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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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tamara Girardi and her mentor Molly Lee
Mar10

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Tamara Girardi and her mentor Molly Lee

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 Tamara Girardi  and her mentor, Molly Lee. Tamara signed with Melissa Nasson with Rubin Pfeffer Content after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Tamara and Molly on their Pitch Wars Success! Tamara, what was it about Molly that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Molly’s Wish List attracted me right away. It read, “I love to see instances where a girl/woman is in a profession/situation that is tailored toward men and she’s hacking it right there with the boys.” My YA contemporary GRIDIRON GIRL is about a girl who competes against her boyfriend to be the starting quarterback of the football team, so the whole story is about her trying to hack it with the guys. Also, I want to say that I took the advice to ask questions of the mentors seriously when picking my six. Molly didn’t specifically mention sports, so I tweeted her to be sure she has an interest in them. Fortunately for me, she did! My next step was to read some of my potential mentors’ works (because narrowing down to six was HARD), and one chapter of Molly’s EDGE OF CHAOS had me in love. She made me feel instantly. Molly, what was it about Tamara’s GRIDIRON GIRL that hooked you? The pitch for GRIDIRON GIRL was solid. It showed the stakes, voice, and had a great hook all in one. A girl has to go up against her boyfriend for the starting quarterback position? Forget about it! Sign me up! Tamara, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It was fantastic. Molly sent me comments immediately. Her feedback was impressive and exciting; it sparked so many ideas, and I added several scenes to the manuscript that made it much stronger! And with Molly’s skills of writing romance, the book definitely got steamier, which I kind of loved! Most importantly, though, Molly was open to my ideas of how to fix the problems she noted in the manuscript. I agreed with one of the problems she identified, but not necessarily the solution she suggested. I took some time to mull it over and proposed an alternative solution to her. She read the revised pages and loved them. That taught me a lot about working with an agent and editor in the future – how to trust good feedback but also be true to the story you want to tell.  And I appreciated her respect for my work...

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Pitch Madness … round two draft and bonus team!
Mar05

Pitch Madness … round two draft and bonus team!

Here is the 2nd Draft winners for Pitch Madness. Winners, your hosts will email you by tomorrow evening with instructions. Congratulations! [View the story “#PitchMadness 2nd Draft winner with bonus team winners!” on...

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Pitch Madness … 1st draft round picks!
Mar05

Pitch Madness … 1st draft round picks!

    The first round for the Pitch Madness draft happened on Twitter today. The 2nd round will be sometime today. We’ll announce it as soon as we know a time. Also, there will be a surprise when we announce the 2nd round winners. Here are the results from our fabulous draft organizer, Dee Romito … [View the story “#PitchMadness 1st draft round picks …” on Storify]...

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Pitch Madness … all about the draft
Mar03

Pitch Madness … all about the draft

Everyone has been asking about what happens and how does the Pitch Madness Draft work. The draft is how we determine what entries each host gets on her team. It’s just like the NFL draft. We draw to see who goes first, second, third, and fourth during the picks. Each team gets a pick from their shortlist of entries on their turn. Then the picks rotate: First pick moves to second pick, second pick moves to third pick, third pick moves to fourth pick, and fourth pick moves to first pick. It continues rotating until all sixty spots are filled with one of the Pitch Madness entries. If you’re curious about the NFL Draft check it out here. The Pitch Madness Draft will be on Sunday, March 5. There are two rounds behind the scenes. Join us on the hashtag #PitchMadness for all the happenings behind the draft doors. I’ve been known to drop surprises, so you don’t want to miss this event. And those who’ve followed me for a while know what that means… The mastermind behind the draft is the remarkable Dee Romito… Website | Twitter Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. You’re likely to find her on adventures with her husband and two energetic kids, at the local ice cream shop, or curled up in a comfy chair with her cats. She loves to write, travel, and giggle like a teenager with her friends. Her middle grade debut, THE BFF BUCKET LIST, is now available from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin with BEST. NIGHT. EVER., NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and THE ITALY LIST to follow in 2017-2018. Dee is a member of SCBWI and Co-Advisor of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators. You can visit her website at DeeRomito.com. Check out Dee’s books … Ella and Skyler have been best friends since kindergarten—so close that people smoosh their names together like they’re the same person: EllaandSkyler. SkylerandElla. But Ella notices the little ways she and Skyler have been slowly drifting apart. And she’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together—The BFF Bucket List. Skyler is totally on board. The girls must complete each task on the list together: things like facing their fears, hosting a fancy dinner party, and the biggest of them all—speaking actual words to their respective crushes before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face. And with each girl hiding a big secret that could threaten their entire friendship, will the list–and their BFF status–go bust? To order ....

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