Category Archives: We Need Diverse Books

Son of a Pitch!

soap-FINAL

Hello, all you #SonOfAPitch- es! I am so happy to be a judge in this contest, which is now officially entering its second year! Son of a Pitch was the first contest I had the honor of judging.

Last January, I saw on Facebook and Twitter that Katie Hamstead was starting a new contest. I’ve always wanted to be a contest judge. I’d just had my first book published—my LGBTQ romantic suspense novel, Love or Money, which came out on January 12, 2016. I’d also signed a contract on my Other Place Series. When it hit me that I was actually eligible to be a contest judge…it was an amazing feeling. I’d spent two years of my life certain I’d never be a published author.

But I was. I messaged Katie right away asking if she needed more judges. She did!

The moral of this story is: perseverance pays off. I’m also able to tell you that the perseverance can’t end when you get that first publishing contract. I remind myself every day that all my hard work and tears are worth it. Some day I will make enough money off writing and editing to live comfortably and put money away for my kid’s college. Not that I’m uncomfortable now: even if I get rich, I’ll Tiny house 3probably still live in my tiny house on my family’s ten acre farm, but I’d also be able to rent a practice space where I could keep my drum set and other music gear. 🙂

Below, I’m sharing my successful queries, to give you an idea of what worked for me. I’m also sharing a short publication story with each.

LOVE OR MONEY

Ilove or money wrote this book because I was tired of being told my writing was okay, but my characters were hard to relate to and my plots were unexpected. I tried to write a “regular” romance, but it still turned out weird…however, the book sold easily. I didn’t send out regular queries on it. I pitched it on #PitMad, and ended up with two offers.

Query:

I’m seeking a publisher for LOVE OR MONEY, a 57,000-word LGTB erotic romance/crime thriller.
Riel almost wishes she could stay in prison. There, at least she has a girlfriend to love her, and even a cold cell is better than her situation at home.
When she’s released after serving 14 months on a drug charge, Riel has no choice but to go back to work for her brother-in-law, which is how she landed in jail in the first place. This time, he puts her to work in his strip club. He only gives her ten percent of her tips as compensation, and keeps her there with threats and coercion.
When her best friend Evan, a handsome daredevil drug runner, offers her a way out of her brother-in-law’s gang, she takes it. But after a bloody shootout, Riel realizes they’ll never be free until her brother-in-law is out of the picture, and that she’ll never be happy until she can settle down and have a quiet life with Evan.
Riel is the only one who can make those things happen. It’s up to her to save herself, and Evan, and to make her dreams of a better life come true.
I’m a board member of the San Luis Obispo NightWriters association, assistant editor and columnist for their newsletter. I have recently had a short story published by Akashic Books.
Thank you for your consideration.
THE HUSTLE
Hustle coverI didn’t query this book very widely (I only sent out a handful of regular queries, and pitched it a couple of times at pitch parties), mostly because I really threw my heart into finding a home for The Other Place instead. Even though this book is technically the first in The Other Place Series, I was trying to sell them separately. The Hustle is a new adult/adult LGBTQ magical realism suspense book (hello…genre mashup), while The Other Place is more of a YA contemporary magical realism. But I’m ultimately glad I sold them as a series.
I had gotten good comments from a couple agents & editors about this book, but they wanted a more traditional romance, which this book definitely isn’t. Those comments are what spurred me to write Love or Money.
Query:

The novel, entitled THE HUSTLE, is complete at 77,000 words.

Liria is nineteen, homeless, and addicted to heroin. She’s determined to not end up dead, like her mother, but every time she tries to get her life together, it falls apart again.
She goes to the only person she knows who might be able to help her: her father, Cyryl, whom she barely knows. He takes her in, and helps her to get clean, but it’s clear he doesn’t believe he’s truly her father. He wants a very different sort of relationship with her, and Liria isn’t interested. In fact, she doesn’t like men at all.
Liria leaves Cyryl, and lands a  job in a Vegas nightclub. There she meets Arty, who seems to be the girl of her dreams: beautiful, funny, and rich. But then Liria’s coworkers start turning up dead, and Arty is acting strange. Is the nightclub a front for something more sinister? Is Arty really who she seems, or is she using Liria as a pawn in a deadly game?
Starting a new life isn’t easy.

am a musician, and a prolific writer for young adults and adults. I have another novel, Love or Money, coming out through Limitless Publications on January 12, 2016. I am a board member of the San Luis Obispo NightWriters association, assistant editor and columnist for their newsletter, and have had a short story published by Akashic Books.

Thank you for your consideration.
THE OTHER PLACE

Iother place front cover queried this book widely before I found a home for it. Getting agents and editors to identify with a character with this level of neurodiversity is difficult.

When I was considering whether to accept Limitless’ offer, I had another publisher show interest. The acquisitions editor recommended they sign the book, but the higher-ups declined because they already had a book about mental illness on their list.

The struggle for diverse books is real. Be sure to read them, recommend them, and give them reviews, so agents and editors begin to see the market for them.

Query:

I am seeking representation for THE OTHER PLACE, a YA Contemporary novel with elements of magical realism. It is complete at 75,000 words, and is a stand-alone novel with series potential.
Justin just wants to draw and be left in peace, but when his mother takes up with a man who thinks his schizophrenia can be cured with prayer, he has to find a new home or risk involuntary commitment in a religious facility.
He runs off to San Francisco, where he’s discovered by a gallery owner. His bizarre and beautiful drawings create a stir in the art world; people rave about his genius and flock to see his work. Meanwhile, Justin is homeless, couch surfing and battling his mental illness.
He reconnects with a girl named Liria, who has been appearing in his visions since they met back in his hometown. Liria, it turns out, has been sharing those visions. Compelled by their deep connection, she leaves her jealous girlfriend in order to be with him, supporting them both on her meagre income.
Then they discover that the gallery owner has been hiding something, and Justin realizes that being a genius can have a downside. Surrounded by people who want to exploit his talent, he must fight not only for his career and his freedom, but perhaps for his life.
I am a musician, and a prolific writer for young adults and adults. I have another novel, Love or Money, coming out through Limitless Publications on January 12, 2016. I am a board member of the San Luis Obispo NightWriters association, assistant editor and columnist for their newsletter, and have had a short story published by Akashic Books.
Thank you for your consideration.