Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Keep a Story Idea Doc

I'm the type of writer who doesn't have many story ideas. I know. It kind of stinks. They just don't come to me that often, and I mean like hardly ever when I say that. However, over the past eight years or so I'm proud to say I've kept a document of all my story ideas, like "a good little writer.". But, well, to be honest there's not much in the doc.

Anyway, I had this problem recently - I found myself without a new project to write. I'd had a meager couple interesting ideas while I'd written my last book, but none of them really jumped out tome or grew into anything all that captivating, so they've been sitting in the Story Idea doc to rot (at least for the time being).

Anyway, after trying to brainstorm ideas (and failing miserably, I might add), I opened up the Story Idea doc and perused it for a little while - and I came across an old idea that I felt had potential, so I mapped out the bare bones of a plot and even wound up writing the first 30 pages or so.

But it just wasn't ENOUGH. It was fun, but not ENOUGH fun. I wound up scrapping the project at that point (hadn't even done character sketches for it), and started to really lament not having a project to write. It really stinks to not have anything to do during "writing time," ya know what I mean? (Of course you do.)

Soooo...totally out of ideas as to how to get ideas (nice play on words, huh?), I opened up the Story Idea doc for a second time and went back a little farther, and BAM!!! I found an old idea that immediately spoke to me, and that I just HAD to write. Part of it was the fun plot twists that I'd already devised for the story, and another part was how other plot points and ideas for it immediately plowed into my brain. It was surreal, actually, and quite awesome.

Anyway, now I'm happily drafting this new story with character sketches and everything. So, it's true what your old writing teachers (and perhaps some wise people who just happen to know this sort of thing) say - always keep a Story Idea doc or file. You never know when it'll come in handy.

All right, back to drafting my new story, which, for the curious, is a.middle-grade science fiction novel (I have returned to the almighty middle-grade after brief forays into the young adult and adult worlds). Yay!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Exciting News!!!

So it's been a while since I've posted, but I've been sitting on some very exciting news. My young adult dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION (at least that's its current name), has been acquired by the Indie publisher Clean Reads (formerly Astraea Press). The deal went down a little over a month ago, but now that I've submitted an "author package" to Clean Reads that consists of the back-cover blurb, ideas for cover art, author bio, among other things, I figured I would post the exciting news on my blog.

So, yeah, now I've been busy working with an editor on my book. So far it's been a blast! For those of you who are curious, I didn't even send this book out to many literary agents and publishers because I kept hearing around the writing blogosphere how saturated the young adult dystopian market is, and therefore how hardly any agents and editors are looking for books in that category. (Yep - I wrote a book in currently one of the most saturated markets out there, thanks to big hitters like THE HUNGER GAMES and DIVERGENT.) I only happened to be doing research on agents and publishers for my next book when I came across Clean Reads, which claimed it was currently looking for YA dystopian. So I sent THE FOURTH GENERATION to the press and they offered a contract. Go figure. Sometimes it really is all about hitting the right editor/agent/publisher at the right time.

Anyway, I'll keep you up-to-date on the progress of the book, and certainly when it's release date is. Until then, happy writing!

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Heroic Man's Brother Query & First Page

Genre: Adult Superhero Fantasy
Word Count: 80,000

Query pitch:

Dear Lovely Agent/Editor,

Norm “Run-of-the-Mill” Stevens has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Tom, publicly known as Heroic Man, The Intrepid Heroic Man, The Gallant Heroic Man, among other names. The crime-fighting superhero possesses the full spectrum of superhuman powers—super strength, speed, flight, and, of course, that truly sublime, superhumanly muscular ass of his, which has become an icon of an adoring city.

Norm, on the other hand, has been working his pathetically flaccid rear off on the money-saving blueprints he created to improve the city’s electricity grid. But, much to his utter aggravation, he fails to get them into the hands of Electrifirm’s C.E.O., C.E. Olsen. Heroic Man pities Norm and, behind his back, gives Olsen the model. Olsen grants Norm the massive career-boost and subsequent prestige of his dreams.

But the thing is, ever since Heroic Man took the city’s spotlight, Olsen’s been determined to regain it. Olsen slanders Heroic Man by claiming the superhero stole the new grid plans from Electrifirm. The C.E.O. asks Norm to publicly confirm his story, and Norm—sick of relying on his brother’s charity and still as resentful as ever of that all-powerful posterior of his—gladly obliges.

Norm thoroughly enjoys being the more successful brother for once. That is, until Norm lets slip Heroic Man’s innocence to his girlfriend, who dumps him for treating his brother so poorly. Devastated and awakened from his selfishness, Norm battles his conscience: continue to outshine his brother despite the injustice, or come clean to the whole city and replace him as its biggest disgrace.

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN’S BROTHER is an 80,000-word humorous adult superhero fantasy. I have a degree in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and won the individual award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Writing. I have also recently obtained an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. I interned at Kensington Publishing Corp. in New York City in the Publicity and Marketing departments. Thank you for considering THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN’S BROTHER and I hope to hear from you soon.

First 250 words:

            I popped open a can of Fizz Beer and took a good, long swig. The stuff was cheap as hell, and non-creatively-named to boot, but there wasn’t much more a guy with a crummy mailroom job could afford. And I had to celebrate my impeccable achievement somehow.
            Raw energy—along with the insufficient buzz and flavorless taste of the beer—bolted through me as I stared at the electricity grid model on my bedroom desk. After four years of nonstop, though invigorating, work, my masterpiece was finally complete. And finally—oh thank God, finally—I could prove my genius to the C.E.O. of Electrifirm and get the hell out of the mailroom once and for all. All I’d have to do was walk up to my boss tomorrow, show him the model, and—
            “Norm, dinner!” Mom called from the bottom of the stairs.
            Already? Must’ve completely lost track of time. I took another swig of Fizz Beer and grimaced. Should’ve gotten Buzz Beer instead. Sure, it was a little more expensive, but it packed a bit more buzz and taste, and cut back a tad on the annoying fizz.
            I placed the can on my desk. I’d have to wait until after dinner to finish celebrating properly. Or poorly, given the brand’s quality.

            The scent of fresh, steamed vegetables never smelled so succulent—okay, it was intermixed with the heavy, foul odor of red meat—as I hopped down the stairs two at a time. The first time I’d done that since I was a kid.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Heroic Man's Brother Logline

It's been quite a while since I've posted here (just plain typing that cleared some dust and cobwebs from this blog's long-neglected floor), but since I've recently entered the query trenches with my latest book, a humorous adult superhero fantasy called THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF HEROIC MAN'S BROTHER (which I've talked about a bit here), I figured I'd post some stuff concerning it. Namely, the logline, for now. Hope you enjoy! I really enjoyed writing this story. It was such a pleasure.


Wrought with jealousy and manipulated by Electri-City’s most influential man, Norm “Run-of-the-Mill” Stevens slanders his revered brother, Heroic Man, and must come clean to the city to repair the relationship.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Humorous Superhero Story & Upcoming Twitter Pitch Party

So I'm excited, as I'm getting ready to return to my humorous adult superhero story after having put it aside for two months. In light of some feedback I've heard, it's looking more like it's an adult story versus new adult. It'll be really interesting to see what my strange brain has concocted now that I'll have a much more fresher pair of eyes on it. After this read-through/revision, it'll be off to critique partners (well, more crit partners, as a couple have taken a look at parts of it already).

In other news, I have worked on a Twitter pitch (among other things - like a synopsis and query pitch) for this story, and I will be using the Twitter pitch in Authoress's blogpitch party this coming Monday. I'm super-excited for it, as I've been a long-time follower of her blog, and have entered in many of her contests and critique sessions. Of course, only 10 pitches will be chosen, so, as usual, it will be tough (or more accurately, incredibly tough) competition. So wish me luck!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Fourth Generation Query Pitch

So here it is - it's ready (or at least as good as I can make it) - the query pitch for my 74,000-word YA dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION, to go along with the logline and first page in my last post. After countless revisions and hours of torment, anguish, and the occasional - OK, very rare - sudden microscopic burst of excitement that something has actually gone well or right, my query pitch is finally done. Queries went out to a few agents last night. Wish me luck, and enjoy the query pitch!
Gorin would rather drop a two-hundred-pound artifact on his bare foot than think about his fast-approaching seventeenth birthday, when a god-awful disease will finally claim his life. After it finishes turning his skin dark gray and making his spine all crooked, that is. Ever since the plague devastated the world a hundred years ago, the remaining people have spent their shortened lives serving the rulers in their off-limits mansion, and Gorin is no exception.
But unlike the herd-minded majority, Gorin wishes to spend his last days studying the heap of artifacts at the forbidden mansion. Not only to help the rulers find a cure to the plague and rediscover electricity, but because some of the unseen objects, collected over generations, must be incredibly extraordinary. But no—according to the rulers’ laws, heavily enforced by the militia, Gorin must stick to finding the few remaining, much more useless artifacts in town.
Unable to fight his growing curiosity, Gorin sneaks a peek at the incredible mansion one night with his friend Marf’s help. Amazingly, a bright light exudes from the windows. Electricity. The rulers lied—they’ve been selfishly hiding it for years. Even more incredible is a group of adults with tall, healthy bodies. But Gorin and Marf are discovered. With massive bounties on their heads, they must gather evidence of the rulers’ corruptness and find a way to share the cure with the rest of town—or everybody, including themselves, will continue to face untimely deaths.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Fourth Generation Logline & First Page

So I've completed my YA dystopian novel, THE FOURTH GENERATION, and figured I'd post the current logline and first page. I would post the query pitch, too, but that is still under construction (one might even say heavy construction), so perhaps at a later date. Anyway, I give you logline & first page!


On the verge of perishing from a plague that kills all seventeen-year-olds, Gorin must break into the rulers’ mansion and obtain the cure they’ve been keeping to themselves to save himself and future generations from an untimely demise.
            I raced up the stairwell pretty fast for someone in my god-awful condition.  My empty backpack bounced on my shoulders, my feet landing just in front of the steps’ worn, chipped edges.  Sunlight leaked through the dusty windows at the top of each landing, enough to light my way to the decaying apartment building’s eighth floor.
            The rest of the Valuable Objects had better still be there.  No way I was losing the Tournament of Prestige this year, and the VOs could be worth just enough prestige points to finally push my faction into the top spot.  But if somebody else found them while I was gone…
            At last I made it to the eighth floor.  My chest heaved as I sucked in breath, my burning legs threatening to crumple.
            You’ve gotta be kidding me.  The second door on the right lay wide open.  My heart banged against my ribs, making it tough to breathe, as I crept to the door as quietly as only I could.
            I peeked inside the room.  My gut clenched, even though I’d seen it coming.
            A boy about my size—taller than average, with good-size muscles—stood in front of the old wooden cabinets on the left side of the room.  He had blotchy, dark gray skin, so was about sixteen years old like me.  His back looked a little crooked, like his spine wasn’t quite aligned right.  Mine was probably in similar shape.
            Even from the doorway I could see through the cabinet doors’ inlaid glass.