Friday, January 31, 2014

New Release- FACE OF DEATH

I'm wishing a happy release month to Kelly Hashway, who is part of my agent family! Check out her latest release from Spencer Hill Press.

Having fallen at the hands of Hades, Jodi's enduring torture like she never imagined. Worse, she has to watch her Ophi friends suffer along with her--the punishment doled out by the very people she'd sentenced to life in Tartarus. Hell. This is one reunion Jodi hoped would never happen, but now she must find a way to free them all.

Except the underworld is nearly impossible to escape.

Jodi's one chance may rest in raising the human soul she killed when she drank Medusa's blood.

But splitting her human soul from her Ophi soul means living a double life: One as an Ophi experiencing unspeakable torture and the other as the human she could have been if she never came into her powers. With her two worlds colliding, Jodi will have to make the toughest decision she's faced yet.

Kelly Hashway grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Query Questions with Laura Zats

Writers have copious amounts of imagination. It's what makes their stories so fantastic. But there's a darker side to so much out of the box thinking. When a writer is in the query trenches, their worries go into overdrive. They start pulling out their hair and imagine every possible disaster.


Here to relieve some of that endless worrying is a new series of posts called Query Questions. I'll ask the questions which prey on every writer's mind, and hopefully take some of the pain out of querying. These are questions that I've seen tossed around on twitter and writing sites like Agent Query Connect. They are the type of questions that you need answers for the real expert--agents!

If you have your own specific query question, please leave it in the comments and it might show up in future editions of Query Questions as I plan to rotate the questions.

Before the agent round of Sun versus Snow is one of the agents helping to make the contest a success. A big thanks to Laura Zats of Red Sofa Literary

Is there a better or worse time of year to query?
Not for me! No matter when you send me a query, I'll answer it. However, if you query in December/January or August/September, be prepared to wait a bit longer than during the rest of the year since it's when agents are busy getting submissions ready and there are also a lot of Twitter contests.
Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query?
Everybody makes typos. If you've got one or two in a query, it's not a big deal. However, if you have LOTS, it says to me that you rushed through the query. I'm also a lot more harsh with incorrect homonyms, because it says to me that you're not educated in your craft.
Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?
Unfortunately not. No matter how great a query is, if it's a book that doesn't fall in my categories or one I wouldn't feel comfortable representing for any reason, I pass.
Do you have an assistant or intern go through your queries first or do you check all of them?
I look through every one of my queries, and if I request a partial or a full, I read it all and write a personalized response. It's why queries take so long to answer!
If the manuscript has a prologue, do you want it included with the sample pages?
NO! I actually have a well-documented bias against prologues. Not because I think they're bad, but because I think they're too often used by new authors to "cheat" in their opening pages. Writers hear all the time that their work starts about 30 pages too soon (they lead up to the action, versus dropping a reader in it), and prologues are used all too often to lead up to action when it's not needed. That's not to say that all prologues are bad, but for me it's better if they're left out.
Some agencies mention querying only one agent at a time and some say query only one agent period. How often do you pass a query along to a fellow agent who might be more interested?
 Always! If I plan to pass on a book but I think it could do well with Jennie or Dawn, I give them a crack before I send a rejection letter, and they do the same for me.

Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript?
This depends. I like query letters to be personalized, because this tells me that I'm being queried because a writer actually thinks I'd be a good fit for their book, and not because they just found me on a search engine and included me in a huge mail blast. That being said, I care much more about  the MS than what your cat's name is (that is what Twitter is for).
Most agents have said they don’t care whether the word count/genre sentence comes first or last. But is it a red flag if one component is not included?
Absolutely. It tells me that you're either a) not following category/genre conventions and want to pull one over on me, or b) haven't done the necessary groundwork and research to understand the publishing industry and your audience.
Writers hear a lot about limiting the number of named characters in a query. Do you feel keeping named characters to a certain number makes for a clearer query?
In general, yes. When names get thrown about with no supporting information, I lose track of what the book is about, which is the kiss of death. Additionally, you don't want to give too much background introducing your characters because you're using up valuable query space where you should be talking about plot! I think above four names makes my head swim a little, but any name will confuse me if not properly introduced.
Should writers sweat the title of their book (and character names) or is that something that is often changed by publishers?
Don't sweat it. Titles get changed all the time (and names too, although less so), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be deliberate with them. Certain names (like Bella) are going to have certain connotations, and you should be very aware of this.
How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?
I get anywhere from 5-20 queries in a day, so my weekly count varies quite a bit. I always have more requests after competitions and events, but in general I don't usually request partials from more than 15% of the slush pile.
Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?
I most definitely care if writers are active online! It sets up a great platform for them to interact with future fans, and I've also noticed that authors who are more active in the writing community are better and more knowledgeable at what they do, because they have amazing built-in resources. A good media presence will always make you look better, and it makes my job easier. I also require Twitter. I prefer an author to have a blog, but it's not necessary if they're available on other platforms.
Some writers have asked about including links to their blogs or manuscript-related artwork. I’m sure it’s not appropriate to add those links in a query, but are links in an email signature offensive?
I don't find them offensive, but there's a 99.9% chance I won't click on them. I only check those sort of things out if I'm about to make The Call.
If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested?
I only rarely send R&Rs, but I'm usually open to receiving an updated query IF the author asks me permission first. 
 What bio should an author with no publishing credits include?
Their social media presence, any writing classes/experience, and group memberships!
What does ‘just not right mean for me’ mean to you?
My agency runs on a more boutique model, which means that we're very, very selective about books we rep. All three of us have quickly rejected books with amazing earning potential without looking back because none of us were in love. I need to be obsesses with the books I represent. I need to read it and then have the thought, "Wow, that was an amazing line." I need to feel the MC's feelings in the pit of my stomach, and salivate over the next book an author is writing. So many books I reject as an agent that I would really enjoy as a reader, but just don't have that "it" factor for me. Books are also not right for me if they're outside of my categories enough so that I wouldn't know how to sell it/who to give it to.
What themes are you sick of seeing?
Angels. The Chosen One. A romance where a strong man heals a virginal, broken woman. Love triangles. Treasure hunts.
Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent?
My background is as an editor (I still work as one, too!), so I'm definitely editorial. I go through edits and development with all my authors.
What’s the strangest/funniest thing you’ve seen in a query?
Oh man. I have SO MANY, but if I had to pick a favorite … We got a graphic novel about a sentient penis once. It was hilarious.
What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
Dark, gritty contemporary YA that isn't a romance,
Character-driven multiple POV contemporary adult romance with a fair bit of steam,
Lighter sci-fi with a kick-ass female lead.
What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes? 
I live for the wit and consequences in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the irreverent-yet-serious tone of Doctor Who and Eureka. The delicate plotting of the Parasol Protectorate, the gorgeous scenery of A Soldier of the Great War, the gut-wrenching payoff of S.E. Hinton and 
Ellen Hopkins.


Laura Zats graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. While completing her studies, she took advantage of her love of Young Adult (YA) literature and wrote a thesis on identity formation in YA. She’s been working as an editor since 2011 and has held positions at companies in both the US and the UK. In 2013, Laura joined Team Red Sofa as an intern but quickly became more of an apprentice, leveling up to Associate Agent in the same year.
Even though she loved YA books first, titles that are Middle Grade, romance, and Sci-fi/Fantasy have been slowly taking hold. Picking a favorite genre now would be like choosing between puppies and kittens. In her free time, Laura likes to craft, swing dance, bake, and binge on Netflix marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Getting the Call: Chanel Cleeton

I'm happy to have Chanel Cleeton to share her call story. Her debut book I SEE LONDON releases in just a few days on February 3rd! She gives us not only the inspiration of her agent story but a glimpse into the world of submission. Thanks Chanel! 

Way back in 2011 I wrote BORED TO DEATH—a YA thriller set in rural South Carolina featuring a heroine transplanted from New York City, a hot quarterback, and a serial killer stalking high school girls. It was one of those books that basically wrote itself and as soon as I started typing the first words I was hooked. I started working on it in September 2011 and began querying in May 2012. It was an extra special story for me because I wrote it during the year my husband was deployed to the Middle East and my second year of law school—so basically it kept me sane.

Before I started querying I did a ton of research on agents and ended up with a spreadsheet of about thirtysomething names. I queried in batches and little by little requests for partials and fulls started to roll in—along with rejections. The responses were positive and SO much better than the query stats on my first book. Even the rejections made me feel like I was headed in the right direction.

In July I got an email from Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency saying how much she loved my book (she had a partial) and that she wanted to see the full. I remember getting the email late at night and thinking that I’d send it in the morning when I was a little more awake. When I woke up the next day I had a voicemail from a California number…a phone message from Kevan saying that she loved the book and wanted to chat with me. I also happened to be on Twitter and saw her tweeting about a partial she was loving and I was all, “OMG it can’t be my book. But what if it is my book?” So basically I died for a bit.

I’m probably the calmest person ever and I NEVER get excited about things until I know they’re a sure thing, but there was something about the fact that she called me off of a partial that had my Spidey senses humming. I felt this huge sense of hope that maybe this would be it. Querying can sometimes feel a lot like being picked last for dodgeball and for the first time I felt like someone was going to pick me.

I called my mom and freaked out a bit over the phone—I think she cried as moms do—and then I tried to calm down and sound professional when I talked to Kevan. Other fun fact about me? I’m super OCD about order and I kept thinking, “This isn’t what they normally say happens in the query process. What do I DO?” But despite my inner freaking out, I *think* I managed to sound calm on the phone. If I didn’t, Kevan was way too nice to tell me. I sent her the full that day and she promised she would read it quickly—she was on her way to RWA National.

I had an incredibly short wait—about a week—between sending Kevan the full and her getting back to me, but of course being a writer I checked my email like every five minutes. One of the things I loved most about Kevan was that she kept me updated while she was reading it and really made me feel like she was so passionate about the book. She even tweeted about it a few more times. I’ll never forget how I felt hearing that someone else loved my story.

About a week after I sent her the full, Kevan emailed me asking to set up a time to chat. Of course I freaked out AGAIN and wondered if this was THE CALL.

It was :) She let me know right off the bat that she was offering representation and I calmed my racing heart down to a normal pace. We chatted for about an hour but honestly I was so nervous that I remember little about the call. I took notes but they ended up looking a bit like gibberish. After the conversation I knew I had found my agent. I just had a feeling about Kevan from the beginning. She was so enthusiastic and professional and kind, plus she had an amazing reputation in the industry. It was exactly the match I was looking for.

I accepted her offer, did minor revisions on the manuscript, and went on submission in September. A month later Kevan happened to be attending a conference near my house and we met up for lunch. We were talking about what I should be working on while on sub (most important advice ever- WRITE SOMETHING NEW WHILE ON SUB) and this is where my life changed—

I told Kevan that I’d always wanted to write a book about my experience attending an international university in London. At this time New Adult was SO new and few agents were really accepting it as a full-fledged category. But Kevan was supportive of New Adult from a really early stage and as soon as I told her my idea her eyes lit up and she said, “You have to write that story.” So I did.

In the end my YA didn’t sell. We did a small sub round and got good feedback but it didn’t sell. I wallowed—drank wine, ate chocolate, and cried a bit. BUT here’s where having an agent like Kevan made all the difference—it didn’t matter that my YA didn’t sell (although I’ll totally admit that not selling was a horrible feeling) because I had another project—my New Adult contemporary romance, I SEE LONDON.

Kevan and I were so excited to sub the project. It went out in May and a few weeks later I had a two-book deal from Harlequin HQN. It was a whirlwind.

I SEE LONDON releases on February 3rd. A year and a half after I got the call, I’m so excited to release my book—a completely different one than I expected when I picked up the phone—out into the world. And really, more than anything, I’m glad that I found an agent who stood by me through a book not selling and was so supportive of my NA. I’m so lucky to have her in my corner! If I could give any advice to querying writers it would be this—

First, it is 100% true that it is better to have no agent than a bad agent. You have no idea how much you will rely on your agent until a crisis strikes and you need someone knowledgeable in your corner. Find an agent who will be an advocate for your work and will guide your career. Second, even after you get an agent you will get rejections. Honestly, a rejection on submission feels even worse than a query rejection. But don’t let it get you down. Keep writing and find an agent who wants to be with you for the long haul. Most importantly—write something new while on submission! And lastly, more than anything—don’t give up. If you want to be published, push through the rejections. You will be. 


Originally a Florida girl, at seventeen Chanel moved to London to attend an international university.  In the four years that followed, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, learned how to dance, travelled through Europe, and made lifelong friendships.  Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever.  But fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, when an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves, swept her off her feet. 
Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.  An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she is happiest curled up with a book.  She has a weakness for handbags, puppy cuddles, and her fighter pilot husband.  Harlequin (HQN) will release Chanel’s New Adult debut, I SEE LONDON, on February 3, 2014, followed by a sequel, LONDON FALLING, later in the year.

Author Links:

Maggie Carpenter is ready for a change— and to leave her ordinary life in South Carolina behind. But when she accepts a scholarship to the International School in London, a university attended by the privileged offspring of diplomats and world leaders, Maggie might get more than she bargained for.

When Maggie meets Hugh, a twentysomething British guy, she finds herself living the life she always wanted. Suddenly she’s riding around the city in a Ferrari, wearing borrowed designer clothes and going to the hottest clubs. The only problem? Another guy, the one she can’t seem to keep her hands off of.

Half French, half Lebanese, and ridiculously wealthy, Samir Khouri has made it clear he doesn’t do relationships. He’s the opposite of everything Maggie thought she wanted…and he’s everything she can’t resist. Torn between her dream guy and the boy haunting her dreams, Maggie has to fight for her own happy ending. In a city like London, you never know where you stand, and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

Goodreads link:

Book Order Links:
Barnes & Noble:

Thursday, January 23, 2014


First off, I want to give a HUGE thanks to everyone who entered Sun versus Snow. We had some amazing entries and it was incredibly difficult to pick our teams.

Please remember, as always, that publishing is very subjective, and although you did not get picked that DOES NOT mean your entry was not stellar! In a lot of cases, we just leaned more toward things that were either in our interest group, or had so much voice we could not turn it away. Keep entering those contests!

So without further ado, here are the 15 members of TEAMSNOW and a link to TEAMSUN. These writers will have their query and first page reviewed by 12 AMAZING mentors and then, after some fine-tuning, their work will be shared with 15 INCREDIBLE agents!

Mentors will leave comments on January 23 and 24, then all are welcome to leave feedback on January 25. (For list of the TEAMSNOW mentors--so you'll recognize them--go here.)

TEAMSUN and TEAMSNOW members are required to give feedback on three other entries starting on Saturday, January 25th!

TEAMSUN AND TEAMSNOW members must have their revised queries back to the Sun versus Snow email by 8:00 pm EST on Wednesday, January 29th. Please don’t wait until the last minute.

Good luck! And make those comments constructive and positive!

As always follow the #sunvssnow hashtag as Amy and I will be shouting out when mentors arrive!

SVS 1: SCRIPTED, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 54,000

My main character is most uncomfortable with:

 The blazing beam of the sun while she and her other nine siblings are out picking food in their ten-acre garden every day of summer. 


 Seventeen-year-old Dani is one of ten, soon to be eleven kids, who films YouTube videos rife with homespun goodness on the family farm. Although the videos are made for earthy, crunchy mamas, Dani is a-okay with doing them—anything for the family. With Momma determined to keep popping out babies until they can land their own reality show, Dani's too busy chasing the little ones to ask questions.

It isn't until she meets fellow YouTuber and high school reporter Duncan that she examines her life and her place in the family. After being blamed for an accident involving a sibling, Dani rebels by making a YouTube video that protests her individuality.

When the video goes viral it attracts a TV producer who offers them Momma's long-sought after dream. But there's a catch—the family must follow a carefully written script. Dani has to choose whether to accept the role the TV execs have planned for her, or to forge her own path, except doing so may oust her from the crazy family she loves so much.

SVS 2: A TEMPORARY CONVENIENCE, Adult Romantic Mystery

Genre: Adult Romantic Mystery
Word Count: 89,000

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with:

Snow is demonstrably inferior to sun.  Many civilizations have worshipped the sun – realizing that, without it, life would be impossible.  No photosynthesis would mean no food, while no Vitamin D production from sunshine would remove the strength to go get food even if it existed.  But you can live quite comfortably without snow.  You can plan for sunny weather, too.  However, snowfall is unpredictable, tricky, and sometimes unsafe.  And did humans evolve in the Arctic? Of course not.  Honestly, then, why would any rational person be at ease around frozen water unless it’s cooling a lovely single-malt Scotch?

So what if Beth Macdonald can't rationalize how her Ph.D. in medieval and early modern Scottish history qualifies her for the big bucks?  Dorie Campbell, star of DC society and overly generous art dealer, has materialized and rescued her from a life of temp work.  Beth's not going to lose this chance at permanent employment.  Besides, the dream position comes complete with rich, hunky accountant Ted Bruce, who acts so smitten that he even tracks down and reads her damn dissertation.

However, the last time a Macdonald trusted the Bloody Campbells, the Glencoe Massacre followed.  Perhaps Beth could try to disregard history, too.  Only the unsettling, present-day facts can't be ignored – her employer's peculiar behavior and prolific lies, the hinky business records, and the sudden disappearance of Beth's predecessor.  The IRS is asking questions. 
A member of the local Mob family has some, too.

Beth realizes it's time to wake up and smell the Scotch.  She needs to brush off her grad school skills and research the possible misdeeds of some modern Campbells.  A more difficult task may be protecting herself from her stunning new admirer.  Ted could a part of whatever's going on, and he once pursued Mrs. Campbell's missing previous assistant just as hard.  She turned him down.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Genre: MG Arthurian retelling with a sci-fi twist
Word Count: 60,000

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: 

Sun, I despise the sun. The big ball of heat roasts the moat, and everyone of Camelot's privys plop into that foul, brown water surrounding the castle. The stench makes you want to wear a perfumed cloth over your snotbox, but you can't because only girls wear perfume. So best breathe by the mouth and pray that a steamy onslaught of stench doesn't crawl through an arrowslit into your bedchamber.   


Dear Agent:

Twelve-year-old Prince Arthur dreams of wielding The Sword in the Stone, so he can dash to “ye old pawn shoppe” to swop the blade for a guitar. But for this to happen, Arthur must first lead Camelot’s pages to victory in paintegg combat against Prince “Big Ears” Elgbert of Cornwall. Even though the Cornish hench-hen is a year older and renowned for foul play in the annual tournament, Arthur is determined to succeed. Because this year, if the captain of the winning team doesn’t get gobsmacked by an egg filled with paint, he’ll be awarded a rare attempt to brandish the legendary sword. If Arthur prevails, he plans to fulfill his lifelong ambition and become a wandering minstrel. 

But before this year’s champion can claim his prize, Saxons threaten Cornwall. Camelot’s King Luther mobilizes the army to help his beleaguered ally. Unknowingly, this leaves Arthur and the pages of Camelot pitted against a second invasion. Mechanized, headless knights driven by little green men from the planet Leprechaun land on Stonehenge in a giant, flying round table. But instead of attacking, they start abducting Camelot’s subjects, including Arthur’s sisters in a quest to uncover practitioners in the medieval science of magic. If Arthur doesn’t find a way to stop the conniving Leprechauns, they may have to change the name of Camelot to Camefew.

SVS 4: HOT TUB SANTA, Picture Book

Genre: 4 – 8 years old PB
Word Count: 395

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: 
There’s no place like snow for Santa…a change of address would turn this rosy-cheeked, hot chocolate drinking, sled driving, jolly fellow into a thin, suntanned, salad eating not-so-jolly dude --- and none of us want that.

Dear Agent,
When Mrs. Claus gives Santa a hot tub as an early Christmas present, Santa is excited. Thankfully, he has a few feisty penguins to give him a boost inside.
But after having a jolly ole time in the tub, Santa discovers that getting out is going to be much trickier. And with no time left, it’s up to Santa’s friends at the North Pole to get creative – or it will be too late to deliver the presents in time for Christmas

SVS 5: ABOVE EDEN, YA Speculative Fiction

Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 91,000

My main character is most uncomfortable with:

In Eden’s Underground, the temperature is strictly controlled. She isn’t used to discomfort of any sort. Any extreme, either warm or cold, would both fascinate and terrify her. Eden prefers simulations with lots of sun and warmth, however, so the introduction of real snow would freak her out. She would still want to explore it, of course, but it wouldn’t take much time for her to long for warmth again. 


Dear Amy and Michelle,

When 17-year-old Eden Quinn isn’t chatting telepathically with her friends through her virtual reality halo, fighting with her mother over control of the technology in her room, or messing with her preppy younger brother, she’s probably sealed inside one of the Underground’s individual safety hatches, watching vids and waiting impatiently for another false alarm to pass. Intruders aren’t likely. Even if anything could survive Above, the Underground is well-protected.

Eden’s illusions of safety are shattered when she witnesses the abduction of her brother by men who look and act nothing like citizens of the Underground. With few leads, Eden turns to an unlikely source for help.

Kalon Fitch has never been one of Eden’s favorite people, which made it even more surprising when he requested her for a Link Trial, the Underground equivalent of an engagement. Eden has kept her distance from him, but now it appears that Kalon knows more about the strange men than he should, and Eden makes the decision to trust him for the chance to save her brother.

Though nothing is supposed to survive on the surface, that’s where Kalon leads Eden. In a world reclaimed by nature, Eden discovers that not only have people survived, but they have flourished in the technologically barren world Above. Welcomed into the small village of Heaven, Eden begins to question everything she has been taught in the Underground. She also realizes that there may be something far more sinister going on, both Underground and Above, than she could have imagined. Faced with this new reality, Eden must find her brother and figure out if Kalon is trying to help her, or if she will be the next to disappear.

SVS 6: GAME CHANGER, Upper YA Contemporary

Genre: Upper YA Contemporary 
Word Count: 84,000

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: 

Adam is used to ball-sweat-hot summers in his small town, but slipping on snow could tweak his knee and put a quick end to his college football future...and his escape to a better life). 


Dear Fabulous Agent,

With a girlfriend damn near close to perfect, an imminent college escape out of NowhereVille, USA, and a throwing arm clocked at 42 mph, everyone wants to sack quarterback Adam Emerson. But he never expected his dad to do the blindsiding, let alone do the most damage.

Three weeks before graduation, Adam’s widower dad dies, leaving him to bury his college dreams and NFL future with him. In their place, he’s left with the family garage to run and guardianship of a little brother who’s hellbent on self-destruction.

In no time, Adam’s brother’s fighting and drinking jeopardize his custody. And the auto shop takes such a dive that Adam’s forced to sell his dad’s beloved ’57 Ranchero just to make payroll. His coach and friends suspect he needs help, but he’s been trained to be a leader, and no amount of their pushing changes his determination to hide his growing failure. The family business, his home, his brother—everything that once seemed stable, everything he couldn’t wait to leave—are on the line. It’s up to Adam to decide whether to admit defeat or to adapt his strategy. It’s also up to him to learn the real life secret of the game he’s a master at: it’s not just how a player handles a game changer…it’s who he has on his team.

SVS 7: ENCODED, MG Science Fiction

Genre: MG Science Fiction
Word Count: 38,000

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with: 

Snow reminds Xavier of his mom, who passed away several years ago while they were living on a rather wintery planet. Come to think of it--that's probably around the time she hid the microchip in his brain. Although he has, on some levels, accepted her death--Xavier still misses his mom.


Dear Goddesses of Sun and Snow:

Everyone says twelve year-old Xavier has a knack for causing havoc, when in reality he's just terribly unlucky. He's not the one who made the mysterious black spaceship show up and turn the colony into something resembling a burnt pancake. Oh wait—he is.

To be fair, Xavier didn't even know the microchip (the one the goons on the mysterious black spaceship wanted) was in his head until after the colony was fried to a crisp. See, his mom did leave a message explaining the whole I-put-a-microchip-with-my-research-on-it-in-your-head thing before she died several years earlier, but it was locked inside a puzzle box. It wasn't until the box detected the threat of the black spaceship that it opened and spilled its secret.

Now, Xavier must unlock the password to the microchip before "The Man" (the evil head of the Cornucopia Conglomerate) or his goons get their hands on him. If he doesn't, he'll never know what's on the microchip or why they want to cut it out of his head.


Genre: Adult/Murder Mystery
Word Count: 70,000

My Main Character is most uncomfortable with:

Born and raised in northern Ontario, Gilda Greco has a great appreciation for winter and feels most uncomfortable during the dog days of summer. As the humidex rises, Gilda seeks air-conditioned comfort and dreams of the first snowfall.


Dear Amy and Michelle:

A few hours before the grand opening of her career counseling office, brunette lottery winner Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in a dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life is put on hold as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes are found in Gilda’s wake, people start pointing fingers in her direction. Gilda gets involved in the investigation and discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management classes, a lecherous photographer, and mean-to-the-core Anna May Godfrey, who is related to all the victims. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.