Saturday, September 8, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Polish

Deana Barnhart

Continuing with the theme of Gearing Up to Get An Agent is a pitch and first words blog hop. Since I wasn't available on Friday to submit during Deana Barnhart's open window , I'm participating in the second part of the Pitch Polish, the blog hop. You can read more about that here. There are several blog hops throughout the six weeks of GUTGAA, so hopefully I've got the right one. I'll put the linky below, or you can find me under Number 30.

In order to get the most benefit out of the blog hop, I'm electing to keep the same formatting as if I submitted to Deana and was one of the lucky 100 finalists selected. For those of you who were selected, CONGRATULATIONS!!

Here is my entry. I will continue responding to all the lovely "Meet and Greets" from last week, and stop by if you're participating in this blog hop part of #GUTGAA as well. Let's sharpen our editing pens and slash and polish these pitches and first words to glittery shine, my writer peeps!

Write on!!

Pitch Polish Entry #30

Author's Name: G. Donald Cribbs
Title of Manuscript: The Packing House
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 77,000


THE PACKING HOUSE (YA Contemporary from a Male POV)
When sixteen-year-old Joel Scrivener has a raging nightmare in study hall and someone records it on their phone, Joel awakens to a living nightmare where everyone knows the secret he's avoided for ten years. Reeling from a series of bullying incidents posted on YouTube and an ill-timed mid-year move thanks to his mother's loser boyfriend, Joel must choose whether to stay where he's at with the chaos he knows, or leave and forge his own uncertain future as a runaway.

Once his choice is made, Joel's past meets up with his future and lands him back with his father's family, face to face with Amber Walker, the girl he's been "just friends" with since his parents divorce. But when the cops show up and bring Joel's hidden past front and center, Joel taps into toughness he never realized he had, in order to face the investigation. He needs to be tough if he's going to steer Amber Walker away from her current bad news boyfriend. She's made it clear to Joel she doesn't want a broken boy, a fa├žade she's hidden her true feelings behind. But unless Joel finds a way to confront his past and carve out a durable future for them both, he risks losing Amber forever.

THE PACKING HOUSE is a gritty YA contemporary stand-alone with duology potential, complete at 77,000 words. It can be described as SCARS meets BOY TOY and SOME KIND OF NORMAL, with a PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER vibe. In addition to being a proud member of, I have spent the last decade working at a boarding school for underprivileged teens, and am currently working as a Therapeutic Support Staff with clients of varying mental health needs. I am also a state certified English teacher.

Read an excerpt of the first chapter HERE.

Read a prelude to THE PACKING HOUSE HERE.

Contact me at:


First 150 Words:


1 | Lock-In

            It's late afternoon and not the time for sleep. I only manage to snag an hour or so before Jonathan's loud-ass banging wakes me from the only rest I'll get prior to the school lock-in. He crams contraband in his backpack and slams drawers. Still, he could be quieter if he expects me to help him pull off the elaborate score he's been lining up for weeks.

            Why'd I have to go and lose the bet? To settle up, I'm slave to my younger brother and his list of girls for the night. At his beck and call.

            I rub the remnants of sleep from my eyes and stretch out the aches in limbs that scream for more than an hour of closure. The shudder takes me by surprise. Maybe he won’t notice. With any luck, I'll find somewhere private to crash at the high school in case the nightmares come back.



I welcome your feedback in the comments below. As a writer, I am accustomed to constructive criticism focused on making the best possible version of this story. With that in mind, I encourage you to be bold and tell it like it is. I find hearing many perspectives helpful in revising and polishing my MS, and I promise not to be offended. If you comment, I appreciate you taking the time to read and say anything at all. If you'd like to read more, I have the entire first chapter posted on the upper right tab at the top of my blog. All comments are welcome.


I look forward to reading your entries and offering feedback as well!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

GUTGAA: Gearing Up To Get An Agent Author Bio

Deana Barnhart



Fellow Blogger, Deana Barnhart has graciously hosted this GUTGAA event for aspiring writers like myself. Click the gear link above to visit the blog and learn more. Maybe you'll join me? There's still time!
Starting Monday, Sept 3rdFriday, Sept 7th visit other's blogs and get to know them. Have fun and visit as many as you can! Each blog will answer a series of questions and any additional things the author would like to share. My short author biography and questions are below. Enjoy!

Author Bio

G. Donald Cribbs has written and published poetry and short stories since high school. A graduate of Messiah College in English and Education, he and his wife and four boys reside in central Pennsylvania where the author is hard at work on his next book. Having lived and traveled abroad in England, France, Belgium, Germany, China and Thailand (you can guess where he lived and where he visited), the author loves languages and how they connect us all.




-Where do you write?
Since I type 60wpm, I am either on a laptop or home computer when I write. I lurk in libraries, conspire in coffee shops, and type just about anywhere I can find time for writing. As a busy parent of four boys, that often means finding those "interstitial times" like during my oldest son's karate class each Sunday evening for reliable writing time.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
The boys' laundry hamper in the small hallway by our stairs. We have an office set up across from my bedroom since we homeschool our oldest two boys. Their homeschooling desk and computer are directly behind me. To my right is a window out into our backyard where I often send my boys to play on the playground I built (big purchase from BJ's), while I write in short bursts.

-Favorite time to write?
Any time I can steal away and hammer down that 1000 or 2500 words I'd like to reach per day. Most often this occurs during my youngest son's naptime or after I put all four boys to bed each night, around 9:20.
-Drink of choice while writing?
Water. Although sometimes it's more likely coffee, Coke, or a mocha if I'm really fancy.
-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
If I put on music to drown out what's going on around me, I can tune it out. I just shuffle what's on Pandora, or my iPod. Silence is much more helpful for editing, and in particular the stage where I read every chapter aloud. You'd be amazed what this uncovers in the editing/revising process. I catch a lot of things I've missed on previous rounds of edits. Yikes! I highly recommend it. But it's hard to do with listening ears, especially with some of my books. My boys are not old enough to read/hear much about these stories. Therefore, it's when I have the house to myself or after everyone goes to bed.
-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
Having been inspired by CINDER by Marissa Meyer, SHADOW AND BONE by  Leigh Bardugo, and STORMDANCER by Jay Kristoff, I imagined what the illegitimate love child of these three very different books would look like. It's actually a fairytale retelling in a French steampunk world of Beauty and the Beast, only the female MC is Beast, while the male MC is Beauty. There's also floating islands in the sky and submersible cities in the oceans below. I'm still in the research and rough outlining stage.

Also, it's totally different from my first novel, which I'm subbing here, a YA contemp with a male POV. That's your sneek peek posted above on the tabs or below via the link.
-What's your most valuable writing tip?
Look for inspiration all around you. Let your life inform your craft and your writing. If you've seen the show SMASH on NBC, you might understand what I mean here. If you're a writer, you've got to watch that show. If you listen closely, you'll see how each show has things going on in the lives of the characters that directly inform the craft and the creation of a broadway show from inception to birth on the stage. It's a great series to get your creative juices flowing and the music is superb. Add a musical about Marilyn Monroe and it's a WIN/WIN in my book. I don't watch much television, but that's one show I'll rewatch online. You can see all of season one here.


Excerpt from my novel, THE PACKING HOUSE

Click the far right tab at the top of this page to read the first chapter of my book. The first chapter is in two parts and I welcome all feedback good or bad. You are entitled to your own opinions. I use all feedback to better myself and my writing. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

That's it for me. If you have any other questions you'd like me to answer, feel free to post them below in the comments. Have a great week! Nice to meet all of you. Thank you very much for taking the time to stop by my blog for a visit!