Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 1)
We’re so grateful for our Pitch Wars mentors! They give so much to help other authors succeed, and we couldn’t have Pitch Wars without them. So please help me in thanking the mentors for all they do via twitter, the comments, or on the Pitchwars Proboards.
Pitch Wars 2017 ADULT Mentors
Carrie Callaghan is a historical fiction writer living in Maryland with her family. Her short stories have been published in multiple literary journals around the country, and she is a senior editor with the Washington Independent Review of Books. She is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon. She loves seasons of all kinds, history, and tea. Above all, she is a reader. www.carriecallaghan.com
Clarissa Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer. She studied novel-writing with Curtis Brown Creative and was formerly a mentee on the WoMentoring Project. Her first novel, Rainbirds, won the 2015 Bath Novel Award for best unpublished novelists across the globe and since then has been acquired by 10 international publishers. She loves rainy days, pretty books and hot green tea.
Look for RAINBIRDS releasing March, 2018 from Soho Press.
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan
Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.
Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko’s, sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.
But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife.
As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.
Co-Mentors, Dan Koboldt and Michael Mammay
Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher and fantasy/science fiction author from the Midwest. He works for the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he and his colleagues use next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to uncover the genetic basis of pediatric diseases. He has co-authored more than 70 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals.
Dan is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. Every fall, he disappears into the woods to pursue whitetail deer and turkey with bow and arrow. He lives with his wife and three children in Ohio, where the deer take their revenge by eating all of the plants in his backyard.
What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. But what happens after you step through a portal to another world, well…
For stage magician Quinn Bradley, he thought his time in Alissia was over. He’d done his job for the mysterious company CASE Global Enterprises, and now his name is finally on the marquee of one of the biggest Vegas casinos. And yet, for all the accolades, he definitely feels something is missing. He can create the most amazing illusions on Earth, but he’s also tasted true power. Real magic.
He misses it. Luckily–or not–CASE Global is not done with him, and they want him to go back. The first time, he was tasked with finding a missing researcher. Now, though, he has another task: Help take Richard Holt down.
It’s impossible to be in Vegas and not be a gambler. And while Quinn might not like his odds–a wyvern nearly ate him the last time he was in Alissia–if he plays his cards right, he might be able to aid his friends.
He also might learn how to use real magic himself.
Michael Mammay writes Science Fiction, and sometimes fantasy, usually revolving around military characters. A lot of the ideas that go into those books come from having served in the Army for quite some time. There will also probably be explosions. On the page, not necessarily in real life. He’s represented by Lisa Rodgers of JABberwocky Literary Agency.
PLANETSIDE by Michael Mammay
Expected publication: July 15th 2018 by Harper Voyager
David Mealing grew up adoring all things fantasy. He studied philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of Oxford, where he taught himself to write by building worlds and stories for pen-and-paper RPGs. He enjoys board games and card games of all sorts, once spent a summer in Paris learning and subsequently forgetting how to speak French, and gave serious thought to becoming a professional bass player before deciding epic fantasy novelist was the wiser choice. He lives in Utah with his wife and three daughters, and aspires to one day own a ranch in the middle of nowhere.
SOUL OF THE WORLD by David Mealing
Three lines of magic must be conquered and three heroes must rise in the first book of this epic fantasy trilogy for fans of Mistborn and The Name of the Wind!
It is a time of revolution. In the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge.
Sarine is an artist on the streets of New Sarresant whose secret familiar helps her uncover bloodlust and madness where she expected only revolutionary fervor.
Arak’Jur wields the power of beasts to keep his people safe, but his strength cannot protect them from war amongst themselves.
Erris is a brilliant cavalry officer trying to defend New Sarresant from an enemy general armed with magic she barely understands.
Each must learn the secrets of their power in time to guide their people through ruin. But a greater evil may be trying to stop them.
DEREK CHIVERS was born and raised on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. He spent a wild childhood wandering through woods where winter winds drifted snow deeper than he was tall, and the sun stretched summer days and stories to extremes. Now he shares his life’s adventures with his wife and daughters; he can still trek through tracts of trees tucked between snowcapped summits, or choose to lose himself instead between the covers of his favorite authors’ stories.
An alumnus of the University of Alaska, Anchorage, Derek received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, wrote opinion for the campus newspaper The Northern Light, and was published several times in the annual undergraduate fiction showcase Understory. He is a founding member of Anchorage writing collective The Life Partners, and an infrequent contributor to their Tumblr, which features fresh fiction Mondays and Wednesdays. Derek’s creative nonfiction “Gunshots on Dogfish” took top prize in a statewide writing competition and was published in F Magazine. He is represented by Becky LeJeune of Bond Literary Agency.
E.B. Wheeler grew up in Georgia and California and has graduate degrees in history and landscape architecture, which are only loosely related to her first love, writing. She is the author of THE HAUNTING OF SPRINGETT HALL, NO PEACE WITH THE DAWN (with Jeff Bateman), and BORN TO TREASON, a 2016 Whitney Award finalist. When she’s not writing or chasing her kids around, she teaches history and consults about historic preservation.
BORN TO TREASON by E.B. Wheeler
Smuggling pages from a forbidden book is a small act of defiance against Queen Elizabeth I, but it entangles Joan Pryce in a plot that may cost her heart and her life. Joan is not only Catholic—her beliefs outlawed by the queen—but also Welsh, a people long oppressed by the English. When Joan’s father dies, she is cast out from her home. Nicholas, the childhood friend she was supposed to marry, is a cold stranger, disfigured by an accident no one talks about. Smuggling religious books gives Joan a chance to do something about the injustices around her, and spend time with a handsome outlaw, but draws her into a world where everyone has a secret. An agent of the queen is closing in on her, and she must choose between her loyalty to her faith, her country, and her heart. One misstep will land her at the gallows.
Emily Colin’s debut novel, The Memory Thief, has been a New York Times bestseller and a Target Emerging Authors Pick. Her diverse life experience includes organizing a Coney Island tattoo and piercing show, hauling fish at the Dolphin Research Center in the Florida Keys, roaming New York City as an itinerant teenage violinist, helping launch two small publishing companies, and serving as the associate director of DREAMS of Wilmington, a nonprofit dedicated to immersing youth in need in the arts. Originally from Brooklyn, she lives in Wilmington, NC with her family.
Emily is excited to share that she has a second novel upcoming from Ballantine Books (summer 2017). She loves chocolate, is addicted to tiramisu, and dislikes anything containing beans.
THE MEMORY THIEF by Emily Colin . . .
Before Madeleine Kimble’s mountaineer husband, Aidan, climbs Mount McKinley’s south face, he makes her a solemn vow: I will come back to you. But late one night, Maddie gets the devastating news that Aidan has died in an avalanche, leaving her to care for their son-a small boy with a very big secret. The call comes from J.C., Aidan’s best friend and fellow climber, whose grief is seasoned with survivor’s guilt . . . and something more. J.C. has loved Maddie for years, but he never wanted his chance with her to come at so terrible a cost.
Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan wakes from a motorcycle crash with his memory wiped clean. Yet his dreams are haunted by visions of a mysterious woman and a young boy, neither of whom he has ever met. Convinced that these strangers hold the answers he seeks, Nicholas leaves everything behind to find them. What he discovers will require a leap of faith that will change all of their lives forever.
Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as an editor and graphic designer, falls in love with video game characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.
Her debut novel, MACHINATIONS, released from Hydra/Random House and was chosen as one of Amazon’s Best Sci-fi and Fantasy Books of 2016. She loves interacting with fellow readers and writers on Twitter (@hayley_stone).
COUNTERPART by Hayley Stone
The high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone.
The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.
Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.
But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.
JC Nelson, the author of the Grimm Agency novels including Wish Bound, Armageddon Rules, and Free Agent, is a software developer and ex-beekeeper. A Texas native transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, JC Nelson works with software, herds chickens and children, and writes books.
The Reburialists by J. C. Nelson
Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult.
At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich.
The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave.
With the arrival of Ra-Ame looming and her undead army wreaking havoc, Brynner and Grace must race to find the key to stopping her. It’s a race they can’t afford to lose, but then again, it’s just another day on the job . . .
Jenni L. Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh spent her early years chasing around cats, dogs, and chickens in Philadelphia’s countryside, before dividing time between a soccer field and a classroom at Villanova University. She put her marketing degree to good use as an advertising copywriter, zip-code hopping with her husband to DC, NYC, NJ, and not surprisingly, back to Philly. There, Jenni’s passion for words continued, adding author to her resume. She now balances her laptop with a kid on each hip, and a four-legged child at her feet.
For the mamas, Becoming Bonnie is her debut novel that tells the untold story of how church-going Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. The sequel Being Bonnie will be released in the summer of 2018.
For the kiddos, the Brave Like Me series is her middle grade debut that features true stories from heroic women who, at a young age, accomplished daring feats of perseverance and bravery.
Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh
From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh comes the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo.
The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family’s poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas’s newest speakeasy, Doc’s.
Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn’t know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.
She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.
Few details are known about Bonnie’s life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.
Katrina Carrasco is a queer Latinx writer, born and raised in Southern California and now living in Seattle. Her short fiction has appeared in Witness Magazine, Post Road Magazine, Quaint Magazine, and other journals. Her debut novel, CIPHER, will be released in Fall 2018 by MCD/Farrar, Straus and Giroux. CIPHER follows Alma Rosales, a queer woman and ex-Pinkerton detective, as she switches between female and male disguises to investigate an opium-smuggling ring.
CIPHER by Katrina Carrasco
The debut novel centers on a detective named Alma who infiltrates a Washington Territory opium smuggling ring while disguised as a man.
Once she’s insinuated herself, Alma must create an ever-more-elaborate series of alibis while sending coded dispatches to the Pinkertons as well as managing her physical attraction to Delphine, the head of the smuggling ring, and Wheeler, the local boss.
The book is set to be published in summer 2018.
Co-Mentors, J.R. Yates and Kelly Siskind
J. R. Yates is a word nerd through and through. When she isn’t writing or reading, she practices as a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP) and herds her three bilingual children. She often jokes that she spends all day at work trying to get kids to talk, and the rest of her time at home trying to get her kids to stop! Married to the love of her life, her favorite moments are quiet evenings with her husband sharing a nice glass of wine at their home in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Time alone, hiding out in a café, writing about sexy heroes that shred her heart is her bliss. She is represented by Stacey Donaghy with Donaghy Literary Group.
J. R. is a member of the Alexandra Writers’ Centre, the RWA and this year she will be a #Pitchwars Mentor.
Kelly is the author of CHASING CRAZY, MY PERFECT MISTACE, A FINE MESS, and HOOKED ON TROUBLE, the latter three being part of her Over the Top series, all published through Grand Central’s Forever Yours. A small-town girl at heart, she moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in northern Ontario. When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head. She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—gummy bears heal all. She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.
Hooked on Trouble (Over the Top series, Book #3) by Kelly Siskind
Reality bites. Hard.
The last time Raven did “real” was sixteen months ago, when she spent one unforgettable night with the tattooed, impossibly sexy Nico, and then he disappeared the next day. Since then, she’s kept her guard up and her feelings to herself. She doesn’t have time for relationship drama when she’s busy searching for her long lost sister.
Nico hasn’t stopped thinking about Raven—her sultry curves, inked skin, and the fact that he ditched her after their night together. Now that they’re living in the same city, he knows this is his chance to make things right. What better way to prove to Raven he’s for real than helping her find her sister? But when the lines between right and wrong start to blur, putting his job on the line, Nico has to decide if the risk is worth the ultimate reward.
Kellye Garrett spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. A former magazine editor, she holds a BS in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. She now works for a leading media company and brainstorms ways to commit murder for her novels. She writes the Detective by Day mystery series for Midnight Ink. The first book, Hollywood Homicide, was a 2014 Pitch Wars manuscript. It will be out in August 2017.
Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett
Pre-order links . . .
Actress Dayna Anderson takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective
Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life.
Kristen Lepionka is the author of The Last Place You Look, forthcoming in Spring 2017 from St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books. She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary Book #1) by Kristen Lepionka
Preorder . . .
Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton―black and from the wrong side of the tracks―was convicted of the murders and is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.
Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.
The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case―hers included.
Léonie is a professional counsellor. She writes upmarket adult, new adult, and young adult fiction and is represented by Amanda Barnett of Donaghy Literary Group.
Marty writes adult and young adult fiction. All with a touch of romance. When she’s not dreaming up ways to mess with her character’s lives, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She has a BA in International Affairs in German and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She lives in New England with her retired Seabee Chief husband, children, and three neurotic cats. She’s a member of SCBWI, YARWA, and a PRO member of RWA.
Her young adult sci-fi thriller, PHOENIX RISING, won the YARWA’s Rosemary Award for speculative fiction.
She’s represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency: http://dijkstraagency.com/
’17 will be Marty’s third year mentoring in PitchWars.
Thank you to our 2017 Pitch Wars Mentors!
If you want to find out more about what they’re looking for in the submission inbox, you can find them in the 2017 Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop!
Here are some other quick links to find out all about Pitch Wars . . .
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Discussions and community: Pitchwars Proboards