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Can You Hit A Perfect Pitch? Blogfest Contest with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette

Wednesday, 11 January 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

It’s a brand spanking new year and I’m excited for our newest contest. Can you hit a perfect pitch for your Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscripts to agent Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency? This is a great opportunity to get your work in front of her since she’s closed to submissions. Also, you’d be lucky to have her as your agent. She’s always been so kind during our communications. You can read all about Joan here or here or here.

Not only is Ammi-Joan Paquette an awesome agent, but she’s also a terrific writer. I just finished reading her novel, NOWHERE GIRL, with Annika. Usually, I have to coax eight-year-old Anni to read at night, but not for this story. She’d count down the minutes until bedtime so that we could find out what happens to Luchi. Anni would fall asleep, and I’d continue reading because I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t even mind re-reading what I read without Anni the next time we read. I learned a lot about creating characters and evoking emotions from reading this book. If you don’t win a copy, you should definitely buy it. If not for yourselves, for a young person in your life. It’s a fantabulous read!
I’m giving away copies of NOWHERE GIRL to a few lucky folks who comment on this post. Just answer this question in the comments below: What is your prison (figuratively and, for some, literally) and have you broken free from it (which, if it’s literal, please comment anonymously)? I’ll announce the winners on January 15 on the contest’s entry post.
Here’s a bit about her novel… 

A lyrical and enchanting tale of a girl born in a prison, in search of a true home.

Luchi Ann only knows a few things about herself: she was born in a prison in Thailand. Her American mother was an inmate there. And now that her mother has died, Luchi must leave the only place she’s ever known and set out into the world. Neither at home as a Thai, because of her fair skin and blond hair, nor as a foreigner, because of her knowledge of Thai life and traditions, Luchi feels as though she belongs nowhere. But as she embarks on an amazing adventure-a journey spanning continents and customs, harrowing danger and exhilarating experiences-she will find the family, and the home, she’s always dreamed of. Weaving intricate elements of traditional Thailand into a modern-day fairy tale unique unto itself, Nowhere Girl is a beautifully rendered story of courage, resilience, and finding the one place where you truly belong. 

Buy it here:

Barnes & Noble 

Here’s how the contest is going down …

On January 15th post a two sentence pitch (no more than 35 words) along with the first 150 words (if it falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence) of your finished Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscript to your blogs. From January 15th-16th hop around each others’ blogs and critique or praise them. Revise your entries, if you want, and post them by 8:00am (EST) January 17th to the official entry post. DO NOT POST THEM TO THIS POST. If you want, you may skip the blogfest/critique portion of this contest and just enter the contest.  I will have the official post up, along with details on how to format your entries, on January 15th so that you can start posting when you’re ready. To participate, sign up on the linky below.

You want to know the prizes? The prize (or prizes) is a request to read more from agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. I’m crossing my fingers for all of you. Have I told you how much I LOVE LOVE LOVE this agent? Okay, well, I can’t say it enough! I totally <3 her! What are you waiting for? Sign up now! 

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Filed: Contests, Misc

  • Cassie Mae says:

    Ooh! Super excited! Can’t wait to see all the entries! (I really don’t shout everything I say, lol)

  • This is awesome! Thanks 🙂

  • Cynthia says:

    The book sounds great. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to read the entries.

  • Tracey J says:

    I can’t wait. This contest is going to be amazing.

  • R.A.Desilets says:

    Amazing opportunity and contest.

    And in answer to the question:
    My prison is my own anxiety. Sometimes I get trapped, wound up in my own brain – listening to it swell with emotions, panic, nausea, and endless streams of hurtful words. In times of stress, it convinces me that I’m not good enough, and sometimes, on the worst days, I listen. I allow my heart to race out of control and for my breath to escape my body.

    I know this will be a lifelong struggle, as most disorders are, I have come to accept it. Instead of treating it like a prison sentence, I greet it as an old friend. The surge of emotions is just more power to add to my words – more experiences to place inside my own characters.

    And I also have a wonderful, loving husband who understands that sometimes I need to walk into the shower with all my clothes on. (heh) It’s mostly because of him (he urged me to write again), that I now have stability in my life – and an outlet to pour any extra emotions.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks guys for joining up!

    @R.A. Desilets – I hear you on the anxiety. It can be quite restrictive. I’m glad you’ve found a way to break free from it. <3

  • Sounds like an awesome contest–thanks!

  • Angela Brown says:

    This pitch contest sounds wonderful.

    My prison was my own, constructed of the stereotypes and low expectations easily handed down to those who are not considered an exception, until I became an exception. Then my prison morphed, fibers woven by the expectations others had for me, for my future, for what I should aspire to be. Writing didn’t exactly fit that formula. It wasn’t a way to make a life for someone like me, though I’m not sure what that was supposed to mean. But I gripped the tightly knitted bars of my own prison, thinking I was doing what was right because others said so.

    Then, loss of a love so dear tore my prison apart but left me in a dark place, a prison where bars aren’t needed, not when wondering aimlessly gets you to the same place, nothing more than darkness. But Time and Healing shined a light here and a light there, beams too bright to my eyes at first but soon, I could see. What I saw were possiblities.

    I’ve had some obstacles, continue to have many to this day, but escaping those prisons was the best thing ever, and I look forward each day with no need to look back.

  • Jess says:

    What a great prize~ Ms. Paquette’s book looks unique and fantastic! My own figurative prison is managing my role as a stepmother. There’s so much more I would like to do for my stepchildren, but I’ve learned that some of those things simply aren’t my place. Coming to terms with that continues to be a struggle~ I’m sure I’ll be able to let go more easily when they get older 🙂

  • I’d say my prison was my paranoia of people. There was a time when it was hard to even leave the house. But I have escaped it by hanging out with small groups until I could hang out with larger groups and now I’ve conquered that mountain. Take that fear! Ha!

  • Rachel says:

    Awesome. Can’t wait to join in with this.

    As for my prison, I’m with Tracy. My fear of other people, especially TALKING to other people, has kept me locked in my own world for a very long time. I finally managed to start making progress and became more comfortable around people about 2 years ago after taking a course that taught me to understand others, something that until that point had been completely foreign to me. Now no one would ever know that I was an introverted, awkward, social pariah. They can’t even believe it when I tell them.

  • Fantastic contest! Can’t wait. 🙂

  • meradeth says:

    Great contest! Hopefully I’ll get my butt in gear so I’ll have something decent to post (and I’ll remember to do it!).

    My own personal prison has been getting over my shyness to talk to speak and speak up. I still deal with it a lot, but it’s getting so much better!

  • So excited! And Nowhere Girl sounds wonderful. =) I’d have to say my prison has been social anxiety, one that I’ve been working to break out of for some time now. It’s better some days than others, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely free, but it’s easier to deal with, knowing the problem. Anyway…great contest! ^_^

  • Thanks for having these contests. And Nowhere Girl sounds great. My husband is black and white and he had a hard time in school with the white kids calling him the N word and the black kids calling him white. Sigh. Anyway I will have to get the book for my girls.

  • Juliana says:

    Love pitching contests!
    Thanks for doing this!

  • Super-excited for this! Thanks for your tireless and boundless awesomeness, Brenda!

  • ericawing says:

    Been doing a lot of reading on Agent Paquette (I approve =D), and am psyched for another contest.

  • She would be an awesome agent! The books sounds great, and I LOVE the cover.

    Hmmm . . . my prison is lack of organization. Lists help me break out. 🙂

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR BRENDA! What a fantastic contest. You are amazing to manage to snag suck a awesome agent.

    I tried to link, but I am having a problem. I am adding the $ and # but still can’t make it work. I would appreciate it you’d pop in in for me… here is my link… http://writing-art-and-design.blogspot.com/

    As for the prison question. I have kind of been in a self imposed one. For the past two months or so I haven’t written anything for blogged very much. You of all people know that is so NOT ME… Life has just weighed be down.

    Now the holidays are over, some of the weight has gone and now I am ready to jump back into the writing world with both feet. I am actually attending the SCBWI conference in NYC at the end of the month so I really have to get my act together.

    Having an event such as this is the best way to bend those bars and escape back into reality…

    Brenda, as an old and dear blogger friend, I must say you are such a positive and caring force in our community and I am so thankful for it.

    All the best for you and your family in 2012…


  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thank you all for joining and the kind words. After reading what imprisons each of you and thinking ‘hey, I feel like that’, I think I may have more than one prison. LOL

    @Michael Di Gesu – Dear friend, you made me cry in my coffee. I KNOW you’ll be back and running with your beautiful prose. I’ve added your name to the linky. Let me know if there is a problem. <3

  • Sarah Shade says:

    Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity! And what fun! I can’t wait to read all the posts!

  • kendragale says:

    Can’t wait! This time I’ll be on the ball and get to play in the blog hop too!

  • Dana says:

    I was just looking at the this agent’s website and saw that she was closed to submissions, so this is a great opportunity!


  • Margie says:

    Brenda, you always have the best contests.

    I’m also a social anxiety gal. Working in retail and being out in the public has been the best therapy. Although you won’t see me hanging out any high school reunions–for some reason, the people I grew up bring back all those insecurities even though it’s been over 30 years.

  • Awesome contest, B!!! <3<3

  • Robbin says:

    Brenda, thanks for the opportunity. I’ll post my blog in few days – work in progress 🙂

    My prison: I avoid gardens for fear of those flying yellow and black fuzzy insects that sting. My adrenaline causes me to act irrational. Like the time when I called the fire department when my son was in his highchair. The giant bumble bee (don’t let the name deceive you) flew into the kitchen, while I was preparing lunch. Needless to say, I panicked.

  • T. Drecker says:

    This sounds like fun. Can’t wait for it to get going!

  • Now I’m going to have two blog posts on the 15th, one for the Six Sentence Sunday bloghop and the other for this contest! I’ll schedule the contest post so it’s posted before my normal Sunday post.

  • This is a terrific idea, Brenda! Thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

  • Totally awesome! Def going in the ol’ day planner 🙂

  • Anne Michaud says:

    AMAZING CONTEST ♥ Thanks so much for the opportunity

  • To get really deep and insecure (hey, no one reads the comments in a giveaway post, right?), my prison is the fear that no one listening means I don’t have anything of value to say.

    Have I broken free? Perhaps timidly, or beginning (after all, I’m still writing) but I certainly don’t feel free or power over it yet.

    I like the premise of the book. Sounds neat.

  • Big Momma says:

    Miss Brenda and Miss Ammi-Joan, you both doing something real nice. Big Momma wishes she had her book done cuz she’d be right up in there too. Love to all the babies looking to win it.

  • WOW! What an amazing contest. I am super new at the blogging thing. This looks like a very cool way to learn from others.
    Thanks again!!

  • What a cool opportunity for a little old writer like me. 🙂

  • Thanks so much, Brenda and Ammi!! I’m excited for this opportunity. Now I’ve got to shrink my logline into 35 words… :-p

  • Artemis Grey says:

    New contest for the New Year! So excited to see what everyone has cooking… and hopeful, which is always a good feeling. Good luck everybody!

  • Suzi says:

    This is my first contest using a pitch line. Thanks for the opportunity.

  • MBee says:

    Awesome! Now to come up with the pitch! haha

  • Juliana says:

    Brenda, can I post my pitch on my blog on Monday 16th?

  • MBee says:

    I totally didn’t answer the question. My prison? Lack of confidence. Twenty people can tell me something I did is great and I still won’t believe it. I feel like I’ve failed in so many other ways that I can’t possibly have succeeded this one time.

  • Kimmy says:

    Can’t wait for the contest! Thanks!

  • Thanks for the contest! That prison question is a little too serious for me to answer outside of a therapy session. 🙂 Although like some others have said, low self-esteem used to really hold me back. Feeling comfortable in my own skin has made a huge difference in my life.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    The blogfest/contest is on. PLEASE DON’T ENTER YOUR ENTRIES TO THIS POST. Go to the official entry post and enter them there. If you have questions, please DO enter them here. Good luck everyone!

  • Suzi says:


    I’ve run into a few blogs where I can’t post my comment. On the Comment as (chose profile box), you have to chose from one of 5-6 different blog types, WordPress, Google, LiveJournal, Typepad, OpenID.

    My blog doesn’t fit in any of those six, so if you do not have “Name/Url” (like Brenda has listed in hers)as one of your choices, I can’t post.

  • Thanks again Brenda for another great contest! It really gives us a chance for feedback and a glimpse into what everyone else is writing. 🙂

    ~Peace & Love~

  • Sara says:

    I’m in, this looks like so much fun. But my entry is only a fake entry. I hope that’s okay. I’m posting a WIP. If that’s not okay please kick me out.

  • Kelsey Beach says:

    Thank you for this great opportunity! Is there a way to enter the contest if you don’t have a blog?

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Thanks everyone for signing up!

    @Sara, you can do the blogfest part but the contest has to be a finished manuscript for the agent.

    @ Kelsey Beach, All you have to do is post your entry in the official contest post above this one. Just like you commented here.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Jade says:

    My prison is doubt. It curls its arms around me and squeezes. Trying to wring out all my hopes and dreams about writing and makes me doubt everything I put on paper. I get out of it by emotionally dumping on my critique partners. They tell me off, and get me going again. I don’t know what I’d do without them! 🙂

  • Noni Grace says:

    You have the best contests, Brenda! Thanks for this opportunity.

  • Thanks for arranging for this great contest and opportunity! I posted my pitch and 150 words yesterday, but forgot to include my name on the list above it. Not sure if that matters or not, but I apologize if it has caused any inconvenience. My entry is “Wrectify”, and the name is Beth Christopher.

    Thanks again!!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    @ Beth Christopher that’s not a problem. Good luck!

  • Do we have any kind of time frame on the results of the contest?

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