On Operation Awesome Today

I'm over on Operation Awesome today with a post on finding inspiration for fictional settings in real-life places. Places like this:


Go check it out! And don't forget about the Mystery Agent Contest on Operation Awesome May 1st!
More interior pictures of the castle in my gallery here.

MORE Pitch Opportunities!

Sorry to yell with that all-caps MORE, but it seems like contest season is upon us! Here are some upcoming chances to pitch your book, in order of their submission periods:

Operation Awesome's Mystery Agent Contest for May will open May 1st; watch for details of the agent's wishlist and genres accepted, which will go up on Operation Awesome in the next week. UPDATE: the May Mystery Agent is looking for Horror, Mystery, Crime, Suspense, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Science Fiction, and Mainstream. Adult/YA (no MG). No romance or religious. Especially looking for YA Horror and Mystery-- think creepy and dark.

The Writer's Voice, a pitch+250 words contest, will have a lottery entry that opens on May 1. There are some rules and guidelines that must be followed, so check out any of the hosting blogs for info. This one is for MG and YA manuscripts.

And there's also a Query Kombat Contest & Tournament starting May 13, where queries and first 250 words will go head to head until one winner is declared. "Submissions for MG, YA, NA, and Adult works will be accepted. No picture books or non-fiction."

Good luck!

OA Today with a Special Guest

I'm over on Operation Awesome today with an interview with critique partner, Christina Mercer! Go check it out!

Of Pitches and Conferences

Last Saturday was the Spring Spirit Conference for our regional chapter of SCBWI, and WOW what a conference! This was my third year as a volunteer and although I felt like I made myself useful, it's nothing to all the work the real people in charge put in. Thanks to our RAs and planners, who performed marvelously under pressure!

We had a different location this year and I never want to go back to our old one--this one had powerful, free wi-fi and a nice layout. Plus, since we had a more flexible space it was done as tracks; you could choose novel, picture book, or nonfiction.

As a shepherd for two speakers, I got to see a little bit of everything. Started with an Early Bird session on perfecting your pitch with Rose Cooper and got to participate in the feedback a bit. It might have just given me the confidence to propose my own workshop on queries for next year. (And Rose, if you read this and wonder why I dragged out my tablet in the middle of the workshop, I was trying to find the link for a Pitch Generator I'd seen. Couldn't remember where, but it was on Carissa Taylor's blog.)

Then on to a picture book session with Gianna Marino, which was a great take on how writers can inspire illustrators by using their words in, um, inspiring ways. But she said it better.

But the highlights of the conference for me were getting to hear Andrew Harwell's (of Harper Collins) talk about openers and first lines. He gave very helpful feedback, and when I read mine he "liked it a lot". I was glad, but didn't take too much notice of it--figured he was being polite.

But when he then referenced my first lines in his next presentation, I swung into full-on squee mode. Which only got worse when I had the opportunity to pitch to agent Stephen Fraser and he requested. Felt great to get that validation that I'm doing some things right.

And as if all that conference excitement wasn't enough, on Sunday we took delivery of our new (new to us at least) trailer! It folds down

 And it opens up

Planning on some writer's retreats in this!

Pitch Your MG or YA Now at Operation Awesome

NOT an April Fools' trick! Just another great opportunity to pitch your book to a mysterious agent.

It's going on now and there's room for 75 entries--don't miss out!