If you’re a writer, then you may be well aware that it’s time for one of the biggest contests for novelists again–Pitchwars! I learned about the contest after attending a writing conference and meeting the fabulous Brenda Drake a few years back. I then decided to enter with my first book, THE TRAVELER.
It’s hard to believe that this will be my fourth year to enter!
If I’m being completely honest, I really hoped I’d be agented by now, but I’ve also learned to chill a bit when it comes to the whole “getting published” process. In fact my screensaver currently features this advice: “Trust the timing of your life.”
And so I am.
However, that doesn’t mean I’ve just been sitting around, waiting for something good to happen to me. No way. I’ve been working my tail off and recently completed my fourth book, THE BUG COLLECTOR’S BUCKET LIST. I also have a fifth book in the works as we speak.
But I’m proud of the book I’ll be entering in Pitchwars this year in so many ways:
1.) I left my comfort zone of writing books which primarily feature horses to try something new.
2.) I wrote the first draft of this book in three months– a new record for me.
3.) This was my first dual POV book (actually three POV’s if you count the letters from Grandpa sprinkled in).
4.) I love each of the beautifully flawed characters in this book with all my heart.
5.) AND, I feel like this book is unique enough to maybe be *the one*.
Here’s a little more about THE BUG COLLECTOR’S BUCKET LIST (aka, my rough, newly-written query):
After a terminal cancer diagnosis, agoraphobe Elijah Walker willed half his secret fortune to pay for his two granddaughters’ college tuition. But he also had a stipulation: first, they must complete his unfulfilled bucket list.
K.J. would rather eat cockroach soup than spend a full minute with her snooty cousin, Becka. But since there’s money up for grabs (aka, a way out of trailer park hell), she’s game for Grandpa’s five tasks, number one of which means riding a mule to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Becka, on the other hand, has a full soccer scholarship to the University of Arkansas and no desire to travel anywhere with the tomboy cousin she despises. She’s only completing the tasks out of guilt—her mom could use the money to pay off lingering hospital bills after the death of Becka’s younger brother four years ago.
Aside from a close encounter with a grizzly and near-drowning incident at the Bull Sluice, the girls must also survive each other. But after a 23-hour road trip to Key West, the ice between K.J. and Becka finally begins to thaw. However, when a letter from Grandpa reveals the hidden truth behind their mothers’ long-time dispute and his real intent behind these trips, their collective world is rocked. The girls must learn to forgive their mothers’ mistakes and accept each other, differences and all. Otherwise, Grandpa’s ultimate bucket list wish—to mend his divided family—will have been buried inside that grasshopper green casket right along with him.
Told through the POV of two cousins and a series of posthumous letters from their grandfather, THE BUG COLLECTOR’S BUCKET LIST is part Ladybird and part Adi Alsaid’s Let’s Get Lost.
It’s a fun and heartwarming book, and I really hope someone else will love it as much as I do.
So now, here’s the part where I tell a little about me.
I’ve loved animals since I could first say “cat” and developed a fondness for horses, especially, by the end of elementary school. My first horse was Lady Be Good, and she forever changed my life in the very best way. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was young, but I distinctly remember when I changed my mind: it was while working at my best friend’s father’s veterinary clinic and finding out that, along with helping animals, you also have to put some to sleep.
So I decided to become a middle school teacher like my mother instead.
I taught science, geography, and math for five years before landing my dream job of teaching sixth grade English a little closer to home. I taught for ten years total and loved approximately every other minute of it. 😉
I was also a competitive barrel racer for about fifteen years and never thought I’d give it up. But alas, life changes and sometimes, your dreams do, too.
You might be wondering what the heck I’ve been doing since I don’t teach any more. I won’t keep you in the dark any longer. For the last eight years, I’ve been busy caring for my two kids and writing! I think deep down, I’ve always wanted to work as a writer, but I never believed I had what it took. However, after becoming a stay-at-home mom, I decided to give it a try. I landed my first freelance writing gig in 2011 (writing about horse health), and I haven’t looked back. Around that same time, I started a blog called The Naturally Healthy Horse, and I now write regularly for several publications and horse-centric companies as well.
I basically write all day long (well, for the length of time my kids are in school, anyway). Except for the pay, it’s pretty fabulous. I focus on my freelance work in the mornings and give myself a couple hours to work on my books in the afternoon. Additionally, I’m just breaking into freelance editing.
I’ve been married to my husband for nineteen years, and we still like to pretend we’re young and cool, dressing as Harry and Hermione for Halloween, for instance. He also humors me by being my date to see every YA book-turned-movie as soon as it hits the theater.
I still love animals and my current pet status includes three horses, three dogs, six cats, and a brood of chickens. Here are a few pics for your enjoyment:
No one knows what their future holds, but I really, really, really hope mine includes becoming a full-time YA novelist. 🙂
Oh, and I’d also like to adopt a rescue horse, travel to Paris, and read a gazillion more books.
Thanks for reading! If you’re also a Pitchwars participant, I look forward to “meeting” you and wish you the very best of luck!
You can find all the #Boostmybio entries here.