Tuesday, May 28, 2013

"The Writer's Voice" Wrap-Up!!

**WARNING!! This post will have an overabundance of exclamation points!!**

This year's TWV was even more fabulous than I expected!

I cannot say enough how proud I am of every member on Team Cupid '13!! (You guys are awesome!!!)

They worked together and with me really well and their entries were completely fabulous!!! I'm expecting some great news from them over the next while. :)

Here is a summary of the votes:

Team Cupid #1 - DAGGER ISLAND  - 7 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #2 - CHICK MAGNET  - 3 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #3 - TWELVE STEPS  - 1 VOTE!!!!

Team Cupid #4 - GONE MISSING GIRL - 4 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #6 - WE ARE OPPORTUNITY - 5 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #7 - NO REST FOR THE WANTED - 3 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #8 - BROTHERLY LOVE - 2 VOTES!!!!

Team Cupid #9 - MAD WORLD - 3 VOTES!!!!

Total: 28 votes!!!! --Plus a bunch of ninja requests (revealed below) afterward!! Yay!

Woohooo!!!! We got second place!!!! A big congrats to Team Krista on grabbing first!

And another big congrats to Team Monica and Team Brenda for all the fab requests!!!!

Of course, I am so grateful to the agents who participated, including the surprise ninjas!!! And I am so grateful to the other coaches for all they've done and for all the readers/commenters!! You guys rock!

And of course I'm grateful for Team Cupid '13 and '12!

Special thanks to Sarah L. Blair for helping me comment during the blogfest and for the cheerleading and fab canons!

Also, special thanks to Marieke Nijkamp for helping me get some posts up when I was out of town!

And (one more I promise) more big thanks to Kimberly Chase for help with the sign ups!


Now don't forget the Ninja IDENTITIES!!

Your Friendly Neighborhood Ninja is: Carrie Pestritto of the Prospect Agency!


And now, the long awaited honorable mentions!!!! 

Tip Top Honorable Mention: #80 (Loved the writing/voice!)

Top Honorable Mentions: #3, #14, #20, #46, #55, #137

Other Honorable Mentions: #16, #17, #22, #31, #49, #58, #66, #71, #83, #95, #96, #104, #111, #124, #127, #130

(Ones I loved and lost to other coaches: #88, #134)

*These #s are from this post here.

Btw, I know there were a few others I didn't write down but would have loved to read! For one reason or another, I just didn't know if they'd do well in today's market.


Monday, May 20, 2013

"The Writer's Voice" is on!!! Go TEAM CUPID!

AGENTS! Find links for Team Cupid in this post, below! Thank you!!!!

“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Mónica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista of Mother.Write.(Repeat.). We 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 coached the talented writers who wrote them as they polished their entries.

And TODAY we get to post our team members’ finished entries on our blogs!

Thirteen amazing agents are going to read these queries and first pages, then vote for their favorites this Thursday and Friday, May 23 and 24. 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.

Our thirteen amazing agents:

 To read the other teams' entries, please use the following links:

Lastly, cheerleading is allowed, but only until Wednesday! We want to leave the comments free for the agents to vote on Thursday and Friday. (Also, we will only allow, well, cheerleading and/or positive feedback. Please don’t critique the entries before the agents vote. On the flip side, please don’t try to convince the agents that they want to vote for one of your favorites or, you know, threaten to douse the agents in silly string if they don’t vote for your critique partner. This is a silly-string-free site.)

The Writer's Voice #1 - DAGGER ISLAND (MG)

Genre: Upper MG Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000


Dagger Island is no place for children, which is grand, because fourteen-year-old Sedna believes she’s all grown up.

After her parents’ death, Sedna’s forced to sail to the elusive island to live with her grandmother, exchanging her prim upbringing for a life of adventure.

But the adventure starts sooner than expected.

While crossing the Trade Sea, Sedna’s ship is attacked by sea dragons. She’s thrown overboard and almost drowns. When she wakes up, she’s on Dagger Island. Alone.

Relying on memories of her father’s expedition journals to survive, Sedna searches the jungle for her grandmother’s township. Along the way, she encounters another survivor, the annoyingly confident cabin boy, Louie, and they make an unsettling discovery.

Her father’s journals are full of lies.

Dagger Island has more secrets than the sea: barbarian cannibals, a village in the sky, and a tribe that worships the sea goddess. When Sedna suspects her parents died protecting the island’s secrets, she and Louie search for answers.

But the closer they get to the truth, and her grandmother, the more Sedna questions who she is—and if she’s really as grown up as she thought.

First 250:

Sedna was suffocating. She scrambled up the ship’s ladder feeling like a bird beating its wings against its cage. When she reached the top step, she flung open the hatch and squinted in the afternoon sunlight. Warm sea air gusted over the bow of the ship, filling the sails until brimming.

Ms. Bess yelled after her to stop, but Sedna climbed on deck and released the hatch, letting the wind slam it shut.

She was too old to have a nanny.

Her skirts flailed behind her as she crossed the planking to the starboard rail. The sparkling Trade Sea draped before her in every direction, a pristine reflection of the aquamarine sky. While locked in her cabin below, she'd wished for moderate seas and ideal winds. She wasn't disappointed.

Ms. Bess caught up to her, puffing hard. “Child, how many times have I told you not to run on the ship?” Round and doughy with a double chin, Ms. Bess’s cheeks resembled sweet rolls dotted with raspberry jam. “And put on your hat.”

Sedna parried her efforts to set the ladies cap on her head. “The sun won’t harm me.”

“It surely will. Too much spoils your complexion. You’ve already sprouted unsightly freckles since we left Datmour. What would your mother have said?”
She eluded Ms. Bess’s reach again. She didn’t mind her freckles. They gave her pale skin much needed color. As for what her mother might have said, she preferred not to think about it. Her mother’s phobia of water had kept Sedna from seafaring, but her death had changed that. Her death had changed everything.


The Writer's Voice #2 - CHICK MAGNET (YA)

Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 98,000


JD Marshall has a power most guys would trade their left nut for. With one hypnotizing look, he can get a girl to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And for three years he’s racked up more scores than Brett Favre. But his power’s not a blessing.

It’s a curse.

A curse a witch put on him three years ago. A curse he’s got four months to break or lose any chance of ever having a real relationship. The only way to break it—learn to love and be loved. Like that’s going to happen. JD needs to focus on quarterbacking his team to the state finals. He needs to pass freaking English. And he needs to quit thinking about Susan Milton. She’s taken. She’s forbidden. Worse—she seems to be the only one immune to his power.

But JD can’t get away from her. The principal (aka Mom) arranges tutoring with Susan to save a shaky English grade. But when football botches the after-school sessions, the “tutoring” with Susan continues over late night phone calls. JD discovers he'll have to do a little more than just look at a girl to charm the skirt off her. And he finds that underneath that tight little body lies a pretty screwed up past, one that parallels his own.

What blooms is a relationship JD can’t tell anyone about—not even his best friend. Because Susan—the one he wants, the one he can’t avoid, the one who could break the curse—just happens to be his hot new English teacher.

First 250:

Getting with Susan Milton should be the last thing on my mind.

I should be thinking about Northeast and their defensive line, the one that racks up eight QB sacks a game. I should be running through Coach’s five new plays—the ones the Panthers won’t see on the scouting tapes. I should think about how David and I are going to get a keg for the beach after the game. Or how if I don’t play the game of my life, we won’t even need one.

Maybe I should focus on my senior project.

Or the Pre-Calc test I have in thirty minutes.

But I just can’t get my mind off her.

Ever since she walked into English on the first day of school, I haven’t been able to focus on much else. And not just because Susan Milton’s the hottest chick I’ve ever seen. I mean, she is: tight little body, sexy smile, shiny blond hair that smells like the flowers in my backyard. She has a habit of wearing these low cut tops, and if she bends over just right, I almost get a free show. And God, her voice. The way she recites poetry, it’s like she’s singing—just to me. I used to hate English. Now I hate the wait until third period for my new favorite class.

But Susan Milton is forbidden. Off limits. I can’t have her.

And unfortunately I can get practically anybody.

The Writer's Voice #3 - TWELVE STEPS (YA)

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 70,000


Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling. She could be better than her sister, Laina, if people gave her a chance. But when Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with her sister, she decides to stop waiting. The only chances she’ll get are those she takes for herself.

Andi devises a twelve step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina and make it her own. Step one: admit she’s powerless over her perfect sister and her life really, really sucks. Step three: decide to love and support her sister, even when Laina totally doesn’t deserve it. Step seven: demand attention for more than just her shortcomings.

Second born does not mean second best. But auditioning for Cinderella lands her the part of the overlooked stepsister, a role she knows all too well. A stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster. And turning her floundering biology grade into an A lands her butt in the principal’s office, even though she was definitely not cheating.

As Andi works through her twelve step program, she realizes the Prince isn’t as charming as she thought. And when Laina’s flawless façade begins to crumble, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

First 250:

There should be a support group for kids with perfect siblings. Something like AlaTeen, but without the drugs. We could sit around and talk about how our flawless family members are systematically destroying our lives.

“Hello, my name is Andrea Andersen, and I am a second-class sibling.” And if my sister weren’t so freakishly perfect, I wouldn’t be grounded.

I grab the last handful of hangers out of my closet and hurl the clothes onto the growing pile on my bed. It’s not like one little D in biology is going to ruin my life. And I totally could’ve convinced Mom to go easy on me if Laina hadn’t piped up with “maybe if you stopped skipping class, you wouldn’t be failing.”

Maybe if the entire school wasn’t obsessed with Laina, I wouldn’t need to take a break from class quite as often.

I throw my shoes, one by one, to the middle of my bedroom floor. I’m so not in the mood to sort through my clothes for Laina’s annual clothing drive.

I ignore a sharp knock on my door, but Mom opens it anyway. “Jarod’s here,” she says. “You can talk for ten minutes.”

I scramble to my feet, smoothing my clothes and yanking my hair into a loose bun.

Jarod’s here.

For me.

He’s never come to see me before. He’s usually only here to drool over the Princess of Perfection. But I’ve been grounded for nearly two weeks. Maybe he’s missed me.

The Writer's Voice #4 - GONE MISSING GIRL (YA)

Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 85,000


Shy eighteen-year-old albino Ansel thought letting the girl with the banged-up ankle sleep in his parents’ book shed was a good idea. That was before she passed out in his shower, woke up in a panic and accidentally attacked him. Any normal guy would have called the cops but normal isn’t Ansel’s style. And honestly, who would trade a cute, albeit slightly bent, girl in for a bunch of doughnut-eating officers anyway

Ansel nicknames her Catskin and begins the dubious task of earning her trust. A few awkward conversations later, two things are clear: Catskin doesn’t want to be the way she is. And she doesn’t think she has any place in society now. Challenge accepted. Ansel won’t give up until Catskin understands that different doesn’t mean wrong.

Somewhere along the way Ansel’s uneasy awkwardness and Catskin’s emotional edges meld into a steadfast love. It’s a bond that both are half afraid of but also utterly bound by. Which, from the stories in Ansel’s fairy tale books, sounds about right.

When a near-drowning leaves Catskin hovering near death, Ansel is forced to contact her estranged parents. His actions provoke a shocking confrontation between the wealthy world Catskin was born into, and the starkly average one she now shares with Ansel. One that makes it clear Ansel will lose Catskin forever if he doesn’t act fast.

Refusing to give up the imperfect girl who fits perfectly inside his heart, Ansel goes to war with Catskin’s father, who wants his embarrassing daughter permanently committed to an asylum With no legal recourse, Ansel opts to wing it and kidnaps an unconcious Catskin. But it won’t matter who has control of Catskin’s body, if she never regains consciousness and claims her own life.

First 250:

I have never been that guy. You know, the one surrounded by adventure and covered in awesomesauce. That would be my younger brother, Ethan.

But Ethan wasn’t in the book shed that night.

I was.

It’s not like you get to pick and choose life-altering events the way you do socks from the bargain bin.

I went out to the shed for a bottle of spine glue.

Simple, right?

But when I flipped on the overheads, I found a shrunken zombie lurking just inside the doorway.

*Insert very macho scream*

Right about then the broom slid sideways, hitting the light switch and leaving me stranded in the dim twilight of the Alaskan summer.


When my brain wasn’t immediately harvested, I took several deep breaths. Convinced myself that I had not, in fact, just seen a zombie in the book shed. Turned the light back on.

It was still there.

But it wasn’t a zombie. It was a girl.

Filthy, tangled, rumpled and undersized, but definitely female. Definitely alive. Her mouth hung partway open now, eyes wide, yet disturbingly empty. Like her entire body was deserted. The void inside her was menacing. A sort of awful maw that might chew me up, if I got within reach.

Which, I had no intention of doing.

Hell, I couldn’t even find my voice to bother asking who she was, where she’d come from or why she was in there.

Of course, she wasn’t exactly a Chatty Cathy, herself.

The Writer's Voice #5 - THE SEER (YA)

Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 90,000


Every woman in the Tesmond family line inherits prophetic abilities they must keep secret. Seventeen-year-old Carlotta yearns for the freedom to use her gift, but in the mystic hamlet of Greer, seers are met with swift trials and a hangman's rope.

When Hector Durante discovers Carlotta's hidden talent, he confines her on his father's ship, planning to use her visions to end the war in his homeland. But second sight isn’t perfect, and the infuriating Hector somehow foils every attempt she makes at escape, always—maddeningly—one step ahead. She's never met a boy she despised more yet still dreamt of kissing.

Carlotta is compelled to act when new visions warn of a world dominated by destruction should Hector’s enemies prevail. She leads him to an isle loaded with hidden treasure, funding his cause but enraging the local pirates.

Hector and Carlotta form an uneasy alliance to thwart the pirates on their tail and the warfront ahead. As Carlotta plans to fight for a people she's never met and the love of the boy she's falling for, her understanding of her power grows. But as enemies align and threats mount, the knowledge may have come too late.

First 250
Carlotta tensed, bound by her curse. A yellow mist enveloped her mind, wrapping it like the silken threads of a cocoon. She always resisted—at first.
Her fingers buried themselves in the hair behind her throbbing temples. She winced as she pressed too hard upon the fresh bruise. Fueled by rumors concerning local ‘witches’, a pack of Greer children threw rocks when they had caught her alone outside the village border. The missiles had found their mark yet again.
Fighting her curse was useless, so she lowered her hands and opened her consciousness, stealing herself for the approaching vision.
The mist cleared, yet she could not see.
She sensed a man in the dark space, shrouded in secrecy. Drawing her to him, his powerful life force ensnared her. “You will help us.”
“You might have asked,” she answered.
“Does one need ask for what is already theirs?”
You are a bold one. “In this case, and as you need my help, yes.”
“Then I yield and make my request a formal one. Will you aid us?”
The cry of thousands swelled within her breast, crushing the air from her lungs. The dark man’s pain rose distinct above theirs to grip her heart, binding her to him. “You want me to free them?” Her voice trembled. “I don’t know how.”
“You will … and incur both reward and loss.”
A cost? Of course, there always is. The band around her heart tightened. Haven’t I paid enough already?
“Your answer, Milady?”
“You have my word.”
“Look you then to the seas …”