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Get Ready......Query Kombat 2015

  Posted by SC_Author , 27 March 2015 · 14 views

Query Kombat Submissions
May 22 - May 23



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The Case of the Missing Ace - Tiffany Rose

  Posted by SC_Author , 26 March 2015 · 25 views

I'm very excited about today's #WriteInclusively guest post and guest blogger. It's about a sexual identity (Asexuals - people who have no sexual desires) that I knew little about - and as such, I desperately needed to read this post. I'll strive to learn more in my free time. For now, take it away, Tiffany!

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You’ll see plenty of articles on how to write asexuals characters or how not to write asexuals. Seriously, you can find them on youtube, you can find them on tumblr (a lot of them actually). And while it is really important to know how to write diverse characters, I wanted to talk about a the what-ifs.

What if asexual characters were more common? What if everyone’s most known detective was asexual? I wanted to tell you about how including asexuals would build acceptance, and would help change society. That your single work, a single character can change the world. And that might be true. For example, Sherlock changed the mystery genre. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had forensics in fiction before it was used by the police. Imagine if in 1887 we had a character who explicitly stated that they don’t experience sexual attraction. Imagine how great that acceptance would have been for asexuals. How far that would have carried now in 2015.

Sadly, when things are “different” people want to ignore them at best. Writers censor themselves. They say things like, “Oh, I’d like to include diversity. I just don’t understand it so we will have to come back later.”

“You can't be what you can't see.” I love this quote. It powerfully shows the importance of representation in a simple and elegant way. However, there is a problem with it. In the case of asexuality you can be what you cannot see. Often times, people simply don’t know the word for it.

I’ve seen so many characters that are coded as asexual undermined for an acephobic reason that further belittles and shuns the community. I can’t say that including a marginalized group in your writing will fix this. Because, no single thing will.


But, by existing even fictionally they are acknowledged. I don’t mean universally they will be by everyone (who likely has some bigotry or self-hate to work out first), but it matters to quiet voices who need it. Repensation is a ray of sunshine to those who face hate and dehumanization daily.

It’s just a simple thing to avoid the case of the missing ace. Include them.

Because it’s not a simple thing to have a stranger you might never talk to, or ever see, include you in something as tangible literature. Please #WriteInclusively


About Tiffany Rose: 

Until Rose's Starfleet uniform comes, she spends her time writing about magical girls and the morally gray. When she's not writing there is a good chance Photoshop is open. Any extra time is spent looking out for plot bunnies and serendipity. Find the author on Twitter, Tumblr or follow her own #WriteInclusively story on wattpad [GAH! How awesome is that?!?! - SC]


Thank you for sharing :DDD If you would like to guest post about #WriteInclusively, please contact me through email! If you'd like to be signed onto the pact, also let me know and I'll manually add you on :D

 Make sure to thank Tiffany with a Tweet and take a look at her story!! THANK YOU for sharing!!!


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Nest Pitch is Coming

  Posted by SC_Author , 23 March 2015 · 29 views


#NestPitch2015 – is your manuscript pitch ready?

For those who don’t know what Nestpitch is, here’s a quick run-through.
There’s a special Easter tradition throughout central and northern Croatia – making Easter Nests for the Easter Bunny.  On the afternoon or eve of Easter Saturday children go out into the garden and collect leaves, grass, twigs, flowers and then make a “nest” for the Easter Bunny – that’s where he places his Easter-Egg-Presents. The children go to bed that eve wondering if the Easter Bunny will like or love their nest, because the best nest gets the best and biggest eggs!

And that’s the basis of Nestpitch, but the ‘nests’ are the author’s pitches and the ‘Easter Bunnies’ are the agents – get it? Great!

How does Nestpitch work?

This year we have changed things a bit, therefore even if you participated in Nestpitch 2014 you will still need to read the below. We are accepting MG, YA, NA and Adult fiction only.

Teams:
This year there are nine Teams made up of one Mentor [I am one of them!!! - SC] & two Slushies [Laura and Heather are the awesome slushies on our :D -SC]. The Teams are listed here.

Guidelines:
The Pitch window will be open for 48 hours, allowing everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, to prepare and submit a pitch.
The Pitch will be made up of three parts.
(i)                 a 35-word pitch
(ii)               answer to a question (in your main characters voice)*
(iii)             the first 300-words of their manuscript
*QUESTION: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  Keep your answer to no more than 15-words.

Dates:
Agent Reveal: March 27th

Submission Window Opens April Fools Day (April 1st 2015)

7am USANew York Time

Submission Window Closes Good Friday (April 3rd 2015)

7am USANew York Time

You want to find out more? Head on over to the official blog and get all the details!


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Become an Agent 2015 Post #13

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 17 views

Title: Suomi's Song
Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 50,000

Query:
Ten-year-old Henry would rather be on the basketball court perfecting his fadeaway jump shot than on a one-way trip to Helsinki, Finland. So when Henry’s sister, Lauren, steals his copy of The Kalevala, Finland’s creation myth, during their first week at international school and shows it to their new teacher to get extra brownie points that should have been his, yeah, he overreacts. And lands himself and his sister in Finnish lessons for the whole semester as punishment for fighting.

But the Finnish lessons turn into Introduction to Weird 101 when their hip Finnish teacher admits he’s part of an ancient society that protects magical artifacts like Henry’s book, which the original copy of The Kalevala. Weirder still, the book has a connection to Henry that pulls him deeper into the mystery with each rune they read.

Now, in addition to adjusting to the dark, frigid winter and the endless servings of salmon soup, Henry and Lauren must help their teacher locate the Sampo, the mythical horn of plenty from The Kalevala, that keeps the Earth’s magnetic energy in balance. When they realize their Dad’s new boss wants the power of the Sampo for himself, they must stop him to save the Sampo and their father.

SUOMI’S SONG, a dual POV middle-grade fantasy that stands alone but has series potential, is complete at 50,000 words and will appeal to fans of Marissa Burt’s Storybound and Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories series.

First 250:

Lauren’s sprawled out on her beanbag, nose in a book. Avoiding the heat just like every other hot Colorado afternoon we’ve had this summer.

“Put the book down, sis,” I say. When she ignores me, I kick the bag a few times to get her attention. “Seriously. We’ve got a situation.”

She still doesn’t look up, so I grab the book out of her hands. “Macbeth? You know this stuff will turn you into a nerd, right?” That got her attention.

“Give it back, Henry.” She glares at me, clenching her teeth. That’s one scary metal mouth.

“Jeez, relax,” I say, stepping back in case she decides to bite. I hold the book out and she snatches it, sinking back into the bag. “Just messing with you! But seriously, I have to tell you something.” I swing her door closed. “In private.”

She groans, but puts the book down.

“Mom and Dad are up to something,” I say, crouching down next to her.

“Whatever, Hen,” Lauren says, fiddling with the frayed edge of her jean shorts and yawning.

“No, really. I just overheard them talking in the kitchen as Dad was heading out the door to work. They said something about selling the house.”

The fiddling stops. She’s paying attention now, her green eyes wide behind the her thick glasses. “Again? Where? Boston? Seattle? Not Dallas.”

“Even worse,” I say. “Helsinki.”

She pulls her hair in front of her eyes, hiding her face. “Helsinki? In Finland? No way.”

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Become an Agent 2015 Post #14

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 16 views

Title: PHILIPPI
Genre: YA contemporary fiction/Thriller
Word count: 53K

Query:

Seventeen-year old Rachel Dorsett’s sister has gone missing. Poof. Into thin air. No one’s seen Leah since March 1st, about two weeks ago, when she attended a prayer meeting at a small and radical church on the edge of Baylor University’s campus. And while everyone else seems content to sit at home after the police’s leads run dry, Rachel feels she should at least look around town herself.

Place number one on her list: that weird church.

There, Rachel meets a guy who’s willing to help her look for the day, but he has a reason for wanting to help her that’s startlingly different from the simple “good deed” he claims. He’s far more involved in Leah’s disappearance than it would appear, and it might be too late by the time Rachel realizes who she’s not only dealing with, but falling for.

PHILIPPI is a YA thriller, complete at 53K.

I teach writing and literature at Baylor University. This work is partially inspired from my experience of having a colleague go missing at the beginning of the school year.

First 250:

No one knows whether my sister’s alive or dead. Whichever it is, it’s giving me a serious ulcer, really messing with my stomach.

It’s weird when someone goes missing; there’s just no ending. It’s like an explosion in outer space—the astronaut is catapulted and there’s no way back. Moving out and out and out. Like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. That’s how I feel. Reaching and reaching, trying to find something to hold onto, but moving slowly past it anyway even as I scramble and scrape at the useless air.

It would wear down anyone’s stomach lining.

The last time anyone saw Leah was on March 1st. She showed up at a church—one of those small weird ones Texas is famous for. Then she disappeared.

March 1st. What was I doing? Due to the zero information listed on my phone’s day-planner app, I have no idea. I’m guessing I went to school, practiced for All-State Choir, did homework, ate dinner, did a little more homework, and then went to bed. Snug and safe. It was a normal day. It could have been any other day . . . for me. For Leah? Who knows? Maybe she drove to New York City or drowned herself in Lake Waco. Maybe some psycho killer dude—

I stop myself.

I’ve considered many ways Leah could have died, been tortured and then died, been raped, tortured and then died, etc., etc., etc. This is not a good habit to get into—imagining your slightly older “Irish Twin” beaten, raped, strangled, burned, mutilated.

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Become an Agent 2015 Post #15

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 9 views

Title: Misty Dawn and Violet
Genre: NA Adventure/Humor
Word Count: 50,000

Query:

Down on her luck and lookin’ for love, Misty Dawn returns home from her third semester of college to find that her clueless throwback parents still treat her like a baby. Combine that with a cat with a serious hygiene problem and a dead-end job at the Burger Barn, and Misty knows she’s cut out for more than her small South Carolina town. Seriously, who has a rodeo clown for a father? Enter: a glorious, cowboy-studded brochure depicting a Spring Break experience at The Lucky Lasso Ranch; Red Rock, Wyoming. Armed with her life affirming metaphors and her BFF Violet, Misty trades in her sputtering El Camino for a spunky Palomino and heads west.

Misty Dawn and Violet quickly realize that life on the ranch is not as glamorous as the brochure said. Their week at the Lucky Lasso has Misty and Vi clumsily struggling to learn the tricks of the trade; chow duty, wrangling cattle on horseback, lassoing strays. Lucy and Ethel could have done better. Turns out, their ten years in 4-H hasn’t prepared either girl for what life on a working ranch is like. All they can do is pull up their big cowgirl boots and buckle down next to two hunky twin cowboys, whose yodeling and manhandling of the cattle has set their hearts a-flutter. By the end of the week, the girls are in love, and hankerin’ to take those boys home. But Misty Dawn, suddenly serious, knows that their two worlds could never combine, could they? When Misty returns home, however, there is a message from her cowboy, and suddenly her formerly embarrassing rodeo heritage might just come in handy after all.

Misty Dawn and Violet is a NA Adventure tale sprinkled with humor, in the vein of Larissa Reinhart’s Cherry Tucker Series. A light and fun read, it is complete at 50,000 words.

First 250: 
“Come on, Miguel, we’re almost there”

Misty Dawn’s 1987 El Camino sputtered and creaked as she rounded the bend of her rural South Carolina road. As a poor college sophomore at Winslow University, she treasured her car anyway. The quirky and rusty El Camino, which she named Miguel, suited her own odd style just fine.

"Well, here we are," she said, to no one but herself. “Home, sweet home.”

The three hour car drive to get home from college had dragged on, her old gas guzzling car coasting up the driveway on fumes. Misty had spent the last four months at college, loving every minute of it, but now her wallet was about as empty as Miguel’s gas tank.

She pulled into her parent's driveway. "Whiskers!" she cried, as her black cat, no longer just a kitten, slinked his head, then tail, against her car door. "You're such a cute little kitty! You've gotten so big!" Misty said, in a baby-talk sort of way. Whiskers pawed at her car door, in a most dog-like fashion.

Misty threw it open and the adolescent cat leaped into her lap.

At once, she nearly doubled over. "My GOD! What is wrong with you!" Misty shrieked as a noxious odor took over her car space. She tossed the black cat back onto the ground. The cat wreaked of feces, the odor making Misty's stomach churn.

Her mother, having heard the car pull up, came running out the front door. "Why, Misty Dawn! So nice to have you home!"


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Become an Agent 2015 Post #16

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 10 views

Title: The Red and the Scarlet
Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 84,000

Query:

Eighteen-year-old mercenary Fyr has desperate aspirations. One: To keep her sickly brother Asaan alive after they escape racial massacre with only each other. Two: To get revenge on the one man she remembers taking part in the killings. And three: to fulfill an alleged prophecy she's stumbled upon.

The pseudo-historical script promises a supernatural race called "The Blue People" will conquer her native land. As a devoted sister and scarred survivor of near genocide, Fyr isn't about to let that happen, even if it means facing her own arrest.

When Fyr and Asaan are arrested, by the same controversial politician she's vowed to kill, her plans are brought to a screeching halt. But instead of prosecuting the siblings, he invites them into his world. Trapped in the nobility's glittering society, Fyr's criminal dreams and her ideas about "Blue People" quickly become synonymous with scandal. She must fight self-doubt, racism, and a growing affection for her former enemy if she's to keep Asaan alive and safe, and escape before the Blue People attack.

THE RED AND THE SCARLET is a novel about siblings, culture clash, natural and political disasters, and pseudo-history. It is set on a fictional Slavic and Asian continent in the Napoleonic Era, and has sequel potential.

First 250:

When Fyr was struck, and Vladyslav scarred, the world was shivering.

A cloudy blanket lay across nations. Chill dragged into bones. The breath of a hundred furnaces rose to the heavens.

Nevertheless, a handful of caroling bourgeoisie gathered outside the Vlalonnan King’s palace, hoping to warm souls and fill their purses, ignoring winter’s slaps on their cheeks and voices. Relentless wind snatched and swept their ancient song towards the Grassland Reserves, where the Yihhe, the “savages” lived.

The same clouds were on their horizon, but different joy in their hearts. One that gloried in the disfigured heads of Vlalonnan pilgrims staked around the camp.

Yihhe children ran out shrieking to catch snow in outstretched fingers and dark lashes. One girl stood on the edge of her people’s territory, daring to poke toes past the invisible boundary, near the heads. She glanced at them, balancing her infant brother on her hip. From them had come the book in her hand. St. Thandos’s History of Sayy.

She had read it over and over. Even now, she murmured passages. Her words lifted to the heavens, mingling with the carolers’ call, braiding them together with the pure snow into something none knew would enter their lives in a matter of time.

Time after a time.

But then the moment ended, and the riders appeared on the horizon, warped shadows coming in the name of the dead.

They broke upon the village faster than it could panic, guns blazing, shattering still air, clogging it with black smoke and dying screams. In the midst of cold and chaos, the girl ran in a belt buckle forest, clutching her wailing brother.

She had to keep him alive.


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Become an Agent 2015 Post #17

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 11 views

Title: Reece
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 50,000

Query:

Reece, a black foster-kid who’s never known a real home, isn't sure what to expect when he gets a scholarship to a predominantly white boarding school. He definitely doesn't see himself fitting in with all of the rich kids, but somewhere during the games of basketball with the guys, long confusing conversations with the girl and battling with the red ink on his Sophomore English papers, he finds a home and a family. When he witnesses a hate crime, he has to find a positive way forward or risk losing the roots and future he has just started to believe he deserves.

Reece is a contemporary Young Adult coming-of-age story complete at 50,000 words. I hope you will enjoy reading this work and am happy to provide any additional information per your request. I am a member of SCBWI and have several completed picture books as well as other YA works in progress.

First 250:

I found an elephant on the ceiling. It was hiding in the bumpy, white paint. I knew if I turned my head toward the pale yellow curtains, I’d see the crack in the ceiling that made up a cat’s tail. I loved that cat. I’d discovered him one day warming up in a puddle of sunshine. I wanted to enter his world. I’d float to the ceiling and disappear.

“Don’t move until you’re ready to give it back, you little brat.”

Disappearing sounded good. My entire body hurt.

Tears dripped down the sides of my face and into my hair, but I knew better than to wipe them away.

“You idiot! She’s gonna be here any minute and you do this?” Tina’s voice sounded concerned, but I knew better than to believe it was for me.

“Don’t question me. That boy had it comin’ and you know it. You know he took it!”

“I don’t know what happened to your money, Roy, but I know we’re gonna be in a world of trouble when she shows up and that boy’s turning colors.”

“Dammit to hell!”

I flinched as Roy kicked over the coffee table. I smelled cigarette ash as the dust settled onto my face.

I tracked Roy with my ears, too scared to move my eyes. His breath came in huffy pants. Then like a cobra, he struck again. Bolts of pain ripped through my body as he threw me onto the couch.

“Sit up, you little maggot.”

My left arm was on fire and I struggled to breathe.


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Become an Agent 2015 Post #18

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 10 views

Title: Morrow
Genre: YA Speculative Romance
Word Count: 73,000

Query:

Imani has long known that Orphans have to look out for themselves. As one of the unchosen, she’s lived in three different Complexes and assisted multiple families, and she’s not even eighteen yet. Years of training, along with her fiercely redheaded roommate, have taught her that Orphans exist simply to assist Achievers. Nothing less, and certainly nothing more. So when a guy who isn’t legally required to wear a bracelet or have a tattoo asks about her milkshake preferences, she balks at his attempt to humiliate her and walks away.

Andrew Fischer doesn’t understand her refusal, or why it took him two whole years to finally run into one of the most beautiful girls he’s ever seen. Even the ever-present threat of jail doesn’t sway him from trying to get her to change her initial impression of him. He’s heard of Achievers not trusting Orphans; the other way around is kind of new.

With only three months of summer sunsets, he resolves to show her that the Decency Laws are more guidelines than firm rules. The Administrators may have laid down the law. But they didn’t anticipate this. Besides, there's nothing transgressive about having a conversation. It's just good manners. He doesn’t love her, but he can. And that small fact threatens to ruin them both.

The manuscript for my young adult speculative romance novel, Morrow, is complete at 73,000 words, and has a planned sequel. However, this title has the ability to stand alone.

First 250:

Three things made the less-than-spectacular task of grocery shopping somewhat more bearable: 1. air conditioning 2. riding the cart like a scooter 3. cantaloupe testing. In a life-threatening situation, Imani might place the second reason before the first. Just because there was a certain calm that came with the mindless click-clack, click-clack of the wheels over linoleum. It slowed her heart and numbed her mind into a blissful ease.


Because she’d somehow ignored the overflowing cardboard bin of cantaloupes when stopping at the freshly showered shelves of produce for parsley, she was now back, one leg propped lazily on the cart, shaking to her heart’s content. Angela’s emphatic descriptions were more to blame than she was; they were the reason Imani was thinking about sand and demon-birds called seagulls.

“Nope,” Imani popped the ‘p’ and grabbed another cantaloupe, shaking it like the maracas she’d played with in elementary school. The second one failed the test, so she squeezed it more firmly. Too hard. Tossing it back, she grabbed another one and mindlessly returned to quality testing, listening for sloshing seeds.

It was because of Angela that she all but threw the cantaloupe when the stranger next to her began speaking.

“Hi.”

His appearance was so unexpected she dropped her latest target back into the container with a flustered thud. At the same time, eyes wide, her hand instinctively flew to her pocket, ready to whip out her identification card—the slim paper listing her name and date of birth, nothing else.


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Become an Agent 2015 Post #19

  Posted by SC_Author , 22 March 2015 · 16 views

Title: Master Copy
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: Revised, it should come in around 99 000-100 000 words.

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Amber writes in her diary like it's a religion--once a day, never in class, and always an honest interpretation of her life--until she discovers her diary is lying to her. At first she thinks her little brothers are up to their usual pranks, but the lies are too personal and too well-thought out to be dreamed up by kids. And the worst part is...the entries are in Amber's own loopy cursive.

Amber knows she shouldn't continue holding onto the diary, but when the lies within help save a classmate from being crushed by a collapsing part of the school--one that shouldn't even exist in the first place--she can't deny that the diary just might be useful. As she continues writing and reading, each lie takes her on another wild chase through a memory she never had. The diary draws her in so far that her reality and the false entries begin to blur together. If Amber can't find the secret to the diary's lies, her whole past--and future--may change forever.

Aryanna of the Fury Clan is on a mission to stop the Council from voting in Condensation, an ancient ritual that folds timelines into one another. The man spearheading the movement, Kratos, is intent on their world becoming the Master Copy...before any other timeline discovers the ritual too. But Aryanna knows that whoever controls Condensation will control her world's history...with the ability to alter events and even people as if they never existed.

Aryanna sets out to sway the other clans against Condensation, but Kratos won't be so easily defeated. With only two weeks until the final vote, Aryanna must stop the Council and Kratos from using the ritual or her loved ones--and Aryanna herself--will be killed, an infinite number of times over.

Master Copy is a 99,000-100,000 word YA fantasy, told from Amber and Aryanna's POV.

First 250:

The sun hit my eyes like a one-two punch in the face after being stuck inside all morning. I winced until the brightness subsided and the school commons came into view. Kids milled about, enjoying the nice weather. I took a deep breath of spicy autumn air. Lunch time was often the best time, in my opinion.


I wove around a couple exchanging saliva—get real, you’d see each other after class—and made my way down the steps into the dappled sunshine. Crossing the grounds, I reached the oak I usually met my friends under and leaned against its large trunk. I slipped my diary out of my carrier bag. I only took it out when I wasn’t in class. The last thing I needed was someone grabbing it from me and reading it out loud. The pages curled in the breeze, but I could still read over the entry from yesterday without much hassle.

Emma and I went shopping tonight. I helped her pick out something cute for her seventeenth birthday at the end of the month. We both tried on a lot of stuff and had fun…the first time in a while. She’s been so reserved lately with me, but she insists nothing’s wrong. It all started around when school began, so I’m sure it’s—

That was odd. We didn’t go shopping yesterday. We went last week. And we never looked at anything for her birthday either. In fact, she hadn’t even mentioned it yet. I shuffled a few pages back, scanning my writing. If my brothers got into my diary again, I’d totally—

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