Welcome to my wish list, Pitch Wars hopefuls! I'm a YA mentor looking for an adventure loving mentee who isn't afraid to work hard. Ready for the details?! :)
It's incredibly surreal to be writing this post. Last year, I entered Pitch Wars and it has literally changed my life. My mentor, Megan Lally, challenged me to make my story the best that it can be. After two rounds of revisions, I was ready to start querying and not long after, I signed with the wonderful Mary C. Moore with my Pitch Wars manuscript! It's a story about a Latina pirate sailing the Caribbean seas in the early 1700s during the Golden Age of Pirates. There is also a very handsome merman. It's currently on submission and I'm hard at work on my WIP, THE PONY EXPRESS.
Some other qualifications: I majored in Creative Writing + History, have critiqued and beta read for other writers (agented and not) and have gone through a hefty revision of my own manuscript, SEA OF RIVALS, with my agent. I know how to break down a novel and build it back up again so it's at its best. It will be hard work but totally worth it when everything is all said and done. With me as your mentor, please be prepared for hard work. I want my mentee's story to be the absolute best that it can be. :)
When I'm not writing, I'm running my company, 9th Letter Press, a design and stationery studio based in Winter Park, Florida. That's right...I design and write greeting cards for a living. We use a letterpress built in 1894 (it's made of cast iron and weighs a whopping 1,500 pounds!) for printing and he is the heart and soul of 9th Letter Press. I started the company four years ago and I sort of can't believe I get to do what I do.
Side note: I feel like now is as great time to mention my scavenger letter is B!
WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU
Here's the game plan: I'll read my mentee's MS very carefully and write up a detailed edit letter addressing the various aspects of the story that need work. This can be anything from dialogue to the world building, from character development to their emotional arcs. From there, my mentee will revise, revise, revise and then once he/she believes it's ready, I'll take another quick look and add any track comments I think necessary for another round of quick edits before the agent round. If you're game to work hard, I'm your mentor! I'll push and encourage you, always politely and never in a harsh way. And I'll always be honest with what is and isn't working.
I'll always be available for questions via email but full disclosure, I'm a SERIOUS introvert so if you're looking to have multiple chats on the phone a week, I'm not the mentor for you. But I'll respond quickly to emails and questions, twitter and any DMs, that I can promise you. :)
WHAT I'M LOOKING FOR
Remember that moment in Beauty and the Beast when Belle is surrounded by rolling hills and she starts singing about wanting adventure in the great, wide somewhere? This is all me, sweet friends. I want your adventure, your far off places, daring sword fights and princes in disguise, please and thank you!
I'm seeking incredible landscapes, well drawn fantasy and fresh world building. Does anyone have a fairy tale retelling in the same tone as SHREK or ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS? Please do send my way! Do you have a story set in a desert kingdom or ice castle? YES, YES, YES. I want all the unique settings, please!
(And here is where I reiterate my love of fairy tale retellings. GRABBY HANDS).
SETTING: I'm the most excited about unique places that haven't been overly done. Roman servant in a palatial house? Catherine the Great's court? A YA mystery set in a theater? I LOVE epics and sweeping landscapes, where the latter is a character onto itself.
ROMANCE: I LOVE love. I'm looking for believable romance, so please no instalove and the like. I'm a sucker for these troupes: hate to love, friends to something more, will they or won't they, forbidden romance, and enemies to lovers. Do you have something that falls in that category? HIT SEND NOW.
DIVERSITY: As a Bolivian Latina writer, I think reading about different cultures enriches the reader and their perspectives. This is super important to me. I would love to get my hands on a story from a different culture/religion/background. Ottoman empire? Babylonian? Imperial Russia? The Dominican Republic? Cuba? China? Africa? Hispanic, Black, Asian? YES PLEASE, especially own voices.
TIME TRAVEL: As an avid Outlander fan, I would love to get my hands on a YA version, but please no Scotland and their highlander warriors. I'm looking for something that hasn't been done before. :)
HISTORICAL: I love any and all Historical tales, so if you have epic battle scenes and political powers at play between empires, PLEASE send it my way. If you have a story about the French Revolution (and kudos if it has french words in it), I WANT IT. But seriously, all of the history—I want it, no matter the era or continent. Side note: I used to want to be an Egyptologist. If you have a story about a plucky female Egyptologist...you know what to do! :)
A word about science fiction: I love it, but I'm very, very selective. If you have a space opera, a la STAR WARS, I wantsss it. Since science fiction can be such a cold atmosphere, the characters need to have warmth. Fantastic sense of humor a major plus. ;)
RANDOM LOVES: I love bounty hunters, Norse Mythology, shipwrecks, ninjas, and mysteries. Do you have a YA version of Sherlock? I want it! I love tough heroines, who don't just rely on their mad sword skills but on their intelligence and wit as well. I also love princesses, but lately I've been more intrigued by the people around those in positions of power—the guards, ladies in waiting, etc. I want to read about the people whose stories don't often get told.
In short, I'm looking to be delighted and kudos to you if you make me giggle over a clever turn of phrase. :)
If you have anything like the following books, SEND IT MY WAY PLEASE AND THANKS!
- Shadowfell (or anything by Juliet Marillier)
- Salt to the Sea
- Walk on Earth a Stranger
- Anything by Susanna Kearsley
- My Lady Jane
To make things easier, here's my YES list:
- Historical (I love all history and time periods, kudos if it has fantasy).
- Fairy Tale Retellings (!!!!)
- Romance (as a subplot! That shouldn't be the main focus)
And here is my NO list:
- Contemporary (I LOVE contemp, but I don't think I'm the right mentor for this genre!)
- Rape (it's OK if it alludes to it but NO on screen time)
- Mermaids + Pirates (I have nothing but love for them but I want to be SUPER careful as I'm on submission with my own Pirate and Mermaid story, and can potentially be revising down the road. I don't want to take on something too familiar!).