Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pitch Slam is coming! Are you on the Write Side?

Once again that time has come. Pitch Slam is on it's way and this year's theme is totally geeky and I love it! Yes, the image above is totally right. This year's Pitch Slam is Star Wars: The Write Side!!

Go to the OFFICIAL PITCH SLAM website to learn all of the details and let me know in the comments if you're excited for this year's Pitch Slam? Are you going to enter! Until next time, happy reading and writing everybody!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy Book Birthday to THIEF OF LIES by Brenda Drake!!

Today I have the honor of celebrating Brenda Drake's new novel, THIEF OF LIES! I don't know about you, but I've been dying to get my hands on this one and I'm so happy it's out in the world now so I can! And you can too!

Don't know about THIEF OF LIES or Brenda Drake you say? Well, sit back and keep reading because this party's just starting!!


Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather-clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

TOUCHING FATE: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Excerpt from THIEF OF LIES:

We stepped into the Children’s Library and stopped in the center of the room. A massive light fixture designed to resemble the solar system dominated the ceiling. The hushed rumble of two male voices came from one of the reading nooks. I crossed the room, paused at the built-in aquarium, and inspected the fish. Afton halted beside me. 

“This is great,” I whispered, not wanting to disturb whoever was in there with us. “Fish and books. What’s not to love?” Spotting a sign referencing classic books, I searched the shelves for my all-time favorite novel.

The male voices stopped and there was movement on the other side of the bookcase. I paused to listen, and when the voices started up again, I continued my hunt.

Warmth rushed over me when I found The Secret Garden. With its aged green cover, it was the same edition I remembered reading as a young girl. The illustrations inside were beautiful, and I just had to show them to Afton. Coming around the corner of the case, a little too fast for being in a library, I bumped into a guy dressed in leather biker gear. My book and notebook fell and slapped against the floor.

“Oh, I’m so sorry—” I lost all train of thought at the sight of him. He was gorgeous with tousled brown hair and dark eyes. Tall. He flashed me a crooked smile, a hint of dimples forming in his cheeks, before bending over and picking up my forgotten book.

He held the book out to me. “Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” He’d quoted a verse from The Secret Garden with a sexy accent that tickled my ears.

I stood there like an idiot, my heart pounding hard against my chest, unable to think of a response. The fact that he had read the book and could recite a line from it stunned me. And impressed me.

Say something. Anything.

“Good read there,” he said when it was obvious I wasn’t going to speak. He winked and nodded to a guy behind him before ambling off. When he reached the end of the row, he paused and glanced back at me, flashing me another killer smile, and then he disappeared around the bookcase.

Tingles rose in my stomach. He looked back at me. The guy following his Royal Hotness gave me a final appraisal before departing. His stringy blond hair hung over his large forehead. It looked like he hadn’t washed it in weeks, and there was probably an acne breeding ground under it. He grinned, and I broke eye contact with him, making for the nearest window.

Oh God, you’re so lame, Gia. You could have finished the quote or anything less tragic than not speaking at all. The response I would have said played in my head. With silver bells, and cockleshells, and marigolds all in a row. Why? Why hadn’t I said that?


Brenda Drake Author Photo2

Brenda Drake grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. Her fondest memories growing up are of her eccentric, Irish grandmother’s animated tales, which gave her a strong love for storytelling.

So it was only fitting that she would choose to write stories with a bend toward the fantastical. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Sounds awesome, right? So are you excited about THIEF OF LIES? Are you going to grab a copy or did you pre-order? Let me know in the comments and stop by Twitter and tell Brenda Happy Book Birthday!!

Oh! And don't forget about the giveaway!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pitch Slam Hogwarts House Cup - Welcome to Team Slytherin!

There's a crispness in the air and the PitchSlam tag has come alive! You all received your owls and some of your boarded the Hogwats Express bound for Hogwarts! 

Some of you tried your best, but platform 9 3/4 had a spell on it and you couldn't get through. (Darn Dobby trying to protect you!)

So you followed Hagrid, stood in the same chamber we did waiting for it to happen. And then it did! You entered the Great Hall and the Sorting Ceremony began!

The Sorting Hat was placed upon your heads and you found your house! And we welcome you all to House Slytherin! Below you will find your title and converse in the #PitchSlam common room. 

But make sure you have your wands ready! For Hogwarts is under attack! The Death Eaters have returned and taken some of our fellow students and us Slytherins are not pleased about this! We needed them for...things!

Now we must defend our school and the entries stolen by the Death Eaters by cheering for each other in the #PitchSlam common room!

Find the other Houses here:

Professors (Agents) are free to comment from now until 4:00 PM Eastern on 10/26/15.

NOTE: Only agents may comment during the times listed above. Comments are on moderation so nobody may see what's going on behind the curtains. We want our Professors to have a little privacy while handing out points/spells. ;)

If you didn't make it on a team, please don't take it personally! We could only have 9 per a team and that left many more we wished we could have included, but couldn't. That doesn't mean you're horrible or should feel bad, because you shouldn't! It just means we had to make tough choices and pick those we felt were truly ready for the Sorting Hat and fight with the Death Eaters.

As someone who loves doing contest, I've seen all sides. I've entered and didn't get in. I've entered and made a team, but no love was given. Then there were times I got requests. It's a process that doesn't always lead you to your agent. I'm still querying, which is EXACTLY what you should and need to be doing if you're 100% positive your MS is polished and ready to show the world. Just because you didn't make it, this doesn't make it the end. Contests aren't for everybody and they're not the only path. Keep your head up and keep going! Never give up!

And know, we believe in you!

Pitch Slam Entry 1: Fat Girl on a Plane, YA Contemporary


Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 78,000

Hogwarts House: Cookie Vonn is sure she’d be a Gryffindor. But she’d like to speak with Dumbledore about those old-fashioned robes. Her sketchbook is full of new design ideas that may put Madam Malkin out of business!

Pitch: To be the next great fashion designer, overweight teen Cookie Vonn must take on an industry where thin is “in” and take down a fat shamer who’s after her internship and her crush.

First 250:

Skinny: Day 738 of Weight Watchers
No. You can’t just buy two tickets. That would be easy.

Let’s say you weigh five hundred pounds and know for a fact you can’t fit into a single seat on the plane. It doesn’t matter. One person equals one ticket. You can thank global terrorism for that one.

I watch the fat woman at the airline gate.

She’s in tears, wailing at the flight attendant. “What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to get home?”

Maybe I should tell her how it works. Two years ago, I was her. Two years ago, I weighed three hundred and thirty pounds. I was too fat to fly.

I would tell her one thing.

You can lose the weight, but you won’t get what you want.

You won’t get home.

Fat: One week before Weight Watchers
Here’s what you have to do. At the airport, you have present yourself to the flight attendants at the ticket counter. They get to decide if you’re too fat to fly.

I’m on my way to New York, to a fashion preview. I’m the SoScottsdale blog’s nod to the brave new world where forty-eight percent of Americans are overweight.

I don’t know if I’m going to make it there.

This is how it starts. There’s a plane change at O’Hare. I get the feeling they’re watching me from behind the counter. I tell myself how paranoid that sounds.

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 2: BFF Guide to Everlasting Friendship, MG Horror


Genre: MG Horror

Word Count: 30,000

Hogwarts House: Hogwarts House: Paige is everything Hufflepuff. She’ll sit quietly and let everyone else speak. No need to let her stutter out and bring unwanted attention to herself.

Pitch: Fifth-Grader Paige finds The BFF Guide to Everlasting Friendship, promising everything she wants. But the longer the Guide’s in her possession, the more it possesses her. It may be the last friend she’ll ever have.

First 250:

Fifth grade recess is all about kickball until Sheri shows-off a bra strap, waiting in line for her turn to kick on Friday, makingMonday a dug-out strap fest.

“Check out my new trainer; it’s just like yours,” Molly Birch says, showing a white strap digging into her shoulder. The rest of the girls follow suit and snap straps on their own shoulders to show how well they copied Sheri.

When I asked Mom to get me a training bra she refused. ”P-please, Mm-mom. Everyone in fifth g-grade has a t-tr-trainer.” My stutter making it difficult to get the importance of my request across. Without a training bra, I’m nobody.

“You don’t need one. You don’t have anything to support, and we can’t spare the money right now.” Like that’s the point of training bras. Mom doesn’t understand anything.

Feeling brave, I pull the top of my shirt over my shoulder to show my undershirt strap. My strap is like a spaghetti noodle where the other girls have thick, padded lines under their shirts. Nervous of being seen as a training-bra-fraud bring out my stutter. “Mm-mmm-mee too.” My face contorts to get past the ‘m’ sound.

Molly bursts into laughter, and then everyone else does too. I catch Molly twisting her mouth, mocking me. When someone turns around, she smooths out her face.I walk alone to the only tree nearby and the sound of fading laughter. The closest I’ll be to ‘popular’ is sitting under this poplar tree.

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 3: Catnapped, MG

Title: Catnapped

Genre: MG

Word Count: 30,000

Hogwarts House: Gryffindor. Although Max starts out as being somewhat of a scaredy cat, he overcomes his fear in order to venture into the deep, dark forest to rescue his best pal, Chevis (the cat). This shows true courage, and the obstacles he encounters along the way help him grow and also shape his character in very unexpected ways.

Pitch: Young puppy Max turns detective when the family cat disappears, but finds himself up to his muzzle in trouble in a forest overrun by genetically-modified apes intent on snatching the nine lives of stolen cats.

First 250:

I am Maximilian the Stealthy, on the trail of a trickster cat with a weird sense of humor and no tact.
Max’s nose twitched with excitement as he followed Chevis’ fresh minty scent. Hide ’n Sniff was as easy to play as eating. No wonder Chevis hadn’t taught him the game sooner.

Because he knows my nose is sharper than his sharpest claw.
At the laundry room door, Max slouched to the floor and snuck up on the spicy aroma coming from the dirty-clothes basket. He took aim and jumped.

His face rammed into the side of the basket, which fell over. Clothes spilled out: Doug’s school shirts, Mom’s dresses, Dad’s gym stuff. The ache from the basket slam vanished as he pounced and pranced, bit and rolled. His ears tangled themselves in his paws and—

Hey! Chevis isn’t here.
Max shook himself in disgust and his ears whipped him across the face. Tricked again!

I am Maximilian the Hunter, resistant to distractions. Always.
“Meeoooow. That you, Max?”

“Chevis?” Max dashed up the stairs. What a dumb thing to call out before the end of the game. But Chevis had sounded scared.

The living room and bathroom were empty. That left the kitchen. Max skidded to a stop against the refrigerator. A strange smell prickled his nostrils and his hackles rose. He sniffed the floor: rust and grime, mingled with a metallic, sweaty odor he’d never encountered before.

Someone had broken into the house and Chevis had meowed to warn him.

Wait! Where was Chevis?

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 4: Ride the Line Eternal, Speculative YA Thriller

Title: Ride the Line Eternal

Genre: Speculative YA Thriller

Word Count: 89,000 words

Hogwarts House: Claire would be in Gryffindor because she fights for those she cares about and fights even when all hope seems lost. Justin's street smarts and no-nonsense attitude would land him in Slytherin.

Pitch: Teenage runaways Claire and Justin fight to escape a train that never stops and take control of their lives while battling shadow creatures trapped between life and death.

First 250:

Chapter 1-Claire

An inhuman cry bleeds through the train car’s wall from the black night beyond, and I feel a pang of sympathy when little Andrew shivers at the sound. I see him shudder in my peripheral vision.

I’m taking my life in my hands, looking out the window like this, but sometimes I just need to remind myself there’s a real world past those train windows. The second the inky shadow blots out the bone-like branches beyond, I snap my gaze back to the boy tucked into bed and sit down at the foot of the musty mattress.

“What were you looking at?” he asks, his voice fighting sleep.

Lying isn’t an option—he’s only been here a couple of years, but he already knows me too well for deceit to be an option. “Nothing we haven’t seen before.”

But I shouldn’t have been looking. The last thing this train needs is another attack. I’ve got to do what I can to protect Andrew from the shapes that stalk us.

“Stupid monsters,” Andrew says. He clutches the sheet in his fingers and I lean down, make him lock eyes with me.

“You’re brave. Say it.”

He screws his face up, trying to look like a little man, and my heart breaks for him. Andrew was nine when he boarded. Now he’s trying so hard to look twelve. He reminds me so much of my little brother. He has that same determined look in his eyes. “I’m brave,” Andrew says.

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 5: Awake And Dreaming, Adult Contemporary Fantasy


Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy

Word Count: 99,000

Hogwarts House: Emme would probably be sorted into Hufflepuff, because she's exceptionally loyal and dedicated, and breaking any sort of rule leads to much inner turmoil. She could definitely be sorted into Gryffindor though -- except she'd probably use Harry's tactic and ask the hat not to, mostly because she doesn't always recognize her own courage and bravery.

Pitch: Emme creates fully-customizable Dreams for clients, but when her own Dream causes a murder, she becomes a weapon for two revenge-obsessed rivals. Customizing this Dream will mean deciding who to trust -- and who to kill.

First 250:

Once someone's decided you're a hooker, there's not much you can do to convince them otherwise. Years of weekly interactions with Patty, my client's hyper-attentive security guard, had taught me as much.

I'd mistakenly mentioned her hatred of me to Albert Gibbons after one of her more intense glare-filled interrogations at the wrought-iron gates of his estate, and now the start of every appointment turned me into a liar.

Al ushered me down the hall of his guesthouse, gleaming white-tiled floor serving as roadmap to the back bedroom. "I trust you had no issues at the gates today?"

"None at all."

His deep laughter echoed against the barren walls. "You can be honest, Emmeline."

"No really. I mean, she still thinks I'm a prostitute, but that is totally fine."

It was totally not fine.

It might've helped, egotistically speaking, if I could convince myself Patty thought I was a high-priced escort, but everyone knows high-priced escorts don't drive Toyota Camrys.

I followed him through the bedroom doorway. "Better a prostitute than the truth, from a jail-time perspective at least. So anyway…should I be using the side entrance from now on?" Patty had been delighted to pass on the message that I shouldn't use the front door as I normally did.

A frown tugged at his lips. "No, just for tonight."

"Okay. We can get started then." I shivered as a blast of the arctic-level air conditioning nipped at my exposed skin. "Safeword for tonight, Mr. Gibbons?"

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 6: Little Black Box, YA Contemporary

Title: Little Black Box

Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 56,000

Hogwarts House: Gryffindor because my MC goes for the underdog and wants to see justice served.

Pitch: As the school’s secret Advice Doctor, 16yo Charlie prescribes cure kits after reading a patient’s symptom sheet. But when her BFF’s sheet reveals she kissed Charlie’s crush, revenge jeopardizes Charlie’s anonymity—and chance at love.

First 250:


I’d had to tell Luke about my double life. It was the only way he’d agree to chauffeur me around town while I made my special deliveries.

“How well do you know Penny?” Luke asked from the driver’s seat. He stayed well within the speed limit as we passed Taco Bell and headed to the Valley.

“You’re not supposed to use real names,” I said.

Luke smiled, the dimple in his cheek only a shadow in the dimness of the car. “You know we mute real names.” He glanced at the video camera secured on his dashboard. “We’re almost there, black box at the ready.”

“For the record,” I said to the camera, “this excursion is brought to you by Joan Jett and all the girls out there who are through putting up with shit—”

“Language. I have to mute that, too.”

“Bad Reputation,” a favorite of mine by Joan Jett, blared on the speakers, and I sang along in my throatiest rocker voice until Luke laughed.

In payment for his chauffeur duties, I’d agreed to let him film tonight: a documentary featuring me as the doctor, prescribing various forms of cheer to people after life had knocked them on their asses. Even if that meant a cupcake—or two.

Penny’s house sat at the end of the street, perfect for a ding dong ditch. Luke parked behind a tree with branches so low they almost touched the roof of the car.

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells

Pitch Slam Entry 7: A Heart Divided, NA Historical Romance

Title: A Heart Divided

Genre: NA Historical Romance

Word Count: 83,000

Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff because she is very honest and unwavering

Pitch: In 1920’s Georgia, white parishioner’s daughter, Ginny falls for the black farmhand Pete. With her childhood sweetheart seeking her hand, and the KKK looming, Ginny and Pete’s hearts and lives are on the line.

First 250:

The steam engine slows to a halt, brakes squealing under the weight of the locomotive and carriages, the noise cutting through the quiet of the peaceful Georgia town. Outside the window, steam swirls around the platform. I stumble to stand, the jolt putting me off balance, and grasp the back of the chair in front of me. Going home for the summer isn't really going home when my father up and moved after my mother's death. Straightening my traveling coat over my dress, I am suddenly surrounded by young men rushing to help me with my bags.

"Thank you," I say softly, as a young lady of my background should. If I learned nothing else at boarding school, I had at least learned how to be gracious.

Following three young men out of the carriage, I step down from the vestibule. A hand flies out and catches mine to help me. With a quick glance, I smile at the kindly round face of my father.

"My sweet Ginny." He opens his arms for me.

I fall into them, resting my head on his chest. "I missed you, Pa. How are you holding up?"

"Oh, it's been difficult without your mother." He gives me a firm squeeze, then slips my arm through his. "I'm glad you're here with me now. Settling into a parish is always hard."

"Especially when you were at the last one for ten years." We stroll along the platform toward the gates, the sweet, fresh scent of oaks ad new grass filling my senses.

Team Slytherin  Points and Spells