Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pitch Wars Editing Special!

Hey guys! Pitch Wars is just around the corner so it's time to get your manuscripts in shape! I'm doing a super cool special on my critiques for the next month or two so you can be as ready as possible to enter Pitch Wars!

A full manuscript critique (one read) AND a query package critique-- 150$
(Yes, you get both with this special!)

The details:

Up to 120,000 words (we can chat about price if your MS is longer)

YA or MG, any genre (I'm not as familiar with adult so I wouldn't be the best to critique it)

The manuscript critique will get you a full edit letter with suggested changes, big and small, and how to fix common issues. Common notes include market issues, showing instead of telling, adding detail, adding emotion, making dialog more realistic, filter words, plot structure, upping conflict-- especially in the beginning. I will also make notes throughout the MS pointing out specific places that need work and mistakes as I see them (While I will point out the occasional typos or punctuation issues, I do line edits, not copy edits. See the difference here: )

Query package: your query and first chapter needs to be perfect when querying and when submitting to Pitch Wars. I'll do everything I can to help you get it there. This may mean multiple critiques on your query package--yes that means I'll read it more than once and see if you aced the revision and give more feedback if necessary.

The critique is to get you as close to publishing ready so that you can find an agent. I'm doing this as a promotion for Pitch Wars, as I know many authors are taking this time to really get ready for this fantastic contest. Even if you don't plan on entering, you can take advantage of the special.

I cannot guarantee that you will be chosen by a mentor during Pitch Wars, or signed by an agent, no matter what. I will do my absolute best to give you feedback to get you as close as possible. Sometimes it just takes time, and sometimes it's just about connecting with the right person (it's so subjective). I want to help but there are never any guarantees (just like signing with an agent does not mean a book deal.)

(Note: If I critique your MS, I will not pick you as a mentee to avoid any conflict of interests. But don't worry, there are a TON of awesome mentors to choose from so you will not be missing out.)

If interested email me at to schedule a critique. My turnaround is two weeks and I'll schedule based on a first come first serve basis.

Friday, February 5, 2016

My 2016 MUST read list

I've given up on "to-read" lists, those random lists of tons of books that I rarely actually get to. Or those reading goals where you try to read a certain amount of books. Both have their place, and can be great but my needs are a bit bigger this time around.

See, life has been a bit crazy and my reading has suffered. Ever since I had a baby I've been reading less and I want that to change. There are some books that I keep hearing about but never get around to reading. Even some I have sitting on my shelf (or e-reader), already bought and ready. So I've decided to try a new approach at reading goals.

So I've spent the last two days compiling a list.  Books that I've heard a lot about, or books that people have compared to my own novel to, or awesome sounding 2016 books, or books by friends/Pitch Wars mentors, plus a few recs I received from twitter.

I ended up with 36 books. (which still leaves me a bit of space to pull from my regular, low pressure, to-read list!)

And the books are.....

 The same list on goodreads for easy following and adds:

So here are my rules:
- I have to get to them all by the end of 2016 (this is starting now, so I'm a month behind the year reading goals)
- I don't have to finish them all. I'm not the kind of person to keep reading even if I don't like a book. But I have to read at least 50 pages, if it's a physical book, or 25% if it's an ebook before I can cross it off. I'm pretty sure I won't have too much of a problem with not finishing these books though. I doubt there are many duds in this list!
-I'll update here every once in a while, to say which books I've crossed off my list, how/why they made my list, and how I felt about them.  

I most definitely have an awesome year of reading ahead of me. I'm super excited to get started!

What's on your to-read list? Have you ever done a "must read" list? How did it go?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My experience reading submissions as a Pitch Wars Mentor- 2015

Last year, as a Middle Grade mentor,  I only got 5 submissions on the first day, 40 total.

This year, I got 28 submissions on day one and I LOVED eight of them. That's nearly a third of my submissions! I was like, holy ####, I’m gonna be in trouble if this continues. 

I expected to get more submissions than I had last year since YA is more popular than MG, but I wasn’t anticipating how much higher the quality was going to be.

I’m not sure if the quality difference was because I changed to YA, or if it was chance, or this year was just extra competitive and you guys are just getting better!

I do want to say that I had a lot of great subs last year, and I still LOVE my picks from last year (I’d pick you guys again in a heartbeat!) It’s not that my best subs this year were better than the ones last year—it’s just that, this year, nearly all of my subs were great! They all could use a little work, some more than others but overall I was shocked at how many I found myself wanting to take on.

I requested 9 fulls for myself and one for another mentor. No, I didn’t read them all. I couldn’t. I did read SOME of all of them.

What made me request? Potential and connection. Most of them weren’t perfect by any means. Some of them I requested because I *wanted* to fall for them and wanted to see if I could find that connection in the next chapter or two (I asked for the full and synopsis for all of them because that was easiest for me). Some were just fantastic and gave me that fuzzy feeling when I read them. Two of my short list had first chapters so fantastic I felt like I was reading a published book (only one of those 2 got picked. The other is my big regret. I still love you <3)

Did I request all of the great submissions I got? NO! I really did have to get picky there and only pick stories that I knew, if I found that right spark in those pages, I could potentially love and champion and read more than once. It had to fit ME. That’s the part that’s hard about Pitch Wars but it’s very similar to finding an agent. A lot of agents pass on good manuscripts all the time, because they will never do justice to stories they aren’t committed and connected to. You have to find the right agent.

During the mentor blog hop I had some writers ask if I’d really consider fantasy as much as contemporary. Well, here’s my short list break down.

2 high fantasies
2 paranormal/supernatural
1 magical realism
2 (contemporary) thrillers
1 historical
1 contemporary

The only thing I found myself having trouble getting into was sci-fi. I did get one really super cool sci-fi that I knew I wouldn’t take—so I passed it along to Sharon Johnston and Stacey Nash. I knew they liked unique sci-fi so I thought it might have a shot with them—it did!
At this point, I knew I could pick within my own submissions because I had so many of quality but I couldn’t help but take a peek at a few of the submissions other mentors were passing around. I read the query for several and saw that they really were great but I didn’t LOVE most of them so I didn’t request. But I did get one. Wendy Spinale sent me a sci-fi Thriller that she pitched as a YA Bourne Legacy with a kickass heroine and, guys, I was so legit hooked! I knew I wanted this manuscript as soon as I read the first chapter. SO GOOD.

But there was a problem. This manuscript hadn’t been submitted to me so anyone who it WAS sent to has dibs and there were a few still reading. Most were happy to step aside when I expressed interest because they had others they wanted more. But one mentor read the query and fell for it the same way I did. OH NO!  I was almost half way through reading it at this point so I stopped, knowing that not only am I not allowed to fight this mentor for it, but I shouldn’t. She has EVERY right to want to take it on.

Plus, I hadn’t finished looking through my own requested material so I put that manuscript to the side and continued with my own pile.

Some of those requests got snapped up by other mentors so I didn’t need to pursue them further, some I knocked out of the running because I just couldn’t find that spark.  Then I took a look at a contemporary thriller I had, it was one that I was mostly curious to see where this went. There was *something* there, I just needed to find out if it was enough to hook me. Then I read the synopsis. At the end there was this reeeeally cool twist. That’s when I was hooked for the second time. I read into this manuscript knowing it was going to need a decent amount of work and no matter which MS I took, I would probably help this writer revise because I really wanted to see this potential be realized.

Well, from here lots of things happened. I passed around some of my other lovelies because I wanted them ALL to find homes, and some of them did! My one contemporary got picked up, both paranormal/supernaturals got picked, the other thriller got picked and the Magical Realism was sooooo close (I was so sad when I found out it didn’t end up with a home but at this point I had two I was committed to.) 
Eight of my 65 submissions made it into Pitch Wars. Two were submissions I hadn't considered, three if you consider the Sci-fi I passed along.

Eventually, the mentor considering the sci-fi thriller told me I could have it if I wanted it because she had two others she loved as well, but I was a bit torn between my top two.

Then Brenda offered to let a few mentors take on two submissions. SOO many mentors were DYING to get an extra spot it was actually hilarious to watch. There were bribes and threats and all kinds of shenanigans (this is really a testament to the quality we found. Not getting picked really doesn’t mean very much!)  Brenda had a drawing for who would get to take two and I WON!!!

So I took on both!

Mind you, I’m completely insane because I also have to draft a new novel for my publisher, due November 1st but it’s totally worth it.

So my shiny new mentees are:

Amanda Searcy and her Contemporary Thriller TRUTH IS
Anissa Malek with her Sci-fi Thriller I AM SARIN.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Cover Reveal: Touching Fate by Brenda Drake

I really can't express how excited I am about this book! Not only is Brenda an amazing person and friend, but I was there for the very beginnings of this novel. I sat in the room and threw out ideas to help her plan this story. I haven't read it yet so I'm dying to find out how this book came to life from those fuzzy concepts we came up with over a year ago.

 And now it has a cover! Check it out!!!

Touching Fate
Release Date: 10/13/15
Entangled Teen: Crave

Summary from Goodreads:
Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn't. Aster discovers she has a veryunscientific gift—with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person's fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese's is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death...only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn't know that the hot Dutch guy she's just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.

But worst of all…she doesn't know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves.

About the Author
Brenda Drake, the youngest of three children, grew up an Air Force brat and the continual new kid at schooluntil her family settled in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Brenda’s fondest memories growing up is of hereccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling. So it was onlyfitting that she would choose to write young adult and middle grade novels with a bend toward thefantastical. When Brenda’s not writing or doing the social media thing, she’s haunting libraries, bookstores,and coffee shops or reading someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

Cover Reveal: Beyond What Is Given by Rebecca Yarros

BWiG_500Rebecca Yarros New Adult Entangled: Embrace Publishing Release Date: September 29, 2015



Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries. Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago. Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.    


  BWIG teaser 2    


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rebecca Yarros Bio

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She's a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores. When she's not writing, she's tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they're currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.  

Connect with Rebecca

Website: Facebook: Twitter:    


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Guest Post by K.T. Hannah- Author of Chameleon

   full swag pack

Chameleon Releases Today!

"Wow! A fast-paced, science fiction delight with fabulous action, a seamless world, and the most unique characters I've read in a long time." Elana Johnson, Author of the Possession Series.

What I learned writing Chameleon:
Never give up.
I know it’s a mantra you hear a lot of authors mutter. The reason, of course, is that it’s true. It doesn’t matter what your process is, or what path you’re set on taking. The only time you will not succeed, is if you give up. On the surface it sort of sounds easy, but we all know it’s not. You have to do so much of it on your own, because in the end, no one but you can write your stories.
I learned this because Chameleon has had a very long journey to get to this point. It got me my first agent. And with that my first round of rejections. We took feedback into consideration and reworked a few sections, bringing it deeper into the science fiction realm. But by then anything resembling dystopian was anathema, and our next round of responses reflected this.
Which is fine, because this is how the ball bounces. It’s how the industry has always worked. You shelve your book, and wait for the next go around of what you’ve written to become popular.
Only now, in 2015, you have two options. You can either shelve it, or you can choose the form of torture known as self publishing (lots of work here folks). I chose the latter, but had I chose the former, I still wouldn’t have given up. Because then where would I be?
The Blurb:
When Sai's newly awoken psionic powers accidentally destroy her apartment complex, she’s thrown into an intensive training program. Her only options are pass or die.
Surviving means proving her continued existence isn't a mistake--a task her new mentor, Bastian, takes personally. Her abilities place her in the GNW Enforcer division, and partners her with Domino 12, who is eerily human for an alien-parasite psionic hybrid.
After eliminating an Exiled scientist, she discovers nothing is what it seems. With each mission more perilous, Sai must figure out who to trust before her next assignment becomes her last.
Available at:

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | IndieBound

If you'd like a signed physical copy, Watermark Books has them in stock.

We're having a blog hop, and an e-card & mega swag Rafflecopter giveaway!
The blog hop stops are noted below. Each day has a different theme and you can find out about the process, the idea, and the evolution of Chameleon, and even a bit about K.T. by visiting each blog, when their posts go live.
4-Aug 5-Aug 6-Aug 7-Aug 10-Aug
Fun facts about the book What I learned writing Chameleon Author Interviews The world of Chameleon The Evolution of Chameleon
Manuel Soto Marlo Berliner Leatrice McKinney Rebecca Enzor Patricia Lynn
J Elizabeth Hill Stacey Trombley Dawn Allen Sharon Johnston Bex Montgomery
E.L. Wicker JC Davis Suzanne van Rooyen Mandy Baxter Madelyn Dyer
Jessie Mullins Andrew Patterson Heather Rebel Jessica Therrien Carissa Taylor
Emma Adams Lady Jai Elayna Noreme Kendra Young
I’m giving away e-cards of your choice from B&N, iTunes, & Amazon – one to the value of $25, and three to the value of $10! Each prize includes a swag pack of a magnet, sticker, bookmark, postcard, and mousepad!
Just follow the options listed on the giveaway and you'll be entered!full swag pack

About the Author

Me Squared
KT Hanna has a love for words so extreme, a single word can spark entire worlds.
Born in Australia, she met her husband in a computer game, moved to the U.S.A. and went into culture shock. Bonus? Not as many creatures specifically out to kill you.
When she's not writing, she freelance edits for Chimera Editing, interns for a NYC Agency, and chases her daughter, husband, corgis, and cat. No, she doesn't sleep. She is entirely powered by the number 2, caffeine, and beef jerky.
Note: Still searching for her Tardis

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Pitch Wars Bio and Wishlist!!


I'm crazy excited to be a mentor for Pitch Wars for the second time! It was a blast last year and the writers here are so amazing (yes, this means you!) I couldn't pass up the chance to do it all again.

I’m a second time Pitch Wars mentor and I’m just as excited for it this year! I was in Pitch Wars as an alternate for the first two years, then last year made the leap to mentor (which is legit exciting stuff, guys!)) 

I love contests and believe they have a huge impact on those who enter, even when they don’t “make” it (believe me, I know. I tried and tried and tried for 8 months before I was finally chosen in my first contest. Which was pitch wars 2012, when I was chosen by the fantastic Fiona Mclaren). I know what it’s like to fail and fail and fail and fight and fight and fight. I know what it’s like to want it SO BAD. So I feel for ALL of you, even the ones who aren’t chosen.

And Pitch Wars is the contest of all contests because it’s less about the agents and more about the connections and the learning. Instead of having your pitch/query and first page thrown up on a blog as is, you get the chance to really make it shine with the help of a mentor.

That's where I come in. Or, you know, any of  the other awesome mentors out there.

  So, how about a little about me? My name is Stacey Trombley and my first book, NAKED, just released.

It's a YA contemporary about Anna, a girl trying to rebuild her life after spending 3 years in NYC as a prostitute. There's romance, suspense and lots and lots of emotions. (more about it here:

I write all kinds of YA and MG, including fantasy (last year I mentored MG and my mentee and alternate were both in the speculative realm (one high fantasy one paranormal). My mentee from 2014, Victoria, is now represented by Laura Rennert. See  her pitch wars entry here
) but in an effort to brand I'm currently focusing my publishing efforts on YA contemporary.

So this year I'm mentoring YA (sorry MG folks. I love you too!) And while I'm most interested in real world stories (not limited to contemporary,  however. I'd LOVE a thriller or something along those lines too) don't forget me if you have a  paranormal, fantasy or sci-fi YA. I'd have no problem picking a speculative story if it were the right one. So if your story fits my wish list, please consider me too!!

Since I know how hard it is to choose only a couple mentors out of all the *amazing*, below I'll go into more detail about my tastes and what I'd love to see.  Hopefully that'll give you a good idea about whether or not your book might be a good fit for me!

The three biggest things I'm looking for in my subs are:


Unique: I love big concepts, which isn't always easy with Contemporary but basically I need something new, something that excites me.

Dark: I love antiheros, and conflicted characters. I love deep angst. There must be some hope filtered into it but otherwise I love getting deep into those dark emotions (example: my favorite YA contemporary is The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Definitely my sort of thing)

Hook-me writing: I'm drawn to the kind of writing that adds to the story-- the emotions--  from the get go. Voice is part of this. Style is part of this. Tone is part of this. Atmosphere is a big part of this. If you can put EMOTION into the words, the sentences-- that's what I want. 
But I'm NOT a fan of writing that tries too hard. Don't try to make it flashy, or sound like some big wig literary author. It should be natural. It should fit your story and the circumstances. It should be YOU.

I want to FEEL something when I read your submission. What that "something" is, is totally up to you:

Etc. Etc. Etc.

So really any genre (though I’ve never been into traditional mystery, maybe mostly because they never seem “new” enough to me,) just something with a cool gets-me-thinking concept and deep dark emotion and I’m TOTALLY your gal! (Remember though, it MUST be YA)

Can’t wait to read what you’ve got!

P.s. I do try to give feedback to everyone. I will TRY TRY TRY my best to do it again.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Auto-Linky widget will appear right here!This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Below are some links that I've seen around (one I wrote myself!) that are very helpful for preparing a query and/or first chapter for querying or contest-ing. Take a look and get those entries ready!

 What to avoid in your first chapter

Writing the perfect first page

Random tips and advice from mentor Naomi Hughes

Genre glossary

Synopsis help! 

Query tips

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