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Pitch Wars 2017: Middle Grade Mentor Spotlights (Part 2)

Wednesday, 26 July 2017  |  Posted by Heather Cashman



We’re so grateful for our Pitch Wars mentors! They give so much to help other authors succeed, and we couldn’t have Pitch Wars without them. So please help me in thanking the mentors for all they do via twitter, the comments, or on the Pitchwars Proboards.

Pitch Wars 2017 MIDDLE GRADE Mentors


Co-Mentors, Jenna Lehne & Tara Creel

Jenna Lehne

Jenna Lehne

Website | Twitter

Jenna Lehne writes spooky MG/YA words and blogs for  She is represented by Gina Panettieri with Talcott Notch Literary.

Tara Creel

Tara Creel

Website | Twitter

Tara Creel write books for children. Particularly picture books and middle grade.  She also offers editorial services for writers.   She reviews books for The Deseret News. She is also an editor for Month9Books, Tantrum Division. All of that means that she gets to read and write for work and for fun.

Jenny Lundquist

Jenny Lundquist 

Website | Twitter

Jenny Lundquist is a MG & YA Author. Some of her titles include Seeing CinderellaThe Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby (9/17) and The Carnival of Wishes and Dreams (Spring 2019). Jenny painted an orphanage in Mexico, taught English at a university in Russia, and hopes one day to kiss her husband at a café in Paris. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband Ryan, our two sons and Rambo, the world’s whiniest cat. Jenny is represented by Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Agency.


Bayliss - new - OFFICIAL

Jessica Bayliss

Twitter | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Jessica Bayliss is a fiction author who loves all things reading and writing. A clinical psychologist by day and a writer all the time, her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. She has been a lover ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves—admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers—so a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups, whether young or not-so-youngBecause one cannot live on writing alone, Jessica also spends a great deal of time with friends and family. She is a lover of all animals especially one very special Havanese. She also loves to eat, cook, and exercise—in that order—and is a firm believer that coffee makes the world a better place.


Co-Mentors Jessica Vitalis & Julie Artz


Jessica Vitalis

 Website | Twitter

Jessica Vitalis is a middle grade novelist represented by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch. An active member of the literary community, she volunteers as a Pitch Wars mentor, with the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and writes for The Winged Pen. When she’s not pursuing her literary interests, Jessica can be found preparing for her upcoming move to Canada (or eating copious amounts of chocolate).

Juile Artz

Julie Artz

 Website | Twitter

Julie Artz spent her childhood sneaking into wardrobes hoping to find Narnia. Now that she’s older, people think that’s creepy, so she writes middle grade instead. Her stories for children feature the natural world, folklore, mythology, history, and all that is magical about those things. In addition to helping run From The Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Authors, she works as a developmental editor for Author Accelerator, contributes regularly to The Winged Pen, is a mentor for TeenPit and PitchWars, and is the incoming co-RA of SCBWI Western Washington. She is represented by Jennie Dunham of Dunham Lit. Connect with her on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.



Joy McCullough

Website | Twitter

Joy McCullough writes middle grade and young adult fiction, and her debut novel, BLOOD WATER PAINT, will be published in 2018 by Dutton Young Readers. She lives in the Seattle area, where she’s also a playwright and homeschooling mom. She’s the Pitchwars mentor liaison and is going into her fifth year as an MG mentor.


Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Pre-order: Blood Water Paint | Goodreads shelf

Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.


Julia Nobel

Twitter | Website

Julia is a writing coach and middle grade and young adult author. Her childhood obsession with The Babysitters Club turned into a lifelong passion for reading and writing children’s literature. She offers writing masterclasses and courses for writers in all genres, and is a 2017 Pitch Wars Mentor. Her 3-year-old daughter likes to help her write by throwing apple sauce at the keyboard and pressing the escape key.

Find out about Julia’s writing coach services on her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaNobelBooks/ and check out her upcoming classes schedule here: http://julianobel.com/for-writers/.



Co-Mentors Juliana Brandt & Allison Ziegler

Juliana Brandt

Juliana Brandt

Website | Twitter

Juliana is a Middle Grade and Young Adult writer and has mentored in PitchWars for the past two years. She’s a dog lover, outdoor enthusiast, kindergarten teacher, and loves novel-shaped things and is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency.

Allison Ziegler

Allison Ziegler

Website | Twitter

Allison Ziegler is an occasional occupant of the real world, frequent resident of writer town, and constant consumer of diet coke. She’s represented by Emmanuelle Morgen at Stonesong Literary Agency, and a  Mentors.

KCHeld web

K.C. Held

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr Instagram | Pinterest

K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and has worked as a freelance costumer in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.

Holding Court

Holding Court by K.C. Held

Amazon | Powells | BAM | B&N | IndieBound

When a sixteen year-old girl with an embarrassing psychic gift she can’t control takes a job at a castle-turned-dinner theater, all she wants is the chance to wear a fancy gown and ogle her crush from afar, but when she stumbles over a dead body that promptly disappears, she must prove she didn’t hallucinate a dead girl before the killer strikes again.




Author photo

Kara Seal

Twitter | Website

Kara has been penning fantastical tales since her crayon wielding days. Along the journey to writing Middle Grade fiction, she stumbled into a public library job working with youth, which further fueled her passion to write for kids and teens. Kara is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two dogs where her head is filled with stories and her house is full of books.

me and claude

Kate Foster

Twitter | Website

Kate is an award-winning middle grade author, a freelance editor, and the editorial director of Lakewater Press. Although originally from the UK, she now lives with her clan on the stunning Gold Coast in Australia. She has Monica Geller tendencies.Tom Hardy, dogs, and tea.


Winell Road by Kate Foster


Living on Winell Road is hardly fun, not when your neighbors are weirder than your own parents.
But the road has a secret that few people know.

And Jack’s about to uncover it.

Mystery, action and adventure. This award-winning sci-fi series is “highly recommended” for middle grade readers.

For fans of Men in Black and Zac Power, Winell Road is jam-packed with “loads of twists and turns” that will keep you guessing to the end.



Kevin Springer

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Kevin is a self-proclaimed dreamer and a kid at heart. When he’s not writing or reading, he is coaching soccer or helping with homework. He lives outside of Atlanta with his wife, two extraordinary boys, and dogs. He is also a co-founder of the Middle Grade Mafia blog.


Kim Long

Kim Long

Twitter  |  Website

Kim Long is an attorney in the Chicagoland area, where she spends her days expressing her clients’ (always true) stories to judges and juries. She writes MG contemporary fantasy that contains a sprinkle of science. When not managing her fantasy baseball and football teams, she can be found biking along the numerous trails in Illinois, watching Star Wars for the zillionth time, or teaching her nieces about the importance of choosing the correct racer (Toad) and vehicle (magicruiser) in Mario Kart.


Thank you to our 2017 Middle Grade Mentors!

If you want to find out more about what they’re looking for in the submission inbox, you can find them in the 2017 Pitch Wars Mentor Wishlist Blog Hop!

Here are some other quick links to find out all about Pitch Wars . . .

Agent Posts: Meet the Agents Part 1 and Meet the Agents Part 2

Pitch Wars Instructions: All the Details

Donations: Thank you for supporting Pitch Wars!

Discussions and community: Pitchwars Proboards

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