Monday, May 19, 2014

The Writer's Voice is LIVE!

The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Brenda Drake, Elizabeth Briggs, Monica B. W., and me. We’re basing it on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice, so the four of us will serve as coaches and select projects for our teams based on their queries and first pages.

We also had guest coaches this year, and I would like to give a special thanks to Dannie Morin, author and editor extraordinaire, for helping Team Kimberly/SuperNova this year! Here’s Dannie’s Twitter account, and her website
Also, many thanks to the participating agents:

Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media

Emily Gref of Lowenstein Associates

Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

Erin Harris of Folio Literary

Brianne Johnson of Writers House

Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc.

Holly McGhee and Elena Giovinazzo of Pippin Properties

Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency

Renee Nyen of kt literary

Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Agency

Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary

Monika Verma of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency

Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Literary Agency

***Plus two secret ninja agents who will be requesting too!

The agents will vote for their favorites on May 22. Each vote will count as a partial or full request depending on how many votes the entry receives. If an entry receives 1 or 2 votes, those votes will count as partial requests. If an entry receives 3 or more votes, those votes will count as full requests.

Voting will stay open until 9:00 a.m. EDT on May 23, at which point we’ll determine which coach’s team received the most votes. That coach will win bragging rights for time immemorial, and everyone who received requests will be able to submit their materials to all the agents who voted for them. These votes represent serious interest in your project, so PLEASE DON’T ACCEPT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION BEFORE GIVING “THE WRITER’S VOICE” AGENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A COMPETING OFFER.

To read the other teams' entries, please use the following links:

Team Brenda

Team Elizabeth

Team Monica

Without further ado, I present to you, MY AMAZING TEAM:

Team Kimberly #1 REVERSE (YA)

Team Kimberly #2 LIBERTY OR DEATH (YA)

Team Kimberly #3 PERCEPTION (YA)


Team Kimberly #5 FRAMED (Adult)


Team Kimberly #7 ELEGY (YA)

Team Kimberly #8 THE PACT (Adult)

Lastly, cheerleading is allowed, but only until Wednesday! We want to leave the comments free for the agents to vote on Thursday. (Also, we will only allow, well, cheerleading and/or positive feedback. Please don’t critique the entries before the agents vote. On the flip side, please don’t try to convince the agents that they want to vote for one of your favorites or, you know, threaten to douse the agents in silly string if they don’t vote for your critique partner. This is a silly-string-free site.)

Team Kimberly #1: REVERSE

Genre: YA SCI-FI
Word Count: 80,000


REVERSE is an 80k YA Sci-fi in the vein of BIG BANG THEORY meets BENJAMIN BUTTON.

Normal after school jobs are overrated, so seventeen-year-old Arden Varga steals her classmates’ memories and sells them to other students. Who wouldn’t pay top dollar for a night as the homecoming queen? Arden’s making serious bank until someone from her school for science geniuses hacks her mind-uploading app and erases her memories’ greatest hits. Vivid flashbacks rip her out of the present and dump her into past mistakes she never wanted to relive. Those forgotten experiences all feature a boy named Sebastian Cuomo, a rival classmate who breaks into school to do homework and makes even quantum physics sound sexy. Unfortunately he can’t remember her either, but the past reveals they’ve been harboring a secret time manipulation project together…and a secret relationship.

As they team up to investigate how to stop the disruptive flashbacks, who carved out their minds, and what they mean to each other, the hacker uses their secret app to make time itself go backward. With the clock counting in the wrong direction and time keeping Arden in the past longer and longer, she must find the culprit before she’s trapped forever living life in reverse.

First 250:

The problem with stealing other people’s memories is you start to lose the difference between what’s theirs and what’s yours. Luckily, I know how to exploit that—as long as the teachers don’t find out, anyway. Normal after-school jobs are overrated when you have a secret during-school-business.

I flip through a list of cataloged memory files on my mind-uploading app as a line of students snakes away from me, each one wanting to buy a different experience. Charlotte Marion, my partner in crime, doles out numbers as if the students are waiting in line at the deli. Once they receive a number, they disperse across the courtyard and mill about like strangers trying to act normal before they break out in a Flash Mob.

“I need the answers to the Organic Chem homework.” The first customer out of thirty lifts a tablet, revealing a mess of stylus-created scribbles on top of complicated math problems.

Charlotte holds out her palm, indicating ten bucks. The girl shifts her weight from foot to foot, skirt swishing around bare legs. Dark clouds swirl in the washed out sky, turning the mirrored building in front of us into a sheet of gray. Cold and clinical, more like an office building than a high school for science geniuses.

Charlotte nudges my shoulder until my lips pop open. “Number two!” I yell, tapping my stiletto on the concrete path.

The customer hands me the cash, and I get to work selling the girl someone else’s stolen memory.

Team Kimberly #2: LIBERTY OR DEATH

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 97,000

Boston, 1777— The British left because something worse arrived.

By day, seventeen-year-old Amity Somerset is an obedient daughter. She perfects her needlework, learns French, practices the minuet, and just like her parents, studiously ignores all that has gone wrong in their world— such as the deaths of her three siblings at the claws of gargoyles. By night, as part of a society called the Nighters, she rallies against the bloodthirsty creatures that hunt Boston’s citizens as their favorite prey.

When her parents announce her arranged marriage, a frustrated Amity breaks the Nighter's number one rule: Never go on shift alone. She nearly meets her demise by spiked gargoyle tail until an outsider named Patrick saves her life. Desirous of becoming a Nighter, he's quickly inducted into their ranks. But Patrick has his own reasons besides vengeance for joining up— reasons that have the potential to change the future of the newly formed United States of America.

Because as Amity soon discovers, not all gargoyles are mindless predators...or fully grown.

First 250:

A gargoyle hunkers in the window, watching me.

I stop breathing— I am in so much trouble.

It holds onto the frame with long, double-jointed fingers, its other hand draped across its knees. Claws twitching, the gargoyle’s mouth opens in a soundless snarl, saliva stringing between splintered teeth as it scents the air.

And I probably smell delicious.

It leaps at the same time I fire, the bright red spark at the end of the barrel illuminating the needle-sharp maw headed for my throat.

The floorboards shudder beneath my feet. Finding myself still standing, I lower my pistol. The gargoyle has landed just short of me. Black liquid pools around its head. Somehow, my reflexive, panicked shot had hit true—straight through the eye, the only vulnerable spot gargoyles possess.

I draw in air to the relief of my starved lungs as I stare down at the stretched out body in confusion: It had leapt for me, more than willing to enter the confined space of the bedroom. To risk being unable to spread its wings. Had I really smelled that delicious?

Still puzzling over the strange behavior, I turn on my heel and— pain bursts like a firework against the side of my head.

I stagger. Stinging red heat obscures my vision. I wipe hard at my eyes, smearing blood and tears. My last loaded pistol in hand I swing to face the bedroom’s second window. Braced in the frame is another gargoyle, its tail slicing through the shadows.

Coming for me.

Team Kimberly #3: PERCEPTION

Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 76,000


Evan Evans can’t decide what scares him more: keeling over from his rare liver disorder or dying a virgin. When he gets drunk to ask a girl out, he ends up with disturbing dreams, a hangover, and a video of his escapades on a gossip blog.

Now Evan’s grounded. His liver’s failing. And his secretive virtual support group is pissed the video highlights his symptoms. Things go from bad to weird when the nightmares come true, including a classmate’s death and a post-funeral make out session with the blogger who exposed him.

Evan’s certain he could’ve prevented the tragedy, if he’d understood what his dreams meant. And he can’t resist his attraction to the school snitch’s confidence, curves, or the hints that she’s not the one pulling the strings online. While questioning who to trust with the dangerous secrets of his illness, he’s confronted by a specialist conducting unregulated clinical trials and a government informant desperate to record his dreams. Evan must face his disease, its effects on everyone he cares about, and the choice between a longer life on someone else’s terms, or freedom with no hope of recovery.

PERCEPTION is Holly Black's White Cat meets Jennifer Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.

First 250:

That first sip tasted like change, cool with only a hint of bitter.

No one at the party expected me to take a beer, least of all me. My liver’s shot from this genetic disorder I have, so alcohol is high on the list of things not allowed in my body. But after hours at the beach, alone by the fire and surrounded by couples making out, I fished a can from the cooler and cracked it open before my conscience could stop me.

I’d wasted three years in the shadows. Before senior year started, I had to ask a girl out. A little liquid courage seemed like a step in the right direction.

“Oh, shit! Evan Evans has a beer! Somebody take a picture.” Jake laughed.

I flipped Jake off and walked to the shoreline. We’d snuck into Hanna Park through the woods, far from the lights of the condos farther south. Away from the bonfire, the night was all black water and white moonlight catching on the breakers. The memory of coconut sunscreen clung to the breeze, warm but welcome.

I chugged the rest of the beer, ignoring my churning stomach. Powdery dry sand weighed down my feet, and my toe caught when I crossed onto the hard-packed dampness. I pulled a thin red ribbon from beneath my foot. It slipped from my fingers and caught on the wind, twisting and swirling toward a girl sitting alone on a rental chair. 

I couldn’t tell who it was, but I started toward her. Better to talk one-on-one than to crash and burn in front of the crowd.


Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 47,000


At a time when most eleven-year-olds are navigating first crushes, Sunny Beringer finds herself trying to ignite a spark... between her own parents. That’s when Sunny Beringer’s Totally Awesome Plan for Romance is born--a list of sure-fire ways to make her mom and forever boyfriend Scott, her real dad as far as she’s concerned, fall madly in love again.

Step One: Buy Mom and Dad a gift certificate to a romantic restaurant.

Step Two: Make a playlist of Mom’s favorite love songs and give it to Dad. (The mushier, the better!)

Step Three: Enter “A Perfect Family” contest by writing a paragraph about what a great couple Mom and Dad are. (Win the contest and they’ll have to get back together. Plus, the whole family earns a trip to Disney World!)

Step Four: Cut down flowers from the neighbor’s rose bush and give them to Mom as a gift from a Secret Admirer.

By the time Sunny gets to Number 5 on her list, she knows this spark will need to be more like a wildfire. Her mom is back in school and now they’re living miles and miles away from home. Going to a new school, meeting new friends, and learning to live with a grandmother she doesn’t know isn’t easy. To make matters worse, she uncovers secrets about Mom and Dad’s past that makes her question if she’s ever really had a family at all. Without a marriage, divorce, or custody arrangement Sunny knows if she doesn’t spark a romance between her parents soon, she’ll risk losing the only father she’s ever known.

First 250:
Gravel crunched under the car wheels as we pulled into a long winding driveway. I stuck my hand in my jeans pocket, running my fingers over the tiny slip of paper I’d found in my fortune cookie at lunchtime.
You will have a pleasant surprise.
I’d had plenty of surprises in the last couple of months, none of them pleasant. The only surprise I wanted now was for Mom to back the car out of the driveway and tell us it had all been a big mistake. 
My younger sister Autumn bounced up and down on the seat. “This is our new home?”
I stared out the window at a huge white house with black shutters and a porch that wrapped around the side. “This is not our new home,” I corrected her. “It’s our temporary residence.”
Autumn ignored me as she got out of the car. “It’s the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen,” she said, almost in a whisper.
It may have looked like something out of one of those magazines you find at the dentist office, but that didn’t mean I wanted to live there. Moving in with our grandmother meant I was now dad-less, best friend-less, and cat-less, which was nothing to be excited about at all. 
 “Oh, can’t you just feel that fresh mountain air!” Mom exhaled deeply to make her point. 
I had no idea what she was talking about. It still felt hot and humid to me, seeing it was the middle of August. I stared at the hazy blue mountains off in the distance.

Team Kimberly #5: FRAMED

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 100k


When Salt Lake Trib reporter and aspiring novelist Callie Burkhardt started a Ross Dexter fan blog, she didn't anticipate her alter-ego, “Dex's Next Ex,” would become a social media darling and the source for snarky fun and gossip about filmdom's premier golden boy. Landing a contract to write Dex’s biography seems too good to be true, but it’s a step closer to her dream. An added bonus is finding a kindred spirit in Dex’s cousin, handsome A-list restaurateur Jace, a Texas farm boy dropped hard into Hollywood's fast lane. 

As Callie digs deeper into Dex’s life, she learns things don’t add up in this glamorous world filled with debauchery and deceit. Especially where Dex’s wife Diana is concerned, a beautiful porn-star-turned-entrepreneur with a talent for blackmail. What Callie uncovers fuels her fear that there’s far more to why they chose her to tell their story. Both she and Jace want to leave L.A. and pursue their careers on their own terms instead of the Dexters’. Unfortunately, "happily ever after" isn't the ending Diana has in mind for Jace and Callie, forcing them to face a hard truth—one that could destroy their happiness and put not only their careers on the line, but their lives.

First 250:

Callie Burkhardt gave her lens a clockwise twist, the answering zoom framing her quarry inside the viewfinder. Her index finger hovered, waiting for that perfect shot. She considered her subject, the face that barely hinted at the man’s penchant for Hollywood excess. He looked good for someone sliding toward forty.

Ross Dexter, known far and wide as simply “Dex,” gripped the bottom of his designer t-shirt and winked at the female fan in front of him. His biceps flexing, he lifted the garment enough to expose his legendary abs. The low riding waistband of his jeans sat comfortably on his hips, just below the sharp line of his well-defined obliques, revealing a good measure of a golden blond treasure trail.

So much for the man’s very public attempt to transform his reputation. His man-whore moves were too ingrained.

She steadied the lens in her palm, shifting it enough to cut the fan from the photo.


The actor’s eyes held a lascivious glint. He threw his head back, too-white teeth flashing as he laughed at the fan’s reaction.


These would be gold.

The frame went black. Callie glanced over the top of her camera to a broad chest inside a business suit. His Sundance lanyard said SECURITY. She lifted her eyes to a tanned face before stopping short at a pair of deep-set hazel eyes lined by thick gold-tipped lashes.

“No cameras. Can’t you read the signs?”

“I have clearance.” Callie bristled and flashed her press credentials. “Salt Lake Trib. Now move.”


Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 86,000


Seventeen-year-olds Alexandra and Axl Reed may be twins but their interests are as related as baseball and the theatre. Perfect Alexandra is the glorified virgin of Titan Heights; Axl's the renowned punk. They’re always in each other’s faces. 

Until a freak accident puts them in each other's bodies.

Alexandra’s been paying her theatrical dues for years, but after the “magic change,” Axl’s argumentative and carefree ways are going to get him kicked out of Grease rehearsals, very well destroying any chance Alexandra has of performing onstage again. Worse—he drinks. He swears. And, for the love of Fosse, he even rats her hair.

Meanwhile, crass Axl’s been kicking ass at baseball since Little League and he’s finally got a shot at starting for the varsity team. But in his body, Alexandra’s too nice. Too freaking polite. And those jazz hands are going to get her a swirlie. Or worse.

If the twins want to reclaim their bodies and their lives, Axl will have to lose his free-wheeling ways and take on the role of his perfectionist uptight sister, and Alexandra will have to step up to the plate and improvise the part of her brother. They'll have to learn how to relate quickly. Or be the other. Indefinitely.

With the slapstick humor of a campy Broadway song yet the relatable soul of a classic rock ballad, THOSE MAGIC CHANGES will appeal to fans of Grease, Freaky Friday, Glee, baseball, and good ol’ rock and roll.

First 250:

I live for drama.

Guys and Dolls, Oliver, The Wizard of Oz. Last year I played Kim McAfee in Bye Bye Birdie—not the lead, but a pretty sizeable role. I've yet to experience the “big” part, but theatre’s about paying dues, and I’ve paid mine. Understudy, bit parts, dance classes and voice lessons. And now that Mr. Fonda’s selected Grease as this year’s spring musical, I know all that hard work has finally paid off.

I’ll have the best junior year ever if I’m cast as Sandy. I don’t drink or swear. And for the love of Fosse, I never rat my hair. It’s always in a tight ponytail, thank you very much. I spin a circle as I arrive at my locker. I cannot wait to see the cast list!

I'm two swivels into my locker's combination when my brother’s body slams into it. Axl curses and I gasp as Michael Titan shoves him up against his locker. And mine.

“Mess with my girlfriend again, punk, and it’ll be your face in the toilet.”

Axl eggs him on with his cocky little grin. “You mess with my friends, I screw yours, asshole.”

The crowd around us grows exponentially. My claustrophobia’s kicking in. Next, it will be my asthma. I brace myself with my inhaler, focus on controlling my breathing. Especially once Michael squares his shoulders. His very broad shoulders.

“You can shut your mouth now. Punk.”

“Make me.” Axl blows a spike of hair off his forehead. “Dick.”

Team Kimberly #7: ELEGY

Title: ELEGY
Genre: YA Paranormal Suspense
Word Count: 63,000

Stella Kim opened a Carnegie Hall concert with her world-class violin at the age of thirteen. Four years later, she enrolls at a prestigious music school in France, certain she’ll be a star even among the cream of the crop. With renowned teachers and the owners’ handsome son, Paul, to impress – not to mention her best friend, Aria, by her side – Stella anticipates a sparkling debut.

What she doesn’t expect is shy, humble Aria stealing not only Paul’s interest, but also the spotlight, after a brilliant performance on an old violin she found in the school. Her pride wounded, Stella begins drifting away from her friend, who seems to be growing more and more obsessed with success… and with that hideous instrument.

But when Aria starts to sleepwalk and to speak of a strange, sad-eyed man who haunts her dreams, teaching her to play with a passion she has never felt before, Stella realizes that the violin may be endangering her friend’s life. She puts aside her ego and, with Paul's help, delves into the violin’s secrets, uncovering the dark history of a musician whose unrequited love may have led him to seek revenge from beyond the grave.

Together, they must unravel the mystery before the ghost brings down the curtain and claims Aria forever in this sweepingly romantic tale inspired by The Phantom of the Opera.

First 250:

Excitement was not an emotion Stella Kim allowed herself to show. She preferred to take life coolly, calm and unruffled like the waters of some wintry pond. But when she looked out the car window at the Chateau Champlain, where she would spend the next four years of her life, her lips twitched upward of their own accord. Here, in this gray stone giant on the banks of the Loire River, she would make something of herself.

There would be sopranos who had sung at the Sydney Opera House, dancers from corps de ballet across the globe, and pianists who had performed for royalty. The spotlight followed them in a trail of dreams, and today, she would be among them, one of the elite.

“I can’t believe we’re going to live here.” Aria Stewart pressed her face against the window. “It’s like Marie Antoinette.”

“It’s not exactly Versailles,” Stella said, noting the expensive cars parked along the drive.

“Come on, I know you’re more excited than you let on.”

Stella returned her infectious smile. “I am. It’s just…” She hesitated, remembering the day she had gotten her acceptance letter from the French-American School and placed it in front of her mother, her joy like secret bubbles rising within her. But Deborah Kim had only glanced at it briefly, saying “We’ll have to get your passport renewed,” and the bubbles had popped, one by one, until she was nothing more than flat champagne.

Team Kimberly #8: THE PACT

Word Count: 100K


For twenty-one-year old Scarlett Earle, being the President’s daughter has its perks, like getting exempt from a worldwide alien-induced slaughter that happens once every four years.

After an alien race, known as the Otros, set in motion a war that consumed the Earth, the powers on both sides made a pact to end the fight. The result was The Clearing, an event that allows a harvest of all the Earth’s resources, including humans. For mankind, this means respite from attack and peaceful living for the majority of their lives. For the Otros, it means total domination.

Scarlett is assigned the task of traveling through North America to speak about the importance and history of The Clearing. While on the road, she learns that the story she's been told to tell isn’t as accurate as she once thought. The lies that her parents have been telling her, and the entire world, begin to unravel and Scarlett learns that the pact her father made may not have been so simple.

As Scarlett discovers the truth, she’ll be in danger not only from an underground rebel group who plans to overthrow the government, but also from the government itself. 
THE PACT is a standalone Adult novel with series potential. It is HOUSE OF CARDS meets WAR OF THE WORLDS, as political gameplay and science fiction merge in a story about a corrupt government and a girl who is faced with the ultimate choice: duty or truth? 

First 250:

The invasion didn’t happen the way it does in the movies. Instead of screaming, there was silence. No black, omniscient death ships hovering in the sky.  No unstoppable laser-powered weapons. Definitely, no little green men. 

It was anti-climactic where scenarios of world domination are concerned. One could even say that if it wasn’t for living in the age of technology, mankind could have carried on and not even noticed what was happening around them. 

The disappearances began in the poorest countries, Liberia, Malawi, the Congo. At first it was just the livestock that went missing. Large herds seemed to evaporate overnight, with no evidence left of where they went or who took them. Then there was war, but in places already filled with struggle, this didn’t draw much attention from the rest of the world, not until more precious goods began to go missing. Coffee, cotton, diamonds and oil suffered the same fate as the livestock and this made the world take notice, but not in a good way. The fighting grew to a larger scale, each countries leaders accusing the others. There was conflict and violence that began consuming the planet, all of which laid the groundwork for the real war to begin. 

  It’s hard to know whether they planned this, or if it was sheer luck that the human race chose to hurt instead of help each other. After fine goods, they moved onto the next commodity they sought, the one that they wanted more than anything.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Writer's Voice Blogfest is live!

“The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest is live! Over the next week, the coaches will review your queries and first pages on the blogs listed below, and if one of the coaches wants you on her team, she’ll leave a comment on your post that says something like, “I want you!” (Please note that the coaches won’t post any comments for the first few days, so if you don’t get an instant “I want you!” don’t fret!) If more than one coach wants you, you’ll have to pick which coach you want to work with. (We’ll give you more instructions on this next week, depending on how things pan out…)

For more information, including a timeline of events and a list of this year’s participating agents, check out this post. In the meantime, feel free to hop around and play along with these not-quite-blind auditions!

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Writer's Voice Rafflecopter Is Open!

Welcome to “The Writer’s Voice” 2014! To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions: First, it must be COMPLETE, POLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the following genres:

Adult Historical

Adult Fantasy

Adult Science Fiction

Adult Romance (excluding erotica)

YA fiction (all genres)

MG fiction (all genres)

Also, YOU MUST HAVE A BLOG TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONTEST, as we’ll be building our teams via “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest (which starts tomorrow). You don’t have to have a blog at this moment to enter, but you will need to create one ASAP if you win a spot in the blogfest (which is what today’s Rafflecopter lottery will determine).

For more information, including a timeline of events and a list of this year’s participating agents, check out this post. Then feel free to enter the Rafflecopter lottery anytime between now and 9:00 p.m. EDT!

a Rafflecopter giveaway