Hey, PitchWarriors! This year I’m co-mentoring middle grade (MG) with the amazing Elly Blake.
Me: I love all things fantasy, espresso, and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie. I’ve been a stay-at-home dad for over 7 years; before the kid gig I worked as a reporter for The St. Augustine Record and as a college registrar. I was a #PitchWars mentee in 2014 and a mentor in 2015, so I’ve been on both sides of the fence. I write upper MG fantasy and am represented by Leon Husock of the L. Perkins Agency.
Elly: Elly loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs before becoming a library assistant. She’s always hunting for new middle grade books to recommend to library patrons, or to bring home to her three sons. Her debut novel, FROSTBLOOD, comes out in January 2017 (Little Brown). Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR IN A MENTEE:
We’d like to work with someone who enjoys open communication, is willing to listen and discuss ideas, and who is willing to make whatever changes are necessary to make the book stronger. You don’t have to use all our suggestions but we ask that you consider them!
OUR CRITIQUING STYLE:
We’re good cheerleaders. We will tell you what we love, as well as what we think needs tweaking. We will (hopefully) not destroy your writerly soul with our critiques. We want to be your partners, your brainstorming help, your second and third sets of eyes, and your biggest fans.
YOU SHOULD SUBMIT TO US IF:
Your book is upper MG, preferably fantasy or science fiction with a dark and creepy feel. Though we admire books in the literary vein, our tastes tend toward the commercial. (That said, if you can combine literary and commercial, definitely send it our way!) No contemporary this year.
BOOKS AND/OR AUTHORS WE LOVE:
The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney
The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
The 39 Clues series
As kids we loved C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Brian Jacques, Joan Lowry Nixon, Gordon Kormon, Judy Blume, Alan Garner, Scott O’Dell, Robin McKinley and many more.
Now it’s your turn! We can’t wait to read your submissions. Pitch Wars is an incredible opportunity to get help polishing and perfecting your manuscript, as well as showcasing your pitch and opening to a bevy of interested agents. Kudos on taking the plunge. No matter what happens, you should take pride in having the courage to submit your work. Good luck! And check out all the mentor wish lists here.
Oh, also, if you’re doing the scavenger hunt, here’s your letter!