My #PitchWars Wishlist

Well, hello YOU!

I’m excited to be involved with #PitchWars again this year and can hardly wait to meet my new mentee!

I was an alternate in 2014 (way back yonder when they had mentees and alternates) and ended up finding my incredibly amazing literary agent, Kirsten Carleton, after she requested at the agent showcase.

Last year, I mentored two incredible ladies and am SO happy to say they both got agents within a few weeks! WOOHOO!

So, let’s get down to it…

Why should you pick me as your mentor?

Well, aside from the obvious hilarious comments in the margins of your MS (I personally think I’m super funny), I am an agented writer who knows what it’s like to write and revise a book(s) and get it ready for editors. Another plus is I’m a professional writer in my day job, focusing mainly on digital marketing. That particular skill gives me an eye to scrape away fluff and restructure writing in a way that makes your message clear so the impact is felt. Lastly, I was an intern for two different literary agencies and so I feel I have a good handle on the YA market, what’s selling, what agents are looking for, and what type of query is going to hook agent interest.

As far as my editing strengths, I particularly love helping hone character development and character consistency. You’ll hear a lot of “would your character really react like this?” or “This dialogue doesn’t sound true to your character. Maybe try ___.” I also really love helping with setting and making sure a reader “feels” the world you create. My goal is to go through your MS three times. First on the big picture stuff, second on line editing (smoothing out sentence structure, dialogue tags, tense, etc.), and then third as a last pass before the showcase. So yes, I’m going to require a lot out of you and you’re going to have to revise and write faster than you probably ever have before, BUT YOU CAN DO IT! I promise not to ask MORE than you can do in two months (think Professor McGonagall not Dolores Umbridge).

Finally, I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it’s like to read an edit letter for the first time and wonder how in the WORLD you’re ever going to accomplish everything. I know what it’s like to re-write a book(s), cut characters, shave off thousands of words, deepen characters, deepen your setting… you name it, I’ve been through it in my own personal writing.

So now that I’ve given you the hard sell on why YOU MUST PICK ME, here’s what I’m looking for in a manuscript:

My YA Wish List: 

  • Fantasy
  • SciFi
  • Thriller/suspense/horror
  • Dark contemporary
  • Historical with a unique hook
  • Pretty much anything dark/twisted/creepy

More details:

  • I am a huge YA fantasy nerd and love it all. Epic, light, historical, retellings (as long as it’s not an overt retelling). The only thing I wouldn’t be a good fit for is urban fantasy because I just don’t read enough in the genre to feel confidant to edit it.
  • I also really love SciFi, so send me your aliens and space operas and star ships! The only thing I’ll say about it is keep your pacing TIGHT because I work with YA (not adult) and so pacing has to be spot on (not too wordy/world building at the beginning).
  • I would LOVE to find an incredible YA political thriller or something full of suspense that you just can’t put down. Oh and if it scares me, I’m even more excited 🙂
  • I am not a huge contemporary reader, but I do love dark contemporary. So if you have sad/twisted contemporary with no paranormal elements, send it to me!
  • I love me some historical novels, but want something with a very unique hook, so if that’s your MS, SEND IT TO ME!
  • I can’t accept MG, NA, or adult of any kind for this contest. I’m a YA mentor only.
  • I am not the right mentor for paranormal.
  • I feel like it goes without saying, but diversity of all kinds is welcome.
  • Please use industry standard formatting for your sample pages and manuscript. Times New Roman (or Courier, but I prefer TNR), size 12, 1” margins all around, ½” paragraph indents, double-spaced text, and only one space between sentences.
  • Your query needs to show me the stakes more than the characters. I do need to know who the story centrals around, but more than that, I need to see the plot and how the stakes function within the plot. Keep it tight! Every word counts!
  • Make sure to have your manuscript polished and ready to go. If I make a request, I’ll expect you to send it within 24 hours: It’s your first deadline. Be ready to meet it because it only gets more intense from here!
  • If you’re not sure if I’d be interested in your story, ask me!! @destinywrites. Seriously, DO NOT hesitate to @ me because I’d love to chat!
  • Lastly, you MUST be open to constructive criticism if we’re going to meet our deadline. Hear me on this: my goal is not to get you an agent, my goal is to help you improve as a writer. That means I’m going to pick apart your work because that’s the only way growth is going to happen! I’m honest, but you can ask my mentees from last year, I promise to always be kind and respect your vision for the book as the author.

So as you can see, I’m looking for a mentee who is open to working hard and going deep. I’m committed to matching you stride for stride, so you put in the work and I’ll put in the work. As your mentor, I am here for you now, but also after #PitchWars because believe you me, publishing is a crazy beast and I want to be there with you every step of the way.

 

I can’t wait to hear from you!

*pick me, pick me, but here are the other awesome mentors too*

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Tips to Relieving Wrist Pain…

spvhcbuki6e-william-ivenI finally hit a wall a few weeks ago.

The pain in my wrists had been getting worse for months. My pinkies started going numb if I was at the computer too long. I was already sleeping in wrist braces and chomping on ibuprofen probably a bit too much. I needed to get help, but I wasn’t doing anything to fix it.

Why was I doing this to myself, you might ask?

Because I knew when I went to the chiropractor it wasn’t going to be good news (I mean, numb pinkies can’t be a great sign).

And it wasn’t. When I finally got my crap together and went to the chiropractor last week,  X-rays revealed severe degeneration in my neck as well as cubital tunnel syndrome—so at least we know now why I’ve been in chronic pain for years. It was actually really weird to find that although I have a lot of pain in my wrists, in my particular case, it was actually my elbows that needed the most work on stretching muscles and easing the ulnar nerve.

So I’m in PT three times a week for the next month. Fun, fun!

 

So what are some tips you can do if you—like me—suffer from writer’s wrist pain?

  1. Go to the chiropractor or physical therapy before going to a regular doctor. The chiropractor or PT can actually start you on a path to healing versus just giving you pain meds (though pain meds can be nice, ammarite?)
  2. Sleep in wrist braces. They are pretty uncomfortable at first, but you get used to it.
  3. Rub Biofreeze on your forearms and wrists. An unexpected side effect is the clearing out of your sinuses because man does that stuff stink!
  4. Do some stretches (you can find some here). My chiropractor does these stretches with me and I have to admit, it hurts like SOOOOO much! But it’s worth it… I think. Maybe the jury is still out there.
  5. Don’t sleep on your stomach (this helps more for your neck, but a lot of wrist pain actually originates in your neck).
  6. Set up an ergonomic friendly workspace. This is really important as if we don’t fix how we work, the pain will just get worse.
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  7. Ice, ice, baby! Putting ice on it (wrapped in a towel) a few times a day helps with the inflammation.
  8. Pop some pills. I take ibuprofen when the pain gets too much that’s getting distracting.

Hopefully some of things things that help me can help you as well! Happy writing 🙂

Change Can Start with One Voice…

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With so much injustice happening around us, it’s more important than ever to speak out. For some of us, that’s using our place of privilege to speak out against things we see that are not right—even if they don’t affect us one bit.

I’ve called my representatives many times over the past few months to use my voice to speak out. It’s our right, so don’t be silent when we see things happening that make us uncomfortable. Change can start with one voice.

Find out who represents you.

January TBR:

I’m in the middle of a revision (I even took a Twitter hiatus to focus—shocking!) so I probably won’t be reading as much as I would prefer, but here are the four books on my TBR for January:

  1. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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2. The Bridge by Jill Cox

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3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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4. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

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Books 2-4 may get pushed to February as I may HAVE to finish the Falling Kingdom series, but this is the goal at least!

Happy reading everyone!

2017 Resolutions

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I heard Dr. Henry Cloud speak last night and he said something I really appreciated:

If you want your life to be different, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out what you want that different to look like. You need vision.

Such a simple statement, but I think this is something that can easily be forgotten at the beginning of the year when we’re all setting our resolutions. It has to be more than just, “I want to have x accomplished,” it’s about clarifying your ultimate goals and then identifying the small/attainable steps you can make in the short, medium, and long term to get there. To use an example: Losing weight can’t be the goal—that’s a step toward an ultimate goal of something else and you need to be able to identify what that ultimate goal is or you’ll lose motivation.

And so that’s why goal casting is always a really big deal to me. I don’t just randomly make goals and throw them into the air hoping something sticks. I’m purposeful about what I want, what I need, and realistically what I can accomplish in a given set of time. So that being said, I have 7 goals this year:

  1. Hike 5 Texas State Parks with my family
  2. Finish revising TSBTS
  3. Draft/Revise historical adventure
  4. Write “Lyric’s story” (a MG novella for my daughter)
  5. Read one published book a week
  6. Finish getting out of debt (so close!)
  7. At least 4 family meals around the table a week

Things that aren’t goals, but are lifestyle changes I would like to see happen include becoming more disciplined about my writing time and drinking more water.

Things that I am putting into the universe that I would LOVE to have happen (but of which I have no control): selling a manuscript (or more!) and getting a promotion at work.

Let’s do this 2017!