In case you’re wondering, PITCH WARS is a super cool contest hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake. And, of course, it’s a writing contest. What else would I post? And what’s seriously special about this contest is writers will be selected for mentoring. That’s right, winners will get help polishing their ENTIRE manuscript to get it ready for the agent round.

Girls wanna have fun

Today Brenda posted the awesome lineup of agents that will be participating from agencies such as The Bent Agency, Dystel & Goderich, Sarah Jane Freymann, Park Literary, Writers House, Andrea Brown Literary, and—and more! So go check them out here.

The submission window is fast approaching…August 18th, 2014 to be exact. Get your fingers flying on those keyboards and finish that novel to submit. I know you can do it!

Good luck and happy writing!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction


16th Free “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest

Oh, I’m late to the game…again! But there is still time people. Don’t. Panic.

Writer’s Digest is hosting it’s 16th “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest via Chuck Sambuchino (Guide to Literary Agents). This one is open for “unpublished, completed book-length middle grade fiction”. The agent judge is Peter Knapp of Park Literary Group. What you could win:

  • First ten double-spaced pages critiqued by Peter.
  • A free one-year subscription to WritersMarket.com
  • Peter’s right to request your manuscript and possibly offer representation

Yes, some past winners landed their agent through this contest. Isn’t that fantastic? But as always, there are RULES PEOPLE! They must be followed. To enter the contest, go here to get all the information needed for a successful submission.


Good Luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction

Interview with Paul Durham: Author of THE LUCK UGLIES

When a story stays with you weeks after the read, you know a fantastic story fell into your hands. That’s what happened with THE LUCK UGLIES by Paul Durham. Once I cracked open the pages and started reading about Rye’s life on Mud Puddle Lane, I couldn’t put the book down. The story led me on a path of secret rooms and tunnels as truths unfolded in Village Drowning. If you’re not afraid of what lurks under masks and roams in the dark, I recommend reading this awesome story!


HarperCollins listed synopsis (provided by Paul Durham): Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has eleven-year-old Rye O’Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Now Rye’s only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can’t be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning’s maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she’ll discover the truth behind the village’s legends of outlaws and beasts . . . and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

The first in an irresistible fantasy adventure trilogy that The Peculiar author Stefan Bachmann hailed as “an action-packed adventure with heroes you’ll root for and baddies you’ll hiss at . . . funny and magical,” The Luck Uglies overflows with secrets, friendship, and heart—and is imbued throughout with the magic of storytelling. (Read the rest of interview.)


It’s true. I’m a sucker for great cover art. I’ll pass over a book without reading the blurb if the cover doesn’t lure me to pick up the novel. With a blackened figure of a young boy wearing antlers on his head , BONE JACK by Sara Crowe made me want to know in what type of world a boy would have them on his head.  Then I read there were ghosts in this story about a stag boy and I love ghosts!



Ash’s dad has returned from war. But he’s far from the hero Ash was expecting. He’s close to a breakdown, lost in a world of imaginary threats. Meanwhile, Ash’s best friend Mark is grieving and has drifted away into his own nightmares. Ash’s only escape is his lonely mountain running, training to be the stag boy in the annual Stag Chase.

But dark things are stirring. Ghostly hound boys prowl the high paths, and in the shadows a wild man watches. Ash begins to wonder if the sinister stories about the Stag Chase are true. Could Mark and Dad be haunted by more than just their pasts?

The first paragraph promised danger in the pages to come and I devoured the entire book. Therefore, I reached out to the author for a little Q and A. (Read full interview.)


4th of July Photo

Hooray! It’s another year of celebrating the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted 238 years ago on July 4, 1776. It’s a time of celebration with our families and friends, watching fireworks, and eating lots of food.  As you prepare for your day of fun, here are a few facts you may not know:

  • Although adopted on July 4, it wasn’t officially signed on this day.
  • More than one copy exists.
  • A riot broke out in New York upon the news and a statue of George III was melted to shape more than 42,000 musket balls.
  • Eight of the 56 signers were born in Britain and not America.
  • Richard Stockton became the only signer to later recant his support of the revolution.
  • One of the copies sold for $8.1 million.

For expanded explanations and additional things you may not know, go to History.com. And as always, be safe and have a great day!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of YA/MG fiction


This is not an event where writers sit around a table spitting saliva all over each other fighting for a chance to get the attention of the agent they strapped to the center, all while spewing their loglines. Oh no, this is much safer…and dryer. I promise.

Girls wanna have fun

(Photo used with permission.)


This is a wonderful contest hosted by the contest queen herself, Brenda Drake. What’s great about this particular contest is the winning entrants get mentored by either an agented (and published) author or a professional editor. These are people who’ve been in the trenches and/or worked in the writing industry long enough to offer priceless feedback. And further, they will critique the winner’s entire manuscript. That’s right…THE WHOLE ENCHILADA.

And after months of the winners pulling their hair out making all requested edits, they will be rewarded with an agent round. It begins November 4, 2014. What does that mean? The participating agents will begin requesting their favorite entries to read from pitches posted to the blog. This years agents haven’t been revealed yet, but you can go here to see the agents from the previous Pitch Wars.

You must have a polished manuscript to enter the contest, but no worries because submissions start August 18, 2014. But know, this date will fall upon you before you realize. So, get to crackin’, er tappin’!

And don’t forget, check out the mentors for this year here and be sure to follow Brenda’s blog for updates on the contest.

As always, good luck and happy writing.


P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA Fiction


For all writers who haven’t noticed, the lovely Authoress posted a #Blogpitch contest on her website Miss Snark’s First Victim. This starts as a logline contest on twitter in which 10 winners will be picked to get critiques. All persons leaving critiques will be entered for a chance to win a 15 page line edit from the wonderful Authoress! How cool is that?

To Qualify:

  • Follow Authoress on Twitter
  • Have an active writing-related blog (posting at least once a week)
  • Have a clean manuscript. Although it can be a work “in progress”, absolutely NO FIRST DRAFTS!

How to enter:

  • Submission window starts  noon (EDT) on Monday, June 30 and ends at noon (EDT) on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.
  • Tweet your 128 character (or fewer) logline to #BLOGPITCH on Twitter

How it works after the tweets and the dates:

  • Authoress will choose 10 favorite loglines (Announced Thursday, July 3)
  • Winners will be invited to post their logline + first 250 words ON THEIR OWN BLOGS.
  • Winners MUST send links to Authoress by Sunday, July 6.
  • Authoress will post the 10 links on BLOG CRITIQUE TOUR DAY. (Posted on Wednesday, July 9.)
  • Everyone, including winners, can visit the blogs and leave a critique. (Each critique=1 entry in drawing for a 15 page line edit from Authoress.) Critiquing starts immediately. All critiques entered by Friday, July 11, will be entered into drawing.

(Note:  All genres except erotica or erotic romance will be accepted.)


Let me start by telling you there isn’t a magic genie floating around in this post. Promise. So, don’t look. What I can promise is encouragement and a factual ingredient to succeed.

Since I started seriously putting pen to paper, I’ve encountered writers of all genres and age categories. But they all have one thing in common: wanting to know how to succeed in getting published. Sounds simple right?

It’s not.

Inspiration strikes and a writer splatters his fingers all over his keyboard. Voila! A brilliant manuscript is born. His NY Times Bestselling Novel is sent to all agents that area a perfect fit. Then he sits back and refreshes the inbox of his email, over and over. Finally, rejection after rejection starts trickling in. Some days, nothing but crickets (because most agents won’t send anything if they aren’t interested).

Doubt seeps into the writer.

Maybe his story wasn’t so brilliant after all. Maybe his writing sucks. Or maybe, just maybe, the agents don’t know what they’re talking about (but deep down he knows they do). What is he doing wrong? He is ready to put the manuscript away and never look back. He doesn’t know what made him think he could write.
Well, I’m here to tell you that HE was the one who said he could write. He felt it in his gut, he heard the story in his head and he made it happen. Sure, the man can self-pub if that’s what he chooses to do (and I wouldn’t without getting an editor, betas, etc.). But, what he really wants is to have his novel traditionally published. He wants a doggone fantastical agent! So, what should he do?

Never stop.

Yes, it’s that simple. The key ingredient to successful publishing is to never-ever give up! Think about it. If you’re writing a novel and give up, it never gets wrote. If you stop honing your craft, your writing suffers and is never perfected. If you stop submitting queries, you’ll never get an agent. And so forth, and so forth. Thus, my advice is to never stop. NEVER. EVER. EVER!

And remember, you ARE a brilliant writer and your story MUST be told (say this in the mirror every day). Perseverance is the key. As always, good luck and happy writing.

P.D Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA Fiction

Writers of Today, It Matters

An education doesn’t always mean a writer can capture your attention. Even those with years of experience might leave you to hunger for something more profound. Or the pen artists with a natural ability for prose can fall short of fulfilling a story. Nothing guarantees a writer’s success.


But the internet has empowered people to become writers regardless of education, experience, or natural ability. They type across blog pages, or self-publish a novel, and pray someone will fall in love with their words. Unknown people become journalists and authors overnight. And this is Fab-tastical! (Even for making up words.)

So what’s the problem? The lack of planning, researching, and editing before publishing. No matter who you are, people will eventually tire of constant misspelled words, repetition of the same word ten times in a brief paragraph, or saying the main character from your novel shot a villain with a pistol 500 yards away…which I’m not sure is even possible.

Don’t rush your work and lose credibility as a writer because you error too often. Edit beyond using spellcheck. Read outloud what you write to hear how it flows off your tongue. Research to get facts straight so your story sounds plausible. And although a degree isn’t needed, educate yourself in the field you wish to pursue.

Disclaimer: This post was not written due to vomiting through a cold toilet seat which offered no comfort for reading a horribly written journalist’s story and wondering how the heck he got paid. Just sayin’.

As always, best of luck. Now go forth and write.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and Writer of MG/YA Fiction

2014 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

For all lurking contest junkies, here’s a new one brought to my attention from my friend Tom Brosz. Thanks Tom! You only need to create 8000 words. That’s right, a mere eight-thousand! Most thrilling? You have until June 30th to create these wonderful stories.

Baen Books will announce the winner of the inaugural Baen Fantasy Adventure Award at this year’s Gen Con to the best of original short fiction capturing the spirit and tradition of great storytellers as Larry Correia, Robert E. Howard, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Andre Norton, J.R.R. Tolkien, David Weber and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

All the details can be found here.