Pitch Wars & Team Velvet Steel

Oh, how I love Pitch Wars. But mostly because of the awesome Discord group I gained from tossing my manuscript into the mentoring program. Team Velvet Steel is a group that is a riot. From obsessing over Rhys in the ACOTAR series to Cardan in TCP to mulling over dark characters, they keep things entertaining. And amid all the stabby-stab characters, they create spreadsheets and praise each other’s work.

In the query trenches, it is essential to find a group, or groups, of people who understand the emotional turmoil of putting a manuscript into the world. It isn’t easy. It isn’t for the faint of heart. It doesn’t happen overnight. And waiting…it’s torture.

Every member in Team Velvet Steel pitched their manuscript to Pitch Wars between the 26th to 30th of September. Their pitch consisted of a query letter, a synopsis, and the first chapter of their manuscript. Over the next several weeks, mentors can request more pages and ask questions. And then, it’s radio silent.

Having a group to commiserate with, celebrate with, and hold on to hope with helps fight the mental battle. It is a rollercoaster of emotions. So why not ride it with a group instead of riding solo? I promise it is much more entertaining.

There are a little over two weeks left until the chosen mentees are announced. And even if I’m not picked, I will celebrate those who were—especially those from Team Velvet Steel. They will take the world by storm…one word at a time. And I’m here for it.

 

🧱The Echoes that Built Me 👷🏼‍♀️

Life is a beautiful, messy thing. When I was young, I thought I had life figured out. I blazed through each day, taking whatever path tickled my fancy and hoped for the best. As I became older, I realized I didn’t have a mother lovin’ clue. But through the chaos, the echoes of people, places, and events in my life molded and shaped me. 

Growing up, my grandmother poured her positive spirit into me. If I said I was going to do something—no matter how crazy it was—she believed not only could I do it, but I would excel at it. All the conversations, all the emails, all her words of wisdom and hope echo within me. Even though she’s been gone for over eight years, I hear her voice cheering me on. Through her, because of her, I learned perseverance. I learned that doors would shut, but if you keep at it, others will open.

My father’s leadership echoes within me. Who I am as a person was created through the conversations I had with him. Conversations that I will carry with me always. I learned to listen, respect others’ differences, and stand up for what is right—even if it meant standing alone.

I learned how to be a survivor because of my mom. The horrors she faced as a child and as a young woman could have destroyed her. But, instead, she chose to place one foot in front of the other. She decided to have a family and pour her love into her children instead of letting the hate she grew up in taint her. No matter what I face, because of her, I choose to be a survivor. 

Unconditional love echoes within me. The love I have for my children. Strong, steady, powerful. It is unselfish. It is humbling. It defined me and shaped me into a better person. A person that sees through a different lens. A lens of compassion, hope, understanding, and faith.

No matter how many doors closed, what obstacles I faced, or the heartache I felt, I was prepared for them because I had a strong foundation. Every echo built me into the woman I am today. For that, I am grateful.

Ms. Write Life

😱 Fear Fighters 🤺

The world is a big place. Fear of the unknown can be debilitating. It can wrap you in its dark web and kill your dreams faster than anything, or anyone, else can.

But the best things come from the moments when we’re scared.

From the moments when we’re afraid of rejection. From the moments when we’re unsure of what’s next.

Fear can cripple you, or it can feed you: it’s your choice.

Fear-wrapped dreams are not uncommon. Aspiring singers, actors, authors—all their goals are wrapped in fear. But each day, they choose to go out and conquer their fear. They decide to try again no matter how many times they’re rejected. With each rejection, there’s knowledge gained. There’s an innate desire to become better, to do better, that drives the dreamers. 

Life is about growing; it’s about learning; it’s about perseverance. 

Be better. 

Do better. 

Fall, then get back up.

Face your fears and let your worries fuel your desire to overcome your obstacles. Breakthrough the fear and become the person you’re destined to be.

Don’t be afraid to take chances. Don’t be afraid to reach for the impossible. Don’t be afraid of rejection. We all take chances that bear no fruit. We all run for the impossible and fail. We all face rejection in our lives. 

That’s okay.

It’s what we do afterward that matters.

❤️ Ms. Write Life 👩‍💻

Never Give Up🏆

Y’all, today I feel accomplished. Today, I harbor hope in my heart as I stare at the typed papers in front of me. I finished editing my next novel, which I am pretty stoked about.

*insert screaming girl who’s jumping up and down like an idiot*

Yeah, that excited.

I’ve been working on my craft for a few years, and I have grown in leaps and bounds with each story. Some people might move on if they didn’t catch a break with their first manuscript, or their second, but if you love doing something, you don’t quit. It’s that simple.

You see, dreams aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

Dare to imagine the impossible. Chase your dreams. Even if you’re wheezing along the way.

In life I’ve learned there will be doors you knock on that will never open for you, but just because those doors stay closed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t knock on the next one. It’s during the moments that you stand in front of a closed door that determines how much you really want something.

Keep moving.

Keep improving.

But most of all, keep believing.

~Tiff~

Ashyer Black – Query Letter

I’ve been pretty quiet when it comes to putting my query letter out there for people to review and see. Of course, I’m not counting any family or friends who read through it, helped edit it, and all that jazz. I love them, and I appreciate their advice, but I think they’re a little partial and completely biased. As I’m getting older, I’m realizing that I need to put myself out there a little more to see if there are any words of wisdom from the strangers on the web. So, without further ado, here is my current query.

September 17, 2019

Dear Ms. Agent,

My name is Tiffany Berry, a once upon a time city girl dragged to a small, southern town in Kentucky by a redneck Marine, where I still stop my car for critters scampering across the road, much to the dismay of my neighbors. As a transplant to Kentucky, I have fallen in love with it over the past decade, which is why I weave it into my story. This girl bleeds blue, and I have read that you have a soft spot for BBN as well as animals, so I am hoping my story resonates with you. I am seeking representation for my completed 72,000-word young adult fantasy novel, ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE. Here’s a brief description.

Twelve-year-old Ashyer Black wasn’t always a slave, but that changed when the Noctis infiltrated every branch of government, every city, and even the smallest of rural towns, enslaving all the humans, including the children. Ashyer’s imprisoned in an orphanage with Kase, his only friend, who Ashyer has spent his life protecting. As Ashyer approaches this thirteenth birthday, fear pushes his friend, Kase, to the edge. As Ashyer clings to a strand of hope and defies the Noctis, someone from their past shows up where he least expects them to and breaks them free.

As they flee, Ashyer finds out he is made of magic. Not only is he made of magic, but he is a Venator, a magic creature who comes into their powers right before their thirteenth birthday. He barely has time to come to terms with it before he is shipped off to Magtech Vocational Academy (M.V.A.), School of Magic and Technology.

At M.V.A., Ashyer learns about the Noctis—once Venators that turned to using forbidden, dark magic. During the school’s annual Sortilege Ceremony, Ashyer’s scroll marks the path to the Dragon Stone – one of the stones keeping Arsen Valdis, master of the Noctis, locked up to where he can’t destroy every world. Ashyer is determined to end the Noctis’ reign of slavery over Earth, but secrets unfold, and warnings are given as Ashyer and his friends prepare for the journey to recover the Dragon Stone, removing it from Arsen’s control forever.

ASHYER BLACK AND THE DRAGON STONE is about the power of friendship and the bonds of family—even when it isn’t by blood.

I’d be happy to send you the entire manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yep, that’s it, ladies and gents. I’m hoping that other fellow writers going through the querying process have niblets of information to pass along.

Tiff

Home

I happen to live in a small town where we have one caution light in the county and alcohol is non-existent. Before moving here, I didn’t realize there was such a thing as a dry county where alcohol isn’t sold anywhere – it’s not sold in grocery stores, restaurants and not a single liquor store is within our county lines. It almost feels like stepping into the past. Not. Even. Kidding. Your neighbors still wave at you as you drive down the road, people still like to stop and talk your ear off, and most of the folks around here can tell you they are related to you by some distant relation.

Growing up, I moved from place to place every few years, so whenever anyone asked me where home was, I didn’t really know how to answer it. Should I tell them Arizona because that is where my parents spent most of their lives? Do I tell them Germany since I spent most of my childhood years there? Or should I tell them Maryland since I graduated from high school there? I’m happy to announce that I no longer wonder how I should answer that particular question. Kentucky is home. It’s where my heart is and that’s really what home is all about.

I might live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive a good thirty minutes to get a gallon of milk, but I still manage to travel. Some of family likes to call me Ramblin’ Rose because I’m always on the go. I’m not scared to drive across state lines, I can drive in Washington D.C., Puerto Rico or anywhere else I decide to go. I think it is important for my boys to see other places and other cultures because just because people live differently it doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong – it’s just different.

Sometimes we have a tendency to quickly judge other people, which I try not to do. I think everyone has the right to live their life they want to as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else. In my opinion, I believe we are here to love each other and to be kind. I don’t want to be the one to pass judgement and cast stones. I just want to live my life, make the best memories I can, love hard, live harder and be at peace.

IMG_3374

I love my family, and I love the memories we have made together. I love looking back at pictures of my son running away from the waves because I can remember his laugh and his smile. I work hard to give him and his brother a life with these kind of memories, and I feel so blessed. Life. Sweet, sweet life. Build it around people you love and who love you back, folks.

Dad Kids Bellows 2

~Tiff~

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