2017 Pitch Wars Wishlist

PitchWars

Selling my first book was one of the best days of my life and it’s something I want you to experience as well. Before I get into all the things that give me grabby hands, allow me to introduce myself. If you’ve visited my Pitch Wars pages in the past, you’ll see I continue to want a lot of the same things…

My Backstory:

My name is Natasha Neagle (that’s Nagel like bagel), but most people on the interwebs call me Nat. Either one is fine. I’m married with two not-so-tiny humans (Evil Genius and Mini Me), four demented cats, and three dogs. I’m a diverse author of YA, who makes my characters far more badass than I could ever be. My first YA fantasy, THE BODY PARADOX, is coming in 2018 from Entangled Teen. Read an interview I did about selling it before I’d even written it here.

By trade, I am a teacher. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. I am currently seeking my Ed.S. in Educational Leadership through Old Dominion University (where I also received my BS in Biology). For the past few years I have been teaching middle school science, but I am returning to high school to teach Biology and Ecology this September and cannot wait.

This is my third year participating in PitchWars. I didn’t participate in 2015 due to personal reasons. Anyway, enough about me. Now on to the good stuff.

 

YA

No NA or Adult.

FYI: Make sure you have a synopsis available! It must include any surprise twists you have in store. Don’t worry if it sucks, a terrible synopsis will not exclude you from being picked. In fact, if we pair up, I’ll make your synopsis shine along with your query and manuscript.

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The following will give me grabby hands and fill my heart with happiness.

DIVERSITY & #OWNVOICES

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The novels on our bookstore shelves do not represent the world. They never have. This is a problem. I want novels that could have helped me when I was a teenager, trying to understand why I felt the way I did and who I was in the world.

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Does your book feature LGBTQIA? GIMME.

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I’m particularly interested in bisexual main characters, but I’d love a trans character to shine in the spotlight. Basically, if you have any LGBTQIA main characters represented in your novel, I WANTS IT.

Does your book feature a physical or mental disability or illness? GIMME.

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I’m particularly interested in characters with mental illness, but I’d love to read from the perspective of characters with physical disabilities, as well. If you have them in your novels, I call dibs on your manuscript.

Does your book feature POC? GIMME.

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We don’t look the same and our books need to reflect this. For years, my students have complained to me that they can’t see themselves in books.

If you have diverse characters within any of the genres I’m looking for below, I need your novel in my life.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Horror.

These will always be my first love. I became hooked on reading fantasy and horror when I bought my first Christopher Pike book from the bookstore when I was 8. My first manuscript was a fantasy that featured alternate histories (drooling for this in my inbox, BTW) and the first novel I sold was a fantasy.

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If you know me at all, you know I’m 100% in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and the TV show. I even used it as a comp title for one of my novels. Sidebar: If you are an Outlander fan, we MUST follow each other on Twitter because HELLO, SEASON 3!

While I may not be the best fit if you’ve written an epic fantasy, plots that mesh time travel with romance and feisty ladies with gorgeous guys (kilts not required), DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200. GIVE IT TO ME NOW. Also, I’d really enjoy this from a male POV.

 

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I swoon over supernatural and sci-fi characters thrown into an otherwise normal world. Especially when they are the love interest. On a random note, the X-MEN characters will forever be my favorite. As for horror, I want to be afraid. I want to question EVERYTHING…

Have you taken a person from history or plucked a story from the headlines and worked it to have a fantasy/sci-fi/horror twist? If so, I need to see your manuscript!

Thrillers and Mystery.

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Besides writing fantasy, I’ve written a few YA thrillers and mysteries. I’ll read a good psychological thriller ALL DAY LONG. Any story that will make me wonder who dunnit is my jam. Unreliable narrators are my favorite! I enjoy reading books where I refuse to stop reading because I have to know if the characters are going to get out of their current situation. I want to be shocked. I want to keep guessing until the end when you totally pull the rug out from under me. Make me go back and reread, looking for clues once I reach the end.

Contemporary.

I found that I like to write a bit of everything when I wrote my YA contemporary. I’m a fan of books that show how young adults handle romance and heart break because when they fall, they fall hard. One of my absolute favorite couples is NALEY from One Tree Hill. If you’ve written characters that have gone through even a fraction of what these two went through, then I NEED TO READ IT! If it’s diverse, even better!!  I’d also kill for a novel about friends, siblings, road trips, music or summer/training camp. I always wanted to work in a coffee shop, movie theater, or amusement park, so if you’ve written something that deals with any of these settings, send your query my way.

Your Genre Not Listed?

That’s okay! If your novel is filled with the voice of quirky characters that will make me laugh, ugly cry, or feel ANY emotion, then GIMME. I’m not a huge historical fiction (unless *cough cough* time travel or some alternate reality is involved), but that doesn’t mean I won’t read it. Because I have. It makes me happy when books surprise me, and I love them. If your manuscript has any of the elements I mentioned above, definitely consider me. If you think I might be able to help you take your novel to the next level, consider me.

If you’ve written from a male POV, multiple POVs, have dual timelines, reverse timelines, etc. please consider me for your mentor! I eat that stuff up with a spoon. And not a little spoon, I mean, the big serving spoons!

When in doubt: QUERY ME. PICK ME. LOVE ME.

What You Can Expect From Me:

My feedback will be honest, just like the feedback you will receive once the book is published. I always offer up suggestions when I find an error and turn things into teachable moments (the teacher in me will never die) or ask questions to make you think outside of the parameters of what you’ve written. My former mentees will tell you, I will push you to revise and resubmit until I think it’s perfect.

If I don’t like something, I will tell you.
If I love something, I will tell you.

I will help you edit your manuscript and point out the following:

      • lack of voice/internal dialogue
      • plot holes and continuity issues (especially if they are science related)
      • telling
      • passive voice
      • filter words
      • overused words/phrases
      • words/phrases used too close together
      • lack of setting/missing details/pointing out where you could expand a scene
      • grammar

Some of my favorite books (this list will probably change next year):

  • The Handmaid’s Tale (I’ve loved this since reading it in college) by Margaret Atwood
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Outlander (books 1 & 3 are my favorite) by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine
  • The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin
  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
  • The Harry Potter Series (OF COURSE!) by J.K. Rowling
  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King

I have so many books to read (and listen to on audiobooks), but the only books I’ve been reading on a regular basis this year have been educational textbooks. Le sigh.

Some of my recent favorite TV shows/movies

  • WONDER WOMAN
  • Outlander
  • One Tree Hill
  • The Night Shift
  • Stranger Things
  • Timeless
  • Scandal
  • Riverdale
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Supernatural
  • Lucifer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Gossip Girl
  • Veronica Mars
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Doctor Who
  • The Walking Dead
  • Arrow
  • iZombie
  • Game of Thrones
  • American Horror Story
  • SO MANY MORE – just tweet me and you’ll see

I’m a multi-fandom kind of girl and love each show/movie/book and the ships I sail. Feel free to tweet me with questions or comments. Click here to return to the main blog hop post.

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Pitch Madness

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know today is the day. The submission window opens for Brenda Drake’s Pitch Madness. Do you plan on entering? I did.

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THE CONTEST: 

Pitch Madness is a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches. This time the game is Clue logo2. If you haven’t been a part of a Pitch Madness challenge before, please check out this post here for more information. The slush readers will read through the pitches and pick the top 60 pitches for the agent round starting on March 18.

SUBMISSION WINDOW: ALL DAY Monday, March 10 (12:01 AM EST – 11:59 PM EST)

THE FORMATTING: 

The email for submissions is brendadrakecontests@gmail.com – NO ATTACHMENTS – All pitches must be embedded in the email.

Email subject line: Pitch Madness: TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT

Name: Your name
Title: TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT
Genre: Category/genre of your manuscript (ie. YA Fantasy)
Word Count: Word count (round to the nearest 1000th – ie. 70,000)

Pitch: 35word (max) logline. Do not go over even one word. Single spaced. Times New Roman 12pt. No indentions.

Excerpt: The first 250 words of your manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence. Your pitch should be Times New Roman 12pt, single spaced, one space between paragraphs, no paragraph indentions. Make sure the formatting is done correctly, but if the email transfer messes it up we will still take it.

The Agents: For all of the agents information (twitter, website, etc click here)

  • Maria Vincente
  • Jessica Sinsheimer
  • Uwe Stender
  • Laurie McLean
  • Carrie Howland
  • Peter Knapp
  • Melissa Jeglinski
  • Christa Heschke
  • Sean McCarthy
  • Jordy Albert
  • Lara Perkins
  • Rena Rossner
  • Mr. Boddy (aka Secret Agent)

Good luck to everyone that enters!

Blind Speed Dating Contest

January brought us PitchWars and Sun Versus Snow. Now it’s time to search for a new literary contest. Enter the BLIND SPEED DATING CONTEST hosted by Cupid’s Literary Connection. Here’s another chance to impress some agents with your query and so-polished-you-need-sunglasses-to-read-first 250.

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The rules are straight forward and broken down for you on the site. I’m formatting my entry now. This contest will cost you $10 USD payable via paypal.

Here are the juicy deets:

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: 

January 27th at 10:00 AM EST – Submission window opens
February 12th – winners of Bouncer round emailed
February 13th/14th – selected entries posted for agent round
February 17th-20th – agent round
February 21st – Winners announced, identities revealed

EMAIL: cupidslitconnection(at)yahoo(dot)com.
EMAIL SUBJECT: TITLE – Your Name (In case they need to go back and find your email!)

FORMATTING IS CRUCIAL:  Be sure you bold, where it’s bolded.
They even provide an example entry. Yep, it’s that easy.

Title: NAME OF YOUR BOOK (Yes, CAPS there!!!)
Genre: Genre of your book
Word Count: xx,xxx (to the nearest thousand please)

Query:
Your query formatted correctly. (see guidelines) DO NOT include genre/word count again!

First 250:

Your first 250 formatted correctly. (see guidelines)

 

 

Sun Versus Snow 1st 250

first 250Sun Versus Snow is right around the corner and people have been posting their queries here for feedback. I’ve been asked to open a post for people trying to perfect their first 250 before the contest starts.

Your wish is my command!

Post your first 250 words of your novel below and allow others to offer up corrective criticism and help you tighten it up to gain the attention of Michelle and Amy come contest day!

#PitMad Pitch Practice

pitmadThanks to the lovely Brenda Drake, another #PitMad Twitter Pitch will take place January 8, from 8AM EST to 8PM EST. Since I posted a blog for those of us planning on practicing in #sunvssnow to post our queries for feedback, I’ve been asked to post a blog for pitch practice as well.

As you wish!

Use the comments below to post your pitch. Make sure you leave room for #PITMAD hashtag and your genre/category. It’s imperative the genre in included at least. During #PitchMAS a few agents and editors said they passed on pitches because they couldn’t figure out if your novel was adult or YA or NA, etc.

Good luck and Happy Tweeking those Pitches!

Agent Feedback Giveaway

Found another one for YA and MG authors!

Literary agent, Pete Knapp of The Part Literary Group is hosting a giveaway that will make your day. Agents deal with so many queries, many of them send a form reply rejection letter (if they respond at all), leaving you to question WTF you did wrong. If you submit your query (must be a new submission) and required materials per his agencies guidelines with the phrase FEEDBACK GIVEAWAY, will receive his HONEST FEEDBACK. That’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Follow his instructions found here and you never know, he might fall in love with your material. At the very least, you will receive genuine feedback. 

Sun Versus Snow Query Practice

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For those of us that participated in #pitchMAS, a few days before the contest took off on twitter, a post opened to give people a chance to work out their pitches and get feedback from others. Now, Sun Versus Snow is around the corner, I thought there’s no time like the present to get these queries perfectly polished.

Feel free to paste your query in the comments below. Limit it to only your query and if there is interest, I can always open another post for everyone to post their first 250 words.

One On One Contest

I love twitter and blogs in the writing community because there are so many opportunities to get your work in front of an agent. It’s like attending conferences without having to pay the high costs and never leaving your office chair. I love it. Thanks to twitter, I discovered another contest that will be taking place BEFORE PITMAD or SUNVSSNOW, called the One on One Contest.

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This contest gives you the opportunity to win 30 minutes to talk one on one with agent,  Pooja Menon from Kimberley Cameron & Associates if you are one of 10 chosen from the first 50 that submitted their query on Jan 4. Go polish your queries and set up that email! Mine’s ready and waiting. See the details of Mike Anthony’s contest here.

 

First Chapter Critique Opportunity

Run don’t walk to Melanie Concklin’s website where you can enter for a chance to win a first chapter critique on your MG or YA novel. Get the full details here.

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What you have to do: 

Email Melanie your name, title, category, genre and query to melanie dot conklin at mac dot com. She is even giving feedback on the queries she’s getting as well and will then contact you if you win the full critique form her.

When does it end? 

You have until Midnight on Dec 23rd. So hurry!

 

I’ve already submitted mine! I hope you do as well.

 

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