Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye, 2011!

2011 has been a tumultuous year for me, to say the least.  There have been fewer ups than downs, but I am so utterly grateful for the support I’ve received from all of you.  You’ve helped me get through and I can’t wait to continue this ride with you along by my side.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  I adore you all.  <3

They’ll be lots going on in 2012 here on the blog with the new monthly critique rounds, so make sure to check in with me on here, Twitter and Facebook for the submission announcements.  And don’t forget to spread the word and tell your friends!  The more, the merrier.  I’m also working on some more new features and hoping to have a full blown website up before the summer.  I'm really excited.

Not to be a buzz kill, but please be smart while celebrating.  As a victim of a drunk-driving accident, I implore you to be careful and responsible.  Splurge on a cab (or heck, even a limo), find a responsible designated driver, get a hotel room, stay in, or utilize the AAA tipsy tow service, being offered for everyone tonight, including non-AAA members here in the states.  Whatever you need to do to stay safe, it’s worth it.  Living to see 2012 is more important than having cocktails and then getting behind the wheel and possibly hurting or killing someone. 

Here is to an amazingly fantastic, fabulous, successful, happy and awesome 2012 for everyone, myself included.  May it be one of the best years yet.

2012, we will, we will, ROCK YOU!    

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December Buyer's Remorse #11

TITLE: Utterance
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

Nat felt the cat's warm face pressed up against her neck, urging her to wake up. Gray eyes and gray fur made Storm appear suspicious even when she was trying to seem playful. Of course, in this case, she wasn't being playful, Nat thought. She was being annoying.

"I'm up, I'm up." Nat mumbled, "Get off of me." She pushed the feline nuisance aside and rolled onto her back. She wasn't thrilled about being woken up, but was grateful to have someone around who replaced the shrieking beep of her alarm clock.

Was it the first day already? The summer had felt so long while it was happening, but now Nat felt the pang that came with the first day of school. Her final year of high school, the last 9 months that she couldn't wait to be done with. Get out of bed, she thought. With each passing second, you're getting later and later. You can't skip a shower. You can't skip doing your hair on the first day. You'll regret looking like a cat lady at 17. You need to feed Storm.

Her obligation to her housemate decided it. She sat up, wishing she could wear her comforter to class. "Come on, Storm. Gotta do that whole 'Breakfast of Champions' thing today, at least."
Storm followed her down the stairs into the bright, sunlit kitchen. Nat set a kettle on the stove, poured food into the cat bowl, and read through the emails on her phone. 

December Buyer's Remorse #10

TITLE: Extraction
GENRE: YA Dystopian

When Logan finally arrives, he's holding a flower that could kill me.

I stop tapping my nails on the fence and stare at the green stem, at how the petals glint silver so they almost look like metal.

"What the hell's wrong with you?" I shove his arm away and back up so fast I ram into our shack's windowsill, but I've felt worse.

It's been eleven years since I've seen petals like that. Inventors used genetic manipulation to make silver aster flowers calming for the mind, but I'm severely allergic to their pollen.

Logan chuckles.

I sift my fingers through the dirt, find a rock, and throw it at his shoulder. Hard.

His laughter dies. "Jeez, Clementine." He lifts a calloused hand and tears off a flower petal. Thin silver wrapping falls away, leaving behind the blackening blue of a common aster. It's grimy, of course. Everything's covered in grime on the Surface.

My cheeks grow hot.

He smiles. "You didn't seriously think I'd sneak into the Core to find a silver aster for you? God."

"Oh shut up, Logan. You're such an idiot."

He tosses me the perfectly ordinary flower. I scowl, but sniff it. Smells like dust. Same as everything.

"You ready to go?" he asks.

I snort and flick a red-orange curl out of my eye. Of course I'm ready. I'm wearing my only dress, light blue with faded pink flowers speckled across its fabric. I'm evening wearing shoes - Laila's old ones. She would scold me for not wearing them more, if she were still around.

December Buyer's Remorse #9

TITLE: The Hourglass Bridge
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

Midnight, 30th September, 1509

An hourglass stood on the altar stone in the centre of the clearing. Serena’s breath caught in her throat, as if she would never exhale again.

“Take the glass,” the witch instructed. “Turn it once and see that you have controlled time.”

It felt like ice in Serena’s trembling hand as she turned it. Beneath its surface, the rushing sands of time slowed to a trickle and were still.

Serena reached into her cloak pocket, reassuring herself that a second hourglass was tucked inside. It was her last remaining hope, but there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every chance that the attempt would lead her into a trap. Serena swallowed dryly, fighting a wave of nausea at the thought. Such a betrayal would cost thousands of lives and rob her of her children… again.

She set the hourglass back upon the sacrificial rock.

“Alasdair,” the witch continued, “you too must control the passing of time.”

Serena glanced at her husband; his eyes, like hers, were wet. With slow, agonizing care, he completed his part of the spell. Then his hand found Serena’s and their fingers intertwined as they embraced this final, physical memory together. In marrying him, Serena had bound him to this fate. She wore her guilt like an open wound.

The witch smashed the glass against the altar stone and gathered a handful of ghostly white sand.

“Your palm,” she said softly. Serena raised it, and agony shot through her body.

December Buyer's Remorse #8

TITLE: Raptor Snatch
GENRE: Commercial fiction

The window smells like sweet vomit with a hint of pine scented ammonia. I was already nauseated when I boarded the plane – my stomach full of overcooked bacon, and undercooked eggs. My attempt to drown them in coffee as bitter as my ex hadn't remedied the situation. The noxious vapours radiating from the window don't help matters either. You can't force me to call what I choked down 'breakfast.' I hope that my only souvenir from this town won't be food poisoning. My mouth starts watering, but not in a good way. I swallow hard, and breathe shallowly.

Blending with the puke scented aroma of the window on my right, is the smell of the man sitting on my left. Stale sweat, stale cigarette smoke, stale coffee breath, I wonder if his life is as stale as he smells. Even his suit looks defeated – the fabric starting to wear thin on his elbows and knees, the material becoming shiny where the rest of him is dull.

I am keeping my face in the sweet spot. Facing directly forward, the smell of the man and the window cancel each other out, and my nostrils are safe. I am in the eye of the smell.

From the eye of the smell I can see a chip in the plane's windshield. Strangely, this doesn't fill me with fear – on the contrary, the longer I look at it, the more reassured I feel.

December Buyer's Remorse #7

GENRE: Mystery

Calvin Alsop, Wayberry city councilman and owner of Alsop Chrysler Plymouth Motors, prided himself on his ability to look at a man and predict what kind of car he would choose—Chrysler or Plymouth—and model and color. But on a cold Oklahoma morning in December 1956, this faculty failed him.
Alsop was drafting a proposal for the council when a young man entered the dealership. Alsop watched him through the glass wall separating his office from the showroom. The man was about twenty, a decade or so younger than himself.
Alsop put down his pen and indulged in a bit of his prognostication.
Average height and lean, the lad had dust-colored hair swept-back with something akin to motor oil. It took a moment for Alsop to recognize Bucky Ontario in his blue parka. He worked at Gustafson’s Grocery a few blocks over on Central. Alsop didn’t recall ever speaking with him.
Bucky drifted among the cars, pausing occasionally to examine a grill, run his hand across leather seats. He stopped beside a red Plymouth Belvedere with a bold white stripe, bent down, looked at his reflection in the window, and ran both palms over his hair. His gaze fixed on the eggshell colored Plymouth Fury. He studied a memo taped to the window. Alsop knew what it said: V-8 Engine, Duel Exhaust, Torsion-Aire Suspension, Pushbutton Automatic. Bucky stepped back, lifted a camera strapped around his neck, and clicked off a shot.

December Buyer's Remorse #6

GENRE: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy
People lie.
Death hurts.   

A lot!

In horror, I watched in my mind’s eye as Arianwen danced, macabre-like, before falling to the ground, rolling and smothering the flames that crept up and over her body.  Her banshee screams rent the morning air, while fire licked and kissed her skin leaving bubbles and blisters in its wake. 
As Arianwen lay in the dirt smoldering and crying I felt her intense pain surge throughout her body.  Arianwen’s gasps for air are mine.  Her pain is mine.  Everything she is I am, because I am (was) her. 
The psychic and Owen told me I would see and feel Arianwen’s emotions, but I hadn’t expected such an emotional roller-coaster ride.  This past-life regression is surreal, and it’s not finished. All I want is to go back to the present day and my body, but I can’t.  The past lingers – it waits for me.
The internal struggle against the old memories and feeling her pain course through me is fierce.  Arianwen’s pain is washing and taking over me.  I don’t fight anymore, I can’t. My end - death - is here. 
The air is filled with the pungent smell of smoke, burnt hair and skin. My eyes are closed as I breathe in shallow breaths.  The feel of the cool earth against charred flesh is comforting - almost. In an instant I feel them, my betrayers. My rage grows as I hear their laughter and chants surround me.

December Buyer's Remorse #5

TITLE: Transmigration
GENRE: YA/Paranormal Mystery

The scream pushed up through my chest like a hairball that demanded to be dislodged. I swallowed, willing it to expel itself from the hold it had on me. But the pain was clogging my airways, and my attempts were weakening. I willed myself to be stronger, to blink away the fear that was just shown to me. The pain was too much. Relenting, I sprang up in my bed and released the chilling, agonizing scream. And like a girl who had just been exorcized, my feeble body fell back onto my pillow and prepared itself for the calm down process that always followed.

Looking around the dark expanse of my room, I wasn't floating lifeless on the placid surface of a pool, but rather in my bed, a layer of sweat drenching my sheets. I caught a glimpse of my appearance in the full length mirror on the side of the room and cried out. My reflection, if I had to describe it any other way, looked like I just came from a swimming pool. My long brown hair was plastered to my head, wisps of sweaty strands clinging to the sides of my neck. Shivering more from fear than temperature, I pulled my sheet tight across my chest, looking longingly at my purple comforter twisted in a heap at the foot of my bed. With the glow of my nightlight, I could see sweat glistening on my forearm as I stretched out my arm and begged it to stop shaking.

December Buyer's Remorse #4

TITLE: The Forces of Heaven and Hell Alike
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Liam was back on his Harley after only five hours of sleep, heading through Davenport, Wyoming to try and track down the local diner. He promised he'd meet Sid on his way through town, but that was something he was regretting now. When he took over the body of the railroad worker in Buffalo Gap fifty years ago, Liam hadn't realized he'd be suffering from caffeine withdrawal every morning until he had his fix. But when he traded up, he wasn't being picky.

Rounding the next block, the sign for the Davenport Diner came into view, and Liam headed towards the far right of the parking lot, safely away from the crowd of cars. He'd rather not be forced to do harm to some fool who scratched his beloved Road King, even by accident. The altercation in Stewart was still fresh in his mind and he didn't have the desire for a repeat.

Shutting off the engine, Liam saw Sid coming towards him. Unlike himself, the other demon looked like he had been up for hours, filled with energy and illegal substances. On second thought, Liam pondered as he saw Sid's appearance close-up, it was more likely he hadn't even been to bed yet.

“I need coffee,” Liam said with a growl. “Drag me out here way too early and then you're all hyper. Something's wrong with your head.”

Sid smiled wide. “You always said we've got to be crazy in our line of work. I'm just living up to my reputation.”

December Buyer's Remorse #3

TITLE: Seven Silver Swords: Heirs to the Throne
GENRE: High Fantasy

Sparks flew as the hammer struck the glowing metal. The hammer rang again.  Torches flickered on the cavern wall casting dancing shadows in the dim light.  The forge’s fire crackled and roared.  Steel glowed red.
The hammer sang.  The smith’s strong arm raised the hammer yet again, perspiration dripped from his bulging muscles.  His bald head glistened with sweat.  His bare chest and back gleamed in the red light of the forging fires and the heat they generated.   He swung mightily and again the metal clanked as it was wrought in the smoke filled cavern.
Kroft stood against a wall watching the Mastersmith work.  The figure leaned on his staff, his interest riveted on the workings of the sword.  The fate of the kingdom rested with this sword.  He was waiting for the moment in the reforging when his talents would be melded with those of the Mastersmith.  But there was to be a third member here, someone who also had a part in this.  The question that was on the cloaked figure’s mind was – where is Prince Edwind? 

# # #

 Edwind rode to where Kroft had instructed him to come and dismounted.  He could hear the sounds of hammer strokes from the cave.  What was being forged in the middle of the night?  He wondered why Kroft wanted him at the Mastersmith’s cavern at such an unusual hour. 
The cave opening was not overly large, but he didn’t need to stoop to enter.  His slight frame allowed for that.

December Buyer's Remorse #2

TITLE: Sign of the Star
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Someone approaches, the winds tell me. A rider.

Silently I welcome the winds in return. Though I may journey for the next year and a day by myself, healing and helping others with my landmaiden’s talents, at least I will not travel alone.

The road to the mines—really a dirt path barely wide enough for a wagon—is empty this sunlit afternoon. Those passing through Porden did so earlier, if they traveled at all, for the mines are a full day’s hike from town. I doubt that anyone but me has gone anywhere today. Last night was the rite of Midsummer’s Eve. Mother and I led the people in the sacred celebration, honouring the new season with dance and song. When we slept at dawn, we were hardly the last to retire.

I step to the side of the road in time to see the grim-faced rider fly past on his chestnut horse, the whisper of a breeze in his wake. I cough at the dust kicked up by his flight. But I do not have time to wonder who he could possibly be, for before I can, the mount’s rear hoof catches on a protruding root, and the beast pitches its rider, foundered.They have been with me my whole life, these winds—or at least for as long as it has mattered. Warm Northern breezes swirl through the cedars and caress my face the moment I leave Porden that first afternoon. They linger as the day wears on.

December Buyer's Remorse #1

TITLE: The End World
GENRE: YA sci-fi

If Mortimer told me three years ago to go climb a three story
building in eighty-degree weather, I would have told him to fuck off.
By now, I learned to say yes sir like any good Spinner and would climb
a skyscraper if I had to.
The faded theater sign stood on side of me, most of its plastic
letters lost in time. There was no telling the last movie that was
playing before The End World went to hell. I shrugged. Finding
similarities and differences between Earth and this dump was a pastime
of mine. Researchers said the similarity ratio was about seventy-three
percent. Who said I had to take their word for it?
I grabbed the rough cement ledge above me and hauled myself up.
Across the street, Sal was already lying down, scanning the street
with his own NF P90.
Damn, he is fast.
His voice crackled in my earplant. “Need to lose a few pounds,
girlfriend. Soon you won’t be able to climb a speed bump.”
I gave him the finger.
“Love you too, Lana.”
“Just focus on our mission, will you!” I hissed in my vocollar,
taking his silence as agreement.
Control always programmed our earplants and vocollar on the same
frequency before a mission. I squirmed at the idea of getting the
implants bored into my body but I had to admit, they prevented more
than one sticky situation. We could have an entire conversation
without anyone else knowing.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Buyer's Remorse--December First Page Critique Round *Submissions Start Today!*

I’m calling this critiquing round “Buyer’s Remorse”.  This is for those of you who’ve entered a contest or submitted a first page somewhere, but didn’t receive the response you’d hoped for or maybe don’t understand why it wasn’t chosen.  Here is your opportunity to see what might have gone wrong and to help others with the same.

From Sunday, December 11 at until Wednesday, December 14 at , I will accept submissions. I will post them later that day right here at KTCROWLEY.COM for critiquing.
Please send submissions to ktcritiques [AT]
In the subject, please state “DECEMBER FIRST PAGE”

This round I will accept all genres and it is one entry per person, per genre (So you can submit 1 adult 1 YA/MG).
Please list the TITLE, GENRE and your SCREEN NAME (I will not include these in the critique posts) above your 250 words (format it the way you normally would).  Please do not stop in the middle of a sentence.  If it goes over the 250 limit by a couple of words, that's fine.  If you stop at say, 235 words, that's fine, too.
Your submission should look like this:

SCREEN NAME: Your Screen Name Here
TITLE: Your Title Here
GENRE: Your Genre Here
(Excerpt here.)
  • Please leave out "chapter one," chapter "titles", etc.  Otherwise, I may count them toward your 250 and you could lose some of your first page entry.
  • You will receive a confirmation email, but it may not be right away.  Only resend if you don't get one by the last hour of the submission window.  
If you enter, you must critique at least 5 other submissions (if there are only five, please critique all except your own).  This is so it's fair for everyone involved. 
I will accept up to 20 entries.
That’s it!  If you have any questions, please hit me up in the comments.
I hope we can fill up the 20 spots!  Spread the word.  :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Adventures in NaNoWriMo...

Let me start by saying I never intended to get intense about NaNoWriMo.  As you remember from my anniversary post, my plan was to take it on and see if I could come out triumphant, no pressure… 

But then I got fixated on winning, applied the weight of the Statue of Liberty on my shoulders to do so, and spent every minute I could on it.  I think I fooled myself when I entered with the "no pressure" tag removed, because who am I kidding, I can't enter something and not see it through to the end.  It is a part of my nature that I'll describe as valiant—or competitive, to just be frank. 

My journey began with a couple hours a day the first week, brainstorming an idea I've been kicking around.  But I couldn't write organically anymore, at least not with this book for some reason.  It had to be clean and precise from the start, which meant I was extremely particular about every little detail, every piece of dialogue, and every turn the story took.  Hard to write 50,000 words in 22 days when you're trying to make the first draft look like a final one.  I knew that editing would still need to take place, but I could not stop trying to make it perfect out of the starting gate.  I admit I'm a forever perfectionist, but not usually with first drafts.

So 2 hours turned into 4-5 hours one day, then the next day that doubled.  But I wasn't blasting through the pages, typing until smoke appeared from under my fingertips.  No, I was sitting, staring, fixating on one scene or another, trying to write in perfect order so I wouldn't have to fill in the cracks later.  After five days, I finally stopped the cycle and wrote out of order, the way I should have.  I had so many things my characters were telling me to write that when I let go of the control, the incessant and ludicrous need for perfection, they overwhelmed me.  I prevailed, though, and got it all down, the way they'd been asking me to from the beginning.

I don't know why I ignore my characters sometimes.  It's their stories, so they're the best at telling them. They are the catalysts of my creativity, without them I wouldn't have their wonderful stories to write.  When they start sharing, I'm there to listen and type away, contest or no contest, plain and simple.  My thoughts and input should not be applied until after, hence the "write now, edit later" method my characters usually hold me to, my organic writing style.

Anyway, fast forward a bit to deadline day, a mere 3,700 words away from my goal. 

Now, with an egg timer ticking in my ear, I was racing to beat the clock... so Murphy's Law, of course, took over.  My husband was late coming home from work, we got stuck in traffic driving back from the train…pretty much everything that could have went wrong, did. 

When I tell you that when I arrived home with 5 hours and 31 minutes to deadline was like a scene from a movie, I'm not kidding.  Bob (my husband for those who don't know him by name) pulled into the driveway, the car wasn't even in park yet and I swung the car door open and fled to the house.  As I'm scrambling with my keys to unlock it, he called out a flurry of good luck sentiments from the car (he took the baby out so I'd have no distractions).  With a fleeting glance, I nodded and charged into my house, up the stairs and dove to my laptop which is on the other side my bed.  So yeah, I had to dive over my bed, which was much more Ferris-Bueller-like than I had intended. 

I’m SO lucky I didn’t hurt myself, ha-ha. 

I was jonesing for my laptop to load like an addict on red bull as I was checking the clock every other second.  I was also panic-stricken because I'd been told the website to validate word counts tends to get really glitchy the closer to deadline you get (I try never to cut it that close to deadlines—this was new territory for me).  As soon as the document opened, I just typed.  And typed.  And typed.  Calm came over me, I focused on the goal and 3 hours later, I was declared a 2011 NaNoWriMo winner with 2 hours and 17 minutes to spare.  I came in 2,802 words over goal, and I couldn't be prouder of that and my final hours’ performance. 

Because I'm a "winner", I'm going to make an acceptance speech. 

Thanks to Bob and my son, Jack, for their patience, love and support.  Without them, this wouldn't have been possible and I may have quit out of pure exhaustion if they hadn’t pushed me and motivated me.
Thanks to The Script for their phenomenal albums for which I listened to on repeat for almost the entire duration of this contest.  Their music was the main muse.  I also have to thank The Fray for the last 48 hours because their song "Heartbeat" was an additional muse I found I needed to boost my writing in the home stretch. 
Thanks to my parents for being there, offering support and checking in on me, offering help if I needed it—even if it didn't work out that last day.  Just knowing you wanted to be there is enough. 
Thanks to all of my friends and followers for not bailing when I went off grid and for your continuous encouragement and support.    
And last but certainly not least, thanks to my characters, Kat especially.  Hers is a story I can't wait to share, and one scene in particular has become my favorite ever written by me.

I recommend NaNoWriMo for any writer who wants to push themselves and discover the true potential that lies within them.  It was not only a fantastic challenge that pushed me, but it was so much fun that when I finished celebrating my victory, I was actually bummed it was over.  In fact, I still sort of am.  The NaNoWriMo community is another I fell in love with (writers are awesome sauce), and even though this year I was a spectator in the forums and such, next year—should I be able to compete again—I hope to be much more involved on the other side of it all.

I’ve got a critique session planned for submissions starting later this weekend, so be on the lookout for the official post here and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.  And please, spread the word!  The more who know, the more who can critique, which helps out everyone. 

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I just had to share.  Fingers crossed I’ll have more good news to post before the holidays…because that would be an epic way to leave 2011 and start 2012. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Late To My Own Anniversary Post

I’ve officially passed the one year mark since starting this blog.  What a year it has been!

In just over 12 months, over 2,000 people have followed my journey and cheered for me, between this blog, Facebook and Twitter.  I opened my heart and mind to more incredible characters with stories I’m elated to tell.  I’ve met amazing folks from all across the globe who I consider my friends, even though we’ve never met in person.  I’ve interacted with published authors I admire, agents I have the utmost respect for, and writers who are just as passionate about the craft as I am.  I’ve discovered parts of myself emotionally and mentally that I never knew existed, and I’ve found out just how far I can push myself before my brain overheats and shuts down (for the record, I lapsed into a mental coma last week after a project that nearly killed me, but that same project pushed me to find even more potential in my writing, so I consider it well worth it—even if I could barely function for a week after submitting it).    

On a personal note, I’ve been on a tidal wave.  This blog started after I lost my job, so I mourned that, spent the year watching my son grow and develop in amazement and cheered my husband on as he took a chance and went for his dream career path.  I learned that sometimes I have to open my eyes a little more to the world (and people) around me, got pregnant, suffered a devastating miscarriage, re-evaluated the support system I had in place, dealt with rejection and my own self-deprecation—all while putting myself out here for you to see—and swallowed my pride when the time was right.  This past year, I’ve grown.

The one word I use to describe it?  Insanity.

Are there things I would love to go back and change?  Of course there are, but the past is the past and its best left there.  Each negative experience has taught me patience and rewarded me with strength while each positive experience has taught me appreciation, motivated me and rewarded me with confidence and belief.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I believe everything happens for a reason.  Life isn’t easy, but it gives us invaluable lessons we’ll take with us as we grow.  Applying those lessons makes the road ahead easier to navigate.

Now it’s November and my birthday is just around the corner.  To my dismay, I’m hitting a milestone this year.  There was so much I wanted to accomplish before hitting this milestone, so naturally I wallowed a bit when this month began.  Then I thought about all the things I have accomplished.  I’ve done a lot in my life I should be proud of.  There are things I’d like to do and wish I’d done already (like visit Europe and be in NYC for New Year’s Eve), but I realize now that setting a timestamp is actually counterproductive.  In the grand scheme of it all, fate plays a big role (and so do the people and events needed to complete some of my goals).  All I can do—and have ever done—is to do my best and remain determined.  So instead of bumping up my to-do list up to the next milestone, I’m going to keep working towards the real goal:  Accomplishing the things on the actual list.  With that resolution, I welcome my *gulp* 30th birthday with open arms.

Speaking of goals and accomplishments, I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year.  It’s an annual challenge in which writers attempt to write a novel in one month.  In order to be considered a winner, you have to have written at least 50,000 words.  *Pauses for reaction*  A bit ambitious, I know, considering my current workload, but I’ve been kicking around a new book idea and figured this may be a good challenge for me to write it.  I’m going into it relaxed with no self-induced pressure or high expectations.  I wrote my very first book in six weeks, and that was 154,000 words at first draft. Yes, back then I had much less going on in my life, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  *Laughs deliriously*

So let’s see.  I’ve got 6 novels in the works now, 7 ideas in development.  I’ve recently opened my blog for monthly critiques sessions.  I’m timidly planning query submissions.  I’m hoping to poll my readers and finally settle the name dispute for my most demanding protagonist.  Everyday life is just as demanding; the holidays are around the corner, my son is keeping me busier than ever, managing family and friends feels like juggling chainsaws and trying to find time for my husband has become, well, not so easy.  If I were to list everything going on in my life, you wouldn’t believe it.  I always get things done, though, and I multitask best in mayhem.

I’m a crazy over-achiever, remember?  I refuse to think about any chance of failure.

How are my characters handling the crowded space in my head?  The same way the Brady Bunch kids may have reacted had their parents decided to add twins to the brood.  Emotions are running high, not everyone is playing nice, and there has definitely been some “acting out” from the newer albeit younger characters, not to mention the divas of the group.  All I can do is promise them that once they tell me their stories, they’re free to move out.  That quiets them down.  I expect to referee more of their fights, sooth wounded egos and placate the protagonists who insist they should have their own room.  But since they refuse to come up with a system to share my time fairly, they’ll just have to deal. 

I love my imagination.  I can’t wait to see what the next year of my journey brings for me and my characters. 

Thanks to each of you who’ve come to follow my journey.  I hope I’m keeping things interesting enough and that you’ll stay on this crazy ride with me.  Any successes will be more rewarding with you there to share them with. 

Bring on the next 365 days. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

CT First Page #12

TITLE:  Revealed
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

As long as I didn’t go behind the bleachers tonight, I’d be fine—I hoped. 

“Come with me, Elena…” 

It was homecoming, and I refused to let one scary vision ruin my night. 
As I pushed the sound of the stranger’s voice away, the butterflies beating my insides calmed and my heart rate slowed.  My parents wanted to take pictures on the front lawn while our neighbors watched, embarrassing me, so I had to be able to smile, and I couldn’t do that thinking about what could happen at the dance if my vision held true.
It was a typical beautiful evening in West Palm Beach at dusk; the clouds unique shades of pink and lavender.  The air was unseasonably dry and the light ocean breeze felt great.

“Hey, Elena.”  Devon Lowry said as I approached him on the lawn. 

My pulse quickened at the sight of him, butterflies of a different kind starting in my stomach, making it impossible not to think about our kiss.  I did a double take, noticing how attractive he looked in his black suit and red tie.  He stood as tall as a basketball player, lanky, but muscular, the suit showing off his athletic physique.   

“Hey.”  I tried to sound casual. 

“You look…beautiful.”  His crooked grin made my stomach leap into my throat.

I flushed.  “Thanks, I like your—”

Tessa Stabler bumped into me then, tripping in her high heels.  Devon caught me by my elbow as I stumbled.  A shock ran up my arm and I gasped, meeting his light green eyes. 

CT First Page #11

Title: Erth Too (Sequel to Erth Won)
Genre: MG Fantasy

Morgan watched the heart-shape Heartland from high in the air over a large continent resembling North America, except this Heartland wasn’t on Earth. It was on the first earth, an ancient, powerful, and very intelligent world. He waited to hear Erth One’s voice in his mind while he remembered how he and his best friend Loa, a huge Polynesian, had traveled across the universe to do what the planet couldn’t do for itself—act as its arms and legs to destroy the evil poisoning its Heart Well.

Though not even a whisper came, he couldn’t help smiling. The feeling of flying lightened his heart and his body. Turning, he watched a few of his mouse-brown curls fall in lazy spirals through the violet tinged air.

It seemed Erth One’s mind, much larger than its brain crystals could account for, had healed enough to awaken and synchronize with other minds besides Morgan’s. Otherwise he wouldn’t be able to look down as if from the eyes of a bird, right? Of course this meant he was asleep, because he’d lost the crystal that would let him communicate while awake.

Morgan still felt amazed that two 14-year-old Boy Scouts had served as Erth SCOUTs, Super Conductors of Unified Terraforming, and succeeded against terrible odds in purifying Erth One’s lifeblood. Or had they? Before Morgan could ask Erth One if it felt better, he sank lower until the Heartland’s heartbreak dominated the scene. A putrid smell from the ugly north-south gash invaded his nostrils.

CT First Page #10

Title: The Ash Plague
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The soldiers locked Flynn’s family in the house and set it on fire in
the night.

Climbing through the cracks of the shattered door, Flynn grabbed his
four-year-old sister from his mother’s battered hands and ran from the
flames, the cracks too small for his parents to escape through. He
flew down the fire-lit streets of the snowy mountain town and
struggled to stay upright amongst the bloody slush beneath his feet.
His country’s army, dressed in bronze and green, trampled through the
streets between the houses and snatched up the people running from
their burning homes while those still trapped in their houses screamed
and thrashed against the walls.

Gagging on the smoke, Flynn held her closer to his chest and skidded
onto the last street of the town, ducking under an arrow and slipping
on the ice. Another arrow flew by his face as his sister sobbed into
his shoulder. Her hands clutched his neck and hair.

Laughter rang out behind him. He turned and saw his elderly neighbors,
dead and splayed out in the dull red snow filling their basement
doorway. The laughing soldiers kicked the bodies back into the
smoke-filled basement. Flynn blinked and turned away. Skidding across
the ice, he twisted his body and darted between two shouting soldiers
standing between him and the safety of the woods. His sister screamed.

CT First Page #9

Title: Here Comes the Sun
Genre: YA Contemporary

I squirm in my seat as I wait impatiently for the giant, red X above the lavatory to disappear. The captain turned off the seat belt light minutes ago, which I assume is an open invitation to roam the plane. I mean, if passengers aren't meant to walk around, then why bother announcing that you're turning off the seat belt light to begin with? That's my justification, anyway. But the giant red X never seems to go away, and my situation is becoming a tad more urgent.

With goosebumps spreading up my arms, I perform some weird hip shimmy as I make my way to the front of the plane, determined to wait my turn. I'm surprised when I'm turned away by a stewardess that's sporting braces and whacked out bangs.

“Ma'am, you're going to have to find your seat until the light above the lavatory door is green with availability.”

Ma'am? Huh. I can't even vote yet.

My feet are heavy, as if they magically turned into cement blocks. How can I turn back now when I'm so close to the promise land? Hurry up and pee, is what I want to shout to whoever is monopolizing the bathroom. But the stewardess isn't stupid, and she's not giving in to my loitering. And so with pressed lips and a well-manicured hand, she points to my seat rows behind me, demanding my dismissal.

I nearly cry as I shuffle back, walking near sideways so as not to shove my butt in anyone's face.

CT First Page #8

TITLE: Bloodlines - The Hourglass Bridge
GENRE: YA Historical Fantasy

 , 30th September, 1509

Serena wanted to run…

 The hourglass, standing on the altar stone in the centre of the clearing, threw back a glimmer of moonlight.       

“Take the glass,” the witch instructed. “Turn it once and see that you have controlled time.”       

It felt like ice in Serena’s trembling hand as she turned it. Beneath the surface the rushing sands of time slowed to a trickle and were still.       

Serena fumbled in her cloak pocket, reassuring herself that the second hourglass was tucked inside. Though it was her last remaining hope, there was no guarantee she could deliver it into the right hands and every chance that to try would be to walk into a trap.        

Perhaps I have already, Serena swallowed dryly, fighting a wave of nausea. Such a betrayal, even if she survived it, would cost thousands of lives and rob her of her children… again.       

“Alasdair,” the witch continued, “you too must control the passing of moments.”       

Serena glanced at her husband, whose eyes, like hers, were wet. Alasdair turned the hourglass and passed it back to the witch. Then his hand found Serena’s and their fingers intertwined as they embraced this final, physical memory together. In marrying him, Serena had bound him to this fate. She wore her guilt like an open wound.       

The witch smashed the glass upon the sacrificial rock and gathered a handful of ghostly white sand.        

“Your palm,” she said softly. Serena raised it. Without warning, agony shot through her body.

CT First Page #7

Title: Graceful Death
Genre: YA Paranormal

The instant my knees hit the ground I know. My insomnia is killing me from the inside out. I struggle to pick myself up, but the sweat in my palms turns cold, tacking my hand to the faded mauve linoleum. The faint odor of disinfectant and dirty sneakers wafts up, stinging my nostrils while the entire student body walks around me.
My heart thrums erratically in my ears. My vision spots with white film.
Not in the damn hallway, anywhere but here.
But I can’t control it anymore. Sleep is such a cruel and distant idea by now that when my energy seeps out, threatening to pull me into unconsciousness, the only thing I can do is rebound and rally. So, as the Santa Cruz High School crowd thins, I fall against a set of coral half-lockers and wait it out.
Only one more period, then I can go home, deal with this in private. Other than a few “whoa,” and “doing okay, there, Grace,” the other students ignore me. Except for the guy standing by the window. His tall frame casts a shadow across the floor, draping over me like a psychopath in a movie.
I ready a sharp nasty comment, but the sight of him stops me. I grow colder still. At first I think he’s dressed in all black, some emo kid hoping to get off on witnessing my meltdown, but the chill that pricks my spine warns of something different. Something dangerous.

CT First Page #6

GENRE: YA Fantasy

Mysty didn’t notice the black knight at the bottom of the stairs until she tripped over its mace. She slammed into a tapestry and scratched her face on the rough surface as she crumpled to the floor.

Mom rushed out of the kitchen.  “Are you okay?”

“Who moved the stupid knight?” Mysty asked.

“He’s wishing you a happy birthday.” 

“It’s an old pile of tin, Mom.” Mysty dreaded this day all year. Last year’s present was probably still scurrying around the sewer hissing and terrorizing the smaller natives. She couldn’t imagine what horrors awaited her this year. “Now I have a rug burn.”

“Tapestry burn,” Mom corrected. “You should put some peroxide on that.”

“The entry is a bad place for the knight. We should move it.” While she still had skin on her face.

Mom piled the armor on its pedestal.  “Where would we put it?”

“The basement, out of sight, eBay . . .”

“We aren’t selling the black knight.”

Mysty opened the kitchen door.  “Most people keep potted plants in their entry.” She saw something move outside and hurried to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever lurked in the woods.  Morning mist clung to barren trees and caressed the icy branches, but nothing was there.

Mom grabbed a bundle of herbs hanging from the ceiling and dropped them in a bubbling cauldron on the stove.  Smoke poured out and filled the kitchen with the stench of burning gym socks.  “Breakfast is ready.”

CT First Page #5

TITLE: Riding the Dam
GENRE: MG humor, coming-of-age

Today was like any other summer day in San Angelo--hot, dry, and full of possibilities.  Today was the day Raymond and I were going to ride the dam. This was not just any dam, but the biggest dam in the world.  I never questioned this fact, but simply understood if it was in Texas, it had to be the biggest.
Raymond and I both had bicycles, but I had decided early on that it was a lot of work to pedal around looking for ways to spice up our days, so I convinced Raymond to let me ride on his handlebars while he did the pedaling.  I told him that this arrangement allowed for easier conversation. This method was not without risks. Some kids got their toes cut off in the spokes of a bike riding like this, so I developed toes like an eagle's talons to wrap around the front axle.

It took us thirty minutes to get to the extreme end of the dam and there, we began our slow assent to the highest point.  It was straight uphill and Raymond was pedaling, almost standing straight up.  This was going to be harder than I thought.  Raymond almost immediately began to question his supplying all the man power as I did the navigating.  It took a lot of convincing, but I explained that in addition to providing good conversation, I could watch for rattlesnakes.  Raymond was deathly afraid of rattlesnakes. We'd never seen any; but I reminded Raymond that it was always a possibility.

CT First Page #4

TITLE: The Rowaness of Shalott
GENTRE: YA Fantasy

Never had I felt the sensation of touch. Not the wind in my hair or stones under my feet. If only I could awaken my skin, startle my half-alive body into awareness, release my spirit from the rowan trees.

Forget I was a nameless Rowaness.

Curling my finger, I beckoned an ocean breeze and twined it around a single blossom, high in the canopy of my favorite rowan tree. The flower floated down, petals like fluttering wings, its life force fading.

With a prayer to Eve, I opened my hand.

The blossom landed in my palm like a silent kiss.


Casting the flower aside, I strode out to the cliff and closed my eyes, listening to the waves crash onto the pebbled shore below. The spray from the ocean whispered through the veil strung over the back of my hair. Then everything hushed until the rowan trees rustled, echoing the sound of a commanding female voice. Her whisperings built into an urgent crescendo, spreading across the island for all the Rowaness to hear. “Veil your faces,” Nimue warned. “The king’s ship is near!”

I ducked to the ground, then after a moment’s hesitation, crept to the cliff’s edge. In the distance, a large vessel rocked upon the water as silhouetted figures drew in its great sail, bearing the crest of the blue dragon. I blinked in disbelief. The king and Merlin hadn’t set foot in Shalott for five years. No men had.

I didn’t veil my face.

CT First Page #3

TITLE:  Unraveled
GENRE:  YA mystery

My mother’s best friend insisted I wear one of her designer dresses to
my first homecoming dance. I couldn’t refuse, nor did I want to.

Inside Nancy Kline’s meticulous closet, I found it impossible to pick
a favorite, until I saw the strapless taffeta bubble dress.

I couldn’t stop grinning. “This is the one.” I handed Nancy the hanger.

She ran her fingers over the fabric, identifying the design. “This
material was imported from India,” she said with pride. Nancy was
going to be a famous fashion designer before she lost her vision.

Up over my head, I slipped the dress on and stood in front of the
mirror. However, the perfect dress wasn’t necessarily the perfect fit.

“Taylor, give me a few minutes and I’ll make a few minor alterations.”
Nancy moved behind her sewing machine and I watched her stitch from
memory. She was fun to talk to, and if she were my age she’d be my
best friend.

“I have some costume jewelry you might be interested in—exceptionally
good imitation. In my guest room, there’s a tall dresser. I think the
second drawer.” Nancy paused. “Help yourself, while I finish up here.”

“No. Really?”

Next to the closet stood the wooden dresser. I opened the first drawer
and sitting right on top, I found an envelope marked adoption papers.
My heart was beating fast, and this little voice in my head said, ‘Do
not open.’ But, the rest of me said, ‘Yes open, and read.’

CT First Page #2

TITLE: Dream Weaver

Snow white sand between my toes. Emerald waters as far as the eye can see. Sun beating down on my face. The warm ocean breeze blowing my hair. This is home. Not the orphanage I’ve lived at for the past seventeen years. Nothing can ruin this.

“Oh look, someone let the Fins out to play,” Poppy Robinson snickers as she and her cronies pass by my towel.
I keep my focus trained on the waves lapping along the shore, staring straight through them as her friends join in her laughter.

I still remember the first time I heard the oh-so-clever nickname created by the students of Destiny Way.

“Who is that?” a girl asked.

“Oh, no one. She’s just a Fin,” replied a second.


“Yeah, from Emerald Coast Home for Orphans, or-Fin. Get it?”

I still hear their cackles ringing in my ears.

“Let’s go Megan,” Mrs. Garver, the house mother at ECHO, calls to me. “Everyone else is on the bus.”

As I stand to brush the sand off my legs, I scan the beach around me. Caught up in my own world once again, I didn't even notice the others were gone. We couldn't have been out here for more than an hour; I’m not even pink from the sun. It sucks that our trips to the beach are only once a month. Never enough time.

I sulk the entire ride home, during dinner, and my nightly routine. Not only is today the last beach day of the year, tomorrow is orientation day at Destiny Way.

CT First Page #1

TITLE: Hunter & Hunted
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

The coastline blurred past as I raced over the hard-packed sand littered with sharp rocks. Up ahead, a niche formed between two craggy limestone cliffs caught my eye. I veered for it and glanced behind me as I ran. The limestone scraped against the thin t-shirt on my back as I squeezed myself into the tight space. Spray from the ocean rained down over me, drenched my shirt and turned my long, dark hair into a scraggly mess.
My parents sprinted by and sand flew up in their wake. Once they neared the water’s edge, they slowed and stalked toward their prey like two jungle cats with black leather armor in place of fur. My mother’s katana, with its long, curved blade, glinted in the sun. As I crouched in relative safety with sour fear eating at my stomach, my father didn’t even have his sword at the ready. My father’s claymore was still sheathed down the length of his back, nearly as tall as him.  I tightened my grip on my own weapon, a simple silver dagger. My palms were slick with sweat, and the gritty salt and sand rubbed my skin raw.

My mother caught my eye and made a quick movement with her hand, indicating that she wanted me to follow. I hesitated before I rose from my spot between the rocks. I trailed behind my parents, and sweat beaded my brow when I thought about the battle ahead.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"CRUNCH TIME" First Page Critiques--Call For Submissions

From Friday, Oct. 28 at 12 until Saturday, Oct. 29 at 2, I will accept submissions. I will post them later that day right here at KTCROWLEY.COM for critiquing.
Please send submissions to ktcritiques [AT]

In the subject, please state “CT FIRST PAGE”

This round I will accept all genres and it's one entry per person, per genre (So you can submit 1 adult 1 YA/MG).

Please list the TITLE, GENRE and your SCREEN NAME (I will not include these in the critique posts) above your 250 words (format it the way you normally would).  Please do not stop in the middle of a sentence.  If it goes over the 250 limit by a couple of words, that's fine.  If you stop at 247 words, that's fine, too.

Your submission should look like this:

SCREEN NAME: Your Screen Name Here
TITLE: Your Title Here
GENRE: Your Genre Here

(Excerpt here.)

  • Please leave out "chapter one," chapter "titles", etc.  Otherwise, I may count them toward your 250 and you could lose some of your first page entry.
  • You will receive a confirmation email, but it may not be right away.  Only resend if you don't get one by the last hour of the submission window.  
If you enter, you must critique at least 5 other submissions (if there are only five, please critique all except your own).  This is so it's fair for everyone involved. 

I will accept up to 20 entries.

That’s it!  If you have any questions, please hit me up in the comments.

I hope we can fill up the 20 spots!  Spread the word.  :)

October Logline #14

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

While assistant stage-managing the senior center's production of Romeo and Juliet, twelve-year-old Tierra watches as her fabulous Gram falls off Juliet's balcony. Gram's hip isn't the only thing that shatters; Tierra's life is suddenly in pieces, too. With her guardian Gram headed for a nursing home, Tierra’s forced to move in with the globe-trotting mother she barely knows. Talk about stab-yourself-with-a-dagger tragic. And even worse than that? Wondering when her stranger-mother might just up and leave again.

October Logline #13

TITLE: The Rowaness of Shalott
GENRE: YA Fantasy

With her life force tied to a rowan tree, an immortal girl cannot experience the sensation of touch until it is awakened by the young knight Lancelot, who then gives her the name of his unrequited love, Guinevere. But their forbidden romance threatens to expose the secret protecting Guinevere’s female race, the Rowaness. She must sacrifice her capacity to feel, and her growing love, otherwise the bond to her rowan tree is forfeit, along with her life.

October Logline #12

GENRE:  Paranormal Romance
Emma’s psychic abilities lead her to James, her soul mate. However, he has another soul spirit inside him and it needs to be freed. The fate of this soul’s existence rests in their hands. To free it is the ultimate act, and Emma doesn’t like it one bit – James will have to die.

October Logline #11

Title: Opposition
Genre: YA Fantasy

The Aerisians—people living on the invisible, floating continent of Aeris—were given a power beyond the elements and a legendary task centuries ago: protect the Yin Shadow and the Yang Light, the pair that makes up the balance of the Earth. But in the week Atalanta Raire turns fifteen, suddenly the Light is stolen, her sister goes missing, and the only thing Ata can do is go to the Earth Plane, where a trapped Cimmerian bent on twisted revenge shatters free of his prison, and Ata’s nonexistent luck is about to make her his bait for a desperate and crumbling world.

October Logline #10

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy

During a summer exchange program in Paris, Sophie accidentally leaps backward in time to 1895. As the window home closes, Sophie must decide whether to unlock a mysterious heirloom’s secrets and return to her own life as a potential prima ballerina, or stay in the past to live someone else’s future with a man whose descendants would never be born.

October Logline #9

Title: Tripplehorn Parker, Hesitant Heroine Extraordinaire
Genre: Upper MG Adventure

Previous logline link:

12-year-old adventure-phobe Tripplehorn Parker opens a secret message the night before traveling to the Ugandan bush, and it urges her to protect an ancient idol by hiding it forever. With her researcher parents distracted by wildlife, she’ll have to nix nerves (and embrace her inner heroine) to find the destiny-controlling treasure and outwit a herd of bad guys who will kill to exploit it.

October Logline #8


Twelve-year-old Justin isn't an arsonist, but nobody is going to believe a
dragon with a stolen egg set the fire. When Justin recovers the egg, a
frost and fire dragon hybrid, he races into a fantastical world, pursued
by the dragon desperate to take it back. If Justin doesn’t return the egg
to its mother in time, two endangered dragon species will become extinct

October Logline #7

TITLE: Left & Right

After a motorcycle accident kills his older sister, ten-year-old Alexander wakes up in the hospital with a hole in his memory and a missing voice. What he’s gained are two invisible friends who have no idea who they are or where they came from. Though Alexander truly wants to help, after losing his sister and his voice, he's terrified that he’ll lose his new friends too.

October Logline #6

TITLE:  Unnatural
GENRE:  YA Paranormal Romance

Previous Post:

Seventeen-year-old Alexa’s life and the future of humanity hang in the balance when the power only she can generate makes her the trophy between two races warring for mankind. Her choice between risk-taking Vanquisher, Dell, and the mysterious Sentinel, Hayden, will not only decide who Alexa loves, but which side she’d die fighting for, revealing alls fate.

October Logline #5

GENRE: Mystery

One wintery night in the woods, a man wrenches a baby from the arms of a teenage girl, thereby opening the door for murder, rape, and incest. Bucky Ontario, clever and daring, learns the shocking truth and goes up against a town determined to stop him at any price.

October Logline #4

Here Comes the Sun

Due to a severe dose of shyness, 17-year-old Natalie's life is as depressing as her favorite MP3 playback list. But a senior trip to England changes everything when she opens up to a kaleidoscope-eyed Beatles fanatic who has her heart crooning love tunes, forcing her to confront the dark event that left her friendless in hopes of starting fresh with her musical soul mate.

October Logline #3

TITLE: Simon's Oath

Two orphaned brothers are hired to rehabilitate the daughter of a brothel owner who doesn’t talk, she only screams and bites. If Simon and Hector can transform her into a normal girl, they will be fed and clothed until they reach adulthood. It they fail, they will be sold back into indentured slavery dredging silt from the local river where a single slip could mean their death.

October Logline #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Mysty dreams of dating high school basketball star Eric Gallante; instead, she accidentally turns him into a frog. Her kiss could make his amphibious problem permanent so she must find someone with a pure heart – who he hopefully won’t like too much – to kiss him before she is dragged into fairy tale land and punished for her crime.

October Logline #1

TITLE: Dream Weaver

Previous Entry:

When Megan has her first dream at seventeen, she doesn't realize her dreams are special; they become reality. Against her better judgment, she teams up with her new classmate Mason, a Waker who's been sent to help. To save herself and other like her, she must learn to trust what he’s saying, because the faceless people from her dreams are real and will do anything—even kill—to harness the power of her dreams.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For Those Of You Interested...Here's A New Feature Coming To My Blog Soon!

Critiques are an important part of writing; they allow others to preview our work while opening ourselves up for public opinion, opening our eyes to things we may not see.  They give you a chance to revise and polish your work before it’s reviewed by agents and editors.  It helps improve your writing and it provides the always needed pat on the back when it’s a job well done.  Writers are often the best at critiquing one another’s work, and I’d like to provide a place for people to do that.

So I’ve decided to offer monthly critique rounds on my blog.  Some months it may be for loglines or queries, other months first page rounds.  Depending on my workload, this will most likely fall at the beginning of each month with submission rules being posted one week prior.  Since I’ve never done anything like this before, there may be kinks in the first few rounds, but with any luck, it’ll work straight out of the gate.

I’ll be hosting a first page round in the coming weeks as a beta trial, to see what kind of turn out this gets and if this is a successful feature to keep on my blog.  Stay tuned for details.

For those of you entering the “Baker’s Dozen” on Authoress’s blog, next week, if you feel you need a critique on your first page (250 words) before submissions, please comment below ASAP.  If I get a good response by Friday, October 28, I’ll host a “Crunch Time” critique session for a lucky few over this coming weekend.  By crunch time, I mean there will be a small 24-48 hour critique window open that I hope will give you what you need to make your first page agent-ready. (Speaking of Authoress, you’re probably familiar with her awesome monthly “Secret Agent” contests.  The critique rounds I’ll offer could be the perfect time to test out your work before entering.)

Even if you aren’t entering, make sure to stop by and give your fellow writers your opinion; feedback is greatly appreciated!

From personal experience, critiques have made my writing grow much stronger.  My hope is that by offering you this opportunity, you’ll see your writing grow, too. 

Fingers crossed that this is a success!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

One More Chance To Polish That Logline!

*UPDATE* Due to a couple requests and some flexibility in my schedule today, I have extended the submission time from to .

Since I had SO much fun last week with the second chance logline critique round I hosted to help out those participating in Authoress's Baker's Dozen AND since there was such positive and helpful responses, I've decided to offer one more round!

Now, I sent an email to everyone who participated in last round, but this post is also for those who didn't submit or missed their chance.  My apologies to those of you who have already submitted your entries for the Adult category; I sent it in one mass emailing so that I wouldn’t miss anyone, but if you still want some feedback, feel free to read on.  I'm opening this round to everyone entering the YA/MG category so if you’ve already been through two rounds or none at all, this is probably your last chance!

This is all contingent on enough interest, so as long as I get at least 10 people, I’ll hold it.  If not, I’ll be happy to provide my personal critique at your request.  Here are the rules:

From Wednesday, Oct. 26 at until Thursday, Oct. 27 at , I will accept submissions. I will post them later that night right here at KTCROWLEY.COM for critiquing.

In the subject, please state “LOGLINE”.

Please list title and genre above the logline (format it the way you normally would).

If you would like to include a link to your previous logline or if you want to include the # of your previous entry, I will include that. Otherwise I will post as it’s received.

Please send submissions to crowleykt [AT]

If you enter, you must critique at least 5 other submissions.

I will accept up to 50 entries.

That’s it!  If you have any questions, please hit me up in the comments.

Good luck, everyone!  J

Monday, October 17, 2011

Logline #43

TITLE: Be Careful What You Wish For
GENRE: Paranormal Romance

Seventy year old Viv finally meets her perfect man on a cruise. A genie sends her back in time fifty years to meet him in his prime except, while she remembers him, he doesn't remember her.

Logline #42

Title:  The Company of Old Ladies
Genre:  Upmarket women's

In this coming-of-OLD-age novel, a sixty-something woman stumbles upon a young destitute Asian man and vows to be his benefactor until his funds arrive.  She invites him to stay with her and her equally unconventional roommate in a senior high-rise.  But when he moves in a malicious young woman, when valuable items start vanishing, and when her friend becomes deathly ill, she must either trust him or risk his taking advantage of her good will.  An Asian Tom Sawyer mixes it up with two aging members of the Ya-Ya sisterhood. 

Logline #41

Title:  A Flick of the Switch
Genre:  Adult Fiction

When the hospital suddenly settles a controversial case and removes life support systems for a viable baby, Emily, a nurse recovering from the death of her own preemie, flicks the switches back on. Relying on lessons learned from her unscrupulous estranged husband, Emily must lie, steal and manipulate to keep the baby hidden until he can breath on his own, all the while risking her own dreams of becoming a doctor.

Logline #40

GENRE: Contemporary YA

After her pregnancy is leaked to the press, sixteen-year-old actress Kendall Luxmi Lawson’s squeaky clean image takes a beating and she’s fired from her hit TV show. If she doesn’t figure out a way to revive her dead acting career, she’ll wind up with no fame, no money, and, in her opinion, no life.

Logline #39

Title: Graceful Death
Genre: YA Paranormal


One puff of a joint traps fifteen-year-old Grace into a life of servitude. Tricked into donning Death’s hoodie for an ancient Underworld demon was bad enough, but each soul Grace reaps draws a centuries old war closer to her world. Living a double life in two dimensions, skirting dangerous demons, and living by rules she doesn’t understand, Grace struggles to uncover who she is and keep her loved ones from becoming Underworld casualties.

Logline #38

Title: Dead Like Me
Genre: Mystery

Previous Entry: Round 2, #36

When Detective Kate Springer catches the case of a murdered teenage girl, the investigation brings Kate face to face with the man who abused her as a child. Too fragile, she never publicly accused Roger White of the abuse she had endured. Now, twenty four years later, he’s turned up as a suspect in the Callahan murder. But Roger’s advanced age and infirm health causes Kate to question everything. With time running out, Kate fights to distance herself from the painful feelings over her childhood in order to solve the case and catch a killer.

Logline #37

Title:  Unraveled
Genre:  YA Mystery

Taylor discovers adoption papers connecting one of two friends, who supposedly died in a car crash fourteen years ago, to a neighbor who wants to know who her child is. At the sake of solving the mystery, Taylor uses dishonest methods and uncovers a secret adoption. If she tells the truth she risks losing her friend, destroying a family, or ending up in Juvie Hall. Staying silent isn’t an option, but sometimes a secret can leak out.

Logline #36

TITLE:  Unnatural
GENRE:  YA Paranormal Romance

When seventeen-year-old Alexa discovers she possesses supernatural abilities, her fate as a trophy in a war for mankind between two paranormal races is revealed.  Her life and the future of humanity hang in the balance as her choice between bad-boy Dell and the mysterious Hayden will not only decide who Alexa loves, but which side she fights for.

Logline #35


Twelve-year-old Justin isn’t an arsonist, but nobody is going to believe a
dragon on the run with his mate’s kidnapped egg set the fire. Justin
escapes arrest when he takes the egg back through a portal and races
across a world of flying scorpions, bloodthirsty beasts and a leviathan of
the deep. Even if Justin keeps the egg from being recaptured, he must
reach its mother in time or dragons will go extinct and he will never see
home again, not even juvenile hall.

Logline #34

TITLE: Chasing Carmen Miranda
GENRE: Upmarket Women's Fiction

When Chicagoan Brie McCoy accidentally learns that her picture-perfect mother took her from her biological Brazilian mother when she was a baby, the family secrets begin to unravel.

Logline #33

Title:  Maria’s Beads
Genre:  Middle Grade

Maria is given magical spirit beads just before she learns that her best friend, Diane, has a potentially fatal disease.  They enable the quiet & studious Maria to confront Diane’s parents who oppose medical intervention. Maria marshals her family and her school friends to save her friend, a quest that develops her inner strength and determines her heart path in life.

Logline #32

TITLE: Simon's Oath

Two orphaned brothers are hired to rehabilitate the feral daughter of a brothel owner. If Simon and Hector can transform the screaming, biting shut-in into a normal girl, they will be safe, fed and clothed until they reach adulthood. It they fail, they will be sold back into indentured slavery dredging silt from the local river where a single slip could mean their deaths.

Logline #31

Title: Storm Front
Genre: mystery

A serial killer has made the worlds most popular social networking sites his personal hunting ground and is now coming after Bainbridge Island homicide detective Sarah Lake and her past.

Logline #30

Title:  Riding the Dam
Genre:  MG humor, coming-of-age

The year is 1952 in San Angelo, Texas and ten-year-old Allan spends most days looking for adventure—adventures like riding down a 128 foot dam on his best friend, Raymond’s handlebars, riding on a bucking bronco, and winning the best Concho River storytelling contest.

San Angelo has its share of quirky characters like John the rodeo rider with the glass eye, Mr. Franklin who has the gift of taming wasps, and Aunt Hope who teaches Allan to catch, kill, and fry up chickens and wrangle snakes. In other words, it’s a young boy’s paradise…until Allan’s mother becomes ill and his world is changed forever.

Logline #29

Title:  BABY DOE
Genre:  Mystery

One wintery night in the woods, a man wrenches a baby from the arms of a teenage girl, thereby opening the door for murder, rape, and incest. Bucky Ontario, clever and daring, learns the shocking truth and goes up against a town determined to stop him at any price.