Hey there, Pitch Warriors!
I am so excited to be joining Pitch Wars this year as a mentor, and I can’t wait to see all of your fabulous entries in my inbox. (Seriously, pick me.)
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
I’m Jamie, legal and compliance specialist by day, author by night. I live with my husband and son (aka Captain Chaos) in New Jersey, along with our three ridiculous pups.
And no, Jersey is really nothing like what you see on Jersey Shore. I’ve never had a spray tan, and I frequently have a bear who likes to take a shortcut through my backyard. I’m represented by the fabulous Jessica Watterson and my first two contemporary romances, Until We Break and Until It’s Right, are currently out with St. Martin’s Press. SMP also bought my next four-book series, the first of which is coming out this November (!!!). However, I’m also a lover of all things YA. I write both YA Contemporary and Fantasy and will be heading back into submission land with one of those manuscripts very soon.
Some random tidbits:
- I lived and breathed softball for the majority of my life. I’ve played every single position on the field, but I’m most at home on the mound.
- Actually, I’ve tried my hand at most sports–soccer, basketball, figure skating, horseback riding, the works.
- I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts, specializing in Drawing, Painting, and Photography. Which clearly has a lot to do with my current day job 🙂
- My purse typically weighs at least ten pounds because I rarely go anywhere without a book and my DSLR.
- I can play the oboe.
- I’m addicted to television series but rarely watch movies. Some of my favorite shows are/were: Lost, Fringe, The 100, Pretty Little Liars, Friends, The Vampire Diaries, Grey’s Anatomy, Outlander, Ally McBeal.
- I love video games. I’m a Playstation girl myself, though I also have a Wii collecting dust just so I can play Zelda and Mario.
- I’m an early bird. Sleeping in to me is staying in bed until 7.
- I never, ever bother matching my socks.
- Slytherin, all the way.
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM ME AS YOUR MENTOR?
I plan to tackle all the big picture issues first and then work my way down to the smaller things and line edits. I’m fully prepared (and excited!) to read your manuscript several times until everything’s as perfect as can be. I tend to comment pretty zealously on Word documents, so you can expect plenty of those in your manuscript. But please be prepared for a handful of those comments to be utter fangirling. I’m really good at picking up on pacing issues, increasing tension, and improving/complicating character relationships.
I definitely see the editing process as a collaboration and an ongoing discussion. I’m more of a texts and e-mail girl, so I expect to hear from my mentee whenever they need me. Seriously. Pitch Wars lasts a few months, but it’s my expectation (and hope) to continue working with my mentee long after that.
SO, WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?
I am here for all your Young Adult manuscripts. Okay, not all of them. Let me give you the specifics. I’m looking for Fantasy, Contemporary, and Paranormal. BUT, unless your manuscript has a small thread of romance, regardless of genre, I am not the right mentor for you. And when it comes to that romantic story line, I’d be happy with either M/F or M/M.
Your story doesn’t have to be romance-centric, but there has to be at least a teeny tiny romantic subplot. If I can’t root for two characters to get together, ultimately, I’m probably not going to love the story. Also, I fall into the Upper YA spectrum. I’m really looking for characters 16+.
In all the genres I’m looking for, here’s what I’m really hoping to find in my inbox:
- Strong, kickass heroines. Now, this doesn’t have to be literal. Your main character doesn’t have to wield a sword or fight crime (though I’m 100% for it if she does). But I’m also talking mental toughness, self-reliant, independent women.
- Retellings. I have a huge soft spot for fairy tale retellings. Literary retellings are awesome too. Whether it’s set in the contemporary world, has a fantastical spin, or a paranormal twist, I want them all. From the more mainstream ones, to the more obscure.
- Villains and anti-heroes. I am a huge sucker for these types of characters. Bonus points if they’re the main character or love interest. The Darkling is one of my favorite characters ever. Characters that are ridiculously manipulative like Ben Linus are my jam. I have always been Team Damon (and while we’re on the subject of The Vampire Diaries I also will forever ship Caroline & Klaus).
Which leads me to…
- Morally gray characters. Give me a character that doesn’t always make the right decision, or who makes the wrong decision for the right reason.
- Rip my heart out. Make me laugh, cry, or want to set your book on fire. The books I can get emotionally invested in are the ones I love the best. And for the record, there have only ever been two books I nearly hurled across the room in love/hate–Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo and In the Afterlight by Alex Bracken. I’d tell you why but it’s seriously spoilery.
- Damaged characters/love interest. Even better if that character’s issues cause conflict in your story. Think Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows or the Gansey/Blue conundrum from The Raven Boys. If the relationships in your book can be described as complicated or twisty, you have come to the right place.
Alright, let’s get more genre specific…
My taste in fantasy runs a little bit darker. Really light and fluffy fantasy is probably not for me. Nor is epic fantasy. I love vivid world building and unique magic systems. Alternate histories are always intriguing. Did I mention villains? 😉 If you have a YA Suicide Squad and it doesn’t end up in my inbox I’ll be extremely disappointed.
Honestly, I’m pretty open in this genre. As long as you’re hitting some of the above points, we’re good. Some favorites of mine: anything by Leigh Bardugo, The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas, Legend Series by Marie Lu (Side note: this series had one of the best endings I’ve ever read).
You know how I mentioned I needed a small romantic subplot? This is super important for me in Contemporary. Right here is also where you can get me with your more light and humorous stories. Anything from super light to really dark works for me in this genre. Here are some things I’d particularly love to see:
- Characters who play sports. Give me a girl taking on a male sport. A jock who falls for someone in the marching band. Really any type of athlete is a big win for me. Bonus points for baseball, softball, football, hockey, and swimming.
- If your romance involves a best friend’s brother, or brother’s best friend, I will absolutely love you forever.
- I’m also a sucker for enemies to umm…love interests.
- Strong female friendships and positive family relationships.
- A story where the female lead is more sexually experienced than the male lead.
- Gamer girls and boys.
- Authentic, cringe-worthy teen moments that are thoroughly awkward and amusing.
- Anything a la Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl.
- Complicated, messy relationships.
- Any story that can be comped to On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta or 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.
- Small towns.
- A female James Bond.
- Unusual settings.
- Virgin heroes.
- Paranormal/magical twists in a contemporary setting. Think If I Stay by Gayle Forman.
- Psychics/fortune tellers/tarot card readers.
Note: These are just things I’d like to see. The cherry on top of the sundae if you will. If your manuscript isn’t any of these things, as long as they hit on one of the 6 points in my wishlist above, no worries.
Favorites (some of these cross into NA): Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Year We Fell Down by Sarina Bowen, I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.
This is where I’m going to get super picky. Really the only things I’m looking for here are Angels, Witches, Ghosts, and possibly made up creatures. Sorry, but it’s a no from me on Vampires, Werewolves, and Shifters. I’d especially love to see Witches in a Contemporary setting. Angels are my Achilles heel. I’d love to see an Angel story that isn’t specifically wrapped up in the Heaven/Hell struggle.
My favorites: Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee, The Rephaim Series by Paula Weston.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THINGS THAT ARE JUST NOT FOR ME
- Anything that has to do with or touches on child molestation.
- Animal death. If your character is hunting to eat, that’s fine as long as it’s not overly graphic. But if your character kills puppies, or a lot of animals die in your manuscript, this will just ruin a story for me. Sorry.
Well guys, that about covers it. If you have any questions at all, please leave me a comment or come chat with me on Twitter. While I can’t take any specific pitches, if you have any general concerns or if there’s something I didn’t mention that you’re wondering about, I’m more than happy to talk it out. Don’t forget to check out all the other fabulous mentors who are listed below (but still pick me!).
And before you go, don’t forget your Scavenger Hunt letter…
THANKS FOR VISITING AND GOOD LUCK!