So what's with all the queries on my page you ask?

In case you missed it, I am hosting a Query Swap on my blog. If you would like to have your query posted for feedback from fellow writers, just email me at jodieandrefski (at) gmail (dot) com.

I ask that if you do submit, that you please take a few minutes to critique some (or all!) of the other queries on the page. We all want as much feedback as we can get to make our query shine and sparkle.

Just remember, feedback is subjective. Take it in, consider it, and then do what is best for YOUR story! Best of luck to all my fellow writers.

Query #6 Chasing Eternity

GENRE: Adult
WORD COUNT: 77,000

Born in England in 1066, Colin Harcourt becomes an unwilling pawn for the Duke of Normandy during the first Crusades in the Holy Land. While stripping victims of their valuables, an Arab mystic thrusts a mysterious necklace into his hands, rendering the young crusader ageless and immortal—a gift which soon becomes a curse. With endless life, Colin watches his family, wives, and friends grow old and die.

Searching for a way to break the curse Colin joins the British Army in its fight to maintain their control of the Colonies -- a battle he intends to lose. The last thing he wants is to go on living—until he finds himself in the early nineteenth century in the arms of Beth, a woman who melts Colin’s frozen heart and gives him something to live for. But when an accident takes Beth’s life, Colin discovers that time won’t loosen its grip on him. Destined to travel the world alone, he’s too afraid to love again. In the end Colin must decide which curse is worse, immortality or regret.

CHASING ETERNITY is a 77,000-word work of historical fiction, a standalone work with series potential, which will appeal to readers of Peter Hammill’s FOREVER.
I am a member of SCWBI, Springfield Writer’s Guild, Ozark Romance Authors, and Ozark Writer’s League.

Query #5 122 Rules

122 Rules
Adult Thriller
80,000 words

Voided warranty or no, Monica Sable wishes she had given her iPhone a bath in the Hudson. Replacing it would have cost less. A lot less. Instead, she gave the technological marvel with the recorded clandestine conversation between infamous mob boss, Laven Michaels, and his heinous henchmen, Tyron Erebus, to the authorities.

But no good deed goes unpunished.

By doing the “right thing,” Monica finds herself a bauble in the FBI Witness Protection program and keystone of their flummoxed case to crush the mobster and dismantle his empire. The soulless automatons-turned-agents babysit the star witness who’s molding away as Laven’s trial overshadows her future. Perhaps death by Erebus’s knife would be an improvement after all?

Sam Bradford, former Marine and expert at finding the unfindable, is visible to all but seen by none. Living on the fringe of society, Sam continues serving his country as an officer of The Agency and maestro of their 122 Rules of Psychology. Unparalleled in these edicts, he strums the chords of emotion, convincing others to do anything he desires and reveal their most intimate secrets.

A master in the dual roles of hunter and suitor, Sam is assigned to track Monica down and seduce her into trusting him. And trust him she does...at least until he mysteriously disappears, further blurring the line between friend and foe.

Eluding an assassination attempt by an unknown assailant--Tyron? Laven? Sam? Someone else?--Monica decides her safety is her own responsibility and escapes the FBI’s clutches, taking to the road with her snarky best friend of less-than-average intelligence. The two fumble their way across the country, hoping to reach safety, while those that wish to destroy her froth like a bloodhounds at their heels.

Monica’s only goal: bring down those that mean to do her harm…if she lives that long.


Query #3 - Rowdy Days of Dom Sanders

Note: I have removed any greeting/contact information, as Pitch Wars will not allow a salutation this year.
I’m seeking representation for my 39,000 word upper middle grade contemporary novel entitled ROWDY DAYS OF DOM SANDERS.
12-year-old Dom’s summer’s awesome.  He’s beaten up his rival Taylor, kissed the new girl in town, and finally got his horse. But while squirrel hunting, Dom sees a local outcast stab and kill a deputy and he’s pretty darn sure it’s related to the marijuana that’s all over town.
Unsure of whether the murderer saw him run away, Dom pretends he didn’t see anything. That is, until Taylor’s pocketknife and Dom’s boot prints, identical to Taylor’s, are found at the crime scene, and Taylor’s arrested. Dom must decide whether to swallow his guilt and let an annoying, if innocent, jerk go to juvie, or take the stand and risk his own life and freedom by revealing what he knows.
I don’t claim to be Mark Twain, but this novel is a modern retelling of THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER.  It might also appeal to fans of Mika Ashley-Hollinger’s PRECIOUS BONES.

Query #2 Punishment Summer

Note- I have omitted any salutations and contact information, as Pitchwars will not allow a greeting this year.

Genre: YA Action/Adventure
Word Count: 66,000

Sixteen-year-old Nicki Steele’s summer is in ruins. Grounded and caught sneaking into her room after a party, she’s sent to her grandfather’s cabin in the Mendocino Forest. Though her own house doesn’t feel much like home, the timing for her exile sucks. Being stuck in the woods for ten weeks will give her sort-of best friend a clear shot at Nicki’s sometime-boyfriend. As if that isn’t bad enough, Grandpa’s cabin is decorated with dead animal heads and there’s no electricity or cell phone service.

The last time Nicki saw Grandpa was when she was four years old and he feels like a stranger to her. She hides the wrist-to-elbow burn mark from the house fire that killed her sister and keeps quiet about the mother who ran out on her years before. Though Nicki hasn’t heard from Grandpa in years, she’s surprised to discover how much he knows about her life. But, soon after arriving, she begins to suspect Grandpa is lying – about his name and why he lives in the woods.

In spite of Nicki’s unhappiness about her ‘sentence’, the summer brings an unexpected bright spot: Grandpa’s German shepherd, Queenie. The prospect of romance with a neighbor boy also gives Nicki hope for some fun as her days are filled with learning how to fish, hunt and tend the vegetables. An expert at fitting in, Nicki hopes good reports about her behavior will convince her dad to bring her home early. But vying for a good report loses importance when Grandpa takes off, leaving Nicki to deal with an injured girl and two hostile deputies. From secret pot farms to human trafficking, Nicki soon learns nothing in ‘The Mendo’ is as it seems. When the lives of new friends are threatened, Nicki must decide how far she’s willing to go to protect those she cares about.

Complete at 66,000 words, PUNISHMENT SUMMER follows Nicki as she outgrows her past and learns there are some choices she can’t undo. Told in the first person, I think this contemporary young adult story about secrets and loss will appeal to fans of Jay Asher. In addition to writing fiction, I was a corporate writer for many years, though my writing was not published under my byline. I would be happy to send the manuscript or its opening chapters to you.

Query #1 - Smooth

**Note- I have omitted any greetings and contact info, as salutations will not be able to be added this year in Pitch Wars entries.

YA Sci-fi
65K words

31 is convinced whoever mixed its test tube missed a step, or three. Living in The Society and becoming a Societian is all 31 has ever longed for. However, staying in paradise comes at a price. Turning fifteen means that 31 and the rest of its brood must ingest serum to unnaturally transform them into the gender The Society has chosen. While adapting to their changing bodies, the brood undergoes the Selection, rigorous testing to control the population and ensure only the fittest become Societians. Twenty are chosen; the remaining eleven are exiled, sent to drift across the ocean to their deaths.

But 31 isn’t like everyone else in its brood. It harbors the unique—and forbidden—abilities to create and heal. If they don’t get it exiled and killed, the forbidden love of another broodmate will.

When 31 fails to heal its closest friend, it refuses to take the gender serum, becoming more of an outcast than ever.  31 has two days to choose whether to conform and become the Societian its always dreamed of being or stay true to itself, risking true love and life itself.

SMOOTH is a 65,000 word YA science fiction novel. I am a member of SCBWI and have attended over two-dozen writing conferences, workshops, and classes. I will be attending Writing the Breakout Novel Intensive and David Farland’s Novel Rewriting workshop in September.

Thank you for your consideration.


Query Swap

Whether you are getting ready for the madness of Pitch Wars, or querying agents directly... it is always good to have an extra set of eyes (or two, or ten) on your query. We all know the saying about first impressions.

To that end...I thought it might be helpful to have a place to to critique queries for each other. The only request is that you find something positive to say about any query you critique along with your suggestions on how to make it even more sparkly.

If you would like me to post your query on this page for critique, please email me at jodieandrefski (at) gmail (dot) com, and put "Blog Query Critique" in the subject line. If you have a blog, please link to thispost to get the word out. The more people that see it, the more feedback we will all get. I will start posting received queries tomorrow. You do not have to include your name, but please format it as follows:

MS Title
Word Count

Query. (it's up to you if you want to include your bio)

Also, I've started an "Ask a Teen" section on my blog. If you have a specific question that you want to ask a teen (I have girls and guys helping!), be sure to check out the tab at the top of my page.


Pitch Wars Mentee Bio - A sneak peek behind the curtain of ME

First off, a giant THANK YOU goes out to all the mentors and anyone involved in organizing Pitch Wars. Your dedication to the writing community is astounding.

Now, to cover some of the basics about me...

1. I write YA Contemporary. My previous manuscripts focus more on the kissy first love kinda thing--my most recent, THE SOCIETY, doesn't. (This is the one I'm hoping you love for Pitch Wars.) This one is grittier, although there is a romantic sub-plot.

 2. I'm a single mom with a fantastic 15 year old daughter who I am constantly roping into reading my stuff.
This is Hope.  We were on a GISWHES team together last week. We're like Lorelei and Rory, and I love it! =)

The fact that I usually end up with a houseful of teenagers every weekend works well with staying in touch with the teen voice and pysche.

3. Speaking of psyche, I am finishing up my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling, and have my undergrad degree in Secondary Education-English.

4. I love Supernatural. Probably to an unhealthy degree. If you could somehow morph Sam and Dean into one person, I'd make a crossroads deal to marry him.

5. I have experience working as a contracted writer for several websites, and had my work published in Everywhere magazine. I'm also a submissions intern for Entangled, so I get to see first hand what works and what doesn't. I've learned a lot by reading other people's work, and try to take those lessons and apply it to my own writing.

6. I work hard. For real. I can not only take criticism well, but WANT to hear what needs work in my ms. I won't cry or complain or throw tantrums when you tell me what needs changing. I know you're here to help....and this excites me to no end.

7. I'm into photography and have been invited to photograph and review several concerts and vacation destinations. Tons of fun! I've been lucky enough to interview many bands, including Breaking Benjamin, Slipknot (not my cup of tea but..oh well), Toby Keith and more.

8. I'm always coming up with new ideas to write about.

(okay, so this was a gratuitous Dean shot.)

9. I am a tad crazy. I was on a GISHWHES team again this year, and had no problem completing tasks that might make some people run the other way. Self-pride?

10. I will take all your suggestions to heart, and listen to what you have to say without complaint. Did I mention I'll work hard? You won't see any of this...(Well, maybe it will happen a little, but you won't see it.)

11. Coffee, candles, pie, and comfy sweaters are some of my favorite things. (Feel free to burst into song.)

In short....

*Special thanks to Dannie Morin for hosting this mentee blog hop! If you haven't added yours to the list, hop on over here to join in the fun!

On the madness that is Pitch Wars

Since most of you that read my blog are fellow writers, you've probably heard of Pitch Wars. And if you haven't, what in the world are you waiting for? Run...run, I say...straight over to the fabulous Brenda Drake's blog and read all about it. (You can thank me in cookies. Or cheesecake.)

This is my first year submitting to Pitch Wars.  And I am doing it with a brand new manuscript that I have not queried yet. And let me tell you...at first I was all...

Until I went to the mentor websites and read all about their mighty awesomeness. I mean, mighty awesomeness is a good thing, a great thing even. Unless you have to choose from a list of 75 such awesome mentors, and pick just four to submit to. Yes...FOUR. And seeing all the uber awesome mentors to choose from and knowing I could only select four made me all...

Then, to make it more stressful, I see tweets flying all over the place about the dreaded "S" word.

Ummm, no. No...not that one. SYNOPSIS. 

But, even with the angst of trying to pick just 4 to sub to, and hope they love what you send, and even with the horrible "S" word....I'm still stoked. Because so many writers that managed to snag a mentor in previous years in this contest went on to get an agent.  Which is obviously awesome.

And although I'm sure each mentor's mailbox will be overflowing with hopeful mentees (like me!), 75 mentors each picking one mentee and one alternate is still 150 of us being chosen. Which is really great.

And even if I don't get picked, I know even taking part will be so worthwhile. It's a way to meet fellow writers, to network and to learn from all of the wise suggestions of all those involved.

So, to each of you taking part...good luck...try not to stress too much...and remember, take what you learn, shine up those queries and manuscripts until they are like a magic mirror, and go forth and conquer. You can do it. We can do it.

And when we finally get that offer of representation, it will be SO worthwhile.


Ask a Teen about your QUERY!!!

Here's your chance! I have a group of teens (girls AND guys) all ready to look over your query and tell you what they think. Did it draw them in? Make them want to read more? Or was it a little confusing and hard to understand?

Don't forget, Pitch Madness is coming up next month, so you want to get your query as shiny bright and perfect as you can, and here is your chance to get feedback from your target demographic.

If you would like your query looked at, here is what you need to do.

Include your ms title, genre, and word count along with your query  and send it to writegrlja (at) gmail (dot) com. Please put "Ask a Teen" in the subject line. I will post the queries as they come in for commenting.

Each query will be read and a short thought offered from at least three teens. They will be offering honest feedback on their reactions to your query, and say if it would entice them to pick your book off the shelf. Teen Feedback will be posted March 3rd.

Use this chance to read and comment on the other queries...but please, play nice. Constructive criticism only.

That's it! Each month, I will be offering  different "ask a teen" segment. (some will be "ask a girl/guy" or, ask a teen to read your first page.) Feel free to share with your friends.


It's FRIDAY!!! *woot woot*

Feel free to break into whatever fun Friday song you choose. I'll go with "Friday I'm in Love."
Now, obviously it's been quite a while since I've posted...life had a nasty little way of you know...getting in the way.

That said....in honor of Friday, and all the deliciousness that entails, I bring you...Shirtless Friday!!!! (drumroll and salivating may begin now.)