Pitch Wars Interview with Jamie Manning and his mentors, Lady Lioness and Mary Ann Marlowe
Oct31

Pitch Wars Interview with Jamie Manning and his mentors, Lady Lioness and Mary Ann Marlowe

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Jamie Manning, Lady Lioness, and Mary Ann Marlowe   Jamie Manning (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. From as far back as I can remember, I’ve loved reading. There truly is nothing like getting lost in the limitless world a book offers. Meeting exciting characters, vivid landscapes, magical creatures–it was heaven for a shy kid like myself. Now having the opportunity to create those characters and landscapes and creatures is an amazing feeling. I am eclectic in my reading style. I love everything from Harper Lee to Harlan Coban, Stephen King to JR Ward. I like the fast-paced page turners of James Patterson, the sexy m/m romances of Riley Hart, and the creepy medical thrillers of Patricia Cornwell. I really do love it all! Up to this point, I’ve focused solely on the YA world as far as my writing goes. I was about halfway through a project when these two characters came to me and gripped me like none before. I just had to write their story, so I’ve shelved YA for a bit and am having a blast dipping my toes in the Adult world of m/m romance. Mary Ann Marlowe (Co-mentor), thank you for hopping in and helping to get Jamie’s entry ready for the agent round. Somehow or other Jamie failed to submit his MS to me during the agent round. We discovered this fact as I lamented the total absence of m/m romance in my inbox, and he saw my tweet and virtually facepalmed at missing this on my wishlist. His MS came to me anyway, through the mentor network. Although I really did want to find something like his MS, I had so many amazing MS to sort through, and I wanted to give first preference to my own submissions. Fortunately, he was picked up by Lady Lioness, so everything worked out for the best. When Brenda asked me if I could step in to help Lady Lioness out with this MS, I didn’t have to think twice. Having corresponded some over Twitter with Jamie, I knew he was a great person. But when I got a chance to look at the work he’d already done for Lady Lioness, I knew he’d be a breeze to work with. His story is coming together beautifully, and I can’t wait to see the final product. I like to think that we were destined to work together. Jamie, why did you decide to participate in...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Lisa Schunemann and her mentors, Lady Lioness, and Laura Heffernan
Oct31

Pitch Wars Interview with Lisa Schunemann and her mentors, Lady Lioness, and Laura Heffernan

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Lisa Schunemann, Lady Lioness, and Laura Heffernan  Lisa Schunemann (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. Growing up, I moved from state to state due to my father’s job. When you’re not the natural social butterfly, it’s hard to make friends. I found my friends in the characters of books, reading whatever I could get my hands on – literally, my nose was always found in the pages of a book. I’m surprised I don’t have ‘Chapter’ inked permanently on my skin. Romance is one of my favorite genres. I love reading a story front to back, over and over, and finding new things I may have missed the first go around. I’m attracted to stories that build worlds we want to live in, with characters we see as our friends, family members, and, yes, even enemies. I wish I started writing earlier in my career, but I also know that my life experiences have shaped my writing passion for the better. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, specializing in health administration. Putting my fingers to the keyboard was a scary moment, because I knew once I started and let my passions flow, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’m very glad this turned out to be true. My debut novel is just the first in a long line of stories developing in my head. Laura Heffernan (Co-mentor), thank you for hopping in and helping to get Lisa’s entry ready for the agent round. I loved Lisa’s story from the moment I read the query she submitted to the NewAgent contest back in July. The first page was even better. After we chose the winners, I sent her a query and first page critique, and we hit it off immediately. (How can you not love someone who calls you Yoda?) During the PitchWars selection round, I loved the full manuscript, but ultimately thought she would be better off with a different mentor. When I heard her mentor could use help toward the end of the contest, I volunteered so fast, I think I scared people. The changes so far are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’m awed and humbled to see how hard Lisa is working. Everything about this woman is amazing. Lisa,  why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I entered my contemporary romance, BOOT ME, BLONDIE, in Pitch Wars because of the faith I have in...

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Pitch Wars Interview with G.K. Kaup and her mentor, Tom Torre
Oct30

Pitch Wars Interview with G.K. Kaup and her mentor, Tom Torre

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Tom Torre and G.K. Kaup #TeamShiftception Tom Torre (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I’m a sucker for any sort of book. No joke – you can find me reading middle-grade in Barnes and Noble, but don’t be surprised if you accidentally open the bathroom door and find me eyeballs deep in a good thriller. Ultimately though my genre of choice is the good ‘ol MG. Can’t escape it…can’t avoid reading, can’t avoid writing it. It’s funny, but I never even pictured myself as a writer. I was a comic book artist since college, and until my wife convinced me that my writing techniques were stronger than my artistic ones, I didn’t even think about it. Now, I can’t even stop. Go figure! But, I can’t say I didn’t learn anything at art school, and who knows maybe one day I’ll make the next DIARY OF A WIMPY KID….fingers crossed, eh? G.K. Kaup (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I love children’s sci-fi and fantasy that are set in the ordinary world and take a twist into the supernatural–A Wrinkle in Time, Holes, Underland Chronicles, etc. I’ve been seriously writing for three years, starting with YA books, but I couldn’t quite master the teenage angst that so many others are good at expressing. So I tried my hand at writing in first person as a middle school boy and the voice fit. My years teaching over-active pubescent boys paid off! Tom,  why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? Easy – I know what it’s like to want to take a book to the next level, and I know for a fact you need those extra eyeballs for it. Not to mention, it’s impossible for me to not want to meet and greet new writers since the writer-verse we have in twitter-land and in the blog-o-sphere has some of the most amazing writers imaginable. Who wouldn’t want to befriend one!? Oh, and of course I love critiquing a juicy MS. G.K., why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?     I’ve been doing some online contests, and I love the feedback and encouragement. With Pitch Wars I figured I’d get a little info from some of the people I submitted to, but if I actually got a mentor, then I’d get help with my WHOLE manuscript. So I was ecstatic when I saw my name on the mentee list! Tom, what are you most...

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Win a Hard Cover of PERSUASION by Martina Boone … out now!
Oct30

Win a Hard Cover of PERSUASION by Martina Boone … out now!

I am so excited for the release of Martina Boone’s PERSUASION. The first in the book is such a fantastic read, I can’t wait to continue on with Barrie’s journey. Many talk about my contests and I’m not sure everyone knows that I used to enter contests when I was starting out. Martina was the first person to give me a critique through Adventures In YA Publishing and I’ve been a big fan ever since. She’s one of the original writers to offer a place for critique and agent contests.  To celebrate, I’m giving away a hard cover copy of PERSUASION. Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. And check out Martina, she’s one of the absolute best person I’ve ever met. persuasion October, 2015 HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 2 Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse Hardcover, ISBN: 9781481411257 Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble |iBooks Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation besieged by reporters and ghost-hunters. Some are hoping to see the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, while others are chasing rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. Chaos descends as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. But more is buried there than treasure. A mysterious, magical man appears at Watson’s Landing, claiming the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts and the Colesworth curse also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, he engages Barrie and Cassie in a midnight visit, but the spell he conjurs has potentially deadly consequences. While Barrie and dreamy Eight Beaufort struggle to make sense of the escalating danger and their growing feelings for each other, Barrie has to figure out not only whom to trust, but which gift is more reliable—Eight’s or her own. With millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families at stake, she must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep her loved ones safe. Signed copies are available from One More Page Books. You can also order with the special “I have a Compulsion for reading” bookplate from Eight Cousins. compulsion October, 2014 HEIRS OF WATSON ISLAND, BOOK 1 Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse Hardcover, ISBN: 18732883 All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Jessica Bloczynski and her mentor, Samantha Joyce
Oct30

Pitch Wars Interview with Jessica Bloczynski and her mentor, Samantha Joyce

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Samantha Joyce and Jessica Bloczynski Team Space Whale Samantha Joyce (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I’m a gal who prides herself on her geekiness. I have a TARDIS for pretty much every surface of my house. I consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best television show of all time. It was that perfect blend of funny, scary, and dramatic. I pretty much read any genre. Contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, thriller, romance…I love it all! As long as a book has a great voice and interesting premise, I’m in. I read primarily adult and young adult, though I’ll pick up a great middle grade, too. I’m a sucker for a good love story, so I usually include one in my books. When I write, I love to make people feel, but I really love to make them laugh. Even when my books get serious, there’s usually a joke to be found in there somewhere. In fact, that’s how I cope in life in genereal. I’m the girl who makes that awkward joke in the direst of circumstances. Hey, what’s life if you can’t laugh through it, right? Jessica Bloczynski (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. Hey, I’m Jessica. I write things. Also stuff. Yes, quite often stuff is involved. In my past life, I slung organic groceries, but when that chapter of my life came to a close I decided it was high time I did something with my languishing creative writing degree, and now I’m a stay-at-home parent and full time writer. I live in Madison WI with my husband of forever 16 years and our two kids. As far as writing/reading tastes go, I have a deep and abiding love for YA in general and all things speculative in particular. This should surprise no one seeing as it’s what I write. If I had to pick a favorite genre, I’d have to say horror. I like to tell people I spent my teen years reading Stephen King’s IT on loop. I did actually read other things in high school, I mean, The Stand rocks too. But seriously, I like a variety of things and sometimes even read contemp though I’m always trying to imagine how I could turn those contemp stories speculative. It’s a sickness. That’s, more or less, how my book came to be. I took an everyday, if terrible, experience and then kept pulling out the what ifs until it wasn’t...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Brian O’Conor and his mentor, Hayley Stone
Oct29

Pitch Wars Interview with Brian O’Conor and his mentor, Hayley Stone

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Hayley Stone and Brian O’Conor #TEAMFLIPPINGFLIP Hayley (H.N.) Stone (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I’m the type of person who considers Costco’s strategic value during a zombie apocalypse, which should tell you everything you need to know about me, really. No? Fiiiine. Here’s some other stuff then: I spent my formative years writing Star Wars fanfiction and developing a particularly strong affinity for character banter and tragedy. Link from Legend of Zelda was my original video game crush until unseated by Carth Onasi from Knights of the Old Republic (which I maintain is one of the best games ever). Much of what I learned about ensemble casts and storytelling, I learned from video games. BioWare has broken my heart numerous times, and I keep going back for more. Brian O’Conor (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I basically owe all of my creative drive and storytelling abilities to one things: FINAL FANTASY VI, which I got for Christmas one year back in the mid ’90s. It completely changed the way I thought of narrative fiction. It had a sprawling cast of characters, each with unique personality traits and rich personal histories. The worldbuilding was beyond anything I had experienced before, and the prominent fusion of magic and technology has been part of all my stories since. And it’s was a story where the bad guy actually won and the heroes, scattered to the edges of the world, had to regroup and start again in ruined world. There’s been a myriad of books, comics, movies, whatever over the years that have influenced the way I tell stories, but FFVI was the real spark that ignited my creative fire. Nowadays I enjoy reading SFF of most any flavor and have a TBR pile that extends from my Write Cave to the Moon (as pretty much every writer does). Recent faves include Brian Staveley’s THE EMPEROR’S BLADES, Max Gladstone’s THREE PARTS DEAD and Pitch Wars Mentor (and friend!) Emmie Mears’ STORM IN A TEACUP. My own writing style features a lot of dialogue and descriptions to flesh out the narrative. If there’s one thing I think I’m pretty good at, it’s writing snappy banter. If there’s one thing I really need to work on, cutting back on the flowery language and just getting to the point. I’m still working on that one (much to Hayley’s dismay, I’m sure :D). Hayley, why did you decide to participate...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Heather Murphy Capps and her mentor, Kendra Young
Oct29

Pitch Wars Interview with Heather Murphy Capps and her mentor, Kendra Young

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Kendra Young and Heather Murphy Capps Team Ghost!  Kendra Young (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I live in southeast Tennessee and have a serious soft spot for good sweet tea, lightning bugs, and a good ghost story. While paranormal fiction is my first love, I enjoy any kind of well-told story regardless of genre. Sci-fi? Yes. Mysteries? Please. Romance? Bring it. With that said, I love to see mashups! I’m a huge fan of comedic horror, to say the least. My writing style tends to be pretty “voice-y” (that’s a word, right?) and I try to make every character unique in the way they think, sound, and move. It’s no small secret that my characters are very real to me, and I hope I show this in my writing. Heather Murphy Capps (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I am a mashup – born in Peru, raised in Minnesota, married a Southerner, and live on the East Coast. Of course I believe in magic — and also going with your gut, using your manners, and being loyal. Plus, I’m an extrovert, which makes me a fun person to invite to parties — I’ll always mingle and be happy about it. I love to read thrillers, horror, light sci-fi, and speculative fiction, all with a healthy dash of humor, which is also how I write. When things get serious (and they always do because there’s nothing I like more than DRAMA! SCARE! EMOTIONS!), my main characters say something silly or funny to lighten the mood. Kendra, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? For me it was about giving back to the writing community. Unlike my mentee, I’m a true introvert. So there have been many times that people in the writing community have encouraged me through blog posts, Tweets, and especially through contests, without any knowledge that they did so (because I’m too shy to tell them, haha!). I’ve learned so much from my fellow writers and know my writing would not have grown the way it has without them, so this is just my way of paying it forward. Heather, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I watched the Pitch Wars feed last year and loved all the inspiring stories of collaboration and friendship. This year I decided I wanted the chance to be included in the fun – so I steeled my nerves and jumped in....

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Pitch Wars Interview with Jenn Brisendine and her mentor, Rebecca Wells
Oct29

Pitch Wars Interview with Jenn Brisendine and her mentor, Rebecca Wells

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Jenn Brisendine and Rebecca Wells Team Secrets! Rebecca Wells (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. Oh, man. Well, I enjoy reading pretty much everything! (This is only a slight exaggeration.) From picture books all the way through adult, I will read almost anything if it can hook me in. Right now the most surprising book on my nightstand is probably Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton (yes, the one that became the musical!). I started it on a friend’s recommendation and it’s surprisingly engrossing. It keeps me up at night! I do have to confess I’m particularly partial to anything and everything to do with fairy tales, though. I grew up on books like Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY and Shannon Hale’s THE GOOSE GIRL, so it’s not that surprising that when I started writing seriously, I wound up squarely in that lyrical fairy tale niche. I love books that twist the original tales and show familiar characters through unexpected, different lenses, and that’s what I aim for in my own writing. I’ve probably got fifteen different Rapunzel retellings buried somewhere in my computer… Fun facts? Well – I got my nose broken in a soccer game, but I didn’t realize it was broken until I got black eyes the next morning! In middle school I memorized 125 digits of pi for a recitation competition. Also, I once cried in front of Sharon Creech. Jenn Brisendine (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I grew up on Stephen King. I read pretty much every one of his books throughout middle and high school, and I reflected a lot on the fiction lessons inherent in his books (POV, pacing, parallel plotting…) throughout my college education, even as my love of Romantic poets, classic writers, and Shakespeare deepened. Stephen King’s books taught me that no matter your content, a story can be told with class, panache, and plenty of literary devices. I love women’s fiction too; favorites there are Barbara Kingsolver and Anna Quindlen for their ability to weave literary flavor into a sweep-you-up kind of story. Rebecca, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I entered one of Brenda’s other contests earlier this year (Pitch Madness). Being chosen to compete was a huge kick in the pants that helped me finally finish revising my novel and start querying. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my participation in Pitch Madness was instrumental in signing with my...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Lucy Goacher and Dani Denatti and their mentor, Sarah Henning
Oct28

Pitch Wars Interview with Lucy Goacher and Dani Denatti and their mentor, Sarah Henning

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Lucy Goacher, Dani Denatti and their mentor Sarah Henning #TeamPartnersInCrime Sarah Henning (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m not NEARLY as funny as my two mentees. As you can see from their introductions, they are hilarious. I’m going to go hide in a corner wearing a suit coat with elbow patches while trying to look like I know more than these gals, because I definitely don’t. They are amazing and I’m honored to work with them. Though a vegetarian in my edible life, I’m a total omnivore in my literary life. I read everything from YA fantasy to hard-core Harry Hole detective novels. That said, my favorite in ANY category or genre are books exactly like the ones Dani and Lucy have written: somewhat funny, somewhat serious, with excellent dialogue and plots that are mysterious and thrilling but fall between genres. I love cookies but I don’t like my books cookie cutter. And, if I’m doing it right, my own writing will mirror what I like to read. Lucy Goacher (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I might get whacked around the head with a hardback copy of Bleak House for admitting this, but… I’m one of those naughty writers who doesn’t actually read very often. *Braces for Dickens impact.* Don’t get me wrong, I went to all the Harry Potter midnight releases when I was a kid, I had a trunk full of Francine Pascal’s Fearless books, and I loved English lessons – enough to study English Literature at the University of Sussex and follow it up with a painfully theory-heavy master’s degree – but for me, it’s always been the story that’s the important bit, not the medium. So while I’d stick Rebecca, The Martian, Jane Eyre, David Copperfield, Middlemarch, Gone Girl, Red Dragon, and Bridget Jones’ Diary on my list of favourite books, they’re just as important to me as my film and TV loves: Star Trek, Breaking Bad, Daredevil, Se7en, Forever, Hannibal, Jonathan Creek, Bones, Edge of Tomorrow, Hot Fuzz, and Interstellar. Because of my love of film, I’d call myself more of an entertainer than a writer. My work isn’t all arty sentences or pretty literary metaphors; it’s about jamming together unexpected plot twists, kick-ass characters, and inverted genre clichés to create something truly fun. Words are just the vehicle to take me there. Dani Denatti (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. Hello,...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Michael Mammay and his mentor, Dan Koboldt
Oct28

Pitch Wars Interview with Michael Mammay and his mentor, Dan Koboldt

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Dan Koboldt and Michael Mammay Team Planetside Dan Koboldt (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I like traditional epic fantasy and sci-fi geekery, but the latest books to enchant me were The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch) and The Name of the Wind (Patrick Rothfuss). I like reading about swords, horses, and dragons, but not baths, torture, or animals-as-protagonists. Unless I’m reading a picture book to my kids, in which case animals and baths are no problem. Michael Mammay (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. This year I’ve loved The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Gone Girl, Ready Player One, Half The World, and The Martian as well as a bunch of others. I am a total seat of the pants person when it comes to writing. I started my current book, PLANETSIDE, with basically a character and a setting. I’d been writing for 45 days before I had any idea what was going to happen in the third act. I woke up New Year’s morning with the answer, and that part of the book pretty much stuck despite some pretty major revisions recently. What’s fun about me…I’d say I was Batman, but some copyright lawyers from DC Comics have told me that is *not* okay. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got. Dan, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I first joined Pitch Wars (last year) because I do whatever Brenda says, and to get more involved in the writing community. I’m busier this year (for good reasons) but couldn’t pass up the camaraderie that grows among the mentors. It’s like making 100 new friends who understand the intensity and hard work and incredible patience required to make it as a writer. Michael, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I injured my back. It’s a long story . It started at last year’s Pitchwars, which really introduced me to the writing community and all its benefits. Brenda Drake was my first follower on Twitter. Really. You can look it up. Spoiler Alert: I didn’t get in. But I connected with a lot of other people who also didn’t get in who made me better as a writer. This year, the timing worked out. I started the book in November and planned to have it ready in June, but I hurt my back and lost a couple months, so it was August and there was Pitchwars and it just seemed right. Dan,...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Molly Cluff and her mentor, Tabitha Martin
Oct28

Pitch Wars Interview with Molly Cluff and her mentor, Tabitha Martin

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Molly Cluff and Tabitha Martin  Team Kismet Tabitha Martin (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. Hey! I’m Tabitha and I write (mostly) YA contemporary. And if I can make you cry by the time you finish one of my novels, well, I feel I’ve done my job. I’m a sucker for feels and like to punch you in the gut with them. My writing style is messy. Gimme all the fragmented or run-on sentences. Because of my love of feels and internal struggle, I wrote a lot through introspection and tend to be more on the literary side of things. Though I love writing contemporary, my favorite genre to read is fantasy. Can’t get enough of it. I started writing when I was 8, after I was in a pretty bad accident. I climbed up my neighbor’s house to retrieve a Barbie from the roof and ending up falling off, and scraped my back, shoulder to hip bone on a nail that was sticking out of the wall. I got 200 of those internal dissolvable stitches, 56 on top, and then 9 staples to seal the deal. For months I begged my mom to call that show “Rescue 911” so they could tell my story, but she did not cater to my wishes. I’m still slightly resentful of this. I missed the first 3 weeks of 3rd grade, but when I got back, my teacher told us to write a story, and so I wrote about what happened to me. Long story short, I won a school wide and then a county wide contest and I’ve been writing feverishly ever since. Molly Cluff (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. Hi everybody! I’m Molly, and I write Contemporary Young Adult—usually with a teeniest hint of magical realism. I really enjoy creating flawed characters who don’t look perfect and don’t make the smartest decisions. I love the writing styles of writers like Rainbow Rowell, Laurie Halse Anderson, and E. Lockhart. Oh, and Maggie Stiefvater (I will love her and her aviator glasses forever and always). I’m also a hardcore classics nerd. Once my CPs and I trekked 18 miles across the moors of Haworth, England where the Bronte sisters lived. BECAUSE WE’RE NERDS LIKE THAT. Also, once I met a hot blonde guy at a National Monument who was talking up how much he knew about Shakespeare. When he mentioned the play Titus Andronicus, I told him...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Lorien Hallama and her mentor, Julie Dao
Oct27

Pitch Wars Interview with Lorien Hallama and her mentor, Julie Dao

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Julie Dao and Lorien Hallama #TeamHobbit Julie Dao (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I write both MG and YA, and I absolutely love reading books in those categories. I don’t think I will ever stop being young at heart when it comes to books! (And who wants to be around people who aren’t young at heart, anyway?!) I love the atmospheric and haunting, the epic and heartfelt. I am drawn to books that make me laugh and cry and feel deeply. Those things transcend genre, I think. But if I had to pick a favorite genre, it would probably be a toss-up between creepy and fantasy. Ok, ok, “creepy” isn’t a genre, but I like spooky stories that aren’t quite horror. So what is that? Gothic? Like my mentee Lorien’s book, BITS AND PIECES! /shameless plug Lorien Hallama (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. The first story I remember writing was about a money tree. It had paparazzi, a swarm of reporters, and treasure trolls – it was epic! I think I was in first grade at the time. My teacher made me share it with the class, and from that point on, I was hooked on writing. I continued to write stories, and in second or third grade I wrote my first “novel” called Thriller Nights, about a creepy babysitter who stole babies. I still love to write creepy stories with magical elements, especially those set in my hometown, which in itself feels kind of haunting and creepy sometimes. We even have a town witch! Legend has it that Goodie Bassett was hanged here for witchcraft in the mid-1600’s. Her head is allegedly buried in back of the library, which happens to be the same library that inspired Steven King to write It. Kind of awesome. It’s local stories like this that helped to inspire Bits and Pieces, the MG novel I entered into Pitch Wars. Julie, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? Way, way back in 2013 (I know. AGES ago), I was selected by N.K. Traver for her team and by Stephanie Garber for her team. That experience did not win me my agent, but I truly think it opened the door for me. Both ladies gave me great mentorship, my teammates gave me encouragement, and just over a year later the YA manuscript I entered (ELEGY, a ghost story inspired by the Phantom of the Opera) got...

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