Day 5 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Erin Foster Hartley and Gabrielle Byrne
May15

Day 5 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Erin Foster Hartley and Gabrielle Byrne

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 Erin Foster Hartley …   Twitter | Website Erin Foster Hartley is a YA author represented by Melissa Nasson at Rubin Pfeffer Content. Her published work includes the first two volumes of ZOMBIE HIGH (a choose-your-own-adventure gamebook app available through Delight Games) and academic articles relating to film history and theory.     Erin’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Sci-fi thriller Dear Ms./Mr. Agent, Ten experiments were conducted. They all failed. But he is experiment 11. [I appreciate what you’re trying to do here in terms of a hook. However, it’s not entirely effective. The first sentence is using a passive voice, and it leads me to wonder many questions that aren’t addressed elsewhere in the query. (What went wrong with the first ten experiments? Why is it important that he’s the eleventh one? What makes him special?)] When seventeen-year-old Charlie Walker wakes up surrounded by strangers, he has no recollection of where he is or why he’s there. His captors implant a chip in his neck and leave him. Hours later, a doctor comes into Charlie’s room, carrying a gun in one pocket and a regular key in the other. He will help Charlie on two demands: that Charlie protects the key, and shoots the doctor before he is allowed to escape. [There’s a lot of extraneous plot detail here, which is delaying what an agent really wants to know about your story: what does the main character want (goal), what’s standing in his way (conflict), and what happens if he doesn’t achieve his goal (stakes)? That’s your story’s core—what’s going to get someone interested and passionate enough to want to read more—so focus on those key points.] The doctor turns out to be the leader of Phantom, a notorious hacker-group. Phantom hides Charlie from the ones who captured him: the...

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Day 5 (Part 1): Pitch Wars First Page Workshop with mentors, Judi Lauren and  Destiny Cole
May15

Day 5 (Part 1): Pitch Wars First Page Workshop with mentors, Judi Lauren and Destiny Cole

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 Judi Lauren …   Judi is a copy editor and editorial assistant to Lydia Sharp at Entangled Publishing. She also works as a freelance editor and proofreader. Even though she became an official “adult” five years ago, she’s still drawn to writing realistic books for teens that explore a darker side to the teenage years. She has an unnatural obsession with Chicago, Dean Winchester, and Friends (the TV show).You can connect with her on Twitter, @Judi_Lauren or at her website www.judilauren.com. Judi’s First Page  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Urban Fantasy When your mom is a walking lie detector, you master the art of withholding the truth. [I LOVE this opening line] Sitting under a shady oak, I grab the closest sack full of herbs and tie it tightly with a twine. A little too tightly. Applying unnecessary force feels [“feels” is a telling word. Something simple like “is” would work] cathartic. Mom’s got to stop canceling my plans every time a high [What is a high holiday? I’m assuming they’re different from standard holidays] holiday rolls around. There are eight of them! My social life won’t survive it. [“won’t survive it” implies that her celebrating these holidays is something she just started. If it isn’t, then I recommend something clearer like “My social life is barely surviving because of it.”] Midsummer—Litha, as witches call it—may be in a few days, but Rick’s graduation party is tonight. Mom knew I’d be missing it when she sent me on a three-day plant harvesting trip to Gram’s cabin in The-Middle-Of-Nowhere, Poconos. That’s why tonight I’ll drive back to Chornohora and attend Rick’s party against her wishes. If she finds out, the worst she can do is make me work overtime at her pagan supply store. I practically live there already, so what’s a few more hours? Binding the sacks together, I hoist them onto...

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MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS by Pitch Wars mentor, Shari Green … release day & giveaway!
May15

MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS by Pitch Wars mentor, Shari Green … release day & giveaway!

Available for purchase now! Book Manager | Indiebound | Book Depository | Chapters | Barnes&Noble | Amazon.ca | Amazon.com   I’m thrilled to share with you the release of Shari Green’s MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS. Go to the end of the post to find out how to enter the giveaway. But first, here’s a little something about the book … MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS, by Shari Green, is a middle grade novel in verse, out in the U.S. today from Pajama Press. About the book: Olivia has been Macy McMillan’s best friend ever since Macy transferred to Hamilton Elementary from Braeside School for the Deaf. But then their sixth grade teacher assigned that embarrassing family tree project, and Olivia made a joke about Macy’s father, and now neither girl is speaking—or signing—to the other. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. With her mother getting married and an ugly For Sale sign jammed into their yard, Macy could really use a best friend right now. But it seems the only person who has time for her these days is Iris Gillan from next door. And it’s not like a crabby, old woman who doesn’t even know sign language is going to be any comfort. Right? MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS is a Junior Library Guild 2017 selection. Reviews:  “The verse trails down the pages in narrow bands leaving plenty of white space. Even characters that are barely sketched emerge fully realized through the spare yet poignant narrative….Macy’s life lessons are realistic and illuminating; that she is deaf adds yet another dimension to an already powerful tale..”—Kirkus  “Told as a verse-novel, in a light yet poignant style … there is much to admire here including a clear plot line, rich character development, and sudden, incisive humour … Highly recommended.”—CM Magazine  “…heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once …  a welcome addition to every school library and school curriculum.” —Wendy McLeod MacKnight, author   About the author … twitter | facebook | instagram | flickr | pinterest Shari Green lives on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS is her second novel for children. Her first, ROOT BEER CANDY AND OTHER MIRACLES, is a 2017 Crystal Kite finalist and a Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice Award nominee. Visit Shari online at www.sharigreen.com.   Giveaway! Comment for a chance to win a signed paperback edition of MACY McMILLAN AND THE RAINBOW GODDESS. Please include an email addy. Open internationally. Do you have a special story about your sixth grade friend? Ever had a fight and not speak to him or her for a long period of time? We’d love to hear your...

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BREATHLESS by Pitch Wars mentor, Jessica Bayliss … release day & giveaway!
May15

BREATHLESS by Pitch Wars mentor, Jessica Bayliss … release day & giveaway!

  We’re SO exited for the release of BREATHLESS by Jessica Bayliss! Look at that cover. Love it! Scroll down to the end to enter the giveaway. But first here’s something about the book … Blurb: A brush with death brings Leah closer to the ghosts she longs to find and throws her into the arms of the troubled scuba instructor who saves her. Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, is haunted by his own restless spirits. He’s on a hunt for forgiveness, and the Caribbean Sea is his hunting ground. The peace they search for lies in the bond they never suspected they shared. Excerpt: He breathes with me, using his pace to slow mine. It feels like too much. The stillness. Our breath as one. His touch against my face and unyielding gaze locked onto mine. I want to escape up to safety, but he won’t let me. All I can do is trust him. BREATHLESS BUY LINKS: Amazon (Kindle) B&N (Nook) iBooks (Apple) Kobo About the author … They say write what you know, so Jessica Bayliss did. Her story, BREATHLESS, was inspired by her own experience running out of air on a scuba dive—except without all the steamy romance and eerie paranormal happenings. Alas, real life. Obviously, she survived. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers—a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto: there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young.  Look for her upcoming releases: TEN PAST CLOSING, a YA contemporary thriller (Sky Pony Press, Spring 2018), and BROKEN CHORDS, a YA horror novella (Leap Books, October 2017). You can find her story “Care of the Undead Dog” in ZOMBIE CHUNKS, which came out earlier this year. Read about all of Jessica’s books and stories here. Connect with Jessica online: Website Facebook Twitter Goodreads Instagram Giveaway … a Rafflecopter...

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