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 YOUNG ADULT Mentors
Aimee L. Salter
Aimee is the author of Every Ugly Word, (Alloy, 2014) a gripping and emotional story about a high school junior who can talk to her future self in the mirror, but is forced to deal with the devastating consequences of bullying; and Dark Touch (Alloy, 2016), an equally raw story about a young, abused woman whose feelings are communicated to anyone she touches—including the guy she’s falling in love with.
Dark Touch by Aimee L. Salter
Tully isn’t alone in her skin. Whenever she touches someone, they feel everything she feels. All her ugliness. All her darkness. All her pain.
The only thing she wants is to be left alone–and to finally get out of her small Oregon town.
But then she meets Chris. He’s everything she’s not. Light. Trusting. Innocent. And he wants Tully.
Tully knows she should spare him the heartache of being with her. But when he touches her, she’s not sure she’ll have the strength to push him away–until he learns about her dark past, and what really goes on in her ever-decaying home.
From the author of Every Ugly Word comes a poignant, emotionally raw story about the violence that plays out behind closed doors and the all-consuming passion of first love.
Akemi Dawn Bowman
Akemi Dawn Bowman is a writer of young adult fiction. She’s a proud Ravenclaw and Star Wars enthusiast, who served in the US Navy for five years and has a BA in social sciences from UNLV. Originally from Las Vegas, she currently lives in England with her husband, two children, and their Pekingese mix. Her novel Starfish will be published in Fall 2017 with Simon Pulse, with a second untitled project to follow in Fall 2018. She is represented by Penny Moore of Empire Literary.
STARFISH by Akemi Dawn Bowman
A gorgeous and emotionally true debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school. (September 26th, 2017, Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster)
Twitter | Website
Alicia Clancy graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in English Literature, and moved immediately to NYC, where she began her career in book publishing. She lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband and her cattle dog puppy, Whiskey. She is the author of Be My Galentine.
BE MY GALENTINE by Alicia Clancy
From Girl Squads to Galentine’s Day, female friendships have reached a new level of awesome. Gone are the days of competition and backstabbing (well, mostly)–female empowerment is in and it’s here to stay! This illustrated book aims to highlight the positive nature of friendship between women with a little bit of charm, and a whole lot of sass, and offers fun extras like recipes and themes that can take your girls’ dates to the next level! Celebrate your best friends, your soul sisters, your gal pals, your partners-in-crime with this humorous gift book, and make every day feel like Galentine’s Day! Because let’s face it, fabulous friendships deserve to be celebrated all year round!
Amelinda Bérubé is the author of UNDER THE ICY LAKE, a YA ghost story coming from Sourcebooks Fire in 2018. She’s spent the last ten years as a writer and editor with the Canadian public service, prior to which her career path meandered through academics, carpentry, and administrivia. Amelinda is a passionate fan of YA, SFF, and all things spooky and is delighted to be on the other side of the contest curtain for the first time!
A former dancer’s grip on sanity starts to slip when she begins to think a dark entity is stalking her and craves her life.
Coming 2018 from Sourcebooks Fire.
A devotee of reading and writing from a very young age, Amy Trueblood grew up surrounded by books. After stints working in entertainment and advertising, she began writing her first manuscript and never looked back. Her debut YA historical, NOTHING BUT SKY releases Spring 2018 from Flux. To learn more about Amy, check out her blog, Chasing The Crazies, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr.
Ashley Hearn is a Young Adult author and an Associate YA Editor at Page Street Publishing. In a previous life, she was a sports producer for The Badger Sports Report, the football and basketball coaches’ show for the University of Wisconsin. She is an addictive coffee drinker, a Gilmore Girls fanatic, and a proud Gryffindor. When she ferrets away enough gas money, she can be found scouring the Georgia and South Carolina Sea Islands for ruined plantations, folk magic, and a fresh story.
Co-Mentors Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley
Austin Siegemund-Broka cowrites YA contemporary with Emily Wibberley. A former journalist for The Hollywood Reporter, where he covered the courts and, yes, met a couple celebrities, he graduated from Harvard in 2014 with a degree in English and a focus on Shakespeare.
Emily Wibberley grew up in Southern California, but instead of working on her nonexistent tan at the beach, she spent her time reading, making music and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She attended Princeton University, where she graduated in 2014 with a degree in Psychology. She and Austin now live and write YA contemporary together.
Their debut, UPSTAGED, publishes from Puffin in 2018. They live in Los Angeles.
Pitched as a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, about a teen girl who always winds up playing the Rosaline in her off-stage relationships – the girl before he finds “the one” – but when cast as Juliet in her school play, she begins to notice the Romeo she never expected.
Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband and two uber-hyper, superhero-obsessed little boys. She thinks chai tea is proof of magic in the world, and loves all things kissy, magical, and strange. She’d totally love to connect with you, so you can find her online at briannashrum.com or saying ridiculous things on Twitter @briannashrum.
HOW TO MAKE OUT by Brianna Shrum
Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.
So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).
As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.
Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.
Carlie Sorosiak grew up in North Carolina and holds two master’s degrees: one in English from Oxford University and another in creative writing and publishing from City University London. Her life goals include traveling to all seven continents and fostering many polydactyl cats. She currently splits her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, hoping to gain an accent like Madonna’s. If Birds Fly Back, published by HarperTeen US and Macmillan UK, is her first novel.
If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak
Love is what happens when you’re looking for something else.
Linny has been fascinated by disappearances, ever since her sister Grace ran away in the middle of the night without saying goodbye.
Sebastian can tell you how many galaxies there are, and knows how much plutonium weighs. But the one thing he can’t figure out is the identity of his birth father.
They’ve never met, but Linny and Sebastian have one thing in common: an obsession with famous novelist and filmmaker Alvaro Herrera, who went missing three years ago and has just reappeared. As they learn more about the mystery of Alvaro, Linny and Sebastian uncover the answers they’ve been searching for.
With humor and heart, debut author Carlie Sorosiak weaves a story of finding people who leave and loving those who stay, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Emery Lord. Publishes in June 2017.
Catherine “Cat” Scully is an illustrator, writer, and graphic designer (print, motion, web) based in Atlanta, Georgia.
As illustrator, she has worked on concept art for film, world maps and chapter headings for books, and storyboards/animation for broadcast TV. Her illustration work has been published in Winterspell by Claire Legrand,Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova. She freelances as an illustrator and graphic designer for author campaigns for clients like: Christopher Golden, James A. Moore, Lisa Maxwell, J. A. Noble, and more.
Cat writes horror, thriller, SFF, and a bit of WTF for kids, teens, and adults. On a selective basis, she works with authors of young adult and adult lit to develop their books and pitches prior to agent or editor submission at Cornerstones Literary Consultancy. She was featured on CNN.com for her work with Jonathan Maberry’s blog series, SCARY OUT THERE, which she ran as Editor of the Young Adult section with the Horror Writers Association for several years.
She is represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman literary agency.
Co-Mentors, Claribel Ortega and Kat Cho
Claribel Ortega got her start editing student’s often times hilarious ads and ramblings on the back page of SUNY Purchase’s Independent Newspaper. From there, she became a small town reporter, where she enjoyed going to board of education meetings and texting the town mayors about the line at Starbucks. Today she’s busy turning her obsession with eighties pop culture, magic and video games into books. She lives in New York with her motorcycle-riding poet boyfriend & her suspiciously intelligent yorkie, Pancho Villa. She is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary. You can find her at claribelortega.com & as @claribel_ortega on Twitter.
Kat Cho used to hide books under the bathroom sink and then sneak in there to read after bedtime. Her parents pretended not to know. This helped when she decided to write a dinosaur time-travel novel at the tender age of nine. Sadly, that book was not published. She loves anything that encourages nerding out, including reading, blogging, K-dramas, K-pop and anime. Currently, Kat writes YA sci-fi and fantasy and is represented by Beth Phelan at the Bent Agency. You can find her at katchowrites.com & as @KatCho on Twitter.
At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.
Seared on my Soul by Cole Gibsen
She’s so young, so full of life…
I couldn’t let her die…
Even if she made the world’s worst coffee.
Emily Garret never asked to be rescued, let alone by a walking JCrew ad whose idea of fun is probably managing his stock portfolio and watching the nightly news. Then again, she never thought she would wind upside-down in a ditch after a night having a little too much fun.
Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone’s hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there’s more to Emily than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.
And he’s not sure she’s ready for that battlefield.
DAWN IUS is a short-story author, novelist, screenwriter, professional editor, and communications specialist. She is co-founder and senior editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Assistant Managing Editor of the International Thriller Writers’ e-zine, The Big Thrill, and the author of ten educational graphic novels published by the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. Her first contemporary young adult novel, ANNE & HENRY, will be published Fall 2015 from Simon Pulse, and her yet unpublished novel HEARTLESS was recently optioned for development of a TV show by Verite Films.
Dawn also writes young adult thriller and paranormal fiction under the last name DALTON. Her short story, THREAD OF THE PAST was included in the SPIRITED anthology (Leap Books, 2012), and her novel, KILLER’S INSTINCT (Leap Books, 2013), co-written with Judith Graves, was nominated for the Silver Falchion award. As well, her short story DRUNK was published in an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired anthology, FALLING FOR ALICE, April 2015, by Vine Leaves Press.
When she’s not slaying fictional monsters, she’s geeking out over fairy tales, Jack Bauer, Halloween, sports cars, and all things that go bump in the night. Dawn lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Jeff, and their giant English Mastiff, Roarke.
Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius
In this wonderfully “clever and compelling” (Kirkus Reviews) retelling of the infamous—and torrid—love affair between Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, history collides with the present when a sizzling romance ignites in a modern-day high school.
Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student body president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of his brother, the pressure for Henry to be perfect has doubled. And now he’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who isn’t Tudor-approved.
Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.
Wild, brash, and outspoken, Anne is everything Henry isn’t allowed to be—or want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, but his desire for Anne consumes him.
Henry is willing to do anything to be with her, but once they’re together, will their romance destroy them both?
Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry beautifully reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.
I’m Destiny Cole, a YA writer, lover of books, and unapologetic fangirl. I also work in digital marketing and social media.
I write YA books because I’ll never forget the process I went through to discover who I was, what my passions were (outside of kissing cute boys), and what I wanted to do with my life. A process that I repeated over and over because that’s the great thing about being young: It’s “coming-of-age” not “and then one day she became an adult.”
I did indeed eventually grow up (sort of) and have lived a pretty full life so far! I married a cute Belgian and moved to Europe for almost five years; I’ve traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East, even living on the tiny island of Cyprus (near Turkey) for six months; I have written for economic publications and non-profits and airline schools; and let’s not forget my trilogy… kid trilogy that is! I have three fabulous little blondies and the greatest dog on the planet.
Thank you to our 2017 Middle Grade Mentors!
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