I Won a Partial Request + Liebster Blog Award!

Oh my goodness, July has been CRAZY. Thanks to Deana Barnhart's fantastic "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest, I have met tons of new blogging friends, I have tweaked my query letter, I have received fantastic feedback on my first five pages from author Lora Rivera, I have tweaked my first 200 words, and I just learned that literary agent Kathleen Rushall is interested in reading my partial manuscript based on my submission into Deana's final Blogfest contest! (Whew, longest sentence ever!)

Check out Deana's final "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest post: Novel Contest Winners and a THANK YOU!!!.  Is anyone else feeling GUTGAA withdrawals already??

In other news, this Blogfest has also introduced me to A.N. Villasante.  Her young adult fantasy, The Farm, sounds fantastic (check out her first 200 words here: GUTGAA Week 4 First 200 Words), and she was generous enough to bestow me with the Liebster Blog Award.  (That means "friend" in German; Google just told me that. ;))

The goal of this award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

Because I have just met soooo many amazing bloggers, this award is EASY, and I can't wait to spread the love.  Here are my five Liebster pics; check out their blogs if you'd like to meet some noteworthy up-and-comers!

1. Kate Larkindale is a writer, cinema manager, film reviewer and mother to two boys.  She also just wrote a kick-ass YA contemporary, Chasing the Taillights, that I really, really can't wait to read someday.
2. Robin Weeks just wrote such a clever opening to her YA urban fantasy, GEAS, that I'm already hooked.  Half-human pixies snagged by paparazzi while wearing gym shorts?  Who would have thought it??
3. Angela Cothran gives great advice, and her novel, The Alabaster Refugee, has such a compelling opening that I can almost smell the grass and overgrown brush.
4. Christa has written this amazing book, Manhole, that bravely tackles the horrific and tragic subject of rape through the point of view of the rape victim's boyfriend.  Gives me shivers just thinking about it, and it I think it's a book that really needed to be written.
5. Rachel Dillon's novel, The Lion Within, explores some interesting internal changes that take place when her main character Renna is bitten by a ravenous, blood-thirsty lion.  Such a unique idea, and did I mention Rachel is also an amazing artist??

There you have it!  Thanks again to everyone who made the GUTGAA Blogfest such an incredible success...  I'm SO happy I participated!

My Query is the Winner! + Week Four of the GUTGAA Blogfest

I am beyond excited that Lora Rivera picked my query letter as the grand prize winner during Week Three of Deana Barnhart's "Gearing Up to Get an Agent" Blogfest last week. I received so much helpful query advice from everyone, and Lora just finished my free five-page critique, so I feel jazzed, refreshed and ready to take on some agencies! (Check out Deana's blog announcement here: GUTGAA Query Winner! + Final Week Around the Corner.)

Lora's feedback was invaluable, and I am so appreciative for the time and effort she and Deana have put into making this Blogfest a success. I am also indebted to the talented writers who have stopped by to give me so much great advice. What a great opportunity to hone our skills, meet other bloggers, build our platforms and learn about all the other awesome stories in the works!

Week Four of the Blogfest has now begun, and this week, we are all posting the first 200 words of our manuscripts in order to receive feedback. Two winners will be announced at the end of this week, and each will receive either a query and 30 page critique from agent Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, or a 10 page critique from Monica Bustamante Wagner, YA writer represented by Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary.

Here are the first 200 words of my YA urban fantasy, THE MERMAID GENE, and thanks in advance for your help!

Photo Courtesy of marfis75

The dolphin twists sideways in my arms. Eyeing me through one widened, gleaming black eye, she opens her blowhole and gurgles. Her voice sounds breathless and weak, and the tips of her flukes feel hot against my fingertips.

“What are you waiting for, Kai? Tighten up on her, or she’s gonna bolt.” My father’s warning booms from a nearby research vessel as I struggle for footing in the tea-stained waters of Tampa Bay. “Do it quick; she’s baiting you.”

The concern in his voice sends a fresh wave of anxiety grinding through me, and I wrinkle my nose in protest as I realize the truth of his words. Growing up watching him perform countless catch-and-release medical exams just like this one, I know researchers only have four, maybe five seconds to restrain a bottlenose dolphin before it fights back and escapes capture.

Wrapped around this animal’s tail, I should follow protocol by pulling her flukes into my chest and bracing myself for her inevitable thrashing. Instead, I find myself lost in her plaintive, lucid eye contact. Her pupils, shrunk into tiny circles in the sunlight, roll back and forth as she cranes her head, and a shallow scar splits the silvery bulge of her forehead.

Hesitating, I loosen my grip on her dorsal ridge and exhale. Poor thing’s exhausted. Isn’t even fighting anymore.

That's my first mistake.