Thursday, July 20, 2017

#PimpMyBio: Bethany Stevenson (YA, Comedic Fantasy)

Hello there!!

Mentors, past mentees, friends, CPs, PitchWars hopefuls, and writers:


My name is Bethany Stevenson and this is my #PimpMyBio:



BIO:



I hated books until I was nine. 

My sister handed me the Phantom Tollbooth and I read the whole thing in one sitting. Ever since, my imagination expanded outside the typical Narnia. (which I loved to play with my sister, despite never reading it on my own at that point) 

Since then, I've fallen in love with Joel Ross, William Joyce, Shannon Messenger, Ransom Riggs, N.D. Wilson, Leo Tolstoy, Sabaa Tahir, Eoin Colfer, Orson Scott Card (All the Ender Books people, not just the first. I read every. single. one. Bean included) Wade Albert White, Markus Zusak, Michael Ende, and a whole lot more. 

Star Wars didn't help either. When I was almost ten everything was Jedi in my life, or ninjas, or secret agents. After that, I wanted to follow my sister's footsteps and finish writing a book. 


Everything went downhill from there. 


I'm also an aspiring artist! (If you want to know more find me on youtube and Instagram )

I'm a third year PitchWars hopeful, CP, and like you, an author. Don't let my twitter following deceive you; I've only been on about 10 months. Somehow, I've made a LOT of writer connections.

I've been mentored during #NoQS (Nightmare on Query Street) for a YA Dark Fantasy and was one of those #TeenPit kids (who sadly didn't win a PW slot or as a runner up, but my mentor was literally worth the entire contest. If you're her future Mentee for PitchWars, I'm jealous.) 

I'm also the co-host to my sister's bloghop #YayYA, which some of the mentors in PitchWars have participated in before their book deals! Which is totally awesome.
The first round of YayYA was the first time I'd ever put my writing into the "real world. "I was overly nervous. But last year, after I submitted to PW, I HAD to join the community, so I set up a Twitter, and stalked the hashtag. I soon found readers, CPs, and eventually amazing friends. 

I've been a writer my whole life. (I know that's not very long if you know the entry age limit to TeenPit, but I finished my first 100 page novel at age 9 and have completed about 37 full first drafts since. They're not great, but I'm proud of each one)

But this time, I'm not submitting the YA Dark Fantasy I've been writing and revising and throwing into other contest slush piles for a year now. I originally planned to, but something new came along...

So I'm submitting something that is literally it's opposite. 


A YA Comedic Fantasy. 



And I love it. 



Let me introduce you to my new book baby: FIGHTING CLICHÉS...


First, here's my first photoshop job, a wallpaper inspired by the book:





*stops staring* Okay, guess I better tell you what it features:

In a world where adventures are published into novels and where being original is key to being noticed, is a quick-witted girl named Brianna. 
Her parents are famous novel heroes; their adventures, mysteries, and quests have been filling library shelves in the world of Novella for years. And now that Brianna is 15, old enough for an adventure, it's her turn. 
She’s day dreamed of what her adventure might entail. Seafaring-griffon hunts or rescuing lost relics in deserts or anything whimsical is preferable. But she's declared a Chosen One and sent off with a typical mentor wizard, a glowing sword, and a ridiculously annoying comedic-sidekick to fulfill a prophecy by defeating a necromancer in a tower. 
Brianna's dreams are crushed
No Great Author will want to write her into a story once her adventure is complete: cliché tropes don't sell. 
As things start to look like Brianna will be sent to work in a one-shot-fluff fanfiction theater for the rest of her life, she decides to ruin her own story. By leaving the elf parties, losing heir trials, and breaking the hearts of love interests, she takes control of her own adventure, twisting things into the way she wanted them to be. 
If she doesn’t complete the prophecy, the necromancer will kill her. Except, finishing the prophecy as proclaimed might ruin her chances to attract a future writer to publish her novel. 

Here's some more my book features that I know you're gonna want:

If my book were a mash up of other stories/movies it would be: GALAXY QUEST meets MY LADY JANE, with the oddity of THE ADVENTURER'S GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL ESCAPES and the humor of the YA BROODING HERO. 

It also has references to: Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Star Wars, Star Trek, Cinder, An Ember in the Ashes, Princess Bride, Disney Villains, Lord of the Rings, Ms. Peregrine's, Hans Zimmer, and more... I just forgot

But you, as the reader, (and mentor, right? <3) get to find them all!! 

When I came up with this idea, I literally researched every blog post on avoiding clichés and what to look out for in novels for tropes... and used. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. 

On purpose

(Boy, did Brianna get ticked about that.)


Want to know even MORE?

It features:

  1. Smart-witted girl MC who takes matters into her own hands without kicking everyone's butt all the time. Brianna doesn't need to be heartless or have blood on her hands to be tough. She'll blow a place up though if it really annoys her.
  2. Genre mash-ups. (I mean, Lake Town meets Divergent, people.)
  3. Ninja, elf princess bounty hunter, who loves fashion and friends.
  4. Complex world. The World of Novella contains every genre possible to imagine. 
  5. Light-hearted Fantasy 
  6. Voice. Brianna mixes snark and concern. 
  7. Twists on tropes, as noted.
  8. Subtle retelling hints throughout. Like a castle transformation similar to Beauty and the Beast. 
  9. Dragons and wolves and elves and princesses and mages... I mean, c'mon! 
  10. Girl BFFs working together. 
  11. Unique places and characters. Trust me, Try combining Twilight and Tinkerbell. When you've got a Gandalf type character arguing with an Olaf type character or a redheaded rebel ranger trying to apply into a rip off Hogwarts, it gets crazy. 
  12. Tight families
  13. Teamwork
  14. anti-heroes
  15. pop culture references
  16. The Fourth Wall
  17. Author groups
  18. An ending message for any struggling artistic person.

Brianna struggles with the passion to get out there in the novel world, but she's got to be noticed first, and she has to work hard. This book is almost like the life of an author trying to become published, except, from a character's POV to be in the book. And she's not going to give up on her journey. 

So let's go get them PitchWars people!!



This is me and my story...


 What's yours?





*side note* this is NOT my blog. I'm borrowing my sister's because she's amazing. Thanks Rachel!!



Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spring 2017 Poetry Sampler






Below you will find another set of poetry, mostly free verse. These were penned between March and June.



haiku iii  (couplet)


rise thou soaring chords
i breathe in love to sing light 
and color’s touch 

sing, wind shine and wide.
i feel bright silence in flight
of mutual gaze 





andrei in the field 

(another short poem in my series of war and peace verses)


to face again one’s insignificance 
in the only field where he failed everyone but himself
in a world where everyone fails him, including himself 


social anxiety- poem of an autobiographical nature vi


i am sorry that
                  i am sorry.
can’t peel this aluminum foil off my heart, my eyes. 
sometimes i want to escape the sunrise in a black deep dive 
hear the silence;
not break another neck. 
i weigh my presence on the scales of toleration,
measure the hypotenuse of the light in their eyes,
wear artificial confidence around my throat, 
whiten my smile with hope and fear. 
initiate, someone, 
for otherwise my anxiety will always initiate as i drag my heels behind 
its giggling grip on the back of my neck on a wild goose chase 
for validation it then destroys me with and poisons my sleep. 
initiate and tell me 
“i want to be here.”
for i live in constant terror that anxiety’s mask over my eyes 
will be the only me you ever know. 


braces

they are
removing my braces tomorrow.
no more teeth corset.
how many unspoken words will they find caught in those wires?


disembark 

seven forty four.
handfuls of sleepy tulsans blink past glass and the landed plane
at the gathering gray swamp of storms huddling on the horizon,
and all is silence and country music spread thin
over linoleum.
seven forty five.
a door opens
and tumbles out five dozen chattering californians.
culture clashes in the doorframe as over and into 
the midwestern quiet they flood.
the tulsans side eye hurried noise.
intruders.
wake not the midwest until it so desires.


aprilesque 

spring sugars even the earthen corners in pinkened whispered laughter
and lilts across mountainous oceans of newly wakened trees.
it is aprilesque. 
gray diamond rain slicks the skies
and the wind breathes down my throat.
let's unfold our minds in the darkness to a concerto of birdsong 
under two carat stars and pearl strings of falling wishes
in the raw of new grass. i’ll plant blossoms on your heart. 
it is aprilesque
and i living.


miles

veins on my maps and roads on my wrists 
i can see my smile in his eyes 
wind in my lungs and breath in the air 
do you want to run away into tomorrow, today? 
i’ll scatter dandelion fluff and wander the miles 
allotted to me with your name in my heart 


tourist 

i am a tourist in this life,
just here for the food and experience,
but i know i don’t belong here.
somebody tell me when the train for the next arrives.
for eternity, i do believe?
i think i’ve seen enough of this rain-gray place. 


and then silence fell

and then silence fell
floating floating down on lamplit rain 
the cloudy sky blending with your eyes 
(that i couldn’t look at), 
your jacket
(that i looked at instead).
i still smell that night.


newcomerstown 


picture frame of small-town lights, travel-worn asphalt,
and a blush-stained sky, 
leaning on the rock of your shoulder i
 cast my net and gather a jar of memories and fireflies.
we breathe in moonlit nostalgia and smile. 
no wish wasted on a falling rock; 
love is to dance and polish this planet in the rough 
with starlight, 
{this ball of bones and coffined memories at quiet peace}
and sew constellations out of the dreams
we whispered 
and blew over dandelions. 
here in newcomerstown, somewhere, ohio, 
in sunsoftened grass, the moon third-wheeling, 
close your atlantic eyes. 
listen to my hurricane heart. 
take my smile in your hands and 
close the door on the waltzing world. 



Friday, June 23, 2017

2017 #YayYA Entries

Here are all the June 2017 #YayYA entries in one location! For a refresher on the rules, click here!


Entries:

Entry #1 The Yellow Girl

Entry #2 The Palace of Revenge

Entry #3 Reign of Thorns

Entry #4 Six Easy Steps to Becoming an Oracle

Entry #5 I'm Sorry for Doing Nothing

Entry #6 A Serenade for the Bright Night

Entry #7 Daughters of the Dragon

Entry #8 Shift

Entry #9 A Shadow of the Night

Entry #10 Saving Grace

Entry #11 It Gives a Lovely Night

Entry #12 Dusk Before Dawn

Entry #13 Seductress

Entry #14 Fighting Clichés

Entry #15 No Man's Land

Entry #16 The Temporary Death of Millie Krup

Entry #17 One Way Ticket to Multiverse

Entry #18 Traveler's Epic

Entry #19 Ascending

Entry #20 Duodecim

BONUS Entry #21 The Life You Stole

BONUS Entry #22 The Blood of Runes

BONUS Entry #23 The Witch and the Demon

BONUS Entry #24 Can't Go Back to Yesterday

BONUS Entry #25 Within and Without


Revised Entries:

Entry #1

Entry #3

Entry #4

Entry #5 

Entry #7

Entry #11 

Entry #20

Entry #21

Entry #22

Entry #25

2017 #YayYA BONUS Entry #25: Within and Without

Name: Deborah Maroulis (@yaddathree)
Genre: Contemporary
WITHIN AND WITHOUT
35 Pitch: Sixteen year-old Wren ignores her feelings for the Greek farm hand and dates her long-time crush. But when he takes things too far, she must decide if the illusion of love is worth her health.

First 500:
Hair twisted into a bun and ear buds in, I pushed play on my favorite song and shoved my phone into my pocket. I glanced at the borrowed suitcase taking up what little floor room existed and braced myself for one last try. I gripped the closet handle and tugged. With my entire body weight, I pulled. But instead of the door sliding open, it broke free from the track, sending us reeling and my phone tumbling. Boxes of Home Shopping Network’s finest spilling after us. My collection of favorite band t-shirts and headphones tangled in between Fed-Ex and first class mail. 
I wiggled myself from the door, ignoring the floor’s strangled protest under my weight. With my foot, I slid the phone toward my outstretched hand and hoped the glass wasn’t shattered. 
As I turned the screen, I muttered the first prayer I could think of. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep When my playlist stared back at me unharmed, I sighed in relief. The only mantra I could remember was now the patron prayer of cell phones.
I pushed myself from the floor only to crash into one of the million shelves lining my new room. Each one held some of Granny’s precious dolls that looked too much like my mom for comfort. Phone in hand, my arm shot up to defend against another whacking and sent one of Granny’s prized dolls careening toward the floor. 
I gasped, eyes wide. One hand propped me up and the other held my phone, the one connection to the outside world until school started. And I couldn’t hold it and save the Mini-Mom plummeting to instant death. 
Granny’s forced smile and disappointed eyes flashed before me. She would nod and tell me it was an accident. All the while picking up shards of its ceramic face like discarded tissues at a funeral. 
I’d been here all of five minutes, and creepy or not, these dolls meant the world to her. Mini-mom it was.
I tossed my phone toward the pile of boxes and shirts, hoping it’d land on its back. My hand closed around stiff fabric just in time to save Ms. Porcelain from her ultimate demise. Standing slowly, I placed her back on the shelf smoothing her hair and lace frock as best as I could, hoping she looked all right. I tried tucking the tag that bragged, “Made by Marie Osmond” under the stand, but then it stooped sideways. 
Seriously, who buys dolls designed by a weight-loss spokesperson, anyway?
I backed away slowly to avoid another disaster and looked for my phone. This time, when I reached for it, tiny bumps pricked my fingertips. I closed my eyes and hung my head. Once my mom saw my cracked screen, I would be laid to sleep. No prayer needed.
I stacked the boxes back in the closet Tetris-style. Somehow there were three left-overs, not to mention all my stuff I was supposed to be unpacking and making comfortable.

Sixteen-year-old Wren believes her bulimia helped attract her long-time crush. But when he pushes her into a physical relationship she’s not ready for, she must decide if the illusion of love is worth her health.


Hair twisted into a bun and ear buds in, I pushed play on Death Cab for Cutie and shoved my phone into my pocket, ready to take on the closet door one more time. Gripping the handle, I tugged. With my entire body weight, I pulled. But instead of the door sliding open, it broke free from the track, sending me reeling and my phone tumbling. Boxes of Home Shopping Network’s finest spilling after, and my collection of band t-shirts and headphones tangled in between Fed-Ex and first class mail. My borrowed suitcase taking up the rest of what little floor room existed.
I wiggled myself from under the door, attempting to ignore the pinch of my jeans in all the wrong places. With my foot, I slid the phone toward my outstretched hand and hoped the glass hadn’t shattered. It was the one connection I had to the outside world until school started.
As I flipped the phone over to check the screen’s lifespan, I muttered the first prayer I could think of. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.  When my playlist stared back at me unharmed, I sighed in relief. The only mantra I could remember was now the patron prayer of cell phones.
I pushed myself from the floor only to crash into one of the million shelves lining my new room, each one holding Granny’s precious dolls that looked too much like my mom for comfort. My arm shot up to defend against another whacking and sent one of Granny’s prized dolls careening toward the floor.
I gasped, eyes wide. One hand propped me up and the other held my phone. And I couldn’t hold it and save the Mini-Mom plummeting to instant death.
Tossing my phone toward the pile of boxes and shirts, I prayed it’d land on its back. My hand closed around stiff fabric just in time to save Ms. Porcelain from her ultimate demise.
Granny’s forced smile and disappointed eyes had flashed before me like one of those near death experiences all over late night TV. She would’ve nodded and told me it was an accident, all the while picking up shards of its ceramic face like discarded tissues at a funeral. I’d been here all of five minutes, and creepy or not, these dolls meant the world to her.
I placed the Mini-Mom back on the shelf smoothing her hair and lace frock as best as I could, hoping she looked all right. I tried tucking the tag that bragged, “Made by Marie Osmond” under the stand, only making it slump sideways. Exhaling a snort, I shook my head.
Seriously, who buys dolls designed by a weight-loss spokesperson?
I backed away, parkouring the closet fallout to avoid another disaster and looked for my phone. This time, when I reached for it, tiny fissures threatened my fingertips as I slid my hand over the screen. I closed my eyes and hung my head. Once my mom saw the cracks, I’d be laid to sleep. No prayer needed.

I stacked the boxes back in the closet Tetris-style. Somehow there were three left-overs, not to mention all my stuff I was supposed to be unpacking to make myself comfortable, as Granny insisted.

2017 #YayYA BONUS Entry #24: Can't Go Back to Yesterday

Maria Stout
Genre: YA Fantasy

Title: Can't Go Back To Yesterday

35-word pitch: Goonies meets National Treasure when a teen and a librarian join forces with a sarcastic gremlin to decipher the clues and solve the mystery of the disappearance of his clan.

First 500 Words:  
               Adjusting her wig, Laney ran through her checklist knowing she had to look perfect. Makeup: precise. Hair: on. Outfit: dirty. On this October evening the details needed to be just right. She headed down the dusty hallway towards the noise. Turning the corner and crossing the threshold she smiled at the sight of the horde in the room crowded with mismatched furniture and a bank of lockers.
These are my people.
Pausing in the doorway, she looked at all of the ugly, disgusting faces, each one more hideous than the previous. Some faces were disfigured and bloody; others were covered with scales or fur and didn’t look human. And then there were their eyes; oddly colored irises - yellow, red, completely white - with irregularly shaped pupils. There was an unmistakable energy in the room. Again, Laney smiled because this felt like the right place for her. Five months ago she wouldn’t have imagined feeling connected to anything in this town, but things have a way of changing and in this case all it took was one ‘yes.’ An Alice In Wonderland quote floated into her mind. 
‘Every adventure requires a first step.’ Hhmph. This is fun, but I think I’m gonna need to get out of this town before I really find adventure. 
As she scanned the room, someone near the bank of lockers caught her attention. He was moving around, so it was hard for her to get a good look at him.
Who’s that? I don’t remember that face before.
Just then a man stepped into the center of the group. At seven feet 300 pounds, he loomed over everyone else. The loose curls of his greasy, shoulder length hair hung in his face. Gashes across his forehead and cheek dripped red into his goatee. He wore a butcher’s apron that looked like it had been sewn together from pieces of skin.
“We’re all here for the same reason. Are you ready?!” His deep, gruff voice called out.
“Yeah!” The group responded loudly.
“Whose house is this?”
“OURS!
“Whose?”
“OURS!”
He thundered as loud as he could. “I SAID, WHOSE HOUSE IS THIS?!”
“THIS IS OUR HOUSE!” They shouted getting more and more hyped up.
A petite woman in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt joined the imposing man in the center of the group. Her short bobbed hair was dark with purple streaks through it. A wide grin had spread across her face as she addressed the group.
She laughed gesturing for them to quiet down. “Okay, my monsters. It’s going to be a great night. We already have people lining up outside. Opening night last night was good, but I want tonight to be great! People come here to be scared and I don’t want you to stop until you’ve gotten ‘em good. Last night we had a lady peed her pants. Not that I like the mess, but let’s aim to do it again. Use your best scares and give them a good time.”

2017 #YayYA BONUS Entry #23: The Witch and the Demon

Name: Katherine Toran (@bookgirl_kt)

Genre: Fantasy

Title: The Witch and the Demon

35-word pitch: 
Fleeing a witch hunt, Aspie Ebba surrenders her heart to a dying demon, becoming embroiled in a deathmatch to stop a demonic invasion. Whacking him with a severed head accidentally starts an equally violent courtship.

First 500 words:

Ebba ran into the moonless night. Her soaked dress clung to her skin, wind and water competing to freeze her into a corpse. Tree roots clawed at her feet and fatigue crept up from her shaking limbs to numb her brain. If she fell, she likely wouldn’t get up again. Keep moving. Get as far away from the witchfinder as possible—may he be reincarnated as a diarrheic drunk’s chamber pot.

In the darkness, directions blurred. She focused on climbing up the mountain, away from her village. Faster, faster, faster. Her lungs took on the weight of iron.

Her knee finally gave out—right when another root caught her ill-fitting clog. Her ankle bent sideways with a crack. She hit the dirt.

Waves of agony crashed over her. Mustn’t stop moving. Despite her straining muscles, her body refused to rise. She wanted to scream or cry. Instead, Ebba took a deep breath. To focus her mind, she pinched her face, right on top of the scabs from the witchfinder’s pins. The itching behind her eyes from too long without sleep, the burning of her throat, and the blistering sores on her hand—she pushed it all away. First, get up.

Her right hand oozed pus from the burns on her palm, so she used her left one to pull herself into a sitting position. The merest touch to her swollen joint was torture. Through the pain, the rational part of her noted this felt worse than a sprain.

Her breath came faster as panic clawed at her self-control. No, no, this couldn’t happen now. If she’d broken her ankle, she wouldn’t be able to run, and then…then…

It occurred to Ebba that she had no idea what to do next. She’d never had a plan past getting out of her cell.

The silence of the forest unnerved her. At the very least, there should have been insects chirping. But this was a magic-cursed place. She’d fled here because no god-fearing villager would venture into the forest. Ever since the wolves had first descended, only those too poor to leave remained in the region. Ebba shivered. She told herself most wolves avoided humans, and the red-eyed wolves really only came once every few years.

Alone in the darkness, with wolves theoretically a hand span away, this argument became less convincing. She didn’t want to die the same way her mother had. Perhaps she could still turn back.

Ebba glanced over her shoulder, uncertain which direction “back” would be. A great wall, ten times her height, blocked out any trace of light from her village. Only holes worn by trees, weather, and thieves had allowed her to slip through. Once, the wall’s upkeep had been part of every villager’s religious duty to the Supreme God Anabiel. But it had been a thousand years since the last demonic invasion.