Thursday, February 23, 2017

Con Artists and Star-Crossed Lovers: My Picks for #sonofapitch

I've been working as a judge this week for #SonofaPitch a query contest masterminded by the talented Katie Hamstead Teller. You can check out the details of the contest here. Katie has done this a few times now, so keep your eyes peeled for the next contest if you didn't have the chance to participate this time.

My team was Team Hera, as in Hera Syndulla from Rebels. I picked her because she is fierce and motherly at the same time. One of the reasons I love participating in this particular query contest is because the participants (both the query-ers and the author-judges) foster such a supportive environment. It's hard to balance support with critique, but we do it every time. Hera would be proud of us.

I've made my picks for the five queries to go on to the next level of the contest. So here they are! These are not in ranked order. Luckily, no one made me rank my votes. So, these are alphabetical by title.

Choice 1: A World Apart: This story struck me for pushing the boundaries of what constitutes romance as a genre. Besides just meeting and falling in love, the two men in this story have history and personal baggage to overcome. Their story is further complicated when a crime investigation is involved.

Choice 2: Empathy: Imminent Dawn: I must have been in a romantic mood, because even though this story is a thriller, I was first drawn in by the main character who was willing to take incredible risks to regain access to her wife. I know I'd love to read more about the cyberpunk type brain implants and the intrigue surrounding them, too. I'm just hoping the lovers make it in the end!

Choice 3: Lunar Base Lost: Frontier politics and family conflict are at the center of this story. I was intrigued by the motivations of the characters, and curious to see how far they are willing to go to get their way.  I also really liked seeing the way the author incorporated the feedback received to hone and focus the query itself. The last version was a much tighter piece of work than the first one, and that's really the goal of the whole experience in a contest like this one.

Choice 4: No Rest for the Wicked: The author posted this one as an adult gaslight fantasy. Gaslight or steampunk is a genre I'm really starting to appreciate. They seem to capture that old movie feeling of a woman with spunk and moxie. The main character of this one sounds like a woman I'd enjoy inviting to tea so she could tell me about the cons she has pulled and the trouble she's escaped.

Choice 5: Prisoner of Fate: I was intrigued from the opening line of this query, which intermixed the modern concept of a mid-life crisis with the old-fashioned one of a carriage. When I moved onto the excerpt and met Sedhan, a man obviously up to no good, my curiosity was piqued.

I didn't get to read ALL the entries. Darn day job getting in the way of my fun . . . But you can check out all the entries here and at the blogs of the other hosting authors:  Elsie Elmore (Team Droids), Elizabeth Roderick (Team Leia), Kathleen Ann Palm (Team Darkside), Rena Rocford (Team Rebels), and of course, our organizer and Grand Poobah, Katie Hamstead Teller.

If you're a writer working on querying your work, you can glean a lot of insight looking through contests like this one. And if you're a reader, it's a good way to see who the new up-and-coming authors might be in the next few years.

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