Day 21 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Melissa West and Kristen Lepionka
Jun07

Day 21 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Melissa West and Kristen Lepionka

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, Melissa West …   Website | Twitter USA TODAY bestselling author Melissa West writes heartfelt Southern romance and teen sci-fi romance, all with lots of kissing. Because who doesn’t like kissing? She lives outside of Atlanta, GA with her husband and two daughters and spends most of her time writing, reading, or fueling her coffee addiction.     Melissa’s recent release …   CHASING LOVE AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | IBOOKS | KOBO Now Available! He’s her brother’s best friend…and her greatest weakness. There aren’t many things Charlie Littleton values more than his lifelong friendship with his buddy Lucas, currently home from a tour in Iraq. But when he discovers that Lucas’s younger sister, Lila, is back to assist the town’s overburdened veterinarian, Charlie is torn. She’s no longer the skinny, awkward kid he remembers, but a gorgeous woman—one Lucas would never approve of him dating. When Lucas asks him to   Melissa’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Ages 18-35 GENRE: New Adult & Women’s Fiction EKKO LAVENDER wakes up alone in a hospital bed. [Intriguing!] She thinks the man she’s in love with—also her professor and married to a famous author—is with her. [Is the author Ekko’s favorite author?] But he’s not, neither is anyone else. [Redundant, since the opening tells us she’s alone.] Then she recalls the chain of events that brought her there. [Is the story told in reverse, where she wakes in rehab, and then you slowly unravel what happened to get her there?] Melodramatic Love Confusion [Typically, the title is in all caps in a query. MELODRAMATIC LOVE CONFUSION] is a new adult novel complete at 92,000 words about a New York college student sinking in depression as one relationship pushes her to confront her troubled past. [I would move this to the end of the query, right before your education/experience.]...

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PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS: What Should You Be Doing In June by mentor Michael Mammay
Jun06

PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS: What Should You Be Doing In June by mentor Michael Mammay

PREPARING FOR PITCH WARS What Should You Be Doing In June You may have heard, Pitch Wars is coming up. Sure, it’s still a couple months away, but obsession season starts in like four weeks. What’s obsession season? That’s where we spend all kinds of time talking about it on the #pitchwars hashtag and dreaming of success instead of actually writing. Or maybe that was just me. I was thinking about what I could write this year leading up to the contest, and I was originally going to start the series in July. But then I remembered I don’t have a job right now, and my manuscript is off with readers, so I don’t have anything to do. So hey, what if there are people who are already thinking about it? What can we do for people who want to start preparing NOW. So, here’s what I did for you. I polled people who successfully got into Pitch Wars over the last three years, and asked them a series of questions. The majority of the answers came from the class of 2016, because they’re still kind of new and probably think it’s a good idea to do what I say. They’ll learn. But I digress. Here’s what our successful entrants had to say about what they’d being doing in June:   1. Prepare your materials and trade pages with Critique Partners. This is by far the number one answer. I got 70 responses to the poll, and this came up in some form in about 60 of them. Trade your query, trade your first chapter, trade whatever you can get somebody else to read. More eyes on your manuscript can only help. With that said, I’m going to include some of the different takes on that answer: Ashley D. MacKenzie said: [Get] critique from trusted critique partners — even if you haven’t actually finished the MS by June. I was about 3/4 finished in June both years I got in, but waited until I was this close to done (in July) before sending it out for last-call feedback. Do it earlier, even if you aren’t finished. Laura Creedle, the author of THE LOVE LETTERS of ABELARD and LILY (Coming December 26th) said: Having multiple beta readers before I did pitch wars helped immensely. I still had a lot of work do do with my mentor, but not an insurmountable pile of revisions. There’s only so much you can do in a month. Rachel Griffin said: I’d get involved early. Swap queries and first chapters with other hopefuls, follow the hashtag, and ask questions when you have them. The community...

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Day 20 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors Stacey Trombley, Rebecca Sky, Kristen Ciccarelli & Joanna Hathaway
Jun06

Day 20 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with Mentors Stacey Trombley, Rebecca Sky, Kristen Ciccarelli & Joanna Hathaway

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 Stacey Trombley and Rebecca Sky . . . www.StaceyTrombley.com Connect with Stacey here- Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads www.RebeccaSky.com Connect with Rebecca here- Twitter | Wattpad | Facebook | The Punkettes   Naked by Stacey Trombley The best place to hide is in a lie… I could never fit in to the life my parents demanded. By the time I was thirteen, it was too much so I ran away to New York City and found a nightmare that lasted three years. A nightmare that began and ended with a pimp named Luis. Now I am Dirty Anna. Broken, like everything inside me has gone bad. Except that for the first time, I have a chance to start over. Not just with my parents but at school. Still, the rumors follow me everywhere. Down the hall. In classes. And the only hope I can see is in the wide, brightly lit smile of Jackson, the boy next door. So I lie to him. I lie to protect him from my past. I lie so that I don’t have to be The Girl Who Went Bad. The only problem is that someone in my school knows about New York. Someone knows who I really am. And it’s just a matter of time before the real Anna is exposed… On Goodreads | On Amazon Stacey and Rebecca’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy Dear Agent, Fifteen-year old Corey is an Other who can heal any physical injury. The downside? Every bruise and fracture his father inflicts disappears so fast, nobody on the outside believes he’s been beaten. He’s stuck. [Good hooky opening; got me curious about Other’s and feeling sympathy for Corey’s situation. The first sentence felt a little clunky to me. Maybe an em-dash might help break it up, eg, “Fifteen-year old Corey is an...

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RULES FOR THIEVES by Pitch Wars mentor, Alexandra Ott … release day!
Jun06

RULES FOR THIEVES by Pitch Wars mentor, Alexandra Ott … release day!

Publisher: Aladdin/S&S Release Date: June 6, 2017 Genre: Fantasy Ages: 8-12 Pages: 320 ISBN-13: 9781481472746 ISBN-10:  1481472747 Rules for Thieves Now Available! After twelve-year-old orphan Alli Rosco is cursed with a deadly spell, she must join the legendary Thieves Guild in order to try and save herself in this high-stakes debut. Twelve-year-old Alli Rosco is smart, resourceful, and totally incapable of keeping her mouth shut. Some of these traits have served her well during her nine years in Azeland’s orphanage, and others have proved more troublesome…but now that she’s escaped to try her luck on the streets, she has bigger problems than extra chores to contend with. Surviving would be hard enough, but after a run-in with one of the city’s Protectors, she’s marked by a curse that’s slowly working its way to her heart. There is a cure, but the cost is astronomical—and seems well out of her reach. Enter Beck, a boy with a gift for theft and a touch of magic, who seems almost too good to be true. He tells Alli that the legendary Thieves Guild, long thought to be a myth, is real. Even better, Beck is a member and thinks she could be, too. All she has to do is pass the trial that the King of Thieves will assign to her. Join the Guild, collect her yearly reward and buy a cure. Plus, Alli hopes the Guild will be the home—the family—that Alli has always wanted. But when their trial goes wrong, innocent lives are put in danger, and Alli has to decide how much she can sacrifice in order to survive. Purchase: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | Simon and Schuster Target.com | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play Praise for Rules for Thieves … “Alli’s southern European–inflected fantasy world is built carefully and tightly, complete with class structures, customs, and a patron saint–centered culture. The ending isn’t squeaky clean but provides a sense of closure as Alli makes a meaningful discovery about her heritage. A smooth debut.” —Kirkus Reviews (See full review here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alexandra-ott/rules-for-thieves/) “This debut novel introduces readers to a fantastic world of orphans, thieves, magic, and adventure. Characters are well developed and balanced… The plot is fast-paced and addresses ethical dilemmas… This compelling debut fantasy novel with complex themes, lots of action, and a good cast of characters will appeal to fantasy readers across the spectrum.” —School Library Journal About the author … Alexandra Ott writes middle grade and young adult fiction. Her debut middle grade fantasy novel Rules for Thieves was published by Aladdin/Simon and Schuster in June 2017. A sequel will follow in 2018. Alex graduated from the University of Tulsa, where she studied English. She is...

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Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian . . . Release Day!
Jun06

Welcome to the Slipstream by Natalka Burian . . . Release Day!

    TITLE: Welcome to the Slipstream AUTHOR: Natalka Burian PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse (June 6, 2017) Amazon   About the book . . . Seventeen-year-old Van and her peripatetic lifestyle-loving mom move to Las Vegas. Van’s mother, Sofia, has been hired to helm the Silver Saddle, a crumbling casino off the strip. In Vegas, Van makes new friends, and is even invited to join an all girl, Sleater-Kinney-style band. Van–and the Silver Saddle–are left in the lurch when the brilliant but unstable Sofia disappears on a vision quest. Van buys a bus ticket, setting off into the desert to track Sofia down and bring her home.   About Natalka Burian . . . Twitter | Website Natalka Burian received an MA from Columbia University where she studied Eastern European literature with an emphasis on the work of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. She is the co-owner of two bars, Elsa and Ramona, and City of Daughters, a line of specialty cocktail goods. She is the co-founder of the Freya Project, a feminist fundraising reading series that supports small, non-profit organizations doing crucial work in communities that do not support that work. Welcome to the Slipstream is her first...

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Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan . . . Release Day and Giveaway!
Jun06

Secrets of Southern Girls by Haley Harrigan . . . Release Day and Giveaway!

  TITLE: Secrets of Southern Girls AUTHOR: Haley Harrigan PUBLISHER: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 6, 2017) Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Avid Bookshop   About the book . . . In Secrets of Southern Girls, the powerful, affecting debut from Haley Harrigan, a young woman uncovers devastating secrets about the friend she thinks she killed… Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What’s worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back. Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can’t forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret. When August, Reba’s first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie’s past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried…and reveal that Julie isn’t the only one who feels responsible for Reba’s death. In fact, she may not be responsible at all.   About Haley Harrigan . . . Twitter | Website Haley Harrigan graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in creative writing and public relations. She lives in Athens, Georgia, with her husband. Secrets of Southern Girls is her debut.  Visit her website at www.haleyharrigan.com or on Twitter @HCHarrigan.   The Giveaway . . . a Rafflecopter...

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Day 20 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, RuthAnne Snow and Hayley Stone
Jun05

Day 20 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, RuthAnne Snow and Hayley Stone

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, RuthAnne Snow . . .   Twitter | Website RuthAnne Snow was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah.  She was a sorority girl in college and social activities director in law school—which was a lot like being back in the sorority.  She has interned for the U.S. Senate, worked on policy papers for Congress and the State Department, and once spent a year sorting through emails looking for fraud.  It wasn’t nearly as fun as writing fiction.  She loves travel, dogs, horror movies, and baking.     RuthAnne’s Query Critique . . . Devastated by the murder of her stillborn son [this is unnecessarily confusing for a first line – I would strike “stillborn,” the scenario will be made clear in your pages], 19-year-old Princess Lysarra Aphaterrin is hell bent on revenge against the High Priestess who killed him, and whose curse has taken over the kingdom of Nezaria. But the High Priestess’s dark magic and royal guards are coming for Lysarra next, so the princess flees for her life. Lysarra’s misfortune delivers her straight into the muscled, blade-carrying arms of mercenary Noam Azarthius [this may be personal preference, but I would leave off the last names in a query, especially in a fantasy query where the names are already unfamiliar and cause a break in the flow of reading] amid a dark, sinister forest. The man swears he was sent by Lysarra’s beloved sister, but can she truly trust the handsome stranger? [You have a lot of adjectives here – in two sentences, we’ve got “muscled, blade-carrying,” “mercenary,” “dark, sinister,” “beloved” and “handsome.” Your flow isn’t bad, so take this piece of advice with a grain of salt, but I’d cut a few and give the remaining descriptors more impact.] Then, in a remote village, they meet a renegade witch crone with an astonishing claim: there is a...

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YA Beach Reads Giveaway … Enter to win a box full of books!
Jun05

YA Beach Reads Giveaway … Enter to win a box full of books!

The contest runs June 5-12.  Here’s the link to...

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Day 19 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, Rebecca Schaeffer & Sharon Johnston
Jun02

Day 19 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with mentors, Rebecca Schaeffer & Sharon Johnston

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 Rebecca Schaeffer Twitter | tumblr | Goodreads Rebecca Schaeffer is a Canadian expat and compulsive nomad who has lived in Peru, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Her debut novel, Not Even Bones (HMH Fall 2018) is a Young Adult contemporary fantasy about a girl who dissects monsters and sells their bodies on the internet. Rebecca can generally be found in a cafe on the other side of the world, writing about villains, antiheroes, and morally ambiguous characters.   Rebecca’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Fantasy Dear (Insert Name), According to your agency’s website you’re actively seeking young adult and new adult fiction, so I’m pleased to introduce my novel, Heart—Book One of the Broken Realms. [ I know a lot of query sites will tell you to open with an introduction like this, but unless you are very very skilled, it just ends up looking a touch awkward. I highly recommend just jumping right into the query because they’re going to skim this first bit anyways. I’ve always got more requests without this first bit. If you do decide to keep this in here, then I definitely recommend stating your novels word count upfront there, as well as genre — based on that first line, I don’t know if this is YA or NA, nor do I know if it’s contemporary, fantasy, romance, a contemporary fantasy with romance or something else entirely. Tl;dr: I recommend cutting this, but if you keep it, add a bit more contextual information] The story follows two royals forced into an arranged marriage in the hopes that it will garner friendly relations between the two kingdoms. They discover that with time and actively making the decision to open up to one another that love can happen even with the odds stacked against them. [I recommend just cutting this. It tells your story, and you...

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Day 19 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Katherine Fleet, Kara Leigh Miller, & Meredith Ireland
Jun02

Day 19 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Katherine Fleet, Kara Leigh Miller, & Meredith Ireland

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 Katherine Fleet . . . Twitter | Website Originally from Newfoundland, Katherine Fleet gave up the cold winters of Eastern Canada for the year round warmth of the Caribbean. The slower pace of island life has given her time to pursue a long-time goal—becoming an author. When she’s not writing, she spends her time baking, chauffeuring her three amazing, talented kids around, and having sun-filled adventures with her husband and wonderful friends in Curaçao. She is also a very thankful breast cancer survivor. In 2007, she joined RWA and has enjoyed the support and camaraderie of the YARWA and OIRWA writing communities. She’s participated in NaNoWriMo since 2012 and is an active supporter of the associated Young Writers Program. She is represented by super-agent Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency. The Secret to Letting Go is her debut novel.   Katherine’s recent release . . . Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes One summer can change everything… Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble. Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her...

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Day 18 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Claribel Ortega, Kat Cho, & Kate Foster
Jun01

Day 18 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Claribel Ortega, Kat Cho, & Kate Foster

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 Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho . . . Claribel Ortega got her start editing student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the back page of SUNY Purchase’s Independent Newspaper. From there, she became a small town reporter, where she enjoyed going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line at Starbucks. Today she’s busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic and video games into books. She lives in New York with her motorcycle-riding poet boyfriend & her suspiciously intelligent yorkie, Pancho Villa. She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary. You can find her at claribelortega.com & as @claribel_ortega on Twitter. Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She loves anything that encourages nerding out, including reading, blogging, K-dramas, K-pop and anime. Currently, Kat writes YA sci-fi and fantasy and is represented by Beth Phelan at the Bent Agency. You can find her at katchowrites.com & as @KatCho on Twitter. Claribel and Kat’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Contemporary Mystery Dear, I read that you’re searching for a young adult mystery with diverse characters, so I hope you’ll enjoy my 80,000 word YA Contemporary GIFTS TO THE RIVER. [ CO: I would move this to the last graf and open with something more engaging. KC: Since we’ve heard advice both ways on where to place this information. We’d recommend paying attention to anything specific an agent says in their query preferences. Otherwise, format it to your preference.] When bodies keep appearing in the local river,[ Instead of “bodies keep appearing,” I would just...

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Day 18 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with Brenda Drake and mentor, Micheal Mammy
Jun01

Day 18 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with Brenda Drake and mentor, Micheal Mammy

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 Brenda Drake . . . Brenda’s Query  Critique . . . Age Category: Adult Genre: Romance Dear Agent, [One personalized sentence] [So I’d like to say that this is an amazing query already. You’ve done such a good job at clearly setting up your world and characters. Really well done! So everything I’m going to say is a bonus. Nitpicking here.] Helen, an aspiring philanthropist who recently acquired magic from a shaman ceremony, casts a spell to stop the epic dating fails and make the universe manifest her soul mate—but her choice unleashes occult forces that could break her heart or strike her dead. Brian, a mega-famous English rocker, makes a mixed first impression on Helen. [This switch to Brian makes me think your book is in dual POV. If it is, great! But mention that in the TITLE paragraph. If it’s not, keep it in Helen’s POV. For example: When Helen meets a mega-famous English rocker, Brian, he makes a mixed first impression.] He’s arrogant and his pick-up lines are spawns from hell, but his insights on fame and music intrigue her. Brian wins Helen over, but the problems don’t end. A dangerous secret makes him distrust all things occult, so he withdraws when he learns of her mystical abilities. When a spell to save her faltering philanthropy organization nearly turns deadly and the lovers’ troubled pasts threaten a delicate bond, Helen must figure out how to contain the menacing energies she’s unwittingly summoned—and decide whether her and Brian’s love is worth fighting for. [Your stakes here are good. Can you connect them back to the first paragraph? Or possibly leave “break her heart” in the first paragraph and then amp up the stakes here with “strike her dead.” She has to decide whether her and Brian’s love is worth fighting for or what? We know she’ll...

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