Saturday, August 2, 2014

It's PitchWars time again! Read all about me here...

I'm so excited!! It's PitchWars time!!!!!

Okay, I'll cool it with the exclamation points. For now, anyway.

I can't wait to get the best ever PitchWars mentee and alternate (you hear that, other MG mentors?)!

So, why in the world would you want me as your PitchWars mentor when you can choose any of the other stellar MG mentors?


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1) Brag time: my mentee from last year's PitchWars, Abby Cooper, just signed with agent Rebecca Sherman from Writers House!!

2) I beta read like a madwoman. Honestly, I can't even remember how many manuscripts I've beta read. I'm a member of MG Beta Readers, an amazing talented group of writers, and together we run the Kidliterati blog. I'm also part of a semi-local MG and YA critique group. So, yeah. I beta read a lot. And no one's complained yet. I also tend to make random comments in your manuscript that may or may not make you laugh. (They make me laugh, anyway...)

3) I can spot your typo from a mile away. I did time in grad school editing academic works for professors, and held the ever-so-enviable position of Articles Editor on my law school's scholarly journal. (Now watch me have a typo in this blog post...)

4) I LOVE middle grade! Really, I'm the oldest twelve-year-old in the world. I spend all my downtime at writing conferences watching the Disney Channel in my hotel room. (Seriously. I don't have cable at home, people!)

5) I'll focus not just on shining up those first few pages, but making sure your entire manuscript is agent-ready. I'm talking plot, character arcs, pacing, writing quirks - all that good stuff! I want to help you make your manuscript as perfect as possible.

6) I have chocolate! See:

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Okay, I'll get to the important stuff now.

What am I looking for?

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Hamster! Not on a boat, but whatever.

Middle grade!! I read widely, and love all sorts of genres (including last year's speculative romantic hamsters on a boat....okay fine, I only mentioned that so I could keep the cute picture to the right). However, this year I'm ONLY looking for:

1) Contemporary. I write it. I love it. Funny, heart-wrenching, girl, boy, commercial, literary, all of it!

2) Historical. Any place, any time. I have a BA and a MA in history. I was the kid who dressed up as a Laura Ingalls-esque pioneer girl for three Halloweens in a row. 'Nuff said.

3) Twists on Contemporary and Historical. Meaning magical realism, time travel, alternate history, historical fantasy, mystery. Also, ghost stories, just because I feel like making an exception for ghost stories. If you're not sure whether your manuscript falls under this "twists" category, shoot me a tweet or leave a comment here, and ask. :)

4) The funny stuff. Ah, those books where I have to go find my asthma inhaler because I'm laughing so hard I can't breathe. Send me those (so long as they fall into categories 1-3).

5) Voice. A killer voice is one that grabs you on the first page and tosses you into the story so fast you can't even remember what it was you should be doing instead. (Again, categories 1-3 apply.)

6) Random things I love: characters who are passionate about something, sports, travel, performing arts, spooky stuff, mysteries, fish-out-of-water situations, how-the-other-half-lives stories, outdoorsy stuff, first crushes, friend stories, animal stories, smart kids. So long as they fall into categories 1-3. ;)

7) My favorite authors include: Meg Cabot (the voice...*swoon*), Janet Fox (lush, fabulously-written historicals), Veronica Roth (love her sparse style), Courtney Stevens (every sentence is perfect), Gennifer Choldenko (a lesson in how to make MG historical exciting, relatable, and completely un-teachy), and my fellow Aladdin M!X authors (fun, light, voice-y upper MG). This is just a snippet of my favorites, of course. But I hope it helps give you an idea of what I love.

***Please note: If I've read your work as a critique partner, or if you know me in real life, please apply to another mentor. I want to avoid any kind of bias, plus you already have me as a crit partner! :) If I've read your query or pages as a result of your winning a contest, you are welcome to apply to me as a mentor.***

Hey, wait, who am I?

I'm a contemporary middle grade author, represented by Julia A. Weber. My MG debut, BREAKING THE ICE, will be published on January 13, 2015 by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. I'm also co-writing the RSVP books with Jen Malone, the first of which will be out on May 19, 2015 from Aladdin/S&S. I'm a grant writer for a non-profit by day.

In the past, I've moonlighted as a personal injury attorney and a business attorney (one of these was better than the other), a somewhat friendly retail associate (I can fold a sweater like no one's business), that nice lady who answers the phones at your ophthalmologist's office (where I learned how to spell ophthalmologist and understand things like PRN and HBP), and an ice rink Jill-of-All-Trades (I could rent you skates and get you nachos at the same time).

Photo courtesy of
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Ah, nothing like the aroma of hundreds of old, wet skates...
I'm obsessed with travel, camping, figure skating, cats, spinach, and indie music that makes me cry. I have a two-year-old daughter who is the light of my life.

Questions for me?

Ask in the comments, or tweet me! I love questions.

How do you apply to be my mentee?

Go here.

Who are the PitchWars agents?

Go here.

Yeah, I'm great and all, but who are the other PitchWars mentors?

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