Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition… game on!
Mar15

Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition… game on!

  Welcome to Team Ice Cream Sea! It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your team hosts have chosen seventy pitches for the agent round. To meet the slush readers and hosts go to this post here. And you can find out more about the participating agents on this post here. For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches and you can find the rules and instructions of the game here. I’m co-hosting with the amazing Monica Hoffman! Check out her site and follow her, you’ll be happy you did. Monica Hoffman Website | Twitter YA Spec-Fic Rom Writer | Trekkie, Dr. Who, & Star Wars fan | Music is my blood | SCBWI Member | #PitchWars Mentor | Rep’d by @agentsavant & @4triciaskinner     Scroll down to view all 10 picks for my blog or click on the links to each post … Middle Grade B1: MG Fantasy #ownvoices: THE NINE GRAVES OF GERALDINE GREY B2: MG Contemporary with elements of magic: GIRL OF THE BIG ISLAND B3: MG Fantasy: PRINCESS CORDELIA BREAKS THE RULES Young Adult B4: YA Paranormal Romance: A RAVEN’S CRAVING B5: YA Fantasy: FACING DEMONS B6: YA Fantasy: EVENTIDE B7: YA Contemporary: THE COLD PLACE New Adult/Adult B8: Adult Upmarket Contemporary LGBTQ+ #ownvoices: SPEEDBUMP B9: Adult Mystery: THE POISON SEASON B10: Adult Science Fiction Thriller: INVADED Comments are set to moderation so the agents won’t see the other agents’ requests. Please no comments other than those from the agents. After the agent round, we’ll release the moderation and let you all comment on the entries. We’ll reveal the agent requests on March 17 starting at 4:30 Eastern time. All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness, where we’ll tweet the results of the agent round. Join us for the Twitter Pitch Party on March 23 from 8AM to 8PM Eastern time on the hashtag #PitMad. It’s open to everyone! How do you twitter pitch? You can find all the details here. A huge HUGE thank you to my team and to the wonderful agents!  Go to all the hosts’ blogs to read more winning pitches … Team Ice Cream Sea – http://www.brenda-drake.com/ Team Gumdrop Mountains – https://heathercashmanblog.wordpress.com/ Team Peanut Brittle House – https://pintipdunn.wordpress.com/ Team Lollipop Woods – https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/category/blog/ Team Licorice Castle – http://sharonmjohnston.com/ Team Peppermint Forest – http://wadealbertwhite.ca/blog/ Team Candy Castle – http://samanthajoyce.com/  ...

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B1: MG Fantasy #ownvoices POC: THE NINE GRAVES OF GERALDINE GREY
Mar15

B1: MG Fantasy #ownvoices POC: THE NINE GRAVES OF GERALDINE GREY

Title: THE NINE GRAVES OF GERALDINE GREY Age Category: Middle Grade Genre: Fantasy #ownvoices POC Word Count: 39,000 Pitch: A young girl tasked with helping souls from a Louisiana cemetery pass to the other side must fight a powerful witch for control over the gate to the underworld. First 250 Word of Manuscript: If you ever saw Geraldine Grey, the first thing you’d notice, she was a very serious child. At twelve, she had already mastered the stern calmness of a professor, despite the fact she was at that awkward age of pointy elbows and knobby knees. She had curly black hair, a small snub of a nose, and a sharp, determined chin. Her most important features, however, were her eyes, which were eerie white, except for the faint black ring lining her pupils. Geraldine’s eyes were important, because they allowed her to see ghosts. “Bonsoir, Mister Thompson,” Geraldine greeted the groundskeeper when she arrived at the quiet, tree-lined graveyard that evening. The bad-tempered ghost did not agree with this salutation. “I don’t see what’s so good about it.” He rose from his grave and stretched, his old bones rattling from the movement. Mister Thompson was as gaunt and bony in death as he had been in life. The fact that his bones rattled did not startle Geraldine. At La Maison des Fantômes, that grand, ancient mansion in the backwoods of Louisiana, which housed the oldest cemetery in the state, ghosts became so powerful they could do all sorts of strange things. That included moving their skeletons when they felt like it. Gabriel, a white wolf with bright blue eyes, trotted up to Geraldine. You’d think he’d lighten up just once, Gabriel’s thoughts whispered in Geraldine’s mind. Most people mistook Gabriel for a husky, or an Alaskan Mamalute, but he was one-hundred percent Siberian direwolf.   Save...

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B2: MG Contemporary with elements of magic: GIRL OF THE BIG ISLAND
Mar15

B2: MG Contemporary with elements of magic: GIRL OF THE BIG ISLAND

Title: GIRL OF THE BIG ISLAND Age Category: Middle Grade Genre: Contemporary with elements of magic Word Count: 39,000 Pitch: An outsider in her Kansas hometown, twelve-year-old Kalea visits her native Hawaii and learns she must protect her grandma’s magic stone from evil spirits or her doomed family will vanish. First 250 Word of Manuscript: I bet Dad wouldn’t recognize me. I’ve been drowning in cornfields most of my life, instead of splashing in the turquoise waters of Hawaii. Now’s my chance. Only eighteen hours and counting until we land on the Big Island. If it wasn’t so embarrassing, I’d break into hip-hop moves right here in the security line. My ratty gray backpack thump-thumps along the conveyor belt, disappearing into a black hole. I walk into the scanner and raise hands above my head. Do they really think a twelve-year-old carries a nail polish bottle filled with plastic explosives? “Miss, please step over here.” A balding lump of a man waves me to the side. Maybe he’s craving my secret stash of mango gummy bears. I glance over at my family, already finished with security. Mom’s helping my kid sister untangle her sparkly pink bracelets. The bald officer stares me down. “What’s that around your neck?” I almost answer, “My collar bone,” but no sense messing with security. I pull the leather pouch over my head and hand it to the guard. “There’s a stone inside.” The guard motions me to get scanned again. This time no problem. He removes the small rock from my pouch and examines it. The gray stone is carved into the shape of a turtle. After showing his companion, he says, “I swear I saw something flashing from her pouch when she was x-rayed. And the screen went blank for a split second, like some weird voodoo caused it.”...

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B3: MG Fantasy: PRINCESS CORDELIA BREAKS THE RULES
Mar15

B3: MG Fantasy: PRINCESS CORDELIA BREAKS THE RULES

Title: PRINCESS CORDELIA BREAKS THE RULES Age Category: Middle Grade Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 30,000 Pitch: Of all the rules a princess must follow, Cordelia detested number ten the most: Wait patiently for your prince to rescue you. When he doesn’t show, she dares rescue herself. But someone plots her failure. First 250 Word of Manuscript: You’d think being a princess was easy, but it’s harder than you think. It sounds dramatic, but I promise it’s not. There are many rules for princesses and not all of them are easy to follow. It started when the Queen of Winder had a baby girl and took it upon herself (in dictation to the royal scribe) to document all things princess related and her personal opinion of them. A rulebook, which she named, Princess Etiquette. There’s a grand total of twenty-four. Her plan is for every princess to read the book and follow the rules…her rules. It’s facing rule ten that I, Cordelia, Princess of Winder, detest the most. Yes, I’m that Queen’s daughter. Talk about having to live up to high expectations. What is rule ten you ask? Wait patiently for your prince to rescue you. And it’s going to get much worse. First, I have to worry about surviving my combined birthday-farewell ball tonight. I shudder, thinking of what’s to come as I stand at my bedroom window clutching my favorite book, Pirate Peppercorn versus Gripple the Griffin, as a late summer storm rages outside. Slanted rain patters against the glass as blustering wind swirls, ripping leaves from the trees while flowers cling helplessly to the ground. Thunder rolls and rumbles. A flash of light bursts, crackling in the evening sky. “Cordelia!” Mother’s high-pitched voice calls from across the room. I spin to face her. She grimaces with her hands planted on her hips and impatiently taps her foot....

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B4: YA Paranormal Romance: A RAVEN’S CRAVING
Mar15

B4: YA Paranormal Romance: A RAVEN’S CRAVING

Title: A RAVEN’S CRAVING Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 83,000 Pitch: Wielding magic is amazing; it’s the addiction that bites. Raven’s fourth magic overdose lands her in rehab where two bewitching love interests pit her against herself, ultimately, forcing her to choose between love and freedom. First 250 Word of Manuscript: No one told me about the addiction—how it eats through the body, biting and burning every nerve until there’s nothing left, except insatiable-desire for magic. Fluorescent lights poured heat and energy throughout the greenhouse. From my place among the pansies and petunias it seeped into my skin, causing sweat to drip from my brow. Aromas of sweet phlox and earthy lavender filled my nose. The ability to see outside was wanted, yet the blurry plastic walls provided necessary protection from suspicious eyes. My long-haired calico cat, Magnus, wound his plump body around my legs and greeted me with a blend of purr and meow. Magnus enjoyed the greenhouse almost as much as I did. But, he wouldn’t in a few seconds. “Go on, Mag Pie,” I said, nudging him away with one bare foot. “Or, you’ll be sorry.” As if he understood my warning, Magnus waddled toward the exit, flicking his tail. With moderate difficulty, he squeezed through the crack in the door just before the misting system hummed to life. All around me, the air glistened with tiny specks of water and heat. I relished in the new floral perfumes. The mist thickened, quickly. Finally, hidden by the blurry walls and fog, I could use. My hands sunk into the rich soil, embracing the sense of solace it provided. As vitality seeped through my skin, my fingertips numbed. White violets to my left, a bright red chenille bush to my right, popped up and sprung to life. What took Mother Nature months to achieve, I’d conquered in seconds, and I couldn’t stop there....

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B5: YA Fantasy: FACING DEMONS
Mar15

B5: YA Fantasy: FACING DEMONS

Title: FACING DEMONS Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 108,000 Pitch: In an African inspired fantasy, twin mercenaries Niles and Cassia must hunt for a hidden foe, bearing encrypted letters. To succeed means unearthing a past best kept buried. But their secrets might bury them anyway. First 250 Word of Manuscript: The guard stared at Cassia’s hands, searching for signs of Aeliana’s fire. He would find none. He motioned for her to flip her hands over to inspect her palms without touching her. Touching a prisoner was dangerous without knowing what she was. Cassia fought to hide the amusement of watching the guard run through the element wielding lists. He gestured for her to continue walking down the tunnel. As they approached a water basin, she slowed, half expecting him to hold her under to be sure she wasn’t one of the Drowned, and was a little insulted when he just pushed her along. She wasn’t looking forward to nearly drowning, but she didn’t like the assumption. The guard stopped at the entrance to one of the cells and glanced at the darkness pooled at her feet. Shadow? Check. He tilted his nose into the air, taking a deep breath. The heavy rains pelted the rails of the small windows at ground-level of the Alsene Hold. He’d smell wet soil and nothing else. The ease of his next breath told her as much. Another check in his lists. Relief washed over the guard smoothing the skin between his brows and easing the tension in his shoulders as he locked her cell. Yet the way he cut his eyes in her direction said that he still considered her a conundrum if not a threat. That he wasn’t fully convinced. And he shouldn’t be. One did not get tossed underground into the Alsene execution cells for being a conundrum....

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B6: YA Fantasy: EVENTIDE
Mar15

B6: YA Fantasy: EVENTIDE

Title: EVENTIDE Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 99,000 Pitch: TWELFTH NIGHT meets AN EMBER IN THE ASHES when Val, disguised as a boy, boards an enemy ship to find her twin. As she sails into war, she risks both their lives if she’s discovered. First 250 Word of Manuscript: For most, the Pass represented the boundary between the southern clans and the Airyllens. It was where the war over magic finally came to a stop. For me, it meant home. The purple mountains jutted into the sky, glistening as untouched magic cascaded off them like an early morning fog. I leaned over to take in the sight. The port side of my outrigger sailing canoe dipped and cold water splashed onto my parched skin. I jolted. “Spirits!” My voice cracked. I never allowed my canoe to break the surface of the water. Letting my sail out, I tied the mainsheet and moved from the stern to the bow, the wind pulling strands of my black hair out of its braid and into my eyes. My sack hung on the mast, swaying from the waves lapping against the hull. Reaching into it, I fished out the smaller pouch for the last time. My hand shook. I hadn’t seen my home, my family, in three moons. After tonight, I would no longer be a child in the eyes of my clan. I would be chiefess. But now was no time to be emotional. I sat cross-legged and loosened the drawstring of the pouch. Dust the color of the stars lay at the bottom. I dumped the remnants in my hand. The powder sparkled against the contrast of my dark skin before I blew it away. The dust dispersed into the cobalt sky like silver butterflies. I watched it go, knowing it would find its way to Elder Ahi....

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B7: YA Contemporary: THE COLD PLACE
Mar15

B7: YA Contemporary: THE COLD PLACE

Title: THE COLD PLACE Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 65,000 Pitch: Everybody knows about Sam. Burned his house for fun. Cuts himself for attention. Locked in a mental hospital for everyone’s safety. Broken beyond repair by fifteen. Everybody knows it. But none of it is true. First 250 Word of Manuscript: I don’t trust this new doctor. “Samuel Guerrero,” he says. He holds on to the O too long, like he owns my name. Owns me. He’s wrong. Wrong about my name. Wrong about me. He leans back in his fake leather chair. Watches my reaction. Observes me like I’m a chemistry experiment. Stirs the mixture. Waits for it to explode. Has he gotten my name wrong on purpose? His lips quirk up at the end. Cunning. “Tell me about your earliest memory?” he continues, “What’s the first thing you–” “Playing with a Tonka truck in the front yard at 112 W. Pearl,” I cut him off before he can finish. It’s the same answer I give all the doctors. It’s boring. It’s safe. It’s a lie. My first memory is mine. I won’t share it with a pack of leeches trying to “understand” me so they can write an article for some medical journal. I know that’s what they want to do because I overheard Dr. Stuart, my first therapist, telling one of the nurses. “He’s such a fascinating case. I could make a name for myself if I could get the kid to open up.” Then he laughed. I never said another word to him after that. The center had to switch doctors since he wasn’t making any progress. When we pass each other in the hall now he avoids my eyes. I hate the doctors. I hate their questions. I hate their hypocrisy. I hate. I hate.  ...

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B8: Adult Upmarket Contemporary LGBTQ+ #ownvoices : SPEEDBUMP
Mar15

B8: Adult Upmarket Contemporary LGBTQ+ #ownvoices : SPEEDBUMP

Title: SPEEDBUMP Age Category: Adult Genre: Upmarket Contemporary LGBTQ+ #ownvoices Word Count: 68,000 Pitch: Ezra wants to accept their post-testosterone body and find love, but caring for a sick brother comes first. When washed-up musician, Red, returns home, Ezra’s family obligations could prevent them from becoming more than friends. First 250 Word of Manuscript: It had been a while since the last time a moving vehicle hit me, but I wasn’t in the mood to take chances. The night was dark—no moon and only a smattering of stars peeking between the clouds. At least the rain had finally stopped. The county road I walked along was flat, but I’d just passed a turn when I saw headlights behind me, coming up fast. A blind turn the locals had been known to straighten now and then, especially when the weekend and low visibility coincided. I ran toward the neighbor’s patched fence, toward safety in the form of a boulder guarding the apex of the turn, hoping whoever sat behind the wheel didn’t mean to run me down. The way my luck was going that night, with the unexpected rain and Granddad’s truck quitting, it surprised me when the car stopped and I still stood upright. The GTO, the 1964 stock GTO that I knew to be deep purple but looked black right then, rocked gently and then settled. It rocked again when he leaned across the seat to roll the window down. Even if he’d seen the truck, he wouldn’t know who I was. He’d left town before we moved there, and only one thing about me was at all noteworthy anyway. Everyone knew the day he came back to town. Red Richardson, also known as Ellred Long, the name he got the day he was born. Back from Los Angeles where he never really made it but came close enough to be a Big Man in this little backwash town of five hundred (give or take). What he was doing that far off the highway or any of the main roads, I had no...

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B9: Adult Mystery: THE POISON SEASON
Mar15

B9: Adult Mystery: THE POISON SEASON

Title: THE POISON SEASON Age Category: Adult Genre: Mystery Word Count: 72.000 Pitch: Poisonous plant expert Kit Magee is devastated by her sister’s apparent suicide. To unearth the truth and set things right, Kit risks revealing she has more than dirt on her hands. First 250 Word of Manuscript: Four minutes to go. “Grindhouse Blues” began to moan its way through my earbuds as I inhaled slowly through my nose. Steady hands, Kit, I willed myself. The blade in my left hand sliced down the length of the flower, cleanly dividing it. With my right hand I spread open the two halves, exposing its male and female parts. Using hemostat clamps I removed the anthers, the male parts holding pollen, and set them carefully onto the paper plate beside me. Breathe. Two minutes. I swept a miniature paintbrush gently across the anthers lifting pollen onto the eyelash-fine hairs. Tapping the brush delicately onto the plate, I smiled as the tiny pile of yellow fluff land softly. Exhale. Less than a minute to complete this phase of my experiment. As I turned to set the net cover over the plate my jumbo-sized cat Max jumped onto the workbench. “Shit!” I grabbed him around his fat yellow middle a split second before his paw landed in the pollen. “Max, you could’ve been poisoned.” I hoisted all twenty-two pounds of him up onto one shoulder and placed the cover over the plate with my free hand. Brugmansia, or Angel’s Trumpet, was a dangerous plant. My sister Margie and I discovered it several years ago at an herb workshop. The host had grown several brugmansia varieties around her property and was fascinated by the plant’s intriguing history as an anesthetic, hallucinogen and deadly poison, earning it the nickname the Devil’s Breath....

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B10: Adult Science Fiction Thriller: INVADED
Mar15

B10: Adult Science Fiction Thriller: INVADED

Title: INVADED Age Category: Adult Genre: Science Fiction Thriller Word Count: 107,000 Pitch:  Formerly deceased designer, Tracy Seavers, is now host to a deviant alien entity she abhors. Handsome Detective John Peters can help, unless the alien steers them both into the hands of a serial killer. First 250 Word of Manuscript: Detective John Peters squatted beside a bloodstained patch of sand. He tuned out the news helicopters circling the bridge above him. The overturned tractor-trailer and the smashed blue sedan straddling the guardrail would make for a decent headline, but they always wanted more. He could feel their cameras zooming in, looking for the body they’d been promised. But deceased accident victim, Tracy Seavers, was no longer there. “Dead girls don’t just get up and walk away.” The off-duty EMT, first on-scene, folded his arms. “I’m telling you that girl was light years past CPR.” The odor of diesel engines carried on the late-summer breeze as another firetruck arrived on the bridge. Circumventing the body’s last known location, John blotted out the noise and concentrated on the conundrum at hand. “There was nothing I could do for her.” The EMT shaded his eyes, squinting at the collision scene above. “I heard the other girl screaming so I climbed the hill to see if I could help.” John nodded. The roommate, Laini Hanson, was damn lucky she’d stayed in the car. Too bad Seavers hadn’t done the same. He crouched in the space between the impact-site and a pink, size-nine loafer lying sideways in the sand. A trail of footprints led into the trees where a few uniformed officers directed doe-eyed interns on search and rescue procedures. John sighed, surveying the reckless clusters of college students as they left holes in their search patterns any seven-year-old could avoid. If they hunted for their keys like they searched for a missing person, they’d never get out of their goddamn houses in the morning....

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ENIGMA by Tonya Kuper … cover reveal and giveaway!
Mar07

ENIGMA by Tonya Kuper … cover reveal and giveaway!

Let us know what you think of the cover for Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium, #2) by Tonya Kuper, which releases July 4, 2017! This cover reveal is brought to you by Entangled TEEN & YA Books Central!   About Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium, #2): Worst. Road Trip. Ever. Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren’t fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys. The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly the rebel base of my dreams. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.   Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of Enigma (Schrodinger’s Consortium, #2)  by Tonya Kuper today! Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon CA | Amazon UK Add to Goodreads About Tonya Kuper: Tonya Kuper writes young adult science fiction and contemporary novels. She first fell in love with reading in elementary school, which eventually lead to earning a BA in Elementary Education and a MS in Reading Education, but she never thought she’d write a novel, let alone several. When Tonya isn’t writing, she teaches Young Adult Literature Writing Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, laughs as much as possible, loves music, and nerds-out over Star Wars, Sherlock, and all things pop-culture. She lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and two rad boys. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google + | Instagram   Enigma Pre-order Campaign! Whether you were you planning to pre-order Enigma anyway or are intrigued by the idea of the pre-order campaign that Tonya Kuper has devised for  this release, you can all benefit from pre-ordering either the eBook or paperback edition, sharing a screenshot of your receipt, and registering your pre-order with Entangled Teen! When you pre-order Enigma between now and Friday, June 30, 2017 at 11:59 pm EDT and send both the proof of your pre-order and register your pre-order, you’ll automatically receive an Enigma swag pack, including a signed book plate, as a FREE Gift. (US only) AND if you’re one of the first 20 people to pre-order Enigma, send us proof and register your pre-order, you’ll also receive a custom vinyl decal of the dragon eye symbol that is important to the Oculi...

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