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Pitch Wars 2017: Young Adult Mentor Spotlights (Part 4)

Friday, 28 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 YOUNG ADULT Mentors


Laura Steven


Laura Steven is an author, journalist and screenwriter from the northernmost town in England. As well as mentoring aspiring authors through schemes like Pitch Wars and Writing in the Margins, Laura works for Mslexia, a non-profit organisation supporting women in the creative arts. She’s currently studying for her MA in Creative Writing, while waiting (im)patiently to announce her debut YA deal.



Leigh Mar

Twitter | tumblr

Leigh Mar is a marketing and communications professional and a young adult author represented by Elana Roth Parker at Laura Dail Literary Agency. She’s a former Pitch Wars mentee (class ’15) turned mentor. Leigh loves to travel (both in reality and through fiction), has an excellent sense of direction, and only ever gets lost on the internet. Twitter: Twitter | tumblr



Co-Mentors Linsey Miller and Maria Mora


Linsey Miller

Website | Twitter

A wayward biology student from Arkansas, Linsey has previously worked as a crime lab intern, neuroscience lab assistant, and pharmacy technician. She is currently an MFA candidate represented by Rachel Brooks of Bookends Literary. Her debut novel MASK OF SHADOWS is the first in a fantasy duology coming in August 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire. She can be found writing about science and magic anywhere there is coffee.

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Coming August 29, 2017 from Sourcebooks Fire

A gender-fluid pickpocket named Sal auditions to become a replacement member of the Left Hand – the queen’s quartet of assassins – but must survive the competition while also putting their true reason for auditioning into motion.


“I love every aspect of this amazing book―a gender fluid hero, a deadly contest, and vicious courtly intrigue. Get! Read! Now!” ―Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Goodreads | Pre-order Amazon | Pre-order Indiebound | Pre-order Barnes & Noble | Pre-order Book Depository




Maria Mora is Content Director at Big Sea, and has worked in digital media for 15 years. In her previous role as Parenting Editor at SheKnows, Maria contributed over 300 articles on topics like feminism and women’s health. She writes YA speculative fiction, loves movie theaters with recliners, and will always take the long way home if it involves a lovely view. She was a Pitch Wars ’15 finalist, and is represented by Erica Bauman at Aevitas Creative Management.


Lisa Amowitz

Twitter |  Website

Lisa is an award winning author of three fantasy/thrillers for young adults, UNTIL BETHVISION, and BREAKING GLASS. She is also a cover designer and Professor of Graphic Design at Bronx Community College. She is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency.


Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

She doesn’t just play, she kills it.

Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good.

Then she’s accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they’re also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who’s so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who’s trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

Lyndsay Ely

Lyndsay Ely 

 Website | Twitter

Lyndsay Ely (pronounced “eel-y”, as in those eels are looking very eel-y today) is a writer who currently calls Boston home. She is a geek, a foodie, a feminist, and has never met an antique shop she didn’t like. Her favorite color is crimson, and her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.

Gunslinger Girl is her debut novel.

gunslingerGUNSLINGER GIRL by Lyndsay Ely (January 2018)

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

Co-Mentors Mara Rutherford and Joan He

mara headshot

Mara Rutherford

Twitter | Website

Mara Rutherford writes novels for young adults inspired by her travels around the world. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara grew up in California and has since lived in England, Russia, and Peru, and will be heading to Serbia next year. She is the proud wife of a Marine-turned-diplomat and the mother of two boys. Mara is represented by Uwe Stender of Triada Literary.

Joan He

Joan He

Twitter | Website

From Joan: I started out in art – the pencil-sketching, oil-painting kind of art – only to quickly discover the art of the written word. So here I am now, love undivided.

When I’m not trying to balance writing and sophomoring at the University of Pennsylvania (where I’m a Psychology Major), I over-indulge in my love for wombats, Mao Feng tea, and scary anime.

I am represented by John Cusick of Folio Lit.

 Co-Mentors McKelle George & Heather Cashman

McKelle George

McKelle George

Website | Twitter | Editing Services

McKelle George is a reader, writer of clumsy rebels, perpetual doodler, and reference librarian at the best library in the world. She mentors with Salt Lake Teen Writes and plays judge for the Poetry Out Loud teen competitions (but has no poetic talent herself). Her debut young adult novel Speak Easy, Speak Love comes out from Greenwillow/HarperCollins in 2017, and she currently lives in Salt Lake City with an enormous white german shepherd and way, way too many books.

speak easy speak love

Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George (September 19, 2017. Greenwillow/HarperCollins)

Goodreads | Amazon | Indie

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Hilariously clever and utterly charming, McKelle George’s debut novel is full of intrigue and 1920s charm. For fans of Jenny Han, Stephanie Perkins, and Anna Godbersen.


Heather Cashman

Website Twitter | Editorial Services

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather’s imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels that range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction. Agent Intern. Managing Director of Pitch Wars, #PitMad, and Pitch Madness. Previously an editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, Heather now freelance edits queries, synopses, pages, and full novels for middle grade, young adult, and select adult fiction. Member, SCBWI.


Michella Domenici

Michella Domenici

Website | Twitter

Michella Domenici was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She studies English and History at Fordham University. When she’s not reading, she’s drinking tea and searching for mermaids. She works at the Brooklyn Public Library, and is represented by Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.



Molly E. Lee

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Molly E. Lee is an author best known for her Love on the Edge adventure romance series, and as a veteran mentor at Pitch Wars – a program which connects promising writers to established authors in the community. Molly writes New Adult and Young Adult Contemporary featuring strong female heroines who are unafraid to challenge their male counterparts, yet still vulnerable enough to have love sneak up on them. In addition to being a military spouse and mother of two + one stubborn English Bulldog, Molly loves watching storms from her back porch at her Midwest home, and digging for treasures in antique stores.

Edge of Chaos

Edge of Chaos by Molly E. Lee

Amazon | Goodreads

Blake Caster has been in an emotionally abusive relationship with Justin for so long, she can’t tell what is normal anymore, and so she clings to the one thing that is solidly hers—her passion for extreme weather.

Three years into her Meteorology degree, Blake meets professional storm chaser, Dash Lexington, who is as gorgeous as he is daring. Instantly recognizing her passion and skills in analyzing weather data, he makes a spot for her on his tight-knit storm chasing team. Dash and Blake form a fast friendship and it forces her to realize just how toxic her relationship with Justin is. She can’t deny the lightning-worthy chemistry she has with Dash or how her heart stalls every time he gets too close to a tornado.

With each chase and the cherished moments with Dash, Blake discovers her own self-worth and gains the strength to end things with Justin for good. But he won’t go easily. As Blake tries to sever ties with one man, she fears she’ll lose the other to his dangerous obsession—and she doesn’t know if she’ll be enough to save him from the impending storm that could end them all.

Co-Mentors Monica B. Wagner & Kerbie Addis

Moni 4

Mónica Bustamante Wagner

Twitter | Website

Mónica was born in a Peruvian city by a snow-capped volcano. Growing up, books were her constant companion as she traveled with her family to places like India (where she became a vegetarian), Thailand (where she *almost* met Leonardo di Caprio), France (where she pretended to learn French), and countless other places that inspired her to write. Now, Mónica lives in Chile with her husband, three boys, eleven hens, and stray dog.


Frosh: First Blush by Monica B. Wagner

Amazon Goodreads B&N | iBooks

During welcome week at Hillson University, the FROSH will hit the fan.

Type-A aspiring journalist Ellie plans to take freshman year by storm. But hell-bent on breaking a huge on-campus scandal, she risks becoming one herself–and getting the mysterious, heart-melting QB in serious trouble.

Grant, star quarterback and charismatic chick-magnet, is hiding a life-altering secret. The last thing he needs is an overeager (absolutely adorable) journalist asking questions. He’s got a reputation to protect.

High-society legacy student Devon is ready to catch the football hottie of her dreams. If the tabloids feature her with the “it” boy on her arm, her tainted past will be buried–or so she thinks.

Charlie, pre-med, is done being the sweet and funny geek that girls like Devon ignore. But if he tries to impress her with a new edgy, spontaneous attitude, will his heart end up in the emergency room?

FIRST BLUSH intertwines the stories of Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie in a romantic novel about first times and broken hearts.

Kerbie Addis

Kerbie Addis

Twitter | Website

Kerbie co-mentors with Mónica Bustamante Wagner. Kerbie is currently a literary agent intern and in the master’s program at Texas Woman’s University to become a librarian. She’s been both mentee and mentor in various writing contests. Kerbie is an avid supporter of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and hopes to help bring diverse books to the shelves of libraries.

Me Wendy Erica Ashley (3)

Monica M. Hoffman

Twitter | Website

Monica M. Hoffman is a Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy author represented by Laurie McLean and Tricia Skinner of Fuse Literary. She is an active member of SCBWI, RWA, and the writing community. She dislikes getting up early, but a good cup of coffee can usually motivate her. She enjoys any movie/book (particularly fantasy and Sci-fi) that can make her cry, laugh, or gets her blood pumping from an adrenaline rush. She’s a Trekkie, Dr. Who, and Star Wars fanatic, and a PC gamer when she’s not writing or reading. You can find her tweets about all things YA lit & entertaining GIFs on Twitter (@mmhoffman14) and Facebook.



N.K. Traver

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. TRAVER decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living with an English degree.” It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped. Traver’s debut, DUPLICITY, a cyberthriller pitched as Breaking Bad meets The Matrix for teens, was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers in 2016. She is also a developmental editor for Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.

duplicityDuplicity by N.K. Traver

View on Goodreads | Read the first 2 chapters | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Indiebound | Books-a-Million

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

In private, seventeen-year-old Brandon hacks bank accounts just for the thrill of it. In public, he looks like any other tattooed bad boy with a fast car and devil-may-care attitude. He should know: he’s worked hard to maintain that façade. With inattentive parents who move constantly from city to city, he’s learned not to get tangled up in things like friends and relationships. So he’ll just keep living like a machine, all gears and wires.

Then two things shatter his carefully-built image: Emma, the kind, stubborn girl who insists on looking beneath the surface – and the small matter of a mirror reflection that starts moving by itself. Not only does Brandon’s reflection have a mind of its own, but it seems to be grooming him for something―washing the dye from his hair, yanking out his piercings, swapping his black shirts for … pastels. Then it tells him: it thinks it can live his life better, and it’s preparing to trade places.

And when it pulls Brandon through the looking-glass, not only will he need all his ill-gotten hacking skills to escape, but he’s going to have to face some hard truths about who he’s become. Otherwise he’ll be stuck in a digital hell until he’s old and gray, and Emma and his parents won’t even know he’s gone.

Huffington Post lists N. K. Traver’s Duplicity as part of one of the great YA book trends to look for in 2015 ―don’t miss it!



Thank you to our 2017 Young Adult 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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