I’m having technical difficulties w/my blog, so I apologize if the home page looks weird. Waiting for support to return my e-mail.
I thought this Pitch Wars Mentee Bio Bloghop thing looked kinda fun, so I figured I’d better jump right in. Check out Dannie Morin’s site for the linky list of other participants.
For Pitch Wars I submitted my young adult novel, VARYING DEGREES OF BLAME. And yes, it is complete, around 56,000 words. It’s a dual point of view, told by a boy and a girl. There’s some romance, but that’s not the story. There’s bad parents… and there’s good parents. There’s a girl who is motivated to avoid the mistakes of her mother. And there’s a boy who grows and learns how to forgive.
So if any of the mentors I submitted to stop by, here is why you should pick me.
1. I picked you, so obviously I have good taste.
2. I wrote my story for NaNo. That’d be NaNo 2012, so don’t worry, it’s been critiqued and revised before you. And I so want to add my name to that NaNo page where it shows published NaNo books.
3. I’ve written more than 1.4 million words (in novels) and I’m ready for that next step. (Agent. Publisher. Movie Rights. Becoming the next JK Rowling, except for contemporary young adult.)
4. I am very open to hearing all your comments and suggestions. Even though I’ve written a bunch and have queried 2 other novels, I am quite aware that I do NOT know it ALL. And I’m always wanting to learn more.
5. I hate querying, and I would be forever thankful to you if you help me find an agent via this contest so I don’t have to query.
6. I think it’d be so cool to be a Pitch Wars Mentor. And being chosen by you, and then picked up by an agent and publisher would be the best way to assure an invite for me to be a mentor for Pitch Wars next year.
7. And last but not least, I’ve got a terrific story with characters I love, and I want the world to love them too.
So those are a few reasons why you should pick me.
Now on to the more boring stuff which you can probably find on other pages of my site, but I’ll summarize right here.
-I mostly write contemporary young adult. I’ve also done some new adult/adult, but have always stuck to contemporary.
-I like writing about people with problems. But I like happy endings too.
-I am also a mom.
-I am also a civil engineer. (Hence the Literary Engineer title)
-I have a husband, a dog, and 2 kids.
-I love to write. (Yes, big surprise.)
Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to check out some of the other mentees by clicking on the link above.
Title: The Proper Way to Say Goodbye
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Word Count: 66,000 words
Only one person knew Chloe was gay, and his love and support disappeared when he hung a noose around his neck. And jumped.
Eighteen-year-old Chloe attends the college where her brother Brock spent his final days, hoping to uncover the reason behind his death. His whispers often invade her mind, and she can’t bear to tell anyone how he died. Or that she likes girls.
She soon finds Murphy—a boy who totally gets the wrong idea about their friendship because Chloe refuses to tell him the truth, afraid of losing his support when she needs it the most. And Sasha, her gorgeous young teacher, who reveals Brock was sexually abused as a child. Even after Sasha gives her his journals, Chloe still can’t figure out what pushed him over the edge.
Brock’s plan for revenge against his molester consumes Chloe, and her depression deepens. She pushes away the important people in her life and begins to stalk the one girl who might have the answer: Brock’s former girlfriend who is the daughter of his abuser. But Chloe’s obsession comes at a cost, and she might have to give up everything she’s ever wanted—her girlfriend, her best friend, and her sanity, in order to discover Brock’s final secret.
First 250 words:
The biggest thing I had in common with my older brother, Brock, was that we both liked girls. Two months after he killed himself, his whispers still invaded my mind. I didn’t need a therapist to tell me it wasn’t really Brock talking. I wasn’t mental.
Usually his words comforted me, but other times they annoyed me.
Each step I took up the stairwell, my nerves grew exponentially. It’s only book club, I repeated.
Cricket’s got a crush, Brock’s voice teased.
I rolled my eyes at his comment and the stupid nickname he used to call me, but he was right. In a few minutes, I’d see her for the first time outside of class.
Beautiful long blonde hair, gorgeous full red lips, and a big chest to match. Perfection in every way. Unfortunately, she was also my Freshman Composition teacher. Teaching assistant technically, so she couldn’t be more than a few years older than me. Not that it mattered.
I could imagine the horror on her face if she found out I liked her. She wouldn’t laugh it off like she did with the guys in class who lusted over her.
A female student—yeah, that’d trip her out.
Nobody knew I was gay. Not here at college. Not at home. Brock took that secret to the grave when the noose snapped his neck.
Today I wanted to mention a little flash fiction contest I’m participating in. Christa Desir has been collecting entries for her This One Time at Band Camp flash fiction contest.
She is giving away an incredible prize, a gift card and a 10-page critique to the story with the most votes. Very cool.
So since I submitted a piece, I thought it might be fun if the readers on my blog can guess which one is mine. Christa will be posting the band camp stories soon and will leave them up for the month. On July 31st she will announce the winner. So make sure you vote on your favorite.
On July 29th, I’ll do a post on this blog inviting you to guess which was mine. Of the people that guess right, I’ll throw their names into a hat to pick a winner, and that person will receive a $10 gift card to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Here is a little blurb from Christa’s site:
Keep in mind that all stories must start with: “This one time at band camp…”
They do NOT have to be true. Although if you want them to be because you have an awesome band camp story, then go for it. You do NOT have to be a writer. Just do it. It’ll be fun and get your creative juices flowing. Stories will be posted ANONYMOUSLY.
So make sure you watch her site for postings. Or check back here, I’ll let you know when they go up.
I’m excited because this is my first attempt at flash fiction. Have you written any or competed in ff contests?
May 17th was the start of the second round of The Writers Voice contest hosted by Krista, Cupid, Monica, and Brenda. TWV had 200 entries and I figured myself lucky just to get in. But then Cupid chose me to be on her team of ten + one alternate. What an honor.
So this last week, we got a look at all our teammates queries and first pages. We got comments, then revised. Then comments. Then revised. (Some of us at least.) With any critique, you don’t agree with everything, but I made a lot of great changes from their comments and really appreciated the help.
Now I’m sure that everyone believes they have the best team, but I just wanted to show you why we really are the best. And I apologize because I won’t be able to do these stories justice, so make sure to go to Cupid’s site to read their query and first page yourself. (Keep in mind I haven’t read any of these, I’m just pulling my description together from what I’ve read of their query.)
Dahlia with Behind the Scenes, a contemporary young adult novel about a girl who works for her celebrity best friend. But when the publicists decide they want the celebrity friend to “date” her co-star, the guy the girl’s just begun seeing, she needs to decide what means more: her best friend, her future and her shot at love.
Favorite line: She’d had an audition that morning for a teen dramedy show, and despite having been in plenty of movies, she was more desperate to land the role of Ditz #3 on Daylight Falls than she’d been to play Brad-freakin’-Pitt’s stepdaughter three years ago.
Melanie with Dazed and Knights, a young adult romance novel where a girl goes back in time and has to deal with a spoiled princess, a handsy lord and no toilets! But of course there’s a knight in shining armour and she must decided if she wants to stay or try return home.
Favorite lines: Staring at the back of his head, I imagined lightning bolts shooting from my eyes and frying that perfect blond hair. I could almost hear the sizzle.
Ann with Supertastic ScienceGirls, a middle grade novel about a girl who discovers her parents are involved in this super secret experiment and she ends up in danger from the people who want to stop it. They attempt to kidnap her, but she and her Scientastic SuperGirls club won’t let that happen.
Favorite line: We’ve found ourselves a sub loonier than the lady who walked on tiptoes and only talked about leprechauns.
LeighAnn with One, a young adult sci-fi novel about a girl who doesn’t fit in. She has one power, whereas everybody else has either two powers OR none. But when she discovers a boy, a one, they realize together they have both powers. Except that somebody doesn’t want to see that happen and kidnaps the boy. But rescuing him might be the end to her chance to develop her two powers and she must decide what to do.
Favorite lines: I’m a One – a half-superpowered freak. It’s the same sad story for all of us.
Kelsey with But Not for Me, a contemporary young adult novel with a girl who is constantly bullied and teased. She’s tremendously overweight, is labeled as a special ed kid, and just got a new step-sister who’s making her life hell. When she gets a chance to shine, but is pushed back down by her fellow classmates, she must decide if she will take charge of her life or remain the girl everyone thinks she is.
Favorite lines: I hate buttoning my jeans. I would rather skip straight to the inevitable muumuu phase of my life than try to encapsulate my size 20 ass into this denim prison ever again.
Derek with Stealing the Sun, a sci fi novel about a notorious space pirate who is not only trying to escape from his past, but from the people who want him dead.
Favorite line: Yep, Trig thought, he was pretty well nerfed.
Amy Rose with Burnout, a contemporary young adult novel about a drag-racing girl, her deceitful ex-best friend, and the boy the girl is falling for. And it all takes place in the underground world of illegal street racing.
Favorite lines: Hello, Universe. Callie White here, future professional drag racer extraordinaire. 10.5 seconds is what I need. 10.5 is what I’ll get. Just try and stop me. I dare you.
MarcyKate with Monstrous, a fantasy young adult novel where the murdered girl is brought back to life by her father, except she looks like a monster. As she’s trying to save innocents from being murdered, she’s falling for a boy who hasn’t seen her hideous self, and she’s trying to figure out who the real monster is: her father, the wizard who murdered her, or herself.
Favorite line: When I opened my eyes, the colors of the world swarmed me, filling up all space with hues and objects for which I had no name.
Becky with Here Comes the Sun, a contemporary young adult novel about an often-teased girl who gets to go to England on a school trip. She meets a boy, a Beetles fanatic, and hopefully he will help her learn to break free from her shell and that life doesn’t always suck.
Favorite line: So here I am, flying so damn high in the sky that Chicago looks like Lego City, crossing my legs so tight that they are literally tingling from the pressure.
Cortney with Phobic, a young adult horror novel where the main character realizes that the house she is living in is alive and that she is physically connected to it. And if she doesn’t figure out the truth behind the house, she may just permanently become a part of it.
Favorite lines: When I was six years old I found the man my mother murdered stuffed under a trap door in our kitchen. The smell gave him away.
And here’s my Frosty.
And thank you once again to our fearless leader, Cupid! Not only has she helped with our query and first page, but she critiqued some additional pages too. I can’t thank her enough!
So go check out all the entries to see some great stories. Sunday is the last day to leave comments, then Monday the agents will stop by.
So there are so many blog hops and contests going on, I’ve kinda gotten out of schedule. I’ve skipped Sloppy Writing two times, but will get back this week.
I also have a WIP Coaching post, which I’ll get to next week, because I had my last Skype session with Gabriela. And now it’s up to me to do some more work.
I’m going to use today just to say thanks to a few people. I’ve been pretty lucky the last few weeks and have won a few blog contests. I’m not sure why it hits all at once, but it did.
Amy Sonnichsen was celebrating her almost 300th follower (I think she’s at 319 last time I checked) and her birthday. I was randomly picked to win a 10 page ms critique, which I will be sending her sometime soon. So thank you, Amy.
Blog Hops are so much fun—I’m just learning this. I’ve only participated in a few, but have sighed up for more. The Dust It Off Blog hop is going on now, the Oh those High School Dances on May 9th, the First Loves Blogfest on May 14th and then the First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest on June 12th/14th. Whew-lots to prepare.
But anyway, last week was the Oh! My Hero Blop Hop hosted by Jaycee and Victoria, who picked me as her winner. Yay! My prize was a book and I picked WITH OR WITHOUT YOU by Brian Farrey. So now I’ve got another book on my Kindle to read. So thank you to Victoria.
Lastly but not least, Christa Desir had an interview with K.M. Walton author of CRACKED and she gave away a copy, which I won. (once again randomly chosen.) Make sure you check out Christa’s site too because her book TRAINWRECK is coming out in 2013 and it sounds fascinating. So thank you Christa too.
As I said, I’ve been lucky these last few weeks, so thank you to everyone.
The next big thing is The Writer’s Voice contest, which started last week. I was lucky to get in as the spots filled up fast, and it’ll be fun to see what happens. My entry for FROSTY is a few posts down. And check out any of these ladies sites to see how The Writer’s Voice Contest works: Krista, Cupid, Monica, and Brenda.
The Writer’s Voice Entry #97
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Word Count: 52,000 words
Sometimes you have to freeze everyone out to avoid getting burned.
Sydney’s had seven foster families in seven years. Almost everybody in her life has let her down, including her crack addicted mother. Sydney refuses to get close to anyone, pushing away those who attempt to befriend her. Now she is moving on to her next family, the Claytons. She knows immediately that she won’t fit in with their extravagant life and their spoiled daughter Brooke.
Sydney resents the snobby kids at her new school, especially Brooke’s boyfriend Corbin. Sydney thinks Corbin is just like all the other overprivileged kids; but he’s hot and she can’t help being attracted to him, even as she hates him. When Sydney finds Brooke and another girl naked on the floor, she learns that Corbin is helping keep their secret in exchange for Brooke’s help. Sydney’s frozen exterior begins to thaw when Corbin admits he can hardly read or write—the reason why Brooke is helping him.
Corbin likes Sydney, but Brooke refuses to let him go because she is terrified that everyone will discover she’s gay. But even if Brooke breaks up with Corbin, Sydney doubts it will ever work with him. And really… if her own mom had given up on life, had given up on Sydney, how could anyone else ever truly love her?
My ears tingled from the biting wind and swirling snow, but I stayed outside to smoke. The caseworker thought I was nuts, but I liked the cold. It numbed me… relaxed me. Besides, I couldn’t smoke inside—those were the rules.
After finishing a second cigarette, my nerves were calm. Jim pulled up in a dark Mercedes. Cool—none of my former foster families were wealthy. I met him and Lana a week ago, but not their daughter Brooke. This time the caseworker suggested placing me in a foster family with a teenage girl. As if me and Brooke would be close friends, and my senior year would be the best ever. I was smart enough to know that would never happen. My goal was to get through these last six months with the Claytons, and I’d be on my own.
The light spilled out of Jim’s car, and he opened his mouth to say something. Instead, he shook his head and laid his hand on my shoulder, guiding me inside.
“Good evening, Sydney,” he said once we reached the door.
Um, not really, Jim. Kind of crappy outside. Didn’t you notice the blizzard?
We sat down to do some paperwork, and Jim wrinkled up his nose. He must not be a smoker. I checked out the bare gray room as the caseworker shuffled through a stack of papers. Why did these meetings always take place in dark and dreary rooms? Didn’t they have enough light bulbs around here?
I have some really cool news about a contest I won. It made me whole week since I’d been dealing with the double computer virus problem. Gabriela Lessa, Brazilian editor, literary agent intern, and journalist, held a contest called The Best Future Manuscript Contest. The prize was $100 off any WIP coaching services—which are to help get/keep a writer on track. She wanted a pitch, a sample of the writing, and why you wanted help. Your ms could be at any stage, from just beginning to almost done.
I had just started a new project, Chloe—a contemporary YA novel, and had written about 8,000 words. Go here to see a little description. I am full of ideas for the beginning and middle, but I’m not sure where to go with the end.
My first idea is just to make it a life-changing story (where she grows and changes). My other idea was to tack on a little mystery that she had to solve.
That was my problem I presented. I don’t know which way to go because I’ve never written anything with a mystery angle. And although I didn’t plan on this story being a mystery exactly, the idea kind of intrigues me.
So anyways, I won the contest and am very excited. This is a great opportunity and I thought it would be something special to try. I’m not exactly sure how it’ll all go, but part of the coaching is Skype sessions to discuss the project. So next week she and I will be talking for the first time. I can’t wait.
Anyone ever done this before?
Now, back to my Lucky 7 MEME. I was tagged now several times for the Lucky 7 Meme—whatever that means (I haven’t found out yet), and was going to do this last week, but it was delayed due to computer problems. So here’s the rules.
1. Go to page 77 of your current WIP
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next seven lines or paragraphs and post them written (no cheating)
4. Tag 7 authors and let them know
FROSTY (Sydney is the 17-year-old narrator)
“Hey, your haircut looks great—I never got a chance to tell you.”
Huh? I turned my head as Corbin walked away. What the hell? Corbin kept his smile until he reached his desk. He was probably trying to suck up for getting me in trouble. Asshole. What did I care about him?
“Hey, Corbin. Can you float me a twenty?” A short, stocky guy asked.
“No problem, man.” Corbin dug in his wallet and handed him the bill. “Just remember to pay me back this time. I don’t remember getting my twenty back a month ago.”
The other guy laughed, and Corbin slid his wallet in his pocket just as the bell rang. The teacher handed out the tests.
With ten minutes left to spare, I finished my test and glanced at Corbin. No way—he was cheating. He kept looking over at the desk next to him. I could tell the other guy was helping Corbin by the way he positioned his paper, and how he held his hands. Mr. Canter wasn’t paying any attention—totally oblivious, but then again, so was everyone else. Nora sat on the other side of Corbin, and not once did she glance up and see him. Corbin a cheat? Why should this surprise me? What a loser.
I’ve been going through trying to find people to tag, but most have done this already. Janet is the only one who hasn’t (I think), but everyone else has, so I’m just linking you back to theirs if you haven’t seen it.
By the way, if you’ve ever done WIP coaching with someone, I’d love to hear your experiences.
I was so excited on Saturday about a contest I got into, but before I get to that, I want to mention a great query/agent opportunity.
Melodie Wright at Forever Rewrighting is having a query contest with her new agent Tricia Lawrence of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. This is a great opportunity because the EMLA is not open to unsolicited queries. That means someone like me can’t submit to them. So check out her site before February 15th and get your query and first page ready.
My other cool news.
There is a new anonymous blogger, Cupid’s Literary Connection, who has started putting on these unique query competitions with agents. The first contest had two agents. The rules mandated how many full or partial requests they could make. You sent your query and first 250 words and if they really liked it, they would request to see your full manuscript or a partial (a few chapters).
The current contest is called the Blind Speed Dating Contest. It’s too hard to explain so check out their site to see how it works.
Friday morning was the first window to submit and I learned a very important lesson. I waited about a minute, worried about a time discrepancy. BIG MISTAKE. I had Cupid on Twitter and a tweet popped up that said FULL. My mouth about dropped to the floor. I was so shocked, I didn’t know if I should try submit anymore but I did, just in case others were rejected. Within about 2 minutes, Cupid had about 150 submissions. I’m still shocked.
So the next window was Saturday morning. Once more chance. And wouldn’t you know it, I woke up from a dream where I was trying to do my submission but my computer wasn’t working and by the time I got it, I was about 2 minutes too late. So I woke up frustrated. A great start to the day.
But I had my plan. The window started at 10am. So at 10:00:02 (yes, two seconds, I watched the second hand tick on my computer), I hit send.
And I got in. I am so excited because this just sounds really cool. Of course I’m not fully in yet. The first step is to get by the gatekeepers. There are four judges and they get to pick who goes on to the speed dating round with the agents.
This week the first 50 entries went up. Next week, the next fifty entries go up (which includes me). Over those two weeks, the 4 judges will pick who moves on to the next round. Then the third week (Feb. 20th), the agents will do the speed dating rounds with the finalists the judges chose.
This is so creative and fun. And the neat thing is I know (in the internet sort of way), several entrants. I’m looking forward to it.
One last note. I’ve started a new story so check out my new WIP under Current Projects. This is the first time I am querying, editing one project and writing a 2nd. It’ll be interesting.
My entry for Brenda Drake’s Can You Hit a Perfect Pitch? Blogfest Contest.
Contemporary young adult
Sydney, a troubled foster girl, resents her wealthy classmates. Learning that the privileged kids’ lives are not so perfect thaws her cold exterior, but it may not be enough to open her heart to love.
Snow swirled and wet hair lashed at my face as the wind whipped through my worn coat. My ears tingled from the frigid air, but I stayed outside. The caseworker thought I was nuts, but I liked the cold. It numbed me… relaxed me. Besides, I couldn’t smoke inside—those were the rules.
My nerves were calm now and as I finished my second cigarette, Jim pulled up in a dark Mercedes. Cool—none of my former foster families were wealthy.
He must have left Lana at home, along with Brooke, the daughter I hadn’t met. This time the caseworker suggested placing me in a family with a teenage girl. As if me and Brooke would be close friends and my senior year would be the best ever. I was smart enough to know that would never happen. I just needed to get through these last six months with the Claytons, and then I’d be on my own.
On Sunday I am participating in my first pitch contest.
A pitch is a brief (one or two line) summary of a book.
This contest is put on by Brenda Drake, a ya/middle grade writer. On January 15th, you post your pitch and first 150 words of your manuscript on your blog. Then you jump around to the blogs of other participants and comment on their pitches.
At the end of the 2nd day, you may revise your pitch and the next day a literary agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency, will review them. If she likes your pitch, she may request to see your manuscript.
By the way, summing up a novel in one or two descriptive and interesting sentences is not easy.
Speaking of contests, I have some other cool news. I won a blog contest put on by Gabriela Lessa, an editor, literary agent intern, writer and more. Her blog has good tips about writing and editing along with the occasional contest. I submitted my query and a few sample pages and she picked mine. As a winner, I get a 40 page edit and 30% off her editing services, which is huge. The 40 page edit is wonderful because it will give me a good idea of what might be wrong with my writing. I’ve very excited about it all.
That same day, another good thing happened. Some bloggers do contests/giveaways related to their blog, so of course you’ll often see writers doing book giveaways.
In honor of her first year of blogging, ya writer Monica Bustamante Wagner, did a contest/giveaway. All you had to do was post a comment, then say if you’d prefer the book or a 10 page critique. I didn’t win, but she decided to give 12 people the chance to send in their first 1000 words and she’ll do a critique. And I was one of the 12. A lucky day for me.
Remember when I talked about coincidences. Here’s another one. Of the two bloggers (Gabriela and Monica) I told you about, one lives in Brazil, one in Chile. Interesting, huh.
There are so many wonderful opportunities like this. Generous writers and agents who give you the chance to present your work. And even if you don’t win, you may still receive valuable feedback.