Archive | May 2015

The Text Prize 2015 shortlist

It’s fantastic to see that Text Publishing is still out there unearthing great Australian stories for teens and children. Congratulations to the authors who have been shortlisted and to the Text Publishing for continuing with this great initiative. I’m also excited to see the

Four outstanding manuscripts have been selected from 268 entries to make up the shortlist for the $10,000 Text Prize, awarded annually to the best unpublished manuscript for teenagers and children.


by Margot McGovern

Seventeen-year-old Kit Learmonth would rather die than grow up and leave her family’s island, ‘Neverland’. An ambitious, complex story about memory, growing up and moving on.

Margot McGovern is a freelance writer and reviewer who contributes to a number of leading literary publications. She is a former associate editor of Ride On magazine and lives in Perth.


by Sophie Overett

Agatha lands in a Catholic boarding school for girls after her mother falls ill and her father disappears. A compelling, modern exploration of adolescent sexuality and the emotional life of teenagers.

Sophie Overett is a cultural producer and writer in Brisbane. She was a Young Writer in Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in 2014 and in 2015 is a Queensland Literary Fellow.


by Mark Russell

Set on a planet that stopped rotating generations ago where half the world lives in shadow, half in light, Solstice is an exciting, adventurous and original work of science fiction.

Mark Russell is a writer whose work has appeared in publications including Inside Film and the Canberra Times. Solstice was originally written as a screenplay, which won a Screen Australia Development Grant in 2010. He lives in Melbourne.


by Kimberley Starr

An imaginative and gripping historical fantasy novel set during the first Crusade, in a world where demons are real and gaining power, and almost no one can see them.

Kimberley Starr is a teacher and author based in Melbourne. Her debut novel, The Kingdom Where Nobody Dies, won the 2003 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award for Best Emerging Author.

The winner of the 2015 Text Prize will be announced at 7pm on Thursday 28 May at an event in Melbourne.

You can also check out previous winners of the Text Prize here.

Congratulations again to Margot, Sophie, Mark and Kimberley.

This entry was posted on May 19, 2015. 1 Comment

Cover Reveal: Never Be Younger – a YA Shakespeare retelling anthology

A group of YA authors, myself included, have banded together to create a YA Shakespeare retelling anthology: Never Be Younger. The title was inspired from Taming of the Shrew and it will be released in June 2015. And here’s the gorgeous cover:


My wonderful blog assistant E.L. Wicker and I cowrote two stories:

A Gargoyle on Prom Night – a retelling of a Midsummer Night’s Dream where instead of fairies Oberon, Puck and Titania are teenagers who have mutated powers. So Shakespeare meets X-men told from the perspective of Puckerman.


Starcrossed Lovers – a retelling of Romeo and Juliet set on the Space Station Verona. The Capulets govern part of the galaxy, with a desire to spread their influence, while the Montagues are space pirates smuggling merchandise under the nose of the authorities. A war breaks out between the two as a power struggle emerges. In an effort tip the war in the favour, Romeo Montague is sent to Juliet Capulet’s debut ball to assassinate her.

100% of the profits is being donated to the charity United Through Reading.

You can add this anthology to your Goodreads shelf.

Keep an eye out on my blog for more news on this great charity anthology.

This entry was posted on May 15, 2015. 1 Comment

I Have News!! *Drumroll*

A lot of you would know that in March there’s a little GIGANTIC Twitter Pitch contest called #Pitmad where you get to pitch the Twitterverse with your completed and polished MS and see who bites when they favourite your tweet. No pressure.


I decided to put my NA novel SLEEPER out as part of #PitMad and this happened:


That favourite turned into a full request from City Owl Press. And then I got an email from City Owl Press’ Executive Editor/Chief Executive Officer, Tina Moss, with an offer. I instantly felt a connection with her editorial style and loved what City Owl Press has to offer me as an author.


I’m so excited to finally announce that I have officially signed with City Owl Press and that my NA novel with an anticipated release in Winter 2015. The novel is so special to me and I’m so excited it’s found a come with an exciting new indie press that offers great support to authors with an editor that is loves my Aussieness and who is going to push me to make my story shine.

You can also read about this great news here on City Owl Press’ website.

If you’re interested in subbing to City Owl Press check out how with on their submission page.

I’d like to  to thank my good friend Brenda Drake for creating #PitMad. This Twitter Pitch contest gives authors the opportunity to connect with agents and publishers that they might not have even queried because they didn’t know the agent/editor was looking for what they had on offer. I’m proud to be a #PitMad success story. If you haven’t participated in the past I hope you will. There are two more scheduled for 2015 and you can find information on them here.

#Nestpitch2015 The Agent Round!


Welcome to the agent round of nestpitch. This is it, the one you’ve been waiting for.

Entries have been polished and primed and TeamEvilBunny have worked beyond the first 300 words to make sure they’re looking sparkly.

#TEAMEVILBUNNY’s picks are as follows:

SJ1 – The Caterpillar Girl

SJ2 – Our Reasons

SJ3 – Between Sound and Silence

SJ4 – Dead Wrestlers

SJ5 – Silence

There are, of course, eight other teams, but really – you’ll find the best picks here!








Some more details:

Only agents will be able to comment on the entries. It’ll be a secret agent round so the comments will be moderated – they won’t be published right away!

The agent round will begin 8.30 am EST (USA) and go on for 24 hours.

The requests will be made according to the following list:

Choc. egg basket w/ ribbon = Full
Choc. egg basket = Query + 150 pages + 1 page Synopsis
3 Boxes Caramel eggs  = Query + 100 pages
2 Boxes Caramel eggs = Query + 75 pages + 1 page Synopsis
1 Box Caramel eggs = Query + 50 pages
1 doz. nougat filled Choc. eggs = Query + 25 pages + 1 page Synopsis
½ doz. nougat filled Choc. eggs  = Query + 20 pages
1x nougat filled Choc. egg = Query + 15 pages + 1 page Synopsis
1 doz. hollow Choc eggs = Query + 10 pages
½ doz. hollow Choc eggs = Query + 5 pages + 1 page Synopsis
1x hollow Choc egg = Query + 5 pages

Be SURE to look at the main Nest Pitch blog which has all the information you’ll ever need about what’s happening.

#NestPitch SJ1: The Caterpillar Girl

Manuscript Title:  The Caterpillar Girl

Category/Genre:  YA Soft Science Fiction

Word Count:  79,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavor would s/he be? I’d be a Cadbury Creme Egg; appears plain until cut, er, bitten into.

35-word Pitch:  A freakishly small and bullied teenage girl with osteogenesis imperfecta—a rare bone disease—is given butterfly DNA by her scientist father. She must undergo metamorphosis while risking love, freedom, and life.

First 300-words of Manuscript:

Don’t look at the needle. Don’t freak out. Bethany focused on a row of specimen jars with embryonic mice preserved in ethanol. As her father passed by, the syringe reflected in the glass. Crap. Bethany’s weight shifted into her legs and settled in her feet. Her stomach performed somersaults and her breathing grew rapid.

Her father suctioned B. selene3 hormone into the syringe and joined Bethany at the desk.  He’d named it for the Boloria Selene species, as well as the three types of hormones extracted during the larva, pupa, and butterfly stage.

“Calm down.” He ruffled her black hair.

With eyes closed, she inhaled a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She imagined gentle waves rolling across her, no, Jeremiah’s ankles. The vision of her best friend in swim trunks made her skin tingle. The pressure in her stomach decreased, and the puke slid back down. Her muscles relaxed, but Bethany’s heart rate didn’t—not with the image of Jeremiah’s body floating around in her head. Holy cow, he was hot. “How much longer?”

“You already know the answer to that, Bethey.”

Her eyelids flew open. It was bad enough that she looked like a twelve-year-old. Couldn’t her father respect her wishes and not treat her like one? “Bethany, Dad. My-name-is-Bethany.” One side of her scooped-neck blouse slid over her arched shoulder. Coupled with bones that grew slowly and that whole non-puberty thing, she didn’t look that different from other kids—kids younger than fifteen that is. But at least she was alive. She could thank the hormone for that. As long as it remained active in her bloodstream, her immune system improved and her osteogenesis imperfecta—a rare bone disorder resulting from abnormal collagen tissue—tested mild.

This entry was posted on May 11, 2015. 2 Comments

#NestPitch SJ2: Our Reasons

Manuscript Title: Our Reasons

Category/Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 54,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? I’d probably be vanilla on the outside because people think I’m pretty boring, but I’d have a mystery filling in the center because I can surprise people.

35-word Pitch: Garrett discovers a suicide note in a library book that explains the reasons Maddie wants to die. He finds and befriends her, deciding to write a list of his own: reasons for her to stay.

First 300-words of manuscript:

I sit huddled beneath a mountain of blankets on my bedroom floor, tears streaming down my face as they watch a movie downstairs. My mom, stepdad, and Heather. The perfect little family, minus me, the mistake. The thought makes me sniffle and shrink even more inside my soft cave. I hadn’t been asked if I wanted to join them, so I didn’t invite myself. I know when I’m not wanted.

I can hear them downstairs, laughing at something on the television, enjoying life without me. My best friend, Laura, is having her sixteenth birthday party across town. I wish more than anything that I could be there with her. My parents had, of course, said I couldn’t go. It’s no big surprise, considering I’ve never been allowed to go to a non-family birthday party, or any kind of party, in my life. Heather, at just nine years old, is free to go to parties, though. Parties, sleepovers, camp. I guess that’s what happens when you’re wanted. When you’re not, you get punished for it.

A long sigh escapes from my lips. I’m so tired of it. It’s really a wonder that I’ve even made it to my fifteenth birthday, which of course none of my friends could come celebrate. Wouldn’t want to be happy or anything. It’s no wonder they are beginning to drift away from me. While they hang out after school and share adventures and secrets, I cease to exist. I wish I didn’t exist at all. Not being here is better than this so called “life” I live. Things will change when I’m eighteen, I keep telling myself. It was a strong reassurance at first, but over the years the confidence behind the words began to fade.

This entry was posted on May 11, 2015. 1 Comment

#NestPitch SJ3: Between Sound and Silence

Manuscript Title: Between Sound and Silence

Category/Genre: YA/Sci-Fi Romance

Word Count: 76,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavor would s/he be?  I’ve got a hard chocolate shell, but inside I’m all gooey caramel thanks to Callan.

35-Word Pitch: Born on Mayflower space station with extrasensory hearing, straight-laced Honor plans to flee to Earth, but her twin disappears. To find him she’s forced to trust a drool-worthy rebel who thinks rules are just suggestions.

First 300 words of Manuscript:

Most people think space is silent. Space isn’t silent. It speaks to me all the time. The turbulence of burning stars and the grinding metallic groans of The Mayflower whirring as it lopes around the Earth below—they can’t hear it, but I do.

Today, like always, it starts without warning. The siren blasts through the station, tumbling down the metal corridor, curling around the Node as I’m waiting to catch the Needle. Crap.

If I had normal hearing I don’t think I could tell, but since I’m me, I literally feel the signal. It’s layered with buzzes and clangs that reverberate exponentially until I’m doubled over in torment. I flatten my hands over my earplugs but it doesn’t filter out the piercing tone that lies at the heart of the sound. My head throbs in time to the siren as it blares over and over and over.

There’s a temporary reprieve when a disembodied robotic voice announces, “This is our weekly drill. Emergency protocol for Situation Blue.”

  1. Get the nearest Oxygen Distribution Panel.
  2. Secure the mask over my mouth and nose.
  3. Wait for instructions or the all-clear signal.

The Distribution panel isn’t far, but I can’t even crawl ten feet to get there. When the siren begins again, all I can do is scrunch into the fetal position and stare at the crescent moon shape someone sketched on the wall.

Deep underneath the siren my ears pick up scraping metal sounds. Shiny black shoes scuffle forward as I face the inevitable blackout that will land me precisely where I don’t want to go. Then darkness envelops me.


I was right. Before I open my eyes, I can tell I’m in the Infirmary. Beeps and whirs bounce around me mixing with the zesty scent of antiseptic.

This entry was posted on May 11, 2015. 4 Comments

#NestPitch SJ4: Dead Wrestlers

Manuscript Title: Dead Wrestlers

Category/Genre: Adult Speculative Fiction

Word Count: 90,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? Is there a cauliflower flavor, like the ears of my ghosts?  If so, that one.

35-word Pitch: Twelve-year-old Mark kills his little sister in a wrestling accident and, for 20 years after, the ghosts of deceased professional grapplers push him to save the lives of their living peers.

First 300 Words of Manuscript:

                                    November, 1986 – Ashland, MA


Speechless, motionless, helpless – I tried to break free, tried to scream for help but the bodies surrounding me stifled my every attempt. The muffled sounds of the four of them laughing and shouting on top of me acted as the soundtrack of my imminent suffocation.


It will be a game,” my brother said. “We’ll all wrestle Mark in the basement. He has really hard knees and elbows. Don’t let him hit you with them.”


The “game” included my younger brother and sister, each with friends from school. Come one, come all. Mark takes on the world in a four-on-one grudge match in an area of the cellar we called the Playroom, where the train set our father built the previous Christmas sat, where we had our birthday parties, where we always played during halftime of Celtics games.


Al and his friend started taking me down in a playful manner. Fake punches, fake kicks. I collapsed onto the floor to play along. Then all four of them piled on top of me like those dogs in the Bugs Bunny cartoon. 


Dog pile on the rabbit.

Dog pile on the rabbit.


A panicking fury of sounds engulfed me: the screaming and laughing of my attackers, our mother’s footsteps upstairs, the heater burning in the room next to us. From that same room came the voice of Bill Mercer, the play-by-play announcer for World Class Championship Wrestling. I listened carefully to his voice as I struggled to break free. 


I just wanted to watch the match Mercer called:  the Dynamic Duo – Gino Hernandez and “Gentleman” Chris Adams – versus Kerry and Mike Von Erich, from the Cotton Bowl, the famous stadium in Dallas, two years earlier, before I even knew the term “professional wrestling.” But I knew the term now, just as sure as Gino Hernandez had fallen dead nine months prior from a cocaine overdose.

#NestPitch SJ5: Silence

Manuscript Title: Silence

Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary

Word Count: 84,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavor would s/he be?: I’m the cracked, unwanted egg in the back of the package, oozing chocolate cream.

35 Word Pitch: Carli struggles to be perfect, hiding her hearing loss and debilitating headaches. When she meets Reed, his deafness shows her imperfect can be perfect. She’ll lose his love unless she learns to accept herself.

First 300-words of Manuscript:

The minute the professor opened his mouth I knew it would be a long semester. The muffled sound struck a vein deep inside my skull, vibrating a nodule of tension destined to trigger one of my frequent headaches. I slid my hand up under my long brown hair, scratched my cheek as a decoy, and then ran my finger over the microphone of one hearing aid. Static rang loud and clear, confirming my suspicions. My hearing aids were fine.

The professor was the problem.

His booming voice ricocheted an accent off the walls of the small classroom. An accent I identified as…not from around here. Dr. Ashen’s thick, bushy mustache covered his top lip. He said something to the class and gestured to our textbook. Around me, students shifted, pages turned, pens moved.

I shifted too and flicked my pen against a random page of my thick book. Nerves battled with complete and utter boredom. Words spilled from his bottom lip and I couldn’t understand one fucking sound. Survival skill 101 of having a hearing loss: blend in. I’d grown skilled at blending, to the point where I had almost mastered the task of invisibility. No cloak required. Take that, Harry Potter.

I always, always, always heard my teachers. Until now.

Big Fuck Off Mustache + My Ears = Not Happening.

Mr. Scary Mustache glared my way. He tapped his textbook, and went right on speaking.

I couldn’t see his book, tapping it did not let me know what page we were on. Moron. I rolled my eyes and landed on my neighbor’s book instead. After memorizing the design of her page, I shuffled through my own until I found the corresponding layout.

I scanned through the words, hoping something, anything, would match what Mr. Scary Mustache said. Nothing did.

Blog Hop: Crow’s Rest by Angelica R. Jackson

This blog hop is one of my favorites! Angelica has shared with us a scene from Crow’s Rest where the main character, Avery, has an eerie experience in Preston Castle. Check out the scene below!

Title: Crow’s Rest
Author: Angelica R. Jackson
Published: May 12, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Isbn: 9781633920040
Pages: 288
Retail: $9.95
Buy Links: BN | Amazon | BookDepository

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam’s, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.

But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers—and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place.

Her quest to find the real Daniel—and get him back—plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.

About the author:
In keeping with her scattered Gemini nature, Angelica R. Jackson has far too many interests to list here.
She has an obsession with creating more writing nooks in the home she shares with her husband and two corpulent cats in California’s Gold Country. Fortunately, the writing nooks serve for reading and cat cuddling too.
Other pastimes include cooking for food allergies (not necessarily by choice, but she’s come to terms with it), photography, and volunteering at a local no-kill cat sanctuary.
Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Photo Galleries  |  Blog  |  Website

Avery’s experience:


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*US entrants only
*Must be 13 years of age or older (or have parents permission)

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