Pitch day at Agent Shop w/ Jessica Alvarez – Feb 16th!

February 15, 2013

UPDATE: STOP!

Hello everyone. Welcome to another round of Agent Shop.

If you plan to pitch, please read the rules under the tab above titled Agent/Editor Shop.

Wait until you see the word go posted at the top of this post in big bold letters around 10:00am EST on February 16th.

The awesome Jessica Alvarez w/ Bookends LLC is our guest agent this month, and I wish everyone the best of luck. (She’s really great.)

While the pitches roll in, I’m happy to welcome one of Jessica’s authors, Sharon Cullen with her new release, The Notorious Lady Anne.

Comment for a change to win an e-copy of her book!

I LOVE this cover!

TheNotoriousLadyAnneCullen

From rising romance star Sharon Cullen comes a tale of the fiery passion between a noble naval officer and a female pirate that’s as tempestuous and as   unpredictable as the sea.Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.Here’s a tasty excerpt:

London, 1749

Nicholas Addison tossed back a mouthful of flat champagne   and watched the swirling mass of people on the dance floor with a jaded eye.   If he didn’t have an important meeting in a few moments he would have left   already. Hell, he wouldn’t have attended in the first place.

“We’ve only just arrived. You can’t leave yet.”

Nicholas switched his gaze from the dizzying dancers to   his brother, Sebastian, Earl of Claybrook.

Sebastian grinned but the amusement didn’t reach his tired   eyes. “So what did Kenmar have to say?” he asked, referring to Nicholas’s   earlier appointment with the marquess.

Nicholas shrugged and looked around one more time. You   never knew who could be lurking in the shadows. Listening. And he wasn’t   taking chances. Not tonight.

He took another swig of champagne and frowned when the   alcohol hit his stomach like a round from a twenty-two-pounder. “He’s offering   me a captain’s position on one of Hamilton’s ships. I haven’t given him an   answer yet.”

“So will you do it?” Sebastian asked quietly, looking   around as well. If someone was lurking, Sebastian and Nicholas’s strange   behavior would surely tip him off.

Nicholas swirled another swallow of champagne around in   his mouth but it didn’t wash away the indecision. The anxiety. “I’m to give   him my answer in a few minutes.” He looked around for the marquess but the   crush of people made it impossible to see even a few feet beyond him.

“Don’t leave a chap in suspense, Nicholas. What will you   tell him?”

“I haven’t made my decision yet.”

When the summons arrived to report to the marquess’s   residence, Nicholas’s curiosity had been piqued. Bored, he accepted the   somewhat terse invitation even though he knew he couldn’t not accept it. What Kenmar had proposed was   the last thing Nicholas had expected and the one thing he wanted most—to   command his own ship, to be out on the ocean where he belonged.

But, as with anything in life that seemed too good to be   true, it came with provisions. The shipping company had recently been under   attack. Some suspected pirates. But not Kenmar. Kenmar suspected the owner of   the company, a man named Daniel Blackwell, was purposely sabotaging the ships   to gain the insurance money.

Nicholas had inwardly winced when he read the insurance   papers. The names scrawled at the bottom were some of the most highly placed   noblemen in the country. A few even had the advantage of the king’s ear. If   Blackwell was fleecing them of their money, the man was an imbecile.

Nicholas leaned against the wall, desperate to escape the   cloying perfume of the ladies, the boisterous boasts of the gentlemen, and   the swirling couples on the dance floor. He’d never been a decent dancer, not   even an adequate dancer, and with his barely healed leg, adequacy wasn’t a   possibility. Not that he wanted to dance. No, what he wanted was to climb   those stairs and exit the stifling house. But first he had to speak to   Kenmar. First he had to make a   decision.

Sebastian slapped Nicholas on the back. “I’m certain   you’ll make the right decision, brother.” He made to move away, hailing a   friend across the room.

“Sebastian.”

His brother turned and raised a brow in inquiry. Nicholas   was taken aback by the fatigue on Sebastian’s face. Small lines etched the   corners of his eyes and deep grooves creased the sides of his mouth. A mouth   that smiled little lately.

“Thank you,” Nicholas said quietly.

Sebastian smiled, erasing the serious expression that   seemed to be a constant lately. “That’s what families are for, Nick.” His   gaze flickered behind Nicholas. “Kenmar’s approaching.” Then he disappeared   into the crowd, giving Nicholas only a few moments to prepare himself.

“Addison.” Kenmar stopped beside him. An older gentleman   who clung to the tradition of wearing a white wig in public, the man was well   respected and a close acquaintance of the king.

Nicholas nodded. “Kenmar.”

“Have you given my proposal any thought?”

“I have.”

Kenmar took a sip from his glass. “Before you give me your   answer, I’ll have you know I received more information after you left this   afternoon. Inside sources tell me Blackwell is launching a shipment of gold   that’s to leave the colonies in a month or so. If you choose to accept this   mission, I’ll need you to discover more about the gold. Where it’s headed and   what it’s being used for.”

“You don’t believe Lady Anne is behind the attacks?”   According to Blackwell, the notorious female pirate, Lady Anne, was behind   them.

“I don’t believe Lady Anne exists.” Kenmar swirled the   wine in his glass.

The London papers were full of the lady pirate’s exploits.   Young girls wanted to be like her. Men claimed to have bedded her. The elite   whispered about her in their ballrooms and she was the major source of   entertainment in what would otherwise have been an ordinary season of soirees   and balls.

Nicholas didn’t know anyone who’d actually seen Lady Anne,   let alone met her. Whether she existed or not had been little concern to him.   Until now.

The prospect of the gold fascinated him. Hell, who was he   kidding? The entire proposal intrigued him. He’d been away from the sea for   two long years. It was time he regained his sea legs and this was the perfect   opportunity.

“I will do it,” he said. And the weight that had settled   on his shoulders after his injury shifted.

Kenmar nodded, his expression unchanging, as if he’d   expected no other answer. “Be ready to sail in five days.” He put his glass   on the tray of a passing waiter. “Now I’m off to the club. Have a good   evening, Addison.” And he disappeared into the crowd, leaving Nicholas alone   with his newfound trepidation and anxiety. But also with anticipation.

“Do you find these things as boring as I?”

His gaze collided with eyes the color of the sea on a   clear day, a combination of blue and green. They smiled at him, those eyes.   Crinkling at the corners and dancing with merriment.

Slowly his startled gaze swept over her, taking in shiny   black hair piled high. One curled, ebony lock rested seductively on the top   of a firm, golden breast encased in an off-white gown.

With all that dark hair and glowing skin, she reminded him   of a Gypsy.

But what fascinated him the most, what caught his attention   more than the curve of her breasts and the bewitching color of her eyes, were   the dimples peeking out at him when she smiled.

The stunning vision held out her hand. “Emmaline   Sutherland. And you are?”

He hesitated. He might disdain society, preferring the   open ocean to a stuffy ballroom, but he knew the rules, and one of the   biggest was that a lady did not introduce herself to a gentleman. Intrigued,   he smiled, bowed over her hand and kissed it.

“Captain Nicholas Addison.”

“Well, Captain Addison, why don’t you ask me to dance?   Maybe a sarabande will alleviate our boredom.”

If women didn’t introduce themselves to men, they   certainly didn’t ask men to dance. Who was this   woman? The fear of making a fool of himself kept his feet rooted   to the gleaming wood floor. Would his leg withstand the complicated dance   moves? If it didn’t, did he deserve the captain’s position just offered to   him?

He held out his arm for her to take. “Would you prefer a   stroll instead?”

She tilted her head, studying him while his elbow remained   crooked for her hand.

Finally she took his arm. “I’d be delighted.”

As he guided her through the crush of people, he recalled   his brother mentioning something about this ball being held for an Emmaline   Sutherland. “So, Miss Sutherland, to what do we owe the honor of this route?”

She grimaced, her gaze glancing over the dancers. “No   honor. Aunt Dorothy will take any excuse to give a ball. I happened to be in   town at the moment.”

“You are not from London?”

Her hand felt nearly weightless on his arm, yet he was   well aware of its warmth beneath her glove.

“Originally, yes. But I live abroad now and return   infrequently. And you, sir? Are you from London?”

“Yes, but like you, I am rarely here. I’m a sea captain   and will set sail in a few days for Boston.” Not completely the truth. He was   rarely in town because he preferred the family’s country home, where he   didn’t have to encounter pitiful stares and whispers behind his back. If not   for Kenmar’s summons, and Sebastian’s plea to attend this ball, Nicholas   wouldn’t be here now.

Miss Sutherland raised an ebony eyebrow. “Boston. How   exciting.” Her tone lacked the aforementioned excitement, as if her mind was   far away. “And who do you sail for?”

“Blackwell Shipping.” Pride welled in his chest. Pride   that he was once again doing   something. Sailing instead of rusticating, as his brother called it. Sailing   instead of recuperating. Sailing instead of feeling sorry for himself. “Where   do you live, if not in London?” he asked.

“Barbados.”

“Barbados?” He turned to look at her.

Amusement lurked in those curiously colored eyes. “Does   that shock you?”

More like fascinated. While Nicholas was well traveled, he   didn’t know many women who were. In fact, he didn’t know any women who were. “No,” he lied.

“My husband and I own a sugar plantation on the island.”

Disappointment washed through him at the mention of a   husband even though he had no right to his disappointment. It wasn’t as if he   was able to pursue a courtship with Miss, or rather, Mrs. Sutherland. He was   leaving in five days, after all.

“And is your husband present tonight?” He glanced around   the room, searching for an angry gentleman staring holes in his back.

“He’s in Barbados overseeing the plantation. He never   travels to London.”

“I see.” But he didn’t see. If he   had a wife as beautiful and charming as Emmaline Sutherland, he wouldn’t let   her out of his sight. Definitely not to travel from Barbados to London alone.   “Are you frightened traveling alone?”

A smile touched her lips. “What would I be frightened of?”

He shrugged, his discussion with Kenmar still fresh in his   mind. “Pirates.”

“Pirates are the things of fairy tales, are they not?”

“Pirates are a very real threat, I’m afraid.”

“Are you speaking of a certain lady pirate who attacks   ships and eats men?”

Nicholas chuckled. “Lady Anne they call her.”

“Ah, yes. Lady Anne,” Emmaline said with a slight smile.

“I’m afraid tales of her are most likely exaggerated.   Especially the man-eating tales.”

“You don’t believe in Lady Anne?”

Nicholas hesitated, recognizing the same question he’d   asked Kenmar. “I’m afraid not. Sailing is difficult enough for men. It’s not   a lifestyle a woman would become accustomed to.”

“But I sail frequently.”

He detected a note in her voice warning that he was   treading on unstable ground. Yet, a little devil stood on his shoulder and he   felt an unholy need to goad this woman. Not a very gentlemanly thing to do,   but that what-the-hell attitude took root again.

“As a passenger. Not as a crewman. The work is strenuous   and taxing. Not to mention dangerous.”

“And you don’t think a woman is able to engage in such   dangerous work?” Her voice was tight, her shoulders even tighter.

He bit back the urge to smile. What a virago this woman   was and what fun it would be to debate with her. He’d met very few men, let   alone women, he’d had the pleasure to clash verbal swords with.

“I believe a woman has her place in a man’s world, but not   on the sea.”

Silence stretched between them as they completed a circuit   of the room and stopped where they’d started. Mrs. Sutherland looked up at   him, seeming to assess him. He was relieved to see she wasn’t angry, merely   interested, as if she were studying a bug pinned to a board. Or, better yet,   an unknown creature pulled from the sea. Her gaze drew him in, made him think   thoughts that were entirely inappropriate.

He cleared his throat and stepped back. She’s married,   Addison. You don’t dally with married women.

She curtsied, although he had the impression the move was   less etiquette and more mockery, which delighted him and had him forcing back   a smile he was sure she wouldn’t appreciate. “Thank you for alleviating my   boredom, kind sir. Your conversation was . . . enlightening.”

He bowed, finding it more and more difficult not to smile.   She certainly was peeved with him, and he found to his chagrin that he wasn’t   at all pleased she was taking leave of his company. He would have liked to   debate with her for the rest of the night. But that would be inappropriate.   Besides, he was sailing in a few days and had to prepare for it. “My   pleasure, Mrs. Sutherland.”

* * *

A mere hour later, Emmaline observed Nicholas Addison   leave with his brother, the Earl of Claybrook. Both men climbed the stairs,   twin specimens of masculinity that had every female eye riveted to their wide   shoulders and full heads of black-as-sin hair. Neither wore the wigs that   were so in fashion. Emmaline had a feeling that others would soon follow in   their footsteps, because the two were decidedly delicious looking without   them. Each moved with an animal-like grace, although Nicholas had a hitch to   his step that had her wondering what happened to him. The limp was his only   physical flaw, although she didn’t consider it a flaw, just another   fascinating aspect of a man who captivated her attention.

Inside she was still smiling at their conversation. So,   Captain Addison believed sailing too strenuous for women. She couldn’t help   herself as she laughed out loud, causing a few heads to turn her way.

Even though she disagreed with his assessment of females,   she thoroughly enjoyed their verbal sparring, but something about him   bothered her. Normally she was good at sizing up a man’s character. He’d been   interested, but the interest in those deep navy eyes definitely cooled when   she mentioned a husband. So he had morals.

He’d been a gentleman, sincerely concerned for her safety   when he spoke of pirates in that smooth-as-velvet voice. Which meant he was   caring.

He firmly believed a woman had no place on the sea, yet he   wasn’t harsh about his belief. Merely naïve, as most men were. Unlike most of   the gentlemen at the ball, who’d gone soft with drink and too much fine food,   she felt his strength in the muscles of his arm, and in his wide shoulders   unpadded beneath his coat. He was lean, the bones in his face finely   chiseled, the pale skin stretched taut. There was no excess about him, as if   he’d gone to hell and back, and the journey had taken everything from him,   leaving him with nothing but what he needed to survive.

There were shadows in his blue eyes, a weariness and deep   grief. Yet when he spoke of sailing she glimpsed a man who commanded   authority and demanded respect. No doubt he was a very good captain.

No doubt she had her work cut out for her.

Kenmar had picked his spy well.

Chapter Two

Nicholas spun away from the sight of yet another ship   leaving port, only to come face-to-face with his motley crew.

Bumbling fools, the lot of them.

Apparently word had spread that Blackwell ships were being   targeted by pirates. No competent sailor would set foot on the Pride. And no amount of walking the wharf and   entering the lowliest of taverns to unearth better men helped.

He feared these drunken louts didn’t know the difference   between a spanker sail and a foresail.

This was not at all going to plan.

His hope was that this would be the first voyage of many.   That success on this sailing would resurrect his career so that he would   later captain larger ships. But that hope was slowly disintegrating.

He ran a hand through his hair, feeling his dreams slip   away with the ships leaving port. They were far behind schedule but,   surprisingly, their tardiness had nothing to do with his crew. Rather, their   lone passenger hadn’t arrived.

A passenger. He hadn’t expected a passenger on this   voyage, but apparently this person paid quite a sum of money to sail on the Pride. It wasn’t unheard of, but it was an   unexpected wrinkle in what was quickly becoming a mess.

Damn.

Nicholas glanced at the sun high above his head. If they   didn’t leave soon, they’d be far behind the other vessels. The first ship to   make port always received the better prices.

Not that Nicholas needed to make a profit—that wasn’t the   point of this voyage—but the sailor in him still strained at the bit, wanting   to be the first in port.

“Passenger’s here, Cap’n.” A young, fresh-faced boy of   about fifteen bounded up the companionway like an unbroken colt, all spindly   legs and arms and endless energy. A pleasing contrast to the others.

“Make sail, Samuel.”

“Aye, aye, Cap’n.” Samuel cupped his hands around his mouth   and leaned back to yell, “Away aloft!”

Men scurried up ratlines to the rigging. At the command   “Let fall” they loosened the ropes holding the sails. Nicholas kept a keen   eye on the topmen, ensuring they released each sail in the designated order,   first at the yardarm, then at the bunt. To release them any other way would   cause the sail to fill too soon, knocking the man off the yardarm, causing   him to fall to his death.

Much to his relief, no one fell and the sails quickly   filled.

The ship jumped forward and Nicholas’s heart jumped with   it. With the sun beating down on his head and the screeching gulls circling   the ship, he’d almost forgotten the horror of the hospital and the paralyzing   fear that he might never walk again, let alone sail a ship.

He smiled for the first time in days. If those doctors   could see him now.

“Good day, Captain.”

Nicholas’s head snapped around to the husky, very female   voice behind him. Emmaline Sutherland stood in a shaft of sunlight,   absolutely beautiful and sensuous in deep green, her hair precariously piled   on top of her head, the sun beating down on her golden skin.

“Mrs. Sutherland.” How he managed to execute a bow without   falling on his face was beyond him. Much to his chagrin, he hadn’t been able   to erase her image from his mind since the night of the ball. And now,   suddenly, she was standing before him. On his   ship.

“Shocked to see me, Captain?”

“Very. I wasn’t expecting our lone passenger to be . . .”

She raised a brow, her lips curling into a smile. “A   woman?”

He cleared his throat. “Well, yes.”

And damn it, why a woman? Why this   particular woman? In his   experience women were notoriously bad passengers, prone to seasickness and   frightening easily. Exactly what he didn’t need. Of course, in hindsight, he   should have known. Only a woman wouldn’t understand the concept of being on   time.

Boldly, almost daringly, she stared at him. Her eyes were   more green than blue today, matching her shimmering gown. At any other time,   in other circumstances, he would have admired her beauty, but his frustration   wouldn’t allow it. Not when she was an interloper on his ship.

“You are aware we are sailing to Boston?” he asked.   “Boston is nowhere near Barbados.”

Her smile didn’t dim. In fact it appeared to brighten, as   if she knew he was irritated and it pleased her. Which only served to drive   his irritation straight into anger. Emmaline Sutherland was a distraction he   could ill afford. Good God, they would spend five weeks together on this   ship.

Impossible. He simply could not take her to Boston.

Except they’d already left port and if he was to stay on   schedule, he couldn’t possibly drop anchor now.

“I am aware of the location of Boston on the map,   Captain.”

“And what business have you in Boston, Mrs. Sutherland?”

He swore her jaw muscles tensed, but more than likely it   was the shadow cast by the sails.

“Personal business, sir.”

What possible “personal business” did a woman have in   Boston? If her husband were any sort of man, he wouldn’t allow his wife to   gallivant around the world unprotected, on some mysterious “personal   business.” His irritation now encompassed Mr. Sutherland. For allowing his   wife to travel alone, for not protecting her. For not being here. Because if he were here, Nicholas   wouldn’t be responsible for her.

“I admit to being away from society for some time. I   wasn’t aware that the best dressmakers are now in the colonies rather than   England and France.” What the hell happened to him when he was around this   woman? His tongue had a mind of its own, it seemed. He was about to apologize   for his lack of manners, but her narrowed eyes stayed the words and suddenly   he wanted to see that back straighten again, and those eyes flash fire at   him. Because she was exquisitely beautiful when angry.

“Not all women are concerned with fashion,” she said   between clenched teeth.

He barely stopped himself from grinning. Damn but she was beautiful. “I can’t imagine what other   personal business a woman alone would have in Boston.”

Did she bare her teeth at him?

“That’s why it’s called personal   business, sir. It’s personal. I wasn’t aware a sea captain need be informed   of a paying passenger’s reason for   travel.”

As much as he enjoyed their conversation, she was correct.   It wasn’t his business, nor did he want it to be. His job was to get her to   Boston. Period. “I trust your cabins are adequate for you and your companion,   Mrs. Sutherland?”

“I travel alone, Captain.”

His gaze flew to hers. “You travel without a companion?”

She raised her arms out at her sides, her smile now   full-blown. “Only me.”

“But . . .” Such a thing was unheard of.

She stepped back. “I’ll leave you to whatever it is   captains of ships do. If you’re not too busy later, would you do me the honor   of showing me around your fine ship?”

His jaw muscle worked. The last thing he wanted to do was   escort her around his ship. “I would be delighted, Mrs. Sutherland. However,   it might be a day or two.” Because he had to whip his sorry crew into shape.

He paused, disliking what he had to say next, but ’twas   only proper and expected of a captain. “Won’t you join me for dinner   tonight?” His mother, God rest her soul, would be ashamed of him. While the   words were correct, his tone conveyed his annoyance.

She was an unwanted distraction, with that mass of ebony   hair threatening to fall loose, those eyes that mocked him and appraised him   at the same time and the quick wit he admired despite his resolve to stay   impartial to her.

Leave it be, Addison. She’s married.

“Thank you for the offer, Captain, but I prefer to dine in   my cabin.”

He fought to conceal his relief. As much as he enjoyed   their dueling conversation, he didn’t want the distraction. “Of course. If   there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask. As always,   I am at your service.” He steadfastly ignored the images that sprang to his   mind of services he would like to render.

If you liked this excerpt order THE NOTORIOUS LADY ANNE here for just $2.99!

http://www.randomhouse.com/book/221561/the-notorious-lady-anne-by-sharon-cullen

Release date: February 11, 2013 and is available here as well:

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

Sharon’s bio and links to find her on the web:

After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what was going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance and historical romance.

Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

 


Agent Shop w/ Jessica Alvarez of Bookends LLC.

January 27, 2013

Good Morning Everyone!

I’ve had one of those super busy weeks, but it’s at its end today. YAY! And since things are a bit slow at work, I have THREE days off next week. Anyone wanna guess how I plan to spend those days while kids are at school? 🙂 Big wordcounts planned!

Anyway, I’m happy to say that Agent/Editor Shop is becoming something of a buzz. I’m constantly amazed by the amount of people who know about it, and have participated. We’ve even been getting e-mails from agents/editors interested in being guests for future Shop dates!

So thanks to everyone who’s participated, blogged about us, mentioned us to writing/professional friends and such. Musetracks was based on the concept of giving back to the writing community for all the help we all received and continue to receive over the years.

February’s Agent/Editor Shop will be Feb. 16th around 10:00am EST. and as you can see from the title, we have Jessica Alvarez with Bookends LLC as our guest agent, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve spoken with Jessica several times via e-mail, and she is not only a super nice person, but it’s easy to ‘hear’ the love she has for what she does.

Here’s the link to Jessica’s information:

Jessica Alvarez

jessica-alvarez-2012

After ten years as an editor, Jessica Alvarez joined BookEnds in April 2011. She began her publishing career in 2001 as an editorial assistant at Harlequin Books. There, she had the opportunity to acquire and edit a wide array of fiction, specializing in historical romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance. Jessica left Harlequin in 2008 to pursue a freelance editing career, and completed projects for Harlequin, Scholastic Books, Thomas Nelson, and independent writers. She uses her editorial background to help writers hone their skills and develop strong, marketable stories. Jessica is actively building her client list and is proud to work with a wonderful group of clients. She is a member of AAR.

Jessica read her first romance at the age of nine when she pilfered from a friend’s mother’s Harlequin Presents collection and was instantly hooked. Though her pilfering has passed, her weakness for alpha heroes and exotic settings remains.

A New Jersey native, Jessica still resides in the Garden State. She is perpetually over-caffeinated in an attempt to keep up with her young son and two energetic wheaten terriers.

You can contact Jessica via email or follow her on Twitter

Jessica’s areas of interest include historical romance (particularly 18th and 19th century!), inspirational romance, contemporary romance, category romance, erotic romance and smart, female-focused erotica, women’s fiction, and cozy mysteries.

Her authors include Andrea Laurence, Jennifer Delamere, Lorrie Thomson, Melissa Cutler, and Stacy Henrie.

Hope to see you all here! Until next weekend, happy writing, reading and life.

Best~

Candi


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


Agent Shop and crawling back out of my hole.

October 8, 2012

Life is sinister. Even for a glass-half-full person like me.

I’ve missed SO much in the last year due to incredible things happening in my personal life. I’ve kept up as much as possible with those closest to me via scattered online catch up sessions. My best friend lives less than five minutes away, and I haven’t seen her in MONTHS!

I miss my online family, my writing family. But I’m working the kinks out and getting back in the groove. Harder than it sounds since I’ve also been finishing final edits on PRIMITIVE NIGHTS, squeee! Can’t believe it’ll be out in January.

Er, anywho… Sorry about the squirrel moment. I get sidetracked. Easily.

So for my re-return, I’ll be posting new information for the Agent Shop days coming in the next few months. ANy of the dates still to be determined will be updated in the Agent Shop sidebar as I get confirmations. (There may also be an Editor Shop coming in the near future!)

For those of you who haven’t heard of Agent Shop, there’s a handy tab at the top that will give you all the deets you need, but basically, we have a guest agent, you pitch (in two hundred words or less), if agent likes, she/he requests something. Simple. And we usually have some sort of fun comment game to guarantee one lucky pitcher the top pitch slot.

So here’s the schedule for the rest of this year and what I’ve booked so far for 2013.

Oct. 21st 2012 – TBA
Nov. 18th 2012 – Melissa Jeglinski w/ The Knight Agency
Dec. 16th 2012 – TBA
Jan. 13th 2013 – TBA (Release date for PRIMITIVE NIGHTS so watch for something special…)
Feb. 17th 2013 – Jessica Alvarez – BookEnds, LLC.
Mar. 17th 2013 – Mollie Glick w/ Foundry Media
April 21st 2013 – TBA
May 19th 2013 – Becky Vinter w/ Fine Print Literary
June 16th 2013 – TBA

Sounds good to me!

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting on Sundays from here out and running Agent Shop on the scheduled dates.

Visit soon. Oh, and if you want to make sure you get Agent Shop updates, you can follow me on TWITTER and FACEBOOK I post the updates there as I get them.

Have a great one!


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.


It’s Agent Shop pitch day!

October 23, 2011

OKAY. WE’VE REACHED OUR THIRTY PITCHES AND THIS AGENT SHOP IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED FOR PITCHES. COME BACK TOMORROW AROUND 10:00 AM EST TO SEE IF YOURS WAS ONE OF THE PITCHES THAT MADE IT IN!

GOOD LUCK!

 

Welcome to another ‘Agent Shop’! YAY!

Tomorrow, the awesome Sara Crowe will be here to look at the thirty pitches that make it through.

But today, we have Marianna Baer with her YA novel:

FROST

(Now THAT is a fantastic cover!)

Here’s the blurb:

Leena Thomas’s senior year at boarding school starts with a cruel shock: Frost House, the cozy Victorian dorm where she and her best friends chose to live, has been assigned an unexpected roommate – confrontational, eccentric Celeste Lazar.

What Celeste lacks in social grace, however, her brother, David, a recent transfer student, makes up for in good looks and charm. But while he and Leena hit it off immediately, Leena finds herself struggling to balance her growing attraction with her fear of getting hurt.

As classes get under way, strange happenings begin to bedevil Frost House – frames mysteriously falling off walls, doors locking by themselves, furniture toppling over. Celeste blames the housemates, convinced they want to scare her into leaving. And while Leena tries to play peacekeeper between her best friends and new roommate, soon the mysterious happenings in the dorm, an intense triangle between Leena, Celeste, and David, and the reawakening of childhood fears all push Leena to take increasingly desperate measures to feel safe. But does the threat lie with her new roommate, within Leena’s own mind . . . or in Frost House itself?

Reviews:

“Marianna Baer’s novel, FROST, puts a unique, 21st Century spin on the usual Gothic ghost story.” – Lois Duncan, author of DOWN A DARK HALL and STRANGER WITH MY FACE

“Providing chills and romance at an unflagging pace, Frost is a mysterious, suspenseful thrill ride that refuses to let the reader go even after the last word is read.” – Carrie Jones, NYT bestselling author of the NEED series

You can visit Marianna HERE

And you can buy FROST at Indiebound  or Amazon

And now a little bit about Marianna!

ME: What was your inspiration for this book?

Marianna: My senior year at boarding school, I lived in a tiny dorm called Frost House with a few of my closest friends. Once I started writing YA, I knew I wanted to set a novel there — it’s such an intense social situation, being 17 and living pretty much on your own with your peers. No going home at night to escape any drama. The ghost story/psychological suspense aspect of FROST came from my love of that genre, and from the fact that the real Frost House, a dilapidated old Victorian, always seemed like it held secrets in its walls.

ME: I love it when something specific in an author’s past can roll into something later. So cool. When it comes to writing, are you a plotter or a pantser?

Marianna: Unfortunately, I’m a pantser. In my dreams I’m a plotter — what a luxury, to know where your story is going! But it’s only when I’m living the story along with my characters that I know what they’d do in different situations.

ME: How you said unfortunately cracked me up. I often wish I could be a plotter too. Since we’re all dying to know, how did you find your agent? Care to share the call?

I had just graduated from an MFA program, and both my advisor Cynthia Leitich-Smith and fellow student Varian Johnson recommended Sara to me. I wasn’t surprised when she asked to read my full, considering I had the references, but I was surprised to get a call back in just a couple of days. No beating around the bush — Sara said straight out in her phone message that she loved FROST and wanted to represent me. I remember standing next to the answering machine and literally shaking with excitement. I was so nervous to talk to her that I emailed instead of calling, and asked if we could talk the following week. I needed the weekend to compose myself!

ME: Love, that, story! I can imagine you were nervous, but it sounds like you both hit it off. We all know how hard it is to write, edit, query or submit. What’s one piece of advice you’d pass on to aspiring authors?

Be patient. Be patient with the time it takes to learn the craft, to write your first draft, to revise, to write the best query letter, to hear back from agents, to get your editorial letter, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc… You’re going to be waiting for something at every stage of the process, and it really helps to not be in a rush with any of this. Especially with the writing itself.

ME: Excellent advice! You don’t have to ‘give away’ anything major, but do you have anything new in the works?

I’m writing a second standalone YA titled IMMACULATE. It’s about a 15-year-old girl in Brooklyn who is pregnant, but says she has never had sex. It’s a complicated story (I’m putting my patience to work!), but I’m incredibly excited about it.

ME: Marianna, thanks for visiting us at Musetracks. FROST is on my TBR list. The cover had me hooked, but the blurb solidified the deal. Looking forward to it!

– – – –

Okay, you know what time it is.

It’s

GO

time!

Oh, and BTW, I’ll pick a random comment that uses the word FROST, to win the TOP PITCH SLOT for tomorrow!

Good luck everyone.


Agent Shop Pitch day with Lit Agent Sara Crowe OCT. 23rd

October 17, 2011

Hope everyone is ready!

Ms. Crowe is looking forward to her visit.

You can check her out here:

http://www.saracrowe.com/

Pitch day is this Sunday, Oct. 23rd. at 10:00am EST.

Wait until you see the word GO posted on the main page!

Good luck everyone. I’ll see you Sunday.


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!


Jumping The Gun by Candi Wall

September 19, 2011

Hopefully everyone’s had a wonderful and productive summer.

Mine wasn’t overly productive, as far as writing goes, but with work and kids out of school for the summer, I planned ahead. Or rather, I told myself to prepare for limited computer time. I’ve been working on the Agent Shop schedule though, and hope you all remember to check back and see who we’ll be having as our guest agents for the rest of the year.

Today I wanted to mention a topic that comes up often in discussion with agents and editors alike.

Premature submitting!

Jumping the gun!

Hitting that send button too soon.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

It’s exciting – and scary – and that dream agent you’ve been keeping your eye on just opened back up for queries – and her tweets say she looking for just what you’ve written – and – and – and…

Yep, you got it. All that time spent writing, and the opportunity is there. You’ve poured yourself, your time, your heart, blood and tears into the manuscript. How can you let this opp go by??? You talk yourself right into it.

I’m here to tell you – STOP YOURSELF!

A rejection is hard enough to take, but one that tells you you’ve got a great idea but the writing just isn’t there…brutal. I’ve heard agents and editors both say they see this A LOT and many times, it’s because the author didn’t give themselves the time or the edits needed. Unless your work has been through the following AT LEAST, and probably much more, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

  • First round edit
  • Crit partners
  • A month where you don’t even LOOK at it
  • Read it out loud
  • Second round edit
  • Contests are great at this stage too!
  • Beta readers 2 or more
  • VICIOUS edit (be brutal on yourself. If the sent makes you go ‘hmmm’ get rid of it or fix it.)
  • A good dose of ‘this is crap, it’s great, it’s crap, it’s great’ limbo. (Okay, maybe that part was just me. But I find chocolate helps.)
  • Final edit (and I highly suggest a final beta read)
  • Make it shine
Quick and simple today. I have insanity clogging my to do list this week.
Happy writing, editing, revising, submitting or any stage in between!
UPDATE: I’m still waiting on confirmation from our guest agent this month…. Concerned that e-mails were lost in cyber space or spam…

MuseTrack’s Link of the Week

August 16, 2011

Today’s link features Pitch University. You’ve heard us plug this site from time to time. Not just because the head alchemist is a personal friend, but becuase this site has so, so much to offer.

Learn to pitch your novel, write a query, and get helpful advice and insight on marketing, hooks, and proposals. There is even an entire section entitled Indie U devoted to offering career advice to authors pursuing independent publishing, as well as small press and traditional publishing.

Check it out!

http://www.pitch-university.com/main/