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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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!

My 2016 Books in Review

I’m joining in on Jamie’s End of the Year Survey! 

There are few things in life more important to a writer than reading amazing books from other writers. It was Stephen King who said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” How true this is!

Reading is fuel and I’m happy to say that in addition to all the incredible unpublished manuscripts I read this year, I also hit my goal of reading at least 1 published book a week. Go me!

 

Number Of Books You Read: 54
Number of Re-Reads: 9
Genre You Read The Most From: YA Fantasy

 

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

 

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY BY SARAH J. MAAS

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

STAR WARS: CATALYST (TOO SLOW)

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

SIX OF CROWS

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY – I TOTALLY HAVE SEVERAL “RELUCTANT READER” FRIENDS OBSESSED WITH THE SERIES NOW.

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

BEST SERIES I STARTED: WINNER’S CURSE TRILOGY

BEST SEQUEL: A COURT OF MIST AND FURY

BEST SERIES ENDER: MORNING STAR

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

JENNIFER LYNN BARNES

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

THE COMPLETE PERSEPOLIS BY MARJANE SATRAPI

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

ILLUMINAE AND GEMINA

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

A COURT OF MIST AND FURY OR EMPIRE OF STORMS

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

MADNESS SO DISCREET

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

SEFIA FROM THE READER BY TRACI CHEE

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

MADNESS SO DISCREET

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

SALT TO THE SEA

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

SIX OF CROWS

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016? 

THAT’S EASY, IT’S FROM THE READER: “Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.” ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

SHORTEST: FAIREST (LUNAR CHRONICLES)

LONGEST: EMPIRE OF STORMS

 

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

 

COURT OF MIST AND FURY

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

RHYSAND AND FEYRE FOOOORRRRREEEEEVVVVEEEERRRRRR

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

MANON AND AELIN

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

MADNESS SO DISCREET BY MINDY MCGINNIS

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

FALLING KINGDOMS

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

RHYSAND

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

THE READER OR SUFFER LOVE

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

OUR LADY JANE

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

THE FIXER

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

SALT TO THE SEA OR BETWEEN SHADES OF GREY (DANG YOU RUTA!)

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

ILLUMINATE AND GEMINA

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

EMPIRE OF STORMS

 

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

THE BRIDGE BY JILL COX IS NEXT UP ON MY READING LIST!

 

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

THE HATE YOU GIVE

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

ILLUMINAE #3 OR A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN (WILL COMPLETE THE TRILOGY)

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

STAY UP WITH READING ONE PUBLISHED BOOK A WEEK!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

BLOOD ROSE REBELLION

 

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!