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Sun versus Snow 2018 Submission Day and Twitter Party

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 23 January 2018 · 54 views

No government shut down here. The submission window for Sun versus Snow opens today at 4:00 pm EST! 

The instructions and rules for entry are repeated below.


Act fast. We will only be taking the first 200 entries. Please do not enter early or your entry will be deleted. You can resend at the proper time if this happens accidentally. Confirmation emails will be sent. If you don’t receive one, don’t resend. We don’t want duplicate entries. Please check with us on Twitter first to confirm your entry did or did not arrive, then you may resend. 

There is only ONE, yes that’s right, ONE entry per person allowed. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries being thrown out. This contest is only for finished and polished stories. That means do not send us your NaNoWriMo from November 2017 if they aren't ready. 


Important note: The story can’t have been in the agent round of any other contest in the last three months. This doesn't mean twitter pitch events with hashtags, but multiple agent blog contests. 

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Also, Michelle and I have decided not to accept picture books for this contest. Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica. To enter you must be followers of our blogs. Click the “follow” button on my blog. You can find Amy's blog here. If following our blogs doesn't work, follow us on twitter or sign up for our newsletters instead. 

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The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per person is allowed. It doesn’t matter if you write under different names or are submitting different manuscripts. You are still one person and get one entry.

Here’s how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, single-spaced, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn’t have Times New Roman. No worries if the email messes up your format. Yes, we will still read it! :-)  

(Here’s a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

Subject Line: SVS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: SVS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


In The Email:

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: YA dystopian Ownvoices (Age category and genre. Add "Ownvoices" here if it applies)
Word Count: XX,XXX (round to the nearest thousand)
Twitter Handle: (Optional so we can contact you. Will not be public.)


Is Your Antagonist hot or cold: 

Describe whether your antagonist is hot or cold. Personalities differ. Does your villain snap easily or are they calm and calculating? (Don't have an antagonist who is a person--then describe the weather of your setting.) 

(Can be in your character's POV, but doesn’t have to be. 100 words or less.)


Query:

Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. You may include comps if you’d like. There is no word count limit on the query but please aim for 250 – 300 words.

You may include if your story is OwnVoices up in the genre line. We really want diverse and talented writers and striping out the bios sometimes leaves us in the dark.

Remember a query has several paragraphs. Don't send us a pitch.  


First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence. But I will not go over 257 words. Be reasonable and don’t make us count. Don’t forget to space between paragraphs! No indents!


So that's it. See you at 4:00 pm Eastern time. Good luck!

And now that the rules are out of the way, how about the fun stuff!

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TWITTER PARTY!!!



Here are the suggested daily topics. But if you want to make up your own fun games on the hashtag #SunvsSnow then go right ahead! Just keep it clean and inclusive for all.

Jan 23rd- Submission day! What genre and age category will you/did you enter? Show us a sun or snow picture from your neighborhood.

Jan 24th- It’s very important to read new books in your genre to get a sense of pacing and timing as well as style. What book in your genre have you read recently?

Jan 25th- Do you get more writing done when there’s sun (summer) or snow (winter)? When are you most productive?

Jan 26th- Do you have a word count writing goal for each day or use some other measurement? How do you carve out time to write?

Jan 27th- Pantser or plotter or somewhere in between?

Jan 28th- Shout out a favorite line from the ms you entered.

Jan 29th- If you had to choose one goal for your writing career this year, what would it be?

Jan 30th- Beta readers and Critique Partners are important in the writing world. Where did you meet yours so others can check out those places?

Jan 31st- Final advice as before picks are announced on how you manage nerves during contests/querying?


Have fun! Mix and mingle! Make friends! Be active!

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Sun versus Snow Agents 2018

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 13 January 2018 · 4 views



Contests just wouldn't be the same without the agents! Sure we could mentor and polish entries, but immediate results from the true experts and the success stories that result is what it is all about.

So a huge thanks to the 21 agents who agreed to help us out!

Remember that submission is on January 23rd at 4:00 pm EST. Go here to see the rules and how to format and here to see the mentors. And check out my Free Pass to Team Snow here

Part of the list of agents is on my blog. But listing all of them would be a huge post. So go to my co-host Amy's blog to see the rest



Lynnette Novak
Seymour Agency


Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.


Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.







Lauren Spieller
TriadaUS


Associate Literary Agent Lauren Spieller comes to TriadaUS with a background in literary scouting and editorial consulting. She has a sharp editorial eye, and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse and underrepresented voices.

In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, and exciting adventures. Some of her recent favorites are Rules for Stealing Stars, George, The Thing About Jellyfish, Wonder, Hour of the Bees, and Rooftoppers. In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of fantasy, magical realism, and space operas; contemporary stories with a hook; and anything with a feminist bent. A few favorites include Dumplin’, Scorpio Races, An Ember in the Ashes, OCD Love Story, Six of Crows, The Raven Boys, and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

In Adult, Lauren is seeking commercial fiction, particularly female-driven psychological thrillers (a la Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn), and immersive literary fantasies, such as The Night Circus, The Miniaturist, and A Darker Shade of Magic. She is also interested in female-driven Upmarket General Fiction, especially if it's funny or has a touch of magical realism (note that she is NOT looking for Romance), and unique non-fiction with an existing platform. She's particularly hungry for counter culture books, cocktail books with a twist/theme, or narrative nonfiction with a unique hook (if you’re the next Lindsey West, Roxanne Gay, or Lauren Duca, she wants to hear from you). 






Lindsay Mealing
Emerald City Literary

Lindsay has been writing stories since she could first hold a pencil. It wasn’t until she sat down to edit a manuscript for the first time she realized her true love was not on the writing side of the publishing industry, but the business side. She began interning for Mandy in early 2015 and quickly realized agenting was what she wanted to do forever more.
Lindsay is a self-proclaimed  nerd, loving everything science fiction and fantasy – from epic tomes to gaming. She fell head over heels with the SFF genre when she read KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey (she even has Phedre’s marque tattooed on her back).







Andrea Somberg
Harvey Klinger Literary

A literary agent for over fifteen years, Andrea represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects for adult, young adult and middle grade audiences. Her clients’ books have been NYTimes and USABestsellers, as well as nominated for The Governor General’s Award, the Lambda Award, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and have been chosen for ABA’s Indies Introduce Program. Andrea is a guest instructor for MediaBistro and Writers Digest.

Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories: Fiction: literary, commercial, book club fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, new adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science, pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, diet, health & fitness.








Uwe Stender
TriadaUS


Literary Agent Dr. Uwe Stender is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives). He is interested in all kinds of non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, he is completely open to any project, from Memoir, Pop Culture, and Health to How-to, Gardening, History and everything in between, including non-fiction for children. In Children's fiction, he is looking for YA, MG and PBs. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards Women's Fiction, Psychological Suspense, and Mysteries.  As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world. So surprise him, his tastes are eclectic, and he may just love what you wrote!
His favorite five novels right now are: Caraval, The Underground RailroadDer Nasse Fisch, Kafka On The Shore, The Young Elites, and Wonder.








Amanda Jain
Inklings Literary


Amanda Jain has loved books for as long as she can remember. When she was a kid, Amanda always had her head in a book. In her room, in the car, in the bathtub, wherever. She probably would have brought a book to the dinner table every evening if that was allowed. 

After earning a BA in English, she worked in the trade department at W. W. Norton for seven years before leaving to pursue graduate studies. She graduated in 2011 with a MA in the history of decorative arts. Amanda then joined Inklings in 2014, first as an intern and then as Michelle’s assistant.

Amanda is primarily interested in adult fiction in the following categories: historical fiction (in all genres), women’s / book club / upmarket fiction, romance (particularly historical, suspenseful, or with a comedic bent), mysteries (particularly historical or cozy, or historical cozies), and narrative nonfiction in the areas of social history, archaeology, art history, material culture, etc. She is also interested in select YA and MG projects with unique hooks and a strong voice. 

In all cases, what Amanda is most looking for is a story that completely immerses the reader in the world of the book. She wants to feel the sun on her shoulders, smell the smoke of the battlefield, and hear the horses galloping in the distance.

Amanda is NOT the agent to query with picture books, memoirs, self-help, poetry, erotica, science fiction and fantasy, horror, or inspirational fiction.





Jocquelle Caiby
Serendipity Literary


Jocquelle started at Serendipity Literary Agency as an intern, and has since transitioned into a dual role as a Junior Agent and Literary Assistant. With degrees in both English literature and sociology, her specialties are project management and editorial development.
As Literary Assistant to President and Lead Agent Regina Brooks, she reviews and evaluates potential projects—constantly on alert for that one book in a thousand that is capable of flourishing in a highly competitive marketplace.  She works closely with the talented clients of our agency, providing developmental editorial reports and proofreading manuscripts and proposals, which has aided in the sale of multiple projects to members of the Big Five publishing houses.
She is currently looking to acquire her own projects with the goal of championing creativity and diversity, and building fresh, new voices into commercial and literary powerhouses. 
Jocquelle is primarily interested in young adult fiction, gravitating mostly towards the sub-genres of fantasy, sci-fi, magical realism, and horror, as well as young adult works of any genre that explore diverse experiences. Her favorite stories are those that take her on an adventure with vividly imagined and well-developed characters, and she is particularly struck by those that surprise her with shocking plot twists and gasp-inducing revelations.

 For adult fiction, she is primarily interested in literary and historical fiction, as well as novels with an anthropological bent. Her interests in nonfiction include mind/body/spirit titles, professional wrestling, and mental health projects.





Danielle Burby
Nelson Literary

I was always the class bookworm, but, for some reason, I spent most of high school convinced that my future was in Broadway. In fact, I felt really bad for the English teacher who told me she thought I was destined for a career in books because she was so very wrong. Turns out she knew me better than I thought! Of course, looking back, the fact that I never left the house without a minimum of two books (the book in progress and at least one backup) should probably have tipped me off.
I double majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College (both “impractical majors” that have been incredibly practical for me) and figured out that creative writing classes do a really great job of honing your editing and critiquing skills. After internships at several top literary agencies and publishers, I spent four years at New York Agency and began building a client list before moving to NLA in January 2017.
As an agent based in New York City, I primarily represent YA and MG along with very select mystery and women’s fiction. I look for a strong narrative voice and a cast of characters I want to spend time with (which doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be likeable!). Something all of my clients have in common is the ability to sweep me up in their writing and make me grateful for a chance to spend time in their worlds. When I finish a novel and immediately want to thank the person who wrote it, I know I will have the enthusiasm to fight tooth and nail for that author.



Alec Shane
Writers House









Kari Sutherland
Bradford Literary


Kari Sutherland joined the Bradford Literary Agency in 2017 after a decade of experience in publishing from the editorial side. Previously a Senior Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, she has worked with bestselling and critically acclaimed authors on projects such as the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and the #1 New York Times bestselling Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in English and Psychology, which she considers the perfect combination for working with authors on character and plot development. With her editorial insight and experience with the entire publishing process, Kari is passionate about helping to polish each manuscript and equip her clients for success.

Open to genres from picture books through adult, Kari is most interested in finding stories full of heart; ones that carry readers to faraway places or deep into a character’s mind; action-packed page-turners that surprise her; dark dramas with touches of humor; and, above all, a voice that leaps off the page. She is actively seeking diverse voices across all genres.

In children’s books, Kari is interested in character-driven stories, new twists on classic tales, empowering themes, epic fantasy, fresh voices and experiences, inventive mysteries, humor, and magical realism.

In YA, which is near and dear to her heart, Kari is drawn to compelling voices, tight pacing, and clear world-building regardless of whether it’s a space drama, an underground dystopia, a small town, or a big city contemporary. She is open to any genre within YA.

Kari is interested in adult fiction including general fiction; upmarket women’s fiction; intergenerational tales; magical realism; historical dramas; and light-hearted contemporary fiction.

A firm believer that truth can be stranger than fiction, Kari is seeking nonfiction in the following categories: quirky topics; history and biography; pop science and psychology; humor; and parenting. Most important to her are a concrete platform, an engaging voice, and well-researched material that will broaden readers’ understanding of themselves, the past, and the world around them.

Kari is not seeking: horror, romance, erotica, memoir, adult sci-fi/fantasy, thrillers, cookbooks, business, spiritual/religious, poetry, or screenplays.






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Happy Release Day for Enchanted Book 1: Magic Spark

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 09 January 2018 · 4 views





The first of a trio of trilogies by three amazing romance writers. These stories all have two things in common: magic and romance!

“When Demigods Court Death” by Wendy Sparrow:

As the demigod of fertility, Aster Slone has a thriving doctor’s practice. In fact, the incidence of triplets has made it too thriving. He needs more time with his neighbor the demigoddess of death to dampen his powers. Chandra Linton being gorgeous and sweet makes his task less of a hardship. Hitting the zenith of heretofore-unknown powers without enough exposure to her match is killing Chandra. Accepting all that her crazy, but hot neighbor says is her destiny…well, it muddles her convictions, but her real concern is: does Aster want Chandra because she’s the woman he desires or because she’s Death?

“These Roots Run Deep” by Em Shotwell:

Spitfire, New Orleans weather girl, Cheyanne Murphey has everything, and that is exactly how she likes it. When she discovers evidence of her fiancé’s philandering, she refuses to let her perfectly cultivated image fall to pieces. Cheyanne has worked too hard, dragging herself up from the trailer park into New Orleans’ society, to give in without a fight…even if that means trading a year of her life in exchange for a love incantation from her ancestor’s spell book.
A skyclad, moonlit dance, a mysterious potion, and magic gone awry leave Cheyanne with a very peculiar life lesson: love can take on many forms, so be careful what you wish for.

“Destiny’s Dark Light” by Sara Dobie Bauer:

In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

Magic Spark on Amazon.com --> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0776ZP5ZX
Only 2.99 or FREE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED!


Author Bio:

Em Shotwell is a Mississippi native turned Louisiana local who writes about misfits and the people who love them. You can visit her online at www.emshotwell.com, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/emshotwellauthor.




Character Profile Post:

If there is one constant in my writing that I have noticed, it is that I always end up writing sisters. Maybe this is because I come from a very female-centric family with two sisters of my own as well as more than a few girl cousins. I believe that the relationship between sisters is one of the most complex dynamics that exist. You can love your sister fiercely, but grow up in constant competition. The same person, your sister, who you will always protect can be the same person who drives you bonkers.

My husband grew up with brothers, and while it has its own original dynamic, I don’t find it as intricate.  He and his two brothers are straightforward. When they are mad, they are mad. When they are happy, they are happy. Their feelings are often complicated, but the relationship isn’t. No, there is no other relationship like sisterhood, which means there are many threads for this writer to tug when crafting a female sibling group. Tallulah and Delia in BLACKBIRD SUMMER are different from Milly and Francis in WORN OUT WISHES. Evelyn and her sisters in FORGET ME NOT have a very unique bond.

The oddest sisters of all, however, are my Marchland family from THESE ROOTS RUN DEEP, THIS HOLLOW HEART, and THESE RESTING BONES. They are a tangle of trust issues and defensiveness, wearing chips on their shoulders like badges of honor, and they love each other fiercely. Let’s meet them.

Cheyanne Murphey.

Cheyanne is the oldest. She over-compensates for her shaky confidence by being the best at everything—the prettiest woman in the room, the smartest at the table, and the fiercest at work.   Cheyanne has always been the protector and the leader of her sisters, a role which held over from a rough childhood on into adulthood. She has pulled herself up from the trailer park to become New Orleans’s own top weather girl, and when she finds out her fiancé may be cheating, her sisters put aside their opinions of the good-for-nothing man and do what Cheyanne asks. Of course, Cheyanne has never had an eye for detail. And if one thing is true—it is that magic requiresan eye for detail… And maybe there are more to those live oaks you see around the parks of New Orleans than meets the eye.


Marchland Murphey.

Middle sister. Soft spoken. Kind. Marchland does her best to do no harm, an easy going vegetarian who never raises her voice. But she looks outwardly to fill the dullness that plagues her heart. When tattoo artist Marchland needs help casting a spell to keep an obsessed man at bay, of course her sisters help her out. But magic knows intent and can read the message of your heart…so what happens when your heart is hollow?


Bradley Murphey.

Youngest sister. College student. Bradley does her best to slip by under the radar, never making waves, her sharp tongue and sullen nature is her defense against the world.  Poor Bradley. Killing a man in self-defense is still killing and killing is scary…scary enough to cause a witch to panic and bring a person back from the dead. There is a reason necromancy is forbidden, and Bradley soon learns that every spell has a price. And every price must be paid.


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Snow Mentors for 2018

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 06 January 2018 · 3 views



Here they are! The mentors for Team Snow. We'll plow down the competition and bury them under bulldozers of snow, leaving them unable to get up! 








The mentors will be helping the picks polish up their query letters and first pages. Here's a little something about the mentors. Please do follow them on twitter and buy their books. They work hard to help writers and deserve your thanks. Do read down to the bottom of the post for details about our mentor chat on twitter!

And visit Amy's blog to see the Sun mentors.



Monica Hoffman
Mentoring SFF



Monica M. Hoffman is a Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy author represented by Laurie McLean and Tricia Skinner of Fuse Literary. She is an active member of SCBWI, RWA, and the writing community. She is the Communications Director and a YA mentor for Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars organization. She’s a Trekkie, Dr. Who, and Star Wars fanatic, and a PC gamer when she’s not writing or reading. You can find her tweets about all things YA lit & entertaining GIFs on Twitter and Facebook.



Wade White
Mentoring Middle Grade





Wade hails from Nova Scotia, Canada, land of wild blueberries and Duck Tolling Retrievers. He teaches part-time, dabbles in animation, and spends the rest of his time as a stay-at-home dad. It is also possible he has set a new record as the slowest 10K runner. Ever. He owns one pretend cat and one real one, and they get along fabulously.






Victoria Gilbert
Mentoring Mystery/Thriller and SFF




Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers.

Victoria is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel. Her Blue Ridge Library Mystery series is published by Crooked Lane Books. She has also previously published speculative fiction , both scifi and fantasy, under her Vicki L. Weavil author name.

Website/blog: http://victoriagilbertmysteries.com/
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/VGilbertauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/VictoriaGilbert
BUY LINKS for A MURDER FOR THE BOOKS: http://www.crookedlanebooks.com/titles/a-murder-for-the-books/







Carrie Callaghan
Mentoring Historical and SFF




Carrie Callaghan is a historical fiction writer living in Maryland with her spouse, two young children, and two ridiculous cats.  Her debut novel, A Light of Her Own, about 17th century Dutch artist Judith Leyster, is forthcoming from Amberjack Publishing in November 2018. Her short fiction has appeared in Weave MagazineThe MacGuffinSilk RoadFloodwall, and elsewhere.  Carrie is also an editor and contributor with the Washington Independent Review of Books.  

Twitter: @carriecallaghan



Natasha Raulerson
Mentoring Romance and WF



Natasha Raulerson grew up as a tomboy hanging with the guys, getting skinned knees, and swimming in the South Florida sun.Though she’s more inclined to wear dresses now, she still prefers a good pair of chucks and comfy pair of jeans. Tattoos, Jack Daniels, and hanging at the pool are three of her favorite things. She is a wife, mom, and author. Most recently, her short story, I, Alphabet, received second place in the 86th Annual Writer's Digest Competition (Literary/Mainstream). After work, she comes home for family time and snuggles with the pups, before working on her own writing. She is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency.

Twitter/Instagram: @RaulersonWrites





Max Wirestone
Mentoring Mystery and Thriller


Max is the author of the Dahlia Moss mystery series, and other assorted hijinx, the third of which-THE QUESTIONABLE BEHAVIOR OF DAHLIA MOSS-will hit stores in January of 2018. Max is a Query Kombat alum with a penchant for zippy query letters, expansive JRPGs, and overcommitting his schedule. Check out his website at maxwirestone.com or follow him on twitter at @maxwires.

Also check out THE UNFORTUNATE DECISIONS OF DAHLIA MOSS and THE ASTONISHING MISTAKES OF DAHLIA MOSS today.






Kelly deVos
Mentoring Contemporary





A third generation native Arizonan, Kelly deVos can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cactus, cattle and climate. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Kelly is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Her debut novel, FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, will be published on 6/5/18 by Harlequin Teen and her work has been featured in Normal Noise and 202 Magazine.

Twitter: KdeVosAuthor
Facebook: Kelly deVos
Instagram: Kelly deVos
Goodreads: Kelly deVos





Marty Mayberry
Mentoring Every Genre





Marty Mayberry writes adult and young adult fiction. When she’s not dreaming up ways to mess with her character’s lives, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She has a BA in International Affairs in German and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She lives in New England with her retired Seabee Chief husband, children, a spunky Yorkie puppy, and three neurotic cats. She’s a member of SCBWI, YARWA, and a PRO member of RWA.

Her young adult sci-fi thriller, PHOENIX RISING, won the YARWA’s Rosemary Award for speculative fiction  in ’15 & her UF won second place in the ’17 New Adult Rosemary Award.

She’s represented by Jessica Watterson of the Dijkstra Agency.

Twitter: @marty_mayberry





Kim Long
Mentoring Middle Grade




Kim Long is an attorney in the Chicagoland area, where she spends her days expressing her clients’ (always true) stories to judges and juries. She writes MG contemporary fantasy that contain a sprinkle of science and is represented by Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties. When not managing her fantasy baseball and football teams, she can be found biking, watching Star Wars for the zillionth time, or teaching her nieces about the importance of choosing the correct racer (Toad) and vehicle (standard bike) to win in Mario Kart.






Now for the mentor chat!

We will be having a Mentor Chat with two sessions on January 18th at 4:00 pm EST and 8:00 pm EST. You can visit the Mentor Chat on twitter and pick the brains of these experienced writers along with the hosts. Feel free to ask questions about genre and word count or writing in general. Ask about their experience on submission or once they were published. See what they think makes for an enticing first page or what belongs in a query.

We will be using the hashtag #svschat. Can't wait to see you all there. And the agent post will be coming soon!  Until then immerse yourself in snow!

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Sun versus Snow 2018 Free Pass

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 02 January 2018 · 3 views

Well, I've tried three times to get the rafflecopter to behave and no luck so far. It drew a name but won't display it. So I'll report that the winner of the free pass onto Team Snow is GAYLE KRAUSE! Congrats, Gayle!



Sun versus Snow is coming! As of right now we have close to twenty agents. (Agents announced in a few weeks.) You can see the rules here. My last couple of contests averaged three success stories from my picks alone. Free Pass winners have ended up with agents in past years.






This is an opportunity you don't want to miss. A free pass allows you to skip the slush and become an instant pick. You will get to work with a mentor to improve your query and first page. Your entry will be seen by our agents and any ninja agents. And you'll be the first member of Team Snow!

You must do two things to enter: leave a blog comment on this post and use the rafflecopter to record that you commented. If you aren't in the rafflecopter, it can't pick you as the winner. This ensures the winner is random and no bias slips in.

In the blog comment I want a short paragraph about your book traditions. Is there a certain book that you read at holidays? One that you take on vacations? An author you read when you feel stressed? Or just what book can you read over and over again. Be creative. It should be fun and imaginative. There's no need to post something long. Try and stay under 200 words.


For example: I used to read A Christmas Carol by Dickins every year before Christmas and I still take Sanditon (the completed version) by Jane Austen and Another Lady with me whenever I go to the beach. When a new book of my favorite series comes out, I often reread the entire series before opening the new volume--just to save it like a dessert for last. 
  
Use the rafflecopter for additional optional entries and to help spread the word. Please tweet about this mini contest and pass it along to your friends! The more the merrier!


The free pass will stay open until January 19th. Good luck and I hope to see you on Team Snow!




a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Weak Writing- Gerunds

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 19 December 2017 · 3 views

There are all kinds of things to avoid in writing that weakens the power of your words. Many of them I've already posted about such as crutch words, filtering, passive writing, boring verbs. But there's another indicator of weak writing that isn't as well known--gerunds. 

So gerunds. What's that? The easy answer is -ing verbs used as some form of noun whether that be the subject, direct object, or objects of a predicate. Many writers lump all forms of -ing verbs together and try to avoid all of them. That can lead to some awkward or weird sentences. It's like saying never use adjectives or adverbs. Ridiculous. You can't writing a story without certain words. Just don't try.

What's more important is to be aware of your word choices and make sure they are used for a reason. There are some gerunds to be avoided. And others that are less harmful.

(Please note that I'm no English major. Grammar isn't my strong suit. I'll do my best to get the terms right. ) 

When gerunds come up in writing discussions, it's usually paired with to-be verbs. What we used to call helping verbs. Like so:

Suzie is flying to the post office.
James was sweating up a storm before his speech.
Helen and Jake are shopping for my present.

And it's usually considered weak writing because you're using extra words and the sentence feels less active written this way. That's easy to fix.

Suzie flew to the post office.
James' armpits poured with sweat as he waited to give his speech.
Helen and Jake drove off to shop for my present.

Another form of a gerund is when it's used as the subject of a sentence.

Reading is my favorite leisure activity.
Swimming is a low impact exercise.
Eavesdropping is a nasty habit.

My opinion is that these types of sentence in your writing are usual rare enough to be ignored and left as is. It's not likely that using -ing verbs as a subject will be overused in a story or that your pages will be full of this type of sentence. Try and avoid having too many of them and then don't worry about this form of gerund.

Next up is the another form of -ing--the participle phrase. These are often used in action sentences to create a flow of movement. When you have a lot of such action sentences in a row, participle phrases can be useful to give a different sentence structure from conjunctions alone. But beware of placing them at the beginning of your sentences. 


Santa's sleigh flew through the night sky, stars blurring with its passage.
Binki the elf grabbed for the safety rail, tumbling off the vehicle. 
Arms and legs churning, he plummeted through the air.

There are easy to rewrite to be more direct also. 

Santa's sleigh flew through the night ski, and stars blurred with its passage.
Binki the elf grabbed for the safety rail, but he tumbled off the vehicle.
His arms and legs churned as he plummeted through the air.

The trouble with getting rid of all participle phrases is that your sentences begin to get a cadence and all sound alike. Especially the longer the action continues. You simply have to mix things up and use some -ing phrases, if just for variance. 

So how do you get a good mix? That's where reading great writers in your genre comes in. After careful observation I've noticed that writers often use participle phrases in the middle of or end of their sentence. But rarely do strong authors use participle phrases at the beginning of their sentences. If you want to banish more -ing from your sentences, this is the one to eliminate. So a better mix might look more like this:

Santa's sleigh flew through the night ski, stars blurring with its passage.
Binki the elf grabbed for the safety rail, but he tumbled off the vehicle.

His arms and legs churned as he plummeted through the air.

To repeat myself, No More sentences like:

Dancing in time to the music, Rudolph clicked his hooves.
Jumping for joy, Sally tore into her presents.
Using the Bumble for a trampoline, Yukon Cornelius launched a kiss on Mrs. Claus.

They just don't flow.These types of sentences stick out. Pile too many together and they'll tire the reader. I suggested my Pitchwars mentees limit themselves to one sentence with this structure to a chapter, and I hinted that zero is the better choice. Whenever I see books with many of these participle phrases sentences I have to wonder about their copy editor.

Here's some other ways they could have been phrased: 

Rudolph danced in time to the music, clicking his heels. 
Rudolph danced in time to the music and clicked his heels.
Sally jumped for joy as she tore into her presents.
With the Bumble for a trampoline, Yukon Cornelius launched a kiss at Mrs. Claus. 
Yukon Cornelius launched a kiss at Mrs Claus from his Bumble trampoline. 
Yukon Cornelius bounced off his Bumble trampoline and launched a kiss at Mrs. Claus.  

That's my take on gerunds and I hope you found something useful in my rambling.    

   

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Announcing Sun vs Snow for 2018

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 13 December 2017 · 3 views

It’s that time again for THE BIG BATTLE between the heat and the cold! Yes, it’s time for the fifth year of Sun vs. Snow hosted by me and the fantastic, Amy Trueblood. We had several amazing success stories from last year. This time we have a fun new question and some important details about the entry process. Please read the following THOROUGHLY and then let us know if you have questions.




The submission window for Sun versus Snow will open January 23rd at 4:00 pm EST. 

Act fast. We will only be taking the first 200 entries. Please do not enter early or your entry will be deleted. You can resend at the proper time if this happens accidentally. Confirmation emails will be sent. If you don’t receive one, don’t resend. We don’t want duplicate entries. Please check with us on Twitter first to confirm your entry did or did not arrive, then you may resend. 

There is only ONE, yes that’s right, ONE entry per person allowed. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries being thrown out. This contest is only for finished and polished stories. Do not send us your NaNoWriMo from November 2017. 


Important note: The story can’t have been in the agent round of any other contest in the last three months. This doesn't mean twitter pitch events with hashtags, but multiple agent blog contests. 


Also, Michelle and I have decided not to accept picture books for this contest. Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica. To enter you must be followers of our blogs. Click the “follow” button on my blog. You can find Amy's blog here. If following our blogs doesn't work, follow us on twitter or sign up for our newsletters instead. 



The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per person is allowed. It doesn’t matter if you write under different names or are submitting different manuscripts. You are still one person and get one entry.

Here’s how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn’t have Times New Roman. No worries if the email messes up your format. Yes, we will still read it! :-)  

(Here’s a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

Subject Line: SVS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: SVS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


In The Email:

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: YA dystopian Ownvoices (Age category and genre. Add "Ownvoices" here if it applies)
Word Count: XX,XXX (round to the nearest thousand)
Twitter Handle: (Optional so we can contact you. Will not be public.)


Is Your Antagonist hot or cold: 

Describe whether your antagonist is hot or cold. Personalities differ. Does your villain snap easily or are they calm and calculating? (Don't have an antagonist who is a person--then describe the weather of your setting.) 

(Can be in your character's POV, but doesn’t have to be. 100 words or less.)


Query:

Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. You may include comps if you’d like. There is no word count limit on the query but please aim for 250 – 300 words.

You may include if your story is OwnVoices up in the genre line. We really want diverse and talented writers and striping out the bios sometimes leaves us in the dark.

Remember a query has several paragraphs. Don't send us a pitch.  


First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence. But I will not go over 257 words. Be reasonable and don’t make us count. Don’t forget to space between paragraphs! No indents!



That’s it for now. Get those entries ready for January 23rd and leave any questions in the comments or ask on Twitter.

Mentors and agents will be posted in January. As of now, we have over ten agents signed up. There will be some crazy cool mentors who are itching to work with the selected entries. Keep checking my blog or sign up for my newsletter for advance warning of the FREE PASS to be on Team Snow!

So get those entries ready! We can’t wait to get started!


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Release Day For Steadfast

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 05 December 2017 · 3 views



The final novel in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.
When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.
But there are still those with hope.
Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.
A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.






My Appreciation to You:

The end is here. In some ways it's been a long journey. In others it has passed in the blink of an eye. It seems only yesterday the announcement for my Birth of Saints series came out. It was three years ago. Back then I was worried whether I could manage to write a series. Now it's finished. 

I want to thank everyone who has helped me on this journey. Thanks for your friendship that kept me writing. Your financial support to buy these books, and the support of your time to read them and even better to give more time to leave a review. 

It's because of readers that storytellers get to do their jobs.


New adventures wait for all of us--if we seek them. I look forward to finding a new adventure and surprising myself again.  



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Release Day for A Crazy Kind of Love

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 28 November 2017 · 4 views





Release Date November 28, 2017


Synopsis


In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

"The perfect romantic comedy." —RT Book Reviews

"Another sizzling, glitterati-filled story." Booklist Online

"If you like wonderfully written, light, fast paced, swoon worthy moments, and chemistry so strong it jumps off the page, then this is the book for you." Wit & Wonder Books

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM! | Audible

a Rafflecopter giveaway



http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c766fbcd3/?





Author Bio:





Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup


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When to Sequel

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 27 November 2017 · 4 views

I feel like I've written about this before, but I'm still hearing questions about when is the right time to write a sequel. You've finished a book you love, got it as perfect as possible, and have started querying it. Do you start on something totally new or head directly into writing book two? There's the simple answer and the more complex answer.

The simple answer is absolutely not. Start something totally new. It's time to leave those dearly loved characters behind and move on to something different. Why? Because an author only has so much time in a day. Even the fastest writer can only produce so many quality manuscripts in a year. Don't waste your time working on the second part of a story line that may go nowhere. That's the harsh truth. 

Sadly, if the plot and characters weren't right for the market in the first book, it's unlikely to fit better in the second book. Now you are in the no man's land of your first book has played out with agents and you have nothing new written to send out to them. That puts you out of looking for an agent for a good six months. Not a great situation to put yourself in.

If you can't move forward because your brain and heart are hooked on your old characters, then do a short blurb about a sequel. Write a quick outline of your ideas. Something that won't take much time. Maybe write a couple of chapters. But then it's time to pull up your big girl pants, find your discipline, and move on to something else while you let querying play out. 

It's possible that querying will be successful. You'll land an agent who loves your story as much as you do. So start that sequel with an offer in hand?

Nope. Do not go there. Keep finishing the something different you should have started. Why? Because a fair percentage of first books on submission do not sell. And then once again, you've wasted a writer's most valuable resource--your time--working on something that's not going anywhere. Now you have nothing new to send your agent if wonderful book doesn't sell, except a sequel to wonderful book that they can't use.


If book 1 doesn't sell, it's pretty damn likely publishing isn't going to jump ahead to buy book 2. I mean it can happen, but it isn't likely.

I say again. Start something new. Start something new. Start something new. Until you have a sale and the publisher is open to giving you sequels.  

So now the complex answer. There are a few exceptions to the just say no approach.

1. You plan to self publish. Totally acceptable to query a story you love and have no luck, but decide to self publish. Or don't query at all and just go straight to self publishing. There are pluses and minuses to either path you choose. Traditional publishing has some advantages and shortfalls and the same with self publishing. This is not the post to discuss those, but if that's the path you want, then write those sequels.

2. Your heart is stuck. You just can't move onward to something new. You have no other ideas of what to write. It's either write these sequels or face writer's block forever. Then just write a sequel to get it out of your system. 

3. The sequel is 100% better than the book you finished and should have been book 1 in the first place. I've heard this a few times. People start in the wrong place with their story. Sometimes they start in the wrong place with an entire book. If you say but book 2 is where all the action starts, then why did you start with book 1? Perhaps you started with what should have been backstory for the real opening book. Warning: this is going to be incredibly hard to judge because you are likely way too close to the situation. But it can happen.

So there are my thoughts on when to write a sequel. It's not always the happy answer but it's the answer that is the most logical. 

How do you feel about the matter? Feel free to set me straight in the comments.  

  

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