April Pitch Competition #NestPitch – Meet #TeamEvilBunny

Spring is in the air! And along with the subtle aroma of tulips, the waft of another pitch comp keeps tingling in my nostrils. Yes, nestpitch is almost upon us! Another glorious pitch competition where writers have the chance to get their manuscripts in front of some awesome agents. I know there are some pitch competition lovers and addicts out there, so get your polished manuscript out, hone that 35 word pitch and let’s do this thing.

I have the privilege of wading through the slush this year along with some other smawesome (<<that’s a new work Nik made up) slush readers. Every one of them are highly talented individuals who I am honored to be working with.

I guess I should go over the rules……but I’ll do that at the bottom of this post.

First…………drum roll

……………..

………

….

pandarole(Why have a drum roll when you can have a panda roll – right?)

Meet #TeamEvilBunny

ahappyeasterAnd in a nod to our team name, I have defiled the #Nestpitch Easter bunny. All in the name of team spirit!

Heading up our team is the wonderful Sharon Johnston:

sharon As well as her own blog, Sharon also contributes to Aussie Owned and Read and YAtopia. She has earned the nickname #ThePitchWhisperer because of her work mentoring almost every pitch competition that springs to mind! Sharon is also an author and some of her short stories have appeared in The Basics of Life and The Life and Times of Chester Lewis. And if all of those things weren’t enough to keep Superwoman on her toes, Sharon also interns for a publisher AND is a senior specialist for the PR company that she works for. Wow! So you can see, if you want ANYONE to mentor you, it’s got to be #ThePitchWhisperer! Like me, you can always find Sharon twittering to her hearts content over on Twitter.

Slushie numero uno:

‘Tis me! E.L. Wicker

Em Author of The Bearwood Series and seriously obsessed with New Adult fiction, I’m always on the look out for a new book by a sparkly new author. I very much dislike opening a book to find that the writer has an aversion to contractions and I CANNOT STAND ‘off of’  – just off is sufficient. As well as blogging here, I’m also blog assistant to Sharon Johnston and I’ve just joined the YAtopia team so will be contributing over there soon! You can find me on Twitter or…well, right here!

Slushie numero deux:

It’s J.C. Nelson!

JC Author of the Grimm Agency series, J.C. writes Urban Fantasy blended with fairy tales. Software developer by day and by night, and a herder of children and chickens.

You can follow J.C. on Twitter or peruse his web page.

 

 

Looking good!! We will all be wading through the slush pile picking out the nuggets of gold. So what will we be looking for? I can only answer for myself.

PRETTY, PRETTY WORDS!!!

Oh, what’s that? I have to be more descriptive? Ohhhhhhh, okay then. If I must.

I want to be immersed into your characters world. I want to see what your character is seeing, feel what they’re feeling. I always feel a little meh if I finish a book and don’t feel like I’ve lived the story. That pretty much means that if you use words that place a filter between me (the reader) and the main character – I’m going to feel the impact. It might seem a difficult thing to do that in your first 300 words, but it’s really not. Just plop me into your story through all the feels, make sure that your grammar is sparkly, and I’ll love you forever and ever.

If your 2500 or more is requested by #TeamEvilBunny then I will be kind in my critique, because I learned some of my CP’ing skills from Kathy who is a slushie for a team who shall not be named 😀 I will point out anything that trips my focus, any errors, as well as anything that catches my attention, and probably offer you a cake or such like along with a pat on the back – ‘there, there – we all do it’. I am totally human and we all make little errors. I have a habit of writing me instead of my and my eyes skip past it every time I do, so I know how it feels to get it a little bit wrong.

And now, the rules!

rules

Just send our team everything you have and we’ll give it straight to the agents. WOULDN’T THAT BE GREAT!!! (I’m gonna get myself in trouble!)

But rules are there for a reason, and as I’m a new slushie – I can’t really go scrapping the rules, nor can I make them up. So – straight from Nik’s blog, which you can also (and should) read here, here they are!

The submission consists of:

(i)               A 35-word pitch

(ii)              The answer to this question: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? (no more than 15 words please)

(iii)             The 1st 300-words of your manuscript*

*1st 300 = if you have a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. If you don’t think your prologue is strong enough then perhaps you need to rethink your prologue.

Finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favors.

Please note that this year’s nestpitch is not accepting PB’s, but do visit Nik’s blog as she has something special planned for PB’s and possibly MG’s.

Two things to add/note:

(1)               A condition of entry is any MS #pitch submitted to previous #pitches, which resulted in being selected, in the twelve months prior to April 2015, is ineligible.   The only sub-clause to this is #PitchSlam. Please let us know if  you have the same MS in #PitchSlam & #Nestpitch, and again if you’ve been selected. Nik has spoken to the Host of PitchSlam & they’ve agreed to work closely on this one.

(2)               This year there will be less final selection featured pitches. (Expecting final the number to be around 40). With each Team concentrating on fewer submissions, we can be more hands-on with feedback and mentoring. By doing this, not only will the pitch + 300-words be stronger, but so will the entire MS. This year there will be rounds.

a.      Round #1: Last year Nik gave everyone the benefit of the doubt when errors were made in following guidelines. That will not be the case this year, aside from formatting issues (which happen). To get past #1 author’s must be able to follow guidelines.

b.      Round #2: This year each Team will select and initial 5-8 submissions and then request more pages/material. Based on the additional pages/material, each Team will drill their selection down to between 4-5 to go to the next round.

c.      Round #3: On having picked their final 4-5, each Team will then critique the first 2,500-words and ‘get to know’ the author(s). This is a 3-fold process. Being selected does not necessarily mean being featured. Teams will want to know the author(s) are willing to accept feedback etc. The Teams will work with their author’s for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the author’s have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

 From the Slush-pile Picks.

Nik’s Team, #Team2Beat, will be hunting through the slush-pile and the reserves, looking for gems that have been missed. We will have the option of selecting between 1-5 pitches (at their discretion) to feature. This is basically a bonus-pick so, you may just get an email after the date, but if you do, expect to work twice as hard as the other author’s as you’ll have less time – so be ready!

So now that I’ve waffled on about the rules – it’s time to wish you all good luck. You have the tools you need, now write!

And one more time, just because……

ahappyeaster

Halfskin by Tony Bertauski

Cover - HalfskinBiomites are artificial stem cells that can replace any cell in your body. No more kidney failure, no severed spines or blood disease. No cancer. Pharmaceuticals become obsolete. With each dose of biomites, we become stronger, we become smarter and prettier.

We become better.

At what point are we no longer human?

Nix Richards nearly died in a car accident when he was young. Biomites saved his life. Ten years later, he’s not so lucky. The Halfskin Laws decree a human composed of 50% biomites is no longer human. Halfskins have no legal rights and will have their biomites shutdown. It’s not called murder, merely deactivation.

Cali Richards has been Nix’s legal guardian since their parents died. She has lost far too many people in her life to let the government take Nix. She is a nanobiometric engineer and will discover how to hide him. But even brilliance can succumb to the pressure of suffering. And technology can’t cure insanity.

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Excerpt

THE REAL AVENGER’S BLOG
Shooting Truth-Bullets Since Birth
Subscribers: 3,233

It’s the end of time, peeps.
Mark this date, put a black X on your calendar because it’s all over, starting today. It used to be that if you didn’t like the laws where you lived, you just moved to another state or another country. Freedom existed somewhere in the world. We had a choice. I mean, hell, if you were desperate enough you could live on the South Pole with penguins and shit.
Not anymore.
Today, it’s all over.
Today, M0ther was born.
Who’s M0ther? Our M0ther. Already got a mother? Now you got two, only this one will know everything about you. You can’t hide from her, she’ll know when you’re full of crap, know where you stash your porn, know when you pick your nose and when you eat it.
You’ll hate her, and she’ll know that, too.
Case you’ve been asleep for the last 10 years, the Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is what I’m talking about.
Let’s just call her M0ther.
A mother that doesn’t bake cookies or wash your underwear. She’s not getting up to make you French toast or wipe your nose. Nope. This bitch is going to spy on you until you’re dead. Which may be sooner than you think.
M0ther is somewhere in the frozen plains of Wyoming. No pictures of her exist because no one’s allowed to even flyover. But rumors say she’s this massive dome, a computer the size of a football stadium, like some artificial brain heaved out of the frozen soil that’s wirelessly connected with every biomite in existence.
Did you catch that? EVERY BIOMITE IN EXISTENCE!
Hear that buzzing on your phone? She’s listening.
Feel that tickle on your laptop? She knows you’re tapping.
All that Do Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife crap? Yeah, that’s the real deal, now. M0ther might tell your wife what you’re thinking about doing to Joe-Bob’s wife mowing the lawn in a tube top.
George Orwell wasn’t even close, man. I mean, Big Brother was just a pea shooter compared to M0ther. Big Brother was pissing on a forest fire; M0ther’s bringing the goddamn ocean.
Here’s the official statement from Marcus Anderson, Chief of the Biomite Oversight Committee.
(BTW, he looks like a gargoyle. Right?)

It is with great pleasure that, after ten years of global effort, I present to you the greatest feat of humankind. I present to you a regulatory system that will keep all people safer and healthier for centuries to come. Bionanotechnolgy has put us on the brink of greatness, but with that comes uncertainty and danger. The human species has the potential to live forever. Or end tomorrow.
I prefer the former.
Mitochondria Terraforming Hierarchy of Record is linked to every booted cellular-sized biomite living inside our bodies. Its primary function will be to monitor individual levels of biomites and take appropriate action if, or when, they cross a previously determined threshold. This will keep us human.
This will keep us safe.
Forever.

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ATA

During the day, I’m a horticulturist. While I’ve spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I’ve always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I’ve always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?

I’m a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I’d rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That’s the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it’s only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer’s Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult’s struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I’m a big fan of plot twists.

You can find out more on the authors website and blog.

A peek at my WIP ‘Finding Immortal’ and my battle with ‘the pit’

For the last few days I’ve been in a funk. You know that point where you can no longer form a coherent sentence? Where any words you string together are a bit crap, or even a lot crap. And even those times where you seem to be able to kill it when writing dialogue but as soon as you need to add the action, reaction, emotion, you fall on your ass and pick yourself up only to rather unceremoniously face plant the floor? That stage of writing – that’s where I’m at. In that dark little pit trying to claw my way out. Of course, the faster I claw, the further I slip so maybe some quiet contemplation is needed. Hmm.

I keep reading and rereading my earlier chapters and thinking – hey, I wrote that, I like it – so why can’t I do it anymore? I dunno. We all get to this stage though, that’s for sure. Then, at some point, something strikes and we can do it again. I’m waiting for that moment, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of my WIP because one of my cp’s tagged me to do so. So here’s the opening of Finding Immortal – it’s still a little rough around the edges and there’s stuff I need to add per my amazing cp’s advice.

Finding Immortal

The text notification from my cellphone cut into my thoughts with the sharpness of a razors edge. Another message from Alex. I knew without casting so much as a glance at the screen. It was always him. Lana preferred email and sent me pictures of whatever country she’d chosen to gallivant through that week. I tipped my head back, staring into the sky above the Mallory estate. Clouds, heavy with the weight of unfallen snow, hung low, threatening to explode at any moment.

Lucas shifted next to me on the cold porch steps. “Aren’t you going to read it?” His breath billowed into the air, mixing with the muted light of the frosty morning.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket and tossed it to Lucas. “No point.” Alex’s messages only ever consisted of one letter, a simple ‘x’, and though I’d replied on several occasions, asking how and where he was, he never responded.

Lucas slipped my cell into the front pocket of his green hoodie.

I tried to take a deep breath, but the familiar stabbing at my chest prevented anything more than a small inhale. For the past three months, the simplest of things hurt, opening my eyes each morning ranking amongst the most painful. My mind began to fog, pulling me back to the night of the ferocious battle with Sol and Selena. The night the colors in my world had paled to barely recognizable blurs of insignificance. Nathaniel’s face flashed and I clawed at the memory, desperate to hold it strong and unwavering, but as always, it faded to obscurity.

I raised my head as the crunch of hurried footsteps sounded across the yard of the Mallory estate. Kyle’s black hair lay flat and damp against his forehead, his maroon t-shirt and gray sweatpants bearing the sweat patches of his run. As he drew closer, he pulled his earphones from his ears and whipped off his top, then used it to scrub the moisture from his face.

Lucas rose from the steps to greet him. “Just in time, breakfast’s ready.”

Kyle slung his t-shirt across one shoulder and used his other hand to rub his taught stomach. “Good, I’m starving.”

Lucas pushed the front door open and stepped inside.

Kyle held his hand out to me. “You coming?”

I dropped my gaze to the ground. “No, I’m not hungry.”

One, two, three. I counted the maroon stripes on Kyle’s sneakers, at the same time, wondering when he’d begun to color co-ordinate his wardrobe.

“Tough shit, babe. You’re eating.” Kyle grasped my wrist and pulled me from my perch. I landed with a thud against his solid chest.


So I’ve kinda killed two birds with one stone(<<< ooo – a cliché, I should know better). I’ve talked about my feelings without talking about my feelings and I’ve shared some words. Now I’m off to stare out of the window. Hope the rest of you are coming along well in your writing endeavors!

Book Blitz: The King’s Sword by C.J. Brightley

Cover - The King's SwordA disillusioned soldier. A spoiled, untried prince. A coup that threatens the country they both love. When retired soldier Kemen finds the young prince Hakan fleeing an attempted assassination, he reluctantly takes the role of mentor and guardian. Keeping the prince alive is challenging enough. Making him a man is harder.

As usurper Vidar tightens his grip on power, Kemen wrestles with questions of duty and honor. What if the prince isn’t the best ruler after all?

Invasion looms, and Kemen’s decisions will shape the fate of a nation. What will he sacrifice for friendship and honor?

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You can also purchase The King’s Sword direct from the author, Barnes and Nobel, Smashwords and Kobo.

ATA

I live in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC, with my husband, young children, and our sheltie mix. They keep me pretty busy, but in my free time I write, read, teach karate, make jewelry, and bake. I love the smell of snow but I hate being cold. I once hugged a tiger. I love hearing from readers, so please get in touch!

You can find C.J. Brightley on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

gaWin a signed copy of The Kin’s Sword!

Enter Here.

The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

A friend of mine is faced with having to write her first full-length novel for a few years. It’s not going to be a problem for her – well, she thinks it will be, but her words are so epic that I know it’ll be fantastic once it’s done, even if she hits some rocks along the road. But it got me to thinking about the life stages of our books. I know we are all different, but for your amusement, here’s mine.

0 Words – Stark Beginnings

In the beginning – there was… actually, I don’t know what there was. The beginning of a book is not when you or I put pen to paper, it’s when that first little seed enters the brain. Who knows how it begins? I couldn’t tell you. I do know, that for me, it began with an image while listening to a song, but something must’ve triggered it before that? Maybe…

noidea

 

500 Words…of notes

So now I have the main characters name and a little background. But not much more. But I do know her hair color. Hell yeah!

2000 Words…still notes

Whoop whoop! – I now have names of LIs, Protagonist, and friends and a tiny bit of their background.

whoop-whoop-o
—— Words…I’ve lost count

My notepad doesn’t have a word counter, but it’s full up and I have everyone. Still…I have no plot.

200 Words…of my manuscript

So it begins. Kind of. Or is this complete crap. Should I delete it and start again? What’s going on. Anyone know?

hmm

 

1000 Words in.

I have main character, I have setting, I have action. I have…crap – which character should I introduce next. I should really know this by now.

0 Words in.

That was rubbish. Start again.

2500 words in.

I did it!!! I wrote a chapter. OMG – It’s fabulous. I can totally do this.

ican

10000 words in.

Still rocking it!

rockingit

12000 Words in.

That’s just….that’s just awful. I don’t even know what that is.

what

15000 words in.

I Wonder what everyone’s up to on Twitter.

think

25000 Words in.

And….I’m baaaack. I am the QUEEN of this place. Ooo, yeah. Look what I just wrote. How freakin awesome is that. Honestly…my own genius scares me.

queen

 

 

30000 Words in.

I am a total failure.

paper

 

40000 Words in.

Beginning – check. Middle – check. Ugh – what’s that chapter all about. CUT.

50000 Words in.

There’s a pigeon in that tree. And a squirrel in that one. Ooo – a dragonfly. *Runs off to have a look.

dfly

50005 Words in.

That dragonfly sure was pretty. I wonder what other colors they come in. Google has the answers….

60000 Words in.

I actually just don’t care anymore.

65000 Words in.

Oh yes, now I’m rocking it like the God that I am.

freddie

65002 Words in.

Wait…what? That’s crap!!! *Jams finger on delete key.

what1

30000 Words in.

I can’t believe I just deleted 35k words. *Sobs while jamming cake into mouth.

cry

30000 Words in and several weeks later.

*Peeks out from under pillow fort. Area seems safe. Snatches notepad from beneath junk food rubbish while swigging cola.

30000 Words in.

I guess I turned into a plotter somewhere along the way….

40000 Words in.

Yes. This is much better.

50000 Words in.

Is it really better? Is this too much? Are there too many twists? Consults critique partner.

scratch

60000 Words in.

OMG – I did NOT see that coming. Thank you character who shall not be named for guiding me toward the light.

70000 Words in.

*Stares at screen. Sniffles. Is it really over?

75000 Words in.

Of course not. Layer – you idiot.

80000 Words in. Several months later.

Draft one million and sixty finished.

77000 Words in and several weeks later.

CP’s have ripped it to pieces and I’ve put it back together again. Off to the editor it goes.

OMG – I’m finished. Now I can do all those things I wanted to when I was writing.

happy

A half hour later.

*Fires up laptop… Chapter One….

typing

And there you have it. My writing process. I would love to know yours!

The Vampire of Vancouver by Liz Meldon

tvbg

After reading book one in the Lovers and Liars series: The Manead of Manhattan – I was delighted to be able to read this prior to release and I can honestly say – it’s excellent, I really love it.

tvAphrodite, goddess of love and lust, is not impressed. After giving up her penthouse suite in trendy Manhattan to go monster hunting around the world, she finds herself in a sad hotel room in Vancouver with a decidedly distracted Loki. She hadn’t expected this job to be so serious, and her Norse partner isn’t exactly bowing to her whims these days. What was the point in coming with him if they weren’t beneath the sheets all hours of the day? It seems like such a waste of sexual compatibility. Humph.

Meanwhile, Loki, Norse trickster, is equally unimpressed. He hadn’t thought taking on a beautiful partner would make his work so difficult. Her unfocused energy grates on his nerves, and his lust for her is only surpassed by his desire for more godly power. He will complete this job, whether she likes it or not, and he’ll walk away one step closer to regaining his old abilities. Now, if only he can get his partner to focus on the task at hand, not seduction. Ridiculous woman.

Aphrodite and Loki, an unlikely team if there ever was one, find themselves in the City of Vancouver hunting vampires. The job is pretty straightforward: rescue the damsel, kill the monster. Unfortunately, even the easiest of jobs hardly ever go according to plan.

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If you haven’t read Book 1 The Maenad of Manhattan – you can grab that here:

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aboutLiz is a Canadian author who grew up in the Middle East. She has a degree in Bioarchaeology from Western University, and when she isn’t writing about her own snarky characters, she is ghostwriting romance novellas, loitering on social media, or taking care of animals.

As a freelance ghostwriter, she has written eleven romance novellas, eight of which have been published and are doing well. She loves writing realistic characters in fantastical settings.

Catch up with Liz Meldon on her blog, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook

New Release: The Dracula Deception by Jake Devlin

blood

I was really lucky to read this book prior to release and I have to say, it’s genius! Like all of Devlin’s books, the humor will have your belly shaking with laughter.

draculaThe setting: The Transylvania Institute for the Terminally Insane (TITI; pronounced “Tie-Tie”), where patients are not treated to be cured, but are allowed to live out their delusions in relative comfort in a supportive environment.

The plot: A down-on-his-luck actor’s audition for a role to support one particularly peculiar patient plunges him pathologically into a nightmarish maelstrom of madness and mayhem.

The characters: A manic mix of patients and staff catapults the roller-coaster plot to its shocking, heart-stopping finale.

Adapted and updated from the hit 1974 stage comedy of the same title. (The print version includes photos from one of the original productions.)

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