165: First chapter critique plus a signed copy of Girl on the Run by JANE COSTELLO

ITEM: First chapter critique plus a signed copy of Jane’s new novel, GIRL ON THE RUN (out in April).

DETAILS: Abby Rogers has been on health kicks before – they involve eating one Blueberry muffin for breakfast instead of two.
But since starting her own business after too many episodes of The Apprentice, the 28-year-old’s waistline has taken even more of a back seat than her long-neglected love life.

When she’s encouraged to join her sporty best friend’s running club – by none other than its gorgeous new captain – she finds a mysterious compulsion to exercise. Sadly, her first session doesn’t go to plan. Between the leggings that resemble strawberry-flavoured condoms and the fact that her lungs feel as though they’ve been set on fire, she vows never to return. Then her colleague Heidi turns up at work and makes a devastating
announcement, one that will change her life – and Abby’s – forever.

BIO: Jane Costello is the Sunday Times bestselling author of chick lit books including Bridesmaids, The Nearly Weds and My Single Friend.

Jane won Romantic Comedy of the Year 2010 for The Nearly Weds.


161: Manuscript/submission package critique + mentoring by YA author KERIS STAINTON + signed books

ITEM: Manuscript and submission package critique by YA author Keris Stainton, plus signed copies of DELLA SAYS: OMG! and signed proof of JESSIE HEARTS NYC

DETAILS: I will read your YA manuscript (up to 60,000 words) and advise on plot, characterisation, setting and dialogue (nothing puts me off a book faster than bad dialogue). I will help you write a query letter, put together a synopsis and polish your first three chapters until they squeak.

BIO: Keris Stainton is a compulsive writer, voracious reader and obsessive tweeter. Her first YA novel DELLA SAYS: OMG! came out last year and has been shortlisted for Lancashire Book of the Year 2011. Her second, JESSIE HEARTS NYC, comes out in July and she’s hoping to get a trip to New York out of it…

158: Critique of opening chapters of YA/Middle Grade novel + Signed paperback copy of Takeshita Demons by CRISTY BURNE

ITEM: Critique of opening chapters of YA or Middle Grade novels (2,000 words more or less).

ITEM: Signed paperback copy of Takeshita Demons

BIO: Cristy is a writer who has worked for three years in Japan as a teacher and editor. Cristy has worked as editor of CSIRO’s Scientriffic magazine and as a performer with the Shell Questacon Science Circus. In 2006, Cristy was selected for a Young and Emerging Writer’s Residency at Varuna House, and in 2008 she won the Voices on the Coast Children’s Writing Competition.

Cristy’s debut novel, Takeshita Demons, is a spooky adventure story for 8-12s featuring Japanese demons, or yokai. Takeshita Demons won the 2009 Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award, was included in the BookTrust’s 2010 Booked Up program, and featured on the BBC’s Blue Peter Book Club in January 2011.

Resources and activities for Takeshita Demons are available from: http://cristyburne.com/resources.html

Takeshita Demons reviews http://cristyburne.wordpress.com/takeshita-demons/



130: Signed copy of TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN by Catherine Cooper + critique of a book synopsis/first chapter

ITEM: Signed copy of TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN by Catherine Cooper plus a critique of a book synopsis/first chapter

DETAILS: Travelling with Children provides information on a variety of holidays that families might consider,from UK ‘staycations’, short-haul package holidays, back-packing and city breaks to skiing, longhaul trips and luxury breaks. The book addresses the practicalities of travelling with children of all ages, from newborn to teenage, and it also discusses how to deal with a group of mixed-aged children and the issues that might arise.

Different modes of travel are addressed, the pros and cons of kids’ clubs and how to get good deals if you are on a tight budget. There is vital information on what to do if anything goes wrong, how to avoid potential problems before you leave and what to do if you’re not happy with your holiday. Written by a parent and travel journalist, this book is a must-have title for families who want to make the most of holidays with their children.

BIO: Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist specialising in writing about travelling with children. She has written for The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, Practical Parenting and several airline magazines, as well as other publications. She has written about the travels with her own children, including stays in luxury hotels, trips to Butlins and camping in the UK. Catherine now lives in the South of France.


117: Critique of first chapter or short story up to 5000 words + signed copy of THE EMPTY CITY by Berit Ellingsen (3 of 3)

ITEM: Critique of first chapter or short story up to 5000 words PLUS signed copy of THE EMPTY CITY by Berit Ellingsen (due out in April or May this year).

DETAILS: The Empty City is a story about awakening to universal truths and resolving the past. The fragmented and experimental storyline takes place in the waking world, and in dreams and fantasies conseptualized by the main character.

Urban explorer and lucid dreamer Brandon Minamoto discovers that outside his thoughts and emotions exists a world that is silent and open, surrounding him and everyone else. He has been so busy living inside his thoughts and emotions that he hasn’t noticed the silent world before. He travels to various places in the city that are challenging or frightening to see if the silence exists there too. When the silence starts picking him apart and questioning his past and sense of self, he creates a series of stories in response, some of them true and some of them not. But behind all the noise and stories there is something constant and unchanging.

How far would you go to find your true self?

BIO: Berit Ellingsen is a Norwegian literary and speculative fiction author. She is also a science journalist. Her fiction has appeared in The Harrow and Jack Move Magazine, and will be seen in the forthcoming SF anthology Growing Dread: Biopunk Visions by Timid Pirate Publishing, as well as OverclockZine and SPLIT Quarterly. Berit admits to pine for the fjords when abroad. Her debut novel, The Empty City, inspired by the philosophy of non-duality, will be available in spring 2011 (http://emptycitynovel.com/). She blogs at www.ninja-wizard.blogspot.com and tweets as @BeritEllingsen

115: Critique of first chapter and query letter for women’s fiction or YA novel by KATE HARRISON

ITEM: Critique of first chapter (up to 2000 words) and query letter of your women’s fiction or Young Adult novel. I’ll read and comment on the submission by email, with lots of suggestions making your submission to agents and publishers as strong as possible.

BIO: Kate Harrison is the author of The Secret Shopper novels and of the forthcoming Soul Beach trilogy. A former BBC journalist, she now writes full-time. Her first book, Old School Ties was published in 2003 as part of the WH Smith Fresh Talent list, and since then she’s written eight more books for adults, including The Secret Shopper’s Revenge, which was shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for comedy romance.

Kate blogs at chicklitworkinprogress.blogspot.com.

111: Query letter critique from Tracy Marchini (5 of 5)

ITEM: Query critique. I’ll look at the letter as I had when I was reading the query box. I’ll give revision suggestions designed to hook the reader, strengthen the plot summary and highlight the submission’s assets. Winning critiques will receive feedback within two days from receipt of query.

BIO: Tracy Marchini is a freelance writer and editorial consultant. Before launching her own editorial service, she worked for Curtis Brown, Ltd. for four years. She has also been a newspaper correspondent for The Taconic Press, children’s book reviewer for BookPage and freelance copywriter for Scholastic.

Tracy has been accepted for publication in Highlights Magazine and is the recipient of a partial grant for an October, 2010 Highlights Founder’s Workshop, a barter at the La Muse writer’s retreat in Southern France for July/August 2010, and a 2006 Puffin Grant to write a non-fiction picture book on Queen Lili’uokalani.

You can also find Tracy at www.tracymarchini.com,  Publisher’s Marketplaceand Twitter.