Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Find Me at www.minavaughn.com

I won't be using this blog address anymore, so if you need your Mina fix, go check out my new digs:


See you there!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Cover Reveal for S.M. Johnston's SLEEPER

One of my Pitch Madness cohorts, the lovely S.M. Johnston, had her cover reveal today.  Here it is! 

SLEEPER is a new adult speculative fiction novel and Book I in the Toy Soldiers series. SLEEPER is due for release December 2, 2013 from Entranced Publishing so be sure to follow the author for updates about the book's release.

And now without further ado, here's the spectacular cover for SLEEPER....

After a life saving heart transplant, eighteen-year-old Mishca Richardson is plagued by nightmares and an urgent desire to find her birth parents, which she puts down to post-operation depression. But her new heart seems to bring more than a second chance at life in the form of speed, strength and love at first sight.

About the Author:
Sharon is a writer from Mackay in Queensland, Australia who has short stories published in anthologies and was also runner-up in the Australian Literary Review’s Young Adult short story contest with KARMA. By day she is a public relations executive and by night she writes weird fiction and soulful contemporaries while her husband, two sons and cat are fast asleep.

Monday, April 22, 2013

#Pitchslap 2: DREAM WISHER

Hello, friends!  This week's #pitchslap comes from YA writer Brad Miller @The_DreamWisher, who shares his YA fantasy DREAM WISHER with us today.  Alright, pitch, here comes the spank!

My 84,000-word novel, DREAM WISHER, tells the story of Ethyder, a young boy living in the enslaved underground city of Eradome, who struggles with an inability to dream that could cost him his life. As is the case with much of fantasy literature, too many proper nouns!  Cut the name of the city. Also, why could not dreaming cost him his life? You move on before addressing something that would confuse most readers.  After losing his mother, Ethyder becomes an orphan and is now charged with taking care of his younger sister. But and when she is kidnapped by the creatures that have enslaved them, Ethyder will face his fears, and will set out on a journey that will change him forever. This part is vague!  Most stories change people forever.  Here's where you can possibly tie in one or two of your themes, because I slap the next paragraph clean off your query.

Filled with fantastic creatures and dark beasts, DREAM WISHER, follows the dreamless Ethyder through tunnels of self-realization, forgiveness, and adventure, ultimately leading to his climactic escape from the underground.  Your story's themes should be clear in the query, no need to point them out to an agent.  I also cut this paragraph to give you a chance to give the agent some of the moment-to-moment details about what this story is like. You give a too-brief summary of the story, then jump into unnecessary themes, then into the closing paragraph about why you selected this agent in particular.  Give them more to work with!  At this point, all we know is that an orphan who can't dream tries to escape a city with his sister.  That's a logline, not a query.  Give us MEAT!  Where's the beef?

DREAM WISHER fits in well with your interest in representing young adult novels. Readers, especially young adults suffering from peer pressure and bullying, will take interest in Ethyder’s story as it explores the self-hatred and the need for acceptance that youth are faced with today, a commonality amongst us all, and a theme I have fought to understand my entire life. Careful here, you sound a bit preachy.  YA writers have to walk a fine line between reaching their audience and preaching to them.  I'd tone this down a bit.

I am currently a member of the PNWA and SCBWI.  Awesome!

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to an opportunity to share the full manuscript with you.


Brad W. Miller

Brad, I think with some specific details and a little more moment-to-moment action of the story, you'll have a killer query.  Thanks for submitting!  ;)


PS-- Anyone who wants to enter #pitchslap just needs to send me their query.  Email minavaughnwrites at gmail dot com to enter. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Query Crit and Partial MS Crit

I'm donating a partial MS crit and a query crit for the SUB Club's Spring Giving event.  I hope you donate!  http://thesubclubbooks.com/?page_id=9760

Friday, April 12, 2013

#Pitchslap 1: Wicked Stepmother

Thank you so much to everyone who bravely submitted their queries to me for #pitchslap!  I think this weekly installment will be fun and informative, so without further ado, let's get slap-happy.

Today's inaugural #pitchslap comes from my twitter pal, Liz Lincoln (@lizlincolnwritr). 


(I've omitted the agent-introduction segment)

For homicide detective Amanda Schreiber, fairy tales of the wicked stepmother were more than just bedtime stories. They were her reality. Ok, I think you could possibly combine these two sentences.  Also, I'm not 100% sure how adults could relate to Amanda's plight, since once you're a grown-up, a wicked stepmother seems like she'd just be an annoyance rather than someone who ruined your life ona daily basis.  Please give us a LITTLE about how awful Amanda's stepmom situation is so that we can sympathize.  But when she’s called to her latest crime scene, she never expects to find her stepmom’s dead body.
The case is reassigned to sexy newcomer, Greg Cole. Amanda should be out of the loop, but Greg agrees to keep her informed. Is this a major no-no?  Should you say he "secretly agrees to keep her informed"? I assume he's not supposed to do so and is taking a great risk.  Because that's sexy.  As the attraction between them heats up, the investigation turns toward someone in her family. And when  To improve flow, cut these sentences down and combine the lead suspect turns up dead, she begins to fear the killer is her brother. How can she choose between the only person in her family she ever trusted and finding the justice she has trained so hard to defend? The clock is ticking on Amanda's reputation as a cop. And possibly her life.
Wicked Stepmother is a romantic suspense of 100,000 words. It explores the meaning of family and loyalty while delivering a gripping mystery and sizzling romance. Nice.  Do you want to throw out any comp titles?  "Fans of ________'s __________ series would be likely readers of this mystery... something like that.  Also, the only real sizzle we get in the query is that Greg is a "sexy newcomer".  Can you give us any more?  Something for us to hold onto and sniff and go "oooh, Greg"?
I've been a member of RWA for 9 years and am active in the WI chapter. VERY GOOD!  I'm also a graduate of the Milwaukee Police Department's Citizen's Academy AWESOME DETAIL!!!! have a friend on the MPD who helped with the police procedure aspects of the book. Ok this part's not so awesome.  Agents/editors assume you've done your homework.  I think all you need is your comment about the Citizen's Academy. 
This query is tight, intriguing and well-paced.  It's short enough to keep us from being bombarded with details, but also gives us enough plot to see how the moment-to-moment would play out.  Kudos, Liz!
Spanktastic readers, what do you think?  Any insights to add?
PS-- Looking forward to next week's pitchslap already. :) If you submitted to #pitchslap and weren't selected, don't lose heart-- the pool just keeps getting bigger so I may use you next time. Remember, all you have to do is email the body of your query to minavaughnwrites at gmail dot com and put Pitchslap in the subject line.  Good luck and slap on!

Friday, April 5, 2013


Ok, so after an ABSURD amount of fun and games being a slush zombie and critiquer for Pitch Madness and #pitmad, I've decided to add a segment to the blog.

It's called Pitchslap Fridays.

I'm opening up to writers out there who need their queries or pitches critiqued.  Email me your pitch or query, and on Friday I'll pick my favorite and critique it on the blog.  Sometimes I'll pick one that is doing everything right and point out why it's effective.  Other times, well, it's gonna get a big ol' pitchslap. 

The sting subsides, leaving only euphoria, I promise.

Anyway, we'll start next week.  Email minavaughnwrites at gmail dot com with the subject line: PITCHSLAP: TITLE of your book. 

Looking forward to some slap-happy Fridays!