Day 8 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors Kip Wilson, Amanda Rawson Hill, and Cindy Baldwin
May18

Day 8 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors Kip Wilson, Amanda Rawson Hill, and Cindy Baldwin

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 Kip Wilson … Twitter  |  Website Kip is a YA writer represented by Roseanne Wells at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. She has a Ph.D. in German Literature and is the Poetry Editor at YARN. Her work has been published in the TIMELESS and SPAIN FROM A BACKPACK anthologies as well as BLACK FOX LITERARY, COBBLESTONE, and FACES magazines. Her work has won several awards, including the 2017 PEN New England Discovery Award. You can find her on twitter and on her website.   Kip’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Fantasy A millennium ago, Meridian Island, sank underground. Everyone blames its last ruler, the nefarious [This is a tricky word for a POV character because it seems like a judgment from others. However! If she is in fact proudly nefarious, that is unexpected and super-interesting, so you could definitely quantify it by adding ‘proudly’ to show that aspect of her personality.] Prime Princess [It would be helpful for us to know both her name and age as a POV character in a YA novel] – after all, she did commit parricide. Little do they know, the princess was avenging her husband’s brutal murder. Everyone suspects she was associated with the Void (an entity who seeks the five elements to destroy humanity). [There is a lot going on here—parricide, husband’s murder, the Void—and I’m struggling to see how they’re all related. You might want to consider dropping one of these elements from the query to focus it more.] Little do they know how much she sacrificed to protect humanity from the Void. With her kingdom, her true story’s lost, and her fate unknown. [I like how this query is structured into the two millennia and what happens in each. Another option that could work with a dual POV novel is a brief...

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Day 7 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query Workshop with Mentors Akemi Dawn Bowman and N.K. Traver
May17

Day 7 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query Workshop with Mentors Akemi Dawn Bowman and N.K. Traver

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 Akemi Dawn Bowman . . . Website | Twitter Akemi Dawn Bowman is a writer of young adult fiction. She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in England with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. Her novel Starfish will be published in Fall 2017 with Simon Pulse, with a second untitled project to follow in Fall 2018. She is represented by Penny Moore of Empire Literary.       STARFISH – YA contemporary. A gorgeous and emotionally true debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school. (September 26th, 2017, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster) You can add it on Goodreads here, and read an exclusive excerpt from the book over on Riveted! Pre-Order Links: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble   Akemi’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Fantasy AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER meets THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH when two teens must stop a weapon that could end their people’s cycle of reincarnations. HOUSE OF ASHES is a YA Fantasy complete at 81,000 words that will appeal to the younger range of YA readers who enjoyed Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan Series. [This should be the final paragraph of your query letter rather than the opening one. You only get a few paragraphs to hook an agent, and ideally you want to do that in the very first sentence. Think of it as valuable real estate—you don’t want to waste it on comp titles and word counts when you could be introducing your MC and hook! I also want to mention one quick thing about comp titles. This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m not sure how helpful comp titles...

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Day 7 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Michella Domenici and Tomi Adeyemi & Kit Grant
May17

Day 7 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Michella Domenici and Tomi Adeyemi & Kit Grant

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.   Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Michella Domenici Website | Twitter Michella Domenici was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She studies English and History at Fordham University. When she’s not reading, she’s drinking tea and searching for mermaids. She works at the Brooklyn Public Library, and is represented by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency. Michella’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Dear Ms./Mr. Agent, [I recommend adding the MC’s age and even an adjective that relates to the plot if you want, like ‘Sixteen-year-old troubled Carson’] Carson Thompson has a passion for protecting people. This passion is [Passive voice. You can rephrase to make it snappier, like, ‘Carson dreams of being like his father, a…’] fueled by the legacy of his father, a war hero who sacrificed his life to save his comrades [When? How old was Carson when this happened? What’s the emotional tie?]. A year after witnessing the murder of his fiancé [Fiancé? In a YA contemporary?], Carson still wrestles with guilt and a sense of incapability that prevents him from moving forward in his life [Vague. Add something specific, like is Carson staying in bed all day instead of going to school, isolating himself and not hanging out with his friends, etc]. That is, until a world-class singer known as Vocemi is attacked by terrorists at the arena where Carson works [A teenage boy works at an arena? It’s starting to seem like your manuscript might not be YA. Additionally, the voice is passive again. You can fix it easily (‘Until world-class singer Vocemi…’), but this query is lacking in voice, in general. It’s very flat. Would Carson say ‘world-class singer,’ or ‘his favorite singer?’ Voice is also sentence variation, a rhythm to the words. Right now, you have three long sentences in a row. Switch it up a bit.]. Carson’s intervention with the...

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Pitch Wars Webinar: The Perfect Pitch with Mentor C.M. McCoy
May17

Pitch Wars Webinar: The Perfect Pitch with Mentor C.M. McCoy

WEBINARS Pitch Wars Webinars Presents… The first of two special small group educational series…. Pitch Perfect: Craft the perfect hook to sell your book to agents, editors, reviewers, and readers with Colleen Oefelein Craft the perfect hook to sell your book to agents, editors, reviewers, and readers. Pitch Perfect is a week-long, online workshop held inside a secret Facebook group and led by author and Literary Agency PR Manager/Associate Agent, Colleen Oefelein (author CM McCoy). In this workshop, authors cook their manuscript down to its juiciest bits and craft a 20-35 word pitch. We cover the anatomy of a pitch, see successful pitch examples (from queries, in-person pitches, and TV interviews), and craft an effective query letter inside a fun, friendly, interactive workshop. Those who wish to shine up their #PitchWars Pitch submission get an opportunity to do so and receive personal feedback/critique from me and the other participants. **Note — This workshop is a critique, not an evaluation of the author’s work, and the author’s work will not be considered for representation through this workshop.**   The Details . . . When: The program will be self-paced during the week of June 3-10 and is expected to take about five hours. Cost: $50 Please note: Registration is limited to the first FIVE (5) participants   Check back next week to register for Colleen’s second small group program: Why am I Getting Rejected? Which will take place June 10-17 in a similar environment.   About Colleen Oefelein.. . . Colleen Oefelein (author CM McCoy) has one pointed ear, a 70-pound puppy from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen. She’s a retired Air Force officer, an author, a blogger, and the PR manager for Inklings Literary Agency, where she’s also an agent assistant. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s either stuck in a book or interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors pre-published authors through workshops and contests and runs Totem Head’s Annual Free Writing Contest for Kids, now in its eighth year. Though she holds a BS in both Chemical Engineering and German, she’s far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working 911-dispatch for Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance. Website | Twitter | Instagram| Facebook | Goodreads | YouTube | Pinterest   THIS WEBINAR IS NOW FULL   About Pitch Wars Webinars . . . The Pitch...

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Day 6 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Sarah Hawthorne and J.C. Davis
May16

Day 6 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Sarah Hawthorne and J.C. Davis

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 Sarah Hawthorne … Sarah Hawthorne lives in the Pacific Northwest where she drinks too much coffee, plans a lot of vacations and writes romance novels. Her native habitats include her garden and the local library. Sarah received a Bachelor’s Degree from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, Los Angeles with a major in history and a minor in English. She is the author of the Demon Horde Motorcycle Club Series. The series is a sweeter take on motorcycle club/biker romance genre, published by Carina Press/Harlequin. She is represented by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds Literary. Sarah was a 2016 Golden Heart Finalist (contemporary short) and the winner of the 2015 Heart to Heart Award (erotica).  You can visit her online at www.sarahhawthorne.com and on Twitter at: @SarahRHawthorne     Rebel Custody by Sarah Hawthorne . . . Released: May 1st 2017 | Available on Amazon A son in danger  The Demon Horde MC are no strangers to breaking the rules, but making a man pay to get his son back crosses one too many lines for Skeeter. He’ll do anything, including play by the book, if it means bringing his son home. Hiring straitlaced attorney Miriam Englestein is meant to solve his problems, not create new ones. One look at her and his good-guy facade goes out the window. He wants to throw his buttoned-up lawyer onto the back of his bike and make her his. A woman at risk  Miri wants nothing to do with the club. Her father may be in their pocket, but she’s on the right side of the law and she intends to stay there. But there’s something about Skeeter’s plea—something about him—she can’t walk away from. While she’s tempted to let him do unspeakably wicked and delicious things to her, she can’t risk her law practice, or her heart. A dangerous deception   When Miriam agrees...

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Day 6 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and Melissa Marino
May16

Day 6 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and Melissa Marino

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 Susan Gray Foster … Website | Twitter Susan Gray Foster was born into a family of avid readers and has been hoping to impress them with her writing ever since. When she’s not struggling in her quest to spin words into magic, she helps her high school students find the magic in classic literature, and helps other writers discover the magic in their own writing, both as a freelance editor and as a book coach at Author Accelerator. Susan believes in creativity and empathy, and enjoys tea, songwriting, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. She lives with her ever-patient Aussie husband in Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert, and she’s her kids’ number one fan. Her YA fiction is represented by Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. Susan’s Query Critique . . . Dear Agent, Owls eat gnomes, so it’s no wonder the whole colony wants to banish Poppy Thistlebit when the first time a magic coat is wrapped around her shoulders, she spreads a pair of feathery wings and hoots at the assembly. [I love that a conflict is introduced in this opening sentence, and I love the image of her sprouting wings, but the sentence is a little convoluted, which results in losing much of its impact.] The middle grade fantasy novel Poppy Thistlebit and the Magic Coat introduces an enchanting world of gnomes within the realistic world of men and is about 64,800 words. [You’ve already said there are gnomes, so I don’t think it adds much to repeat it here. Maybe just state the genre. Also, it’s customary to round the word count to the nearest thousand.] Poppy was expected to die young because of a deformed hand, [Is this significant enough to the story to include in the query?] but now after twelve years of hiding in the family burrow, her Coat Day has arrived.  [You’re jumping back and forth...

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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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Day 4 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Monica M. Hoffman and Caela Carter
May12

Day 4 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors, Monica M. Hoffman and Caela Carter

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 Monica M. Hoffman … Monica M. Hoffman is a Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy author represented by Laurie McLean and Tricia Skinner of Fuse Literary. She is an active member of SCBWI, RWA, and the writing community. She dislikes getting up early, but a good cup of coffee can usually motivate her. She enjoys any movie/book (particularly fantasy and Sci-fi) that can make her cry, laugh, or gets her blood pumping from an adrenaline rush. She’s a Trekkie, Dr. Who, and Star Wars fanatic, and a PC gamer when she’s not writing or reading. You can find her tweets about all things YA lit & entertaining GIFs on Twitter (@mmhoffman14) and Facebook. Twitter | Website Monica’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Fantasy Dear Agent, Seventeen-year-old Ariel lives in two worlds. One is reality. The other is a beautiful [I would cut “beautiful” because the word “fantasy” encompasses the word] fantasy world where magic is real and inspires her drawings. As a reclusive high school graduate, she is uncertain of what path in life she should take and wants to escape into the pages of her sketchbook, but her aunt pressures her to aim for a practical college-bound future. [This next sentence is good, but if you can find a way to condense, do it, because the next paragraph is where the hook really happens. You want to pull that agent in as fast as possible.] When she accepts an art internship from a mentor named Vilfore, he reveals the truth: the world of Ariel’s dreams is a parallel realm called Aethris, and he is a sorcerer who wants to recruit her as an apprentice in his world where armies of sorcerers retain peace within the ruling empire. [This is a long sentence. I’d find a way to break it...

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Day 4 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors Diana Gallagher, Katrina Emmel, and Kit Frick
May12

Day 4 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with mentors Diana Gallagher, Katrina Emmel, and Kit Frick

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 Mentors Diana Gallagher and Katrina Emmel … Katrina Emmel grew up in New Hampshire and has been migrating westward ever since. Now a Californian, she work as a technical chemistry consultant, and writes YA and adult contemporary and historical romance. Follow her on Twitter: Twitter | Website       Though Diana Gallagher be but little, she is fierce. She’s also a gymnastics coach and judge, former collegiate gymnast, and writing professor. Her work has appeared in The Southampton Review, International Gymnast, The Couch Gymnast, The Gymternet, and on a candy cigarette box for SmokeLong Quarterly. She holds an MFA from Stony Brook University and is represented by Tina Wexler of ICM Partners. Her contemporary YA novel, Lessons in Falling, released this February. Twitter | Website Diana’s recent book … Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | iBooks | Book Depository | Powell’s | Goodreads LESSON ONE: Playing it safe beats taking chances. After an injury ends Savannah’s dream of a college gymnastics scholarship, she quits despite her parents’ protests. She won’t risk breaking her body—and heart—again. LESSON TWO: Catch your best friend when she falls—or regret it forever. Rules are meant to be broken, according to Savannah’s best friend, Cassie—and it’s more fun to break them together. But when Cassie attempts suicide, Savannah’s left wondering how well she really knows her. LESSON THREE: Learning to leap forward, not knowing where you’ll land, is the hardest of all. Falling for Marcos wasn’t part of the plan. Not only did he save Cassie’s life, he also believes Savannah can still achieve her dreams. Except Cassie thinks Marcos and gymnastics will only break Savannah’s heart. As Savannah tumbles and twists through toxic friendships and crushing parental expectations, she realizes you never know who will be there when you fall. Diana and Katrina’s Query Critique . . . Dear [Agent’s name], Avid-gamer...

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