Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our Official Pitch Wars Picks (& a few fun extras)

Before we announce our official Pitch Wars mentee and alternate, we want to thank everyone once again for submitting to us. Stacey and I were both overwhelmed by the quality of entries and the amazing enthusiasm we felt from all of you on Twitter. It’s been so fun reading everyone’s work and connecting with all of you.

We genuinely wish we could pick more than one mentee. But since we can’t, we’ve decided to give a few additional awards for some of the extra delightful things that jumped out at us as we went through our Pitch Wars inbox.

Best Personalized Query
 Genevieve Angelique Artel, author of FORGOTTEN.

She managed to include all mentors in her query. Awesome job Genevieve.

Most Original Fairytale Retelling/Fairytale Mashup
Rena Traxel, author of THE WITCHES BREW.

We really hope to see this Hansel & Gretel retelling in our local bookstores someday.

Most Memorable P. S.
Adam Hughes
“If you google me, I am not the same Adam Hughes who draws nearly-pornographic comic book illustrations. Just for the record, I can't draw.”

This made us both laugh out loud. Well said, Adam.

Tweet That Made Stephanie Smile
Eustacia Tan
“Thought I saw an email from @SGarberGirl and my heart stopped for a while. Turns out it was just a blogger comment update :p #pitchwars

I don’t know that anyone has ever been so excited about an email from me before. Thanks, Eustacia!

Tweet That Made Stacey Smile
Sammy Azzouz
After Stacey tweeted for people to check their spam folders:
@moabsam1 tweeted: "I don't think I ever wanted spam before"

We actually think this tweet made a lot of people smile.

Most Likely To Make Us Wish We Were Mentoring MG
Rebecca Rice Birkin, author of LAWNMOWER, LEAVING

You hooked us from the first line of your query: “Cole’s Fear List won’t stop growing.”

Most Likely To Appeal To Theater Geeks Like Us
THE GISELLE PROJECT by Heather Harris-Brady

We also loved the title for this one.

Most Unusual Historical Setting (Babylon)
TRADE WINDS TO MELUHHA By Vasantrai Purushottam Davé

We could feel the atmosphere just from the query for this one.

Eeriest Japanese Folklore
YOKAI by David Ferraro

We still feel a little haunted by this one.

Book We Wish We Could Get Lost In
ENCIRCLED by Summer Spence

This story hit all our favorite notes--castle, princes, faraway places, historical awesomeness!

Best High School Musical MS
Kim Pierson, author of THE DEAR JANE LETTERS

When we read these pages we felt like we were watching a movie.

Most Unique Title
THE SHADOW OF BABA YAGA by Antonin Korenek

Doesn’t the title for this just make you want to read more?

Favorite First Line
Marisa Hopkins author of CALLING THE GHOST
“I was having a Lady of Shalott Moment.”

Great opening! We’re not sure if you were going for this, but we immediately thought of Anne Shirley.

Best Comp Titles
Jenna DeVillier,  Amira Sayler, & Jerry Quinn

Jenna DeVillier for using GRAVE MERCY
We both love Robin LaFevers!

Amira Sayler for using FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK
FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK is Stephanie’s absolute favorite!

Jerry Quinn for using Stephen Sondheim’s INTO THE WOODS, which Stacey saw for the first time a few months ago

Most Original Twist on Shape-Shifting
Somer Givens, author of ARANO

Bone marrow disintegration is kind of freaky, but flying is pretty awesome.

Best Mentee Bio
Dakota Shain Byrd

He had us the moment we saw Inigo Montaya.

Coziest Cozy Mystery
UNEASY GRACE by Susan Paxton

We wish we could cuddle up with this one.

Voiciest Query
Ashley Hearn, author of BOOK OF ADAM

We also loved the setting for this one—definitely fit with our wish list.

Most Heartfelt Tweet
Katherine A. Pisana
The one thing I want more than anything: to be an author. Wanting something so bad means I feel the rejection & disappointment keenly.”

So many of Katherine’s tweets are heart felt, but we especially loved this one. All of you should follow her.

Most Timely Entry
Steven Rogers, author of SONG OF THE VALKYRIE

Thank you for being the very first to apply to us. We know you all get nervous about being chosen, and we’re the same way. Thanks for choosing us.

Query That Dazzled Us

We could have picked this one, but another mentor found it first. J

Favorite Contemporary
ANYONE'S GHOST by Emily Marquart

This was a close one for us. We liked it so much we shared it with other mentors.

In addition to the prizeless awards above, we’ve also given three honorable mentions. These are for manuscripts we came this-close to picking. For all three of these manuscripts we’ll be giving the authors query critiques.

Honorable Mention
FOR BEARED OR WORSE by Jennifer D. Bushroe

We felt this fantasy was completely original, and the pages were well-written, too.

Honorable mention
JC Davis, author of CHEESUS WAS HERE

We both loved the concept behind this, but we think she’ll do fine without us.

Honorable Mention
D. A. Mages author of THE MEMORY OF OBJECTS.

This one was a close call for us. We both loved the concept of this as well, and we’re so glad another mentor loved it, too!

Thank you all for making us laugh and smile. Almost every entry actually made us smile; these are just a few of the ones that stood out a little extra.

And now it is time to announce our official Pitch Wars mentee and alternate. 

Our New #Pitchwars Mentee from Stacey-Author on Vimeo.

Stacey and I are really excited about the manuscripts we’ve chosen! But the fun doesn’t stop there. We’ve had so much fun making videos for Pitch Wars, that we plan on making more. You can find them here, on our official Tumblr page.

And, if you have a writing question you'd like us to answer in one of our videos feel free to email us at:  stephandstacey (dot) pitchwars (at) gmail (dot) com.

Coming up later this week:  People have requested we do a post where we talk a little more in depth about how we made our final choices. We also plan on highlighting some common mistakes found in queries. So be sure to check back!

If you subbed to us, thank you once again! And if you’re just stopping by to see who we chose, thanks for that, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Query Tips from our Pitch Wars Inbox

Hi! Today Stacey and I are chatting about a few recurring problems we’ve been seeing in our #pitchwars inboxes, and how to fix them!

I'm having some technical difficulties imbedding the video with our tips, but you can find it by clicking here.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

My friend Anna Shinoda called Stacey Lee and I out on her #alsicebucketchallenge here.  And we accepted.

ALS Ice Bucket from Stacey-Author on Vimeo.

To donate to ALS you don't have to dump a bucket of ice water on your head like Stacey and I, all you have to do is click here.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What's In Our Pitch Wars Inbox?

Howdy all! I hope you’re all hanging in there as you wait for the #Pitchwars results.

Stacey and I figured it could be a rough wait, so this last weekend we got together and made a few videos describing what exactly was in our mysterious inbox. 

We had both read all the entries that landed in our inbox (and continued to read together as they came in, see all the pictures taken by Stacey’s daughter). 

Our video is down below.  But, please note, the stats have changed since then, as the majority of people sent in their apps on Monday (8/18), which was the deadline.

And without further ado, here is that video of WHAT’S IN OUR PITCHWARS INBOX.

Pitch Wars Inbox from S. Lee on Vimeo.

Hopefully this helps with some of the waiting.  If anyone has any specific questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Stacey and I have a lot of fun making videos, but ultimately we do them because we want to share with all of you.

And, make sure to check back. We have another video coming, as well as a special announcement!


P.S. If you missed any of our earlier videos, you can find them here.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pitch Wars’ Submission Window Is Now Closed--What's Next?

First off, I just want to thank everyone who submitted to us once again. Two years ago, when I applied to this contest I remember how much thought I put into the mentors I chose--so every query we've received means a lot.

We're also having a lot of fun reading every query! 

Mentor picks won’t be announced until September 3rd, but since Stacey and I like to involve other people in our fun, we may be sharing a few videos over the next couple weeks that talk a little more about some of the trends--and fun things--we’re seeing inside our Pitch Wars inbox.

So, make sure to check back either here, or on Stacey's Blog. We know how hard waiting can be, so we definitely want to share updates while we keep you all in suspense.

Thanks again for stopping by! And if there's anything else you'd like Stacey or I to share, please feel free to let us know in  the comments.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

My Pitch Wars Wish List & A Fun Announcement!

Hi! Welcome to Pitch Wars! 
Thank you so much for stopping by. I am so excited to be mentoring for the second year in a row, and even more excited because this year I am co-mentoring with my dear friend, the amazing Stacey Lee!
We are both looking for YA manuscripts, and if you pick us, you’ll be getting two awesome mentors for the price of one!  Pretty good deal, huh?
We’ve had a lot of fun putting together our wish list. This year we would love to see:
Novels set in exotic, unexpected, or underrepresented locales: the Arctic, jungles, foreign countries, the American West. We’d love to read a character-driven stories set on a ranch in the contemporary West, the deep south, a Tahitian island, the Mongolian Steppes. . . we are suckers for adventure and romance (especially the forbidden kind) and we love to be taken to new places and to learn about different cultures.
We also love retellings/re-imaginings of myths, fantasies, fables, and classics. If you have a modernization of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or Antony and Cleopatra, send them our way.
If your novel has structural quirks—alternating POV, alternating Before/After sections, stories told in reverse—even better.
When it comes to contemporary we like the quirky and the off-beat (think Sherman Alexie or Maureen Johnson).
More than any specific genre, we’re looking for a story with heart, and an MC we can root for. But, for those of you who like specific genres, here are the genres we’d like to see most this year:
  • ·      Action-adventure
  • ·      Contemporary
  • ·      Fantasy
  • ·      Historical
  • ·      Historical-fantasy
  • ·      Humor!
  • ·      Magical realism
  • ·      Mystery/thriller
  • ·      Multicultural

A few more things we really like:  Geniuses, sailors, castles, love triangles, the marginalized, culture clashes, strong friendships or strong sibling relationships, damsels with cheek and slightly baffled heroes. Parents. Villains you love to hate. We would especially love a boy-view, or a coming-of-age story, and a combo of the two would be even better.
Unfortunately we are not the biggest fans of horror, and this year we are also not going to be looking for any science fiction.

Why you should pick us:

First, you should watch this video...

If you're still not convinced here are some more facts:

We have four years of Pitchwars experience between us.
Last year, Stacey won Pitchwars with her awesome mentee Bethany Smith.  Beth wrote an informative series on the subject of What To Expect From Pitchwars.
Stephanie is a college creative writing instructor and knows her stuff!
Stacey has a historical YA fiction debuting next March (UNDER A PAINTED SKY) and can edit in her sleep.
We love goofing off together--and promise to make this fun!

Sharing some good books!

In disguise! 

Having fun in exotic Los Angeles

Thanks again for stopping by! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment (I respond to all comments), or find us on twitter. Here (for Stacey) and here (for me).

And, if you'd like to see more videos, Stacey has posted a couple here!

And don't forget to check out all the other awesome mentors!

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