Friday, December 19, 2008

My Gift to You

I love Christmas. To me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and the best part of Christmas to me is the giving. So while this is the last official blog post of the year (BookEnds is closed December 22 to January 5), I decided we should go out with a whole heck of a lot of holiday cheer.

That being said, my gift to you for 2008 is another round of pitch critiques. For newer readers, let me explain what I mean. For almost any writer the pitch is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. It’s what you use in the one key paragraph of your query letter to explain your book to agents, it’s what your agent uses to pitch your work to editors, editors use it to pitch your work in-house, and eventually you’ll use it again to pitch your work to readers, publicists, newspaper reporters, and everyone and anyone you want to impress.

To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post. I will not consider pitches posted in other posts or those e-mailed to me and I certainly won’t take pitches from any query letters I receive. Over the course of the next two weeks I’m going to randomly select and critique (on the blog) as many as I can. Since I’m officially on vacation over the course of these two weeks the posts will truly be random. In other words, I’m going to do whatever I want. I’ll post them whenever I want and I’ll critique anywhere from three to three hundred, depending on my mood.

With a HO, HO, HO, have at it!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all!



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Anonymous said...

Any insight into how I could strengthen this pitch would be much appreciated!

Nephilim, an ancient Biblical race. Children born of the union between the Fallen Ones and the Daughters of Man.

Pandora, half-demon, half-human; born to be bad, but desperate to be good. Possessed by the demoness Lust, she lives in a world of shadow and light and walks the gray in between. For thousands of years she did as she wanted, killed as she wanted; indulged herself in every carnal whim. But now Pandora wants to find some meaning in her life. Problem is even when she tries to be good evil finds her anyway. Vamps have overtaken the city, children are missing and an ancient god has come to life.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, she also has a Grimoran on her tail. Very little is known of the Grimoran, other than their sole purpose in life is to seek out the Nephilim and destroy them. And now one has tagged her. Named Billy, he’s all that’s dangerous, dark, and deadly and arouses every wicked instinct inside her. And yet whenever he has the chance to kill her, he doesn’t. Can she trust him? Her body and heart say yes, but something evil this way comes. Who can she trust? Or is it already too late?

Thanks so much for this oppurtunity, Jessica!

Melinda Leigh said...

Is this pitch too short?

A gutsy, divorced high school teacher and an emotionally adrift Iraqi war hero confront an internet predator - with some unexpected help from the family ghosts.

85,000 Romantic Suspense with light paranormal elements.


Mark Terry said...

For Jessica and everyone else's sake, I'm not going to participate this time. But...

from having read most of them last time, let me offer this one bit of totally unsolicited and possibly unwelcome advice.


Happy Holidays, y'all, from very cold and snowy Michigan.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing this for us Jessica! I've really needed input on mine, so thanks a bunch!

Siren has a perfect family; two adoring parents, and a sister who teases her, as sisters do. Being Princess of Sylia makes her life perfect. She can do what she pleases and lives a lavish life. The life that is her perfection however, was simply ignorance gifted to her by her Father. Unbeknownst to her, Siren's Father and Mother have both been keeping evil at bay. When this evil takes her parents lives and turns her sister against her, Siren is thrust into the role of Queen. Now quickly, she must learn how to handle ruling an entire kingdom and lead a nation into a war she didn't even know could happen.

Siren Chronicles explores how quickly a human being can mature when they are forced to do so by circumstance and what changes they must go through, both internally and externally to except this change into their lives.

Tena Russ said...
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Jill Wheeler said...

Chloe Williams has had a crappy year, with her drunk father losing his job, her brother joining the army, and her mother choosing to boink her coworker instead of show up for dinner. When she discovers she has the power to manipulate the future through her drawings, she thinks she’s got the answer to her problems. But her drawings have unexpected consequences. After she unintentionally ruins the life of a girl she’s always hated, she realizes there are boundaries she mustn’t cross. Some of her mistakes are fixable; most aren’t. Chloe ultimately has to decide whether she can use her pencil responsibly or if she'll have to put away her sketchpad for good.

DRAWN TO YOU is a YA novel with elements of magical realism, completed at 60,000 words.

Thank you so much! Happy holidays!

Rachel Green said...

Thanks for the opportunity.

Halcyon Days

Lucy Waterman is a little angel. That’s exactly what scares her parents most: How can a child go through life without revealing her divinity? They must decide whether to let the world see a real Messenger of God or, with a little surgery, let her have a life like any other child. The trouble is, Lucy knows she’s different to the other kids at school and it’s almost her fourteenth birthday. Her coming of age.

Anonymous said...

Vivian’s daughter is in the second grade and hell-bent on dieting; Simon is faced with a too-small restaurant booth on a third date; and Sasha decides to join a gym without the goal of losing a single pound—try explaining that to the membership coordinator. Made You Look: Small Stories, Big Bodies is a study in how everyday moments take on extra significance when the person experiencing them is significantly overweight.

70,000 word collection of vignettes. Chicken Soup for the Soul meets Jennifer Weiner.


Thanks Jessica! Happy holidays, all!

Anonymous said...

Wil Rainolds is a painter, a father, and a husband. His marriage is crumbling, his son is in rebellion, his daughter is about to run off with a military boy, and even his paintings haven’t been cooperating lately. He could also very well be humankind’s last and only weapon against the monstrous invaders known as the creatures. What is it about Wil’s painting that makes the creatures hate and fear him? Can he save the world and still manage to keep his struggling family together?

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Fighting for his life from terrorists in the South American jungle, a double-crossed CIA officer heads to the mountains of West Virginia, prey to an even larger battle: the one for his heart.

Thank you for this opportunity. Merry Christmas to you, too!

Julian Meteor said...

Doing Honeys - My Autobiography - Julian Meteor

Julian Meteor is somebody EVERYONE wants to BE!!! lol
He sleeps with a DIFFERENT woman every night and is in THE best band - The Argyle Style - in South-West England.
Read and prepare to be VERY jealous!!!!!!! lmao

Let me know; either way


Julian Meteor said...

Doing Honeys - My Autobiography - Julian Meteor

Julian Meteor is somebody EVERYONE wants to BE!!! lol
He sleeps with a DIFFERENT woman every night and is in THE best band - The Argyle Style - in South-West England.
Read and prepare to be VERY jealous!!!!!!! lmao

Let me know; either way


Julie Rowe said...

A World War 1 romance.

British Red Cross nurse Maria Hunt risks more than her life when she chooses to aid a wounded British officer caught behind enemy lines in Belgium three months into the Great War. Lieutenant John Bennett, a rifleman with the British Expeditionary Force, needs more than her medical assistance to escape; he needs her compassion, kindness and determination. But as they flee towards the safety of the Netherlands Maria discovers what he needs most to survive is her love.

Helen said...
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Debra L Martin said...

Thanks for doing this Jessica. This pitch has been rewritten so many times. It will be great to get some feedback on it.

Darius and Dyla Telkur, the twin children of the powerful Duke of Telkur, lead the privileged life of royals on Otharia. Dyla has the power of empathy that surrounds her in an air of danger like a ring of razor blades. Darius, her dark brooding twin, has the power of telepathy in his piercing stare and penetrating touch. Though Darius is the heir to the Telkur throne by mere seconds, the twins share an inseparable bond. When their parents are murdered on their 16th birthday, their idyllic life is shattered. Reeling from shock, the twins are confronted with a pretender to the ducal crown, a rogue cousin bent on stealing the Telkur throne, but the worst is yet to come. Someone else wants them dead and they find themselves at the mercy of an evil mastermind bent on the annihilation of the entire Telkur dynasty.

Caught in a maelstrom of murder and deceit, Darius and Dyla are forced to run for their lives. With no safe haven on Otharia, they flee to the only place where they won’t be found, the quarantined planet of Earth. Stranded in modern day London, their only hope of returning home is to retrieve an artifact lost during an ancient Otharian exploration of Earth. Hidden within the legends of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are clues to the artifact they seek. Along the way, they stumble upon a terrible secret, a secret that will shake the very foundations of Otharia. Everything is connected and when the twins finally understand the connection between past and present, they must find a way to return home before they don’t have a home or kingdom to return to.

theartgirl said...
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theartgirl said...
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theartgirl said...
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Anonymous said...

What an awesome Christmas gift. Thanks Jessica!

Romantic Suspense

EXPIRATION DATE is a Nicolas Sparks meets Carla Neggers read. It has the small town moral compass of a Sparks' community, with the race against time and risk of a deadly misstep of a Neggers' story.

Riley Randalls hires Private Investigator Perry Von to prove her soon-to-be-ex is up to no good, only to find she’s in more danger with his help when a paroled serial-killer targets Riley to even the score of his personal vendetta against Von who put him away.

Thanks a million!
Mistletoe and Merry Memories to you and your family.
Nancy Naigle

God Girl Goth said...

With an enchantment spell disfiguring him and a jolly roger ship making him despised from a distance, Will Landon struggles to carry out an impossible task: replace the magical royal cheese he ate. While reputedly the source of the king’s power, Will’s real mistake had been not in the thievery, but that eating it had started to unlock his true heritage as the heir to the throne. Under the guise of restitution, he is sent on a quest. With help from his enchanted dog Barky, the queen's stowaway dinosaur, a stolen pirate ship’s crew, and a rescued witch, he just might make it back before time runs out.

Middle Grade fiction

Unknown said...

This is so very generous--thank you SO MUCH for doing this for us, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

My pitch:

Belle Ravenna thought that starting eighth grade would mean change: class bully Ashleigh would move on to another victim, gorgeous Matt would at least notice her, and she’d finally make some real friends. What Belle didn’t expect was that her new English teacher is a witch.

Magical Ms. Wendt may be able to have Sophocles as a guest speaker, but she can’t escape the prison of her own classroom. Trapped behind an enchanted blue door that alters her students’ memories of magic, Ms. Wendt has little hope of rescue—although Belle and her classmates want to help their teacher, they only recall her imprisonment within the classroom. When the new science teacher introduces the kids to alchemy, Belle thinks that may be the key to saving Ms. Wendt. The more Belle learns about alchemy, though, the more she suspect that her science teacher wants to use it to steal Ms. Wendt’s magic…and if she helps, she’ll get some of that magic for her own. Caught between one teacher who wants freedom and another who wants magic, Belle must choose between fighting for what she thinks is right and taking what she knows she wants.

Based loosely on the Greek myth of Bellerophon, The Amnesia Door is a 70k word MG novel intended for tween girls.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this gift! Here is my pitch:

The average sixteen year old girl does not hurl herself from moving vehicles, climb cliffs, and subdue assailants on the same day. Of course, Kate Wilhelm is not your average sixteen year old. Raised by The Echelon Academy for Gifted Students, Kate gained the skills needed to survive as a super spy. Being born with the ability to change her entire appearance with a single thought gives Kate that extra edge. When attending a school that routinely reviews and deletes the memories of its students, any advantage is welcome.

Kate’s life shatters when she learns her school is a front for a terrorist organization and her mind-reading friend moonlights as a double agent. To make life worse, Kate’s highly-honed spy skills are no match for her attraction to the golden-eyed Harrison. How is a girl expected to avoid assassination attempts around such a glorious distraction? Forced to run for her life, Kate knows the only way she can protect herself and the people she loves is by bringing down the Echelon.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

And a very Merry Xmas to you and yours as well!

Thanks for all the advice and interesting tidbits you blog about.

Anonymous said...

Because both her parents died when she was sixteen, nineteen-year-old Maggie Jordan of Loveland, Colorado, yearns for lost family. When she and an idealistic young writer named Jackdaw fall in love, she is certain that she’s found what she’s looking for. They have sex and she gets pregnant, but then he blames her for not living up to his ideal. He does the right thing, though, and they get married. But after Maggie gives birth on Christmas day to a darling boy, Jes, she struggles to cope with Jes’s severe birth defect and her husband’s distance, while Jackdaw must reconcile memories of his father’s abuse and his mother’s abandonment with his own actions.

With deceptive simplicity, LOVELAND interweaves Maggie and Jackdaw’s story with those of Maggie’s timid brother Tibs yearning to be a writer and wrestling with the success of Jackdaw’s first novel and Maggie’s straight and outspoken sister CJ unexpectedly falling in love with Jes’s female nurse.

LOVELAND is literary women’s fiction (65,000 words) comparable to Kent Haruf’s Plainsong and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

Thank you so much. You are truly generous!


feywriter said...

Emergence of the Fey, Fantasy

Marian thought the forest's secret was hers alone. A sorrowful entity that only she could hear and relate to. When her forest is targeted for lumber, she tries in vain to find a way to save it. The mythical and hidden Fey take matters into their own hands in order to save their Goddess trapped within the trees. They burn Marian's village to deal with the threat. Furious at the loss of her home, Marian unleashes a magic she didn't know she had. Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their goddess before their magic dies. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian must come to terms with her family's killers and evade the Enchanters, or she'll lose not only her magic, but her life.

About Me said...

Merry Christmas to you too Jessica and thanks for the opportunity!

When Katherine Rice’s son is murdered, she doesn’t trust the system to punish the killer because twenty-five before, the same man got away with slaughtering her brother. She hunts for the killer but gets more than she bargains for when she discovers that he’s part of an online network of pedophiles called The Convent. Now Katherine’s dream of fading into oblivion is put on hold as she sets out to rid the world of these child predators.

(Crime Fiction)

Anonymous said...

Jessica, this is amazing! I don't have a pitch to - er, pitch - but I did blog about this opportunity!

Anna Claire said...

Lottie Griffin just landed the biggest front page story of the year, which should have been enough excitement for her first week at a new college. After all, she nearly tripped over the body of a dead student on her first reporting assignment and probably just launched a brilliant journalistic career. But then the dead boy’s best friend (and one of the hottest guys on campus) asks her out, she’s invited into a clique of Southern sorority belles, and discovers the most infuriating person she’s ever met is also her sexy, enigmatic editor, Jack.

The police ruled the student’s death an accident, but Lottie can’t leave it alone. As she digs deeper into the dead boy’s past and befriends those who knew him best, one name keeps popping up: The Sigma Society, a shadowy group that could be responsible for the student’s death—and for the recent break-in at the newspaper office. Soon Lottie is sneaking into frat houses, breaking into secret passageways, coaxing information from her Greek friends and trying to avoid detection by the Sigmas, who are bent on covering up a terrible 50-year-old crime at any cost. Lottie has big decisions to make: should she risk alienating her new friends and putting her own life in danger for the sake of uncovering the truth?

STOP THE PRESSES is a 91,000-word YA suspense novel.

Jessica--Thank you for being so generous with your time--Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Call me confused, because I'm reading long, two to three paragraphs and not getting pitches, but descriptions of books.
I thought a pitch was a one paragraph, cut to the heart of your book selling point?

Valerie Geary said...

When people ask me what my best Christmas present was this year, I will tell them an opportunity for a pitch critique. Thank you!
His entire life, Alfred Leland Donahugh has been told that his mother and father drowned in the ocean when he was an infant. He had accepted their fates and moved on, until the day he discovered his mother was actually alive and being kept in an asylum just on the other side of town. When he goes to her, he is unsure what to expect, but what he finds is even more upsetting than anything he could have ever imagined. Elli Donahugh is stuck in her own mind, remembering only one part of her life: when she was young and loved a fisherman named Leland. Everyday she sits by her window in the asylum clutching a blanket she thinks is her infant son. Everyday she tells her story over and over again with a deep conviction that her husband, who did in fact perish during a storm, will return and forgive her for the devastating choices she made which destroyed the life they had built together. After Alfred Leland learns of his mother’s whole truth, he must reckon the lies of his past with the reality of who he is. The Falling of Clouds (completed at 79,255 words) is a literary love story interwoven with the myth of the selkie that exposes the tangled and torn relationships of a wife and her husband, an adulteress and her lover, a mother and her son. I believe my novel would appeal to readers who enjoy the writings of Alice Hoffman, Anita Shreve and Sue Miller.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this gift and your time!

Claire's reputation as a woman who competently balances her hectic family life with the demands of her small business tanks when she goes missing for a weekend and awakens on a church pew. But then again, at 32 she meant to be her small town's District Attorney, not a chronically ill stay-at-home mother of three and freelance chocolatier. When sleek, successful, former friend Malia appears on Claire's doorstep, she unravels the remainder of Claire's composure. But even Malia's dream life veers off course when she learns she's pregnant, her new boss is her former-lover-turned-priest, and her boyfriend isn't ready for a baby. Malia and Claire force each other to grapple with their evolving identities, careers, and families as they renew their friendship during a year of chaotic transitions.

Women's fiction, 85,000 words.

ChadGramling said...

Stuart Jannetty is a desperate sports agent who takes a shortcut to revive his career. Rory Hudson is the clone of a Hall of Fame quarterback who doesn’t know his life was manufactured to serve the greed of others. Milton, a strange man with a penchant for mustard covered fried foods, uses a deck of trading cards to unite them under peculiar circumstances. Together, the duo rises to the pinnacle of their respective professions. Stuart later learns that his former employer is secretly pulling the strings and he realizes he's become the enabler of a massive human cloning operation that spans sports, entertainment, politics, media and more. Hudson pieces together the truth while witnessing the manipulation of social conscience. Both men must make decisions that will impact their lives forever and the right path is no easy choice. Their final actions will surprise. "Recycled Heroes" will force readers to think about the way society raises up heroes and ultimately tears them apart. In fact, many will question what constitutes the fundamental concept of heroism. With the constant headlines of corruption in modern sports and our cultural obsession with celebrity, the timing is perfect and marketable to a broad range of audiences.

Kathleen MacIver said...

Is it okay if I post two (for the same book?) One is longer and is the set-up for the book, from the perspective the reader gets. (It looks really long on here, although it fits quite easily on a one-page query letter.) The other is VERY short, but it highlights what's more unique... and it also gives away part of what the reader is figuring out as the book goes on. My biggest question is which approach is best. (Or, perhaps a combination of both?) So that's what I'd like feedback/critquing on, specifically.

Oh… this is a completed 95,000 word time-travel. (Although most of it takes place in the present.) I'll post the short one first.

Jason McCaskyll was born in Scotland’s past, lives in the American present, and has responsibilities in both. Kyra MacDonnell is the woman who falls in love with him. She only wants to be a part of his life and his family… but she has no idea how unusual both are.

Kyra MacDonnell can play her violin well enough to please even her professor’s exacting standards. But that’s not what she loves to do. When she’s alone, this daughter of a billionaire takes the music and improvises, weaving into it her hopes and dreams for the two things she does not have - a loving home life, and the courage to stand up to her manipulative and domineering mother.

Her best friend, however, has both, and a brother. When Audrey McCaskyll sidesteps the schemes of Kyra's mother and convinces Kyra to come home with her for a week, Kyra both dreads her mother's vengeance and looks forward to the opportunity to be part of Audrey's family for a little while. It's also a chance to get to know Audrey's brother, Jason, before she joins the McCaskyll family in Scotland for Audrey's summer wedding at Duncarragh, their ancestral family castle.

But the events of that week hint at possibilities Kyra never dreamed of. It all begins on a misty dawn when she discovers Jason’s awe-inspiring skill with the Scottish broadsword. As she watches, the fog shifts, and she sees a vision of him fighting to defend her in a time long gone. The vision fades, but a bond is forged between them that neither can deny - or understand.

Jason McCaskyll doesn't want Kyra to visit. He's less-than-thrilled when he, too, sees a vision of her. The unwelcome feelings that accompany it do little to improve his mood. But the Kyra who comes isn't the Kyra he thought he knew, and the exquisite music she plays touches something inside of him that he can't quite identify.

Fascination turns to love as the days and weeks pass, bringing complications. He has a family in Scotland as well as in the US, and both are depending on him to keep their secret safe and their future secure. He both yearns and fears to tell Kyra what he's hiding; longing to tear down the wall that it's building between them, but unsure how he can ever explain the unexplainable.

For his secret is hidden deep in the Scottish Highlands, and his future is tied to the past...

Anonymous said...

“Wildflowers and Winged Boys” is a 86,000 word YA manuscript:

Fern’s work to restore native plants to save her Gran’s meadow takes on new meaning when a winged boy reveals the land is part of a hidden enclave of Sapaksan wizards, and Fern’s Mom is their runaway Witch of the Meadows. Fern’s story about her unusual inheritance and the care of the natural world, is bound together with magic and the excitement of first love.

Thanks for the opportunity!

Unknown said...

Not sure whether this is too much or not enough, so a quick critique would really help at this stage! Happy holidays!


When her three-year-old daughter Daisy vanished, young wife and mother Rose Darien lost her family, her marriage, and her mind. Fifteen years later she is living a wild, dissolute life alone. When a young woman shows up claiming to be the long-lost Daisy, Rose has to learn how to trust again. She fights her suspicion and fear, reaching out to the young woman, and accepts her… until a second Daisy appears.

Helen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...

(Apologies for the earlier deletion, but Blogger somehow changed some of my spelling...)

Everything is spiralling out of control for Violet. Already struggling against the assumption that she's going to become Alpha after her mother, Violet's disjointed Pack is thrown into further disarray with the arrival of hunters intent on finishing the slaughter started years before. Her brother Nick has shapeshifted, even though male werewolves are bitten, not born. When the hunters reveal the werewolves to the town, exposing the lies the Pack has built their lives on, Violet realises just how far she'll go to protect those she loves--especially when Nick reveals her own secret: she's fallen for her best friend Sabine.

THOSE WHO FAVOUR FIRE, YA fantasy, 65,000 words

Thank you for this chance! Merry Christmas. :)

Corinne said...

This is so nice of you to do! Thanks, and have a very merry Christmas :D Below is the pitch for ALWAYS READ THE FAE PRINT, or, among friends, "the crack novel".

As the normal daughter of a warlock merchant and a shape-shifter, Lillian became resentful of all things magic after a childhood accident with a hellhound that left her heavily scarred. Now working as a help cook in a pancake restaurant in Amsterdam, she’s determined to enjoy a blissfully magic-free existence, but getting away from the magic inherent in her life proves to be easier said than done. When she finds out her dad is in danger as the result of a bad debt with some tricky fae, even the Atlantic ocean isn’t enough to separate her from her much-hated roots.

Her safe Dutch haven gets put on the line as Lillian's conscience drags her kicking and screaming back into the life she’s tried to escape from. Teaming up with her estranged mother who’s crashing on her couch, she struggles to release her dad of his contract while balancing an overly curious Goth coworker, mentally unstable Germanic gods, her would-be boyfriend’s annoying attachment to his dog, her boss’s eagerness to fire her and the threat of the fae, who turn out to have much more up their sleeves than simply collecting human souls...

She *knew* there was a reason she hated this world.

Anonymous said...


The pitch should be one paragraph. A paragraph is 3-5 sentences usually. Your pitch is not your entire query letter.

Heidi Willis said...

Some Kind of Normal (literary fiction)

All that stands between her daughter’s life and death is a tenth grade education, a zealous group of Baptist ladies, and 1.8 million Google hits.

Babs’ days, once full of grit-making and house-cleaning, just got a lot harder. Her husband’s growing away from her, her son is suddenly sporting a rainbow colored Mohawk, and her twelve-year-old daughter is on the brink of death. After Ashley faints and seizes in front of her, Babs embarks on a seemingly impossible journey: establishing some kind of normal life around her daughter’s volatile diabetes while not losing her husband, son, and overbearing but well-meaning friends in the process.

But when Ashley develops a rare allergy to insulin – the only medicine that can keep her alive – Babs has to overcome her high-school-drop-out education to find a cure the doctors say isn’t there. In a frantic rush against the clock and Ashley’s quickly dwindling days, Babs turns to the Internet. The answer she discovers is the one no one wants to hear: a risky stem cell operation that pits her against her husband, her faith, and the conservative church that’s been their biggest support.

H. L. Dyer said...

Maybe if Beatrice Greyson knew someone faked her death as a child, she wouldn't wish so desperately to remember the first decade of her life.

As a young girl, she collapsed in an unfamiliar house in rural Illinois. No one knew where she came from or how she ended up on war widow Thea Greyson's front porch that stormy night. Thirty years later, Beatrice is devastated by the death of the woman who took her in. But her grief turns to a sense of betrayal when she finds the letter from her birth mother that Thea claimed was lost. Leaving everything behind to search for her birth parents, Beatrice follows the railroad tracks across the Midwest. She never imagined the fate suffered by her parents, but there are darker family secrets. Uncovering them will force her to confront a violent murderer. And maybe miss out on the love of her life.

Anonymous said...

The angels hand Gillen, guardian of the city of Trebridge, a recipe for disaster: Three gargoyle warriors. Four fractious human teens. Tie them together, and throw them into the battle to save the city of Trebridge from demons.

PSL: Thanks for doing the critiques. I'm sure they'll be as useful as the other information you share.

Annette Gallant said...


The last thing Jill Sullivan intends to do is fall for her sexy new co-worker, Andrew Chisholm. She's already committed to Jamie O'Rourke, the son of her father's best friend. He's safe, in need of her support after the sudden death of his parents and is the only boyfriend her family has ever approved of. But one night Andrew kisses Jill on a crowded dance floor, which throws her emotions into complete turmoil. Finding she can no longer deny her feelings for Andrew, Jill becomes increasingly torn and soon realizes she's in love with both men. When she's eventually forced to decide which one, if either, truly owns her heart, Jill discovers that sometimes you have to give up the things you want, in order to gain the one thing you really need.

Thank you for doing this, Jessica. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Anonymous said...


Could we get a ruling? Do you mean the pitch including title, genre, etc., OR just a 3- to 5-sentence paragraph.


Anonymous said...

What a great idea, Jessica, and very generous of you.

I'm not participating this time, but have linked to the post on my blog and will drop in to scan the pitches and read your critiques. It's always a learning experience.

Jill Wheeler, I love your premise for Drawn To You. Good luck with it!

Carolyn V. said...

Here is my lovely pitch for my YA novel:

When seventeen-year-old Katie inherits her mother’s mysterious pendant, she not only finds herself transported through time, but also finds she is able to stop time itself. Her newfound power is no secret. The usurper King Luther wants her power, but can only acquire it with her death and will go to any length to see it so. Hero, the rightful king, swears he has loved her in the past and will do anything to keep her safe. Then there is Weston, Captain of the Guards, who just wants her for himself. Torn, Katie must choose what the future will hold for her. Will she follow her heart, follow her head, or will she run out of time?

Excellent ~ I hope you have a great holiday season and don't have too many headaches from reading all these awesome posts! =) (love your blog, by the way)

DL said...

Jessica, thanks for this! Happy holidays and enjoy your break.

Legend Hunters

Four embark on a journey into insanity: a brother, a reporter, a park warden and the Nakoda guide she once loved. They’re hunting a legend; the thing that mauled a woman to death a year ago, the thing that left another man maimed both in body and in mind. Legend Hunters is a fast-paced thrill ride that takes the reader through the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, up steep mountain slopes, down turbulent rivers, over glaciers and sacred ground in search of the legendary Bigfoot. One of the four is intent on killing it. One covets its power. One doesn’t believe in it. And, one will protect it at all cost. Even though two rekindle a romance thought lost forever, only one will emerge unscathed.

Anonymous said...

And a very Merry Christmas to you. Thank you for such a generous gift. This is my sixth (unsold) novel and I'm trying hard not to lose my belief in the possible. Your posts are so positive and inspiring. Best wishes for the new year - Leslie Doak

In MONDAY LIES, Dresden Truell can see a lie. She is the lie-detector of choice when machines cannot be used. When an ambitious young woman with a promising career as a Las Vegas dealmaker dies in a performer-wanna-be’s bed, Denny does not see the bed’s owner as the killer. Never mind that Denny’s ex-boyfriend and homicide detective, Darwin Lane, is sure he has the right guy. It could be that Darwin wants to keep Denny close or maybe he just likes frustration. Either way he keeps her on the case. When the disappearance of a friend is linked to Denny’s ex-husband, a wild-card FBI agent becomes the link between murder and the closest thing to Las Vegas royalty, the owner of a major Strip resort. Denny is determined to sort out the two cases, even as intrigue and danger close in on her.

Anonymous said...

Not trying to be snarky but I'm a bit confused.

I was worried that I was stretching things by having a paragraph followed by a line detailing word count and market comparisons.

Many of the entries are quite longer and seem more like what I thought a brief synopsis would be.

Just wondering where the disconnect is and whether I've misunderstood.

Nikki Hootman said...

After surviving an accident that severely injures his only friend, reclusive programmer Samuel Cooke decides it’s time to stop hiding from life. He moves 500 miles north and takes a job teaching high school computer science.

Impulsive? Yes. But Samuel’s got a handle on this teaching thing. He’s so sure of himself that when coworkers warn him away from Greta Hampstead, he seeks her out. The girls’ basketball coach is brusque, butch, and as intimidating as everyone said. She’s also pretty decent – at least when Samuel’s alone. He suspects it’s because of his crutches (he has spina bifida), but when he confronts her she scoffs and calls him an idiot.

So he asks her out. Because seriously, what woman would date a crippled computer programmer half her size?

Uh… Greta, apparently.

(Mainstream romance, 109,000 words.)

Joseph Wise said...

For Kimberly Mueller, "broken home" is a sad understatement. Her mother has had two brutal divorces and is heading for a third, and Kimberly's father rarely wants anything to do with her. There are some benefits to having a hippy mother, though. She doesn't mind Kimberly's many piercings (all done at home with a needle), and there is never a curfew. And on her thirteenth birthday, Kimberly's mother introduces her to marijuana, as an “ancient bonding ritual.” But when Kimberly proudly confesses this secret during a visit with her father, she sets in motion an unexpected catastrophe. With her mother possibly facing jail time, and her five-year-old half-sister sent away to her own father, Kimberly is left alone with a dad that never wanted her, but always wanted control of her. Kimberly knows that a simple lie would put things back the way they used to be; but she will have to decide whether going back is really what she needs, or if she would be better off moving forward.

“The Broken Generation” is a YA novel complete at 62,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Happy holidays, Jessica, Jackie, and Kim. :) (And thank you for doing this.)


Weakness is intolerable, so much so that in the world of my 85,000-word futuristic romance, Perfect, people who are born with or develop physical ailments are called Problems and terminated. Thanks to her genetic engineering, Madeleine Lindbergh has a wildly successful movie career and a life expectancy of 141, but when she opens a gift, Madeleine doesn't just have a problem, she becomes one. She convinces Rhys Andersen, head of the Adult Problem Termination Unit, to sign off on her clear slip in a way that could get him more than fired. When he learns that Madeleine conned him, Rhys, with his high government clearance, should know who set her up and why, but he doesn't. And he should terminate her, but he can't. Too many unanswered questions and feelings too strong to ignore unite Madeleine and Rhys in a battle against the part of the human condition that can't be engineered out, the soul.

Merry Monteleone said...

Thank you so much!!! And happy holidays to you and yours. I'm still working on my rough draft for this wip, but I put together a quick pitch to post:


For Jack Poverelli, scrounging up food is a bigger worry than his test in Freshman Algebra. Lucky for him, he’s got friends who’ll help him keep the electric on when his mom’s too drunk to remember such things. When Jack and his buddies get arrested, his father’s brother gets involved. Jack hasn’t even seen Uncle Joe since his father’s funeral, two years before. Now he has to go live with him and his uptight wife in their swanky suburban neighborhood, while Jack’s mother “gets her act together”.

Life with the relatives means a full cupboard and disapproving glares from his aunt, his teachers, and the kids around him. They all think they know who Jack is because of where he came from. Can he learn to control his temper and succeed in a place where he’s defined by his background? And if he can, does that mean he loses his place in the neighborhood, and all of the friends who really loved him to begin with?

Sookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Merci beaucoup, Jessica and all those here. Wishing you merry days and bright nights by the blazing fire. Would this pitch make you ask for the manuscript, my goal!

In 1563 Eleone Girolle, left motherless by the step-father she hates and soon to become a mother herself, sets fire to the local church, illuminating long-hidden truths about the death of her gypsy Mother. The sleepy village of Ceres in southwest France will never be the same, and it all began with a book – a book passed from daughter to mother, thrust impulsively into the oven’s fire and the few pages, rescued in haste, that will become the singed map for a journey to the legendary City of Ladies.

Eleone is fiercely determined to learn the art of bread making -- a dangerous ambition. The society of bakers is closed to women, and violation of this prohibition is punishable by death. To pursue her passion, Eleone assumes a boy’s disguise and binds herself as apprentice to her vicious step-father, the man who, unbeknownst to the rest of Ceres, murdered her mother. But even as she struggles to tease the perfect golden crown of bread from the ovens, Eleone faces a far more difficult task. She has a vow to keep – a vow passed down from mother to daughter – to travel to St. Gilles and thank the Saint for protecting her younger sister, Térèse.

Departing Ceres has a high price. Eleone must leave alone, without Antoine, her fellow bread apprentice and father of the child that none but herself know she is carrying. She also feels compelled to confront and unmask her step father -- during her eldest sister’s wedding, and releases the rage she has suppressed for so long, burning the village church in the process. Her cathartic actions have unanticipated consequences when her beloved sister Terese is killed – mistaken for Eleone herself, whose clothing she has donned to assist her elder sister in escaping.

Once on the road, Eleone’s journey to St. Gilles takes her far beyond her initial destination to places that she never imagined. Crossing the ancient pilgrimage valleys and mountains of Languedoc she is reunited with her real father. Then, disguising herself as a priest, she sets off on a perilous voyage for the Holy Land to search for the legendary City of Ladies and Antoine who also left Ceres – and who she learns has born grave injuries in the crush for bread at St. Gilles and perhaps been taken to Pistoia. With each step, as she gets further from the village of her youth, she comes closer to the truth – that home is not where you are born, but where you are found.

lindsey said...

The Syntax of Things is a 60,000-word literary novel.

Adair Sullivan has done the impossible: she has escaped her past. At age 23, Adair has moved to New York, found a steady job, and is pursuing the utterly conventional life she always thought she wanted. But there is something missing. There is someone missing.  

She comes back to her apartment one day and finds a letter waiting. The return address: Johnson City, her tiny Texas hometown. Neil O'Conor, her once-best friend, once-lover, the very reason she has been trying to escape, has died, and Adair is to come back for the funeral. Struggling with her own emotions as well as the painful circumstances that tore her from her old community, Adair returns to Johnson City, where an encounter with an old friend propels Adair towards her desperate search across time and oceans for anything she can salvage from the wreckage of her old life.

Sookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Corinne said...


I wondered the same thing. These terms can often get muddled. In my mind, a pitch is the mini-synopsis in your query letter that can be one/two paragraphs, which the comments seemed to confirm. Based on that, my own was comparatively long.

Re-reading Jessica's post, I now also wonder if what she meant was what I usually refer to as a hook, the much briefer description of the overarching plot. If that's the case, I'll happily post that one instead. It's so easy to get confused.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jessica! Happy Holidays.

Catherine Shelby is the skeleton in her father’s closet. The illegitimate daughter of a powerful senator and his longtime mistress, she has a secret some want to exploit and others would kill to keep. Drew St. John is her old flame with a dangerous knack for solving other people's problems. In CROSS MY HEART, Catherine must navigate a web of deception to protect herself from a slimy tabloid reporter, a murderous political operative, and the only man who ever made her want to tell the truth. My 63,000 word romantic suspense is a secret baby story where the baby’s all grown up and Daddy will do anything to keep her a secret.

Jarucia said...

Thank you for taking the time to consider any of these, Jessica. You're a trooper.


Growing up in the suburbs of Seattle is about as ordinary as it gets for VARUNA (UNA) KANNON. Her biggest adventures happen between the covers of books or in her mother’s stories. Strange accidents and too-real dreams in the days before her thirteenth birthday are the first signals the stories she’s enjoyed her whole life are more than just fantasy. A stalking crow, an immortal pirate queen, and a fallen Caluminar are after Una, but why? She couldn’t possibly be the promised one who’ll return balance to the natural world. Not when she can barely manage to keep her mind straight as she begins her training as a Guardian of the Elements.

(YA fiction, approx. 95,000 words, first in a series of five books)

HollyD. said...

Eight months ago a mistake cost Rose Connolly her career as a homicide detective. Now as a private investigator on the hunt for a killer a mistake could cost her life.
Deadly Betrayals is a 90,000 word mystery/thriller.

Anonymous said...

Trena, a doctors assistant, loves to dress up in gothic clothes and hang out with vampire wanna-be's in fake blood bars every weekend.

Her life is forever changed when she spurns a real vampire and ends up fighting for her life and those she loves.

Sookie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm pretty much a novice at this, as will be evident by my pitch :P It's the first one I've attempted to write.

Anyway, this may be too long, but I'll post what I have for now:

Kaiyo McAllister is the illegitmate daughter of an American mother and Japanese father, isolated from both societies because of her heritage. She is consumed with bitterness towards her nameless father and grief over her beloved mother's death. But life takes a turn towards the unexepcted with the arrival of two strange men, "guardians" sent from her father, claiming that her life is in danger and that she must leave Tokyo with them immediately. Kaiyo must now assume a new identity and a new life in the secluded mountain village of Kakunodate, with an unfamiliar family and the mysterious Ryuji, one of her guardians with secrets of his own.

But even here, the secrets of her father will endanger her life more than she could have imagined. Kaiyo must find the strength to overcome it and learn to finally forgive the transgressions of the past before it is too late.

(Historical Fiction, 112,000 words)

The Swivet said...

Methinks some people missed the "one-paragraph pitch" part. One paragraph would be, um, ONE.


Anonymous said...

Turning Right was what Marcia was trained to do from the time she stepped out the entrance door of her grandmother’s second floor apartment. She never knew her mother worked long hours in the storefront to her left while the mob father she never knew went about his life not caring about the life he formed or those lives he took.

Turning wrong was what she did with her life in trying to deal with her feelings of abandonment while living in a not so Brady Bunch lifestyle with a stepfather who wasn’t capable of showing love to his three boys, let alone her.

It was until Marcia’s third marriage in her forties and after issues of diseases, surgeries, drugs, adoption of her children to another family member, did Marcia figure out how to turn right into the arms of the man who would heal the gaping wound that was her heart.

Turning Right is a creative non-fiction memoir.

Anonymous said...

Darn! Thought I got any typos removed. But noooo! I saw one after the post.

Turning Right was what Marcia was trained to do from the time she stepped out the entrance door of her grandmother’s second floor apartment. She never knew her mother worked long hours in the storefront to her left while the mob father she never knew went about his life not caring about the life he formed or those lives he took.

Turning wrong was what she did with her life in trying to deal with her feelings of abandonment while living in a not so Brady Bunch lifestyle with a stepfather who wasn’t capable of showing love to his three boys, let alone her.

It wasn’t until Marcia’s third marriage in her forties and after issues of diseases, surgeries, drugs, adoption of her children to another family member, did Marcia figure out how to turn right into the arms of the man who would heal the gaping wound that was her heart.

Turning Right is a creative non-fiction memoir.

Anonymous said...

I subscribed to your feed about a month ago - always enjoy seeing something new from you!

Lania’s scouting for a yacht, not a lover. She decides to bend on the issue when she meets Ole, whose his footloose dating style dovetails with her ferocious self-sufficiency. For the short term, right? Casual dating isn’t Lania’s forte, though, and Ole forgets his training in smooth escapes after going with Lania on a boat-hunting expedition. It takes the perfect two-person boat--and some helpful friends--to open their eyes to love and get them afloat, sailing the world together.

ChristaCarol Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elyssa Papa said...

As You Wish: A jaded rock star, who on his path to redemption, travels to Vermont for the Christmas holiday to spend it with his estranged family in a lake house, but never counts on falling in love with a local florist.

100,000 word Single Title romance.

ChristaCarol Jones said...

Jessica, you're a saint to offer this, even during the holidays. I hope the comment section doesn't get as bogged down as Nathan's when he did the first paragraph contest.

I'm reluctant to post my plot part of my query, simply because it's 3 short para's versus one, and if I made it one, it'd be rather long. So with that said, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and enjoy your time off as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

Technically mine is one paragraph--it's only 6 sentences. :P

Still it's probably too long...I tried to make it only 2 or 3 but it just sounded awful. I'll have to work on that :P

J.A. Kazimer said...

To save those she loves, a mutant rebel in pink combat boots must decide between the treacherous body dwelling lover from her past, and a mysterious man who promises to change her future, all before her altered cells succumb to a mutant plague destined to destroy her kind.

Urban Fantasy, 82,000 words

Nice present, thanks.

Renee said...

Thanks, Jessica! Merry Christmas!

Spared from the noose by the king with a command to enforce peace, Gavin Woodrington trades in his kilt for the garb of an English border warden. When the infamous warrioress, the border Hellion herself, forces her way through his door with an offer no man in his right mind would refuse, he is tempted beyond reason, but the one thing she asks of him could jeopardize his well-laid plans to save his clan from total annihilation.

Historical Romance at 100,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I re-did mine, since it may have been too long...but I can't delete the first comment I made. Oh well.

A Japanese-American young woman has harbored hatred towards her nameless father for years and refuses to have anything to do with him--until two strangers,"guardians" sent from her father, arrive on her doorstep, claiming her life is in danger. She must now assume an alias in a remote mountain village and confront the dark secrets of her heritage and the frightening reasons for her father's absence in her life.

The Rejection Queen said...

This has definitely been the best Christmas of my life! Even if I haven't gotten my book published yet.

Corinne said...

Since I've been feeling a little guilty and unsure about breaking the limit, here's a one-paragraph pitch for ALWAYS READ THE FAE PRINT. Sorry if I misunderstood earlier.

Twenty-six year old Lillian thinks she's finally managed to build up a normal life after growing up in a family where magic is ever-present and goblins are more common pets than cats and dogs. When she finds out her dad signed a supernatural contract with the fae to save her life after a childhood accident that left her badly scarred, she has no choice but to dive back into the much-hated world of magic she's tried so hard to escape from. Teaming up with her estranged shapeshifter mother, Lillian reluctantly tries to make a deal with the fae to save her dad's soul from a thousand years of torment. She risks everything she's built up in her new life in Europe, from her job to her apartment to her budding romance with coworker Arjan – and even her life itself when she finds out the fae are up to much worse than simply enslaving souls. She knew there was a reason she hated this world.

Courtney Allison Moulton said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Holy amateur hour, Batman!

Anonymous said...

THE POWER THAT BINDS is the first in a series of paranormal novels along the lines of Marjorie M. Liu’s "Dirk & Steele" series. Instead of the standard occult myths of vampires, and werewolves, I have transformed elements of the occult and paranormal traditions into a complex society of psychics and psychic predators living among “normal” society. Internationally famous illusionist Daniel Demaris is introduced to this world when a killer begins to stalk him with a psychic demon. Only Tony Chaucer and his fiancee Penn, a gifted yet troubled psychic, can protect Daniel, yet every time they barely check the demon, it gains strength. Their only hope is their emotional bond and the strength it gives their defenses, but that is being destroyed as Penn becomes more drawn toward Daniel.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

Just when suburban mom Tracy Weber finds her footing as the only divorcee in a very married suburb -- her ex-husband is killed in a car accident. Now she’s not just a single-parent; she’s the only parent. And if things aren’t confusing enough, her ex’s young mistress-turned-wife-turned-widow arrives on Tracy’s doorstep with a baby on her hip and suitcases in hand, offering to help.

An Accidental Luxury is 75,000 word women's fiction.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jessica!

Gavin’s got a serious problem. A “praise Jee-sus” rich bitch caught him fanging—and banging—his Halloween date. Everyone else at that party was too drunk to listen to her, thank God. Now she’s playing Holy Vampire Killer, and it’s ticking him off. But since then, Gavin’s found someone better to occupy his mind and heart. Isolde—in bed, on the couch, in the shower. She has a thing for Disney princesses, but he’s willing to overlook it: women like her only come around once or twice in five hundred years. He wants a life with his luscious princess. Sex, marriage, the whole picket fence deal. Then the Jesus-freak kidnaps Isolde to bait a deathtrap for Gavin. Abandoning Isolde is unthinkable, but rescuing her could mean death for both of them.

Christine said...

Warm holiday wishes, Jessica and thank you for this gift!

Emma Brown was a normal 13-year-old because her parents kept secrets from her. They never told her that she was born in another dimension; they never mentioned that her mom could create fire with her bare hands; and they certainly never brought up the fact that she is destined to save an entire species from extinction – a species she never even knew existed. Emma discovers the truth when her mom mysteriously disappears, catapulting Emma back to her birthplace, Drualtys. Here, children study to become Tamers, people who form unique bonds with legendary animals to save them from extinction. Emma immediately begins taming lessons to help her find her mom, unaware that the disappearance links Emma to the dangerous Hunters, a ruthless clan of humans hell-bent on murdering the creatures of Drualtys to steal their majickal abilities. Their biggest prize yet: a unicorn’s cloak of invisibility. What the Hunters don’t expect is finding a more tantalizing prey than the elusive unicorn: a teenager named Emma Brown, who is either the savior of the unicorns or the downfall of mankind. THE UNICORN TAMER is Emma's fairy tale, a middle-grade fantasy that is complete at 100,000 words.

Anonymous said...

Jesse Runnel's has three major problems. Number one being she's almost positive she has murdered at least two men. Number two, part of her memory is missing. Number three, one of her victims is haunting her. Scratch, make that five problems. Number four, number three is about to ruin her wedding. Number five, the return of Jesse's memory brings her a fresh set of problems that still includes number three and number four.

Jesse grew up in a town riddled with prejudice against the Colton family, who reaped havoc on the community before she was born. Despite the rumors of witchcraft and devil worship, Jesse be-friends Dorian Mohan, a troubled boy who lived in the old Colton homestead. When Dorain mysteriously disappeared, Jesse suffered major heartache and hallucinations for years after. During her senior year in high school those feelings are re-hatched when Hunter Colton moves back in to town. The mystery of Dorian's disappearance is resolved, but now the Colton's secrets are thoroughly exposed; which proves to be very dangerous for Jesse.
COVERED BY DARKNESS is 100,000 word YA paranormal.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing at the mistakes you notice after you post. That should have been Jesse Runnels. LOL

PS Jessica I think your nuts for doing this, but thanks and Merry Christmas. I've never new there were so many bloggers.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angie Ledbetter said...

WORD THIEF is woven with tight plot threads which knit together the lives of crazy southern writer friends. Tangled knots and snags create tension and threaten to pull the women apart as they search for authentic lives, voices and friendships. WORD THIEF features juicy private emails hijacked by the author. We're talkin' Ya-Yas meet the Sex in the City gang.

(80,000 women's fiction)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brit said...

Magnolia Meadows is a small town in the bayous of southern Louisiana
and Frank Adler is its sheriff. He has spent most of his time
shuffling papers, putting small time criminals behind bars and
caring for his Alzheimers-ridden mother-in-law. But when a
mysterious woman is found brutally murdered, Frank must battle the
media, the FBI and his own growing obsession to ensure the body
count does not continue to rise.

Kathleen MacIver said...

Uh... so there are three Kathleen's. :-) I'm the second one, with two versions.

After I read the other Kathleen's question, it occurred to me that you might not have been thinking the pitch section of a query letter (which is usually longer.) Instead, you might have been talking about the "I just ran into an agent and I've got 30 seconds to pitch my book" pitch. I know my longer one is too long for that... I was assuming you were going to critique query letter pitches.

Anyway... I'm eager to see what you say about whichever of these you chose!

Unknown said...

Okay, this is it. Please tear it apart.

The shaky truce that has held for decades between the three ruling vampire covens is about to come undone when Madison, a newly turned vampire and Jonathan, a young man with a dark past and an even Deadlier existence collide.

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Unknown said...

PS: If you are feeling extra jolly during this holiday season, could you tell me if my "pitch" would be a good way to start a query letter (provided I happen to be one of your random selections and it does not suck)?

Thanks Again! You Rock!

Robena Grant said...

Gone Tropical follows the journey of two Americans through the rainforest at the northern-most tip of Australia. Written in the vein of Romancing the Stone, it asks the story question: "What if a psychologist--determined to find her ex-husband who embezzled millions from her estranged father's business--pits her wits against the skill of a solitary skip-tracer hired by her father, and finds instead that joining forces in the adventure means more than revenge?"

Gone Tropical is a completed 90,000word romantic adventure.

Karen Duvall said...

LOL, you guys! Holy synopses, batman! Not a good first impression by not following directions. I don't know how anyone can misunderstand what "one paragraph" means. Jessica said it twice in her post! To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post.

If you're really serious about wanting Jessica to critique your pitch, I strongly suggest you each delete the synopsis you posted and then repost a corrected pitch paragraph per Jessica's instructions.

Robena Grant said...

Forgot to say, the warmest of best wishes to all at Bookends, and thank you for our gift.

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful vacation!

This is for a category inspirational romance.

Ten years ago timid Katrina Ross left her hometown's temperamental bad boy at the altar. Now Alec is back, a successful businessman who’s snooping around her little bookstore with a vengeful gleam in his eye. She'd like to tell him to leave, despite still being in love with him, but things have changed. She's a Christian now and her principles demand she tell Alec the truth, no matter the consequences. Because ten years ago she had Alec's child. And now their son is dead.

Anonymous said...

what part of one paragraph do you people not understand???

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

Jenny Sampson’s experience as a rock goddess in the Denver music scene does nothing to prepare her for life as a domestic goddess in the suburbs of Philly. As Jenny and her family settle into a McMansion in the burbs, her country club lifestyle holds many surprises. Like a beautiful assistant DA interested in a threesome, a wealthy heiress who has eyes for Nate, and a rock club owner who falls hard for Jenny. When her longing for stardom resurfaces, will Jenny be forced to choose between the intoxicating world of rock and roll and life as a suburban doctor’s wife, or, is it possible to have it all?

75,000 words; Women's Humor Fiction

Anonymous said...

Awe, one paragraph! Here in lies the problem; most authors have great difficulty summing 100,000 words down to 1 paragraph. Especially if you follow proper paragraph structure. The people who managed to contain themselves with one paragraph really fail to tell me anything about their books, with of course a few exceptions. It's nice in theory, but most everyone wants you to fully understand what they are trying to sell. So please, all of you people who are upset about going over one paragraph, please remember only yesterday Jessica said there were no rules!!!

PS it would be nice to keep it down to at least two paragraphs! You don't want us to get bored!

Anonymous said...

I suppose you can get it all into 1 paragraph if you break a lot of rules. Jessica doesn't like rules. Of course it would look better if you just broke the one paragraph rule. Or it just seems like it doesn't make sense. Any way you look at it, I guess you lose.

Anonymous said...

To 5:35 - You said:

Awe, one paragraph! Here in lies the problem; most authors have great difficulty summing 100,000 words down to 1 paragraph. Especially if you follow proper paragraph structure.

And this is why you are still looking for an agent.

Follow the instructions, keep it short and keep it interesting, or keep on looking. Because if you can't keep it to one paragraph, rest assured that there are a dozen others that can.

Anonymous said...

Karen Duvall:

For purely selfish reasons, I hope people don't delete. I like to see the before and after.

Of course if the list of comments gets much bigger, I won't have the patience to find the before and afters.

Anonymous said...

Awe Anon 5:50
Just wondering where you got the idea I was looking for an agent. What makes you think I'm not an agent looking for that perfect book. Rules Rules Rules. I want to understand what your selling, and some books that have a lot of sustance can't be summed up that easily. Maybe you should get your own business!
Anon 5:35

Katherine Hazen said...

Lily Gardner is a freak; dyed hair, combat boots, super powers, and all. When she loses control of her powers during a meltdown at the mall the Great Lakes School for Exceptional Young People comes calling. GLS is secretly a haven for the supernatural. What Lily finds there is very little acceptance and a whole lot of rivalry. Her life has never been normal, but now it's complicated by super-powered cat fights; Vincent, her best friend who has complete access to her mind; and a crush on her classmate Reid, the hottest werewolf in school. In a place where everybody else is striving to stand out, Lily just wants to fit in.

T. M. Hunter said...

Betrayed by former friends, space pirate Aston West must face his past, and keep himself alive long enough to make an escape from Lars and Elijah Cassus. Elijah claims it’s fulfilling a promise to crewmate Leah Jordan, but they only want to collect hidden money from a heist gone wrong. Aston discovers Leah’s desire to leave the twins, but Lars and Elijah are masters of fear and intimidation and no one leaves their crew alive. It’s a case of kill or be killed, and Aston has to become more like the brothers than he ever wanted.

Anonymous said...

Desperate to rescue her kidnapped father and set right a string of careless wrongs, Jenny Potter must reluctantly align with Royal Navy Commander Ewan Strom, who's secret mission has turned him and his crew pirate to save their careers. How can a commander in control of a ship full of plucky lads be so hotly opposed to female sailors and dizzily passionate at the same time? Jenny calls Ewan’s cherished instructional warfare book The Art of War for Lovers, but soon she and Ewan must wonder—will the mission be their final chapter?

100,000 word historical romance

green_knight said...

Thank you for doing this, Jessica - hope you have great holidays.

The wizard's apprentice had helped to win the war, returned home, and lived happily until the end of his life. Almost.
Some wars refused to stay won, and this time, Rhailed Devenan has none of the advantages of his youth. He has no apprentice of his own; the wise old men of yore are dead. Everybody else in the kingdom of Ceri Loram - at least those that believe in the evils of Norshalne - seems to think that Rhailed ought to be able to organise a successful defense. Nobody else will.
Rhailed only wants an opportunity to sort out the rest of his life. His son-in-law has gambled away the family fortune, a mysterious jewel defeated his wizardry, his rivals seem intent on crushing the Devenan house forever, and the King gives every sign of wanting to curb what little influence his wizards have left.
It could almost drive a man to treason. Which is exactly what Rhailed's friend Rhanion - the only wizard he is willing to trust - has been accused of. To learn the truth, Rhailed must cast away the habits of a lifetime and reinvent himself or else watch his kingdom fall.

(120K Fantasy novel. The reinvention, in which Rhailed discovers how to escape the constraints of his position and how to deal with the limitations of age continue over the next three books.)

Anonymous said..., I'm rather embarrassed to admit this, but I'm the very first post and I have to say it was quite early in the morning and I completely overlooked the fact that the pitch was supposed to be one paragraph. *blushes*

So I'm reposting just one paragraph and asking for forgiveness because I should have paid better attention.

Carnival Diabolique: completed 90k urban paranormal.

Pandora, half-demon, half-human; born to be bad, but desperate to be good. Possessed by the demoness Lust, she lives in a world of shadow and light and walks the gray in between. For thousands of years she did as she wanted, killed as she wanted; indulged herself in every carnal whim. But now Pandora wants to find some meaning in her life. Problem is even when she tries to be good evil finds her anyway. Vamps have overtaken the city, children are missing and an ancient blood thirsty god has come back to life.

Anonymous said...

Please also forgive my slip on COVERED BY DARKNESS. I really wanted to show the mood of the book with the first chapter, but I suppose it could have been done with just the second. Thank-you

Michelle H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Cooper Wilson's life is in the tank. Not only is he the shortest kid in 8th grade, he's also the smartest. He's dying to play for the varsity basketball team, but the ones who want him belong to the math team. Throw in the fact that him mom is beginning to sub at his school, "so they can stay close," and you've just begun to peek inside Cooper's misery.

MG novel, 71,000 pp

Anonymous said...

Sparta in 450 B.C. is unforgiving, relentless in its pursuit of strength and military might. Self-sacrifice for the greater good is the order of the day, and Melaina’s first bitter taste of it was when her adored brother was taken away at the tender age of seven to the agoge, a brutal, mandatory military training school. With her staunch, battle-scarred warrior father and her quietly accepting mother exemplifying the Spartan ideal, Melaina struggles as a young woman to live up to their examples. And she wants more – not just to be good, but to be remembered. Her goal is to win the Heraia, a prestigious footrace for women, and through her training she meets Alexandros, a young soldier who will eventually become her husband. The two provide for each other a safe haven of acceptance and understanding amidst the harsh realities of their world. But when Sparta asks one sacrifice too many, Melaina must weigh the cost of refusing, and contemplate a life away from all she has known. Through this last, momentous struggle she will learn that strength comes in many forms, and that some of the most surprising are borne of fierce love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, anon 5:35! I couldn't agree more.

Amy Kinzer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In Jersey City, Patricia Gee, a Pentecostal teen, is beaten up by a girl for looking at her funny. Patricia prays for God’s help. Enter Miggy Perez who picks Patricia back up onto her feet. As their friendship develops, Patricia learns that God sent Miggy for bigger reasons. Miggy is a Buddhist punk. She needs to be saved. She just doesn’t know it. Patricia claims Miggy for God in hopes she will change her faith.

Jesus Freakz and Buddha Punx, 40k YA. By MEP

Anonymous said...

ALY is an ex-clairvoyant, enjoying her first year in college without her horrific and pesky premonitions. But when a student gets raped on campus, her visions unwillingly come back on their own. With the full moon marking her chance to perform the two-week long ritual to keep her ability dormant once again, Aly gets more terrifying premonitions of each of the next victims.

Then she foresees her best friend, CALLIE, being the rapist’s subsequent victim. Aly knows from prior experience all of her premonitions come true no matter what. Question is, will getting rid of her visions prove to be fatal for Callie and ruin their friendship if she were to ever find out, or can she somehow change the fate she sees in store before it‘s too late?

SHIVERS, is an 80,000 word YA paranormal novel.

Thank you for even this opportunity to possibly get critiqued.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this opportunity. Here is the one-paragraph pitch for my 85,000-word urban fantasy, NORMAL:

Celeste Reed was born with powerful healing touch that provided her unparalleled insight into the human body even as it prevented any casual physical contact. Then one morning, Celeste woke up and her power was gone. She had become normal. Now unemployed and neurotypical, she must cope with ostracism from her super-powered peers, deaths she cannot prevent, and discover the true power of unencumbered human touch. Through it all, the benefits of being normal emerge, and Celeste discovers something amazing: her own humanity.

Jamie Blair said...

Very cool! Thanks for the opportunity!

Jolted from sleep every night at 4:04 AM, Rachael DeSalvo is haunted by a nightmare of a charred little boy begging her to take him somewhere. But where? Merrick Rocha, the man she just met, has the answer. He is so familiar to her, like she has known him for lifetimes. She’s about to find out she has.

Danger and deception unfold as Rachael is kidnapped and her ability to open new worlds for departed and deranged spirits is revealed to her. Threatened by a revenge obsessed, violent demon and a gang of money hungry opportunists, she is torn between who she can trust and who she must sacrifice in order to protect them. And how can she trust her best friend or the man she loves when they’re both shrouded in mystery and secrets? In the end she has no choice but to trust them as she faces a struggle for her life from the little boy in her nightmare. He is now a murderous demon demanding things she can’t fulfill and refusing to move through the gate into his next life.

Taken By Seven relays the story of Rachael’s reluctant acceptance that she is one of seven very different people who are bound together by their unique gift. As Conviare they speak the language of angels to open gates for the departed to pass through into their next lives. Rachael is faced with a choice between her fate as a loyal Conviare, or her free will to execute revenge upon the living for the deceased spirits who come to her.

YankeeBwoy said...

Pitch Submission from jbs:

Having recently settled within the cosmopolitan milieu of London’s Southern Boroughs, Marcella Scott’s temporary move from her native Jamaica presented an opportunity for work and study in one of the most dynamic cities in the world. But for the beautiful and accomplished Marcella, her UK adventure would ultimately subject her to much more than she ever bargained for:

Like the advances of an alleged Brixton gangster with mysterious ties to her past…

Or the arrival of an intriguing American businessman who potentially holds a key to her future…

And the reckless manipulations of someone close; someone willing to compromise her safety and the lives of those around her – a price they’ll gladly pay in order to keep their damaging secrets buried.

As opposing forces converge around her, Marcella is thrust into an emotional vortex where past crimes traverse the boundaries of time to impact her present condition, and where deception and outright lies form the ingredients to an escalating conflict that will resonate from London to New York, before culminating in a life and death confrontation on the streets of Jamaica's Capital city of Kingston.

Many thanks for your time and attention!

Anonymous said...

Don Amberly is Bloodborn, destined to become a vampire. Running isn’t a choice and the local werewolf pack refuses to grant protection, so he does the only thing left to avoid his fate, he hunts those who would have him undead.

Angela Ackerman said...

Very kind of you to do this. I look forward to learning through yor critiques of the pitches!


Ten-year-old Mason Ferguson is all about logic—if the neighborhood Psycho Boy wants to feed you snowballs, you run. If you get the chance to ditch the broom at your mom’s coffee shop, you take it…especially when it means checking out a new bookstore. Once Mason is inside Myron’s Bookshelf though, nothing adds up. The owner, Myron, acts like an escaped mental patient and dresses up like his book hero, the wizard Norym. The store is plastered with St. Patrick’s Day decorations…in December. Strangest of all, the new bookstore seems to be missing the most important thing: books.

When Mason is shown to the Adventure Room for a story about pirates, he’s ready to get his hands on a book. Instead, he’s marooned on a deserted island with Captain Silverfang and his crew…who discover him holding coordinates to their stolen treasure hoard! Can a gift for logic and code deciphering help Mason bargain for freedom, evade deadly traps, make friends out of enemies and unravel his biggest mystery—how to return to Myron’s Bookshelf?

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Seamus McCree, a financial crimes investigator, finds a nude corpse posed in the rocking chair on his Cincinnati, Ohio front porch. Recognizing the IRA-style executed body as a bizarre message threatening his family, Seamus searches independently of the police for its meaning. He focuses on an open insurance fraud case with links to the victim, until he pries out a family secret: the IRA mistakenly executed his father thirty-two years ago. Seamus determines his adversary is the son of his father’s killer and realizes that paradoxically, the only way to protect his mentally-frayed mother, his lover and his son is to risk his property, his family and his life.

89,000 word mystery
Thanks for your time on whichever pitches you choose.

Unknown said...

Okay. JT left a comment at 802pm and I think it was all kinds of awesome. I realize that I am an unpublished-would-be-writer and my opinion does not hold much, if any weight but I just wanted to share my thoughts. I am biased, I love vampires. But more importantly I feel like there are not enough strong male characters in the genre, and if they exist they are typically secondary characters that get stuck playing the doomed love interest. JT's pitch was so far from the norm and compelling. I'm sure a literary agent could tear that to shreds, but I really liked it.

Anonymous said...

A series of strange crimes inspired by inkblot interpretations occur but who’s the culprit? Seventeen year-old, Tiffany Wright unravels the mystery. Is it her brother, computer based business owner, Matthew Wright or a newspaper reporter, Darlene Phillips? Due to evidence, Matthew is arrested and police search his apartment for more clues then a policewoman and Tiffany find links to Darlene.Matthew is released from jail and Darlene is arrested. Matthew is heartbroken and Darlene feels regret until she realizes that a book with an inside look at jail life could be a best seller. Submitted by Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank's diary being sold at the New York Anne Frank Center website.

Anonymous said...

A query for the YA novel- INKBLOT
A series of strange crimes inspired by inkblot interpretations occur but who’s the culprit? Seventeen year-old, Tiffany Wright unravels the mystery. Is it her brother, computer based business owner, Matthew Wright or a newspaper reporter, Darlene Phillips? Due to evidence, Matthew is arrested and police search his apartment for more clues then a policewoman and Tiffany find links to Darlene.Matthew is released from jail and Darlene is arrested. Matthew is heartbroken and Darlene feels regret until she realizes that a book with an inside look at jail life could be a best seller. Submitted by Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank's diary being sold at the New York Anne Frank Center website.

vera p burrows said...

Contrary to what a friend of mine recently commented--much to my chagrin--not everyone in Latin America lives in a mud hut, runs around hungry and semi-dressed with the sole purpose of scheming a ride into the United States. A USA-free life in Central America is very possible. Millions of people live it every day.
Take Cecilia, for example. She’s about to marry the most sought-after bachelor in a city on the pacific coast of Guatemala. On her wedding day, she receives a two-carat diamond ring, along with a few promises. It will never be lost or stolen and, most importantly, it is capable of returning to her that which she treasures the most: her husband’s heart.
If only Cecilia didn’t fear her fabulous diamond. If only she didn’t depend on it.

Lehcarjt said...

Nicole Devaney has a relaxation problem – as in she can’t. Not when she’s the only Keener Hotel Group employee who knows someone is using the Keener/Devaney family-run business for kickbacks and blackmail. Not when logic says that the person is her beloved stepfather, George Keener. Not when a quick hunt through his office ups the likelihood of his guilt and gets her caught by a curious, but helpful, knight dressed for battle (Italian wool suit – jacket missing and shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows). Jed Pruitt hasn’t arrived to solve Nicole’s problems, but to ‘clean up’ the financially floundering hotel company. He doesn’t realize his business partner landed the consulting job by offering a kickback to George Keener.

Fall a Little Farther is a 100,000 word romantic comedy about an intense, perfectionistic, and slightly klutzy accountant who must save her step-father, the hotel company, and the consultants from first - the Yakuza (mafia of Japan) and second - each other (which proves to be the more difficult). Relaxation is out of the question.

Jodi Ralston said...

I agree with Anon 5:35 PM. It is difficult to summarize a novel down to a single, short paragraph.

Even though I am not participating, per se, I am enjoying the entries and I look forward to learning from the critiques. I've already learned something about my story from just trying the exercise of crafting a short pitch.

Good luck everyone, and thanks Jessica for doing this.


Ella said...

Nicholas is a hard-ass angel with one weakness, Noelle Spencer, who has been his charge since her birth. He’ll fight to the death to keep her safe from the demon world. He has more at stake than fighting demons when he learns the woman he loves has the blood of the Deities running through her veins. Divine blood the rogue demons want to infuse into their next generation of demons. Now Nicholas must face the ultimate test, as legions of demons want to claim her as their queen. If he fails, not only will he lose Noelle, but the balance between angels and demons—good vs. evil—will be turned upside down, ending in disaster.

Thanks! Happy Holidays!

Michelle H. said...

I have deleted my previous entry. When seeing it on the screen, I saw how much I wanted to over-explain the plot in the one paragraph. And that is not what a pitch paragraph is for, is it? I'll leave it for the book to tell the story.

Here is the revised entry after I critiqued myself. I cut it down from 9 sentences to 6. The wonders your blog accomplishes are outstanding!

Twenty-one-year-old Jena Polsen feels she has stepped into a fairytale world as she journeys to Clare's house. Jena hopes the opportunity to take care of her sick grandmother will prove to everyone, especially to herself, that there is more to her than being a worthless pill-popping felon. Unfortunately, several people have gone missing in the neighborhood, including a young man related to her new parole officer. At the discovery of a bone in the yard, she starts to realize that not everything is as it seems with her grandmother. A dark personality has manifested inside Clare as an inner guilt over a past incident has unleashed itself in dangerous ways. Now Jena has to prove her innocence without breaking her parole while discovering what secrets hide among her grandmother's mulched flowerbeds.

Thanks again for this opportunity and Happy Holidays!

Amy Kinzer said...

Yippee! What a great gift. Happy holidays to you and thanks for a great blog.


When a company spokeswoman is forced to spin financial news she knows will lose investors millions of dollars, she must choose between her ambitions, her love interest, and her reputation. Candace Davis can make anything sound good. As the spokesperson for Hartford and Stiles, she is in charge of the firm’s high-class image. Still single at the age of thirty-six, and the daughter of Arizona’s busiest socialites, she’s feeling pressure to find a husband. When H&S hires hotshot New York trader Erik Hansen to manage their new hedge fund Candace believes she’s found the answer to her relationship troubles. Soon Erik and Candace are an item and Candace is so confident in his abilities she has her society friends invest in the fund he manages. But when Candace uncovers Erik’s been hiding trading losses and the fund is a fraud she must decide if she’ll continue to spin the news to investors or give up her fairy tale relationship.

SPIN is a contemporary novel (women’s fiction) complete at 82,000 words.

Gabe said...

Dear (agent),

My name is Gabriel Beyers and I am seeking representation for my 95,000 word paranormal thriller GUARDING THE HEALER.

When Silas Walker begins healing the sick with just a touch and a whisper, he catches the eye of a rare and ancient evil. As his guardian, Nassarius, desperately tries to protect him from the onslaught of Shadow Angels attempting to exterminate him, Silas is torn between his desire for a normal life and the deep pull he feels leading him on irrational paths. Labeled a fraud by some, a heretic by others, Silas’s situation worsens when he becomes the obsession of a man possessed by a powerful demon. After every healing, Silas is taunted with gruesome photographs of the Demon Stalker’s victims, and with the ominous threat: “I have no interest in martyrs.” As he searches for the true purpose of his divine gift, Silas struggles to shield his loved ones from the evil that haunts him. When the Demon Stalker’s noose tightens and the cataclysmic showdown between Light and Shadow converge, Silas will learn that some gifts can cost you everything.

Anonymous said...

High-priced call girl Tawny Dell boasts a client list that’s part Fortune 500, part Five Families. With a tidy chunk of money stashed offshore and a Ph.D in art history, she hangs up her G-string with plans to retire to a touristy Mediterranean island and open a gallery. Lincoln Walsh, head of a special sex-crimes taskforce, has other ideas. He wants Tawny to work undercover—euphemistically—to help bust a string of sex clubs using blackmail to target unwitting victims. In exchange, Linc will see that she avoids prison for failing to pay Uncle Sam his due from years of illegal earnings. Now she has to do whatever it takes to save her lovely derriere without exposing some of the same guys she used to service. Only problem is after years of strictly business, Tawny struggles to fight off her attraction to the hot federal agent sending her back into the world’s oldest profession.

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

When struggling talent manager Ricky Landon releases a sexy djinn from a lamp, he demands she grant his wish to manage a really good rock band. She puts him under contract to Maelstrom, her own band, explaining that they want to be famous—legitimately and not by magic. This is no easy task when the band includes a vampire, incubus, zombie, and a fairy, none of whom think human society’s rules apply to them. While a rival band of washed-up deities tries to sabotage their efforts, Ricky channels Maelstrom’s energies away from demon mischief and into local success and the first big break of their career, an invitation to play the prestigious Midsummer Night Festival. Disaster threatens when a scheduling error puts them on stage at midnight under a full moon, and now it’s up to Ricky to keep their werewolf roadies from wreaking havoc, because if they can get this gig right, they might just hit the big time in a way that defies their wildest dreams.

MAELSTROM - humor/satire

Erin said...

The Duke of Temborough's daughter, Edrienne, and his most trusted servant, Hulgardt, are the pawns by which he plans to overthrow the Queen. But Edrienne is coming of age with her own ambitions, and the magic that once bound Hulgardt to the duke has been broken. Freed from his bindings, Hulgardt must choose between obeying the duke or protecting Edrienne. When Hulgardt chooses to defend Edrienne, he is forced to leave behind everything he's ever known to defeat his former master’s schemes and to find redemption for the contemptible misdeeds of his past.

Thomas Mason said...

Thank you very much Jessica for this opportunity! Below is my 1 paragraph pitch for "Feint Impressions"


Kyle Johnston's world is thrown into a tailspin when his 7 year old daughter is kidnapped and killed. In the year since, the culprit has yet to be caught and as Kyle and his wife Elena try to pick up the pieces they are tormented when a letter shows up from the killer bragging about the act. Every facet of their lives appears to be an open book to this unknown tormentor. As the police continue to search for a suspect, mysterious happenings begin to make them wonder if Kyle is involved in his daughter's death as well as others. When and if Kyle finally comes face to face with the killer will he be able handle the startling revelations that come his way?


Happy holidays and a happy new year to everyone!

Dedproductwrites said...

I am a new screenwriter, trying to jump on the scene. The problem is getting into the door of reputable producers and taking off. Check out my Logline to the first comedy I have ever wrote. I love this blog so much, thought I leave it behind, Real producers, is where I write till the films leave the ground, and begin flying to God.
Logline: A comedic twist of fate occurs when a man
late for work sees the biggest heist in history, and a
twist of fate drives him to help police capture the
robbers who did it.

-Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-Ann said...

What a tremendous opportunity (and I can see how the comments have grown in just the day that it took me to put my pitch together). Thanks a million.

For 17 year-old Jessie Reilly, nothing beats the feeling of tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”. But, as any pilot will tell you, flying close to the ground is dangerous business with no margin for error and little chance of recovering if you make a mistake. Her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements and the dangerous nature of horse racing challenge her at the track. At home, she dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father and struggles to balance school and racing. Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control? "Flying Close to the Ground" details one determined young woman’s attempt to fulfill her dreams without destroying herself.

Heidi Hamburg said...

Julie Wagner is back home in Little Big Cove with two kids, a rusty old car, and her husband’s twice-cremated ashes in a green fake marble urn. Since her total meltdown at work, Julie has been searching for answers. Why did her husband Billy die? Can her childhood friend Luke Davison ever forgive her for destroying his perfect family? What really happened the night it all started, the night she killed her best friend’s wife?

TIME AND TIDE, 91,000 word women’s fiction

Anonymous said...

The Stork Mis-Delivered is a fascinating tale in which the primary family tracks down their sister and a daughter they never knew existed. The tale begins in the 1950’s. A newly married couple wanted a child. The woman was unable to conceive, so she found a doctor to buy a baby from. Twenty years later, she returned - to buy another baby for the bought daughter to raise. Little did she know - this second baby (an identical twin) was the daughter of her first baby’s identical twin sister. How could this happen? In the 50’s, and even the 70’s, father’s were rarely allowed in delivery rooms. Moms could be drugged to the point they were unconscious. Ultrasounds were uncommon, so twins were often a surprise, and not expected. The story begins at the death of the families grandmother. On her deathbed she says, “Before you were born, I always felt I heard two heartbeats. Twins were always so common in our family. It saddened me to know there was only one child. Though you brought me great joy.” Through her tears, the mother thought, “I always felt the same way with my daughter ….” So begins the families legal search for answers. Was the girl they knew eight short months many years ago truly theirs? Where was she now? What legal, and moral webs would they have to unweave? If the child was hers, would she be alive? Would she be healthy? Would she be in danger? Would she be successful in life and family?

Rose Pressey said...

Happy Holidays! Thanks for doing this.

Alabama Hargrove has taken on yet another career path—house flipper. So what if she knows zilch about renovating homes--how hard can it be? The place is rife with ghosts and a killer on the loose leads to chaos in Flip This House meets Ghost Hunters.

AC said...

It ain’t for the faint of heart – and deadly, 19th century Wyoming Territory makes the term ‘Wild West’ sound two-dimensionally tame! In the rowdy and debauched railroad town of Cheyenne, an innocent young man is set to hang for murder and his brave and beautiful sister arrives to try and save him…but can she, without the ‘aid’ of a dangerous, mysterious stranger, the outlaw Jake Logan? (The plot really thickens after Jake kidnaps our virginal heroine…) Populated with memorable secondary characters and the nastiest robber baron ever (he adds a little ‘villain humor’ to the mix), “Cheyenne” is a ‘new’ twist on a 100,000-word western historical romance, with super-sexy romance and sweeping action that never gets old!

Thank you so much - all the best in 2009!

Bethany Hamilton said...

Thanks, Jessica! I always learn so much when you do these!!

In Gryphon's Snare - 100K Historical Romance

Gryphon, the Duke of Chestington, was left enough property and money to keep him happy and satisfied well into his dotage. However, the one thing Gryphon truly wanted was the one thing his father gambled away foolishly; his childhood home, which has since been turned into a Home for Unfortunate Girls. When Gryphon comes to the Home and demands Keira, the fiercely protective and openly scandalous owner, sell it to him, it's no wonder their tempers run just as hot as the passion ignited between them. The only unanswered question is whether either of them will survive the inferno with their heart intact.

Anonymous said...

Black Box

Suzy Radwill grew up in the peace-loving, feminist '70s, but comes of age in the money-grubbing '80s, finding herself betrayed by idealism. Her parents donated her inheritance to the poor, she's supporting a kind but seriously depressed husband, and is drowning in numbers on sexist Wall Street. Disturbed by her desire for Gavin Fitch, a dazzling capitalist in the London office, she questions the viability of her marriage and her denial over her past. She'd always looked back on a year studying in London ten years before as idyllic, but it was the scene of a rape. Now ceaseless sexual harassment at work and highly publicized crimes against women revive her old trauma. Falsely implicated in an insider trading scheme, she’s transferred to London in lieu of firing. Delivered into an affair with Gavin, she’s forced to confront her past. When the lid of the black box blows off, a legion of frightening memories fly out. This knowledge forces her to make tough choices. Return to her troubled husband, or choose the rich but corrupt Gavin? Avenge the crime that happened long ago, or cave into forgiveness? Black Box reverses the usual assumptions about victims and villains, and explores how a crime can look radically different, framed by the shifting mores of a mere decade.

Keri Ford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robena Grant said...

I'm sorry I submitted an elevator pitch earlier, so if it's okay, will try again.

Gone Tropical
Amy Helm is certain she has matured since her marriage to Stephen Fray ended in divorce court and he embezzled her father's business out of millions of dollars. Gone are her country club days, now she has an established psychology practice and trusts only herself. Stephen, the true chameleon financial planner has been on the lam for over two years and the FBI leads have gone cold. Amy's estranged father blames her for everything. When she get's a hot tip that her ex is in Australia she tosses aside all commonsense and takes the first plane to Sydney. Her only mistake is confiding in her father. He sends a skip tracer, Jake Turner, a solitary but handsome ex-cop, to do the job and to keep her out of harm. The last thing Jake wants is the rich daughter of his employer tagging along on his mission, besides he's working with the Australian Federal Police. Amy is furious, defies both men and follows her lead to the northern most tip of Australia. In the rugged rainforest, amidst wild forces of nature, thugs that are shadowing her, the discovery that her ex is linked to a drug cartel on a private island, she finally concedes that a partner might be good. Amy and Jake join forces and end up merging more than their desire to flush out the embezzler.

Anonymous said...


Personally, I think you were right with the first one. When I see "one paragraph pitch" I think short and sweet.

I could, however, be totally off base.

Mags said...
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Evangeline Holland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Evangeline Holland said...

A 100K word historical romance - The Woman is Dangerous: Eve Arlen is caught shop-lifting from a New York department store on the eve of Christmas, but instead of being arrested, the sympathetic owner offers her a job. Unbeknownst to John Van Cortlandt, his new hire is a con artist on the lam from a busted theft, and she plans to fleece him before escaping to Canada. The normally unflappable John is set off-kilter by Eve, but when the cynical thief falls for him, her old cronies return and blackmail her into getting them positions in order to pull off a magnificent heist. Aware her relationship with John has been a sham, Eve is caught between the mounting pressures of returning to her old life, or taking responsibility for her actions--because either choice would cause her to lose him forever.

Anonymous said...

Evangeline, your pitch sounds so interesting but you didn't include the time period, important in a historical!
Sounds like it could be a modern romance as well. I've enjoyed reading these, but I think a "short pitch" is more like a 25-50 word condensed version of your novel? Most of these sound like a synopsis, not a query. Good luck to all!

L.E.Hollis ... said...

Thank you for this opportunity, I’ve been struggling with how to present this idea for a while. For one, I think the last line might be too much—or is it all too much? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

“After being accused of his wife’s murder, Mark finds himself going back in time to relive moments from his youth. While trying to understand how and why this happens, he discovers a plot that goes back generations. As he gains insight into his own difficult past, he also discovers clues that might prove his innocence in the present. But can changing the past save his wife’s life?”


theartgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this great opportunity!

The following is for my 90,000 word paranormal romance.

When JARETH WINTER first lays eyes on SARAH DUKE, his desire leads him to ignore dragon law, family loyalties and common sense. He quickly weaves a web of seduction and lies around the lovely human female to keep her at his side and earn the respect of his father, the clan leader. The charade holds until an old enemy taps Sarah’s dormant power, forcing Jareth to decide whether to betray his clan or his heart. He makes his choice, not knowing Sarah has secrets of her own. Now the fate of every dragon shape shifter hangs in the balance as they decide whether love can overcome betrayal, or if family loyalties will ruin them all.

moonette said...

If Julie Rowe is in need of a beta reader for her WWI romance, I'd be very interested. My email is

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great opportunity, Jessica! Here is my pitch for an 85,000 word women’s fiction novel—it has the feel of a Southern novel but with a Yankee accent.

~ ~ ~

Still reeling from the implosion of her latest campaign days before the election, jaded political spin doctor NIKKI WINSTON thinks her career is headed in the same dismal direction as the rest of her life—namely, nowhere. Then her former mentor dangles a golden carrot: if she can generate some major feel-good PR for her profile, there will be a spot for her on an upcoming high-profile presidential campaign. He even knows the right project to do it—heading the mayoral campaign of Rufus McDawg, a Keeshond-German shepherd mix, for a group of disgruntled business owners in a tiny village in upstate New York that gets more annual snowfall than any other place east of the Rockies. Before long, Nikki is reassessing her view of life and her career path, bonding with the eccentric locals whose economic existence relies on winter tourism, matching wits with a group of dognappers who support the incumbent mayor, trying to thwart the election-day embezzlement plans of the octogenarian village clerk and maybe just maybe even falling in love with her “client’s” owner, semi-retired—and very, very reluctant about the whole campaign—local attorney, JAMESON “MAC” McKENNA.

AIT said...

For my YA fantasy:

When the peasant Adara magically destroys her home, she is branded a halfblood because only nobles have the Gift. She must attend the Academy to learn control, and challenges such as becoming literate and correcting her speech pale in comparison to the hostility of Tressa and the other students. Only when romance, dragons, and an insane mage enter Adara's life does she learn that blood does not matter as much as honesty, ingenuity, and a good Incinerate spell.

Evangeline Holland said...
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theartgirl said...

Bento Santiago must leave Argentina because his village believes that the seventh son will turn into a werewolf under the full moon at the age of sixteen. They will not allow him to see that birthday. Bento escapes to the United States and lives with a family who believes werewolves were once a living race but intermingled with humans and lost most of their werewolf tendencies. They even have a message board! Bento is assured that shape shifting no longer occurs, but his worse nightmare comes true when he becomes lupine under the full moon. He must hide his true identity and evade an enemy in the States who would like him dead. Bento must balance his secret, his new girlfriend, and the results of racing hormones --- and not get killed.

Fred Limberg said...

Jessica, any feedback would be welcome and I am sure helpful. Merry Christmas to you and yours

Ace Evans is a refugee from a busted Witness Protection Program assignment. After two anonymous years he ventures into his past to visit an old friend, Granville Tubbs, the last surviving link to a life short circuited by betrayal.

Maybe he shouldn't have pissed off the fussy lawyer, Harlan Tremont, he found hovering over his friend's sick bed. And maybe he shouldn't have let his guard down and become friends with a collection of town characters like Del Leets and Art Drury from the hardware store.

He should have seen trouble coming for damn sure when Dicky turned the hose on Reena, puke covered or not!

It's hard to stay anonymous in a small town when you whup the town bully. And it's hard for an ex-undercover operative to leave his new friends in danger, especially Annie Travers and her kids. Not to mention the will.

Just head on out one more lonely blue highway. Don't look back. That's what Ace should have done. But he let himself relax, spent a day too long in Ferris' Bluff, and the young US Marshal finds him and gives him a message. The Russians are coming! Again!

Anonymous said...

If Halli Montgomery hadn’t disobeyed her father, she wouldn’t be dangling from a cross a decade later. But running out of time had her taking chances. If she didn’t get down soon, she’d have to wait two years to be free. Not from the rusted nail that had her bound but from the curse that left her unable to love.

Anonymous said...

An American family with three small children moves to a small city in China to teach at a local university. They experience cultural changes both small and surprising, such as when they order a poultry dish and the waiter brings an entire hacked up chicken--with the chicken’s head adorned atop like a maraschino cherry; as well as significant: putting their three creative, independent American children into a Chinese kindergarten that emphasizes group conformity. Gradually they adjust to their new life. They become acquainted with ordinary Chinese—students and shopkeepers, villagers and businesspeople. They study the language, spend several days in the countryside with one of their students, and make contact with their adopted Chinese daughter’s foster family. Essentially, as the title implies, FOREIGNER, AUNTIE is about one family’s journey from distance to closeness, from remoteness to friendship over the course of two years in China.

Dazydoodles said...

Surviving summer in Palm Springs seems challenge enough in the late '70s until Audra Fleming's orderly world suddenly collapses. Her mixed heritage and quirky upbringing provide insight and inspiration in the crisis, yet she fears that her difficult past consigns her to an arid future. Although Audra's friends and memories comfort her, ultimately she must find her own way through the summer's emotional losses to a world of rapture and redemptive joy.

Julie Weathers said...
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Anonymous said...

Thank you Jessica.

"A ROCK AND A DEAD PLACE" an 80K romantic suspense.

A dead body at her feet in an out- of-the-way museum is the least of Antonia Perez's problems. A mysterious Mesoamerican stone tablet, Hebrew inscriptions and hidden sea caves lead her on the biggest treasure hunt in her archeological career.
But when Micah Eisner catches Antonia with his dead boss at her feet, treasure hunts don't interest him. Catching the killer does. Convinced Antonia's search holds the answer to his own questions, Micah teams up with her to search for an ancient artifact. One that may have connections to one of the most debated mysteries in history.

Paty Jager said...

An impetuous Pinkerton agent is out to prove to a righteous US Marshal that she's the best "man" to complete the assignment and the only "woman" who can capture his heart. The only problem- there’s a revenge seeking outlaw killing off anyone the marshal gets close to.

90,000 word historical western romance.

Julie Weathers said...
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Julie Weathers said...
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Julie Weathers said...

Jessica, that is so sweet of you. Hoping you have a wonderful holiday and whoever spiked your eggnog is going to help you dig out from all the submissions.

Since I am in the revision process now, I would appreciate feedback on this. Paladin is a 135,000-word epic fantasy.

Allies who joined forces thirty years ago to defeat the demon armies are now poised to destroy each other, which is exactly what the demon lord and the sorceress planned when they kidnapped the king. Sixteen-year-old Gentyl just wants to get through military school and apply to her aunt’s elite cavalry unit. It's going to be a long two years in an academy that doesn't want women and especially not M'eiryn women, since the king's M'eiryn guard was blamed for the kidnapping. Hope of advancement dies when she’s assigned to guard a senile sorcerer with a penchant for irritating nobles, botching spells and livening things up with fireworks. She realizes he isn’t as demented as he acts after he recruits her to help him solve a string of murders and find the king, but each new clue only leads to another body.

Now someone is trying to add them to the list of unsolved murders.

Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

My book, titled WHIRLWIND, is a complete, 90,000 word, first person contemporary romance. It is a single title with sequel possibilities.

Melissa Williams, a practical journalism major, is not prepared when she first locks eyes with visiting med student, Jason McConnell, at her friend’s wedding. She doesn’t believe in love at first sight, and is shocked when she finds herself its unwilling victim.

Jason refuses to let Melissa hide in the background, inviting her to spend the night with him after stunning her with a single, amazing kiss. He isn’t the only man to notice Melissa, however, and as she succumbs to Jason’s pull, she also becomes the target of a killer.

Jason stays to protect Melissa, making no secret of his affection, or his responsibilities thousands of miles away. As the murderer slowly homes in on his target, it seems that Melissa is destined to lose Jason one way or another, ending their whirlwind romance just as it is beginning.

Wishing you a very restful and happy holiday,


Anonymous said...

My post never showed up so I'm resubmitting. I'll delete if it shows up twice.

Thanks for doing this, Jessica, especially on your holiday. Truely a gift! -- Sharla

Grace is thirty and single, with a struggling bookstore, family and friends demanding her time, and a dog taking up most of her bed. She isn’t worried about marriage yet, but having sex again soon would be good. Luke, her best friend of twenty years, may be hot and somewhat mysterious in an annoying sort of way, but he’s her rock, her confidante, not someone she visualizes going commando in a tight pair of jeans. Luke’s an everyday guy, who builds custom furniture, whips up a mean omelet, and whisks Grace off for rides on his Harley. She thinks she knows him, until a chance bit of eavesdropping knocks her world off kilter. He leads a top secret double life that is more like Rambo than Tim the Toolman. Grace has to figure out how to deal with the new knowledge, the deception, and the gnawing fear for his safety. And the mental head slap--she wouldn’t worry so much if she didn’t love him.

98000 word Women's Fiction. Having trouble on the subgenre. Romantic--something? :)

Keri Ford said...
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Unknown said...

He served honorably against America for more than twelve years. Now, in June of 1986, KGB Colonel Alexei Andreyev is back in Moscow for reassignment, still faithful in a KGB roiled by a series of executions for treason, still loyal in spite of his deep friendship with one of the highest ranking agents of the United States FBI. But when the KGB turns brutally against the wife of a defector, a woman Alexei once loved; and the secretary of his commanding officer needs him to help clear her father's political dossier, the KGB's most honorable spy is caught between past loyalties and those of the present--and the only way to freedom lies through a murderous trap set by a man who has none at all.

Keri Ford said...

Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

It’s a love square of confusion at a country party. Four people are in love. All four are confused on who loves them back. And if that’s not bad enough, they can’t figure if they should follow their hearts or be honorable. AFTER THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER is a regency with a projected 100,000 word count.

Aimlesswriter said...

Thanks Jessica! Happy Happy to you too!
The pitch:
Woman dies and bargains with God to be reincarnated. She asks to live a perfect life and find her soul mate. God sends her back as one of the smallest dogs on the planet. Now she must make her way in the world and over come extreme adversity to discover there might be more than one kind of soul mate. And maybe, just maybe, God does have a plan.

Kyle Schiebel said...

My pitch for "Hawking's Grove":

Most people have bad memories of regrettable things they did in high school... sins they hope have been erased with the passage of time. Few, though, harbor as dark a secret as Joel Bradstreet. As a teacher at his alma mater, Joel hopes to keep the mistakes of his past there concealed. Instead, they will once again lead to inescapable and deadly consequences. "Hawking's Grove" is a 105,000 word cinematic mystery/suspense novel with a plot that unfolds in parallel story lines, set nearly fifteen years apart. As a high school senior in 1987, an unrequited teenage crush and a bitter rivalry lead Joel to a tragic graduation day confrontation. Years later as a teacher, Joel discovers the bodies of five varsity football players in a grove adjacent to the school. He soon suspects their deaths may not only be connected to a female student he's become involved with, but also to events from his youth. As the authorities investigate, Joel races to find his own answers and to keep the secrets of both his past and present hidden.

Rodney Battles said...

Love has many faces, and sometimes an angel is disguised as a friend.

WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT, a 78,000-word novel, centers on an aging beauty salon denizen and the influence she has on the lives of saints and sinners.

Born in Mississippi and divorced from several well-heeled Texans, Liz McCall is a source of wit, wisdom, and life-changing advice for the ladies at the salon. Liz takes a special interest in Leah Starks, a twenty-six-year-old whose life has been burdened by abandonment issues and doubts about her self-worth. When Leah’s mother is killed in an automobile accident, Liz unravels a family secret that lies in the spelling of Leah’s name. With her health deteriorating, and estranged from all but the youngest of her six sons, Liz has to decide to whom she should distribute her wealth and if, when, and how she should reveal her family secret.


Anonymous said...

From the moment he fixed Libby Larson’s flat tire, Drew Samson knew she’d bring trouble to his middle-of-nowhere, Oregon ranch. Intent on gaining custody of his son, he didn’t predict that he'd fall for this dark-haired, half-Indian, high-maintenance minx. Libby just wanted to find her birthparents, restore her sense of self after her adopted parents’ divorce, and get back to her life. She wasn’t about to let one reclusive rancher get in her way, and she never imagined she’d fall in love with him. Or worse, discover that he might be her half-brother. They both have to overcome their pasts in order to find the promise of their future together in this 60,000 word contemporary category romance: Coming Home.
Thank you for the opportunity to learn from your reaction to the pitches. I hope that your holidays will be wonderful despite the unexpected change of plans.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

Hoping you got where you need to go! If you have any notes, comments, whatevers about my pitch, I am certain that your reward in the Kingdom of Heaven will be great;-)


"Maximum Comfort", a Memoir

Raised in a small town as the middle child of six by a Black father and White mother, I couldn’t help but ask myself “Who am I? Where do I belong? What in the hell do I do with my hair?” These questions became urgent when my parents’ relationship exploded after 27 years of marriage. For most of my twenties I wrestled with my life, desperate to pin it down with context and meaning. There were a few excellent moves that made me feel in control for a while; Oprah-style weight loss, cool career in television, my own place in New York City. But it was an intense break-up with a guy so blonde, hot and blue-eyed that he SURFED, that finally forced me to ask myself what I truly wanted from life. Everyone knows the only place you can answer that question is at a Buddhist monastery. So thank God there was one just north of the city. There was no way I was going to India. My hair would be impossible to manage!

Robin Lemke said...

Yay!!! I love these!!! Thank you so much!

Here is my pitch for a YA Mystery:

Oliver has to finish the game he's creating in three weeks in order to be accepted to Seattle's elite game design academy and secure the future of his dreams. Unfortunately, he's fallen in love with his kick-ass cyber heroine - or rather, the woman he sees walking to work every morning who he's written into his game. When she disappears, he's convinced he has to find her so that his game can go on. But instead of playing the hero, he ends up a suspect in her presumed death and discovers that real women are far more dangerous than virtual ones.

Sarabeth said...

Sylvia Ledbetter left the South a dozen years ago, vowing not to return, at least to her trailer-living family. A job as chief nursing officer brings her back. As she navigates the society of a small town in Mississippi, she encounters an electrician who sports a mullet and knows his way around a flank of venison. What will it take for her to realize that she can't judge this man by his accent, or his double-wide?

My Electric Lover is a 57,000 word contemporary romance and the first in The Mullet Trilogy, a series of stories set in the fictional town of Market Springs, Mississippi.

Once upon a Manuscript said...

Sixty years in the future, utopia is around the corner
For those in at the top of society, everlasting life is potentially theirs. For those at the bottom, there is only one shot.

Robbed of her wealth and identity and left for dead, Suzanne Jones is rescued by a man accused of killing his family. From deep within her past a plan that has been in motion for a decade is coming close to fruition, and the results may change the world forever. On the run from the authorities and pursued by corporate bounty hunters, both she and her companion must try to stay alive and reclaim their lives. By traversing the faultines of an emerging society she discovers that someone, somewhere, will do anything to destroy utopia.

Anonymous said...

Gwyllim, a crippled warrior values his honour above all things and yearns to be one of the revered Incaris Knights. On the brink of fulfilling his dream, he unwittingly rescues a girl hunted by the Knights and is tricked into giving his oath to aid her. At first he spurns the girl’s claim of an evil spreading through the Knights of Incaris – an evil which will place Incaris in peril – but soon the evidence becomes too convincing. The Knights no longer dispense justice but persecute anyone who has dealings with the Shae, the guardians of the gods. Plague and famine stalk the cities. Gwyllim’s loyalties are divided. He must make a choice – betray the girl to keep his honour and dreams, or lose both in order to thwart the corruption of the Knights of Incaris.

MAGolla said...

Thanks for the opportunity, Jessica!

When Puck Railian receives a phone call from the Chief about the Bay Area kidnappings, she knows he’s up to his elbows in deep poo. He would never willingly bring her back into the department—even as a consultant—unless it involved money, big money. With no ransom demand and uncooperative parents, all the evidence points to the kidnapping as an inside job. But only after Puck talks to the Pilkington’s garden gnomes does she discover the child’s been kidnapped by leprechauns and transported via rainbow to the parallel world of Celestia where the leprechauns intend to use the child as a pawn in a far more sinister game of keeps. With this shift in Celestian power, rifts open in Earth’s atmosphere allowing the infiltration of Celestian creatures and the resulting instability could implode both worlds. Puck must discover an entrance into Celestia, find the child, and investigate THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION.

Fantasy: 117,000 words

Barbara Webb said...

The angels took everything from Cade. They destroyed his home, his family, and the comfortable 21st century life he'd been leaving. Now, as the world struggles to recover from the devastation of the War of Rebellion, Cade learns of the girl born to be the world's savior, destined to grow into the only warrior who can stand against the Host. He's determined to find her and help her grow into her destiny.

If the angels don't get her first.

Cole Reising said...

This is awesome Jessica! Thank you.

Romantic Suspense

Anyone who knows Rafiq Rodriquez is not safe. Rafiq is being hunted. Thirteen years ago, aided by an unknown traitor, an assassin tortured and killed his family and forced him to abandon his royal heritage, to assume a new identity, a new life. But that was then. When the same assassin puts the crosshairs on Lily Jones, Rafiq's love, he turns the tables and becomes the hunter. What he doesn't realize is, Lily has her own set of secrets. The assassin isn't after Rafiq at all but rather Lily who'd rather die than reveal to Rafiq she knows exactly who betrayed his family all those years ago.

Thanks again, Jessica! Have a great holiday even if your plans did change. :-)

Carley said...

Magnum bonum-for the greater good; the unwritten code that all Makers follow to keep their world hidden. The year stretches out in Zinnia’s mind- her first year at Edoceo, the Harvest Ball, new friends- things she has dreamed of for as long as she can remember. When a seemingly straightforward introduction to Stephan changes everything; suddenly the hope of her world rests upon her and Stephan’s shoulders. Learning the Legend is more than just a bed time story, impending danger from the Dark One, running for her life, and an impromptu wedding- all things Zinnia never thought the year could possibly bring; all done for the greater good. When forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, Zinnia learns just how far she will go to save her world and follow the Makers code-magnum bonum- for the greater good.

90,000 YA Fantasy. Any insight would be great! Thank you.

April Grey said...

Jessica, thank you so much for doing this. Happy Holidays!

Nina Weaver, a feisty, struggling NYC photographer whose photographs contain intrusive spirit messages, felt bespelled when she met Anthropology Professor Pascal Guzman… and she was right! Though he swore that he’d never unleash the power of the Stag God, Cernunus, locating the woman he once loved from afar overwhelms his self-control. And when Nina’s best friend is shot by men breaking into her apartment to steal her “magic” photos, Pascal convinces her that the answer to the mystery surrounding her work lies in his hometown of Santa Fe. She agrees to head out with him on a sex and danger filled road trip—but what neither one of them knows is that they are at the heart of a power struggle between rival gods, one of them bent on destroying Pascal.

90,000 word urban fantasy

DaphneVT said...

Tanalai, a dragonfly larva, grew up in a pond display in an insect zoo hearing the wise old larva, Tombo, tell wondrous stories about the outside world. Tanalai longs for freedom, to see a real pond. She is the only witness when the keepers kill Tombo after he climbs out of the tank and emerges into an adult dragonfly. The other larvae refuse to believe her warnings and after her metamorphosis she escapes alone.

A sensitive dragon, who eats her prey alive, Tanalai befriends Melli, a ditzy honeybee, who wants to find her sisters and Queen, and Mo, a street-wise, suspicious housefly, who turns out to be the Harriet Tubman of the insect world. This unlikely trio makes their way out of the city and into the countryside. Tanalai discovers her power as a feared predator and with the help of her friends learns how to deal with the uncertainty and dangers in the world outside her tank. After many adventures they find Melli’s farm, Tanalai’s pond, and Mo’s lovely horse manure.

To Fly Circles Under the Sun,a middle-grade novel is complete at 44,000 words. On the anthropomorphic continuum from animals with walking sticks and top hats to the rabbits of Watership Down, this book sits at the rabbit end.

Anonymous said...

In a body where necessity created two women, turmoil abounds. The discovery of an equally incomplete soul in a man could tear them apart forever with a final unrequited love. Or the possibilities of love could unite the women enough to find happiness for the first time. They strive to find the reason to love themselves.

Romance 90,000

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Thanks as well, this is extremely awesome of you Jessica. Have been a blog-reader of yours for quite some time now. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Cole Reising said...

Morning Jessica,

I'm wondering, 'How does one know how much to reveal or not?'

In my pitch I would put who the traitor was one moment then take it off. The readers find out in the first chapter, so its not really a secret, only to the hero. But at the same time I think maybe that's too much information. It adds to the conflict between the guy and gal and tells us they have a huge hurdle to get over for a HEA but like I said before, how does one determine when to say enough is enough info?



Andrea Coulter said...

Street-waif Cora believes her troubles are over when she’s rescued from thugs by a fish-tailed Merrowan. Given a sorcerous sponge that allows her to breathe underwater, Cora revels in the wonders of the sea ... until her “savior” sells her to an oceanic sideshow. The Merrowan king eventually takes pity on Cora and adopts her into his household; it’s more than any guttersnipe could wish for, and Cora happily bids her former life farewell.

When a betrayal lands Cora unwillingly on solid ground once more, she learns that a deep-sea invasion threatens the Merrowan kingdom. If she cannot wring an alliance out of a wary human prince, her adoptive people will be enslaved. Before the waves settle, Cora will have to face down a long-standing feud between Merrowans and humans, thwart the invaders--and discover where she truly belongs.

100,000 words, fantasy


Anonymous said...

This is a fictional memior. Not sure it's your cup of tea, but here's the pitch:

The "63 Chevy convertible slams dead center into the concrete bridge abutment and Jeremy Shoff wakes up in a Navy hospital ward from a four day coma; stricken with shame. The wounded Marines on every side of him are constant reminders of his easy way out of the draft. As the only nineteen year old on Ward 2B with both of his arms and legs, Jeremy has only one thing to offer; friendship. For the next twelve months, the confined space of Ward 2B, the sprawling Naval Hospital and the nearby streets and bars of south Philadephia becomes their home. Like any home, it serves as a place to gather, to belong, to struggle, to play, a place to find support and, in its many descriptions, a place to heal. And every day of healing brings them closer to the day they could go home; a day they will cherish--and fear.

Kyle Smith said...

This is for my first-draft finished but not yet edited novel titled Jack O'Lantern. Category is commercial fiction:

Propositioned by a Playboy model, hit by a car, mugged, and arrested for the murder of a man he's never met, it's safe to say that Brian Green has never had a crazier day in his life.

It's about to get even weirder. A man calling himself Jack O'Lantern, with a smile to match the name, magically heals Brian's injuries and gets him out of police custody with a few words. The price tag? Simply the promise of a favor returned. But what could Brian possibly do for a man like that?

Paty Jager said...

Mae Simon is on her first assignment as a Pinkerton operative and determined nothing will stand in her way of accomplishing her task. When the simple assignment turns into a murder and kidnapping, she has to stop hiding behind her disguise and trust a man she’s betrayed.
U. S. Marshal Beck Harlan can’t afford to befriend anyone. Not with a vengeance seeking outlaw killing off his intimate acquaintances. Yet, he falls hard for the French prostitute he talks into being an informant. Not realizing, she is a Pinkerton operative after the same man.

Anonymous said...

Thirty-one year old Norah Cassidy excels in her roles as a small-town craft lady and dependable friend, hiding painful secrets from her childhood. After years of molestation by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, Norah, then fourteen, went to her mother for help. Instead, Norah’s mother coerced her into changing her story, incriminating her childhood sweetheart, Brian O’Malley, and sent Norah to live with her grandmother. Now, following sixteen years of estrangement, Norah’s dying mother calls, and Norah thinks she has one last chance to mend their relationship. But back in her hometown, Norah hears about a present-day crime. The man who molested her all those years ago is accused of assaulting other girls, and after years of secrecy, Norah must decide whether she can risk coming forward and unearthing a truth that will reveal every lie she’s ever told and tear apart the fragile bonds of her renewed relationship with not only her mother, but also Brian O’Malley.

Anonymous said...

Some things you can never forget: the touch of your mother's hand on your hair, the smell of your father's hug, your first kiss. The time you tried to fly and everyone mistook it for a suicide attempt, or trying to walk on water and nearly drowning. The day you found out your little brother is dying. Some things stay imprinted on your memory forever - the day your life changed.

Riley Kimball's life has changed. Her twelve year old brother has leukemia and is dying.

Water Walker is a story about family and self-discovery. It is the story of Riley Kimball's freshman year of high school, of her struggle to understand what is happening to her brother and to rediscover a sense of normalcy in her life. As her friendships crumble, her brother's health continues to decline. But even in the darkness that surrounds her, Riley finds hope and strength in unexpected places: a renewed relationship with her older sister, the encouraging words of a jock football coach, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and most unexpectedly, from within herself.

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