I am SO excited because Pitch Wars played a big role in helping me reach my dream of publication, and now, I get to do what I can to help someone else. That’s something that really means a lot to me.
In Pitch Wars 2014, I was mentored by the fantastic Skylar Dorset on my manuscript Emerge, about mermaids who live secretly on land (more info here). Today, I’m agented and published in a three-book deal, and Emerge is on shelves as the first book in the Mer Chronicles series!
From first draft to final draft. It’s so surreal that I still can’t believe it:
Okay, are you ready? Here’s my Pitch Wars Wish List:
YOUNG ADULT! (I’m only mentoring YA this year, so if your MS is YA, I just might be your girl. If it’s MG, NA, or Adult, mosey on over to one of the other amazing Pitch Wars mentors).
Fantasy, especially Contemporary Fantasy/Urban Fantasy. I’ve spent the last three years writing all about mermaids and, according to my contract, I get to spend the next two years exploring their world even more, so I am ALL about fantasy. I’m especially drawn to fantasy that has some kind of root in the real world, like Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. Or, you know, fantastic books by amazing authors I’ve met through Pitch Wars, like The
Girl Who Never Was by Skylar Dorset or Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein.
Historical. I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE historical fiction. It is a deep and longstanding passion. Give me a YA version of Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series or Jennifer Donnelly’s Tea Rose series.
Historical Fantasy. Um…duh. See above ;) Is anyone else in love with Jessica Spotswood’s Born Wicked? No spoilers—I haven’t read the rest of the series yet!
Paranormal Romance. Don’t let anyone tell you paranormal is over! It will never be over. We may just need to brainstorm how to brand it creatively in your query ;) Send me your vampires, your fae, your witches, your succubi, your sexy demons and corruptible angels. Please DO NOT send me mermaids (explained below).
Fairytale Retellings and Tie-ins. If you have anything fairytale-related, I am SO the mentor for you. My book tells the story of the Little Mermaid’s descendants, and as a reader, I can’t get enough of creative new twists on fairytales. I really enjoyed Alex Flinn’s Bewitching and Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball and Princess of Glass. Oh! And I CAN’T WAIT to read Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst (who was previously mentored in Pitch Wars by the amazing Elizabeth Briggs. It’s one of my most-anticipated reads of 2016 because it sounds SO good.
Romance. Romance. Romance. Seriously, guys! Look at any of the YA books I’ve mentioned above and you’ll notice they all have one thing in common. That’s because I LOVE a swoony, heart-pounding romance. As a writer, getting my characters together is what keeps me writing. And as a reader, romance is usually the thing that keeps me turning pages. Any level of steaminess is fine with me, so if your book has a strong romantic element, gimme!
Contemporary. I like contemporary that lets me peek into a world, society, culture, or way of life I wouldn’t otherwise see. Having said that, if your contemporary is light on plot or if it’s something you’d consider an issue book, it’s probably not right for me.
Light Sci-Fi. I’d love a YA version of the movie TiMER, and I REALLY enjoyed The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I’m really drawn to light sci-fi with new, intriguing concepts, like Jennifer Bardsley’s Genesis Girl.
I have soft-spots for:
-Cocky, intelligent men
-Detailed world-building in any genre
-Settings that feel like characters
-Magical systems that make perfect, satisfying sense
-Anything with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel. I cannot stress this enough!
-Anything like Clueless, The Craft, Cruel Intentions, Dangerous Liaisons, Veronica Mars, Downton Abbey, or Outlander. For more on my favorite movies, here’s a recent interview.
-Anything with a Jane Austen or Oscar Wilde air
-Anything about fanfiction or fan culture
-Beautiful gardens and/or gowns
Things that aren’t the best fit for me:
-MG, NA, or Adult (I’m only mentoring YA this year)
-Novels in verse
-Quieter or more literary novels
-Issue books or books written to teach a clear, moral lesson
-Christian inspirational or books with a strong religious theme
-Anything with mermaids. Guys! If you have a mermaid MS, come say hi to me on Twitter, but PLEASE don’t submit to me for Pitch Wars. I’m in the middle of writing my own mermaid series and will not be reading anything else mermaid-related until I’m finished. Thanks for understanding!
-Anything with a lot of gore.
-Anything set in a hospital or with sickness as a key component of the story.
-Anything with abuse or rape described on the page.
Why you should pick me:
First and foremost, I do not see Pitch Wars as something that only lasts for the next few months. If you’re my mentee (provided we work well together, you’re professional, and I fall in love with your MS), I’d love to help you as much as
I can moving forward. That help won’t end when this contest does. My Pitch Wars mentor, Skylar Dorset, and my almost-mentor, Lori Goldstein (who told me she loved my submission but was torn between a few and knew Skylar wanted mine) gave me so much industry advice, rooted for me, blurbed my book when it came out, and became my first author friends. I see the mentor-mentee relationship as something that can be more long-term, if that’s something we both want.
I kind of rock at queries and would love to help you through that harrowing stage. But I can also fill you in on what happens AFTER you have an agent and even a publishing deal (that’s where the online info begins to dwindle). My debut novel came out this spring, so I’ve spent this year touring to promote it and have met authors in all stages of their careers whom I’ve learned so much from. I’m also really interested in the business side of the industry, from agent-author and editor-author relationships to marketing and publicity. I’m all about sharing all the knowledge I’ve gained so far with my mentee!
In terms of craft, I’ve been a writing instructor for seven years and I run book clubs for teens. Together, we’ll get your YA manuscript to shine! I’ll personalize the editing process to your MS’s needs. I’m a very positive person, so I’ll tell you what I absolutely LOVE about your MS—but I won’t sugarcoat what I think needs work, so please be ready for my honest feedback. In addition to looking at big-picture issues, I’m VERY detail-oriented, so I’ll help catch ALL THE THINGS and figure them out with you in a way that’s authentic to your voice and your story.
I care a lot about natural-sounding dialogue, consistent voice, and logical plotting that’s believable to the world you’ve set up, so I’m excited to work on those with you.
If you’ve been reading through this post nodding and smiling and getting progressively more excited, then I hope you’ll submit to me. I’m so honored to consider your work!
For those who are wondering, my favorite letter is L, as in love and lollipops and Los Angeles and lips (for kissing!).
Oh, and I don’t think I could post a Pitch Wars bio about myself without including THE TIME I GOT TRANSFORMED INTO A MERMAID FOR CHARITY (six-year-old Tobie is still squealing)!! The publishing journey is full of so many surprises.