#PitchWars 2015 Mentee Bio

(Is my hair straight? Have I got anything in my teeth? Is this thing on? It’s on. Crap.)

Hello, Pitch Wars crew! All you amazing, lovely people making this contest possible. I’m a little terrified to be here but also ecstatic to try for a slot.

A Little About Me…

I am an introvert who forces herself to do extroverted things. I would love to stay home, read, bake, and nap, but life insists I do something to sustain myself, which requires interacting with other human beings. I run two writing groups, because writers make the best friends and I believe in giving back to the community.

I studied at Eugene Lang, the New School for Liberal Arts because they had a writing program and I just fell in love with the place. For my troubles I got a degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Creative Writing, specifically fiction. I also got to study religion and digital media, so that was cool. I decided not to pursue an MFA because it felt redundant. I needed to get out in the world for a while, live a little. Also, Great Recession.

I was basically raised on Monty Python, so silliness is in my blood. Hello, fellow Pythonites! Can I get you a herring? There are tennis-playing blancmanges over by the comfy chair.

happy

You sons of a silly person!

Random factoids:

  • I grew up in New Jersey but I was born in South Africa. I’m a naturalized citizen.
  • If I don’t sing on a regular basis, I get depressed.
  • Likewise if I don’t read.
  • In a few months I plan to adopt m’self some guinea pigs. Because GUINEA PIGS.

You rang?

  • I have celiac and I’m allergic to a bunch of foods, including eggs. I cook.
  • I make the most excellent marshmallow krispie treats out of Chex cereal.
  • I have much love for elephants, Alphonse Mucha, and shiny jewelry.
  • I am still waiting for Melanie Rawn to finish THE CAPTAL’S TOWER. It’s been 18 years. No one is allowed to complain about waiting for the next book in GoT, okay!?
  • Also, my day job’s editorial style guide has invaded my brain. (Every bullet item SHALL have a period at the end!)

What I Do

By day I’m a web and graphic designer, which means I get to make the pretties.

sky

Shiny…

What I Read & Write

I read a lot of YA, and I’m trying to get into NA. My preferences revolve around fantasy, historical, and strong women. I tend to write in the same genres.

Except for this, the novel I’m submitting, which has taken over my life. UNCHURCHED is contemporary YA, though still with a kickass antiheroine. I never thought I’d wind up writing contemporary, but here I am with a novel and a wider universe of ideas. (All these years I could’ve sworn I would follow in the steps of Tamora Pierce.)

This lady, right here. First book that I ever felt, "YES, THIS IS WHAT I WANTED!"

This lady, right here. First book that I ever felt, “YES, THIS IS WHAT I WANT!”

What I’d Like From Pitch Wars

I am SO READY to WORK on this book!! I’ve already put it through the wringer, but I know it needs that little something more to make it really shine. I miss weekly workshopping.

I’m hoping for a mentor who I can bounce ideas off of as I address their notes. Normally I am very timid about squeaking up, but this book means a lot to me and I want to get it right. I’ve already done what I call committing manuscript surgery several times, and I’m willing to do it all again to get to a better end product. I’ve never been much of a phone person (see: introvert) but I’ll suck it up. If you’re into email and text messaging we’ll get along fabulously. Most of all, I want open communication. I want to feel comfortable reaching out to ask a question. I won’t, like, text you at 3am, that would be rude. You would totally have permission to sic squeaking guinea pigs on me.

No, wait, that’s wrong. MOST of all, I want someone to thrash the crap out of my manuscript. Scrawl all over it in red pixels. Make it cry. Then remind me I am capable of fixing it.

No, Seriously

This contest is amazing. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to apply. It’s says so much about the writing community that those who have gone before are willing to volunteer so much of their time and talent.

And if nothing else, y’all got me to perfect my query letter, and that’s worth a whole bundle. So thank you.

Hey, other mentees!

It occurred to me that part of this process is us making connections with one another. I’m looking for critique partners. So I wrote a profile just for that. Swing by, and if you think we’d mesh, drop me an email!

On Jon Stewart’s Leaving

Last night, on my way to watch the GOP debate (I’m a political junkie), I caught a snippet of Rachel Maddow. She was doing a segment on Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, talking about how culturally significant they’ve been. She said she believes they made the country better, and the news media better.

http://player.theplatform.com/p/7wvmTC/MSNBCEmbeddedOffSite?guid=n_maddow_bstewart_150806

I don’t think it’s possible to overestimate the significance. And that significance is being honored by the Newseum–they’re moving the set down to DC.

In an episode from earlier this summer, interviewing Seth McFarlane, Jon joked–but only half-joked–that it’s not love for people to demand he make more shows.

 

Audience Member: We love you!

Jon: Nah. That’s not love. Love, you bring a little soup. You okay? You sit down. Love is not, Do more shows. Entertain me.

That really stood out for me, because it’s so true.

For all that I adore Jon and have loved the show, I’ve never made a practice of watching it every night. I realized years ago, back during the Bush administration, that to watch is to expose myself to the most depressing news available. It’s a collection of the ridiculous, the insane, the infuriating. Laugh your ass off because if you don’t you’ll cry.

How can I blame Jon for wanting to walk away when I won’t expose myself to all of that, day in and day out? Worse, we only saw about 20 minutes worth of it. Jon and crew spent the entire day sifting through the garbage of our politics and media. “We are turd miners,” he said once. He was right.

So that’s why I say goodbye to him with love. He’s put his soul against the grindstone for us for 16 years. It can’t have been easy. He has done a marvelous service, helping viewers through some of the worst tragedies in our nation, and finding the few bright spots in otherwise devastating events. He deserves a break. More than a break, he deserves not to be chained to it anymore.

If you love something, set it free.