Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole
Bringing you a closer look each Pitch War Team and their project.
Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.
Meet M. C. Vaughan and Lynnette Labelle
Team: Team Labelle
Vaughan, tell us a little about yourself.
It’s probably easier for me to list the things I do not enjoy reading, as these number three: tax forms, electronics manuals, and IKEA instructions.* My favorite genre is contemporary romantic comedy; YA sci/fi is a close second. My style — snappy sentences, lots of banter, and made-up words – tends to blend better in the contemporary romance world, so that is where I’ve made my home. Plus, I’m a sucker for happily ever afters, and man, there are just not a lot of those in dystopian YA.
Fun facts about me… I have about eight pounds of curly hair. I studied Japanese for a year, and the only thing I can remember is how to ask you your name. Ooh, and my cringiest guy moment ever happened when I was a freshman in college. We went to the National Gallery of Art for a field trip, and we all had to find our own way to/from. As we left the museum, one of my classmates – a guy who was really easy on the eyes – offered a couple of us a ride home. He sailed through the streets of DC like he’d paved them himself. One by one, he dropped off our other classmates. I thought there was some chemistry sparkling between us, and I couldn’t leave the car without saying something charming, witty, and memorable. At my dorm, I turned to him and said, “You’re a really good driver.” He said, “Cool. Uh, I gotta go.” I sort of melted out of the car…
*I am aware that IKEA instructions are primarily pictograms, but I still hate them with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns.
Labelle, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a freelance editor with best-selling authors and authors-in-training on my list. And, for the first time in years, I’m focusing on my writing. I write romantic suspense with dark villains, hunky heroes, spunky heroines, and smexy romances. I’m a 2015 Daphne du Maurier finalist and a 2015 Molly (Heart of Denver Romance Writers) finalist. I don’t have a favorite genre, but the manuscripts/books that stick with me are the ones with a lot of voice (like my mentee’s). After that, I have to like the premise and the characters, and then I’m lost in their world until I have to come out for, you know, real life stuff like family, food, sleep… Fun fact about me… I love animals, but I’ve always been more of a dog person than a cat person. And one thing I’ve learned is that once I make a statement like that, it gets thrown in my face. For example, over the cold winter months, we took in a stray cat. She was friendly and won me over, but we were only going to feed her and give her water. That turned into letting her snooze on my dog’s pillow during the day. Yeah, he wasn’t too impressed. Soon enough, that turned into keeping her in a kennel overnight. I’m allergic to cats, but I didn’t react to this one. Probably one more element to the conspiracy.
When spring came along, we discovered the cat was pregnant. Apparently, she was a little too friendly with other stray cats. But, we had agreed once it was nice out, she’d be sent back to her world and could have the kittens wherever she would’ve had them if we hadn’t gotten involved. Are you buying this yet? ‘Cause I did until she went into labor under my deck and deserted the first kitten. Ugh. I had to wrap the poor dear in a blanket and bring both mommy and kitten inside. Okay, I’ll admit, it was interesting to watch the mom give birth—well, except the part where she ate the placentas… Yuck. But, taking care of tiny kittens is a big job and very time consuming. You’re probably expecting me to finish by saying we then had to spend hours putting up posters and posting ads on FB so we could find homes for the kittens. True, but my story doesn’t end there. Remember that first kitten? She got really sick and almost died. She was down to skin and bones. I had to nurse her back to health, which, of course, forced me to grow attached to her. I told you it was a conspiracy. Now you see where this is going, right? Yeah. She’s my baby. I couldn’t give her away. Not after saving her twice. Plus, she has a cool name: White-Walker. Nobody would dare give away a white walker.
Vaughn, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
The Pitch Wars community looked like such a good time from the outside! And did you see the mentor roster? There are so many people whose books (and whose clients’ books) I read and cuddle with at night… I WANTED IN. Beyond the community, though, the word ‘mentor’ caught my eye. I hooked up with my local critique circle through Maryland Romance Writers, and it has been fabulous, so I knew a more intensive mentorship with a publishing professional would be just the thing I need to punt my writing to the next level. Plus, I need guidance on how to navigate the big bad world of query letters and synopses. Really, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a mentor, asking her to love my manuscript and make it shine…
Labelle, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
I’d seen the mentor smack talk and wanted to be a part of it. Well, that and I wanted to pay it forward and offer my services to someone I chose in hopes of building a forever friendship.
I’ve recently been getting into the Twitter pitch parties (I participated in SFFPit and WritePit, though I missed PitMad the first time around this year). This one showed up in my feed and I figured…why not? Nothing to lose. Even if I didn’t get chosen, I love meeting all the other awesome authors out there. I can’t wait to see all of your wonderful books in the stores!
Vaughn, what are you most excited for?
Absolutely, hands-down the first is working with Lynnette. Get ready for gush: HAVE YOU SEEN HER BIO? She is amazing. And talented, and sweet, and kind, and funny. Really, she’d be the whole high school senior superlatives page. I’m going to learn so much from her, and am hoping to gain a friend for life.
Labelle, what are you most excited for?
I’m doing cartwheels across my kitchen floor at the THOUGHT of my mentee signing with an agent. WHEN it happens, I’ll up my game and do a handstand on the roof. Okay, so not the safest plan considering I’m a klutz. Maybe I’ll announce the news to the world instead.
Vaughn describe your novel in 3 words.
Fun, Art, Love.
Labelle, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.
To-die-for (That’s one word if I hyphenate it, right?), voicy (Hey, it’s a word, Merriam Webster.), and sexy
Check Us Out
M. C. Vaughan, Team Mentee
Hello! I’m M.C. Vaughan. Not like hip-hop M.C., but more like “my first two names start with an ‘M’ and a ‘C.’
Lynnette Labelle, Team Mentor
I’m Lynnette Labelle (notice my first name is spelled with two Ns—blame it on my dad, who said, “It’s Lynn + ette, why wouldn’t it have two Ns?”). I’m a freelance editor. I also offer query letter & synopsis critiques. I write romantic suspense novels.