DIVIDED by Sharon M. Johnston (A Pitchwars Mentor), Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

I’m very excited to be a part of Sharon M. Johnston’s cover reveal for her book DIVIDED! I’m squeeing over the shattered heart effect. Gimme-grabby-hands!

DIVIDED full digital

Book Blurb

A new heart should mean new life, instead it’s a living nightmare. 

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, she has the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull her new dream world.

Yet, life starts to unravel when 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 strange instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.

Torn between love and obsession, Mishca must unite her divided heart and decide between the two men. But when the truth about her weird powers comes to light, she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

 

Praise for Divided

“DIVIDED is a fast-paced adventure filled with mystery, romance, action, and humor.

Mishca and Ryder rank up there with my favorite heroines and heroes ever!

Sharon M. Johnston is an author to watch out for.”  

  • WENDY HIGGINS, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author.

********Preorder Your Copy Now!********

About the author

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From sunny Queensland in Australia, Sharon writes weird stories and soulful contemporaries across a number of categories. Working as a PR specialist by day, in her spare time she writes, blogs, plays with her fur babies and plays computer games with her family. She’s also been stalked by women wanted to know where she buys her shoes.

Find her on: Her website  Facebook  Twitter  Goodreads

GIVEAWAY LINK! GIVEAWAY LINK! GIVEAWAY LINK! GIVEAWAY LINK! GIVEAWAY LINK! GIVEAWAY LINK!

(Sorry y’all have to use the link to go to the giveaway, but WordPress won’t let me post the Rafflecopter. *Long sigh*)

A Pretty Much Foolproof, Never-Fail, Silver-Bullet Query Opening

pdpabst:

I wanted to share this great article about how to write the foolproof query from literary agent, John Cusick. If you haven’t seen it on his site, you must read this now! He kinda takes the “oof” out of the “fool” for struggling writers. I hope this helps.

P.D. Pabst

Originally posted on John M. Cusick:

Hello there.

A few days ago I posted about my move to Folio Literary, and what I’ll be seeking.

As I rev up the ol’ query inbox (which is already rumbling with submissions), I figured I’d take a moment to talk a bit about the query letter.

How— I mean, for serious, how on earth— does anyone write a query letter?

It seems so difficult. Not only are you trying to put your best foot forward and stand out from the dozens— no, HUNDREDS UPON HUNDREDS— of other queriers, you’ve got to summarize your manuscript (impossible), make it sound exciting (huh?), comp it to other titles (um), talk a bit about yourself (embarrassing), and keep it all under half-a-page (yeah okay no).

As if writing the book wasn’t hard enough in the first place.

A lot has been written on strategies for great query letters. There are templates…

View original 403 more words

My Mentee BIO for Pitch Wars

Hello wonderful mentors of Pitch Wars and thank you for stalking visiting me!

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I hope this means you like my first pages and want to know more about me. I write both young adult and middle grade, generally with a creepy vibe. So far, I’ve 68 (and climbing) ideas for stories and struggle to choose the next one to start. THIS SCARY MANOR BLOWS is my third completed manuscript, so as you can see, I’ve many more to go!

But don’t let this spine-chilling tale-telling girl fool you. I must admit a few ideas in my notebook aren’t always eerie—such as my underwater, alien-ish world adventure or the car that time travels with fun loving brothers. Sometimes, I just like a good laugh around my weirdness.

Some of my favorite pastimes involve anything in an ocean: swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving (I once swam over a Manta ray), cave exploring, hiking (especially in the mountains), whitewater rafting, repelling, jet skiing, painting, cooking, movies, hanging with the family, and writing (of course). When I write, I can be found sipping tea—okay, a LOT of tea—and eating cheese. I also shove chocolate down my throat when I’m waiting for contest results and stalking hashtags. Eating jalapenos with most meals is a craving, not an obsession—I swear! And lobster (or any seafood) is my absolute favorite meal. But I love all ethnic foods; my tongue has no limit for the goodies!

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But, sometimes goodies have a limit. Like, who’s eating whom here?

Okay, enough about scrumptious stuff or I’m gonna have to take a break to feed my face (yes, I really didn’t say mouth or stomach. I hear you mentor). You might be wondering what I like to read. Dude, I’m all over the place. But here are a few books I’ve enjoyed:

• The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (but anything by Neil really!)
• Doll Bones, Holly Black
• Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake
• Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rolling
• The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
• Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
• The Luck Uglies, Paul Durham
• Ink and Bone, Rachel Caine
• We All Looked Up, Tommy Wallach
• Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
• Watchers, Dean Koontz
• Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

What am I going to buy at Barnes & Noble later today? Not what you might think, a young adult book. Hey, don’t snarl at all that’s not middle grade, yo. The cover grabbed my attention on Holly’s site!

The_Coldest_Girl_in_Coldtown_cover

And of course, I must mention some of my favorite movies. In no particular order:

• Hocus Pocus
• The Goonies
• Harry Potter
• Pirates of the Caribbean
• Twilight
• The Notebook
• Frozen (Okay, so it’s an animation. Watcha gonna do about it?)
• Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992 directed by Francis Ford Coppola)
• The Mummy (1999 with Brendan Fraser—and OMGosh people, a reboot is coming in 2017!)
• 2012
• The Hunger Games
• Phantom of the Opera (1925 with Lon Chaney. Yes, I watched many old—old movies with my momma; basically she’d turn on anything with Lon, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, and pirate movies with Errol Flynn. And no, I’m not an old hag peeps, I’m only 46.)

Phantom of the Opera-Lon Chaney

Of course, I also like Pride & Prejudice but hey, I threw the Notebook in the list and didn’t want you to think I was all about the mooshy-mooshy. (But, I might be, especially with a good mysterious creature or ghost!) Oh, that makes me think of Ghost with Patrick Swayze (sad moment). Dang, that was a good movie!

In my non-writing life, I’m a retail manager. So, I’m accustomed to setting goals with deadlines, and creating a marketing plan to promote product. I’m also a good listener to customer needs to turn the knowledge into a sale. These skills are handy to have as a writer. And lastly, I’m a quick learner and pretty easy going. So, even though I’m a panster, I’m trying my hand at outlining on my next novel (cuz I’m not scared). And if you’re blunt with critiques, I swoon at the words.

So there you have a brief summary of who I am. Good luck with finding an awesome mentee, but…PICK ME!

Pick me

(BTW, this picture is super cool and creepy with the ice hands, but I have to clarify—I hate Pepsi! I’m a Dr. Pepper kind of girl.)

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

FINDING CRITIQUE PARTNERS

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With folks wanting to hone their pitches, queries, and first chapters before PitchWars submission, I thought I’d help everyone searching for a critique partner. Contests such of these are great for finding people who write in the same category and genre as you. Here are some places and things to do:

  • Put a tweet out requesting to swap material using the contest hashtag. Be specific about the age group & genre you write to be clear to prospective partners.
  • Watch for posts about entrants forming groups on their blogs to give each other feedback.
  • Absolute Write Forums: These forums are for all age groups and genres. Not to mention the research on agents and publishers you can find.
  • CPSeek Forums: There are topics on specific age categories and one just for queries and synopsis’.
  • Agent Query Connect: This is a place to post you’re looking for a crit partner.
  • Sub It Club Facebook Critique Partner Group: This is a private group you have to join, so no worries about what you post.
  • Ladies Who Critique: This is a sight where you can join groups by the genre.
  • Romance Critters: Whoa! A place for romance writers to swoon over each others critique. Awesome!
  • Query Tracker Forum: Not only can you keep track of your queries with this site, you can go to the forums and get feedback!

If you’re a member of a writers guild, you can usually find a place to get feedback on those sites too. I’m sure there are many more places to find help honing your craft, but these are a few places to get you started.

As always, good luck!

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

MAKO MORI & BECHDEL TEST

Creative Pencil

While writers peruse agents’ BIOs or blogs, they may notice a few mention manuscripts need to pass the Mako Mori Test or the Bechdel Test. Have no fear, they aren’t going to had out exams to give you an anxiety attack! These are tests to make sure the story isn’t gender biased, which is important to be well marketed. So how do writers pass the tests? Here are the guidelines:

BECHDEL TEST

  1. The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man

MAKO MORI TEST

  1. At least one female character;
  2. who gets her own narrative arc;
  3. that is not about supporting a man’s story.

Sounds simple, but it’s easy to forget to make your female characters organic when your lead may be a man. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a story that feels real instead of cut-out paper dolls.

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

WHISKEY, WINE, & WRITING: Tonight YA PitchWars Mentors

Another post to remind everyone that Whiskey, Wine, & Writing will have a few YA PitchWars Mentors as guests tonight starting at 8pm EST. Be sure to use the twitter hashtags #PitchWars or #WWWriting to ask questions during the live stream!
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And so I don’t pester you every evening the events occur, here is a listing of the remaining scheduled dates and the age groups for the mentors. Each evening the links of these dates will change on the Whisky, Wine, & Writing site to showcase the participating mentors.

•Thursday 8/6 – YA/NA & NA/A Mentors
•Friday 8/7 – Adult Mentors
•Tuesday 8/11 – Middle Grade Mentors
•Wednesday 8/12 – YA Mentors
•Thursday 8/13 – YA/NA & NA/A Mentors
•Friday 8/14 – A mix of mentors who couldn’t make previous shows.

WHISKEY, WINE, & WRITING: Tonight MG PitchWars Mentors

Just wanted to remind everyone that Whiskey, Wine, & Writing will have a few MG PitchWars Mentors as guests tonight starting at 8pm EST. Be sure to use the twitter hashtags #PitchWars or #WWWriting to ask questions during the live stream!

pitchwarswwwad

Some of the MG mentors will be:

Have fun and see you there!

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

IT HAS BEGUN: Pitch Wars Mentor Blog Hop

Woo-hoo! It’s that time of year again when mentors select a mentee to help them rework their entire manuscript for the agent round. This year Pitch Wars (hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake) has 108 mentors to choose from to help make a writer’s story shine! But unlike past years, writers get to choose five mentors to submit instead of four. This is awesome!

Pitch Wars 2015

From today until submissions day (August 17), writers can peruse blogs of the participating mentors to see their wish list for entries and make sure they’d be a good match. Most of the mentors supply links to their twitter accounts too, where they can be stalked observed for social meshing. Also, a few beloved mentors said they don’t mind some questions via twitter or their blog, but be careful as to not be pitching to them. There are some other important dates when questions can be asked, such as #AskMentor on twitter (August 10), so be sure to check out Brenda’s blog. She has important dates and submission guidelines!

And here are your mentors…

1. Kes Trester (co- mentoring with Jennifer Hawkins) YA 37. Emmie Mears Adult 73. Katie Bucklein YA & NA
2. Mindy McGinnis (co- mentoring with Kate Karyus Quinn) YA 38. Lori Goldstein (co- mentoring with Chelsea Bobulski) YA 74. Kevin A Springer MG
3. N.K. Traver YA 39. Jennifer Hawkins (co- mentoring with Kes Trester) YA 75. Brianna Shrum YA
4. Kristin B. Wright Adult 40. Elizabeth Briggs YA & NA 76. Kate Karyus Quinn (co- mentoring with Mindy McGinnis) YA
5. Laura Heffernan Adult 41. Ron Walters (co- mentoring with Meredith McCardle) YA 77. Kim Graff YA
6. Mary Ann Marlowe Adult 42. Fiona McLaren (co- mentoring with Dionne McCulloch) MG 78. Emily Martin YA
7. Joy McCullough- Carranza MG 43. S.M. Johnston (co- mentoring with Stacey Nash) YA & NA 79. Trisha Leaver (co- mentoring with Jenni Walsh) YA
8. Lisa Lewis- Tyre MG 44. Max Wirestone Adult 80. Kim Long MG
9. Jenni L. Walsh (co- mentoring with Trisha Leaver) YA 45. Jaye Robin Brown YA 81. Catherine Scully MG
10. Sarah Glenn Marsh YA 46. Molly Lee YA 82. Stacey Trombley YA
11. Julie C. Dao MG 47. Rachel Lynn Solomon YA 83. Stephanie Scott (co- mentoring with Valerie Cole) YA
12. Kellye Garrett Adult 48. J.C. Nelson NA & Adult 84. Valerie Cole (co- mentoring with Stephanie Scott) YA
13. K.T. Hanna Adult 49. Holly Faur Adult 85. Lizzy Charles YA
14. Jessie Devine YA 50. Sonia Hartl Adult 86. Dannie Morin (co- mentoring with Alexandra Alessandri) YA
15. Rosalyn Eves YA 51. Natasha Raulerson Adult 87. Kate Foster MG
16. Jami Nord Adult 52. Marty Mayberry YA 88. Elly Blake MG
17. Samantha Joyce YA & NA 53. J.C. Davis MG 89. Julie Sondra Decker YA & NA
18. Helene Dunbar YA 54. Rebecca Wells MG 90. Lady Lioness NA & Adult
19. Jenna Lehne MG 55. Michelle Hauck Adult 91. Susan Gray Foster (co- mentoring with Monica Bustamante Wagner_ YA & NA
20. Linsey Miller YA 56. Tabitha Martin YA 92. Kelly Calabrese YA
21. Jessica Vitalis MG 57. Rebecca Petruck MG 93. Sarah Nicolas YA
22. Stacey Graham MG 58. Sarah Henning Adult 94. Kelly Siskind NA & Adult
23. Dan Koboldt Adult 59. Alex White Adult 95. Roselle Kaes Adult
24. Brighton Walsh NA & Adult 60. Jeanmarie Anaya YA 96. Monica Bustamante Wagner (co- mentoring with Susan Gray Foster) YA
25. Kate Brauning YA & NA 61. Laura Salters YA 97. Renee Ahdieh (co- mentoring with Traci Chee) YA
26. Lisa Maxwell YA 62. Wade Albert White MG 98. Traci Chee (co- mentoring with Renee Ahdieh) YA
27. Wendy Spinale YA 63. Brooks Benjamin MG 99. Janet B. Taylor (co- mentoring with Kathryn Purdie & Shannon Parker YA
28. Sarah Cannon MG 64. Margarita Montimore Adult 100. Jessie Humphries (co- mentoring with Mara Rae) YA
29. L.L. McKinney YA 65. Megan Grimit YA 101. Lynnette Labelle Adult
30. Juliana Brandt MG 66. Charlie Holmberg NA & Adult 102. Erica M. Chapman YA
31. Scarlett Cole Adult 67. Diana Gallager YA & NA 103. Summer Spence YA
32. Hayley Stone Adult 68. Stefanie Wass MG 104. Marieke Nijkamp YA
33. Jennifer Blackwood YA & NA 69. Tamara Mataya Adult 105. Meredith McCardle (co- mentoring with Ron Walters) YA
34. Kendra Young MG 70. Rebecca Sky YA & NA 106. Thomas Torre MG
35. S.P. McConnell NA & Adult 71. Kara Seal MG 107. Phil Stamper YA
36. Nikki Roberti YA 72. Lee Gjertsen Malone MG 108. J.A. Souders YA

While I helped by stating the age category each mentor is requesting, READ THEIR BIO’s to make sure they rep your genre! And before I let you go, here is a peak of some of the participating agents this year! (And Brenda has said more will be coming!)

  • Louise Fury – The Bent Agency
  • Melissa Edwards – Aaron Priest Agency
  • Alexandra Machinist – ICM Partners
  • Saba Sulaiman – Talcott Notch
  • Laura Biagi – Jean V. Naggar
  • Claire Anderson Wheeler – Regal Literary
  • Stefanie Lieberman – Janklow & Nesbit Associates
  • Carrie Prestritto – Prospect Agency
  • Melissa Nasson – Ruben Pfeffer Content
  • Uwe Stender/ Brent Taylor – TriadaUS
  • The New Leaf Literary Agents – Suzie Townsend, Pete Knapp
  • Molly Glick – Foundry Literary
  • Kitty Walker – Eve White Literary Group
  • Moe Ferrera – Booksends
  • Margaret Bail – Inklings Literary Agency
  • Julia Weber – J.A. Weber Literaturagentur GmbH
  • Rachel Brooks – L. Perkins Agency
  • Leon Husock – L. Perkins Agency
  • Christa Heschke – McIntosh & Otis
  • Stacey Donaghy – Donaghy Literary Group
  • Taylor Haggerty – Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
  • Emmanuelle Morgen – Stonesong
  • Amy Cloughley – Kimberley Cameron & Association
  • Brianne Johnson – Writers House
  • And more to come!

As always, good luck!

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

RESEARCHING AGENTS TO SUBMIT

In the past, I’ve posted links for writers to research agents regarding their legitimacy (which you can find saved under the Literary Advise tab:Finding A Literary Agent). Today, I want to discuss finding what they want in their inbox. It is important to submit only to agents that represent the type of material you write so that you don’t waste their time or yours. Keep in mind, if you have written fantasy in the past, but decided to write your first non-fiction manuscript, do not submit that non-fiction manuscript to an agent who only represents fantasy. Sounds crazy, but it really happens folks. Don’t. Do. It.

Another thing to keep in mind is what you want to spend most of your time writing. For example, let’s say you write young adult and middle grade, but the most recent manuscript you finished is YA. You spot an agent who would be a perfect fit, but s/he represents adult and young adult (no MG). What if you have more middle grade story ideas than young adult? Sometimes agents don’t represent a certain age group (or genre) because they don’t have the publishing connections available like they do the ones they currently represent. And there are others who just don’t have the “feels” for a certain age group or genre. Now, there may be other agents within the agency that represent the other age category or genre and will be willing to co-agent one of these other ideas you have, but not always and sometimes not until you’ve proven you can get the sales with the original book you signed. So ask yourself, do you want to risk a contract with an agent that will limit your writing in the age category or genre you’re most passionate? Remember, finding an agent for your manuscript also means finding an agent who’s a perfect fit for YOU. When you become the next Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, then you can write whatever you want and it won’t matter.

Here are some great places to find what agents are looking for:

  • Agency Website: Most agents list the types of stories they represent in their BIO’s. A few also provide links to personal blogs they have, posting more writing advise and shining a light on their personality.
  • Publishers Marketplace: Not all agents subscribe to this website, but those who do list the types of books they represent and some list their most recent sales.
  • Query Tracker: This is a cool site because agents not only list what they represent, you can search who represents writers in similar genres/age groups. Be careful though, if you just wrote a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, soliciting to an agent who represents a retelling of the same doesn’t usually work because the agent must be loyal to the client they already represent, which makes perfect sense.
  • Manuscript Wishlist: This is another hot place where agents (even publishers) list what they are currently looking to represent. This list can sometimes even be more specific. For example, rather than saying they want a historical fantasy, they’ll say give me a story set during World War I from a nurse’s POV who finds a magical stone to help heal her patients but gets put on trial when found healing an enemy soldier. Also, don’t forget you can see live tweets on twitter under the Manuscript Wishlist hashtag #MSWL as agents post ideas that suddenly spark.

While there are other places to learn this information, these are the most popular among my writing pals. The most important thing to remember while researching is having NO agent is better than having a bad agent, or one that isn’t a good fit.

As always, good luck!

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

NEW AGENT CONTEST FOR WRITERS

It’s no secret, I love me some good contests, especially those for writers. I do my best to keep everyone posted. And here is another fabulous opportunity. Michelle Hauck is rolling out the red carpet for New Agents.

 red carpet

This is a golden opportunity for writers because new agents are still building their client list. Which means they have more time to spend one-on-one with you. And remember, just because they are new, doesn’t mean they aren’t experienced. Sometimes agents move from one agency to another and need to build a new client list. Or perhaps, someone who has worked as an intern for several years gets promoted. And don’t forget all those lovely editors who worked at publishing companies and decided to become an agent.  Either way, they’ve worked in the publishing industry in one way or another.

For a complete list of agents, click on the link above and go here for the formatting guidelines. Submissions start at noon on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. There will be a short revision period for the writers chosen before the agent round between July 27-29. You can also watch the hashtag #NewAgent on twitter for updates, news, or teasers. (The hashtag is currently being stalked by real estate agents, but I imagine the writers will take over by tomorrow!)

As always, good luck!

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