Monday, July 31, 2017

Pitchwars 2017

Hi there, and thank you for visiting my page. My name is Jackie, and this is my third year entering Pitch Wars. I am entering the first book in my YA trilogy. It is time travel + real world based fantasy + lots of family drama and complicated character relationships. My favorite types of things to read and write are character relationships, no matter what the backdrop is, give me good, deep, characters, and that is where I want to be.

As you can probably tell, I have taken quite a hiatus from my website, and mostly from everything else. Sometimes life gets away from us, but thankfully it's Pitch Wars time again. Stepping away from my MS for a while has definitely helped give perspective. Hooray for fresh eyes!


As this it my third year, I debated for a while whether or not I should even do a pimpmybio this year, but figured meh, why not? Here are the three main reasons why life has gotten away from me since Pitch Wars 2016.

Reason #1
The Puppy aka, demon monster, aka, little angel baby, aka, dragon shark, aka, cuddle bug, aka my life now. Her name is Lily.

The day I got Lily and my
parents got her brother.
In the midst of last year's Pitch Wars, our beloved family dog, Cooper, got very sick, it was his gal bladder. There was an awesome supportive outpouring of Pitch Wars family members who tried to keep my spirits high during the surgery, who messaged me personally to check-in periodically, offered condolences, and just virtually took care of me and helped more than they knew. Unfortunately, he did not make it, and after that, my heart was no longer able to keep up with the fun of Pitch Wars, and I sort of went off the grid. I've sort of been off the grid ever since.

Anyway, raising Lily can, at times, be all consuming, but she's such a good little girl, and I am so happy we have each other!





Reason #2
The Pony aka my princess. Her name is Sierra.

Photo opp with the pony :)
Shortly after I graduated from my Masters program (I have a Masters in Writing fiction from Johns Hopkins - just wanted to throw that in there ;)), Sierra became my new love. She was out of work and somewhat green when I started working with her, but thanks to my awesome trainer, in the past couple of months, she has become very ride-able. Everyday after my 9-5 job, I go right to the farm (with Lily) and lunge/ride the pony for 15-30 minutes. It is my time to clear my head, and it is our bonding time. Having a horse is an amazing experience, full of insane ups and downs, but I am so thankful for her every day. If you're a Pitch Wars horse girl or guy, please tweet me! I am always looking for more writer-horse friends!


Reason #3
The Renovation aka the bane of my existence for the last year. Okay, so maybe that is a bit harsh.

Kitchen before/after
But, last year, I put an offer on a condo and was so excited. At the home inspection I started to get sick (stuffed up, itchy, rash), and realized I was allergic to the place. I have severe dust and cat allergies. Sigh.

So, I had to basically gut the home and replace everything which required  saving funds, lots of time I didn't have with work, the pony, and the puppy, and the limited ability for me to stay in the home for extended amounts of time before I started getting sick. It took over a year to get to a move-in point, and it's still not done, but I am taking a bit of a break for the time being to just have some down time that doesn't involve painting floors or walls every night.

Unfortunately, writing had to take a back seat to this, but now I have that slot opened back up!

So, now that I've shared this, Mentors, please don't read this and think I have no time for revisions. Trust me, I can handle a lot, and I can always make it work. Example, while getting my Masters, I worked full time, continued riding lessons, wrote my novel, went to the shore almost every weekend, and still had time to be social and spend time with my family and pups....

Okay, now for more Pitch Wars and book-related stuff.

As I mentioned earlier, this is my third time entering pitchwars, hoping *maybe* the third time is the charm.

My book is a trilogy (more threes), and it's something that means much more to me than just a book.

The idea originated between me and my best friend back in the mid 2000s. We would write together everyday via the phone and AOL Instant Messenger. We had a canon cast of characters, and one evening, she decided to throw a curve ball.

"I have a weird idea, but it will take us in a new direction for a little bit, just trust me?" she said.

So I went with it.

She started the scene by having one of the future kids (her character) of our current cast walk into the room of a sibling (my character). Brother hands sister a photo. "What is this?"

"It's a photo of the man who killed dad."

So of course, I am dumbfounded at this. I want to buck back and say nope! What do you mean you've killed off one of our best characters?! I made the rule, no killing characters off for a reason! 

"Just trust me, okay?" she tells me. "If we don't like it, we can scrap it."

So I keep reading.

"I'm not playing this game," says sister. "You know they have no idea who did it, or even when or how he died!"

"Well, I have a photo, it's a place to start. And I've figured out a way we can go back in time and save him."


Welp......as soon as you add time travel, you've got me hooked. So I rolled with it. It wasn't a death sentence to her character, we were basically growing up the kids and bringing them into our current world. And it was fun. It refreshed our writing, gave us a new angle to work with, and a fun mystery to create and solve together.

We eventually moved on to other stories, and other characters, and that storyline took a backseat.

But then, one morning in April of 2009, I woke up to 'hang up' voicemail from her.
I called her back.
Her brother answered.
She died overnight from an asthma attack.

It took a long time for me to come back from that. And one of the ways I came back was to take one of our old story lines (I revisited the time travel one), and start writing every night, the same time I would have been working with her, and I wrote it into a book.

I ended up changing many aspects of the book, moving the setting, changing the rules of magic, adding characters she never knew, and killing off (literally) characters she likely would have beat me up for ever even suggesting they be knocked off. The result is what I'm entering into Pitch Wars.

When I said this is much more to me than just a book, it is my way of honoring her memory. I was lost without her for a long time. Losing her changed me forever, and pushed me to do something I thought I could never really do, write a book completely on my own. I've since written other (almost finished) books, and have another one I'm in the midst of planning now. I always consider entering one of the other projects, but this one is the most important to me, and right now the only one that really matters. I want it published for her.


The first chunk of this book has been through the Johns Hopkins Writing Program (I went to school to try to get the tools needed to get this book written), and used this book as my thesis. By no means is it perfect, and at this point, it's been almost ten years that I have been beating this thing to death. What it needs is fresh eyes, a fresh take, and some help. I know I need a lot of help with the end, and a few points that drag. I need to get Book One to a point where it can "stand alone," in that we've got a clear resolution to this first chapter -- but the next book picks up right where the first ends. I am open to whatever you have to offer. I have a thick skin when it comes to writing, and while there are few things I am not willing to compromise (the main one being, it is a long story to be told, and I can't/don't want to condense it down into one book. I've gotten this first installment down from almost 130K to around 96K, but it is a "to be continued..." sort of series). I am not opposed to trying new things to make this work. It's something that's always an "almost" and never a "yes." I need an awesome teammate, someone who believes in this story as much as I do, and can help finally help us change the perpetual "almost" to a "yes."

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Good luck to all Pitch Wars entrants, and teams!!


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy Derby Day!

Hi everyone! I know I've been neglecting this blog quite a bit lately, and for that I apologize. My current focus has been on The Process Project (which you can visit here: The Process Project) and on an all new project that I'm hoping to launch *very soon*! What I'll say about the new project is it combines my two favorite things....writing and horses! I will keep you guys updated! Until then, enjoy Derby Day and keep writing!

Friday, February 19, 2016

So excited, Michelle's book is finally out! My review!

My friend, Michelle Madow, released a new YA Urban Fantasy book back at the end of January. I'm so proud of her for all the hard work she puts into not only writing her books, but marketing, and connecting with her fans. If you're looking to self publish, Michelle is definitely a great role model, as she also found success with her first series, Remembrance, which is now FREE FOREVER on Amazon Kindle!!! You should DEFINITELY hop over there and get your copies today! And then download the first book in her new series while you're at it!

Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows

My all-time favorite book series is Harry Potter, and I have always loved Greek Mythology, so I was so excited when I saw that this book combined mythology and witches. While this book is told from one girl’s (Nicole), point of view, though there are really five main characters in my eyes: Blake, Danielle, Kate, and Chris. These five are a group of kids that wouldn’t likely be friends at school, but a magical incident that happens one night on a school field trip bonds them together. Together these five are one super-hero team, The Elementals. The main action of the book is a scavenger hunt, which is a neat way to build this world of magic. This first book really helps to lay the groundwork for what I hope is a super fun series to come.

My favorite character in this series is Blake because he feels really well developed through his actions and the things he says to Nicole. He’s her forbidden love interest. Blake and Danielle are going out (even though Blake keeps saying he’s going to break up with her!), but he says he’s drawn to Nicole, just as Nicole is to him. Nicole knows nothing can happen, because she is not the kind of girl who is going to be a party to cheating – well, that, and she doesn’t want bad blood, especially amongst their group who may very well be destined to save the world together. Though I’m hoping there is more to their relationship that will play out in the next couple of books!

What I like about this book is the magic is based in mythology and it’s not really heavy high fantasy, which I tend to get lost in – this is based in our world. It takes place in a regular suburban town in New England, and makes it feel like you could almost have this secret world of magical people in your high school too. I know that people say this is like Percy Jackson, but I’ve never read those books before. If you loved Talia Vance’s BANDIA books, then I think you will like ELEMENTALS. Both are based in mythology (Greek vs Irish), and take place in a regular high school. Also, it made me think about Hercules and there was definitely a moment when I nostalgically started singing “The Gospel Truth” from Disney’s Hercules in my head ;)

If you’re looking for a fast paced urban fantasy book that has to do with prophecies, Greek Gods, witches and magic, then this is the book for you! Looking forward to April to see what's in store for book two!

Purchase your copy today!

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Please also check out some of my interviews with her here....!!

The Process Project: Michelle Madow
Interview with Michelle Madow from 2014

Also check out my Diamonds in the Rough Release Party Pics!

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Visit Michelle online: www.michellemadow.com, and be sure to subscribe to her newsletter and follow her on Amazon for instant updates on her books!

Follow her on: 
Twitter: @MichelleMadow
Instagram: @MichelleMadow
Snapchat: MichLMadow

Thursday, February 18, 2016

HOORAY! Spartagus has a new book out -- The Wolves of Dynamo


I am so proud of and excited for my friend, Gareth Young, aka Spartagus. He has just released a new book! 

THE WOLVES OF DYNAMO


Check out all the details below!


THE WOLVES OF DYNAMO
By Gareth S. Young

Thirteen-year-old Eileen MacCormick has always called Dynamo City home. Its bustling streets, imposing Cathedral, and enveloping forest fascinate her, giving her solace after the death of her father. But after moving closer to the forest she finds so comforting, she discovers that it hides a dark, magical world.

Eileen's life changes irrevocably when she crosses paths with a murderer who is terrorizing the city. Heartsick, she finds herself drawn back to the forest where an enclave of mysterious wolves reveal themselves to her. Eileen is shocked to learn she can communicate with the wolves and outraged when the ancient animals demand she lure the murderer to the forest.

How can these creatures ask this of her? How can a thirteen-year-old possibly catch a killer?

Bewildered by her role in this new magical world, and by the wolves' extraordinary request, Eileen must battle her sorrow and find courage as she begins the most dangerous and incredible adventure of her life.



GET YOUR COPY HERE!
Kindle


Gareth S. Young

Gareth S. Young was born and raised in Scotland, but has now lived for more than 15 years in the American Midwest. This has played havoc with his accent. In 2010, he published his first full length story, a mystery/suspense novel called Monsters In April 2013, his short story "The Orange-headed Serpent" was published in the Orange Karen Anthology. 2015 will see the release of Dynamo City: The Wolves of Dynamo, part one of an audacious YA urban fantasy series. Other upcoming works include Persephone, the much anticipated follow up to Monsters and part two of the Dynamo City saga.

And follow SpartaGus on the web!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Our Friend Pippa Jay's Release Day is here!

Pippa Jay  is one of our lovely Process Project interviewees, and today is her release day for book two!! Check out all of the information below!

Check out her interview here: Pippa Jay's Writing Process

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A seductive tyrant. A lost hero. And a galaxy about to fall...

It’s been a year in paradise for Keir and Quin, but now the idyll is over. After Quin falls sick, they return to the hidden sanctuary of Lyagnius, and what she learns there will not only change their lives, but set them on a journey that could separate them forever.

When Keir falls victim to a ruthless Nercaandi Empress bent on conquering the galaxy with her cybernetic army, it will take all Quin’s diminishing powers and the help of her son to find him. But what waits for her aboard the tyrant’s ship will test her strength and the limits of their love, and put everything she cares about at risk. Including Keir.

With the galaxy itself about to fall, will she be able to save him?

Book Two of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe.

Please add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE, or sign up HERE for my no-spam newsletter for special previews on cover reveals, new releases, the latest giveaways and discounts, and upcoming news. Or click Follow on my Amazon author page.


Buy Keir's Fall at these links below!!

Print to follow. Visit the webpage at http://www.pippajay.co.uk/#!keirs-fall-redemption-2/c1ju0

Book One - Keir - is available for just 99 cents/Euros/pence until the end of December. http://www.pippajay.co.uk/#!keir/c187d


More about Pippa Jay!

After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 22 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres. Her works include YA and adult stories crossing a multitude of subgenres from scifi to the paranormal, often with romance, and she’s one of eight authors included in a science fiction romance anthology—Tales from the SFR Brigade. She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), the 2015 EPIC eBook awards, the 2015 RWA LERA Rebecca (2nd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place).

You can stalk her at her website, or at her blog, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.


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