Get Your Pitch On!!

September 28, 2012
So we all know I love contests. The last couple of months, I've loved them a little TOO much, I think. I entered a few, some of which overlapped, and MAN it was nuts! (But did get some love for BETWEEN, which makes me happy.)

And NOW I'm letting you guys know about another contest that is coming up- and this time I won't be entering, but my blog (along with several of the Misfits' blogs) will be hosting some of the entries!!

The lovely Sharon M. Johnson is hosting the Get Your Pitch On contest!

Here are the details, straight from Sharon's blog!

Commissioning and Managing Editor of Hardie Grant Egmont, Marisa Pintado, will be poised and ready to take your pitches both here on Down Under Wonderings and on my group blog YAtopia on October 15th. 

Marisa is looking for YA in any genre and is accepting submissions from any where in the world. It's your chance to skip the slush pile and put your pitch right under the nose of a fantastic editor. There's even better news - there is no limit on how many requests Marisa will make from the contest. 

Here's the rules:

  • Your manuscript must be complete, polished and ready to query - this means no first drafts or almost finished manuscripts.
  • It must be YA.
  • When the contest goes live on October 15th, post your entry details in the comments section of either YAtopia or Down Under Wonderings - each blog is accepting 100 entries only.
  • Your entry detail needs to include a 50 - 70 word pitch.
  • You can enter more than once if you have more than one complete, polished, ready to query manuscript.
Your contest details should be formatted like this:

Name: Sharon Johnston
Email: smjohnston [ @ ]
Country of residence: Australia
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Word-count: 58,000
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Mishca Richardson is a sleeper soldier with a weak heart. She has no idea that a life saving heart transplant has accidentally triggered her programming. In the search for answers, she discovers the truth and that her creator, Wirth, has classified her remaining "sisters" from her experiment group as defective, scheduling them for termination. Mishca sets out to save them before they're eliminated. 

Just as it's important to get someone else to look over your manuscript before you query, it's a good idea to get feedback on your pitch before you post. We have about twenty blogs who are ready to help you hone your pitch. These workshops start on October 1 and you can find the list of blogs participating here.

Submissions are open NOW. Go here for more info!



September 20, 2012

Hey guys and dolls, how's it going? 

Don't look so startled - I don't bite. 

My name's Frankie. And I'm just a regular guy. 
Well, except for the whole ghost thing, I guess. 

You’re probably wondering what I'm doing here. Well, it’s pretty simple actually. Something is coming for my best friend Ever - something I alone cannot protect her from. Regardless of how much I love her how hard I try. 

So I have to spread the word.

And I need your help to do it.

I've been a bystander for far too long, trapped in this ghostly shell for the past two years. I've decided it’s time to make myself known and set some things into motion. See, I've hijacked Amazon, Curiosity Quills Press, and blogs all over the internet to make my move. 

You're probably wondering why, right? 

Well allow me to be a bit more specific. Something isn't just coming for Ever; her actual soul is in danger. So I've decided to stay silent no longer. Word needs to spread. People need to know. 

Evil lurks in the shadows.  

To give Ever more time to figure things out and try to protect herself from the trouble that awaits her, I'm upping the publication date of our story. 

 I'm sure you can understand. I mean, souls are on the line here. 

So, with that said, EVER IS NOW AVAILABLE. Yes, you read that right. NOW. I couldn't wait any longer, so I did what I had to do to protect that stubborn girl I love my best friend, Ever. 

I had to do it. Some things are too important to wait for, and Ever is one of those things for me.

Now as you’re spreading the word about this new development, take heed this one warning:

Evil lurks in the shadows. And not just any evil. 

It’s disguised as that slick talking, good-looking bastard, Toby James ... the new kid next door. 

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September 11, 2001

September 11, 2012
My desk was loaded with file folders, a stack that grew by the day. I was supposed to file them, but it was the task I put off the most. I didn't want to file. I wanted to write journal articles  and press releases, which at least seemed like a step in the actual career direction I wanted to go in.

But that Tuesday morning, I wasn't even doing that. I was downloading music to Napster on my work computer, which was so very not allowed, and trading emails with my friend Bret. We used email like instant messaging, talking our way through our days--me in Lexington at my boring desk job as a Communications Assistant with a non-profit education association, he at his much more interesting position as a Marine at the Pentagon.

Bret and I had been friends since middle school, although we didn't become close until high school when he dated one of my best friends. While that relationship eventually ended, he became one of my best friends after high school and through college.

I don't remember at all what we were talking about.

The phone rang. I worked in a small office, and every single person aside from me was in a meeting to plan the group's annual conference. It was mostly women, and they all shared a hairdresser. That hairdresser was on the phone, calling at a little past 9:00am to tell me to turn on the TV.

"A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center."

Still holding the phone to my ear, I emailed Bret, "Hey, did you know a plane crashed into the World Trade Center?"

The hairdresser was still talking, something about how they'd originally thought it was some kind of horrible accident but then another plane crashed into the second tower. 

"It's a terrorist attack," the voice on the phone said.

"What? No." Because those things didn't happen here. Not like this. 

Bret hadn't responded to my email, so I sent another one. "It's two planes. This guy is saying it's a terrorist attack. Is it a terrorist attack?"

I went to the conference room to interrupt the meeting. The only TV in the office was in there. I don't remember what anyone said or did, but I do remember ending up alone in that room, glued to the TV. I watched dark smoke pour from the towers. News anchors didn't bother to keep up a cool, reserved appearance--they were emotional, and it was weird. I'd never seen or heard anything like it. The screen kept showing a replay of the aftermath of the first plane crash, and the stunned live reaction of the news anchor when the second crash occurred.

I went back to my office.

Nothing from Bret.

But at this point, I knew it was a terrorist attack. I imagined his day had just become insanely busy.

Back to the conference room. I pulled a chair up to the TV and sat, wondering who would do this and why. I was twenty-one years old. I should've been much more concerned about the rest of the world than I was.

The screen went dark, filled with smoke so thick you couldn't see anything else. I can still very clearly remember what I heard next. "I'm not sure what we're looking at here. Ok, alright. It's the Pentagon. A plane has crashed into the Pentagon."

I stood straight up, staring. The smoke had hardly cleared, but you could barely make out the unmistakable shape of the building.

I flew back to my desk, pulling my cell phone from my drawer at the same time as I logged back into my email.

Nothing from Bret.

I sent another email. "Let me know you're okay."

I left a voicemail. "Call me as soon as you can."

I spent the next hour sending more emails and leaving more voicemails. "I know there's probably no way you're going to be able to get to your phone or your email anytime soon. I just don't know what else to do. I want to know you're okay. I hope you're okay."

I left work around 11:00. The whole office shut down, like most other businesses that day. I drove to my parents house. The drive took about an hour, and took me down quieter, two-lane roads that allowed me to cry in my car without anyone seeing.

It was a long afternoon, sitting at my mother's table, wondering if my friend was okay. I cried for all the people I knew had died, for the people who experienced the horror in and around the towers, in the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, and in the Pentagon. My heart hurt for all of them and their families, but I was very much focused on the guy who had been such a wonderful friend to me for so many years. He'd served his country abroad, and came home to a position in the Pentagon doing what he loved. Bret was always so proud to be a Marine.

I finally heard from him late that afternoon. Just a quick phone call to let me know he was okay, but the things he saw and dealt with that day were horrifying. I was so relieved to hear from him I started crying again.

There are so many images from that day that come to mind every year. Watching people jump from windows, seeing the towers eventually crumble to the ground, knowing I'd just watched thousands of people die, watching the TV screen fill with smoke and hearing the words "A plane has crashed into the Pentagon"...I'll never forget it.

I'll also never forget the way people came together like nothing I'd ever seen before. It didn't matter what else had separated us before--for the next few months, we were all united by our grief and by the compassion we felt for people we didn't even know. 


YA Misfits Pep Rally Monday: MY WISH LIST

September 10, 2012
Over at YA Misfits today, we asked this question:

If YOU were an agent, what would be on your wish list?

Book Love
photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Jenny Kaczorowski

This is SO HARD.

I like so many different kinds of books. I can pretty much appreciate anything as long as it's well-written. But here's what I'd want to see if I were an agent...

  • YA thriller: a super creepy one that makes it hard for me to be alone in my house. 
  • Adult Historical Romance: Um, because I always love historical romance. And I'm realizing at this very second that I've never read a YA historical romance. It exists, right? But....probably the things I like about adult historical romance would not be there in YA historical romance. Hmm....if you have a YA historical romance to recommend, let me know!
  • YA romance: I'm a sucker for a good romance, but it's so hard for me to say exactly what kind of story I'd want. I don't know til I read it. Something with a guy who's got a weakness ONLY for his girl...I love guys like that- ones that you wouldn't expect to be so sweet/romantic until the right girl comes along. But that guy can exist in just about any story, I guess.

So....I'm looking back over my list and realizing that I wrote a YA fantasy but I don't have YA fantasy on my wish list. This probably says something profound about me or the market or something but I don't know what it is.

What about you? Post your answer on your blog and then share the link in the comments on today's YA misfits post! Can't wait to read your answers!


YA Misfits Launch Giveaway!!

September 4, 2012
I have to listen to music when I write. People who need complete silence: I don't understand you. Half the time, it doesn't even matter what's playing, I just need the background noise.

See, as long as there's music playing, when I get stuck in the middle of a scene, it's okay! I can't get frustrated! I'M TOO BUSY HAVING A DANCE PARTY IN MY CHAIR.

I make playlists for all my WIPs, but it usually takes me a few thousand words to decide what exactly needs to be on the playlist. I can't really put songs together until I get a better feel for the story and the characters. So, when I start a new project, I have this generic playlist that I always listen to. It has a mix of all kinds of things on it, just to get me in the mood to write. I thought I'd share it with you guys here!

Random collection of randomness. It fits all moods.

Do you use Spotify? It's the greatest thing since peanut butter. It's free, as long as you don't mind to put up with the ads. Downside (to me): It broadcasts what you're listening to on Facebook, which can be a little embarrassing when you become obsessed with one particular song. 

"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 
"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 
"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 

(But seriously, I love that dang song.)

SO! I thought I'd do a giveaway to celebrate my love of music AND the YA Misfits launch today! One of you lovely readers is going to get a $25 iTunes gift card! 

  1. Follow me (@MeganWhitmer) on Twitter. 
  2. Follow this blog. 
  3. Leave a comment on this blog post- AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT- tell me some good music to listen to. If you use writing playlists, I'd love to hear the song that goes best with your current WIP. If you use Spotify, it would be FANTASTIC to leave the link to one of your playlists. Finding new music to listen to is seriously one of my greatest joys in life. You don't even know. 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks so much for all the great music recommendations, guys!! Congratulations Amanda Olivieri on winning the gift card!

This giveaway will end Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:00pm EDT. You have to complete all three steps to win! I'll use a super high tech method of choosing a random entry, and I'll announce the winner here and on Twitter! (This giveaway is only open to US residents. Apologies to my out of US friends. All three of you. Sometime I'll do a NO AMERICANS ALLOWED giveaway, I promise.)

One more tiny bit of business:

Did you know launches TODAY? 

If you're here from the Misfits web site, you know that we're doing an AMAZING giveaway over there. (I don't want to spoil the surprise but it rhymes with "schmindle" and you WANT IT.)

Thanks for entering! I'm looking forward to finding out what music you guys love! Good luck!

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