Holiday Guest Post and Giveaway by Pitch Wars Mentor, Scarlet Cole
Dec02

Holiday Guest Post and Giveaway by Pitch Wars Mentor, Scarlet Cole

  Hello, Peeps. I hope 2016 has been a wonderful year for you. I took a run to clear my head at 6am this morning. It was a chilly -2C/28F, still very dark, but crystal clear and quiet. In summary, my favorite conditions for running. As I ran, I reflected on the year in preparation for writing this post. The most obvious author-y thing to be grateful for was the seven-book deal I signed with St. Martin’s Press at the start of the year for two new series. It was a big deal, and exciting. But the longer I ran, the more I realized it wasn’t about the deal. It was what it symbolized. You see, I used to be Senior Vice President of a very large company. Tens of billions of dollars large! Flash back to four years ago, and I’d have been up at four-thirty to get out for my run. I’d not get to see my kids in the morning because I’d leave for work long before they woke up. Most of my day would be consumed with meetings, and when I wasn’t meeting, I was emailing, talking, coaching, presenting, planning, budgeting, and all the other things someone with that title was expected to do. My annual evaluation told me I was great at it. But I knew the truth. MY HEART WASN’T IN IT ANY MORE. I’ve been reading romance since a snow storm in Chicago (and time spent stranded in Chicago O’Hare airport) thrust me and a paperback copy of Nora Roberts’ Jewels of The Sun together in 1999. And ever since finding that brightly colored book, and the wonderful story of Jude and Aidan contained within it, I’ve loved love stories. Since that day, I’ve read just about every kind of romance there is. And so, the more unfulfilled I became at work, the more books I devoured, until I reached the point where I thought to myself: I want to write romance. So, in 2012, I quit! People were shocked. They couldn’t understand why I would walk away from such a wonderful job to attempt to write a book. A romance book. I bought a small desk from IKEA, shoved it into an unused corner of the house, and opened my laptop. And it was in that spot that I wrote my first book, THE STRONGEST STEEL. But I had help from the most wonderful community I’d ever encountered. WRITERS! They were everywhere. On Twitter. On Facebook. It was like the most perfect village where every resident was creative, talented, positive, and super helpful. Before I knew it, I had critique partners,...

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Holiday Post with Pitch Wars Mentor, Kit Frick
Dec02

Holiday Post with Pitch Wars Mentor, Kit Frick

  The past few weeks of 2016 have been rough on a national level that has felt, for many of us, very personal. As if to underscore the national mood, it’s raining and dark outside the window of my Brooklyn apartment and, to be honest, I’m feeling a little lacking in the holiday cheer department. So I’m especially grateful for this opportunity to reflect on the good things in my writing life this year—of which there are many—and to try to make a little meaning out of them. 2016 was, to put it mildly, a landmark year for me. I signed with my agent in the spring, went on submission for the first time this summer, and signed a book deal for my first two YA novels this fall. I also joined the PitchWars mentor crew and spent a wonderfully productive month in residence at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire. You might call my year an embarrassment of riches. *Hides in embarrassment.* But the fact that these things came together for me in 2016 is mostly a fluke. Yes, I’ve been putting in the work leading up to these milestones for years, but there was also a lot of good fortune and chance involved—and ultimately, it was up to others (agents, publishers, residency juries) to allow these dreams to become a reality. So what I want to focus on here is actually something else I did in 2016—a decision I made and put into action all on my own. Because the truth is, sometimes you query hard, and that book doesn’t get you an agent. Sometimes you apply to every residency program under the sun, and you don’t get in. Or your book doesn’t win awards. Or your second (or fifth) book doesn’t sell. And so on. I think we give a lot of focus to these milestones when they do happen for us because they are so important—but also because we feel so lucky. There is always luck involved. So if 2016 was not your landmark year, I want to encourage you to do two things: Dream Big. But also, Dream Possible. Before any one of these gifts landed in my lap this year, I made the decision to leave my day job in academic administration to pursue writing and editing full-time. It was a risk; I was starting my own editorial practice from scratch, and I had no guarantees that I was going to make any money from my writing this year or any year in the future. But I planned for months (about 18, to be exact), I saved, I put a business plan in...

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