An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Self-published Author Angela Brown


This week I've got at least two, hopefully three self-published authors to talk about that aspect of publishing. First up is Angela Brown, self-published author of Neverlove.

Tell us a little about yourself, Angela.

My name is Angela Brown and I think my actual life title should be juggler. I'm a single mother to a rambunctious tomboy nicknamed Chipmunk. She is the light of my life. I work full time for a telecommunications company and I self-publish some of my writing projects. And I'm a dreamer (hey, isn't being a daydreamer a power in Shark Boy and Lava Girl?)

Chocolate and Wild Cherry Pepsi should be kept a safe distance from me because I will eat and drink it all up. Did I mention I love chocolate? If not, I lurve chocolate...and Pringles.

I live in Central Texas with no pets of my own, but maybe that can change one day soon. No cats, though. Chipmunk's allergic.

When I'm not juggling the other facets of my life, precariously I must say (lol!!!), I love to snuggle up with a good paperback, hardcover or my mini-duo and read, read, read anything from steampunk to contemporary to military sci-fi.

How did you get from being a writer to self-publishing?

I actually had a self-publishing hiccup several years ago. I was in a different place in life and was mainly interested in getting my manuscript in a pretty book format with a cover. I took publishing lightly and life's changes threw one heckuva monkey wrench in trying to take it seriously.

So after getting my life back on track, I contemplated writing but not the self-publishing. As I worked on different writing projects, I did a little research here and there on various self-publishing options, especially with the boom in ebooks. I still wasn't sure what to do but I had a very strong urge to have control over the process if I decided to hit the publishing pavement. It was during and right after the April 2012 blogging challenge that I had the chance to interact with Gwen Gardner, my Partner in ParanormYA, and watch as so many things fell into place to take on self-publishing, and I'm glad about it. Self-publishing Neverlove has been a great experience.

Did you have a background that proved to be helpful or any experience? How hard was it?

No background like marketing, editing or anything along those lines. Writing is my passion, so having, keeping and maintaining that passion has been most helpful.

Self-publishing, in and of itself, is the easy part. You load your story up to a distribution point then hit publish. However, it is the marketing and promotion that can be a bit more difficult for someone like me that's not big into sales. I enjoy talking about my writing, my stories...all of that. But selling it? Well, that is the part I have to work a LOT at to get better. Actually, I'm not sure I'm supposed to sell my stories. Aren't they meant to sell themselves with a good cover, enjoyable story and word of mouth? Things don't work out that way for all writers. So still a lot to work on.

What did you do wrong? Right?

When it came to self-publishing, I knew the stigma was there that self-publishers were sloppy or put out a sub-par product. I knew it was a stigma that did not define all self-publishers, but I wanted to do my best to make sure I didn't live down to the negative. I ensured multiple other sets of eyes worked over the drafts of my novel. I hired a book cover designer and also hired a formatter so that the layout of my ebooks and print could be just right. I was and am proud of the finished product.

As for what I did wrong, well, the biggest thing I did wrong was I didn't prepare a decent idea of how best to market my novel. I just flapped around in the publishing waters until I got my stride and started understanding a few things better. Taking away lessons learned from each publication has been helpful, but I realize there are some lessons I probably could have avoided lol!! I also failed to better understand price structure and price modification impacts during certain timelines. That is one I'm still struggling with.

Are you happy with your choice? Do you think you'll stick with self-publishing or are you still keeping your options over?

I've been very happy with self-publishing my YA/NA novel and novellas. Even though I wish sales were more in line with my enthusiasm, I love my stories and what I've produced. However, I'm open to traditional publishing as well. I'm currently querying a MG story. It's a different age group and I hope that acquiring an agent can help get the story into even more venues. 



You can find Angela here:
Angela Brown in Pursuit of Publishness




For seventeen-year-old Abigail, one rash decision leads to an unexpected chance for redemption. At V'Salicus Academy, a unique institute where she trains to become an agent of heaven, she struggles with the pain of her past, the changes of the present and accepts a loveless future until her path – and heart – crosses with Basil’s.

Basil's off-chance slip of the tongue binds him to a life of servitude to the Devourer, the master of hell. His existence has no upside until a chance meeting with Abigail brings new perspective.

Keeping the truth of their present lives from each other brings disaster when secrets are brought to light and the life of Abigail’s mentor is put on the line.

Can Abigail and Basil save her mentor and salvage their love amid the chaos? Or will they lose it all, destined forever to NEVERLOVE?




Buy links: Amazon.com, Amazon.fr, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Kobo, B&N
Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE2g5HlKWTw
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15843604-neverlove
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6476148.Angela_Brown
Angela Brown in the Pursuit of Publishness blog: http://publishness.blogspot.com/
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Angela-Brown/e/B009JJEX60
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaLBrownWrites
Partners in ParanormYA (with Gwen Gardner): http://partnersinparanormya.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ALBrownwrites
PIP Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Partners-in-ParanormYA/462052430493091

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A BIG thank-you and what's coming up...

First off a very big thank-you to our judges who stopped in to read all the queries AND make requests! We are very appreciative of your time!

Second, congrats to everyone who received a request for more! Please keep us posted as to how it turns out. Maybe this is your first request ever, and maybe it's your twenty-first, but either way this is one of those steps on the path toward becoming a successful author. So no matter how it turns out you need to chalk this up as a goal reached and reward yourself. Ice-cream? Cake? A nice minty Mojito? Congratulations!!!


Third, a heads up as to what's coming for this week:

I will be interviewing three self-published authors this week to ask some questions and get some tips about that avenue of getting your book in the hands of readers. First up will be Angela Brown, author of NeverLove. Wednesday I'll be talking to Hart Johnson, author of A Flock of Ill Omens (book 1). Friday...

Ah, Friday. Who will it be? What about you? Have you self-published? Care to answer five easy questions and get some free publicity for your book? If so, send your answers along with a pic of your book, a link to buy, and a link to find you to: unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com.

I will pick the most succinct reply I receive and whoever they are will be our Friday post.

THE QUESTIONS:

Here are the five "easy" questions:
1. Tell us about yourself - where you live how many pets you have, kids names, favorite flavor icecream...whatever you feel comfortable sharing. (like an author bio)
2. Tell us a little about the journey from being a writer to self-publishing.
3. Did you have a background that proved to be helpful or any experience? How hard was it?
4. What did you do wrong? Right?
5. Are you happy with your choice? Do you think you'll stick with self-publishing or are you still keeping your options open? 


Last, in case you all aren't quite tired of critiques...I team up with author Dianne Salerni (The Caged Graves, and The Eighth Day, a forthcoming series from HarperCollins) the first of every month for First Impressions, in which we each crit someone's first page on our blogs, sort of a two crits for one deal. If you would like your first page critiqued send it to: marcy@tidewater.net with First Impressions in the subject line. We have two slots left for October and we promise to be kind and helpful. A page is approximately 350-400 words.



 

Monday, September 23, 2013

QueryCon 2013—#7 She Flies with Her Own Wings

Title: She Flies With Her Own Wings
Genre: NA Contemporary
Name: Kara Reynolds

Anna is stuck in a rut. To be fair, though, it’s a very comfortable rut that her dad approves of, and that she dug for herself. But still, it’s time for a change.

Change comes in the form of Coy McLeod, visiting Anna’s small hometown from the far away land of Chicago. He’s as spontaneous, passionate, and independent as Anna is… not.

When Coy gets the idea to take a Shakespeare Festival road trip, Anna agrees to go along, hoping the spontaneity of the trip will help her to be more open to new things. But when she returns home, she is just as uncertain of what to do with her future as when she left. Coy has added a new choice to Anna’s list of possible future plans- he wants her to move to Chicago with him. As if things weren’t confusing enough already.

Should she finish college at her family’s alma mater, while still living at home with her widower father? Or take a chance on Coy, and step into the unknown? As time runs out on Anna’s last semester of school, it will take a proposal, a death, and The Sound of Music to bring down the curtain on her old life.

SHE FLIES WITH HER OWN WINGS is a contemporary NA novel, complete at 90,000 words. It would appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary Young Adult novels, such as those by Sarah Dessen, and are now looking for an older protagonist. Thank you for your consideration.

QueryCon 2013—#6 Mem

Title: MEM
Genre: Adult SF
Name: Katharine Allen

In a world where memories are alterable at whim it is hard to know who you are much less the world you live in. MEM is an adult science fiction of 80,000 words.

Mori works at the heart of the city and the only legal memory alteration company, MEM, as an ethics officer, investigating illegal or improper use of memory technology. Reminded of his own stolen past by the abduction of a child, he discovers not only the secret behind his society’s willingness to forget but the truth of his own lost memories.

I am a recent graduate of the University of Michigan. I have been writing since I was a child, something I picked up from my own very literary mother.

Thank you for your consideration,

QueryCon 2013—#5 Pirate Jenny

Title: PIRATE JENNY
Genre: YA historical
Name: Kathleen S. Allen

It's the year, 1533, King Henry VIII eagerly awaits the birth of what he hopes to be his first-born son by his new queen, Anne Boleyn. The special Tudor Rose brooch he had remade for her was stolen off his fastest naval ship, the Mary Rose. It was stolen by the ruthless Red Lady pirate.

Seventeen year old servant girl, Jenny is intrigued when a ship sails into the quiet harbor of Dowrlam, off the southern coast of England. She's even more intrigued when a woman, dressed as a pirate enters the inn and claims to be the mother who abandoned Jenny when she was an infant. She's not only Jenny's mother, she's also the Red Lady pirate. She has returned for two reasons: first, she wants the brooch back she had fastened to Jenny's cloak when she left her on the door stoop of the inn; and second, she wants Jenny to join her on her pirate ship and train to be a pirate.

Jenny refuses and so her mother orders her band of pirates to burn and pillage the village. Horrified, Jenny runs away only to be captured. When her mother kidnaps a young girl, Jenny must pretend to go along with her mother's scheme in order to protect the child.

PIRATE JENNY (60,000 words) is a YA historical novel based on the true story of the Red Lady pirate who was active during Henry VIII reign.

QueryCon 2013—#4 Dancing in the Athenian Rain

Title: Dancing in the Athenian Rain
Genre: New Adult Historical Romance (Time Travel)

When Donna is sent back in time to Classical Athens, she is furious at Dr. Stephens for sending her against her wishes. Then a Greek soldier purchases her to be his wife.

She is forced to learn a new language and culture, and faces her fears of never returning to her own time. The society hates her, especially because they think she’s an Amazon, which forces her to confront her issues—being compared to her genius brother, borderline abusive friends, and a cheating boyfriend.

But her husband, Peleus, is kind and patient. Although against her best judgment, she allows him into her heart. He counters all the negative voices from her past, but those voices drive a wedge between them. She must let go of her fears and admit her feelings, or she could lose him and her own life.

QueryCon 2013—#3 Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach

Title: GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH
Genre: Upper MG, humorous fantasy
Name: Carl Hackman

Dear Awesome Agent/Editor

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking one inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking to gain an inch or two, Gerald decides a little landscaping is just what his village needs. But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than even he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, shrinks another inch; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s love of shiny wizarding objects leads him straight to a golden amulet that could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his dream wizard realm, the hunt is on.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. But he could really do without fighting off bumbling bandits, dealing with a very smelly Orcling and evading a female elven assassin. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might very well be his last.

GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH is a humorous, Upper MG, Fantasy. It is complete at 77,500 words. Similar in tone to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, younger readers would enjoy this novel of the trials of an inexperienced wizard who manages to turn everything he touches into chaos.

Best regards

QueryCon 2013—#2 Letting Go

Title: Letting Go
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Name: Kristin Smith

Dear Mr. Buckley, Ms. Kelly, and Ms. Lowes,

After the tragic death of her husband, Giselle Roberts is certain she will be single forever. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a jaw-droppingly good-looking stranger, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of blissful surrender. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion.  Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family.

Upon the discovery of Declan’s shadowy past, Giselle’s perfect image of him crumbles, along with her chance for second love. Will fate find a way to bring Declan back into her life and soften Giselle’s heart?

LETTING GO is a romance novel complete at 105,000 words. I am currently knee-deep in another romance novel and wading through plans for more in the future. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope my work piques your interest!

QueryCon 2013—#1 The Last Orphans

Title: The Last Orphans
Genre: Young Adult Thriller/Action Adventure
Name: N.W. Harris

Dear Awesome Judges,

The Last Orphans is a YA thriller/action adventure novel complete at 58,000 words.

Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane watches his family’s slaughter when a modern-day government mishap wipes out all the adults on the planet, leaving everyone under the age of eighteen to fend for themselves. An out-of-his-league girl pleads for his help, and
Shane reluctantly finds himself leading his high school friends on a desperate search for answers.

After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, Shane learns a top-secret military weapon’s malfunction caused the massacre. What’s worse, the still-active weapon could, at any moment, turn on the survivors.

While attempting to keep their little brothers and sisters safe, Shane and his friends fight their way through gangs who have taken over Atlanta. They must make it to the heart of the city and deactivate the weapon, which, left unchecked, will target younger and younger people until it kills them all.

I am the author of Joshua’s Tree (MuseItUp Publishing, June 2013), a YA novel that was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (2012) and is currently #1 out of 882 books on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List.

I’d be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Second Window for Submissions

Second window is open for submissions

Send queries to:   unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com

Call for Submissions

Submission window is open.


Send queries to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Submissions to QueryCon 2013

Submissions begin Sunday, September 22. 
There will be two (2) windows for submissions. Times are Central Standard Time.

  • 8 am
  • 8 pm

Rules:

  • Followers of the blog only
  • Queries for completed and polished manuscripts only. No WIPs.
  • Manuscripts only for the genres our judges represent. See below for genres.
  • Please, do not comment on posted queries. This is Judges Week only.
  • In the subject line, type Finals Week, (name of novel)

Format your query:

Title:
Genre:
Name: (name will be posted unless you prefer anonymity)

Then paste the body of the query. No attachments please.

Send to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com

  • We will accept ten queries in the first window and ten in the second window, total of twenty. 
  • We will post when the window is open and when it is closed. 
  • No queries will be accepted before the posted times.
  • You are responsible for determining time zones.

Queries will go up starting 5 am Monday and stay up for the week.

Our judges and the genres they represent:

Andrew Buckley, Curiosity Quills. I’m looking for adult fiction be it paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, urban fantasy and/or anything quirky or humorous. No YA or NA please. I like strong protagonists with a unique voice and wonderfully evil antagonists. Please, please, please, no in-your-face sword and sorcery type pieces. They’ve been known to cause sharp pains in my posterior. I’m also looking for cookies. Oatmeal raisin are my favorite. 

Angela Kelly, Musa Publishing. I represent Spec-fic, which includes fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, utopian, apocalyptic, post apocalyptic, alternate history, steampunk, supernatural and those strange stories that are just a little hard to classify.
I'm looking for stories that amaze or excite me.  Scare me, show me how the world would be different if just one little thing had happened differently in the past.  Stories that make me think, especially if they make me think, "What if?" or "Why not?".  Stories that make me feel and that move me.  Strong protagonists that make me wish they were my best friends.  A writing style that draws me in and makes me live in that world, that makes me wish the story would never end.  And when it does end, I want to feel like I just have to go back to visit that world or see those characters again.  I want to feel a little sad when the story ends, not necessarily because it has a sad ending, but because the story's over and I know I'm going to miss those characters.  I guess my biggest thing is that I just want a good story!

Victoria Lowes, The Bent Agency. I currently only represent YA & Adult digital-first titles. I am always looking to represent contemporary and historical romance titles, mysteries, thrillers as well as women's fiction and humor. Right now, I'm more specifically looking for a suspenseful female-driven mystery, an historical fiction set in the early 20th century that has strong romantic elements and a YA or adult contemporary romance that has a strong, authentic voice.

Good luck to all our participants!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Workshop Week, QueryCon2013

What a week it has been!


Great submissions and excellent feedback. I certainly benefited from the help I received. I hope everyone can say the same.

Continue giving feedback, but at this time, we are closing the revision window.

Next up, Finals Week and the rules to submit those polished queries. Check back tomorrow for when and how to submit.

"Keep a weather eye on the horizon." - Will Turner, Pirates of the Caribbean

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workshop #19 Juniper

When an army of vampires threatens to march into town ready to kill, 482-year-old Nathaniel Perkins wonders if he should just pretend this isn't his problem.

Juniper isn't his hometown and Nathaniel has lived long enough and been betrayed a few times too much to understand people can't be trusted. He’ll stick his neck out, just to get hunted down for being a bloodsucker. Besides, Juniper isn't vampire friendly and 17-year-old spitfire Elizabeth Wright knows his secret. Armed with a deadly wooden stake, she already made sure Nathaniel understood he isn't welcome in her town.

Yeah, he should just let the destructive vampires take it over.

That's when Nathaniel learns his beloved teenage and immortal sister, Anne, has other plans. She is dead set on staying in Juniper and fighting. By her side is Elizabeth, an ally Anne gained by demonstrating concern over human life. Since his sister is willing to save as many people as she can, even at the cost of her own dead heart, Nathaniel needs to pick a side. He can either join his sister and Elizabeth to fight for a cause that might get him killed, even if he is on the winning team. Or he can force Anne out of town at the risk of losing her anyways. He knows there is something even his good-hearted sister won't forgive and that is betrayal.

Told from Elizabeth and Nathaniel’s POV, JUNIPER is a YA fantasy completed at 99,000 words.

Workshop #18 No Place in Heaven

Dear Agent,

In a peacekeeping guild above the clouds where students are Blessed with supernatural abilities, seventeen-year-old Quinton Petronis remains Unhallowed. And it's no wonder, what with his mother being the only traitor in history: a madwoman who tried to kill the immortal Father of the Guild himself. Quinton's mere existence is blasphemy.
Why the Guild still keeps him around is anyone's guess.

When he's assigned his first undercover mission (five years later than anyone else, but better late than never), Quinton thinks his luck has finally changed. He joins the Guild's best Silencer – assassin is such an unpleasant word – on a trip to the Deadlands below the clouds, where a rebel organization against the Father has taken root. Here's Quinton's chance to prove treason isn't hereditary. He just hopes he's granted some kickass abilities in time to help nip the rebellion in the bud.

Too bad the people down here aren't terrorists at all, the Father's not the magnanimous leader the Guild paints him to be, and Quinton's “Blessing” is actually the worst curse he could have imagined. A curse that, left unbroken, will turn him into the very tool the Father uses to destroy Quinton's friends in the rebellion.

Looks like treason will have to run in the family, or the Father's reign will overtake heaven and earth – not to mention Quinton's identity – forever.

Complete at 94,000 words, NO PLACE IN HEAVEN is a YA fantasy with crossover potential into the adult market. I believe it will appeal to fans of hybrid fantasies like Brandon Sanderson's MISTBORN trilogy and Brent Weeks' NIGHT ANGEL series.

Workshop #17 The Matchmaker

At only nineteen years of age, Sienna Preston hasn’t developed many skills to provide for a family, except for one - the art of lying. Thrown into the role of primary breadwinner, Sienna gets creative with her job choices. She becomes a liar for hire as she is commissioned to pull off certain undercover jobs, ranging from prostitute to freelance reporter.

When Sienna is hired to kill the wealthy creator of a multi-billion dollar genetic matchmaking company, her conscience comes into play. She isn’t looking for romance, but a way to get out of the hit, when she meets the son of her target.

Zane Ryder is a handsome, genetically modified person. As the son of the creator of Match 360, he is the poster child for the company. His life has been planned out for him since birth: turn twenty and marry the woman he is genetically matched to. Life is going according to plan until he meets a fiery red-head who captures his attention.

Sienna knows her life is in danger when she refuses to kill Zane’s father. Clearly these men are not the forgiving type, and she’s become a liability. Her greatest threat is not knowing who hired her and when they will come after her again.

Zane’s future and the future of his father’s company rest in his hands. Zane must choose between being with the woman he loves, or becoming the poster child he was created to be, while Sienna must decide if Zane is worth waiting for.

Told from the viewpoint of both main characters, The Matchmaker is a romance novel encompassing an intricate tale of lies, deceit, and desire as two young lovers battle for love and for their lives. This is currently still a work in progress (and I do not plan on submitting it until it is complete).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #16 She Flies With Her Own Wings

Revision #1
Anna is stuck in a rut. To be fair, though, it’s a very comfortable rut that her dad approves of, and that she dug for herself. But still, it’s time for a change.

Change comes in the form of Coy McLeod, visiting Anna’s small hometown from the far away land of Chicago. He’s as spontaneous, passionate, and independent as Anna is… not.

When Coy gets the idea to take a Shakespeare Festival road trip, Anna agrees to go along, hoping the spontaneity of the trip will help her to be more open to new things. But when she returns home, she is just as uncertain of what to do with her future as when she left. Coy has added a new choice to Anna’s list of possible future plans- he wants her to move to Chicago with him. As if things weren’t confusing enough already.

Should she finish college at her family’s alma mater, while still living at home with her widower father? Or take a chance on Coy, and step into the unknown? As time runs out on Anna’s last semester of school, it will take a proposal, a death, and The Sound of Music to bring down the curtain on her old life.

SHE FLIES WITH HER OWN WINGS is a New Adult novel, complete at 90,000 words. It would appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary Young Adult novels, such as those by Sarah Dessen, and are now looking for an older protagonist. Thank you very much for your consideration.


Original
Dear (agent),

After graduating from high school, Anna Claysmith stayed home. She hates her job, but she needs it to pay for her courses at the community college. Her boyfriend is part of a traveling theater company, which would be cool if she got to see him more than once a year. She knows she wants things to change, but she doesn’t like not knowing what the future will hold.

The one bright spot in her life is working backstage for the community theater- until the director brings in newcomer Coy McLeod. Though she initially resents needing his help, Anna and Coy gradually become friends.

Then Coy gets the idea to take a “Shakespeare Festival” road trip. Anna agrees to go along, hoping the spontaneity of the trip will help her to be more open to new things. When she returns home, she is just as uncertain of what to do with her future as when she left. Coy has added a new choice to Anna’s list of possible future plans- he wants her to move to Chicago with him.

Should she finish college at her family’s alma mater, while still living at home with her widower father? Or take a chance on Coy, and step into the unknown? As time runs out on Anna’s last semester of school, it will take a proposal, a death, and The Sound of Music to bring down the curtain on her old life.

SHE FLIES WITH HER OWN WINGS is a New Adult novel, complete at 90,000 words. It would appeal to readers who enjoy contemporary Young Adult novels, such as those by Sarah Dessen, and are now looking for an older protagonist. Thank you very much for your consideration.

(contact info)

Workshop #15 Pieces of Elysium

REVISION #1 
Since facing exile to Earth, the dumping ground for mythological misfits, Ingrid performs odd jobs to make ends meet. Formerly a Valkyrie, she now works as transport security, cracking skulls with her chimera-bone mace. It’s boring, but steady - until she agrees to protect Lacie LaVerre, an ordinary human, from an undead contract killer.

Lacie moves in with Ingrid for round-the-clock protection and promptly hogs the remote, uses her toothbrush, and drinks all the wine. Ingrid would like nothing more than to ditch her and this crappy job, but there’s one small problem: Lacie is also sweet, smart, and might be the first woman Ingrid’s fallen for in 500 years. She needs to decide quickly, because a shadowy figure named CatterNine wants Lacie dead, and he's perfectly willing to go through Ingrid first.

She doesn't know it, but Lacie is the key to opening the doorway from Earth to Elysium, something all the immortals exiled here would desperately like to control – or destroy. Following a trail through an underworld of cynical cupids, sasquatch squatters, and pyromaniac dryads, Ingrid must choose between protecting herself and risking her immortal life to save a woman she hardly knows. Otherwise, it won’t be her world that falls to pieces, but all existence.


Original
[Mr./Ms., name]

I’m writing to introduce my 95,000-word novel, PIECES OF ELYSIUM, a quirky adult urban fantasy. I chose to query you because [tailored explanation].

For the last 500 years since being exiled from the immortal realm of Elysium to Earth, the cosmic dumping ground for mythological misfits, Ingrid has been pulling odd jobs to make ends meet. Because her former job title was “Valkyrie,” this mostly involves cracking skulls with her chimera-bone mace. It’s boring but steady work – at least until she agrees to an unusual request to protect an ordinary human, Lacie LaVerre, from an undead contract killer.

It takes Ingrid about five minutes to regret her decision. Lacie may be beautiful, rich, and successful, but she's also whiny, moody, and a total pain in the ass. She’s the worst kind of roommate – the one who uses your toothbrush, drinks all the wine, and hogs the remote. Ingrid would like nothing more than to ditch her and this crappy job, but there’s one small problem: Lacie might also be the first woman Ingrid’s fallen for in 500 years. She'll need to make up her mind quickly, because a shadowy figure named CatterNine wants Lacie dead, and he's perfectly willing to go through Ingrid first.

She doesn't know it, but Lacie is the key to opening the door between Earth and Elysium, something all the immortals exiled here would desperately like to control – or destroy. Following a trail through abandoned strip malls and crumbling industrial parks, the gray zones of our world inhabited by a motley crew of cynical cupids, sasquatch squatters, and pyromaniac dryads, Ingrid will have to use every resource at her disposal to stop the man out to kill Lacie. Otherwise, it won’t just be Ingrid’s world that will fall to pieces, but all existence.

With its strong narrative voice, PIECES OF ELYSIUM will appeal to fans of SANDMAN SLIM, and the diverse cast of mythological characters will draw in those who enjoyed AMERICAN GODS.

As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first [X] pages below. I am happy to send additional materials at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

[Contact information]

Workshop #14 Pirate Jenny

When a pirate ship sails into the harbor, seventeen-year-old servant girl, Jenny is intrigued. She’s never met a pirate before and the thought of sailing away to find adventure thrills her.

When the pirate captain enters the tavern, Jenny is surprised that the captain is a woman and even more surprised to find out the Red Lady pirate is the mother who abandoned her as an infant.

The murderous Red Lady pirate has returned to claim Jenny. She wants the two of them to make a life on the open seas.

Jenny’s romantic version of life as a pirate is quickly changed when her mother’s band of pirates pillage and burn the village leaving only bodies in their wake.

Horrified at the thought of killing and becoming like her mother, Jenny runs away only to be found by the pirates.

Now Jenny must protect a young girl kidnapped by her mother and pretend to go along with her mother’s schemes in order for the two of them to survive.

Workshop #13 Diamond Black

*oh, what the heck, might as well throw this into the mix. This is my wip-Huntress*

Diamond Black likes her ‘life’ just as it is. She’s dead. Has been for a thousand years. Now, with no bad hair days, red sequined heels to die for, and the occasional haunting, her afterlife has purpose. She’s a Finder, a go-fer between the spectral world and the living.

Her partner Thorne is a living, breathing man who can see ghosts like Diamond. Together they find things; Wills, lost objects, and sometimes people. While Thorne promotes the business, Diamond contacts her ghostly pals for information. The frustrated cops want to know how Thorne gets his information when their own investigations lead nowhere.

The authorities don’t faze Diamond. She’s dead so what’s to worry. But she is afraid of one thing. The Dark. When this evil pours into the countryside, people are murdered and vigilantes walk in broad daylight. After a mysterious man recruits Thorne to find his brother and the clues point to a cursed town, Diamond loses Thorne and her purpose in the Afterlife. All that is left is revenge. And facing The Dark.

Workshop #12 GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH

Revision 1
Dear Dream Agent,

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking one inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking to gain an inch or two, Gerald decides a little landscaping is just what his village needs. But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than even he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, shrinks another inch; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s love of shiny wizarding objects leads him straight to a golden amulet that could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his dream wizard realm, the hunt is on.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. But he could really do without fighting off bumbling bandits, dealing with a very smelly Orcling and evading a female elven assassin. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might very well be his last.

GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH is a humorous, Upper MG, Fantasy. It is complete at 78,000 words. Similar in tone to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, younger readers would enjoy this novel of the trials of an inexperienced wizard who manages to turn everything he touches into chaos.


Original
In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking one inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking to gain an inch or two, Gerald decides a little landscaping is just what his village needs. But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than even he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, shrinks another inch; two more and he’ll join his father as a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s love of shiny wizarding objects leads him straight to a golden amulet which has the power to resolve his little problem. Vabalaz discovers that Gerald has the key to creating his dream wizard realm and the hunt is on.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. But fighting off bumbling bandits, dealing with a very smelly Orcling and evading a female elven assassin do not make things go smoothly. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might very well be his last.

GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH is a humorous, Upper MG, Fantasy. It is complete at 78,000 words. Similar in tone to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, younger readers would enjoy this novel of the trials of an inexperienced wizard who manages to turn everything he touches into chaos.

Workshop #11 Fade Into Me

Revision 1 (I fizzled out at the end. Help! And does this give away to much at the beginning? Also, the story really is about the romance. Everything else complicates the romance. It is the only real goal. Convince the girl to marry or nothing else will go as planned. )

Dear Agent/Editor,

A year after Ryanne Killian’s parents ran off to “find themselves”, her best friend held her down while two of his teammates beat and raped her in a drunken role play. Betrayed and emotionally broken, she’s vowed to never let anyone into her heart again. However, on the day of high school graduation, a stream of magic only she can see, calls her to the botanical gardens on the UNC-C campus. Straight into the arms of her soul mate. She can feel it, but can she trust it?

Caedmon Frey is the Abhithian heir during the year of Reparation. His alien race has lived on the earth longer than humans, but they are being punished by the home world for disobeying the laws of creation. He must marry a human girl by the Day of Reparation in the hopes that she will be able to feel and use magic. Only then will his people be free to ascend to the home planet once more.

For one brief moment Caedmon literally held the fate of two worlds in his arms. When Ryanne flees from his embrace, he wonders if he will ever convince her to marry him.

Ryanne's scars run as deep as her walls are high. In the end she’ll have to find her own inner strength and self worth if she's going to save herself and set Caedmon’s people free.

FADE INTO ME is a modern day YA Fantasy set in Charlotte, NC. It all started with a walk through the botanical gardens where I know faeries play day and night.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Original
Dear Agent/Editor,

Ryanne Killian's life has taught her that true love doesn't exist. Neither do happy endings. And yet, on the day of her high school graduation, a strange force calls her to the botanical gardens on the UNC-C campus. Straight into the arms of her soul mate. She can feel it, but she'll never trust it.

For a brief moment, Caedmon Frey literally held the fate of two worlds in his arms. As she runs away he wonders if convincing the right human to marry him will take more time than the Abhithian High Council gave him.

Ryanne's scars run deep and the source of her nightmares is never far away. When they return, Caedmon can only hope he's done enough to convince her she's strong enough to save herself. And his people.

FADE INTO ME is a modern day YA Fantasy set in part in Charlotte, NC. It all started with a walk through the botanical gardens where I know faeries play day and night. It is half finished at 35,000.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Workshop #10 Gone Wild

Revision 2
Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on Stellar 3, a planet across the galaxy. While she knows her new life will be an adventure, she never expects to emerge from stasis to a ship of corpses. A crash landing has killed most of her fellow travelers, and marooned her in the planet’s desert, miles from her destination.

After no reply to their SOS, Lia and the other survivors head for the colony. Lia’s dreams of adventure disappear as her world morphs into a nightmare. Her first night in the desert, foot-long worms invade her campsite and bite, killing a boy. Her friend, Claire, and her little brother, Joe, are bitten and survive, but within days of their recovery, Lia realizes something’s horribly wrong with them. Claire’s spouting psychic predictions, which freak Lia out when they start to come true. Joe insists he can communicate with animals and proves it when he protects Lia from attacking beasts with what he calls the power of his mind.

 When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, Claire shares another vision. Lia can submit to a bite that may give her the power to heal Joe.  Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.


GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Revision 1
Dear Stellar Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on planet Stellar 3. While she knows her new life will be an adventure, she never expects to emerge from stasis to a ship of corpses. A crash landing has killed most of her fellow travelers, and marooned her in the planet’s desert, miles from her destination.

After no reply to their SOS, Lia and the other teen survivors head to the colony. Lia’s determined to keep everyone safe but her world goes batty around her. Foot-long worms invade their campsite and bite some of the kids, killing a boy. When her friend Claire, and her brother Joe somehow survive their bites, Lia’s relief and guilt tears her apart.

Within days, Lia realizes something’s horribly wrong with her friends. Claire’s hallucinating about dragons and morphing into the planet’s first psychic while sharing visions of doom. And Joe insists he can telepathically communicate with a lizard-like creature he found in the desert. Although they appear the same, Lia fears Claire and Joe are mutating before her eyes into mind-warped aliens, and it’s freakin’ her out.

When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, loopy Claire pulls her aside. In a witchy, sing-song voice, she tells Lia she has two choices. Lia can submit to a bite that might give her the power to heal Joe. Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.

GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Original
Dear Stellar Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on planet Stellar 3. The last thing she expected was to wake to a ship of rotting corpses.  Total shock sets in when she discovers she’s stranded in Stellar 3’s barren desert with ten other teen survivors, far from the colony.

As they head to safety, Lia’s determined to hold her little group together, but everything goes batty around her.  Foot-long worms slide into the campsite her first night and bite her friends. She yanks one off a boy and kills it, but he soon dies from the bite.  Claire and her little brother Joe were bitten and she only stays sane when they tell her they feel fine.

Lia has always found Claire a bit off, but within days Claire’s sharing dreams of telepathic dragons and spouting psychic visions of a future of doom.  When Joe introduces Lia to a lizard-like creature he says morphed from a worm and insists he can speak to it in his mind, Lia knows her life is spiraling out of control. Although they look exactly the same, Lia fears her friends are mutating into scary, mind-warped creatures.
When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, Claire pulls her aside.  In a witchy, sing-song voice, she tells Lia she has two choices.  Lia can go to the desert and submit to a bite that might give her the power to heal Joe.  Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.

GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Workshop #9 Shattered

Revision 1
When pursued by a sexy, blue-eyed immortal, an eighteen-year-old girl is bound to swoon. Dawn’s no exception—until reality, in the form of a soccer ball, hits her in the face and reminds her she’s related to infamous immortal traitors.

She runs screaming in the opposite direction.
But Kalan, the sexy immortal, follows and takes a psychic peek inside her mind. His intrusion unleashes a semi-psychopathic entity, Icy, who until this point had been living trapped and dormant in Dawn’s head. Icy’s ecstatic to be free and celebrates by mentally dropkicking Kalan into unconsciousness.

Dawn rushes home to get help from her older sisters—the same treasonous relatives who put her in this situation in the first place. But her sisters are gone and all evidence shouts kidnapping by someone from the immortal realms that parallel Earth. Dawn charges off to save them, but she ends up getting kidnapped herself.

Dawn’s captor, Guinevere, wants her to steal a powerful charm from Kalan. Dawn’s not qualified to steal bubble gum, much less a well-guarded charm. But, to her surprise, Icy makes her the perfect candidate to rob Kalan. And, just in case Dawn doesn’t want to help, Guinevere can always chop off Dawn’s sisters’ heads as a little extra motivation.

Complete at 100,000 words, SHATTERED is a new adult fantasy. It is set both on contemporary Earth and its nine parallel realms. The realms, as well as many of the characters and events, are loosely based on Norse mythology and Arthurian legend. I have included the first five pages of the manuscript in the body of this email.


Thank you for your time and consideration.

Original-
When pursued by a sexy, blue-eyed immortal, an eighteen-year-old girl is bound to swoon. Dawn’s no exception—until reality, in the form of a soccer ball, hits her in the face and reminds her she’s related to infamous immortal outcasts.

She runs screaming in the opposite direction.

But Kalan, the sexy immortal, follows and takes a psychic peek inside her mind. His intrusion pisses off a semi-psychopathic alter ego living in Dawn’s head, Icy, who until this point had been trapped and dormant.

Dawn rushes home to get help—because, really, who wouldn’t if they started hearing a voice that mentally dropkicked a hot guy into unconsciousness? But her older sisters are gone and all evidence shouts kidnapping by someone from the immortal realms that parallel Earth. Dawn charges off to save them, but she ends up getting kidnapped herself.

Dawn’s captor, Guinevere, wants her to steal a powerful charm from Kalan. Dawn’s not qualified to steal bubble gum, much less a well-guarded charm. But, to her surprise, Icy makes her the perfect candidate to rob Kalan. And, just in case Dawn doesn’t want to help, Guinevere can always chop off Dawn’s sisters’ heads as a little extra motivation.

Complete at 100,000 words, SHATTERED is a new adult fantasy. It is set both on contemporary Earth and its nine parallel realms. The realms, as well as many of the characters and events, are loosely based on Norse mythology and Arthurian legend. I have included the first five pages of the manuscript in the body of this email.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Workshop #8 Out of Touch

Revision 2:

When Gigi Reilly saw a man die, she couldn’t tell anyone. No cop would believe a seven-year-old anyway, especially if it was a vision, seen after touching a teacup. After placing an anonymous phone call the police find the body.

Her life is changed forever.  Emotional blueprints on inanimate objects become the bane of her existence.

At 28 years old, Gigi is out of options and goes to work part-time as the file clerk in the local police department. Three days into her new job, she is taken hostage and held at knife point. Touching it triggers a disturbing vision that sets her on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring.

When her best friend is kidnapped, Gigi needs to crack the case to rescue her. But who can she trust? Her boyfriend cop might be a mole, while a man she barely knows has the military skills to pull of the rescue, but a closet full of secrets.

OUT OF TOUCH is a Paranormal Mystery/Romance and the first book in a series.


Thank you for your consideration.

Revision 1
Dear Agent,

When she was seven years old, Greta "Gigi" Reilly's life changed forever.  She touched a teacup at a neighborhood yard sale which triggered a vision of a man drinking poison and dying.  In a panic, she fell into a wheelbarrow and saw his wife bury him in the backyard.  An anonymous call to the police proved her vision was true!  Since then, she has attempted to avoid objects that might leave an emotional blueprint behind. So, despite her grandma's determination, she resisted working at the family's antiques and collectibles business.

At 28 years old, Gigi is out of options and goes to work part-time as the file clerk in the local police department.  She also pitches in at her grandma's antique store where she meets the mysterious Alex.  He is a former Navy Seal, current antique refinisher, and probably a bad idea.  He makes her wonder if rekindling her romance with Leo, a police officer and heart breaker, is a smart move.

A vision at the police department sets Gigi on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring. Unfortunately, her visions don't work on command.  She enlists her friends to help.  Her best friend stumbles into the heart of the carjacking ring and is kidnapped. Gigi must decide who to trust to help with the rescue: her boyfriend cop, who might be the mole in the department, or a man she barely knows, with military skills and a closet full of secrets.

OUT OF TOUCH is a Paranormal Mystery/Romance and the first book in a series.

Thank you for your consideration.


Original
Greta "Gigi" Reilly touched a teacup when she was seven years old at a neighborhood yard sale which triggered a vision of a man clutching his throat and pitching forward into his dining room table - dead. Since then, she has avoided objects that might leave an emotional blueprint. Due to her Irish temperament, and the unwanted visions, the longest she has held a job is six months.

At 28 years old, she is forced by monetary circumstances to work as the part-time file clerk at the local police department and help at her grandma's antique store. A vision at the police department sets her on the trail of a crooked cop and a local carjacking ring. When her grandma witnesses her own car being stolen her life becomes endangered.

Gigi needs to crack the case in order to protect her grandma, so she forms her own Scooby Gang to solve the mystery. Her best friend is kidnapped when she learns the truth. Gigi must decide who to trust to rescue her: her boyfriend cop, who might be the mole, or a man she barely knows, with military skills and a closet full ofsecrets.

Workshop #7 Letting Go

Revision 2
Dear Agent,
After the tragic death of her husband, Giselle Roberts is certain she will be single forever. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a jaw-droppingly good-looking stranger, leaves her wondering if she’s ready to open her heart again.

Declan Worthington is charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of blissful surrender. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle begins to dream about a new future, one that involves romance and passion. Never once does it cross her mind not to trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family.

When she finds out about Declan’s shadowy past, will Giselle throw away her chance at second love? Or will she let go of the pain and anger that the truth brings?

LETTING GO is a romance novel complete at 105,000 words. I am currently knee-deep in another romance novel and wading through plans for more in the future. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope my work piques your interest!

Revision 1
Dear Agent,

Giselle Roberts isn’t looking for love when she walks into the crowded restaurant a year after losing her husband. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five small children, all she really wants is a night out with her friends. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger who knows more about her than he lets on, might just change her perspective.

Declan Worthington is everything she could ever hope to find in a second love. He’s charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of submission. He’s also great with her kids, who quickly grow to adore him. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle allows herself to dream of a new future that involves romance and passion. Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back to her family.

With the realization of Declan’s shameful secret (or shadowy past??), Giselle has a choice to make. Will she throw away her chance at second love? Or will she let go of the pain and anger that the truth brings?

LETTING GO is a romance novel complete at 105,000 words. I am currently knee-deep in another romance novel and wading through plans for more in the future. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope my work piques your interest!


Original
Dear Agent,
Giselle Roberts isn’t looking for love when she walks into the crowded restaurant a year after losing her husband in a tragic car accident. Barely staying afloat caring for the needs of her five small children, romance is the furthest thing from her mind. But a chance meeting of a handsome stranger who knows more about her than he lets on, might just change her perspective.

Declan Worthington is everything she could ever hope to find in a second love. He’s charismatic, wealthy, and British, hence the sexy accent that drives Giselle to the brink of submission. Another plus is how great he is with her kids who adore him and beg him to be their new dad. All except for Giselle’s oldest son Cohen who thinks another man in the house is one too many.

As Declan weaves his way into her heart and life, Giselle allows herself to dream of a new future, one that involves romance and passion. Never once does it cross her mind to not trust the man who has brought happiness back into her family’s life. However, the man she’s given her heart to has a shameful secret. One that connects them in a way she never suspected.

When Giselle finds out about Declan’s shadowy past, she has a choice to make. Will she throw away her chance at second love and let the past grip her heart? Or will she let go of the pain and anger that plagues her?

LETTING GO is a romance novel complete at 105,000 words. Although this is my first novel, I am currently knee-deep in another romance novel with plans for more in the future. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope my work piques your interest!

Best Regards,

Workshop #6 Hawks & Rams

Heathric knows the yearly tax collection will go badly. Nobody in their little hill town has the money this year — and his flock was gutted by disease like all the others. The desperate shepherds hatch a plot: send a team of men over the hills to the neighboring kingdom to steal sheep. Heathric’s cousin, a skilled woodsman, leads the raid.

The yearly collection is a rare chance for Heathric to see his lover, but that’s overshadowed by Heathric’s worries and his longing for more than his lover can give.

On the other side of the border, Adal has all but given up on finding a man who truly wants him. That’s shoved aside by the surprise raid — which leaves a man dead and more injured. The Ranger's duty sends him across the border in pursuit of the thieves and straight into Heathric’s hometown.

Hawks & Rams is gay fantasy romance novella, 48,000 words as of the first draft.

Workshop #5 Cloudland, and Other Stories

Revision #1:
Six-year-old Jake knows his mom isn’t dead. After her car tumbled off a bridge during a freak autumn storm, his father said she died, but there’s no body. So when a mysterious, arrogant Voice magically appears in Jake’s head, and tells him It’s there to help him, Jake knows it’s up to him to find his mother and bring her home.

Jake knows where his mom has gone: to Cloudland, to the stories she tells him about before bed. He just isn’t sure how to get there. It’s only when he meets Sara that he and the Voice understand how he’s going to get to the Stories: Sara is going to help them.

Sara, however, has enough problems of her own. Her first job as a school social worker is interrupted by her father’s sudden death. She can barely manage to get to work, much less help a grieving child with a heartbreaking story that’s far too similar to her own. But everything in Sara’s life is pushing her towards Jake, and when she finally agrees to work with him, the session is beyond anything she could have expected. The Voice transports them both into the sky, to a strange, wild land made of clouds and stories. Together, Jake and Sara undertake a heart-wrenching and ultimately healing quest to find their lost parents.

At nearly 90,000 words, CLOUDLAND, AND OTHER STORIES is a literary fiction with fantastical elements. It is my first novel. I live in Boston, Massachusetts and spend my days working with relaxed people in a dim cave with soothing music; in other words, I’m a massage therapist.


Original
When six-year-old Jake’s mom is killed in a car accident on a bridge during a freak autumn storm, he knows she isn’t really dead, no matter what anyone says: there’s no body, after all. As his now grief-stricken and always inscrutable father organizes a funeral with an empty casket, Jake understands that it’s going to be up to him – and the mysterious, arrogant Voice that magically appears in his head – to find her, and bring her home.

Jake knows where his mom has gone: to Cloudland, to the stories she tells him about before bed; he just isn't sure how to get there. It’s only when he meets Sara that he and the Voice understand how he’s going to get to the Stories: Sara is going to help him.

Sara, however, has enough problems of her own. Her first job as a school social worker started just two days before her father’s sudden death; she can barely manage to get to work, much less help a grieving child with a heartbreaking story that’s far too similar to her own.

But there are forces at work that Sara can’t even imagine, and everything in her life seems to be pushing her towards Jake. When she finally agrees to work with him, the session is beyond anything she could have expected: the Voice transports them both into the sky, to a strange, wild land made of clouds and stories, on a heart-wrenching and ultimately healing quest to find their lost parents.

At nearly 90,000 words, CLOUDLAND, AND OTHER STORIES is a literary fiction with fantastical elements. It is my first novel. I live in Boston, Massachusetts and spend my days working with a (hopefully) relaxed person in a quiet, dim cave with soothing music; in other words, I’m a massage therapist.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Workshop #4 The Last Orphans

Revision #1
Dear Awesome Judges,

The Last Orphans is a YA action adventure complete at 58,000 words.

Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane watches his family’s slaughter when a modern-day government mishap suddenly wipes out all the adults on the planet, leaving everyone under the age of eighteen to fend for themselves. An out-of-his-league girl pleads for his help, and Shane reluctantly finds himself leading his high school friends on a desperate search for answers. After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, Shane learns a top-secret military weapon’s malfunction caused the massacre. What’s worse, the still-active weapon could, at any moment, turn on the survivors. While attempting to keep their little brothers and sisters safe, Shane and his friends fight their way through gangs who have taken over Atlanta. They must make it to the heart of the city and deactivate the weapon, which left unchecked will target younger and younger kids until it kills them all.    

I am the author of Joshua’s Tree (MuseItUp Publishing, June 2013), a YA novel that was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (2012) and is currently #1 out of 874 books on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List.

I’d be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Original
Dear Awesome Judges,

The Last Orphans is a YA action adventure complete at 58,000 words.

A modern-day government mishap suddenly wipes out all adults on the planet, leaving those under the age of eighteen to fend for themselves. Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane must ignore his grief and lead his high school friends in a harrowing attempt to stop the doomsday weapon that exterminated the adults—before it turns on them.

After watching his family’s slaughter, Shane wants to give up. But an out-of-his-league girl he has always had a crush on pleads for his help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her. Joined by other high school friends, Shane reluctantly finds himself in the role of their leader. After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, they learn a top-secret military weapon’s malfunction caused the death of the adults. What’s worse, the still-active weapon could, at any moment, turn on the surviving youths. Shane leads an army of teenagers against gangs who have taken over Atlanta, fighting his way to the heart of the city to deactivate the weapon before he and his friends suffer their parent’s horrific fate.  

I am the author of Joshua’s Tree (MuseItUp Publishing, June 2013), a YA novel that was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (2012) and is currently #1 out of 874 books on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List.

I’d be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Workshop #3 Elswyk's Moon

Dear Agent:

All her adult life, Elswyk has kept secret that she’s a wizard. Wizards are tightly regulated due to the havoc some created years ago. However, Elswyk is a responsible wizard. She’ll register her residence in her new town, expecting that this magistrate also will not make her presence widely known.

Saving the king’s life was a fluke, but one that didn’t arouse suspicion. Sure, turning a bullet into a snowball was pretty difficult magic, but it wasn’t above the ability of most of the general population.

If only she had registered with the magistrate before she became famous! Now people were sure to question why she went to see the magistrate. Or the magistrate might feel it necessary to let everyone know that she is a wizard.

That would be bad. How might her employer react to that little omission?

The king’s life is threatened a second time. Elswyk can save him. This time, however, her secret will be revealed. But she can’t let the king die.

Elswyk’s Moon is a 75,000 word fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Workshop #2 Another New Life

Dear Agent,

Miranda Preston, a socially stunted piano major, knows about starting over. She's done it before.   At ten years old, Miranda was abused by a neighborhood boy and instead of dealing with it; her parents moved the family away, far from her hometown and away from her best friend, Troy.

Even at four years old, Troy was Miranda’s protector. On the playground, it was Troy and Miranda against the world. The move away from him proved more damaging to her psyche, than the abuse itself. For years, Miranda used that pain as an excuse for her self destructive choice.

Now, Miranda’s talent has afforded her the opportunity to start Another New life, but this time on her own terms. With a full scholarship to college on the other side of the country, she is determined not to let her past or her parents dictate her behavior any longer.

She has all the time in the world to discover the type of person she wants to be, but a week into her college career, her time to work on herself is interrupted when Troy, the highly recruited star quarterback, most popular guy on campus, and Miranda’s childhood best friend walks into class. On the outside, it looks like Troy has had the charmed life that teen romance novels are written about.

They pick up where they left off eight years ago and the romance that ensues is inevitable.  Troy calls it fate. Miranda’s friends have created a fairy tale inspired destiny to their reunion. Miranda tries to be happy, but she knows it's only a matter of time before the secrets she holds will be revealed.

When she left Troy before, it wasn’t by choice.  When Troy finds out that what happen to her so many years ago, set in motion the struggles he faced growing up, as well. This time, he will choose to leave her.

ANOTHER NEW LIFE is my debut New Adult Romance novel completed at 76,000 words. It explores how even when choices are made for you that are out of your control, you still have to deal with the consequences soon or later.

I am excited to share this project with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Workshop #1 Athenian Rain

Revision #1

When Donna is sent back in time to Classical Athens, she is furious Dr. Stephens for going against her wishes. Then a Greek soldier purchases her to be his wife.

She is forced to learn a new language and culture, and faces her fears of never returning to her own time, all while being confronted with her issues—being compared to her genius brother, borderline abusive friends, and a cheating boyfriend.

But her husband, Peleus, is kind and patient. Although against her best judgment, she allows him into her heart. He counters all the negative voices from her past, and if she can let go of her fears, he could teach her to see herself as he does; beautiful.



Original

Dear "agent" in this query critique!

Donna awakes in Classical Athens. Only one person could have sent her there, her eccentric scientist friend, Dr. Stephens. He thinks he’s helping her because her life sucks. She just graduated high school, barely, her parents compare her to her genius brother, and her boyfriend cheated on her, right in front of her. So she turned to Dr. Stephens for distraction. He shows her his latest invention; Time Travel. He asks to test it on her but she refuses, afraid of making her life worse.

When she finds herself in Athens, she’s lost, knowing only what she learned in her high school history classes. She senses there are sinister happenings going on around her as men come to see her like a freak show, and call her “Amazon.” When a Greek soldier shows up and purchases her for his wife, she is horrified.

But this soldier, Peleus, is not what she expects. He isn’t like other men from his time and society. There’s something about him which draws her to him, despite her best judgment and knowing she could soon return to her own time. If she allows him in, he could either crush her already broken heart, or he could be the one thing she needs to heal and discover her true potential.

Dancing in the Athenian Rain is a New Adult Time Travel Romance complete at 84,000 words.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Call for Workshop Submissions!

I hope you got lots of great information last week about queries. I also hope you're ready to play!

Our mailbox has been cleaned and is ready to receive your queries for critiquing next week. Let me run through the guidelines for this week.


  1. Your novel does NOT have to be finished to get your query critiqued this week.
  2. Email your query to unicornbellsubmissions@gmail.com with QUERY CRITIQUE [name of book] in the subject line. And yes, this is a test to see if you can follow directions. Remember, submission guidelines ARE YOUR FRIEND when it comes to querying agents and publishers. 
  3. I will post queries on Monday and they will stay up all week. If you submit, please comment on at least 3 other queries. We are all here to help each other. 
  4. As you receive feedback, feel free to revise and RESUBMIT the new version. I'll post it on your same thread. You can do this as many times as you want during the week. The goal is to perfect this query.
As always, if you have any question, PLEASE ask. We are here to help you.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Queries That Worked--Tara Tyler

Here's the query that Tara perfected at QueryCon last year. This query snatched the attention of Curiosity Quills. Pop Travel is now available.

People are dying to save time. Literally.

Private investigator J. L. Cooper always knew pop travel laser teleportation was too good to be true. Finding a video of a disintegrating traveler is the stomach turning “I told you so.”

To broadcast the video on the nosy government monitored Q-net would be a needless risk of arrest. So Cooper digs for the truth, discovering more unsolved traveler disappearances, resulting in the death of his client and a threat to his political little brother, who is in jeopardy of turning to dust anyway for disregarding Cooper’s warnings not to pop. Cooper has to do everything himself. To stop the disappearances and save his brother he must shut down the ruthless mega corp Pop Travel International (PTI). And that means convincing Hasan Rakhi, the celebrity Creator of pop travel, to publicly admit the deadly flaw. No problem. 

Staying one step ahead of PTI and the rogue FBI lackeys watching his every move through the damn web cams, Cooper has to be unpredictable. Facing his fear, he pops in to crash a party at Hasan’s well-fortified plantation compound. Yes, the laser fences are real. As long as he survives his next pop, Cooper won’t let anything distract him from getting the job done. Not the android security guards who aren’t as bright as they look, or even Southern Comfort in a purple dress, Geri Harper (an undercover Agent). And now, Hasan has a problem he needs Cooper to help him with before he will reciprocate. It’s always something, but nothing Coop can’t handle.

POP TRAVEL is a thriller complete at 85,000 words. This adventure is reminiscent of Romancing the Stone mixed with I, Robot. The first five pages follow.

Thank you for reading my submission.

Guest Post by Roland Yeomans

Charity Bradford has graciously asked me to talk of a scary Friday the 13th topic:

No, not about my urban fantasy audiobook filled with ghouls, haunted jazz clubs, vampires, and murderous shadows --

VOODOO & LOVE IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
{Review for a shot at autographed AVENGERS cast photo!}
NO -- WHAT EVERY UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THEIR BLOG:
  I.)  Agents don't read blogs ...

     As a rule that is. 

Unless you have 30,000 visitors a month, the agent wants to know the quality of your work not your blog.

II.) People visit blogs to see what's in it for them.

     We want the seven secrets to success in getting published ... and if you have them, would you please email them to me!

     Sadly, even I have fallen into the trap of trying to get people to buy my book.  Wrong way to write a blog. 

     Have something worthwhile and supportive to say.  Most of us know the basics.  Most of us are also struggling in the dark of doubt.

     Walter Knight had a great idea for all of us: 

Craig's List. 

Go there and see if you can snare the attention of non-writing readers.  

Until we do that, we will not succeed at selling our books unless we devote 12 hours a day to it.

     I have a day job so that is out ... and I would wager that kind of investment is out for most of you.


     Plus, social networking is a time suck. 


You can go pretty far down the rabbit hole with Tweets and Facebook updates. Then you lose sight of the thing that’s really going to get you published: writing.

III.) Focus on your writing.

     And if you feel the need to be online, which you should, at least in some small way, put up a simple three page site: main landing page with info about your work, about you page, contact page.

IV.) DO'S



  • Create interesting content.

  • Leverage everything you do —

  •  blog about school visits, author events, books you’re reading, movies you see that have a good writing take-away, milestones of your book’s journey to publication if you’re that far along
    (check with your editor, though, to make sure you can post cover images and other production-related stuff), your agent search, etc.

  • If you’re an illustrator, share sketches and finishes,

  • talk about your process, talk about the tools you use, show works in progress.

  • Use pictures or cover images to liven up your posts.

  • Tweet or Facebook or post interesting links you find, don’t just blah blah blah all by yourself.

  • Leverage other people to create content for you —host blog tours, have guest blogs, do interviews, bring added value by using your blog to spotlight fun and different people who fit in with the theme of your blog.

  • Write about things that interest a wider audience —like here, sometimes I write articles on writing craft that can apply to fantasy writers but that can really benefit a broader audience, too.
  • Do contests and giveaways —remember, people are always asking “What’s in it for me?” when they read blogs.
  •     

    V.) DON'T'S
  • Rant or talk endlessly about yourself —  Enough about me; what do you think about me?


  • Do make your blog a place that other people will want to visit.

    Besides, if you rant about how hard it is to get published or what scum publishing professionals are, it’ll come back to bite you.

    The agent who clicks on your blog link in your query will think you’re a negative and difficult person…not a positive business partner who will be a joy to work with.

    Don't ...Force it.
     
    Again, there are too many blogs online to try and add yours to the heap if you’re not committed. You’re better off not having one instead of doing a bad or unenthusiastic job.



  • Leave your blog hanging.

  • Blogs are a huge time commitment and endlessly hungry little monsters.

  • By the very virtue of a blog, your most recent post will be the first thing visitors see. If it’s from eight months ago, you’ll look outdated.

  • If you can’t update at least once a week, you should think of a static website like the one I mentioned above.
  • Promote via Facebook.

  • Use Facebook to get in touch with friends and fans and writing buddies. Don’t use your Facebook as a platform, just set up a simple profile and use it to connect.

  • Exist in isolation. When you’re staring to blog, reach out.

  • Respond to comments on Twitter.

    Post comments on the blogs of people who comment on your blog. Read other blogs. You can’t expect the “social” part of social media to be a one way street.

    (Note, readers… I am a total hypocrite because I am too swamped to do this part… Forgiveness, please.

    But ill infants are getting the rare blood they deparately need.)

         This should at least get you thinking about how much social media you really need and how much to get involved in.

    It’s a slippery slope.

    Some people start and can’t stop,

    others start and can’t wait to stop,

    leaving their blog skeletons up for the whole world to see

    Find your own style.

    Concerns of online platform are more pressing for non-fiction writers,

    so the pressure is less for fiction writers,

    but you should still have SOME kind of online face. Agents do look for one, even for fiction folks.

    If your book is picked up by a publisher,

    they’ll expect you to do some online marketing.

    It’s better to have at least a small website and some presence than none at all.

    I hope this makes today Friday the 13th less scary for you!