Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Entry 10


Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense

Title: THE WAGER

Word Count: 83,000

Song: “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

Pitch:

Kate finally finds a man she can trust just as someone evil finds her. Kate’s unaware she’s the subject of a sick wager that will test her trust, and may wind up costing her life.

First 250:

Kate weaved through the crowded bar, ducking between tables to avoid servers loaded down with trays of sloshing beer. The bass thumped in her head and chest, matching her quick pulse. She paused halfway to the raised platform where the band was finishing a song. If she couldn’t get the singer’s attention, she’d look like an idiot. Or worse, he could ignore her.  At least it was dark, which would hide her reddening face.

She needed to get a grip. It’s not like the guy was Bon Jovi, though he might think so the way he swaggered around the small stage. She took a deep breath and pushed through the crowd to get closer.

The lanky lead singer, who’d be challenged to find enough flesh left to poke another piercing through, paused between songs for a drink. When he leaned down to put his cup back, she stood on her tiptoes and waved to get his attention.

He cocked his head and bent over his guitar.

“Do you guys take requests?” Kate yelled over the buzz of the amplifier.

“Depends what it is.” He hitched an eyebrow and leaned a little closer.

Oh, God. She hadn’t seen that coming. Her face grew warm. “Can you play a song for my friend, Meghan? It’s her birthday.”

“Sure. What song?”

She told him, and he nodded in an  I’m-so-cool way and smiled.

“You got it.” His fingers fiddled with the strings of the guitar as his eyes traveled up and down her body.

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Talent Scout Save!


Title: Ice Queen

Word Count: 65,000

Song: Human by Christina Perri

Pitch:

The Angel Experiment meets The Snow Queen when sixteen-year-old Arianna Lewis falls for her hottie new neighbor. If she can’t figure out how to control her ice juice, it’s bye-bye sleepy beach town…hello frozen wasteland.

250: 

For the love of all things not genetically modified, please let me get to the bus without a Jeremy Watters run-in.

Racing though the empty gym, I slam my backpack into the double doors as the final bell rings. Almost there—

“Hey Ice Queen, I’ve got something to thaw you off.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

I stop short of slamming into his overly inflated chest. My fingertips tingle as the sneer spreads across his face.  I dig my nails into my palms to avoid another accident. Two in one day is too risky.

Jeremy casually folds his pumped biceps across his chest, flipping that damn toothpick between his teeth. If only he’d choke on it. Sucking in a calming breath, I choke on the musky air burning the back of my throat.

“Geeze, didn’t anyone ever teach you how to spray cologne?” I let out a gagged cough and hold up a finger, “One squirt. That crap isn’t air-freshener. People need to breathe.”

“Come on Ice Queen, it’s no secret you can’t resist the love potion. Your temperature’s rising just thinking about it.”

Somehow he drags the word love into five syllables as he grabs his crotch and licks his lips prompting me to dry heave. Hard to believe a year ago he used to sneak in my window at night to avoid his parents’ knockdown arguments.

“Oh Jeremy, your tiny package couldn’t thaw out a popsicle.”

“Dude, she burned you,” one of his cronies shouts.

This is so not going to end well.

I chose to save Ice Queen because the character’s voice stood out above all the entries. It captured my attention and had me wanting to read more. Saved! @agirlnamednat, Team Stray Tats Talent Scout

Pitch Slam – Team Stray Tats – Rebel Roadie


Genre: Adult Fantasy

Title: FORGOTTEN BLOOD

Word Count: 123,000

Song: “Kingdom Come” by the Civil Wars

Pitch:

Alea is reeling from her family’s massacre. There is no time to grieve: she must accept that she is not human before the gods destroy the only person she has left.

First 250 words:

If Elle’s kind prayed, she would beg to lose the child. She covered her stomach and hurried to the humans’ temple district, grateful she was only a dozen weeks along. The port-city’s streets were packed, but she wound her way carefully to the plain, squat temple. In a city built for worship, hiding an old temple was easy. Elle ducked through the low doorway into cool darkness. She closed her eyes briefly, drawing calm from the crisp air. Here she did not have to hide.

The Faer could never have been called humble, but they had been forced into discretion. The small room beyond the foyer was discrete as could be managed.The tale of the Faer’s downfall at the hand of their creations, the gods, differed between human cities, with varying truth. They had become ghost stories in all but the most devout. The temple held half a dozen Faer studying or meditating. She found the oldest Faer and knelt before her, waiting until the woman opened her eyes to speak.

“Jeniah, I seek guidance.”

“What troubles you?” The Faer could feel disruption and change the way a sailor could sense a storm, and it was their intuition that guided many decisions.

“My place in Mirik’s palace is tenuous. I fear they will discover my true nature.”Jeniah fixed Elle with a sharp gaze, the silver in her eyes flashing. “May I?” She reached out a hand. Grey fog eased from Jeniah’s palm. It prodded Elle before withdrawing.

Pitch Slam Battle Royale


Team Stray Tats Poster

The Pitch Slam Managers & Talent Scouts scoured the globe, seeking the next big thing.
Our search took us to karaoke bars, church socials, and, yes,  even (pay-by-the-hour) motels in Vegas.

Because committed.

ALL THIS, so each team could assemble a rockin’ 10 11 12 member band.
These 5 bands are now ready to battle in front of the Executives. Details here.

#TeamStrayTats’ picks (the rockingest in the bunch) include:

– Our Top 10 – Chosen for their kickin’ voices, marketability, and undeniable cat-class swagger
– Talent Scout Save – Chosen by @agirlnamednat to rescue this entry from being shoved backstage
– Rebel Roadie – This is a Rock & Roll  themed contest, right? What’s R&R without a little rebellion? So why not pick an entry we might otherwise rule out due to content, length, from a “saturated genre”, etc etc?

We’re kinda partial to our very own Stray Tats, but…if you want to check out those other bands‘ picks:

Spyder
Magenta
Sweeter
Electric

Good luck #TeamStrayTats!

[And yes, of course, band members on those other teams, too.]

 

Comments are open to Agents-posing-as-Executives ONLY.
They will remain hidden until 5pm Eastern (for Team Stray Tats).

[If you’re a secret Executive looking to snatch up a band member, let me know on Twitter: @LucasMight]

All others: Feel free to share your groupie love and appreciation via the #PitchSlam hashtag.

You found the Stray Tats ~easter egg~ Shhhh…secret, rebellious stuff. If we had 3 more picks, you would have been the ones: Grit of Berth and Stone, Blackball, Enchanted Goddesses. So close! And not just those three, but ALL OF YOU, keep at it. Don’t give up. If writing is in you, you’ll keep honing your craft, hammering out words, editing the hell out of them, taking risks. You’ll make it. 

Pitch Slam – Audience Participation Tie Breaking


Featured Image -- 2003

Some auditions are so amazing, multiple teams want to add those entries to their line-ups.

When the smiles twist into stubborn (playful) snarls, and negotiations fail, we’ll be looking to YOU to help decide which team wins the entry.

Here’s how:

– Each competing team will pick a representative song. It can relate to the team, the entry, be completely made up, whatever.
– Those 2-5 songs will be tweeted in a single tweet with the hashtags:‪#‎PitchSlam‬ ‪#‎PSVote‬
– You, the Twitter user, will blindly vote for the winning team by replying to that Tweet with the title of ONE of the songs.
– The representative team’s song with the highest votes, or first to 10 votes, wins that entry.
– Once a winning team is determined, we’ll let you know the winner.
– The entry itself won’t be revealed until the scheduled release day. 😉

These tiebreakers can happen at any time, so keep your eye on the feed. [You know, like always.]

CONGRATS! You are an expert hunter of Invisible Ink. have fun…..

How To Create A Tweet That Won’t Die


The Tweet That Won't Die

The Tweet That Won’t Die

Sometimes [okay, often] random things happen.

Like, a streetlight blinks out right as you pass under it. Or a portal opens in the overcast sky so a single, slanted ray of sunlight sneaks through in glorious perfection. These are things we cringe or smile over.

A random occurrence on Twitter had me both cringing & smiling this week. Also, head-scratching.

See that Tweet up ^there^? I posted it on Monday 3/10/14 at 10:38 pm EST. It received a few RTs that night, which ballooned the next day. And the next. It got up into the hundreds—I’m thinking around 300 or so RTs. And that was a complete aberration for me. My highest number of RTs before that was around 75 for a coffee-related Tweet shared in the morning. [Because coffee!] My How I Got My Agent link also received a massive amount of play. [Because writers!]

Everything quieted down with the Undying Tweet. I [mostly] forgot about the aberration and moved on. As one does. But it sparked some lingering questions in my mind:
– What made that one so popular?
– How can I repeat that?
– Is there a formula here, or at least attributes I can glean, to help craft RT-able Tweets in the future?

I’d already been reading quite a few articles on social media marketing. Stuff like the best days & times of the day to Tweet/blog/FB/Tumbl, the types of information that get the most interaction, etc. There’s an abundance of data and research findings. Here’s one such example: Best Time to Tweet

Before the Undying Tweet was born, I’d been intentionally playing with timing and content, tossing out test subjects—funny, serious, links, images—at different times of the day. I wasn’t super-scientific about it, but just intentionally varied the types of content and posting times. During this process, I stayed decidedly me, Lucas, but chose to tailor my content a bit for the test subject Tweets.

My non-scientific findings:
– Folks seem to like short, funny things in the morning.
– Image Tweets in the morning do especially well, but are golden anytime.
– Helpful links get good play in the daytime.
– In the evenings…beats me! I revert back to sharing whatever randomness pops in my mind or I stumble across. #QUASI-SCIENCE!

Back to the Undying Tweet.

I found that image on Tumblr. I switched venues and added my own insight. The author of that book, Jack Douglas, obviously titled it like a boss back in 1972. That made the image intriguing. Maybe my commentary had nothing to do with the success of the Tweet, but I’m going to pretend like maybe it did.

And, apparently, magickal streams of energy aligned and {{poof}} it grew wings, flapped around for a while, and eventually nested. Then, 3 weeks later, for some unknowable reason, someone, somewhere resurrected it. It bounced over to some guy with 50k followers who ended up RTing. Then others with 5-digits of followers. And it hit 500 Favs, so Favstar RTed it. The chain reaction just kept spiraling outward and it went quasi-viral.

The Undying Tweet hit 1ooo RTs yesterday afternoon, then nested again. I woke up to an influx of 100 more RTs this morning as folks on the other side of world picked it up and continued the signal boost. Again.

You better believe I’ve deciphered the hell out of the wording, the structure, the timing…

Based on some Twitter comments and questions, I get the feeling many of you have been doing the same. Because we all know that an occasional viral Tweet, when it could really help promote a book, for instance, would not be a bad thing at all.

In my ridiculously limited wisdom, here’s How To Create A Tweet That Won’t Die:
– Be intentional about varying your content & timing.
– Share stuff that interests you. Chances are, it will interest others.
– Keep the topics broad at times: food, books, movies, kitties (blergggh) for the most RTability.
– Add your own flare. What good is a signal boost if your brand isn’t lightly stamped on it?
– Use images.
– Believe in luck, magick, serendipity.
– Don’t stress over it, but like any other goal, continually experiment & hone that skill.

This has become an experiment at this point. The Undying tweet is currently at 1128 1133 1136 RTs and 811 813 816 Favs.

If you’d like to add to the magick, RT or Fav the infamous Undying Tweet by clicking here.

And I’m curious…
What patterns have you noticed?
What are the characteristics of your most Retweeted or Faved Tweet?
Do you believe Tweeting is a craft worthy of honing?

I’d love for you to share in the comments so we can keep deciphering the magick [as much as magick wants to reveal of itself anyway] together.