Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#PitchWars 2017 Mentor Blog Hop


Welcome to #TeamVictoriousSecret! If you're reading this, it's probably because you're a potential mentee and you're trying to choose the right mentor(s) for you and your awesome work. And Beth and I are about to convince you why WE are the mentors for you! (On a side note, Beth and I are accepting YA only.)

(On another side note: If you are thoroughly confused right now, you can read all about Pitch Wars HERE.)


WHO WE ARE:




Kristin Smith


Hi there! I am so excited to be co-mentoring Pitch Wars this year with my friend and critique partner, the very talented Beth Ellyn Summer. Beth and I have a great love for many of the same books, and we are dying to find that ms we immediately connect with and will go to battle for.


Im a YA author who loves jewelry and scarves, and would trade summer for fall any day. Im the best-selling author of the YA near-future thriller Catalyst (released Nov. 16 from Clean Teen Publishing) and its sequel Forgotten (released April 17). You can find my books in your local Barnes and Noble or online HERE.




Fun Facts:


I LOVE to dance and may or may not be the Just Dance champion in my house.


If you take me to a karaoke bar, I might not be the one drinking, but Ill certainly be the one singing.




I play a killer game of Scrabble, but I suck at drawing—my biggest claim to fame would be stick figures and flowers.

I have a slight addiction to chocolate, and I’m a strong believer that if a dessert doesn’t have chocolate in it, then it’s not considered a dessert (except for creme brûlée—I can always make an exception for creme brûlée).

I love to laugh (no, seriously, I LOVE to laugh).

I’m a Southern girl by birth and by heart, but I’m fascinated with big cities.


As the only girl in a house of six boys (1 husband, 5 sons), I'm WAY outnumbered, which is probably why I love rom coms so much.


I love broadway plays, music, Zumba, sunsets, the ocean, my family, the piano, reading (of course), and a million other things.


You can read more about me and my books at kristinsmithbooks.com OR connect with me on Twitter: @SwordsStilettos OR find me on Instagram: @kristinsmithwrites





Beth Ellyn Summer:



Hi! I am so thrilled to be a Pitch Wars mentor with my good friend Kristin Smith. There is something so crazy exciting about this contest, and the lead up to it every year reminds me of the electric buzz just before a concert's about to start. We can’t wait to find the manuscript that makes us fan girl!




I'm a YA author in love with makeup, words and pretty pastel things. My debut novel, AT FIRST BLUSH was published by Bloomsbury Spark in April '17. Check it out HERE.




I firmly believe books > movies, but I do love television about as much as I love books. I’m a bit of a TV addict. I spent my college years interning at NBC for Conan O'Brien and Jimmy Fallon (which means I possess the answer to the age old question: how many interns does it take to change a water cooler?) Also: please don't tell my journalism degree, but my favorite news source is Colin Jost and Michael Che on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update.


Fun Facts:


I live, breathe, sleep, eat, exist for fitness (yes, I'm one of *those* people) with a special love for HIIT (actually HIIT classifies as a love/hate relationship), weight training, core work, and yoga.


I have a cat named Penny Belle who loves to "hunt" my laundry downstairs at night and "present" it to me in my room upstairs which is adorable, as well as incredibly helpful.


The Roots once wrote a song about me and Whoopie Goldberg eating frozen yogurt together on a desert island.


I can’t for the life of me remember high school math, yet Britney Spears’ entire dance routine to “Crazy” is still somehow embedded in my brain (and feet) for all eternity.  


I can solve Wheel of Fortune puzzles with, like, three letters. Sometimes less.


I love Hanson. Yes, Mmmbop Hanson. Yes, they still have a fan base.


As I mentioned above, I love makeup. My main character in At First Blush is a makeup guru. But I can’t apply eye liner to save my life, and the one time I did a decent wing, I took 7,000 selfies to document the occasion.


To learn more about me and my writing check out www.BethEllynSummer.com or connect with me on Twitter and Instagram @BethEllynSummer


NOW ON TO THE GOOD STUFF!



We are interested in YA in the following genres: contemporary realistic, contemporary magical realism, contemporary suspense/mystery/psychological thrillers, fantasy/speculative fiction


Here are some things wed LOVE to see:


-VOICE, VOICE, VOICE (If you have an ms with a voice that truly stands out, we are the mentors for you!)
-Romance (were a sucker for great romantic tensionhowever, the romance doesnt have to be part of the main plot; it can be a subplot and wed be happy)
-Complex family dynamics
-Unreliable narrators (If you have anything that can be comped to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, we want to see it!)
-Love triangles (done right!)
-Complicated or flawed characters
-Twists and turns we dont see coming
-Stories told in an unusual way (with letters or text messages, etc. Think Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher)
-Fairy tale retellings
-High concept plots (Think Pretty Little Liars)
-Own voices
-Writing that grounds us in the characters every emotion
-Artistic characters: dance, painting, acting, singing, writing, photography, etc.
-Anything that can make us laugh or cry (preferably both!)
-Anything a la Pretty Little Liars or Gilmore Girls
-Characters dealing with the death of a loved one (Think The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson)
-Boarding schools
-Phantom of the Opera inspired retelling
-YA version of the Bachelorette
-Foreign settings
-Anything with cooking
-Anything that can be comped to Sarah Dessen or Stephanie Perkins




THE BREAKDOWN:


CONTEMPORARY:


It's no secret that we LOVE contemporary YA. So, if you've got swoony boys, complex characters and unique plots, we're your girls. We love the light and fluffy stuff (humor is always a plus) but on the flip side, if your character is gritty and dark, we want it too! In short, when it comes to contemporary, to quote Sharpay Evans, we want it all.





We love strong female friendships, but Beth has a love for the slow burn and inevitable heartbreak of close friendships falling apart.


Beth is also addicted to Disney shows and movies, so if your book is anything like High School Musical or Teen Beach (think What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae), she will move heaven and earth for it! (bonus points for manuscripts with musical elements: rock stars, concerts, etc.)




Kristin is a sucker for voices, so if you have a voicey ms that can make her laugh (or cry) she’ll fight Wonder Woman-style for it.



Kristin would love to see anything that could be comped to Sarah Dessen, Stephanie Perkins, or Kasie West. Shes also a huge fan of Phantom of the Opera, so if you have a contemporary version of this classic masterpiece, shed love to see it. Kristin ships stories that have emotional depth, such as dealing with the death of a loved one, so if you have a ms a la The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson or Hold Still by Nina LaCour, please submit to us.


MAGICAL REALISM:


We are looking for magical realism in a contemporary setting. Think If I Stay by Gayle Forman or Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Or anything else you think we'd love.


FANTASY/SPECULATIVE FICTION


Were looking for light fantasy or light sci-fi/near-future sci-fi. So if you have an epic fantasy or anything with dragons, trolls, or unicorns, we are probably not the right mentors for you. We're also not the right mentors for spaceships or aliens. However, if you have a superhero ms a la Wonder Woman or anything as badass as that, wed love to see it! Most of all, we want impressive world-building and unique plots. Give us something we've never seen before, and we'll be over-the-moon excited!


Some favorites include: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Defy by Sara Larson, Catalyst by Kristin Smith (*wink, wink* See what I did there?)


CONTEMPORARY SUSPENSE/MYSTERY/PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLERS:


We are open to thrillers and books that mess with your mind. If you have a suspenseful or psychological thriller that can keep us turning pages late into the night, wed love to see it.


Specifically, we want anything a la Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, The Darkest Secret by Pintip Dunn, or a YA version of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.


***


We know this is a wide range of interests, but mostly if you have a great story with a ton of VOICE and a lot or a little bit of romance (remember, romance can be a subplot), then we want YOUR manuscript!


FAVORITE BOOKS, MOVIES, & TV SHOWS:


Kristin


Favorite authors: Lauren Oliver, Jandy Nelson, Jenny Han, Kasie West, Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, Suzanne Collins, Jennifer E. Smith, Gayle Forman, Jennifer Niven, Rainbow Rowell, E. Lockhart, Kiera Cass


Favorite books: The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, The Fill-In Boyfriend by Katie West, The Selection Series by Kiera Cass, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Favorite movies: The Notebook, Kate and Leopold, Youve Got Mail, Family Man, Batman Begins, Wonder Woman, Titanic, Life As We Know It, The Holiday, My Best Friends Wedding, Dirty Dancing


Favorite TV shows: Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, Reign, Switched At Birth, Modern Family, Vampire Diaries, Drop-Dead Diva, Poldark, Hart of Dixie


Beth


Favorite authors: Kasie West, Sophie Kinsella, Kiera Cass, Stephanie Perkins, J.K. Rowling, Morgan Matson, Emery Lord, Sarah Dessen, Harlan Coben, Jenny Han, Allie Larkin.

Favorite books: Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella, Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, The Selection series by Kiera Cass, Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, P.S. I Like You, by Kasie West (all by Kasie West), The Summer I Turned Pretty series and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

Favorite movies: Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Harry Potter, Titanic, High School Musical 1, 2, 3, Camp Rock, Teen Beach Movie, Frozen, The Little Mermaid... All things Disney.

Favorite TV shows: Friends, The Middle, Modern Family, Gilmore Girls, Younger, Sex and the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, The King of Queens, Wheel of Fortune.


NOT FOR US:


There are some things we know would not be right for us, and as a potential mentee, you want a mentor who will be a champion for your work. With that being said, here are some things were not looking for:

-The murdering of darlings is about all the blood we can handle, so please: no horror!
-Erotica
-Incest
-Rape
-Cruelty or death of an animal
-High fantasy
-Dystopian (while we LOVE dystopian, its such a hard sell right now)
-Paranormal in the form of vampires, werewolves, or shapeshifters
-Space opera


WHY YOU SHOULD CHOOSE US (aka OUR GENERAL AWESOMENESS)


We love nothing more than finding that special something in a manuscript and exploring ways to make it come alive, while maintaining the structure and integrity of the story. BUT, that said, we'll push you to work hard and encourage you to make real, deep changes. Revisions aren't about cutting and pasting bits of the story and rearranging. They're about digging deep into structural edits and discovering new scenes (and sometimes characters) in the process. So be ready to kill some darlings and do whatever it takes to make that ms shine. Oh, and we LOVE brainstorming! So we'll always be available to bat ideas around and work through snags. In short, as long as you're willing to put the work in, we'll be there for you every step of the way!



Now head on over to Beth's blog to say 'hi' and find our word for the scavenger hunt. You can visit her HERE.


Be sure to check out the other mentor bios below!

2017 Pitch Wars YA Mentors


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