Friday, June 13, 2014

Quit Bitchin' and Get Pitchin'!

Have you heard of online pitch parties? Many take place on Twitter. If you haven't then you may need to crawl out from under your pile of manuscripts. That is if you want to get your novel in front of actual agents and editors.

There was definitely no shortage of great pitches flying through the Twittersphere yesterday thanks to Dan Koboldt who hosted the #SFFpit contest for works of fantasy and science fiction.

For those of you living under your desk. You "pitch" your book in 140 characters... and you thought writing a book was tough--wait til you try and whittle it down to just the hook. Lurking behind the scenes are agents and editors. If an editor or agent likes your pitch, they will favourite it with the little yellow star button. Based on their instructions, you send a query with a partial/full/synopsis, whatever they want.

Here are a few of the different styles of successful pitches that not only won me the invitation to query but eventually led to requests for partials and fulls. Thanks to the Pitch Party phenomena, I currently have full manuscripts with five different publishers and one agent and I'm about to send out four more requested queries with partials. All I need now is one big YES!

  • Cursed librarian must learn to use the magic of her family heirloom to trap a soul gone rogue or be dragged back into the past.#SFFpit #FA
  • Sophia never realized how soon the present becomes the past. Then she inherited the sapphire & now she's a time traveler on the run. #SFFpit
  • Curse of the Delhi Sapphire is a mystery-thriller about a woman hunted through time by a man obsessed with her magical inheritance. #SFFpit
  • Magical realism meets mystery-thriller as a cursed woman is stalked through the past by a killer obsessed with her family heirloom. #SFFpit
  • A woman cursed by the Purple Delhi Sapphire is stalked through her past lives by a psychopath set on possessing that power.#pitmad #fantasy
  • A woman cursed by the Purple Delhi Sapphire is stalked through her past lives by a lost soul set on possessing her. #SFFpit #cf #tt #fa
  • Curse of the Delhi Sapphire is a mystery-thriller about a woman hunted through time by a man obsessed with her magical inheritance. #SFFpit
  • A woman stalked through time for her family heirloom is shocked to uncover her fianc├ęs heritage is tied to her own cursed past. #PitMad #A
  • Cursed by a family heirloom, a young woman finds herself chased through time pitted against a murderous soul eager to possess her.#PitMad #A
Beware: Twitter Pitch Parties are fun and addictive. You may need a 12-step program to get back to real life. Don't worry. You're not alone.

Pitch Parties are happening all the time. Here are a few websites/people to follow to stay in the loop. I recommend stalking them on Twitter.

Twitter Pitch Party Rules:

1. Only pitch finished manuscripts
2. Pitch only once or twice an hour (depending on the contest)
3. Do not favorite other's pitches (this if for the agents/editors). If you like a pitch, retweet it only.
4. If you receive a favorite, scroll through that agent/editor's feed to find out their instructions of what to do next (submission guidelines).
5. Don't forget to use the Pitch Party hashtag!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Sinister Sparkle

Since time travel seems to be a common thread in my writing, I thought it would be a fun to have an intelligent conversation about it. Just kidding. I'm no expert. Of course philosophers, physicists, and people all smarter than me have put forth a number of viewpoints; from the idea that history cannot be changed to the notion that it would create a paradox thus by destroying the universe. These are all very deep concepts that as a highly professional writer I researched—and by researched I mean Googled, read and considered for all of 10 seconds before my brain cried out in piercing agony. This left me to create a time-travel story based on my own warped imagination. And of course in my opinion to do time travel right, you need some version of the age old time machine. Doc Brown had the DeLorean. Diana Gabbaldon had the stones. And Sophia? She has the Purple Delhi Sapphire. Voila! No explanation necessary. 

This is the mysterious stone here. Changing the look of it was a must–it needed to be glamorous. Sophia may be a down-to-earth-book loving-librarian but she still has an appreciation for the finer things in life.The actual gemstone was rumored to have been stolen from the Temple of Indra, during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. It was brought to England by Colonel W. Ferris, whose family then supposedly suffered many financial and health woes. It eventually made its way into the hands of Heron-Allen who wary of its alleged powers, locked it away in seven boxes and surrounded it with good luck charms. After his death, his daughter donated the amethyst to London's Natural History Museum. Along with the stone, she gave them a letter that her father wrote cautioning future owners against directly handling it. So far no one has reported time travelling with it but you never know.

I Dream of Rochus

Are you a dreamer? I am. According to psychologists, everyone dreams—sometimes five times a night and more than half of us dream about work once a week. I dream constantly and in fact I get some of my best characters and plot twists in my slumber so I love dreaming about my work.

I recently visited a Psychic Medium in the Durham Region for research purposes and found out that one of my spirit guides is a character from my last book: Rochus—the 19th century alchemist who I thought I had dreamed up. Apparently he helps me with my writing and decided to give himself a cameo—I thought that was pretty neat.

She told me spirit guides are always with you and will most likely reach out to contact you in your dreams. All you have to do is ask! In fact, chances are you’ve already had some contact with your guides in your dream life and just haven’t recognized it. Think about it. Have you ever had a “stranger” who felt familiar to you visit you in your dreams?

If you’re interested—try this exercise before going to bed to have a dream-time connection with your guides:
• Write a question on a note pad that you’d like addressed. Read the question aloud before going to bed. Set the intention that you’d like to meet your guides that night in your dreams.

Good Luck! Hopefully Rochus has something good in store for me tonight. My latest story is ready for a good plot twist. All kooky characters welcome.

Time Travel & Serial Killers...What Could Be More Fun?

You're running through the forest. You can barely make out the branches as you weave your way through the fog. The only sound you hear aside from the ringing in your ears is your own labored breathing. You look behind—to see if the homicidal maniac is still chasing you—with his sharp pointy dagger but he’s disappeared. Relief floods your nervous system as you swivel your head back to the front -- just in time to watch as he steps out from behind the tree directly to your left. You trip…
Who hasn’t read or watched a thriller like this and maybe had a scary dream or two about it, but what if this was your reality? What if your soul was tied to an evil spirit? How far would you go to get away? Would you travel through time into your past lives if you were given the option – back to the beginning to hunt the hunter?
That’s the dilemma Sophia Marcil faces. Cursed by a magical family heirloom, she is destined to be murdered in each life by someone close to her. Her only hope to beat him is to find the Purple Delhi Sapphire.


Dead still, he watched the house, well hidden by the oak tree in the back. Stiff, he shifted, growing irritated. He was weary of chasing her. “Where is it?” a voice inside him cried out.
Just break in. Force her to hand it over …
No. Patience was key. After all, it had called to him across time; surely he was meant to have it this time.
Feeling something push against his legs, he jerked back and nearly fell over. He looked down. A cat. Her black cat. He stared at the creature, reached for it. He gripped it tightly. The animal began purring softly. “Pretty kitty,” he said, stroking the animal. He glared at it with hatred. ”So trusting!” he repeated, his tone soothing, his teeth gritted together. He gently stroked it one last time.
Hurrying to my car, I started thinking about what to do. The shift in the air set my teeth on edge, and I looked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't being followed. I had to stop being so paranoid. I unlocked the doors, sliding into the driver’s side before I turned to investigate the backseat, assuring myself I was alone. I turned on the radio—loudly. Music was a good way to drown my anxiety. I drove, humming to the tune, all the while reminding myself that I was safe. Yet somehow I felt like I was being watched.
Arriving home without incident, I forced myself to walk at a normal pace. I desperately needed a drink. I unlocked the front door and flipped on the light, stepping inside. Gigi’s sweater still hung on the hook from her last visit. My heart ached for her.
Though the entrance hall was empty, I felt watched. I listened. Raindrops murmured against the windows, as though the house grumbled of the moist wood rot and dampness that permeated its elderly skeletal structure. All was quiet, and yet an ill-omened hush seemed to scratch at my neck, like Daphne sharpening her claws.
I’m just being paranoid.
My gaze swept the living area, and I froze in my tracks. The place had been trashed, furniture shoved aside and strewn about. Kitchen drawers were dumped upside down. Oddly enough I was reminded of a story Gigi once told me about Grandpa Eugene’s jewellery store being ransacked.
Panic gripped me. What was I waiting for? What did I expect to hear? I was fearful to make a sound, a sudden move, terrified that something concealed waited for me in the shadowy recesses of the room. I had to force myself to take the first stride.
The cushions were torn and the tables toppled over. Someone had been here looking for something.
I flung down my purse and barrelled back toward the door, narrowly missing the elephant statue laying on its side. Every moment I anticipated a blade between my shoulders. I was almost to the door when I heard he footsteps rush up behind me a split second before I was grabbed. A coarse sack was pulled over my head.
Intuitively, I fought back. Shrouded by darkness, I struggled like a feral beast, even when I was hit so hard that I lost my footing, nearly collapsing to the floor.
“Where is it?” a voice demanded.
I stayed silent.
Everything went black.