Monday, November 26, 2012

My #PitchWars Wish List And Deets On How To Submit!

Can I just tell you all (again) how beyond excited I am to have the opportunity to mentor in Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars contest? Because I am!

And... Today is the day when I get to share my wish list! It's like Christmas up in here!

But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

Tis I.  Touched up? What? Who said that?

I am a writer and avid reader of young adult novels. I sometimes (okay, quite often) prefer books to the company of real people. Smallville is my favorite TV show of ever, or at least the first six seasons were. I believe everything tastes better fried and/or covered in chocolate. Related: I hate to cook, but my Ipod and the spontaneous solo dance parties I have in my kitchen make it bearable. I am the World's Slowest Drafter, known for cracking up or crying at my own writing, and prone to the occasional egotistical outburst on Twitter (all in good fun, promise). I'm going to my first SCBWI conference in February, and I am represented by John M. Cusick at the Scott Treimel agency. You can read about the YA Contemporary romance he signed me for here.

What to expect in a critique from me:
-Honesty, first and foremost.

When I absolutely luuuuurve something about your manuscript, I don't hold back the praise. But I will also be honest, in the most constructive way possible, about anything that might need tweaking in order to make the novel work better.

- Checks on grammar, repeated phrases, correct use of "who" vs. "that" etc.
(I was an English major, I can't help myself.) Also?

- Demands for more kissing

Totally kidding about this one. Sort of.

And now......In the Categories of Young Adult and New Adult...... Please pitch to me your:

-Contemporary and Contemporary Romance!
I want something that will make me do this:


GIFSoup

AND THIS:

ALL IN THE SAME BOOK! I want to feel like I just ran through an obstacle course of searing, burgeoning teenage emotion. Or new adult emotion. I like sexy, smart, and funny. Romance is my bread and butter.




-Thrillers and Psychological Thrillers with a Strong Romantic Element
If your book can keep me on the edge of my seat or make me question my own sanity while still making me swoon, consider my interest piqued. In other words, THIS:


Plus THIS:

= Gina coming after you with Grabby Hands

Paranormal Romance
Yes, I'm still a fan of paranormal. I don't mind creatures, though I admit I prefer my paranormal elements to be ghostly rather than vampirical or lupine. But Imma post a picture of Taylor Lautner's abs anyway. You're welcome.


Looking forward to seeing what you guys are working on and helping you make it the best it can be! (And if you'd like to know some specific books that make me tick, check out my "Books We're Thankful For" post on the YA Misfits Blog today!

***


Submissions start today (11/26) ! The cut off time to get your applications (query & first five pages of manuscript) in is 8PM EST on December 5

Send your applications to brendadrakecontests@gmail.com. Writers can apply for up to 3 coaches. The coaches' categories are set. Coaches can only consider the categories they've signed up for. Writers cannot apply for a coach who is not in their category.

For additional information about this contest go HERE 

·        This is open to finished manuscripts only.

·         You may only enter one manuscript.

·         Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.

 Formatting...

Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)

Name: Your Name

Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript

Query letter here  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.

````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Check back soon for a complete list of the amazing agents participating in the contest. There's over a dozen!
Today all the coaches are posting bios/wish lists on their blogs. So before choosing your top 3 picks, check all the coaches' posts in your category before deciding which coach to submit. To jump from blog to blog, just click on our pictures below. 

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pitch Wars Details!

You guys! I am so excited to be part of the fabulous Brenda Drake's newest contest! It'll be hosted at the YA Misfits blog, my home away from home, and it's coming SOON!



We're extremely excited to announce an upcoming event where  agented authors, industry interns, and editors team up with aspiring writers to shine up their manuscripts and pitches to present to some awesome agents.

Here are the deets...

·         The teams will consist of 1 agented author or industry intern or editor (coaches) and 1 aspiring author.

·         November 26: The coaches (listed on the linky below) will post on their blogs what genre/category they want to coach. They'll be very specific genres. (*COUGH* YA Romance and YA Romantic Thrillers for me *COUGH*) Aspiring writers will hop around and decide which coaches best fit their manuscripts. 

·         November 26 through December 5 at 8PM EST: Aspiring writers will submit 3 "applications" to their top choices for coaches to the contest email (brendadrakecontests@gmail.com). That means, participants will send three separate emails to the contest email addressing each with one of their three top choices for coach.

·         December 5 through December 10: Coaches will read the applications and pick teammates.The coaches don't have to pick from their applications. If a coach passes on an application, it is then up for grabs and another coach, if they haven't connected to their applicants, can snatch it after notifying the applicant and if the applicant chooses the coach.

·         December 12: Teams will be announced. On the announcement post there will be instructions on how the winners must send their work.

·         December 12 through January 16: Each coach will read their teammate's manuscript and give general notes on any issues they find. The coach will help their teammate get his or her pitches ready for the agent round.

·         Note: The material for the agent round will be a 3 sentence pitch and the first 250 words of your manuscript. Coaches will read manuscripts and query letters only once and give notes. It is up to the writer to use the notes from their coaches to get the manuscript and query letter in as best shape as they can to send to requesting agents. The coaches will critique the three sentence pitch and first 250 words. The coaches will read them as many times as they deem necessary. In no way will writers expect the coaches to read the manuscript and query letter more than once or the pitches more than twice.

·         January 20: Coaches will submit shined pitches to the contest email.

·         January 23 and 24: Agents will read and make requests on the pitches they like (it is likely that not all participants will get requests).

·         January 25: We'll announce the team with the most requests and who will take home the winning prizes (an amazon gift card for each).

·         This is open to finished manuscripts only.

·         You may only enter one manuscript.

·         Only the genres requested by each coach will be considered for the contest.

 Formatting...

Subject line: Pitch Wars Application: Coach Name you want to apply for: Title (Example: Pitch Wars Application: Brenda Drake: GONE WITH THE WIND)


Name: Your Name

Genre: The genre of your manuscript

Word Count: The word count of your manuscript


Query letter here  (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.


First five pages of the manuscript here (embedded in email). Single spaced. No indentions. A space between each paragraph.


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REMINDER: You can send an application for up to 3 coaches.

Our mentors ...


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Monday, November 12, 2012

When Life Imitates Art: Changes in the Wind



I'm finding it pretty ironic lately that I wrote a novel about a girl who can't wait to get away from her hometown.

Especially since the hometown in said novel - despite the made-up name - basically *is* the town I've lived in for a good chunk of my life. I always thought that, like my main character, Kelsey, I'd jump at the chance to move somewhere more glamorous, someplace a little further from my roots.

Until the opportunity hit. Like a freaking tidal wave.

My husband's company announced last month that they're closing their corporate office in Connecticut and relocating to Georgia.

We knew it was a possibility though, granted, we didn't expect it to happen this soon. I'd always told my husband that if he was offered a position in Georgia, I'd move without question.

I was wrong.

The realization of how alone I will be has been hitting me like a hail storm. My entire family is here, and I'll be down there. By myself. Working from home while my husband goes to the office every day. Granted, I will probably get a ton of writing done this way but...

I can't watch movies with my sister anymore

When my whole family is gathered at my grandmother's house every Sunday for lunch, I won't be there

My little nieces and nephews will barely know me

If I finally have a child, no one from my family will be there to watch him or her grow up. Or help me.

I will literally be ALL. ALONE.

When I wrote LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE, I wrote it with my high school mentality that change was awesome (and yes, it can be). It's escape. It's a new chance, a new start, especially if circumstances haven't been the greatest. And honestly, if I'd been presented with this opportunity when *I* was in high school, I would've jumped just as quickly as Kelsey did.

But while I know this move could be a fantastic thing for myself and my husband, I can't help but marvel at how my adult worries and fears have made my reality so much different from my young adult fantasies.

Funny how things change in the real world, eh?

Have you ever found yourself facing a situation similar to one you'd written? Would you make the same decision as your character? And for the love, can anyone out there tell me some relocation stories with happy endings?






Monday, November 5, 2012

Freak Storms and Freak Outs, Oh My!


So those of you who follow my random rants and rambles on Twitter know that Hurricane Sandy hit Connecticut pretty hard. We were without electricity from Monday afternoon until Friday night - and strangely enough, it happened one year to the day after the Freak October Snow Storm of 2011 that also left us without power for days, which I blogged about here.

Being holed up at my in-laws house for three days left me with a lot of time on my hands, or at least more than I'm used to. And you know what?

I was less productive writing-wise than I would've been if I'd had to lie, cheat, and steal for time like I normally do.

I'd like to blame it on being cold and tired and out of sorts, all of which were factors, but the truth is...

It seriously freaked me out to have time to write.

Some people work better under pressure, and apparently I'm one of them. My words only want to cooperate when they're forbidden fruit, being covertly clicked out between phone calls and purchase orders and cooking meals and scrubbing toilets. Which begs the question - What the hell is wrong with them?

Is it just me, peeps? Or do any of you find that the moments you *can* write are the moments you'd rather do anything but?

On a more serious note, I'm well aware that four days in the dark is nothing compared to what some people faced after the storm. Many homes were destroyed, flooded, or vandalized. Here are some photos taken around my town - my heart goes out to those who lost much more than electricity.


This house is about two miles from mine. The worst damage I saw.



Tree in the power lines

Uprooted tree in front of my old house. I lived here during high school.

Mammoth branch that fell in our backyard - thankfully that was all.