The Right Now Machine

Hello my darlings! As I wander through the internets, I come across all kinds of inspirational posts. I like inspirational posts. They are so…inspiring. But sometimes, things that are meant to be inspirational kind of have that jellyfish effect. You read the beautifully fonted words cast over a soothing backdrop and think, “Wow. That thing I read is inspirational as fuck.” Then, a few minutes later you feel the bile-flavored discord bubbling up and wonder, “Why do I suddenly hate myself?” For me, the essence of bitterness has been spawned by a variety of “The hard part isn’t…” quotes. These quotes are always something like, “The hard part isn’t this, it’s THAT.” Essentially, these posts are saying don’t get bogged down in whatever is bogging you down, because it isn’t the hard part. The hard part comes later, or it’s something really philosophical which will put all your boggedness into perspective and shit. Maybe I’m sensitive. Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe the quote was posted in a less than inspirational font. Regardless, I get grumpy when I read this posts. Here are some of the publishing related quotes. “The Hard Part Isn’t Writing the Book…” So, I get this. We are writers. Writing is what we do. But I don’t like that bit. It’s hard to write a book. Some stories come easier than others, but no matter what, no matter how crappy or unsellable that story might be, it takes a lot of time and effort to get those words out of your head and into intelligible sentences. I get what the quote is saying. The hard part isn’t the story. It’s something that comes later… Like, getting an agent? BUT WAIT. “The Hard Part Isn’t Signing With an Agent…” Oh. Okay. Cool. What the quote wants you to...

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Pitch Madness – Agent Round!

It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your game hosts have chosen sixty pitches for the game. For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches. This time the game is . To meet the slush readers, agent insiders, and the blog teams go here. And you find out more about the amazing agents playing the game on this post here. Welcome to the Ballroom! You are cordially invited to a private gathering at the Pitch Madness manor, where your presence would be most welcome in the solution of a murder most foul. Villainous deeds abound as the culprits are killing to get their hands on the most valuable pitches. At the bottom of each pitch’s post, there will be a clue to solving the dastardly deed for that pitch. The agent who out sleuths the other agents will win the request. The agents guess what weapon was used in the crime to make a request. All requests are partials, but if more than three agents try to solve the crime, the request becomes a full. To find out more about how the game will be played go to this post here. Note: The pitch’s murder clues are interlinking. The last sentence in each murder has a clue for the next murder. The last murder’s additional clue links to the first murder on this blog. Except for the slush readers’ picks, which murder clues are standalone and aren’t linked to any of the other murders. Scroll down to view all 15 picks for my blog. Comments are set to moderation so the agents won’t see their competitors’ bids. Please no comments other than...

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S-Slush: MG Science Fiction: DELIVERING DANGER

Name: R. L. Kraft Title: DELIVERING DANGER Genre: MG Science Fiction Word Count: 35,000 Pitch: Futuristic delivery boy Charlie accidentally becomes the custodian of a planet-saving device. Maybe he’ll surrender it to those guys chasing him. After all, saving that remote planet isn’t as important as saving himself. Right? Excerpt: “Out of the way, boy.” Two uniformed men shouldered me aside and yanked open the door to the Galactic Deliveries office. I stumbled onto the crowded sidewalk. Uniforms were never good. Never met any that lived up to the brightness of his shiny buttons. Especially here in Earth Port City Was it safe to go in after them? I needed to pick up some delivery jobs and it wasn’t like I’d done anything wrong. Lately. Take care of Us. Let the rest hang. That’s what Ma and Pap taught me and that’s what I did even though now it was just Take care of Me. Cause Ma and Pap were gone. Dead. So sometimes I took food. But only when I was starving, which was almost always. The boom of a booster K4 lifting off from the spaceport shook the whole street. Door armor fused protectively over the shops until pebbles and debris stopped pinging against the buildings. Then the Galactic Deliveries’ armor irised open, releasing the uniforms. I pressed myself so tight against Patel’s Donut Shop that the bricks dug into my shoulder blades. “You think we did right?” one of the uniforms said as they shouldered their way through the crowd. “Putting it through a regular delivery service?” “You want to get shot up? Course we did right. Let someone else take the risk.” Shot up. Risk. What were they talking about? Then I saw the blue lightning bolts stitched on their cuffs. Not just any uniforms,...

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S-15: MG Contemporary: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY

Name: Rachel Sarah Title: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY Genre: MG Contemporary Word Count: 40,000 Pitch: One Greyhound bus, two 13-year-old runaways, and lots of AMBER alerts. After the heroine discovers a letter in the recycling bin from her dad, she runs away to find the father she thought was dead. Excerpt: Everything changed the day I spotted that letter in the recycling bin. I was shoving an empty milk jug into the trash when my name stuck out. Ana, it said on the damp, sticky envelope. No one called me Ana, my name in Spanish. Mom’s name was below mine and stained in a circle of olive oil. Care of Ellen Berger. Apparently, someone had cared enough to tear off the return address. Who’d sent this? “Hey Big A! What’s up?” Every time Mom’s fiancé called me Big A, I heard, You’re fat. Which I wasn’t. “Just recycling!” I held up an empty can, hoping he believed me. “Gotta take care of the earth.” Craig was on a mission to make our home zero-waste. But that didn’t explain why someone had recycled this letter. He opened the fridge. I dove back into the trash. There it was: a scrap buried under a container of soy yogurt. R.J. Blanco, it said. That was my father’s name and one of the few things I knew about him. I shoved it under my shirt. “I didn’t hear you come home.” Craig leaned against the fridge. His grape-colored yoga shorts matched his sweatshirt. “I was meditating. I must’ve gone into another world.” Craig was always in another world. “Have you hydrated today?” He filled up his water bottle at the sink. I needed him to evaporate so I could find the missing pieces to this letter. “Mom said you held a headstand for...

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S-14: YA fairytale retelling: EMERALD BOUND

Name: Teresa Richards Title: EMERALD BOUND Genre: YA fairytale retelling Word Count: 79,000 Pitch: Maggie learns the true story of The Princess and the Pea when a 400yo curse claims her friend. To save her, Maggie must: Research lock-picking techniques; Steal life-sucking emerald; Avoid becoming the Pea’s next victim. Excerpt: It began just like any other stakeout, or spy-by, as we used to call our combination drive-by and spying sessions: with Red Vines, Dr. Pepper, and my two best friends. The only difference was that now, at seventeen, we were in a car and not on bikes (assuming you’re imaginative enough to call my crappy beater a car). In truth, we hadn’t had much time for our old stalkerish ways since phrases like ‘SAT prep’ and ‘college applications’ crept into our conversations. If we’d only known how good we had it four years ago, thirteen and starry-eyed, our biggest concerns brought to life in Marcia McSnootyPants and DreamyEyedDylan. “Guys, this is stupid,” Kate complained, her breath puffing around her in the night air. “Let’s go home.” “No way. Maggie chose Dare and now she has to do it.” Piper’s silver nose ring and dyed-red hair didn’t match the giddiness in her voice. She waited for us to catch up, one hand on her hip. Barns, dotting the Virginia hills, winked in and out of view as clouds scattered the moonlight. Kate raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? You sound like you’re ten right now.” The hint of a grin cracked through on the last word. My eyes shifted between the two of them. One too many Dr. Peppers and way too many SAT words had finally deadened our brains. Our study session had somehow morphed into a puerile game of Truth or Dare (the fact that I knew the word puerile...

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