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Blog2019-06-25T14:22:33+00:00
1302, 2020

New novel places in ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition

February 13th, 2020|

My new novel just beat out more than 1,000 other books to become a quarterfinalist in the ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Competition.

This unique literary contest seeks book manuscripts with cinematic adaptation potential. Literary agents from The Gersh Agency, United Talent Agency and 3 Arts Entertainment selected 100 quarterfinalists from over 1,200 submissions.

While Real Girl did not advance to the next round, I am really encouraged that my still unpublished science fiction thriller even made it into their top 10 percent of books. It also reiterates this feedback I received from a professional developmental editor through Writer’s Digest:

“This is one of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read,” the editor wrote. “It also has strong movie/tv potential and should be pitched to movie agents as well as book agents. The strong vision of a coherent future world that is interesting and unique, coupled with enormous heart and emotional impact, could make this an attractive media project.”

Now that I’m done incorporating feedback from that editor, I’m going to start pitching my new book to literary agents in hopes that one wants to represent me to a traditional publisher.

1701, 2020

Agent: “I have every confidence you will find representation”

January 17th, 2020|

I just received some of the most encouraging feedback yet on my new novel, Real Girl.

Literary agent Paula Munier reviewed my query letter and first chapter as part of the Writer’s Digest University Literary Agent Boot Camp. Paula provided some excellent edits, along with this overall assessment of my science fiction thriller about a lifelike robot who tries to escape from an augmented reality competition where people can hunt and kill her for sport:

“I have every confidence you will find representation,” Paula wrote. “This was a fun and easy read. There’s a lot to recommend this: a likable heroine in Evaline, intriguing world-building, an interesting cast of characters, a well-drawn setting, cool technology, good action, and the promise of more to come. You have a good grasp of the elements of fiction. You know what you are doing, and it shows.”

Last year, I also received some powerful feedback from a professional developmental editor with Writer’s Digest 2nd Draft critique service. The editor assessed my full manuscript, which he described as “Ex Machina/Blade Runner atmospheric science fiction with a Pygmalion twist.”

“This is one of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read,” the editor wrote. “This is a science-fiction novel with a lot of heart in addition to the action. It has a strong female character and a man who becomes a better person as a result of his relationship with her—even though she isn’t a ‘real girl.’ This should appeal to everyone who enjoyed Ready Player One plus those who enjoy a coherent future world populated with empathetic and realistic characters.”

Once I finish incorporating the feedback from that editor, I will start pitching literary agents to represent me to a traditional publisher. This has been such a long but fun process. Thanks for all of your support and encouragement along the way!

1812, 2019

Three ways writing a novel is like hiking a mountain

December 18th, 2019|

This summer, I climbed two 14,000-foot mountains in Colorado with my longtime friend and fellow writer Jon Anderegg.

While hiking Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive, I discovered several similarities between what my feet were doing on the trail and what my hands do each day on the keyboard. I hope this post encourages any author who has decided to embark on this long journey we call writing.

1. Don’t do it alone: While you could hike 14,000 feet by yourself, it can be dangerous (and boring). Jon and I spent more than a dozen hours together climbing both mountains, giving us time for good conversation. Similarly, an author could finish a manuscript without any support, but having a community of writers to edit and encourage you along the way makes a major difference.

2. Take one step at a time: There is no shortcut to hiking 14,000 feet or writing at least 70,000 words. At the end of the day, the only way a hiker summits that peak or a writer finishes that ending is by one step and word at a time. You can’t write or hike by sprinting. It’s more like training for a marathon. You must put in your time, step by step, word by word, until the end.

3. Enjoy the journey: It took me about five years to publish my first novel, and it’s taken me more than two years to finish my second book. So many times I wanted to give up, but the joy of the journey kept me going. Developing a world, creating a character, finding that perfect word—that’s what makes this all worth it. Hiking is similar. Despite the pre-dawn mornings and pain in your legs, you have to be able to marvel at the wildflowers along the way.

If not, you’ll never reach that summit and see the other mountains just waiting for you to explore.

1411, 2019

Headed to the Future(scapes)

November 14th, 2019|

I just received an official acceptance letter to Futurescapes, a highly competitive, intensive and exclusive writing workshop of Utah Valley University.

Students are selected based on the extraordinary merit of their writing—and I was only one of a handful to make the first cut. During the conference, I will be working with three faculty mentors on the first 3,000 words of my new novel, while receiving substantive feedback on the overall structure of my query letter, synopsis and story.

This unique workshop takes place from Feb. 16-18 in Utah. It gives writers an unparalleled chance to work with top authors and agents in speculative fiction, which includes science fiction, horror, fantasy and paranormal. Editors and agents at Futurescapes have represented masters like Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, Elizabeth Hand, Greg Bear, Michael Swanwick, Scott Lynch and William Gibson. Between them, the faculty have dozens of literary nominations and awards (Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, World Fantasy, Stoker, Edgar, Sturgeon and Locus Awards, among others).

Futurescapes began in 2016. It trains new generations of speculative fiction authors to respect the social imperative of this literature of ideas, to harness their vision to anticipate future social problems, to fund applied research into innovative approaches to public problems, and connect civic innovators and speculative imagineers.

Learn more at http://www.futurescapes.ink.

110, 2019

Editor: “One of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read”

October 1st, 2019|

 

I just received some of the most positive feedback yet on my new novel from a professional developmental editor with Writer’s Digest 2nd Draft critique service.

The editor assessed my full manuscript for Real Girl, a science fiction thriller about a lifelike robot who tries to escape from an augmented reality competition where people can hunt and kill her for sport. He described it as “Ex Machina/Blade Runner atmospheric science fiction with a Pygmalion twist.”

“This is one of the best unpublished manuscripts I have ever read,” the editor wrote. “This is a science-fiction novel with a lot of heart in addition to the action. It has a strong female character and a man who becomes a better person as a result of his relationship with her—even though she isn’t a ‘real girl.’ This should appeal to everyone who enjoyed Ready Player One plus those who enjoy a coherent future world populated with empathetic and realistic characters.”

The editor analyzed all 229 pages, providing feedback on everything from the plot and pacing to concept and characters. He also thought it had strong film potential:

“Science fiction continues to remain extremely popular, and this project could easily fit into any publisher’s SF line,” the editor wrote. “It also has strong movie/tv potential and should be pitched to movie agents as well as book agents. The strong vision of a coherent future world that is interesting and unique, coupled with enormous heart and emotional impact, could make this an attractive media project.”

My next step is to incorporate the editor’s specific recommendations while I wait to hear back from the literary agents I pitched Real Girl to during the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference in New York City.

 

 

409, 2019

5 agents request materials for my new novel

September 4th, 2019|

NEW YORK Five out of five literary agents I pitched my new novel to at the Writer’s Digest Conference Pitch Slam requested more materials.

The Pitch Slam featured more than 50 agents and editors, who were all on the hunt for new stories. I got 90 seconds per agent to pitch my concept live, and each agent had 90 seconds to ask questions, make comments and ultimately decide whether they wanted to learn more.

This was, by far, the most nervous I have ever been as an author. But in the end all five agents requested at least the first five pages—and two even asked for my full manuscript. One agent said my pitch was perfect, another said this was exactly what he’s looking for, and a third said she’s never heard of this concept before. Here’s a brief summary of my pitch:

I’m seeking representation for Real Girl, a cyberpunk science fiction thriller about a lifelike robot who tries to escape from an augmented reality competition where people can hunt and kill her for sport. It’s Westworld meets Ready Player One in a near future, dystopian Midwest city that has a dark and destructive bent to its gaming technologies. But here’s what makes my novel unique:

Evaline yearns, as only the most lifelike robots can, for freedom from The Games. Yet there’s no freedom for Evaline as Chief Game Officer Ray Jackson keeps sending new human players to battle her kind in gladiator-style combats as thousands of fans watch live from The Arena.

Each level becomes more violent as sponsors bet millions on the top players and a secret gang of cyberterrorists tries to hack Evaline’s mind so they can turn her body into a weapon of war in The Arena. The Games reach a breaking point in Level 4, where she is forced to make the ultimate decision in self-consciousness: free herself—or save others.

As a former reporter with a master’s degree in journalism, I conducted more than a year of original research for Real Girl. That includes interviews with cybersecurity experts, virtual reality coders, and even manufacturers of artificially intelligent robots. I am also an award-winning author of The Black Lens, a crime thriller that won Grand Prize in the 2016 Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards. It also became a Finalist in the Indie Book Awards and a Semifinalist in the Book Pipeline movie competition.

Now comes the hard part—waiting for a response from each agent.