Tuesday, November 13, 2018


I think I have a bit of an obsession with wind magic. I've already written one book that has it as a big plot point, and I'm not even close to bored with it. Here's another idea that is entirely focused on wind for its fantasy.


Lyssa hears voices calling on the wind. She has always been lonely—not for company but for the world outside her constrained experience. The wind tells her stories of places far away, and she thinks of nothing but seeing them for herself.

But when she wakes up one morning able to direct the wind as she wishes, she’s afraid. The wind howls at her now, begging her to release it, to unleash destruction. From the little she can make it tell her, she gathers she’s the newest guardian of the West Wind, inheriting all the powers and duties of the position.

At night she rides the wind, visiting all those places she always wanted to see. But her travels come at a price. She has inherited not only the power of the wind but its rivalries as well, and now she must face down the guardians of the three other winds, all older and stronger than herself.

Monday, November 12, 2018


A long time ago I read a book called Being of Two Minds, and the concept has stuck with me ever since. I think maybe that book gave me the inspiration for today's pitch. I've had this idea for years but never wrote it, and I probably never will. Still, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about it, and daydreaming is fun, so it wasn't a wasted idea.


Sarah is a teenage fencing pro who competes with her best friend Mira on the national level. But in her other life, Sarah is Sahni, personal bodyguard to Prince Forwin of Pelth, whom she’s had a crush on for the past year.

Sarah can move between her lives at will, always inhabiting one while the other plays in her head like a background video. But lately the switches have become harder and more painful. When Mira nearly kills herself while Sarah is off rescuing Forwin from kidnappers as Sahni, Sarah blacks out entirely trying to switch back to see Mira.

With only a few more switches left in her, Sarah must make a choice between her two lives and decide which person she really wants to be.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


I never did any drama in high school, but now I wish I had so I could write this book...


Step onto the stage of the old Bates Street Theater and become whoever you want to be... permanently. For the Darnell High spring musical rejects it's a dream come true. Talent, confidence and the bodies they've always dreamed of having theirs for the taking.

But the cursed Bates Street Theater takes as much as it gives. Once you step on the stage you must live out the final incomplete play ever performed there, along with its mysterious, tragic end. Who will live? Who will die? And who will be framed for murder? For these rejects-turned-stars, time is running out, because no matter what happens, the show must go on.

Saturday, November 10, 2018


Fairy tale retellings have been pretty popular for the past several years. I've never written one myself since I don't generally like following someone else's structure even if it's really good. (I'm the same way with crocheting--I'd much rather make up my own mediocre designs than follow a spectacular pattern.) But I could possibly be interested in writing a dark Cinderella...


Bone of her father, ash of the fire, blood of a prince. These are the things Elle needs to bring her father back to life. She has the bone and the ash; all she needs is to seduce the prince. And the ball to choose his future bride is only days away.

Brigitte has been watching her strange stepsister for as long as they’ve lived under the same roof. She refuses to sleep in a bed, choosing the cinders of the hearth instead. And she speaks mysterious incantations whenever she thinks no one is listening. Brigitte has tried to befriend her, but Elle wants none of her pity. But when Brigitte discovers Elle’s true plans, she’s the only one who can stand between Elle’s murderous designs and the life of the prince.

Friday, November 9, 2018

NaNoPitchMo 9: DEAR ANNA

On a much lighter note than yesterday's monster murder book, here's a high school rom com:


Libby writes the advice column for her high school newspaper under the pen name Anna Doolittle. Nobody is supposed to know her identity, not even her best friend and secret crush Jake. She loves writing the column—it’s a lot more fun to meddle in other people’s business from a distance instead of the messy business of getting to know real people in person.

But then a new regular starts writing in to her column, a guy calling himself Hopelessly Smitten who needs advice on winning over his crush. Libby’s pretty sure he’s Jake, and she has absolutely no idea what to do about him. Help set him up with the most popular girl in school? Or sabotage his romantic hopes and dreams? One thing’s for certain: advice is a whole lot trickier in real life.

Thursday, November 8, 2018


So... I heard vampires might be coming back into vogue. How about a murder mystery at a monster masquerade ball?


Every day the Manor at Howling Hill lies silent and empty, and every night its halls are dormant and wasted. Every night but one. On the night of the Masquerade, representatives from each of the immortal races come together to renew the uneasy peace that lies between them.

Alessin is the younger son of Barron Drovince, the most powerful and influential of the Bloodbane clans. All he wants is to spend the night of the Masquerade chasing whatever excitement he can find. The last thing he expects is for his older brother to be murdered, shattering the peace between the immortals. Or for himself to be the prime suspect in his brother’s death.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018


Pitch first today, then some commentary:

Erin is a linguistics professor who translates obscure languages over the summer, and she’s one of the most respected linguists in her field. She loves her life and never intends to do anything else, but on return to the university one autumn, her whole life is flipped upside down. She’s summoned to a secret government compound with no chance to contact anyone and no way to leave once she’s there.

At the compound she learns that she’s to begin work on a new job immediately. The compound is home to several dozen Americans of all ages, ethnicities and genders, but they all have one thing in common: within the past year every one of them has begun speaking fragments of a strange new language. Erin’s job: figure out this language and how it works as quickly and safely as possible.

Because the language isn’t only strange and unexpected: every utterance lets loose a different form of magic.


Back in college I minored in linguistics, which involved taking a course on deciphering the grammar of Korean based on hearing English sentences translated into Korean. We could make requests for sentences to be translated, but we couldn't ask, say, "How do you do past tense?" It was such an engaging class and one of the most memorable of my four years.

Now a lot of books with magic systems involve a magic language that makes the spells work. I've always thought it would be fun to read a book about a linguist coming across a language like that and trying to figure out how it works. So... hence today's pitch!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018


And finally in the EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS series... (I know, I've got a lot of ideas for this world...) a futuristic space exploration story!


The world is overflowing, and there is no longer Empty mist to map and explore, so for the first time humans look to the sky, void of all but the sun.

But not void for long. Fueled by a longing to explore like the cartographers of old, Seru designs a new technology to map the skies, and soon a dusty white moon is orbiting the planet.

At once every wealthy nation in the world starts racing to be the first to put a human on the moon. Science and technology explode with potential, and dozens of eager people volunteer to join the first flight.

But Seru has been dreaming of leaving the planet for longer than any of them, and she’ll do absolutely anything to be the first to walk where no one has stepped before.

Monday, November 5, 2018


Next up in the EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS series is a plot set in the maps world that would take place in the equivalent of modern Earth. I kind of love the idea of a construction-worker-turned-monster-hunter. So to that end...


Long ago the world was covered in mist and monsters, but for millennia the mist has been gone and the monsters eradicated. Now the only unnatural mists that form are thanks to precisely planned land demolitions, covered in governmental regulation and red tape.

Jovin is in the land repurposing business. His job: clearing useless land and replacing it with better through government sanctioned destruction and recreation of maps. His current commission is no different: simply a routine wipe and fill. Totally ordinary. Boring even.

Until the monsters appear.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


Back again with another pitch set the EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS world. This time I've jumped forward several centuries or more to show what happens when the easiest way to make war is to destroy all the other people's land.


Destroy a map, destroy the land it represents.

Ever since the ruling family of Xoatl City slaughtered everyone she loves, Apertni has been out for revenge. Taken into the care of the boss of Moxitla City’s underbelly, she is trained as an assassin and spy. Her new target: the entire city of Xoatl.

Tiopt is the ill-favored second cousin of the Duke of Xoatl. Shunted from scriptorium to army to priesthood, he lands at last in the Archives, where the maps that brought Xoatl’s land into being are housed and protected. While his relatives laugh and carouse, he is all that stands between his city and annihilation.

And then the mysterious and alluring noblewoman Apertni begins courting his favor.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


The pitch for today is set in the same world as EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS and involves some of the same characters. It's an entirely different story, though, and I'm not quite sure that the pitch as it's written now is actually what the book would be about. If I ever have the opportunity to write it, maybe I'll find out!


Ashl is the best cartographer who ever lived, and no one will ever know. She’s cursed to be forgotten, to live humbly and be judged only for her looks. But she’s always craved more, always hunted down the far reaches of the world with her best friend Donl by her side. When her newest cartography commission out on the Infinite Lake turns up a mysterious island full of people who are not quite human, she feels a stirring of hope that maybe she won’t be doomed to insignificance forever.

A nonhuman named Tulmar sees Ashl not for her beauty or her maps, but for herself. He asks her to join him at the island, away from the world and the curse that follows her. But as tension stirs between humans and the people of the island, Ashl must make a choice between Tulmar, who sees through her curse, and Donl, who has loved her since the day they met.

Friday, November 2, 2018


Yesterday's pitch-a-day was for EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS, my most recent project. When I finished what I thought would be the final draft for that, I started working on a companion book called THE WALLOWOOD. However, it turned out to be more novella than novel, and I have since interwoven it into the story of EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS. But before doing that I wrote a pitch for it, and this is that pitch:

Never leave the house after dark. Never listen to the whispers of the trees. And never, ever go into the Wallowood or you’ll be devoured by the dark things. These are the rules Coln lives by, the rules that keep him safe and give him control over the dangers that surround him.

Until a new dark creature turns up, one that traps him inside his own panic, leaving him vulnerable and out of control. When his younger brother goes missing, Coln must go against every instinct and enter the Wallowood to rescue him. But in the woods, no rules can save him, and control is only an illusion.

Thursday, November 1, 2018


This time last year I started writing a pitch a day for all of November. In fact, the blog has essentially been gathering dust since the last post of November last year. Oops. But! I'm back again this year with more pitches, and if I can get my act together, maybe I'll even be able to do one a day again.

I'm going to start off this year with the pitch for the book I've been working on all this past year. It's been one of my absolute favorites to write. I love the characters and their world, and I think I could happily keep writing books in this world for a long time.

I've had the idea for this one for a while now. It was one of my pitches last year, which I guess means I'm cheating a little, but it's undergone a few changes.

Without further ado, here is EMPTY LIES THE DARKNESS:

Sorsca is a cartographer in a world where maps create new land, pushing back the Empty mists at the edges of the world and pulling mountains and rivers, trees and marsh into existence. A single wrong stroke brings monsters into the world, beasts that devour and demons with silver tongues. Sorsca longs to go to the Empty to conquer it with ink and vellum and to become a hero who creates protections from the monsters through her cartography.

But when she gets her chance, she discovers that she is not the prodigy she has always imagined, and the Empty is more dangerous than she bargained for. A demon of the mists haunts her. In desperation she turns to her map for a remedy against him, but with every stroke his influence increases. If she can’t find a remedy quickly, Sorsca risks bringing more darkness into the world through her map.