Pitch Wars Wish List 2018

About RuthAnne: I currently write YA and my debut YA contemporary novel, THE GIRLS OF MARCH, is coming out from Sky Pony. I live in Utah with my husband and one good dog and one naughty dog. I’m an attorney and lover of horror movies, pie baking, and hiking. My agent is the fabulous Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary.

Some of my recent and all-time favorite reads are, in no particular order:

Contemporary:
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Speculative:
Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Pet Sematary by Stephen King
Remember Me by Christopher Pike

RuthAnne’s mentoring style:

I will provide my mentee with an edit letter of my overall thoughts regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the manuscript. I will also go through the entire manuscript, marking up line edits as I go. I am up for bouncing ideas around, helping restructure plots, or reading a second time after my mentee has done a revision (assuming we have time!). A lot of it will depend on my mentee!

I also subscribe to the philosophy that when a reader thinks there is a problem with a story, they’re usually right. When a reader thinks they have a solution, they’re usually wrong. This is your story, I am just trying to help you make it shine! So when I see a problem, I’m going to point it out and usually offer 2-3 potential solutions. If you disagree with my ideas, that’s totally okay! I’m mostly suggesting them to see if they spark with you, or if they inspire you to start brainstorming a different solution. The main thing is that we find the solution that YOU need for your story.

RuthAnne’s editing strengths:

In addition to feedback on pacing, plot holes, and character arcs, I have a good grasp on basic grammatical issues. I was an editor and proofreader for my college newspaper, so I will also keep an eye out for little errors as I read through for big-picture problems.

RuthAnne’s Random bonus skills?

Why yes, I DO have some random bonus skills! If you have a manuscript dealing with legal or political issues, I’m your girl. Seriously. Even if you want to totally abuse the Rules of Evidence, I will help you think of a good way to do that.

 

About Destiny: I am a YA writer, lover of books, and unapologetic fangirl. I also work in digital marketing and social media for my day job. My agent recently left the business and I’m about to dive into the query trenches for the first time since I was a mentee in 2014! This is my third year mentoring and I’m looking to continue my streak of having my mentees agented within the first few weeks! * fingers crossed *

Instead of listing favorite books, I’ll just tell you my current auto-buy authors:

Marie Lu
Sarah J. Maas
Nic Stone
Gillian Flynn
Karen MacManus

Destiny’s mentoring style:
Well, aside from the obvious hilarious comments in the margins of your MS (I personally think I’m super funny), I am a writer who knows what it’s like to write and revise a book(s) and get it ready for agents and editors. I’ve successfully queried (and dealt with multiple offers) and have run the gambit on the submission cycle with publishers. 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.

Destiny’s editing strengths:

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. RuthAnne and I’s 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, we’re 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! We promise not to ask MORE than you can do in a few months (think Professor McGonagall not Dolores Umbridge).

Destiny’s Random Bonus Skills:

I’ve got lots of good writerly skills to offer (for instance, I’m a freelance copy editor for an economic publisher), but I think something that’s important I bring to the table is empathy. 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.

Wish list:

We are mentoring YA and would LOVE to see manuscripts along the following lines:

  • Contemporary! Give us friendships both positive and toxic, sibling relationships, parents who exist, and realities like after-school-jobs. We also like a dash of romance—and more than a dash is lovely as well 😉 If you can make us laugh, you are golden. If we laugh AND cry, we’ll definitely want to battle some fellow mentors over you. Fluff, serious, that lovely mix of both—we love it all.
  • We would be completely obsessed with a political thriller or mystery. We miss Veronica Mars in our lives. We’d love to meet a teenaged Olivia Pope. Is there a young adult Big Little Liesout there somewhere? If so, we want to read it.
  • We love horror. Scare the pants off us, please! We would seriously shank some of the other mentors for an old-school Fear Street-style manuscript. Evil cheerleaders in contemporary can be overdone, but you can never have enough evil cheerleaders in horror.
  • We would be super into a retelling of classic literature that hasn’t been done before. (We love you, Jane Austen and Peter Pan, but we’ve read a lot of you lately and need a break.) The Odysseyin space! Jane Eyre in the wild west! LGBT Moby Dick! Gender-swapped Vanity Fair!
  • We love sci fi, fantasy, and horror elementsin an otherwise contemporary or historical setting. Does your book have a touch of sci-fi or magic in it? We are all over that. Think Firefly the TV show, Holly Black’s White Cat trilogy, or Game of Thrones.
  • Note: We do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. Repeat: We do not want high fantasy or hardcore sci fi. If you have a question about where that line is, ask folks on the twitter feed, ask your CPs and betas, or drop one of us a line in the comments section. Don’t waste one of your precious spots sending to us when there are better mentors in the contest for you, friends!

What we want to see in a manuscript, regardless of genre? High concept ideas, unique and voicey characters, a diverse cast, a strong sense of place and time, and a unique perspective or angle (whatever that may be!). It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be promising!

We’re committed to matching you stride for stride, so you put in the work and we’ll put in the work. As your mentors, we are here for you now, but also after #PitchWars because believe you me, publishing is a crazy beast and we want to be there with you every step of the way.

Questions, comment, concerns? Hit us up in the comments section or on Twitter @ruthanne_snow and/or @destinywrites

 

 

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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

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

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!

Book Recommendation: The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

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Hardcover, 336 pages Expected publication: March 21st 2017 by Balzer + Bray

Summary:

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler, is dead, but the cops are killing him all over again. They say he died of a drug overdose, potentially suicide—something Megan cannot accept. Determined to figure out what happened in the months before Tyler’s death, Megan turns to the things he left behind. After all, she understands the stories objects can tell—at fifteen, she is a gifted collage artist with a flair for creating found-object pieces. However, she now realizes that her artistic talent has developed into something more: she can see memories attached to some of Tyler’s belongings—and those memories reveal a brother she never knew.

Enlisting the help of an artifact detective who shares her ability and specializes in murderabilia—objects tainted by violence or the deaths of their owners—Megan finds herself drawn into a world of painful personal and national memories. Along with a trusted classmate and her brother’s charming friend, she chases down the troubling truth about Tyler across Washington, DC, while reclaiming her own stifled identity with a vengeance.

My thoughts…

I was thrilled to snag an ARC of this book and before I even read it, I knew I would love it. History, politics, and a thriller… basically all my favorite things to read about. And it did not disappoint! Man oh man! Fast-paced, awesome historical intertwining, fantastic characters… this book has it all! I loved it and totally recommend it!