Welcome to the 2019 Pitch Wars Advice Blog Hop! We thought it would be fun to reach out to some of our past mentees and some past non-mentee applicants to hear their perspectives on what you should expect from the Pitch Wars experience if you’re selected, what positive things you can take away from the experience if you’re not selected, and what advice they might like to offer to writers on either path.
Everyone’s path is different! Pitch Wars is just one event, and there are countless paths to getting published. A ton of people who weren’t selected for Pitch Wars have gone on to find agents, and many Pitch Wars mentees never find that agent-writer connection. There’s just no way to predict how things will shake out. But, one thing’s for sure: the more you work to improve your writing, the more you put yourself out there and connect with others in the community, and the more knowledge about the publishing industry you try to absorb, the better position you’ll put yourself in to find the path that’s right for you.
I’d like to thank the Pitch Wars committee for their behind-the-scenes help in making this event possible, and to all the participants who’ve been so generous with their time and experience and so eager to offer their kind words to this year’s mentee hopefuls.
—Ernie Chiara, Pitch Wars Committee, ’19 mentor/’16 mentee, @erniechiara
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s the 2019 Pitch Wars Advice Blog Hop! Feel free to follow the links to these the former Pitch Wars mentees’ and past Pitch Wars hopefuls’ personal blogs, then use your browser’s back button to return here to the main event post.
2016 Adult Mentee, @zooshka
Zoje Stage is a former filmmaker with a penchant for the dark and suspenseful. Her debut novel, BABY TEETH, was published in 2018, and her next novel, WONDERLAND, will be published June 2020.
2015 & 2016 YA Mentee, @tracygold
Tracy Gold is an editor, writer, and teacher who loves helping authors realize their visions for their stories. She was lucky to be a Pitch Wars mentee two years in a row.
2018 MG Mentee, @tiffanyliux
Tiffany Liu is a Taiwanese writer and doctor repped by Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary. She writes MG and YA fantasy that’s a little weird.
2017 YA Applicant, @TaraTsaiWrites
Tara Tsai is an engineer by day and author by night–like a superhero, but her glasses never come off and her powers haven’t shown up… (yet.) She writes lighthearted YA rom-coms and beyond books, she loves her husband, her energetic dog Sonar, airplanes, drums, and dancing like nobody’s watching.
2018 Adult Applicant, @WhattheKell6
Brittany Kelley writes contemporary romance and romantic comedy. She also adores paranormal romance and is a sucker for enemies to lovers, sudden snowstorms, and the horror of only one bed. Marlo Berliner at JDLit puts up with her nonsense and is a fantastic advocate for her work. In her spare time, Brittany enjoys wrangling her three children, drinking her sometimes still-hot coffee, playing board games with her husband (and winning), and drinking wine with friends. Oh, and books. All the books.
2016 YA Applicant, @ConfusedNarwhal
Meg Eden teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College and is the author of five poetry chapbooks, the novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” (2017), and the forthcoming poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (2020). Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.
2016 Adult mentee, @mary_keliikoa
MARY KELIIKOA is the author of the forthcoming: DERAILED: A Kelly Pruett Mystery. She was a Pitch Wars 2016 mentee, and has been published in Woman’s World with a mystery short. She splits her time between the Pacific Northwest where many of her stories are set, and the Big Island of Hawaii, where you will find her plotting her next novel on a beach somewhere.
2017 YA mentee, @IpunaBlack
Ipuna Black is a lucky member of the 2017 Pitch Wars mentee class and spends her time writing novels, teaching nursing students, watching her kids’ activities, and running. She’s currently working on a YA fantasy.
2017 YA mentee, @JamieMcHenry
Support Analyst by day, Jamie McHenry writes Young Adult Mysteries and Thrillers when the lights dim and the weather turns cold. Although his 2017 Pitch Wars entry, I KILLED BRENDA MORRIS, might prompt hesitation, Jamie is actually a nice guy in person.
2018 Adult mentee, @MyCupofMeg
Meg is a 2018 Pitch Wars alum and a member of RWA and Sisters in Crime. When she’s not writing or kicking things at her Muay Thai gym, you can find her playing on her Xbox or obsessing over Sailor Moon fanart.
2018 Adult mentee, Current PW blog team captain, @Rochelle_Karina
Rochelle Karina is a 2018 Pitch Wars mentee and former magazine and newspaper editor now working as a freelance writer in the heart of Baltimore. When not at her desk coming up with new ways to torment her characters, she can often be found in the kitchen, glass of wine in hand, cooking a meal for friends.
2016 MG mentee, @ledelbrock
Liz Edelbrock is a “retired” public relations professional, freelance writer, super mom, and middle grade author-in-training. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, participates in several critique groups, is a Pitch Wars alum, and loves hats and sarcasm.
2014 MG mentee, @Oh_AuthorDonna
Donna Muñoz is a middle grade author represented by Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary. Donna is also the author of the Harley Farley Zombie Books, an indie picture book series. She is the proud granddaughter of Mexican immigrants. She is a Pitch Wars ’14 mentee.
2016 YA mentee, @nova_mcbee
Nova McBee, a Seattle native, is a hopeless nomad and culture nerd who has lived abroad for many years. She writes fast-paced mission-impossible-type YA contemporary and fantasy with deep themes and hearty characters. She loves complex plots, coffee, people and languages. She is represented by Amy Jameson of A+B Works Literary and her upcoming debut, Calculated, was just optioned for film by One Door Studios.
2016 YA mentee, @RosieeThor
Rosiee Thor began her career as a storyteller by demanding to tell her mother bedtime stories instead of the other way around. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and four complete sets of Harry Potter, which she loves so much, she once moved her mattress into the closet and slept there until she came out as queer.
2016 YA mentee, @TheAdamSass
A Pitch Wars 2016 mentee, Adam Sass began writing books in Sharpie on the backs of Starbucks pastry bags while working as a barista. Now his debut YA LGBTQ+ mystery SURRENDER YOUR SONS will release September 15, 2020 from Flux Books. (It will be on paper, not pastry bags.)
2016 YA mentee, @Sabina_Writer
Sabina Khan is the author of THE LOVE & LIES OF RUKHSANA ALI, a YA Contemporary, and the forthcoming ZARA HOSSAIN IS HERE, Spring 2020 from Scholastic. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three daughters, one of whom is a fur baby. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.