So I get to be a mentor! Last year, I was an alternate with a terrific mentor (Kara Leigh Miller) and I got my lovely and amazing agent, Sarah Younger, with my Pitch Wars manuscript. I write women’s fiction and romance for various ages. I’m also a full-time lawyer and a full-time kid chauffeur (I write half my words at their lessons and practices). I’ve been writing for years, have a copy editor for a father and an English teacher for a mother, and some of the most amazing critique partners in the business (ALL of whom are also mentors in this contest).
And I want your Adult manuscript!!!
What I’d love for you to send me:
- Women’s Fiction of all kinds. I love most of the tropes. I especially love the kind described as having “heavy romantic elements.” If you’re not sure whether your book is WF or Romance, I’m your girl. If your hero is more Beta than Alpha, I’m your girl. If you blush when you see a half-naked man on a cover, I’m your girl. Favorite authors: Liane Moriarty, Anne Rivers Siddons, Allison Pearson, Emily Giffin, Jane Green, Jodi Picoult, Mary Kay Andrews, Rainbow Rowell.
- Romance. I love the sweet and a little sexy. There are other mentors better suited to the super sexy. I don’t do erotica. I’ve read it, I blush, I giggle, it’s a mess. I love old school romance. Small towns, big cities, whatever you have. Except dinosaurs. Do not send me your dinosaur romance.
- Commercial fiction: I devour bestsellers. Recent-ish books I loved: Cartwheel, The Circle, Gone Girl, The Royal We, Water for Elephants, Seating Arrangements, The Kitchen House, anything by Pat Conroy.
- Time travel: I love books that use the device of time travel without being about the workings of the time travel. I’m not a fantasy/SF reader. I’m open to other magical realism where the emphasis is on realism and not magic. See: Outlander.
- Historicals: I was a history major. I travel to see historical sites and museums. I actually read all the plaques in the museums. Favorite periods: American Civil War, Titanic/WWI, Colonial America, UK from 1550 to 1800 (yes, including Scotland. See: Outlander), Gilded Age, British India, anything Canada. Extra points for an unusual period/setting.
- Thrillers: As much as I love Love, I also really enjoy a good serial killer. Extra points if you have a book with both love and a serial killer. I love Gillian Flynn and fiction that reads like true crime. I’m good with legal thrillers too: because I am a lawyer. Make sure your lawyer characters follow the rules or if they don’t, that they recognize the risks.
- Retellings of Classics: Send them all — Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Greek myths, fairy tales. Love all of that. I’m a major Jane Austen dork.
There are many amazing books in the world that are not at the top of my TBR pile. Life is short, and there are a lot of books.
Please DON’T send me (because I don’t read enough of these to be able to help you):
- Science fiction
- Paranormal other than as described above
- I’m not allowed to accept YA or MG -- Please don’t send that!
Okay. If I get to work with you, my plan is to help you do the following:
Get your plot holes filled.
- Pace your novel to flow and keep an agent reading.
- Make your dialogue sound real in the mind of the reader.
- Make sure your characters live and breathe, even when they’re off the page.
- Fix your writing/mechanic issues, if you have them. I’ll be honest: if you have major issues in this area, I’ll likely pass. You should review your manuscript for this before submitting.
I’ll read your manuscript and send you back an overall critique with my thoughts on all five of those categories. You’ll need to put on your big kid pants before you open that email. I’ll also send back my in-line thoughts on the little stuff. Then you fix. We talk. We email. We argue. Then you fix some more. I’ll read what you’ve fixed. I’ll critique. We’ll polish. And it’ll be amazing.
One caveat, and this is a big one: If you can’t handle criticism, don’t submit to me or anyone. If all you want is for someone to tell you what an amazing writer you are, you’re barking up the wrong tree. This contest is for people who want to IMPROVE.
That’s what we’re going to do. And I can’t wait!