Pitch Madness Success Story with P.J. Switzer from Team Ice Cream Sea with Monica Hoffman and Brenda Drake
May10

Pitch Madness Success Story with P.J. Switzer from Team Ice Cream Sea with Monica Hoffman and Brenda Drake

  Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate PJ Switzer who signed with Kari Sutherland with Bradford Literary Agency after Pitch Madness 2017! PJ was part of Monica M. Hoffman and Brenda Drake’s #TeamIceCreamSea, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating PJ as she shares with us her awesome success story. So let’s get this party started. PJ, what made you decide to enter Pitch Madness, and how did you feel during the contest? Actually, I entered Pitch Madness because of dumb luck and my husband. I just happened to be on Twitter and saw the deadline was midnight that night. I thought about it then decided not to do it. I’d received so many rejections that I’d reached the, “What’s the point?” stage of querying. But my husband pushed me to enter. He used the tried and true logic of, “What have you got to lose?” And, as the saying goes, the rest is history. I’m not going to lie, I took stress eating to a whole new level during the contest. The first round was hard. I was absolutely convinced my entry wasn’t going to make it. I soothed the worry with lots of chocolate cake. It helped. When my entry was selected I practically danced with joy. But as hard as the selection round was, the agent round was worse. I read the other contestants entries, which were amazing, and knew no agent would want my manuscript. So, I decided to quit writing and become a cocktail waitress in a Venezuelan nightclub. Before I got the chance to buy my airline ticket the agent round ended and something wonderful happened. Which blog were you on and what was the title of your entry? How many requests did you get? Any other details you’d like to share? I was on Brenda Drake’s blog with my manuscript, The Cold Place. I received 4 requests for the full manuscript and 9 requests for partials, which, if I do my math right, equals 13 total requests. Brenda and Monica, what made you choose Pj’s entry to host on your team? Monica: What made THE COLD PLACE stand out from the rest was the voice and narrative style. It immediately got my attention. When I got to the end of the 250-words, I not only wanted more or it, I needed it. I needed to know what happened to her main character. I instantly connected with her MC even within the first page! Brenda: That VOICE!! Hooked me right off. Plus the premise was so intriguing. PJ is a wonderful writer and her prose and...

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Day 2 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Nikki Roberti and Jami Nord
May10

Day 2 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Nikki Roberti and Jami Nord

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Nikki Roberti … Twitter | Website Nikki Roberti Miller is a young adult author, a professional journalist, and marketer with more than ten years of published writing experience. She currently works full-time writing feature articles and marketing copy at the international relief non-profit, Samaritan’s Purse,  while also freelancing for various magazines and sites such as WeTV, Engagement 101, Parents magazine, and NBC’s iVillage.com. She was also the founder and editor-in-chief of REALITY Check Girl Magazine, which was featured in the Washington Post online. Before writing novels, she was a seven-time award winning playwright with her short pieces performed around the country, including The Kennedy Center in D.C. She is also an avid young adult/middle grade author and was selected to be featured in the 2014 Pitch Wars for her young adult contemporary, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES  and mentored by author Rachel Lynn Solomon. But also in her spare time she enjoys cooking, making balloon sculptures and blogging about her author adventures and attempt at living a happy, healthy married life at www.MrsHealthyEverAfter.com. Nikki’s Query Critique . . .   AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy Dear [Agent’s name here], Fifteen-year-old Lucy Nightingale has always suspected that the world hates her, from her parents’ divorce to the stupid freshmen who keep sticking gum all over her bike handlebars. But then the world goes and proves it [This reads awkward to me, and for a query it should be very quick and streamlined. I’d recommend shortening it to “but then the world proves it” or something], when her own dreams start trying to murder her in her sleep.[THIS IS AWESOME. What a great line.] Every night, Lucy must face her Dreamon – a shapeshifting physical manifestation of all her darkest thoughts. Not only that, but she must come to grips with the new rules which govern her dream...

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Day 2 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Lyndsay Ely and C.M. McCoy
May10

Day 2 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Lyndsay Ely and C.M. McCoy

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Lyndsay Ely … Twitter Lyndsay Ely is a writer of speculative fiction, and that’s as specific as she’s willing to be about genre. She lives in Boston, where she works in publishing and organizes a local speculative fiction writing group. Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely Add to Goodreads In GUNSLINGER GIRL, when Serendipity “Pity” Jones runs away from home, she lands in a lawless city at the edge of civilization. There, she joins the decadent Theatre Vespertine as a trick sharpshooter, but there’s a dark cost for her freedom. Need more? Of course you do! Scroll down for an exclusive excerpt of Chapter One! Once you’re addicted, and you will be, you can look forward to getting your hands on it January 2, 2018.   Lyndsay’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Dear [Agent], [Concise sentence on why I’m querying them specifically.] Winning the national championship is the one realistic opportunity Dustin Esposito has left to get noticed. Plagued by memories of his failure on soccer’s global stage, the college senior finds his future is filled with question marks. Wanting nothing more than a professional career, crippling anxiety convinces him there is no chance—that missing a penalty in the U-17 World Cup six years ago saw to that. Royally screwing up in front of scouts in last season’s semifinal sealed the coffin. [There’s a lot of intriguing detail in this first paragraph, but I think it could be conveyed more concisely. For example, combining the first two sentences into something like: “Plagued by memories of his failure on soccer’s global stage, winning the national championship is college senior Dustin Esposito’s last chance to get noticed.” And the specific failures may not be necessary in the query. I think what follows is more interesting.] Off the pitch, his parents proceed through a...

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FRIEND (with benefits) ZONE by Pitch Wars mentor, Laura Brown … cover reveal!
May10

FRIEND (with benefits) ZONE by Pitch Wars mentor, Laura Brown … cover reveal!

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend. Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great. When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night. I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny. I guess the only thing we can do is try… * * * * * (Author fun fact: Before you check out the amazing cover, there are two details I absolutely love, be on the lookout for them. One, the model’s hands appear to be in motion, almost as if he’s signing. Two, my amazing graphic artist managed to add a hearing aid, as Devon himself normally wears two.) * * * * * * * Available for pre-order at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | and more! You can also add to your Goodreads list!   About the author: Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates. Website | Facebook | Twitter...

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Enter to win a stack of signed books from Brenda Drake & Pintip Dunn!
May10

Enter to win a stack of signed books from Brenda Drake & Pintip Dunn!

Pintip Dunn and I are back from the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta. We had a great time meeting readers and givingaway books! We also collected many books while attending the convention and decided to do a giveaway. The books in the photograph above, are all signed by the authors. There’s even an ARC of Sonali Dev’s upcoming release, A DISTANT HEART. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below. Also, if you haven’t heard, FORGET TOMORROW by Pintip Dunn and THIEF OF LIES by Brenda Drake (me) are on sale for $1.99 each. But hurry! The sale is only until May 14. Thief of Lies: Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes and Noble Apple iBooks™ | Kobo Forget Tomorrow: Amazon | Amazon Australia | Amazon UK | Amazon Canada | Barnes and Noble Apple iBooks™ | Kobo Here’s the list of books in the giveaway … Enter the giveaway here. Stack of Books is open to US addresses only. International winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card instead of the stack of books. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Save Save Save Save Save Save...

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