Jin in Time #pitchslam #NoQS critique party



By Anne Van

35 Word Pitch:

Move in with a father you hardly know. Check. Start a new high school where your father is the principal. Check. Clean your grandmother’s vase and a genie pops out. Ch… Wait, what?


Seventeen-year-old Esme’s life is ripped apart when her beloved grandmother dies and she is sent to live with the father who abandoned her at the age of nine. Her only comfort is a gift from her grandmother—a vase with a dragon circling the neck. When Esme runs her finger along the dragon’s tail, a cute young guy in a Victorian suit pops out: Jin, her own private genie! When Jin informs Esme she has ten wishes, she can’t believe her luck. Now she can finally have the happy life and family she’s always dreamed of. But things get off to a bumpy start when the first wish goes terribly wrong (it turns out you can’t randomly wish for “Chunky Monkey” when you have a Victorian-era genie around).

Living with a genie is the least of her problems when she learns her father plans to marry a woman who could win evil-stepmother-of-the-year. Plus her daughter is the top mean girl at Esme’s new high school. Esme hopes to turn things around now that she has a genie to help her deal with her problems. The wishes are soon put to the test when Esme gets so jealous of the daughter for flirting with Jin, she wishes for her to live on Mars. Problem solved, until people at school start asking questions about where she went, Esme realizes ten wishes aren’t so awesome after all. Having a genie in her life just got very real.

First 250

It’s been eight years since I’ve seen my father and black-light posters of his favorite bands are still hanging all over the house. His 70’s obsession is going strong. Ugh. The roller bag wheels catch on the brown shag carpeting in my new bedroom. After the flight from California all I want to do is crash, but I need to make sure my grandmother’s vase survived the trip—the only thing I have left of her.

Carefully removing the bubble wrap, I run my hand along the cool porcelain. I touch the swirling dragon that circles the neck. A spark of energy spreads up my finger. What the heck? Static electricity from a pot? Rays of light radiate through the thin porcelain. Something catches my eye. There’s a note inside! I carefully coax the paper out. Someone has left a message—Grandma.

Dearest Esme,

I trust you will take good care of Jin. He is very old and has quite an impressive history. You will be his fortieth owner. There is something special about Jin you must know. He has a way of bonding with his owner. The more time you spend with Jin the better your life will be. I know you’ve already been through so much. First your mother abandons you, and now I must leave you too. Living with your father after all these years will be difficult. But trust me, things will change for the better soon.

All my love forever,



#PitchSlam #NoQS Critique Party


Bonjour ya’ll! Looks like we are the early twitter birds who are eager to revise our pitches! I’m looking forward to giving and receiving feedback, because I don’t know about you, but I’m super amped for these contests. Thank you so much for joining in the fun, and it’s lovely to meet all of you. Best of luck in these contests, and I hope the feedback helps.

If anyone cares to join in late or just wants to critique, feel free. I’ve got my pumpkin chai tea and am ready to dive in!

Jin in Time by Anne Van: http://wp.me/p4qNe4-7n

Necessity by Lana Wood Johnson: 

The Illumination Query by Sarah Baethge: http://wp.me/p4qNe4-6L

The Scientist and the Savant by MVB: http://wp.me/p4qNe4-70

ROTHBART by Kathleen S Allen:  http://kathleensallen.weebly.com/blog *Kathleen is mostly seeking help with her query.

Mission X by Kathrine Zahm: http://wp.me/p4qNe4-77

Thanks again for joining!

Mission X #pitchslam #NoQS Critique Party


Mission X by Kathrine Zahm

35 word pitch: The game taught Xander everything, from parkour to Portuguese. When the final championship teams him with Akemí and bans life saving reboots, Xander must risk life and limb to escape the girl of his nightmares.


Growing up in a game has its perks. Perk number one is that by eighteen, Xander knows almost every skill imaginable, from parkour to Portuguese. Hacking TSA security? A breeze. Assassinating Presidents? He can do it in his sleep. Perk number two is that Xander gets to win. It’s not just the money; the satisfaction is better than any drug. But the biggest perk of all? The game never requires Xander to work with other players. Social interaction is more painful than losing. Okay maybe not losing.

When the final championship, Covert Ops, requires Xander to work with Akemí, he hopes it’s a random one mission gig. When they reach the Kyoto train station checkpoint and open the new rules, Xander’s already cold heart turns glacial. Six teams, comprised of one male and female partner each, will compete elimination style through a series of complex missions. It’s too bad both team members have to be alive to qualify to win, or Xander would have offed Akemí in mission one.

The rules also state that foul play is on the table. No one gets a penalty for causing bodily harm. Oh, and one final rule change: Life saving reboots used whenever a mission went south are now banned. Playing against deadly competition with a championship in the balance, Xander must learn to cooperate while risking life and limb if he ever hopes to escape the girl of his nightmares.

Mission X is a YA sci-fi at 67,000 words.

The Scientist and the Savant #pitchslam Critique Party


The Scientist and the Savant by Mocha Von Bruen

Dear (Agent’s Name)

When Lara, a skeptical fourteen-year-old, befriends Finnian, an ageing musician, she is baffled as to why Red, his angry young cousin, is so jealous.

She soon works out it’s connected to Finnian’s blackthorn walking-stick, which looks completely normal to everyone – except her, and Red.

Finnian claims the stick is an Arthurian artefact, powerful enough to cause a cataclysm that annihilated Britain, transforming it into Arthur’s Wasteland way back in 6th century Wales.

Red maintains it’s been promised to him and views Lara as a threat.

Lara is well-informed on Arthur’s Wasteland thanks to her dad, a climate-change scientist eager to prove his theory that the Wasteland was caused by a super-volcano. She’ll take plenty of convincing to start believing in long-lost, magical treasures. Or that they’ve anything to do with her.

But as Finnian gives her unique insights into the cataclysm, Lara concludes he’s telling the truth. Caught between her dad’s contemporary world of science and Finnian’s older world of legend, Lara doesn’t want to lose her new friend and the magic that makes her feel so alive, but she doesn’t want to lose her dad either.

She needs Red’s help to find the solution. Only Red can’t stand her. And the feeling is mutual.

Set in past (6th century) and present Wales, THE SCIENTIST AND THE SAVANT is a character-driven YA fantasy which investigates the cause of Arthur’s Wasteland using contemporary science and historic tradition. Told with parallel timelines, it is complete at 85,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


The Illumination Query #PitchSlam


The Illumination Query

By Sarah Baethge


Because Ronald Carpenter is pulled into conflict he won’t dare explaining to authorities, Dr. Hunter (the mad scientist) writes the second half of this story where he and some werewolves seem to be the protagonists.

First 250:

Nigel seems a little amused to have me gathering this story of his adventure, but he doesn’t seem to object. In all truth I think that the idea makes him somewhat proud, though he’d never admit it.

As I don’t even really enter the story myself for quite awhile I’ve been trying to pull together everyone else’s recollection of how we got to where we are.

I’ve almost jokingly been calling these files ‘The Speed of Darkness’; read enough and I surely won’t need to tell you why.

Let me warn you, I never trained to be a writer. My most advanced English class was a joke of public high-school coursework that I think my teacher might have slept through.

These first two parts of what I think you’d need to know are basically how I received them. I tried to correct obvious errors, yet I don’t claim to have caught everything.

The Story of Ronald Carpenter is what I have copied to paper while listening to the recording I made of Ronald giving his excuse for what has happened.

Ronald wanted the recording made so that I (Joel Shine), Hillary Brenner, Eric Omlup (and possibly even Nigel Hunter himself) would have something to hold up next to Nigel’s little notebook recount of the horrors perpetrated around him.

I’m not sure Dr. Hunter forgives him, but the doctor seems to at least believe that Carpenter is telling the truth here.

Chapter 1

Why I Joined The Hunt

Pre #PitchSlam and #NoQS Critique Party Deets


Has the transmission reached you? #PitchSlam is coming, and all systems are a go October 4th. If you don’t know what #PitchSlam is, hop on over to @Tangynt’s info dump…  http://bit.ly/1AqRV6P 

On #pitchslam’s heels is #NoQS (Nightmare on Query Street), being held by none other than our thunderous threesome, Michelle (@Michelle4Laughs), Michael (@RavenousRushing), and SC (@SC_Author). The submission window for this opens October 15. Follow the link for details.


How polished are those pitches? Have you been staring at your query until it turns into a black and white blur? Have you hacked your first 250 into itty bitty unrecognizable pieces?

Never fear, a critique party is here!

By 9.26, for those interested, you will create blog posts for your 35 word pitch, query, and/or first 250 (depends on what you want help with-all 3 is fine!), and send me the link via twitter or email. Stress not if you don’t have a blog! I will create blog posts for those of you who are blog-less on mine (cachettedekat), and make links for them.

I will compile these links into one blog post, so this way blog hopping should be a breeze!

On 9.27 I will post the blog to these links, and the party may be begin! Let’s all get involved and help each other out, remaining professional with our critiques in the comments section of the blog posts. Hopefully our mutual input will help at least some of us make it past auditions and into the agent round!

Are you excited? I know I am! Just finished polishing my second MS ever this week and am ready to get that baby on the stage and trick or treating down Query Street. 🙂

Tweet me if you’re interested! @KZahm.

For the blog-less, you can email me your pitches at cooperkpaul@gmail.com

Can’t wait to meet you!

Worst Procedures In My Book


As I finish off the last of my bowel prep, the liquid gurgling in my stomach, I’m musing as to which procedures are the worst to undergo. Certainly a day on clear liquids followed by bowel prep isn’t pleasant, but unfortunately I’ve been through worse, as have many of my fellow bellies out there. I’m certain there are unpleasant procedures out there I have avoided, but these are the 6 worst, in order from least to greatest.

6. CT scan. Not so terrible. Just some contrast, an IV, and dye that makes you feel you’ve peed yourself. The barium x-Ray is similar minus the contrast.

5. Scopes (endoscopy/colonoscopy). They aren’t pleasant. Fasting and prep aren’t fun, especially for the sensitive tummy like mine. The day before is the worst part. Camera day consists of happy drugs. Unless of course you throw in a dilation and have a reaction like I did, then the day of, along with weeks following, feel like you’ve had karate lessons done on your abdomen.

4. Drain placement. This, for me, was done via CT scanner guiding the radiologist to the cyst. They sedated me slightly, but as I had to hold my breath at times, it wasn’t full. It hurt, but I survived without even a moan. Mostly I was afraid of them hitting a major blood vessel as I had lost twenty pounds while in hospital. This could cause major complications resulting in possible death. So thoughtful of my doctors not to psych me out beforehand.

3. Stoma bridge removal. I don’t know who lied, but I was told this wouldn’t hurt. A plastic bridge held up my stoma for the first days of its life, and someone had to come remove the stitches and pull it out from underneath my new little cherry. The person who did it tugged slowly, carefully, and oh yes, painfully.

2. Barium enema x-Ray. This is done to test the surgical site when an ileostomy is in place. So they stick a tube up your rear and flush liquid through to make sure it doesn’t leak and deposits into your bag properly. And no, I’m not sedated for this. I went into the procedure with no clue as to what to expect. I came out violated.

1. NG Tube. Yes it’s routine for us IBDers, but I HATE it! When it’s put in while awake, they thread it up your nose, down the throat, and into the stomach. Disgusting. When it’s in, you only have a small range of motion, can’t eat or drink a thing, and the clamp trials to see if it can be taken out usually involve gagging and vomiting. Try vomiting with a tube down your throat and you will see why this is number one. It’s an evil, vile tube, and I hope we never meet again! Although my chances there are slim.

So there you have it. It’s nearly three am and I haven’t been able to sleep thanks to this prep and a misbehaving belly, so I may have left some procedures out. Can’t remember. What are your worst procedures?

Shake Off the Hate!

Crohnically Ill

Post ALS ice bucket challenge, as post anything mainstream media, there is quite the back lash. image

“We are wasting clean water.”

“Not enough people suffer from ALS.”

“People don’t even know what ALS is.”

Well this ruffles my feathers, and this is just the beginning. I’ve been promoting #GetYourBellyOut, an awareness and fundraising campaign for IBD, which I suffer from. I posted about this in the comments of a friend’s page, who happened to be complaining about the ice bucket challenge. A third party got on and asked me questions about IBD, and I responded. To which, my supposed “friend,” replied on his feed (bleeping out the language)

“How about just %#^#*ing pay attention and donate instead of #^#*#*ing have the media involved? I’m sick of this {%^*. If I had cancer I wouldn’t want people donating cause of media just me this is #%#^}*{*. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT STAY OFF MY #%{^{*ING PAGE!!!”

I kid you not. Still not done. Another person, in reference to ALS, says:

“There are WAY more life threatening and cultural issues going on in this world than #^}*}*ing ALS. Seriously, omg…Cry me a river. There are MILLIONS without clean water or food every second in this world. There are entire villages and religious groups being slaughtered globally, and you want  to talk about a disease that affects 5-6K people a year?”

Wow. Are you kidding me?

Why all the hate? One thing at a time here.

To the first “friend” saying if he had cancer blah blah blah. It’s oh so easy to throw that around. No, you don’t know what it’s like to live with an illness that affects you daily and has almost killed you multiple times. If you did you would want plenty of awareness and research occurring to help produce more effective medicines and even a cure. Really? Upset because I’m discussing it on your page? Aren’t there worse things we could be talking about? And I’m sorry what better way is there to raise awareness besides media?

To the second, here’s my issue. One problem is more important because it affects more people? What if that issue affected you? Would it still be less important because it affects less of the population? And again, you are PISSED BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DOING SOMETHING FOR A GOOD CAUSE?! We aren’t talking about Kim Kardashian’s clothes. We aren’t sharing the latest Miley video. We are talking about something, for once, worthwhile. Can we pick up on this trend and spread it to other issues that maybe I dunno affect more people? Let’s use some creativity. I’m no idiot. I know there are “worse” problems in the world. I get it. But at least the media is starting to take notice. No not the news- I mean social media is taking notice.

What do people check more in a day? CNN, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Bet you the last three get logged the most time. And those ice bucket challenge videos are all over them. Shouldn’t we be wiping our foreheads in relief that people want to talk about and do something positive instead of setting themselves on fire? Of course there are people doing the challenge clueless as to what ALS is. That’s bound to happen. Yes not all organizations put enough of the donations to research. Of course it’s wasting water. Do like Matt Damon and pour toilet water on yourself. He still supports ALS AND makes his point known about clean water. He doesn’t hate.

Do you want people talking about something other than ALS that’s important to YOU? Get creative! Do something!

I want people to know about IBD so they can be understanding of this disability just like we expect people to be understanding of anything else. This is an invisible disease. One glance at me and you wouldn’t understand why I’m begging to cut in line at the restroom, or why I’m using a wheelchair through Walmart. No not everyone dies from Crohn’s. But some do. And those of us lucky enough to live with it don’t lead normal lives even though WebMD would have you believe it’s a cake walk.

ALS is a terrible terminal illness. My friend watched her mother slowly pass from it, and this was devastating for her family. I’m not going to tell her or the 6K patients/families affected “cry me a river.” They aren’t less worthy of our attention and donations because they are fewer in number.

I get it. We can’t all jump on every band wagon that passes by, and there are some bigger band wagons than others. My point is shouldn’t we be happy that people, in general, are finally taking notice of the band wagons to begin with? The ice bucket challenge was genius. Let’s be thankful that for once, a terminal illness is trending along with Iggy’s beats. It may not be the step you want, but it’s a step in the right direction. Shake off that negativity.

Finally, in the words of Don Draper, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” Change it to something that is important to you, but subtract the negative attitude, or no one will listen.