Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Pitch + 250 Contest Success Story

Hey all,

I just did a post for the ladies at Adventures in YA Publishing, talking about how I met my agent during their Pitch + 250 contest in May.  You can read the story here!

And if you're an unagented writer, I highly recommend you give the August Pitch + 250 contest a try... they start accepting entries tonight at 6pm Eastern.  Good luck!



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet the Puppies!

While the intention of this blog is to share information about my writing journey,

I also love to talk about my puppies.  I thought I'd share a photo of each of my dogs to get it out of my system ;-)

First up are Romeo (also known as 'buddyman') and Julietta (AKA 'peanut').  R & J are Italian Greyhounds who spent the first 7 years of their life in a puppy mill.  Things were Really Bad for them.  They were rescued by the angels at Eve's Sanctuary Animal Rescue of Harlem, NY, and my then-fiancee/now husband and I adopted them in August of 2011- just two months before we got married!  We had NO IDEA what we were getting into... but our lives haven't been the same since, and I wouldn't change a thing.  R & J celebrated their 9th birthday in January by eating doggie ice cream and playing in their large, fenced yard!

Julietta (we also call her 'the Boss'! Such a diva.)

And now, let's talk about retired racing greyhounds!

While in the midst of adopting Romeo and Julietta, I was also bitten by the I-need-a-retired-racing-greyhound bug.  I read books about them.  I dragged my husband to local greyhound meet & greets.  I have always wanted to help as many dogs as we are financially (and time-wise) able to, and my very first dog, Lady, taught me to think adoption first.  Almost a year after adopting Romeo and Julietta, this time on the same weekend we moved into our first house, my husband and I adopted...

Khaleesi, an 8-year-old retired racer who loves her little Iggie (Italian Greyhound) siblings!

And then, just three months later, after deciding Khaleesi needed a friend...

Grimm came into our lives!  This big guy weighs over 80lbs. and is a total momma's boy.  He has SO MANY FEELS and loves hugs.

Thanks for reading about our happy family!

Monday, July 15, 2013

An Introduction, and Exciting News- How I Got My Agent!

I've been writing my whole life,

But about a year ago, I decided (with heaps of encouragement from my husband) that it was time to get serious about my craft!  I polished a high fantasy manuscript, revised it, and polished it again, then sent out queries to a carefully researched list of agents, and waited.  I got a few requests, and waited some more, but ultimately, nothing came of them.  I wondered things from, 'is the book not ready?' to 'is the book just terrible?'  I admit, I might've sulked for a few weeks, but then somehow, as all writers do, I got swept up in writing my next manuscript.

I took everything I had learned about writing quality YA and applied it to my new book, a ghost story called No Such Thing.  I polished this MS and began querying it in April of this year.  This book was met with a much higher request rate, but still... some stubborn part of me refused to give up on my high fantasy book!  I was so passionate about the world I'd built for it, the characters, the adventure... and I decided the problem lay with the query, not the story itself.

While querying No Such Thing, I entered it in several contests, and one in particular, hosted by the awesome folks at Savvy Authors, allowed each entrant to pitch up to two manuscripts.  So, I revamped the pitch for my fantasy book The Goblins' Price and submitted it as well.  A few weeks later, I checked back, and to my surprise and delight, an agent named Christa Heschke had requested not just my ghost story, but The Goblins' Price as well!!  I was ecstatic.  I had heard nothing but wonderful things about Christa, and further research about her confirmed her awesomeness; we had similar taste in books!

Just a few days later, I entered the May + 250 Pitch Contest hosted by two fabulous ladies, Martina & Jan, at Adventures in YA Publishing.  I was thrilled and humbled to be included in the top 10 finalists, and was even happier when Jan emailed me to let me know that Christa wanted to see more of No Such Thing.  She already had some pages from the Savvy Authors contest, but I emailed her again with the requested pages, not wanting to lose the wonderful opportunity.

To make a long story short- about a week and a half ago, I got my first agent offer of representation for No Such Thing.  I wound up with 4 agent offers total, but it was my most recent offer-- the one from Christa-- that I accepted!  Christa's enthusiasm, professionalism, knowledge, and warmth make her the best possible agent in my book.  The one I really hoped would want to work with me.  She enjoyed my ghost story, but even better, she's also passionate about my high fantasy novel and the other ideas I have in the works!  I know we're going to accomplish great things together, and I'm so excited for the days ahead!!

Here I am this afternoon, signing my contract with Christa and M & O!  The blacked-out text is my SSN- no need to share that much info. with everyone ;-)

Well, thank you so much for reading this far!  Oh, and if anyone would like me to post query stats (how many queries I sent for No Such Thing, the request rate, and so on...), please comment to let me know.  I'd be happy to do so!