#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!

Advertisements

Seeking Critique Partners

This post is inspired by the #PitchWars mentors, who have said time and again that this contest is about community. Finding friends, CPs, commiserators, etc. And it occurred to me, “Why am I not talking DIRECTLY to the other wannabe mentees? We’re hopping to each other’s blogs, we want to get to know each other!”

So, this is me talking to you, my brothers and sisters in arms. This is about what I’m like as a critique partner and what I’m looking for in a partner. Please do not be shy about reaching out! I’m the shy one here. There can’t be two of us. (Actually, another shy introvert would be awesome.)

What I Write

Fiction about women, usually strong ones. That’s always my starting point. Lately I’ve been focused on contemporary YA, but my next WIP is NA paranormal romance. (I know, I know, poor market. Too bad. It’s in my brain.) I’ve got some fantasy and historical sitting on my hard drive that I want to get back to. Here are the pitches for three WIPs to whet your appetite.

  • In UNCHURCHED (PitchWars submission 2015), agnostic, feminist Janine is taken aback when her father joins an evangelical church. He’s delighted to help put on a purity ball, but Janine is horrified by the idea of making a vow of chastity in public. Taking the vow would be a lie and she’ll hate herself forever, but standing up to her dad will break his heart.
  • Based on the ballet of the same name, GISELLE follows a young woman with epilepsy who begins to see and hear strange messages from beyond the grave. These voices warn her away from Ali, the boy she’s been crushing on since high school. When he betrays her, Giselle is sucked into a world where disloyalty has deadly consequences.
  • In THE SILK THAT CUTS, a harem overthrows an empire. Twice.

What I Read

Almost everything? I’ve never been into horror, sorry. And I don’t read much middle grade, but I do read a lot of YA and adult. I love fantasy and historical, and really enjoy science fiction and diverse contemporary. (Please share your diverse stuff. It needs to be seen.) I’m a politics junkie, and love tackling controversial issues from religion to international relations (I skew progressive but I’m open to reading about more than that–if you’re doing it right, I’ll love your characters anyway).  I love funny stuff. I love irreverence. I love being surprised by twists and turns. I don’t shy away from hard stuff that may trigger others, but I don’t delve into really dark things very often. I do like sexy times, so erotica is totally ok.

Some faves:

  • Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
  • The Heartland Trilogy by Chuck Wendig
  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood books by JR Ward
  • The Temeraire books by Naomi Novik
  • The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison
  • Various books by Tamora Pierce

How I Critique

I like to comment as I do my first read, catching typos (I can’t help it, they stand out and I just can’t leave them) and giving first reactions. I tend to ask questions rather than make suggestions. I trust you to know what you intended, and I’m just here to confirm that the way you depicted it worked or not. I’m a member of Scribophile and I can give you the link to check out my review work there.

I’ve been likened to movie slashers because I can turn a page red. I’ve also been told that I have a great combo of encouraging and relevant comments. I bring my sense of humor to the table, so if you use the same word four times I may tease you a little because I’m genuinely and affectionately amused. You will get squeals and gushing over things I love. I’m happy to reread portions or the whole thing.

If you’re looking for diversity research, I can help you out with: atheism, depression, and immigration.

My best communication methods are text-based (email, instant messaging) but I’ll suck it up and talk on the phone or meet in person, too.

What I’m Looking For in a Partner

Please, please, please hack and slash my stuff to bits. For years I’ve been plagued by comments that just kind of say it’s good but not why or how or what’s slipping or augh. Vagueness. Get in there and get messy, please. Demand high standards. Ask a million questions.

I love brainstorming. My best friend and I are constantly poking and prodding each other’s worlds to expand them. Again, I ask a lot of questions, and I love getting them back.

I can’t keep, say, a weekly schedule. Too much pressure. I’m happy to swap a chapter at a time, or a whole book. I don’t mind sharing as soon as a chunk is drafted to get a first read. Tell me how polished it is and I’ll read accordingly.

Reach Out

Send me an email! I would lovelovelove to hear from you, especially if something in this profile sparked for you. There’s no such thing as too many eyes.