Archive | December 2012

Laced in Malice: Interview with Riley Gray

Riley Grey has brought us a great YA novel that’s like Cruel Intentions meets Mean Girls. I chatted with her about her risque novel LACED IN MALICE.
Sharon: This reminds me of a modern day Cruel Intentions. What prompted you to write about such a risque subject?
Riley: It’s always been a pet peeve of mine that we’re so cavalier about violence, but when it comes to sex, it’s so taboo. As much as we might not want to think about it, teens are sexual fiends. If they’re not thinking about it, they’re doing it! This isn’t an erotic YA. It’s a YA with some sexual nature to it, though it probably goes above what an ‘average’ YA might detail. I wanted to write a story that focused on the malicious side of people, and sex is often used as a weapon.
Sharon: Tell us a bit about Zara and what readers can expect from her.
Riley: Zara is too naive for her own good. She gets called naive a fair few times in the book, and it’s not until the end that she finally realises that they’re right. In a way, Zara is a lot like most teenage girls. She only wants to be liked. She doesn’t want to face up to the truth if it means losing her friends. But she’s also got morals and her own beliefs that won’t easily be destroyed. I think people will either love or hate her.
Sharon: You’ve given readers a reboot with Written in Malice from Oliver’s POV. What promoted you to do this?
Riley: There’s a lot to this story that readers won’t see because Zara doesn’t know it. Much in the same as Cruel Intentions, the story was told from the Antagonist’s POV and therefore the viewers were aware of what was happening behind the scenes; what prompted the interest in the new girl. This story is told from the new girl’s POV and I think readers will find it interesting/beneficial to see what went down before Zara came to town (poet and I didn’t even know it!).
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favourite animal? Horses
Favourite colour? Pink
Favourite drink? Anything Mango flavoured
Favourite writing place? Starbucks
Favourite author? Loving Courtney Summers

Find Laced in Malice on Goodreads and Amazon.

You can find Riley on Twitter and on her website.

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The Sekrit Project revealed

I saw so many glorious pitches come through my own inbox for Pitch Wars, as well as other mentors’, that it made me really sad that only a small percentage were going to make the final cut.

Then a new opportunity arose for me to scout through the entries for two independent publishers. I’ve received a wish list, which includes YA and NA pitches.

How I’m doing it to protect the authors:

Because the decision to query an independent publisher is a very personal one I am not passing on the queries. Instead I am creating a micro pitch that identifies the genre, a one sentence pitch and then adding any personal thoughts on the query. This way the author, the MS name and the main premise are kept private in case the author isn’t interested in those publishers.

The editors will let me know if they’re interested in seeing any of these pitches in query form. I will then contact the author letting them know that an editor is interested in seeing their query and that they can reference the Pitch Wars Sekrit Project in their query.

It will be totally up to the author if they want to submit to the publisher, or if they want to hold out for an agent.

So, if you are a Pitch Warrior (a Pitch Wars participant) and you want me to look at your pitch for Sekrit Project consideration, please leave your name and MS title in the comments and I’ll make sure I hunt it out to look at it.

Also – let me know in the comments if you DO NOT want me to micro pitch your project (you want an agent first, you’re not interested in independent publishers).

Please note I won’t be putting it out there publicly who I micro-pitched to the editors and it’ll be up to the authors if they want to put anything out in the public area if they get an invitation to query.

The Sekrit Project is only for people who participated in Pitch Wars and did not get selected as a top pick or as an alternate.

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Pitch Wars: My Team!

I had so many amazing pitches come through my inbox. Each time one came through my inbox I oohhhed and ahhed. The pitches were so strong. My writers had amazing concepts. Lots of pitches thrown around on Twitter were awesome. But the submissions or the first five pages weren’t strong enough. The ones that caught my eye with their pitch and had intriguing five chapters scored a request of the first three chapters. This was when I worked out what really fitted me and what didn’t.

I ended up with Historicals, Retellings, Speculative Fiction and a contemporary amongst my favourites. I could only have one top pick and then two alternates (you WANT to be an alternate). And mine are:

Top Pick

Dark Moon by Crystal Collier. Pitched to me as “a YA genre blend of Brothers Grimm, Heroes, and Pride & Prejudice that we’ll call Historical Fantasy” I was spellbound from the start.

I’ll be working with Crystal to get her pitch and MS ready for the eagerly awaiting Pitch Wars agents.


Grand Scheme by Meagan Rivers. This is a haunting contemporary that deals with some deep issues, regret and guilt.

The Phoenix by Tiffany Johnson. A Speculative Fiction that drew me in with a killer pitch and an awesome opening line: This just in: There’s a dead boy at my window.

Both of these pitches will be pitched in an open call editor and agent contest  that will run around the same time as Pitch Wars.

I’d like to also give special mentions:

Loving Lavender Girl. This was one of my favourites. I absolutely loved it. But I didn’t feel I was the right mentor for it. I read the words and was worried I had nothing to offer. So I pimped it out to Monica to have a look at and she ended up having it as her top pick.

Mad as a Hatter. Fiona and I were both fighting over this one on Twitter with some friendly rivalry. I was so happy when Fiona picked it as an alternate.

The Sovereign Place. I thought it deserved a mentor and put it in the up for grabs folder and it found a home too!

Now the Sekrit Project info will be out later this week, so stay tuned.

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Cover Reveal: Suicide Watch

Former YAtopian and my friend, Kelley York, is releasing her latest novel, Suicide Watch this month! And I’m happy to be hosting the cover reveal!

She released the ground breaking novel Hushed and now brings us more heartbreaking new novel. Subscribe to her latest news on her blog for information on how to buy Suicide Watch when it’s launched.

18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.

But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn’t going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he’s starting to think she had the right idea.

Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn’t even notice.

As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie’s guidance, coming to terms with Casper’s imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn’t plan on sticking around.

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Steal the flag…or an agent’s heart: Pitch Wars

Pitch Wars … the agents!

Are you ready for this? We have 16 incredible agents vying for our Pitch Wars team manuscripts. We’re so excited to see what pitches they fall in love with, and what teams will win the coveted Pitch Wars Most Requested Manuscript title.

And, in no particular order, here are the agents…

Louise Fury
L. Perkins Agency
Twitter: @louisefury

Louise is seeking teen Sci-Fi and Young Adult horror. She‘s also on the hunt for deep, dark contemporary YA and select Middle Grade fiction with a literary feel–it must be realistic and thought provoking and the characters must be authentic and original. Louise loves horror and romance, especially Regency and Victorian.

Jessica Sinsheimer
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency

Twitter: @jsinsheim

Jessica is seeking Literary, Women’s, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Fiction.

Twitter: @Natalie_Lakosil

Natalie is looking for commercial fiction, with an emphasis in children’s literature (from picture book-teen), romance (contemporary, paranormal and historical), and upmarket women’s fiction. Specific likes include historical, multi-cultural, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy, gritty, thrilling and darker contemporary novels, and middle grade with heart.

Twitter: @BookaliciousPam

Pam represents young adult and middle grade children’s book authors, and adult romance authors.

Twitter: @bluedragonfly81

Jordy is on the look out for Romance (contemporary, historical/Regency, and paranormal). YA contemporary/historical or dystopian, sci-fi/fantasy with romance elements. Shes also open to YA GLBT within those genres. She’d love to see unique, well-developed plots featuring time travel, competitions, or travel.

Andrea Somberg

Twitter: @andreasomberg

Andreas looking for the following categories: Fiction; literary, commercial, womens fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, middle grade.

Jennifer Mishler
Twitter: @literarycounsel

Jennifer is seeking Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Literary, and Young Adult Historical.

Suzie Townsend
New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.
Twitter: @sztownsend81

Suzie represents adult and children’s fiction. In adult, she’s specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens’ she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the recent movie SUPER 8).


Victoria Marini
Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc.

Victoria is looking for literary fiction, commercial fiction, pop-culture non-fiction, and young adult. She is very interested in acquiring engaging Literary fiction and mysteries / suspense, commercial women’s fiction (romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy), and Young Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller and horror ).

Kerry is looking for Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction, both commercial and literary. She tends to shy away from werewolves, zombies, faeries, and the like, but she’ll read anything with a fresh voice and compelling characters. She is particularly keen on contemporary YA, quirky MG, books with a strong cinematic element.

Drea is currently seeking: fiction, memoir, crime, non-fiction and YA. Her roster consists of British, American, and Canadian clients. International talent is welcome.

Katie Shea

Katie specializes in fiction and memoir, especially women’s fiction and commercial-scale literary fiction, and realistic YA. She is most interested in coming-of-age stories and stories of unique relationships.

Elise Capron

Elise is interested in serious character-driven literary fiction, well-written narrative nonfiction, and short story collections. (Note: She is not interested in Fantasy, young-adult/middle-grade, picture books, romance, and sci-fi.) She aims to work with writers who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience.

Jodell is interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She will also coach writers wanting to self publish. She simply loves a well-paced story that moves her between joy and tears.
Brittany and Michelle are teaming up to look for Adult, YA, and MG manuscripts.

Michelle Johnson
Twitter: @MJsRetweet

Michelle’s published one novel, The Footloose Killer, and edited several others for publishing houses and private clients. She also is a Script/Story consultant on an independent film in Halifax, NS, Canada, and enjoys working closely with writers to help them develop their voice and craft.

Brittany Howard
Twitter: @brittanydhoward

When reading, Brittany loves to be introduced to new and interesting people and places. She looks for strong voice, good storytelling, and fascinating relationships between characters—romantic or otherwise. More than anything, she loves when a book surprises her.

There’s just one more day to get your applications in for Pitch Wars. Make sure to check out this post here to get all the details.