Monday, March 2, 2015

Pitch Madness ... Game on!


Welcome to the Yellow  Team aka Team Dark Side! 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. 

To meet the slush readers, agent insiders, and the blog teams go to this post here. And you can find out more about the amazing agents playing the game on this post here


For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches and you can find the instructions here

This Pitch Madness the game is brand Scroll down to view all 15 picks for my blog or click on the links to each post.


Comments are set to moderation so the agents won’t see their competitors’ bids. Please no comments other than those from the agents. 

After the game, we’ll release the moderation and let you all comment on the entries. We’ll reveal the agent requests on March 4 at 12:00PM (that’s noon) EST

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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. 


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

Brenda Drake’s blog Rebecca Coffindaffer’s blog Summer Heacock’s blog 
All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness

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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 11 from 8AM to 8PM EST on the hashtag #PitMad. How do you twitter pitch? You can find all the details here.  

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Pitch Madness: SJ1 - THE DRAGON'S PEARL

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy 

Word Count: 98,000 

Pitch: In anti-magic South Korea, fifteen-year-old chess prodigy Misha must hunt the dragon she shares a psychic connection with. But as the bodies pile up, she learns the worst monsters can look the most human. 

Excerpt: On principle, Misha only played against demons. Today’s challenger was Mr. Hong, who hunched over the baduk board in the upstairs lounge, smoke rising from his shoulders like a smoldering hearth. Misha opened the frosted window behind her by a crack. She hadn’t played against Mr. Hong since she was ten, but she recalled how overheated their matches could get.

After a long minute, Mr. Hong took a swig of the humanifier. Thick golden liquid dribbled down his chin. He wiped his mouth as his slit pupils rounded, the cerulean fur along his jawline rescinded, and the unbearable heat cooled to room temperature.

With great reluctance he set his stone on the board.

Misha slammed hers. “Next.”

“Show-off,” he muttered.

He fumbled his counterstrike. She cut off his groups. He hurried to back up his stranded troops, but she slammed another black stone, then another, merrily luring him away from his territory, as the match spiraled into something like speed chess.

“Haven’t seen you here in ages,” he said. “Your bodyguards waiting outside the pawnshop?”


His nose twitched. “They’re with you, right?”

“They’re outside.” She had to be word-stingy with Mr. Hong. The man was a living lie-detector.

“Did your mom give you permission to come here?”

A twinge pricked her chest. Misha covered it up with a winning smile. “So how exactly does your ability work? Can you hear the truth behind the words? Do you smell the false intent? What if someone’s lying when they don’t even realize it?”

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Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: 23,000 
Pitch: When aspiring inventor Jello receives a magical gift, he builds a machine to transform his horrible sister. But the plan backfires. His recycled sister is worse than the original. And she’s bent on revenge...
Excerpt: "Happy birthday, Jello." Grace's morning breath blows warm and stale over my face.

I squeeze my eyes tight, pretending to sleep. Being called Jello doesn't get you any cool points in middle school. Grace came up with the nickname when I was a baby. She said my chubby cheeks jiggled like Jello. Our parents thought it was cute, so it stuck like wet toilet paper to my shoe.

"Wake up, Turd Puddle."

I open my eyes. A slimy string of spit wiggles over my face. It drops an inch and quivers before Grace slurps it up and swallows.

"Leave me alone.” I scramble to the far side of my bed.

"Just making sure my little brother’s eleventh birthday's super memorable." Her braces glint like sharp knives in the morning light. "And I’ve got something pretty epic planned for you today."

"Great. You’re moving in with Dad, then?"

Her mouth snaps shut. "Believe me, I would if I could." She grabs the doorknob. It's moments like these I wish my Doorknob Shocker invention worked.

"Better get dressed or you’ll miss out on Hee Haw’s special birthday breakfast." She smirks and slams the door.

I flop back in bed. Maybe, if I’m lucky, my grandmother's cooking will kill me before Grace gets the chance to do it herself.

At the bottom of the stairs a revolting aroma attacks my nostrils. Hee Haw's hunched over the sink draining a chunky gray liquid into a jug. Tied above her plump belly is a frilly apron.

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Pitch Madness: SJ3 - I WANT TO BE FREE

Genre: Adult Science Fiction

Word Count: 72,000

Pitch: When aliens and government agents interrupt the solitude of Maggie's mountaintop farm, she rolls up a joint, grabs her shotgun Betsy, and shows them how cranky an old Appalachian broad can get.
Excerpt: It was too damn early to kill a man. I didn't even get one drink of my coffee before I saw him on the security camera monitor, traipsing right into my pot patch. Got me so irate I spilled half my coffee down the front of my nightgown. I figured there was time to change into dry clothes, until I saw him bend over and finger one of my plants like a jock does his girlfriend on Homecoming night. 

This was no neighbor, either: black suit, trench coat, looking like a 1920s mobster except for the shiny, bald head. Since this bastard walked right past my “No Trespassing” signs and advertised himself as a candidate for assisted suicide, I pulled on my boots, grabbed ole Betsy and headed for the door.

I jogged through my yard and down the hill, slowing to a walk as I neared the woods. The sound of my dogs barking inside the house became fainter. In fact, everything got quiet. My ex taught me how to sneak up on prey without being heard. Of course, the lessons involved me being the prey and him the hunter. I didn't like those lessons much. Lucky for me, today's prey didn't hear me coming.

I didn't waste time. I got a good aim at his leg ('cause, like I said, it was too early in the morning to kill a man), flipped the hammer back and took the shot.

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Genre: New Adult Historical Fiction

Word Count: 86,000

Pitch: Lacey Anne McDougal, defying her Klansman father, sneaks across tracks separating the city’s colors to hear jazz music. There, she falls in love with a pianist—but there’s just one problem: he’s colored.

Excerpt: Lacey Anne McDougal was sure this was a bad idea. She stood by the tracks that separated Tulsa, Oklahoma, staring open-mouthed at a lopsided sign that read: *Let not the sun go down on a Negro’s back, lest he be dead*. A noose hung around a dummy’s neck, tied to the pole above it. *Yes, most definitely a bad idea*, she thought, her palms slick with the idea of what she was about to do.

The sign was not a threat—it was a promise.

The bustling city did nothing to calm her nerves like it usually did. Cars zipped by as young adults waved and shouted from the windows. People laughed and children played marbles on the sidewalks. Smoke rose from chimneys, belching hazy waste skyward. White-gloved women strolled through the city, gossiping and pointing at every person trimming plants in front of the marketplace. Ever since Lacey was a child, she knew not to go to the other side of town—it was beat into her by her Klansman father. Today, however, she was breaking that rule.


Lacey turned around slowly.

“I am sorry, Miss, but you shouldn’t be out here… you know, this far from Main,” a deep voice informed her. “And don’t worry about the dummy. It isn’t going to hurt anybody… it’s from that film, you know?”

Her eyebrows shot up.

“What film?”

“Why, *The Birth of a Nation*, ma’am. What are you doing out here alone?”

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Pitch Madness: SJ5 - BLOOD AND BONES

Genre: Young Adult Thriller

Word Count: 75,000

Pitch: Surgery erased her terminally diseased brain tumor, but Skye must find out why she was left with the memories, and voice, of a serial killer in her head.

Excerpt: It was an obscenely hot summer morning when I was sentenced to die.

After endless months of paralyzing headaches, occasional memory loss, and countless doctors prescribing useless migraine prescriptions, I was certain I was at the conclusion of my life’s story. My father, who wasn’t ready to read my final chapter just yet, took me to see a renowned neurosurgeon at Saint Stephen’s Hospital. A few moments through the pulsating tunnel of a M.R.I. illuminated what he was in search of and allowed him to diagnose my troubles with two little words:

Brain tumor.

My father’s horror-stricken face mirrored my own internal struggle with the news. My selfish, younger sister snatched a box of cheap tissues from the doctor’s desk and dabbed away the crocodile tears that streaked her flawlessly made-up face. I tried to remember how to breathe when I looked into the patient face of the man who claimed he could rescue me.

And somewhere far away from where I sat, I pictured my mother smiling at the imaginary butterflies that often flitted around her wild red hair within the mental facility she had been living for nearly two years.

In spite of everyone’s dread about my test results, Dr. Taylor had other ideas about my future.

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Pitch Madness: SJ6 - BLEED THROUGH

Genre: Adult Psychological Suspense

Word Count:  70,000

Pitch: After witnessing a murder, schizophrenic Liam must distinguish between reality and the creations of his mind before he loses the life he’s fought so hard to recover.
Excerpt: Liam drew aside pink ruffly curtains and peered across the street. A quick glance at the owl alarm clock confirmed the time: 3:00 PM.

Right on schedule, Mrs. Channer emerged in her Monday outfit, a white tennis skirt and matching tank that revealed skin flaccid with age. She strolled toward her letterbox and retrieved the day’s mail, shuffling it through her hands like a deck of playing cards. Feigning nonchalance, Mrs. Channer shaded her eyes against the intense afternoon sun and turned toward Liam and scanned his house. She knew he was watching.

Liam eased the curtains closed and shrank to the floor. The unwritten rules of engagement between Mrs. Channer and him required discreet surveillance and he wouldn’t be the first to break protocol.

Even between enemies, it’s best to avoid awkward situations.

He lifted up a small mirror and watched Mrs. Channer’s reflection retreat indoors. A stubborn old bitty, she insisted on living nearby despite the fact that he’d killed her one hundred times.

Problem was, the pesky woman kept replicating. Protecting his family from her wasn’t an easy job, but Liam didn’t mind hard work; neither did Joshua.

“You’re gonna have to kill her again,” Joshua said, sprawling across Tasha’s bed, his uniform of black jeans and leather jacket a shadow against the pink comforter. Shreds of afternoon light filtered through the curtains and settled on his pockmarked face. He yawned and laced his hands behind his head.

Liam was never that relaxed.

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Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Word Count: 41,000

Pitch: Sixth-grader Mary-Catherine fails at everything…until she’s chosen to direct the school play. Balancing boys, besties, and bake sales is hard enough, but with a nemesis set on dramatic sabotage, how will MC save the show?

Excerpt: Starting middle school on crutches had been about as bad as it sounds. While I was hobbling around trying to find all my classes after an “unfortunate accident” during field hockey tryouts, everyone else found all their friends and where they fit in. By the time I was back on my own two feet, I was pretty much invisible (except to Angie, who’d been my BFF since, well, forever). And it’s not like I hadn’t been trying things. For four months I had been trying things. I just hadn’t found the right thing. But today, that would finally change. I could feel it.

I took another look at the picture of the expertly frosted Best Chocolate Cake our home ec teacher, Mrs. Collins, had projected on the screen in the front of the classroom, and my mouth watered.

*Baking is the perfect answer to my New Year’s resolution to find something I’m good at. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate cake? People are going to ask me to bake them things all the time! Maybe I can even get extra credit for it. I’ll have to find out what our history teacher likes before midterms…*

I read through the instructions one more time: grease and flour the pan, mix everything in a bowl, and pour the batter into the pan to bake. *This is going to be awesome.*

“Do you want to grease the pan, or should I?” I asked my partner, Kate Nichols, who was the second worst person in the room Mrs. Collins could have paired me with.

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Word Count: 67,000

Pitch: Seventeen-year-old, Juliana, dreams of a national mountain bike championship, but her life becomes more dangerous than the downhills she craves, when she falls for an heiress, who hides deadly deceit behind her beauty and lies.

Excerpt: The violet-gray of twilight enveloped the road as Jules flicked her fingers, pushing a higher gear to increase her sprint. Focused on winning tomorrow’s New York Mountain Bike championship, nothing could break her concentration. With head down and feet pounding the pedals, she rounded the bend—a quick downhill shot to town.

Not many seventeen-year-old girls were as dedicated to the sport. She needed to win that race for her dad, and to prove to herself she was an exceptional cyclist, not just using one passion to hide another. In her small town, biking was the easier choice.

Jules glanced up. The valley lights below caught her attention, but her head wrenched back at a shadow in the road. Too late! A muffled thud stopped the front wheel, flipping the rear of the bike in the air—and Jules over the handlebars.

Asphalt and pine trees blurred. She slammed into the pavement. Peeling herself off the blacktop, pain ripped across her shoulder. Blood flowed from her forearm, where gravel shredded her skin. "Shit!"

She pulled off her helmet and ran scraped fingers through her hair, so wet and dark it didn't look blonde anymore. Jaw clenched, she shuffled back to the twisted heap of metal straddled across the obscure object.

“What the hell is that?”

Jules lifted her mangled bike and a limp hand fell out of the jumbled mess, palm up on the road. She jerked back and switched on her helmet light.

“Oh… my… God!”

It was a body.

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Genre: Adult Mainstream Commercial

Word Count: 94,000

Pitch: A wounded soldier's battle with addiction forces him to confront the very thing he wants to forget: his role in the death of a comrade killed in an IED attack.

Excerpt: The siren’s wail fell silent as the ambulance pulled up.

Jennifer Fitzgerald stood in front of the Emergency Room doors and watched as the paramedics yanked the gurney out of the ambulance, letting its wheels hit the ground harder than they normally would. The patient squawked at the impact and began complaining in low, slurred tones, but didn’t move, having one arm splinted and the other handcuffed to the gurney.

Normally she should have been angry with them, treating a patient roughly like that. Had she seen them treating one of her patients that way, she would have laid into them right there. But this time, with this patient, she simply stood in bitter silence, her jaw tightening with anger as they wheeled him into the ER.

It hadn’t always been this way. He hadn’t always been this bad. For months she’d told herself it was a temporary thing, a phase he was going through. That he’d pull himself together somehow, the way he’d always done before. It would get better. But as the weeks turned to months and the long spring of his convalescence turned to summer, it didn’t get better.

It had been four months since her husband returned from Afghanistan, and she hardly recognized him anymore.

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Pitch Madness: SJ10 - SWEET JANE

  Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

  Word Count: 61,000
Pitch: You Against Me meets Cracked Up To Be. Seniors coerce sophomore Jane into a deflowering game—pawn or participant, she can’t tell. Another girl’s rape forces a decision: reveal her part or let justice fail.

Excerpt: Being invisible was an art I perfected.

"It was more than being a wallflower," I said. "More than being picked last in gym class. More than shrinking like a violet. And for what it's worth, violets don't actually shrink. They are hiding in the leaves." Their petals so inconspicuous and dainty they almost disappear. That was me; quiet, small, and hidden in the crowd. Like I wasn't there at all. Just waiting to be seen.

Detective Hereford dragged a handkerchief across his sweaty forehead and banged it on the table between us. Coffee spilled over the side of his roll-up-the-brim to win cup from Tim Horton's. His eyebrows pinched together to form one big unibrow. He mopped up the spilled coffee with his hankie and set the cup down gently. The brim had been unrolled. The look on his face told me he hadn't won.

His partner, Detective Bryant, was a good foot shorter than him and didn't have any hair on top of his head, just two inches of wild grey curls circling around the back from ear to ear. They reminded me of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street. I half wondered if they'd count paperclips and announce the letter of the day. *Today's police investigation was brought to you by the letters J and C and the number 8.*

There were eight of us still left in the game at the end. The rest went quietly to their graves. Metaphorically, of course. No one actually died. It just felt like it.

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Pitch Madness: SJ11 - THE BEATLES FAN

Genre: Middle Grade Historical

Word Count: 50,000

Pitch: Twelve year old Gordon Cohen's world crashes when he discovers his Dad had another kid while serving in World War II. He runs away to find his brother and the truth about his family.

Excerpt: Saturday. February 8, 1964

I stared at my reflection in the window.. The one and only Gordon Cohen. Twelve –year-old Devil Dog lovin’, comic book junkie, Beatles fan. And now – a runaway kid.

If I had half a brain I’d jump off the train faster than a speeding bullet, but then I’d never find out the truth about Dad’s secret. Asking him was not an option. I had been snooping when I found the document. He’d punish me for life for messing with his stuff.

As usual, he'd sigh, like all the other times I'd gotten into trouble. “You can do better, Gordon." "What were you thinking, Gordon?" "Haven’t I told you a million times, Gordon!” I did stuff without thinking. it was part of my personality, like losing my new math review book, If I hadn't lost it I wouldn't have looked for change in dad's dresser and I wouldn’t have found the information that got me on this train in the first place.
So even though my insides felt like worms at a wrestling match, I kept my butt in my seat.

The train moved. There was no turning back.
Outside, puffs of steam rose up from the tracks like a sci-fi movie. I’d never ridden a real train before, only the subway. It smelled like old cigarettes and my grandmother's fancy perfume. I rubbed my hand on the soft red seat cushion and hoped I wasn’t making the biggest mistake of my life.

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Genre: Young Adult Horror

Word Count: 63,000

Pitch: Mia thinks she drowned her best friend and lied to cover it up. Years later, back at the lake, she learns the truth, which is way more horrifying than what she’s been led to believe.

Excerpt: The air hung steamy and thick as we pulled up the drive to the lake house. Over the past four years our old summer retreat existed only in my memories. Ones I’d tried hard to forget.

The house hadn’t weathered well since our last summer. The paint was peeling and the foliage was so overgrown, it looked like the trees and bushes were devouring the place. The smell of mold and wet moss wafted in the air as I climbed out of the car onto the stone drive. I looked around and shuddered. From where I was standing, I could see my best friend Sara’s old house as well as the path to the lake where her dead body had been floating after I killed her.

My mother handed me my bag and sighed. I knew she wasn’t any happier about being here than I was, but I wasn’t sure if her sigh was one of nostalgia or regret. Maybe a little of both.

“Well, honey, ready to take the plunge?” she said. “See what we’re dealing with inside?”

“If it’s anything like the outside, I think we should cut our losses and go home.”
My mother shot me a wan smile as she brushed my cheek. “I know you don’t want to be here, Mia, but we need to finally sell this place, especially now that your dad’s gone. Besides, Dr. Hershel thinks it will be good for you to come back. You know, for closure.”

“Psychiatrists love to throw around terms like closure.

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Pitch Madness: SJ13 - THEN YOU WIN

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Word Count: 80,000

Pitch: Meagan doesn’t want to change video game culture, she just wants to play. Her mom wants to make gaming the next battleground for women’s rights. Now, online trolls want them both dead.

Excerpt: I have Ms. Pac-Man, that pixelly yellow biscuit with a pink bow on top, to thank for everything. Until Mum and I left Australia for California, my house was the only one I knew that had a genuine original Ms. Pac-Man arcade cabinet right there in the lounge room—*or living room, I s’pose you’d call it*. In Silicon Valley there are probably heaps of them, but I’m pretty sure, to the owners, Ms. Pac-Man is nothing more than a kitschy relic of a time when girls were given one tiny foothold in the world of video games. Still, a foothold was all my mum needed. To her, that yellow biscuit—*or cookie, if you like*—was the starting point, the thing that kicked off her whole future and, consequently, decided mine.

On the plane from Sydney, Mum told me I should feel at least a little bit at home in Veracruz. After all, California’s one of the few places outside Australia where eucalyptus trees grow in profusion. I pressed my nose against the window and looked down at the lumpy green landscape below. Home? Yeah, right.

Mum’s new car was waiting for us at the airport, and she actually managed to drive to our rented house without killing us—amazing, really, when you consider the number of times she veered onto the wrong side of the road. All the way she chattered about her new job, my new school, and how exciting our new life was going to be.

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Pitch Madness: SJ14 - SPIRIT QUEST

Genre: Adult Rural Fantasy

Word Count: 98,000

Pitch: A native man learns his stepfather was murdered and uncovers a plot to resurrect the Ojibwe God of Darkness. He must learn to use his spirit magic and reconcile his heritage to stop this menace.

Excerpt: Ashigan didn't fear death, but the thought of those pursuing beasts clawed at his soul.

The road was still kilometers away and the river was his only option. The waheela were toying with him, chasing him through the forest, taking turns attacking, and wearing him down. He would have been impressed by their tactics had they not been hunting him.

The river was the first glimmer of hope Ashigan had since they started chasing him from Misajidamoo's hunting camp. Misajidamoo had left an abrupt phone message claiming a pack of these wolf-bear hybrids were stalking him. But Ashigan knew the waheela never ventured south of the Northwest Territories.

Ashigan had dropped by the camp to check in on his fellow Medicine Man and found the waheela waiting for him. He managed to escape, but they followed him. He had spent many fall days with Misajidamoo in these woods hunting deer and bear. Never would he have thought he'd be hunted in these same woods.

Stopping at the edge of the forest, Ashigan leaned against a tall birch tree that overlooked the river. His shallow breaths stung his lungs. Twenty years ago, this pursuit wouldn't have winded him. Now in its sixties, his body conspired against his efforts to flee.

The tree's spirit radiated out through its skeletal limbs that stretched high into the sky. Ashigan touched each of the white birch's thirty-seven winters and felt its deep root system. The tree acknowledged his presence and passed along a portion of its vitality.

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: At the final graduation party, Daryl seized her moment… and now everything sucks. Back home for winter break, she must balance one former best friend, one surprising crush and one giant secret. Unreliable narrator.

Excerpt: Entering my bedroom was like breaching an ancient tomb.

I’d left just months before, but when I cracked open the door I felt like I should have been wearing a leather jacket and a fedora. My overstuffed armchair was loaded down with clothes that hadn’t made the final cut. My stuffed giraffe was slumped into a place of honor on my bed. A stack of graduation cards sat fanned across my desk like a royal flush.

My eyes slid to a picture on my nightstand in an electric pink frame. I picked it up, wiped away some accumulated dust and stared. It was a group photo from the first day of high school. My hair, the color of an apple slice that’s been left out on the counter, was gathered into a perfect ballerina bun on top of my head. My arm was thrown around a small Asian girl with perfect bangs, her mouth open so wide in laughter that it looked like she was screaming. Four other girls flanked us, all mugging in white Class of 2015 t-shirts like they were our as-yet unearned caps and gowns. “My Squad!!” bragged bubble script across the bottom.

I snickered. We thought we were so tough, but my mother took this picture, and then she drove the six of us to school in her minivan because there wasn’t a license among us. And yet look at the way our hips jutted out.

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Pitch Madness: SJ16 - HOODLUM

Genre: Adult Commercial/Suspense

Word Count: 82,000

Pitch: After his fiancée Marian goes missing in a raid that killed the rest of their squad, Rob Loxely turns to crime to cope with his PTSD. A retelling of Robin Hood.

Excerpt: Hot subway exhaust burst through the rusted ventilation grates. Even though they ran as quickly as their long legs could pump, Rob was hit by one of those steam explosions. He felt fiery air blast up his legs, a burning beneath his dark, brown corduroys. For a moment, Rob couldn’t breathe. The bandanna around his face was too tight, felt too suffocating, but he couldn’t pull his hoodie back to loosen it. Couldn’t risk getting his face caught on a surveillance cam, or the long scar down his cheek.

Piercing through the wail of police sirens and honking taxi cabs was the fierce barking of dogs.

Instinctively, Rob reached his hand out for Will--a simple brush, fingertips against bicep--to make sure that Will was there. Really there. That he wasn’t an illusion. That they were home and far away from the bombs and corpses and burning Humvees in the bloody desert sand.

They twisted their bodies, dodging through the travelers on their way to Nottingham Central Station. Just north of the border was the best place to pull the last job, they’d all agreed. No one looked, no one really stopped to stare.

Will dipped in and out of Rob’s limited peripheral vision. Each time Will was just out of his sight, Rob felt his chest tighten, felt the sensation of asphyxiation again, but Rob had to trust him. Had to trust that Will was there, and it was Nottingham, and they were here and okay and alive.

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Pitch Madness: SJ17 - DESCENT

Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Word Count: 105,000

Pitch: Em is hell-bent on proving her mother didn’t commit suicide. Suffering from inexplicable visions, Em defends her mom’s sanity when she isn’t even sure of her own. Paranormal VERONICA MARS meets THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE.
Excerpt: I am sitting in my truck.

Okay, so, that’s a lie. I’m *hiding in my truck.

And if hiding from my classmates was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal, because, at the moment, it doesn’t seem like anyone has noticed me. I wonder how long it will last.

I take a deep breath. Then I feel what everyone keeps telling me is anxiety. Call it what you want- it just feels like a bee buzzing around in my ribcage, stinging the inside of my chest. Sucking down air usually helps; I suffocate the bee with oxygen.

Glancing around, I try not to look like a total sketchball. I wonder if anyone is paying attention to the nondescript blue truck in the farthest corner of the student parking section. But as I look, I spot a familiar blonde head, bobbing down the aisle of cars next to me. Apparently, someone is paying attention.

I swallow the stupid ache in my throat, praying it disappears soon. The irony of one person being my sole source of comfort and also serving as a razor that rips open barely-healed scars...

'Stop it, Em'. I cut myself off. Melodramatic thinking is not going to improve this demon hell-spawn of a day, or get the bee to disappear. 'So knock it off. '

Outside, my tiny blonde army-of-a-friend, barrels towards the truck like a five foot one, ninety-eight-pound rhinoceros. She pulls open the passenger door with zero effort and climbs into cab.

I take a breath, and wait for the inquisition.


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Friday, February 20, 2015

#PitchMadness Submission Window now open!


The submission window for Pitch Madness SORRY! Edition is now open! 

To enter the contest, head over to Brenda Drake's blog and go to the submission post.

What is Pitch Madness? It’s a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents. I will have an agent introduction post up soon. The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST on February 20 until 11:59PM EST on February 23. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted. Make sure to perfect your entry. If you make an error, you may not resend. 

There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult (never before published) fiction only, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. All genres (i.e. fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, and so on) are welcome to enter. This time around we will not accept non-fiction. Only one entry per writer. 

Pitch Madness will be on four blogs and each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 15 entries. We’ll have a team of first readers who will check for formatting, grammar, and content and put their top picks through to the hosts. To meet the readers and the teams go to this post here

Here are the host blogs … Brenda Drake’s blog Rebecca Coffindaffer’s blog Summer Heacock’s blog Sharon Johnston’s blog All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness! The agents will be playing a game to win their top requests and have some time alone with them before they’re sent to the other requesting agents. To meet our agents go to this post here. Good luck everyone, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Suspected by Rori Shay - Pre-sale!

East Country upheld the laws. Mid destroyed them.

In the year 2185 Earth is rebuilding after climate change created a global eco-crisis. Countries maintain complete isolation so there is no warfare over scarce resources. One Elected family is chosen to lead each country for 100 years to ensure stability. Women aren’t allowed to take office and must reproduce at all costs. Technology use of any kind is banned to preserve what’s left of the environment.

And yet, I’m my country’s Elected. I’ve just sanctioned technology use to ready us for war. I’m about to cross the border to spy on our neighbor. And…I’m a girl. 


A note from Rori Shay
"A lot of you asked me to let you know when the next book in The Elected Series came out.  SUSPECTED, book 2, opened for pre-release this week on kickstarter.

It releases in all major vendors (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, etc.) for real on Earth Day April 22, 2015.  The pre-release lasts just for a month and is fun because it allows the publisher to supply limited edition items, signed copies, ability for readers to get their names in the back of the book, stretch goals for free items, etc.  There are even tuckerizations available during the pre-sale, which won't be available at any other time.  A tuckerization is when the author writes you into the book as one of the characters.  Those are kind of expensive, but they're really cool!"
To check out the exciting pre-release on kickstarter, visit here!  

Book One
It’s the year 2185, and in two weeks, Aloy will turn eighteen and take her father’s place as president of the country. But to do so, she must masquerade as a boy to avoid violating the Eco-Accords, four treaties designed to bring the world back from the brink of environmental extinction. Aloy hopes to govern like her father, but she is inheriting a different country. The long concealed Technology Faction is stepping out of the shadows, and as turmoil grows within her country, cryptic threats also arrive from beyond their borders.

As she struggles to lead, Aloy maintains her cover by marrying a woman, meanwhile battling feelings for the boy who knows her secret—the boy who is somehow connected to her country’s recent upheaval. When assassination attempts add to the turmoil, Aloy doesn’t know whom to trust. She understood leadership required sacrifice. She just didn’t realize the sacrifice might be her life.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

#PitchMadness Sorry Edition: Rules and Submission Instructions

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The submission window for Pitch Madness SORRY! Edition is this Friday!

What is Pitch Madness? It's a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents. 

I will have an agent introduction post up soon. The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST on February 20 until 11:59PM EST on February 23. You should have plenty of time to get your submissions in. 

There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted. Make sure to perfect your entry. If you make an error, you may not resend. 

There will be 60 finalists moving onto the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult (never before published) fiction only, novel length (no novellas) completed and polished manuscripts only. All genres (i.e. fantasy, contemporary, sci-fi, and so on) are welcome to enter. This time around we will not accept non-fiction. Only one entry per writer. 

What do you need to enter? A 35-word (max) pitch and the first 250 words of your finished manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence. There will be a form on the submission post on Brenda Drake's blog for you to fill out and submit your entry. 

Please enter only once. You will not get an email receipt. Look for the notice after you submit that says it was received. Pitch Madness will be on four blogs and each blog host will have a co-host helping them choose their top 15 entries. 

We’ll have a team of first readers who will check for formatting, grammar, and content and put their top picks through to the hosts. To meet the readers and the teams go to this post here. Here are the host blogs ...

Brenda Drake's blog
Rebecca Coffindaffer's blog
Summer Heacock's blog
Sharon Johnston's blog 

All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness! The agents will be playing a game to win their top requests and have some time alone with them before they're sent to the other requesting agents. 

To meet our agents go to this post here. red 2 

Here are the rules of the SORRY! game the agents will play ...

First Round - March 2-3 (Midnight to Midnight EST) Starting on March 2 just after Midnight EST and until the end of March 3 the agents will visit the host blogs, read the entries, and enter their moves (requests) for the pitches they want. The comments will be on moderate so that agents won't see what the other agents are requesting. Highest move "request" wins. 

Here are the moves (requests) that can be made for the first round:
  • To place a partial request: Agents move their "pawn" the number of spaces they want to request. (Example: I move my pawn 1 space = 1 chapter). Agents can move their pawns up to 12 paces. Each partial will include the query. The agents don't have any restrictions other than they can't request more than 12 chapters or less than one chapter.*
  • To place a full request: Agents move their "pawn" home. (Example: I move my pawn home = full request. Each full request will include the query.)*
  • Highest request wins the play and an entry into the drawing referenced below.
*Only one request per agent for each pitch during the first round. yellow

Second Round - March 4 at 12PM (Noon) EST
If there are ties (same winning request), then the competing agents go into the challenge round. Each player (agent) will be asked to play a SORRY! card in the comments of the tying entry's post. 

The first to post "SORRY!" wins the full request. We will announce all tying requests on the Twitter hashtag #PitchMadness. When both agents announce on Twitter that they are available for the challenge, we'll tweet for them to go to the entry's post and play their SORRY! card in the comments of that post. There will be three tweets counting down to "Go." First to post wins. 

If an agent can't be there for the challenge round, they can appoint someone to make their plays for them or we can find someone to do it. Just let us know ahead of time. 

Wait. There's more! To show our appreciation, the agents aren't only competing for requests, but for gift cards, too! We figured that it's a lot of work playing a game, so we decided to reward the winners as an extra incentive and bragging rights. 

The winning agent, grand ruler of the slush pile will receive a $50 gift card from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winners choice) with two runners-up receiving $25 gift cards. There will be a drawing for the winners of the gift cards. Just for participating the agents automatically get an entry into the drawing. 
For each win, the agents get another entry into the drawing. green piece

Please note: All requests will be honored, just the winning agents get a head start and an entry into the drawing. On March 11 from 8AM to 8PM EST we're holding a Twitter Pitch Party on #PitMad as a sort of consolation prize for those who entered the contest and didn't make it in. It's open to all writers with a completed manuscript.


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