I’m back for a second year as a Pitch Wars Mentor and I could not be more excited! Many of my wish list items are the same, but there are a few notable changes, so read on to find out more!
First, a little about me: If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a bit of a contest junkie. I’ve participated in quite a few as a hopeful, and always walked away with new knowledge, new friends, or both! I’ve entered and not gotten picked, I’ve been picked, and I’ve been on the other side helping out. Since you’re reading this you probably already know, but I’m going mention it anyways: all sides have been super valuable! So pat yourself on the back for looking into Pitch Wars, you’ll find a lot more than a potential mentor with this contest.
At any given moment my writing/editing process looks an awful lot like this (note the messy desk and wrist braces for carpal tunnel). The cat, Oreo, recently passed away, but her fur can still be found keeping my laptop warm:
I’m a NA/A Contemporary Romance writer represented by Rachel Brooks of BookEnds Literary Agency. For how I landed my agent (I’m a slush success) check out this post. I have two NA romances out with Avon books, SIGNS OF ATTRACTION and FRIEND (WITH BENEFITS) ZONE. I’m Hard of Hearing and I write about hearing loss. I also have a degree in Deaf Studies from Boston University, which I used in my former career as a social worker, before burning out and turning to the family business (need window treatments? I’m your gal!). I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic: I married my high school sweetheart and we live with our son and two cats.
And if this doesn’t give you a hint about what I’m looking for…I want all the romance!
Okay, not all, I can’t have them all. Specifically I’m mentoring NA/A and what I’m looking for is pretty universal across the two categories. Here are a few things high on my wish list:
- Diversity. Whatever that means to you: race, sexuality, gender, religion, disability, etc. I especially would love some own voices as I’m super sensitive to authentic portrayals. Note that I’m white/cis/straight, so I’m counting on you to bring a respectful and accurate diverse element across. Also note that I want diversity to be an is, part of the make up of the character not a plot point (own voice issue books the exception). If a disabled character is “cured,” I’m not your mentor.
- I’m a sucker for a second chance romance, or friends to lovers. Show me either of these and you’ll have my attention. Secret babies (or babies/kids/pregnancy) also strike a cord, but must stand out from the crowd.
- I dig unrequited love finally getting their chance.
- I’m also a big fan of the underdog.
- I like a story with meat to the plot, that is more than the romance. A story that knows the rules and breaks them just enough to be unique.
- One of my favorite parts to a story (or movie or television series) is the interpersonal relationships. I love to see those relationships grow and change over the course of a novel.
- I like characters who are real. Sure, we all love the tattooed bad boy, but the hot guy who reads a book at the coffee shop is just as hero worthy!
- While I tend to fall in love with a little of everything, I’m a best match for contemporary stories.
- That said, I’m game for some light fantasy, thanks to an overwhelming obsession with Once Upon A Time (did you catch the gif above? *swoon*). Got some fairy tale lore or True Love, gimme! Just keep in mind that another mentor is your best bet for full on fantasy novels.
- Got a Women’s Fiction novel with a strong romantic component or RomCom? Send it my way!
- A few other sub genres I’m open to: Romantic Suspense and some Paranormal (I had a ghost story high on my list last year but I’m not a big vampire/werewolf gal).
- I want amazing chemistry between the two main characters. That can be off the charts or a slow burn.
- In regards to chemistry…I prefer my sex on page, please. You may be able to tease me with no sex but good build up, however full on BDSM makes me blush far too much!
- Ultimately, it’s voice that will seal the deal for me. And That’s not something I can explain beyond: I’ll know it when I see it.
Things I am not a good match for:
- Science Fiction
- Heavy Fantasy
- Non HEA or HFN, I need my happy endings!
- Many instances of rape. It’s a gray area for me, but I’m getting a lot of questions on it so I’m adding it in here: if you have a good reason for it being in a romance, I’m okay with it. But if it’s heavy on the rape or a lot on page, I’m not your mentor.
So why should you choose me? I intern for a publisher and have learned a lot from this experience. I’m a plot hunter. I love nothing more than to find plot issues and point them out. And I will go back and forth happily over issues until they shine! I love seeing how things can be made better and stronger. I’m a revision nut. Some of my best work has come from revisions and I’m not afraid to rip things apart and put them back together. I have a soft spot for kick-ass romance black moments. I may have also developed a fondness for torturing characters.
As for grammar: if I had a time machine I would go back and re-assign my English teachers, as I got the easy one every year. It took until middle school Spanish for me to understand verbs enough to play MadLibs (hangs head in shame). I’ve come a long way, but after having commas added, removed, added, removed by my agent, editor, and copy editor, I’m not your gal if you need help placing them! That being said, I will hunt down all instances of tell, search for passive language, and absolutely mark up what I’m confident in.
I communicate mostly via email or messaging due to my hearing loss. However, I’m happy to work with what form is best for you!
I love to watch romantic comedies (While You Were Sleeping, Stardust, Penelope, Sweet Home Alabama) and a romantic plot or subplot has addicted me to more than one television series (Frasier, How I Met Your Mother, Coupling (British version, American doesn’t exist), Once Upon A Time). In books, I range from sweet to angsty. On the sweet side: I love me some steam. On the angsty side: too much can be too much, I like my happy moments! My favorite author list is seriously lacking in diversity, and I’ve been branching out over the last few years. But my tried and true authors include: Jennifer Crusie, Jill Shalvis, Nora Roberts, Elizabeth Briggs, and Tracey Livesay.
Any questions? Tweet me! @AuthorLBrown or comment below! And be sure to check out the other mentors posts! *note, the scavenger hunt word is a red “That’s”*