Monday, July 25, 2011

Another Pitch Contest

Check out all the details here for a pitch contest with Victoria Marini. Good luck!

GUTGAA - Elena's Pen

The last part of Deana's awesome blogfest is here! Time for us to post the first 200 words of our stories for critique. I'll be hopping around sometime today to give feedback and can't wait to read some awesome beginnings! I would love for some feedback too. Thanks!

My first 196 words for Elena's Pen (MG Fantasy):

Mr. McMichaels has hated me ever since he confiscated a story I wrote during class last week. A story about an evil goblin warlord. Named McMichaels.
I guess I can't blame him, but wouldn't most English teachers love a student who wanted to be an author? Not this one. I guess I was lucky he only threatened me with detention.
So I took my time walking to my sixth grade English class. Mr. McMichaels was the eighth grade teacher but he taught English to the sixth- and seventh graders too. I so am not looking forward to two years from now. I grimaced.
The crowded hallway slowly thinned out as sixth-, seventh- and eighth graders swapped classrooms. The scent of mold and putrid gym clothes wafted toward me when a kid slammed his puke-green locker shut, and I gagged.
"Elena?" someone called.
I turned and spotted Artex, the new guy. He smiled and waved a piece of paper in his hand. Wow, were his teeth white! "Hi." I smiled back, wondering why he was talking to me. I forced myself to not shuffle my feet or play with my hair. Good-looking boys always made me nervous.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Awesome Edit Giveaway

Be sure to enter Editor Cassandra's Summer FREE EDIT GIVEAWAY! We all need as many pairs of eyes on our MSs as possible before querying them so this is a fantastic opportunity. I know I'm entering! You can read all about the details here. Good luck!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Query Letter Blogfest

As part of Deana Bernhart's Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blogfest, I am posting my query letter for my MG fantasy novel. It was originally written as YA, but I received a bunch of feedback from other authors and agents that I'm working on making it MG instead. I've also changed the FMC's name several times now. Originally she was Alexia but the MMC is Artex so two A names plus two X's probably weren't a good idea. After toying around with a few others, I think (hope!) I'm settled on Elena. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!

Eleven-year-old aspiring novelist Elena loves the colorful pen the mysterious Artex gives her, especially when she realizes that whatever she writes with it comes true. But she questions the pen and its magic when it writes of its own accord about a fantasy world. The magical All-Knowers have only ever known peace until demons invade their Land of Imagining, intent on enslaving and killing them.

Elena is tied to this Land by more than just the pen - she is an All-Knower, as is Artex and her mother. She is able to control the All-Knowers with her pen, but the power comes at a cost – each time she writes with it, an All-Knower becomes a demon. After a demon kidnaps her family, Elena must go to the Land of Imagining. She will do anything, even if it means giving up her power, to save her family and her people.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Short Story!

The latest story in my What You See is What You Get paranormal YA series is now available!

A Sight for Sore Fangs

Ana and Eric managed to survive an attack from two vampires, but the encounter was not been without danger, and Frank, Ana's friend, has paid the price. A vampire bit him, and now Frank is in a coma. He might never wake up… or he might, as a vampire.

Newly self-declared vampire hunter, Ana will not allow that to happen. She would never stake her friend!

Luckily, there is a recipe to save someone from vampire venom. A tear from a pegasus or a unicorn's horn. And a fang from the deadly basilisk that kills those who catch its gaze.

Vampires aren't the only evil creatures in the world. And to save her friend, Ana is going to need to make new ones, ones who can see what she can't.

Time is running out for Frank. Will Ana be able to save him?

Only .99 just like the rest of the books in the series! I hope you'll check it out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blogfest Story Chain

Deana Barnhart is hosting lots of fun blogfests this month, including this week's blogfest story chain! My assignment is to write a scene with dialog and to include the words butt cheek, towel, and mustard. J. Ro went ahead of me, if you want to read a little more of the story to try to make some sense of it.

"Looks like someone is in a tight spot." Roddern laughed and pointed at her.

Dio rolled her eyes. "Obviously." She tried to wiggle for more room and hit her head on the closed trunk. "Ow."

Roddern laughed again.

"Stop being such a butt cheek," Dio muttered.

Roddern crossed his arms. "If you don't want my help…"

"No!  I do. I'm sorry. Being trapped in a trunk has made me a little… upset, to say the least. Roddern, please tell me my parents aren't dead, that this all isn't my fault." Dio sniffled back tears.

Roddern rolled his eyes. "So self-absorbed. Not everything is all about you, Dio."


Roddern held up his hand. "I can get you out of here, but first I need some energy." He snapped his fingers and a sandwich appeared. He took a huge bite and a glob of mustard ran down his chin. He finished his sandwich in three more bites, clapped, and wiped his mouth with the towel that appeared. "Ok, now where were we? Oh, yes, getting you out of here. First thing, we need a…"

The story continues at Loralie Hall's. Enjoy!

Great opportunity - pitch Vickie Motter!

If you don't follow the awesome YAtopia blog, you should. It's awesome, like I said, and they often have opportunities to pitch agents. Right now, head on over to their blog to be able to pitch Vickie Motter! Note: Manuscripts should be any genre of YA or Adult Paranormal/Urban Fantasy. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Tale of Two Princes - Guest Blog with Melissa McClone

It's so nice to be visiting with you today. Thanks for hosting a stop on my virtual book tour. Today I want to talk about two brothers, Enrique and Alejandro, from my new release Not-So-Perfect Princess. Two men couldn't be more different.

Enrique is the older of the two and crown prince of la Isla de la Aurora, a small Mediterranean island off the coast of Spain. His entire life has been spent preparing to be king. He's proper and polished. He's put aside activities and hobbies enjoyed in his youth to embrace his duty and concentrate on state business. Enrique wants to marry a princess bride with a large dowry to secure his struggling country's financial future.

Alejandro is the younger brother aka "the Spare." He's lived in his older brother's shadow his entire life and hates all things royal, including being a prince. Years of being ignored have turned him into a rebel, the black sheep of the family. He believes people have a duty to themselves to follow their hearts and pursue their dreams. His brother's upcoming wedding to wealthy Princess Julianna will give Alejandro the freedom from his princely duties he so desires.

If you had to choose between the two brothers based on that information, could you? After meeting Enrique and Alejandro, Princess Julianna (called Jules by those closest to her) believed the choice to be clear:

…the two brothers were tall, dark and handsome. They shared the same brown eyes, but the similarities ended there. One was sexy and dangerous, the black sheep. The other was formal and Old World, the future king.

Jules might be inexperienced when it came to men, but she wasn’t stupid. Even if thinking about Alejandro made her pulse quicken, Enrique would make the better husband and father. He was the logical choice, the smart choice.

The only choice.

Yet Jules, who considers herself a proper princess, finds herself surprisingly tempted by Alejandro. It's good thing Jules is smart enough to realize Alejandro might be fun and exciting, but he isn't without faults:

But Alejandro wasn’t perfect, either. His blatant disdain for the responsibilities thrust upon him by his royal birth and his lack of respect for the monarchy made her question his priorities. She wished he wasn’t so intent on turning his back on his duty.

Being dutiful is all Jules knows. She's been raised to be a queen. The only way for that to happen is marry a king or a crown prince. Yet Enrique isn't all she hoped he would be. How's a princess to decide which brother is the right one for her?

Blurb for Not-So-Perfect Princess
While the Princess was sleeping…

Dutiful Princess Julianna has a secret—she’s actually happiest makeup free, sailing with the sea breeze in her hair. Her attraction to rebel prince Alejandro is instant—but her intended is his brother, the proper but dull Enrique!

For the first time, Julianna’s irresistibly tempted. Before long, she’s spending her nights sailing with gorgeous Alejandro while the rest of the palace believes she’s sleeping. Soon she’ll have to choose—remain the perfect princess, or follow her heart and stop sleepwalking her way through life.…


“We are approaching the palace,” the pilot announced over the headsets.

Goosebumps prickled Jules’s skin.

Full of curiosity at her new home, she peered out the window. A huge white stucco and orange tile roofed palace perched above the sea. The multistoried building had numerous balconies and windows. But no tower. Another good sign?

A paved road and narrower walking paths wove their way through a landscape of palm trees, flowering bushes and manicured greenery. Water shot at least twenty-five feet into the air from an ornately decorated fountain.

The Mediterranean island and palace were a world away from Aliestle and the stone castle fortress nestled high in the Alps. Living somewhere lighter and brighter would be a welcome change from the Grimm-like fairy-tale setting she called home.

“Father may have finally gotten this right,” Brandt said.

Jules nodded. “It’s pretty.”

“At least on the outside.”

She sighed. “Don’t forget, dear brother, you’re here for moral support.”

“And to make sure the honeymoon doesn’t start early,” Brandt joked.

As if she’d ever had that opportunity present itself. She glared at him. “Be quiet.”

“Sore spot, huh?”

He had no idea. Engaged three times, and she’d never come close to anything other than kisses. Besides making out with Christian while a teenager, she’d been kissed once as an adult. Prince Niko’s kiss while sailing had been pleasant enough, but nothing like the passion she’d overheard other women discussing. Perhaps with Prince Enrique…

The helicopter landed on a helipad. The engine stopped. The rotor’s rotation slowed. Her hand trembled, making her work harder to unbuckle her harness. Finally she undid the latch. As they exited, a uniformed staff member placed their luggage onto a wheeled cart.

“Welcome to La Isla de la Aurora, Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Brandt and Your Royal Highness Princess Julianna.” An older man in a gray suit bowed. “I am Ortiz. Prince Enrique sends his regrets for not meeting you himself, but he is attending to important state business at the moment.”

“We understand.” Brandt smiled. He might not be the typical statesman, but no one could fault his friendliness. “State business comes first.”

Jules looked around at the potted plants and flowering vines. A floral scent lingered in the air. Paradise? Perhaps.

“Thank you, sir.” Ortiz sounded grateful. “I am in charge of the palace and at your service. Whatever you need, I’ll see that you have it.”

Jules glanced at Brandt, whose grin resembled the Cheshire cat’s. She would have to make sure he didn’t take advantage of the generous offer of hospitality.

“The palace grounds are lovely, Ortiz,” she said. “Very inviting with so many colorful flowers and plants.”

“I am happy you like it, ma’am.” His smile took years off his tanned, lined face. “Please allow me to show you and your party inside.”

Klaus nodded. Her bodyguard, in his fifties with a crew cut and a gun hidden under his tailored suit jacket, had protected her for as long as she could remember.

“Lead the way, Ortiz,” she said.

As they walked from the helipad to the front door, Ortiz gave her a brief history lesson about the palace. She had no idea the royal family had ruled the island for so long. No doubt the continuous line of succession had impressed her father who would want to ensure a long reign for his grandchildren and the heirs that followed.

“Prince Enrique has done so much for the island,” Ortiz said. “A finer successor to King Dario cannot be found, ma’am.”

If only Jules knew whether the compliments were truthful or propaganda. She knew little about her future husband besides his name.  “I’m looking forward to meeting Prince Enrique.”

Ortiz beamed. “He said the same thing about you at lunchtime, ma’am.”

A third good sign? Jules hoped so.

When they reached the palace entry, two arched wooden doors parted as if by magic. Once the heavy doors were fully open, she saw two uniformed attendants standing behind and holding them.

Jules stared at the entrance with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. If all went well—and she hoped it did—this palace would be her new home. She would live with her husband and raise her children here. She fought the urge to cross her fingers.

With a deep breath, she stepped inside. The others followed. A thirty-foot ceiling gave the large marble tiled foyer an open and airy feel. Stunning paintings, a mix of modern and classical works, hung on the walls. A marble statue of a woman sitting in the middle captured Jules’s attention. “What an amazing sculpture.”

“That is Eos, one of the Greek’s second generation Titan gods,” Ortiz explained. “We are more partial to the Latin name, Aurora. Whichever name you prefer, she’ll always be the Goddess of the Dawn.”

“Beautiful,” Brandt agreed. “Eos had a strong desire for handsome young men. If she looked anything like this statue, I’m sure she had no trouble finding willing lovers.”

“Close the front doors,” a male voice shouted. “Now.”

The attendants pushed the heavy doors. Grunts sounded. Muscles strained.

“Hurry,” the voice urged.

The people behind Jules rushed farther into the foyer so the doors could be shut. The momentum pushed her forward.

A shirtless man wearing shorts ran toward the doors. Something black darted across the floor.

Yvette screamed. “A rat, Your Highnesses.”

“There are no rats in the palace,” Ortiz shouted.

The ball of black fur darted between Jules’s legs. Startled, she stumbled face-first.

“Catch her,” Klaus yelled.

Too late. The marble floor seemed to rise up to meet Jules though she was the one falling.

She stopped abruptly. Not against the floor.

Strong arms embraced Jules. Her face pressed against a hard, bare chest. Her cheek rested against warm skin. Dark hair tickled her nose. The sound of a heartbeat filled her ears. He smelled so good. No fancy colognes. Only soap and water and salty ocean air.

She wanted another sniff. 

Ortiz shrieked. “Your Highnesses. Are either of you hurt?”

 Highnesses? The man must be a prince. Her father had only spoken of the crown prince. No other brothers had been mentioned. Oh, if this were Enrique…

 Short Bio:

Melissa McClone writes for Harlequin Romance. Her November '10 release Christmas Magic on the Mountain is a RITA® Finalist in the Contemporary Series Category. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but quit her job to write romance novels. Writing happily ever afters is a lot more fun than analyzing jet engine performance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, four cats and a dog named Chaos.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Writerly Question

So the Gearing Up to Get an Agent Blogfest has arrived and it's assignment time.

Assignment 1: Take the greatest, dumbest, weirdest...just whatever kind of writing question you have, and post it on your blog Wednesday.  
Let's see... my question isn't that great or dumb or weird but what's your favorite writer message board?

And another one, just for fun, how do you as a writer connect with readers?