Announcing Pitch Week XXV Winner: David Burns!

Can a monster choose to be good?

That’s the question facing Kyra Anastas, the reluctant heroine of the urban fantasy novel, Heart of Stone. And she is a monster: with snakes for hair and a gaze that turns the living to stone, Kyra is a modern-day Medusa hiding in the shadows of Chicago, making her living as a hitwoman for hire. Filled with self-loathing and feared even by other monsters, Kyra lives a lonely, bitter existence. So when a dying billionaire asks Kyra to protect her daughter from a supernatural threat until the girl’s fifteenth birthday, two midnights hence, Kyra jumps at the chance to be something more than just a dealer of death. Now Kyra finds herself on the run from both the police and mythological assassins whose powers far outstrip her own and who will stop at nothing to destroy the girl. With nightmares like a manticore stalking them during a basketball game, a basilisk turning dinner at a five-star restaurant into a death trap and even a Siren popping out of her damn bath tub, Kyra finds no place is now safe. Worse, as the peril mounts, Kyra realizes that the road to redemption will force her to face all her demons… not just the monsters chasing them across the Windy City, but also the horrors of her own evil past.

David Burns lives in southern New Jersey, which he generously describes as “that one-hour stretch of road you have to travel to get from Philadelphia to Atlantic City.” He has spent his whole life as a story teller, as both a writer and trial attorney, and most enjoys the time he gets to spend with his wonderful wife and three amazing children.

“I have to admit that I initially went into the whole Pitch Week experience somewhat skeptical about the process. But the support and feedback that I got – from the coaches, the judges, and my fellow writers – was really amazing. I learned a great deal about why it matters to think of yourself as not just a writer, but also an author and a brand, as you try to stand out in a bustling writing marketplace. The opportunity to meet with the judges before giving your final presentation, to hear their insights about what works and what doesn’t in the publishing world, and then to use that information to pitch your book to them, really upped my game immeasurably. To anyone weary of the endless queues at writers conferences where you get so little chance to really connect to an agent or editor, and may be making the same mistakes over and over without knowing it, the When Words Count retreat would be an invaluable learning experience.”

Meet our other Pitch Week XXV finalists here.


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