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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Looking Back at 2016…

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Another year has passed.

Can you believe it? Another year has passed.

I know I echo a lot of “year-end reviews” when I say this has been a tough year for a lot of people. In my own life, I dealt with a lot of disappointments that I had to learn to accept, but with that and the election and some personal goals that didn’t get met, the last several months of the year felt like a dark hole of suck.

And within that dark hole of suck, creativity has a hard time taking root.

I also stretched myself too thin in too many different areas and as a result, lost a lot of focus.

And focus is kind of a big deal when you wear as many hats as I do.

But all in all, I like to think that I learned a lot about myself in 2016.

Looking back, my word for 2016 is: boundaries.

I spent much of the last year discovering, setting, and testing out boundaries, then readjusting those boundaries and testing them again.

It was a year of leaning in to discomfort and discovering things about myself I wouldn’t have admitted were there a year ago.

It’s also been a year of putting my writing out there in a way I never have before and I’m proud of myself for that.

So in honor of focusing on the good, here are things I’m most proud of in 2016:

  • I became a Pitch Wars Mentor to two awesome ladies
  • Both of those ladies got literary agents within the first week of querying/agent showcase
  • Started a fun Texas State Park bucket list with my family we are checking off
  • Had some incredible wins at my day job and got a nice raise
  • Enjoyed several “me only” writers retreats in Tyler and Austin
  • Went to an invite-only social media summit that took place at DISNEY WORLD! (so much fun!)
  • Left a house that was falling apart around us and moved to the city I’ve been wanting to live in since we moved back to Texas from Europe 3 years ago
  • Finished the first draft of a new book
  • Outlined the ideas for two new books
  • Revised ALLIANCE again in September/October and love it more than ever
  • My kid trilogy is THRIVING! They are seriously the most hilarious, talented, fantastic kids on the planet
  • Celebrated 11 years of marriage with my Belgian waffle and we went on a grown-up vacation with our best friends to Cancun!
  • Bought a new couch (I know that seems weird to add here, but I’ve been wanting this couch for probably 10 years!)
  • Was asked to help coordinate the teen volunteers for the North Texas Teen Book Festival
  • Realized I’m living my best life.

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Yup, you heard me on that last one. I’m living my best life. Some time this summer, I was hit with this realization that I am—right now—living my best life. I’m not aiming toward living my best life… it’s happening right now and just realizing and then accepting that has really changed my perspective.

There is nothing important in my life that I am not passionately pursuing.

I am passionately pursuing being a published author.

I am passionately pursing being the best in my niche field within digital marketing/social media.

I am passionately pursuing being the best wife/mom/sister/daughter/aunt/friend I can be.

I am passionately pursuing knowledge and understanding how to use my privilege for good.

I am passionately pursuing generosity and giving of my money and time to worthy causes.

I am passionately pursuing my spiritual walk and finding peace within my boundaries.

Living your best life doesn’t mean you’ve accomplished all your goals or everything is going right. Living your best life means that you are in a passionate pursuit of life and choose to grasp hold of each day, each accomplishment, each failure and say, “I don’t care what I feel right now, I’m choosing to acknowledge that I am living my best life.”

It’s in that acknowledgment that true happiness digs its roots deep into your soul.

So here’s to 2017 and living our best life.

 

Book Recommendation: Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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Hardcover, 416 pages Expected publication: March 28th 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Anna Arden is barred from society by a defect of blood. Though her family is part of the Luminate, powerful users of magic, she is Barren, unable to perform the simplest spells. Anna would do anything to belong. But her fate takes another course when, after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spell—an important chance for a highborn young woman to show her prowess with magic—Anna finds herself exiled to her family’s once powerful but now crumbling native Hungary.

Her life might well be over.

In Hungary, Anna discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. Not the people around her, from her aloof cousin Noémi to the fierce and handsome Romani Gábor. Not the society she’s known all her life, for discontent with the Luminate is sweeping the land. And not her lack of magic. Isolated from the only world she cares about, Anna still can’t seem to stop herself from breaking spells.

As rebellion spreads across the region, Anna’s unique ability becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she’s always wanted, or embrace her ability and change that world forever.

My Thoughts:

I got this book on an ARC tour and let me tell you, it is AMAZING!

It has all you can want from a YA fantasy. A rich and detailed setting, a slow burning yet sizzling romance, a magical system that is intricate yet understandable, a fast-paced plot that will keep you up into the wee hours of the night (trust me, it happened), and characters you just completely fall in love with. More than that, it tackles issues of prejudice and bias in such a thoughtful and powerful way. It did not feel like a debut book on any level. This series is going to be a classic in the years to come! I can’t wait to read and I 10000000% will recommend this book to anyone! Definitely one of my favorite reads this year!

My Girls Have Agents!!

Oh y’all, I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of Meghan and Tracie and all their relentless hard work! Because… was it worth it? YES! 

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#TeamDominate TOTALLY dominated!

Within a week of Pitch Wars, Meghan and Tracie had received offers (emphasis on the plural) of representation!

AHHH!

Congrats to Meghan Jashinsky who is now represented by Jessica Watterson at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency!

And congrats to Tracie Martin who is now represented by Lauren Spieller at Triada US!

Lynnette and I had such a fun time finding these ladies in the Pitch Wars slush and working to help make their manuscripts shine! It’s an incredible honor to know I played a small part in helping them get to the next milestone in what I know will be very long and successful careers.

*happy sigh*

congrats