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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: T.M. Morgan with mentor Hayley Stone and Sylvia Pamuk with mentors Monica Bustamante-Wagner and Kerbie Addis

Wednesday, 25 October 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 . . .

Sylvia Pamuk – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Monica Bustamante-Wagner – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kerbie Addis – Mentor


Sylvia, why did you choose to submit to Monica & Kerbie?

It was kismet! My manuscript got passed to them by another mentor and I could not be happier 🙂

Monica & Kerbie, why did you choose Sylvia?

Kerbie: Sylvia’s writing style and world building feels so effortless and beautiful, yet it’s powerful at the same time. The more I read her full, the more jealous I became of her abilities! That’s when I knew we had to pick her.

Monica: Her writing is amazing, and not only that–her plot was so unique and twisty, that we HAD to pick her! Also, as a person, she’s the most adorable peep ever. Not to mention she’s super smart. She speaks like a bazillion languages and that, I must admit, makes me jealous!

Sylvia, summarize your book in 3 words.

jinn, sorcery, starstuff

Monica & Kerbie, summarize Sylvia’s book(s) in 3 words.

Kerbie: Lush, Magic, Twists

Monica: Unique, lush, twists

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

My writing is deeply influenced by my research and the years I spent living in the Middle East. As a PhD student, I get to spend my days reading centuries-old texts written in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian about talismans, magic mirrors, astrology, poetry, morally-gray viziers and queens, the Mongol conquests, women warriors… I could go on. Not only is it a dream day-job, it is a constant source of inspiration! KINGS OF SAND AND STARLIGHT was inspired in part by talismanic paintings of demon kings in a fourteenth-century Arabic astrological miscellany called Kitab al-Bulhan, roughly translated as the Book of Surprises.

I feel like my own MS has turned into a book of surprises since Pitch Wars began. It has changed so MUCH! Big-picture revisions are usually where I struggle the most as a writer, and I’m so grateful to Monica and Kerbie for encouraging me to tackle seismic changes head-on (and for humoring my harebrained decision to add all the material I had reserved for a sequel into the original MS). They are amazing!

Monica & Kerbie, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Kerbie: Well, not many people know this because I was literally just hired, but I’m the marketing coordinator for an indie bookstore!

Monica: As a Peruvian, I love spicy (vegan) food. 🙂

And next, we have  . . .

T.M. Morgan – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Hayley Stone – Mentor

Website | Twitter

T.M.,why did you choose to submit to Hayley?

Hayley is an amazing writer and editor. Of the Adult SFF mentors, she was my #1 choice.

Hayley, why did you choose T.M.?

One of the chief qualities of a manuscript I look for is voice. T.M.’s story grabbed me by the throat from the first line, demanding I read on; the voice was irresistible, and the rest of the book proved just as gutting. I had to know what happened next, and I immediately began to think of ways to improve the character relationships and plot. When I start to pre-edit in my head, that’s when I know I have just as much to offer a mentee, as the novel they have so enthusiastically entrusted to me.

The other thing that made me choose T.M.’s manuscript was how the story did not shy away from its own dark truths about love, hate, religion, and human nature. The characters are full of flaws, and yet never so far gone that you cannot empathize with them. As a fan of gritty fantasy, I just couldn’t ignore this book.

T.M., summarize your book in 3 words.

Dark western fantasy.

Hayley, summarize T.M.’s book(s) in 3 words.

Revenge, Witches, Seduction

T.M., tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

I started off in creative writing doing poetry, so tend to be more lyrical in my prose. I think this book highlights that. Also, with this book, I wanted to explore a western setting, but not a normal one: tinged with familiar tropes but far off, strange. Something like The Dark Tower, but more based in pure fantasy.

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

I enjoy playing tabletop roleplaying games, including Dungeons & Dragons and Fate. The first time I played D&D was in middle school, and my character was a rogue with a lust for coin. I betrayed the entire party over some treasure we’d found and nearly took them all out before the Dungeon Master was forced to intervene. I lost out on the treasure, but as compensation for almost succeeding in an incredibly difficult combat scenario, I was given a dragon egg.

Totally worth it.


Our mentors’ latest releases…

Frosh: Second Chances (NA romance) by Monica Bustamante-Wagner


In FROSH: First Blush, Ellie, Grant, Devon, and Charlie spent their welcome week falling head over heels for each other–before totally falling apart. Now, in FROSH: Second Chances, they’ll have to pick up the pieces.

After ruining Grant’s football career (and her own reputation), Ellie has been trying to lie low–which means not making more enemies. But some students still want her to pay for what she did, and now, Ellie’s determined to fight back–and fight for Grant.

Grant is adjusting to his new reality: no more football means no more free passes in class, and definitely no more distractions; especially from Ellie, whom he misses even after she destroyed his world. Can he find a way to move on without her–and without football?

Devon finally has it all: her brother’s sober and her boyfriend is an adorkable genius. But when her parents threaten to tear her and Charlie apart because he doesn’t ‘fit’ into their high society, she will go to dangerous lengths to prove that nothing–nothing–can defeat Devon Connors.

Charlie’s never questioned who he is: pre-med science geek, and now, Devon Connors’ boyfriend. But when he discovers a secret about his past, Charlie isn’t sure of anything–especially whether he can trust Devon with the truth.


COUNTERPART by Hayley Stone


The high-intensity sci-fi thriller series that began with Machinations continues as reincarnated insurgent Rhona Long faces off against the one enemy she can’t outwit: her own clone.

The machines believed their extermination of the human race would be over as quickly as it began. They were wrong. As the war against extinction intensifies, people are beginning to gain the upper hand.

Commander Rhona Long understands survival better than most. Killed in combat, she was brought back to life using her DNA, and she’s forged a new, even more powerful identity. Now the leader of the resistance, she’s determined to ensure the machines are shut down for good.

But victory is elusive. The machines have a new technology designed to overcome humanity’s most advanced weaponry. Despite Rhona’s peacekeeping efforts, former nations are feuding over resources as old power struggles resurface. Worse, someone inside the resistance is sabotaging the human cause—someone who, from all appearances, seems to be Rhona . . . or her exact replica.


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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