I am over the moon to be a Pitch Wars mentor this year. Last year, I HIYAed my way in as a Ninja Mentor and read some incredible manuscripts. I'm a huge believer in online writing contests of this sort. Not only do you get some first rate feedback from incredible mentors, but -more importantly- you can meet and cheer on new writer friends. Best way to make friends - tell them you admire their work (and mean it, too). Make it your goal to meet three new writer friends through the contest. You can thank me later.
I'm a stay-at-home mom turned stay-at-home mom/author. I'm represented by the fantastic Rachel Ekstrom at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. I write light women's fiction and have my first book coming out in 2015 (Gallery/Simon & Schuster). I'm a pop culture glutton who regularly tests the limits of my DVR. Before kiddos, I earned my MA in Literature (late British and American) and honed my editing skills as a technical writer (I can write instructions in my sleep, which is what happens when you're a technical writer). You can find me frolicking daily on Twitter - feel free to ask me questions or send me Chris Evans gifs. If I could accept bribes, they would be in the form of high-quality baked goods, hard ciders, and sharp cheddars.
WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR - ADULT ONLY
1. Writing trumps all. The below preferences are based on the current make-up of my bookshelf, but if you have a knock-my-socks off premise with even better writing, I want to read it. I'll read anything if it's done well. Case in point, my choices last year were a contemporary romance, spec fiction, and a historical. I can't resist a well-told story.
2. Your query needs to grab me, then your pages need to make me beg for more. Without a great query, I'm not going to read the pages.
3. That being said, your chances are better in the following categories: women's fiction, romance, urban fantasy, fantasy, and commercial fiction. Something like The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern or Attachments by Rainbow Rowell would make me swoon. I'd love some quirky characters, unconventional wooing, and unexpected turns. A hint of magic or a glimpse at a lesser-known society/occupation will grab my eye.
4. Even though I said fantasy, do not send me your 250,000 word manuscript. You are not George RR Martin (but if you are, I'd be happy to beta the Winds of Winter manuscript). Regardless of genre, be aware of word counts, while not a dealbreaker, a 120K women's fiction tells me you're a few edits away from a query-ready manuscript, and that's more than I'm willing to take on for this contest's time frame.
5. While I'm reluctant to rule out any genre/category, if you write memoirs, horror, cozy mysteries, inspirational, or thrillers, I'm probably not your girl.
6. I love a happy ending. It doesn't have to be all sunshine and unicorns (though unicorns make most books better), but I like to know the characters you made me fall in love with end well.
7. You can make me cry, but you better make me laugh too. If you do it with a nerdy reference or two, all the better.
8. I love learning about an unsual industry or location. I'm currently reading a book where the main character makes handcrafted shoes (Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani). It's amazing.
9. I love food and foodie fiction (which is why I wrote one). Bonus points for making me hungry.
10. I love a well-executed twist that's been meticulously set up so it feels earned.
11. These are a few of the authors I love. While some of these are not Adult, I think they give you an idea of what I like. Rainbow Rowell, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, Sophie Kinsella, John Green, Jasper Fforde, Suzanne Collins, Erin Morgenstern, Jeanne Ray, Julia Quinn, Stephanie Laurens, George RR Martin, Peter Beagle, Cassandra Clare, Kim Harrison, Chad Harbach, David Levithan, Adriana Trigiani, Ursula LeGuin, Willa Cather, Maureen Johnson.
12. Non-book entertainment I love: Anything Marvel, Crazy, Stupid, Love (best contemp rom-com IMO), Sherlock, The Book of Morman (the musical, not the religious text - cause that would be a book), an embarrassing number of shows on the CW - but especially Arrow.
So, that's the list. Now show me what you've got!
On August 18, you can submit your entry at Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars site.
ALL THE PITCHWARS MENTORS