Friday, February 24, 2012

Critique Me! Entry for March Agent Pitch contest

Yesterday's and tomorrow's posts all wrapped up in today's post.

If your a long time follower of this blog, you know that I'm addicted to contests. I can't not enter them. Well, I passed a few up this year and my body just freaked out. They were some pretty great ones too, so believe me when I say that it killed me to just tweet my support and not click the add me to the list button. Why didn't I enter? Well, my hubby wanted me to take a break. Rest and take joy in what I was doing instead of freaking out about something that I couldn't control. So I sat back and let them go.

Now the amazing angels known as Brenda DrakeShelley Watters, and C.A. Marshall have decided to do a March agent pitch match contest. Of course I couldn't just sit back anymore when I saw this beauty come across my screen. So here I am, working like a dog to make my ms shine brighter than before and also working on a pitch.

On March 1st the rules will be posted, so I'm just going by the guidelines of their amazing pitch workshop. Below you will find what I hope is a winning 35 word pitch along with the first 150-ish words of my ms. (I didn't stop in the middle of a sentence.)

So, now I ask for you to critique away. Tell me what you like and what you think is missing. Take off the kid gloves. I can take it. FYI: I'm formatting it like it's a real entry.

Name: Jamie Corrigan
Title: The Demon Chronicles: Prophecy
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Word Count: 61,000

Pitch: Taisie thought demons were fallen angels until she discovered she wasn't just a klutzy human, but a powerful reincarnation who completes a forgotten prophecy that will destroy her nightmarish stalker and save her mother's soul.

Pitch take four: When a prophecy makes Taisie the target of a nightmarish stalker named Spark, she must embrace her new power of killing immortals to save her mother's soul or lose herself to Spark forever.

Pitch take three: When a prophecy makes Taisie the target of a nightmarish stalker, she must embrace her new powers of killing anyone immortal and destroy him to save her mother's soul or lose herself to him forever.

Pitch take two: When Taisie discovers she's not just a klutzy human, but a powerful reincarnation with the power to kill anyone immortal, she must destroy her nightmarish stalker or lose her mother's soul and herself forever.

Below is the new First 150 along with the old one. You can critique both if you like.

New first 150:

Taisie Monahan pressed herself against a brick wall, trying to catch a break from the sea of Forever 21 and American Eagle drenched students flowing through the floodgates of Saint Isabel High. Last night's nightmare was still fresh on her mind as she gave her ponytail a nervous tug, pulling her hair tighter. Taking a breath, Taisie swore she could smell the metallic stench floating from his dead body, making her stomach lurch.

A raven glided across the silver clouds, pulling her from her torture as her blue eyes flicked up to watch it. Goosebumps sprouted on her arm, forcing her to tear her gaze away. Taisie knew her stalker was there. She searched the crowd frantically looking for him. She may have never seen his face before, but that creepy-spider-crawling-up-her-back feeling was something that belonged only to him.

“Get a grip. People are staring,” she whispered to herself.

First 150 words: 

Taisie Monahan pressed herself against a brick wall, trying to catch a break from the sea of Forever 21 and American Eagle drenched students flowing through the floodgates of Saint Isabel High. Last night's nightmare was still fresh on her mind as she gave her ponytail a nervous tug. Taking a breath, Taisie swore she could smell the metallic stench flowing from his dead body, making her stomach lurch.

Hoping to get her mind off it, her blue eyes flicked up to the depressing morning sky and settled on a raven gliding across the silver clouds. Goosebumps sprouted on her arm, forcing her to tear her gaze away. Searching the crowd frantically for her stalker, Taisie knew he was here. She may have never seen his face before, but that creepy spider crawling up her back feeling was something that belonged only to him.

“Get a grip. People are staring,” she whispered to herself.

Let me have it! Critique away!
Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Outside Looking In

Honestly, today this is how I feel. It's been a few weeks of up and down moments with life and family, and I'm left feeling like I'm outside watching everyone achieve their dreams. I'm desperate to get on the other side of that glass and be in that moment too. I want to feel that joy. I want to be on the inside with them.

That being said, I don't want it so bad that I'm willing to just throw my dreams at just anybody who says a pretty word about it. When I say I'm desperate, I don't mean what it says. I just mean I really want it, but I'm working to achieve it.

A couple of posts back I told you about my friend who fell into a publishing scam. I was already feeling low at this point and she tried to sell me on the publisher. That's when I realized that even though I may be outside looking in at the moment, I'd rather be there than published badly. Feelings fade, but bad publishing lasts forever. That is something I do not want. I'm not that desperate. Trust me.

I think we all go through these moments in life. For me, things have just piled on me and I found myself feeling sorry for myself. I hate when I get in these moments and fight hard to get out of them. This is when I sit back and take a long hard look at what's causing the stress and fix it if I can. This time it's out of my hands, so I put my head down and began to write.

One day I will make it inside to the party. I know that is going to take hard work and I'm willing and ready to do it. These moments are what make me who I am and I'm thankful for them. My Mom raised a fighter and that's what I am doing. I'm not giving up on this dream.

Have you ever felt like you were on the outside looking in?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Life Is a Fairy Tale: Flash Fiction for Julia King's Contest

Today's post is a little treat for you all. Oh, all right! I confess! I've entered another contest. But I swear it's a really cool one. My good friend and CP, Julia King, is hosting a flash fiction contest. The rules are simple. 1. You must follow her blog. (You should follow her anyway. She's super sweet and awesome!) 2. You must tweet, blog, and/or facebook about the contest. (Done and done!) 3. Post your flash fiction on your blog by February 24th at 5:00 PM MST and leave a comment on the contest post with your flash fiction's link. and 4. Leave your email address so if you win, Julia can contact you.

The only requirements for the contest are that you must write 650 words or below and begin your story with, "Once upon a time," because, well, that show just ROCKS!

So, here is my story and entry, that I hope you enjoy, entitled: 

Life is a fairy tale

Once upon a time, a young girl danced alone in a meadow. The warm summer air caressed her as she spun round and round. Arms open wide, she willed her body to rise.

“Candice! Where are you?”

His soft melodic voice called to her. Turning faster, Candice knew she would do it this time. Her feet would leave the soft waving grass and she would feel the fluffy clouds take their place. All she had to do was keep spinning.

Her toe hit a pebble, sending her flying to the ground with a bone jarring thunk! Her soft brown eyes flicked up, knowing she'd see his smiling blue eyes looking down on her. When they weren't, a small tear slid down her cheek.

Candice's hand lifted toward the sky. “I'm trying. Please wait for me,” she said in a broken sob. The grass swayed until it caressed her soft pale skin. She sighed when it brushed along her cheek. Eyes fluttering shut, she whispered, “Eric, are you here?”

The air turned frigid. Looking up, she met with the narrowed green eyes of her mother, Queen Jackie. The woman knelt, took her daughter's hand, and smirked. “My dear, Candice. Why must you yearn for a boy who will never return? He is dead. It is time to move on.”

Candice pulled away. Rising to her feet, she shook her head. “No! Eric's alive and I need to find him before he fades away!”

“Enough, Candice!” Her mother grabbed her shoulders, forcing her to look at her. “You are set to marry Prince John in the morning. It is time to leave childish believes behind. You're seventeen after all. The same age I was when I married your father.”

A strong scent of pine drifted into her senses, bringing Eric rushing back into her heart before she could concede to her mother's wishes. Her fingernails bore into her scratchy violet dress. Thunder rippled through the graying sky when she pulled away. Taking three steps back, she found herself free falling into a giant sinkhole that open beneath her feet. Arms stretched out, she screamed, “Help me! Eric!”

The sensation of fingers winding around her hand sent sparks throughout her body. The sickness in her stomach went away when the clean scent of pine embraced her. Candice breathed it in and smiled. Closing her eyes, she waited for what was to come.

“Candice, after all of this time are you not going to look at me?”

Her eyes snapped open. Water rushed into them when she met with his soft blue jewels. Her fingers traced his chiseled jawline, waiting for him to vanish once again before their lips could touch. When he didn't, she threw her arms around his neck and pressed her lips passionately to his.

Pulling away, her hands ran through his chocolate locks. “I knew you were alive. I could feel it.”

“Candice, I love you.” Eric's soft lips pressed to hers again.

Taking a breath, she looked around at the sea of wildflowers that surrounded them. “Where are we? Is this heaven?”

Eric snickered. “Close. It's home. You were asleep for so long, I thought I'd lost you.”

She frowned. “Asleep? You left me to fight in the war. They said you'd died. My father has given my hand to Prince John—”

“Prince John? Candice, that must have been some dream.” 

“Dream? But...” She noticed her romantic gown was gone. In its place was a soft violet sweater and jeans.

Eric hugged her closer. “It doesn't matter. As long as you ended up with me, are you mad?”

“No.” Snuggling closer, she closed her eyes and pictured herself spinning in the meadow once again. When she breathed in Eric's scent, they opened again, thankful to see his smiling eyes smiling down her as he slid a small diamond ring on her hand.

“A dream come true.”

The End

I hope you all enjoyed it! Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone! And don't forget to check out Julia's blog! Her flash fiction is a really good one!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Research, Decisions, and Friendship

So, I was talking with one of my friends the other day and she told me she had wonderful news. Of course I couldn't wait to hear this news, so I sat back and waited for her to tell me what had her all a flutter. I was expecting something like a new boyfriend or she'd finally decided to go back to school. What I was told in the end wasn't at all what I had been thinking.

She sat there, her blue eyes lit up like a star. A giant smile was painted along her lips and I swore her soul was about to burst into flames from the excitement. That's when she said it. She was being published. My mouth hung open for a minute. If she'd been any of my writer friends, I would've jumped up and down and began the celebration. The thing is, she isn't. I'm not even sure she's written anything other than a shopping list before. (I'm not saying this is a bad thing. It just came out of nowhere since she'd never talked about wanting to be an author whenever we talked about my writing.)

Right away, I asked the logical questions. What did you write? A poem or a book? I'm sure I looked weird when she said she'd written a book. I looked even weirder when she added that it was a fiction book for teens. She didn't even know what genre it was or what YA meant. I had to explain that YA was young adult literature aimed at teens and that I was assuming that was what she meant.

After talking a little more, I learned that she'd jotted down a story in about a month. She didn't edit or revise it and she didn't even think authors HAD to do that kind of thing if their books were any good. Her belief is that a publisher will do all of that for her. (I've heard other's think this too and let me just tell you that they're wrong. You have and need to revise and edit before submitting. Trust me when I say you'll be thankful that you did later.)

Anyway, so this is what this post is about. My friend told me about how she'd written this "book" and how she'd contacted a new small publisher about it. They read it and told her how much they loved it. I asked to see it, and after reading it, I have to say that I knew what our next conversation would be. Sure enough, yesterday we talked and she told me that the publisher wanted to speed up her release date. To do this, she needs to agree to them sending her ms to an outside editor and pay their fees. Right away I told her not to agree to this. That in publishing, that's not how it works. Money flows toward the author, not the other way around. She agreed with me about this, but stopped short of admitting that the entire thing is a scam.

My friend is so excited to be published that she's not seeing nor researching anything about being published. I went the extra mile and sent her a file filled with all the info I've found along the road and even told her that there is always something to learn. I'm trying my best not to break her heart by saying she's been scammed, but I'm afraid that it's coming. Sooner than I hope. My fear is that when I break this to her, she's going to resent me or blame me for killing her new dream. Sure, she's the type that goes from wanting to be a model one day to wanting to be a teacher the next, but I don't want to be the one to kill the writer dream. She's got a great imagination and I'm sure if she put the time and effort into becoming an author, that she could do great. I just don't think this scam will help that along. In fact, I think it'll crush her.

At this moment, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I tell her it's a scam, our friendship could be damaged. If I don't, then she could end up scammed out of hard earned cash or her dream. Either way, I know this isn't going to be good. As her friend, I know that I should and need to tell her. And believe me when I say that I will before she reads this post. The thing is, I don't like being put in this position. Other friends heard this same news and haven't bothered saying a word. Not even when they heard about the editor. They just wanted to stay out of it. I can't do that. I just wish she would have researched before submitting anything.

Research is a friend to anyone wanting to be published. You should research topics while writing your book. Research agents before querying them. You should also research publishers before getting into "bed" with them. Never should you just go in blind. Not when it's a business relationship. Think of it this way, if you wouldn't hire someone to take care of your kid/dog without checking them out first, then why would you go into business with someone without checking them out? It just doesn't make sense.

I love my friend and I don't want her to be taken by scam artists who don't care about her or her book. I'm hoping that she will forgive me for ripping off the band aid. If not, then at least I can say that I tried to prevent the eventual heartache that is to come.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, do what's right. Tell the person it's a scam. You'd want them to do it if it were you being scammed. Also, remember to research before doing anything. It truly is your friend. Knowledge is after all power.

Have you ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place? What did you do to get out of it?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!!

First, let me apologize for my silence last week. I wasn't feeling well, so I took some time off to get better. I want to thank everyone who sent good vibes my way! It seems like they worked! Thanks!!

Today's post is a special one for Valentine's Day. For some, it is the most romantic day of the year. For others, it's the loneliest. I think it all depends on if you have someone to share it with and if their is love to be shared with that someone.

I could go into the history of Valentine's Day, but that would be like being in school again. None of us want that. What I will say is, I don't think this day should be about what the commercial's tell us it should be. I for one, don't need diamonds, (they'd be nice. But I don't need them!) chocolate, (even though it's yummy!) or roses! It's about being with the one you love and having them say those three little words. I love you.

Two years ago, my hubby and I didn't exchange gifts. We were under a month from getting married and money was tight. That didn't mean that the day was any less special than it has been every year we've been together. In fact, I think it was more romantic. He prepared me a romantic candlelight dinner and I made him a mixed playlist of all of his favorite songs. It wasn't super mushy; but since we were together, we were happy!

So today, if you don't get that gift that you were wanting, still smile. For as long as the one you love says/shows they love you with even a kiss, it's the best! Love is a wonderful thing and I wish all of you have it or find it!

Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It's One of Those Days

So, it's 3am where I am at the moment of me writing today's post. Usually I have these already ready to go, but life got in the way, so I'm just flying by the seat of my pants today. Well, the title of this post says it all. It's truly been one of those days. If one thing was going to mess up or cause a problem, everything else decided to join in.

First, one of the programs that I like to use to edit pictures decided that it wasn't going to work. No matter what I tried, it refused to cooperate. It's nothing new and I'm not going to complain about it. It's just how my day started.

Second, I was looking for something that I needed to wash and it vanished. I tore the house a part looking for it, and yet it's no where to be found. I'm thinking the ghost decided it was simply too pretty for me and took it for its self. If it's reading this, please give it back. You know what it is. Thanks.

Finally, my hubby went outside in the rain to go get some things from the store. It's dead in the middle of the night, so that says how much he truly loves me and how lucky I am to have such a wonderful man. Well, he put the key in the car, the lights came on, and nothing. He tries again and not even the lights come on. So now we're thinking that new battery he bought a month ago was a dud and we're going to have to jump the car just to take it back.

Today's not been the best, but as my new favorite song by the amazing Kelly Clarkson says, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!" None of this is going to kill us, but it does get on our nerves. Getting past that is a new strength that we thrive on.

Now, I will listen to my iPod and pray tomorrow will be better.

Have you ever had one of those days? What do you do to get past it?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Today's post started off being about something else. Then I found this quote and I knew what I had to write about. The one thing all authors have in common with everyone else. It's only one word, but it can rule our world like no other. That one word is FEAR.

I know that I am a nervous wreck with every query I prepare to send out. My hand shakes as I move the mouse closer to the send button. With one click, my stomach flips and the fear of, "Oh, no! I need to make sure I didn't mess it up!" sets in. I'll admit it. I'm afraid that I'll be rejected because I missed a comma in an otherwise well written letter. I know most agents or publishers might look past that, but it's something I can't stop thinking about once I've sent my little letter out into the world. I can only imagine how I'll be when I send my book out there.

The one thing that I've started telling myself when I go to click that button that's helped is to stop being afraid of what might happen. I can't control that no more than I can control what might not happen. Once it's out there, it's out there. A rejection isn't the worst thing in this world. Far from it. I look at my Mom who is battling cancer like a warrior and know life could be a hell of a lot worse for me. I'm healthy and I'm worried over a missed comma when my Mom's not worried at all. She's a fighter and she's passed that on to me. I fight for things and for my dreams. She's the one who makes me see that stressing over that missed comma is nonsense in a world of terror, sickness, and war.

Fear is the easiest little thing that can get into our minds and destroy something that is otherwise bright and beautiful. It's us destroying our own dreams. We have to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and look forward to what could go right. I'm doing that from now on. Whenever I feel myself stressing out, I'm going to look at a picture of my family's warrior and smile. I'll know life can throw curve balls and I can't do a thing to stop it. But I'll also know that I can hit that ball out of the park if I work and fight hard enough to achieve it. I will no longer allow fear to run my world.

What are you afraid of? What do you do when fear controls your world?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everyone!