My Pitch Wars Wish List (aka PICK ME PICK ME PICK ME)

November 20, 2013

Hi guys!!

I'm so excited to let you know I'm going to be a Pitch Wars Mentor this year! Now it's time for me to explain what I'm looking for and why you want me to be your mentor!

My Wish List

I'm looking for YA only in the following genres: fantasy, contemporary, romance, thriller, and horror.

Some tips:

  • I prefer light fantasy over high fantasy, but that doesn't necessarily mean I won't like your high fantasy, especially if you have a strong voice and your main character has a sense of humor.
  • I NEED kissing scenes. If you don't have romance in your book, it's not for me.
  • I prefer first person. I'll read third, but it has to be extremely engaging. I don't want to feel any distance from the character.
  • If you have a twist in your book that I don't see coming, I'll be your fangirl for life.
  • I don't generally enjoy super dark, sad themes--but again, so much depends on your MC's voice. I Hunt Killers was dark and had some depressing stuff going on, but I loved that main character--he was honest, smart, and funny.

Why You Want ME ME ME

My YA fantasy, Between, will be published in July 2014 by Spencer Hill Press, and I'm currently working on book two of the trilogy. I've just finished the most brutal year of revising that has ever occurred in the history of ever. I ripped my story to shreds and rewrote it. And then I rewrote it again and again. Once the plot was solid, I had to flesh out all the scenes, adding inner monologue and external cues all over the place. That book is a million times better than it was a year ago. My editorial team at Spencer Hill Press is UH-MAZING, and I've learned so much from them. I'm going to pass all of this awesomeness on to you and your manuscript, too!

I'm gentle with my critiques. If I spot an issue, we'll discuss it and brainstorm to come up with solutions together. I have no interest in taking your story from you. It's your book, and I'm just here to help you turn it into the best manuscript it can possibly be.

I'm super active on twitter, and I blog with YA Misfits and The Write Notes. (And Jimmy Fallon follows The Write Notes twitter account. I'M JUST SAYING. PICK ME AND BASICALLY JIMMY FALLON MIGHT SEE YOUR NAME OR SOMETHING I DON'T KNOW.) I also post weekly vlogs on my personal channel, as well as monthly vlogs on the Parenthetically channel. In other words, I will pimp your manuscript all over the place. If I love your book, I'm one of the best cheerleaders you're ever going to find.

Plus, I'm basically super fun and I love this stuff. Feel free to check out my web site to get to know more about me, I know how difficult it can be to take critique and apply it to your story, but we'll have a good time and get through it together, I promise.


For submission guidelines and the list of agents participating, go to

To check out the other mentors (but why would you want to do that when you clearly want ME), check out the Linky below!

(Sorry Charlie, no clues here!!)

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Be Somebody's Ben Folds

November 18, 2013

(This was originally posted on All The Write Notes.)

Ben Folds is one of my favorite artists of all time. A lot of people are familiar with him because of his mainstream hit, Brick, from the late 90s. If that’s all you know of him, PLEASE dig deeper. He’s an incredible musician and songwriter, and his songs have fantastic lines such as:

“Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall, but there’s always someone cooler than you.” (There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You, supersunnyspeedgraphic, 2006)

“Sara spelled without an ‘h’ was getting bored on a Peavey amp in 1984, while Zak without a ‘c’ tried out some new guitar, playing Sara-with-no-h’s favorite song.” (Zak and Sara, Rockin The Suburbs, 2001)

“All this breathing in, never breathing out.” (Fair, Whatever and Ever, Amen, 1997)

“Neither of them knew what was going on–a strange feeling of never–heartbeat becoming synchronized and staying that way forever.” (From Above, Lonely Avenue, 2010)

I love him because he never settles–he’s constantly getting better and doing new and different things. He’s collaborated with Weird Al, William Shatner, and Regina Spektor. (If you haven’t listened to Ben and Regina sing You Don’t Know Me, I demand that you do so. Right Now.) He’s also worked with authors such as Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman.

His lyrics are honest and his music is always fresh–and while his music is constantly evolving, he has a style that is most definitely “Ben Folds.”

A few weeks ago, he did a free concert in Nashville at the Ryman. FREE. At the RYMAN. When I mentioned it to a friend of mine, he said, “I hate Ben Folds.”

To which I promptly replied, “I don’t even know you right now.”

HATE?! HOW CAN ANYONE HATE BEN FOLDS? SERIOUSLY?? I’ve been thinking about this for weeks and literally can’t come up with a reasonable explanation that doesn’t involve some sort of alien mind control or severe mental illness. I know that some musicians aren’t for everyone. But Ben-freaking-Folds? HOW CAN ANYONE NOT LOVE BEN FOLDS?
My friend’s (clearly insane) abhorrence for Ben Folds has been a good reminder to me that every artist has his or her critics. While I consider Ben Folds to be an amazing songwriter who offers something for everyone, my friend considers him a (Mr. Folds if you ever read this I swear to God I’m only saying this because my friend said it and I think you are the total best please don’t hate me I love you) “piano douche.”

I think it’s important for us, as artists, to remember this as well. Everything has its haters. When my book comes out next July, I know there will be a few bad reviews. Will that mean my book is crap? No. (Lord I hope not.) It means my book might not be for everyone. Some readers won’t get my humor. Others might not like my premise. Some people will simply be annoyed that my main character is a redhead. We’re never going to please EVERYONE.

Let’s do a little exercise, shall we?
  1. Think of your favorite book.
  2. Look it up on Goodreads.
  3. Read the negative reviews
I guarantee the reviewers will point out things that will leave you scratching your head, either because there are flaws you never noticed or simply don’t care about.

Now, let’s do another!
  1. Think of a book you hate.
  2. Look it up on Goodreads.
  3. Read the positive reviews.
You will think those good reviews are total nonsense. You’ll wonder how anyone could think that book was brilliant or that writing was solid.

We’re all different with a variety of things we look for in a book, song, tv show, movie, etc. I might hate your most-loved book. You might think my favorite song is dumb. That doesn’t mean either of those things is actually bad!  ISN’T THIS FUN?

Seriously, don’t get wrapped up in who loves or hates your work. You’re going to have fans and critics, and all that really means is that you have an audience. Isn’t that what we all want? Reviews of any sort couldn’t exist if we weren’t putting ourselves out there and  inspiring people to respond to what we create. That’s amazing, you guys! You made something! And someone read it!

Do what you love and what interests you. Evolve. Keep working. Be somebody’s Ben Folds.

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