Blogfest Category Archive

Pitch Wars Blog Hop!

It’s finally time for Pitch Wars to start! Yippee! I’ve been looking forward to this for months and I know the other mentors have been too. For this contest, I’ll be mentoring Middle Grade books 😀 Below you’ll find the types of MG books I tend to enjoy most. Please feel free to post questions in the comments section or find me on twitter (@julianalbrandt)! I love making new friends and can’t wait to work with you 🙂


MG Wish List

I adore MG because it’s often extraordinarily clever and touches upon tough subjects (“…if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”-Madeleine L’Engle). If your MS is a story with clever twists, whimsical turns of phrase, solid world building, and well developed relationships between characters, then I’m your mentor! [think HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, CRESTOMANCI, & THE PECULIAR]

For more specifics:

-Genre wise, I’m most attracted to fantasy, sci-fi, and adventure stories.

-I’m a massive fan of mythology, whether it’s a retelling or it’s incorporated into the story (WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON, WATERSHIP DOWN)

-I love journey stories where MCs are set on a physical quest (LIESL & PO, THE SPINDLERS, PETER & THE STARCHASERS)

-And tales that use magic to help explain/tackle a serious subject (A MONSTER CALLS)

-I also prefer stories in which magic is already ingrained into the world (along the lines of magical realism) rather than stories where the MC “discovers” magic or comes to realize they have magical abilities (“chosen one” stories)

-Lastly, I adore a good adventure story. I still daydream about DOWN RIVER by Will Hobbs (which I think is technically YA, but I read it in early middle school and so have stuck it firmly in the MG category 😛 ) In general though, I might not the best fit for contemporary MG. I typically don’t enjoy contemp unless it’s full of heart–think WALK TWO MOONS or OKAY FOR NOW, or if it’s an adventure.

All of the above are merely stories I’ve loved in the past, which is just to say that I have no idea what I’ll love in the future. If your MS is a humorous, character-driven story, with an MC who goes on a physical journey that parallels their internal one, then I’m the mentor for you 😀


Why You Should Choose Me!

-My writing is represented by the fiercely wonderful agent Emmanuelle Morgen of the Stonesong Literary Agency. While I mostly spend my time writing YA, I started out with MG and I always come back to it–it’s at the heart of my writing soul. I’ve written 8 books (whew) and am amazed at how much I’ve learned with each one. I can’t wait to share some of that with you.

-I love editing and critiquing! It’s one of my favorite parts of writing.

-I’ve had a lot of practice honing queries. In fact, I often do giveaways on twitter for them. It’s something I genuinely enjoy. Also, I know the query game. I know what it’s like to be in the trenches. We’ll make yours sparkle.

-I’m passionate about writing in all forms and will work so, so hard for you, if you’re willing to do the same.

-On a not-writing note, I’m currently in school for my Masters of Elementary Education, and I work full-time as a secretary. I spend the majority of my free-time in the mountains–rock climbing, hiking, running…pretty much anything that gets me outdoors.

Girls wanna have fun

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The Next Big Thing!


Thanks Lauren for tagging me in The Next Big Thing meme–this has been one I’ve enjoyed reading on other blogs! (Including Jaye’s, which you all should check out. She did her post on Sing to the Wind, which comes out in 2014!) Lauren’s Next Big Thing is about her new young adult WIP titled DIVE. How awesome of a title is that?!

What is the working title of your book?


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After a tribe of his own kind, Cadaver Dogs, slaughters Jacob’s village, he’s left to fend for himself in the desert filled world of the future.

What genre does your book fall under?

CD is (in my mind) post-apocalyptic YA.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Honestly, I’ve never been one to think too hard on actors for my characters, but I can post pictures about Jacob’s most striking feature- his eyes. In CD, all Cadaver Dogs have beautiful amber eyes, much like a dogs.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am represented by the dream-agent Emmanuelle Morgen of the Stonesong Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hmm, if I’m remembering correctly, it took me a few months to write the first draft of CD. Since then, it has gone through a few major revisions, each taking about a month to complete.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I gave the comp. title of The Forest of Hands and Teeth when I was querying. It has a similar feel of a journey book.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by two thoughts before I started writing CD. The first was the question of: What would the world look like if a drought swept over the earth and never went away? And the second was: What if people could smell as well as dogs?

Interestingly, I had never heard the term ‘cadaver dog’ before. I heard it on the news one night and immediately started researching. These dogs are trained to locate human remains and are used in disaster areas- how incredible is that?!

Over the past year, I’ve enjoyed researching the dog’s scenting abilities and figuring out how to incorporate that into my writing.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Most obviously, I think the unique setting and the fact that much of my book centers around Jacob’s scent abilities will interest readers. But my very favorite part of the book is a small girl named Sam who has a very big secret…but I’m going to refrain from saying anything more on that 😉

And now it’s time for me to tag another writer! I’m passing the torch onto my lovely super-CP Ari Susu-Mago whose writing always gives me the chills.

GUTGAA Small Press- YA Contemporary & Historical Fiction

Guys, I’m beyond excited to be a part of the small press contest for GUTGAA (Gearing Up To Get An Agent blog-hop hosted by the awe-inspiring Deana Barnhart)! I can’t say enough about the courage it takes to put your work out there, but what you’ll learn over the next week will be well worth the effort, even if you don’t move on to the next round. I posted the other week (after the ups and downs of my own GUTGAA experience and #PitMad) the ride is worth it.

Good luck everyone!

I’m hoping to make my way through all of the pitches this round, but if anyone is needing/wanting extra help with their pitches, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Keep an eye out for the following judge names as they make their rounds on the pitches!
Jammy Dodgers

A Few Details
As luck would have it, the submissions did not break evenly into YA/MG/NA groups. To make the ratios fair for each category, the pitches chosen off each blog will have different amounts. The breakup will be:

-YA Other-9  chosen (Hosted on Deana’s blog)
-Adult-8 chosen (Hosted on Tara Tyler’s blog)
-YA Contemporary & Historical Fiction-5 chosen (Hosted here!)
-NA/MG-3 chosen (Hosted on Ink in the Book’s blog)
**If you have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section below.

-If there are tie breakers, other judges in the competition will come in and break the ties
-Winners will be announced no later than Friday
-The top 25 will be posted on Deana’s blog for the final round next Monday

If you are on Twitter, use the hashtag #GUTGAA to join in on the conversation. Hopefully, I will be able to tweet out progress on my blog throughout the week, follow me at @julianalbrandt


Check back Thursday for a special giveaway because Thursday is MY BIRTHDAY! My quarter-century birthday to be exact and it’s deserving of an extra special giveaway. The giveaway will be easy (I’m a fan of easy contests). The winner will get a copy of my very favorite book: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. So COME BACK THURSDAY and help celebrate my birthday with me 🙂

Pitch W- The Spark

YA Contemporary


When you’re sixteen, wishing for a life filled with adventure and romance, like the kind found on the inky
pages of fantasy fiction, makes living in a small town almost bearable. When your name is Neeve and you’re tall, gawky and feel awkward in your own skin, an escape into books feels like your only hope.

After mysterious Rhythe arrives in town looking for you, followed by your favorite author who penned the novel Under Clouded Sky and intriguingexchange student Elan, you think just for an instant maybe you’re living in a dream.

The love and danger unfolding in your suddenly very drama-filled life point to the truth that perhaps your the novel isn’t a work of fiction after all. Maybe the Celestial Pantheon, the secret society revealed in the book’s pages is real, Rhythe’s interest in you is sinister and you and Elan have to save the world from power hungry House of Cruxis, led by Rhythe, who threaten to cause a supernova.

You quickly realize getting what you wished for comes with a price and the perils of adventure are more than you bargained for. If you fail it means the end of love, the end of the world, the end of existence, but if you succeed the fantasy can live on.

First 150 Words:

The phone rang, pulling me from a particularly juicy chapter. I emerged from the insulating cocoon of fantasy fiction and answered dreamily.

“Good morning,” said Lily, my chipper best friend. The sliver of light seeping in through the dusty window did little to invite my enthusiasm. She got right to the point. “So last night while you were tucked in with three hundred and fifty pages of inky fantasy, I was at a party on the riverbank.” I wondered when did she get a pass to go to parties. We were the nerds.

Her voice bounced back to me, “We were hanging around the fire and a black sports car came flying down the dirt road. It came to a sudden stop and this wicked hot guy, who I’d never seen before, got out,” she paused for effect, “he asked if any of us knew Neeve Hawkins.” Never mind the party, who’d be looking for me and why?

Pitch V- Burn

YA Suspense


Maggie Parrish inherited her brown eyes, her sense of humor, and her cause of death from her grandma who died in a fire decades before Maggie was born. The fire was the biggest news in the dinky Tennessee town since Lee’s surrender and everyone tells a different version of what really happened. When Maggie moves in with her aunt on the old family farm, the countdown begins to her time to burn.

A crush turns into an obsession that threatens Maggie’s relationship with her new boyfriend. The more she tries to push him away, the harder he fights back. His jealousy is suffocating her and where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Every move she makes is leading up to one explosive night on the farm–a night that played out forty years ago.  If Maggie doesn’t see how deep the connection to her grandma runs, she’ll end up just like her.

Maggie Parrish is going to burn.

First 150 Words:

Aunt Carol sat across from me at the breakfast table, stroking the handle of her coffee cup while she tried to focus on the crossword puzzle in the paper.

I couldn’t stop fidgeting.

“What if I just stay in my room until they’re gone?” I suggested.

She never looked away from the puzzle. “They already know you’re here. Besides, you’ll be stuck up there all day if you decide to hide from the boys.”

“It can’t seriously take all day to put in a shower, can it?”

She smiled. It wasn’t a good smile. It was the kind of smile that  meant someone had Sharpied a mustache on your face when you fell asleep at a friend’s house. It was the kind of smile that meant I was being set up.

“Oh my God. Can’t I just borrow the car and go into town?”

“I’ve already told them all about you.”