A Pitch Wars Success Story with Meghan Scott Molin and her mentor, Kelly Siskind
Mar31

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Meghan Scott Molin and her mentor, Kelly Siskind

When our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal, it’s one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Meghan Scott Molin and her mentor, Kelly Siskind. Meghan signed with Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Meghan and Kelly on their Pitch Wars Success! Meghan, what was it about Kelly that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Kelly’s personality jumped off the page when I read through her bio. I could tell she was fun, spunky, a Grade A Nerd, and knew her way around a comic book…all things that were important to anyone working with Drag Net. I can’t even tell you how perfect Kelly was for my book. Kelly, what was it about Meghan’s DRAG NET that hooked you? Her voice. Bang. From the first line. It was fun and fresh and dropped me right into her main character’s world. Meghan, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It nearly killed me. (I kid! … sorta!) Kelly warned me that if she took me on as mentee that my book needed _a lot_ of work, but that if I stuck through we’d have an amazing book on the other side. I promised to work hard and boy did I! We did three revision passes. One huge one after a telephone call where we re-plotted the mystery, changed the antagonists identity, and rolled a 30 year old murder into the plot (my brain literally hurt trying to figure it all out), One more minor plot revision after I’d re-written half the book, and then a huuuuuuge set of line edits. Her revision notes were so FUNNY though, I’d literally be in the pit of despair, and then I’d flip a page, read her note about how hot my MMC was, and I’d laugh and have a new wave of energy. It was so perfect. Kelly, tell us about your experience mentoring Meghan. Aside from a few times I had to pull out my trusty whip, Meghan was a wonderful mentee. She did a lot of work restructuring sections of the manuscript, as well as delving into the characters, their motivations, and developing a more intricate plot. It wasn’t easy. It took a lot of hours on her part, and some back-and-forth chatting, but she pulled it all together by the end. She’s also a doll, so working with her was always fun. Meghan, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Joanna MacKenzie of Nelson Literary. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the...

Read More
Pitch Wars is against Bullying …
Mar30

Pitch Wars is against Bullying …

  I’m back from traveling, and while I was out of town, I was saddened to learn of the recent suicide of Julie Lonewolf (@juliethewolf). Julie took her life in February after being targeted, stalked, and harassed by members of the online writing community. Julie was a queer, autistic, Black, and Native woman of color. Here is a Twitter thread by Some of Our Voices (@SomeOfOurVoices) that explains the details: https://twitter.com/SomeOfOurVoices/status/844337959881101312 And more details here: https://twitter.com/SomeOfOurVoices/status/844327935419076609 There was an incident on our Pitch Wars hashtag where she was targeted by other mentee hopefuls. I spoke extensively to Julie about it in DMs to make sure she was okay. We took a community-agreed action against the persons we believe violated the zero-tolerance standards for harassment/bullying in PitchWars. When the FicFest attacks happened, I checked on Julie again in DMs. But I did not make a public statement at the time, which I should have. Not speaking out publicly about the harassment and bullying supports the bullier and not the bullied. We can do better. I can do better. Pitch Wars has a zero-tolerance for harassment and bullying. Should you participate in such actions on our hashtag or on your social media sites, we will remove you from our contest and will make a public statement denouncing you. If you are being harassed or bullied during our contests, please contact me. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I will support you! To Julie’s family and friends, I and the Pitch Wars mentors are truly sorry for your loss. Julie was always kind to me and was an amazing voice for marginalized people. She was fearless when it came to speaking out against hate. She will be missed. To our community, please join me in supporting those who are victimized. Don’t stay silent. Speak up against harassment and bullying. If you are being harassed/bullied, here are some resources to seek further help. In terms of resources, a few of our mentors and mentees recommend https://victimconnect.org and the Stalking Resource Center, http://victimsofcrime.org/our…/stalking-resource-center. They can probably give some general advice about the options available, as well as referrals to attorneys who can assist with the particular legal issues being raised. Those with knowledge of the incidents may also want to consider filing a complaint with the FBI. That can be done here: https://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx/. Filing a complaint is not a big deal; FBI makes a determination about whether and how to proceed, you are just letting them know about the incidents....

Read More
Happy Release to BLOOD ROSE REBELLION by Pitch Wars mentor, Rosalyn Eves!
Mar30

Happy Release to BLOOD ROSE REBELLION by Pitch Wars mentor, Rosalyn Eves!

Grab your copy today! Random House, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon You can add it to Goodreads here. About a book …  In an alternate Victorian England where social prestige stems from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, sixteen-year old Anna Arden is barred from the society she yearns for by a defect of blood. She believes herself Barren, unable to perform the most rudimentary spells. Anna would do anything to belong, but after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spells, Anna finds herself exiled with her aging grandmother to her grandmother’s native Hungary. Her life might well be over. But in Hungary, Anna finds that nothing about her world or her own lack of magic is quite as it seems. Fissures in the Binding that holds her world’s magic are expanding, and the ancient creatures bound by that spell beg Anna to release them. As rebellion sweeps across Hungary, Anna’s unique ability to break spells becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted—or embrace her ability, destroy the Binding, spark a revolution, and change the face of magic itself. Set near the height of the Austro-Hungarian empire, this romantic novel will appeal to fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy and Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. “A fast-paced historical fantasy full of magic, romance, and adventure that is a must-read for fans of Sorcery & Cecelia!”—JESSICA DAY GEORGE, New York Times bestselling author of Silver in the Blood “Romance sizzles and deadly magic crackles in Rosalyn Eves’s electrifying debut. Prepare to be spellbound.”—JULIE BERRY, award-winning author of The Passion of Dolssa and All the Truth That’s in Me “Everything I love in a fantasy: history, noblemen, magic, romance, and a revolution. Blood Rose Rebellion had me charmed from the first page.”—VIRGINIA BOECKER, author of The Witch Hunter “Blood Rose Rebellion is absolutely delicious. I devoured this tale of young love, beautiful monsters, and fiery revolution.”–JESSICA CLUESS, author of A Shadow Bright and Burning “An enjoyable, fast-paced read with a likable protagonist with whom teens will identify.”–School Library Journal “A magical tale unlike anything you’ve read before.”–bustle.com “This richly imagined historical fantasy enchants while contemplating sexism, classism, and how best to effect social change. Intrigue, action, and star-crossed romance abound, propelling this trilogy opener toward a heartbreaking yet hopeful conclusion.”–Publisher’s Weekly “A successful blend of fantasy, romance, history, and political commentary, this will find a broad audience.”–Bulletin About the author … Website | Twitter Rosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings...

Read More
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/  ...

Read More
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...

Read More
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.”...

Read More
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....

Read More
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....

Read More
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....

Read More
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....

Read More
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.  ...

Read More
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...

Read More