#PitchWars Mentor Bio Blog Hop!

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Yes, it’s true. I’m a #PitchWars mentor this year.

Why I’m awesome:

I write in several different genres. I have stuff in the works from YA contemporary to NA fantasy to adult science fiction. I read like this too. I like to think it gives me a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.

I’m represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary. She’s the coolest person ever.

I’m really active on Twitter. I talk a lot with agents, and I know what many of them are looking for.

I love contests (clearly), but I signed with Kathleen the old fashioned way: by clawing my way out of the trenches. I know that feel. I can talk you off a ledge like a pro. I’ve also learned the long and hard way what turns agents off in pitches and pages.

If I don’t pick you, I’ll tell you why. If I do pick you, I’ll give you big picture notes and in-line edits.

I’m extremely competitive.

I’m a martial arts instructor.

I’m like nine kinds of queer.

I have worn a dress made out of watermelon rind.

My favorite books:

  • The UGLIES series by Scott Westerfeld. I could go on and on and on about this series. I adore the character development, the voice, the writing, the plot. But one thing that really grabs me is how this series touches on so many things relevant to today’s world (beauty-obsessed society, the environment, personal identity, manipulative government, etc.) without beating you over the head with them.
  • BOND OF BLOOD and its companions by Diane Whiteside (the Texas Vampire novels). While I don’t have an urge to read about any more vampires (and I’m not accepting adult manuscripts in this contest), I love the strong, developed characters and compelling plots besides the sex/romance in these books. There is no fluff. And the love interests are on even footing.
  • The WATER trilogy by Kara Dalkey. This series is like the prequel to Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table. It’s super cool. It offers a good look at society and social classes, and the effects of a corrupt government on individual lives. Also, it has an ambitious, multi-faceted, powerful (if flawed) female lead.

What I’m looking for:

  • YA contemporary, fantasy, and sci-fi
  • QUILTBAG main characters.
  • Sex positive manuscripts
  • All kinds of diversity.
  • Romance – as the plot or a subplot, but it’s gotta be there. Forbidden romance is my favorite.
  • Voice, voice, voice–yours, and the main character’s. I like to be up close and personal with the storytellers.
  • Freshness. Surprise me!
  • Tough choices. Your MC is damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
  • Dark stuff. Show me the true nature of evil.

What I don’t want to see:

  • Anything that’s not young adult.
  • Whitewashed, straightwashed, ciswashed, same old same old.
  • Token characters. Let’s get beyond the cliched stereotypes with diversity. Give me FACETS.
  • People who are only diverse in appearance. “Oh, this mentor wanted diversity . . . I’ll just change this side-character’s skin color real quick . . .”
  • Work that’s obviously derivative. I don’t want to read a fantasy that copied Paolini who copied Tolkien. Or a contemporary watered down version of Sarah Dessen. Or a watered down version of ANYTHING.
  • Books about  religion
  • Mysteries and thrillers aren’t my fave.

That’s it. Let’s win this thing.

For submission guidelines, go to:

www.brenda-drake.com

And I suppose you can check out these other mentors too. ;D

1. Kes Trester
2. Jennifer Blackwood
3. Elizabeth Briggs
4. Joy McCullough-Carranza
5. Brent Taylor
6. Stephanie Garber
7. Veronica Bartles
8. Dannie Morin
9. S.K. Falls
10. Jason Nelson
11. Charlie Holmberg
12. Sarah Henning
13. Gail Nall
14. Dionne McCulloch
15. Natasha Neagle
16. Amy Reichert
17. E.M. Caines
18. Brianna Shrum
19. Emily Martin
20. Rae Chang
21. Dan Koboldt
22. N.K. Traver
23. Renée Ahdieh
24. Karma Brown
25. L.S. Murphy
26. Stephanie Scott
27. Erica Chapman
28. Lori Goldstein
29. Sarah Guillory
30. Marieke Nijkamp
31. Juliana Brandt
32. Michelle Hauck
33. Ben Brooks
34. Sarah Nicolas
35. Ricki Schultz
36. Rachel Lynn Solomon
37. Naomi Hughes
38. Maggie Hall
39. Brooks Benjamin
40. K.T. Hanna
41. Stacey Trombley
42. Stephanie Wass
43. Kelly Loy Gilbert
44. Molly Lee
45. Trisha Leigh
46. Eden Plantz
47. Diana Gallagher
48. Brighton Walsh
49. Virgina Boecker
50. Jaime Loren
51. Julie Sondra Decker
52. Kristen Strassel
53. Shana Silver
54. Jaye Robin Brown
55. Sharon Johnston
56. Ronni Arno Blaisdell
57. Mina Vaughn
58. Mónica Bustamante Wagner
59. Fiona McLaren
60. Lauren Spieller
61. Lindsay Currie
62. Meredith McCardle
63. Whitney Fletcher
64. Jessie Devine
65. Cat Scully
66. Kate Karyus Quinn
67. Jessie Humphries
68. Trisha Leaver
69. Evelyn Ehrlich
70. Stacey Lee
71. Jami Nord
72. Kara Leigh Miller
73. Rebecca Yarros
74. Cole Gibsen
75. Cecily White (MG) Wishlist Pending…

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12 comments

  1. I am so totally down to do this! I’m just wrapping up an edit on my manuscript, and I would love the chance to compete in a writers contest. See where I stand. Let’s do this!!!! PS…you sound super awesome girl!

  2. I’m really looking forward to querying you for Pitch Wars! A dress out of watermelon rinds? Best ever! But seriously, sex positive manuscripts, diversity, forbidden romance, rock-and-hard-place choices? You’re speaking my language. Maybe we won’t mesh, but I kinda hope we do!

  3. so, I’m Hispanic, and I’ve grown up in a diverse world here in California. One of my MC’s friend is Asian. I did’t do it to please others. I did it because I have Asian friends, but that pairing isn’t a popular showing. I do it because I know the world we live in. How can you tell when someone does it to please others and when someone does it because they want to show the world we live in–without necessarily going into culture traditions since the US is a melting pot and teens from minority groups don’t always act, speak, or behave they way they might had they grown up in the land their ancestors came from?
    I hope that makes sense lol :/

    1. I think you can tell if the characters aren’t well-developed and true to themselves. If a writer sloppily throws an Asian and a Hispanic together to meet some diversity quota and not because those characters truly are those people, it comes off as inauthentic.

  4. Hi Jessie. This is my first Pitch Wars and I’m figuring out the ropes. Would you be interested in Romeo and Juliet in modern Belfast?1st person YA, 2 POV, grief, family issues, and sectarianism? Thanks for considering!

  5. Hi Jessie,

    I would love to submit to you, but I was wondering if you were open to YA historical steampunk? My main character, a Victorian clock mechanic, faces the dilemma of having his father trapped in time, as well as navigating his first crush–on a boy who isn’t human.

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