Archive | August 2013

New Cover Reveal: TEN DAYS by Olivia Mayfield

I’m really excited about TEN DAYS and I love the cover makeover. Check out the blurb and tell me what you think of the cover and the story. 

TEN DAYS is New Adult/YA crossover romance novel, based on the sic-fi short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. 

Nineteen-year-old Cally isn’t like the others. In her society, the Machine caters to every whim, ensuring people don’t have to leave their pods. But Cally and her best friend Marshal find themselves drawn to how things used to be, when people lived on the surface of the earth and relied upon manpower, not technology. When physical contact wasn’t uncivilised, and love was normal, acceptable, embraced. Cally tries to swallow down her increasing dissatisfaction with the “rules,” as well as her rapidly developing feelings for Marshal, a task getting harder each day. 

Then, things start going downhill, fast. Food is spoiled. Air grows must. The population panics about the dysfunction – is it sabotage? Anarchy? But Cally and Marshal discover the truth: The MAchine, the answer to all their problems for longer than anyone can remember, is breaking down. Now, these two have to risk it all to save themselves and the people they care about…before their entire world destroys itself. 

Like the sound of TEN DAYS? You can find it on GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobelKoboiTunes and Smashwords

Olivia Mayfield has been an unabashed fan of romance since she was a young teen, secretly devouring her mom’s Harlequins. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, as well as a Master’s degree in English, and lives with her family in Ohio. In her free time, she loves reading, shopping and wearing absurdly high-helped boots, cheesecake, singing karaoke, and harassing her friends. You can find her on her websiteFacebook and @OliviaMayfield on Twitter. 

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Bookshelfie competition

Welcome to the first ever Down Under
Wonderings Bookshelfie competition.

To enter, take a photo of yourself in front
of your bookshelf and post it to a social media site, such as Instagram or
Pinterest and add the link in the comment section of this blog along with your
name and email address


I’ll pick a group of finalists and post
them on here Wednesday 28th August then it will be a public vote. The
final winner will be announced on August 31st and will receive a $30
book gift voucher.


So get snapping!

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Pitch Madness: Rules of the Game

The submission window for Pitch Madness is this Saturday, August 24, and will be open for 24 hours (12:01AM EST to 11:59PM EST). There will be no cut off number. Everyone who submits during the window
will make it into the contest. You will receive a receipt, if you
don’t, check with me here on the blog or with Brenda on Twitter (@brendadrake). 

For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest
where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches. Our slush readers will read through the pitches and
pick the top 60 pitches for the agent round starting on September 6. We try to get a good
mix of various genres, but the writing comes first. Basically, if
the submissions aren’t ready, it’s a pass.

The agents will be playing a fun game of Monopoly for your pitches this round of Pitch Madness. Keep an eye out on the Twitter hashtag #PitchMadness for slush readers’ comments as they search for the best of the best. And on reveal day, September 10 at 12AM EST (Noon – NY time), to watch the challenge rounds between the agents go down. 

Here’s the rules of submission . . .

This is for completed, unpublished fiction manuscripts (no non-fiction or novellas).
The categories are Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade. Any
genres. One manuscript per writer. The winners will not be notified before the agent round. (All submissions sent before or after the window time slot will be deleted.)

The email for submissions is – NO ATTACHMENTS – All pitches must be embedded in the email.

Please format your entries like this …

Email subject line: Pitch Madness: TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT

Name: Your name
Genre: Genre/category of your manuscript (ie. YA Fantasy)
Word Count: Word count (round to the nearest 1000th)

Pitch: 35word (max) logline. Do not go over even one word.

The first 250 words of your manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the
middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence. Your pitch should
be Times New Roman 12pt, single spaced, one space between paragraphs, no
paragraph indentions. Make sure the formatting is done correctly, but if the email transfer messes it up we will still take it.

Good luck, everyone! 

#PitMad Twitter Pitch Party! 

And, if you don’t make it into Pitch Madness we’re holding another Twitter Pitch Party on September 12. So get your 140 word pitch ready and make sure the word count includes the hashtag #PitMad and category (YA, Adult, MG, NA, and so on). Tweet your pitch when you see an agent come on but don’t do it too obsessively. The agents will read the feed. 


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Pitch Madness: Meet the agents

Pitch Madness is fast approaching and we have a crazy, awesome line up of agents competing for your pitches! 

For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, Pitch Madness is a contest
where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches. This
time the game is Monopoly. If you haven’t been a part of a Pitch
Madness challenge before, please check out this post here for more information. The submission window is open for 24 hours (12:01AM EST to 11:59PM EST) on August 24. Our slush readers will read through the pitches and
pick the top 60 pitches for the agent round starting on September 6. We try to get a good
mix of various genres, but the writing comes first. Basically, if
the submissions aren’t ready, it’s a pass.

 And here are the agents …

Louise Fury

Louise will be racing through the post her keen eye seeking teen Sci-Fi and Young Adult horror. She is
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. Visit her website for more details.


Melissa Jeglinski

Melissa will blind her competitors while offering up request prizes to lucky contestants. She’s currently seeking projects in the following areas:  Romance
(contemporary, category, historical, inspirational) Young Adult, Middle
Grade, Women’s Fiction and Mystery. Visit her company’s website for more details.

  Peter Knapp

Pete will stay on track as he chugs-a-long the board to beat the other players to his favorite entries. He’s currently looking for young adult and middle grade fiction that
surprises, delights and thrills — particularly stories with a lot of
heart, regardless of the genre. Visit his website for more details.


Jessica Sinsheimer
Always on the lookout for new writers, Jessica is against ironing out her path to find the crispest pitches. She’s most excited about finding
literary, women’s, and Young Adult fiction, and — on the nonfiction
side — psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works
that speak to life in the twenty-first century. Visit her company’s website for more details.

Carly Watters - P.S. Literary Agency 

Carly Watters
Carly will don her top hat as she strolls down the boulevard sneaking past her adversaries. She represents and is actively seeking new authors in
including women’s fiction, commercial fiction, literary thrillers,
upmarket non fiction, and all genres of YA. Carly is drawn to emotional,
well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers
can get invested in. 

Uwe Stender

Uwe will calculate all the elements of a perfect pitch in a nano-second and snatch it up before his opponents. He’s interested in all kinds of commercial fiction, including
thrillers, mysteries, Young Adult, romance, ethnic, and paranormal
romance. He’s also interested in literary fiction, but only if it has a
strong narrative.
Visit his company’s website for more details.

 Judith Engracia
Jude will leap across the board, jump houses and hotels to find her perfect pitches. She’s looking for all types of
fiction, particularly literary fiction, middle grade, young adult, urban
fantasy, steampunk, paranormal romance and light science fiction.
Visit her website for more details.

Carlie Webber
Carlie will blast the other agents from the competition and collect all her favorite pitches before the others pass GO. She welcomes both new and established authors in the following genres: Young Adult, Middle Grade,
Women’s fiction Literary and general fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Memoir. Visit her website for more details.

Gordon Warnock

Gordon won’t sink in his quest to find the perfect pitch before his challengers. He’s looking for realistic, younger adult or older
YA set in the present day. Plot is very important, as is voice. He’s not
a big fan of paranormal or SF/F, so no vampires, zombies,
werewolves, angels, chupacabras, etc. The genres he considers include High-Concept Commercial Fictions, Literary Fiction, New Adult, YA (Think Ellen Hopkins and Jay Asher, not Stephenie Meyer), and Graphic Novels.
Visit his company’s website for more details.

Lana Popovic
is particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty coming-of-age novels
to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is also keen to
represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and well-crafted
projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. In terms of nonfiction, Lana
is looking for fresh perspectives on popular culture and science from
bloggers, academics, and journalists. – See more at:




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Lana will slink across the board preying on all the tasty pitches in her path. She’s particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty
coming-of-age novels to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is
also keen to represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and
well-crafted projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. Visit her company’s website for more details.
Jordy Albert


Jordy will pile all her favorite pitches and horde them for herself. She’s interested in romance
(contemporary/historical/paranormal), YA/NA
contemporary/historical romance, MG and YA (YA heavy on
romance) action/adventure, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, and realistic
fiction, and is open to YA LGBT within those genres. Visit her company’s website for more details.

Connor Goldsmith

With quick fingers, protected from his opponents’ sharp claws with his mighty thimble, Connor will snatch his favorite pitches. He’s interested in a wide range of fiction, and is looking for literary
fiction, speculative
fiction (scifi/fantasy), and psychological thrillers. Under the umbrella
of speculative fiction he is especially interested in urban fantasy,
urban science fiction, and magical realism. He is particularly looking
for fiction from LGBT and racial minority
Visit his company’s website for more details.

Danielle M. Smith

Danielle will clank across the board, grabbing the best of the best pitches for herself. For more than five years Danielle’s been
involved professionally with books through print and online publications
such as Women’s World and Parenting Magazine, as a member of the
judging panels for The Cybils awards for fiction picture books, as well
as locally by serving on the board of The Central Coast Writer’s
Conference. She is most interested in finding new author/illustrator
talent, children’s fiction and creative non-fiction from picture books
through middle grade. Visit her website for more details.


Jodell Sadler

Jodell will lull her competition to sleep with beautiful music before slipping all her favorite pitches from their limp hands. She’s interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and
nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She simply loves a well-paced story
that moves her between joy and tears. Visit her company’s website for more details.


Terrie Wolf

Terrie will gallop past go and lasso pitches right out of her adversaries’ hand. She’s seeking well-written
MG/YA fiction (especially fantasy, historical and action/adventure). Terrie
specializes in: Empowerment, Children’s (all age groups – F/NF),
Romance, MG/YA, Westerns, Women’s, and Multi-Cultural. Visit her company’s website for more details.

Margaret Bail

 Inklings Literary

Margaret will soar over the board highjacking all the best pitches from her rivals. She represents Romance (all
subgenres EXCEPT Christian or inspirational), Science fiction (including
dystopian and post-apocalyptic),Thrillers/action adventure, Historical
fiction,Westerns, Fantasy (think Song of Fire and Ice or Dark Tower NOT Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia). Visit her company’s website for more details.

Carolyn will invest her bids wisely and bus her favorites into the literary sunset. She
has wide-ranging tastes – from literary to commercial fiction, from
serious narrative non-fiction to pop-culture and humor. Visit her
website for more details.

The submission window for Pitch Madness is this Saturday, August 24 from 12:01AM EST to 11:59PM EST. Check details here.
Your blog hosts,
Brenda Drake
Shelley Watters
Sharon M Johnston
Summer Heacock


and co-hosts, 
My Photo
Marieke Nijkamp
Fiona McLaren

And check out the slush readers on this post here.

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Pitch Madness: Meet the Slush Readers

We’re exited to announce the amazing slush readers for Pitch Madness! There’s a lot of work behind the scenes of Pitch Madness. Without these talented writers we wouldn’t be able to have such epic first and second round readings for the contest. Each one was chosen for their greatness. Make sure to follow them!

For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, Pitch Madness is a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches. This time the game is Monopoly. If you haven’t been a part of a Pitch Madness challenge before, please check out this post here for more information. The submission window is open for 24 hours (12:01AM EST to 11:59PM EST) on August 24. Our slush readers will read through the pitches and pick the top 60 pitches for the agent round starting on September 6. We try to get a good mix of various genres, but the writing comes first. Basically, if the submissions aren’t ready, it’s a pass.

And here are the slush readers …


Our Slush Queen, 
aka Coordinator of all the madness behind the scenes …

And her team of slush fairy godmothers …


Staff photo of Sarah Henning 
   And last, but certainly not least, our very own slush fairy godfather …


Tomorrow we’ll highlight the team leaders and their slush teams. And don’t forget, submissions start August 24 from 12:01AM EST to 11:59PM EST.

Your blog hosts,

 Brenda  Shelley Sharon Summer 

and co-hosts,

My Photo  Marieke Nijkamp  Fiona McLaren  Dee  

Kimberly Marieke Fiona Dee 

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How important is a character’s appearance? Guest Post by Kat Ellis

Today’s guest post is from Kat Ellis

What does your main character look like? Or if you’re

a reader but not a writer, what does your favourite main character look like?
I bet you can describe them in some detail: eye
colour, the kind of hair they have, what clothes they wear, their body
type.  And maybe the way you picture them
and the way someone else pictures them will be exactly the same, if they’ve
been described in that kind of detail. But even if their appearance has been
left for a reader to imagine, I’m betting you have a clear idea of what they
look like.   
When book-to-film cast lists are announced, there are
always some who say, “But that’s not what he/she looks like!” Think Rue in THE
HUNGER GAMES movie. Edward and Bella in TWILIGHT. The movie actors may look
different to how we imagined them–either from their description in the novels,
or just our own imaginings—and maybe that leads to a moment of doubt about a
character we loved. If I got that wrong,
did I misunderstand the character?
Without the movie, your image of a character may never
be called into question, so you may never know if your picture of them matches
someone else’s. So, does it matter what characters in novels look like?
Sometimes it’s important to the story. WONDER by R. J.
Palacio is about Auggie – an ordinary 10-year-old boy who likes to do very ordinary
10-year-old boy things, except he’s terrified to start going to mainstream
school because of a facial abnormality he was born with. Eleanor in ELEANOR
& PARK by Rainbow Rowell is picked on because of the way she looks.
(Rainbow Rowell wrote a wonderful post about whether or not Eleanor is really
fat – you can read that here.
So, arguably, you could say that their stories would not have been
interesting—or at least not in the same way—if their appearance hadn’t made
them stand out. And certain aspects of appearance—like ethnicity, gender,
height, weight, beauty (however this is defined)—will affect how a character
interacts with others, and their experience of the world. But describing a
character’s appearance because it impacts on the story is different from
describing them simply to create a shared image.
It sometimes takes me by surprise when I read a
description of a character who I’ve already formulated a picture of in my head.
If the description differs from the mental image I have of them, that tells me
I’m filling in blanks the author didn’t expect me to fill in. I then start to
wonder: if I describe my own characters’ appearance in detail, am I setting up
the reader to feel disconnected? Because in that jarring moment when I read the
description that doesn’t gel with my own, I start to re-evaluate my opinion of
the character, and that takes me out of the story.
And another part of me quite enjoys being free to
imagine characters –my own and other people’s—the way I want to see them. It
gives me a role in the story and a creative freedom that I wouldn’t otherwise
have with someone else’s book.
So maybe what you leave out is just as important—maybe
more important—than the description
you put in.
What do you think: is a character’s appearance
important? Do you prefer to have a detailed description, or to fill in the
blanks yourself?

Kat Ellis is a young adult writer from North Wales. Her debut novel, BLACKFIN SKY, is forthcoming from Firefly Press (May 2014, UK), and Running Press Kids (Fall 2014, USA). You’ll usually find Kat up to no good on Twitter, playing badminton like a ninja, or watching scary films with her husband and feral cat. She speaks Welsh fluently and French badly. 

Want to know more about Kat? She lurks around on her blogwebsite and Twitter

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A competition for cover artists!

My Twitter pal Kelsey Macke has her novel Damsel Distressed out with Spencer Hill Contemporary in 2014. 

It’s about seventeen-year-old Imogen Keegan and her struggle with obesity, self harm, and the infuriatingly perfect stepsister who makes her want to drown herself in a vat of Nutella with accompanying soundtrack of original songs written and performed by Kelsey’s band, Wedding Day Rain, in an innovative mash-up of prose, technology, drawings and music. 

So keeping with the interactive theme, Spencer Hill have a cover contest! You can read all the details here, but basically arty-type peeps have the chance to make a cover for this great book as well as create album artwork and swag. Semifinalists get gift cards. 

The Damsel Distressed cover contest will be open from August 16th until September 22nd, 2014. 

For full details on the contest, including terms, conditions and instructions for submitting your design visit the Damsel Distressed website. 

Kelsey Macke is a twitterphile (@KelsNotChels), and enthusiastic Nerdfighter.  Damsel Distressed is her first novel. You can check her out at for more fun stuff. 

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