Pitch to an agent… Wait, we’ve added editors too! by Candi Wall

October 21, 2012

I’m seriously late!

I had every intention of having this post up this morning. I planned to be up before everyone else and get this sucker up and running for my Sunday morning slot. That was before I overslept, found out I needed to help my son move into his new place, realized I’d neglected my laundry, needed to do some grocery shopping (what? nobody wants peanut butter, ham and pickles for lunch?), and ended up building models with both my boys until 9:30 at night.

That’s my life. Hope you still love me.

Anyway, I have news! First, I’m happy to announce that I signed with Samhain for another novel. This one is titled STAY and the plan is to write a series about the brothers we meet in this first novel. Stay tuned….

Second, we’ve undergone some construction…

And IT’S OFFICIAL.

We have now introduced editors to our ‘Agent Shop’ pitch days. That’s why that handy-dandy tab at the top now reads Agent/Editor Shop.

SQUEEEE!

That’s right. That means you’ll have opportunities to pitch to agents and editors. WOOT!

While I still have several invitations out with both editors and agents, the response thus far has been very positive – as you can see from the bar at the right.

I’ll keep updating the sidebar as I receive confirmations, but we have a stellar lineup thus far.

I’ve updated the rules/directions as well, (THE BIGGEST BEING PITCH DAY IS NOW ON SATURDAYS) so make sure you check out the Agent/Editor Shop tab above, spread the word and get ready.

Happy writing!

Candi


Literary Agent Sara Crowe – Agent Shopping day

October 24, 2011

UPDATE! I just sent out the FOUR FULL requests from Ms. Crowe.

—I think I heard a mad dash to the inboxes—

But, for now, Sara was awesome to leave a list of comments.

Here they are – and remember, this is GOLD to have an agent give feedback. You’re a lucky group!

FROM MS. CROWE:

#25 and #4 are great pitches, just not for me right now– but close.

#1—  Think about losing some details– this is too complicated, I think.  Romantic fiction is not something I am looking for, but I think this pitch would be stronger if simplified.  Sometimes you have to let go of trying to tell the entire story!

#2, This first para/sentence also has to much in it.  I would suggest you lose some of this info.  We do not need it all up front. 

#6,  Would lose last sentence– do not try to market in the pitch.  Also, when Stacy comes in, I get confused–  if she is a major character, and it seems that she is, I’d like her paragraph to be hers- who is she and what does she want.  

#8—  Sounds interesting, but I think this pitch is too short–  also, I am not looking for romance.

#9–  Confusing, would lose some details.
#11– This sounds fun- not a category I am looking for but great pitch.

#12, same as above-  great pitch, not for me.

#14- For me, the tone of this query is too sarcastic.  I would stay away from that in a pitch—  I know it is a balance, because you want to show us her voice. Also, there may be too many details given here.

I like a lot about #16, but it feels too close to projects I have.  Also, take another look at your closing sentence– it feels very general.

#20 is a really great pitch– just not what I am looking for.

#21, I feel like this might need two paragraphs– to let us know what the book is?  It sounds fun, but I also am not left with a true sense of it.  

#22— I like that this is simple and direct– but it might bee too much of a good thing.  I think we need a few more details and some fleshing out!

#27 also needs more room- two paragraphs I think.  And though it explains the world of the book– we do not get enough about the main characters.

#29 intrigues me, could be my Owl obsession– but it feels too much like telling and not showing.  I think there may just be too much info being presented here, and not enough focus on who Iris is and why we want to read about her.

Those I did not comment on are in good shape– just not for me.

Good morning All!

It’s ‘Agent Shop’ day. I’ll make it quick since you’re all dying to scroll past my babbling and get to the goods.

The pitches that made it through are listed below. Our TOP PITCH SLOT winner is first!

YAY! for WHEN DARKNESS FALLS.

As always, here are the stats:

  • Pitches received: 52
  • Pitches accepted: 30
  • Pitches deleted: 22
  • *2 – Missing info
  • *13 – too long
  • *2 – No title
  • *5 – Came in after I reached 30
Not too bad!
Okay, now that we have THAT out of the way, please welcome Sara Crowe, fantabulous agent with Harvey Klinger Inc.
Sara, thank you for sharing Marianna Baer and FROST with us.
Let’s hope we can help you find something you love. The pitches are below, happy shopping! If you find something you like, simply e-mail me the number of the pitch, (or Top Pitch Slot), what you’d like to see, how you’d like it sent, and I’ll spread the joy!
SQUEEEE! Good luck everyone.
***********************************

***TOP PITCH SLOT WINNER***

WHEN DARKNESS FALLS

Horror/thriller

83k words

One woman’s desire to reunite with her dead twin is about to become very real.

Following an unfortunate car accident, Gwen’s soul is trapped, along with those of her friends, in an old hotel that acts as a holding place for those who are not quite dead. Allowed to roam the halls, she is unaware that her broken body is lying in a hospital in the world of the living waiting for her. As she wanders the area, each door opens into another frightening mystery that makes her question whether they survived the wreck. Throughout the night, voices in the darkness beg her to give in to them, but her sister’s spirit warns her not to listen. Wanting desperately to be joined again with her twin, she has a decision to make.

As dawn breaks, she notices one by one that her friends have begun to disappear. Her desire to die is quickly replaced by a need to survive. Determined not to give in, she continues her search for answers– and a way out. She knows it’s only a matter of time before the incorporeal
entities find a way to trick her. It’s a mistake she can’t afford to make

*

#1

SIN’S FLOWER

Dark, Romantic Women’s Fiction

104,000 words

A thirty-two year old musician assistant extraordinaire, Trista Hart knows she needs to find a way out of the nocturnally persuaded world of her best friend and boss, Jaxon James. But no matter how dark that route has become lately, he and his band Sin Pointe are her family and she’s not prepared to leave them for Jaxon’s visiting cousin, Lucky Mason of Tennessee, if it’s just going to take her down another of life’s pot-hole littered highways. She has valid reasons to question Lucky and his beloved south—having experienced at an early age the sometimes hypocritical underbelly of the region’s good manners and charm.

Her hourglass has been turned upside down and now with Lucky’s heartfelt proposal before her, she has to decide one for the other at the most inconvenient of times—just as Sin Pointe’s tour is taking off and on the heels of a horrendous late night attack on her and Jaxon that leaves her sure of only one thing…

It’s time for Trista to be her own savior.

*

#2

STICK FIGURES

Commercial Fiction

110,000 words

The sole survivor of a devastating fire from her childhood, seemingly polished documentary film advisor, Chloe Jacobs, courageously leads a team of college students as they set out to study the effects of brushfire near the sleepy mountain town of Julian, CA.

While prepared for the grueling emotional and physical work she is about to endure for the film and the secrets it may unleash, Chloe is thrown completely off balance when a member of her live-in crew, introverted Englishman Oliver Andrews, decides to pursue her.

Not wanting to lose focus on their mission but having grown increasingly curious about Oliver, thirty-year-old virgin Chloe must decide which personal demons she wants to deal with—conquering her fears of the element that robbed her of her family, justifying a relationship with any man, especially one six years her junior, or the most daunting of them all—finding out if fate is ready to just let her be?

*

#3

THE BLACK DESERT

Suspense

93,000 words

Forty-eight hours into their Moroccan vacation, Julie’s best friend, Fay, disappears.

Frantic to determine Fay’s whereabouts, she quizzes the hotel staff and snoops through Fay’s luggage. Julie’s anxiety for Fay’s safety turns to fear for her own when she suspects she is being followed. Then, a vicious attack meant for Julie kills an innocent woman.

Having learned enough to guess Fay’s destination, Julie rushes to intercept her friend. But Julie’s channeling of her inner Kinsey Millhone deserts her after she gets lost and has to ditch their disabled rental car. She’s stranded somewhere in the barren Black Desert. Disoriented and delirious, she eventually stumbles onto a military patrol. She is reunited with Fay – in a prison cell on the Algerian border – and learns the extent of Fay’s lies. Although furious at Fay’s deception and still weak from her ordeal in the desert, Julie understands that they must work together if they are to survive. The women pit their wits against the soldiers and the Sahara in a fight for their lives.

*

#4

POWER STRUGGLE

Young Adult Paranormal

85,000 words

When sixteen-year-old Melody’s father is killed by psyfons—power-draining psychics—she’s driven to join the fight against these evil creatures. This takes her to a boot camp for psychic kids to master her telekinesis. Although focused on her psyfon-destroying goal, she makes friends with trainees who have other abilities and catches the attention of Jonas, the gorgeous junior trainer whose very presence makes her feel dizzy and distracted.

When a few trainees collapse, Melody begins to suspect that the evil psyfons have infiltrated the camp. The dizziness Jonas makes her feel whenever they’re together starts to become less romantic and more suspicious. Is it possible that the boy she’s falling for could be one of the monsters who killed her father?

*

#5

TROUBLE IN THE BREW 

Young Adult 

90,200 words

Mrs. Ghoul is an evil witch; she had no idea how powerful her deceased mother’s witch’s items were. Until one night, while she was gazing at her reflection into the mirror, her mother’s face appeared into the mirror as it disappears quickly.  The evil witch steps back quickly and realizes it’s time to set revenge on RayAnn to get her mother’s items back.

Jake is a wizard, he came to live with his grandmother, Mrs. Ghoul, after his mother was vanished into another world. He has no idea that his sweetheart to be lives across the street. Once he lays eyes on RayAnn for the first time, he knew they would have a magical connection between them.

RayAnn and Cindy have been friends for years. Together, these girls go through some magical reject spells to try to defeat Mrs. Ghoul at her own game. Nevertheless, this magical adventure these girls endure, they will never forget.

*

#6

ZACH’S FIGHT

Contemporary YA

60,000 words

Black eyes, broken homes, bloody fists. Beyond Zach’s exterior lies a deep well of protection and pride. He’d do anything to protect those he loves; even staying at home with his abusive stepfather to save his mom.

Unfortunately for Zach, that means putting himself in the middle of the abuse as well. The frustration he feels with his mom combined with the rage he’s holding in, thanks to his stepfather is coming, to a boiling point. Zach’s ready to explode, and anyone who gets in his way will end getting up hurt.

Stacy may be the only person who can turn the heat down and help Zach gain control over his rage. The problem with that is Stacy and Zach can’t figure out what they want from each other. Zach knows he wants more than a friendship; Stacy’s the one holding back.

Somehow Zach has to figure out how to make Stacy see a relationship is good for both of them, get his mom away from his stepfather, and try to get out of the house alive.

ZACH’S FIGHT is my contemporary young adult manuscript that could appeal to both male and female readers.

*

#7

SIXTH SENSE

Women’s Fiction with elements of romantic suspense

90,000 words

Reluctant Psychic Katherine Crystal, dubbed “Crystal Ball Kate,” is thrust into the national spotlight when she accurately predicts that the young son of actor Vince Rivers (think John Travolta) will die in a private plane crash. Skeptical Atlanta Police Detective Beauregard Lee Jackson Hale (Jack), who has a deep-seated distrust of psychics, is the by-the-book officer who ignores Katherine’s warnings when she calls to report her premonition, with disastrous consequences. When Katherine and Jack team up to catch a serial killer, the brief and fruitful chase leads to romance and the ultimate discovery of a mystery and a murder surrounding Kate’s birth in the quaint spiritualist community of Cassadaga, Florida.

*

#8

THE EDGER

Women’s Fiction

85,000 words

The Edger is a completed 85,000-word humorous women’s fiction about landscape artist Alex Newborn’s shocking reunion with her former college art professor, Nick Anselmo, now a homeless lawn man, which sows the seeds for murder, mystery and romance.

The Edger received first place in the Suspense Romance Category of the 2010 Ignite the Flame Contest, sponsored by the Central Ohio Fiction Writers chapter of RWA.

*

#9

GUITAR GOD

YA—Contemporary Fantasy

195,000 Words

Polly’s moment had finally arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Barely a teenager, Polly had reluctantly accepted the role of human guardian of the Green. Now, about to begin college and leave her hometown and all the weirdness behind, fate calls her, except to save the Green she must defeat Isaac, the boy she loves.

Isaac was the kid nobody liked until a mysterious faerie granted him his greatest wish. Now bestowed with incredible musical prowess, Isaac is loved and admired by all. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Polly is the only one who can save Isaac’s soul, but her first responsibility is to the Green. Can Polly save the Green and save Isaac as well?

Guitar God is a Jewish, suburban rock and roll fantasy with a 1970s soundtrack. It’s urban fantasy in the suburbs. It’s War For The Oaks meets Portnoy’s Complaint. It’s crossover YA for teens and their parents. It’s a world where the faerie folk walk among us, but we don’t know it. It’s about the magical places where we grew up. Maybe we knew about them or maybe we walked by them every day without even noticing.

*

#10

INSIGHT

YA

97,722 words

Some say that dreams are the doorway to the soul. Willow is no stranger to that doorway. Each night she shares a silent dream with a stunning blue-eyed boy. With each new moon she’s haunted by a nightmare shared with a different boy, who is always hidden by the shadows.

In her waking hours she must battle her sixth sense. The one that allows her to feel others emotions as if they were hers. This insight is exhausting, causing her to draw inward, only trusting a few close friends. Oddly, this sense also attracts ghostly images that seem to appear out of nowhere.  With a touch, they take her to wherever they may be, allowing her to change their emotion. This alone would cause most to go insane, but Willow filters her aggression by painting, capturing the emotion.

One August night, a nightmare came days after the new moon. In this dream the shadowed boy marked her wrist with a star, leaving her father no choice but to share a family secret that would tie all of the odd attributes of Willow’s life together. Now, she has no choice but to outrun the fate that is closing in around her.

*

#11

INTERSECTION

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

120,000 words 

A hostage crisis in a Dallas hotel brings wounded undercover cop Johnny Logan and divorcee Alexa Bailey together when they escape to the rooftop. As rogue IRA terrorists complete the takeover of the hotel, Alexa tries to care for Johnny’s injuries, hoping that they will remain undiscovered in the maintenance housing. But someone else has invaded their tenuous sanctuary–a secretive homeless man wanted for murder, known only as Daniel.

As Johnny’s brother, Pete, barters himself to negotiate the release of the hostages below, the inevitable happens. Daniel makes a fatal slip that will lead the terrorists to the rooftop hiding place.

Once Johnny and Alexa are found, can they survive what the terrorists have planned?  Have they finally found an unlikely love only to lose their lives? Can Daniel buy them some time to come up with an escape plan inside the maze of ductwork in the hotel?

Now, with everything at stake, it’s up to Johnny to survive a “winner-take-all” battle to the death with the terrorist leader, Kieran McShane, high above the city.  Can Johnny settle the score before the bomb is detonated in the hotel below them? Time is running out.

*

#12

LOST IN MUMBAI

Contemporary Romance

80K words 

For Hollywood screenwriter Daci Bishop India has been a dream all her life so when her latest script is optioned and she is given the chance to join the production in Goa, she looks upon it as a stroke of fate. Ramu Khanna is Daci’s ultimate idea of a hero, little does the naive American know; he is all of India’s as well. Can Ramu keep Daci in his life and still be the Ram of Bollywood and can Daci come to grips with the fact her perfect man is really a Bollywood superstar splashed all over billboards? Anything can happen in Bollywood!

*

#13

TROUBLE IN TINSELTOWN

Romantic Thriller 

80K words

Dema Maria Morielli is running scared after witnessing her brother get gunned down on a lonely street in Venice, California. The down-on-her-luck actress is desperate to find Micah’s killer and stay alive in the process. There is only one person she can turn to and he’s the one person she is determined to keep out of her life.

Detective Reynaldo “Rey” Villegas is harder then diamonds when it comes to law enforcement…and Dema, ever since the hot woman left his bed one morning after an insane night of sex, she has consumed his thoughts. But when his sexy obsession waltzes back into his life via a murder investigation, Rey has no choice but protect her.

As the pair searches Tinsel town for Micah’s killer, they find a cover-up bigger than any backlot and a romance that burns hotter than a brushfire.  Now if only Rey can keep Dema alive…and in his bed.

*

#14

MADDY, REDEFINED

Contemporary YA

55,000 words

The last thing 14-year-old artist and gamer extraordinaire Maddy Caldwell wanted to do was a triathlon. As in, “I’d rather skip through a blizzard in a bathing suit” last. But when Maddy’s mom asks her to do one, she finds some reasons to say yes: a chance to wow her crush (code name: 28), the promise of falconry lessons, and victory over the embarrassing Gym Class Incident.

Yet the road to the finish line isn’t easy, and not just because Maddy considers herself a notch or 12 below “athletic.” A condescending triathlon rival, a big-mouth nemesis who makes school miserable, and a boy-crazy best friend who leaves her on the outside looking in take the fun out of, well, everything. Long-time gaming buddy Check was fine, until he got a girlfriend and went MIA. Then there’s Olivia, her art class idol, whose health advice sends Maddy into what-did-I-get-myself-into territory. Throw in a swim outing gone wrong and a prank that shatters what little confidence she has, and it’s no wonder this race seems like a mistake of epic proportions. Ok, maybe not epic. But at least major. If Maddy makes it to race day, she’ll be more surprised than anybody.

*

#15

EXES, GATORS, & THE DEATH OF THAT FONTENOT BOY

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

50,000 words

Veronica Paige has gone from the Country Club to low-income housing. Once a stay-at-home mom, she’s learning to manage a budding career in the legal field and raising her son while trying to find her place in society. When the law firm she works with lands a huge case involving an accidental death on a construction site she has a sinking suspicion things aren’t at all what they appear. With the help of a couple of quirky neighbors, she launches an investigation of her own which will not only jeopardize her career, but also her heart.

This novel is the third in a series that follows the residents of the fictional town of Dunham, Mississippi.

*

#16

THE GATHERING

YA Dystopian Thriller

60,000 words 

The Gathering is the first book in the Teen Harvest trilogy set in a world where the government tampers with everything, even the water supply to get compliance from its citizens, but 17 year-old Jed is sick of being told what to do.

When he and best friend Ava are forced into the government’s elite teen army, they discover that the kids are really being gathered for a specialist breeding program where only those who produce superior offspring are allowed to live.

All babies are being injected with a dog like, genetically engineered strand of hormone that makes them age seven times faster, so that toddlers have the physical maturity of 14 year-olds. They are fed obedience drugs and prepared for army service from birth.

When Ava and Jed are matched together in the breeding program against their will, they are determined to fight their growing attraction for each other and the government enforced coupling. But if they don’t comply, they will be convicted as traitors and killed.

They start a rebellion that puts their lives at risk, but it’s their only hope for long-term survival and freedom for all teens.

*

#17

JUMP, FALL

Romance – Contemporary women

60,000 words

Katie Scarborough isn’t like all the other Southern Belles that surround her. She’s brunette, she’s freckled. She’s also short and a little more round than the pageant queens that seem to fill her world. To top things off, she’s painfully shy as well. The one thing that ties her to her Southern sisters is the dream that the fairy tales they all heard as young ladies will somehow come true.

Throughout her coming of age years, she suffers a series of miscues and embarrassments where gentlemen are concerned. She begins to wonder if the fairy tales are just lies and if a girl who doesn’t quite fit the norm is capable of being loved. Although, once she goes off to college and catches the eye of her dream man, she starts to think maybe she was better off single.

Set in the fictional town of Dunham, Mississippi, Katie’s story is the first in a series of novels featuring the quirky, yet lovable characters of the Mississippi Delta.

*

#18

BY GRACE ALONE

Contemporary Women’s Fiction

60,000 words

Vivienne LaVoie is a 27 year old engineer working to restore a hurricane ravaged New Orleans to its prior splendor. Samuel is an orthopedic surgeon desperately trying to make the most of the news that he and his beloved wife, Delilah will never be able to have children. Charlie is a man coming to terms with his sexual identity in a new town, having run far away from everything he knew before.

An unsuspected pregnancy brings these three people together, forever changing the paths they had planned for themselves. They find love, heartache, loss and joy, each character narrating his or her own part of their interwoven story in his or her own voice. Each of them feels lost in his or her own way, but are ultimately able to find comfort knowing that they aren’t alone in their world-turned-upside-down. The city of New Orleans itself plays a major role in the culmination of Vivienne, Samuel and Charlie’s stories.

*

#19

MOST LIKELY TO SURVIVE

YA Sci-fi Thriller

80,000 words

Seven months ago, the senior class of Oakdale High went up the mountain for one last end of summer party.  None of them ever came back down.  This is the story of Matthew Davis, the one boy who didn’t feel like partying that night.  Haunted by the ghost of his girlfriend Nadia and obsessed with other mass disappearances like Roanoke and the Bermuda Triangle, his search for answers leads him to an inescapable conclusion:  Matthew Davis, Survivor of the Class of 2012, didn’t survive anything.  He got left behind.

*

#20

BLOOD ON THE MOON

Paranormal Romance

85,000 words

Mia Langdon – tomb raider and adventure-seeker extraordinaire – has everything she wants. Freedom. Independence. No chains (a.k.a. a man) holding her back. Her troubles begin when she’s attacked on a dig in Peru. Soon, she’s forced to use her tomb raiding talents to find the flaming arrows of an Egyptian goddess. In the wrong hands, this weapon could destroy the human race – and nearly did once.

Used to doing things her own way, it isn’t long before she figures out that, to succeed, she needs the help of Harrison Braden Stanton, her stuffy, but oh so yummy, Egyptologist and ex-lover. There’s one problem. He despises what she does.

As a curator for the British Museum, Harrison protects the world’s treasures from falling into greedy hands and being lost forever. He just never thought he’d have to protect them, and his secret, from the woman he loved.

As Mia and Harrison find themselves in the middle of a battle between the Egyptian gods and goddess, there’s no choice for the woman with a Grand Canyon-sized independence streak and the man working for the Egyptian god, Osiris, but to work together to prevent the destruction of all they love.

*

#21

FEAST OF ALL FOODS

Adult commercial fiction

83,000 words

Philadelphia’s thriving underground dinner club scene relies on the skills of one person: illegal foods smuggler Varda Adler. But when Varda finally earns enough money to fulfill her dream of being a professional cheesemaker and get out of smuggling, Anthony Carluccio, head of one of the dinner clubs, issues a foodie fatwa against her. Varda must enlist the help of her devoted boyfriend, his family, and their friends — many of whom harbor their own surprising secrets — to find a way around the hit without getting whacked themselves.

*

#22

STATIC – Soundcatchers

YA Paranormal Thriller

65,000 words

Kristy McMullen attracts all things broken. Now she has to fix them.

A broken life. A broken town.

A broken boy catching sounds.

But how does she fix a dead girl?

Kristy must become like the Soundcatcher listening beyond to find the answers—
even if it brings her face to face with the same fate as the other girls.

Not everything has to remain broken, not even Kristy.

She’ll prove that or die.

*

#23

ALL GROWN UP

Romance – Erotic

103,362 words

Do you remember when you were young, thinking that when you grew up you knew exactly what you wanted and what you were going to do? Tech geek, Chloe, learns that being all grown up doesn’t mean you get all that you want, or does it?

Well, when the Mackeys move next door to Chloe Fisher and her blended family, she gains a best friend, a crush on Leo Mackey- the boy next door, and a future she could never planned on.  In fact, just when she thinks the crush of her dreams is coming true it’s whooshed away without her understanding why.

After years of separation, Chloe and Leo are now parted by different paths of life and marriages to other people.  As both their lives enter pivotal life altering moments, they come together as they did years ago.  But misunderstandings and silent treatments push them farther apart than ever before.  Will either of them ever truly grow up?

*

#24

BRIGHT STAR

Historical/paranormal

98,000 words

Pandora Mavros is on the hunt for one of her own.  A high ranking Siren has gone rogue, murdering innocent men.  Her mission is to locate the rogue and the artifact she has stolen.  If she fails; the destruction of her people will follow.  The licentious and dashing Alexander is a complication she is definitely not looking for.  Could he be working for the rogue? 

Alexander Knight is searching for his business partner who mysteriously disappeared and with him the ancient map of the elusive island of Eudora.  Alex doesn’t need the impediment of his desire for the mysterious and guarded Pandora, but something or someone is forcing them together.  Is she his salvation? Or the destruction of everything he holds dear?

*

#25

MEMORY KEEPER

YA Post-Apocalyptic adventure

81,000 words

Skylar turns seventeen in two weeks.

At best she figures she has eight years left to live—more likely four. The Dying wiped out most of the world’s population seventy-five years ago. To this day, not many survive past twenty-one.

Unlike other girls her age, Skylar isn’t following the way of the compounds and having children. She doesn’t want to. The genetic mutation that granted her flashes of memories from a time before the Dying has also shown her what life could be like: surviving to see her children grow to adulthood, to see her grandchildren. But the compound doesn’t share her outlook on breeding, and they’re no longer willing to waste resources on a virgin.

Most people call Haven’s Glen—a place where people live to advanced age—a legend. Skylar always has too, but now her only hope is to believe, and she’s willing to risk everything to find it and bring back its answers. Answers the inhabitants of Haven’s Glen don’t want to be found.

*

#26

AT THE END OF THE WATER

Romantic Women’s Fiction

80,000 words

In her heart, Kate would rather be her good friend Oliver’s second wife than anyone else’s first.

Seeing his strength and courage in battling back from his wife’s death has made Kate love Oliver in a way she knows will only ever belong to him.

And that is why she sits alone, today, in her cold basement.

Unfortunately, such a desperate love can leave one half of the heart lost in the other’s wake.  Kate gave herself to Oliver when she’d been whole.  His promise of a woman he could build a new life with.  Love fruitfully, bear his babies, hold heaven.

Kate shouldn’t have let him fall so hard for her.

His good heart will always love but never forget.

Her decision to be sterilized breaks him again and again and again.

How desperate is his love for her?

Enough to leave him sitting waiting, today, on her doorstep.

*

#27

INTERWOVEN DECEPTIONS

Urban Fantasy

100 K words

The Dimensional Collision of 2001 changed the geographical surface of the world and introduced the mythological species of Elves, Dwarves, Fairies, Shifters, and Vampires, into the general population. The barriers keeping out the Segregated Species; trolls, goblins, and demons are weakened. Then, Demons break through their magical barrier and attack. A blind educator and her detective lover must gather the forces necessary to rescue human hostages and reinstate the demon’s barrier to save humanity from enslavement.

*

#28

WHEN TIME STOOD STILL

Futuristic romance

70,000 words

In 2076, 3-D artist Beryl Hesketh falls in love with astronaut Roger Kemp.  But he leaves on a dangerous mission—lasting forty years.  He will not age due to time dilation, but much goes wrong.  He returns one hundred and sixty years later.  On an intrigue-ridden moon colony, he spots a woman who looks exactly like Beryl.  But how can she?

He discovers this is indeed Beryl—now Hildegard Heidt.  She went into suspended animation to await his return.  But her memory of her life as Beryl is gone, replaced by a disgruntled scientist’s programming in a plot against the authorities.  Even so, Hildegard falls in love with Roger.

Both get involved in dangerous intrigues and must rescue each other.  But nothing can save their relationship.  Roger insists on seeing Hildegard as his lost love, not the woman she now is.  They break up.

When Hildegard is nearly killed in an earthquake, and he saves her, she has a near-death experience.  Her life passes before her; she finally learns of her lost years.  Again she wants Roger; he can now love all of her.  The two are married, and depart for a new life on an Earth-like exoplanet.

*

#29

OWLET

YA

50,000 words

The voice that has always guided Iris’ dreams is now speaking in her reality. Slowly it is leading her to a frightening discovery. She is a Stryx, a human whose soul is half Avarian, who has been hidden from the ‘flock’ known as the ‘Society of Feathers’. Slowly everything the voice is telling her is showing to be true and she learns that she was accused of being a Raven, who are killed at birth, but her family managed to save her and were forced to make a painful choice. Risk the rest of her kind to keep her alive or let them kill her.

The one who was sent to kill her had instead become mesmerized by her heart and was the key to keeping her hidden. The more people she sees and interacts with, the more her abilities grow and everyone around her starts to realize that she was never what she was accused of being.  When she falls into the ocean and her soul is split in two in confirms her fate. Iris soul is entwined with an owl…meaning she will rule the Society that once marked her for death.

*

#30

OPPOSITION

YA Fantasy

64,000 words

The Aerisians—people living on the invisible, floating continent of Aeris—were given a power beyond the elements and a legendary task centuries ago: protect the Yin Shadow and the Yang Light, the pair that makes up the balance of the Earth. But in the week Atalanta Raire turns fifteen, suddenly the Light is stolen, her sister goes missing, and the only thing Ata can do is go to the Earth Plane, where a trapped Cimmerian bent on twisted revenge shatters free of his prison, and Ata’s nonexistent luck is about to make her his bait for a desperate and crumbling world.


AGENT SHOP pitch day w/ Sara Crowe! by Candi Wall

October 9, 2011

Yes, I’m a touch early for those of us on EST, but tomorrow’s looking nutty, so here it is a few hours earlier than Monday morning…

Let me start by saying I was BUMMED to have to cancel last month’s Agent Shop date.

But I did have a great conversation with Laura Bradford, who suffered from an internet interruption. She’s agreed to come back and do a different Agent Shop date. Yay! Agents are AWESOME! I mean really, all the agents we’ve had here have been stellar!

For this month’s Agent Shop, the awesome SARA CROWE from HARVEY KLINGER, INC., will be our guest agent!

And next week, I’ll find out who our spotlight author will be. So excited. I’ll update when I hear back.

So, here’s the details:

PITCH DAY – OCT. 23rd @ approx 10:00am EST. (Yep BEFORE Halloween, because we all know how crazy THAT can get.)

Wait for the word GO to appear on the main page of the blog BEFORE you send me your pitch. Send to candi_agent_shop @ yahoo.com Please remember to wait until after you see the word go. If it comes in before then – DELETE.

Please remember to read the rules under the AGENT SHOP tab above. I delete without mercy. Sorry, but it has to be done. Look at this as your first step toward following agent guidelines to the letter.

Don’t make me get my ruler out.

Very simple actually, but inevitably, I end up with one or two authors FURIOUS with me because their pitch doesn’t show up the next day. Sorry all, but I’m here to help, not hold hands.

BUT, since I’m all about the helping, here’s a morsel to chew on this fine Columbus day.

Columbus had a vision. He knew what he had to convince people of, was going to be difficult. He had to SELL his idea, his dream, his vision. He had to find the right words, the right people, the right timing, including making sure he could answer the tough questions someone was bound to ask. He had to convince people to give him, AND HIS IDEA, a chance.

SOUND FAMILIAR?!?!?!? Pitching’s been around forever, in so many different ways, yet with so many crazy similarities it’s astounding to think about it. If you’ve done your work, made it the best it can be, have passion and drive and the willingness to put yourself out there, eventually, you will get there. Just keep shooting for the unobtainable and building your way to reaching it!

I mean really, I bet the first being to create fire was looked at oddly by others.

I can hear it now…

Try #1 “Uh, grunt, oh-oh, grunt, ugh.”

Try #2 “Grunt, grunt, ugh, oh-oh, ugh.”

Keep at it, and someday you’ll convince that agent, editor, publisher, that you’ve got something special!

By the way, today is the LAST day to enter the Mills & Boon New Voices contest!

I’d love to have you stop by and read/rate my entry STAY. And of course, enter! There are more than 800 entries and it’ll be chopped down to twenty entries VERY SOON!

Good luck, and I’ll see you all soon.

More updates to come next monday!


Agent Shop day with Weronika Janczuk!

June 27, 2011

UPDATE:

MS. JANCZUK REQUESTED 7 PARTIALS FROM HER VISIT. E-MAILS WENT OUT TODAY!

Good luck to those who got requests and I’ll see you all at the next agent shop! As always – keep writing!

Congratulations to everyone that made it in.

I’ll make it quick as usual.

Here are the stats.

Pitches received: 72

  • Pitches accepted: 30
  • Pitches over limit:28

Pitches ditched: 14

  • Too long: 6
  • Missing info: 7
  • NOT a pitch: 1 (Sorry folks, but a Bio & blog/website info inviting the agent to check you out, even in less than 200 words, doesn’t count.)

Not bad! If you’ve followed us for very long, you know I’ve had dates where the pitches I ditched outnumbered the pitches I accepted!

As always, if you didn’t make it in this round, look your pitch over. It may be something as simple as missing wordcount, or a title. You might have also come in after the first thirty viable pitches. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at:

  • what might be missing
  • if you’ve followed the guidelines
You might find some of the same mistakes in your query!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I know you’re dying to scroll down and see if your pitch made it!

Be patient!

We have to announce the winners.

The TOP PITCH slot winner is – well it’s the first one up. If it’s yours – congrats!

The winner of MISERERE is LINDA PENNELL! Please send your address to me at candi_agent_shop (@) yahoo.com and I’ll forward it on to Teresa Frohock. Congrats.

Now let’s welcome Weronika Janczuk.

It’s lovely to have you participate in Agent Shop, and I hope some of the pitches below catch your attention. If there are any you’d like to see more of, please e-mail me the pitch number, what you’d like to see from the author, and how the author should send it to you. (P.S. You can use the danci address we’ve been corresponding with.)

Enjoy!

*****************************************

TOP PITCH SLOT WINNER

#1

SIXTH SENSE

Romantic Suspense

90,000 words

Reluctant Psychic Katherine Crystal, dubbed “Crystal Ball Kate,” is thrust into the national spotlight when she accurately predicts that the five-year-old son of actor Vince Rivers will die in a plane crash. Skeptical Atlanta Police Detective Beauregard Lee Jackson Hale (Jack), who has a deep-seated distrust of psychics, is the by-the-book officer who ignores Katherine’s warnings when she calls to report her premonition. When they are sent toSydney, Australia, to help catch a serial killer, the chase leads to romance and the ultimate discovery of a mystery and a murder surrounding Kate’s birth in the spiritualist community of Cassadaga, Florida. Kate learns to accept her unique abilities and trust her sixth sense about love.

#2

DARK KNIGHT

Paranormal Romance

80,142 words

Dark Knight is about the faraway world of the Shadowlands, a world parallel to our own.  Creatures from the Shadowlands make their way into our world; sometimes simply to survive and sometimes to wreak havoc.  Vampires come from the Shadowlands into the outer world and are an extended human race that live longer, are stronger and possess abilities to control the human mind.  Ethan St. John (an agent working in the secret sector of the U.S. Government) a.k.a. protector and vampire hunter, and Gabriella Woods (a “starving artist” who possesses a unique gene that the vampires need), will evade the vampires, falling in love along their journey.  Gabriella and Ethan are on the run from a powerful vampire (LaCroix) and they visit faraway places like the Shadowlands and Egypt.  Throughout the story, Gabriella will learn how to control her mind and how to break through the strong barrier around Ethan’s heart. This is the first of many books in the Shadowlands series.  I’m currently working on the second book, Donovan’s Fumble, bringing many characters from Dark Knight back into the story.  Readers will follow many of the same characters while reading about the Shadowlands.

#3

LITTLE RED FEATHER

Contemporary fantasy/horror

95,000 words

A pair of werewolf brothers battle over a Montana Indian girl—one hungers for her love, the other for her flesh—in this retelling of the classic fairy tale.

When DENNY HOLT sells his soul and becomes a shape-shifter, half-brother ZACH gets caught in the magical backlash. Denny becomes a murderous black wolf by the full moon, but only Zach’s physical form is affected. Zach becomes a gray wolf and returns to human only when Denny is the black wolf.

One day LITTLE RED FEATHER GORDON, a teenage Blackfeet girl, finds a dying gray wolf and heals his wounds. As July’s full moon approaches Zach is determined to protect his Little Red Feather and reveal his human self to her. When Denny kills one girl and almost kills another, Zach’s plans fail. He’s forced to flee to Glacier National Park and become an alpha.

Zach returns before August’s full moon and defends Little Red Feather from Denny. They flee to Grandmother’s, a two-day journey, and spend the night at a cabin. Zach transforms and Little Red Feather insists they are married. At Grandmother’s Zach battles Denny, and with Little Red Feather’s help Zach slays his brother and breaks the curse.

#4

LIFE TAKE TWO

Women’s Fiction

85,000 Words

Marianne Larson brings a shocking end to her family life when she confronts her cheating spouse at his dominatrix apartment.  She begins her new life by returning to college, without the support of her mother and grown daughter. But secrets from the past, refuse to remain hidden and bring the three women back together to heal their broken relationship and create a new future.

#5

THE BLACK DESERT

Women’s fiction/ elements of suspense

95,000 words

Forty-eight hours into their Moroccan vacation, Julie’s best friend disappears, leaving a terse note of apology and a plea: wait for me.

Days pass. Julie’s anger fades to worry – then fear, when she realizes she is being followed. Then, a vicious attack meant for Julie kills an innocent woman. Julie bolts.

She has learned enough snooping through Fay’s luggage to guess her destination is Taghabene, a remote village. Convinced that Fay is heading into danger and propelled by her own jeopardy, Julie speeds south.

Dust. Wrong turns. Car trouble. Julie finally hitchhikes into Taghabene, but Fay has just departed for a desert camp. Snap decision time: hitchhike back to town and eventually bring help or hurry after her friend.

Julie heads into the desert – and blunders into a military patrol. Thrown into the same cell as Fay and three Moroccans, Julie’s relief at finding Fay is countered by resentment at her betrayal. As the army prepares to transfer the captives to a secret prison deep in the Sahara, Julie must set aside past hurts. Only escape matters. The captives pit their wits against the Moroccan army and the Black Desert in a fight for their lives.

#6

THE RELATIONSHIP COACH

Single Title Contemporary

85,000 words

When relationship coach Lacy Morgan meddles in Reed Hunter’s social life, he decides to use his vocation to expose her as the snake-oil selling fraud he believes her to be. Under the guile of filming a documentary, Reed watches her help her clients through their relationships, making him question his views on long-term relationships. He must choose between ending Lacy’s dreams with his negative slanted documentary, which would boast his career to Michael Moore notoriety, or reaching for the one thing he never thought would touch his life—love.

#7

SKINWALKERS

Paranormal Romance
80,000 words

Skinwalker [skin-waw-ker] (n.) – 1. A being capable of assuming the identity of an animal.  2. God of Norse Mythology 3. Shapeshifter

Werewolf hunter Jace McCannon has one loyalty: the Execution Underground, a council of supernatural hunters sanctioned to protect Rochester. Despite his half-wolf lineage, Jace devotes himself to his job, and he hates nothing more than the monsters he hunts. But when a search for a sexual sadist turns ugly, Jace finds himself with the werewolves’ packmaster, and he’s craving his sworn enemy.

The only alpha female to ever run Rochester’s pack, nothing stops Frankie Amato from protecting her clan. She’s set on massacring the rogue murdering women. Ascending into leadership following her parents’ murder, Frankie can hold her own without the help of any men—until a run-in with a handsome werewolf hunter leaves captive and begging for release.

Jace and Frankie work to end the murders, while battling their differences and growing attraction. Their fate falls on Jace’s shoulders; he needs to embrace his dual nature and shift. But when Jace’s attempts at shifting reveal an unknown bloodline, this news drums up Frankie’s own dark past, and she’d rather stand on the sidelines than at Jace’s side.

#8

DARK DEALINGS

Urban Fantasy

86,000 words

At thirteen, Micaela O’Brien was the sole survivor of a small plane explosion in the skies over Ireland.  She saw it in a vision that she never revealed to her parents, who perished in the accident.  Raised by her grandmother, Micaela fought to be like everyone else, but when your bloodlines go back to the ancient Kings and Druids of Ireland, it’s tough. She attends Ivy League schools and is a very successful investment banker.  On a visit to the Berkshires to see her grandmother, Micaela is called to use the gifts she ran from to find a missing friend.  This attracts certain unusual clients.  Clients with fangs and fur, and long histories.  Some of these vampires and shapeshifters possess a thirst for power that rivals their bloodlust. Others will become her allies and perhaps more. But Micaela insists on being rooted in the rational until she discovers one of her clients brutally murdered in his five star New York hotel suite, and is pursued by the killers to Europe.  More attacks occur around the globe until they return to Micaela’s doorstep.  If she is to survive, Micaela must accept the irrational and herself.

#9

DEMON REINCARNATE

YA Urban Fantasy
72,000 words

Finding a hunky, three-hundred-year old demon in your bed isn’t so bad. Stabbing that demon in the gut? Yeah…probably not the best way to make his acquaintance.

Lucky for Katriona McBain, the infamous supernatural hit-man, Demetrius Fall, is interested in more than sucking out her soul—he needs her to assume her role as the reincarnated Queen of the powerful, British Coven.

The only person who can stop an impending apocalypse and end a long waging, demonic war, Katriona is thrown head first into a dark, magical world she thought only existed in her nightmares. Together, she and Demetrius must search the globe for the four bewitched pieces of her royal ancestor’s necklace. Bringing the charms together and harnessing their power is the only chance Katriona has to destroy Narcissa, an evil succubus and leader of the Dark Coven. But as the clock ticks will Katriona uncover the charms in time, or lose something more precious than the war—her humanity?

DEMON REINCARNATE is the first novel of my YA urban fantasy series. Although DEMON REINCARNATE is the in a series, the story stands alone, and explores the uncertainty and change of being a teen on the cusp of adulthood.

#10

SIDEWALK FLOWER

Edgy Romantic Women’s Fiction

103,800 Words

A thirty-two year old musician assistant extraordinaire, Trista Hart knows she needs to find a way out of the nocturnally persuaded world of her best friend and boss, Jaxon James.  But no matter how dark that route has become lately, he and his band Sin Pointe are her family and she’s not prepared to leave them for Jaxon’s visiting cousin, Lucky Mason of Tennessee, if it’s just going to take her down another of life’s pot-hole littered highways.  She has valid reasons to question Lucky and his beloved south—having experienced at an early age the sometimes hypocritical underbelly of the region’s good manners and charm.

Her hourglass has been turned upside down and now with Lucky’s heartfelt proposal before her, she has to decide one for the other at the most inconvenient of times—just as Sin Pointe’s tour is taking off and on the heels of a horrendous late night attack on her and Jaxon that leaves her sure of only one thing…

It’s time for Trista to be her own savior.

#11

TROUBLE IN THE BREW

Young Adult 

88,000 words

Mrs. Ghoul was up late one night brushing her long stringy hair. She stops to place the hair brush down, as her eerie witchy nails scrap the top of the dresser. She gazes at herself into the mirror; her deceased mother’s reflection appears and disappears quickly. It was a sign of her mother to let know her know that her items are still very powerful. After that particular moment, she gets into a deep thought as she thinks about setting revenge on RayAnn to retrieve the magical items back.

Jake is a wizard, he came to live with his grandmother, in New England, after his mother was vanished into another world. He had no idea that his sweetheart to be lived across the street. Once he lays eyes on RayAnn for the first time, he knew they would have a magical connection between them.

RayAnn and Cindy have been friends for years. Together the girls go through some magical reject spells to try to defeat Mrs. Ghoul at her own game. Nevertheless, their magical adventure will intense throughout the story.

#12

THE DATING GAME

Single-Title Romance

100,000 words

Widow Jeannette Riley’s long-term boyfriend is running from commitment like an escaped convict desperate to stay free.

That’s what her brother implies when he makes her an unconventional offer of help to prove it. She tells him to mind his own business. But when she suggests to her boyfriend she spend an evening listening to his band play at an out-of-town club, he quickly discourages her. One quick phone call to her brother sets the plan in motion, a plan she hopes doesn’t backfire.

When Tyler Morgan’s fiancée chooses her dynamic career over their relationship, he thinks a distraction will help fill the void growing inside him. He believes it’s purchasing the classic car collecting dust in a co-worker’s sister’s garage. When he steps into what turns out to be Jennette’s backyard to ask if she’s willing to sell, what he gets is a case of mistaken identity and an intriguing offer he chooses not to turn down.

What neither Jennette nor Tyler expects is for a chance meeting and one simple date to grow into an all-consuming passion and love neither can deny.

#13

THE PIRATE’S DECEPTION

Regency with paranormal influence

90,000 words

Alexander Barrington flees his tyrannical uncle for the open seas and becomes a ruthless pirate who turns vampire.

Captured and sentence to hang for piracy, a fate he must avoid to keep his vampire self hidden, he gets a reprieve if he recues Lady Laurel Sinclair from French pirates and return her to her fiancé in England. He falls for the woman who sees him as a hero but he knows he is below her nobility status a pirate and must not steal her for himself.

In this Vampire Diaries meets Pirates of the Caribbean, he erases her memory of him so she can live a normal life though he doesn’t want her to go because she treats him like a human, making him feel alive again. Can he really have her without exposing what he is – a thief, the undead? The damned?

#14

GUITAR GOD

YA—Contemporary Fantasy

195,000 Words

Polly’s moment had finally arrived, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Barely a teenager, Polly had reluctantly accepted the role of human guardian of the Green. Now, about to begin college and leave her hometown and all the weirdness behind, fate calls her, except to save the Green she must defeat Isaac, the boy she loves.

Isaac was the kid nobody liked until a mysterious faerie granted him his greatest wish. Now bestowed with incredible musical prowess, Isaac is loved and admired by all. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Polly is the only one who can save Isaac’s soul, but her first responsibility is to the Green. Can Polly save the Green and save Isaac as well?

Guitar God is a Jewish, suburban rock and roll fantasy with a 1970s soundtrack. It’s urban fantasy in the suburbs. It’s War For The Oaks meets Portnoy’s Complaint. It’s crossover YA for teens and their parents. It’s a world where the faerie folk walk among us, but we don’t know it. It’s about the magical places where we grew up. Maybe we knew about them or maybe we walked by them every day without even noticing.

#15

THE WICKED BARGAIN

Regency

90,000 words

Haunted by a past as a sex slave, nobleman Ethan Warth returns to England as a male courtesan for rich matrons and runs a brothel for wealthy lords. Arabella Covington appears on his door, trained in the medical arts but unable to practice because she is a woman. He hires her to care for his ladies but her inquisitive nature and beauty make him desire to teach her the world of seduction.

Ethan, however, never counted on falling in love…

#16

BETRAYAL

Thriller

105,000 words

When Gerald “Jet” Jameson, an aspiring astronaut, loses control of his perfect life he agrees to murder innocents to stop an escalating nuclear war. His reward. Raising a son he didn’t want, doubting an ego he can’t risk, utilizing technology he can’t possibly understand, while hiding a secret where the only solution is a hangman’s noose.

Add in:

·      An engineered slate wiping virus

·      A world wide manhunt

·      A secret facility that uses humans as telepathic guinea pigs

·      A harvesting operation that steals organs from the dregs of society

·      An impossible space program sold as the only hope for mankind

·      and man’s first contact

This is BETRAYAL.

#17

MYSTERY ON THE COAST

Cozy Mystery with Romantic elements

70,000 words

Levi Mendenham thought taking flak for changing his parents’ Jewish bookstore into a haven for mystery readers was bad, but that’s nothing compared to being the prime suspect in the murders of both his fiance and an ex-  girlfriend. When the woman he recently asked out on a date goes missing as well, Levi, a former agent for the National Security Agency,  has to find a way to stay out of jail and find the real murderer.

#18

WITCH HUNT

Crime

85K words

The only white sheep in a flock of black ones, bank teller and human-lie-detector Lolita Vette aches for the guilty pleasure of a normal life. Instead, she works weekends exploiting her ‘gift’ as a psychic for an embarrassing and expensive family of wanna-be witches.

When she stops a bank robbery to save a mentally handicapped friend from going to jail, Lolita’s interrupted something bigger than a small town payday heist.  Kingpin Queenie Trent doesn’t appreciate the interference and puts the squeeze on Lolita: Break into the vault  or she and her screwy family will suffer the consequences.

Lolita refuses and Queenie sends trouble after her like debt collectors on a past due. She’s been assaulted, robbed, and now Tug Shelby–the man she hadn’t yet decided whether he belonged in a shallow grave or  her bed–is missing.  Leaving behind a little finger and a helluva lot of blood. Now even Lolita can’t help but pray for a little backwater magic.

#19

AMBUSHING THE HEIRESS

Historical/Regency romance

95K words

“The sacrifice of one spoiled heiress for the good of many…” at least that’s how tarnished war-hero Major Vicks Geale quiets his conscience. Newly returned to England, Vicks finds his pay and commission forfeited, he’s inherited a crumbling estate, worthless title and a mountain of debt. With a band of wounded men depending upon him, Geale chooses the feckless and rich Lady Evangeline “Mischief” Moorecroft.

Gorgeous over-indulged Lady Evangeline delights on dancing the razor’s edge between scandal and infamy. Unable to resist Geale’s bait of a notoriously naughty masquerade, Evangeline awakens to discover she’s been ambushed into marriage. As an uneasy alliance forms between them, Evangeline has second thoughts about dissolving the marriage.

Their fierce attraction is put to the test when Evangeline’s treacherous and well-connected mother, the Duchess, gives Evangeline an ultimatum: end the marriage or the Duchess will use her connections to end Geale’s life.

#20

A TASTE OF HONEY
Historical mystery romance with a paranormal element
70,000 words

Dirk McSwain, a gambler from new Orleans, has one goal, to save the family home. He buys first class passage on the Queen Mary ocean liner in order to make the big bucks in a hurry. Meeting a shy young psychic was not in his plans, but when a man he took for a lot of money is killed, Dirk must team up with Eden McGill to solve the case.

#21

HEAVEN SENT WARRIOR

Paranormal Romance

91,000 words

Henri Chevalier’s last memory, before awakening naked within a bronze statue in a museum’s moonlit garden, was Auguste Rodin’s studio in 1886 Paris where he had expected to die to escape his broken heart.

He soon discovers he must learn to use the unexpected powers Heaven has given him to succeed in his mission against otherworldly creatures, such as demons, faeries, and a delectable art museum curator named Annabelle Mackintosh.

Relationship-wary, Belle does not believe Henri’s strange words and dire warnings at first, but their relationship heats up when a demon escapes the underworld and forces Henri and Belle to learn to trust each other.

#22

SWORN TO LOVE

Historical Romance set in the Regency Period with elements of suspense
84,000 words

Before Lieutenant Colonel Amherst, a battle-weary hero, can return to the
fight and avenge the death of his men, he must first honor a promise and
watch over his best friend’s sister, Lady Juliette, an innocent beauty who
fears she may be coerced to marry a lecherous old duke, to save the family
coffers.

Unbeknownst to the ton, the duke’s vengeful sister and a scorned lover are
both desperate to make sure Juliette, and any other young lady, do not wed
him.  One wants her nephew to inherit the ducal title while the other wants
the duke to die a lonely, old man for what he did to her many years ago.

When Juliette unwittingly captures Amherst’s heart, he asks for her father’s
hand in marriage, but is one day too late, forcing Juliette into a world of
greed and murder and a guilt-ridden Amherst into a race against time to save
her and redeem himself and renew their love.

#23

SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE

Historical Romance set in the Regency Period 
85,000 words

Lady Beatrix, a strong-willed young woman, has no wish to marry for anything
less than love and becomes quite taken by Lord Whitby.  However, he is a
grief-stricken widower who has no desire to remarry for he feels responsible
for his wife’s death.  When Beatrix tries to warn him of a notorious widow’s
plot to trap him into marriage, she is the one caught alone instead with
him, and they must wed.  Enthralled by the independent beauty, Whitby never
expected Beatrix could free him from the chains that bind his heart and
cripple his spirit, nor did Beatrix expect a woman to come between them who
would do anything, even murder, to gain Whitby’s love.  United by passion,
Bea and Whitby risk their lives to save not only themselves but each other.

#24

THE ANGEL MADE ME DO IT  

Single Title Contemporary Romance

83,000 words

It’s time to unleash the angels.
This story is my sassy spin on Touched By an Angel meets L.A. Ink.  And when my angel – a 300 lb biker – is tasked with the Heavenly mission of playing cupid to a surly tattoo artist who wants nothing to do with love again, and an uptight accountant struggling to break free from her mother’s shadow, you might think this is a simple case of opposites attract.  Well, not so much.  You see, they both bring plenty of emotional baggage to the table and they simply can’t stand each other!  So, they force their poor cupid to work double time and come up with all sorts of creative ways to make sure the Divine Plan doesn’t fail.

I am a fresh, unpublished author and I’m looking forward to finding my niche.  And though I would never hold myself up to their caliber, I would say my writing sits comfortably somewhere in the pocket of romantic humor with authors such as my chapter mate Christie Craig or even Kristan Higgins, and I dream of someday being somewhere in their stratosphere.  I am also a PRO member of the RWA and the Northwest Houston chapter.

#25

COLLISION

Urban fantasy (with strong romantic elements)

85,000 words

Sienna Wolfe knows it’s going to be an interesting day when a man with golden skin and strange tattoos crashes in her backyard… and ends up tied to her bedposts. She likes her life just the way it is – simple, easy, relaxed. But when the gorgeous new alien in her life asks for her help in an inter-galactic war on a collision course with earth, she can’t say no… but she’ll soon wish she had.

Being the only human on a secret base full of ETs is complicated, especially when she’s sharing her bed with one of them. She struggles with her new, unpredictable world, which includes trying to protect earth from alien domination and dodging attempts on her life. And to make matters worse, her greatest enemy – with annoyingly good looks – offers her a double-edged proposal to end the war. All she has to do is give up her freedom and turn her back on the love of her life. Now it’s up to Sienna to pull off the impossible: save the world and – hopefully – live a little happily ever after.

#26

TROUBLE IN TINSELTOWN

Romantic Mystery

80K words

Dema Maria Morielli is running scared after witnessing her brother get gunned down on a lonely street in Venice, California. The down-on-her-luck actress is desperate to find Micah’s killer and stay alive in the process. There is only one person she can turn to and he’s the one person she is determined to keep out of her life.

Detective Raphael Villegas is harder then diamonds when it comes to law enforcement…and Dema, ever since the hot woman left his bed one morning after an insane night of sex, she has consumed his thoughts. But when his sexy obsession waltzes back into his life via a murder investigation, Rafe has no choice but protect her.

As the pair searches Tinsel town for Micah’s killer, they find a cover-up bigger than any backlot and a romance that burns hotter than a brushfire.  Now if only Rafe can keep Dema alive…and in his bed.

#27

DAUGHTER OF FIRE

Paranormal Romance

55K words

A rash of theft and the destruction of sacred artifacts have brought the wrath of the United States Geological Survey down on Dr. Jack O’Connor’s head.  The handsome volcanologist has been sent a mouthy new assistant to help him get to the heart of the vandalism. Kalama Young is like no woman he has ever known.

Kalama may look like your typical island girl but there is more to the Hawaiian beauty than meets the eye. A secret lies beneath the surface of her fiery demeanor. Kalama is the 230 year old half mortal daughter of Pele, the Goddess of Fire. In desperation, Pele has called Kalama home to Hawaii.

A force beyond anything the world can comprehend is threatening Pele. Only Kalama can stop it. Na-maka-o-kaha’I, the goddess of the sea, has been released from her watery prison at the bottom of the ocean by an earthquake. She wants revenge against her sister Pele and will stop at nothing to get it. Kalama and Jack must join forces and race against time to recover a sacred carving in order to save her mother and all of Hawaii. . For it is written, He who controls the carving, controls Pele.

#28

BRIGHT STAR

Historical/paranormal

98,000 words

Pandora Mavros is on the hunt for one of her own.  A high ranking Siren has gone rogue, murdering innocent men.  Her mission is to locate the rogue and the artifact she has stolen.  If she fails; the destruction of her people will follow.  The licentious and dashing Alexander is a complication she is definitely not looking for.  Could he be working for the rogue?

Alexander Knight is searching for his business partner who mysteriously disappeared and with him the ancient map of the elusive island of Eudora.  Alex doesn’t need the impediment of his desire for the mysterious and guarded Pandora, but something or someone is forcing them together.  Is she his salvation? Or the destruction of everything he holds dear?

#29

DIGGING DEEPER

YA

72,000 words

Ella has a secret. Problem is, she doesn’t know what it is. The car accident that killed her best friend and the two guys they picked up one stupid night after a party – is nothing but a foggy blur.

Her father’s too much of a drunk to help her figure it out, and her mother suffers from denial that anything could possibly be wrong in her perfect life.

That leaves the geeky school psychologist who still uses words like groovy and gnarly in an attempt to be ‘down with the kids’.

Welcome to Ella’s hell – join the club – they’ve got jackets.

Enter one of the dead boy’s older brother’s, and Ella’s secret turns out to be the reason he’s hunted her down.

#30

WHERE THE MAN LIED

Contemporary romance/suspense

89,000 words

What else would any red-blooded American woman with a shred of self-respect do, but sneak around for a night to see what kind of dirt she can find on her cheating, no-good, lying, SOB of an ex-boyfriend?

Okay, so it was lame. Dani Shaffer knows just how lame it is when she stumbles across the wrong place at the wrong time and witnesses the brutal murder of a young hooker.

With an ex-police father who’d shamed the family with his corruption, Dani’s faith in law enforcement is non-existent. Flip, witty, and okay, somewhat smokin’, Officer Hale Dennison, doesn’t do a whole lot to reaffirm her faith. But who else can she trust when the murderers decide she needs to permanently forget what she saw?


30 Seconds To Grab ‘Em Or Die

April 28, 2011

By: Stacey Purcell

Easy reading is damn hard writing.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

“I don’t normally make a habit of hiring thieves as security specialists,” Lucy Sharpe met the cold blue gaze of a man she’d never imagined would return …after she discharged him under a cloud of suspicion. –Taken from Make Her Pay by Roxanne St. Claire

Did this get your attention? Does it make you want to know why he was fired under a cloud of suspicion? Does that suspicion have something to do with the fact that she just called him a thief? And why would he return looking for a job?

Whether you are getting ready to self-pub or send your story out to an agent, your first lines are crucial. Caroline Joy Adams states that the average person reads about 200 words per minute. You only have half that time to get their attention. This means you have 30 seconds to hook your reader to go beyond the first paragraph. Scary, no?

Writers don’t have time to warm up the audience, good fiction starts with something that grabs you and won’t let you go until the last page. Roxanne St. Claire is particularly good at creating first lines that make a million questions roll through your head. I had to read the next sentence because I wanted to know why that guy came looking for a job from a CEO that obviously thought he was a thief….or maybe he was a thief!

I had the opportunity to take a week long workshop called Writing The Breakout Novel led by Donald Maass and he had quite a lot to say. He explains that weak first lines are like a limp handshake- it creates less than stellar impressions and expectations. Unfortunately, we often squander that first opportunity and our lines don’t create a tone, make us ask questions, or yank at our emotions. Remember you only have thirty seconds and you’ve already wasted the first 10.

A great first line pulls us immediately into a story. Donald says that it opens a world in which things are already happening making us want to discover more about this world between the covers of the book. So, what makes first lines effective?

Well, I thought I knew. On the last day, he worked with us on this topic and then asked for volunteers to read their first lines. My hand shot up before my brain could scream loud enough to make it come back down. He called on me. I realized the rash stupidity of my actions as my trembling hand lifted the page sitting on the table. I read-

These people have no idea they’re about to die, he observed, as if looking at lab animals in an unthinkable experiment.

My embarrassment grew as he tilted his head back and forth contemplating the words. Obviously, it wasn’t up there with Hemingway, but it seemed better than Snoopy’s “It was a dark and stormy night.” I could feel the heat creeping up my neck as I waited for the verdict. Then the worst happened, he opened it up for everyone to throw in their opinion. Could I just die?

To make a long story short, the consensus was that it was an OK way to begin, but not so great. Donald thought it was a bit cartoonish, others thought it gave away too much, too soon etc. etc. etc. I survived that day and after I got home to savor many glasses of cabernet, I realized it wasn’t the first line for me. He was right. I revised and this is what I wrote-

The lie was complete.

Blood orange wings audibly flitted above his bed-roll as the Atlas moth made lazy eights, each beat bringing death closer. There was nothing left to do except wait. He marked time with the slow pulsing of the giant moth’s wings as it came to rest on the side of an ancient Banyan tree.

This opening has received a much stronger approval than my old one. What is the lie? Why is death getting closer? Why is he just waiting? My hope is that I’ve created a beginning intriguing enough to pull my readers in.

What are your first lines? Do they pull the reader in? Why don’t you share your strokes of brilliance with us? I’d love to read them!


Agents & Editors are people too… Some you like, some you don’t.

September 27, 2010

One of the things we all love is to read the comments of agents and editors. Come on. We’ve all done it. Laughed and groaned at the list of their worst received queries? Chuckled when another author makes such a heinous mistake or is sooooooo sure of their own talent that they say something that lands them an immediate rejection? Of course we come away from these stories a little bit smarter for having done our research and followed the A/E to see if we would be a good fit. We’re essentially – getting to know them.

The Agents and Editors are well aware of their reading public. Their stories are crafted to make us laugh, shake our heads, or want to cry. They know we secretly thank these authors who refuse to do their homework and clear a bigger path for us. They also know we cringe to know that these same authors make it that much harder for us to get in because the A/E are continually frustrated by these people who refuse to follow the rules.

I mean, let’s face it. Writing is hard work. You continue to learn, perfect, revise. You attend conferences and workshops and network until your eyes hurt to get your name out there. And there are those who refuse to even try. Makes us kinda crazy right?

I bet it does the A/E’s as well.

BUT – and yep, this is a big BUT.

No matter how badly we want this, and no matter how hard it is to get published, we all have to remember that Agents and Editors are people too. People just like we run into every day of our lives. The guy on the bus that stinks every morning? The opinionated PTA member who makes everyone crazy by being too demanding? The neighbor that refuses to move his six broken down cars away from the beautifully landscaped border of your property?

Yeah, we’ve all met them, and even if they offered to help us gain something incredible, we just have to agree to share it, would we take the offer?

Now think about this. You don’t enter a contract with anyone without doing your homework. Checking their background, their contacts, their actual qualifications, right? And if that all passes muster, do you just jump right in?

I think sometimes writers forget they are entering into a very personal, intimate contract with an agent. Do some REAL research on them. Follow their blog, Twitter, Facebook, anywhere they might post opinions or comments. And no I’m not giving you the green light to become a stalker. Eeeeek. (I’ve heard of A/E’s complaining of this too.) You can usually read the archives on an Agent or Editor to learn a huge amount about what they are like and what kind of personality they have. Just researching the basics to make sure they are qualified isn’t enough.

Case in point, I follow numerous agents and editors, on any of the media networking venues. I do so because in researching them as a potential A/E, I found that I liked their style. I also found any number of A/E’s that I took off my query list for one reason or another. That’s not to say they weren’t nice people, or even professional, they just didn’t fit me. And I assumed, if they don’t fit me, I won’t fit them either. At least – not the way I want.

I recently updated my To Be Queried list for a new YA novel I’ve completed. Near the top of my research list was an agent I had heard good things about, but not a ton. I did some digging. At first, I thought maybe I’d caught her on a bad day, so I read further into her archives. It quickly became clear that she got a good laugh out of making fun of – what I thought sounded like simple mistakes anyone could make. She continued to pick apart EVERYTHING, in detail, an author could do that would earn them a form rejection. Right down to the Mrs, Ms, or Dear.

Too picky? Yeah, me thinks so too!

Really? As aspiring or published writers, aren’t we up against enough without having to know that one A/E liked to be addressed Dear, while another wants to be addresses Ms???? I certainly wouldn’t boot an agent from my list on one little pet-peeve, but this agent was unhappy with everything.

Just as an A/E can decide not to work with someone because of their personality, so too can we. Agents and Editors are people too. Don’t forget to get to know them a little before you hop into a relationship that you could have easily determined was doomed!

The saying goes: ‘No agent is better than a bad agent.’

So – You tell me. Any horror stories?

Followed an A/E and were shocked by something they posted/tweeted?

Share so all can be aware.

(Of course, names should be and will be redacted. We’re not here to put anyone down. Just to learn what to watch for.)


Writer Inspiration: Margaret Mallory

December 8, 2009

by Marie-Claude Bourque

Today, I am please to welcome historical author Margaret Mallory who is represented by Kevan Lyon and who also happen to be in my RWA chapter (Go GSRWA!).  Here’s to you Margaret 🙂

Thanks so much for inviting me! 

Q: As a newly published author, do you have advice regarding how an unpublished author should choose an agent? 

People will give you all kinds of advice on how to choose an agent, but the truth is that for most unpublished authors, the agent chooses you. An agent is your ticket to the prom. To sell your book to a New York publisher, you almost have to have one. But they are hard to get, and most of us are lucky to have one offer of representation before being published. 

It is not all bad, however, that your first agent will probably choose you and not the other way around. Agents are bombarded with requests for representation. When an agent picks your manuscript from the vast sea of manuscripts around her, it’s because she loves it. To sell a first book, you’ll need to have someone with that enthusiasm in your corner.

 As a hungry, un-published author, I would have accepted any agent who met my minimal criteria. My agent simply had to A) be alive and B) not have a bad reputation. It was just good luck that a wonderful agent, Kevan Lyon, loved my first book and offered to represent me.

I don’t mean to say I didn’t check Kevan out, because I did. First of all, I only queried agents who were on the RWA-approved list and who did not have cautions about them on the Predators & Editors site,  http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm. After I heard from Kevan, I dutifully checked her author references. It was a bonus—and a great relief—that Kevan’s authors gave her rave reviews. My requirements, as I say, were minimal. 

Not every new author is as lucky with their first agent. That’s why authors have second and third agents. My view is that you shouldn’t query any agent that does not meet your minimal requirements. If you have two or more agents vying to represent you, by all means find out everything you can to help you choose. But it’s more likely you’ll have only one offer. 

Q:  Why do you think you sold when many talented authors do not? 

Writing fiction is a second career for me. When I quit my job to write, I did it with the goal of getting published. The only way I could justify giving up half the family income was to pursue this new vocation flat-out. I worked hard. I was in a hurry.

Here are the things I did that I think made a big difference in helping me become a published author:

1. I treated writing as a job and pursued it with the intention of getting published.

2. After reading Stephen King’s book On Writing, I set daily, weekly and monthly writing goals. I am a slow writer. I struggle. To meet my goals, I had to put in the hours and let other things go.

3. I accepted that I had a lot to learn and set out to learn my craft. I read books on writing, joined writers groups, attended conferences and workshops, and read lots of fiction.  

4. When I didn’t have a critique group to join, I started one with members of my local RWA chapter. Participating in a critique group was enormously helpful in improving my skills, toughening my skin, and discovering my strengths and weaknesses as a writer. 

5. I entered contests for the critiques. My critique group was great, but feedback from experienced writers who don’t know you can help you improve those critical first chapters, in particular.

6. I forced myself to submit to agents and editors and face rejection. Everything about this phase is just plain hard. I thrived on stories of famous authors who were rejected countless times. It is absolutely true that great books get turned down every day. But it is also true that many of those rejected books eventually do get published! Your book will never have a chance unless you put it out there. 

Regarding 4 & 5, above, I offer two cautions. Don’t put too much stock in one person’s comments, especially if they don’t ring true. If, however, six judges in two contests all say you are starting your story in the wrong place, you ought to pay attention.

My other caution is that critique partners and judges generally are better at identifying problems than at resolving them. Other people can tell you when your hero’s motivation isn’t clear, your plot is confusing, or your heroine is not sympathetic. You are generally better off, however, coming up with your own fix to the problem. After all, it’s your story. 🙂

I’d love to hear your comments or questions! I’m offering an autographed copy of either Knight of Desire or Knight of Pleasure (winner’s choice) to one of the people who submit a comment.

 Thank you so much for your great advice. I too like to be reminded that writing and the quest to publication is hard work. It’s fun but it is work. When I fell unmotivated, I re-read On writing by Stephen King. Great choice 🙂

So please leave us a comment for your chance to win a copy of Margaret and I’m curious, as we approach the holiday, what is your favorite trick to stay motivated? In my case, I am a member of the GIAM group  and just signed up for Cherry Adair “Write the Damn Book Challenge” that she opens to the ECWC conference goers every year. I just got her first kick in the back side email, I’m scared LOL.

So please, give me some motivation!


ECWC: Agent Panel: What They Want. (Or Not!)

October 19, 2009

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By Marie-Claude Bourque

Last week-end, I was very lucky to attend the wonderful Emerald City Writers Conference in Bellevue, WA. It’s great that I live so close.

The conference was a success as described here at Barbara Vey’s Blog (Publisher’s Weekly) .

I sat in front of a panel of impressive agents and editors and though I’d share what I heard from them here at Musetracks. So present at the panel, where agent Alexandra Machinist of the Linday Chester Literary Agency agent Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency, agent Steven Axelrod, editor Megan McKeever from Pocket Books, Wanda Ottewell from Harlequin (she edits the Superromance line) and editor Peter Senftleben of Kensington.

So here we go (disclaimer, this is what I heard, and maybe not what they actually said!)

On being asked about submission and pitching and what they hate, Senftleben said that if a book is not finished at the time of pitching, just don’t mention that. Pitch the book as is it is finished then send the whole thing if requested. And please don’t CC to all your agents on your list while doing an email submission (yes, he said, it did happened to him.) Axelrod said he will forget any mistake in pitching and submissions if he thinks he can sell your book, Ottewell doesn’t like receiving manuscript that are not targeted to Superromance. Machinist cautions against saying that you are a cross of a all famous authors at once. Perhaps a name or two to get the flavor of your writing but not go overboard. McKeever loves authors who are excited about their book while pitching and that have creative ideas. She also remind writers to always include the ending of the story in the synopsis.

On author promotions, Senftleben pointed that more and more publishing houses rely on authors promoting themselves and that attending writers conferences such as RWA are a great way to network, which may help in finding authors willing to provide cover quotes. On the other hand, Axelrod said that online promotion doesn’t really work that much and authors should really focus on writing a good book. Spencer also said that promotion is on the author’s plate more than ever. Authors still need to realize that their priority is to write their best book but they also do have to do something towards promoting themselves. Machinist warned authors not to get too obsessed with Amazon ranking.

On romantic comedy, whether it is a dead genre or not, Senftleben said that nothing is ever out but some things are more in favor at times and romantic comedy is still equated with chic lit which is down at this time. Axelrod commented that romantic comedy come and go and that is very hard to write universal romantic comedy, a humor that will please a lot at once. Spencer said that it doesn’t help to say it is funny in a query. She recommends calling it contemporary. Your humor will be obvious at first read and she suggests focusing on your voice while writing.

On epub, Senftleben said that sales for electronic books at Kensington are not that big 5-7% of total sales. Axelrod said the market was about to explode and that it was a fabulous way to distribute books, especially for commercial books. He pointed that it would be harder for literally fiction who depend on independent bookstores for their distribution and promotion. Ottewell mentioned that the good thing about ebooks was that books would not go out of print and Spencer mentioned that we do need to pay attention to that trend and that 5-7% of Dan Brown latest sale was still a large number of readers out there willing to buy electronics.

With fellow GSRWA member and Dorchester author Gayle Ann Williams

With fellow GSRWA member and Dorchester author Gayle Ann Williams at ECWC

On what it meant when an agent said that a submission was almost right but not quite, most on the panel agreed that this was a polite way of saying they passed on it. Senftleben also mentioned that to take in a submission, not only does he have to love it, but it also have to be good enough for all the other editors.

On what they are looking for, Senftleben takes all kinds of romance including erotica and please no terrorists, Axelrod is looking for wonderful storytellers, Ottewell wants depth, complexity and emotion for her HQ Superromance line. McKeever tell writers to write what you want to write and what you are good at. In romance, she takes paranormal, suspense and historical. She also said she likes sexy book. Nothing sweet.

So there you are. Get writing, and pitch and submit.

I was lucky enough to do a group pitch to Megan McKeever and she basically started our meeting by telling everyone to send their first chapter and synopsis. It seems to be the norm these days as far as I can see.  So next time you pitch, I suggest you relax and just show why you are so passionate about your story!