Nestpitch 2015 Teams – Simply Smawesome!

91aab551Hello all,

I guess it would be no big revelation if I said I make stuff up, given my chosen profession. The thing is I also make words up, usually by accident. That’s what happened yesterday morning. I was working on the Nestpitch Team bio’s and as I got further along, it hit me at how amazing this years Mentors & Slushies are.

I also talk to myself. Well that and the cats, which is kind of the same thing. So there I was, working on the Team bio’s talking to myself when my brain, which often works way faster than my mouth (& that’s saying something!), was thinking “these teams are Super, Magical, Awesome– and what came out of my mouth (literally) was smawesome – & that’s what these Team’s are – SMAWESOME! So I’m coining the word as my own & who knows? It might just catch on 🙂thebestdayyet

Below are the Teams and when you read them you’ll agree, they are smawesome, but before you look through the Teams, I wanted to run through the selection process. Now, don’t freak out too much as a full list of dates, rules and conditions will be posted on the 23rd / 24th of March. For now just mark March 23rd /24th and April 1st (submission date).

The submission consists of:

(i)                 35-word pitch

(ii)               Answer to this question: If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be? (no more than 15 words please)

(iii)             1st 300-words of your manuscript*

*1st 300 = if you have a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. If you don’t think your prologue is strong enough then perhaps you need to rethink your prologue.

Finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

This year we will not be accepting PB’s – I have something special planned for PB’s (and perhaps MG’s) for December 2015 assuming I can get all my ducks in a row 😉

defeatistTwo things to add/note:

(1)               A condition of entry is any MS #pitch submitted to previous #pitches, which resulted in being selected, in the twelve months prior to April 2015, is ineligible.   The only sub-clause to this is #PitchSlam. Please let us know if  you have the same MS in #PitchSlam & #Nestpitch, and again if you’ve been selected. I have spoken to the Host of PitchSlam & we’ve agreed to work closely on this one.

(2)               This year there will be less final selection featured pitches. (Expecting final the number to be around 40). With each Team concentrating on fewer submissions, we can be more hands-on with feedback and mentoring. By doing this, not only will the pitch + 300-words be stronger, but so will the entire MS. This year there will be rounds.

Harry potter styl image 1a.      Round #1: Last year I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt when errors were made in following guidelines. That will not be the case this year, aside from formatting issues (which happen). To get past #1 author’s must be able to follow guidelines.

b.      Round #2: This year each Team will select and initial 5-8 submissions and then request more pages/material. Based on the additional pages/material, each Team will drill their selection down to between 4-5 to go to the next round.

March-06-2012-17-18-53-tumblrltqwvxV4261qlcw7co1500c.      Round #3: On having picked their final 4-5, each Team will then critique the first 2,500-words and ‘get to know’ the author(s). This is a 3-fold process. Being selected does not necessarily mean being featured. Teams will want to know the author(s) are willing to accept feedback etc.  The Teams will work with their author’s for 3 weeks, offering feedback, sharpening pitches, & suggesting improvements. After this, the author’s have a full week to re-read their MS in full & make any final changes; before the agent round.

 From the Slush-pile Picks.

My Team, #Team2Beat, will be hunting through the slush-pile and the reserves, looking for gems that have been missed. We will have the option of selecting between 1-5 pitches (at our discretion) to feature. This is basically a bonus-pick so, you may just get an email after the date, but if you do, expect to work twice as hard as the other author’s as you’ll have less time – so be ready!

All of the above, together with dates and other conditions will be posted on March 23rd / 24th in an information post  – so keep a look out for that post.

And now, (in no particular order), bathe in the smawesmeness of our Teams! 

SCSC_Author – Mentor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SC_Author  & blog: http://www.scwrite.blogspot.com.au/

Co-host of “Query Kombat” and “Nightmare on Query Street” and the host of “The Writer’s Tank” and “Become an Agent,” SC founded the#WriteInclusively pact in efforts to promote creative writing that has diversity as a focus. SC also wrote: “There’s a story behind my icon pic, a story that used to be funny a few years ago. I’m on the quest to find a new icon, though. Stay tuned!  Slushies: 

Laura HeffernanLaura Heffernan – Slushie – Laura is a California-born women’s fiction writer, represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary.. One Saturday morning when she was four or five, Laura sat down at the family’s Commodore 64 and typed out her first short story. She’s written both fiction and non-fiction ever since.

In her spare time, Laura likes travel baking, board games, and new experiences. She lives in the northeast, freezing like the true California girl she is, with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts. Her fuzzy sock collection is becoming impressive. You’ll find Laura on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LH_Writes 

Heather MurphyHeather Murphy Capps – Slushie – Heather is an MG/YA author of adventures and thrillers with light sci-fi, magical, or ghostly twists. When not writing, she’s wrangling her most important beta readers — her children. She also teaches and design courses (for adults) in writing and public speaking. Heather often features as a guest blogger on several popular blogs and recently wrote a guest blog on SC’s blog about her experiences as a writer & person of mixed cultural background.

You’ll find Heather on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/HeatherMC66 

LouiseLouise GornallMentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rock_andor_roll  Blog: http://bookishblurb.com

YA author of urban fantasy and horror stories, Louise like her art on the dark-side. She describes herself as “Identical twin, junk food aficionado, book bird,film nerd, Jedi” & is represented by Mandy Hubbard at D4EO. Also, she’s from the UK so you know her voice will be as hot as her photo!

Lou’s Slushies:             

Sarah CarlsonSarah Carlson – Slushie Sarah loves writing (and reading) Young Adult Contemporary fiction that touches on social issues. She recently relocated from Singapore back to Wisconsin with her husband and two dogs to return to working in schools. Sarah is represented by fabulous Claire Anderson-Wheeler of Regal Literary Management. You’ll find Sarah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/sarahjoydrop 

Kate FosterKate Foster – Slushie -Kate is a freelance editor and proofreader, writer of middle grade fiction and reader of all things dark and disturbing. Her first novel, Winell Road, is set for release later this year with Jet Black Publishing. Originally from the UK, she now lives on the gold Coast in Australia with her husband, three sons and pet spoodle.  (we’ll claim her as an Aussie!)

You’ll find Kate on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/winellroad

Sharon Bayliss picSharon Bayliss – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SharonBayliss & Blog http://www.sharonbayliss.com/

Author extraordinaire with Curiosity Quills, (yes I’m a super-fan of her December People Series), Sharon lives in Texas with her hubby & gorgeous children where, between chasing after her boys, she  tweets, writes & helps other authors too.

Sharon B’s Slushies: 

Katy Katy Upperman – Slushie Writer of YA & represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, Katy describes herself as a wife, mama,avid reader and country music fanatic who likes baking, cheap beer, long runs, Jelly Bellies, sunshine, social media, and yoga. You’ll find Katy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KatyUpperman 

Jessika FleckJessika Fleck – Slushie – represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley at Inklings Literary, Jessika is a lover of art and booksbut it wasn’t until she put the two together that Jessika discovered the magic of storytelling. Jessika lives in quaint, small town Vermont with her sweet family, growing collection of vintage typewriters, and bevy of characters who often keep her up at night. You’ll find Jessika on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/jessikafleck 

Stacey Nash picStacey Nash – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/staceynash Blog: http://www.stacey-nash.com/

Author of YA & NA (HarperCollins), and fellow Aussie, Stacey is also part of the blogging team at AussieOwnedAndRead. When not writing, Tweeting or Facebook- ing, she can be found spending time with her family.

Stacey’s Slushies: 

Kathy PalmKathy Palm – Slushie – Magic-wielding, TARDIS-traveling, stay-at-home mom, and YA fantasy/horror writer Kathy recently signed with REUTS Publications, her debut DOORS to be released in winter of 2016. She loves chocolate and all the weird, creepy, and fantastical words. You’ll find Kathy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KathleenPalm 

LivLiv Rancourt – Slushie – Liv writes romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire…or sometimes demon. She writes funny, not angst. When not writing Liv takes care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. She describes her husband is a soul of patience and her dog as the cutest thing evah(!) You’ll find Liv on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/LivRancourt 

sharon jSharon Johnston – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/S_M_Johnston & Blog: http://downunderwonderings.blogspot.com.au/

Another fellow Aussie, and talented writer, like Stacey, Sharon is also part of the AussieOwnedAndRead blogging team. She is also involved with several other #PitchComps, hence why wenicknamed her #ThePitchWhisperer

Sharon J’s Slushies: 

E.L WickerE.L Wicker – Slushie  – E.L is, in her own words “mildly (massively) obsessed with new Adult” (another reason I like her!). If she’s not reading it, she’s writing it. Among her favourite pastimes is hunting out new books by sparkly new authors. Author of the Bearwood series and blog assistant to Sharon Johnston (& now Slushie too), Emma is a lover of the contraction, a hater of the ‘off of’ & like the rest of us, a writer doing her thing. You’ll find E.L on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/ELWicker  

JC NelsonJC Nelson – Slushie –  J.C is a born Texan living in the Pacific Northwest. Software developer by day and by night, an author and herder of Children and chickens. J.C.  writes Urban Fantasy blended with fairy tales, such as the Grimm Agency series. You can find J.C. on twitter here: https://twitter.com/AuthorJCNelson

Amanda Foody pic Amanda Foody – Mentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmandaFoody & Blog: http://www.amandafoody.blogspot.com.au/

Repped by Molly Jaffa at Folio Literary. When not writing YA, or reading a book, you’ll likely find Amanda sprinting across her campus to another accounting class – yes there are author’s who are also accountants!

Amanda’s Slushies: 

photoNiki Cluff – Slushie – Niki was one of our success stories from last year and has joined us this year as one of Amanda’s Slushies. Niki is represented by Cate Hart at Corvisiero Literary Agency.

You’ll find Niki on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/nikimcluff

JenaJena DuBois – Slushie – Jena is a English Major (in other words, grammar, syntax and spell WILL COUNT) as well as an aspiring author. As a BETA to her fabulous Mentor for the past two years, Jena knows how to edit and how to spot those plot holes 😉 You’ll find Jena here: https://twitter.com/SlushieJena  

brooke PBrooke PowellMentor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCakeNovelist Blog: http://www.thecakenovelist.blogspot.com.au/

Also signed with Folio Literary, Brooke like her subjects and her characters to stretch the readers perception of normal, she calls it “contemporary fiction that tends to twist and turn toward the more taboo side of things” When not writing, editing or social media-ing, Brooke can be found making cakes looks like works of art.

Brooke’s Slushies:

Heather BHeather Bryant – Slushie – Another Aussie, Heather lives in a little city in Australia with far too many voices in her head. When not reading, writing or sharing tweets online, Heather is another contributor on the AussieOwnedAndRead blog. If you have a purple unicorn, let Heather know! You’ll find Heather on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/heather_b88  

Kristy Shen PicKristy Shen – Slushie – Computer Engineer by day and one half of a writing duo by night. In her spare time, she likes traveling to exotic places, eating strange foods, and scaring the locals with her unintelligible hyper-babble and insane ramblings. Her debut MG novel LITTLE MISS EVIL has just been released through Spencer Hill Press. Kristy is represented by Jamie Bodnar Drowley at Inklings Literary. You’ll find Kristy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/KristyShen

LaurenLauren McKellar – Mentor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurenKMcKellar & Blog: http://laurenkmckellar.com/

uthor, editor, AussieOwnedAndRead blog contributor and yes, another Aussie, Lauren’s debut novel, Finding Home, was released through Escape Publishing Harlequin Australia, on October 1, 2013. You can find out more about her Contemporary Crazy in Love series via her blog.

Lauren’s Slushies: 

Tracy JoyceTracy Joyce – Slushie – Tracy is an Australian Author of speculative fiction  who grew up in rural Victoria.  Her debut novel, Altaica: Book I in The Chronicles of Altaica, has been published by Odyssey Books. Tracy has long been a fan of the Fantasy genre, but particularly likes novels that deal with deep characterisations and that don’t flinch from the gritty realities of life. You’ll find Tracy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/TracyMJoyce

Karen McCoyKaren McCoy – Slushie –   As a writer who also works as a librarian; Karen must have the second most wanted profession for writers, the first being one-after-the-other best sellers! Author if MG & YA, Karen also an MFA student. When not reading, or writing or studying, you’ll likely find Karen on her blog or blogging on the Operation Awesome blog. You’ll find Karen on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/WriterLibrarian

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Nikola Vukoja – Mentor Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nik_Vukoja Blog: http://nikvukoja.wordpress.com/

Host & creator of #Nestpitch & co-host of Post-it-Forward, Nik’s tastes tend toward NA & Adult in both reading and writing, Nik likes her stuff to either be on the dark side or historical or have a social message, ideally all three! When not writing, you’ll find Nik working on her visual art, cooking, gardening & following orders from her Feline Overlords.

Nikola’s Slushie: 

JadahJadah McCoy – Slushie – Jadah lives in Nashville, TN and works as a legal coordinator. When not babysitting attorneys she can be found desperately juicing her brain for creative ideas or fantasizing about her next trip out of the country (or about Tom Hiddleston as Loki – it’s always a toss up when she’s fantasizing). Her debut NA sci-fi is forthcoming from Curiosity Quills Press. You’ll find Jadah on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/theQueryFaerie  

boopyeaster

And now – let the Easter Festivities begin! 

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The Power of a 1-Star Review – (Giving & Getting)

GYBeiUqHi All – Happy New Year!

Before Christmas I mentioned on my Facebook Page that I was reading an international best seller which had been awarded two prestigious awards & how I could not comprehend either the awards or the best seller status. I also promised that, when done, aside from getting around to posting my review on both Amazon & Goodreads, I wanted to fully explain my intended rating (1-star) here. Since then, I’ve also received 1x 1-star review for a piece of (short) non-fiction I wrote.

Given I was about to do the same to another author, I thought I’d not only explain my 1-star rating, but also discuss  how I felt about my own 1-star review.

So here we go!

I should say from the get-go I’m expecting some negative backlash for my 1-star rating on Geraldine Brooks’ “People of the Book” novel. I’m expecting it because:

(i) people who are likely better qualified than me have raved about this book

(ii) this novel has won two awards

(iii) this novel is a best seller

(iv) it was written by a female author (not enough of us truly) with the main character being an Australian (again not nearly enough novels see the light of day with Aussie characters) and being a woman.

(v) I’m sure I am about to break some unwritten law about not supporting female Australian authors who write about Australia and have Australian main characters

tumblr_mzsnmcm69L1sner72o3_400If that is the case, so be it. My review & opinion stands.

Firstly, let me say, this is the FIRST time I have ever given ANY novel a 1-star review & I did not take this decision lightly, however, if I am to be honest in my reviews then I cannot be swayed by popular opinion.

Without giving the entire novel away, in order to demonstrate my issues, I will give a brief synopsis of the novel.

The main character, Hanna, is an Australian who was born and raised in an elite area of Sydney, attending the best schools (etc). Her mother is a world renowned neurosurgeon who lectures around the world (mostly US) in between doing the most complex surgery and saving lives. Hanna has double honours degrees in chemistry & ancient Near Eastern languages, a Masters in chemistry & a PhD in fine art conservation. She too is among the top in her field (she restores old manuscripts and saves pieces of historical and archaeological significance) and travels all over the world to do her work, write papers, give lectures etc. She is an only child and (almost until the end) she has no idea who her father is. Additionally, the relationship between mother and daughter is strained to say the least.

Hanna is given an assignment in Bosnia, just after the War of Independence, to save a magnificent Jewish document. She intends to not only restore this treasure but to try and work out where it has been (it’s over five hundred years old) and how it has survived so long in such war-torn and religiously and politically unstable climates.

hunger-games-katnissBasically this book had everything I love in a book. It had a female main character. It had links to Australia. It was written by a female author. It had lots and lots of history, much of which touched on my own Croatian history. And it wasn’t the standard “girl-meets-boy” yadda yadda (they don’t appeal to me & therefore I neither read nor review them). In other words I was super excited to read this.

That excitement dwindled from Chapter #1 – onward.

Chapter #1 was so long-winded, with so much exposition (unnecessary exposition) that I ended up skipping ½ of it. Funny thing was (or perhaps not so funny), when I started Chapter #2, I found I’d missed NOTHING.

I should add that the novel is over 400 pages. That in itself was not an issue, I have read books in the 700+ pages and devoured them, but this dragged on, and on, and on, and on. There are three chapters that are (each) over 50 pages – no break. I found myself skipping page after page and getting more and more disillusioned. What’s worse is, when the author stopped waxing on and on with mind-numbing details that added nothing to the pace, there were some truly brilliant parts. Some of the pages brought me to tears – literally. This is what made it difficult to simply stop. Because there was brilliance beyond words, I kept going, hungry for more pages and passages like this. Sadly there was not enough greatness to out way the mundane & unnecessary.

Let me start listing my biggest hang-ups.

(i)                 Make up your mind, Australian or American?funny-gifs-you-are-pictures_large

As I mentioned, the MC was from a well-to-do part of Sydney, yet, on occasion, she’d use terms which, as someone who has lived her entire life in the CBD (or near) parts of Melbourne, I’ve only heard used by Steve – The Crocodile Hunter – Irwin or the fictional character Mick “Crocodile” Dundee (is it a crocodile thing?). Now, don’t get me wrong, some people, especially in the country and even more so in the outback, do say G’day, but not city people (and that’s far from the worst of it – Bonza and other utterly cliché words were used throughout), and certainly not by someone with a doctorate, with a mother who sent her to the finest private schools (etc). But even this I was willing to overlook, some marketing ploy perhaps, except then the author goes ahead and uses American English. Words like TRAVELLED became TRAVELED (one L) and everything had a “Z” in place of an “S” – even her mentioning her honours degrees, the word honours has no “U” – any degree she got in Australia would 100% have the U. This sort of inconsistency DRIVES ME CRAZY. I found myself saying out loud things like “oh please!” referring to some of her language and rolling my eyes at USA English. Again, I have no issue with USA English, but this is AN AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR writing about AN AUSTRALIAN MAIN CHARACTER, one who has finished a hell of a lot of schooling IN AUSTRALIA. Franking it was annoying.

(ii)               Historical Inaccuracy.CatComputer2

This is a biggie for me. If you’re going to write a historical novel, then please oh please check your facts. There are so many minor historical inaccuracies I could list, but I don’t want this to be a 10-page blog-post, so I’m going to identify two of them.

a)                  The author refers to the Habsburg Empire. That’s fine. Except she calls them HAPSBURG – with a “P” not the correct B. Now, I should say that the surname is often written as a P, incorrectly, and the Habsburgs accepted both spelling forms (this came about because of a miss-spelling centuries ago & has remained), however the correct spelling is with a B. Given the MC is supposed to be this big-shot PhD, a specialist in her field, someone who details with history and antiquities and parchments and documents, (the MC even did her residency in Vienna FFS!), one would think she’d KNOW how to spell the name correctly, after all I and 1000s of other people do.

b)                  Still in reference to the Habsburgs, the MC gives us a history lesson on the final stages of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, explaining that it included parts of Croatia, Bosnia & Serbia. Correct. But then she goes on to say that this ended in 1908. INCORRECT. How do I know this? Simple. Once upon a time Croatia was 3-4 times the size it is now, covering what is now Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and parts of Serbia. (If you don’t believe me google the First King of Croatia King Tomislav & you’ll find he was crowned in Bosnia – part of Croatia – & you’ll also see reference to The Battle of the Bosnian Highlands in the 10th century) In the middle ages, most of Croatia, Bosnia & Serbia were ruled by the Habsburgs (from Vienna), up until (almost) the end of 1911. How can I be so sure? Easy. My grandmother on my mother’s side was born in 1911 in Croatia and my grandfather on my father’s side was born in Bosnia, also in 1911. Their birth certificates stated: Nationality: Croat Citizenship: Austrian. 1911 Ms. Brooks – why did your people not check their facts? Frankly it’s insulting.

(iii)             Inconsistency through out.Scared

a)                  The author makes an effort to use words (places, people, things) in foreign languages, primarily German, Croatian & Bosnian. Trouble is, she is not consistent. I have no issue with words being Anglo-fied, to allow the reader better ease to read them, but this author picks and chooses which words she will Anglo-fy. Some German words have “umlauts” others, which should have them, don’t. (an Umlaut is when there are dots over a vowel, eg: ä, ö, ü). Some German streets have the symbol “ß” while others, that should therefore also have them, don’t. It’s even worse with Croat, Serb & Bosnian words. For example I defy anyone from an Anglo-only background (who has not studied Slavic Languages) to correctly pronounce DŽEZVA or FILDŽAN (on page 68), the Ž is not pronounced as a Z, or any of the following letters: Š, Č, Ć, Đ – for example Đ makes a “kind” of J sound like in JACK but not exactly. Again, I don’t have an issue with this, EXCEPT that the Author chooses where she’ll use the spelling correctly and where she’ll put a C instead of a Č (which makes a CH sound) or she adds letters, like SH for the letter Š. On page 41 (for example) she spells the word RAKIJA (a very strong plum brandy) but then on other pages she spells it RAKIJAH – adding an H for no apparent reason. This inconsistency is not only frustrating for the reader (regardless of if you can’t pronounce the words or if you look at them and say “that’s wrong”) it’s unacceptable in an award winning, international best seller.

b)                  At one point the author refers to Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria and his death at Mayerling with his mistress, 17-year-old Baroness Marie Alexandrine von Vetsera, who the author refers to as MARY VETSERA and doesn’t even give Marie the title of BARONESS. Again, choose already? Either both have their correct names or neither, surely?

c)                  Throughout the novel, almost to the end, the MC whines at not knowing who her father is. Yet, she has all these degrees. She has access to files and documents that allow her to discover that a white hair came for a specific type of cat. She can tell a document is a forgery by simply looking at it, with her bare eyes, because of the size of the pores. She even has access to Scotland Yard DNA experts at one stage, but she cannot figure out who her father is? WTF?

(iv)             The MC spends a lot of time disparaging her mother. defeatist

Yes, it’s clear her mother is an indifferent “mother figure” and is disappointed her daughter did not follow her into medicine, but Oh My Frigging God! Get over yourself! The MC is well educated, well travelled, (double LL as I’m in Australia), a leader in her field. Not every mother is “motherly” some are simply not drawn that way. I am so over 1st world country characters whining “Woo is me” when they actually have nothing to whine about. Was she homeless? Living in a car? Was she fostered out as a child? Abandoned? Molested? No, no, no, no… this sort of “I blame mummy” character I expect in someone who is perhaps 15-20 years old, who doesn’t know what they want in life, who is still growing up and who DIDN’T get a wonderful start to life and an extraordinary education. It’s insulting to people who have really had to struggle to survive.

OK, so I’ve had my say; well almost. There are some exceptional parts in this novel. The mix of countries and cultures, the mix of Jewish, Muslim, Christian Orthodox and Catholic, the historical elements are all wonderful. The trouble is, a lot of it is swathed in dull, over-written, exposition ridden, historically inaccurate, culturally insulting blah, blah. If I was BETA reading this, I would have suggested cutting about 150 pages, correcting the inconsistencies, fixing the historical inaccurate parts and cutting the massive chapters into more bite-size pieces. I am sure I will be hanged, drawn & quartered for expressing these views, however, this is how I see it, take from it what you will & remember, this is but one persons view.

Right at the beginning, I mentioned I recently got a 1-star review for my own writing. The piece in question is a short non-fiction I wrote. I wrote & Self Published it because I wanted to start a conversation on my hypothesis. I did it all in a few days, wrote the words, did my research, designed my cover & published it. I added in the prefix that this was not intended to be anything more than an opening to a larger discussion.

tumblr_inline_n3ler1eOCG1ri7scyMy first review was a 1-star review. One of the issues was “a few spelling mistakes” which I am sure are true, (evidently I wrote SEE in place of SEA). The reviewer also seemed to have missed that I wrote this to start a discussion (another issue was it was just under 30-pages and apparently this was not long enough). Some of the comments were justified and some hit me hard.

My first reaction was: “Oh God, I’m so super stupid & shyte at this”

My second reaction was: “I need to get in touch with this reviewer and explain that they didn’t really ‘get’ what I was trying to achieve here and maybe if I explained…”

My third and final reaction was: “Oh what the hell, he/she didn’t like it, so what? Is there still food in the fridge? Is the power still on? Is the earth still rotating around the sun? YES, Great! Someone I don’t know read my words & isn’t that the ultimate objective of all writers? YES, 1000 times YES”

6af0d44337bd206bb42bfc8c47bb2636576da5f66679533e1b9329a498113b7cMy point is, 1-star reviews are harsh, no matter what the reasoning, but they happen. Don’t NOT read something that interests you simply based on one or two bad reviews. I will never, for the life of me, understand how People of the Book became a best seller when I know so many authors who I consider to have written masterpieces in comparison; will never see the same level of success. Some may never even get published.

Life sucks sometimes, that’s just the way it is, but if your field is the arts, whatever the area, you have to be open to 1-star reviews. Accept and move on.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. 

When life gives you 1-star reviews, make a smiley face and write & read something else.

1st Page Feedback Workshop (“friendly-fire-feedback”)

With Brenda Drake’s #Pitchwars less than two months away, and lets face it, who doesn’t want to be picked for Pitchwars right? I wanted to run a First-Page-Workshop. Now, if you don’t know who Brenda Drake is, or what #Pitchwars … Continue reading

Announcing #Pitcharama

Hello all, 

I have news of another #Pitching opportunity – #Pitcharama. #Pitcharama is run by my good friends at AussieOwnedandRead, but don’t panic if ImageProxyABCyou’re not from Australia, this is an international #Pitching Comp. Quick additional note, this is for Young & New Adult (YA & NA) only

#Pitcharama will open for submission on the 16th of June; here are some details:

You can find terms here: http://aussieownedandread.com/2014/05/22/pitcharama-competition-announcement/ 

And here’s a brief overview:

#Pitcharama is focused on publishers rather than agents, so if your submission gets picked, it’ll be placed directly before a list of publisher. If you wish to enter:

1. You must have a completed, pitch-ready manuscript.

2. You must sign up to their list (go to the link above and below for more information)

3. You must post your 250 word pitch on your blog on June 16, 2014.

ImageProxyFrom there, the Aussie Owned and Read team members will each pick three of their favourite pitches to highlight on the blog and put in front of our team of independent publishing partners who then may request to see more of your manuscript on June 27.

We will also have the Pitch Your Mate bonus round, where a friend can promote your manuscript on their blog (details coming soon) for another chance to be selected.

So, what are you waiting for? Start sharpening those 250 word pitches, and make sure you keep your eyes on our blog for more details as they occur, including some of the success stories from 2013′s competition. Don’t forget to hashtag #Pitcharama on twitter so we can join in your conversations.

Lamingtons and love,

The Aussie Owned and Read team

Now for the fun part – The PUBLISHERS!

For a full blog Post Update, got to here: http://aussieownedandread.com/2014/06/13/pitcharama-eek-it-starts-next-week/

But I couldn’t help myself, here’s a quick list of the Publishers:

For complete terms, conditions and information, please go to the Aussie Owned & Read link(s) above & best of luck everyone!

So folks, get those writer-motors-running… it’s #pitching time

Upcoming Competitions & Events …

Hello all,CatComputer2

In Australia, it’s officially the first day of winter today…

And judging by the constant rain, old-man-winter has finally settled here in Melbourne while spring/summer is at last thawing out my northern hemisphere friends. Nevertheless, our writing dreams and aspirations continue. Today’s post is to let people know of upcoming competitions and opportunities in June.

First off we have #Pitcharama, run by my good friends over at AussieOwnedandRead: http://aussieownedandread.com/

Pitcharama is now into its second year, matching authors in the YA & NA categories with a select group of publishers. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be from Australia to participate… it’s international!

General Info:

PITCHARAMA; matching Young and New Adult writers with some amazing boutique publishers.

1. You must have a completed, pitch-ready manuscript.

2. You must sign up to our list (coming soon).

3. You must post your 250 word pitch on your blog on June 16, 2014.ImageProxy

From there, the Aussie Owned and Read Team Members will each pick three of their favourite pitches to highlight on the blog and put in front of our team of Independent publishing partners who then may request to see more of your manuscript on June 27.

We will also have the Pitch Your Mate Bonus round, where a friend can promote your manuscript on their blog (details coming soon) for another chance to be selected.

So, what are you waiting for? Start sharpening those 250 word pitches, and make sure you keep your eyes on our blog for more details as they occur, including some of the success stories from 2013′s competition. Don’t forget to hashtag #Pitcharama on twitter so we can join in your conversations.

For more info go to the blog of The Aussie Owned and Read team and also follow the hosts…aside from being the hosts of Pitcharama, they are awesome authors and people too. http://aussieownedandread.com/2014/05/22/pitcharama-competition-announcement/

dancingSuper naturalNext we have the amazing Brenda Drake. *Brenda the Magnificent* has gone to a lot of trouble (and planning) & created an entire 12-month schedule. You’d be mad not to make not of the dates & upcoming events.

To view her calendar go to: http://www.brenda-drake.com/2014/05/contest-schedule-yep-im-getting-organized/ & if you’re not following Brenda’s blog or her on Twitter, seriously?

Together with US literary agents, Brenda will be taking a summer-break from competitions, with the first one in August/September 2014. Please note, Brenda will NOT be having a #Pitchmadness comp in September, instead changing the schedule, with #Pitch Wars now happening in the northern hemisphere autumn and the southern hemisphere spring.

I also strongly recommend keeping active on Twitter as there are more things coming up, including Twitter Pitch Parties etc.

Peace, Love and Rainy Sundays…out!