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The One Where You Can Meet Dallas and Carson!

Hello my loves!!

I am so, so, SO deep in the writing cave at the moment for book two of the Rusk University series, which if you don’t already know is titled ALL BROKE DOWN.

See what I did there? Here’s a hint… Book three will start with the word All, too. 🙂

Anyway, I’m in that final hibernation phase of writing a book. But I’m trucking along. I just wanted to pop in and tell you that today was the massive Excerpt release organized by Inkslinger PR and William Morrow Books. Tons of blogs have participated, posted the excerpt, and talked about All Lined Up, including some street team members who have already read the book and *might* share some of their insight. 🙂 I’ll be retweeting posts all day on Twitter if you want to go check them out.

But I’m also posting the excerpt here for you guys to read! And just to make things a little interesting, I’m posting a giveaway, too! Stay tuned after the excerpt for giveaway details!
In case you need a refresher on All Lined Up and the Rusk Series…

 

ALL LINED UP Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.
 
In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.
 
Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.
 
But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.
 
Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.
 
Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.
 
And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

 

And now it’s giveaway time! I’ll choose 5 winners to receive Cora Carmack swag packs that include:

*Signed ALU postcard
*Signed Losing It Series Bookmarks
*Rusk University bottle opener w/ quote from the book
*Rusk University sticker
*”Awkward people need love, too” bracelet

Open Internationally. Enter via Rafflecopter below! Thanks for reading guys!

Remember to add All Lined Up on Goodreads and Pre-order your copy today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The One with MY TEAM!! OMG!!!

So, first, let me start by saying how completely EXCITED I AM about this. Writing (and then promoting) can be such a lonely job. The idea of having a team to talk about and support my book is kind of the most awesome thing EVER. I’m so glad my publisher decided to do this.

Then there was the fact that over 250 people turned in applications in only a matter of days. Guys, for real, you made me feel so overwhelmed with love and support. And not gonna lie… you made this awkward girl feel pretty cool.
Anyway, back to the street team! After basking for a while in all the awesome, my heart started to sink. Because not only were there so many of you, but I adored you all! And my publisher’s limit for the street team was 25 people. TWENTY-FIVE PEOPLE OUT OF OVER TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY.
I was going through and making notes, and I literally had HUNDREDS of entries marked as maybes. Because every time I tried to cross someone off the list, it was too hard!
Because so many of you, I recognize from talking online, or meeting at events, or I read your awesome blogs, and it was just too hard. TOO HARD, I TELL YOU.
So, I brought in the professionals (aka my publicity team) and had them start narrowing it down. Because it probably would have taken me months to decide (if ever). And though it was difficult, they got the team down to twenty-five (miracle workers, I tell you).
Before I reveal the final twenty-five chosen, I want you guys to know that if you weren’t chosen, it doesn’t mean that my publisher (or me) doesn’t think you’re amazing. We’re so appreciative of your support, and we always, always want you to have the chance to be involved. If you’re a blogger and you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to sign up for the InkSlinger PR mailing list. That’s the absolute best way to make sure you get in on my cover reveals and other events, if you’re interested.
The aim of this wasn’t just to go through and choose the biggest and most popular blogs. The aim was to create a team with various strengths and skill sets. So, though online followings were a big consideration, things like location and specialties and enthusiasm also played a big part.
So, without further delay…
(Okay… maybe a little more delay because I just have to say one more time that I wish we could have had you all. We will most likely start fresh with a new team for each book in the series, so it definitely won’t be your last chance to get involved.)
Okay, but for real now, I present to you the RUSK UNIVERSITY STREET TEAM!
Alana Rock
Amber Noffke
Amoolya Parichuri
Andy Estrada
Anabel Jimenez
Betsy Gehring
Christine from I*Heart*BigBooks
Danielle Finnegan
Elizabeth Lattanzi
Emily Key
Ethan Gregory
Jen Strand
Kaitlan Heaton
Katelyn Torrey
Kim Baker
Krista Davis
Lucy Tonkin
Maggie Hall
Megan Gallt
Momo Xiong
Sara Butler
Stephanie Charlefour
Stephanie Gibson
Yesi Cavasos
Yvette Cervera
If you made the team, I’ll be in touch within the next couple days to get things rolling. SO SO excited!

THANK YOU so much to everyone who applied. Please know you have my love and adoration. And though I wasn’t allowed to keep you all (*SOB*), I can give you all something for your willingness to support me and my work. Here’s a little snippet of ALL LINED UP in thanks! It’s in Dallas’s POV toward the beginning of the book. And her friend Stella is dragging her to her first Frat party. (Oh, college).

For one glorious month, I had entertained visions and fantasies of what college would be like. Rusk wasn’t my ideal school, far from it, but it was something. I could finally make my own decisions and not have to worry about them migrating to the coach’s office before lunchtime. I had ached for high school graduation day like there was a knife in my gut, and I couldn’t pull it out until May. Then my dad was offered the open position here at Rusk, and I feel like I’m still gasping for breath around that knife.
Maybe we aren’t in high school anymore. But it’s the same damn misery with a different name.
Unless I do something about it.
But it’s easier to be miserable, so I shake off Stella’s grasp. “All it takes is one person to say something to someone, who tells some else, who mentions it at church or practice or anywhere, and I’m dead. Stick a fork in me and dip me in hot lava. Dead.”
“God, you’re so overdramatic. Sooner or later, you’ve got to stop being scared of your dad. If you don’t, you’re going to graduate college a virgin with half a dozen cats, some dumb-ass degree he wants that you couldn’t care less about, and only professors and academic journals for friends.”
I wince, because she’s right about almostall of it. She would be furious if she knew I wasn’t a virgin and didn’t tell her. I’d always meant to, but it isn’t exactly my proudest memory, and the longer I’d put it off, the easier it had become to pretend that it wasn’t a thing. I refuse to let it be a thing. Instead, I roll my eyes and say, “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
“Hey, I’m just being the voice of reason here.”
“More like the devil on my shoulder.”
“I accept that role.” Stella cackles and nudges her elbow in my side like she’s just said the funniest joke ever. And in spite of myself, I crack a smile.
I stare up at the Delta Sigma house. All the frat houses on campus are old colonial-style mansions with creeping ivy and pearly white columns. They look so presentable…probably in an effort to hide the absolute debauchery that happens inside.
God, I just thought the word debauchery. Stella’s right. I am going to end up a lame cat lady, probably yelling at people from my front porch and waving my cane around like a madwoman.
It just isn’t fair.
College is supposed to be a time to break free, to start fresh. You would think being the football coach’s daughter would be a benefit. I know more about the sport than half the guys at our school, knowledge that should make it easy to land a date.
If they weren’t all petrified of my father.

Love you guys! Thanks for being so awesome!

 

The One Where You Can Join My Team!

As we near the launch of my new Rusk University series and the release of All Lined Up on May 13th, I’ve been thinking a lot about introducing these new characters and this new world to my awesome readers. Such a huge part of the series is the football team as a whole. Sure, they play football and all that, but there’s also a lot going on with them behind the scenes. Dating drama, scandal drama, competitive drama. ALL KINDS OF DRAMA.

Teamwork is such a huge part of the story, and so much of publishing is about teamwork too. I have people behind me like my editor, agent, and publicists. More than that though, I have you guys. You’re the driving force behind everything that happens with my books, and none of it would be possible without you.
So, I thought it was time to make that team official.
CALLING ALL READERS, BLOGGERS, AND JUST GENERALLY AWESOME PEOPLE!
I want YOU on the Rusk University Street Team! Yes, You!
What is a Street Team? (Great question!)
A street team is the ultimate set of super readers. I’m looking for people who’ve read all my books, and love my characters, and are eager for my next fictional journey! A street team helps spread the word about an authors books– online, in person, and IN SPACE. (Okay… maybe not in space, but you get the idea.) In exchange for all that support, you basically become my people. You get all the inside info, special stuff, and tacklehugs and tequila if I ever meet you in person (The tequila is optional. The tacklehug is not.)
Interested? Here’s some more details.

Here’s what’s in for you:

  • Exclusive giveaways ONLY for street team members. ARCs, Swag, Signed copies, and other special stuff. Your odds of winning are MUCH better than when competing with the masses.
  • Exclusive content and news. When a new book is releasing or I’m writing a new project, you guys will be the first to hear about it! You’ll also be the first people I torture tease with excerpts!
  • Swag for you! Swag for your friends! Swag for strangers you bombard on the street! You shall be the swag queens (or kings… I’m looking at you, rare and exotic male fan).
  • Every active street team member’s name will appear in the acknowledgments of my books. Show all your friends how important and beloved you are!
  • Membership in the exclusive Street team facebook group! Here you can chat with other fans, brainstorm promotional ideas, and hang out with me! I’ll pop in for exclusive street team chats and hang outs. Not to mention I might pick your brain about books and characters you’d like to see. 😉
  • One extra lucky Street Team member will get to join me as my assistant at an upcoming signing after the release of the book! I’ll take care of your flight and hotel, and we’ll just hang out, meet book people, bask in our awkward goodness.
As a street team member, there’s lots of things you can do to help my books succeed. You don’t have to do all of these, but these are some ways that the team can show their support.

In person you can…

  • Talk the books up and share promo material with friends, family, co-workers, and bookclubs. You can even drop off promo materials at bookstores, libraries, coffee shops, etc. 
  • Buy my books the first week of release, which helps it get more visibility, thereby selling more books
  • Ask your local library to order my books. Give the librarians the title, name and publisher of each book. In the same vein, ask your local bookstore to stock my books if they don’t already. 

Online you can…

  • Share your (honest) review/rating of the book via Amazon, iBooks, BN.com, and Goodreads. I can’t even begin to express how big a deal this is in terms of discoverability for new books. 
  • Share interviews, reviews, cover reveals, and other promotional events across your social media and online platforms (Blogs, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, etc)
  • Spread the word about my books to your online friends and followers. 
  • “Like” my books and me on Amazon.com & BN.com
  • Like, Retweet, and Share whenever/whatever you can!
  • Recommend the books on Goodreads and elsewhere. As readers, you wield so much influence. And every little bit helps! 
Many of you already do so much of this already, for which I am IMMENSELY grateful. These little things really do go a long way to helping a book succeed! You guys are THE BEST.
So if you love my books and are looking forward to All Lined Up (check out the goodreads page here), I’d love to have you on the team! If you want an idea of what the book will be like, you can read an excerpt here!
To apply to be on the team, fill out the information below. Because team members will receive goodies and extras, there’s a limited number of spots available. So, make your applications count! We’re looking for the most excited fans who are eager to help out!

The DEADLINE is 6PM ET on THURSDAY, MARCH 6TH!

We’ll be announcing the final team sometime the next day on FRIDAY, MARCH 7TH!
Fill out the information below, and I CANNOT wait to meet you guys and have some of you join to Rusk Team!

*Application window is now closed*

STAY TUNED FOR THE STREET TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT!

The One Where Dallas Falls for Carson… Sort Of.

Hey Lovelies!!!

I’m hard at work on Rusk University Book #2, but wanted to stop in for a quick update.

All Lined Up releases May 13th, which seems SO FAR AWAY… I know.

*COME CLOSER MY PRECIOUS*
Luckily, there’s a huge sneak peek over on the RT Book Reviews website today! It’s from relatively early in the book and is from Carson’s POV. If you need a recap: Dallas is the heroine, and her dad is the university football coach. She’s sworn off football and it’s players, but when she hits it off with Carson, she doesn’t realize he’s on her Dad’s team.
*womp womp*
Carson doesn’t know who she is either, and the last thing he needs is to jeopardize his spot on the team. This particular excerpt comes right after Dallas has had a rather, *ahem* unfortunate run-in with not only her ex-boyfriend, but also with another douchebag from the team. Their first meeting occurs after Carson sees Dallas screaming out her frustration at a frat party.
So without further ado… Go meet Carson McClain!
*HUGS*

 

The One with the All Lined Up Reveal!

Hello my lovelies!!!
I am bursting with excitement to introduce you all the first book in my new Rusk University series! ALL LINED UP is a New Adult Contemporary Romance novel published by William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins). It is due to be released on May 13, 2014!!
 
AHHHHHHH! How crazy awesome was that?
Go ahead. Watch it again. I’ll wait. 🙂
 
I love this video, and I love the cover, and I love the book, and I cannot WAIT for you guys to read it. Here’s a little more info:


ABOUT ALL LINED UP:

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

 

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.
But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.
Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.
Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.
And neither of them knows how to walk away from the attraction they feel.
“Laughter + heartache + hot sexual tension = the perfect Cora Carmack book.”
—Monica Murphy
 
Praise for All Lined Up:
“Feisty, sparkly, and sexy, feel the rush of falling in love all over again with Carson and Dallas! Confession: Cora Carmack’s new series is my brand new addiction!” (Katy Evans, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author)
 

“Football and falling in love are two of the greatest things ever. It would take Cora Carmack to make them even better…ALL LINED UP is a touchdown!” (Jay Crownover, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author)

“Cora Carmack’s done it again! ALL LINED UP is a fantastically sweet and sexy new adult love story.” (Monica Murphy, New York Times bestselling author)

“Cora’s best book yet!” (Jennifer L. Armentrout, # 1 New York Times Bestselling author)

 

Pre-Order Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble iTunes
Links: Website Twitter Facebook Author Goodreads ALL LINED UP Goodreads

 

P.S. You can already read an excerpt here!

 

The One with the Football Player

So… there was this thing today. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it… the Superbowl? I don’t know… it’s kind of a big deal.

Depending on which team you were rooting for, you either had a really awesome or really awful night.

But regardless of your team, I thought you guys might like a little sneak peek at a football player near and dear to my heart. Carson McClain is the hero of ALL LINED UP, the first book in my new Rusk University series (releasing May 13th)! It’s all about Texas and Football and what happens when college isn’t the fresh start and freedom that you hoped for.

And soon (so very soon) I’ll be able to show you guys the awesomeness that is the ALL LINED UP cover! We’re having a video reveal on February 13th. (Bloggers, if you want to help with the reveal, sign up here).

But because I love you, and it’s the ultimate day of football, here’s a little snippet from the book in Carson’s POV!

Don’t get distracted by a girl.
That’s Dad’s number one rule, and he’s probably right.
It’s going to take everything I have to keep my grades up here. And I don’t exactly have it easy on the field, considering I’m playing second string to Levi Abrams. The guy won two high school state championships, and still holds the high school state record for all-time leading passer. He was redshirted the year before last, his freshman year, and though he had decent numbers in his first season last year, the team as a whole had a disappointing year. 
Normally that might have given me a little hope.
But considering the university’s new coach was the one to coach Levi to those two state championships in high school, I figure I’m shit out of luck.
I’m sure one of the reasons he was hired was to get Levi back on his game.  
Which is why I give myself a break and let myself step a little closer to Dallas. I can afford to get distracted for one night. How much could it hurt?
“So what did that guy do to piss you off? You know…just so I don’t make the same mistake.”
“Unless you’re lying to me and trying to trick me into sleeping with you…you should be good.”
“So what if I’m up-front about trying to get you to sleep with me…Does that still get me yelled at?”
I expected a blush, but I don’t get one. Her face is carefully blank.
“I thought you weren’t trying to hook up with me.”
“Just keeping my options open. I like to be prepared for all possibilities.”
She rolls her eyes. “You can be as up-front as you want. I can promise I will be, too.”
There’s a devilish glint in her eye, and I wonder how many hearts this girl has broken with her honesty. Not that I’m worried about my heart. I’m more concerned with the hard-on I can’t get to subside with her so close to me.
“Then in the interests of honesty, I should say I’m trying really hard not to kiss you.”
She straightens, and the strand of hair she was lazily twirling drops from her grasp.
“Why would you tell me that?”
“So that when I slip up and break my promise, you’ll at least know I tried.”  
 
 
 
Eeeeep! I really can’t wait for you guys to meet Carson and Dallas and the whole Rusk cast! The book is already available for pre-order, and you can add it on Goodreads here. Love you guys!!! 
 

The One with the Final Book

Today is the day that my last planned book (a novella) in the Losing It series releases. Seeking Her is from Jackson Hunt’s POV and acts as a prequel to Finding It with a bit of crossover. It will give you some insight into Jackson and how he sees Kelsey, and let you revisit how their relationship began. It’s available now as an ebook for $.99. And the paperback (which is already up for pre-order) releases next month and is just $3.99!
In case you missed it over the last week and a half, I’ve been counting down the reasons that you should read Jackson’s story, and now here they all are in one place:

 

 

 

 

 

And now it’s here! You can buy it from all major e-retailers. I want to thank you all for the tremendous support you’ve shown me throughout this series. These books and all of you are so, so very close to my heart. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
If you’re around tomorrow, I’m doing a Google Hangout with the awesome Lisa Desrochers (Check out her Little Too Far series!) and blogger extraordinaire Yara from Once Upon a Twilight. You can join us here at Noon EST. Or… if you can’t make it, we’ll be posting a video of it later, so tweet or facebook me your questions before the chat, and I’ll try to get them all answered. I’ll mostly be talking all things Jackson and Kelsey, but I never tire of talking about Cade, Max, Garrick, and Bliss. So, all questions welcome!
Besides that… I’ve got the Cover Reveal coming up for the first book in my new series on February 13th! Bloggers, if you haven’t already signed up and want to, do so here. There are so many characters in this new series I can’t wait for you to meet– Dallas, Carson, Silas, Ryan, and Stella to name a few! 😉
I’m also about to start jetting all over the place for events again too! Check out my appearances page for details, but in my near future, I’ve got events in NYC, Jersey City, Houston, Austin, Orlando, San Antonio (Man… so much Texas), Cleveland, Des Moines, D.C., and New Orleans, just to name a few!
As always…
In Awkward <3,
Cora

P.S. A GIVEAWAY!!!!! a Rafflecopter giveaway

The One with Goodbyes and Hellos

Hello my loves!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2014 so far! I was lame and didn’t post an end-of-the-year wrap up, mostly because I was busy writing and revising for that new series that releases this year! One thing that’s clear though is that 2014 will be a year of endings and new beginnings for me.

On January 28th, Seeking Her, the Finding It novella, releases and officially closes out the Losing It series for me. It’s from Jackson Hunt’s POV, and contains both new and familiar material from Kelsey and Hunt’s story. And GUESS WHAT? You can already read the first couple chapters of the novella here!

Now, I get people asking me all the time if I’ll ever write more books for the Losing It series, and I always says the same thing… I’ll never say never. 🙂

It’s one of those things I’d only ever do if the right idea struck me. As much as I would love to spend some more time with Garrick, Cade, or Jackson, forcing a new story wouldn’t make you or me happy. But perhaps somewhere down the line, they’ll call to me again.
And for now… I’m incredibly excited about the Rusk University series. In fact, I let my sister read All Lined Up this past weekend and she said (and I quote), “I think this might be my favorite of any of your books!” After the release of Seeking Her, you’ll start hearing more about that book. Including the super exciting cover reveal in February!
In the mean time though, we’re closing out the Losing It series in style! For a limited time, LOSING IT, FAKING IT, and FINDING IT are on sale for $2.99 each! I’m super excited because for LOSING IT especially, it’s the first time it’s been on sale in FOREVER. And of course, both novellas are just $.99!
So, I’m hoping (pleading with puppy dog eyes, really) that you all will help me give the series the best goodbye we possibly can.
So, I have this fun sale graphic if any of you are willing to share!
And because I love you all SO MUCH (and you’re the bestest best best), here’s a giveaway, too! <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The One with NAThanksgiving!

Hey Loves!

I am deep, deep, DEEP in the writing cave at the moment.

But I wanted to pop in an say HAPPY THANKSGIVING (almost)! And to say that you can now get e-book copies of the entire Losing It series for like eleven bucks. YEP. THAT’S RIGHT. There’s an e-book boxed set of the whole series, just in time to push some awkward on everyone you know for christmas. 🙂 

And in honor of the release, I’m giving away a few copies! Just enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And as if that were enough awesome, there’s also an e-book boxed set of six of Harper Collins New Adult books! The boxed set contains Wait for You by J. Lynn, Losing It by ME, Taking Chances by Molly McAdams, A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers, Rule by Jay Crownover, and Foreplay by Sophie Jordan. I seriously love ALL these books, and you can’t beat this price!

So, I’m totally going to give away some of those too!

But first, I want to take a minute and say how very thankful I am that New Adult is enough of a “thing” now that a major publisher is willing to do a boxed set like this. It’s been a long journey from the time that I chose to self-publish Losing It because traditional publishers weren’t open to NA. It’s been a long journey since we all celebrated when the term started appearing in articles and in deal announcements.

We’ve come a long way, guys, and I am so thankful. Not just because I was lucky enough to have my books be a part of this explosion of awesomeness, but because I still believe whole-heartedly that we need NA stories. I’ve said this before, but when I was in college, I would have given anything to be able to easily find books about characters dealing with the transition to adulthood. At it’s heart, one of fiction’s chief purposes is to reach out to readers and say, “You’re not alone.” And in a period of life that is often stressful and joyful, terrifying and transformative, lovely and lonely– I know there are readers out there who need these books. And there are authors who need to tell these stories.

So, this thanksgiving I’m thankful that twenty-somethings can now go to Barnes and Noble or Target or Books-a-Million, and they can find books about how difficult it can be to find yourself in a chaotic and challenging world.

I’m thankful for New Adult books and New Adult readers!

And even if Thanksgiving isn’t a “thing” where you are… well you can still celebrate with us. Because we’ve already established that anything can become a “thing” if enough people believe in it.

Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win this New Adult bundle. And if you’re so inclined, spread some NA love this week by thanking your favorite NA authors! And do it under the #NAThanksgiving hashtag, so we can all join in!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The One Where You Can Work With Me!

Hello out there! Calling all aspiring authors!!! I have awesome news!

So you guys might not know this, but before I started writing full time, I had my hand in few projects with books. I was a YA book blogger, an MFA in Creative Writing Student, and I worked remotely for a small indie publisher and a literary agency.

I always wanted to be an author, but I also loved everything about books and knew the best way to give myself a step up into this career was to learn as much as I could about every facet of the business. Now, these days I only write. Between deadlines and signings, there just isn’t time to do anything else but be an author. And though being an author is a dream come true, I can’t deny that I sometimes miss other aspects of my previous jobs.

One of the best feelings in the world was to be able to find an unpublished manuscript that I loved and do my best to take it from manuscript to published book. By nature, I am a book pusher. I love recommending books to friends and family (and complete strangers).

And now I have an opportunity to do that one more time! If you’re an aspiring writer, you might be aware of the incomparable Brenda Drake. An author and a blogger, Brenda also goes out of her way several times a year to run contests to help connect writers to potential agents and publishers. One such contest is known as Pitch Wars.



Here’s the low down on how it works: Brenda has assembled a team of published and soon-to-be published authors along with industry professionals to act as mentors (and yes, I am one of them)! If you have a finished manuscript, you can submit your pitches to up to FOUR mentors for consideration. Each mentor will choose one manuscript (along with two alternates) that they believe in to take on to the next stage of the competition. As mentor, I’ll work with my chosen author on both their manuscript and their pitch to help them get ready for the Agent round where esteemed literary agents will request the work that interests them. Alternates will be advised just on their pitch and first page.

This contest has the potential to propel you from aspiring writer to agented writer and then to published author, should your work be chosen. More than that, it’s a chance to have someone like me, who’s already on this path, guide and advise you on the next steps to take. Writing can be a lonely business. I cannot overemphasize how awesome this contest is! There are tons of fantastic mentors to choose from, so you’ll definitely want to visit all of their blogs to find out which mentor is the best for you!

Here’s what you need to know about me:

BIO:

Cora Carmack is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Losing It series, and one of the early pioneers of the New Adult category.  She’s a twenty-something author who likes to write about twenty-something characters finding their way through this wacky and wonderful thing we call life. She’s also a giant nerd. Fair warning.



WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR:

  • My primary category is New Adult, since that’s what I do, but I’m also an avid YA reader. I’m open to both for the purposes of this contest. 
  • For YA: I read all subgenres: Fantasy, Contemporary, Historical, etc. In particular, I’d love to see unique YA High fantasy, magical realism, and/or contemporary with a literary or humorous bent. I tend to prefer stories with a romantic element, though it doesn’t have to be the primary plot of the story. Some favorite YA books of mine in various subgenres are: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, The Girl of Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson, anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, anything by Ally Carter, and Grave Mercy by RL LaFevers. Character is the most important thing for me when reading. I want to know who your character is, what drives them, and what sets them apart from everyone else. And the name of the game in YA these days is UNIQUE. It’s a crowded market, and to make me pay attention, I have to feel like your story is something I’ve never seen before. 
  • For NA: I write NA contemporary romance, so that’s obviously something I’m open to. Character and voice are absolutely key in New Adult. Dialogue needs to feel realistic to the age of the characters. It’s not enough for the characters to be college-aged, they need to be dealing with issues that are prominent for people transitioning from their teenage years to adulthood. I love humorous NA because there’s just not enough of it out there. I’m also a sucker for a book with artistic/creative elements (Theatre, film, music, dance, art, etc). Like YA, NA contemporary romance is a saturated market, so I’m not likely to request anything that sounds like a recycled version of something that’s already out there. It would take a really unique premise to make me choose something in the whole bad boy/broken girl healed by a relationship cliche. I’m looking for something with strong romantic elements, but also an interesting premise outside the romance. This does NOT have to translate to sex. I could care less how much or how little sex there is in your NA. Not to be a broken record but I just care about your story being UNIQUE. I’m totally up for non-contemporary NA– paranormal, scifi, etc– though I’d be most interested in NA speculative fiction with a prominent romance and fantasy grounded in reality. Some of my favorite NA is by authors like J. Lynn, K.A. Tucker, Colleen Hoover, Lisa Desrochers,  and Jeaniene Frost.

What I’m NOT looking for:

  • BABIES. I love those cute, cuddly little buggers as much as the next person who gets to play with the adorable thing and then send it home to it’s mommy. But I am not the right person for books with pregnancies or happily ever after baby-filled epilogues.
  • Books where someone cheats and it’s totally okay. I can’t say I will NEVER enjoy a book that has cheating in it, but I’ve yet to find one that didn’t make me want to tear out my hair, so there’s that.
  • Heroines with no backbone. I’m not saying your heroine can’t have insecurities or weaknesses or make mistakes. But they need to have a backbone about something. If they suck at love, fine. But make them passionate and hardcore about a job or a hobby or whatever.
  • Ironic as it is, I’m a romance writer who’s not much of a romantic. I’m cynical and independent. So, I’m not likely to connect with characters whose only want in life is to fall in love.
  • I’m a character-driven author and reader, so I tend to prefer books with one POV where I can really delve into that character, though I can handle two POVs in a romance. But if you’ve got more than two POVs, each of those characters better be A-MAZING, or you’ll lose my interest fast.

Now, if you made it through those massive descriptions, here are some other things you can expect from me as a mentor:

  • Harry potter references. Possibly sprinkled with the occasional mention of Doctor Who, The Vampire Diaries, Hunger Games, Battlestar Galactica, and/or Game of Thrones. 
  • Gushy fangirling over everything I love in your manuscript. Probably with a whole bunch of these !!!!!!!!
  • Honest and realistic advice on your manuscript and your career. This is a tough business, and plenty of fantastic writers never see their work published. I’m not going to tiptoe around issues or challenges in your manuscript. This is a business, and we will definitely treat it as such. As your mentor, I’ll be thinking like an agent, an editor, a publicist, and a reader, and we’ll aim to make your book as successful as possible in each of those areas. 
  • If I like your work, I can promise I’ll be an advocate of your work long after this contest ends. Sorry. You’ll be stuck with me. 🙂
  • On the flip side, I’m a working author. I write 4-6 books a year and travel extensively for signings, events, and conferences. I sought out Brenda for this contest because I want to help the next class of emerging authors. And I’m SO excited to get started. BUT… I don’t have the time to hold your hand every step of the way. So, if you feel like your manuscript still needs a lot of work (or you just know you’re a needy person), you might be better off with another mentor. 
  • I’ll also be tweeting under the #Pitchwars hashtag on twitter some more likes, dislikes, and insight in the days leading up to submission day. So make sure you’re following me!
If I haven’t scared you away yet… AWESOMEPANTS. Here’s the schedule for the contest: 
 
  • 11/20 Mentor’s post bios and wishlists
  • 12/2: Submission Window
  • 12/3 -12/10: Mentors read their applications
  • 12/11: Mentor’s announce their picks
  • 12/11 -1/17: Mentors work with their writers
  • 1/22-1/23 Agent Round

 

NOTE: Pay attention to that submission window up there. It’s one day only! So, you’ll definitely want to be following Brenda’s blog to make sure you read all the submission guidelines and don’t miss any pertinent information leading up to submission day. 

 
And now, for the SUPER exciting part… the agents! I can attest to the awesomeness of several of these agents personally, including my own SuperNinjaAgentofAwesome, Suzie Townsend. 
 

 

1.       LouiseFury – Bent Agency

 

 

3.       NicoleResciniti – The Seymour Agency

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.       QuinlanLee – Adams Literary

 

 

14.   LanaPopovic and Natasha Alexis – Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
And last, but certainly not least, check out the list of mentors! You only get to pick FOUR mentors to submit your work to. So, choose carefully. Pay attention to their likes and dislikes. Give yourself the best possible shot of getting chosen by choosing the mentors who seem most compatible with your work!

 

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And now… go forth and prepare! I wish you all the luck!! Can’t wait to hear all about your work!