Monday, November 26, 2018

Fall Fiction Fest Agent Round 2018

WELCOME to the first Fall Fiction Fest agent round!  It's the first time for Amy, Marty and I to square off and have a friendly competition! Many success stories have come out of our other contests over the years and we all look forward to even more of them! 

So while I'm pulling for the Saucy Cranberries, every request is to be celebrated. There are 12 Saucy Cranberries for the agents to read, but they can also make requests for Team Sunshine over at Amy Trueblood's blog and Team Merry over at Marty Mayberry's blog!

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As the agents move through the entries, please remember that contests are subjective. Our agents have a definitive idea of what they would like for their list. If they do not request, it DOES NOT mean the entry was not worthy. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep querying and NEVER GIVE UP!
Before the Cranberries squeeze the competition, here are some guidelines to remember:
There is no commenting in this round except for agents. Sorry, but no cheerleading as this may lead to an unconscious bias.

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We are happy to see and retweet your thoughts and cheers over on Twitter under the #fallfest tag! That’s the place to hang out and have fun! I hope to see my Saucy Cranberries present in all their tangy glory! I'll try to shout out when new requests arrive. 

Agents will consider entries at all the blogs regardless of team and they might respond with a fall themed request. Amy, Marty and I are hoping the agents go crazy with the requests! There is amazing talent on all the teams!
Good luck to all! 

Image result for cranberries


Genre: MG STEM Mystery 
Word Count: 49,000

Saucy Cranberries 11: UNDERCURRENTS, MG Speculative Fiction

Genre: MG Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 46,000

Saucy Cranberries 10: FAKING IT: A RECIPE FOR DISASTER, MG Contemporary OV

Genre: MG Contemporary Ownvoices
Word Count: 42,000

Saucy Cranberries 9: WRITTEN IN THE STARS, YA Space Opera OV

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Space Opera Ownvoices
Word Count: 89,000

Saucy Cranberries 8: THE SECRETS THAT DIVIDE US, YA Mystery

Genre: YA Mystery 
Word Count: 65,000

Saucy Cranberries 7: WE COULD BE, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 81,000

Saucy Cranberries 6: PROJECT: YGGDRASIL, YA Science Fiction

Genre: YA science fiction
Word Count: 71,000

Saucy Cranberries 5: PANDORA REBORN, YA Fantasy OV

Genre: YA Fantasy Ownvoices
Word Count: 106,001

Saucy Cranberries 4: THE DEFENDER AND THE THIEF, Adult Japan-Inspired Fantasy OV

Genre: Adult Japan-inspired fantasy + #ownvoices LGBTQA
Word Count: 116,000

Saucy Cranberries 3: MOTHBALL MAGIC, Adult Contemporary Fantasy OV

Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy, Ownvoices (LGBTQ)
Word Count: 78,000

Saucy Cranberries 2: ABOUT A GOLEM, Adult Upmarket Paranormal Romance OV

Genre: Adult Upmarket Paranormal Romance (Ownvoices)
Word Count: 78,000

Saucy Cranberries 1: FLIGHT CLUB, Contemporary WF

Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
Words: 99K words

Friday, November 16, 2018

Finalists for Fall Fiction Fest 2018

The entry pile is a daunting task. It's a hard task to limit ourselves to twelve with so much wonderful available. I know the last word anyone wants to hear is 'subjective', but that's truly the best word to describe how we have to approach slush with so many contenders.

Happily, we had moved from ten to twelve thanks to so many writers letting their voices be heard on election day! 

Because this contest is all about having fun, I'd like to do a team name. Something that fits the contest. Only I came up with so many ideas that I can't decide. I'm letting the twitter poll decide.  Saucy Cranberries. Thankful Turkeys. Or Kick-Ass Boots Writing (Because I love boots). To be updated! 

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united states turkey GIF by Thomas Kastrati

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Now my picks in category order:


Faking It: A Recipe for Disaster, Contemporary
Jo Rivetti and the Missing Math Teacher, Mystery
Undercurrents, Spec Fiction


Project YGGDRASIL, Science Fiction
Written in the Stars, Space Opera
We Could Be, Contemporary
The Secrets That Divide Us, Mystery
Pandora Reborn, Fantasy


About a Golem, Paranormal Romance
Mothball Magic, Cont Fantasy
Flight Club, Women's Fiction
The Defender and the Thief, Fantasy

Thank you everyone and be sure to check Marty's blog and Amy's Blog for their picks.

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Keep an eye on your inbox. Mentors will be contacting you through the email you used to enter the contest. If that's not your actual email because a friend mailed yours in, you'd better let us know. Each entry will get one mentor assigned to them. 

Please return your revised entry using the same format to the contest email by 11:00 am Eastern time on November 24th. If you are finished early, please send early. We are counting on that time to swat down unruly formatting and create the posts before the agent round. Please do not be late. We will go live without you.

The agent round will start on November 26th and last three days!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Time to Twitter Party for Fall Fiction Fest

Announcing the Fall Fiction Fest Twitter Party!

Waiting may be the toughest part of publishing, and we hate that you’ll have to wait to find out who got into Fall Fiction Fest. 

To help the time skip by, let’s keep the #FallFest lively.

Here are the party topics (Don’t forget to use the hashtag #FallFest!):

October 31: Shout out the genre and age category you're sending. Shout out if you got in.
November 1: Tell us the first line of your MS
November 2: What’s your main character’s favorite movie, and why?
November 3: Any animals in your MS? If so, what kind and what is/are their names?
November 4: Is this your first MS or…?
November 5: How many povs are there in your MS, and why did you choose that number?
November 6: Is your book in first person, second or third? Past or present?
Plus VOTE and tweet a picture and maybe increase the picks from 30 to 33 or even 36 finalists! 

November 7: When did you know you HAD to be a writer?
November 8: Tell us a little about your villain (if you have one)
November 9: What’s your main character’s favorite color and why?
November 10: What’s your favorite line from your MS?
November 11: Sun or snow (in memory of the older contest). Which would your MC prefer and why?
November 12: Tell us why you decided to write the story you entered.
November 13: What’s your most troublesome crutch word?
November 14: If your MC was going on a dream vacation, where would they go?
November 15: What’s your MC’s zodiac sign?
November 16: If you MC could have one wish fulfilled, what would it be?
November 17: Coffee or tea or neither?
November 18: Is your MC into sports? If so, which ones? Any favorite team?
November 19: Picks are announced! Final tweet party topic: What pumpkin spice is in your MS?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Instructions for Entering Fall Fiction Fest

The submission window for Fall Fiction Fest opens tomorrow, October 31st, at 4:00 pm EST! 

The instructions and rules for entry are below.

No need to rush. We will be open for 24 hours. That's right, submissions can be sent on Halloween or All Saints Day, depending on whether you're feeling saintly or slightly more evil. 

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. 

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. If you entered Pitchwars and didn't get a mentor, we welcome you. 

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Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica. We'd like you to be followers of our blogs. Click the “follow” button on my blog. You can find Amy's blog here and Marty's blog here. If following our blogs doesn't work, follow us on twitter or sign up for our newsletters instead. Don't sweat this. Do your best.  

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The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. (Yep, we're recycling the address.) 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, single-spaced, 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: Fall Fest: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: Fall Fest: 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.)

How Did You Fall for Writing: (Share your origin story in 100 words or less.) My husband dared me that I couldn't write a book. And--ta-da--I could!


Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. You may include bio, closing, but not the word count + genre. We already have that. 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 or otherwise has diversity up in the genre line and in the query. 

Remember a query has several paragraphs with spaces. 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!

So that's it. See you at 4:00 pm Eastern time on Halloween. Good luck!

jimmy fallon bobbing for apples GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Now for the fun stuff!

Watch on Wednesday for our Twitter Party!  We'll have a list of daily topics to talk about on twitter under #FallFest.

Also join us for a very special party on November 6th! That's when we'll try to get 100 voters to give us shout outs and blow this contest wide open! 

And you can scroll down on this blog to see the posts about mentors, agents, and all the dates of Fall Fiction Fest, as well as our special November 6th bonus opportunity. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

My Big Fat Pompeii Romance

I can't tell you how delighted I am to see this as a book. This... THIS was one of my first picks in one of my first contests ever!  Such a long time ago.  Over six years now.  But please check out this fun romance. 

Legally Blonde meets Gladiator in this Romantic Comedy with a historical twist.
Twenty-first century goddess Pandia is shaking in her Jimmy Choos. A few weeks ago, the NYC socialite traveled back in time, where she suggested Julius Caesar abandon politics for gardening. Her father, Zeus, summons her to present-day Olympus after he discovers her meddling eliminated the month of July. To teach her the importance of fate, he strips Pandia’s goddess powers and sentences her to a stint of mortality in ancient Pompeii.
Pandia refuses to let her punishment get her down. She’ll do her time, leave destinies untouched, and be home in time for her next shift at the local animal shelter. Instead, she’s mistaken for a prostitute and arrested for inciting a riot. Sentenced to serve as a massage therapist in Pompeii’s gladiator school, she’s assigned to Caladus, a gladiator whose washboard abs test her vow to remain uninvolved.
To escape Pompeii, Pandia must prove she respects mortals’ fates. But she’s falling for Caladus, and her time’s running out: Mt. Vesuvius is rumbling.

MY BIG FAT POMPEII ROMANCE is a full-length romantic comedy with a guaranteed happy ending.

Christina Wilder writes books featuring cocky-beta heroes (is that a thing?) and kick-ass heroines who find love together in strange and exotic places. She lives in the wilds of New England, where turkeys and deer on the front lawn are a regular thing. She's a member of RWA.

Twitter: @LaneyKChristina

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Mentors for Fall Fiction Fest

I know you'll want to get to know the mentors who will be helping the finalists perfect their query letter and first 250 words. But first a few dates for Fall Fiction Fest:

Submission Window Opens: October 31st for 24 hours. Time TBD. 
Final Picks are Announced: November 19th
Mentors Go to Work: November 19th - 25th
Revised Entries Due Back: October 25th at noon. Sooner if possible.
Agent round: November 26 - 28 

A third of the list of amazing mentors is here. To see the other parts of the list, visit Amy's list and Marty's list. Some of the mentors have been helping in contests for ages and some are brand new. Please give all of them a big welcome!

Also please find the agents here and the announcement here

Laura Heffernan

Laura Heffernan is the author of the Reality Star series (available now) and the upcoming Gamer Girls series (2019). When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her husband and two furry little beasts.
Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, board games and reality TV.

Kim Long

Kim Long loves to write stories with a sense of adventure, a dash of magic, and a hint of science. She wrote her first book at age 10, where she combined the best parts of her favorite Choose Your Own Adventures into a single story. (Cave of Time at Chimney Rock in the Bermuda Triangle.) When not writing, she loves playing board games, watching Star Wars movies, and riding her bike along Illinois’ many trails. Her debut novel, Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament, will be released in Fall 2019 by Running Press Kids.

Lisa Leoni

Lisa Leoni writes contemporary romance and constantly dreams of her next Scotland trip (her book ideas have to come from somewhere). When not working as a PR pro at a university, she serves as president of Oregon's Rose City Romance Writers RWA chapter, produces the social media for authors podcast Social Media Deconstructed, manages an Instagram account for her two ginger cats, and balances her adoration of love stories with procedural crime drama binges. Lisa was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and is represented by Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary.

Kelly DeVos

Kelly deVos is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection.

Kelly is represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and her work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Vulture, Salon, Bustle and SheKnows. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins. Her second book, Day Zero, is coming in 2019 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins.

Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga (co-writers)

Wendy Trimboli grew up in England, Germany and the United States, and learned to speak two languages well enough that most people can understand her. Determined to ignore her preference for liberal arts, she attended the US Air Force Academy then worked as an intelligence officer, which was less exciting than it sounds. These days she has a creative writing MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and lives in Colorado with her family, border collie, and far too many books.

Alicia Zaloga grew up in Virginia Beach not liking the beach, and now moves every few years, sometimes to places near beaches. She has a writing degree from Columbia College Chicago, and when she’s not dealing with life’s chores, she collects hobbies: plucking the E string on the bass, producing an alarming number of artistic doodles, and French beading floral bouquets.

Tracy Townsend

Tracy Townsend is the author of The Nine (Pyr, Nov. 2017) and The Fall (Pyr, Jan. 2019), the first two books in the Thieves of Fate fantasy series. She holds a master's degree in writing and rhetoric from DePaul University and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from DePauw University, a source of regular consternation when proofreading her credentials. She teaches creative writing and science fiction and fantasy literature at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school, and is a regular columnist for the feminist science fiction magazine Luna Station Quarterly. She has been a martial arts instructor, a stage combat and accent coach, and a short-order cook for houses full of tired gamers. Today, she lives in Bolingbrook, Illinois with two bumptious hounds, two remarkable children, and one very patient husband.

Elizabeth Chatsworth

Elizabeth Chatsworth is a British author and actor (SAG-AFTRA) based in Connecticut. She creates voice-overs for commercials, videos, and computer games. If there's an elf, a witch, or an aristocrat in a video game, it might be her!
Writing is Elizabeth’s passion. Represented by Natalie Grazian of Martin Literary Management, she’s a Pitch Wars alumna, a member of the RWA (PRO), and the Authors Guild. Her award-winning alternate history romcom THE BRASS QUEEN became a 2018 RWA® Golden Heart® finalist in the Mainstream Fiction category. Her sci-fi novelette “Ten Minutes After Teatime” is included in the Amazon bestseller When to Now: A Time Travel Anthology.
To be the first to receive exclusive news and giveaways, you can subscribe to Elizabeth's newsletter. You can also connect with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and via her website

Jenny Elder Moke

Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. Her debut novel, HOOD, about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marien, will release from Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2020. When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two children.
Twitter: @jennyelder
Insta: @jennyeldermoke