Friday, 28 February 2014

Pitch Madness Pitch Workshop!

With Pitch Madness fast approaching, I thought now was a good time to go through a little pitch workshop. First off all, I'm going to put together a pitch for you guys. Then, I'm going to ask you to put your pitch in the comments section, and I'm going to critique it for you - say what I think is working, and what isn't.

So let's use my latest WiP as a starting point (and hope that when I send it to my agent, she loves it!!).

Step One - The One Line Hook

It is absolutely vital that you can sum your book up in one line. This is the line that an editor will use to sell your book to the other people in the publishers, and that your sales rep will use to hook a potential bookseller. So don't underestimate the power of a good hook. In fact, many agents and editors have been known to say: "If you have a good hook, then that's half the battle.

A logline is one line that boils down your narrative to its core purpose. So let's break this down - what forms a good hook (aka logline)? Actually, it's pretty simple. A good logline should show CHARACTER, GOAL, CONFLICT. That's it. The clearer and more simple you can make it, the more high concept your work becomes. And high concept sells well. If you can't sum up your work in one sentence, you might want to consider whether it's your logline writing skills or your book itself that needs work. A good site to browse when thinking about loglines is this one: That should give you some good ideas.

Alright, let me show you my logline for my YA Folklore Mystery (the length of a Pitch Madness pitch):

An isolated teen's brother washes up dead on the shore of their tiny island, but when she investigates the murder, it seems more than one person on the island is determined she doesn't solve it. 

So we have a character (the teen), the goal (to solve the murder) and the conflict (people on the island stopping her from solving it). Simples. Now, you try.

Step Two - The Pitch

It is very important you don't move onto this until you have written the logline. Don't be lazy. I'm serious. The logline is ridiculously important. If you don't have that, then you will have a weak, unfocused plot. You only have one chance at this. You want the agent to understand the story completely. Remember, they don't know your story like you. So it's your job to get your information across as CLEARLY as possible. That's really important too. To be CLEAR. Soooo many new writers have fancy, wordy, beautiful sentences in their pitch and it has no clarity so the agents pass. If you need to forsake stylistic flourishes for clarity. If you can add some style whilst still being clear, then of course do. In addition, do not be mysterious in your pitch. Don't be obtuse. Your story has mystery naturally by having a character, a goal and a conflict. No need to be confusing.


This is where you are going to take your logline and work it into a full pitch (for a query). In a pitch you can add details - your character name, what makes your story unique, setting, etc.

Okay, so following that theory, here's mine:

Sixteen year old Lucy’s brother washes up dead on the shore of their Scottish island. The islanders say he broke the curse of the mythical selkies, bringing their wrath. Others say he ran off with a fabled kelpie woman and drowned. And whispers about underhand dealings leading to his death drift around the harbour, ship to ship. Determined to get to the bottom of it, Lucy decides to find out what really happened the night he died – accident, murder, or legend come to life. But the more she delves into it, the more she realises that not everyone wants her to find out the truth. 

This is the pitch I will send my agent. In addition to achieving what the logline achieved, it also tells her about the character (Lucy, teenager, determined, investigative), the setting (a Scottish island), and the unique angle (a blend of myths, legends and folklore).

So there you have it! I hope this helps, and I look forward to seeing your pitches in the comments below!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Pitch Madness!

Oh yes, it's that time of year again - Pitch Madness is just around the corner!!!

This year, Brenda has announced that it will be the CLUE edition (or Cluedo for us Brits! lol).

For those who don't already know - Pitch Madness is a contest to win a request from one or more of the participating agents.

This year, the Pitch Madness submission window will be open for 24 hours on March 10!  So get your submissions fingers on the send button then!

Interested in signing up?  Go to HERE to find out all the deets!

I've been a-ok'd by my team host to post teasers about what we'll be looking for in this year's slush piles, so here are a few things that tickle my fancy:

Alternate History novels, any category from MG all the way through to Adult.
Anything thriller or mystery.  If you have an MG mystery, I'm especially intrigued.
Unique folklore.
Psychological horror (but it needs to be super clever).

This isn't an exclusive list, but just a guideline as to what I might be looking for.

Some tips:

Voice, voice, voice.
Dare to be different.
Think clever.
Character comes first.
Experimental work welcomed.

I've decided that for coming across to the blog, I'd like to reward everyone by doing a pitch workshop later in the week, so look out for the Tweet.

Also, I'd like the chance to get to know some of the writers applying, so I want to invite you all over to my literary debate site - Debate It!  Come and debate topics with us, and mention if you're doing Pitch Madness so I can get to know you too!

Good luck!!! 

Monday, 10 February 2014

Meet Roger!

*** 2017 Update: Roger's turned 13!!! And learned some new tricks...more to come later!

Hi everyone,

Since the blog started, I've written about a lot of literary topics - writing, books, agents, editors, competitions, cover reveals, the list goes on!  However, today I am taking a major diversion from those topics and taking some time to invite you into the best part of my life.  I want you all to meet the absolute core of my heart...Roger!

Now is Roger a man?  A friend?  A husband?  Well, no.  Actually, THIS is Roger...

This is my baby.  I've had him since he was a little tyke and now that he's nearing ten, I wanted to introduce you to the best 10 years of my life.  :-)

So what can I tell you about Roger?

First of all...this is baby Roger...He likes Monster Munch crisps:

And this is him getting saddled!

And here he is learning how to ride with his momma!

And here's Roger learning how to drive a horse and trap:

And here he is in his big boy's carriages:

And when Roger learned his job, he wanted to teach others too.  Here are my nieces learning how to drive the carriage!

And then he wanted to teach them to ride too!

And my nephew!

Roger is a Friesian (not the cow!) cross Irish Cob.  For horsey people, he's 15.2hh.  For non horsey people, it means he's as wide as he is high.  ;-)

The reason he's so important to me, is that he has been through everything with me - buying my first house, coming to stay at my work, travelling 2500 miles across the world to live in Cyprus, helping me start my first horse riding school, letting me break him in to drive and ride.  One thing I love about Roger is he's the little horse that can.  People tell you that carriage horses don't make good show horses.  Here he is winning the Heart Of England reserve championship for the year:

People say carriage horses aren't that good to ride.  Well look at him go!  And for what it's worth, Roger has won his dressage classes all the way up to Novice!

They say they can't jump.  Look at him go...(and yes, he's won every jumping contest he's been in, right up to the meter class!)

And he does XC too (this was his first ever XC jump.  He went on to win every class up to novice - in fact, he's never lost a class!):

The list is endless.  This little horse does everything you ask.  He's taken disabled riders, able riders, children and adults.  He's even taken my very good friend's baby on his first ride (now isn't that cute!!!?).  And for those who are worried about a baby on a horse - Roger is 100% safe, his mother is an excellent rider, and I worked riding for the disabled and owned a riding school, so I can assure you he is perfectly safe).

So is this all Roger has to offer?  Oh gosh no.  There is so much.  He let us learn gymnastics on horse back with him:

He even pulled a raft through the flooded forest and let us take our saddles off while jumping!

But what is it I love most about Roger?  It's his wonderful, loving spirit and his amazing sense of humor!  He loves to make people laugh.  Everything from stealing phones and brushes and hiding them under his hay to opening the stables and letting all his friends out.  He's been loose at a show and went to eat at the ice cream van, and he's dragged bales of hay hundreds of meters to hide them in the stable.  You wouldn't believe what this boy gets up to!

He loves to dress up:

And he knows how to bow:

I could go on forever (and a day!) and I still couldn't fit in all that makes Roger the most wonderful part of my life.  He is my angel and from lying in his stable when he's not well and cuddling him, to competing and winning cross country events, he does everything anyone asks with a smile and a good sense of humor.  So welcome to the very core of my heart.  He is the reason I do everything.  HE is the reason I write.  Because if he can do all that, then I can do this.

What's at your core?

Roger is mine:

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Exciting News on A Touch Of Darkness!

 I am absolutely thrilled to announce some exciting news for A TOUCH OF DARKNESS by TINA MOSS & YELENA CASALE. The publisher has agreed to drop the price to $2.99! If you've been waiting to grab your copy, here's the chance to get it at a bargain rate. Pick up a copy for your eReader at Amazon or B&N.

Cassie’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she ...well, whenever. So, when a mysterious stranger walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when the stranger’s predictions start to come true, she discovers a world that could shake up her humdrum existence.

For more information follow Tina Moss at or find her on