#FicFest Meet Team Bermuda!

Man Bermuda Team copy.jpg

I’m thrilled to be a Team Leader for #FicFest and even more thrilled to introduce my team! We’ll be diving into the slush, looking for NA (New Adult) novels to fall in love with. Keep reading for our wish list.

But first, why Bermuda? Not only is it a fun vacation destination with some of the best water I’ve seen (clear and nearly green, beautiful!) and pink sand beaches, but it’s also has that hint of mystery with the Bermuda triangle. We’re a team looking for a great getaway!


Leader – Laura Brown (Me!)

web head shot square

Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Her husband’s put up with her since high school, her young son keeps her on her toes, and her three cats think they deserve more scratches. Hearing loss is a big part of who she is, from her own Hard of Hearing ears, to the characters she creates. She interns as a reader for a publishing house and loves finding hidden gems. Her debut NA, SIGNS OF ATTRACTION, is being published 6/14/16 from Avon Impulse. Twitter | Facebook

Member – Adrienne Proctor

SAMSUNGAdrienne writes science fiction and fantasy, but she enjoys any story with a good dose of romance. She lives in Virginia with her husband, her five busy kids, and a flock of insane chickens. Sometimes she finds the time for archery practice, and if she’s really lucky, a few episodes of The X-Files and a good glass of scotch. You can chat with her about writing, single malts, and anything geeky on Twitter @almccall


Member – Amber Thielman


Amber Thielman was born in raised in Idaho, and she’s been writing stories since she was twelve. Amber writes both Young Adult and New Adult fiction. She has completed eight novels and is currently working on her next one. She is excited to be a part of the FicFest team and hopes she can find a mentee who is ready and willing to learn! Twitter


Team Bermuda


Across the entire team, we’re looking for quality writing and voice that blows us away! What this means is something outside of our wishlist may strike our attention, and we hope it does! We’ll also be following the participating agents wishlists in hopes to make a match!

Bermuda tree

Laura: I’m looking for diverse books! Whatever diverse means to you, I want to see it. I’m especially interested in disabilities and own voices. I love a good romance, make me swoon and I’ll want to read more. I want to laugh, I want to cry, and I want to meet characters that differ from the mainstream. My reading tastes vary from sweet and funny, to drop dead sexy, to page turning angsty.

Adrienne: I want my NA with lots of banter. Enemies to lovers is my favorite trope, but I love to get lost in the swoony moments, too. Give me all your complex, rugged heroes, your tension-filled anti-heroes, and your witty, smart, independent heroines. My reading tastes are pretty varied and some of my favorites are The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon, Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers, The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris, and pretty much anything by Juliet Marillier, Susana Kearsley, Lois McMaster Bujold, Chuck Palahniuk, Charlotte Stein, or Victorial Dahl.

Amber: I’m looking mostly for contemporary. That’s my jam. I have a hard time getting into SciFi and Fantasy. I also really enjoy thriller/horror based plots with high stakes–real page turners! I like romance but I want it out of the ordinary, something that blows my mind or has a good twist that we didn’t see coming. Suspense is another favorite.

And that’s it for Team Bermuda! We look forward to diving into the slush. Do you have what we’re looking for? We hope so!

Click here to check out the other teams!




I’m so excited I get to share the cover for my upcoming novel, SIGNS OF ATTRACTION! By default, I also get to introduce you to Reed, my Deaf hero.

SignsOfAttraction HiRes

And my blurb, as told by Carli, my hard of hearing heroine:

Do you know what hearing loss sounds like? I do.

All my life I’ve tried to be like you. I’ve failed.

So I keep it hidden.

But on the day my world crashed down around me, Reed was there.

He showed me just how loud and vibrant silence can be, even when I struggled to understand.

He’s unlike anyone I’ve ever known. His soulful eyes and strong hands pulled me in before I knew what was happening.

And as I saw those hands sign, felt them sparking on me, I knew: imperfect could be perfect.

Reed makes me feel things I’ve never felt. It’s exciting…and terrifying.

Because he sees me like no one else has, and I’m afraid of what he’ll find if he looks too closely.

The only thing that scares me more than being with him? Letting him go.


You can add SIGNS OF ATTRACTION to your Goodreads list, and even pre-order at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from my publisher for more options.

Can’t wait for this to come out on June 14, 2016 and to share these two characters with the world!


This poem goes out to all the writers out there, as doubt plagues all of us from time to time.


Seeps into veins
Twisting, churning, driving insane
Confidence destroyer

Mocks and teases
Drives the need
To be better, do better

Lifts up and pulls down
Despair and thrill rolled into one
Doubt is slaughtered
Doubt is ridden

Only to return once again

#DVpit – a contest for diverse novels

Attention diverse authors and diverse novels! There’s a contest coming up that’s specifically for you! Beth Phelan, agent at The Bent Agency, is hosting #DVpit, a twitter pitch contest for stories written with diverse characters.

I love diverse novels. I love diverse writers. I love when both occur in the same novel. We need more novels of this nature and this contest, with a great agent listing, is sure to help get more own voice novels in front of readers.

The details:

When: April 19, 2016
Time: 8am EST – 8pm EST

How to participate:

A twitter pitch party includes pitching a story in 140 characters, less to include the hashtag: #DVpit. You also want to include a category and genre, ideally with the hashtag to make it easier for agents to find you. Not sure what I mean? Here’s a listing of some examples:

Age Categories:

#PB = Picture Book
#CB = Chapter Book
#MG = Middle Grade
#YA = Young Adult
#NA = New Adult
#A = Adult


#AD = Adventure
#CON = Contemporary
#CR = Contemporary Romance
#E = Erotica
​#F = Fantasy
#H = Horror
#HF = Historical Fiction
#HR = Historical Romance
#MR = Magical Realism
#M = Mystery
#LF = Literary Fiction
#NF = Non-fiction
#R = Romance
#P = Paranormal
#SF = SciFi
#S = Suspense
#T = Thriller
#UF = Urban Fantasy
#WF = Woman’s Fiction

Pitching a story in so few characters can be a challenge, but also a good skill to have. Here are two formulas that may help: In a (SETTING) a (PROTAGONIST) has a (PROBLEM) (caused by an ANTAGONIST) and (faces CONFLICT) as they try to (achieve a GOAL). Or When (character) discovers (catalyst/conflict), he must (goal) or else (stakes).

You can pitch once per hour, per manuscript. Please stick to these rules, the more people who do, the easier it is for all pitches to be seen by the agents and editors. If an agent or editor likes your pitch, they’ll “like” your tweet, so please reserve “likes” for agents and editors only. And be sure to follow guidelines (usually tweeted by the agent/editor) if you do get a like!

And that’s about it! Check out Beth’s website: http://www.bethphelan.com/dvpit for more details, including a listing of participating agents and editors, along with some awesome resources, including ways to fine tune that troublesome pitch. And good luck! I can’t wait to see your books out on the shelves!

Thoughts from a PitchMadness Reader

This past week I got to participate in my first contest, #PitchMadness, behind the scenes. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, as anyone who follows me on twitter can tell. Let’s just say, I’ve been a bit “chatty” in my excitement.

I got the privilege of reading many wonderful entries, of having many hopeful authors hang their dreams on what several readers would pick out of the slush.

To all the entrants: thank you. I know how hard it is to share your babies. I know the excitement and nerves from participating in a contest. I wish you all the best of luck and hope you have at least learned a few things and made a few friends.

The first thing I noticed when going through the submissions, was the ones that jumped out at me were not what I expected. I thought I’d have to work hard to embrace all categories and genres equally. I didn’t. Entries from across the board grabbed my attention. They made me want to read more, regardless of if this was the type of book I would normally pick up. What was true amongst these stellar entries was voice and concept. Both made me sit up in my seat and squeal in delight.

Many entries were good. Some are ready and won’t make it through in the contest. That’s the nature of the beast. We can’t choose all the entries, and ultimately we’re trying to match what the participating agents are looking for. Others need some work and we all hope you’ll get some new readers and try for some of the mentor contests coming up (I’ll be a NA Team Lead mentor in #FicFest this April).

A few things I noticed:

  • Lots of diverse entries! This makes me so, so, very happy.
  • A lot of dark, demon stories.
  • Some pitches didn’t really tell the reader about the plot. Pitches are hard, so very hard, I get it. But they need to sell the novel.
  • When the pitch and 250 words had the same voice, the whole entry sang!
  • Some entries I had no idea what the name was of the main character.
  • Other entries I had no idea how to pronounce the main character’s name.
  • Some entries involved a subject I have skill and knowledge on and I couldn’t help but wonder how the author handled the subject area. Make sure you do your homework!
  • Some entries I wanted to see a few more pages, because they don’t appear to start in the right place.
  • Some entries had an entire section in under 250 words, before getting into the story.
  • I found one that I wanted to mentor so, so badly, and I really hope this author goes for one of the mentor contests.
  • Check your word count! So many were on the high side, to the point where this will hurt your chances. Trimming will only strengthen your novel.
  • Have a question? Best not to have one in your pitches.

Being behind the scenes is a lot of fun, but a lot of work! I spent HOURS reading, taking over three entire days, plus some, pushing off my own edits. I’ll do this again, in a heartbeat. But right now, I think I’ll take a nap.