Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pitch Wars 2014!

(What is Pitch Wars? Click here for the deets!)


For these obvious qualifications:

  • Impeccable taste in dark chocolate.
  • Love of mountains, the ocean, funny people, sarcastic people, random thoughts and fireplaces.
  • East Coast survivor (lived in MA and NY). I now ride a horse to work in CO.*
  • Video game savant.
  • Swoon-worthy husband who is a marathon runner, expert hunter, and Forensic DNA Analyst. He has a flashy agent badge, a conceal-to-carry permit, and has literally caught us dinner before. If zombie apocalypse survival is a priority to you, well. I think you know which mentor to choose.
  • Part hacker I mean... I program stuff.

For these actually relevant qualifications:

  • Represented by the incomparable Brianne Johnson of Writers House, who found me in an online writing contest much like this one.
  • Bri is also one of THE Pitch Wars Agents. Am I conspiring to find my next agency sibling? Yes. Yes I am.
  • Debut novel, a YA cyberthriller called DUPLICITY, coming from Macmillan Entertainment in 2015.
  • I write both boy and girl POV. DUPLICITY is boy POV. I'm currently polishing a YA fantasy and am about 10k into a YA horror. I have helped many a critique partner with world-building.
  • My own work has been through several developmental edits by critique partners and my agent. I've also worked with a freelance editor on a prior novel. I know what to look for, what to leave alone, and how to present editorial notes in a constructive, encouraging fashion.

And the super important stuff goes in paragraph format:

I have done full manuscript critiques for several fellow writers, all of whom I'm happy to say are now agented and/or have book deals. Should I be lucky enough to work with you, expect that I will be 100% honest about the strengths of your work as much as its weaknesses, though always in the interest of preserving your vision. You will have full creative freedom to address my concerns as you see fit. As long as you're willing to address them, we're going to get along just fine.

Please With A Cherry On Top, Send Me:
All genres of YA (with the exception of the few in the list below). I do mean all genres. Fantasy, sci-fi, contemp, historical, etc. I'm drawn to boy POV as much as girl. I love quirky, flawed characters and wacky, unique plots. I have a soft spot for antiheroes, creepy things, magical realism, humor, Twinkies, and psychological anything. Some of my favorite authors are Patrick Ness, Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, and V.E. Schwab. For titles I love, click here and check out my Recommended Reads. You can also find out more about me on my official bio page and on Twitter. For submission guidelines, click here!

I'm Not Your Best Match For:
High fantasy (elves, kingdoms, etc), war books, political themes, novels-in-verse or romance, though I don't mind romance as a subplot.

In summary:
You have an amazing story to tell. I have a foot in the door.


*Part of this sentence is a slight exaggeration.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Perseverance and Rejection

This little story from MindBodyGreen tells it best. I thought of it often while querying, and it still comes to me from time to time:


Each day, ten-year-old Miranda put on the pink tutu that Aunt Amelia had lovingly created for her, and danced around the house. She was a beautiful and graceful dancer, and she was determined to play the role of Sleeping Beauty.

On the day of the audition, Miranda set off with her mother. When they arrived at the studio, she took her place alongside the other girls.

She would be the first dancer to perform for Monsieur LeBrun, the famous dance teacher from Paris. Miranda’s heart fluttered as she walked to the center of the stage. When she looked out into the audience, she was reassured by her mother who blew kisses.

Miranda waited for the music and then threw herself into the role of Sleeping Beauty. After barely a minute, a male voice shouted, “Enough. Next.”

The music stopped and Miranda stood frozen in place.
“But I haven’t finished dancing!” Miranda said.

“You’re wasting my time,” called out the voice. “Next.”

Miranda’s mother rushed to the stage and hugged Miranda. “We’ll go to Dairy Queen and treat ourselves.”

Miranda looked up and saw tears flowing down her mother’s cheeks. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. And then it dawned upon her. She wasn’t good enough. She ran toward the door.

Her mother followed and caught up to her. They didn’t go for ice cream. Instead, they went home. Miranda went straight to her room and pulled off the tutu. She changed into her pajamas and crawled into bed. For three days, she stayed in her room, refusing to go to school or join the family for meals.

When she finally came out of her room, she kicked a large box outside into the corridor. In it, she had neatly packed all her dance clothes, slippers and gear.

Her mother gasped, “Miranda, what have you done?”

Her father shook his head. “You can’t give up just because one rude guy didn’t like you.”

“I will never ever dance again!” Miranda said. “Never!”

She threw herself into her school work and extra-curricular activities. She went on to win scholarships and pursued a career as an elementary school teacher. She married her high school sweetheart and had three lovely children, two boys and girl.

While the boys enjoyed their sports, her daughter Emily dabbled in art and drama. One day, she went to Miranda and said, “I want to be a ballet dancer.”

Miranda’s heart stood still. Almost thirty years had passed, but the memory of that spring afternoon still haunted her. She tried to distract Emily with outings, but Emily was adamant that she wanted to be a ballet dancer.

Miranda gave in and watched from a distance as her lovely daughter embraced the world of dance. One afternoon, Emily came home waving a poster. “I made the final cut! Mrs. Clarke said I could audition for the summer ballet in Toronto.”

On the afternoon of the audition, Miranda took a personal day and accompanied Emily to the studio. While watching Emily practice with the four other girls, her mind raced with negative thoughts. She jumped when she heard a familiar masculine voice.

“Is this seat taken?”

Miranda turned and came face to face with an older, grayer Monsieur LeBrun. She gasped.

“Are you all right, Madame?” Monsieur LeBrun asked.

Miranda took several deep breaths. “I don’t imagine you remember me. It’s been a while since I danced for you.”

Monsieur LeBrun shook his head. “I’m sorry but I don’t remember…”

“You didn’t let me finish dancing.”

“And you took it to heart.”

“Why wouldn’t I?” asked Miranda. “Dancing was my life!”

“If you quit so easily, then you weren’t a real dancer.”

“How could you even tell after barely 60 seconds?”

Emily appeared and sat next to her mother. “Good afternoon, Mr. Brown.”

“It’s Monsieur LeBrun,” Miranda whispered.

Monsieur LeBrun focused his attention on Emily. “What is your name, child?”

“Emily Davies.”

“What if I don’t like your dancing, Emily?” he asked. “What will you do then?”

Emily shrugged. “I’ll dance for someone else.” She turned and ran back to the stage.

Monsieur LeBrun nodded in approval. “Now there’s a ballet dancer.”

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