Friday, July 29, 2011

Novel Contest Winners and a THANK YOU!!!

It brings me great joy as well as sadness to write this post. I'm thrilled because we have our winners for the Novel Contest and we have an extra treat as far as the contest goes, so I'm as giddy as giddy gets over that.

But with ups, there must be downs...or something like that. My downer is that this post will close out our month long Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest. I have met a load of fantastic, creative minds. I've learned a crap-load from you all (first and foremost, not to double space after a period--who knew?) and what can I say? I'm sad.

I can also say this was so much fun I am definitely thinking about making it an annual little venture. What do you think?

Okay, okay, enough blabbering from me. I know you finalists want to know who won so here we go.

Monica B.W. has picked her winner and it is....

AN Villasante
Congrats Alexandra! You have won a 10 page critique from Monica. I will get you her info to get in touch. Enjoy! Your writing is awesome clearly:)
Now on to Kathleen Rushall's pick...or shall we say picks. Yep, that's right. She said she had a VERY hard time picking a winner. So hard in fact that she struggled most of Thursday over it. Finally she settled on two and eventually one, but asked if I minded giving her the info of another lucky finalist so she could request a partial. Didn't I say you might want to have some finished work for this contest?
With that being said, Kathleen's winner is...
C. Lind a.k.a. LINDY
Lindy, you have won a query and 30 page critique from Kathleen!!! How cool is that? No doubt about it, top notch girl!
And our surprise runner up is...
Lisa Chickos
The Mermaid Gene
Lisa, I suppose you'd better look forward to an email from Kathleen in your inbox:)

I swear I feel like a proud mom or something. You all are wonderful! Thanks so much for being a part of all the fun. It wouldn't have been the same without you.
Congrats to ALL our winners throughout the four weeks!
I guess there's only one thing left to say.
Until next time...
Keep learning. Keep writing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Kathleen Rushall Interview Part 2 and Novel Contest Finalists!

We have our 10 finalists!! It was another HARD decision. I had 7 judges this time and we still had a huge tie so I had to call in the big dogs themselves for the tie breaker. Kathleen and Monica picked the final three. Thanks to everyone who entered, it has been an absolute blast blogfesting with you all! Please come back Friday and see who the winners are and wait no longer...
See all the finalists and their submissions after Kathleen's interview below!

We have had another list of AMAZING entries for the 200 Word Limit Novel Contest. Seriously! Even with 6 judges we still had some intense ties that have to be figured our. So while we are waiting on some finalizing of the votes for the week 4 blogfest novel contest, I am going to share with you the second part of Kathleen Rushall's interview. Kathleen is an agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and will also be picking a winner, along with agented writer Monica B.W., out of today's finalists.

She is open for submissions, so read about her, and if she sounds like a good fit for you, check out her submission guidelines over at Marsal Lyon.

If you'd like to read part 1 go here.

And now I give you part 2...

DB: In your opinion does it help a writer to have a platform and if so how?  Ex: bigger book deal, well known publishing house. 
KR: For nonfiction, absolutely: it’s actually a must. For nonfiction authors, I would say that your book should be looked at as an accessory to your platform, something you’d like to accompany your talks, seminars, program, etc., and not the other way around. However, for a fiction author, this is not the case. Although, an author who has some concept of how to market her/himself is always nice. Getting published for fiction vs. nonfiction are different games.

DB: Fiction writers, it sounds like your call on the platform. I think I'll stick with it since its so much fun:)
For those unpublished authors, is it important to have a college degree in writing or someone in the industry backing your manuscript? 

It can definitely help to have these, but no, I don’t think it’s a necessity. I do think it’s key for fiction authors to join an organization or community like Society of Children’s Book Writers (SCBWI), Romance Writers of America (RWA), AbsoluteWrite, or a writing or critique group of some kind. I look at this as your education in publishing, and it’s more important than any degree. Seeing that an author is a member of a group like this tells me that he/she is serious and knowledgeable, not just about writing, but also the market, expectations, and the process of getting published.

DB: SCBWI, check. I love that group! 

Your agency is based out of CA.  I am interested to know what your take is on the opinion that a writer is best served if his agent is based out of New York. 

This is one of the things I find so interesting about this job. A good agent can provide excellent representation from anywhere in the country (provided that we have the internet and boatloads of coffee, of course). Yes, it’s key to travel to NYC occasionally and to have frequent, quality contact with editors (phone, travel, email), wherever they’re located. The location of the agent shouldn’t be one of the most important factors in the agent quest. Plus, a bonus to having a southern California agent is that many of us have good connections with film agents in L.A. not to mention that if you come visit, I can take you out to authentic Mexican food. :D

 DB: I'm all about both of those!

After signing a writer how is your work relationship?  Do you consider yourself an editorial type agent?

Yes! Each manuscript is different, and requires different levels of edits, but there are always revisions. One of my favorite parts of my job is brainstorming with my authors. Honestly, I think the days when fiction agents didn’t need to be editorial have passed. Editors are looking for a project to be polished and sparkly by the time it reaches their desk, now more than ever.

DB: I think all the authors wanting agents are falling in love Kathleen:) 

This question is geared toward those readers who love blog writing contests…      

Kathleen, you are going to be helping me out in a fun submission contest for my blogorama this summer.  Could a ‘first 200 word contest’ like this spark your interest enough to ask for a partial or full ms from the writer?  

Absolutely. Especially with so many authors on Twitter, many people are used to whipping up short but enticing quips, and have mastered the 200 word pitch. It’s an ADD age and I think people are living up to that challenge! I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s out there.

DB: There are some good ones in this blogfest for sure!

I would love to pick your brain some more but since we have met the ten question limit for my blog I’d like to put the ball in your court.  Are there any parting words of advice you would like to leave with writers trying to break out in the industry? 

Well, the four P’s of publishing are important: practice, perseverance, patience, and perspiration. But don’t forget about the missing ‘P’ – play! Writing should be fun: don’t lose sight of why you chose this, why you love this. This will shine through in your manuscript and your pitch…and enthusiasm is catching.

DB: Kathleen you are awesome! Thanks so much for doing this interview and helping out in this blogfest. 


AN Villasante
YA Fantasy

I: The Farm

Chapter 1
     It’s early, before dawn, but at the bakery everyone’s been up for hours. I stand where I always stand, down the alley in back, opposite her window and out of sight. I want to see her before she can see me, before I go in and buy the morning bread and a cinnamon knot for Story. Story got another tooth last night and needs something to gnaw on while I finish whittling her teething ring. But the bakery isn’t open yet and I need to see Jane first, get over her loveliness before talking to her. I don’t want to sound like a stunt-brained QR, or worse, like a little kid. 
     Right on time, Jane pushes the window out on its hinge and rests her chin on her hands. She always looks up, never down to where I am. I think maybe she’s looking at the last of the night stars as they fade, but she could just as easily be looking at the early morning clouds, judging the weather.
     Jane is smart. She knows things about the stars and the 

weather and the world that I don’t know. Though she’s the baker’s daughter now, before she came to BookEnd she was something else.
Andrea Mack
Title: The Grand Chef's Apprentice
Genre: Middle grade, dystopian
With her hand tight on her gathering bag, Maya slipped out of the forest to a grassy place beside the city wall and took a deep sniff. She caught a spicy-sweet scent, a mixture of herbs, honey, and something else. What was it? If only she could go inside for a taste. She took another breath, but the breeze changed, filling her nose with the sour stench of rot. Huldi! She was supposed to be scrounging. Darting back into the trees, she raced for the Heap. She couldn’t be late. Since she’d turned thirteen, scavenging trash was her job.
When she reached the edge of the Heap, the doors in the stone wall across the sludge were still closed. She’d made it. Still watching the doors, Maya crept in the shadow of a tall shrub. A fly buzzed around her head, but she didn’t let go of her bag. She wasn’t about to let a thief take advantage of her small size.

The ground trembled as the doors clanged open. The trash machine rolled out, its giant black wheels grinding on the rusty track as it brought the enormous metal bin outside the city walls. Around Maya, people edged closer, ready to pounce.
Angela Cothran
Genre: YA Adventure/Romance
Jocelyn lay flat—her stomach pressed to the earth and the chill from the ground seeped into her skin. Was it the cold or the fear making her skin rise in angry goose bumps?
 I’m trapped!  She swallowed her panic in breathless gulps. From under the overgrown bush, she could see the path straight ahead. It’s too late. I didn’t get far enough. With guards chasing her, Jocelyn had two options—run or hide.
She chose the latter.
Now she waited.
The ruthless pursuit moved closer to her with each shallow breath. Jocelyn reached her hand to her neck and let her fist close around a broken locket—its jagged face cut into her flesh. I’m still alive, the pain reminded her. She willed herself to remain still, fighting her every screaming instinct to—Run! Run! Run!
          The earth throbbed as boots hit the ground in a chaotic cadence.
          They’re here! Jocelyn’s body stiffened.
          Around the guard’s torches, the night air cracked and popped with loud complaints. She could hear them disturbing the dense vegetation bordering the well-worn trail—moving in efficient calculated patterns.
          “Any sign?” A guard bellowed.
          “Not yet, Sir.”

          “Keep looking. She can’t have gone far.”
Christine Danek
Title: Lingering Souls
Genre: Young Adult science fiction
The little brown pill bottle that sits on the counter is the best birthday present I could ever give myself. It sits next to the bottles of my mom’s vodka. The bottles seem so sleek and elegant compared to the stumpy, pill bottle, yet they look like a compatible pair.
Sweat drips down the center of my back. The July heat wave is becoming unbearable. Since the air conditioner died, the windows are wide open. Not that it helps in air as thick as mud; in fact it’s only letting more in. I’d rather them closed so maybe I can suffocate by accident instead of a self inflicted death, but my decision is made.
            A white moth flutters around the light on the fan above me. Every time the moth hits the light, an annoying ping interrupts the silence.  My conscious has played tricks on me all day, controlling my motions and decisions. Gazing around the room everything takes on a yellow haze. I glance down through blurry tears. The edges of a picture I’ve been holding for hours seem fuzzy and worn. Just like me. Nothing’s clear and all signs point to exiting my existence.
My cell buzzes. I ignore it. Don’t want to talk to anyone.


Title: Bound
Genre: YA Paranormal

I see the note right away, perched on top of an avalanche of textbooks and binders that threaten to tumble out when I open the door. Delivered in the same fashion as the ones before it—slipped through the thin grate at the top of my locker. Also, like the others, the cruel words inside fail to match its unassuming pink envelope.

Do us all a favor and kill yourself.

The scent of Abby’s favorite perfume rolls off the page, thick and sweet, nauseating.  This time my old ‘friend’ hasn’t bothered to disguise her handwriting. I look down the hall to find her staring my way, face bright with anticipation. She’s at her locker with her latest best friend, Maddy, by her side. When our eyes make contact she grins, and then leans to whisper in Maddy’s ear. Maddy quickly looks in my direction, expressionless.

I notice they're dressed for tonight's game. With that same vindictive smile in place, Abby fiddles with the captain's pin she has hooked to her red and gray cheerleading uniform. The same pin I used to wear till I returned it to Coach last October, walking away from that part of my life.
Lisa Chickos
YA Urban Fantasy
The dolphin twists sideways in my arms.  Eyeing me through one widened, gleaming black eye, she opens her blowhole and gurgles.  Her voice sounds breathless and weak, and the tips of her flukes feel hot against my fingertips.
 “What are you waiting for, Kai?  Tighten up on her, or she’s gonna bolt.”  My father’s warning booms from a nearby research vessel as I struggle for footing in the tea-stained waters of Tampa Bay.  “Do it quick; she’s baiting you.”  
 The concern in his voice sends a fresh wave of anxiety grinding through me, and I wrinkle my nose in protest as I realize the truth of his words.  Growing up watching him perform countless catch-and-release medical exams just like this one, I know researchers only have four, maybe five seconds to restrain a bottlenose dolphin before it fights back and escapes capture.
 Wrapped around this animal’s tail, I should follow protocol by pulling her flukes into my chest and bracing myself for her inevitable thrashing in the shallows.  Instead, I find myself lost in her plaintive, lucid eye contact.  Her pupils, shrunk into tiny circles in the sunlight, roll back and forth as she cranes her head, and a shallow scar splits the silvery bulge of her forehead.
Lora Rivera
YA Thriller & Urban Fantasy
Ava flattened her body against a wall, peering sideways into the vaulted living room beyond. It was gray and desolate, just like all the other rooms -- empty but for the shift of air and streak of chalky dust slowly resettling over the concrete floor.
 A snake of ash-brown hair had come loose from her braid. It tickled the back of her neck and she fought the urge to scratch. Soon now. Melissa Carter was doing far better than Ava had expected or even hoped. True, she didn't think her foster sister would need ninja stealth skills as a rule. But just in case . . . Just in case Ava wasn’t there someday . . .
 You can do this, Mel. She held her breath and heard nothing but a dull wind gust against loose shingles. Her muscles tightened. Then she slinked like a shadow through the stale gloom.
 With roof and walls but no electricity, the abandoned house was dark even at late afternoon. She slowed near one of the far windows that was only partially boarded up by plywood. Here. Treacherously, her fingers leapt for the switchblade she usually kept in her back pocket.

Lori M Lee
Title: Soul Without a Boy
Genre: YA urban fantasy
On his thirteenth lap around the block, London Howell spotted the monster watching him. It was crouched against the wooden post of a neighbor's mailbox, little more than a shadow with large-knuckled fingers that raked at empty air.
London stifled a groan. Sprinting through his neighborhood at midnight was annoying enough without an unwanted audience. He stopped to catch his breath beneath a lamppost, his hand braced against the cool iron.
The monster across the street moved, shifting on spindly legs that trembled like branches in a storm. Its eyes glowed in the dim evening.
London had learned that if he ignored them hard enough, eventually, they went away. Didn't help his doubts about his sanity, but at least it had worked. But they'd been showing up more frequently in recent weeks, and the watching thing was new. Pretending something wasn't there was a lot harder when it was staring at him.
 His mobile vibrated in his back pocket and, with a glance at the screen, he picked up.
 "You sound like a goat on the rack," Amun said in greeting.

 "How," London asked between breaths, "do you know what a tortured goat sounds like?"
PK Hezro
X Dare & The Keys to Nin
MG sci-fi / fantasy
I’d take video games over real life any day.
The reason is simple: at age thirteen I’ve learned a lot about people, and even more about girls. Like how, even if they look bad, you’re supposed to say they look good; and how they whisper a lot and like to keep secrets. I know, because my entire life revolves around the girls in my family. Video games are less complicated, and when it comes down to a challenge between a game or my mom, I know I can beat the game.
“Oh, it’s so cute!” Mom says, grinning down at Veronica and making the little lines around her eyes smile too. 
I let out an annoyed sigh—the kind that says I’m losing my patience. Clothes shopping with my mom and little sister is ranked right up there with taking all day exams and doing chores for no allowance. Mom’s been fussing over Veronica for the last hour. Like she doesn’t have enough clothes already.

Veronica beams, looking up from her wheelchair. She holds a bubblegum pink dress up, hiding her long blonde pig tails. Her eyes are twice their size through her bifocal glasses. “Can we get it, Mom?”
Robin Weeks
Title: GEAS
Genre: YA Fantasy

Brina knew better than to go out in public looking less than her questionable best.

She knew it, but figured hurrying home for her mother’s birthday party deserved a special endowment of luck. She didn’t even grow to human size first. Instead, she left her purse and car keys with her best friend Moira and launched herself out the palace window into the sweltering air of San Antonio, Texas.

The first flash came from her left and, like an idiot, she twisted toward it. Which is how the photographer’s zoom lens caught her: eyes opened wide, long braid slicked back from her face with her own sweat, and limbs sticking out at startled angles from her workout tank and short-shorts. All of it glowing softly brown in the dusk.

As a special bonus, the magazine’s cover photo had captured the moment her four bright white wings froze in shock, sending her plummeting a few feet downward. The resulting portrait could have been entitled “Freak, Falling” but instead the headline proclaimed: “Human-Pixie Hybrids: The Last American Taboo.” That worked, too.

Naturally, the cover was taped to her locker first thing Tuesday morning. It hadn’t been torn carefully, and a jagged gash ripped halfway through Brina’s right wing. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

GUTGAA: Week 4 Novel Critique/Contest!

Hey guys and gals!

You've asked your questions, set your creative juices on fire and tweaked your queries. What else is left to gear up for an agent, but delving into the heart of the matter?

The final week has finally arrived and we're going out with a bang! Come join us for the First 200 Word Novel Critique and Contest.

Here are the rules:

1)Post the first 200 words (please finish the sentence even if it is past 200 words) of your novel or picture book on your blog. (Any genre can join in the initial crit hop but only young adult, middle grade and picture book can be a part of the final contest. This is because agent Kathleen Rushall, who is also one of the judges of this contest is only looking for those types of books. So sorry everyone else.)

2)Once you post, sign up with the link of your post on the linky below.

3)Hop around other participants blogs and give them helpful advice on their first 200 words.

4)If you have a completed young adult, middle grade or picture book manuscript by Tuesday 3PM ET please email me the first 200 words at for a shot at the contest. (This can be pasted into the body of the email. It doesn't have to be an attachment.
NOTE: When I say completed this is strictly a guideline. It is up to you whether or not you really do this. Just remember that Kathleen is an agent and if she loves your work she may very well ask for more from you.
5)The format for entries should look like this:
Your name
Title of book

First 200 words....
6)Eight judges will choose 10 finalists by Wednesday 7/27/11

7)Agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency will first pick her winner, then writer with an agent, Monica B.W. will pick hers.

8)The winners will be chosen by Friday 7/29/11.


Kathleen's winner will win a query and first 30 page critique from her, 
Monica's winner will win a first 10 page critique from her.

To get your excitement bubbling, here is part 1 of an interview I did with Kathleen a few weeks back (I will post a brand new part 2 Wednesday), and HERE is the interview I did with Monica.

So let's get this party started...and ended shall we?!

Friday, July 22, 2011

GUTGAA Query Winner! + Final week around the corner

What a whirlwind of a week! I can't tell you how much I've learned from all the participants in this weeks festivities. Seriously, I loath writing queries and being able to read so many good ones really gives me hope.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I truly wanted to pass everyone through. I have grown to love my blogfesters and it killed me to have to only give ten names to Lora...well fourteen and she picked the last one.

Anyhoo, that isn't what you really came here for so let's get on with it shall we. Lora has whittled the ten finalists down to one and the WINNER IS.....

Query for The Mermaid Gene

For a refresher on her query:

Dear Agent:
An arctic mermaid is the last thing seventeen year-old Kai Murphy expects to glimpse when she joins a beluga whale research team in Alaska.
An aspiring scientist, Kai dismisses Anchorage’s mermaid myths until the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions. Teamed up with flirtatious twin deckhands Noah and Aidan Fischer, she decides to investigate.
Turns out a mermaid sighting isn’t her research team’s only mystery. There are also secret closets filled with hunting rifles, blood-filled plastic bins and shadowy beluga poachers haunting the inlet’s icy waters.
As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn’t above suspicion. The fate of her team, her belugas and the mysterious creature in the inlet just may rest in her hands.
THE MERMAID GENE is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 98,000 words. I have worked as a zookeeper and educator at many facilities, including the Alaska Zoo of Anchorage, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums published my article “The Dangers of Human Interactions with Marine Mammals” in its 2007 Ocean Literacy and Marine Mammals: An Easy Reference Guide. This experience sets THE MERMAID GENE apart and allows me to take readers behind-the-scenes into the thrilling and often-misunderstood world of beluga whale research.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Here is how Lora did her whittling:
10 total points were possible, and I awarded half, quarter, and three-quarters points in categories that were so-so, a hair off, or nearly there.
1. Muscular prose (tightness on the sentence level)  
2. Overall flow
3. Clear MC throughout
4. Clear stakes
5. Logic of plot points as revealed through query
6. Voice and voice consistency
7. Compelling plot
8. Professional bio/closing
9. Info-dump
10. Length (adhering to the 250 ideal / 300 max standard)
 Lisa, congrats! You've won your choice of a query critique or a first five page critique from Lora herself!

And congrats to everyone else here is what Lora had to say about them all:
Whew. SOOO hard. BTW, on the scale, nobody scored lower than a 7, and final three-way tie was broken by a quarter of a point. Great job, everybody!

The fun doesn't stop yet people! We have one more week and the best has totally been saved for last. Agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and the ultra-talented, already hooked an agent, Monica B.W. are teaming up to help out with our final week of the Gearin' Up to Get an Agent Blogfest by picking the winners of the first 200 words novel competition. Two winners will be chosen and this contest is open only to young adult, middle grade and picture book submissions as that is what Kathleen is on the prowl for. Sorry to everyone else.

Beginning Sunday evening I will put up the sign-up list along with some extra tidbits. If you haven't gotten your name on the master GUTGAA list, go here and get to it. You will be in the presence of awesomeness. I hope to see you there!
Until then...
Keep learning. Keep writing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

GUTGAA Query Finalists Picked Today!


Ok, the finalists are in. Thanks so much to everyone for entering. I can't tell you the hard time Lora had in breaking the  four way tie. If you didn't make the finalists please don't let this little ole contest ruin your spirits. Keep working on those queries. You are all fabulous!

Friday we will be picking one of these to win the grand prize of a query critique or a first five page critique of your wip by Lora Rivera!

In alphabetical order:

Alexandra Villasante

Dear (Agent),

Finial Smith lives in a world where discarded book characters, called Quasi-Reals, come to be recycled or pressed into servitude. The Smiths are the last natural-born family living in a village of QRs. Their Farm is renowned for the fine quality of QR workers they produce. But being the only real boy for miles is getting on this sixteen year old’s nerves. Fin’s missing his dead mother, bored at school and tired of hearing his Da tell him about Nobless Oblige – the duty all natural-borns have to care and defend the dependent and weaker QR creatures.

When Fin meets Anne, a QR who breaks away from the herd, he finds a girl who is more alive and real than anyone he's ever met. A revolution is brewing in BookEnd with QRs determined to fight for the same rights as natural-borns. Fin has to decide whether to stand with his family and let Anne be destroyed, or to endanger the world he knows to save her.  

BOOKEND is a YA Fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. As requested on your website, I am enclosing a synopsis and sample pages.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Alexandra Villasante 

Alexia Chamberlynn

(Mr./Ms. Last Name of Agent),
Finding out she’s a witch is pretty much a complete mind blow for Eva Westvale. After all, she was just a normal Manhattanite moving up the corporate ladder and planning her wedding to her college sweetheart.

And discovering she’s lived countless lifetimes, hunted through the centuries by a sorcerer intent on possessing her soul? The icing on her perfect paranormal cake.

Now all she has to do is evade the cloaked figure that seems to show up everywhere, avoid becoming too physically entangled with the sexy shapeshifter who’s decided to help her, escape the rival shifters she’s pissed off, fit in with the other witches, learn coven politics – oh, and regain a millennia worth of memory and power so she can stay alive, soul intact.

COUNTLESS is a 75,000 word Urban Fantasy novel. Per your submission guidelines, I've included (sample pages, synopsis, whatever they've asked for on their website). I appreciate your time and consideration.


Alexia A. Chamberlynn
(phone number)
(web address)

Amber Plante

Dear [Agent],

After having visited your site, I see that you are looking for paranormal romance and adventures, and I’d like to show you GLOW, complete at 80,000 words.

Sundae has accepted her high-society life as a publishing exec, living out her father's dreams while giving up her artistic ambitions. Until, that is, she meets Brendan, a superhero-ish bartender who makes her question her choices. He’s statuesque, strong and confident – and could quite possibly be the first real man Sundae has ever dated.

But he’s not a real man at all. Brendan is an alien sent from another realm to adjudicate whether Earth is worth saving from a dark entity taking over the universe – and that's just the cherry on top. Beneath his human guise, Brendan and his crew must decide whether to allocate the Council’s protective powers – but, in order for Sundae to convince him her world is worth the risk, she must first convince herself.

With a dollop of humor, a drizzle of danger and a sprinkle of sweet-and-salty supporting characters, GLOW is a paranormal romance with depth, adventure and intrigue sure to satiate readers’ appetite for a unique voice and a compelling page-turner.

In addition to years of professional magazine, newspaper and online editing with Gannett-owned Captivate (those cool elevator screens), the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Eagle Tribune Newspaper in Mass., and multi-media technology company TechTarget, I have also published writing in both traditional print and online media.

Attached below is [requested materials], as per your request. I would be honored if you would consider representing GLOW.

Thank you for your consideration and attention,
Amber Plante

Laura Barnes

Dear Agent,

Mina Bevins hasn't leaked any magic like the other girls, earning her the status of weirdo in the world of witches.  When her thirteenth birthday passes, and she still lacks any power, the Coven Seer looks into the past for an explanation: Mina’s not really a witch at all; she was switched at birth with another baby in the mortal world hospital.  

Somewhere there’s a young witch leaking magic all over the place, exposing the witch world.  Secrecy is essential to keep the coven from persecution and the only way to ensure it remains safe, the coven decides, is to track this girl down and remove her powers. 
Having just learned that she will never come into the power she so desired to possess, Mina thinks stripping someone of her magic on purpose is horrible. Together with the help of her friend Porter, a male witch, Mina uses the limited power available to them to find the other girl and warn her before the coven takes away her magic life too.

At 45,000 words, sWITCH is middle grade fantasy adventure that brings to life a matriarchal world of witches hidden among humans.

I am a marketing consultant and maintain a blog that gives advice to writers as they build their platform.  I am a member of SCBWI.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Lisa Chickos

Dear Agent:
An arctic mermaid is the last thing seventeen year-old Kai Murphy expects to glimpse when she joins a beluga whale research team in Alaska.

An aspiring scientist, Kai dismisses Anchorage’s mermaid myths until the late-night sighting of a silvery, speckled tail threatens her convictions.  Teamed up with flirtatious twin deckhands Noah and Aidan Fischer, she decides to investigate.
Turns out a mermaid sighting isn’t her research team’s only mystery.  There are also secret closets filled with hunting rifles, blood-filled plastic bins and shadowy beluga poachers haunting the inlet’s icy waters.  

As Kai searches for answers and begins falling for Noah, she realizes even he isn’t above suspicion.  The fate of her team, her belugas and the mysterious creature in the inlet just may rest in her hands.
THE MERMAID GENE is a YA urban fantasy novel, complete at 98,000 words.  I have worked as a zookeeper and educator at many facilities, including the Alaska Zoo of Anchorage, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums published my article “The Dangers of Human Interactions with Marine Mammals” in its 2007 Ocean Literacy and Marine Mammals: An Easy Reference Guide.  This experience sets THE MERMAID GENE apart and allows me to take readers behind-the-scenes into the thrilling and often-misunderstood world of beluga whale research.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Nancy Thompson

Dear (Agent):
Vengeance tastes anything but sweet the day Skylar Karras pledges the woman who killed his pregnant wife to San Francisco’s Russian mafia.  Experts in human trafficking, they offer Sky a deal he can’t refuse.  In exchange for the girl, they vow to let his brother leave the business for good—with his heart still beating and his legs intact. 

There's just one problem:  Sky grabs the wrong woman. 

Now he must protect Hannah Maguire from the very men he's mistakenly set upon her.  But the Russians are holding his brother as leverage to force Sky to complete their deal.  Caught in a desperate dilemma, Sky must choose:  save his brother, save the girl, or save himself.  With the Russian underworld, even two out of three makes for very long odds.

THE MISTAKEN is a psychological thriller of 91,000 words.  I believe my novel would appeal to fans of Greg Iles’s Turning Angel, James Scott Bell’s Try Dying, Neil Cross’s Burial and even Alexandre Dumas’ classic, The Count of Monte Cristo.
Though I no longer live in San Francisco or have ties with its Russian underworld, I have loosely based my novel on villains and events from my past.
(Insert agent's personal info here followed by the appropriate submission pages.) Thank you for your time and consideration.
Best Regards,
Nancy S. Thompson
(personal info redacted)


Nicole Zoltack

Dear Agent:

Eleven-year-old wanna-be novelist Elena loves the colorful pen the mysterious new kid Artex gives her, especially after she writes that that the class bully gets detention and a few minutes later, he does. Elena now thinks the pen is magical and tries to write with it again, only this time, the pen writes of its own accord about the All-Knowers, a peaceful race who can read minds and heal. Demons have invaded their homeland, intent on enslaving and killing them.

Elena knows the pen’s story is true, that the All-Knowers and their Land of Imagining are real, and are in very real trouble. She is tied to this Land by more than just the pen — she is an All-Knower, as is her mother and Artex. Elena figures she can use the pen to help the All-Knowers until she discovers that the pen’s power comes at a cost – each time she writes with it, an All-Knower becomes a demon. After a demon kidnaps her family, Elena must go to the Land of Imagining. She will do anything to save her family and her people, even if it means using the pen and risking her mom or even herself turning into a demon.

ELENA’S PEN is a 80,000-word fantasy MG standalone novel with series potential.

I am the author of a fantasy romance trilogy, WOMAN OF HONOR (2009), KNIGHT OF GLORY (2010), and CHAMPION OF VALOR (2011) published with Desert Breeze Publishing. I have also sold nine short stories for anthologies, including MERTALES by Wyvern Publications, and many collections by Pill Hill Press.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Nicole Zoltack
PK Hezro

Dear agent,
Thirteen year old Xavier Dare thinks he’s played every video game out there, until one day a mysterious tattooed man gives him a classic game console and a never before completed video game called The Keys to Nin. Alone in his room, X is mesmerized by a beam of light that pops up from the console after powering it up. And since life at home is tough with all of his disabled sister’s needs, X can’t resist seeing what’s inside.

Transported through a wormhole to another solar system, X finds himself on a planet in turmoil and without leaders. He soon learns the only person who can transport him back home is a man called the Gatekeeper, and the Gatekeeper could be anywhere on planet Nin. X isn’t the only one looking for the Gatekeeper, either. The rebel leader, Penumbra, is determined to get to Earth herself, where her powers will dominate, and if she finds the Gatekeeper first, X may never get to return home. Aided by a quirky band of misfits, X navigates the diverse seven realms of Nin in search of answers and a way home. But when X faces Penumbra in a final showdown, he will learn how he really fits into this world, and it will change his life forever.
X Dare and The Keys to Nin is a 65k word MG science fiction / fantasy story. In its own unique way, it could be described like The Neverending Story meets Stargate with some unexpected twists. It is a standalone work with series potential. I am a member of SCBWI and I’d be delighted to send you the full manuscript. Thank you so much for your time.



Rachel Dillon

Dear Agent Extraordinaire,
Sixteen year old Renna Healy has anger issues, but when she becomes part-lion, controlling her temper becomes impossible.

After moving to Kenya with her doctor father, Renna, a California girl, falls in love with the country’s people, wildlife, and her neighbor Sean McCloud. But her world is shattered when she and her dad are viciously attacked by a lion.

Her dad does not survive the mauling, and Renna’s left with more than green bite marks—she now has attributes of the diseased lion that bit her. Sounds are amplified, her vision is magnified, and her sense of smell is overwhelming. But it isn’t until she breaks Sean’s hand with a simple squeeze, and sprints past a truck to escape from the hospital, that she realizes she’s more than just an ordinary girl at a glance—she’s somehow been changed to a lion within.

Renna moves to Wisconsin to live with her only relative, her uncle. The stress of the relocation and loss of her dad is topped off by catty high school girls, hormone-driven boys, and bad timing. Renna becomes destructive to herself and others, frequently reacting before thinking. She doesn’t wake up worrying about taking tests or if her clothes match, she worries that if someone pisses her off she’ll accidently kill them. When a love triangle shoves her over the edge, her greatest fear comes true, and changes how she deals with her temper forever.

The Lion Within is a 67,000 word, young adult contemporary fantasy.
Personal stuff…Published children’s book author and illustrator, etc.

Thank you for your time,
Rachel Dillon

Sharon Bayliss

Dear Agent,
With a budding career as a pop singer and a boyfriend who is the heir to the most powerful political dynasty in the Republic, Lena doesn’t have much to complain about.  But Lena is still haunted by nightmares of the bomb that destroyed her home country of Stormland and it’s hard to forget that her boyfriend’s father was the one who ordered the attack.

Then members of the Wilde family, the Stormland royalty, appear on live news and Lena fears that her nightmares may soon become reality.  Not extinct as people thought, the Wildes’ return brings the threat of war along with a young Wilde prince with bizarre electrical powers…and his powers aren’t the only thing about him that give Lena the tingles.  Swept up in a dangerous love triangle, Lena is already in over her head when both of the men in her life are kidnapped.  She dives into a centuries old rivalry between the world’s most powerful ruling families to save the men she loves.  With the two countries playing a game of chicken with bombs, Lena knows one false step could ignite war.

STORMLAND is a 70,000 word upper young adult science fiction novel set in an alternate world similar to present-day United States. STORMLAND was a runner-up in the agent-judged Made of Awesome blog contest and I have been published in small press magazines such as Nerve Cowboy and Nomad’s Choir
At your request, I would be pleased to send you more of STORMLAND.  Thank you for your consideration.

Sharon Bayliss

I know, because I have entered these contests too, that those awaiting the results are ready for the list RIGHT NOW!

I'm sorry to say you are going to have to wait a tab bit longer.  The judges worked hard, and I am sooo grateful for all the hard work they have done, but there were just too many great queries. So I am calling in Lora Rivera, the judge of all judges for the contest, to help out.  As soon as she gives me an answer on a few close calls I will post the winners here.  TODAY!

Thanks to all of you who entered and have been a part of the blogfest up to this point.  I wanted to put you all through!

Oh and don't you love the intitals of the blogfest?  GUTGAA:)  I do.  One of you had it on your blog (I can't remember who so if you know please tell me) and I thought I would use it too:)  Thanks!