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 Her first contemporary young adult novel, ANNE & HENRY, will be published Fall 2015 from Simon Pulse, and her yet unpublished novel HEARTLESS was recently optioned for development of a TV show by Verite Films.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 39 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Aimee Salter and Kelly Hopkins
Jun30

Day 39 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Aimee Salter and Kelly Hopkins

  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 Aimee Salter Aimee is the author of Every Ugly Word, (Alloy, 2014) a gripping and emotional story about a high school junior who can talk to her future self in the mirror, but is forced to deal with the devastating consequences of bullying; and Dark Touch (Alloy, 2016), an equally raw story about a young, abused woman whose feelings are communicated to anyone she touches—including the guy she’s falling in love with. Website: www.aimeelsalter.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/AimeeLSalter Twitter: www.twitter.com/AimeeLSalter Books: http://ow.ly/Yon9t Aimee’s recent book … Amazon Tully isn’t alone in her skin. Whenever she touches someone, they feel everything she feels. All her ugliness. All her darkness. All her pain. The only thing she wants is to be left alone–and to finally get out of her small Oregon town. But then she meets Chris. He’s everything she’s not. Light. Trusting. Innocent. And he wants Tully. Tully knows she should spare him the heartache of being with her. But when he touches her, she’s not sure she’ll have the strength to push him away–until he learns about her dark past, and what really goes on in her ever-decaying home. From the author of Every Ugly Word comes a poignant, emotionally raw story about the violence that plays out behind closed doors and the all-consuming passion of first love. Aimee’s Query Critique . . . Dear [agent], It’s been 25 years since the Nazis won the Second World War. [Excellent opening! Tells me exactly where and what we’re about to read (II World War alternate history)] The Jews have mostly disappeared. The Reich has expanded across three continents. And a single wrong word could get you killed. [Here’s the greater threat/antagonistic force right up front too. Well done.] It took two words to kill Markus Schneider’s father. Two words nine-year-old Markus said without thinking. Two words that...

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Day 38 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, N.K. Traver and Jessica Bayliss
Jun29

Day 38 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, N.K. Traver and Jessica Bayliss

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 N.K. Traver As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. TRAVER decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living with an English degree.” It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped. Traver’s debut, DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller pitched as Breaking Bad meets The Matrix for teens, was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers in 2016. She is also a developmental editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.   Author links: http://www.nktraver.com (website), https://twitter.com/nktraver (twitter), https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7501918.N_K_Traver (goodreads) N.K. recent release … Thomas Dunne Books | St. Martin’s Press | Macmillan A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both. Pitched as BREAKING BAD meets THE MATRIX for teens, DUPLICITY follows seventeen-year-old Brandon, a computer expert who hacks bank accounts in his free time, through a downward spiral of events after his mirror reflection starts moving on its own. View on Goodreads | Read the first 2 chapters Buy From: Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indiebound | Books-a-Million N.K.’s Query Critique… Dear Awesome Agent, I’m hoping to interest you in my YA novel, THE TIME BENDER, a 73,000 word sci-fi/fantasy adventure. [Short and to the point. Perfect! I’d also add one or two lines here about why you chose to query this particular agent.] Sixteen-year-old Selina can bend time, though she doesn’t realize it yet. She also has a rare disorder [which one?] which makes it next to impossible to socialize and find what she wants most: a boyfriend. Of course, there’s always super-loyal family-friend Alex, who’s been by her side like a seizure alert dog...

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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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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 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston
Jun28

Day 37 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentor, Sharon M. Johnston

  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 Sharon M. Johnston …   Sharon M. Johnston is an author from sunny Queensland, Australia. She writes YA and NA fiction across a range of genres. In her spare time, she makes bookmarks and jewelry, and enjoys time with her family and fur babies. Website/blog: http://sharonmjohnston.com Twitter: https://twitter.com/S_M_Johnston Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorsmjohnston/< Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sharonmjohnston/   Sharon’s recent release … An Open Heart Novel, Book 2 Healing a battered heart will risk her last link to humanity. Mishca needs to save her sisters, but only Ryder can save her. The truth about Mishca’s past shattered her heart. She deals with the pain by focusing on a new mission: saving her newfound family from their creator. With her sisters scheduled for termination, Mishca and her friends set out on a journey up the North Queensland Coast to save them before someone else dies. Ryder understands the need driving Mischa. It’s in her DNA. But he’s not giving up on the chance they can still be together. She’s the only one to have seen him levitate. The only one to watch the sparks dance across his skin. The only one he trusts enough to know what is in his heart. And now, he might be the only one who can stop Mishca from losing her humanity. Driven apart by secrets, will they come together in time? Don’t miss Book 1, DIVIDED, available now. Sharon’s First Page Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Contemporary ONE I can’t believe I packed my car charger. In the big suitcase. In the trunk. [I would prefer to see an opening line with a bit more oomph. Something that grabs me and pulls me into the story more.] What was I thinking? My phone blinks at me. Low battery. Connect to power. As if the message isn’t already clear, which trust me, it is, the backlight...

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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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