Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Announcing Sun vs Snow for 2018

It’s that time again for THE BIG BATTLE between the heat and the cold! Yes, it’s time for the fifth year of Sun vs. Snow hosted by me and the fantastic, Amy Trueblood. We had several amazing success stories from last year. This time we have a fun new question and some important details about the entry process. Please read the following THOROUGHLY and then let us know if you have questions.




The submission window for Sun versus Snow will open January 23rd at 4:00 pm EST. 

Act fast. We will only be taking the first 200 entries. Please do not enter early or your entry will be deleted. You can resend at the proper time if this happens accidentally. Confirmation emails will be sent. If you don’t receive one, don’t resend. We don’t want duplicate entries. Please check with us on Twitter first to confirm your entry did or did not arrive, then you may resend. 

There is only ONE, yes that’s right, ONE entry per person allowed. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries being thrown out. This contest is only for finished and polished stories. Do not send us your NaNoWriMo from November 2017. 


Important note: The story can’t have been in the agent round of any other contest in the last three months. This doesn't mean twitter pitch events with hashtags, but multiple agent blog contests. 


Also, Michelle and I have decided not to accept picture books for this contest. Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica. To enter you must be followers of our blogs. Click the “follow” button on my blog. You can find Amy's blog here. If following our blogs doesn't work, follow us on twitter or sign up for our newsletters instead. 



The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per person is allowed. It doesn’t matter if you write under different names or are submitting different manuscripts. You are still one person and get one entry.

Here’s how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn’t have Times New Roman. No worries if the email messes up your format. Yes, we will still read it! :-)  

(Here’s a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

Subject Line: SVS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: SVS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


In The Email:

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: YA dystopian Ownvoices (Age category and genre. Add "Ownvoices" here if it applies)
Word Count: XX,XXX (round to the nearest thousand)
Twitter Handle: (Optional so we can contact you. Will not be public.)


Is Your Antagonist hot or cold: 

Describe whether your antagonist is hot or cold. Personalities differ. Does your villain snap easily or are they calm and calculating? (Don't have an antagonist who is a person--then describe the weather of your setting.) 

(Can be in your character's POV, but doesn’t have to be. 100 words or less.)


Query:

Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. You may include comps if you’d like. There is no word count limit on the query but please aim for 250 – 300 words.

You may include if your story is OwnVoices up in the genre line. We really want diverse and talented writers and striping out the bios sometimes leaves us in the dark.

Remember a query has several paragraphs. Don't send us a pitch.  


First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence. But I will not go over 257 words. Be reasonable and don’t make us count. Don’t forget to space between paragraphs! No indents!



That’s it for now. Get those entries ready for January 23rd and leave any questions in the comments or ask on Twitter.

Mentors and agents will be posted in January. As of now, we have over ten agents signed up. There will be some crazy cool mentors who are itching to work with the selected entries. Keep checking my blog or sign up for my newsletter for advance warning of the FREE PASS to be on Team Snow!

So get those entries ready! We can’t wait to get started!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Release Day For Steadfast



The final novel in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints trilogy, Steadfast follows Grudging and Faithful in telling the fateful story of Claire and Ramiro and their battle against a god that hungers for blood.
When the Northerners invaded, the ciudades-estado knew they faced a powerful army. But what they didn’t expect was the deadly magic that was also brought to the desert: the white-robed priests with their lethal Diviners, and the evil god, Dal. Cities have burned, armies have been decimated, and entire populaces have been sacrificed in the Sun God’s name, and it looks as if nothing can prevent the devastation.
But there are still those with hope.
Claire, a Woman of the Song, has already brought considerable magic of her own to fight the Children of Dal, and Ramiro, a soldier who has forsaken his vows to Colina Hermosa’s cavalry in order to stand by her side, has killed and bled for their cause. Separated after the last battle, they move forward with the hope that the saints will hear their prayers, their families will be saved, and that they’ll see each other once more.
A stirring conclusion to the Birth of Saints series, Ramiro and Claire’s journey finds completion in a battle between evil and love.






My Appreciation to You:

The end is here. In some ways it's been a long journey. In others it has passed in the blink of an eye. It seems only yesterday the announcement for my Birth of Saints series came out. It was three years ago. Back then I was worried whether I could manage to write a series. Now it's finished. 

I want to thank everyone who has helped me on this journey. Thanks for your friendship that kept me writing. Your financial support to buy these books, and the support of your time to read them and even better to give more time to leave a review. 

It's because of readers that storytellers get to do their jobs.


New adventures wait for all of us--if we seek them. I look forward to finding a new adventure and surprising myself again.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Release Day for A Crazy Kind of Love





Release Date November 28, 2017


Synopsis


In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

"The perfect romantic comedy." —RT Book Reviews

"Another sizzling, glitterati-filled story." Booklist Online

"If you like wonderfully written, light, fast paced, swoon worthy moments, and chemistry so strong it jumps off the page, then this is the book for you." Wit & Wonder Books

Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM! | Audible

a Rafflecopter giveaway



http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c766fbcd3/?





Author Bio:





Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Monday, November 27, 2017

When to Sequel

I feel like I've written about this before, but I'm still hearing questions about when is the right time to write a sequel. You've finished a book you love, got it as perfect as possible, and have started querying it. Do you start on something totally new or head directly into writing book two? There's the simple answer and the more complex answer.

The simple answer is absolutely not. Start something totally new. It's time to leave those dearly loved characters behind and move on to something different. Why? Because an author only has so much time in a day. Even the fastest writer can only produce so many quality manuscripts in a year. Don't waste your time working on the second part of a story line that may go nowhere. That's the harsh truth. 

Sadly, if the plot and characters weren't right for the market in the first book, it's unlikely to fit better in the second book. Now you are in the no man's land of your first book has played out with agents and you have nothing new written to send out to them. That puts you out of looking for an agent for a good six months. Not a great situation to put yourself in.

If you can't move forward because your brain and heart are hooked on your old characters, then do a short blurb about a sequel. Write a quick outline of your ideas. Something that won't take much time. Maybe write a couple of chapters. But then it's time to pull up your big girl pants, find your discipline, and move on to something else while you let querying play out. 

It's possible that querying will be successful. You'll land an agent who loves your story as much as you do. So start that sequel with an offer in hand?

Nope. Do not go there. Keep finishing the something different you should have started. Why? Because a fair percentage of first books on submission do not sell. And then once again, you've wasted a writer's most valuable resource--your time--working on something that's not going anywhere. Now you have nothing new to send your agent if wonderful book doesn't sell, except a sequel to wonderful book that they can't use.


If book 1 doesn't sell, it's pretty damn likely publishing isn't going to jump ahead to buy book 2. I mean it can happen, but it isn't likely.

I say again. Start something new. Start something new. Start something new. Until you have a sale and the publisher is open to giving you sequels.  

So now the complex answer. There are a few exceptions to the just say no approach.

1. You plan to self publish. Totally acceptable to query a story you love and have no luck, but decide to self publish. Or don't query at all and just go straight to self publishing. There are pluses and minuses to either path you choose. Traditional publishing has some advantages and shortfalls and the same with self publishing. This is not the post to discuss those, but if that's the path you want, then write those sequels.

2. Your heart is stuck. You just can't move onward to something new. You have no other ideas of what to write. It's either write these sequels or face writer's block forever. Then just write a sequel to get it out of your system. 

3. The sequel is 100% better than the book you finished and should have been book 1 in the first place. I've heard this a few times. People start in the wrong place with their story. Sometimes they start in the wrong place with an entire book. If you say but book 2 is where all the action starts, then why did you start with book 1? Perhaps you started with what should have been backstory for the real opening book. Warning: this is going to be incredibly hard to judge because you are likely way too close to the situation. But it can happen.

So there are my thoughts on when to write a sequel. It's not always the happy answer but it's the answer that is the most logical. 

How do you feel about the matter? Feel free to set me straight in the comments.  

  

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Release Day for Right Kind of Reckless

Title: The Right Kind of Reckless
Author: Heather Van Fleet
Genre: NA/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 7, 2017 


I'm in love with a woman I can't have, and there's absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.

The problem? Her brother's my best friend.

I shouldn't want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I've never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I'm a mess for her. She's my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.








MAX

“Maxwell Martinez, do you not like to be tickled?” She jabbed a spoon at me, and I plucked it out of her hands. Her legs were parted, and more than anything I wanted to take advantage of the space, whether there was a possibility of being tickled or not.

“No.”

She jumped off the counter. “So…” From behind me, she pressed her soft tits against my back, only to sneak her hands under the bottom of my shirt to touch my stomach. “If I did this”— she trailed her nails down the front, and I shuddered under her touch— “then it wouldn’t bother you?”

I jerked my hips back as she did it again, my breathing unsteady. “Nope.” I turned around and grabbed her by the waist, only to slide my tongue across her neck. 

“Eww, stop.” She shoved me away with a giggle.

I smacked her ass, then pointed to the counter. “Now get your cute butt back on the counter and watch your man work.”

She laughed but pulled back, doing as I asked. “You suck.”

I poured lemon cake mix in with the eggs and whipped cream I’d put in the bowl. “Cooking is an art form. If I get distracted, I’ll fuck up.”

For a while after that, she got quiet and just watched me. The two-person project had soon turned into a one-person job. I liked teaching her how it was done though.

And pretending to speak in a French accent put a smile on her lips that I couldn’t stop staring at. For Lia, I’d always act like a dumb-ass if it meant I could see her sweet grin.

Once the cookies were on the cookie sheet, ready to be put in the oven, I turned to look at the mess, finding her eyes on mine yet again. Something shifted inside me at her look, even more than before.

I needed to kiss her. Again.

I took my time moving closer, my hands drifting up her bare thighs. She shivered but made no move to push me away. Maybe she needed this too. When I finally stood between her knees, I took a deep breath, thanking God for the small things—like Lia’s patience, my second chance, and a few more silent hours alone.

“What do you see when you look at me, Lia?” I tipped her chin up, forcing her to meet my stare. “Tell me.”

“Let’s see…” She tapped her finger against her lips. “I see someone who’s smart and sweet, with a great ass.” 

I squeezed her thighs, urging for more. “What else?”

Her smile fell a little, but the happiness in her eyes didn’t budge. It was my goal to keep it there. “I see someone who’d do anything for the people he loves.”

I lifted my hand, using my thumb to wipe a bit of flour from her cheek. “That it?”

Goose bumps spread across her bare arms, and I pressed my hands up higher.

“I see a friend, and an occasional smart-ass who can make me laugh.”

Eyes shut, I lowered my forehead to hers. “You see all that in me?”

“I see more.”

I pressed a soft kiss to her cheek. “I see those things in you too.” And then some.

I saw her as my best friend, dressed in white, with a veil on her head and flowers in her hands. I saw her swollen and round with my son or daughter, even though I knew she wouldn’t be ready for either of those things for a long while. Still, the vision was there in my mind, and I knew without any doubt that I’d wait forever to make it happen if I had to.

She shook her head. “Want to know what else I see?”

“Tell me.”

“I see the only man I’ve ever loved.”

I lifted one hand and stroked the spot by her ear. “I don’t know what I did to deserve you.”

Tears were in her eyes, but this time I knew they weren’t from fear or pain or anger. They were for me. 

They were happy.

“You gave me hope when I thought it was lost.”

“You know, I’ve probably loved you since the day I came home from my last tour. Since I saw your blue eyes light up with recognition when you saw me in my gear at the airport that day.”

“I saw you first.” She grinned so widely that my heart skipped. “Even before I saw my brother. I felt like crap about it because he’s blood, and you were like this… this fascinating memory I thought I’d conjured up. But then you weren’t.”

I held my breath as she continued in a rush, “You were coming down that long hallway, a backpack slung over your shoulder. Your hair was buzzed, and your face was all tan and scruffy.” She stared over my shoulder, her eyes half- glazed with the memory. “You looked so handsome.” I laughed. “Hadn’t slept in thirty-six hours. Not sure how I looked handsome.”


“You smiled when you saw my dad and my mom.” 

“I smiled when I saw you too.”

Her eyes continued that sparkle thing they did, lighting up with every word I said. “Yeah, but then you took one look at Chloe as Collin tugged her into his arms, and it’s as though everything in life made sense to you again. You looked so complete for someone who’d just gotten back from war.”

That day, I couldn’t keep my eyes off Lia either. She’d looked so different from what I remembered. Stronger, angrier, feistier. There were bits of that pink mixed in with her black hair. But her eyes were the same. They were so big and wide and blue, and filled with love for her parents and her brother and Chloe too. I remember thinking to myself that I wanted someone to look at me the way she looked at her family—like I was all that mattered.






a Rafflecopter giveaway




Heather Van Fleet is a stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.


Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 and currently writes YA, NA, and Adult contemporary romance. She is published through Sourcebooks Casablanca with her Reckless Hearts series. Along with being an author, Heather also serves as a foreign rights assistant agent through Inklings Literary. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary.



HOSTED BY:


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cover Reveal for A Crazy Kind of Love




Release Date November 28, 2017

Synopsis

In this irresistible new novel by Mary Ann Marlowe, one woman’s up-close and sexy encounter with a tabloid sensation reveals the dizzying—and delicious—dilemma of dating in the spotlight . . .

Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That’s a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he’s seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he’s also Micah Sinclair—one of rock’s notorious bad boys…

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she’s suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician’s mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he’s a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah’s feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can’t resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media’s latest victim . . .

Praise for Mary Ann Marlowe’s Some Kind of Magic

“Marlowe makes a name for herself in this hilarious and sexy debut.”
Booklist

“Frisky, Flirty Fun!”
–Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author of The Total Package



Available November 28, 2017 from Kensington. Pre-Order at all digital retailers:

Amazon | BN | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads | BAM!


Excerpt

More people rolled in, either on foot or via personal motorcade. The feeding frenzy intensified as the level of fame increased. Some celebrities disappeared as quickly as possible. Others walked the runway, stopping to give the photographers ample time to capture them, only answering questions about whichever project they wanted to publicize.

By the time Micah Sinclair emerged from a black sedan, tall and confident, voices had reached fever pitch.

Micah, over here!

As his car drove away, Micah stood a moment to take in the scene. Rather than escape the fishbowl or pose for publicity shots, he shook hands with one of the reporters and chatted for a few seconds before he came my way. He tilted his head back, and his face lit up.

“Wally!” He crossed over, hand outstretched. “Haven’t seen you around in a while. I hope everything’s good at home.”

Wally actually put his camera down to shake Micah’s hand. I glanced around. Nobody was taking pictures. Was there something inherently un-newsworthy about a guy talking to the media? I lifted my camera and started shooting. The whirr of my camera caught Micah’s attention, and he turned away from Wally with a wide-eyed look of recognition.

He put his hand up against the flash and peered around his fingers. “Jo-Josie from Georgia! I didn’t expect to see you again so soon.”

Since he was facing me, I kept snapping pictures. Knowing that Andy would want me to at least get a comment if I could, I blurted out, “Hey, Micah. Are you here alone tonight?”

I knew I should have asked him something more specific, but he was smiling that cocky-bratty grin, and it was messing with my killer instinct. If I had a killer instinct.

“I am. Or at least I came here alone.” The cameras around us began to flash, but Micah kept his cool, eyes on me, as if we were still standing on the sidewalk in Park Slope, all alone. His lip curled up on one side, like he was gearing up for a challenge. “How’d you like to be my date?”

Now I dropped my camera, and it slammed into my gut. Oof. Damn if Andy hadn’t called it. I still couldn’t process the invitation. “Sorry, what?”

He gestured with his head toward the steps. “Come on. You’ll get better pictures inside.”

I threw a glance at Wally who looked as envious as Charlie Bucket when the last golden ticket was found. He nodded me forward. Now that fantasy had turned into reality, I realized I wasn’t remotely prepared to rub elbows with the same people I needed to exploit. “Sure. But are you sure it’s okay? Nobody will mind?”

“Eden will, but I owe you one. And besides I have an in with the guy throwing the party.” He offered me his elbow. “Come on. Don’t be shy. You might get that Pulitzer prize shot.”

I gathered my gear together. Micah stopped and looked down at me while I threw my camera bag and backpack over my shoulder and straightened up. At my full height, he only had a couple of inches on me. I put my hand around his proffered bicep, completely aware of the feel of his skin on my fingertips. He turned his blue eyes on me, and I forgot how to breathe.

The smile dropped from his face for a second, and he asked, “Everything okay?”

I sucked in a lungful of air and laughed off my nerves. “Entering enemy territory for the first time.”

His confident, charming smile returned, and he led me up the steps into the brownstone—my own personal Trojan horse.

Micah nodded at the burly man inside the door as we passed. “This is Jo. She’s with me.”

The bouncer shot me a look of grudging respect. “Good luck.”

As Micah pulled me along, I looked back, unsure what the bouncer meant by that, but he’d already turned his attention away, so I faced forward, glancing around wildly for any A-list celebrities.

And it hit me for real. I was on the inside.

Author Bio:





Mary Ann lives in central Virginia where she works as a computer programmer/DBA. She spent ten years as a university-level French professor, and her resume includes stints as an au pair in Calais, a hotel intern in Paris, a German tutor, a college radio disc jockey, and a webmaster for several online musician fandoms. She has lived in twelve states and three countries and loves to travel.

Connect with Mary Ann

Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Website | Newsletter Signup

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Nightmare on Query Street 2017 Wrap-up






HUGE thanks to the agents, mentors, entrants who helped make Nightmare on Query Street a success. With 19 requests for the Monsters, 31 for the Legions, and 39 for the Minions.



For those who want stats, here's a blog breakdown:




Monsters




Screams:2
Shrieks:8
Shivers:7


Total: 19 requests




Minions



Screams:10
Shrieks:23
Shivers:6


Total: 39

Legions





Screams:7
Shrieks:17
Shivers:7


Total: 31


Once again, thanks for such an awesome year. If you're working on a new project, don't forget about Query Kombat in June 2017 and Nightmare on Query Street next year! Hope you had a safe and happy Halloween!






Monday, October 30, 2017

Nightmare on Query Street Agent Round 2017




Time for the shivers, shrieks and screams to begin!

Following this post, are the fourteen Minions. Just click on the posts you'd like to read more about. 




 art & design minions despicable me minion the minions GIF




Agents, you can head over to Mike's blog and Laura's blog as well to make more requests. (But don't worry, Minions will take no prisoners!) 



 guitar minions despicable me guitar smash GIF



No commenting, cheerleading, etc. Only agents will be able to comment. 


IMPORTANT NOTE: Opera and Safari Browsers may NOT allow you to comment. Using another browser is HIGHLY recommended. Agents can email NightmareonQueryStreet@yahoo.com if they have trouble or let us know on twitter.

We're going to be under the hashtag #NoQS, shouting out agent appearances. So vent, be nervous, cheer each other on, and hold hands over Twitter. One of the best parts of contests is seeing how the writer's community gathers and supports each other.

For the next two days, agents will have fun ways to request in the contest.

They can SCREAM for a full request.
They can SHRIEK for a 50 page request.
They can SHIVER for a 10 page request.

And agents can make as many requests as they want! So go wild! We have some awesome talent for you to read.

I want to say a quick thanks to the mentors who all did such a wonderful job helping with revisions.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! Hope you all get a ton of frighteningly amazing requests!
 

And remember: Minions Rule!


 summer beach yellow minions drinks GIF

NoQS Minion 1: Flight of the Monarchs, Adult Literary Ownvoices

Title: FLIGHT OF THE MONARCHS
Genre: Adult Literary, #ownvoices
Word Count: 100,000




NoQS Minion 2: Pale Path, Adult Science Fiction

Title: PALE PATH
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 118,000