Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Writer's Voice Twitter Pitch Party Rules

The Writer's Voice Twitter Pitch Party Rules
(Twitter hashtag: #WVTP)

Thursday, May 24 12PM - 6PM EDT

The rules...

Pitch your finished manuscript on the hashtag. You may pitch any time you see an agent online - just don't go crazy and pitch more than once during an agent visit. We will monitor the hashtag and gently inform you if you're being obnoxious. Make sure your pitch includes the hashtag #WVTP. The agents will be hopping in and out of the feed during the party hours. They'll tweet their requests for the manuscripts that pique their interests. Simple. Right? Not if more than one make a request on the same pitch, it isn't. 

Keeping in the spirit of The Writer's Voice, if two or more request the same pitch, you must choose one of them and announce it in the feed. (They promised not to hold any rejections against you.) 

ETA: You can adjust your pitch for the same ms and you can pitch more than one ms. This is a free for all, the only rules are to be nice, pitch a finished ms and use 140 characters to do it in--and email us to get submission guidelines.

If you get a request...

After you get a request, you must email us at, tell us which agent requested, we'll verify the request, and send you the agent's/agents' submission guidelines. 
So get your Twitter pitches ready, and make sure to include the hashtag. 

And follow the agents on Twitter...

Vickie Motter 

Literary Agent with Andrea Hurst Lit Agent slash book blogger. Compulsive reader of Adult ParaRom&UF and YA. Terrified of robots.

John M. Cusick 

Author of the young adult novel GIRL PARTS. Literary agent with Scott Treimel NY. Managing fiction editor at Armchair/Shotgun. Mostly harmless.

Natalie M. Lakosil 

Literary Agent at the Bradford Literary Agency, making my way through adventures in agent land.

Pam van Hylckama

Associate Agent at Larsen-Pomada Literary. Queen of Slush, mother, dog owner, wife of a Dutchman. · 

  Hannah Bowman

Literary agent at Liza Dawson Associates. Cornell alumna. Reader. Writer. Organist.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Writer's Vocie RESULTS!

I had soooo much fun co-hosting this contest! And I loved to get to know so many AMAZING peeps, too. I loved to work with many talented writers and with Krista, Brenda, and Cupid--seriously, coaches, YOU ROCK!! Thank you, everyone!!

So, now... the results!

The full MS goes to: Lauren MacLeod, Taylor Martindale, Roseanne Wells, and Louise Fury!

The full MS goes to: Lauren MacLeod, Andrea Somberg, Susan Hawk, Roseanne Wells and Louise Fury!

The partial MS goes to: Andrea Somberg!

The partial goes to: Kevan Lyon and Louise Fury!

The partial goes to: Andrea Somberg and Louise Fury!

The partial goes to: Taylor Martindale!

The full goes to: Lauren MacLeod, Andrea Somberg, Tricia Lawrence, Susan Hawk, Roseanne Wells and Louise Fury!

The partial goes to: Louise Fury!

That makes a total of 22 votes!! 22!! I’m really proud of my team, which earned second place—1 vote from Krista’s team, who won the contest.  (And congrats #TeamKrista, btw!!)

Now, don’t forget the Twitter Pitch Party!! Click here for details! :D


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Writer’s Voice Contest Entries!

We’ve based the contest on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice. So the four of us selected projects for our teams based on their queries and first pages, and later, we coached these talented writers as they polished their entries.

And TODAY we have posted our team’s entries on our four blogs!

Eight AMAZING agents are going to read the queries and first pages and then, on May 21st, they are going to vote for their favorites. Each vote will count as a partial or full request depending on how many votes the entry receives. If an entry receives 1 or 2 votes, those votes will count as partial requests. If an entry receives 3 or more votes, those votes will count as full requests.

The fantabulous agents are:

BUT that’s not all!

After the agents vote, the amazing Tara Dairman, author of THE DELICIOUS DOUBLE LIFE OF GLADYS GATSBY (coming from Penguin/Putnam in 2014), will comment on all the entries and give her awesome feedback.

To read all the entries, please follow the links below:

Click here to read Krista Van Dolzer’s team entries!
Click here to read Brenda Drake’s team entries!
Click here to read Cupid LC’s team entries!
Click here to read Mónica B.W.’s team entries!

About commenting on the entries:

Cheerleaders are allowed. But only until Sunday! We want to leave the comment section free for the agents to vote on Monday.
And we will only accept, well, cheerleading. No criticisms before the agents vote. And please don’t leave messages to the agents, either. As in, “Trust me, you want this one!” (Though we know how tempting that sounds! =D)

Happy reading!


The Coaches

Team Mónica #11 -- LEGACY

YA urban fantasy
65,000 words


Allyson has never met her father, moved more times than she’s had birthdays, and has never had a best friend until Beth. With legendary acne and worsening asthma, Allyson just wants to meet the father who turned her mother into a paranoid move-across-the-nation freak, but when Allyson accidentally spits fire on kidnappers at the mall, she starts putting the pieces together: Allyson is half dragon. Her acne? Emerging scales. Her long time asthma? Actually a fiery breath weapon. Through it all, Beth doesn’t bat an eyelash, admitting she’s half troll, and trolls have an even worse reputation than dragons.

When trolls kidnap a half-unicorn child prodigy, Beth gets blamed, and unicorns solve their problems with murder. Allyson is determined to prove Beth’s innocence and keep her off the unicorn chopping block, but when they search for the kidnappers, they get a call from the last person they expected: Allyson’s father. He works with the trolls and knows where they keep their victims, but there’s a problem: Allyson’s father is under a mystical compulsion to keep people from rescuing the victims. Nothing short of death can stop him. Now Allyson has to choose: rescue the unicorn and kill the father she’s always dreamt of, or let her best friend hang for a crime she didn’t commit.

First page:

Muzak filled the mall, and the place smelled like cheap plastic, fake gold and too much perfume. I stood in front of a shop for full figured women with my only friend, Beth. “That’s awesome,” she said, pointing at a blue jacket.
“Try it on.”
Beth shrugged. “Their clothes never fit right. They’re a little too optimistic,” she said pointing at her chest. “I can bench a bull, Allyson, but I’m not wining any wet T-shirt contests.”
“How do you know unless you try it on?” I pushed her toward the window, and she stumbled forward into the foot traffic. I must have caught her by surprise; she’s the immovable object. Refrigerators are intimidated by Beth. She’s tall, blond, and could go pro-roller derby diva at the drop of a hat.
Beth bumped into a guy even taller than her. He caught her and set her back on her feet, like she weighed nothing. My jaw dropped. There aren’t many people in the world capable of setting Beth anywhere.
“Sorry, my friend’s overly enthusiastic.” Beth straightened her jacket, brushing at imaginary dust.
The guy didn’t blink, he stared. He had a lopsided face, like someone had started baking a cake but stopped halfway through. His hair was shaved close to his head, and he wore baggy jeans, combat boots and a dumbstruck look. He leaned into Beth and took a breath. He stood a full head taller than her, making him easily the largest man I had ever seen.

Team Mónica #10 -- KISSED

Speculative YA
70,000 words


Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks.  With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had.  As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

First page:

Birthdays are supposed to be special.  Like my Kaiser Wilhelm rosebushes.  They bloom once a year, huge violet and crimson cups full to bursting with petals.  When I part the petals with my nose and inhale, I go weak in the knees from the fruity perfume.  But my birthdays are more like the daisies that grow alongside the roses.  Ignored.

The sink looked odd next to our front door.  My mother had it installed after I kept tracking in dirt and fertilizer.  I washed the soil off my hands with the warm water and used a file to clear the dirt out from under my nails.  Then I exchanged one dirty pair of ugly tennis shoes for a pair of clean ugly tennis shoes and made my way into the kitchen.
 Paint on the cabinets peeled away in white curls.  A single light bulb gave enough light to cook but not enough to read a recipe.  My mother stood by the tiny window, her bottle blonde hair twisted in a bun on the back of her head. She wiped her hands on her apron.  And then smoothed a stray hair from my braid.   I knelt down to tie my shoes, anything to avoid her touch.
“Wash your face.  We have guests for dinner.”  My stomach knotted.  I tied and untied my shoes three times, buying time to think of how to respond.  Years ago my father had closed our home to visitors. No one crossed our threshold.


YA Contemporary Magical Realism
82,000 words


Everyone else is doing it—escaping—and every city has its runaways. But in Cortado, teens don’t simply skip town; they obey the call of a mysterious voice of moss and stones that beckons, “Come. Follow. Disappear.” And Eli Sage, Westide High’s former basketball star turned dropout, wants to follow. The voice echoes throughout the city, offering to erase Eli’s every mistake, from betraying his best friend, Derek, to resenting his multiple sclerosis-burdened mother. But he’s tired of trusting empty words and oaths, and attempts to quell the ever-deafening call through atonement. He caters to Derek’s every whim, each crashed party and every altercation more self-destructive than the last.

However, the voice only dims when Eli nears his newest co-McJober, a girl with creamed-coffee skin; inhales the apple-scent of Derek’s girlfriend; or smashes bottles with an 80-year-old, fairy-tale telling thief. Yet the voice returns with Eli’s every fumbled kiss and shattered promise, its offer more lulling than before, commanding him to listen, demanding him to follow. It guides him to a hungering bridge’s shadow, where he must confront the voice’s source—an ancient troll—and decide between sacrificing his escape to help mend those he left behind and abandoning them to do what everyone else is doing: jumping.

First Page:

Climbing into the Mustang was not one of Eli’s better decisions. He never should have agreed to a “ride home” from Derek, never should have ignored his father’s past warning of “That boy is trying to kill you,” never should have allowed his trust to trump his fear. But should’ves were even more worthless than a blind referee, and now he had to deal with his current situation.
He was locked inside Derek’s parked Mustang and could do nothing but stare at the exterior of an abandoned house. It was the same three-bedroom bungalow as Eli’s old home, the one he’d shared with both parents, but the similarities stopped there. Pressboard sheets filled the large bay and two smaller square windows, the glass broken and riddled with holes from rocks and bb guns. These bookended the front door, the majority of which was covered by two-by-fours, and the gutters hung from the roof like entrails. Eli shivered. It was the perfect place for Derek to hide his body.
            “Out,” Derek said.  
            Eli hesitated, circling back to the same question: Why had he convinced himself that Derek’s “ride home” was genuine? True, Derek had been his best friend, but that was Before, when Derek sported bleached spikes for hair, strong arms, and blue eyes. This was After, and Derek’s current style consisted of a gleaming skull, shriveled frame, and eyes that had gone gray. Even still, Eli preferred the new look to the last time he’d seen his friend, a gang of cuts and bruises covering Derek’s face.

Team Mónica #8 -- BREAK FREE

YA fantasy
86,000 words


Seventeen-year-old courier Kiel Reaux has one goal: pay off the debt chaining him to the Baron of Old Town and earn his freedom. Otherwise his chains may become a noose. One last job, the Baron tells him, but it goes balls up and lands Kiel in the hands of slavers.

Kiel is sold to Izzy, a young priestess naïve enough to trust him. On the run from her own problems, Izzy needs to travel through the Wild, a jungle of untamed magic where trees can kill and flowers can resurrect the dead. What’s more, she’s decided Kiel will be her guide and promises him freedom, only if he helps her.

Assassins trail Izzy’s every step, which is almost enough to make Kiel forget about the Baron, even if the Baron hasn’t forgotten about him. But while Kiel keeps everything under control, he fails to guard himself against the most dangerous power yet: Izzy herself. Her beauty and kind nature chain Kiel so tightly he starts to forget about his freedom. Now Kiel has a choice: forget Izzy and save face with the Baron, or trust in Izzy and her promise. Because unless Kiel can find a way to protect them both, he won’t have to worry about his liberty. He can’t enjoy freedom if he’s dead.

First page:

I lost the package.
It should’ve been my final job for the Baron. The last delivery, and then I’d be done with him forever. But a stop to take a leak resulted in a vanished package and here I found myself, empty-handed, back at the Baron’s ready to beg forgiveness. To ask for a final chance to pay off my debt – a final chance to be free.
I hesitated in front of the wrought-iron gates and scratched the stubble on my jaw. The Baron’s white manor gleamed in the sun. It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich.
My stomach twisted and dropped into my groin. What was that feeling called? Dread? Yeah… definitely dread.
The setting sun turned the dust from the road red, stretching our two shadows before us. The kid, Jal, stepped beside me and stared at me out of the corner of his eye. He brushed a lock of brown hair off his forehead. “Why’d we stop?”
I shook myself and contained my worry. “No reason. Just thought maybe you needed a rest.”
His face flushed and his eyes widened. “Shut up, Kiel! You’re just saying that to make me mad.”
 “Prove it, Kid.” I shrugged. “Now come on. I want to get through this as fast as possible.”
“You’re the one who stopped in the first place,” the kid mumbled. I ignored him. When Jal sulked, he looked even younger than his thirteen years. Too young and he’d attract the Baron’s attention, something I’d managed to prevent for a long time.

Team Mónica #7 -- JUST THIS ONCE

Contemporary YA
94,000 words


For Sydney Harrison, perfection is more than just a lofty ideal. It's her only hope of escape from the new life she will never accept. When her dad's second stroke left him disabled, she lost her best friend, her home, and her belief in God all at once. Now she's living in a broken-down trailer with her family of seven, eating donated food, and making big plans. Armed with only her scholarly prowess and unwavering work ethic, Sydney is working hard her senior year to trade in her thrift-store jeans for an Ivy League education. There is no room for distraction. But there's one thing she hasn't counted on: Sheldon Miner.

When Sydney gets stuck tutoring the rich, popular sports hero, her rigid focus on her goals becomes more of a floppy blur. Suddenly she can't remember why she should avoid mid-study-session snowball fights, or kissing boys in giant coat-closets lit with twinkling Christmas lights. Sydney is sure her only hope lies in holding rigidly to her plan. But maybe the right distraction can help her open her heart, share her fears, and accept her life as it is. If only that didn't mean forcing herself to try all the things that terrify brainiacs with plans—just this once.

First page:

My dad used his second chance at life to build a tree house.
            I worked by his side, watching his every move with awe. And I felt like a child again—Daddy's little helper.
            "Sydney," he said from his perch on the stepping stool, "can you hand me that board?"
            I passed him the cedar plank, and he lifted it over his head effortlessly. Then I stretched up on tiptoes to hold it while he fastened it in place.
            Though the days were growing steadily warmer, there was a cool breeze, and the clouds rolling in portended another spring rain. The new green leaves rustled, reminding me that everything had come alive again.
            After Dad's stroke in February, that hadn't seemed likely.
            Mom brought us lemonade—only an excuse to watch him. He was a gift, and she had to make sure he was real. She came onto the porch with her pitcher and stopped, her face transforming as she saw him. Joyful, yet tentative, somehow. My heart was in my throat as I watched her fill her eyes with him. My father—alive and strong. 
            He downed his lemonade in one long swallow. "Thanks, Evie," he said. "Should be finished with the roof by tonight."
            "I'm glad," she said. "The kids are going to love this. Just don't overdo it." She smiled, but then passed her trembling hand over her forehead, shadowing her features. And I glimpsed her fear. She still had trouble believing the miracle.

Team Mónica #6 -- THE FAMILY VYGIL

MG Magical Realism
56,000 words


Jonathan Vygil is convinced he has the strangest parents ever. And he’d be right, but for all the wrong reasons. They aren’t obsessed with rescuing exotic animals – they’re busy saving monsters.

After turning twelve, Jonathan begins hearing disembodied voices that make him wonder if he’s going nuts. Spurred by their urgent cries for help, he ventures into prohibited areas of the Vygil mansion where he passes out cold when he’s frightened by Tertulius, a genuine monster. Later, once his parents assure him he isn’t crazy, Jonathan hears them out as they explain monsters aren’t make-believe or evil. He then joins the Vygil Pact, his family’s secret society that ensures the protection of all monsterdom. To become a full-fledged member, he must train with Tertulius where he'll learn why the existence of monsters is vital to all life on Earth.

But before his instruction begins, Tertulius disappears and Jonathan hurdles headlong into a frantic search for his guide. Through his journey, Jonathan realizes many people desire the rare creatures his family protects. The most perilous among them is The Plague, a family as intent on destroying the monsters as the Vygils are to save them. If Jonathan fails to find Tertulius in time, The Plague will go seeking out their next victims – his parents.

First page:

Jonathan dreaded this time of the year. He’d already wasted most of his afternoon battling the ravaging hordes instead of doing chores. Their blood lust was unquenchable. No matter how many times they were caught and dispatched, they came back for more.
Suddenly, Jonathan was attacked from behind. He swatted the enemy with all his might and tallied his latest kill. “993,” he said, flicking the dead mosquito from his neck.
Sweat trickled into Jonathan’s eyes, causing them to sting. In mid September in Georgia, the temperature still hovered around 90 degrees and the air was thick. If the heat wasn’t reason enough to work up a sweat, trying to protect his precious blood supply was. The mosquitoes plagued the town, which made the thought of going outside unbearable. Jonathan didn’t have the luxury of hiding indoors, though. Outside responsibilities needed his attention, per his mother’s instructions. Like a dutiful son, he braved the outdoors to take care of the tasks. But dutiful didn’t mean a fair amount of grumbling hadn’t been involved.
He crouched down in his mother’s garden pulling out stubborn weeds while the merciless sun beat down on his back. It was as though Mother Nature was baking cookies and left the oven door wide open. The cicadas overhead made the pine trees vibrate with their singing. Jonathan desperately wanted to finish up so he could get out of the muggy heat, but his mind strayed far from the task at hand.

Team Mónica #5 -- UNANSWERED

YA urban fantasy
83,000 words


When Sophie helps new-boy-at-school Hugh Kedoa, the last thing she expects is for him to claim he’s a Reddo, a being with infinite knowledge who can answer any question in the world. He offers her five answers in return for her kindness, but when Sophie finally takes his offer and asks her dearest question—does she have a true love?—Hugh can’t answer. So much for infinite knowledge.

Sure, the Kedoas believe something about Sophie’s phrasing stumped Hugh, but none of them can explain the strange connection that suddenly forms between her and Hugh. It doesn’t help that the more Sophie gets tangled in the Reddos’ world, the more guarded Hugh becomes around her. After she befriends the rest of the Kedoas, she learns that a power-hungry businessman with a vendetta is hunting them. He discovered how to kill Reddos and take their most dangerous ability for himself. Caught between a family she can’t help but care about and their merciless hunter, Sophie makes choices that expose secrets, start fires (literally), and put her in the path of the man who can destroy both her and the Reddos’ world.

First page:

The shadow in the forest flinched. At least Sophie thought it did.
She edged to her left to get a better look at it, ignoring the squelch that arose when she wrenched her boot from the mud. For a full two minutes she had scrutinized this shadow, the human-like shape that had appeared off this trail at Ellery Wildlife Preserve. If it ended up being a tree, she’d feel like an idiot for lingering in the woods so late in the evening, inspecting illusions. Her boss was probably going to skin her alive for taking so long already.
But if this shadow was a person, something about its stance made Sophie think its eyes were on her. Watching her.
She tilted her head to blink away the downpour. Her gaze froze on a trail of boot prints.
They originated at the edge of the path and disappeared into the green-tinged fog that had consumed the forest.
Sophie’s eyes traced the zigzag tread stamped into the mud. Her breath seized in her chest. Footprints couldn’t start at the edge of the trail, unless someone had dropped out of the sky into the preserve. And Ellery had closed to everyone except the preservation crew half an hour ago. 
Sophie peered up at the shadow—or, more likely, trespasser—again.
“Who’s there?” she called out, grateful that the wind muffled the quaver in her voice. “Uh, the preserve is closed!”
That sounded especially pitiful, even for her.

Team Mónica #4 -- ANOMALY

YA Futuristic Thriller
68,000 words


Sloan's not a killer. So when she’s the next seventeen-year-old to get her brain scanned for the government initiative, Project Reform, she never expects to end up in the Desolate, an island full of teens marked as future killers.

On the island, Sloan makes a reluctant friend in her roommate, Fallon, who has a general dislike for every human except her boyfriend--the one guy Sloan hates most. When Fallon transforms into a programmed killer, Sloan believes she’s been brainwashed and hatches a plan to rescue her from the notorious Dark Hill, a prison on the island for the worst of the worst. 

As if that weren't enough to keep her toes curling in her sneakers, Sloan goes on the run with Fallon’s arrogant boyfriend and discovers that he knows more about Killer Island than he’s saying. As Sloan tries to fight a dangerous attraction to him, they stumble onto a plot against the government and find a drug that’s turning the teens on the island into actual killers.

Sloan has a decision to make--save herself or save humanity.

First page:

I wasn't a killer, so I had no reason to be nervous about the brain scan, but something tugged at me, something raw and unknown about today.
My hand shook as I reached for my locker. I flexed my fingers, willing the shakes to stop.
Relax, Sloan. But I couldn't. Not yet.
Someone yelled in the congested corridor, cutting off the words rotating in my head. Voices squawked and shrilled in the hallway, like flocks of birds let out of their cages.
I slammed my fist against the door. Why couldn't it just close on the first try?
"Locker close." It gaped open, like a mouth during a scream.
"Close locker?"
It always did this when I was late for class. You'd think I'd remember the correct voice command after three years. I glanced down at my clear wrist-phone.    
The numbers 8:01 AM hovered above my wrist in electric blue, while an ad for Coke Pure projected into the air beside it, then disappeared.
"Locker shut," I growled.
The door closed at a sluggish pace.
Hurried footsteps clomped behind me. I turned and saw my friend and resident gossipmonger, Jasmine, barreling down the hall in tight blue neon pants and hover boots, elbowing people in her way. "Sloan!"
“What?” I said. "Did you finally reach your gossip quota?"
"Smart ass." She leaned against the plastic doors and wrapped a lock of her pink hair around her finger. Her expression grew serious, the lines in her forehead crinkling slightly. “Zege didn't pass his brain scan.”