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pg70pit 2015 Reunion

In 2015, we had 42 total winners, with 21 featured here and 21 more spread out among the co-host’s blogs. I checked in with the winners to see if they had any news to share!

The entry window for #70pit16 opens in one month! July 1 for MG, July 2 for YA, July 3 for Adult.


Were you a winner in 2015? Let me know how you are doing by emailing querylara (at gmail).

pg70pit writing contest logo

Book Deals

As the Sun Burns the GroundAmanda McCrina‘s Blood Road will be out for publication in Fall 2017. Amanda got her deal the traditional way, through the slush! Read about her experience with online pitching here. Find out more about her book deal with agent Lane Heymont here. Amanda will be a slush reader for this year’s pg70pit!

Cool Blue Reason Empties on the PageAften Brook Szymanski‘s YA psychological thriller is coming out in July with BookFish Books.

Killer Potential by pg70pit alum Aften Brook Szymanski

You’re a Sky Full of StarsKristin Smith has a book deal with Clean Teen Publishing for another, YA novel, Catalyst, which will be released November 2016. Click the cover to add to Goodreads!

Catalyst by pg70pit alum Kristin Smith


I’m the Best Mistake You’ll Ever MakeKaty Pool is now represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM Partners. Her entry got four requests during 2015’s pg70pit.

I Know a Cat Named EasterRachel Richardson: “I’ve signed with Jennifer Udden of Barry Goldblatt Lit. We’re revising my novel for submission & my old page 70 is now on like page 100! :)” Her entry got five requests during 2015’s pg70pit.

The Flowers Sleeping in her HandsRachel Moser-Hardy is now represented by Jaida Temperly at New Leaf Literary.

Today Never Happened BeforeHeather Brewer is now represented by Rebecca Angus of Golden Wheat Literary.

Like Real People DoSheena Boekweg is now represented by Jessica Sinsheimer from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary.

More than Just a Dream —Wendy Parris was a 2015 PitchWars finalist and is now represented by Mary Gaule at Mary Evans, Inc. Wendy’s entry got two requests during 2015’s pg70pit.

Have a success story? Email me and I’ll include it on the Alumni Page!

More Winner Updates

“I did in fact receive a full request thanks to Pg70pit! She has my full MS now and is considering it. Thanks so much for hosting an incredible contest—it was a wonderful experience! I enjoyed pg70pit so much. I cannot wait to see what pages make the final cut this year.” Kyrie McCauley‘s Love is a Battlefield got three requests during 2015’s pg70pit and was later chosen for Pitch to Publication! “Many fulls out for consideration, but no big news … yet!”

G. Kaup‘s Dream Weaver I Believe manuscript was later chosen for the 2015 PitchWars contest! “I loved pg70pit because I got exposure to more than just my first lines, which can be so hard to get just right. Even though no agents requested it during the contest, it was nice to have feedback from you all that the voice is great. I knew I was at least doing something right. :)”

Hema Penmatsa‘s Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme partial request was upgraded to a full. She also received several other full requests and is now working through a Revise and Resubmit for the manuscript. We hope she’ll have great news to share soon!

Kristin Walter‘s You’re the Lace in My Shoe got five requests during 2015’s pg70pit. “I got several requests from the contest but then decided my book needed a new ending, so I’m working on it again and hoping those agents are still a teensy bit interested!”

Hilary Harwell‘s Living Life By The Drop got two requests during 2015’s pg70pit. Hilary was a 2015 PitchWars finalist and a 2016 MG/YA Pikes Peak Zebulon Contest Winner.

But Darling, Stay with Me has been reworked by Heather DiAngelis from a new adult novel to YA. “I’m still in the early stages of querying, but I’ve had some full requests already, and I’m feeling optimistic!”

Mary Dunbar‘s Little Supernovas in My Head received one full request during 2015’s pg70pit. “I had several requests for fulls during the querying process, but none of them worked out. However, I’m almost finished with a new manuscript, and I hope to begin querying it this fall.”

“I think mentioning the competition in my query has definitely helped, so a massive thank you for running the whole thing and choosing my entry as a winner.” David Hall’s I Was Not Magnificent received one request during 2015’s pg70pit. David has fulls out with several agents.

Ray Morris’s Puff the Magic Dragon received two requests during pg70pit. The responses to his pages were kind and helpful, with one turning into a request to see future work. He has a few fulls and some partials out with other agents.

In one week, I’m leading a webinar: Self-Publishing vs Traditional. Get free access by signing up for The Writer Reveille, a weekly digest to wake up your writer warrior within.

StoryWorldCon: Find Your Cabin!

It’s orientation at StoryWorldCon! Which cabin do you belong in?



I’m still working on curriculum for the StoryWorldCon courses, but in the meantime, check out the campsite, meet and mingle with other campers, and start asking your questions about the courses in the free forum!

If you’ve ever wanted to go to a writing conference but didn’t have it in your budget, this is for you. If you’re a conference junkie, this is for you. If you want to meet other writers and find critique partners, this is for you.

The campsite is only as good as its campers, so tell your friends to join! The forum is going to be year-round, but workshops will happen based on interest and enrollment.

Find out more about StoryWorldCon here. To receive updates on the conference and when the workshops will be available, make sure you subscribe to this blog!

Year 28 Creative Goals

Jackie Lea Sommers posted twelve creative goals at the beginning of the year and just updated her followers on how she’s been doing on them (Spoiler: She’s killing it). Can you believe 2015 is already a quarter of the way through?

I loved her idea and that she did a visual post.

April is my birthday month, and I have a couple traditions I try to do yearly:

  1. Celebrate both our birthdays by doing something Shakespearean
  2. Visit the zoo to see the baby animals
  3. Create New Year’s Resolutions

I’m turning 27, so this will be my 28th year. Here are my creative goals:

Creative Goals 28th Year

From top left:

  1. Brainstorm 6 New Ideas—Novel, graphic novel, and picture book ideas that I haven’t already started drafting
  2. Launch Newsletter in Summer—I have so many blogs I had to create a new one just to curate what’s going on each month. When it launches, you can follow that one rather than following me on all the different platforms. Simplicity and organization!
  3. Launch YouTube Channel—I am really excited about this. Frequency of vlogs will be low as long as I have toddlers in the house, but each one will be packed full of goodness and giveaways!
  4. Vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—Captain and I were going to go for our 5th anniversary last year, but we had to cancel for his brother’s wedding. (Totally worth postponing for!) I’m really hoping we can get away this summer. We haven’t had a break in 4 years.
  5. Outline Second Graphic Novel—This is my Middle Grade novel, which I have to wait to start until I hear back on a writing grant I just applied for.
  6. Attend AWP 2015—I’ll cross this off the list next weekend! Very excited to attend. I’ll be live-tweeting my experience (@larathelark) and tweeting the advice and tips I gather (@laraedits).
  7. Tour the Awesome Indie Comic Shops of the Twin Cities—I need to network with fellow comics geeks. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
  8. Blog Weekly About Books—This is an eventual goal I’ll be working up to. Right now it’s monthly.
  9. Complete Graphic Novel Adaptation—I’m adapting a classic novel into a complete graphic novel to keep practicing the form.
  10. Join Comics Experience—This is a community for comics creators. Again, I have to wait to hear back from the grant before I can join (if I want it paid for)
  11. Host my First Writing Contest—Check out 70Pit, coming the first week of July!
  12. Secure Writing Time—In other words, I need to finalize a preschool for my 4-year-old and find regular, reliable part-time childcare for my toddler.

[free printable!] SMART Goals & Don’t Break the Chain

I’ve updated the SMART goals and Don’t Break the Chain calendar with a printable calendar for 2015! Make and keep your resolutions with this free download.

Lara Willard

UPDATE: Links have been updated with a full 2015 calendar!

I don’t really do New Years resolutions in January. Sometimes I set goals for myself, but April is generally my goal-setting month because it’s the month in which I was born. Doesn’t hurt that it starts with April Fool’s Day, so if I make a completely unreasonable goal, I suppose I could change my mind on April 2nd.

Back in January I decided 2014 was THE year for me to once and for all finish the manuscript I’ve been working on. The past few months I’ve been reading up on productivity, attending time-management and goal-setting workshops for artists, and setting short term and long term goals.

There’s a difference between a goal, though, and a SMART goal.

Making SMART Goals


Your goal needs to be specific. “Be a better person” is a good ideal, but not a…

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