Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Mother's Daughter

This article was originally published in my author newsletter earlier this month. I'm sharing it here because I want the world to know that this woman is my daughter. 



Almost fourteen years ago, I wrote my first novel.

I called it "YA Fantasy", but it really wasn't sure what it was, because I wrote it from two points of view: a 15-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister. It rambled and word-vomited all over the place and included all the tropes, like magic stones and evil sorcerers and a boy who finds out he is heir to a throne. Oh, and star-crossed lovers, too.

Like all first novels, it's...embarrassing.

But, lo and behold, this one held a true magic I never could have foreseen. For it fell into the hands of a 10-year-old girl--and changed her life.

My daughter Maggie became a voracious reader as soon as she mastered phonics and started reading independently. I remember the day I first handed her The Hobbit. It felt like a rite of passage--and I was duly nervous. Would it grab her heart? Was she ready for Middle Earth?

"Let me read the first page to you," I said, "and you can decide whether or not you want to read this one."

So we sat on the landing of the steps leading into our family room, and I read her page 1--and she was hooked.

When she was 10, she read Lord of the Rings for the first time. At that point, I knew I not only had a bonafide bookworm on my hands, but also a hard core fantasy lover. Bestill my heart! So it was with great delight--and a bit of trepidation--that I handed her the pages of The Seeds of Perin Faye, fresh from my fingers and before a single word had been edited.

She loved it. She drew pictures (my first official fan art) and wrote letters to her favorite characters, asking them to please write back.






But that's not the most magical part.

This book--the first of a long series of novels destined never to be published--made my daughter want to WRITE NOVELS. And so she began.

Her first work was derivative. Of course it was, because that's how children learn to write. It embarrassed her later, but I assured her that, oh, it was absolutely what she was supposed to be doing.

As she grew, her writing matured. In her middle teens years, she was already blowing me away with her natural sense of pacing and ability to create in-depth characters. Twice, when she entered critiques on my blog, she received a request from an agent (which she had to decline, since her novels weren't even finished!). As I muscled my way through my own writing journey, I was blessed to watch Maggie growing as a writer, too.

And oh. So proud.

At 16, she founded an online community for teen writers called Write On! She was a great leader, and she met some wonderful friends along the way. But alas, the teen years don't last forever, and as Maggie prepared to start her college career, she had to leave the online community behind.

She rocked the college thing (and now holds a Bachelor's degree in Psychology), but in between studying and working and commuting to school, there was no time for writing. And so she set it aside.

I understood, but I was sad. I'm a hard critic, but I'd felt from the beginning that Maggie had something special. She wasn't there yet, but I believed with all my heart that she'd get there.

So I waited.

Every once in a while I'd say something like, "So, are you writing at all?" or "Hopefully you can get some writing done this summer." But mostly I stayed quiet. I knew that, like all things, the writing would resurface when the time was ripe.

And then.

"I'm writing again." Just like that, it happened. At first, she was reading through her stuff, finding her bearings. And then, suddenly, she was revising what I thought was her strongest work--a YA contemporary I'd critiqued for her a few years earlier.

I had no idea how hard she'd been working until she told me she'd finished the revisions, and would I please critique it for her.

I pretty much dropped everything. And it was worth it.

This. Story. It made me sob (and I'm generally not the cry-at-books type). It made me keep reading past the time I'd told myself I needed to stop. It made me see that EVERYTHING I BELIEVED ABOUT MAGGIE'S WRITING WHEN SHE WAS YOUNGER HAD COME TRUE.

I gave her my notes and told her I felt that, after another revision, the novel would be ready to query.

So she got straight to work. We met at Starbucks to discuss my notes. She worked diligently every day during her lunch breaks, and whenever else she had time to write. She even entered a pitch contest on my blog last month and received a request from one of the agents.

And now? She's officially querying. I'm almost as excited about this as if it were me.

Someone's going to fall in love with this story--and sell it. And you're going to see her name on the shelves among your favorite YA authors. You'll read her book and you'll cry and cheer and sit on the edge of your seat until your bottom's numb.

And I will be standing on top of something very tall shouting, "THAT'S MY DAUGHTER!"

You know--the one who decided to be a writer because she read my very first novel. And fell in love.




This woman? She's my biggest fan, my strongest supporter, my voice of reason when I'm flailing, my source of encouragement when I need that little boost. And her journey began when mine did, all because the world and the characters I'd created stoked her imagination and inspired her to jump right in and try her own hand. What an honor to have played that role in her life!

Truly, we never know who our words will touch, or how they will be touched. Had I never written another story, the effort of having written just one novel would have reaped its reward.

Keep your eye out for books by Maggie Boehme! And Maggie--thank you for being one of the brightest stars in my universe.

--
Follow Maggie on Twitter HERE.

For more stories like this one (once a month directly to your inbox), subscribe HERE.



Thursday, April 5, 2018

Winners of All the Books!

CONGRATULATIONS to the following randomly selected winners of our Tor Teen book giveaway!

Thanks to EVERYONE for entering, and thank you also to those of you who asked Elayne Becker such thoughtful, interesting questions. All in all, it was a great day!

THE WINNERS:

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre (ARC) — Krista Van Dolzer

When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter —Buba Petreska

Roar by Cora Carmack—Jamie Soranno

Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch (ARC)—Cristin Bruggeman

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway (ARC)—Tiffany Meuret

Blood and Sand by C.V.Wyk—Heather Bell Adams

The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse (ARC)—Sherry Smith

Metaltown by Kristen Simmons—Sandy

Windwitch by Susan Dennard—Jen Schafer

The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller—Jessica Michelle Shrock

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough—Maggie Boehme

GRAND PRIZE: A box of NINE of the above books/ARCs!—Carolyn Chambers Clark


(WINNERS:  You will receive an email from me [Jillian Boehme] shortly.)


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Exclusive Interview and Q&A with Elayne Becker--and a Big Tenth Birthday Book Giveaway!

Happy Tenth Birthday, Miss Snark's First Victim! And a HUGE thank you to EACH OF YOU for being part of this community over the years.

It's no exaggeration to say that I'm thrilled beyond measure to be working with Elayne Becker at Tor Teen. Her heart for my story and her incredible insight and editorial superpowers (not sure what else to call them--this gal knows her stuff) are making this journey toward publication an incredible one.  (I mean, when your editor writes, "I punched the air with my fist!" when she reads a change you've made, what more can you want?)

Here, without further ado, is the interview I've been promising:


Elayne Becker


Jillian: So you're now an Associate Editor at Tor/Forge Books and Tor Teen (congratulations!). Can you tell us a bit about the journey that brought you to this place?

Elayne: As I'm sure is the case with most publishing professionals, my journey began with a lifelong passion for reading. With children's books in particular, I remember the impact my favorite novels had on me as I was growing up. At a certain point, I suppose it just hit me: what if I could turn that passion into a career? And if I could help put novels on the shelves that might become favorites for the next generation of readers, even better. Fast forward several years, and I'm about to enter my fourth year at Tor. (After studying Classics and History, I might add--no English degree for me!) It's been quite the ride! Working my way up from the entry assistant level required a lot of hard work and long hours, but reaching the stage wherein I get to champion new voices (like yours!) has been a blast and a privilege.

Jillian: I love that you are championing authors, which is above and beyond "editing" or "publishing". What does the process look and feel like to you, from first peek at a submission to that glorious moment when you make an offer?

Elayne: Yeah! A common misconception is that being an editor means spending your day reading and editing manuscripts, when in reality, there's a lot more to it. We're on the front-lines when it comes to working with other departments in-house and endeavoring to secure the best opportunities we can for our titles. 

 As far as the submission process goes, the best word I can use to describe it is: slow. Due to the busy nature of this job, most of my reading time has to be squeezed in after hours or during that rare quiet week. (I often feel guilty about making agents and authors wait a long time for my response, but I always prefer to give careful reads--and feedback, when I can--rather than rushing an answer out the door.) That being said, time constraints aside, reading submissions is tons of fun! Probably one of my favorite parts of the job. There's such a large breadth of talent out there, and it's a treat to be privy to so many stories in the making. I can usually tell within the first chapter if the writing is at the level I'm looking for. Then, if the foundation is solid, I look at other markers--characters, pacing, worldbuilding, etc. It's important to note that all of those things can be excellent and I might still not feel like the right editor for the project. 

Ultimately, it comes down to which story feels right for me, and which I think I can promote to the best of my ability. Not much beats that moment when you find that book that steals your heart and needs to be yours. Several factors go into whether I can make an offer, and what that offer entails. For instance, before I even buy a book, I'm already looking at comparable titles, generating bullets for sales, examining its place in the market, and figuring out how to position it in a way that would maximize its chance at success. Making the offer itself is incredibly exciting -- but also sometimes nerve-wracking! When I love a book, I love it, and there's always the possibility that my offer will not be the one accepted.

Jillian: So, clearly this is a love relationship from the start, and like any relationship, there will sometimes be rough spots. What are some of the more difficult things you encounter between acquisition and release? What can authors bring to the table that will make this process run more smoothly?

Elayne: Generally speaking, one of the hardest parts of the publication process is the fact that there will always be variables outside of our control. We buy books because we love them, we believe in them, and we believe we can sell them. But we can't always predict the outcome. Patience is truly a virtue in this industry. And so, when authors offer patience and understanding, it's enormously helpful. Kindness really does go a long way! Be aware that editors collaborate with several different departments in-house on a daily basis, and as a result may be slower to respond. Understand that editors can't control every part of the process. (Unfortunately! 🙂) Recognize that not every step will be as you envision it, and be open to making changes to the manuscript; your book is your baby, and your editor will respect that, but they'll also recommend changes that will enable you to make your story the best it can be. Be passionate, and fight for your book. But, difficult as this may be to hear, manage expectations. And always, always keep writing.

Jillian: And, of course, you're taking your own advice here, since you are also a writer (freshly agented--congratulations!). I know firsthand the passion and purpose you bring to your authors' stories. How do you balance your time and creative energy between editing and writing? In what ways does your own writing journey bring depth to your career as an editor?

Elayne: Thanks! While I'm usually pretty good at switching between my editor and writer hats, the two do inevitably bleed together a bit, which I feel is a good thing. I like to think that being an editor who's also a writer means I have more empathy for my authors. I know what this journey means to them, and because of that I take my role as their in-house representative incredibly seriously. Also, I know that things on my side of the desk can feel rather "behind the curtains" for many writers, so I try to be transparent about the process, to the extent that I'm able. Essentially, it's just another form of treat others the way you hope to be treated! 

And, for the record, the reverse is true as well; being an editor has absolutely been beneficial to my writing. Industry knowledge aside, editing the manuscripts on my list, and listening to colleagues describe the changes they're recommending for their own projects, has enabled me to approach my own writing with a more solid foundation than I'd previously experienced. 

Components I tell authors to watch out for -- character development, pacing, worldbuilding, etc. -- are things I tell myself as well. In terms of balancing time and creative energy, I won't lie -- it can be difficult! Working a rather intense day job means I have to squeeze in writing time whenever I can; namely, early mornings before work (bless Bath & Body Works for their forest-scented candles), and throughout the weekends. Sometimes I joke that I've forgotten how to be a person, because I'm not exactly sure what it's like to *not* always be working! It can also be a little challenging to not have that mental divide, since I wake up and think about books, go to work and think about books, and come home and think about books. But, I'm not complaining. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a foot in both doors, and as I said, each informs the other!

Jillian: Well, I'm thankful to be on the receiving end of your boundless insight and experience! In closing, I'd be remiss not to ask you the quintessential interview question: What do you read for pleasure? What are your favorite Books of All Time?

Elayne: Ooh! I don't have as much time to read for pleasure nowadays as I would like, but my queue is a mixed bag! I typically alternate between adult and YA, and recently I've been introducing more nonfiction into the mix as well; Gillian Gill's We Two, a biography of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and Robert Moor's On Trails, are two books I've been enjoying immensely. 

In terms of all-time favorites, how do I choose?! J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is definitely my favorite series of all time, for so many reasons--the timeless quest, the characters, the land, the insane worldbuilding... I could go on and on, so let's just say, I adore it. Juliet Marillier's Daughter of the Forest has some of the most beautiful prose I've ever encountered; it's a gorgeous story about a girl persevering in the face of adversity in order to save those she loves. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice are certainly on the list--partly because I admire the authors, and partly because I see myself in their protagonists. Anything Ruta Sepetys writes, and especially Between Shades of Gray. Harry Potter, of course, and my favorite in the series is Order of the Phoenix. If we're stretching back to childhood, I have to mention Anna Sewell's Black Beauty and Erin Hunter's Warriors series (the original) -- I've always been an animal person, so novels about horses and cats were definitely my jam. And finally, Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl, which I've probably read eleven or twelve times by now. It's a fairy tale that never ceases being magical.

Jillian: A wonderful glimpse into the world of books you love--thank you, Elayne! And thanks so much for this interview.

AND NOW FOR THE Q&A!

Leave your questions for Elayne in the comment box below. Ask her anything you'd like to know! Note: I will accept questions for 24 hours; after this time, I will delete any questions that show up, in the interest of respecting Elayne's time. She will answer as many questions as she can today, and she will return on Monday to answer any remaining questions.

On behalf of everyone--thank you, Elayne!


THE GIVEAWAY



Enter below for a chance (or many chances!) to win ALL THE BOOKS! Eleven people will win 1 book each, and 1 lucky winner will win a box of NINE BOOKS. Titles and authors are listed in the rafflecopter box. The raffle closes at midnight, and winners will be announced tomorrow.

(Note: If you've already subscribed to my newsletter, you can still check off that option for your mandatory entry. I'll be double checking all winning entries, so as long as your email is on my list, you're good to go!)

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Monday, April 2, 2018

Our Tenth Birthday Giveaway!!

It's happening--Miss Snark's First Victim is celebrating TEN WHOLE YEARS this Wednesday, April 4!

To celebrate, there will be an exclusive interview and Q&A session with Elayne Becker, my lovely editor at Tor Teen.  As in, SHE WILL ANSWER ALL YOUR QUESTIONS!  So be sure to stop by and ask them.  (And remember--some questions are universal, so don't feel like you can't ask a question if you don't write what Tor Teen publishes.  ASK ANYWAY! This session is for everyone.)

In addition to the Q&A, we are having a HUGE BOOK GIVEAWAY FROM TOR TEEN! I'm super excited to offer these books, and a few ARCs, to you.

I mean, LOOK AT THESE BEAUTIES!


So, how do you win?  Easy! On Wednesday, I'll post a Rafflecopter entry form, which will give you a few different options for entering (you may choose as many as you'd like for extra entries!).  Winners will be announced on Thursday.

IMPORTANT: This contest is US-only. I HATE THAT, but there's really no way around it.  It's true that the majority of my readers are in North America, but I know that some of you hail from elsewhere on the globe. I'm sorry!

Several people will win a single title, and then there will be one grand prize winner who will receive A WHOLE BOX OF BOOKS.

Here are the titles:

Like Never and Always by Ann Aguirre
When I Cast Your Shadow by Sarah Porter
Roar by Cora Carmack
Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch
Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway
Blood and Sand by C.V.Wyk
The Echo Room by Parker Peevyhouse
Metaltown by Kristen Simmons
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller
To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough

YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS THIS! Mark your calendars for Wednesday and get your questions ready for Elayne.

T minus 2 days to Birthday Hoopla!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

10th Birthday Blogpitch: Critique Guidelines

Welcome to our TENTH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH with SNEAKY AGENTS!

KEEP YOUR EYE OUT FOR THE SNEAKY AGENTS! We've got 16 agents who are planning to stop by over the next day or two, and if they see anything they like, THEY WILL MAKE REQUESTS IN THE COMMENT BOXES. Jot down your favorites, then pop back to see if any of them garnered agent interest!

When leaving critique on the pitches, focus first and foremost on whether or not the pitch hooked you. That's the main thing! Then you can go on to say why or why not. Ask questions that will prompt the writers to clarify things in their next drafts of the pitches. Or simply point out what you feel may be missing from the pitch (e.g. "But what is his goal here?" or "I'm not seeing clear conflict--what will get in the way of her accomplishing this?)).

HAVE FUN! There are quite a few of these I'd love to read; bet you'll think so, too!

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ENTRANTS: If you receive a request from an agent, please put AUTHORESS BIRTHDAY BLOG PITCH REQUEST in your subject line, unless instructed otherwise by the agent.

Guidelines for Critique on MSFV:

Please leave your critique for each entry in the comment box for that entry.

Please choose a screen name to sign your comments. The screen name DOES NOT have to be your real name; however, it needs to be an identifiable name. ("Anonymous" is not a name.)

Critiques should be honest but kind, helpful but sensitive.

Critiques that attack the writer or are couched in unkind words will be deleted.*

ENTRANTS: As your way of "giving back", please critique a minimum of 5 other entries.

*I can't possibly read every comment. If you ever see a comment that is truly snarky, please email me. I count on your help.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #52: YA Contemporary

TITLE: Wide Open
GENRE: YA Contemporary

There’s only one reason Liora agrees to go on her class senior trip: she promised her daddy before he died that she would be adventurous, despite her crippling social anxiety. She soon finds herself lost in the Smoky Mountains with a hippie, a tennis player, a photographer, and a fisherman, none of whom have the survival skills she has. She must overcome her insecurities and lead the group back to civilization—before they starve.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #51: MG Contemporary

TITLE: Counting Perfect
GENRE: MG Contemporary

An endless pile of wishing-well pennies, coded diary, & Marty McFly. Obsessive eighth grader Zinnia Clark’s fixation on meeting her dad intensifies when insufferable student body president Isabella Watson announces a father-daughter dance. However, as Zinnia hunts for mystery Dad, her friends plan a boycott of the exclusive dance that leaves no room for girls with two moms or boys who wear dresses. Zinnia must decide to help her friends or chase a man who might not be around.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #50: YA Thriller

TITLE: Glimmr
GENRE: YA Psychological Thriller

It’s Black Mirror meets Pretty Little Liars when sixteen-year-old Fin Bailey creates Jane, her perfect virtual best friend, and finds out the hard way that things on the internet live forever. Jane takes on a life of her own, posting pictures that Fin didn’t create—pictures that implicate her in a series of horrible accidents—and Fin has to stop her before she reveals an even darker truth.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #49: YA Contemporary

TITLE: Seeking Sara Sterling
GENRE: YA Contemporary

THE HORSE WHISPERER meets JUST LISTEN. After getting dumped by her long-time boyfriend, 18-year-old Sara escapes to her uncle's Colorado ranch for the summer. When she connects with an injured horse bound for slaughter, she must learn to stand up for a relationship worth saving.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #48: YA Fantasy

TITLE: Crown of Ash and Stars
GENRE: YA Fantasy

In Elyria, getting married means sharing a consciousness, and Elony can’t wait to marry her childhood best friend, Caz, when she comes of age. After a terrible accident, Caz becomes possessed by an evil spirit who’s determined to plunge the world into an age of darkness, collecting souls for its master, the God of Death. When her best chance of saving Caz is marrying someone else, Elony must decide how much she's willing to give up for love and her kingdom.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #47: Science Fiction

TITLE: Heaven Is Other People
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction

When 25- year old drug-addict and Mercury government security guardian, Camden Bence uncovers a conspiracy to take control of his world through a bliss-inducing religion called The Experience, he ignites a small rebellion to save his planet before it’s too late.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #46: YA Contemporary

TITLE: Here Comes the Sun
GENRE: YA Contemporary

THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY meets DEVOTED. A sixteen-year-old girl must decide whether to stay in her conservative Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints community with views she's questioning and be forced in an unwanted marriage or leave and lose everyone she cares about and risk homelessness.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #45: YA Fantasy

TITLE: VESNA IN THE CANYON
GENRE: YA Fantasy

In 19th-century Montenegro, 18-year-old Vesna Pavlović wants, nay, deserves to live a wealthy life. But when a monstrous water nymph kidnaps her rich fiancĂ©, Vesna finds herself at the brink of penniless spinsterhood. With little more than a donkey and a gun, she sets out to save him—and her chance at wealth. Becoming the water nymph's thrall was not part of the plan.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #44: MG SF

TITLE: Violet Ray and The Magnetic Pole Reversal
GENRE: MG Science Fiction

When 13-year-old Violet is left on her island after her mother leaves for the Andromeda Galaxy, she has to deal with an annoying guardian named Cat Ion. Their mutual dislike is tested when the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse and they are cut off from any communication. But when mysterious invaders arrive and Cat Ion is captured, Violet must save him, or her island will be destroyed.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #43: SF Crime Thriller

TITLE: AlwaysOn
GENRE: Adult Sci Fi Crime Thriller

In the near future, where the memories of celebrities are available for public download. Zane Dennet is an internet sensation and over 2 million people subscribe to his daily live feed. But when a false memory is implanted into his feed, showing him committing a murder, Zane finds himself on the run. With the police watching his every move, a two-minute delay in transmission is his only advantage – that and his millions of loyal fans.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #42: YA Contemporary

TITLE: The Third Strike
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Faking Normal meets Exit, Pursued by a Bear.

Alex has played baseball since 2nd grade. When she makes the high school boys team, team captain Connor sneers. --- Strike 1.

Connor assaults her. --- Strike 2.

Alex doesn’t believe she’s strong enough to testify in court. Then she learns she’s not his first victim. --- Strike 3.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #41: YA Historical

TITLE: These Little Lives
GENRE: YA Historical

THESE LITTLE LIVES tells the story of Bosnian War through two narrators: Katarina, a Catholic Croat trapped in Sarajevo during the world's longest siege, and her best friend Adin, a Muslim boy suffering through the Srebrenica Death March. While clinging to hope and happier memories, Katarina and Adin fight through the war’s atrocities to find each other.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #40: YA SF

TITLE: MFO - Mars Farthest Out
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

On an isolated rim of the Milky Way, wounded teen soldier Mars Jäger of NuMar endures a grueling, cybernetic rehabilitation. Secretly embedded in his new form is a monstrous weapon he must learn to control. Growing self-awareness reveals innate cosmic powers streaming from the Symphony of the Spheres and that this life is but one of an infinite continuum of existences preparing him to save mankind.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #39: Cozy Mystery

TITLE: Doggedly Dead - A Killer Dogz Mystery
GENRE: Adult Cozy Mystery

Dumped by her husband for their dental hygienist, Lexie opens Hot Dogz, a gourmet hot dog shop with her BFF. When their competition dies while eating the lunch special, The Widow Maker, the handsome Sheriff suspects foul play.

Desperate to clear their names and protect their new business, Lexie searches for a killer, but if she isn’t careful, she may end up on the killer’s menu for murder.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #38: YA Fantasy

TITLE: DEMONIAC
GENRE: YA Fantasy

DEMONIAC is a 70,000 word young adult fantasy novel that’s equal parts ‘Buffy’ and ‘Hellboy.’ Demoniac aims to analyse and undermine the sexist trope of the virgin sacrifice in media, particularly in horror stories. In Demoniac, the young woman who is sacrificed returns to life with all of the powers of the demon she was murdered to summon. She then uses them to fight for the good of humanity, while working through her lingering trauma from the abduction.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #37: Suspense/Thriller

TITLE: NECESSARY ACTION
GENRE: Adult Suspense / Thriller

NICHOLAS MAREK hunts his father’s assassin while trying to evade a mole in the Department of Defense. The killer targets him after he refuses an assignment to take the life of a fellow agent. With the rogue agent on his trail, Nicholas must outmaneuver his mentor to survive. CHRISTINE DETRICK and her daughter team with him to unravel a web of collusion and expose the stratagem behind the assassination of Senator BEN MAREK.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #36: YA Fantasy

TITLE: Truth Seekers
GENRE: YA Fantasy

'Snick' is a runaway palace servant who isn't at all in line for the throne. She's dreamed of running her own kitchen for years. The Truth Seekers are looking for an experienced cook to leave with a group of refugees. They think Snick could be that cook, if she can prove she can work in all sorts of adverse conditions. It's the chance of a lifetime. But earning it may get Snick killed—or, almost as bad, discovered.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #35: Paranormal

TITLE: LACUNA
GENRE: Adult Paranormal

In order to save humanity from a psychic plague, a ghost named Little Green possesses graduate student Nathaniel and uses his body to kill infected humans before they become contagious. Unfortunately, patient zero is a brilliant and relentless young woman who believes the plague represents a necessary new step in human evolution. She always manages to stay one step ahead of Little Green's humanitarian efforts.

She's also the love of Nathaniel's life.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #34: Spec Fic

TITLE: Will of Time
GENRE: Adult Speculative Fiction

When his research project is unexpectedly canned, college professor Will Grey takes the ultimate leap of faith to see if history can be changed…and accidentally kills Einstein in the process. But fixing his error results in an even bigger blunder, and reconciling past and present may mean leaving behind both the life he knew and woman he loves…forever.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #33: YA SF

TITLE: LIGHT OF THE AEGIS
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

To honor her father's legacy, Kali dreams of becoming a soldier and fighting the monsters terrorizing the world. But when she discovers that an assassin is targeting the army's general—one of the last links to her father and an integral defense against the monsters—she must save him. If she doesn't, the army will disband, the monsters will win, and she'll fail her father's memory. CINDER x ATTACK ON TITAN.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #32 YA Light Fantasy

TITLE: THE BRAVEST OF THEM ALL
GENRE: YA Light Fantasy

As a Maiden, Verabelle is chosen to jump off a cliff and transform into one of the magical guardians of her fairytale land.

But there is no transformation. Only bones and tarnished Maiden brooches litter the shore.
And Verabelle doesn't intend to die.

LITTLE WOMEN meets THE HAZELWOOD + MATCHED

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #31: Science Fiction

TITLE: Silver
GENRE: Adult Science Fiction

In Halbrechta, where women past childbearing age possess the supernatural abilities of the Silvering, one of the most powerful Silvers has just died of mysterious causes. Inspector Alinda Joren must discover who, if anyone, was strong and clever enough to kill her, and why someone would do it. As her own Silvering abilities emerge, her investigation is complicated by the realization that she could be the next victim.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #30 YA Light SF

TITLE: Invisible Me
GENRE: YA Light SF

When a high school senior’s genius friend turns her invisible to protect her from his kidnappers, she has seven days to rescue him or remain invisible forever. His abductors are after her next, since she holds the key to invisibility. Avoiding their traps and deciphering clues, she discovers what she's made of when it's up to her to save not only herself, but also her best friend.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #29: YA Fantasy

TITLE: Strange Occurrences
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Spooky is trying to keep her head down at a camp for delinquents when an ancient god, Carcass, abducts her for entertainment. She discovers he isn’t acquainted with modern media and convinces him to free her in exchange for internet access. Carcass becomes an internet addict and offers Spooky a deal: he will save her from a bleak future if she helps him protect the Earth (and the internet) from a pantheon of invading gods.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #28 Historical

TITLE: A Limb of the Sweet Tree
GENRE: Adult Historical Coming of Age

In the sweltering Midwest summer heat of 1961 seventeen-year-old Cris Boland learns that lies are everywhere, but it's the truth that stings the most. As a stranger new to Burr Oak Grove, soon Cris’s present collides with the town’s past revealing puzzle pieces he never knew existed. When Cris finally becomes aware of his family’s sins, the horrid stain marking him threatens to unravel the bright future he’s always chased.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #27: YA Fantasy

TITLE: The Arch
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Twins Bianca and Cole have been kidnapped and separated in a world of dragons and magic. An undead sorceress with an army of shadows stands in their way of getting home. She's searching for her own brother while seeking to unleash total chaos on all worlds, including the twins home. If Bianca and Cole can’t stop her, their world and each other, will be lost to oblivion.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #26: Women's fiction

TITLE: Saving Mama
GENRE: Adult women's fiction

A Muslim woman is falsely accused of attempted manslaughter in small town Texas. The victim’s estranged daughter, Lizzy, rushes to her mother’s bedside where Mama’s overriding fear is an eternity in hell. Home for the first time in decades, Lizzy suffers the culture shock of a backwards town while reliving a teenage bi-racial love affair which ended in violence and, ultimately, implicates her mother.  Highlights the similarities in racial and religious intolerance between two eras: 1970's and today.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #25: Spec Fic

TITLE: Like I'm Made to Save
GENRE: Adult Speculative Fiction

Elliot Siegerland sells morality, one prescription at a time.

As the communications director of a craft pharmaceutical company set to trial its controversial flagship product, Elliot spends his days pushing a drug that promises to curb a whole host of social issues.

But then he tests the drug on himself. He experiences some troubling side effects. And he decides that the drug, along with the company he works for, need to be destroyed.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #24: YA Fantasy

TITLE: OF WINGS
GENRE: YA Fantasy

17yo outcast Phoebe finds a note left by her dead mother: you are cursed. Now she must find truth of her past, even if it means running to an enemy race of winged people. Nothing stops her—until she discovers that she IS the enemy and has the power to win an upcoming war. Now she must choose which race to betray in order to save the other. EVEN THE DARKEST STARS x ACOTAR

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #23: YA Fantasy

TITLE: The Wishkeeper's War
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Prison rat Scian brokers a deal with an enemy to end oppression by the Wishkeepers, a holy order of women who channel divine will by granting three wishes a year. They murdered her mother, banished her family, and Scian plans to return the favor.

Wishkeeper Rowena seeks to unmask, destroy the conspiracy. To stop Scian, she must choose between her religious ideals or her ruthless training. Two heroines, one winner in THE WISHKEEPER’S WAR.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #22: Thriller

TITLE: The Greater Good
GENRE: Adult Thriller

An ER resident’s improvised tracheotomy with a kitchen knife probably saved his son’s life. He finally knows the devastating, true cause of the boy’s worsening symptoms. Advanced Genomic Research offers hope, but he discovers their twisted use of stolen DNA and must keep quiet to save his son. Trouble is: He’s an accomplice.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #21: Upmarket Comtemporary

TITLE: FERRY TO BRENTON
GENRE: Adult Upmarket Contemporary

When James loses his ferry captain’s job to Courtney, he’s so mad he won’t even acknowledge her—until she tips him off about the plan to develop his island home into a private golf resort. The only way to preserve those unspoiled ocean views is to team up, which requires James learning to trust a woman from “ashore” and Courtney learning to trust her own instincts.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #20: NA Fantasy

TITLE: Amirah and the Red Scarf
GENRE: NA Fantasy

When demon-wolf huntress Amirah’s grandmother is brutally murdered -and her sacred book stolen- she must sacrifice her enchanted red scarf to stop a formidable enemy from using the book, granting him eternal life. Dark twist retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #19: YA Fantasy

TITLE: Captivated
GENRE: YA fantasy

The Winner's Curse meets The Legend of Zelda. Sixteen year old princess Lottie considers herself rebellious, until she's kidnapped by an enemy king. She wants to escape, but soon develops positive feelings for him, until she can't decide whether she wants to kiss him, stab him, or both.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #18: MG Fantasy

TITLE: THE SILVER WOODS
GENRE: MG Fantasy

Isla had no idea the bedtime stories her grandfather told held the key to a lifelong family mystery. As she follows him into The Silver Woods, her world is turned upside down when she discovers the mystical forest and impossible creatures from his stories turn out to be real. No one has ever returned from the woods, and the secrets hidden within the trees are even bigger than her grandfather’s stories. BIG FISH for MG.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #17: Suspense

TITLE: For the Love of a Child
GENRE: Adult Suspense

Inside a small hospital in rural Louisiana, two nurses conspire to provide a famous actress with a healthy daughter — even if it isn’t her own.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #16: YA Romance

TITLE: Never Say Never
GENRE: YA Romance

FOOLISH HEARTS meets GREEK MYTHOLOGY in NEVER SAY NEVER, this YA romantic comedy with a fantasy twist. As Brynn navigates her parents divorce and the romantic entanglements of her friends, she discovers the annoying friend trying to set her up on dates is Aphrodite in disguise. But avoiding Aphrodite’s prodding has tripped Brynn into a bad situation. She’s falling in love...with the one boy who could end one of her closest friendships.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #15: YA Suspense/Thriller

TITLE: Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds
GENRE: YA Suspense/Thriller

L and M survived the end of the world. Now, there’s nothing left to live for except a suicide drug that only lets them die for eight minutes and thirty-two seconds.

Addicted to ‘death,’ when they briefly relive the world before it ended, they keep killing themselves just to remember what it was to be alive.

Until M doesn’t wake, leaving L alone to die.

No regrets, not really. Eight billion people already died.

Didn’t they?

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #14: YA Contemporary

TITLE: SECRETS TO FOREVER
GENRE: YA Coming of Age with Adventure and Romantic elements

With the help of a Chippewa-Indian classmate, sixteen-year-old Olivia escapes from Wisconsin and her father’s violence against her and her mother. On their danger-filled, cross-country motorcycle adventure, Olivia falls in love and learns self-defense. In a Thelma and Louise showdown, she faces false arrest, and later, death when her Vietnam-PTSD-grandfather shoots her. Olivia must decide: find Forever and a life away from her toxic family or return home to save her mother (80,000 words).

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #13: Fantasy

TITLE: Zodiac Cusp
GENRE: Adult Fantasy

From their celestial thrones above, the Zodiac Elite—rulers of the 12 signs—manipulate and place bets on “lesser” mortal beings. When their games turn deadly, Dr. Elsja Hastings, the banished daughter of Scorpio risks exposing her new life among mortals, standing against family to save her patients.

Complete at 93,000 words, modern mythology with medical intrigue.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #12: YA Fantasy

TITLE: The Death of Flowers
GENRE: YA Dark Fantasy

Revolutions and deposed royalty mean nothing to Toma, a seventeen-year-old orphan who is more concerned with hunting, farming, and sewing her adoptive family's severed limbs back onto their decaying bodies. That is, until she saves a dethroned tsar from a crashed airship and is dragged into a civil war between magic-endowed tsarists and the superstitious proletariat.

SHADOW AND BONE meets GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, in a world filled with creatures from Slavic mythology, Russian fairytales, and Yiddish folklore.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #11: Historical Fiction

TITLE: When We Talk About A Place
GENRE: Adult Historical Fiction

‘When We Talk About A Place’ begins in 1749 colonial French enclave in India. The 205-year narrative spans eight generations. Six Hindu, Muslim and Christian family plots intertwine caste, community, religion and politics. They reveal touching intricate webs, tensile strengths and terrible weaknesses of India. There is deceit, murder, oppression and gritty elements of rural life.  This saga also spotlights the classical cultural world of the Tamil people.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #10: YA Retelling

TITLE: The Shoemaker's Daughter
GENRE: YA Retelling

He despised dancing, but a dance would save his life. Connor ran away to avoid dancing. He ends up at a ball in which the vindictive queen banishes the princes to an island, held by magic until they become proficient dancers. Their partners, the twelve mixed-race princesses, are tools to punish an old heartache. Connor unknowingly holds the key to break the spell. A unique retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses with a male protagonist.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #9: YA Fantasy

TITLE: EVREN
GENRE: YA FANTASY

Evren- a young sea navigator- voyages to the impossibly hidden Sea Queen’s lair to obtain the antidote to an epidemic sweeping the kingdom. Hundreds of people will die if Evren and her handsome Captain can’t find the lair. The Sea Queen whispers death threats to Evren over the salty wind. Secrets and magic are surfacing from Evren’s past. Either she stays with her Captain she’s come to love, or runs before the Sea Queen tries to kill her.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #8: Fantasy

TITLE: A Bargain of Fear and Desire
GENRE: Adult Romantic Fantasy

When Lia’s sister May goes missing, Lia will do anything to save her, even travel to Faery and strike a bargain with the Fae Lord Riven for the most valuable thing she has to offer – herself.  A growing affection for Riven becomes Lia’s sanctuary in Faery where humans are coveted and old grudges run deep. A rival Fae Lord and web of secrets tests the strength of Lia’s affection for Riven and his world. 

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #7: MG Fantasy

TITLE: A LUMINARY AT L'ACADÉMIE
GENRE: MG Light Fantasy

L'AcadĂ©mie Majestueuse: an elite Swiss boarding school. But something's off; creativity and originality are forbidden. Luckily, 12-year-old Vera can help–if she sneaks in living Objects from a whacky villager's curiosity shop and pairs them correctly with classmates. While she's at it, she’ll have to figure out why there’s a fire in her belly and learn how to utilize it. A LUMINARY AT L’ACADÉMIE is a middle grade novel for believers in magic aged 8-12.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #6: YA Paranormal Suspense

TITLE: DANCE, DANCE, DIE!
GENRE: YA Paranormal Suspense

A compelling modern take on HCA’s “The Red Shoes”: Living with dyspraxia, fifteen-year-old Annora fights a daily battle against her own body. Blunders and bruises are the norm until new red shoes transform her from klutz to swan—just in time for Homecoming. Now that her parkour crush thinks Annora’s an urban ninja too, she keeps wearing the grace-granting shoes to hide her disorder, but a vengeful ghost is using them to gradually possess her.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #5: YA Contemporary

TITLE: The Seven Labors of Nick Jablonsky
GENRE: YA Contemporary

Challenged by a mushroom induced prophet, Nick attempts to complete seven labors, like a discount Hercules, before summer's end while learning that there may be more to him than he once thought in this modern epic retelling of the Hercules myth.

10TH BIRTHDAY BLOGPITCH #4: YA SFF

TITLE: HEAD CASE
GENRE: YA SFF

Allyson's in a coma and she can hear everything the doctors are saying. She knows they’re keeping her in a coma for money, but she can't tell anyone. With a VR system implanted in her brain, she's given a second life she doesn't want. Using hacking skills, she'll help a boy return home but when he doesn't come back, she has to survive Aishwarya, queen of the VR world or split her soul to the brink of death to return home.