July, 2010


>I have now posted all of the revised submissions I’ve received.  Please make sure you are happy with your submissions.  It will have REVISED next to the ones that I received the changes on.  If you sent me a revision, but I haven’t made the changes, please feel free to email me again.  I will be informing the SA that all is ready on Tuesday.  Thanks and good luck.


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Call for Revisions

>Now that you’ve gotten some really great comments I want you to take those comments and revise your query.  You’ll have a week to get me those revisions before I alert the SA that the entries are ready for her perusal.  Good luck! 

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Problems with comments

>It has come to my attention that for some reason my blog is eating comments.  This appears to be a blogger problem and I’m unable to fix it at this time.  However, I have been getting those comments that are dissappearing in my email and I continue to urge you to keep making them.  Hopefully, blogger will get this figured out soon.  If not, I will email each entrant  personally with a list of the comments on Teusday so you can make the necessary changes, if you wish.  Thanks for your patience and I apologize or the  inconvenience. 


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It Starts.

>Wow, guys, I’m impressed!  These are some really great queries and stories.  Now remember, please critique a minimum of 5 entries.  And please, give more than just a “wow this is great” response.  Thanks.

You will have until next Tuesday at 8 am EST to get those critiques done.  Then I’ll ask for new entries from those wishing to change thiers before the SA looks.

You may not be able to scroll down and see all the entries.  But if you go to the side bar, you’ll see a list of titles and their entry numbers.  Simply click on the ones that interest you and critique away.

I’d like for every entry to have at least 5 different critiques, so please start critiquing the ones that have less than 5.  Once we get 5 on all posts we can go back and start critiquing any and all that you want.  As always thanks for all that you’ve done. 

And please, due to the time and effort that people put into these critiques, please do not ask to be removed from the contest.  I will not remove the entry after critiquing starts.  However, if something big happens (ie offer of rep or a contract from publishing) feel free to email me and let me know.  I’ll make sure that your entry is not considered by the SA.  Thanks.

Good luck!


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>Dear Secret Agent:

Please consider representing my 37,000-word upper middle grade novel, THE TWELFTH OF NEVER, a contemporary coming-of-age story.

Presley may be one of the smartest kids in her eighth-grade class, but she buckles under pressure – or more specifically, she alphabetizes. In stressful moments her mind grabs words from conversation or thoughts and compulsively sorts the letters, like a guard dog chasing its tail as robbers steal the loot. So it’s no surprise when signs from the universe constantly warn her: stay out of the spotlight.

That’s hard to do when her Elvis-loving mom, the school secretary, plays embarrassing snippets of The King’s hits on the PA every day. It’s even harder when the school’s biggest goofball nominates Presley for president and her campaign speech turns disastrous. Her greatest refuge from the drama is her adorable nephew. But Luke’s mom – Presley’s teenage sister – has a secret that threatens to tear the boy from the family forever, unless Presley can stop it.

Suddenly it seems the universe is out to get her – or maybe she’s not reading it right. Perhaps the cosmos is whispering a new message with her troubles at school and home: Stay cool. Step into the spotlight. Summon your inner Elvis.

I worked as a reporter at The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times before becoming an English teacher. I also happen to be a compulsive alphabetizer since childhood. I’ve learned to quiet the volume of it, although my method did not involve Elvis. Thank you for your consideration.


If this were a movie, you’d be hearing an Elvis tune right now, the soundtrack to my life. Mom says she gave birth to me serenaded by his love song, “The Twelfth of Never.” And since I entered the world crying in perfect harmony, she named me Presley. Presley Ann Marr.

I try to enjoy his music as any self-respecting eighth grader would — secretly — but Mom is Elvis crazy. She even bought a potato chip on eBay because it supposedly resembles his facial profile. If you squint, one burnt edge sort of looks like his hair and those thick sideburns from the 1970s, when he was heavy and wore the sparkly one-piece outfits.

She had the potato chip shellacked, and she keeps it on a tiny foam pad in a clear plastic display box on her desk at work. Which also happens to be at my school. She’s the secretary at Greenhaven Middle, and I’m about to tell her the music has to stop.

First thing every day she plays a cut of some Elvis number over the PA system, instead of doing the school announcements straight. This morning it was “Jailhouse Rock,” the one where the warden throws a party in the county jail.

Deep down I love that song, but it’s always a bad sign when she plays it.

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