Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…




sunvssnow copy2



Before I provide details on the Free Pass, I thought I’d share a quick, fun story.


One of the first writing conferences I ever attended was in San Francisco. The experience was both informative and a little bit intimidating. The conference took place in a beautiful hotel, and the craft sessions were held in small conference rooms that looked like they had not been renovated since the turn of the twentieth century.


One of the best sessions I attended was on crafting an elevator pitch. For those who do not know, an elevator pitch is a one to two sentence pitch describing your story. It should be no more than 30-60 seconds and entice the agent to request more.


For example: Bitten by a radioactive spider, a young man learns how to manage his new extraordinary powers in order to save a city under attack by a brutal villain. 


LOL! Not the best example, but you get where I’m going.


Even with clear direction, it was hard to figure out how to take a sixty thousand word story and boil it down to one sentence, but after forty-five minutes, I had something I was proud of.


After the session was over, we were reminded to practice the pitch until we felt comfortable with it.  I imagined if I ever got that opportunity to actually use the pitch it wouldn’t be until later in the conference. If you guessed it, I was wrong. Not ten minutes later I was introduced to an agent who asked to hear my pitch. Needless to say, I flubbed it, but the agent was a good sport and went on to ask me several more questions about my manuscript.


The point I learned from that experience is that you can never know your story too well. The elevator pitch forces you to glean down your story to its core element. Root out what makes it unique, something an agent would be eager to request.


So after that long-winded story, I bet you can guess what you’ll have to do to qualify to enter for my FREE PASS…Yes, provide an elevator pitch for the story you will be subbing for Sun vs. Snow in the comments section below.


The Free Pass window will be open now until January 19. I will announce the winner here on the blog (at the bottom of this post) on January 21. The winner will get automatic entry into the contest and will work directly with one of the TEAM SUN mentors to polish up their entry before it goes live during our agent round.


Good luck and I look forward to reading your pitches!



Congrats Paul Sylvia (@rykter07)! You are the winner of the TEAM SUN FREE PASS!




  1. LDF Spencer Says:

    Fifteen-year-old Ally thought starting summer with a first date would build confidence and help her leave behind the “new girl” label, instead she connects with charming, confident teenage car thieves, one who happens to be her brother.

  2. ginaurso Says:

    Museum worker Phoenix has discovered the gargoyles in her exhibit are actually 2,000-year-old criminals cursed to alternate between skin and stone by the cycle of the moon. Phoenix can break the spell by finding five missing rings and destroying them with her magic if deception, black market seekers and ancient defenders of the curse don’t stop her first.

  3. kristenh09 Says:

    When Diana meets the Canadian prime minister for a top secret meeting, she saves her life. In the line of fire, she becomes the sniper’s next target and learns about a brewing Canadian war.

  4. After Mattie’s best friend, Cat, dies unexpectedly, the girls’ parents believe that the best way for Mattie to handle the loss is to take Cat’s place at her summer program with the Conservatory for Young Musicians in San Francisco. Thousands of miles from home with only her journal, a handful of mixtapes, and her overwhelming heartache, Mattie meets the people who knew Cat in ways she never did and discovers through rage, confusion, and severe grief, that sometimes it isn’t the music that will save us, but the people who make it.

  5. Beth Turley Says:

    In this MG take on PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, an introspective eleven year old finds threatening notes aimed at her on the classroom floor and struggles with both the truth behind who wrote them and the complexity of growing up.

  6. When Meg’s jackass fiancé turned abusive she finds comfort in the arms of her brother’s best friend. On top of Dylan’s struggles with his father’s Alzheimer’s and stress over his family’s failing farm, he has Meg Sheffield to contend with. But her brother’s anger over their relationship fuels his insecurities. Together, they must find their place in this world or they might lose everything they’ve ever wanted.

  7. Mara Jams Says:

    Sixteen-year-old Ahna has been kidnapped. The only person who knows it is her bully.

  8. Annabelle Parker’s parents are not dead.
    Everyone thinks they are, that she’s in the club with Harry Potter and Batman, but they needn’t purchase her hat or jacket just yet. Her parents aren’t dead, but stuck in a painting, and she’s determined to find the right one and let them out.

  9. Mariely Lares Says:

    Reborn when aliens claim Earth, warrior princess must find star traveller who can restore balance, but her memories are wiped.

    Thanks for the chance!

  10. 16-year-old softball player Jules thinks her life couldn’t get any worse than being pregnant and arguing with Jesse over choices, but an unexpected loss sends her spiraling toward a breakdown.

  11. Kathryn Hewitt Says:

    Hard of hearing Elle needs to stop an opencast coal mine ripping up her home valley, and prevent the magical world being destroyed with it, but in doing so will have to risk her best friend being stranded in an alien world.

  12. Crystal Christie Says:

    As part of a detox plan from the addictive on-again-off-again relationship Liz Collins has succumbed to for almost a decade, she is cast to spend 40 days on an island while being filmed for a reality show. But when she becomes shipwrecked for real with Skip and the other cast mates, her perspective on life and love change complicating decisions she must make while struggling to survive and be rescued.

  13. Sarah Ulery Says:

    After receiving a vision that leads to his unique ability, Nathan Coleman has cause to believe that his younger brother, Jeffrey, will die an early death. Nathan then bends the physical and moral laws of his universe in order to make Jeffrey as close to invincible as he possibly can.

  14. Kristi A Says:

    The pressure is building in a high-concept, YA SAN ANDREAS-like thriller, as Prom turns to disaster when an earthquake strikes, kicking off the PROMPOCALYPSE.

  15. Dooley Says:

    People tell Vespertine their problems. After all, she handles legal issues for the San Francisco Women’s Benevolent Society and the Gold Rush created a lot of problems. When she find a particularly egregious example, she partners with amiably corrupt Sergeant Cuinn of the Police and sets out to prove the innocence of a woman accused of murder.

  16. Kidnapped and forced to sing in a NY vaudeville show, Dutch 17-year-old Lina must place her trust in her pianist if she wants to get home in a historical retelling of Thumbelina.

  17. Hi Amm Says:

    When a mysterious tattoo appears on Miraja’s wrist, she must find the seventeen people cursed with the same fate to link together a prophecy hinting at a nefarious plot against her people.

  18. Michelle Mohrweis Says:

    When Princess Ana’s twin brother is kidnapped by a dragon, Ana realizes that she is the only one in the kingdom willing to ignore tradition and go rescue a prince.

  19. Suja Sukumar Says:

    An Indian-American teen must prove her innocence when framed for murder, but faces an impossible task when she discovers that the murderer is her cousin, who had vanished five years ago.

  20. Bits works at her high school tutoring center to help pay the bills. When she’s tasked with tutoring the star football player, their unlikely friendship promises relief from devastating family loss, until a secret gets in the way.

  21. Dana Says:

    After discovering that the use of her abilities facilitated the pillaging of countless Planets, a young woman escapes to a political Universe comprised of Five ancient Houses. Aligned with powerful friends, she learns how to use her abilities for good as she seeks to put right the horrors of her past.

  22. Richard Hiestand Says:

    Transported to a rugged alien world of terrifying creatures, war, and magic, but devoid of technology, Samantha 14 and her 12 year old brother Chauncey struggle daily to stay alive as they desperately search for their only hope of getting home, the wizard that brought them there.

  23. Wendy Blankenship Says:

    When Mariana discovers she can divine water with her veins, she must fight for her freedom form the raiders on the barren Salt Flats.

  24. Emily Strong Says:

    The daughter of a failed chosen one, 17-year-old Skadi risks her foster home and future career as an inventor and fights to end the decades-long war against magic users that her mother was supposed to prevent.

  25. He was an American going to visit Romania, a father of five grown-up girls.
    She was a top journalist in Romania living a high profile life, single and cute.
    They had in common one single thing – her best friend’s ex.
    They met in Bucharest, and one month later, they flew together to America, as husband and wife. He bought her a one-way ticket, but “forgot” to tell her his secret. When she discovers his secret the next day, she wanted to go back home.
    But escaping from hell, it’s not an easy thing when you don’t have money.
    Eight months later, it was too late for her to love him again.

  26. Karen Mullane Says:

    12 yo Evie is determined to discover the truth about her mysterious neighbor Jemima Blaze’s healing touch with animals. Little does she know, after her BF Oliver breaks her heart and she steals a ride on Jemima’s horse, Evie’s life will depend on Jemima revealing her magic.

  27. Susan Says:

    A teen with an addiction to cutting herself learns her dead parents secretly solved a famous math theorem. Stalked by a man who seeks her parents’ research for his own glory, she turns to a friend for help and falls hard for him, learning it’s not easy keeping secrets from someone you love.

  28. Mere Joyce Says:

    After the death of a relative, seven teenage cousins come together for the first time in a decade to spend a weekend cleaning the old family cottage, reconnecting with one another while trying to figure out what tore their once close-knitted family apart.

  29. Minoan priestess chooses sexy heathen foreigner as partner in sacred fertility rites. Her goddess vehemently disagrees & punishes her city with catastrophic earthshakes. Asta’s dilemma: kill her beloved or sacrifice her people. Bantering romance like Outlander and mysticism like Mists of Avalon.

  30. Alexis Says:

    An ambitious Latinx dancer must protect her reputation when she’s set up for a showmance with a sexy survivalist.

  31. Twelve-year-old Cat’s fantasies come true when the faerie-folk she sees turn out to be real. Now she must choose between saving the fae and protecting her family from a scornful goblin and his slave army.

  32. Kimberly B. Says:

    The little mermaid seeks a human prince to help her overthrow her father, the cruel king of the sea.

    Thank you so much!

  33. Ashley Whitt Says:

    In a word segregated by gender and dominated by women, Samantha York has never met a man. Tortured by the loss of her second daughter,Samantha’s world canters drastically off course when she discovers the other twin was a son. She’ll have to trust a man if she wants this kidnapping to be a success.

  34. Erin Says:

    Charlotte’s new, unwieldy psychic powers are complicating her quiet life. The warlock stalking her dreams and her growing, and ill-advised, attraction to the guy sent to protect her make matters worse. Staying alive might be the least of her worries.

  35. A California gardener wants to sell her newly inherited brownstone, but the building and its ghost have other plans. The ghost insists she’s a witch with ancient Celtic magic—and that a soul-eater wants her dead.

  36. Jason Says:

    In order to save the woods his environmentalist father died for, 16 y/o Brock must become a member of the poaching gang that destroyed his family.

  37. Sunel Says:

    Seeking shelter, the Unspoken princess brings about an immortal war in the Western Dragon Realm. Now, hidden 500 years in the future, the Western Realm’s princess must return home to end the war and avoid changing into a shadow dragon herself.

  38. When a sinister cult abducts a girl who holds the secret to unlocking a long-lost power, its up to 15yo mystic boy and his friends to save her.

  39. In the war against madness, how strong is love?

  40. Dani Camarena Says:

    With his engineering buddy and legend hunter friend, an impatient twelve-year-old geology buff is thrust into a secret world of lava tube mazes and a hidden city, where he must solve a series of logic puzzles to save the existence of his ancient family.

  41. Emily Paxman Says:

    An ill-timed peace treaty strands Tessa behind enemy lines, vulnerable to those she betrayed. Now she must use her psychic powers to gather a new army for her enemies, or they’ll hang her for treason.

  42. stacyhoff Says:

    There is a deadly virus in the year 2204, and a mad scientist hid the secret cure. Niki & Mason have 3 days to find the cure and save Niki’s sister. Too bad the mob & the New American government want Niki and Mason dead. And news of the cure stopped at all costs.

  43. As night falls, Prince Arek trades his crown for a mask and a blade. Except now he’s been hired to kill himself.

  44. For seventeen-year-old James Mills, traveling to Kosovo with his USAID parents is bad—but without his older sister, Anna? That’s cruel and unusual punishment. The letters James obsessively sends her share snapshots of his courtship of Tomas, a Brazilian expat. But it’s not until he and Tomas find themselves fighting for their lives in the midst of an ethnic cleansing that James unearths the truth Anna’s been hiding about their family.

  45. vivimont23 Says:

    After Karina Deliz’s elemental powers are exposed, she’s exiled from the human region only to land in the controlling grasp of a king and into the heart of his sergeant.

  46. In a world where light kills by turning human shadows into demons, a paranoid and amnesiac survivor must help a glowing girl, atone for abandoning his family, and uncover the truth about who he is.

  47. A crime in a snowy Romanian village triggers a wave of despair when 19yo Alice and her clandestine lover plot a cash robbery that redounds to a gay man’s death. Forced on the run to hide the stolen money, Alice must decide: keep it for herself or use it to atone for the heart-rendering damages.

  48. Kristine Olson Says:

    When 12-year-old Louisa trusts a talking beetle to help her paint a contest entry, she (a Korean adoptee) must learn Korean folklore to figure out who he is, uncover why a girl died and save her own dream of ever being a real artist.

  49. Dee Keymel Says:

    An accident leaves 13 year old Jessica and her two dogs alone in a snow storm. She accepts a ride with strangers who leave her in their mountain hide-a-way. Her best friend, Christopher, and family search for her, but in the wrong place. She must fight loneliness, a wolf, and a mad man to survive until they find her.

  50. gayleckrause Says:

    A thirteen-year-old aspiring cartoonist makes a deal with a smart-mouth garden gnome to find a way to save the school from a bully, but to do so, finds himself battling Goblins, Shapeshifters, and saving an unlikely princess from an evil Merwitch in a parallel world.

  51. hezdavis Says:

    After a young woman’s suicide, Pax can’t walk away from her latest obsession: that something is horribly wrong in the Virginia commune where she lives. Uncovering the truth with the help of migrant worker Dak could mean the end of the only home she’s ever known.

  52. The feather birthmark of a 16yo barista gives her both virtuous and vicious powers – forced to suck powers out of magical creatures by her grandfather’s tyrant hand. But overly-ambitious Ember is determined to change her legacy as a weapon owned by her family, alongside rebels and without any training – no matter the risk to herself.

  53. 33 year old woman meets her 8 year old and 103 year old selves. Healing her abusive past will mean embracing the truth her other selves bring.

  54. Little Red Riding Hood meets a government experiment-gone-wrong when a murderous wolf spirit possesses her. Now she must infiltrate a secret government research facility to find a cure before the spirit kills her.

  55. Mayken Says:

    Twelve-year-old swimmer Clare wants more than anything to join the elite team. Her chances are good, but then she starts hearing another girl’s voice in her head. It turns out Emily is real – and aquaphobic.

  56. taracreel Says:

    When 13-year-old Charly’s twin brother dies, she can’t handle anything that belonged to her old life. Luckily she meets Nella, a new girl in the neighborhood who will help her work through her past and get to her future … but is Nella who Charly thinks she is?

  57. Kelly Barina Says:

    Seventeen-year-old Prince Vael meets his estranged brother for the first time, only to discover that he must kill him in order to save his kingdom.

  58. Being dead isn’t what 17 y.o. Becca expected, but her illegal efforts to rejoin the living may send her to hell.


  59. When single mom loses the lease on her home, she lands on the doorstep of a sexy as hell businessman fighting to keep his company. #CR

  60. A shadowy figure kidnaps Willow’s brothers and she’s determined to stop at nothing to get them back. The only thing standing in her way is Neverland, an uncooperative fairy, and the boy who wants to feed off of her brothers’ fear so that he can live forever.

  61. bigpinelodge Says:

    Sixteen-year-old Selina has been ignoring her clairvoyant visions from the next galaxy.
    She’s been avoiding other truths too such as: her best friend, Alex, loves her; her special needs brother is part alien; and those awkward time lapses really are her fault, born of an incredible time-bending power only she has.

  62. Angela Super Says:

    Invaders a launch world-evolving attack. The only way out is up, and Aev, a journeyman architect, must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship to escape genocide.

  63. Forced into a life of piracy when all she wants is to revenge her father’s murder, Lady Ariana spends her days fighting evil Lord Shemar’s deadly barb-throwing Drundles, and her nights fighting the call of one merman’s song. Only a pact made with the ancient queen of the fairies can save the waterfall city of LUNADAR and protect the secret hidden within its walls.

  64. Angela Says:

    Felix goes looking for the edge of the Universe, unfortunately, he finds it and the other Universe that is about to destroy everything he loves.

    Thank you for this contest!

  65. Some people call him ‘slow’, but Dylan has magic and hopes to be a famous chef until his disabled uncle dies and he’s shipped off to a group home full of strangers and a Gothic girl he doesn’t understand.

  66. Rick Willis Says:

    17 yo Sam’s dad has been missing for five years. Sam’s finally ready to face that his dad’s gone for good when he finds a clue in his dad’s journal. The clue leads Sam to a hidden world, an old man, and a test of Sam’s character and strength.

  67. Katherine Says:

    Separated for the first time ever, Taylor and her two best friends become mascots at their respective middle schools, and document their mascoting adventures on a Google doc letter to stay connected.

  68. Bad enough when giants grab your parents for appetizers at a feast. Worse when it’s your fault, you’re only two young trolls on a rescue mission, and the giants share their mountain with fire breathing dragons.

  69. 12yo Tessa loses a grip on her summer when she’s stuck with a strict great aunt on the remote Outer Banks. But when the wild horses she loves are threatened by thieves, the one thing she has control over is keeping them free, with a little help from her ghostly friend.

  70. Disguised as a boy, Val joins an enemy ship to track down her kidnapped twin brother and return to her clan before war breaks out.

  71. Susan Thumm Paxton Says:

    High school seniors, Taylor Markesan, former soccer star and recent new-girl nobody, restless for a new challenge, and Jay Slade, emerging high school swim star, whose family secrets threaten his success, find themselves drawn not only to each other but into a tangled web of deception and disguise linked to the sudden death of a high school classmate in UNEASY GRACE.

  72. Ledger Demain searches for Granddad at an Inventors Camp for Nerdy Kids. Who ever heard of kidnapping an old man? Usually it’s a kid. Thus the name.

  73. Michael Alperstein Says:

    After receiving an invisible book with secret messages, a young girl has twelve hours to stop a viral madness from ripping apart humanity.

    Thank you for organizing this contest! Your efforts do not go unnoticed.

  74. After a high tech accident 13yo Gage discovers his cell phone grants wishes, but with AutoCorrect even a simple wish can have catastrophic consequences.

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