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PitchWars Possible Entries

August 1, 2014

I could use some help deciding which pitch to enter in the upcoming PitchWars. Which one would appeal most to the mentors/agents? I would also love any feedback on either pitch. Thank you!


The Summer That Saved Me (YA Historical)

Seventeen-year-old Cass Walker has two loves: her abusive boyfriend and Janis Joplin. After a fight that leaves her black and blue, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer of ’73 at her grandmother’s lakeside cabin. A summer of music and healing is exactly what she needs to distance herself from her boyfriend and help her scars fade.

As she’s unpacking, she finds a picture of her dad shoved in the back of a drawer. The dad that abandoned her. The dad that might know what pushed her mom into a life of drug dependence. The dad that might have a connection to Janis Joplin.

Just when she decides to spend the summer alone, she meets Brent, an All American tennis star from ritzy Westgate. He’s the absolute opposite of everything she’s attracted to. No to mention, he likes the Beach Boys. But their chemistry is undeniable. When a steamy skinny dip in the lake under the influence of LSD sends their attraction into orbit, she freaks out and pushes him away. He may not mistreat her, like every other guy in her life, but she’s no one’s ghetto project.

But Brent refuses to give up on her. And when he offers to help find her dad, she has to decide whether to let him help her. Meeting her dad could get her the answers she needs to ensure she doesn’t make the same mistakes her mom made. Even if it means letting in the one person she’s been trying all summer to push away.

The Summer That Saved me is complete at 66,000 words. It’s an edgy historical young adult novel set in 1973 that would appeal to readers of Sara Zarr and Laurie Halse Anderson.


Bee Stadium (MG Contemporary)

For twelve year old Jake Evans, life without baseball is out of the question. This season, his team has a legitimate shot at going all the way to Williamsport. And at the first practice, Jake finds out he’s a top contender for the traveling team playing in a tournament in Japan at the end of the summer. But when he finds out he might be benched for the season because he’s failing Language Arts, he panics. He’ll do anything do play.

Lucky for Jake, his teacher offers him an extra credit assignment to help him bring up his grade. Lucky, that is, until Jake finds out what it is. Advance to the school spelling bee. The problem is, Jake can’t spell. He’s struggled with school his whole life. In last year’s classroom spelling bee, he couldn’t even spell tulip right. A mistake his arch-enemy, and school bully, Kyle Filbert still teases him about. Well, that and the fact that Jake’s adopted and doesn’t look anything like his blond haired, blue eyed parents.

As Jake struggles to learn to spell words he can’t even pronounce, he realizes he may not touch the mound this season, much less travel to Williamsport or Japan. So, Jake enlists the help of his best friend, and sixth grade know-it-all, Brit to help him study. Because if he doesn’t hunker down and learn to spell, he’ll never escape Kyle’s bullying, he may not move to the next grade, and he could lose his one and only shot at little league stardom.

BEE STADIUM is a contemporary middle grade novel complete at 44,000 words.


Pitcharama: The Summer That Saved Me

June 15, 2014

Title: The Summer That Saved Me

Author: Laurie Litwin

Genre: YA Historical (1970s)

Word Count: 66,000


Rock n roll is seventeen-year-old Cass Walker’s escape from a harsh life on the wrong side of the tracks. When she listens to her favorites – Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, The Doors – she’s free from the ghosts that whisper threats in her ear and the scars that mark her body like a map.

But even music can’t help her flee from the reality of a lifestyle where drugs are exchanged like candy and casual sex is the norm. Or her musician boyfriend that beats the crap out of her. Things go from bad to worse when she’s sexually assaulted by her high-as-a-kite mom’s loser boyfriend. So when her grandmother offers her the guest cabin at the lake for the summer, she jumps at the chance. A summer of music and healing is exactly what she needs to help mend her body and spirit.

As she’s moving in, she meets Brent, who is everything she isn’t – clean cut, All American, straight as an arrow, and rich. As their relationship deepens, she pushes him away. He may not hit her, but she’s no one’s ghetto project. She tries to forget him, but he won’t let her, showing her respect she refuses to acknowledge. And after a huge fight with the abusive jerk she can’t completely give up leaves her so black and blue she can hardly walk, she has to decide whether Brent’s the only one who can truly help the scars fade forever.

The New Adult Dilemma

February 25, 2013

819488cd-4941-3aab-8242-1481c38834c7I recently completed the first draft of my third manuscript, Summer Lake. I originally intended for it to be a historic Young Adult. It’s set in the 1973 and, true to the ’70s, it has a lot of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. As I work my way through my first set of edits, I’m realizing it’s pretty mature. There’s a rape scene, explicit drug use, and several other scenes that involve sex that probably push the YA limits.

As I result, I’ve started to think it might be an idea to age my main character (Cass) from 17 to 18, thus shifting the story forward a year to the summer after her senior year in high school. A big storyline in the novel is Cass trying to figure out who she is. Her mother is strung out and her father abandoned her. In the second chapter, she finds a picture of him, and decides to try to find him. She thinks if she can find him, he may be able to answer some of her questions about who she is.

My issue is, in all my reading of and research on the New Adult genre (if it is indeed now a genre) I can’t find a single New Adult historic novel. At least one that is published. There seems to be a lot of contemporary, and a growing subset of speculative, but no historic. And I have a feeling that is because of what New Adult is.

So, this is where I ask for advice. Anyone have an opinion? Do I age up my MC, or not?

Dear Cassie – Lisa Burstein

January 11, 2013

Dear Cassie coverDear Cassie is Lisa Burstein’s follow up to Pretty Amy. Dear Cassie follows Cassie’s story after the girls are arrested for possession and intent to sell after being stood up at the prom.

Cassie has been sent to Turning Pines Wilderness Camp as punishment for her transgressions, which just may go deeper than the arrest.  Real, raw, hurt, vulnerable. These things come across loud and clear. This is a story about a girl who desperately wants to be loved and wanted and never has.

There’s an interesting cast of characters at Turning Pines. There’s Nez, the compulsive liar, Troyer, the girl who won’t talk, and then there’s Ben. Ben with a good heart who accepts Cassie for who she is and wants nothing more than to help her.

But, of course, Cassie wants nothing to do with Ben after what she went through before Turning Pines. Before that thing happened that sent her to Turning Pines in the first place.

I would highly recommend this book to all teenage girls. And to us older girls, who are still teenagers at heart. I so wish there had been books like this when I was that age and so desperately needed to know I wasn’t alone in the way I felt.

Thank you, Lisa, for writing a compelling story that has the potential to touch, and change, lives.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2013

January 10, 2013

So many good books, never enough time to read them all. I am looking forward to reading so many books in 2013. I’m shooting for 100, we’ll see if I can do that. For now, here’s what’s at the top of my TBR:

One More Day by Gayle Forman
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Shatter Me by Tehereh Mafi
Requiem by Lauren Oliver
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Golden by Jessi Kirby

And so, so, so many more. Looking forward to a book-filled 2013.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

January 5, 2013

200px-The_Fault_in_Our_StarsI only have one word for this book. Perfection. It’s so good. Seriously. If you haven’t read it, drop what you’re doing, run out and buy it, and read it immediately.

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green’s fourth solo book and, arguably, his best. This book is filled with heart and soul. It follows Hazel Grace, a 16-year-old girl with stage 4 thyroid cancer. Hazel is battling depression and her mother makes her go to a cancer support group, where she meets Augustus Waters, who is in remission from osteosarcoma.

Hazel and Gus bond over their share love of a book called An Imperial Affliction. The two go on a quest to find out what happened to the characters that leads them to Amsterdam and a meeting with the book’s author. Also in Amsterdam, Gus reveals a secret of his own, that his cancer has returned.

I was so unsure if I would be able to handle reading this book. I knew from the get go that it would reduce me to a puddle of mush. And it did. But it was so worth it.

Pretty Amy – Lisa Burstein

December 15, 2012

PAIt’s no secret I love young adult contemporary fiction. It comprises 80 percent of what I read, if not more. I’m just not the girl who’s ever going to be into sci fi, fantasy, and alternate worlds. I do try. I give these titles my all, and intersperse them in between all of the contemporaries, but I just don’t love them in the same way.

I am particularly drawn to stories about women coming into their own and finding themselves. So, Pretty Amy was a no brainer for me.

Amy is struggling with her identity. A high school “nobody” she befriends Cassie and Lila and embarks on a journey that leads her straight to trouble.

After being arrested for possession and intent to sell, Amy’s parents force her to get a job and encourage her to “narc” on her friends to get her out of her legal troubles.

Amy goes through some heavy duty soul searching before realizing the truth about her “friends” and doing the right thing.

I can’t recommend this book enough to every teenage girl out there struggling with her identity, struggling to fit in, and looking for validation. I only wish there had been more books like Pretty Amy when I was a teenager and needed them so badly.