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." 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!!

Ways to follow