Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 Lessons Learned in 2011

2011 Taught me so much about writing, querying, rejection, recovering, revision, and perseverance, but the 11 lessons I take away from this year are:

  1. Follow your heart, or more your characters heart. Tell what their willing to share and let their heart be at the core of your story.

  2. It's not about what your character sees, but rather how their affected by it.

  3. It doesn't become a novel until revisions.

  4. A draft is meant to suck, that's why you're not supposed to share it with anyone.

  5. You can't write without reading. How else will you know what's out there?

  6. Take a break and step outside. You never know what will inspire you out there.

  7. Reward your accomplishments; no matter how small.

  8. Cherish your writer friends. They're the only ones who speak your language.

  9. Take beta reading seriously.

  10. Don't be afraid to experiment outside your comfort zone.

  11. And lastly Never, ever, ever GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I look forward to learning even more in the coming year and wish you all the best best for 2012.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I did it :o)

So I was on such a high from NaNoWriMo that I decided to write another novel in December, a Christmas Romance. Well, folks I'm proud to say that I met my deadline with 30 minutes to spare. This was my first Adult Romance and there were real challenges. I definitely have noticed the difference between YA and Adult, the older you are, the more you know better. It's as simple as that.

It was cool to sort of see an adult relationship and it's struggles. How two people still fall in love after everything they know about it, is very fascinating to me.

All in all it was a great experience and I'd definitely try it again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's been too long

I'm back. Yes, I know it's been a while. There's been a lot of developments in my world over the past few months. I want to share all the events that have gone on, but that would be one amazingly long blog, so I've give you the cliff notes version

In July, I got the last of my query responses for UNDISTURBED. The results were a lot of rejections, and few very helpful notes, but ultimately no offers for representation. I do still have two requests for revisions so it wasn't a total loss.

Needless to say I was disappointed, but it was more from not knowing what was wrong, so that I could fix it. I know agents like to be positive and encouraging for those who are sensitive about the craft, but I'm more of a tough love type of person. I wanna know what sucks so I can grow as a writer. Of all the agents who requested full reads, two took the time to tell me what was good, what needed work, and what they would like to see in my revisions, and for that I will always be grateful.

My issue became "How do I fix the problems and what if they still don't like it?" This one question nearly killed my writing. Every page I typed was haunted by it. I got to the point where I'd delete it just seconds after I'd finished typing it, but there was no way any of it could be useful. No agent would want to read it, let alone represent it.

I'd stopped writing for myself and lost all confidence in my words. By August, I had stopped writing completely and the SCBWI conference I'd registered for was only a week away. After a lot of persuasion from my husband, I decided to go, hoping I would find some inspiration to keep going.

I found it on the 105 Freeway. I got the idea of a new story, but I wasn't even sure it would make it to the page, but it stuck. In fact, I spent most of the conference in the lobby developing it. I left the conference with a renewed spirit, but UNDISTURBED was still very much on the brain so in Sept. I went back to reading. ON WRITING & ELEMENTS OF STYLE. Two very good reads.

Oct. brought my regional SCBWI conference, where my first 10 pages of UNDISTURBED earned me a face to face with a dream agent. This meeting was probably the most beneficial advice I've ever gotten and my first look into the editing process. She gave me tons of notes and not only did she help direct my revision path, but she also requested to read it once it was done.

This entire journey has been sprinkled with moments that have shown me that I'm on the right path. It's far from an easy one and there's no guarantee when I'll succeed, but I have to believe that I'll get there as long as I don't give up.

Nov. was Nano month and I decided use the idea I had been developing since the conference in august and I actually finished. ASTRAY is a post-apocalyptic YA that I'll tell you more about after some major editing.

Nano was yet another moment for me. I never thought I could write a draft in a month, but I did. Now it's far from perfect, but I can already see parts that will make it to the end. The one thing I gained from the experience was writing for myself again.

I turned off my inner editor and just wrote. It was so much fun that I've decided to do it again for Dec. I'm writing my first Romance and having a blast with it.

So as you can see there has been a lot going on in my blossoming mind, but no worries I won’t disappear for so long again.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Blog Contest #1 Winner

First I'd like to thank you all who entered. I greatly enjoyed your summer reading lists and will totally be stealing a few of them for my own list.

The winner of my first blog contest is: JANNETTE FULLER

Congrats Jannette, you can expect your Amazon gift card in your email shortly. And check out her summer reading list:

1. Beautiful Darkness by: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
2. Ghost Girl Homecoming by: Tonya Hurley
3. Halo by: Alexandra Ardnetto
4. Spells by: Aprilynn Pike
5. Torment by: Lauren Kate
6. Passion by: Lauren Kate
7. Angel Creek by: Sally Rippin
8. Hourglass by: Myra McEntire
9. Delirium by: Lauren Oliver
10. Cresendo by: Becca Fitzpatrick
11. Sister Red Red by: Jackson Pearce
12. Sweetly by: Jackson Pearce


Now that you're all following me, be sure to check back. I'll be having blog contests all summer long.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summer Contest #1 (Starts 6/17/11)

Yay! Are you excited? I know I am. There two things I love writing and giving stuff away. So I'm super pumped for my first ever blog contest and to kick the summer off right I have decided to help fund your summer reading list.

We all have the Amazon Wishlist's right. Mine is chocked full of YA novels I can't wait to read. So here's your chance to hit checkout on me.

My Summer Reading List includes:

Vision (Volume 1)-Beth Elisa Harris

Possession-Elana Johnson

Illusions-Aprilynne Pike

Starcrossed-Josephine Angelini

The DUFF-Kody Keplinger

Passion (Fallen)-Lauren Kate

Party-Tom Leveen

Darkest Mercy-Melissa Marr

City of Fallen Angels-Cassandra Clare

Delirium-Lauren Oliver

Contest Rules:

Here's how you WIN.

1. Follow My Blog

2. Follow me on twitter @tromelblossom

3. Add your summer reading list in the comments

You can start entering tomorrow. Winner will be selected on 6/22/11

Goodluck ;o)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Under Construction: My Writing

Okay so as you all know I've been studying in preparation to write my next novel. Taking the time to revisit some of the books I've previously read like:



Adding other helpful writing books like:




Well these books have taught me so much over the past couple of weeks that I made the hard decision to dive back into revising UNDISTURBED. (They're not lying when they say a book is never finished) It's been a week and I've made major improvements. If you haven't picked up these books are don't have a stack of your own favorites, you're not growing as a writer. I have learned so much and I take that knowledge with me to my new stories. I am now confident that SOUL STONES will be my best work yet.

So this summer, put down your next installment of your favorite YA series, and stop stalking Query Shark trying to figure out "how to crack the query code." and take a little time out to do the best thing you could do for yourself as a writer and the amazing characters, whose stories you can't wait to share with the world. Study the craft of writing, apply it to your stories of the past, present, and future, and always, always, always leave room to learn more.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer of Giveaways: Blog Contests Galore :o)

So schools out and the heats up. It's the perfect time to sit back and wait for some really cool stuff to come in the mail.

I've been wanting to do a blog contest for a while and I figured why not make it a summer of contests.

Beginning June 17th I will be running Bi-Weekly Blog contests, giving away music, books, movies, gift cards, you name it I've got it. And it all will leaded up to the huge prize of a Kindle. To celebrate the launch of CRISSANA HIGH, my online novel series in august.

So get yourself in the pool now.
Follow this blog and twitter (@tromelblossom) and you could be getting awesome prizes for me in the mail.

Certain prizes will not be available internationally, but there are plenty which will be.

Stay turned for more info ;o)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Contest

Shelley Watters is at it again and this time she has the awesome Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates! Judging a first page contest.

So Here's the opportunity for me to share the first page of UNDISTURBED with you all. Hope you like it.

Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 78,000

I never believed I was safe. No one at Weller Prep with the exception of Bobby Vincent was, until today. I tapped on the door with my elbow, my hands too sore to bend, and unclenched my jaw as his mother approached the door. “Good morning, Mrs. Vincent.”

“Deyan, long time no see. Come in,” she said, opening the door. “Well aren’t you cute with your little gloves.”

“Thank you. I was hoping to catch Bobby before he left for school. Is he still here?” Of course he is, his truck is parked outside. He was lucky I liked his mother too much to slash his tires. After six years of his pranks, there was no telling what I might do, especially since I had skipped my meds.

“Let me check,” she said, looking up at the large staircase. “Bobby? Deyan’s here to see you.”

My phone buzzed for the thirty-second time. His jokes were one thing, but posting my phone number online was going too far. He knew I would be looking for him after receiving his list. He hadn’t replied to any of my texts. Granted they contained some of the most offensive f-bomb mash-ups my best friend, Nikki, could conjure up.

“Bobby, did you hear me?” she asked.

“Tell her I’m in the shower,” he yelled.

He was such an idiot. Like I didn’t know he was lying, our houses had the same layout; we even shared a back fence.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think :o)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

YA Critique Group Members Wanted (Paranormal/Urban Fantasy/ Contemporary)

So I've been thinking of forming a critique group for a while now, but edits for UNDISTURBED required my full attention and I didn't want to commit to something I couldn't follow through. Well I'm now embarking on new projects that won't reach the editing stage until late in the fall and I'd like to really develop a network of writers actively pursuing publication.

I know that sounds like every writer out there, but there is a clear difference in writing based on trends and creating something truly unique.

I live for unique. Stories that no one has every heard of. Romances that haven't been explored, and characters that defy the stereotypes. These are the type of stories I write and they are also the types of stories I would love to read and would be pleased to critique.

My goal for a critique group is creating an environment that is nurturing, supportive, and honest. I'd love to find critique partners who are fans of each other's stories and want to help each other succeed.

Everyone is good at something, but I'd love to develop a group who share the desire to hone their craft by reading published works and books about writing. I have an extensive library and would be more than happy to share.

All in all I'm looking for a support/critique group. The writing process is rough, time consuming, and often a lonely one. My husband and my friends don't understand my squeals about characters that don't exist outside of my head. They don't know the publishing process and what it takes. It would be nice to have a group to go to who understand what it's like to be one unknown writer in a genre millions are trying to break in everyday.

Well that's my pitch. If you're looking for a similar group please comment with your email address or fill out a contact form on: and we can see if we would be a good match.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revision Tip: Lending your memories to your characters

I've been hard at work revising UNDISTURBED and one thing that has really helped me is to tap into my memory bank and add those emotions to my story.

I practiced this during the Writer's Digest Conference this fall and it worked so well that I find myself asking: "How would i feel if this were me?"

It's hard to be honest when it comes to writing fiction. We're writing to entertain and inspire and at times our message or purpose can get lost in all those eloquent words. If you want your readers to connect with your characters you have to give them reason to. It also means that you might have to share some very personal feelings.

It's hard describing emotions. These are things we feel that have no tell tell signs. I've found the most honest and simply stated lines of my story are the one's that my readers connect with the most. If I could I would fill the entire novel with them.

As an author we have a direct link to our characters. We know what they're feeling and thinking before they do. It can be hard to pull back and survey your story with blind eyes, which is why BETA READERS are so important. They know nothing about your story so when they make a note that says "I feel like I don't know this character." or "What's the character thinking?" These are signals that you've been keeping the emotional content to yourself.

Don't just bypass these comments thinking your Beta Readers "don't get it." or "They skimmed instead of reading it." I know when I beta read I am even more critical than I would just reading a book, because that's what I expect from my readers.

Filling in the holes in your story can only make it better. No one has ever complained that a book was filled with too much emotion.

When you can't use your own memories. For example if a character has a stalker or they've been abducted and you have no knowledge of that, access a time when you were afraid for your life or extremely paranoid (lol). We've all been there. Walking home after dark, looking over our shoulder every few seconds. Eyeing every person on the street as we pray they just keep walking.

Teens may not talk or interact the way I did, but just like there are no new stories there are no new emotions. The heart break, fear, and angst they feel is just like our own. We just have to access it and lend it to our characters.

How about you, what tricks do you use to create emotional depth?

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Last Edit (Also the hardest)

So I'm half way through my last edit of UNDISTURBED before submissions and this round is a lot more intense. Having already completed the plot, grammar, dialogue, and continuity edits, this last round is more of a punch up.

  • Sharping dialogue

  • Making scenes more memorable

  • Heightening emotional content

This is the polishing phase of the writing and it means that there are no glance overs or "it'll do" every scene has to be perfect and every kiss has to be filled with heart tugging passion.

I also find in this version that there is no time for wallowing. In previous edits I admit I had my pity parties and worried if I even have what it takes to make my stories great, but now I'm far past that stage. It's "Let's get it done" time. 6 months of editing means I've come too far. To stop now would mean that the last 10 months of my life didn't matter and I'll be damned if that happens.

And it's not like this will be the last version. There are bound to be dozens more once I find an agent and they find a publisher (I say "once" because I am determined rather than hopeful. Wishing for an agent and a book deal is one thing, actively pursuing them is another.)

My goal of this final edit is to address all the area's I've wanted to go back over and suggestions made by my editor. I want this version to be clean and readable.

I want my stories to leave an impression other than "this could have used more editing" and the time it's taken to get here, the beta readers, editors, and query critiques will some day pay off.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blogisodes Live Chat April 29th & May 1st

So if you follow me on twitter you may have seen my postings for the following:

Contributing Writers Wanted: Must writer YA and have a good grip on dialogue

Content Editor Wanted: Must write YA and be good at catching errors

Marketing Associate Wanted: No exp. necessary, must be a social networking guru

I've been tweeting around the clock and now I'm finally ready to share what they are for.

I am developing a YA Series for my blog which will feature bi-weekly episodes (blogisodes) written by myself and a group of contributing writers.

It will be a weekend afternoon of work for a body of work that could server as a really good writing sample, and even a pub credit if the story is later complied into an ebook (just an idea I'm bouncing around)

So here's are some of the specifics:

Genre: YA Contemporary (This is a new one for me)
Length: 3 to 5K per blogisode
Time frame: Bi-Weekly Posts

I am in the final stages of drafting the pilot blogisode and story lines. And there a few rules to this series to ensure it's originality

  • No Parents

  • No Teachers

  • No Jocks

  • No Cheerleaders

  • and No Creatures of any kind

(I know! Para/UF peeps, don't worry there will definitely be a Para/UF Series in the future)

So if you're up for the challenge of writing a YA drama worthy enough for the screen, but tailor made for web; please join me for one of the info sessions.

April 29th 4pm PST/ 7pm EST


May 1st 9am PST/12pm EST

Writers of all levels are welcome, but to ensure we are on the same page, writing samples and selective reading will be required.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Blossoming Query

Dear [Agent Name Here],

[Personalized Message Here]

For ten years seventeen-year-old Deyan Morrow’s meds have been hiding signs that she’s a Iyles—a breed of humans hunted for their menacing red eyes and history of violence—even from herself.

Being a popular cheerleader in a gossip-obsessed town, Deyan's gloves are the only thing keeping her from being a total outcast; that and the haze inducing meds she takes to stop what she thinks are night terrors. The vivid nightmares have left her walls and hands battered beyond repair and Deyan with a secret too embarrassing to ever reveal. Hiding among the campus elite, to create the illusion of a social life, is no longer an option when Tony joins the group. His charm and persistence breaks through the haze, releasing emotions she’s never been able to access. While she struggles with the possibility of being with him and keeping her scars secret, a hunter among her friends waits for a sign that she’s who they’re looking for.

When a campus prank almost exposes her to the school, Deyan’s fury causes her eyes to finally change, exposing the truth to her enemies and the family secrets her med’s were meant to protect. By the time Deyan realizes what she really is, it might be too late.

Complete at 73,000 words, UNDISTURBED, is a young adult paranormal with mystery, romance, and suspense.

NEW VERSION (4-21-11) The last line needs work, but I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Dear [Agent Name],

[Personalized Message Here]

Seventeen-year-old Deyan Morrow thinks her medication of ten years is treating her sleeping disorder, when it’s really hiding signs that she’s not entirely human.

Deyan would know that her eyes turn red when her emotions overwhelm her, if the pills she takes to stop her night terrors weren’t preventing her from feeling anything other than uber-calm. But something changes when Tony joins her social circle. Whenever she’s around him she feels—well that’s just it, she feels—for the first time she’s not just a girl hiding her night terrors and the bruises her hands and bedroom wall have gained from them. But just as Deyan’s learning to peek out of her shell, she becomes the target of some pretty twisted pranks.

Notes threatening to expose her begin showing up on her door step, which she assumes is about her hands, but it really has to do with the fact that she’s an Iyles, a cursed society feared for their menacing eyes and unnatural strength. Rumors coupled with the violent actions of a few are what led to the creation of Iyles hunters, forcing the Iyles to hide or be captured; and one has their eye on Deyan. The more she falls for Tony, the closer she is to losing everything.

Complete at 73,000 words, UNDISTURBED, is a young adult paranormal with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Please comment on anything you like, don't like, or just don't get. I've learned that critiques can only make your work better.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Query Letter Blogfest

Need help with you query? Would you like an opinion from a fresh eye?
Then check out this link: Query Letter Blogfest

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm going for a Record: Suzie Townsend's First Page Shooter

I caught this wonderful opportunity for the Query Shark and now i'm paying it forward. This is not a contest. I repeat, this is not a contest. If you submit your 250 words and follow the instructions Suzie or Joanna will send you back and editorial critique of your first page. This is such a huge opportunity. Run (Don't walk) to Suzie Townsend's blog. She is offering a critique of the 1st 250 words of any manuscript. That's right I said any. What are you still doing here? Go, Go Now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pitch Contest with Natalie Fischer!

Okay I don't usually do 2 posts in one day, but I had to share this awesome pitch contest with yet another amazing judge. Natalie Fisher To see what a recent interview with Natalie and to find out her likes, visit here. The only difference from the other pitch contests is that us YAtopians will choose our top 20 to give to Natalie who will then pick her winners from that.Don't miss out on this great opportunity! Visit YAtopia to enter:

Being "All Knowing" when it comes to your stories

You came up with the name, setting, plot, and drama that resulted in a Novel, now you step back and ask yourself where did it all come from? If you have a preexisting creature then you'll sift through the stories and/or myths about them and try to carve out a unique element that no on else has thought of. But what do you do when the creature you're writing about has never existed before? How do you make yourself and expert of something that only exists in your head? The answer: WORLD BUILDING You need to write the history of this species/breed/creature you've created. If they are set in the real world then layer their history through time. This might not be something your readers will ever see, but it will make you the expert on the subject. Melissa De La Cruz turned her World Building in to Keys to the Repository so who knows what can happen. This is my current mission for Undisturbed, Soul Stones, and True Beginnings. I might be making my life unbelievably complicated by writing originals, but the benefit is in knowing no one else will have this idea. So where do I begin? Where else but the 5 W's:

Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?

But I intend to go deeper crafting a detailed history that will act as a personal reference guide that will be very handy when it comes to writing sequels. Here's a few of the things I'm working on for UNDISTURBED: · Family Tree · Map of Origins · Historical Moments · The Evolution of Abilities · Population Census · Case Studies and More I've been under the impression this whole time that I should only know what my MC knows. I personally hate knowing things my characters don't, especially when it's something bad. I feel like I want to warn them, yell at the monitor "Don't go in there!" or "If you get in that car you're life will forever be altered." but none of that has do with their history. This could also be a tool for story development. If you want to write a novel, but are worried about where to begin, takes a page from the good book "In the beginning..." Building the world of your story could build your confidence in your ability to write it. How do you know how much world building you need?
The answer is up to you. If you can answer the 5 W's and can manage to convince other's that they might actually exist, then you might have everything you need.

My only rule for myself at the moment, which will help me with world building and development of future projects, is:

"It's fiction don't be afraid to depart from reality completely."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Epic Follower Blogfest/Contest: My Twitter Pitch

Yay! It's been a long week and I'm finally ready for some twitter pitchin. Anyone whose done one before knows there's always that one word that puts you 4 characters over, well I've found a version that works and I'm hoping for some great critiques from blog visitors.

So what is a Twitter Pitch?

It's basically a log line of what your book is about, but limited to 140 Characters (Spaces Included)

What is a Long Line?

It's a movie term gaining ground in the literary world. When you meet a person and they ask you "What's your story about?" the log line is what you'll give them.

You might have heard someone describe a film as "It's 300 meets Troy, but with and all girl cast."

Warning: This is a bad example of a Log Line and Pitch. What you want to accomplish in your log line or twitter pitch is:

1. What your story is about (Boiling it down to the bare bones and main subject)

2. Avoid Generalizations (Key points give the mind something to ponder)

3.Make sure it matches up (I don't know how other writers feel about this, but I am very big on tone. I like to know that I'm not over selling or pitching something that isn't the story I wrote)

So with all that being said here's what I've got so far:

A prescription dependent cheerleader’s meds have been masking signs that she isn’t entirely human and the truth reveals a dangerous enemy.


(Because "the master pitcher" told me too)

It’s not until Deyan’s eyes turn red that she learns she’s an Iyles, a hunted species. Now she needs answers before the hunters take her to.

It’s not until Deyan’s eyes turn red that she learns she’s an Iyles, a hunted species, and that there might be a hunter among her friends.

Please leave a comment, and if you can, give some specifics. Anyone can type "I like it" but a critique should tell you why. If you don't like it, what would you change?

For more Twitter Pitches please check out Shelley Watters blog:

P.S. Thanks Shelley for putting on such an amazing blog contest :o)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Awesome Contest Coming Up

Hey All, So I was on twitter this weekend and I got a tweet abotu Shelley Watters blog contest. It's a twitter pitch (One of my favorites) I'm such a log line girl, it's the screenwriter in me. The winner gets a FULL request from Suzie Townsend. (Awesome, Yes! I Know). So I'm encouraging anyone one who is looking for an agent and has a completed novel ready for submission to check this out. Here are a few of the rules from Shelley: 1. Follow my blog and/or twitter (@Shelley_Watters) 2. Sign up for the blogfest using the link below. 3. Spread the word about the contest (via blog/twitter/etc). 4. On April 1st and 2nd, post your 140 character twitter pitch on your blog. 5. Go visit the other contestants and provide comments/critiques on their pitch. 6. On April 3rd, in the comments section of my contest blog, post: Title, Genre and Word Count Your polished 140 character twitter pitch Where you follow me (blog/twitter). Please include your twitter handle. Link to where you spread the word (twitter/blog etc) Your email address where you can be contacted. So get polishing your 140 character Twitter pitch! you can find out more by hoping over to her blog. I sure plan on entering. Best of Luck, Tetonia

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome AZ Young Adult Writers Meet Up

I’m so glad you could join me in our inaugural chat. I hope to set some goals for our group today that will benefit everyone from the beginning of their writing journey to end, if there is such a thing. One thing I’ve learned is that a community of writers is very essential to once success. I don’t know where I would be with my invaluable beta readers and critique partners who read my pages faster than I can write them.

I recently located to Arizona and would love to develop a local community and possible blend with those online as well.

Now onto a little instructions for the Live Chat:

You DO NOT have to sign up for Chatroll to use the live chat. Simple click the button that says sign in as guest and you can type over the Guest### with your own name, and then you all set to start chatting.

Live Chat begins at 6:00pm Pacific Standard Time. Live Chat is limited to 9 people so be sure to snag a spot.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Celebration: Confessions of The Pitch Girl pt. 2

The pitch slam has just ended and I'm like "I can't believe that just happened." I step out of the hall, shoot off a text to my girlfriends and grab a much needed cup of water. I look around for my friends and the first person I see is Nick who has good new of his own. He got partial and full requests as well.

I head out into the hall and there are tons of writers hanging around, sharing their good and bad news. The air is much lighter, but you can see some disappointment. I couldn't wait to share the good news, but I didn't want to brag about it, especially to those who's experience might not have been as eventful, so I kept tight lipped until a few of the writers asked me. they were all so sure that I would get requests and they were right. I tell three who approached me and a few others who were within ear shot join in and next thing i know there's a circle of writers standing around me listing to me and this is the coolest part, they weren't listening to me brag about how many requests i got, they were genuinely excited for me just as much as i was for them.

It was an amazing environment to be apart of, writers celebrating together and encouraging one another. I wish I could live in that type of environment everyday. I was still playing it pretty low key like "Like I got 5 for 5, but it's no big deal." and another writer who I hadn't personally met before that moment chimed in and said "That is a huge accomplishment, you should be proud of that."

I ran into Andrew on his way out and he had good news as well, not that i doubted he would, he was after all "The master pitcher." I wanted to stay and hear every one's success stories, but I had a concert I was supposed to attend in Brooklyn and was already running late.

So I head back to the studio only to find my girlfriends still out sightseeing, so I popped into the bar next door and used the time to text my husband the good news. I was expecting the girls to meet me at the bar, but they managed to sneak past me and texted me to let me know they were there.

I open the door to camera's flashing and the two of them cheering. They bought me flowers and the nicest card. (Like I said before AMAZING FRIENDS) I totally didn't expect it. They wanted to know everything. I could barely speak at this point, but I did the best that I could.

We got dressed and headed to the concert, but of course being the girls that we are we show up 30 minutes late and the they're completely out of seats, but the night wasn't lost. We found this amazing lounge with a live jazz band, who proudly played my favorite artist of all time, Jay-Z. I swear if he and Florence + the Machine did a single it would be that one song I would play for the rest of my life. But moving on. The food and music are amazing. We're meeting some of the locals and I am having the night of my life. My girlfriends are telling every person they meet to look for my book when it comes out. Mind you I don't even have an agent yet, lol.

It was getting pretty late and I was finally starting to crash, so we headed back to the studio, where I celebrated the amazing day by finally getting some sleep.

Tune back into tomorrow for the Close of the conference and my post conference meeting with an Agent.

Friday, February 11, 2011

TEARS and PITCHING: Confessions of the Pitch Girl day2

So this was the BIG day, the PITCH SLAM, when I tell you the nerves filled the entire building from the second I stepped into the lobby. Mind you I’m working on Zero sleep. I’m feeling like a college sophomore ready to take my final exam.

I’m reciting my pitch in my head as I stand in line at the starbucks counter. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I was seriously thinking about having a cup, but I remembered my secret weapon, Liquid B-12 (The legal crack) Five seconds under your tounge and you will be wide awake and moving faster than the energizer bunny, only problem is, it tastes like melted Tylenol. So I take a double shot grab a hot chocolate and meet Steph and Nick in the lobby area, we grab a table and everyone takes turns pitching the group.

The coolest thing about the conference was that our group was always expanding. Another Michelle I met just before leaving the lounge joined us, then john from the table next to us asked if he could join it, it was like summer camp all over again. So I decide to go last practicing my pitch, mostly because I wanted to hear everyone else’s stories. I am after all a book addict. So I pitch everyone my brand new “5am Pitch”

Hello My Name is Tetonia
I have a young adult paranormal
It’s complete at 69,000 words and the title is Undisturbed.

It’s a story about a girl who thinks the medications she been taking for over a decade is to treat her disorder, when it really just masking the signs that she isn’t entirely human.

Seventeen year old Deyan Morrow is a prescription dependent cheerleader with a hidden disorder, whose only goal is to make it out of high school before any finds out, until she meets Tony, the only person to ever break through her emotionless haze, but the question of whether he would still want her if he knew the truth is never far from her mind. However, there’s more to Deyan than even she knows, like the fact that she’s (Removed for those who haven’t read the book.), or worse that someone wants her dead because of it.

Everyone at the table is shocked, I mean literally without words, Steph’s like “How in the world did you come up with that overnight.” Divine intervention, is what I tell her and Andrew of course. He told me to start with the paranormal and that’s what I did. Their reaction totally got me pumped, but I was solid in my pitch, because honestly nothing I had written before came so close to the tone and essence of my book.

So we head in to our first workshop of the day with Donald Maas, and if you’ve read my other blog posts you know who excited I was about this one. Putting Fire In Your Fiction, is the book I’m currently reading and that’s exactly what I did. Our exercise was to take 5 minutes and think about the most difficult scene in our book, the one that’s been driving us crazy in rewrites and edits and we just can’t seem to get it right. Well for me it was the last scene, all the edits and revisions and I still felt like “It isn’t done yet.” Well Mr. Maass instructed us to pull out the emotions our character should be feeling and to think back to a time when we felt that exact same way.

Now if this was a happy moment in history I’m not sure I would have been able to find it so easily, but there something about heartbreak and tragedy that lingers, you’ll never forget the moment when someone hurt or betrayed. So I took a very painful memory and we were supposed to write how we felt in great detail and as I was writing Deyan’s voice took over and I found that every word applied to her, which turned out to be the point, by the end I was in tears, along with most of the room. As silly as I felt for getting so emotional, I was elated that I finally had the ending to my book.

Oh course when he opened up the floor for questions I hoped in line, when was I ever going to get the chance to get answers from the man whose books reshaped the way I write stories. My questions were about making my antag relatable and whether it was acceptable to have a POV of a faceless character. And he really took the time to answer them in great detail and gave me even more tips to really turn up my Antag.

My next workshop was the Ask the Agents Panel and the room was packed. It was at this point that I realized in all my prepping for the big pitch slam, I had forgotten to put on my make-up. (OMG!) So I took a little time out to paint my face and get all pretty. I didn’t want the agents to see the bags under my eyes.

I get back to the packed room and there is a line going all the way to the door of writers with questions. There’s one agent on the end who’s belting profanities like a sailor and the poor questioners are looking like deer’s in headlights. Her energy was awesome, but man I didn’t want to take her on. It wasn’t until a few minutes later that asked Steph who she was and I learned it was the infamous Janet Reid (Now is the time I should probably mention that I had also volunteered to mass pitch for the query shark and now that I had seen her in action I admit I got a little shaky in the knees.)

Good think I had a whole lunch hour not clear my head. Steph, Nick, and I went to lunch reveling over the fact that we all connected over a little Writer’s Digest Posting. We got to talking about our spouses and writing process and almost lost track of time. When we got back to the hotel I was ready to chicken out, but I kept telling myself “None of this will kill me, if anything it will make me a better pitcher.” So I go to the workshop, hop in line, and I’m ready. “Query Shark bring it on.” And she did, she ripped me to shreds up there. By the time I stepped off that stage I was thinking my story had no plot and the pitch slam followed immediately after that.

Everyone hurdles down stairs to the big PITCH SLAM, the room is hot and lacking of oxygen, though if you looked in the writers faces, you would swear everyone was holding their breath, my mind is still trying to recover from the shark attack, I’m trying to rewrite my pitch on the spot. I’m totally freaking out, wondering what my girlfriends are doing and questioning why I had even come. Then I stopped and pulled myself together. I remembered the look on everyone’s face at the pitch practice and all the compliments I had received. The other participants were wishing me luck as they passed me, they were all confident that I would get a yes, I should have been too.

I pull out my cheat sheet with my “5AM PITCH” and decide I’m just going to go for it. The wait in the first line was about 20 minutes and somewhere halfway through my cheat sheet disappeared and I totally freak out inside. I’m thinking “what I am going to do now?” I’m blanking on the words and there’s only three people ahead of me. The writers behind me were practicing their pitches and I turned and they both said “Hey you’re the pitch girl; we know you’ll do fine.” Now I’m feeling the pressure, the rejection would be 400 fold, I’m finally the next up to pick and I’m reading the agents body language and she looks friendly enough. The bell rang and it was either run or take a seat, so I sat.

I delivered my opening liners and once I finished the log line, her eyebrows raised, it was so cool. I finished my pitch in like 30 seconds and once I was done she was leaning all the way in, another good sign. She told me she loved the story and handed me her card with page request and I was like “Really?” she even wanted to know what else I was working on, so I pitched her soul stones and she said. “Wow, I love that one too, totally send me those pages.”

I still thought “Okay, maybe that was a fluke.” So I hope in the next line (Yes, I’m totally leaving the names of the agents out on purpose, not that I'm stingy, but because I'm not sure I'd like my private conversations to be exposed in a blog and like they say 'treat others the way you'd like to be treated') 20 minutes in this line and I sit thinking “1 request is good enough for me.” I pitch this agent her eyebrows raise when I finish my log line, now I’m thinking “I might have something here.” I’m not even finished with my pitch and she’s sliding me her business card and writing the number of pages she wants on the back.

I’m two for two. Two more pitches and two more requests, with the same eyebrow rise. I see Chuck passing by and he asks me how I’m doing and I tell him “I’m 4 for 4.” and he says “That’s because you have a good pitch.” And I actually believe him this time.

I have 30 minutes left and I’m determined to get to the last agent on my list. I had been passing her line all afternoon because it was so long. So I wait, the pitch slam is coming to a wrap up and I’m texting my girlfriends letting them know my progress and I’m wondering if it’s possible to end the day with a perfect score. So I take my seat pitch the agent, get the eyebrow raise and ask if there’s anything else I can tell her about my story and she asks me so many questions about how I developed the story, why I wrote it, what else I was working on and on and on the bell has rung and we’re still chatting. She hands me her card, only she doesn’t tell me how much she wants so I ask “How much do you want?” and she tells me “The whole thing, I can’t wait to read it.” Then she asks me for my card, which I almost laughed at because all our presenters said “Agents don’t want your card.”

So I walk out of that hall feeling like I had just lived a dream, I know I didn’t have a contract or a book deal, but it was a total victory to know that my story was of interest to someone other than me.

Check pack in tomorrow for the Celebration.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tweet UP Til Dawn: Confessions of THE PITCH GIRL pt.2

I know what you’re thinking “What the heck is a Tweet Up?” That’s what we were all saying. I had envisioned a cyber cafĂ© where we all tweeted about the conference, but it was actually a lounge called FACES & NAMES. Very cool place.

I texted my girl friends to meet me there and walked over with Steph and a few others, but not after thanking Chuck for helping me out with my pitch, he promptly told me that I shouldn’t have been nervous because I had a good pitch and at the time I thought he was just offering a little “lip service.” You know when people just say things to make you feel good, but when he actually remembered my characters names I thought “Okay, maybe it wasn’t so bad.”

So I get to Faces and Names and I’m as perky as a kid on pixie sticks I’m handing out with my new writer friends, when I some faces I recognize from the conference website, the Writer’s Digest editors, so I go introduce myself (Like I said, I’m not a shy girl. Lol) So I get to talking and it turns out I was standing right next to Phil Sexton, one of the editors who emailed me about my discussion board. We had an awesome conversation about his workshop on publishing success. I cannot even begin to tell you how friendly and welcoming the WD staff was. Phil and I chatted for what seemed like forever and he gave me some helpful advice.

I worked the room a little more and got to meet Rich Knight and tell him how his pitch almost made me stay in my seat, his story was so gripping and unique that my works couldn’t do it justice. If you want to know more check out his blog:
I also met Michelle, who turned out to be from Arizona too (We're already planning to do lunch one day soon), but the find of the night was my friend “THE MASTER PITCHER” A.K.A: Andrew Rosenberg this guy made my pitch, he had a way of selling you your own story with the brief info you gave him, and coupled with the fact that he sitting on a story which sounds like an award winning film, we had alot to talk about.

It’s writers like these that make your conference experience, you walk away with friends you know you’ll have for years to come. He helped me in the simplest way find the essence of my story that would grab anyone who heard it at by the end of the first sentence. (I’ll share my pitch with you during my Pitch Slam post)

So my girlfriends ended up volunteering to hear pitches and offer an unbiased opinion and I got to pick the brains of a few YA reading Mom’s about some controversial topics.

The night was a blast; I had awesome new writer friends. I made plans to do a little pitch practice with Steph and Nick the next morning, but my mind was never far from my pitch, which needed some work. I had to find a way to include the paranormal element of my story and include Andrew’s advice.

We get back to the studio around 2am and I’m kicking myself for staying out so late, I’ve almost talked my voice out, I’ve met so many people. I grab a seat, my note pad, and a pin and I’m determined to have a sellable pitch before I dare close my eyes.

My girlfriends were planning on going out to a club, but opted to stay and help me. (Amazing Friends) it was 5am by the time I finally shouted “Why is it getting progressively worse” My brain was shutting down, my friends were dozing off and fear started to set in. I was half way through the biggest slice of pizza I had ever eaten when I decided to go back to the conference, the pitch practiced in front of the whole conference, there was something there that people liked, or else they wouldn’t have crossed a room to tell me how good it was, or shook my hand at the lounge and asked me to tell them more.

The sun was all but rising when I dotted my last period. I didn’t know if it was delirium, sleep deprivation, or hysteria, but it sounded like my book and I thought “If they like the pitch, they’ll like the book because this is what it’s all about.”

I had pitch practice with new my friends at 8 so I thought “Why sleep?” I put my note pad and my new "5am PITCH" in my bag started getting ready.

Check back in tomorrow for my post about TEARS and PITCHING.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2011 WD Conference: Confessions of THE PITCH GIRL Day 1

So I know it’s been long awaited, but I’ve finally carved out the time to share my first conference experience.

I arrived in NYC Thursday January 20th, 2011 to an okay temperature of 25 degrees. I was prepared for it, a little over prepared if I might say. I decided to multi task, making the trip also a girls weekend, which turned out to be a god send.

We rented a small vacation rental in Mid-Town which turned out to be just three blocks from the New York Sheraton & Towers and Times Square. (Score!)Let me just say is you ever want a near death experience that will only cost you $17 bucks take the New York Super Shuttle, it was an experience I’ll never forget, let’s just say those drivers treat their 15 passenger vans like a vesper.

My girlfriends and I were so excited to be in NYC that we went out to celebrate and I learned a few things:
1. Flat shoes are frown upon
2. New Yorkers don’t dance
3. And losing your coat check ticket can be costly.
4. And New York is truly the city that never sleeps, we left at 2am and the party was just starting.

Friday morning I was up bright an early despite only sleeping about two hours. I had some errands to run before the conference began at 3pm that afternoon, starting with emailing a few of the agents I follow on twitter to see if they would be in attendance, and to my surprise I got responses, a couple even wanted to meet for coffee afterwards.

I got an awesome carriage by a man who took pity on me and my kitten heels, trying to hope over the snow and ice, and all it cost me were a few princess waves. (Who says New Yorkers Aren’t Nice?)

After my errands I had just enough time to grab a bit with my girl friends, before meeting up with Steph and Nick (two attendees who responded to my writer’s digest discussion) we planned to meet up at registration and sit together and I can’t tell you how relaxing it was to have those connections prior to getting to the conference, not that I’m a shy girl (More on that later)

So My girl friends were like my glam squad/PR the whole trip they came with me to registration and help my place in line while I went to primp and by the time I got back they had even done some introductions for me. I was a little nervous, but I had already made up my mind on the plane that I was going to meet as many writers as I could in those three days.

So I find Steph in line and I was so excited to see her that I gave her a big hug, despite the fact that we were strangers. So she and I and some other’s I met in line go to find a seat and Nick was already holding a table for us with some others he met online. I had the greatest conversation with another writer from North Carolina, which got me more pumped to meet others. There were hundreds of faces, young and old and I wanted to know what they wrote, why they wrote, if their characters drove them crazy the way mine did sometimes. I was finally in an environment where I could talk about all the things the outside world would want to have me committed for. Like the way my character ties her shoes or the kind of music she plays when she’s driving alone.

So the open address is given by Richard Curtis, who had to be a comedian in his former life because he really had some funnies. And next was the pitch perfect workshop by Chuck Sambuchino. He started off by giving us the format of a pitch
· Introduction
· Genre, Word Count, whether or not the book is complete
· Log Line
· And a single paragraph pitch

After he described each part in detail he opened the floor for questions and added that if anyone would like to pitch him for practice that they were more than welcome, and I thought “Sure why not.” So a line forms and I think “Awe man, everyone is going to pitch him and I won’t have time.” So the Rich Knight steps up to the mic and asks Chuck if he can pitch. His log line gets a gasp from the entire room of 500 writers, it was so good, and staff members and I’m like “What was I thinking wanting to pitch my YA Paranormal? I’m going to be laughed out of the room.” So I change my mind at that exact moment and put my pitch away. Then people go through the line one by one asking questions and I’m like Are you guys crazy, why aren’t you pitching? This is the best opportunity you could get to practice on a pro before the big pitch slam tomorrow.” So I change my mind again. I make my way to the back of the line and I’m standing there, no notes, fully expecting for my throat to close up.

It’s finally my turn I introduce myself, follow the steps Chuck gave us and I pitch my story, and I’m relaxed and I’m explaining Deyan and her issues and then I release I’m pitching in front of 400+ people and somewhere in the middle of my pitch I blank. I totally forget to add the paranormal part and Chuck is so awesome that he asks me a few questions to get me back on track and then he summarizes the story back to me and by sheer magic he actually got the story(Minus the paranormal element) and even cooler he didn’t hate it. So I go back to my seat my nerves die down and I sort of work out the words for my new pitch while Dan Blank share’s some awesome info about branding yourself.

At the end of the evening I get people crossing the room to tell me how brave I was and how much the like my story. I meet a group of other YA writers and it’s instantly like “Yay! Family.” I’m beaming, because I’ve basically just introduced myself to the entire conference and gained a really cool nick name
“The Pitch Girl”
As exciting as theses moments were, it was only a beginning of the conference; there was so much more. Turn back in tomorrow for my post about the TWEET UP that followed.