Archive | March 2014

Nest Pitch Introductions – A pitching contest with an Australian and Croatian flavour

a special Easter tradition throughout central and northern Croatia – making Easter
.  On the afternoon or eve of Easter Saturday children go out into the garden and collect
leaves, grass, twigs, with which to 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
is based on this idea where an author’s ‘pitch’ is the nest and the Easter
Treats are the Agents (SECRET BUNNY AGENT) requests.  Why Croatian I hear you ask? Simple the Host
Nikola Vukoja was born in Croatia.
as Nikola was raised in Australia, she couldn’t help but bring a little Aussie
into the fold… more on that later.
So how does it work?
submission window will open on April 1st
those who haven’t been watching/listening carefully, this is how #nestpitch
will work.  On April 1st, you will send us your 35-word pitch +
the first 300* words of your polished and ready manuscript. 
NOTE; for Picture Books, it’ll be the first 100 words.
Go here for all the rules and conditions, and
please follow the rules & submission guidelines.
Submissions are closed, our team of Slush
Bilbies will pick the top 100-odd.  For more information on the Slush Bilibies, go to here.
a Bilby?  It’s a super cute Australian
Native Animal. Easter Chocolates in Australia are also made in the shape of a
there our Team of Bloggers, yep,
I’m one of them, will each pick their favourite pitches to post on their
blogs.  The selected pitches will be notified via email also.  For Blogger info go here.
year there are NINE BLOGGERS, that’s 72 opportunities!
also added a list of the other Bloggers.
Once the pitches are posted, the Secret
Bunny Agents
 will hop from
nest to nest and leave a chocolate treat.
Bunny has left you 1 Box of Caramel Eggs – 
for all the *TREATS* got to here.
need to know what Easter Treat equals what request so I suggest you save a copy
of the Easter Treats request items to your desktop; or better still, print a
copy off.
At the
end of the Easter Egg Treats day… you will be sent a second email with a list
of agents who made a request.  If any agents have given specific email
addresses, this will be added to your email. If not, please email to the Agency
Website but remember to follow the guidelines with regard to what to write in
the Subject Line.
For a
quick list of the agents refer below.
But wait;
there’s still more! We also have MAGIC
Bunyips are Agents who, like their name-sake, will be lurking around the blogs.  If they see something they like, they’ll
leave you a “treat” also.  What’s a
Bunyip?  Well here’s a little bit more of
that Aussie influence.  Bunyips are
mythical creatures who live around billabongs (ponds).  They are very shy and secretive, a little
strange-looking, but not all that mean and nasty. Sorry, we can’t tell you who
the Bunyips are because, frankly, we’re not sure they’re real…
because we know EVERYONE likes a reward for all their hard work, there’s going
to be some prizes too.  The pitch that
gets the most over-all requests as well as the pitch the gets the most FULL
requests will each receive an AMAZON Gift Voucher. 
are three gift vouchers up for grabs:
Most overall
requests (for selected pitches only)
Most FULLS requested
(for selected pitches only)
First correct Match
the Agent to the Mask (everyone             can play!)
this works:
Each of
the agents has taken on a Secret Agent Bunny Mask and your job is to
identify who is wearing which Mask. (you’ll find the Agent List here.
an Amazon Voucher in it for the first correct answer.  For more info, go here
all of the above winners will receive an AMAZON Gift Card 
Go to here for more information.
to the Bunny Masks, and in no particular order Da-Daaaah!!!


Oh, and don’t panic if you don’t see your genre or
category, these are TOP agents who work for AWESOME agencies, eight agencies to
be accurate, trust me, their colleges are watching, and waiting, and intending
to leave treats under these Bunny Masks.
List of Agents:
Pam Van Hylckama – C0-founder
/Agent – Foreword Literary 
Melissa Jeglinski– Agent – The Knight
Pooja Menon– Agent – KimberleyCameron
& Associates 
Gina Panettieri  – President – Talcott Notch Literary
Jordy Albert – Co-founder & Senior
Agent – 
The Booker Albert Literary Agency 
Camilla Wray –  Agent – Darley Anderson
Literary (UK) 
Sarah Negovetich – Junior Agent/PR Team Leader
– Corvisiero Literary Agency  
Cate Hart – Junior Agent – Corvisiero
Literary Agency 
Dr. Uwe Stender – President  – TriadaUS
Literary Agency
For Agent bio’s go here.
Finally, here’s a schedule, so you don’t miss any of
the fun:
Mar 30th
Post on Twitter submission window to open April 1st
Apr 1st -2nd        Submission windows open 1st April NOON USA EST – 11.59am 2nd April USA EST
Apr 3rd -10th     1st Round – Slush
select top 120
Apr 12th 
Unmask the Agent window open NOON USA EST until 8.00pm Apr 12th USA EST.
Apr 11th -15th  2nd Round – Nest
their 72 nests*
Apr 16th              3rd Round – Nest Bloggers post their top choices
Apr 17th -19th   4th Round Secret
Bunny Agents 
Easter Sun.     
Stocked *nests*
revealed/Secret Bunny Agents identities reveal
Apr 21st 
Unmask the Agent Winner Revealed
Apr 30th 
Additional surprise revealed!
Tina Moss    






/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;}


post signature

#PitMad Twitter Party Workshop

First up, thank you so much to everyone who gave Team Smartie support during Pitch Madness. It was such an awesome ride again. You can see my team listed on this post here. Please read each one and give them some love.

Now, if you plan of entering the Pitch Madness Twitter After Party, aka #PitMad, then you need to hone your pitches. Yes, PITCHES. Don’t just have one. You can post twice an hour so vary it up.

If you’d like help you can find it here on my blog, but here’s the rules:

  1. You need to post your full query and your draft pitches (130 words including #PitMad). 
  2. You MUST comment on at least two other entries to provide feedback.

So, here’s an example of the process.

My query for my YA SciFi Dirty Rainbow:

Cyborgs freak out Jenna McBride. Her mother and her bestie, Hetty, assure her cyborgs are simply mindless drones used for labour since men became extinct. As the Australian head-of-state, Jenna’s mother should know.

When Hetty has a horrific fall, cyborgs take her mangled body away for treatment. Her mother attempts to alter Jenna’s memories to ensure she doesn’t learn the truth: Hetty will never return. With the help of her neighbour, Ashley, Jenna investigates why her mother would take such a drastic measure. But Ashley has a secret too; she’s on Australia’s most-wanted list. Falling for Jenna is hazardous for their health.

In her search for answers, Jenna discovers the grisly truth about Hetty’s disappearance, cyborg creation, and her mother’s role in it all. But she also puts Ashley in danger. Jenna must choose: family loyalty, or save Hetty and Ashley from the woman who raised her.

And here’s a sample of just some of the pitches I created from that.

Your mum should love you, care for you and protect you. Not erase your memory and arrest your girlfriend. But Jenna’s does SciFi

Cyborgs shouldn’t freak out Jenna. They are just mindless
drones created for labour after the extinction of men, right? YA SciFi (Scored a request)

Extinction of men didn’t stop women. They perfected
procreation, developed drone cyborgs for
labour&created Utopia, at a price. YA

When Jenna finds her GF’s name on her mum’s
undesirable list with a capture order she must decide between family and love YA SciFi (Scored a request)

Men extinct? No worries, use drone cyborgs for manual
labour. Mindless androids devoid of feelings. Then one waves at Jenna YA SciFi

Don’t be an imperfect. Don’t be scared of cyborgs. Don’t
fall for the country’s no.1 wanted when your mum is the leader YA SciFi

Another example using my debut novel SLEEPER.

The Blurb:

A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare. 

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, the two of them have the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares that have been plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull the high she’s on. 

Things start to unravel as Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab. But she can’t ignore the instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed. 

Torn between the blossoming love and the obsession, Mishca must decide if she wants Ryder or Colin. But the organization responsible for her changes and her connection to Colin, is moving to secure Mishca so that she can be the weapon he always intended her to be. If Mishca can’t resist her programming she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

Some potential Twitter pitches:

After a heart-transplant Mishca turns into regular superhuman. She tries to hide them, but how long until her maker finds her
#PitMad NA
A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare. Mishca is about to find out just how evil love-at-first-sight can be. #PitMad NA

Mishca discovers love-at-first-sight is no fairytale, it’s a living nightmare, when she falls for her uni professor. #PitMad

So add your query and draft pitches below and I’ll give you some feedback. Don’t forget to Pay-It-Forward with others.

post signature

Pitch Madness Clue edition…Game On

It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our
wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your game hosts have
chosen sixty pitches for the game. For those of you not familiar with
Pitch Madness,
it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against
their peers for pitches. This time the game is Clue logo2. To meet the slush readers, agent
insiders, and the blog teams go here. And you find out more about the amazing agents
playing the game on this post here.


Clue Study

Welcome to the Study!

You are cordially invited to a private gathering at the Pitch Madness
manor, where your presence would be most welcome in the solution of a
murder most foul. Villainous deeds abound as the culprits are killing to
get their hands on the most valuable pitches. At the bottom of each
pitch’s post, there will be a clue to solving the dastardly deed for
that pitch. The agent who out sleuths the other agents will win the
request. The agents guess what weapon was used in the crime to make a
request. All requests are partials, but if more than three agents try to
solve the crime, the request becomes a full. To find out more about how
the game will be played go to this post here.

Scroll down to view all 15 picks for my blog. 

Comments are set to moderation so the agents won’t see their
competitors’ bids. Please no comments other than those from the
After the game we’ll release the moderation and let you all
comment on the entries. We’ll reveal the agent requests on March
at 12:00PM (that’s noon) EDT.

Please note: We will email submission details for all requests by the
agents. After the contest, agents will make requests to us for the
pitches they loved and did not win.

Congratulations to those who’ve made it into the game! For those who
haven’t made it (and whoever else wants to join us), we are hosting a
Twitter Pitch Party on March 25 from 8AM to
8PM EDST on the hashtag #PitMad.

How do you twitter pitch? You can find all the details here.

Go to the other hosts’ blogs to read all the winning pitches …



Happy sleuthing!


















post signature


Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 54,000

Pitch: Jessica Lahmer is crazy. She hasn’t spoken in three years, and after skipping one too many meals, she’s teetering on the edge of death. But if you were a murderer, you would be crazy, too.

I did not murder Ricardo Montanez.

Then why are my hands so filthy? Why are they so red?

But no, that’s not right. My hands are smooth and pale, empty and small. I stare at them, torn between the image I see in my head—shadows and blood—and the image I see right before my eyes.
I know somewhere outside of the police cruiser I am sitting in, hordes of people are watching, waiting in silent horror. Red and blue lights flash. I hear voices, loud and demanding. All of them seem to be asking the same question.

Who murdered Ricardo Montanez?

The police think it is me. In the morning, everyone will think it is me. Knowing this, I should be afraid. I should be terrified. But the fabric of my mind is unraveling, a quick spiral of thread piling on the floor of my thoughts. I cannot look away from my hands, cannot fathom what these hands have done, what these hands have lost.

If I try to fathom it, I will lose myself.

am losing myself.

have lost myself.

“Miss Lahmer?”

I hear my name, know I am being spoken to. Distantly, I am aware that a man hovers over me, wearing a hastily tucked button-down and slacks that are two sizes too small. I see all of this out of the corner of my eye because I cannot bother to tear my gaze away from my hands, which have begun to shake.

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is hidden behind the rose bushes near the entrance to the mansion. Two, horizontal stab wounds are found in his back. A silver money clip is gripped in his hand with an engraving of the Ten Commandments. 



Pitch Madness SJ-2: DEFIANCE

Genre: Fantasy Romance 
Word Count: 112,000
Pitch: Brainy, sex-powered witches enchant a brothel, liberate prostitutes, and defy a powerful kingpin/industrialist incarnation of Hades in 1906 San Francisco. 

The ferry cut through the silvery surface of water.  Above, gray clouds loomed, shrouding the city that would be Miri’s new home. 
Nearly there. Yards, feet, inches left for her to decide.
Close to the shore, the salty scent of the San Francisco Bay turned outright fishy, so different from the loamy scent of the Mississippi where it mixed with gutter odors and brine at its last lengths through terra firma in New Orleans, the home she’d only just fled.
The ferry moored in its slip, the India rubber bumper grating against the wooden pier and jostling her against Serena.  Her friend hugged her close, steadying her with a hand at the waist, and offered the tender smile she saved only for Miri, who smiled back reflexively, though she was anything but happy. 
Serena tipped her head at an angle, nodding toward Miri’s sister, Eve. “You promised to tell her before we arrived.”  
The damp cold had seeped into Miri’s bones. She hugged her arms across her chest and through clenched teeth muttered something Serena already knew well.  “I despise this plan.” 
By rights the leader of their small sororité, Eve alleged the Goddess had appeared to her in a vision and promised sanctuary for them after centuries of persecution. Their part was simple—settle in San Francisco and hide in plain sight by opening an enchanted brothel. Eve called the plan subtle and brilliantly ironic but Miri, in the privacy of her own thoughts, employed the word absurd. Her sister’s claims were all too conveniently designed to force Miri into changing her ways.

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found in the dining room,
seated at the head of the table. His head is tilted back, blood trickling from
a small hole in his temple. In his lap is a torn bit of printer paper, the
words Africa, My Heart, by—are
printed on it, but the second half is ripped away. 


Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 40,000
Pitch: Andalucia is a sassy tweenage dragon with a simple agenda: torch the human princess, recover the stolen treasure, and return home a hero. But start a war? That is not part of the plan.
I was the first to arrive for the Flying exam. From the top of the cliff, I watched the sun poke nubby pink claws into the sky. It was cold and overcast and would probably snow—big surprise. Looking down, I saw that Icicle Quarry was still asleep—another big surprise. It was always sleeping. Me, I was wide awake.
I flared my wings and took a few practice jabs at a make-believe bad guy. I figured if my parents had known I’d woken with the wordconquer marching through my mind, they might’ve kept me home. But they didn’t comment on the way I conquered my caribou bacon with a steak knife or conquered my chores while humming battle anthems, so nothing stopped me from leaving the house full of cheerful bloodlust. 
Now, perched on the precipice with the wind at my back and the sun in my face, I felt utterly imbued with the spirit of Kung the Fierce. Closing my eyes, I imagined my scales were black and scarlet instead of rainbowy white. I imagined a deep well open inside my body, and from the well I pulled up bucketfuls of ancient magic as strong and dark as soy sauce. “Exam time,” I whispered, and broke into a grin.
The sun had cleared the glaciers by the time my stiff-limbed classmates arrived. My instructor swooped in shortly afterwards and got us started on warm-up stretches. Her yellow eyes widened when she saw my perfect backbend. That’s right, fear me! I thought.
CLUE: Mr. Boddy is lying in the center of the
ballroom dance floor, a rash around his broken neck. The diamonds and gems in
his watch are missing. 



Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Word Count: 104,000
Pitch:  When Confederate nurse Annabelle risks her reputation to help starving Union soldiers, she meets one who might hold the key to the life she dreams of after the War.


The prisoner’s howling started just as Mama finished frying the salt pork for our breakfast. She moved the skillet from the stove to our kitchen table, and the popping sounds of the grease fizzled out, leaving nothing to cover the captured soldier’s cries.Mama glanced out the window toward Castle Morgan and then furtively at me. I wanted to say, Of course, I can hear him. I wanted to say, I am not a child. The prisoner was the third one Lieutenant Jones had punished on the ladder in as many days.

“I wonder what this one did,” I said as I halved a slice of cold cornbread and wedged a piece of smoky pork inside.

“I can’t imagine. He looks too young to be a soldier.” Mama turned her back to the window, and I knew she was thinking of Josiah again. My brother, killed somewhere in Virginia two years ago this month. I hadn’t swum the creek since he left. I hadn’t climbed a tree. Would he recognize me if he came back?

There was no profit in thinking of it – he wasn’t coming back.

“Come eat, Mama,” I said. “We can’t be late on my first day at the hospital.”

She smoothed my hair behind my ear as she sat in her chair beside mine, the way she had since I was a little girl.

“It’s not too late to change your mind, Annabelle,” she said carefully. “You could wait another year and see.”

“A year!” I said, spluttering cornbread onto the homespun tablecloth.

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found in the study lying
face down, head turn, foaming at the mouth. An empty martini glass is clutched
in his hand, a smudge of red lipstick staining the rim of the glass. 


Pitch Madness SJ-5: SISTER SHADE

Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 66,000
Pitch: In this alternative history Queen Cleopatra’s younger sister Arsinoe struggles to break free from her family’s murderous past.  But what if the only way to save the ones you love is to kill them?
Caesar’s Stronghold
Like shadows, the past is glued to our heels. —The Epigrams of Arsinoe

In the heavy prison darkness, far from any coast, I heard the sea. Waves plotted with one another in low whispers, gathering their forces like crouching beasts. A hundred voices, living and dead, battering my skull until my head felt ready to implode. I rocked back and forth, shackles clanking, hands clamped against my ears. Mistress of Sorrows, how could I make myself heard over so much clamor?
Hear me, Nile dwellers,” I chanted. “I am the moonless night, the hollow underground. From birth have I witnessed woe upon woe. . ..”
Several occupants of the pit beneath the floor  threw rocks against their grate, making rude gargling noises in some obscure northern language. Either they disliked my anthem or mistook the sacred lament for a spell or curse. I kept chanting, holding chaos at bay. If I had hidden powers, did they think I would waste them on my fellow captives?
A key jangled in the lock. The pit fell silent. The short, beardless inmate pressed his ear against the  stone wall.
“Noble One,” he warned  in oddly-accented Latin, “our keeper brings visitors.”
I slid backward until my leg irons pulled taut, squinting at the sudden stab of light. A snippet of a  boy in a toga entered, leading two female companions.
“She ain’t no proper sight for the squeamish, Master Octavian,” the jailor, the one who stank of boiled cabbage, said. “You certain the general will permit these fine young ladies to see her?”

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found sitting in a high-back
chair in the library, head back, with a tiny puncture wound in his neck. The
area around the wound is swollen. An expensive brooch with rare gems and a
noble family crest is found stuck in the Parisian carpet beside the chair. 


Genre: MG Contemporary

Word Count: 52,000

Pitch: Three foster kids are about to be homeless. Their last chance to avoid the streets: build a killer robot and win ROBOT SMACKDOWN’s $10M prize. FREAK THE MIGHTY meets REAL STEEL.

My ponytail clung to my neck like a wet towel and my muscles burned like fire, but I couldn’t afford to rest. I had to beat this go-kart frame into submission, and quick.

Smashing my hammer into a steel tube stupid enough to defy me, I winced as vibrations tore up my arm. But I pushed aside the pain and threw right hooks, punishing the struts for their disobedience.

Five. Ten. Twenty body blows later, I dropped into a dizzy crouch, panting in the garage’s stifling heat. Sweat cascaded off my bangs, plinking into the cement, and I flicked the matted red hair out of my eyes. I studied the frame under the buzzing fluorescent lights. It wasn’t pretty—rusty metal, scavenged wheels, and two dozen bolts holding everything together—but it would do.

I checked the wall clock, biting my lip. Only 30 more minutes before our buyer was supposed to arrive. Where the heck was Walker? If my brother didn’t get here with an engine, we’d lose tonight’s sale.

And we needed this one.


I rubbed the oil blotch staining the floor, a bittersweet reminder of the days when Dad still had his junker car. Still had his job at the boxing gym. Still could pay the bills without us secretly helping out.

I wiped grease onto the go-kart’s seat, hoping to smear in some good luck.

A rattle sounded outside the garage door. I froze, listening to the approaching creaks.

“Rose,” whispered a high-pitched voice. “Lemme in.”

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found in the kitchen,
slumped over the center island, the back of his head bleeding from being
struck. Nothing is out of place save a toppled plate of homemade cinnamon
rolls, a puddle on the floor nearby.


Pitch Madness SJ-7: A BREATH OF SILVER

Genre: NA Fantasy

Word Count: 100,000
Pitch: A 22nd century historian travels through London’s forgotten Underground back to 1692, where her Scottish ancestors wield ley lines that link her future with the Glencoe Massacre, and challenge her loyalty to the recorded past.


Before that day, I’d never set a toe in the Ruins for anything but research. As Sod’s law would have it, my exception to this turned into a complete cock-up. On top of everything else, it was my twenty-second birthday, so admittedly my wandering mind was largely to blame. With our average lifespan of forty-four, I’d officially entered midlife-crisis territory, and the swiftness of its arrival stole my breath. Like an alarm clock I hadn’t realized was set, my greatest fears joined forces to blitz my peace of mind at midnight on the dot.The Ruins weren’t a place you went seeking solace, given what they were the remnants of, and yet they seemed an appropriate answer to the week’s trauma. Their dichotomy of incalculable loss masking invaluable treasure had set my course as a researcher since birth. Though I’d never say it aloud, I clung to my childhood notion that Thomas and I alone had the power to make them bequeath their hoard of history, of what really happened here all those years ago.

But today wasn’t about research, and thanks to birthday anxiety, it wasn’t likely to be about solace, either.

My boots pounded gravel as I darted through the fence, leaving town’s cottage rows and sculpture-dotted promenades behind. Weekly research expeditions built my tolerance to the Ruins’ psychological residue and disorientation, but Tessah and Hyde had no such tolerance. Dashing across the melted landscape, I swore for the fifth time in as many minutes. If anything happened to them, I’d never forgive myself.

CLUE: Mr. Boddy is found on his back on the
lounge floor, something metallic glinting in a wound over his heart. A stain in
the carpet reeks of wine, and a hint of cinnamon dusts his hands.