If the lovely Brenda Drake hasn’t given you the heads-up already, I’ll be one of many mentors taking part in the upcoming Pitch Wars contest, so excitement! Meander over to the link for all the pertinent information you need! As one of the coaches I am currently looking for YA authors with finished manuscripts to mentor – almost all sub-categories within YA are welcomed, as I’ve liked novels from genres I never thought I’d read.

What I am Looking For in a Manuscript:

  • I love fantasy and sci-fi (light sci-fi only – hard sci-fi might be something of a hard sell in the YA field, though I do love it). World-building is important, as I want to know why things are happening! (Confession: I grew up with David Eddings books, and I’m a big fan of Brandon Sanderson and Ann Aguirre.)
  • I love horror. Not the gory, chainsaw-wielding, William-Shatner-face-mask-wearing kind of demented,  but the ones with the scary, relentless atmosphere. I want ghost stories that creep into your soul while you’re huddled in bed, the ones that whisper “boo” in your ear at the right moments.
  • I also adore mysteries. I love Three Investigators, have all of Agatha Christie’s books, and my prize collection is a Nancy Drew hardbound series I’ve had since I was eight. I don’t want to know who the villain is until the very last chapter, but I want to keep guessing till then! I want something absolutely unexpected:

  • Steampunk. I love a little bit of science thrown in to explain the technology. Don’t just add in something made of clockwork without a user’s manual, however short it is. Give me reason to believe in your universe’s logic.
  • Romantic subplots are welcomed, but I’m not a fan of stories where said girl / boy is torn between his / her loves throughout most of the book while nothing much else happens. Love triangles are okay, but I’m afraid I have nearly zero tolerance for insta-loves.
  • Whimsical. I love whimsical with beautiful prose. John Green novels and Graffiti Moon come to mind, as does Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. (A note: beautiful prose doesn’t have to mean literary. Rick Yancey and Maggie Stiefvater do amazing things with beautiful prose.) I want something curious and strange and lovely.
  • All kinds of retellings. Fairy tales, nursery rhymes, classics, mythology – gimme, gimme.
  • I may not be the right choice for contemporary YA, unless they’re whimsical with beautiful prose (see above), or with a hilariously unique spin (like Liz Czukas’ Ask Again Later). I do like magical realism.
  • I want a different kind of dystopian / urban fantasy / paranormal story. A dystopian where the government might actually be the good guys? A paranormal novel where the <insert mythological species here> is  truly a vicious, hideous sonofagun and absolutely not a love interest? A zombie verse novel? I’m your girl.

Or something like that.

Feel free to submit even if your novel doesn’t fit any of those mentioned above – if you’ve written something I’ve never even thought of, then I’d want it even more!

Shameless reasons why you should pick me:

1. I am represented by two wonderful agents – Rebecca Podos and Nicole LaBombard of the Rees Literary Agency. I’ve been a freelance writer for numerous magazines, and have had short stories published in a few more. I live in the Philippines, home of a flourishing indie writer community, so opting for a U.S. agent makes me something of an oddity. It’s been trickier to look for an agent when you’re not living in the same continent, but it turned out to be a quicker process than I expected (don’t hurt me).

I finished my YA Psych Horror novel, The Unnatural States of Dead Girls in Wells (title now trimmed to a more straightforward The Girl from the Well) in February 2012, queried, had three offers of representation, and landed my agents by July. Several publishers (including a Big 5 house) offered for my book later that year, but in the end I decided Sourcebooks was the best fit for me.

The Girl from the Well is due out in August 2014. Curious about my writing style? An excerpt has been made available in a few places, but here it is again:

I am where dead children go.

With other kinds of dead it is different. Often their souls drift quietly away, like a leaf caught in the throes of a hidden whirlpool; slipping down without sound, away from sight. They roll and ebb gently with the tides until they sink beneath the waves and I no longer see where they go – like sputtering candlelight, like little embers that burn briefly and brightly for several drawn moments before all their light goes out.

But they are not my territory. They are not my hunt.

And then there are the murdered-dead. And they are peculiar, stranger things.

You may think me biased, being murdered myself. But my state of being has nothing to do with the curiosity toward my own species, if we can be called such. We do not go gently, as your poet encourages, into the good night.

2. I was weaned on pretty prose. I can tell the difference between poetic and purple, and nothing attracts me more than a well-turned phrase. I also have experience editing most genres of fiction, so you’ll be getting those services for free! I critique queries all the time, and often beta-read for fellow writers.

3. I’m not a big fan of telling you how the manuscript should be written, how characters should interact, how the plot should move, how much cream you should be putting in your coffee, and why Misha Collins is better than Jensen Ackles (it’s a close race, I grant you that).  But I do love to question.  In fact, I might have several questions for a particular plot point or character, and I want to help you find the answers because I want you to know your characters as thoroughly as humanly possible. I want to know what would happen if your protagonist did Action X instead of Action Y, and why they would choose one over the other, cause I want your story told in the most awesome way possible, and that means looking through all options. I also like to think that I’m very good at finding inconsistencies in a story and fleshing out the story’s overall theme / mood / arc – or help you spin it in a different, unique way.

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The List of Agents!

  1. Louise Fury –Bent Agency
  2. Suzie TownsendNew Leaf Literary
  3. Nicole RescinitiThe Seymour Agency
  4. John M. CusickThe Greenhouse Agency
  5. Sarah LaPollaBradford Literary Agency
  6. Victoria MariniGelfman Schneider Literary Agency
  7. Jessica SinsheimerSarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency
  8. Pam van Hylckama VliegForeword Literary
  9. Quinlan LeeAdams Literary
  10. Jen UddenDonald Maass Literary Agency
  11. Emily KeyesForeword Literary
  12. Brianne JohnsonWriters House
  13. Carly WattersP.S. Literary
  14. Lana Popovic and Natasha AlexisZachary Shuster Harmsworth
  15. Molly JaffaFolio Literary Management
  16. Evan GregoryEthan Ellenberg Literary Agency
  17. Stefanie LiebermanJanklow & Nesbit Associates
  18. Rena RossnerThe Deborah Harris Agency

For more information regarding the agents’ preferences, go here! For additional information about this contest along with how to submit your manuscripts, go HERE. Check all the coaches’ posts in your category before deciding your top 4 picks. Just click on our pictures below!

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