Pitch Madness 2017 . . . Introducing the Agents!
Jan27

Pitch Madness 2017 . . . Introducing the Agents!

  Pitch Madness is a contest where you can win a request from one or more amazing agents. To get all the rules, see the Pitch Madness Page. The submission window will be open from 12:01 AM EST until 11:59PM EST on February 24. There is no limit of how many entries will be accepted. Please note: All entries sent before or after the allotted times will be deleted. Sixty finalists move to the agent round. Pitch Madness will accept Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult completed and polished fiction, novel length manuscripts only. No non-fiction. One entry per writer. For details about the contest and how to enter, go to Announcing Pitch Madness 2017…Candyland Edition!  Good luck! All the twitter fun will be happening on the hashtag #PitchMadness!   And here are the 2017 Pitch Madness agents!    Lara Perkins – Andrea Brown Literary Twitter | Andrea Brown Literary Lara represents authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction. She has been with Andrea Brown since 2010 and is also the agency’s Digital Manager. In picture books, Lara is actively seeking picture book author/illustrators who bring unique perspectives to their work, particularly perspectives that have been historically underrepresented in children’s literature. She is drawn to bold art, a playful use of media and format, and kid-appealing humor. In middle grade, Lara is drawn to fresh, unexpected fantasy and light fantasy, clever mysteries, and vivid contemporary realistic fiction, all with a strong sense of place and exceptional character development. Character-driven humor always catches her eye, and she loves friendship stories (especially friendship “break up” stories), multicultural family stories, and non-traditional family structures. In young adult, Lara is seeking transformative, page-turning, character-driven fiction in any genre: fantasy, science fiction, contemporary realistic, historical, mystery, etc. She gravitates towards an unexpected premise that makes her do a double take (example: assassin nuns!), an evocative and richly described setting, and fully realized, complex characters. She’s looking for authors who wield language intentionally, and manuscripts that she can’t put down because she’s swept up in the high stakes, the compelling voice, the original world building, and/or the character-driven humor. As a more specific wish, Lara grew up in Los Angeles and would love to find a middle grade or young adult novel set in the real, diverse LA (not Hollywood).   Heather Flaherty – The Bent Agency Twitter | The Bent Agency Heather Flaherty represents children’s, middle-grade, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select adult fiction and non-fiction. From Heather: I grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and worked in New York City as a playwright during...

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CASK STRENGTH by Pitch Wars mentor, Layla Reyne . . . Cover reveal!
Jan26

CASK STRENGTH by Pitch Wars mentor, Layla Reyne . . . Cover reveal!

  Title: Cask Strength Author: Layla Reyne Publisher: Carina Press Release Date: May 1, 2017 About the book . . . Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake. Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories. As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them. Pre-order: Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Google | Barnes & Noble   Layla Reyne Web ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Blog ~ Pinterest ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla Reyne, was raised in North Carolina but now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving...

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A Pitch Wars 2015 Success Story with Emily Ungar and her mentor, Stefanie Wass
Jan23

A Pitch Wars 2015 Success Story with Emily Ungar and her mentor, Stefanie Wass

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Emily Ungar and her mentor, Stefanie Wass. Emily signed with Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2015, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Emily and Stefanie on their Pitch Wars Success. Emily, what was it about Stefanie that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? This was my third time applying to PitchWars and my second time applying with a middle grade book. I read Stefanie’s bio in previous years and thought she sounded wonderful—warm, engaging, and incredibly supportive. When I applied in 2015 with a contemporary heartfelt novel, I instinctively thought about Stefanie but then second-guessed myself. This was a lesson for me in learning to trust my gut. But luckily another mentor to which I had applied passed my submission to Stefanie, and a match was made! Stefanie, what was it about Emily’s SCARLET RUNNER BEAN that hooked you? I was hooked by the authentic characters, pitch-perfect middle grade voice, and the amazing premise. Emily, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Stefanie is so amazingly organized and efficient that she had notes for me right away. I was able to use the excitement and momentum of being chosen and channel that into getting a head start on revisions. She made incredibly thoughtful suggestions and comments. I’m a spreadsheet lover, and I organized each suggestions into a row in an Excel document and tackled them one by one so it didn’t seem so overwhelming! I took several weeks to tackle the first pass and then Stefanie read my revisions quickly and got back with me with notes for the second pass. She was encouraging through email and Twitter and I knew she was with me every step of the way. It’s been a year and a half since we began working together and we still check in with each other. I’ve found a writing mentor and friend for life, and I feel so incredibly thankful for her. She is truly my writing guardian angel! Stefanie, tell us about your experience mentoring Emily. Emily was a dream mentee! She was open to feedback, timely in revisions, and ready to push her writing to the next level. She never complained about my nit-picky revision notes, either! Emily, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Dianne Freeman and her mentor, E.B. Wheeler
Jan20

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Dianne Freeman and her mentor, E.B. Wheeler

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Dianne Freeman and her mentor, E.B. Wheeler. Dianne signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Dianne and E.B. on their Pitch Wars Success. Dianne, what was it about E.B. that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? Emily liked history and mystery so I thought we’d be a good fit. Reading her bio gave me some insight to her personality—humor, intelligence, and kindness. I could tell she’d have a good eye for the weaknesses in my writing. I knew I’d love every minute of working with her and I was right! E.B., what was it about Dianne’s A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER that hooked you? The voice. It’s appropriately old-fashioned for a historical mystery, but not too stuffy, and it’s full of this great, dry humor. Dianne, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I had a bit of a head start on this. While Emily was still deciding on her mentee, she sent me some notes on the big-picture issues she’d want to work on, to see if I was open to them. I thought they were such good ideas, I dove right in, never thinking she’d actually pick me. So when she sent her big-picture edits, I was ready. We did a second pass for line edits, ten first chapters, and twenty first pages! Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but we really worked toward perfecting them. E.B., tell us about your experience mentoring Dianne. Dianne was great to work with. She was enthusiastic about strengthening her manuscript, and she took my feedback and ran with it. If I suggested something that didn’t fit for her vision of the story, she was good about talking it through with me so we could find a solution we both agreed on. Dianne, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it. Melissa sent an e-mail saying she’d like to “chat” and we scheduled the call for two days later. I had plenty of time to prepare, so I way over-prepared. I made a list of questions for her and a list of questions she might...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Elissa Dickey and her mentors, Kara Leigh Miller and Meredith Ireland
Jan18

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Elissa Dickey and her mentors, Kara Leigh Miller and Meredith Ireland

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Elissa Dickey and her mentors, Kara Leigh Miller and Meredith Ireland. Elissa signed with Sharon Pelletier of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Elissa, Kara, and Meredith on their Pitch Wars Success. Elissa, what was it about Kara and Meredith that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? We’d interacted on Twitter, and they were both extremely kind and helpful (and had excellent gif skills). When I read their wish list, my story seemed to be a good fit, with light sci-fi like Station Eleven and romantic elements. The moment they suggested Thelma and Louise in the apocalypse was truly a cloud-parting epiphany-type moment! Mentors, what was it about Elissa’s THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND that hooked you? Kara: Her opening pages. They were so full of a haunting, creepy tone, which I love, and when I got to the end, I was like, “Wait, that’s it? Where’s the rest?” I just knew I had to request more and keep reading. Meredith: For me, it was her stellar concept. I loved the idea of an action heavy apocalyptic women’s fiction. We went straight from the sample to a full request! Elissa, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? It was intense. There’s that moment at the beginning when you get the edit letter where you think: Can I do this? But your mentors are with you every step of the way with support and guidance. Kara and Meredith helped me tell the story in the best way possible, so I got to fall in love with my manuscript all over again. I learned so much about writing and loved those moments when something finally clicked craft-wise. (It’s kind of like Keanu at the end of the Matrix.) Mentors, tell us about your experience mentoring Elissa. Kara: Elissa said it all—It was intense. We had a LOT of edits for her, including cutting an entire POV and completely rewriting the ending. At first I was a bit worried it was too much and that she’d be overwhelmed, but she came out swinging. She tackled all of our edits and did it with a smile. Her eagerness to learn and implement what we taught her made the whole experience that much better. We’re so proud of how far she’s come. Meredith: Elissa had an amazing work ethic. Although we were hooked with that first chapter, the remainder of the book required major revisions. She...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Julie Clark and her mentors, Karma Brown and Susan Bishop Crispell
Jan16

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Julie Clark and her mentors, Karma Brown and Susan Bishop Crispell

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Julie Clark and her mentors, Karma Brown and Susan Bishop Crispell. Julie signed with Mollie Glick of Creative Artists Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Julie, Karma, and Susan on their Pitch Wars Success. Julie, what was it about Karma and Susan that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Aside from the fact that I love their books, what really made me want to work with them was the promise of “the most intense edit of your life”. I was drawn to that because I knew something wasn’t working with my manuscript, but I was too close to be able to see it clearly. Karma and Susan, what was it about Julie’s THE ONES WE CHOOSE that hooked you? The premise of THE ONES WE CHOOSE piqued our interest immediately. It promised an emotional women’s fiction story and did not disappoint. The manuscript was also one of the most polished submissions we received. We could tell right away that Julie had already worked hard to get the manuscript in great shape, and she seemed eager to do whatever it took to take it that last big step from “close” to “there”. Julie, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Karma and Susan suggested some big changes to my storyline. They were able to see immediately what worked and what didn’t – and the best part was that they were available for brainstorming. They weren’t lying when they said it was going to be intense. I look back on the two months and feel like if I wasn’t teaching or sleeping, I was writing. I threw out a large chunk of the original premise and added a new subplot that needed to be woven all the way through. Then on top of that, I had to deepen the relationships between all of the characters, add chapters, rearrange existing chapters so the timeline was tighter and……it’s all kind of a blur. I went through three full revisions in that two-month window. They nit-picked EVERYTHING and I loved every minute of it.  Julie, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Mollie Glick of CAA. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it. I sent all my...

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A Pitch Wars Success Story with Helen Hoang and her mentor, Brighton Walsh
Jan13

A Pitch Wars Success Story with Helen Hoang and her mentor, Brighton Walsh

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Helen Hoang and her mentor, Brighton Walsh. Helen signed with Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Helen and Brighton on their Pitch Wars Success. Helen, what was it about Brighton that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? To be honest, I didn’t originally plan to send Brighton my application. Her mentor bio basically said, “I will hate you if you make me cry,” and I thought my manuscript was angsty. But she was so very nice and approachable on Twitter, and I really liked her, so I figured I’d give her a try anyway. If I tore her heart out, I was hundreds of miles away, and it’s hard to hunt people down when you’re bleeding profusely from your chest. I was completely surprised when she picked me as one of her mentees, and even more surprised when she said my manuscript made her laugh. I guess I’m funny. Who knew? Brighton, what was it about Helen’s RELATIONSHIP ON RETAINER that hooked you? Helen’s voice. It’s so real and charming it immediately drew me in. And the humor is what pushed her MS over the edge into the MUST HAVE pile for me. Helen, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Working with Brighton was a dream come true. She’s amazingly generous with her time, caring, super funny, and easy to talk to. Her guidance helped me find the missing half of my manuscript (the hero’s arc; look at that, it takes two people to have a romance), and my writing improved by leaps and bounds. I’m so grateful for this experience and even more grateful that I’ve made a great friend. Brighton, tell us about your experience mentoring Helen. Helen was amazing. She worked relentlessly on editing and revising based on my notes and suggestions, inhaled every bit of information I passed on, and diligently implemented them into her work. I truly lucked out with mentees this year as they were both an absolute dream to work with. Helen, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Kim Lionetti of BookEnds. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it. I was lucky enough to...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Christy Goerzen and her mentors, Helene Dunbar and Beth Hull
Jan09

Pitch Wars Success Story with Christy Goerzen and her mentors, Helene Dunbar and Beth Hull

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Christy Goerzen and her mentors, Helene Dunbar and Beth Hull. Christy signed with Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Christy, Helene, and Beth on their Pitch Wars Success.   Christy, what was it about Beth and Helene that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Beth and Helene were top choices from the very beginning, from the first day that I read through all the mentor bios/wishlists, I had read Helene’s novels and loved her beautiful sense of voice and character, and on their wishlist post they both mentioned books/authors that I also love (Stiefvater! Flynn! Perkins! Levithan! Yes!). What they were looking for seemed to resonate with what my MS had to offer, so I submitted to them and crossed my fingers, toes, eyelashes, hair and whatever else you can cross. When I got the email from them that said “Congratulations, you win us!,” I ran out the door, shouting and screaming to my husband, who was chatting with a few of our neighbours. The neighbours all thought I was crazy, but in my haze of euphoria, I didn’t even notice! What was it about Christy’s Love and Other Sharp Pointy Things that hooked you? Beth: It wasn’t just the voice of her main character, Mercedes, but the way Christy deftly wove humor with tragedy. I’m usually the last person to want to read, much less work with, a sad story, but LAOSPT grabbed me from the start and wouldn’t let me go. Helene: Christy has a wonderful ability to make every word count, which is crucial in verse. I was massively impressed with the way she chose her words for maximum effect. Christy, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? I’ve had three novella-length books for reluctant reader young adults published previously, and the editing process for those (line edits, mostly) didn’t even hold a candle to the in-depth revision process for Love and Other Sharp Pointy Things. The revision process truly made me a better, more aware writer. I never had the confidence to rip my work apart before and sew it all back together into a more fashionable, better-fitting, more innovative garment before (sorry, I think I’ve been watching too much Project Runway), but the whole process made me feel much better about digging into big revisions with my next WIPs. The first revision was more exploratory, I...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Jen DeLuca and her mentor, Brighton Walsh
Jan06

Pitch Wars Success Story with Jen DeLuca and her mentor, Brighton Walsh

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Jen DeLuca and her mentor, Brighton Walsh. Jen signed with Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Jen and Brighton on their Pitch Wars Success. Jen, what was it about Brighton that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application? I’d been following Brighton on Twitter for a few months before PW, so I already loved her. During the blog hop, the thing that stood out was when she said that she knew romances, and she knew how to make them good. This novel of mine had been through a lot of querying and 2 revise & resubmits at that point, and I felt if anyone could help me figure out how to put it over the top, it would be Brighton. Thankfully, my novel had a lot of elements on her wishlist! Brighton, what was it about Jen’s ONCE WHEN YOU WERE MINE that hooked you? The yearning. SO. MUCH. YEARNING. When I was reading her MS, I had a night in Milwaukee planned, but I couldn’t bear to be away from the MS, so I bought a program that would read it to me on the drive. I knew then I was hooked. Jen, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? Insane! I did so many things to this book that I’d never imagined doing. We cut close to 10,000 words from the middle, in order to make the pacing work without sacrificing plot (and yearning. This book is all about the yearning). The other major revision was adding a new ending, which was frankly a little terrifying. All the revision I’d done to that point were within the four corners of my very original first draft, so to suddenly add about 14,000 words past my current “The End” was crazy to me. I felt like I was writing fanfiction for my own story! But it was also exhilarating, and as the new ending came together I knew it was exactly what the book had been missing all this time.  And Brighton was incredible, not just in helping me understand how the story needed to fit together (No, Jen, the black moment can’t come at the 50% mark), but in her enthusiasm. She loved my book and my characters as much as I do, and as we brainstormed plot points she never suggested anything that wasn’t true to them, and I loved that. The process itself was...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Kaitlin Hundscheid and her mentor, Ashley Martin
Jan04

Pitch Wars Success Story with Kaitlin Hundscheid and her mentor, Ashley Martin

Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Kaitlin Hundscheid and her mentor, Ashley Martin. Kaitlin signed with Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management Literary Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Kaitlin and Ashley on their Pitch Wars Success. Kaitlin, what was it about Ashley that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application? Ashley’s wish list specifically asked for anything to do with classic children’s literature, and I knew that could be a swaying factor in whether someone liked my story about book characters coming to life in a library. And from stalking her twitter and blog, I could tell that we had very similar tastes in other areas and thought she seemed like a kindred spirit––and I was right! I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor for my story. Ashley, what was it about Kaitlin’s THE CURIOUS CURSE OF THE LONELY LIBRARY that hooked you? The book opens with the MC, Theodore, wandering through the grocery store, his nose in a book. As someone who often brought my books to the dinner table as a kid, I immediately felt a connection with this lovable bookworm. As I continued reading, I found everything I was hoping for: A vibrant, beautifully described setting, a cast of supporting characters I adored, and a connection to classic children’s literature that made me swoon. The moment one of my favorite literary characters of all time showed up, that was that. I knew this book was the one. Kaitlin, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars? After the OMG I WAS CHOSEN euphoria passed, I was left with the OMG WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO panic. After processing Ashley’s initial suggestions, I word vomited my reactions (mostly variations of “you’re so right”) and brainstormed ideas until the line edits came. From there it was a month of intense revisions, splicing, dicing, and murdering chapters as I sped up the pacing (9k words cut!) and strengthened character arcs. And, of course, lots of laborious polishing, marveling at how many times I could mention shadows in one scene. Ashley, tell us about your experience mentoring Kaitlin. It was a dream! Kaitlin and I connected immediately, forever bonded by a mutual love of books and tea (go #TeamEarlGrey!). She was eager to learn and didn’t hate me for suggesting some big changes (phew!). She really went above and beyond to dive deeper into her story, and she absolutely slayed her revisions. I couldn’t have asked for a...

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NYT Bestseller THIEF OF LIES by Brenda Drake, Out in Paperback Today!
Jan03

NYT Bestseller THIEF OF LIES by Brenda Drake, Out in Paperback Today!

TITLE: Thief of Lies: a Library Jumpers novel AUTHOR: Brenda Drake GENRE: YA Fantasy PUBLISHER: Entangled Teen Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon UK Summary : Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound. Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.       Save...

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Pitch Wars Success Story with Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Rawson Hill and Cindy Baldwin
Jan02

Pitch Wars Success Story with Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Rawson Hill and Cindy Baldwin

  Having our mentees land an agent or a publishing deal is one of the highlights of being part of Pitch Wars. We’re so excited for Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Rawson Hill and Cindy Baldwin. Cory signed with Rena Rossner of The Deborah Harris Agency after Pitch Wars 2016, and we couldn’t be happier for her! Please, help me in congratulating Cory, Amanda, and Cindy on their Pitch Wars Success.   Cory, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Amanda and Cindy? I fell in love with them after reading their Pitch Wars interview. They were smart, funny, and heartfelt. Plus, we adored the same types of books, and honestly, I just felt this magical pull. I knew it would be a dream to work with them. Amanda and Cindy, what about Cory’s application made you choose her? Amanda: It’s funny, when I read Cory’s query I thought, “Yeah, no way.” But I read her first pages and was blown away by her voice and poetry. So I texted Cindy and was like, “I really like the parrot book. Am I crazy?” She quickly assured me I wasn’t. It was strange because Cory’s book was so many things we had said would be a hard sell for us, but she had such a perfect blend of humor and heart and there was something so human about this parrot. We spent the next two weeks just texting back and forth about her book and our plans for it. Cindy: Amanda read Cory’s opening pages first, and immediately texted me telling me that I HAD to go read the parrot book to see if she was going crazy. We’d said no animal stories on our wishlist, and hadn’t imagined that we’d be drawn to one. As soon as I read the opening chapters, though, I was right with Amanda—Cory’s witty prose and sublime verse had drawn us both in immediately. CALL ME ALASTAIR is one of the most unique and poignant middle grade novels I’ve ever had the pleasure to read! We really worried that by choosing Cory we’d be setting her up for disappointment, as animal stories can be a tough market to find an agent with… but clearly, we needn’t have been anxious on that score! Cory, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars? Grueling. And amazing at the same time. Amanda and Cindy helped me see my book in ways I hadn’t considered before. They were amazingly able to pinpoint weaknesses in a way that made me excited for the next round of edits. They were cheerleaders, teachers, counselors; they were...

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