Day 42 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Kelly Hopkins and Neal Chase
Jul07

Day 42 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Kelly Hopkins and Neal Chase

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 Kelly Hopkins Website | Twitter Kelly has a Bachelor’s degree (Magna Cum Laude) in English/Secondary Education from Marywood University and a Master’s of Education degree in School Library and Information Technologies from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania. She’s a Creative Writing teacher and school librarian. She has lectured at Keystone College on Celtic Mythology and will be presenting a workshop on Perfecting Query Letters and Pitches at their Gathering Conference in July 2016. Kelly lives in NE Pennsylvania with her husband, two children, and three rescue horses. Kelly’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Urban Fantasy Sixteen-year-old Azrielle Grave is [Changed font to italic.] one of the things that goes bump in the night. Except this cockatrice [Is she a dragon? A cockatrice is a mythical creature. If so, you will want to make sure the reader understands her duality.] isn’t a hunter anymore, she’s the one being stalked [by whom? Or what?]. The exposed [How] supernatural world is at risk of extinction thanks to special agencies created by humans to terminate the threat [Why is the supernatural world a threat to humans?] . A semi-voluntary recruit, Azrielle trains to infiltrate behind enemy lines [Who is the enemy?] in an underground academy. But the death toll [Humans or supernaturals?] is rising too fast and she is being sent on an undercover assignment [What is the assignment? Who is sending her?] now, years before she’s ready. . [Think about the basics of good query design: character, conflict, and stakes. Another thing to consider is your genre. If this is urban fantasy, where is this story located? It feels more straight fantasy here especially if most of the story occurs below ground or in an alternate Earth.] Raid Ameen is determined to do his part to save humanity. A weapon’s expert at seventeen, he enjoys putting bullets into...

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Day 42 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors,  Austin Siegemund-Broka, Emily Wibberley, Kristin Smith & Beth Ellyn Summer
Jul07

Day 42 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Austin Siegemund-Broka, Emily Wibberley, Kristin Smith & Beth Ellyn Summer

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 Austin Siegemund-Broka, and Emily Wibberley Emily’s Twitter | Austin’s Twitter Austin Siegemund-Broka cowrites YA contemporary with Emily Wibberley. A former journalist for The Hollywood Reporter, where he covered the courts and, yes, met a couple celebrities, he graduated from Harvard in 2014 with a degree in English and a focus on Shakespeare. Emily Wibberley grew up in Southern California, but instead of working on her nonexistent tan at the beach, she spent her time reading, making music and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She attended Princeton University, where she graduated in 2014 with a degree in Psychology. She and Austin now live and write YA contemporary together. Their debut, UPSTAGED, publishes from Puffin in 2018. They live in Los Angeles. Upstaged by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley Pitched as a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, about a teen girl who always winds up playing the Rosaline in her off-stage relationships – the girl before he finds “the one” – but when cast as Juliet in her school play, she begins to notice the Romeo she never expected. Goodreads Austin and Emily’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Fantasy Not even Razsha the Ruthless is surprised when nobles call for her death. What does surprise her is the accusation of killing two chieftains. Now she must keep her wits as sharp as her swords to get the elimination order rescinded. [Great opening paragraph. Tension, character motivation, a little wit, and immediately comprehensible conflict] Since a noble can roam a person’s mind the way tall ships roam the sea, Razsha approaches a noble to barter for his mediation with the clans. [Mind-roaming is a very cool idea—clarify though the connection to mediation. Is it mind-reading or mind-manipulation?] Krovdan’s not just any noble; he’s the enforcer of the most powerful clan. [Why does Razsha go to him? Because he’s the enforcer? Is there another...

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Day 41 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Gail Villanueva, Isabelle Adrid, & Heather Cashman
Jul06

Day 41 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Gail Villanueva, Isabelle Adrid, & Heather Cashman

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 Gail Villanueva and Isabelle Adrid … Gail Villanueva is a Filipina author based in the Philippines. She runs a design studio with her husband in the outskirts of Manila, but also does freelance copywriting on the side. When not in front of her computer coding a website or writing a story, you’ll find her in the backyard, playing with four dogs, five ducks, a chicken, a turtle, and a cat. Gail writes upmarket MG, both historical and contemporary, and with elements of magic. Her fiction is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group. Find Gail: Twitter | Website Isabelle Adrid is a YA author who writes contemporary fiction with speculative elements. She is also an avid reader of MG books. She was born and raised in San Diego, and she currently resides in the Philippines. When she’s not writing or reading books, you’ll find her binge-watching TV shows, movies, and Korean dramas. Her work is represented by Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary and Management. Find Isabelle: Twitter | Website Gail and Isabelle’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult GENRE: Dark Epic Fantasy Dear _____: I am seeking representation for my YA dark epic fantasy with a Middle Eastern-inspired setting. Seventeen-year-old resistance fighter Sidara has a wit as sharp as her sword [Sidara sounds like a cool heroine, one who isn’t your stereotypical damsel in distress. But who is Sidara apart from her sharp wit? Is she a princess? A soldier? A magic user? A commoner? A blacksmith? An assassin? Specifying what makes Sidara special will also help set the tone of your query. We will have no doubt it’s a fantasy, because right now, “resistance fighter” and “sword” alone gives us historical vibes instead of fantasy.]  and nothing left to lose [While “nothing to lose” can give the impression that Sidara has something going on that brought her into such state, it would...

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Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett . . . signed ARC Giveaway!
Jul06

Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett . . . signed ARC Giveaway!

TITLE: Hollywood Homicide AUTHOR: Kellye Garrett PUBLISHER: Midnight Ink (August 8, 2017)   Pre-order links . . . Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads   About the book . . . Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash. But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her. And there are no second takes in real life. Praise for Hollywood Homicide . . . “Veteran TV writer Garrett uses her Cold Case experience to inform her debut, which sets up more than one charming character and isn’t afraid to go cynical on all things LA.”—Kirkus Reviews “Fun, smart, endearingly flawed and impressively determined, Dayna Anderson is a heroine readers will fall in love with immediately. I relished every unexpected twist and turn of this highly entertaining mystery!”—Kyra Davis, New York Times bestselling author “Hollywood Homicide is a non-stop fun read with humor sharp as a stiletto heel. Heroine Dayna Anderson . . . is smart, self-deprecating and flat-out hilarious.”—Ellen Byron, Agatha-nominated and USA Today bestselling author of The Cajun Country Mysteries “Hollywood Homicide has a heart as big as Los Angeles, a plot as twisty as the 110 Freeway and a heroine just as complex as the burger battle between In N Out and Fatburger. Kellye Garrett makes you laugh and then, hits you in the gut—like a great novelist should. Can’t wait for the next adventure with Garrett and Dayna Anderson!”—Rachel Howzell Hall, author of critically-acclaimed LAPD Detective Elouise Norton series “There’s a spunky new sleuth in town: Dayna Anderson takes readers on a madcap ride through the underbelly of La La Land, laced with high fashion, Twitter feeds, celebrities—and murder!”—Lucy Burdette, author of the bestselling Key West Food Critic Mysteries “Buckle up for a fun, fast-paced joyride through the streets of Los Angeles. Hollywood Homicide is packed with action and suspense, but it’s Garrett’s fresh voice and sharp dialogue that really sets this book apart. A delight from start to finish!”—Marla Cooper, author of the Destination Wedding Mystery series “Funny, twisty, compelling. Hollywood Homicide is the whole...

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Day 40 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and RuthAnne Snow
Jul05

Day 40 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and RuthAnne Snow

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 Susan Gray Foster … Website | Twitter Susan Gray Foster was born into a family of avid readers and has been hoping to impress them with her writing ever since. When she’s not struggling in her quest to spin words into magic, she helps her high school students find the magic in classic literature, and helps other writers discover the magic in their own writing, both as a freelance editor and as a book coach at Author Accelerator. Susan believes in creativity and empathy, and enjoys tea, songwriting, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. She lives with her ever-patient Aussie husband in Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert, and she’s her kids’ number one fan. Her YA fiction is represented by Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. Susan’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Dark Fantasy Dear [Agent]: Desperate to leave behind her life as an assassin, eighteen-year old Jennica makes a bargain with a powerful immortal. [I love the way you jump right into the story. This is intriguing!] In return for protecting a child who holds a corrupt magic in check, [I’m not quite sure what this means. Does the child have the corrupt magic but they’re holding it in check? Or the child holds others’ corrupt magic in check? Also, what is this corrupt magic? Obviously, you can’t include a lot of detail in a query, but I’d like some hint of what this means. Is it dangerous?] Jennica is offered a way to atone for the crimes she’s committed. [Does protecting the child allow her to atone? Or protecting the child just allows her the chance to atone by doing something else?] More than redemption, Jennica wants to vanquish the darkness within her that revels in the cruelty and suffering she inflicts on others. [Oooh! This is dark and intriguing! I wonder if you could condense and combine this...

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Day 40 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Dawn Ius
Jul05

Day 40 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Dawn Ius

  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. Today we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Dawn Ius Twitter | Website DAWN IUS is a short-story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is co-founder and senior editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Assistant Managing Editor of the International Thriller Writers’ e-zine, The Big Thrill, and the author of ten educational graphic novels published by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. Her first contemporary young adult novel, ANNE & HENRY, will be published Fall 2015 from Simon Pulse, and her yet unpublished novel HEARTLESS was recently optioned for development of a TV show by Verite Films. Dawn also writes young adult thriller and paranormal fiction under the last name DALTON. Her short story, THREAD OF THE PAST was included in the SPIRITED anthology (Leap Books, 2012), and her novel, KILLER’S INSTINCT (Leap Books, 2013), co-written with Judith Graves, was nominated for the Silver Falchion award. As well, her short story DRUNK was published in an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired anthology, FALLING FOR ALICE, April 2015, by Vine Leaves Press. When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she’s geeking out over fairy tales, Jack Bauer, Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. Dawn lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English Mastiff, Roarke. Dawn’s recent book … Amazon | Barnes & Noble In this wonderfully “clever and compelling” (Kirkus Reviews) retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school. Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved. Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life. Wild, brash, and...

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Day 39 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Julia Nobel & Veronica Bartles
Jun30

Day 39 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Julia Nobel & Veronica Bartles

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 Julia Nobel . . . Twitter | Website Julia is a writing coach and middle grade and young adult author. Her childhood obsession with The Babysitters Club turned into a lifelong passion for reading and writing children’s literature. She offers writing masterclasses and courses for writers in all genres, and is a 2017 Pitch Wars Mentor. Her 3-year-old daughter likes to help her write by throwing apple sauce at the keyboard and pressing the escape key. Find out about Julia’s writing coach services on her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaNobelBooks/ and check out her upcoming classes schedule here: http://julianobel.com/for-writers/. Julia’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Psychological Thriller Dear Agent, I am hoping you will consider my debut novel for representation. [You can delete this sentence, because the agent already knows you are hoping they will consider the novel, and you have such limited space to pitch your story.] No Colour in Black takes reader to a dark and troubled world but also one each of us can relate to directly or indirectly – otherwise known as life. Any of us could fall into a world, given hindsight – we would hide from. For my lead protagonist, her world became unrecognisable.  She asks us – who do you fear most – someone with nothing to lose or someone who has it all to lose? We sit deep in the dirt of her emotions; her current life intertwined by her abusive past. Grappling with her conscience and sanity. A burning need to protect her son – fuels her fight. [I really appreciate the emotions you are trying to evoke with this paragraph. I think it would be more successful if it was more specific and focused on the plot. Who is the protagonist? What is her specific situation? How did she get there? Start with the details.] Blinded by charm, hoodwinked by...

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Day 38 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.R. Yates, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Mindy McGinnis
Jun29

Day 38 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, J.R. Yates, Kate Karyus Quinn, and Mindy McGinnis

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 J.R. Yates Website | Twitter J. R. Yates is a word nerd through and through. When she isn’t writing or reading, she practices as a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP) and herds her three bilingual children. She often jokes that she spends all day at work trying to get kids to talk, and the rest of her time at home trying to get her kids to stop! Married to the love of her life, her favorite moments are quiet evenings with her husband sharing a nice glass of wine at their home in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Time alone, hiding out in a café, writing about sexy heroes that shred her heart is her bliss. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy with Donaghy Literary Group. J. R. is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, the RWA and this year she will be a #Pitchwars Mentor. J.R.’s Query Critique… Learn to control the weather. Fall in love. Elude a serial killer. Ella’s going to need a lot more coffee. [I love the voice is in this opening line. To me, this is a great hook.] EYE OF THE STORM is an urban fantasy novel, with elements of romance, thriller, alternative history/mythology, and a healthy dose of humour. [Know your genre. Narrow it down. Is this an adult fantasy romance? If this is an urban fantasy, the thriller, mythology and humor aspects are commonplace and saying it has those elements can be redundant. Agents need to know that you know where this fits in the market. An “adult urban fantasy with romantic elements” would work here. Oh, and use conventional US spelling. Some people think the extra “u”s are spelling errors rather than a different spelling convention. And high five to a fellow Canuck ;)] Best of all, the heroine saves herself. At 86,000 words, it has multiple points of view, and is...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry
Jun28

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Alex Reda and her mentor, Marty Mayberry

  Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Alex Reda and her Pitch Wars mentor Marty Mayberry! Alexrecently signed with Natascha Morris of BookEnds Literary Agency, and we’re so over-the-moon excited for her. So please join me in congratulating Alex and Marty as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story. Alex, what was it about Marty that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? 2016 wasn’t my first time in the Pitch Wars rodeo. I didn’t get in two years ago, but I’ve made some awesome friends along the way, and they all recommended Marty. Once I read her amazing bio (and stalked her on Twitter, like any good potential mentee), I knew we’d work great together. Her professionalism sang to me, and she had this very clear-cut way of saying what she expected from a mentee and what her strengths were (spoiler alert: she’s a super hero). I resonated with that, plus the fact that she seemed so passionate about writing and helping others. Subbing my manuscript to her was one of the best decisions of my life. Marty, what was it about Alex’s LOVE, LIES, AND THE OTHER TEAM DIES that hooked you? I was honored by how many authors trusted me with their words during the Pitch Wars sub window. Truly, I could’ve mentored any of them. I read through each entry, sorted them into folders, then stepped back and thought about all of them. Many had excellent hooks. Others had writing that pulled me into their stories from page one. It was a tough decision. Alex’s book is about a young woman who wins the chance to participate in a gaming competition with her best friends. Their biggest rival is a group of teens headed up by the boy she met and partly fell for at a conference. Add in a potentially haunted house venue, and I was in love. What great conflict! From chapter one, I was rooting not just for the main character to win the competition, but also wind up with the boy. When people say that this business is subjective, they’re right. There was something about Alex’s story I couldn’t let go of. I knew within a week that hers was the book I wanted to mentor. Alex, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Marty was super prompt and sent me an edit letter right away. When I read it and didn’t instantly want to shrivel up and cry, I knew we were on our way to success. Marty was always very patient with me, guided me through all the edits,...

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Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Shanna Rogers and Katherine Fleet

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 Shanna Rogers … Twitter | Website When she wasn’t reading as a kid, Shanna was acting out something she read in a book: starting a babysitters’ club, spying, searching the house for a secret passage, and convincing a neighbor she had an identical twin (she doesn’t). She’s still twelve at heart, so writing middle grade was a natural choice. After receiving her B.A. in journalism, Shanna spent several years acting in Los Angeles before becoming a teacher. You can catch her in the background of dozens of shows, including as a dead body on The Closer (Kyra Sedgwick massaged her feet!) and sporting a spray tan on old episodes of The O.C. She once beat Woody Harrelson in a thumb war. Shanna is represented by Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. You can find Shanna on Twitter at @ShannaRogers29 and on her website…as soon as she stops writing long enough to make one. Shanna’s Query Critique . . . Dear (agent), I’m submitting to you because I enjoyed attending your class at (conference). [Include age for YA] Maddy’s a good girl [I’d find a more interesting way to describe her. If you want to keep the flow with the liar part that follows, you could replace “good girl” with something more specific. Star student? Great juggler?] , but she’s an even better lier [liar]. When she lies her way into the only interesting building in her small town, a Lab [don’t capitalize unless this is its official title], for a high school dare, things go sour [Vague. What specifically goes wrong?] and her almost-boyfriend’s dad, who works there, has to step in to stop her from accidentally stealing a new man-made virus. [How could she “accidentally” steal the virus?] The good news is Maddy doesn’t get in trouble. The bad news is her crushes [crush’s] dad gets...

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Day 36 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, C.M. McCoy & Kate Foster
Jun27

Day 36 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, C.M. McCoy & 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 Mentor C.M. McCoy … Twitter | Website Author CM McCoy (aka Colleen Oefelein) has one pointed ear, an 90-pound “puppy” from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen. She’s a retired Air Force officer, a mom, an author, a blogger, and the PR manager and an associate agent for Inklings Literary Agency. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s either stuck in a book or interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors pre-published authors through workshops and contests and runs Totem Head’s Annual Free Writing Contest for Kids, now in its ninth year. Though she holds 2 Bachelor of Science degrees (Chemical Engineering and German — Penn State), she’s far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working 911-dispatch for Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance. Her debut, EERIE, a teen paranormal adventure with romance, released in Dec 2015 by Simon & Schuster/Omnific. She has a memoir out on submission to production companies and a picture book out on submission to publishers. She’s represented by the magnificent Michelle Johnson.   Eerie by C.M. McCoy Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  | BAM | Google | Signed Copies | Goodreads Hailey Hartley has just enrolled in the world’s premier supernatural university. It’s a school she’s never heard of, located in a town called The Middle of Nowhere, and run by a creature that’s not supposed to exist. But at least she got a scholarship… Hailey’s dreams have always been, well…vivid. As in monsters from her nightmares follow her into her waking life...

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Day 36 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Rachel Griffin
Jun27

Day 36 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Rachel Griffin

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. Our only workshop this post … Pitch Wars Mentor Rachel Griffin … Twitter | Website Rachel Griffin graduated from Seattle University with a bachelor of science in diagnostic ultrasound, but could never outrun her love for words. She wrote her first novel in the evenings and weekends while working full-time, and eventually traded in her ultrasound transducer for a keyboard. Writing full-time has been an absolute dream come true. She lives with her very supportive husband and schnoodle outside of Seattle, where she reads, hikes, and drinks a lot of tea. She’s also a flutist and avid macaroni-and-cheese connoisseur. She sits on the board of Seattle Arts and Lectures, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing the literary arts, because words matter. Rachel is represented by Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management.   Rachel’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Fantasy Tonight marked the occasion Anzel had both dreaded and anticipated for the last two months; [This is a solid opening line. I’m already wondering what’s special about tonight, and it’s clear why you chose to start the story here.] on the one hand, his father would be the subject of every congratulations in the land, which meant pomp and ceremony and hours sitting on the throne smiling at the procession. On the other hand, Anzel would finally be able to escape to the top turret straight after the final banquet and spend an evening with Matei beneath the stars. [I’m a little confused here. Both of these sound like good things, so I’m unsure why Anzel is dreading one of them.] That thought sent spirals of tingles through Anzel’s stomach. He barely controlled the needle in his fingers, putting the finishing touches to the material on his lap. It was a luscious thing – light blue silk with golden edges, the colours of Dria, and in the centre, the design he’d...

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