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Pitch Wars 2017 ADULT Mentors
Kristen Lepionka is the author of The Last Place You Look, forthcoming in Spring 2017 from St. Martin’s/Minotaur Books. She grew up mostly in a public library and could often be found in the adult mystery section well before she was out of middle school. Her writing has been selected for Shotgun Honey, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grift, and Black Elephant. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her partner and two cats. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
The Last Place You Look (Roxane Weary Book #1) by Kristen Lepionka
Preorder . . .
Nobody knows what happened to Sarah Cook. The beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton―black and from the wrong side of the tracks―was convicted of the murders and is now on death row. Though he’s maintained his innocence all along, the clock is running out. His execution is only weeks away when his devoted sister insists she spied Sarah at an area gas station. Willing to try anything, she hires PI Roxane Weary to look at the case and see if she can locate Sarah.
Brad might be in a bad way, but private investigator Roxane Weary isn’t doing so hot herself. Still reeling from the recent death of her cop father in the line of duty, her main way of dealing with her grief has been working as little and drinking as much as possible. But Roxane finds herself drawn in to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she links the disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl.
The stakes get higher as Roxane discovers that the two girls may not be the only beautiful blonde teenagers who’ve turned up missing or dead. As her investigation gets darker and darker, Roxane will have to risk everything to find the truth. Lives depend on her cracking this case―hers included.
Co-Mentors, Marty Mayberry and Léonie Kelsall
Marty writes adult and young adult fiction. All with a touch of romance. When she’s not dreaming up ways to mess with her character’s lives, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She has a BA in International Affairs in German and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She lives in New England with her retired Seabee Chief husband, children, and three neurotic cats. She’s a member of SCBWI, YARWA, and a PRO member of RWA.
Her young adult sci-fi thriller, PHOENIX RISING, won the YARWA’s Rosemary Award for speculative fiction.
She’s represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Agency: http://dijkstraagency.com/
’17 will be Marty’s third year mentoring in PitchWars.
Léonie is a professional counsellor. She writes upmarket adult, new adult, and young adult fiction and is represented by Amanda Barnett of Donaghy Literary Group.
Melissa Marino is a full-time writer and part-time Storm Trooper collector. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching Friends reruns, mastering her cupcake frosting swirl and hunting for the perfect red lipstick.
Melissa lives in Chicago with her husband, son and very opinionated dachshund.
So Wicked by Melissa Marino
Fate has a wicked sense of humor.
Alexis’s new life was made up of two things: baking and hiding the details of her old life in Chicago. The first allowed her to finally find some happiness. And the second is about to be destroyed by a man who knows all her secrets.
Marshall Rawlins was prepared to do anything when he moved cross-country to launch an upscale cocktail bar—anything except work with Alexis, his best friend and business partner’s ex-wife. Adding Alexis’s boozy-baked goods to his menu would be a major feat for his bar. But striking a deal means getting in bed with the enemy.
Battling between distrust and desire, Alexis and Marshall give in to a passionate, forbidden affair. They know if they’re discovered the consequences would be bad—it’s just hard to remember that when being together feels so, so good.
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two kids in college. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat, Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.
Her Birth of Saints trilogy, starting with Grudging and Faithful (November 15, 2016), is available from Harper Voyager. Another epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. She’s repped by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary.
FAITHFUL Birth of Saints (Book 2) by Michelle Hauck
Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!
A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.
Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?
On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.
What they find instead is an old woman.
But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.
A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.
Natasha grew up as a tomboy hanging with the guys, getting skinned knees, and swimming in the South Florida sun. Tattoos, Jack Daniels, and books are three of her favorite things. By day, she’s a fulltime mom, wife, student, and author. By night, well she’s still all those things, often sacrificing sleep to create stories, hang with the family, and get snuggle attacks from her two spoiled pups. She is represented by the amazing Laura Bradford of The Bradford Literary Agency.
Nina Laurin is a bilingual (English/French) author of suspenseful stories for both adults and young adults. She got her BA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, in her hometown of Montreal, Canada.
Nina is represented by Rachel Ekstrom of Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Peter McLean was born near London in 1972, the son of a bank manager and an English teacher. He went to school in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral where he spent most of his time making up stories.
He has since grown up a bit, if not a lot, and spent 25 years working in corporate IT. He is married to Diane and is still making up stories.
He is the author of the Burned Man series of urban fantasy novels (Drake, Dominion & Damnation) published by Angry Robot Books, and the forthcoming fantasy Priest of Bones from Ace/Roc.
Damnation by Peter McLean
Shambolic demon-hunting hitman Don Drake is teetering on the edge of madness in this smart, witty urban fantasy novel.
Don Drake is living rough in a sink estate on the outskirts of Edinburgh, doing cheap spells for even cheaper customers while fending off the local lowlifes. Six months ago, Don fled from London to Glasgow to track down his old girlfriend Debbie the alchemist.
With the Burned Man gradually driving him mad, Don meets with an ancient and mysterious tramp-slash-magician, with disastrous consequences. Now his old accomplices must step into save Don from himself, before he damns himself for good this time.
Sarah Hawthorne lives in the Pacific Northwest where she drinks too much coffee, plans a lot of vacations and writes romance novels. Her native habitats include her garden and the local library. Sarah received a Bachelor’s Degree from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, Los Angeles with a major in history and a minor in English.
She is the author of the Demon Horde Motorcycle Club Series. The series is a sweeter take on motorcycle club/biker romance genre, published by Carina Press/Harlequin. She is represented by Jessica Alvarez at BookEnds Literary. Sarah was a 2016 Golden Heart Finalist (contemporary short) and the winner of the 2015 Heart to Heart Award (erotica).
Rebel Custody by Sarah Hawthorne
A son in danger
The Demon Horde MC are no strangers to breaking the rules, but making a man pay to get his son back crosses one too many lines for Skeeter. He’ll do anything, including play by the book, if it means bringing his son home. Hiring straitlaced attorney Miriam Englestein is meant to solve his problems, not create new ones. One look at her and his good-guy facade goes out the window. He wants to throw his buttoned-up lawyer onto the back of his bike and make her his.
A woman at risk
Miri wants nothing to do with the club. Her father may be in their pocket, but she’s on the right side of the law and she intends to stay there. But there’s something about Skeeter’s plea—something about him—she can’t walk away from. While she’s tempted to let him do unspeakably wicked and delicious things to her, she can’t risk her law practice, or her heart.
A dangerous deception
When Miriam agrees to pose as Skeeter’s woman to get details they need for the case, things heat up fast—and it’s not long before the lines between business and personal blur, and they’re both in over their heads. In the MC world, lies have a way of coming back to you, and they put everyone at risk.
Susan Bishop Crispell
Susan Bishop Crispell earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Born and raised in the mountains of Tennessee, she now lives twenty minutes from the beach in North Carolina with her husband and their two literary-named cats. She is very fond of pie and is always on the lookout for hints of magic in the real world. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes (Sept 2016, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) and Dreaming in Chocolate (Feb 2018, St. Martin’s Griffin).
The Secret Ingredient of Wishes by Susan Bishop Crispell
Rachel Monroe, 26, can make wishes come true just by thinking about them. But it’s a gift that has caused more harm than good. And after her mother’s death, which Rachel blames herself for, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind.
But when Rachel gets stranded in small-town Nowhere, NC—also known as the town of “Lost and Found”—she realizes she can’t escape her past, or her gift. In Nowhere Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who binds the townspeople’s secrets by baking them into pies, and who has an uncanny ability to see exactly what Rachel is trying to hide. She also meets Ashe, Catch’s neighbor with southern charm and a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after.
As she settles into the small town, she hopes her own secrets will stay hidden—especially the one about how she wished her little brother out of existence when they were kids. But starting over is harder than she thought, and when her wish-granting secret is revealed, the town people’s wishes begin popping out of thin air everywhere she goes. Scared the wishes will go wrong like in the past, she tries to ignore them, which only makes the wishes more determined to get her attention. Then when Rachel is forced to confront the truth about her brother, she must accept her magical ability or risk losing those she has come to love—and a chance at happiness—all over again.
Vanessa Carnevale is an author and freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia, where she lives with her husband and two children. In her early twenties, Vanessa spent several years living in Florence, Italy, where she met her husband and discovered a love of travel and la dolce vita. She now considers Italy her second home. THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE is her first novel.
THE FLORENTINE BRIDGE by Vanessa Carnivale
Young Australian artist Mia Moretti has been cancer free for nine months. But her battle with the illness has taken its toll, leaving her depressed and tormented by overwhelming fears. What’s more, she can’t seem to paint anymore. Mia needs a fresh start so when a surprise opportunity to travel to Tuscany presents itself, she takes it. With any luck, this trip will help her find whatever it is she needs to open her heart and start painting again.
What she doesn’t count on is meeting Luca, a handsome Italian mechanic. With his smile, his warmth and his inspirational outlook on all the good things life has to offer, he sweeps her off her feet. As Mia slowly lets down her walls and allows Luca in, her passion for life is reignited and her new perspective begins to inspire her art. But just when she’s ready to let go of her past, will a tragedy threaten her new life with Luca?
Full of heart and hope, a love story about la dolce vita in Tuscany.
Pitch Wars 2017 ADULT/NEW ADULT Mentors
Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with her first love: writing. When she’s not pounding away at the keyboard, she’s probably either reading or shopping—maybe even both at once. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children, and, yes, she considers forty degrees to be hoodie weather. Her home is the setting for frequent dance parties, Lego battles, and more laughter than she thought possible.
My Strongest Weakness by Brighton Walsh
She’s the last thing he needs, but she’s the only thing he wants…as long as it’s behind closed doors.
It was supposed to be a one-time thing. No one would find out; no one would have to know. And then once turned into twice, and twice turned into several times a week, and now pierced, punk-loving, rebellious Tia Lanning is banging Mason Brooks, the big man on campus and Mr. All American.
But banging him isn’t the problem. Falling for him is. Especially when he’s content to let her remain his dirty little secret.
Set in the time of mix tapes, Pearl Jam, and babydoll tees, My Strongest Weakness is a steamy 25,000 word novella with a dirty talking hero, no cheating, a grand gesture that’ll make you swoon, and a guaranteed HEA. This title was previously released in the ’90s Playlist Anthology.
Cailin Sinead’s novels, HEARTSICK and RED BLOODED, have received positive reviews from Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and USA TODAY. Her writing has also earned accolades from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Glimmer Train, and Writers & Artists, and her stories have appeared in multiple publications, including The Alarmist, The Binnacle, Crunchable, Jersey Devil Press, and Northern Virginia Magazine. She earned a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University and is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, Inc. She lives in Alexandria, VA, with her husband, son, and two cats.
RED BLOODED by Caitlin Sinead
Instead of eating ramen and meeting frat guys like most college freshmen, Peyton Arthur is on the campaign trail. Traveling with her mother, the Democratic pick for vice president, she’s ordering room service, sneaking glances at cute campaign intern Dylan and deflecting interview questions about the tragic loss of her father. But when a reporter questions her paternity, her world goes into a tailspin.Dylan left Yale and joined the campaign to make a difference, not keep tabs on some girl. But with the paternity scandal blowing up and Peyton asking questions, he’s been tasked to watch her every move. As he gets to know the real Peyton, he finds it harder and harder to keep a professional distance.
When the media demands a story, Peyton and Dylan give them one—a fake relationship. As they work together to investigate the rumors about her real father and Peyton gets closer to learning the truth, she’s also getting closer to Dylan. And suddenly, it’s not just her past on the line anymore. It’s her heart.
Diana became an avid reader when she found her first romance novel tucked away in a corner of her high school library. The more books she read, the more she wanted to be a writer. Diana has a Master’s degree in information systems and accountancy, and for many years worked for a major Fortune 100 telecommunications company as an IT project manager (As one does when pursuing a career as a romance author.) These days, when she’s not writing steamy scenes, Diana enjoys running half marathons, traveling, and indulging in the simple joys of life like wine and chocolate. She lives in Atlanta, and loves spending time with her two children and husband.
Her debut novel, LOVE OVER LATTES, is coming out Summer 2018 with The Wild Rose Press.
Emma is the author of award-winning Fractured Immortal, and Finding Immortal. Her new contemporary romance These Simple Scars has just been released. Her obsession is New Adult, and Adult Contemporary Romance. When Emma is not writing or looking after her busy household, she’s either reading, gaming or stalking her favourite authors as well as studying for her Masters in Psychology.
These Simple Scars by Emma Wicker
Sometimes, the worst scars are the ones that can’t be seen.
After fleeing her abusive father, Faith’s goal is to find a job and earn enough to finally be able to live in safety. When she ends up stranded in the sleepy town of Silver, Georgia, it’s not long before she meets sexy mechanic Garrett. His willingness to help her one minute then dismiss her the next, leave Faith confused by this guarded and irresistible man.
Although Garrett has left the military, the war returned home with him. An attraction to the new girl in town takes him by surprise, but if he’s to keep his scars hidden, Faith is no-go. His heart tells him to trust, but his mind is determined to get the better of him.
As the pair deal with their wounds, tragedy threatens to rip them apart. Supported by new friends, Garrett and Faith wrestle with their pasts and an unexpected love they fear won’t last.
Thank you to our 2017 Pitch Wars Mentors!
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