A Pitch Wars 2014 Success Story with Heather Ezell and Her Mentor, Rachel Lynn Solomon!
Apr26

A Pitch Wars 2014 Success Story with Heather Ezell and Her Mentor, Rachel Lynn Solomon!

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we celebrate Heather Ezell and her Pitch Wars mentor Rachel Lynn Solomon! Heather signed with Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary, and Marissa Grossman at Razorbill has acquired her debut NOTHING LEFT TO BURN. We couldn’t be more thrilled for her. So without further ado, please meet Heather and Rachel as they recap their Pitch Wars success story.   Heather, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Rachel? Ah! Moment of shame. I did not submit to Rachel. AND I AM THE LUCKIEST GIRL THAT I STILL WOUND UP WITH HER, MY GOODNESS <3. Backstory: I was a very, very last minute Pitch Wars applicant. I was supposed to start grad school and teaching that fall, so I knew it was unrealistic for me to attempt the rigidness of Pitch Wars, but man did I fantasize about submitting all summer. I had a manuscript ready! I wanted to revise! I wanted to interact with fellow YA writers! I wanted the challenge! But it could not be… But then–dun dun dun–I started doubting the logic of moving to Alaska and starting grad school when my health was on the fritz. On a whim, I submitted. I only had an hour or so to read through the mentor blog hop (I know, I’m terrible, don’t do this!) and was in such a mental frenzy (I was dying my hair simultaneously!), I only submitted to mentors I’d been following on Twitter longterm–all fantastic writers and mentors–but I was SO, SO, SO lucky that one of those gals forwarded my submission to Rachel. Whoever did this, THANK YOU! CAN I HUG YOU? By the time I’d officially deferred my graduate studies, Rachel surprised-emailed me a request for my full manuscript. I was so thrilled by her email. It was an instant connection: I had those ~I GOT A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS~ vibes. Naturally, when I went back and read Rachel’s blog-hop, I kicked myself. She was a perfect fit. Long story short: I didn’t submit to Rachel but Rachel found me and this changed my world. Rachel, what about Heather’s application made you choose her? Heather’s application wasn’t initially submitted to me, but I’m so glad it found its way to me! The manuscript’s sense of place (Orange County during a forest fire the main character may or may not have played a role in setting) immediately captivated me, and the sensory details fully transported me there. Her writing is stunning. Every word felt both meticulously chosen and effortless, and the book...

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My Thoughts About Bullying by Kelly Calabrese
Apr26

My Thoughts About Bullying by Kelly Calabrese

  HEY THERE FELLOW ARMADILLOS! AKA: MY THOUGHTS ABOUT BULLYING. BY: KELLY CALABRESE I’ve been asked to share my insights on bullying, which Urban Dictionary defines as: See abuse. ‘Nuff said.  So true! Bullying is abuse. It is a wicked display of power meant to intimidate and embarrass another. Worst all, bullying often causes victims to internalize. We remain silent about what happens. But thanks to organizations and people like Brenda Drake, many are speaking up. This is me speaking up. This is me on a rooftop bellowing… THE BULLIES ARE THE WRONG ONES. It’s not you. It’s not us!!! I’m loud. You probably heard that right now. If you didn’t, I hope some of these thoughts might make their way to your ears. And any currently wounded chunks of your heart. *First thought: For those facing bullies, I wish I had a simple solution for you. I wish I could let you in on a secret that saying the word – armadillo – will ward off all bullies and allow you to live as free as a ray of sunshine. It won’t. But armadillo is a fun word to say. And being able to keep a strong sense of inner light is one key to getting through hard times. I believe this to be true… “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt It’s not easy to maintain a strong core, while in the middle of a mean storm. I didn’t remain strong. As a kid, from age five to fifteen, I spent every day as a target. I went through a gamut of name calling, people spitting on me, playing pranks on me, and even inappropriate touching. I tried everything I could to make people stop picking on me. I tried laughing alongside them. Ignoring them. Hiding. None of it worked. Only time stopped the bullies. Sucky news. I realize. But now I know! There was one thing I never tried. Loving myself. Being kind to myself. Ouch. Damn. It hurt to get picked on. But it hurts way more, still, to know how much I internalized. How much consent I gave. How inferior I allowed others to make me feel. If I could go back to young me, I’d hug the crap out of myself. I’d embrace myself so hard I’d feel no pain at the end of the day except for the hug bruises left by a self-loving, superhero named ME. *Second thought: Talk about it. I never told anyone what I went through. Only Cover Girl knew. Yes, I mean the make-up. Because I used so much of their foundation...

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