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Pitch Wars Interviews: Geni Phipps and her mentor Caitlin Sinead & Gia de Cadenet and her mentor Diana Hicks

Thursday, 28 September 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 1st-7th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2017 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have . . .

Geni Phipps – Mentee


Caitlin Sinead – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Geni,why did you choose to submit to Caitlin?

Her info-graphic request for speculative fiction + romance.

Caitlin, why did you choose Geni?

I thought it was interesting juxtaposing heroin, which seems to epitomize the darker aspects of our current, real world, with an old-fashioned fantasy world. I also loved Amelia’s relationship with her daughter and the romance with Aiden.

Geni, summarize your book in 3 words.

Love. Crime. Universe-hopping.

Caitlin, summarize Geni ’s book(s) in 3 words.

Two worlds mama

Geni, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

HARVEST MOON is unique in that it follows the interwoven stories of a New England drug investigation & the prosecutor’s journey through another world.

Caitlin, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I have a toddler, so stories about parents and little kids definitely give me lots of feels.

And next, we have  . . .

Gia de Cadenet – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Diana Hicks– Mentor

Website | Twitter


Gia,why did you choose to submit to Diana?

PitchWars is a great opportunity, but to be honest, it was stressful from the very beginning. So many mentors! How in the world to choose?! I made notes as I went through the blog hop and came up with a short list of… thirteen. Then, because my MS is #ownvoices, I tagged the mentors who specifically indicated a desire for diversity and steamy romance. After that, it was a question of voice. I read my potential mentors’ books or samples and their websites or Facebook pages.

I was very, very fortunate that Diana chose me because I loved her voice, and her Facebook page makes me laugh or drool (hello photos of beautiful men!) every time I open it. I also love that her educational background had nothing to do with writing novels – it’s the same for me, so I felt pretty sure she’d have patience for a novice to this field. Also, she spoke openly about her rejections and persistence. That gave me the impression that she would be good at both halves of the tough love I know my work needs.

Diana, why did you choose Gia?

I’m a big fan of Scandal, and Gia’s query reminded me of the sexy drama of the show. Her #OwnVoices MS hit all the sweet spots for me…strong and smart heroine, a hot and broody hero, a believable enemies-to-lovers trope, and just the right amount of steamy scenes. Plus, she got bonus points for delivering an interracial couple.

Gia, summarize your book in 3 words.

Love doesn’t plan

Diana, summarize Gia’s book(s) in 3 words.

Hot Sexy Lawyers

Gia, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

My (real) first name is Spanish, my middle name is Latin and my last name is Dutch, but I’m a black woman originally from Florida. In other words, your average American. It just took me chucking it all and moving to France to understand how true that was. I’ve learned many things after a decade here, the most significant is what it means emotionally to be an immigrant. I count myself lucky to have emigrated from one Western country to another, and to be a native English speaker. But there are so many internal changes, so much self-doubt and so much painful growth required when one leaves home, that I will have a soft spot in my heart for the immigrant for the rest of my life.

And I know how to curse like a sailor in two languages now! ?

My manuscript is unique because it purposefully emphasizes shared emotional experiences in spite of physical differences. I made it a point not to clearly state that my heroine is black in the beginning of the story, because I hope my reader sees herself in the character before she sees the package the character is wrapped in. I may get some criticism for that choice, and I can understand such a perspective. But I hope readers interested in a romance about a hot, compassionate guy and a smart, sexy girl find themselves pleasantly surprised when they see how much they have in common with both.

Diana, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

This is my first year mentoring, so I guess I can start with basic info. I’m a Mexican American from a small town in Arizona. I’m old enough to remember when two spaces after a period were required. I speak English, Spanish, and enough French to make a fool of myself (as I found out during our recent trip to Paris.). I live in Georgia with my very Southern husband (who also speaks Spanish) and our two kids, who self-identify as half Mexican and half white man AND don’t speak Spanish. LOL. I don’t know why I think that’s funny. Maybe humor is the key ingredient when trying to mesh two cultures. Hmm…now I feel like you know too much.

Our mentors’ latest releases…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Quinn is looking forward to her senior year at Poe University. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend, flirt with a certain boy genius, party at her favorite dive bar and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major. But that’s before she meets Luke, a hot townie who’s moved back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it’s before a weird epidemic sweeps across campus, mysteriously turning people’s eyes purple.

Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug?

Is it a rogue virus developed in a campus lab?

Is it the mark of the devil?

Soon the town starts blaming the university and the student religious group becomes frighteningly aggressive in their on-campus accusations. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle—until a tragic accident forces Luke to reveal the one part of himself he’s kept carefully hidden. That he’s so much more than the happy-go-lucky boy next door Quinn had believed him to be isn’t a surprise…but this truth might be too dangerous for her to handle.



LOVE OVER LATTES Adult Sexy Contemporary Romance

Single mom Valentina wants to provide a good life for her son, starting with the perfect home. When the deal on her dream house falls through, rather than move back in with her parents and disappoint them and her son once again, she accepts the help of the intimidating-as-hell stranger she’s admired from her coffee shop seat for the last six months. She’s afraid to fall for the wrong guy again, so she makes Cole promise to keep their relationship strictly professional.

Following his failed marriage, Cole can’t find a reason to care about anything or anyone. Saving his company from his ex-wife is the only thing that has kept him afloat for the past six months. As loneliness sets in and he begins to lose the fight over his company, Valentina becomes his lifeline. Cole wants to be more than her landlord, and he has a plan to get her to release him from his promise. https://dianahicksbooks.com/desert-monsoon-series/love-over-lattes/


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is November 1st-7th, and our next #PitMad is December 7, 2017!





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