Holiday Guest Post with Pitch Wars Mentor, J.C. Nelson
Nov28

Holiday Guest Post with Pitch Wars Mentor, J.C. Nelson

  Welcome to our Holiday Guest Posts! Our wonderful mentors will be sharing special moments of the past year and what their hopes are for the new year. Some will be giving away books, too! So I hope you’ll join us for this special celebration. Brenda   First up is J.C. Nelson … For me, one of the most special moments of the year came as a passing act of kindness to my wife, in a situation where I couldn’t be present, and the kindness of a stranger made all the difference. First off, to understand this, we need to flash back to a garage sale where we bought a dog. No, this is not the recommended way to acquire a pet, but the perfect storm of “oh my god she’s so cute” and my wife’s love of animals came together. The result? A small, black ball of fur and bark, named Chloe, who existed for the primary purpose of annoying everyone else in the house. Then my wife’s depression hit. For months she didn’t sleep except during the day. She ate at most one meal a day. She would occasionally sit at the table and watch everyone else while we talked. And she took care of Chloe. That small dog became the reason for her to get up, the reason for her to go out, or eat a slim meal. Eventually the depression lifted, as it does, and there, still beside my wife every day, was Chloe. Flash forward eight years, and my wife took Chloe out for her morning walk.  As they walked along on their leash, a dog in the neighborhood got out. This dog outweighed Chloe eight to one, and when it saw her, it dashed across the street and attacked her, chewing its way down her rib cage. My wife tried to intervene and was attacked as well. Eventually, a man beat the dog off, which left my wife and the dog who had been with her through depression bleeding and alone on the side walk, over a mile from our house, with no phone and no way to get back to go for help. That’s when the moment of absolute kindness occurred: A stranger got her car, wrapped Chloe in a blanket, and drove my wife and her to the vet. Another neighbor stayed at the vet to help my wife fill out the paperwork. Another called me so I could begin the hour long trip home. Our dog survived, after hours of surgery. My wife’s wounds have slowly healed. But when I think of a special moment, it was the act of...

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Young Adult Fantasy Giveaway … enter to win 45+ books (and more!)
Nov28

Young Adult Fantasy Giveaway … enter to win 45+ books (and more!)

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. To celebrate the end of fall, I’ve teamed up with more than 45 fantastic young adult fantasy authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner! You can win my novel THIEF OF LIES, plus books from authors like L.E. Sterling and Tracy Clark. Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/fall-ya-fantasy Good luck, and enjoy! Save Save...

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Want to help me reveal the cover for GUARDIAN OF SECRETS?
Nov23

Want to help me reveal the cover for GUARDIAN OF SECRETS?

I’m so excited for the cover reveal for GUARDIAN OF SECRETS. I can NOT wait for you all to see it. It’s so beautiful and I’m thrilled with how it turned out. If you have a blog or if you’d like to share it on your social media site, I’d so appreciate it. The reveal is Monday, November 28. You can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeqvf2gtLywqH6atWbFwqwUUIIXFksYe5_SHtZAcyrh5hmhA/viewform If you do sign up, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Also on that day, the eBook for THIEF OF LIES goes on sale for $.99. If you haven’t read it yet, Monday would be the day to grab a copy....

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CATALYST by Kristin Smith … release day!
Nov21

CATALYST by Kristin Smith … release day!

Kristin Smith’s debut novel, Catalyst, officially releases today!  Catalyst Kristin Smith (The Deception Game, #1) Published by: Clean Teen Publishing Publication date: November 21st 2016 Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult   Too pretty. Too smart. Too perfect. In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant. With little skills to help provide for her family, Sienna clings to the two things that come easily—lying and stealing. But not all thief-for-hire assignments go as planned. When a covert exchange of a stolen computer chip is intercepted, she becomes entangled with a corrupt government official who uses her thieving past as leverage, her mother as collateral, and the genetically modified poster boy she’s falling for as bait. In order to rescue her mother, there may only be one option—joining forces with the Fringe, an extremist group, and their young leader who’s too hot to be bad. Problem is, these revolutionaries aren’t what they seem, and the secrets they’re hiding could be more dangerous than Sienna is prepared for. In the end, she must be willing to risk everything to save the one thing that matters most. Catalyst is a thrilling adventure of danger, romance, intrigue, and deception. Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo **Look for Catalyst on the shelves of Barnes and Noble stores nationwide, coming in December!**   Author Bio:   Kristin Smith writes young adult contemporary and science fiction novels. When she’s not writing, you can find her dreaming about the beach, beating her boys at Just Dance, or belting out karaoke (from the comfort of her own home). Kristin currently resides in the middle-of-nowhere North Carolina with her husband and five incredibly loud but extremely cute boys. To read more about her obsession with YA novels or her addiction to chocolate, you can visit her at kristinsmithbooks.com.   Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Blog   Enter the Giveaway to win a Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box!   a Rafflecopter...

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Pitch Wars Insights by Michael Mammay
Nov15

Pitch Wars Insights by Michael Mammay

  Now that the agent round for Pitch Wars this year is over, I want to talk about some of the hard truths that sometimes get glossed over in the excitement. Pitch Wars is awesome, and it helps a lot of people, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a magic ticket. You still have to put in the work, you still have to keep growing, and publishing is still an incredibly subjective business. To illustrate some of this, and offer some insight, I asked the people from the Pitch Wars 2015 class some questions, a year after they got accepted. 71 people responded. Here are their answers.   As you can see, not everybody had a life-changing experience, and only about half the people have an agent a year later. To get a feel for how getting an agent changes someone’s opinion of the contest, I took a look at the people who got an agent, to see if they had a different  average result. Those without agents averaged 3.6 when rating their experience. Those who now have agents averaged 4.6. It’s impossible to say for sure that people were more satisfied just because they had a better result. There are a lot of factors at play – it could be the fact that they connected with their mentor made it a good experience, which then led to getting an agent. But there’s certainly some correlation. In my opinion, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Getting an agent is obviously the goal, but the most important thing, to me, is what you learned. To that end, I asked people to rate where they see themselves today as compared to a year ago.   When you talk about Pitch Wars, and even other contests, a lot of what you hear about is the community, and how that’s the best thing you get out of it. I asked some questions to see what mentees thought.   There is a bit of a bias in this data, since if people aren’t in the Facebook group anymore, they probably didn’t see the call to join the survey.  The statistics nerd in me has to note that as an opt-in survey, while the data is useful, it’s not completely scientific. Lastly, I wanted to ask some questions that might help people who were considering joining Pitch Wars next year. It’s not too early to start. I started writing the book I entered into Pitch Wars 2015 in November of 2014. Are you considering it? Here’s what our mentees had to say. So of the 71 people who responded, two of them wouldn’t do it...

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FAITHFUL by Pitch Wars Mentor, Michelle Hauck … release day!
Nov15

FAITHFUL by Pitch Wars Mentor, Michelle Hauck … release day!

The next volume in the Birth of Saints series is available now! Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series! A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it. Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army. What they find instead is an old woman. But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice. A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy. Faithful– November 15, 2016 Harper Voyager Find It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | HarperCollins | Goodreads   Also enter to win a signed paperback of Grudging, the first book in the series:  a Rafflecopter giveaway A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood. On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps. The Women of the Song. But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out. A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Adult and New Adult Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Adult and New Adult Entries

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Adult and New Adult entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #101: Adult Literary/Magical Realism (#ownvoices): THESE ARE THE DAYS WITHOUT HER Pitch: When immigration takes Yolandi’s breadwinning aunt under suspicion she’s a coyote, Yolandi and her sisters are abandoned—again. Adults this time, they’re old enough to know: pay the rent or end up on the streets. Hoping to rescue her tia and keep the family in ice-cream sandwiches and toilet paper, Yolandi pens an over-the-top zine. But the Cervantes women aren’t ready for the family secrets they’ll uncover. READ MORE . . .   PW #102: Adult Fantasy: THE LAST WITCH OF CAELHEARTH Pitch: Throughout Willa’s young life, strong magic was forbidden. But when the rebellious Baron arrives to conscript her village, her own magic erupts. She kills a man, fails to save her beloved, and is kidnapped by the Baron, who wishes to shape her into a weapon. If Willa resists, he’ll slaughter her village. But cooperation would destroy her kingdom. READ MORE . . .   PW #103: Adult Historical Fiction: THE LAND BETWEEN KINGS Pitch: In Viking-occupied Ireland, outcast jurist Cathal investigates a murder for the Irish king, unbeknownst to his Norse employer. Meanwhile, Norsewoman Ragna guards a dangerous secret that will entangle her in Cathal’s inquiry. As war looms, Cathal must play both sides or end up dead—and Ragna’s freedom depends on his silence. READ MORE . . .   PW #104: Adult Fantasy: THE PROTECTOR OF THE SEVERN Pitch: When a treaty negotiation turns into an ambush, Protector Cira Conwy is forced to outrun assassins with her only surviving bodyguard, Lt. Ethan Daniels. While escaping across the Severn midlands—and falling hard for the lieutenant—Cira is blindsided by the reemergence of a weapon that could change the course of...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase … Middle Grade Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase … Middle Grade Entries

  Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Middle Grade entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #201: Middle Grade Magical Realism: DOPPELGÄNGER Pitch: The vitiligo on Tami’s skin has always made her lonely. When her new classmates mistake her for their missing friend Renee, Tami’s strange connection to her doppelgänger grants instant popularity—along with access to Renee’s dark secret. If Tami sets things straight, she’ll lose her newfound friends. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose herself. READ MORE . . .   PW #202: Middle Grade Contemporary: THE WINDUP Pitch: After losing his twin brother and his right hand in a car crash, thirteen-year-old Kyle struggles to return to baseball and fulfill the dream he and his brother once shared—winning the Brookhaven Invitational Baseball Tournament. READ MORE . . .   PW #203: Middle Grade Contemporary Adventure/Humor: FRANKENUT Pitch: When a downtrodden squirrel meets a talking GMO peanut, rumors of a bagel monster no longer seem far-fetched. Armed with a dollhouse fork and a lot of heart, the unlikely duo must work together to uncover the secrets of a biohacker’s lab before a friend-turned-foe destroys their only chance at solving the peanut’s mysterious origins. READ MORE . . .    PW #204: Middle Grade Historical Fantasy: AN IMPOSSIBLE MAGIC Pitch: Already an expert at manipulating illusions, 13-year-old Verity Ravenwood helps her father’s blackmarket business by stealing a book of impossible spells for a notorious outlaw. But when the book gets stolen from her, she must track it down before the outlaw makes her entire family pay. READ MORE . . .   PW #205: Middle Grade Mystery: THE ORDER OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE Pitch: When her mom dumps her at boarding school, Ginny figures things can’t get much worse. Then a secret society tries to steal her only link to her missing...

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Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Young Adult Entries
Nov04

Pitch Wars Agent Showcase . . . Young Adult Entries

  Welcome to the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase! Young Adult entries … For those unfamiliar with Pitch Wars, it’s a contest where published/agented authors, editors, or interns chose mentees and work with them for two months to make their work shine. Our amazing mentors chose one (some cases two) writer to mentor from nearly 2000 entries for this year’s for the agent showcase. For a list of the amazing agents participating in Pitch Wars 2016, go here and here. AGENTS: To make requests, simply peruse the following entries and enter what you would like to have the writers’ send you in the comments of the posts. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. PLEASE only agent comments. All others save your comments until after the agent round. If you would like to cheer on your friends, go to the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars and show your support there. Thank you! Here are the links to each entry’s post for your convenience…   PW #301: Young Adult Thriller: FLASH MOB MURDERS Pitch: Amateur vigilante, Lia Finch, vows to take down the flash mob that murdered her father. But when she follows a lead to Chicago’s Navy Pier and dozens of mobbers ambush a new victim, she soon realizes the deadly consequences behind her obsession.  READ MORE . . .   PW #302: Young Adult Science Fiction (Own Voices LGBT+): THROUGH GILDED VEINS Pitch: When Anna, an outlaw-mechanic, and Nathaniel, the nobleman hunting her, discover the government is behind an epidemic of heart-defects like theirs, they must work together to overthrow Nathaniel’s father before he stops all their hearts. READ MORE . . .   PW #303: Young Adult Urban Fantasy: THE MEMORY KEEPER Pitch: Skyla Jenkins has mere hours to find her sister Morrow’s memory book before the rogue memories that escaped it steal her twin’s identity forever. THE MEMORY KEEPER features an inconsistent narrator. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN meets FROZEN. READ MORE . . .   PW #304: Young Adult Literary Thriller: THEN BEGGARS WOULD RIDE Pitch: Everyone believes Gwen’s boyfriend is a cult leader. After disappearing without a word, he’s resurfaced as the Beggar with a goal to spread “The Message” far and wide. Not willing to lose him, Gwen hits the road to bring him home. But as she and his ragtag disciples trail in the Beggar’s wake, Gwen discovers his mission is much more sinister than just preaching.  Told as a prison confessional, it’s THE WALLS AROUND US meets THE DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD. READ MORE . . .    PW #305: Young Adult Fantasy: THE PHANTOM, THE SPY, AND THE CROWN Pitch:  Dreyden would rather play soldier than prince. Elika joined the Royal Army so...

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PW #122: New Adult Contemporary Romance: ONE HUNDRED AND ONE CHANCES

MANUSCRIPT STATUS: 1 month delivery Mentor: Marie Meyer Mentee: Brianna Lespinasse Title: ONE HUNDRED AND ONE CHANCES Category/Genre: NA Contemporary Romance Word Count: 80,000 Pitch: Kira is days away from killing herself when she confesses her plan to Chase, her handsome neighbor. Determined to rekindle her passion for life, Chase proposes a bucket list—one hundred and one challenges to help Kira remember that life and love are worth fighting for. All she has to do is hold on. Excerpt: I’ve been wandering between rows of headstones and delicately placed bouquets for over an hour. It doesn’t usually take this long to reach him, but today is different. Every time I start to get close, my legs take me down a different path—a path with statues and memorial trees and headstones with names that aren’t his. It shouldn’t have taken me weeks to come back, but once I made my decision I couldn’t face him. He would be disappointed in me. He’d be angry. He won’t change my mind. I reach an intersection I’ve gone through four times now, but instead of turning away I head where I’m supposed to go. My heart rate quickens with each step and I wring my hands in anticipation. I’m nearly there. Seconds away. A lump forms in my throat when his grave marker comes into view, and I slow my gait, letting the final few moments last as long as possible. I fall to my knees, and trace his name with my fingers—letters that will forever mark his absence from my family. I cling to the smooth marble and close my eyes, biting back tears. If I start crying I’ll never stop, and I need to get through this. I need to tell Grant my plan. I owe him that much. When I’m confident opening my mouth won’t release a sob, I let go of the cool stone and sit back on my heels. “Hi, big brother.”...

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PW #123: Adult Contemporary Romance: THE MOMENT I FALL

Manuscript Status: Finished Mentor: Laura Brown Mentee: R.R. Baker Title: THE MOMENT I FALL Category: Adult Genre: Contemporary Romance Word Count: 73,000 words Pitch: Tattoo artist Knox falls for recovering aerialist, Genevieve, the moment she throws him off balance at physical therapy. Already losing the use of his legs; he can’t afford to lose his heart. His only definite plan for the future includes a wheelchair, but the Moroccan beauty is determined to prove that all of him is worth loving. Excerpt: “You almost died, Genevieve.” My jaw clenches as I squat into my fifteenth lunge. “That’s something I’m reminded of every day.” Brennan’s eyes cut toward me. “I want you to really think about that before you swing through hoops and tangle yourself in silks again. Being a safe aerialist is serious business. Now, steady your right foot and bounce on your toes.” I focus on the white wall in front of me and do as I’m told. My physical therapist Brennan has the power to clear me and I intend to end this session—my last session—on a happy note. “Your improvement has been substantial, especially with your knack for disobeying orders. I’m surprised we’ve made it to this point so soon. Switch feet and repeat.” I switch feet and feign interest on the clock above me. Brennan continues to circle me, prodding my back with his pen to correct my posture. He taps my arm. “That’s enough.” I sneak a peek at the guy doing leg exercises on a bench on the other side of the room. He arrived twenty minutes ago on crutches looking like he’d rather lay hot coals on his eyeballs than be at physical therapy. Dark brown hair pulled into a messy, man-bun looks like something I’ll enjoy loosening and getting my hands all tangled up in while nuzzling his telltale shadow of a...

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PW #124: Adult Commercial Fiction: DRAG NET

Manuscript Delivery: Finished Mentor: Kelly Siskind Mentee: Meghan Scott Molin Title: DRAG NET Category: Adult Genre:  Commercial Fiction Word Count: 91,000 Pitch:  MG’s world revolves around geek culture, designing for drag shows, and writing comic books. A rash of copy-cat crimes from her favorite series disturbs the peace, bringing with them handsome Matteo Kildaire, LAPD, who needs her expertise. When MG learns she’s being framed, sleuthing on her own will either exonerate her or land her in the clink. Excerpts:  Instead of finalizing his coffee order, the shmo ahead of me in line is reading on his iPad, the headline “Mystery Drug Bust at Docks” splashed across the screen. While I can’t fault him for being sucked in, if we don’t hurry we’ll all get stuck on the 110 in lunchtime traffic, having to contemplate peeing into the cup. As irked as I am, I can’t help but look over his shoulder. I’d read about the drug bust this morning in my twitter feed, but I hadn’t seen a picture of the crime scene. It’s a doozy. Who doesn’t love when three street dealers are trussed together back-to-back on the Long Beach docks, left with a note for the police? Actually trussed together. Like a comic book. “All that’s missing is a golden arrow,” I mutter, giving the picture one last look as the line shuffles forward. I dutifully shuffle straight into iPad Guy’s heels. “What did you say?” He snaps the iPad closed. Oh crap. iPad Guy looks at me with the typical “I disapprove of your purple hair” frown and completely ignores the counter girl yelling, “Next!” There’s a lull in the shush and hiss of the coffee-making orchestra that suggests they’re ready to make the next order. “Nothing. Just that news story reminds me of a graphic novel. Are you ready to order?” I paste a smile on my face. I know better than to upset the muggles....

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