Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo Tips

Hello NaNo-Nerds! It’s that time again. Beginning today, our veins will be over run with caffeine and all types of sugar in order to keep us tapping away at the silicone keyboards. Since finishing a book during this time-frame is extremely difficult, this post is going to be really short.

1.    Outline the basics.
Come up with one or two sentences that will express the idea of the book. Then create a small outline consisting of just basic information. Outline should have, at minimum, the opening, middle, and climax of the story. Use these to keep the story on target, but also allowing creativity to flow easily.

2.    Create multiple character sheets.

Write down some basic attributes for the main characters. Things like the color of their eyes and hair, height, weight, personality, and some sample favorites of the character. I have mine on a dry erase board that hangs over my writing desk. Feel free do come up with another way that’ll work best for you.

3.    Set up deadlines.

Create goals with everything. Make them small ones like write 2 to 3 scenes or 1k of words a day. Then stick to it. 

4.    Reward your self.
When you complete a task, give yourself something special. The more difficult the goal, the better the reward. They can be anything. Maybe an hour of your favorite TV show, or indulge in some sinfully wonderful dark chocolate. 

5.    Get help!

I can’t stress it enough. The stress is going to be bad. Find help and lean on them when you need it the most. Lots of time, a good Nano supporter will know when we’re stressing too much and nip it in the bud.

6.    Write and have fun.

This is perhaps the most important tip I can give anyone. Sit your ass down, get writing, and have fun doing it.

If anyone else has tips, we’d love to hear them. Till next time, have a happy NaNo!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stab In the Dark Results

Well our murderific agent contest has officially come to a close and I hope everyone had a bloody good time. Big thanks goes out to our agents for participating.
In case anyone was wondering, there was a lot of requests made. See below for who got Sliced, Stabbed, and Killed! Congrats to everyone!
Name: Sonia Hartl     
Title: The Cry House
Genre: YA Gothic Romance
Name: Patrice Caldwell
Genre: MG Thriller
Name: Theresa Milstein
Gener: Upper Middle Grade Contemporary
Name:  Stacey Trombley
Genre: MG urban fantasy
Stab  Slice
Name: Lisa Gail Green
Genre: YA Sci-fi/thriller
Kill  Slice
Name: Annie Sullivan
Title: Goldilocks
Genre: YA Fantasy
Stab  Slice  Slice
Name: Carl Hackman
Genre:  Upper MG, Humorous Fantasy.
Name: Rebecca Waddell
Title: Behind the Tangle Trees
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Sci Fi
Name: Carol Ayer
Title: Haunted Ever After
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Name: FishOutOfWater
Genre: Adult Thriller/Detective Fiction
Name:  Katie Teller
Title: Dancing in the Athenian Rain
Genre: NA Romantic Time Travel
Name: Aidan Larson
Genre: Women’s Fiction

The Stab in the Dark Contest Has Come to a Close

Hi all!

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate in our Halloween A Stab in the Dark Agent Contest! For those with requests, congratulations and go on and shoot them off to your respective agents (proofread first! ya know, just in case). Thank you again to all those who participated and put their work out there. Never an easy feat.

A big thank you to our agents Pooja Menon, Danielle Smith and Olga Filina. Feel free to query them through the regular channels.



Monday, October 21, 2013

Heads up!

Hello lovelies,

I'm sure some of you are wondering why you haven't seen anymore requests as of late. Well, one of our resident agents had something urgent come up so in order to give her a chance to make requests we're extending the contest until Wednesday at Midnight! (I figured ya'll wouldn't mind seeing as how she's planning to make requests) ;)

Thanks for your patience lovelies.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

#24 ENCIRCLED - YA Magical Realism

Name:    Summer Spence
    YA Magical Realism

16-year-old Elisabeth Bell Pierce is stuck in a castle that's frozen in the past.  But when she finds the Lost Prince of England bewitched deep beneath the castle walls, a love-is-blind romance ignites in the enchanted darkness.  Now, she's determined to bring the past into the present, to build a future together -- but not everything that's lost wants to be found.

First 500:
            I could smell hot metal and the tang of blood.  My labored breath sounded harsh in the crushed space.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  I focused on the rhythm against the too-still dark.  A small sound joined in; something was dripping somewhere.  Plink.  Plink.  Plink. In-Plink-Out-Plink.  I pushed the wet tangle of hair from my face and pressed a shaking hand to my forehead, where a crazy pressure was mounting.  I twisted, but couldn't right myself: I was upside-down.  I craned my head to the right, a slow motion trip to hell.  My breath caught in my throat; the comforting rhythm died.  I licked my lips, tried to find my voice, but found my hand first instead.  I pushed at the quiet form next to me, my seatbelt catching and straining to keep me still.
            "Momma," I croaked out in the barest whisper, the night shattering into pieces around me.  She didn't answer.  I found her hand and held it in mine.  I thought it twitched a bit.  Just a bit, but it did.  A tear rolled to the tip of my nose and clung on for dear life.  And then, her eyes opened -- the grey-brown irises wide against pain and darkness.  Her lips moved soundlessly.  A thin beam of moonlight broke through the window and lit her haunted face, and a dull roar started in my head, the scream of blood and fear.  I looked into my mother's fading eyes and wished to be somewhere, anywhere but here.
And then I was gone.  I was little again, so little, snuggled down into the blanket my mom had made me, watching the moonlight that peeked through my pale curtains, the window glass foggy against the cold blue night.  The wind whistled, ghosts of the winter season screaming for entry to our cozy home.  My mom gently stroked my cheek, her soothing British alto warming the night around me.
"One more story, Elisabeth, and that's all, love.  It's time for sleep," she crooned.
She played with a stray strand of my hair and stared out into nightfall, where a thousand million stars burned, then began as she always did.  I snuggled in closer, spooked already.
"On a cold, cold night -- much like this one -- a small girl hunched against the inky-black darkness.  A low and menacing sound drew closer, ever closer, echoing from deep within the ancient stone walls that surrounded her.  The girl trembled under her bedclothes, searching the darkness for the thing that drew near.  She breathed in the smallest breaths, trying not to make a noise, hoping it would pass her by.  But it scraped and scrabbled through the walls, its skittering echo filling the room.  It was coming for her.  And when it found her, the little girl knew the thing would claim her, and she would be lost forever…"
Sleep tugged at my little eyes and the words blurred and chased me into dreams of a far-away castle shrouded in midnight dread, where a small voice called me to come into the dark, to rescue what had been lost.

#23 DEATH BY HIGH HEELS - Adult Mystery

Name:  Violet Ingram
Genre: Mystery
75 word pitch: 
PI Kimberly Murphy is caught standing over a dead body, again, only this time it wasn’t her fault.
To clear her slightly tarnished name, Kim goes after a killer while avoiding a hot cop determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind. Kim’s efforts lead to dead ends and even more dead bodies. Kim will need skills, luck, and a miracle to avoid a killer desperate to end her meddling – permanently.
First 500 words:
Cops hate it when you vomit all over their crime scene – a mistake I had no desire to repeat. Then again, the fact that I’d just trampled all over this scene was probably a whole new mistake I should have avoided.  I stared at the corpse and fought the urge to hurl. If only I hadn’t answered the door, I’d be eating dinner instead of standing in my neighbor’s apartment looking at a dead guy. 
Said dead guy was just sitting there in the chair. You would think he was asleep – if not for all the blood and guts spilled onto his lap. I tore my eyes from him and asked the question I most wanted the answer to.
“What the heck did you hit him with?” 
Lindsay dropped the strand of blonde hair she’d been twirling and glanced down at the floor.  “My shoe.”
“I’ve already told you. Twice. I hit him with my shoe.”
“Damn it, Lindsay, you can’t kill someone with a shoe!” 
Hello, they’re Via Spiga.”
“Ugh.”  I glared. There was no way in hell she had done this kind of damage with a shoe.  If she had, women would soon be saying goodbye to their much-beloved accessory.  Men-even NRA members- would insist on an instant ban of the deadly yet sexy weapon.
I set my hands on my hips. “Any idea how he got this giant hole in his stomach?” 
“What?  No, I hit him and ran.”  Lindsay’s face paled and she leaned against the doorframe. 
 “Come here and see if you recognize him.”
“Gross, no way. Besides you’re the detective you figure out who he is.”
Technically, I was a private investigator, a fact that had continually escaped my neighbor.
“Get over here!” I turned towards her and spotted Lakeview, Ohio’s oldest beat cop standing behind her, his gun drawn.  It would have been scary if only he didn’t look like Santa Claus dressed as a cop for Halloween. With the beginnings of a snow white beard and a pot belly in the making. 
“Ah hell,” I muttered.  “Hey Duncan.”
“Kim Murphy.  Oh man the Chief’s gonna be pissed,” Officer Duncan said.
“We don’t really have to tell him, do we?”
“You don’t think he’s gonna find out his daughter got herself mixed up with another dead guy? You didn’t kill this one too did you? Wait, don’t answer that.”
“I didn’t kill him. Jeez.”
The last time I’d been caught standing over a dead guy was because I’d shot the miserable son of a bitch.  It was self-defense and besides, the guy deserved it. Thankfully there were several witnesses and the Grand Jury had dropped the matter. Which was why I was enjoying the comforts of my own apartment when Lindsay came banging on my door.
Duncan looked over at her. “Now who might you be, Miss?” 
“I’m Lindsay Pembrook.”
 He glanced my way. “I guess that’s the dead guy. You sure he’s dead?” Duncan asked me.
 “Yeah, I’m sure,” I said, looking away from the object of our discussion. 


Name: Karen lee hallam
Title: Brothers on the Rim 
Genre: YA suspense. 

While visiting the family’s hunting lodge, brothers, Jackson 15 and Arthur Bower 13  go for a walk. Their father’s drinking again and he’s started in with Artie. Darkness falls and they’re lost. A cave dwelling recluse finds them, and takes them back to his cave, where they discover he’s planning a major bombing. Jackson must drag his wounded brother through the mountain, and the rains, in order to stop the bombing before it’s too late.

First 500:

Artie sure was fast on his feet. You’d think the wet grass would slow him down. Not Art. What he lacked in strength he made up for in agility. I'm the one that tends to slip, but this time, caught myself before I was flat in the mud.

“Artie, where you going?”

“Remember the short cut? Mom used to tell us to follow the trillium flowers if we ever got lost. They wind along the creek through to Mr. Potters.”

“Wait—hold up.”

I caught up with Artie at the edge of the ravine. The white trillium flowers lined the creek, and wound their way upstream. Art stood, staring out over the drop, the cold wind wearing on his face.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

It takes a minute for Art to figure out what to say. I know he’s thinking about Mom. “Ah--nothing.”

He knows I know.

And like that, I let it be. There’s an understanding between us, like a secret language we’ve had to use to conceal our communication when our father’s around. Rick has very little time for our “flights of fancy” –his words, but originally, Mom’s words.

We rambled back through the thicket of bare branches, through the buds on the verge of bursting open for the new spring. My breath floated in waves and surrounded me. Somehow I’ve gotten ahead of Artie. I turned to see if he was listening, since I’d been talking on and on. If Artie’s the quiet one, I’m the rambler. Mostly I noted the species of plants we came across. It keeps my head occupied. Keeps me from the negative thoughts and feelings that are about to hit me across the face when we get back.

I’m supposed to keep an eye on Artie. I’m the older brother. Mom told me to watch over him, knowing our father, Rick, would have other things on his mind. Or be completely unavailable. It’s my responsibility. Artie’s only two years younger, but some days I feel years older, like an old man, really, and I’m only fifteen.

It’s been raining for weeks. The rainy season, and should just be called the mud season. A haze of grey covered everything. The brown flowed where the water flowed. We met again with the creek, now a small brook lined with bluebell flowers and walked north, headed upstream, until we spot the Hunting Lodge. With the chimney pumping out puffs of warm smoke, the lodge looked inviting.

But it’s not.

Rick, most likely, barely noticed we were gone. It was half past a six-pack time by now, and maybe 3:00 in the afternoon. I know his drinking schedule pretty well. If Rick didn’t shoot anything today, he’s drink his weight in beer, and most likely, take it out on me, and Artie.

Rick doesn’t “get” Artie. He just doesn’t. I play along sometimes, with all the dude stuff. But Artie doesn’t care. He does what he feels. And he’s got big ideas. Mom used to say Artie was a dreamer.