Sunday, February 26, 2012

Helping Hearts for Britta

A huge THANKS to those who have already donated!! You guys are awesome! I am keeping this open for a bit longer. Please feel welcome to offer all types of support. Thank you!

During the month of February and our exciting Blind Speed Dating Event, I'd love to point some attention to a good cause. Steph is a fellow writer who has been going through some personal hard times with her new baby, Britta, who has TAPVR (a rare heart defect). When I came across this website I was in tears and wanted to help out in any way.

I think it helps put some perspective on things. Like how precious life and all of our blessings are. So we didn't get a request from that last emailed query. So we didn't get an upgrade from dream agent. Big deal. Life is hard, but there are certainly some moments that really knock us to our lowest.

In an effort to remember these things and support a fellow writer (who probably wishes a request or a contest was her biggest worry right now), I'm adding a donate button in the sidebar of this blog. Go check out the website, follow it if you'd like, and hit that donate button in my sidebar if you choose (any amount of at least $1.00). *Of course, this has no affect on the contest this month.*  

All donations will be totaled and given to 'Helping Hearts for Britta' at the end of February. (Please let me know if you have problems with the donate button. I've never done this before.) 

Thank you! All donations appreciated!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blind Speed Dating WINNERS!!!! IDENTITIES!!!! And....

UPDATE: (If you have received an additional request email me with Additional Request - TITLE. If you have already sent DO NOT send again. No worries. At this point, all have been sent! Resend if you didn't get email.)

Agents can make ANY REQUESTS on any entry using their real name now!!!!! (*See notes below)

Public comments open on the entries NOW! 

Winner Ceremony: 


#2 THE REGENERATED MAN AND ME: Full (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle), Partial (HC Care Bear)
#3 THE BURNED PLANET: Partial (HC Ryan Gosling)
#4 THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS: Full (HC Plum Charming) Partials (HC Waffle Fries, HC Agent Amour)
#6 THE LIFE OF YOUR MAKING: Partial (HC Nausicaä)
#7 HELLFIRE: Partials (HC the Mock Turtle, HC Plum Charming)
#13 THE NIGHT WE SAID YES: Partial (HC the Mock Turtle)
#14 JEREMIAH COPPERPOT: Partials (HC Care Bear, HC Sugar Pants)
#17 PLAYING WITH FIRE: Full (HC Just Desserts)
#18 MURDER ON MUSIC ROW: Partial (HC Agent Amour)
#22 KILLING KESSLER: Full (HC Agent Amour), Partials (HC Care Bear, HC Ryan Gosling)
#28 GOLDEN: Partial (HC Nausicaä)
#29 LAVENDER BOYS: Partial (HC the Mock Turtle)
#30 HAUTE MESS: Partial (HC Agent Amour)
#34 ONE: Partial (HC Tainted Love)
#36 COURSE CORRECTIONS: Partial (HC Plum Charming)
#40 FROSTY: Partial (HC the Mock Turtle)
#43 RIPPLE: Partial (HC Ryan Gosling)
#45 THE FALLEN PRINCESS: Partials (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle, HC Care Bear)
#48 MAD AS A HATTER: Full (HC Sugar Pants), Partial (HC Care Bear)
#50 THE GEARS OF WAR: Full (HC the Mock Turtle) Partials (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle, HC Plum Charming)
#53 PARAWARS: UPRISING: Partial (HC Care Bear)
#55 THE CURSE MERCHANT: Full (HC Just Desserts) Partial (HC Plum Charming)
#56 THE GIRL AND THE CLOCKWORK CAT: Partials (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle, HC Care Bear)
#58 THE 49TH PARALLEL: Full (HC Sugar Pants) Partial (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle, HC the Mock Turtle)
#59 HOW TO DATE A NERD: Full (HC Ryan Gosling) Partial (HC Tainted Love)
#61 GENTLY USED: Full (HC Agent Amour)
#63 ANGELHOOD: Full (HC Red Razzle-Dazzle), Partials (HC Plum Charming, HC Just Desserts)
#70 DUALITY: Partial (HC Plum Charming)

(Partials are all 100 pages.) 

Unveiling Ceremony:


Dorothy - Gennifer Albin!!! Website, Twitter
Blue Nimbus - Anne Brown!!! Website, Twitter
Bookish Handygirl - Gabriela Lessa!!! Website, Twitter
Iheartbooks -  Marissa Burt!!! Website, Twitter

Honorary Cupids:

HC Just Desserts - Victoria Marini!!! WebsiteBlogTwitter 
HC Sugar Pants - Laura Bradford!!! WebsiteTwitter
HC Tainted Love - Brooks Sherman!!! WebsiteWebsiteTwitter
HC Plum Charming - Vickie Motter!!! WebsiteBlogTwitter
HC Agent Amour - Carly Watters!!! WebsiteBlogTwitter
HC Ryan Gosling - Sarah LaPolla!!! WebsiteBlogTwitter
HC the Mock Turtle - Molly Ker Hawn!!! WebsiteTwitter
HC Care Bear - Sara Crowe!!! WebsiteWebsiteTwitter
HC Waffle Fries - Halli Melnitsky!!! WebsiteTwitter
HC Red Razzle-Dazzle - Sara Sciuto!!! WebsiteTwitter
HC Nausicaä - Weronika Janczuk!!! Website, Twitter
HC Agent Angel Flair - Meredith Barnes!!! WebsiteBlogTwitter

Wow! What a beautiful group of astounding people!!!!!!! Thank you so much for participating!!!!!! Remember you can Twitter Trash Talk using #AgentTTT.

Thank you to all my fabulous readers and those who participated in all parts of this event! I hope you had fun and remember how subjective this business is. I hope you all learned a little along the way, too. 

*For agents requesting additional materials: You must wait until after the winning agents receive the materials for the exclusive time period. For winning entries with full OR partial requests that is 1 week! For winning entries with full AND partial requests that is 1 week for full and 1 week for partial, equaling 2 weeks! This starts at the time materials are received not necessarily today. 

Winners email me at: cupidslitconnection(at)yahoo(dot)com I will get back to you as soon as I can with instructions. Promise!

Please subject your email with: Winner of BSD - title

Thank you everyone!!!!!!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just so you know...

Some important info we all might like to know before the FULL-ARROWS start flying! *Credit for this awesomeness goes to Anya Harker (one of our entry authors). I put the entries that have more than one request in red.*  

Honorary Cupid Just Desserts: 55   63
Honorary Cupid Sugar Pants: 14   48   57
Honorary Cupid Tainted Love: 59
Honorary Cupid Plum Charming:   36   50   55   63
Honorary Cupid Agent Amour:   18   30
Honorary Cupid Ryan Gosling: 3   22   43   59
Honorary Cupid The Mock Turtle:   29   40   58
Honorary Cupid Care Bear: 2   14   22   45   48   53   56
Honorary Cupid Waffle Fries:   8
Honorary Cupid Red Razzle-Dazzle: 45   50   56   58
Honorary Cupid Nausicaä: 6   28
Honorary Cupid Agent Angel Flair:

So the quiver status' are as follows:

Honorary Cupid Just Desserts: 2 arrows used; 8 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Sugar Pants: 3 arrows used; 7 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Tainted Love: 1 arrow used; 9 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Plum Charming: 5 arrows used; 5 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Agent Amour: 3 arrows used; 7 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Ryan Gosling: 4 arrows used; 6 arrows left
Honorary Cupid The Mock Turtle: 4 arrows used; 6 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Care Bear: 8 arrows used; 2 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Waffle Fries: 2 arrows used; 8 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Red Razzle-Dazzle: 4 arrows used; 6 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Nausicaä: 2 arrows used; 8 arrows left
Honorary Cupid Agent Angel Flair: 0 arrows used; 10 arrows left
   (Not sure if Agent Angel Flair is spying from the bushes or asleep against a tree)

I also want to say thanks to all the more-than-cool people who have been publicly analyzing all this and making spreadsheets and what-not. It's been really fun to see! 

I will post official winners and such on Friday!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blind Speed Dating RULES!!!! and Info!

(Remember! For Twitter Trash Talk use #AgentTTT)

Agent's RULES:

Blind speed dating is the 20th-23rd. Friday the 24th will be used to announce winners, undercover names... Each day will run from NOON (EST) - MIDNIGHT (EST).

Agents will receive a total of 10 arrows. BUT not all at once. They do not have to use all of their arrows. 

They start with 4 arrows on Monday. Then receive 2 more arrows each day after that (2 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday, and 2 on Thursday). Totaling 10. 

Each partial request is worth 1 arrow. (Each entry can only have 2 partial requests!)

Each full request is worth 3 arrows. (Using a full steals any partials made on that entry. They may trump their own partial, too) 

Here's the thing... *evil laughing* Fulls CANNOT be made until the last day, Thursday! And partials go up in cost on Wednesday to 2 arrows!

*Agents can leave any comment. But when using arrows they must say something like "Struck with Honorary Cupid so and so's arrow(s)!" AND the # of arrows being used. (1-3)

**Material agents want to see but do not win will be available one week after the first agent(s) receive the material.**


1. Remember this event is dedicated to Helping Hearts for Britta

2. Entries are only open for agent's comments. The public can comment when it's over. 

3. There is an all day Q&A on the blog with the agents on Tuesday. Some of the agent's will stop by to answer questions as they can. 

4. The agents are now officially undercover. Here are their undercover names:

Honorary Cupid Just Desserts
Honorary Cupid Sugar Pants
Honorary Cupid Tainted Love
Honorary Cupid Plum Charming
Honorary Cupid Agent Amour
Honorary Cupid Ryan Gosling
Honorary Cupid The Mock Turtle
Honorary Cupid Care Bear
Honorary Cupid Waffle Fries
Honorary Cupid Red Razzle-Dazzle 
Honorary Cupid Nausicaä
Honorary Cupid Agent Angel Flair

5. Once again, here is a list of the agents participating and their links:

Laura Bradford: WebsiteTwitter
Vickie Motter: WebsiteBlogTwitter
Sarah LaPolla: WebsiteBlogTwitter
Meredith Barnes: WebsiteBlogTwitter
Sara Crowe: WebsiteWebsiteTwitter
Sara Sciuto: WebsiteTwitter
Weronika Janczuk: Website, Twitter
Halli Melnitsky: WebsiteTwitter
Molly Ker Hawn: WebsiteTwitter
Carly Watters: WebsiteBlogTwitter
Brooks Sherman: WebsiteWebsiteTwitter
Victoria Marini: WebsiteBlogTwitter 

I hope they have good strategy and speed! Now let's have some fun!!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

All Day Q&A with the Agents

Okay, today is all day Q&A with the agents. I cannot guarantee which agents will stop by but ask away (in comments)! No undercover names here, btw! Real agents with real names. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blind Speed Dating #70

Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 104,000


If Dima could remember her life, she’s damn sure she’d want it back.

The Humani Project’s latest test subject believes she’s human, but her sleek black fur, claws, and tail make that seem impossible. Her only clue to an existence before panther DNA was spliced to hers is a name—Janelle.

According to the scientists, Dima is the perfect blend of human and animal. Most importantly, she can still speak, making her the lab’s most successful Humani to date. But that doesn’t guarantee her safety.

Imprisoned in a Phoenix, Arizona lab, Dima must complete the grueling, and often deadly, physical assessments administered by resident jackass Dr. Frederick James. Voice or no voice, her failure means immediate termination. To survive, she must tame the wild animal that wants to take over—only she has no idea how.

When she fails a combat assessment and is nearly killed by her opponent, she’s surprised that the project’s founder, Lorenzo, breaks protocol to save her. When he calls her “Janelle,” she realizes that the scientists have erased someone they knew. She’s determined to understand why.

Surrounded by lies and half-truths, Dima doesn’t know who to trust or believe. The closer she comes to piecing together her story, the harder she has to fight to stay alive. Worse yet, she’s falling for Lorenzo, the man who made her a monster. Why does the one person she should hate the most care for her? Why does she feel the same?

Good thing cats have nine lives—she’ll need every one of them to uncover the truth.

First 250:

Claws popped from my fingertips every time I stretched my hands.

It tingled, but didn’t hurt, not like the rest of my body. The sensation was both natural and foreign, muscles and tendons I didn’t know I had contracting and relaxing with the movement. I’d freaked out when I saw the black fur leading to the claws. That was the second time they’d upped my morphine. The first time was after my tongue had brushed against fang.

The steady, faithful morphine drip, now on its highest setting according to the a gray-haired nurse—the only one who would speak to me—barely dented the pain ransacking every nerve, muscle, and bone. Waves of agony rolled from my feet to my head and crashed against everything in between. But somehow it kept my mind safe. Stable. Human. Not like it mattered much. Too little information left me with questions no one would answer.

The brunette, a waif in a too-large white coat, had mentioned cardiac arrest. She’d said a lot of other things, too, most of which I ignored. She kept calling me a name I didn’t recognize but thought I knew from somewhere. I couldn’t ask about it, though. The “stress of the procedure” had frozen my vocal cords; however, she spoke like she didn’t expect me to have a voice at all.

They should have just let me die. No doubt it would have hurt a helluva lot less.

Today was Day Four, if I’d counted correctly.

Blind Speed Dating #69

Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 76,000


Seventeen year old Gwen Masterson wants to escape her boring Iowa farm life, but she never expected to find a book that takes her back in time to Camelot. It’s a dream come true for bookish Gwen until she discovers she’s nothing more than a pawn in a dangerous game between two legendary sorcerers – Morgana and Merlin – as they attempt to change the course of history.

Merlin’s scheme is simple: find a strong woman from the future to change the past by becoming Arthur's wife and creating a new legend. Merlin believes a modern girl will be the high queen Arthur needs, thwarting Morgana’s attempt to kill Arthur and steal the throne. That girl… is Gwen. It’s the perfect plan, except Arthur treats headstrong Gwen with contempt and Gwen wants nothing to do with the arrogant boy king. Camelot would be almost bearable if her unwanted wedding to Arthur was Gwen’s only problem. Thanks to Merlin's meddling, Gwen is now at the top of Morgana's 'people to kill' list. Worse, Gwen’s younger brother Leigh becomes Morgana’s prisoner when he discovers the book and follows Gwen to Camelot in a botched rescue attempt. In comparison, the lack of indoor plumbing doesn’t seem so bad any more.

Now alone in Camelot, Gwen must rescue her brother and find her way back home without falling prey to Morgana – yet her wedding to Arthur grows closer by the day. Caught in the crossfire in a battle to craft a new future, failure isn’t an option for Gwen, for whoever controls the past will reign supreme.

A modern re-imagining of the Camelot legend, CAMELOT FOUND is a YA Fantasy novel with romantic elements and is complete at 76,000 words. It is the first installment in an intended trilogy, with the main storyline based in both the modern and medieval worlds. It will appeal to fans of Arthurian literature, Meg Cabot’s AVALON HIGH, and the BBC show MERLIN.

First 250:

“It is agreed. The wedding preparations shall commence within a fortnight.”

Arthur felt numb, staring straight ahead so he didn’t betray any thoughts or emotions. There should have been a gavel striking the well-worn oak table to echo through the great hall of the keep as much as those words did in his mind. It didn’t matter to the Province Kings that he was the King of all England. To them, he was the boy-made-king, a commoner who had pulled Uther Pendragon’s sword from the stone four years ago. They saw him as nothing more than a pawn, and were content to decide his fate in a Council of Elders as easily as they chose where they would next to go to war.

‘Let the petty Kings have their way,’ Merlin always said after one of Arthur’s tantrums. ‘Now is not the time for arguments.’

Well, as far as Arthur was concerned, controlling his marital life was far beyond petty and he intended to oppose it. Arthur began to rise to his feet, mouth open and fist poised to slam on the table when Merlin grabbed his tabard and pulled him back into his seat. His butt hit the unforgiving wood with a dull thud and Arthur swore under his breath at the sudden pain.

“Let me say something,” Arthur hissed, shooting a glare in Merlin’s direction. “I am not going to sit idly by and let them decide my life!”

“That is exactly what you’re going to do,” Merlin replied, looking straight ahead.

Blind Speed Dating #68

Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 66,000


Little Red Riding Hood has the most ridiculous name ever.

That’s why the twelve-year old girl decides to run away one dark night. Sounds like a good idea…start a new life far away, and no one will ever know she had such a dumb name. But when Little Red Riding Hood renames herself Pansy, she realizes a new name does not determine who she truly is. So she and her pet chicken set off in search of the Fountain of Identity. Unfortunately, forgetful Pansy is not a good match for the forest. There might be wolves.

But Pansy is not the only one with problems. There’s cynical Hansel in search of his sister; a desperate puss in boots; a boy named Jack with unwanted magic beans; and Goldie, a shy princess stuck in the Castle in the Clouds. The friends form “the Pact” and swear to help each other achieve their goals—on pain of chopping off their tails, or noses, or something. (That was never really decided.) And let’s not forget the greedy and malicious villains who are out to get them all.  During this multipurpose quest bursting with magic, danger, and chuckles, Pansy must find serenity in her identity. 

First 250:

Little Red Riding Hood often wondered why her parents hadn’t named her Jane or Mary, or even Penelope. Being a simple girl, she never considered asking them why they’d given her an absurd mouthful for a name. Instead, the poor thing got to the point where she couldn’t bear to hear the words “Little Red Riding Hood” ever again. Quite frankly, I don’t blame her. I mean, who names their kid that?

After thinking her brain to the bursting point, Little Red Riding Hood got an idea. Why not run away? She could go very far and call herself something else. Then no one would know she ever had such a ridiculous name. No one would smirk when she introduced herself. 

So one night, Little Red Riding Hood took special care not to fall asleep. She waited on a stool by her window, until she was sure her mother and father had gone to bed. Once they were dreaming soundly, it was time to plan her skedaddle. Though she’d never tried it before, Little Red Riding Hood was aware that running away involved packing.

“Let’s see,” she murmured, peering around her dark loft room. “I don’t want to mess this up. I’d better take all the important stuff.” 

She dumped “the important stuff” into a pile—her red cloak, a quill pen and inkpot, seven silver buttons, and a small handheld mirror. These Little Red Riding Hood tied up in her hanky, except for the cloak, which seemed to work best when she wore it.

Blind Speed Dating #67

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Word Count: 82,000


When God goes AWOL, the race to take over the throne causes the righteous demon Liam to become more than an amused bystander. The lead contender is Liam's sworn enemy, the archangel Gabriel, whose tactics are far from angelic.

Liam was satisfied to travel the Midwest on his motorcycle, secretly saving more souls than he condemned, while the archangel Gabriel threw rejected-child tantrums. The demon was beginning to suspect Gabriel was the outcast of his heavenly family less because he wore Liam's demonic mark across his chest, a gift from their last battle, and more a result of the archangel's annoying personality. Holding a grudge against Liam for over a century was proof of that.

If Gabriel makes a real grab for power, everything Liam holds dear is at risk: his position, his life, but most importantly, his centuries-old, hidden relationship with the angel Mikael. The positive influence Mikael's had upon Liam's morals will mean nothing if they're found out.

Determined to use Liam's dead body as a stepping stone to the throne, Gabriel's chosen soldier for the task will be trained by the best teacher in heaven—Mikael. As Liam watches Mikael struggle to decide how far he can go to protect his lover while also serving Heaven, Liam must save him from having to make the choice. Their relationship has weathered many threats, but this one might destroy them from the inside out.

HEAVEN AND HELL ALIKE is an 82,000 word completed paranormal fantasy which stands alone, but has series potential. I am a member of the Works in Progress critique group, as well as a beta for the Book Country site. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2001 with a double minor in Religion and Creative Writing and have always been drawn to the interrelationship of the two.

First 250:

When Liam took over the body of a railroad worker fifty years ago, he hadn't realized he'd suffer from caffeine withdrawal every morning. Though, at the time, he wasn't able to be picky.

Liam was back on his Harley after only five hours of sleep, heading through Davenport, Wyoming to track down the local diner. He promised to meet Sid on his way through town, but that was something he was regretting now.

Rounding the next block, the weather-worn sign for Davenport Diner came into view. Liam headed toward the far right of the parking lot, safely away from the crowd of cars. He'd rather not be forced to do harm to some fool who scratched his bike, even by accident. The altercation in Stewart was still fresh in his mind and he didn't have the desire for a repeat.

Shutting off the engine, Liam removed his helmet and watched Sid cross the cracked, gray pavement. Unlike himself, Sid looked like his early morning had been filled with sugar or illegal substances. Knowing Sid's usual activities, it was more likely he hadn't even been to bed yet.

“I need coffee,” Liam said, his voice deep from lack of use. “Drag me out here way too early and then you're all hyper. Something's wrong with your head.”

Sid plastered on a wide grin and gave a shrug. “You always said we've got to be crazy in our line of work, boss. I'm just living up to my reputation.”

Blind Speed Dating #66

Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 59,000


When Harper’s life falls apart, she responds in her usual, fully effective manner—denial. She’s a muralet, the last descendant of Mother Nature? Nope. Supreme magical abilities can be obtained by drinking her blood? Whatever. Most mystical creatures would literally kill to have a drop of her blood on their tongues? Not happening. It’s not until a dark-headed stranger calling himself her Seeker shows up and drags her to enchanted Ellauria that she realizes some things are just true even if she doesn't want them to be.

Ellauria is home to the Fellowship, the mysterious group that has protected the world’s so-called “mythical” creatures for decades. In fact, Harper has been the Fellowship’s best-kept secret for the past sixteen years, her existence known only to a select group of high-ranking Ellaurians. Unfortunately, someone outside the Fellowship has discovered her identity, and Ellauria is the only place she can be safe. She's hidden among the rest of the Apprentices, the magical-mortal hybrids who will be trained to work for the Fellowship.

After Harper is attacked within Ellauria’s borders, it becomes clear that even those sworn to protect her are not immune to the temptation of her performance-enhancing blood. One of the Fellowship's own is working agains her. The list of suspects is short, but it’s made up of those that Harper shouldn’t have to fear—from the Fellowship’s socially awkward founder, to the eccentric self-proclaimed Empress of the Fairies, to her complicated but sexy crush. With an unstable grasp of her powers and a less than ideal knowledge base regarding the supernatural, Harper must work quickly to determine who she can trust, who isn’t what he says he is, and who benefits most from her demise.

First 250:

I could always tell what kind of mood Momma’s in by the type of cleaning she’s doing. Cleaning out closets and drawers? Sad. Reorganizing every shelf in the house? Frustrated. Wiping down the walls and baseboards? Angry. Polishing the silver? Stressed. So the day I opened the front door to find a pile of clothes lying in front of the coat closet, a bucket filled with vinegar solution standing next to the wall, and the smell of ammonia hanging in the air, I pulled my phone from my purse and texted my brother immediately. “Get home quick. She’s Granny-cleaning."

I was still standing in the doorway when Sam got there. I’d heard the loud thumping of the stereo long before I heard the crunch of gravel beneath the jeep’s tires, but I decided to ignore it. I hated sharing a car with him. He was going to blow our speakers, I just knew it.

He stood behind me and peeked over my head. That’s another annoying thing about Sam- to be my twin, he’s entirely too tall. “She ironed the sheets,” he said, nodding toward the ironing board in the hallway. We could just barely see the front end of it, draped with the fitted corner of the pale yellow queen-sized sheets from the guest bed.

“I know,” I said, tucking my hair behind my ears with both hands. “This is bad.”

“You seen her yet?”

I shook my head. “Nope, but I heard furniture moving around upstairs.”

Blind Speed Dating #65

Genra: YA contemporary fantasy
Word Count: 91,000


Olivia was supposed to be having the best summer of her life—until her best friend Samantha talked her into doing that ridiculous prank. Dressing up like a beached mermaid on the shores of La Jolla, California would have been a lot funnier, and a lot more harmless, if a picture of her didn’t end up in a supermarket tabloid.

Now she’s being followed—by some crazy people who think the picture is real. And Olivia discovers that there are only three reasons why a person would believe she’s an actual mermaid. One, they’ve had one too many wipeouts on a surfboard. Two, there’s a really big secret about earth’s oceans that they are desperate to protect. Or three, there’s a really big secret about earth’s oceans that they would kill to capitalize.

Olivia never thought she’d be caught in a war between humankind and creatures that weren’t supposed to exist. Creatures, no less, that have a deep distrust of humans, a thirst for vengeance, and an innate aversion to eating shrimp.

First 250:

He fell face-first into the sand, coughing for air and bleeding from the stump of his severed pinky. Though the searing pain caused his hand to convulse, he hurt all over the rest of his body as well—he could have other wounds far worse than a missing finger. But none of that mattered at the moment.

He raised his head. The grainy sand stuck to the side of his cheek. In the moonlight, his wet skin was almost glowing. He looked to his fist, where he still held the clam. Brilliant white and bewitching, it felt silky warm in his palm.

He clutched his side, awed at how it felt to breathe, yet hating it at the same time for the painful stitch stabbing at his ribcage. He moved his legs experimentally. They seemed to work all right, though he was doubtful of getting them to support his weight. Everything felt so heavy…

But he needed to get moving. His comrade was dead and the Others were seconds behind him. He sat up, noticing the sound of the surf for the first time. He looked out toward the ocean. The moon’s reflection was bright on the water. The crashing waves undulated onto the sand of the shore; forever rolling, foaming, spreading, then retreating. He inhaled, marveling at the briny tang in his nose and the cold wind in his face. Salt, he realized, had a scent.

The agony in his missing finger reminded him of his urgency. 

Blind Speed Dating #64

Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 80,000


Discovering the CEO’s corpse in the company gym is so not the way to kick off a career, as 22-year-old Casey True learns in DIAL 9 TO GET OUT, the first book in my suspenseful, satirical “Running Total” mystery series.

Casey, a college running star, was supposed to be training for the Olympics after graduation. Instead, she’s coaching at her old high school and couch-surfing at dad’s, scrimping to pay loans and bills from the car accident that ruined her running career. So when pharmaceutical company Sunday Health offers her a job as their new social media coordinator, she accepts—only to find the CEO dead on her second day.

Not only is Casey now a suspect, but she’s also prey: When a drug prototype goes missing, more employees are murdered, and Casey receives notes reading, “You’re next,” her job duties turn from staying employed to staying alive. And all she was trying to do was convince her boss it was okay to Tweet “Drugs are awesome!”

Set in Portland, Oregon, DIAL 9 TO GET OUT combines the relatable voice of a Jennifer Weiner heroine with the snarky meander of a Carl Hiassen plot. I’m a Writing Seminars graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and have written professionally for over 15 years. 

First 250:

I’m pretty sure there’s no career website that tells you what to do when you find someone floating face down in your office building’s swimming pool.

Especially when it’s on the second day of your first real job.   
But that’s what I saw after swiping my brand new work ID card at the entrance to the pool: A man, in the deep end, halfway between the surface and the bottom. Wavy in the water. Somewhere between float and sink.     
My heart sped. I felt hot. This was really happening. I spun, looking for people, anyone, a security camera. 

“Hello? Anyone here?” I shouted, turning in circles.

No answer. Just my voice—and the dude in the pool who I guessed wasn’t doing a breath-holding drill.

“Hey!” I yelled to him. “You okay?”

Of course he wasn’t okay, but I couldn’t just leave. Where was the fire alarm? Finally, my eyes landed on an old-style handset attached to the wall. Phone! I snatched the receiver with my left hand and pounded out 911 with my right.

Nothing. Not even a dial tone. I hung up and dialed 911 again. Dead air. Maybe someone had cut the line!Ohmigod, I was going to be the next floater. 

Oh, wait! Didn’t offices have that dial 9 for an outside line thing? I dialed 9, and then 911. In an instant an operator popped onto the line.

“I’m in the fitness center in the Sunday Health building!” I shouted. “And there’s a body in the pool!” I gave her the office’s northwest Portland address and said I was going into the pool to get him out.

Propping the door open with my water bottle, I returned to the pool and dove in next to the sign that said “No Diving.”