The Pitch Wars Website is LIVE!
Jul28

The Pitch Wars Website is LIVE!

Pitch Wars has grown more than we ever thought possible. Thanks to all the amazing mentors, agent, hopefuls, and warriors, and to everyone who participates in the community. We hope you’ll find the new site easier to navigate and find information. And thank you for the donations, because without them, none of this would be possible! Another special thank you to Sierra Fong and Mike Chen who built the website and have been a huge support and resource for us. You can find out more about their services HERE. GO TO THE PITCH WARS...

Read More
Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 3)
Jul24

Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 3)

  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/NEW ADULT Mentors Co-Mentors Heather Van Fleet and Jessica Calla Heather Van Fleet  Website | Twitter Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart and a mom to three little girls, along with her crazy Goldendoodle. In her spare time, you will always be able to find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee. Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 with an associate degree. She has been working in the publishing industry for over five years as author, editor, and agent intern. She’s represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary. Reckless Hearts by Heather Van Fleet  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Add to Goodreads “Sweet, funny, romantic and oh so very sexy! Prepare to swoon mightily.” –SAWYER BENNETT, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Cold Fury Hockey series COLLIN MONTGOMERY Between boot camp and two TOD’s in Iraq, my buddies Max, Gavin and me have been through some serious hell. So the last thing I ever expected was to find the biggest challenge of my life back home. My girlfriend died. I couldn’t even attend her funeral, let alone tell her goodbye or that I’m sorry I wasn’t there like I should’ve been. But she left me a gift. The best and scariest one I could’ve ever asked for. One I didn’t think I could handle…until the day I saw her tiny blues looking up at me in that airport. Chloe. Now here I am, raising my baby girl-with the help of my two best friends. Things couldn’t be better. Until she walked into my life. All I wanted was a nanny. Someone to take care of my girl when I couldn’t. What I didn’t count on was Addison, the brown-eyed temptress with a body of sin, and everything I didn’t need, but suddenly wanted. Jessica Calla Website | Twitter Jessica Calla is a contemporary romance, new adult, and women’s fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she’s not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you’ll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once). She is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction...

Read More
Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 2)
Jul24

Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 2)

  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   Kristen Lepionka Website | Twitter 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 . . . Amazon | Apple ibooks | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s | INDIEBOUND 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. Co-Mentors, Marty Mayberry and Léonie Kelsall Marty Mayberry Twitter | Website 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...

Read More
Pitch Wars 2017: Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 1)
Jul24

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 Website | Twitter 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 Twitter 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 Goodreads 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 Website | Twitter | Mailing List | Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher and fantasy/science fiction author from the Midwest. He works for the Institute for...

Read More
Day 44 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amelinda Berube, Alicia Clancy, and Juliana Brandt
Jul11

Day 44 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query and First Page Workshop with Mentors Amelinda Berube, Alicia Clancy, and Juliana Brandt

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Amelinda Berube Twitter | Instagram | Website Amelinda Bérubé is the author of UNDER THE ICY LAKE, a YA ghost story coming from Sourcebooks Fire in 2018. She’s spent the last ten years as a writer and editor with the Canadian public service, prior to which her career path meandered through academics, carpentry, and administrivia. Amelinda is a passionate fan of YA, SFF, and all things spooky and is delighted to be on the other side of the contest curtain for the first time!   UNDER THE ICY LAKE by Amelinda Berube A former dancer’s grip on sanity starts to slip when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her and craves her life. Coming 2018 from Sourcebooks Fire. Goodreads     Amelinda’s Query Critique . . . AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Romance Thanks to Brenda, Heather and the PitchWars team for a chance to share some thoughts on a query! My suggestions are in [square brackets] below. To the courageous author: As with any critique, my comments and ideas are yours to take or leave or adapt as you see fit. Query writing can be exhausting and horrible (I lost count of my own query swaps somewhere past 20) but try to keep an open mind and a willingness to play with it. You got this! Dear Agent, (One personalized sentence) [I’d recommend adding any personalization with the “housekeeping” at the bottom. I’ve seen multiple agents saying personalization isn’t actually that important to them, so I’d get right to the part that they’re most interested in, namely the story, and include this less critical info further down. The one exception might be if you’re responding to a specific MSWL tweet or a contest request, but you can often flag that in the subject line anyway. It can feel really weird and counterintuitive to just jump into your pitch...

Read More
Day 40 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and RuthAnne Snow
Jul05

Day 40 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & 1st Page Workshop with mentors, Susan Gray Foster and RuthAnne Snow

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. First up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Susan Gray Foster … Website | Twitter Susan Gray Foster was born into a family of avid readers and has been hoping to impress them with her writing ever since. When she’s not struggling in her quest to spin words into magic, she helps her high school students find the magic in classic literature, and helps other writers discover the magic in their own writing, both as a freelance editor and as a book coach at Author Accelerator. Susan believes in creativity and empathy, and enjoys tea, songwriting, reading, and hanging out with her dogs. She lives with her ever-patient Aussie husband in Arizona’s beautiful Sonoran Desert, and she’s her kids’ number one fan. Her YA fiction is represented by Caitlin Blasdell, Liza Dawson Associates. Susan’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: YA GENRE: Dark Fantasy Dear [Agent]: Desperate to leave behind her life as an assassin, eighteen-year old Jennica makes a bargain with a powerful immortal. [I love the way you jump right into the story. This is intriguing!] In return for protecting a child who holds a corrupt magic in check, [I’m not quite sure what this means. Does the child have the corrupt magic but they’re holding it in check? Or the child holds others’ corrupt magic in check? Also, what is this corrupt magic? Obviously, you can’t include a lot of detail in a query, but I’d like some hint of what this means. Is it dangerous?] Jennica is offered a way to atone for the crimes she’s committed. [Does protecting the child allow her to atone? Or protecting the child just allows her the chance to atone by doing something else?] More than redemption, Jennica wants to vanquish the darkness within her that revels in the cruelty and suffering she inflicts on others. [Oooh! This is dark and intriguing! I wonder if you could condense and combine this...

Read More
Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood
May23

Day 11 (Part 2): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors Laura Heffernan and Tracey E. Wood

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor Laura Heffernan  Website | Twitter Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off: AMERICA’S NEXT REALITY STAR, the first book in the REALITY STAR series, is coming from Kensington’s Lyrical Press in March 2017. When not watching total strangers participate in arranged marriages, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.  Some of Laura’s favorite things include goat cheese, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, the Oxford comma, and ice cream. Not all together. The best place to find her is usually on Twitter, where she spends far too much time tweeting about writing, Canadian chocolate, and reality TV. Follow her @LH_Writes. Laura is represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary. Laura’s Query Critique… AGE CATEGORY: Adult GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy Dear [Agent]: Hazel Blackmore knows everything there is to know about magic: from what essences are needed to enchant her way to the perfect cup of coffee, to solving complex potioning equations. [Enchanted coffee? You’ve got my attention already.] The only thing stopping heoiyor from being the most competent practitioner the world has ever seen is her complete lack of magical ability, without with she can’t even begin to pull magic through the Veil. [I’d recommend breaking this into two sentences. It’s a bit long.] The best she can do is to work her ass off at her aunt Enid’s Essence Distillery to prove herself. [I’d delete the last 3 words. Also, from the opening paragraph, Hazel sounds young, which makes me wonder if this is YA. Are there details you can add to show she’s an adult?] When Enid disappears and several of the essence brews start unraveling, Hazel has to rely on her own wits to find the solution to her problems. [To find the solution?...

Read More
Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind
May23

Day 11 (Part 1): Pitch Wars Query & First Page Workshop with Mentors C.B. Catalano and Kelly Siskind

Welcome to our Query and 1st Page Workshop with some of our amazing Pitch Wars mentors. From a Rafflecopter lottery drawing, we selected writers to participate in our query and first page workshops. Each mentor has graciously critiqued a query or 500 word opening from our lucky winners. We’ll be posting four critiques per day (except weekends) through July 7. Our hope is that these samples will help shine up your query and first page and that you’ll get to know some of our wonderful Pitch Wars mentors. We appreciate our mentors for giving up their time to do the critiques. If you have something encouraging to add, feel free to comment below. Please keep all comments tasteful. We will delete any inappropriate or hurtful ones. Next up we have … Pitch Wars Mentor C.B. Catalano  Website | Twitter After C. B. Catalano realized she spent more time daydreaming than living in the real world she decided to finally write those dreams down, and is now ready to share them with everyone. C.B. writes MG and YA and is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media. She can be found wandering around the Pacific Northwest with her 3 kids, husband, and beastly muppet puppies. After moving 21 times over the span of 7 states and 18 years she thinks she may have finally found a place to call home (for now) and aims to explore all that Washington has to offer.   C.B.’s Query Critique… CURSE OF SILVER LAKE is a YA contemporary fantasy, complete at about 70,000 words. A mix of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES and CITY OF BONES, it’s perfect for fans of fairy tale retellings. [I love retellings so you already have my undivided attention! But I wonder, if it’s a retelling, perhaps comping the og fairy tale meets x might work better?] 16-year-old Maggie Hernandez comes from a long line of witches–but her mom never told her the family secret, hoping the magic would pass her by. [I think your first sentence could pack more of a punch than it does now. Especially when I read on to the second sentence. It raises more questions than answers. Like, does her mom ever actually tell Maggie she’s a witch after their apartment burns down? Or does she send Maggie to her grandmother’s home clueless? Also, if her mom doesn’t clue her in, does Maggie’s witchy grandmother once she’s there?] When Maggie’s uncontrolled powers burn their apartment to ashes, her mom sends her to live with her estranged, witchy grandmother to learn control of her magic. .[ ← I almost prefer this sentence as a starting point.] ...

Read More