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Holiday Guest Post by Pitch Wars Mentor Laura Tims! (and critique giveaway)

Thursday, 12 December 2013  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Christmas card with hot cup of cappuccino,  cinnamon sticks and christmas tree branch isolated,

Today is December 12th. Which means that Christmas is super soon. I’m in a simultaneous state of YIKES (presents to buy!) and YAY (presents to get!)

And in the spirit of Christmas, the Freshman Fifteens and I have a present for YOU. In case you didn’t know, the Freshman Fifteens are a group of fifteen debut YA authors whose books release in 2015.PresentsWe’re doing a giveaway to celebrate Christmas and the fantastic writing community. There are fifteen authors, each offering a prize! Giveaways include chapter critiques, query critiques, ARCs, and gift cards, among other things.

Today I’m kicking off the giveaway by offering a critique of the first three chapters of your novel.

To enter, and for more information about the other prizes that will be available, go to the Freshman Fifteens website!

One prize will be offered per day until Christmas, so be sure to keep checking the site.

In honor of the Freshman Fifteens, here are fifteen fun facts about Christmas:

1. President Teddy Roosevelt, an environmentalist, banned Christmas trees from the White House in 1912.

2.  Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system

3. According to the Guinness world records, the tallest Christmas tree ever cut was a 221-foot Douglas fir that was displayed in 1950 at the Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Washington

4. According to data analyzed from Facebook posts, two weeks before Christmas is one of the two most popular times for couples to break up. However, Christmas Day is the least favorite day for breakups.

5. Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

6. Alabama was the first state in the United States to officially recognize Christmas in 1836.

7. Mistletoe (Viscum album) is from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan, which means “little dung twig” because the plant spreads though bird droppings.

8. Early illustrations of St. Nicholas depict him as stern, commanding, and holding a birch rod. He was more a symbol of discipline and punishment than the jolly, overweight elf children know today.

9. The earliest known Christmas tree decorations were apples.

10. Christmas purchases account for 1/6 of all retail sales in the U.S.

12. The first printed reference to a Christmas tree was in 1531 in Germany.

13. It is estimated that the single “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin is the best selling single of all time, with over 100 million sales worldwide.

14. Wassail is from the Old Norse ves heill, meaning “good health.”

15.  The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.


Don’t go crazy Christmas shopping. And be sure to enter the giveaway!  shopping presents


Photo on 9-17-13 at 11

Laura Tims


Laura Tims is an English major at Goucher College. She likes Hayao Miyazaki movies, Florence & the Machine, and bubble wrap. She’s never gotten seriously injured, so clearly she’s doing something wrong. PLEASE DON’T TELL, her YA debut about a girl who kills the boy who hurt her sister, will be out from HarperCollins in Fall 2015.


Filed: Misc

  • Mia says:

    Congrats to the freshman fifteen and thank you for wanting to help other writers polish their manuscripts. I’m keeping my fingers crossed I win the query critique cause that’s where my weakness is.

  • to enter any of the contests, does your novel have to be YA or can it be for a different age group? (my novel is considered adult.)


  • Brenda Drake says:

    Really enjoyed reading all the fun facts. Congratulations, Freshmen Fifteen, 2015 will be a wonderful year! Thank you, Laura, for sharing your Holiday post with us.

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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