Day 15 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors Hayley Stone and Amy Trueblood
May29

Day 15 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and 1st Page Workshop with mentors Hayley Stone and Amy Trueblood

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 Hayley Stone . . . Website | Twitter Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as an editor and graphic designer, falls in love with video game characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento. Her debut novel, MACHINATIONS, released from Hydra/Random House and was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Books of 2016. She loves interacting with fellow readers and writers on Twitter (@hayley_stone).   MACHINATIONS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo COUNTERPART: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Hayley’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Fantasy romance Dear Agent, Exiled Charmer Leena Edenfrell is in deep shit. [Fun first line! Simple, yet it makes me believe the story will have good voice, and even a sense of humor. My only question—what is a Charmer?] Wanted by the Charmers Council for selling rare and endangered creatures on the black market for profit, they’ve hired an assassin to kill her. [Good introduction of the story’s conflict, but I’m still unclear on what a Charmer is or does. Is the Charmers Council an animal defense league of some sort, or are they upset because she’s encroaching on their own black market profits?] With the realm’s most talented murderer for hire nipping at her heels, Leena makes him an offer he can’t refuse—a handful of rare beasts in exchange for her life. [When you said “rare and endangered creatures” earlier, did you mean mythological or paranormal? Because at first I assumed you were talking about ordinary animals. Perhaps add some clarity here.] For sarcastic assassin Noc, knows that murder comes easy and pays well. when detachment and sarcasm are...

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Day 15 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sharon M. Johnston & Summer Spence
May29

Day 15 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Sharon M. Johnston & Summer Spence

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 Sharon M. Johnston . . . Twitter Sharon writes weird fiction and soulful contemporaries. She has short stories in anthologies: WORDS WITH HEART, NEVER BE YOUNGER, THE BASICS OF LIFE and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHESTER LEWIS. Her short story Karma was also runner-up in The Australian Literary Review’s short story competition. She regularly co-hosts Pitch Madness and is also a regular Pitch Wars mentor. As well as blogging on her own site, she also blogs with YAtopia and Aussie Owned & Read, where she contributes to discussions on the love of literature and the publishing industry in general. Sharon’s recent release … Available to purchase  in paperback and ebook. Find Divided on Goodreads Read a free excerpt here. A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare. Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world. Yet, life starts to unravel when Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab, but she can’t ignore the strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Read. Torn between love and obsession, Mishca must unite her divided heart and decide between the two men. But when the truth about her weird powers comes to light, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance. Sharon’s Query  Critique . . . Category: YA Genre: Contemporary Gwen’s Comic Con customers believe her essential oil products are magic. Whether it’s her lip balms crafted with your favorite geeky hero in mind or her misting spray to keep your cosplay fresh and fabulous, Gwen’s company has a product for everything. [I found the query to be too long and this...

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Day 14 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors Derek Chivers & Susan Bishop Crispell
May26

Day 14 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors Derek Chivers & Susan Bishop Crispell

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 Derek Chivers . . . Website | Twitter Derek Chivers was born and raised on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. He spent his childhood running wild through woods where winter winds drifted snow deeper than he was tall, and the midnight sun stretched stories and summer days long past reasonable limits. Now he shares life’s adventures with his wife and daughters. He can still run wild in woods nestled between snow-capped peaks, or just lose himself between the covers of his favorite authors’ novels. He is a founding member of Anchorage writing collective The Life Partners (thelifepartners.tumblr.com), and an infrequent contributor to their short fiction Tumblr. His short fiction was published in the 2009 and 2011 editions of Understory at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, where he wrote opinion for The Northern Light newspaper and received a BA in English Literature. His creative nonfiction “Gunshots on Dogfish” placed first in a 2011 statewide writing competition and was published in F Magazine. He is represented by Becky LeJeune of Bond Literary Agency. Derek’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Urban Fantasy Dear Agent As a nymph, Zephyra has had more than her fair share of unwanted attention, though no one has ever done anything quite as dramatic as leaving a pile of slaughtered animals in her favorite hunting spot. [This is a great hook, though I would play with word choice and see if you can whittle the same thought closer to 25 words or less for more impact.] All signs [evidence, or just human prejudice and suspicion? I ask because the distinction could paint a very different picture.] point towards the newly arrived [To the town? World?] wolf shifters as the culprits, and tensions escalate between the human citizens of Paros [city, nation, world?] and the aberrations they live alongside. [just shifters, or all fae?] Zephyra...

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Day 14 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars 1st page Workshop with mentor, Emma Wicker
May26

Day 14 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars 1st page Workshop with mentor, Emma Wicker

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. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Emma Wicker … Emma is the author of award-winning Fractured Immortal, and Finding Immortal. Her new contemporary romance These Simple Scars has just been released. Her obsession is New Adult, and Adult Contemporary Romance. When Emma is not writing or looking after her busy household, she’s either reading, gaming or stalking her favourite authors as well as studying for her Masters in Psychology. www.facebook.com/emmawickerauthor www.twitter.com/Emma_Wicker www.elwicker.com Emma’s recent release … These Simple Scars Emma Wicker Publication date: May 8th 2017 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance Sometimes, the worst scars are the ones that can’t be seen. After fleeing her abusive father, Faith’s goal is to find a job and earn enough to finally be able to live in safety. When she ends up stranded in the sleepy town of Silver, Georgia, it’s not long before she meets sexy mechanic Garrett. His willingness to help her one minute then dismiss her the next, leave Faith confused by this guarded and irresistible man. Although Garrett has left the military, the war returned home with him. An attraction to the new girl in town takes him by surprise, but if he’s to keep his scars hidden, Faith is no-go. His heart tells him to trust, but his mind is determined to get the better of him. As the pair deal with their wounds, tragedy threatens to rip them apart. Supported by new friends, Garrett and Faith wrestle with their pasts and an unexpected love they fear won’t last. Goodreads / Amazon Emma’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Literary Fiction It is four-thirty in the morning, not yet day, but warming, [morning so close to warming is distracting due to the rhyme, I would advise altering one of the two, however an excellent start reminiscent of the genre] the sky still mostly opaque, but a...

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Day 14 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars Query Workshop with mentors, Heather Van Fleet & Jessica Calla
May26

Day 14 (Part 1) of the Pitch Wars Query Workshop with mentors, Heather Van Fleet & Jessica Calla

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 Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla . . . Website | Twitter Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart and a mom to three little girls, along with her crazy Goldendoodle. In her spare time, you will always be able to find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 with an associate degree. She has been working in the publishing industry for over five years as author, editor, and agent intern. She’s represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary.  Heather’s recent release … Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Add to Goodreads “Sweet, funny, romantic and oh so very sexy! Prepare to swoon mightily.” –SAWYER BENNETT, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Cold Fury Hockey series COLLIN MONTGOMERY Between boot camp and two TOD’s in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home. My girlfriend died. I couldn’t even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I’m sorry I wasn’t there like I should’ve been. But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could’ve ever asked for. One I didn’t think I could handle…until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe. Now here I am, raising my baby girl-with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn’t be better. Until she walked into my life. All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn’t. What I didn’t count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything...

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Day 13 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, E. Latimer & Kelly Siskind
May25

Day 13 (Part 2) of the Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, E. Latimer & Kelly Siskind

  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 E. Latimer . . . Twitter | Website E. Latimer is a young adult fantasy writer and literary intern who was born and raised in Victoria, BC and recently moved to Vancouver. She`s had her work published in Chicken Soup For the Soul: Reboot Your Life, and most recently, the Imagines anthology, published by Simon and Schuster. In her spare time, she writes books, makes silly vlogs with the YA Word Nerds about writing and reads excessively. She`s also one of the hosts of the Wattpad4, a weekly twitter chat which features awesome guests like Lauren DeStefano, Leigh Bardugo and Victoria Aveyard. Her middle grade gothic fantasy, The Strange and Deadly Portraits of Bryony Gray is coming out from Tundra Books in Spring of 2018.   Frost by Erin Latimer … Megan Walker’s touch has turned to ice. She can’t stop the frost, and the consequences of her first kiss are horrifying. When her new powers attract attention, Megan finds herself caught up in an ancient war between Norse giants. One side fuelled by a mad queen’s obsession and an ancient prophecy about Ragnarök, the other by an age-old grudge. Both sides believe Megan to be something she’s not. Both sides will stop at nothing to have her. Fire or frost. It’s an impossible decision, but she’ll have to act soon, because the storm is coming. Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Book Depository E. Latimer’s Query  Critique . . . Dear Ms. Orr, I am excited that you are seeking middle grade historical fiction books, and am pleased to share with you my manuscript The Diary of Asser Levy. It is based on the little known, but very consequential, true story of the first group of Jewish refugees to arrive in America. In 1630, Holland conquers part of the Portuguese colony of Brazil. For almost 25 years, the town of...

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Day 13 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Michael Mammy, Léonie Kelsall, & Marty Mayberry
May25

Day 13 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Michael Mammy, Léonie Kelsall, & Marty Mayberry

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 Michael Mammy. . . Twitter | Website Michael Mammy writes Science Fiction, and sometimes fantasy, usually revolving around military characters. A lot of the ideas that go into those books come from having served in the Army for quite some time. There will also probably be explosions. On the page, not necessarily in real life. He’s represented by Lisa Rodgers of JABberwocky Literary Agency. Michael’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Psychological Suspense Like every other actress in Chicago, Kira Rascher is well aware of the rumors about Malcolm Mercer. But for the career-making chance to be the leading lady in his theater company’s next world premiere, she’s willing to put up with pretty much anything, including Mal’s bullshit. This is a great opening paragraph. It defines the character and really sets us into where the story starts. Love the voice in it, too. Kira figures she can handle the guy; after all, she’s worked with more than her fair share of creeps and tyrants over the years. Once rehearsals get underway, though, she realizes that nothing could have prepared her for Mal. There’s no mind game he won’t play to provoke the performance he wants, and whenever Kira thinks she’s winning, he changes the rules. He’s manipulative, mercurial, infuriating—and also the most thrilling scene partner she’s ever shared a stage with. Another great paragraph. It describes the conflict and tension between the two characters, and it really does a great job of showing us where the story is at. You could potentially add a line at the end that gives us a set-up – But when xxxx happens, she realizes yyyyy. It could go either way. The paragraph is good without it, but it might help further define the story. The closer they get to opening night, the more the lines start to...

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Day 12 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Niki Lenz and Emily Colin
May24

Day 12 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Niki Lenz and Emily Colin

  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 Niki Lenz . . . Twitter | Website Niki Lenz lives in Kansas City with her police officer husband and two elementary aged children. She attended Southwest Baptist University and has worked as a teacher, a wedding planner, and a stay at home mom.  In her spare time she enjoys reading, travel and renovating campers.  She writes wacky MG and is represented by Kate Testerman at KT Literary.   Niki’s Query  Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Middle Grade GENRE: Fantasy Reformed pirates, a sassy parrot, bewitched children, and a dragon come together in The Abode to reverse a spell that’s turned a valley of dragons into a house of captive children. [I think this hook is a bit long.  You want it to be short and snappy.  The part about the valley of dragons being turned into a house of captive children is the heart of it, so I’d suggest reworking that for a first line.] The Abode is a cold, unwelcoming place surrounded by mists, where Molly and other children spend their days cutting up fish. [Perfectly dreary!] As deeply as Molly wishes for a different life, this rule of the Abode stops her: Do Not Step Into the Mists Alone. You Will Die. [I’d cut ‘You Will Die’ as it is strongly implied] Molly’s friend Fel, defeated by a long punishment, plunges into the mists one day and vanishes. Molly grieves for her friend. [I’d also cut ‘Molly grieves for her friend, as it is also implied.] The first crack in Molly’s world appears when Fel walks back out of the mists, alive. The mists have not harmed Fel. Instead they’ve carried her to the wide world and helped her return to rescue Molly [Maybe combine the last two sentences so it reads “The mists have carried Fel to the wide...

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