I’m Your Huckleberry – Pitch Wars 2018

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Wow, so here we go again! I can’t believe Pitch Wars is here already. If this is your first year hearing about Pitch Wars, well then, let me just say hi there, hello, and welcome! It’s going to be a wild roller coaster from beginning to end.

A lot of great things can come from Pitch Wars, and mentoring is only one of them. The community is truly and absolutely the best part. It’s how I found my CP group, where I made awesome writer friends, and how I learned so much, not only about writing and publishing, but about people who come from so many amazing and different walks of life. It can be truly scary to put yourself out there, but you might just find your writer tribe, and that, my friends, is totally priceless.

So, a little about me. Okay, so the basics you probably already know. This is my third year as a Pitch Wars Adult Mentor. I’ve had the honor of mentoring two amazing writers who I absolutely adore, and their writing basically puts mine to shame. I’m represented by the always amazing and ever-patient Laura Bradford. I am not published as of yet, but my short story did come in second place in the Writer’s Digest 86th Annual Writing Competition in 2017.

I’m married with children. A toddler boy, and two fur babies. My dogs are named after Crowley from Supernatural and Harley Quinn. I work full time as a content writer and web editor, I freelance edit, and I write my own stuff. What is sleep anyway? During Pitch Wars I WILL NOT be taking on editing clients. All of my time will be devoted to my mentee and making their manuscript shine.

Nerdy things are fun! I enjoy comics — I tend to binge on anything X-23 — and yes, I was into her before the movie, which was good, but had a very different take on her origin story.  You could say I love Marvel heroes and DC villains. Constantine is sort of chaotic-good though, so he’s all right. Harley Quinn is amazing. Again, yes, loved her before the movie–not to show my age, but if y’all haven’t watched the ’90s Batman cartoons, you’re missing out.  Also Invader Zim. If you don’t know who that is, look it up. I’m a Dean girl, my current favorite animal, which seems to change about every decade, is a giraffe. Prior to that it was penguins and white tigers. Also, feeding giraffe’s is hella awesome. I just started playing D&D and am enjoying it immensely, my favorite Avenger is Wanda A.K.A. Scarlet Witch, I’m a Brown Coat, and I prefer Janeway as my Captain. My household is Sith, unless we’re Stark. You get the idea.

As for my tastes in books? I’m eclectic. I don’t read just one genre. My first loves are urban fantasy, literary fiction, and romantic suspense. Examples include Anita Blake the early years, the Mercy Thompson series, I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russel, anything by Neil Gaiman really, Black Knights Inc by Julie Ann Walker,  Midnight Rescue by Elle Kennedy, The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison, and so so so much more guys. Those are in no particular order.

So, what am I looking for on my wishlist? This is also in no particular order.

  1. Amazing literary fiction. Weird stuff, like Karen Russell or Otessa Moshfegh.  I love oddball stuff, so if you’ve got something weird, unusual, strange, dark, etc, I’m probably going to love it. I love dynamic characters and following them on their journey.
  2. Contemporary fiction, as in an awesome action story, like The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton. I love kick ass action, and bad guys/gals we can sympathize with. Would really love to see a woman in the lead, but I love both. If you have a dynamic character, I’m going to be all about it! And again, I love the dark, weird, and strange.
  3. Kick ass romantic suspense–but not damsel in distress. I like women who can handle themselves just as much as the hero. Doesn’t mean they don’t need rescuing, but they aren’t helpless either. Also, no love triangles. Otherwise, I’m pretty open. I adore enemies to lovers stories, not to mention heroes with dark, sordid pasts that they need to overcome.
  4. Thriller/Suspense–Doesn’t have to have romance as the driving element. Doesn’t have to have romance at all. Think along the lines of The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. I love dark and twisted, so if that’s what you got, throw it my way! Serial killers, crazy family history, let’s do it!
  5. Unique paranormal romance/urban fantasy. I love me some magical and mysticism. I just want it to be unique. Think the Shadow Riders Series by Christine Feehan. This can be a love story or not. If it’s urban fantasy, I don’t want the same old vampire and werewolf story. I would LOVE an awesome witch story. A witch western would be amazing.  Djinn, elementals, etc. and so on.
  6. Contemporary fantasy /magical realism. Think the awesome of Neil Gaiman. The Graveyard Book is one of my favorites by him. I would love something along those lines. Also things like Practical Magic, fun and quirky, or something super tragic.

Heat Level: In any genre, any book, the heat level can be null and void, or it can be as hot as you can make it. I’m fine with all of it.

So there you have it. That’s what I would LOVE to see in my inbox come Pitch Wars.

So, what am I looking for in a mentee? Someone who is willing to work their ass off. There might be cuts, or additions, or rewrites. BUT, here’s the thing. I want you to also have your opinion. Don’t just agree with me for the sake of agreeing with me. Maybe I don’t see something, or some aspect, and maybe that’s something we need to work on for a scene or a character. Defend your work if you feel the need to, but don’t be defensive. Hopefully that makes sense.

Okay, so things I don’t want to see.

No Scifi, epic or high fantasy, no other genres of romance except suspense and paranormal. No historical, or really nothing outside of the genres I specifically listed.

No love triangles, as mentioned before. No same ol’ vampires and werewolves. (If you’ve got a different take, I’m game.)

No novels written in second POV. I wouldn’t be able to help you there.

Rape/Sexual Abuse. I know there will be questions about this, there always are. Here’s my answer. Yes, I will accept submissions with these themes.

BUT

If you plan to show the scene/scenes, there needs to be a good reason. Not shock value either. Why does that drive the plot forward, how does this help the reader see character growth, etc? If it’s just a shock value thing, chances are I’d ask you to rework it or cut it all together. No rape for the sake of rape, even then I only want the physical scene if it’s pertinent to the plot. If it’s not necessary, then use your writer’s toolbox to make it more compelling without the gratuity of it. Don’t get me wrong, I like gratuitous violence. I love a good action novel, but when it comes to rape, it’s a little trickier. So, use your best judgement.

Really, that’s it. I’m open to most things, and if you’ve got something you’re not sure I’d want, then feel free to ask me. If you feel like your work falls into any of these categories, chances are, I might just be your Pitch Wars Huckleberry!

Happy Pitch Wars Everyone! 

 

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24 thoughts on “I’m Your Huckleberry – Pitch Wars 2018

  1. Pingback: Pitch Wars 2018
  2. Elizabeth Szubert (@CrescentLizzy) says:

    Hello! I’m going to take a moment and love the fact that you used a Practical Magic gif before asking my question. You said that you might take vampires if they were different, so how do you feel about dhampirs, aka half vampires? I will completely understand if it’s a no as I want to make sure that I don’t plug you up with looking over something that isn’t what you want.

    Thanks!
    Liz

  3. Rebecca Fryar says:

    So much on your list that fits my MS! Elemental magic, contemporary setting, some hot romance, plenty of dark weirdness. I almost subbed to you last year, too!
    Alas, my MS is epic fantasy that met contemporary fantasy and had a lovechild. And I have a love triangle involving three male characters because the MC has that dark, sordid past and committing doesn’t come easy for him.
    Dealbreaker?

    • Natasha Raulerson says:

      Hi Rebecca! I’m confused on your genre. If it’s a contemporary world with magic, that’s fine. If it’s epic fantasy, like a whole other world, high magic, etc, I’m just not going to be able to help you with that. I really, really don’t like love triangles if it’s like…two people fighting over the third consistently. Like the, “Everyone wants her/him because they are so hot and irresistible, and they can’t decide who to be with.” I love FLAWS. So, with that being said, if your MC likes to play the field, I’m not sure I’d consider that a love triangle. It sounds intriguing for sure! And I LOVE dark, sordid pasts, so all I can say is based on the information I just gave you, use your best judgement. I hope I’m the right person to submit to, but if there’s any doubt, I’d much rather you submit to someone you think will fit the manuscript. THAT DOESN’T MEAN I WON’T WANT TO KNOW MORE LATER THOUGH!

      • Rebecca Fryar says:

        Alternate history earth, but high fantasy elements. Dwarfs are native to the US mountains and there’s a ton of magic. Contemporary setting, rural present- day Arkansas. And there’s dragonness associated with the elemental component.

  4. Brittany Valdez says:

    Hi, Natasha! I also feel that my MS hits a lot of the things that you are asking for but I thought I would check in the process of narrowing down the mentors to submit to if you think my MS sounds like something you might consider. It is a contemporary fantasy/psychological suspense with an LGBT relationship (no love triangle). One of the MCs is a humanoid spider creature (which is where the fantasy comes from) and the other is a recovering serial killer (human, though). It takes place in Hawaii.

    Thank you!
    Brittany

    • Natasha Raulerson says:

      Hi Brittany! That sounds like an amazing concept! The only thing that had me pause was the humanoid spider creature. My brain immediately went to Spiderman lol. I’m just trying to think if you mean someone with spider-like abilities, or like some sort of human/spider hybrid creature. If it’s the former, I’d consider it, if it’s the latter, I’m not sure it would be for me.

      • bmvaldezB says:

        Natasha,

        They are human in appearance with the exception of having rainbow hair/eyes since the spider ability of the species is based in using light to spin webs. However, they have their own culture, which includes a diet of humans and a belief that emotions are for humans. The MC wants to be like humans and experience human things. They are kind of like a vampire in that they look human and have no strange monster features (like extra legs, extra hair, other monster-ly features). Does that help?

        Thanks,
        Brittany

  5. Alfarooq Omar says:

    Hello Natasha! My thriller swirls around a long-forgotten incident through the adolescence of a group of friends -of different cultures and mindsets- that one of them is not willing to let go without reckoning even after a very long time, and especially for who they have become now. Story is politics-driven in a literary human-centered spilling with the mystery of thrillingly-edgy riddles unfolding on global settings, especially around the history-rich locations of the Middle-East. Would you consider mentoring such work?

      • Alfarooq Omar says:

        It doesn’t promote to a political thriller. It just has the background of political struggles among the social relations of people and that inseparable layer that gravitates our lives no matter how far we think we are.. But thank you very much after all!

  6. jaclynmitchellwrites says:

    Hi Natasha,

    OK – last minute question. (Sorry about that.) My story is a satirical superhero fantasy. (Actually, if you were a Query Kombat judge this year, you might remember it – the housekeeper becomes a superhero.) I’d LOVE to send it to you, as it seems down your alley. However there is a love triangle. It’s not the normal love triangle. There’s no angst. It’s short lived. I kind of use it to lovingly poke fun of love triangles in general. But I’ve really been going back and forth on whether to send to you because of this – I didn’t want to seem like I was blatantly disregarding your “no love triangles” rule.

    Thanks!

    • Natasha Raulerson says:

      Hi there! Don’t worry about the last minute, it’s all good! Thanks for checking in with me on this. If it’s a satirical poke at it, I’m fine with that. I just don’t want the “everybody loves the protagonist, but she/he can’t decide” sort of scenario. Or really any of the other typical ones lol. But yeah, if it’s to make fun of it that should be fine. 😀

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