crying, nodding along when she’d opine about cute boys and good food. Like Janella, I felt like the project’s original and real voice spoke to me on a personal level. It was also such a page-turner. I breezed through the book the first time, and then had to go back and re-read for all the subtle nuances woven in about culture, tradition, love and family. Judy, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Judy: I received a detailed edit letter from my mentors, and then separate comments on my MS. Janella and Axie both had strengths that complemented each other. I worked on character development, pacing, and tightening up plot holes. We also had a few long skype calls where we...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Sabina Khan and her mentor, Natasha Neagle
Feb10

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Sabina Khan and her mentor, Natasha Neagle

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Sabina Kahn and her mentor, Natasha Neagle. Sabina signed with Hillary Jacobson of ICM Partners after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Sabina and Natasha on their Pitch Wars Success. Sabina, what was it about Natasha that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? So here’s the thing: if I hadn’t seen Natasha’s tweet about Pitch Wars when I did, I may not even have entered. I was in a real funk and ready to give up when I saw her tweet offering a free query critique. Thinking I had nothing to lose and that I probably wasn’t going to get it anyway, I tweeted back and ended up winning. I sent her my query and she was amazing. She loved the premise of my book and her positivity and enthusiasm totally rubbed off on me and I began to feel excited about it again. Her critique was spot on. All her suggestions totally made sense and I agreed 100% with them. When it was time to choose which mentors to sub to, of course she was my first pick along with five other amazing mentors. Luckily she picked me and the rest, as they say, is history. I strongly believe things happen for a reason and I feel incredibly lucky that the stars aligned and we got to work together. Natasha, what was it about Sabina’s Love, Chai & Confessions that hooked you? I immediately connected with her character and found myself wanting more right from the query. Her novel made me feel and took me on a journey as her character worked out who she was and how she fit into the world. Sabina, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Natasha is an incredible mentor. The teacher in her made it a great learning experience for me. Right from her first edit letter down to every critique, she was precise and her suggestions were spot on. To be honest, I can be a bit prickly when it comes to having my work critiqued. Some of it is because I am a control freak, but also I’ve had past experiences where I’ve been told that my story might resonate better among Indian readers and other such rubbish. So I was a bit wary and it’s something I work on constantly. But with Natasha, there was never a moment where I didn’t feel my story was completely safe and that she understood...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow
Feb09

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Tosha Sumner and her mentor, RuthAnne Snow. Tosha signed with Jennifer March Soloway of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Tosha and RuthAnne on their Pitch Wars Success. Tosha, what was it about RuthAnne that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? RuthAnne’s Pitch Wars wishlist mentioned she’d love a sports book. She also listed one of my comps as a book she enjoyed. Then in her mentor bio, she mentioned some strengths that were items I needed help with. After watching the mentor video chat and doing a teeny bit of Twitter stalking, I just knew she was someone I’d get along very well with. RuthAnne, what was it about Tosha’s manuscript that hooked you? First, I did love Tosha’s comps! Then I was immediately hooked in by the main character’s voice. Picking one mentee was so hard because I had so many great manuscripts to review, but there was something about Callie Whitfield’s voice and her problems that spoke to me more strongly. Tosha, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? RuthAnne was a fabulous mentor! First, she sent me an editorial letter a couple days after the mentee list went public. She pinpointed exactly what my manuscript was lacking!! Most notably, I need to change the romance centric story to a contemporary with a strong romance subplot. We exchanged TONS of emails and shot ideas back and forth.  She was always so willing to help me when I needed it, but she also let me take ownership of the revision process.  I’d give her updates as to how it was coming, or ask her advice and run scene ideas by her. She was always so very supportive of me and my work and my ability to get the revision completed on time.  I loved the entire Pitch Wars revision process. Although 3 months sounds like a long time, it flies by, but it’s enough time to tackle both big and small issues with a manuscript. It was great having someone who got my book and my vision and could help me take my story to the next level. RuthAnne, tell us about your experience mentoring Tosha. Tosha was great, she took suggestions and ran with them. Her manuscript was great when I read it in my slush, and then she just took it to a higher level through her revisions. I was very impressed...

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GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake . . . Release Day and Giveaway!
Feb07

GUARDIAN OF SECRETS by Brenda Drake . . . Release Day and Giveaway!

We’re celebrating the release of Brenda Drake’s GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2), today! Check out the teaser excerpt, and be sure to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below!     GUARDIAN OF SECRETS (Library Jumpers #2) by Brenda Drake Publisher: Entangled Teen Publication Date: February 7, 2017 Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens. Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it. And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia. Maybe. If she survives. Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2): Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes Excerpt from GUARDIAN OF SECRETS She did a U-turn and drove off. I sprinted to the area where I spotted the lightning. A shadowed figure sat on a white bench near the water. Another flash of light kissed the sky and illuminated Nick.   Since discovering he was a wizard, Nick struggled with his new magic. And he was careless. Anyone could spot him out here. How would he explain it to someone who was human and not from the Mystik realm? I couldn’t imagine how it felt to have that much power. Unlike him, I was a Sentinel. I had little magic and relied on my battle training to best wizards and other-world creatures. He only needed to shock or electrocute his adversaries.   “What exactly are you doing?” I asked, approaching.   He almost fell off the bench. “Shit, Gia. Don’t sneak up on a person like that.”   “Seriously, Nick? What are you doing? Someone might see you, and then we’d be discovered.”   “Just leave me alone.”   “I’m not going to just leave you alone.” I sat down on the bench beside him. A light breeze swept loose strands of my hair across my face. The briny smell of the ocean filled my nose. “Talk to me. You’re my best friend, Nick. I’m here for you.”   He formed an electric charge on his palm....

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PROJECT PANDORA by Aden Polydoros … cover reveal!
Feb06

PROJECT PANDORA by Aden Polydoros … cover reveal!

Goodreads | Preorder Title: Project Pandora (The Olympus Experiment, #1) Author: Aden Polydoros Release Date: August 1, 2017 Description: Olympus is rising… Tyler hasn’t been feeling like himself lately, his dreams are full of violence and death, and there are days where he can’t remember where he’s been. Miles away, Shannon finds herself haunted by similar nightmares. She is afraid that she has done something terrible. As the daughter of a state senator, Elizabeth has everything she could ever hope for. But when an uninvited guest interrupts a fundraising gala and stirs up painful memories, everything goes downhill fast. Murder is what Hades is good at. So when two of his comrades go AWOL, he is rewarded with the most exhilarating hunt of his lifetime. For him, the game has just begun. Link to Exclusive Cover Reveal on YA Books Central: http://www.yabookscentral.com/blog/it-s-live-cover-reveal-1-31   About the author… Website | Twitter | Facebook Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, the youngest of three children. Aden’s family moved to Arizona when he was in second grade. As a kid, he spent much of his time exploring the desert near his home. When he wasn’t searching for snakes and lizards, he was raiding the bookshelves of the local library. As a teenager, Aden decided that he wanted to be a writer. He spent his free time writing short stories. He was encourage by his English teacher to try his hand at writing a novel, which inspired him to begin Project Pandora. The YA thriller is set for publication with Entangled Publishing in Summer of 2017. He is represented by Mallory Brown of Triada US.  ...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Mary C. Dunbar and her mentor, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Feb03

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Mary C. Dunbar and her mentor, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Mary C. Dunbar and her mentor, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn. Mary signed with Rebecca Podos of Rees Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Mary and Laurie on their Pitch Wars Success. Mary, what was it about Laurie that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? I knew Laurie was looking for YA contemporary manuscripts, and she had recently had her debut with Firsts. My manuscript touched on some of the notes that Laurie is great at dealing with in her writing – such as strained friendships, sex, and the MC facing his/her past. I tried to talk with all of the mentors I was considering on Twitter, and I really enjoyed interacting with Laurie. She seemed interested in my pitch, and I was excited to send her my application. When she asked to see the full, I was so excited I couldn’t send it fast enough. Laurie, what was it about Mary’s THE WRECKAGE OF US that hooked you? For starters… I had interacted with Mary on the #PitchWars Twitter hashtag, and checked out (ahem… stalked) her #PimpMyBio entry. I was so intrigued by her pitch and really, really hoped she would sub to me! When I saw her entry in my inbox, I did a little happy dance. I requested the full and the more I read, the more I absolutely knew I had to work with Mary. She is fantastic at showing the stakes in a pitch and also really understands the importance of voice. I appreciated that she took chances with her writing, and her style was so evocative and honest and real. Mary, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Laurie sent me a very thorough edit letter addressing the areas that she felt that I could work on to make my manuscript stronger. She was so insightful and addressed everything from how to make my first scene pack a stronger punch to character motivation. I think she really liked the core of my story, and she had excellent ideas for making my chapter endings more powerful and ramping up the tension between characters. I tend to be a very character-driven writer, and Laurie showed me how I could have the characters carry more of the weight of the plot without losing any of their unique qualities. I did several rounds of revisions with the edit letter in hand and with her in-document notes, and I sent...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Christine L. Herman and her mentor, Amanda Foody
Feb01

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Christine L. Herman and her mentor, Amanda Foody

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Christine L. Herman and her mentor, Amanda Foody. Christine signed with Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Christine and Amanda on their Pitch Wars Success. Christine, what was it about Amanda that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? It was really hard to narrow down the field of awesome Pitch Wars mentors to just a few candidates, but Amanda’s profile stuck out to me immediately. It wasn’t just that she was looking for a book that sounded like the one I’d written. It was her obvious work ethic, her sense of humor, and her taste in other books that clinched it for me. I knew in my gut that her strengths as a mentor matched up with the weaknesses in my manuscript — and, most importantly, that she would understand how to work with me to fix it. I was beyond thrilled when I saw her name next to mine on announcement day! Amanda, what was it about Christine’s manuscript that hooked you? On a pitch-level, I loved the concept of a New England small town with magical secrets, and I could tell within the first page that Christine had an extremely developed writing style. After requesting, I finished the whole manuscript in a sitting. I was totally drawn into the characters. I found myself squealing at all the right moments and laughing at others. It’s just a really fun and haunting read, but with eloquent, atmospheric writing to match. Christine, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It was intense, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Amanda refused to let me finish Pitch Wars with a product that was anything less than my best work, which meant that I pretty much spent every free moment from the end of August until early November revising my manuscript. We did one round of big-picture revisions, then a line-edit that smoothed out my prose and polished my scenes, while also addressing a few lingering loose ends from the first round. Amanda and I had a very collaborative mentor-mentee relationship, so I felt fully comfortable asking her for advice and clarification whenever I had a question or a concern. Amanda was really great about telling me when something wasn’t working, but allowing me the time and space to develop my own solutions to fix it. She always knew exactly how much to help...

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