IT HAS BEGUN: Pitch Wars Mentor Blog Hop

Woo-hoo! It’s that time of year again when mentors select a mentee to help them rework their entire manuscript for the agent round. This year Pitch Wars (hosted by the fabulous Brenda Drake) has 108 mentors to choose from to help make a writer’s story shine! But unlike past years, writers get to choose five mentors to submit instead of four. This is awesome!

Pitch Wars 2015

From today until submissions day (August 17), writers can peruse blogs of the participating mentors to see their wish list for entries and make sure they’d be a good match. Most of the mentors supply links to their twitter accounts too, where they can be stalked observed for social meshing. Also, a few beloved mentors said they don’t mind some questions via twitter or their blog, but be careful as to not be pitching to them. There are some other important dates when questions can be asked, such as #AskMentor on twitter (August 10), so be sure to check out Brenda’s blog. She has important dates and submission guidelines!

And here are your mentors…

1. Kes Trester (co- mentoring with Jennifer Hawkins) YA 37. Emmie Mears Adult 73. Katie Bucklein YA & NA
2. Mindy McGinnis (co- mentoring with Kate Karyus Quinn) YA 38. Lori Goldstein (co- mentoring with Chelsea Bobulski) YA 74. Kevin A Springer MG
3. N.K. Traver YA 39. Jennifer Hawkins (co- mentoring with Kes Trester) YA 75. Brianna Shrum YA
4. Kristin B. Wright Adult 40. Elizabeth Briggs YA & NA 76. Kate Karyus Quinn (co- mentoring with Mindy McGinnis) YA
5. Laura Heffernan Adult 41. Ron Walters (co- mentoring with Meredith McCardle) YA 77. Kim Graff YA
6. Mary Ann Marlowe Adult 42. Fiona McLaren (co- mentoring with Dionne McCulloch) MG 78. Emily Martin YA
7. Joy McCullough- Carranza MG 43. S.M. Johnston (co- mentoring with Stacey Nash) YA & NA 79. Trisha Leaver (co- mentoring with Jenni Walsh) YA
8. Lisa Lewis- Tyre MG 44. Max Wirestone Adult 80. Kim Long MG
9. Jenni L. Walsh (co- mentoring with Trisha Leaver) YA 45. Jaye Robin Brown YA 81. Catherine Scully MG
10. Sarah Glenn Marsh YA 46. Molly Lee YA 82. Stacey Trombley YA
11. Julie C. Dao MG 47. Rachel Lynn Solomon YA 83. Stephanie Scott (co- mentoring with Valerie Cole) YA
12. Kellye Garrett Adult 48. J.C. Nelson NA & Adult 84. Valerie Cole (co- mentoring with Stephanie Scott) YA
13. K.T. Hanna Adult 49. Holly Faur Adult 85. Lizzy Charles YA
14. Jessie Devine YA 50. Sonia Hartl Adult 86. Dannie Morin (co- mentoring with Alexandra Alessandri) YA
15. Rosalyn Eves YA 51. Natasha Raulerson Adult 87. Kate Foster MG
16. Jami Nord Adult 52. Marty Mayberry YA 88. Elly Blake MG
17. Samantha Joyce YA & NA 53. J.C. Davis MG 89. Julie Sondra Decker YA & NA
18. Helene Dunbar YA 54. Rebecca Wells MG 90. Lady Lioness NA & Adult
19. Jenna Lehne MG 55. Michelle Hauck Adult 91. Susan Gray Foster (co- mentoring with Monica Bustamante Wagner_ YA & NA
20. Linsey Miller YA 56. Tabitha Martin YA 92. Kelly Calabrese YA
21. Jessica Vitalis MG 57. Rebecca Petruck MG 93. Sarah Nicolas YA
22. Stacey Graham MG 58. Sarah Henning Adult 94. Kelly Siskind NA & Adult
23. Dan Koboldt Adult 59. Alex White Adult 95. Roselle Kaes Adult
24. Brighton Walsh NA & Adult 60. Jeanmarie Anaya YA 96. Monica Bustamante Wagner (co- mentoring with Susan Gray Foster) YA
25. Kate Brauning YA & NA 61. Laura Salters YA 97. Renee Ahdieh (co- mentoring with Traci Chee) YA
26. Lisa Maxwell YA 62. Wade Albert White MG 98. Traci Chee (co- mentoring with Renee Ahdieh) YA
27. Wendy Spinale YA 63. Brooks Benjamin MG 99. Janet B. Taylor (co- mentoring with Kathryn Purdie & Shannon Parker YA
28. Sarah Cannon MG 64. Margarita Montimore Adult 100. Jessie Humphries (co- mentoring with Mara Rae) YA
29. L.L. McKinney YA 65. Megan Grimit YA 101. Lynnette Labelle Adult
30. Juliana Brandt MG 66. Charlie Holmberg NA & Adult 102. Erica M. Chapman YA
31. Scarlett Cole Adult 67. Diana Gallager YA & NA 103. Summer Spence YA
32. Hayley Stone Adult 68. Stefanie Wass MG 104. Marieke Nijkamp YA
33. Jennifer Blackwood YA & NA 69. Tamara Mataya Adult 105. Meredith McCardle (co- mentoring with Ron Walters) YA
34. Kendra Young MG 70. Rebecca Sky YA & NA 106. Thomas Torre MG
35. S.P. McConnell NA & Adult 71. Kara Seal MG 107. Phil Stamper YA
36. Nikki Roberti YA 72. Lee Gjertsen Malone MG 108. J.A. Souders YA

While I helped by stating the age category each mentor is requesting, READ THEIR BIO’s to make sure they rep your genre! And before I let you go, here is a peak of some of the participating agents this year! (And Brenda has said more will be coming!)

  • Louise Fury – The Bent Agency
  • Melissa Edwards – Aaron Priest Agency
  • Alexandra Machinist – ICM Partners
  • Saba Sulaiman – Talcott Notch
  • Laura Biagi – Jean V. Naggar
  • Claire Anderson Wheeler – Regal Literary
  • Stefanie Lieberman – Janklow & Nesbit Associates
  • Carrie Prestritto – Prospect Agency
  • Melissa Nasson – Ruben Pfeffer Content
  • Uwe Stender/ Brent Taylor – TriadaUS
  • The New Leaf Literary Agents – Suzie Townsend, Pete Knapp
  • Molly Glick – Foundry Literary
  • Kitty Walker – Eve White Literary Group
  • Moe Ferrera – Booksends
  • Margaret Bail – Inklings Literary Agency
  • Julia Weber – J.A. Weber Literaturagentur GmbH
  • Rachel Brooks – L. Perkins Agency
  • Leon Husock – L. Perkins Agency
  • Christa Heschke – McIntosh & Otis
  • Stacey Donaghy – Donaghy Literary Group
  • Taylor Haggerty – Waxman Leavell Literary Agency
  • Emmanuelle Morgen – Stonesong
  • Amy Cloughley – Kimberley Cameron & Association
  • Brianne Johnson – Writers House
  • And more to come!

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and Writer of MG/YA fiction


In the past, I’ve posted links for writers to research agents regarding their legitimacy (which you can find saved under the Literary Advise tab:Finding A Literary Agent). Today, I want to discuss finding what they want in their inbox. It is important to submit only to agents that represent the type of material you write so that you don’t waste their time or yours. Keep in mind, if you have written fantasy in the past, but decided to write your first non-fiction manuscript, do not submit that non-fiction manuscript to an agent who only represents fantasy. Sounds crazy, but it really happens folks. Don’t. Do. It.

Another thing to keep in mind is what you want to spend most of your time writing. For example, let’s say you write young adult and middle grade, but the most recent manuscript you finished is YA. You spot an agent who would be a perfect fit, but s/he represents adult and young adult (no MG). What if you have more middle grade story ideas than young adult? Sometimes agents don’t represent a certain age group (or genre) because they don’t have the publishing connections available like they do the ones they currently represent. And there are others who just don’t have the “feels” for a certain age group or genre. Now, there may be other agents within the agency that represent the other age category or genre and will be willing to co-agent one of these other ideas you have, but not always and sometimes not until you’ve proven you can get the sales with the original book you signed. So ask yourself, do you want to risk a contract with an agent that will limit your writing in the age category or genre you’re most passionate? Remember, finding an agent for your manuscript also means finding an agent who’s a perfect fit for YOU. When you become the next Neil Gaiman or Stephen King, then you can write whatever you want and it won’t matter.

Here are some great places to find what agents are looking for:

  • Agency Website: Most agents list the types of stories they represent in their BIO’s. A few also provide links to personal blogs they have, posting more writing advise and shining a light on their personality.
  • Publishers Marketplace: Not all agents subscribe to this website, but those who do list the types of books they represent and some list their most recent sales.
  • Query Tracker: This is a cool site because agents not only list what they represent, you can search who represents writers in similar genres/age groups. Be careful though, if you just wrote a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, soliciting to an agent who represents a retelling of the same doesn’t usually work because the agent must be loyal to the client they already represent, which makes perfect sense.
  • Manuscript Wishlist: This is another hot place where agents (even publishers) list what they are currently looking to represent. This list can sometimes even be more specific. For example, rather than saying they want a historical fantasy, they’ll say give me a story set during World War I from a nurse’s POV who finds a magical stone to help heal her patients but gets put on trial when found healing an enemy soldier. Also, don’t forget you can see live tweets on twitter under the Manuscript Wishlist hashtag #MSWL as agents post ideas that suddenly spark.

While there are other places to learn this information, these are the most popular among my writing pals. The most important thing to remember while researching is having NO agent is better than having a bad agent, or one that isn’t a good fit.

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction


It’s no secret, I love me some good contests, especially those for writers. I do my best to keep everyone posted. And here is another fabulous opportunity. Michelle Hauck is rolling out the red carpet for New Agents.

 red carpet

This is a golden opportunity for writers because new agents are still building their client list. Which means they have more time to spend one-on-one with you. And remember, just because they are new, doesn’t mean they aren’t experienced. Sometimes agents move from one agency to another and need to build a new client list. Or perhaps, someone who has worked as an intern for several years gets promoted. And don’t forget all those lovely editors who worked at publishing companies and decided to become an agent.  Either way, they’ve worked in the publishing industry in one way or another.

For a complete list of agents, click on the link above and go here for the formatting guidelines. Submissions start at noon on Wednesday, July 15, 2015. There will be a short revision period for the writers chosen before the agent round between July 27-29. You can also watch the hashtag #NewAgent on twitter for updates, news, or teasers. (The hashtag is currently being stalked by real estate agents, but I imagine the writers will take over by tomorrow!)

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and Writer of MG/YA fiction

Images That Inspire Me

Most of you have read my article THE IDEA-TOILET PAPER and know I can get ideas from anywhere. However, I’ve been asked to share some pictures that have inspired me. I decided a place to start would be my banner, which you can also see in other places like my twitter and Facebook author accounts.


I have another at a different angle for the other accounts. (And just so y’all know, I took this picture.) It inspired the location for my middle grade story BEAST, which is a twisted fairytale retelling of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. This is a snapshot at the edge of a lake I walk and the cemetery across from the east side of the path. At the right moment of the day, when a white mist hovers over the lake, the area can look quite haunting. And although it inspired the location, it did not inspire the story’s premise. BEAST is an expansion from a story I wrote during English class nearly twenty years ago. And yes, I still have the graded paper!

Scary Manor 2

I came across this manor while googling old structures to get a better sense of design while writing THIS SCARY MANOR BLOWS. The home Agnes’ family inherits is somewhat similar to this one, except hers has turrets, secret passages, and hidden rooms, oh and ghosts! Also, the main floor has more height and a lengthier staircase leading to the front door. Agnes fell in love with old buildings because her dad was an architect. It was important for me to get descriptions right through her eyes because she missed her dad so much.

Black Fog

I wrote BLACK FOG after a vivid dream, much like a very long movie trailer. Back when I wrote the story, I had googled images of black fogs to help me describe the appearance of the creature. While I can’t find the original image I used, it was very similar to the one above. Now add life to the blackness by imagining the ominous fingers billowing around your chest and dissolving your flesh to ash. Voila! My character was born.

As much as I’d like to show photos all day, I won’t post a never ending blog. Just know, authors use various tools to help them describe the images they see in their head. Whether it be drawings, pictures, paintings, statues, trains, objects in their home or a hotel, the sky, their yard, the list is endless. And of course, sometimes writers use nothing but their noggin because the character or place is already so vivid. Either route an author takes is fine by me, I just want to be sucked into a story that seems plausible.

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction

Pitch to Publication

Whoa! Did I read that right? This appears to be the Holy Grail of writerly competitions hosted by Samantha Fountain! Okay-okay. So, this won’t provide youth or food in abundance, but it sure as heck is gonna make winners feel extremely happy as it might have the special power to see them get a publishing deal by the end of the year.

Much like Brenda Drake’s PitchWars, Pitch to Publication has mentors that will edit the entire manuscript of the winning entrants. They will go through everything with a fine-tooth comb to make the manuscripts shine before the agent round. However, these mentors are ALL freelance editors, where PW mentors are a mix of agented authors and editors (which is still awesome BTW).

But the difference doesn’t stop there. After the agent round, there will be a publishing house round. (I may have squealed after reading that. Go ahead, you can too.) So basically, if an agent decides to represent one of the entrants, s/he will have time to further edit before the publishing round, but the team can also decide to sit the pub round out. Why on earth would they do that? Perhaps they’ll want longer to work the MS, or any other varied reason.

Here are some important dates:

June 29-July 3: Submissions window for entrants. You can choose up to FIVE mentors. Window closes at midnight on July third.

July 6-16: Editors will make requests for first 50 pages. If a mentor requests pages, they’ll want to see them within 24 hours.

July 17: Noon CST, editors must have sent in their 1st, 2nd, 3rd choices to Samantha Fountain.

July 20: Editor/Author teams will be announced.

July 27- August 28: This will be the time chosen writers will work on their manuscripts with the editors.

August 31- September 1: The agent round.

September 21: The agent needs to have replied to the writer/writers with a rejection or offer of representation. If offer, they’ll have a few more weeks to tweak things.

October 12-13: The Publishing house round.

Unfortunately, if Samantha has listed the agents and publishing houses that are participating, I couldn’t find the links. But, Samantha is responsible for Agent Match, which had agents from Writers House, The Bent Agency, Corvisiero Literary Agency, McIntosh and Otis, TriadaUS Literary Agency, and more! So as you see, she has fabulous connections! I expect she will have many great agents and publishers for this contest too.

Be sure to check out Samantha’s blog for links to the mentors. After reading what they’re looking for, select only five to submit to. There is also more information to know regarding the dates she’s listed. READ THIS SECTION on her blog!  If writers scroll further down the page, they’ll see complete instructions on how to format entries. Read the instructions carefully so your entry doesn’t get deleted. Now, go get those subs ready!

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and Writer of MG/YA fiction

Brenda Drake’s June Query Workshop

Brenda Drake Logo

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of the lovely Brenda Drake. She gives back so much to the writing community when she spearheads contests and workshops for writers to participate. This month, she is doing the Query Workshop series. Even though the window has closed to submit, writers can read the selected entries and critiques given by past and present PitchWars mentors. Be sure to follow each day as new posts go up and apply any learned knowledge to your own query.

Have a great day!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

Don’t Forget #Pitmad Is Tomorrow!

As always, I want to give a shout-out to remind everyone of a fabulous contest. Don’t forget that #Pitmad (hosted by Brenda Drake) will be live tomorrow (June 4th) on twitter from 8am to 8pm EST (New York time).

Twitter-Brenda Image

Get your 140 character pitch ready to capture an agent’s or editor’s attention. (This is for completed manuscripts only!) Be sure to include the hashtag #pitmad and the category (#YA, #MG, #A, #NA, #PB, and #NF). Vary your pitches so twitter won’t delete duplicates thinking they’re spam. And if you are super crafty, you can squeeze your genre hashtag into the tweet!

All the guidelines are on Brenda’s blog here. Be sure to follow her rules so you don’t get a polite reprimand from Brenda. She’ll be watching…mwah-ha-ha!

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction


Often in the universe of writers, there is talk of conferences and workshops. Most of the time they seem to be located in New York or Los Angeles because there are beaucoup agencies in these cities. However, occasionally a few are held in the Midwest. One such workshop is the Midwest Writers Group.

Midwest Writers Group

This workshop will be held at Ball State University Alumni Center from July 23rd-25th, 2015. Not only can you attend intense sessions on learning more about the writing craft and tax options for writers, but you can attend pitch sessions with participating agents. Agents attending for pitches and/or speeches are Alec Shane, Christa Heschke, Brooks Sherman, Michelle Richter, Janet Reid, and Elise Capron. There are also query critiques, manuscript evaluations, head shots, and consultations available (plus much more). And don’t forget to checkout the authors and editors attending to share their knowledge. Sign up for one of their sessions! But slots are going fast. You can go here to learn about costs, lodging, and the facility. Be sure to scroll the headings to learn about all your options.

Have a great day!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction


Any writer who’s been on twitter long enough knows Brenda Drake. She is the queen of contests to obtain a literary agent and the wrangler for mother-loads of mentors. She is responsible for #Pitmad (a twitter contest) and Pitch Madness. She hosts The Writer’s Voice and the all time favorite…PITCH WARS!!!

But Brenda doesn’t just host fabulous contests to support our undying addiction to twitter teases. She is a fabulous writer!

Brenda DrakeHer cover for LIBRARY JUMPERS has been revealed! People, I’m in love with this magnificent artwork: a kick-ass girl, magic, and library books! Who wouldn’t want to pre-order this?

Library Jumpers

Summary :

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

**Release date is January 6, 2016, published by Entangled Teen. You can pre-order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.**

Brenda is represented by Peter Knapp at Park Literary. For any rights inquiries, please contact him at info (at) parkliterary (dot) com

I highly recommend showing Brenda some love, especially if you’ve ever been a winner in one of her contests! It’s time to give back the support she’s shown everyone for several years! Pre-ordering LIBRARY JUMPERS would be awesome, but you can also tweet/FB/blog to spread the word instead. Give her some shout-outs and let her know how happy you are for her! As for me, I pre-ordered my copy! (No, Brenda didn’t bribe me to say that!)

Have a great day!

P.D. Pabst
Blogger and writer of MG//YA fiction

Query Kombat Contest

May is full of contests for writers! And Query Kombat is another great one. This contest is hosted by Michelle Hauck, Michael Anthony, and SC Author.

Query Kombat Logo

The submission window will open on May 22, 2015 (tomorrow) and be open for only ONE HOUR! And like every contest, there are rules people…so follow them (here)! Now hold on to your hats…there are TWENTY FIVE agents/editors in total participating this year! Whoa! Because there are so many, the hosts had to divide the list on their blogs:

Michelle Hauck (Agent link)

Michael Anthony (Agent link)

SC Write (Agent link)

This is HUGE! Great job to the hosts. They’ve truly outdone themselves this year! Now, get outta here and polish those submissions!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction