Anne Raven and Janet Walden-West are OBNOXIOUSLY EXCITED to be co-mentoring Adult and New Adult as #TeamSubversive—our first year mentoring in Pitch Wars!
What is Pitch Wars?
Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.
You can find out more HERE!
Janet and Anne met in 2017, right before we both got into Pitch Wars (Janet’s second time as a mentee—first in 2014) and clicked right away. We’ve been critique partners ever since, and Anne always says our partnership was forged by the fires of Pitch Wars. We basically share a brain, which means we agree on everything, so you’d be getting two mentors for the “price” of one.
Note: We can’t accept as a mentee ANYONE we’ve Beta’d/Critiqued for in the past.
So, what does #TeamSubversive really mean?
For us, it means anything that doesn’t fit into the neat little box society and general authority deem acceptable. We’re not here for the arbitrary carved-in-stone rules. We question everything and tend to play outside societal norms. We love when books subvert the usual tropes or flip them on their heads.
Genres we’re accepting, with examples:
Romance – Contemporary
Alexis Daria’s Take the Lead
Alexa Martin’s Intercepted
Julie James’ A lot like love
Romance – Fantasy
Kat Cho’s Wicked Fox
Sydney Croft’s ACRO series
Romance – Paranormal
Ilona Andrews’ The Iron Covenant
KMM’s Fever series
Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series
Romance – Romantic Suspense
Jackie Ashenden’s Make it Hurt
Laura Griffin’s Tracers series
Fantasy – Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Hailey Edward’s Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy series
Rebecca Roanhorse’s The Sixth World series
Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series
Fantasy – Paranormal
Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Certain Dark Things
LL McKinney’s A Blade So Black
Notice a theme? We love romance, in various subgenres, and adore magic and the supernatural. And if you combine the two, you’ve got us hooked. We’re not looking for Epic Fantasy, however, since it’s not in our wheelhouse. We prefer diversity and inclusivity and are happy to boost marginalized voices!
New Adult writers, please note: We are accepting NA manuscripts, however, we will most likely ask you to age up your characters to make it an Adult MS so that it fits the current market.
Our catnip (aka what we want):
- Heroines*: strong, badass (i.e. heroine with agency, not necessarily ninja assassins but competent) who are anything but damsels in distress, unlikable, anti-heroines, hot mess and heroines getting shit done. Alpha heroines (we love equality between heroine/hero—in other words; equally badass and alpha). Heroines in traditionally male roles and vice versa. *Heroines meaning female and female-identifying. Ditto heroes.
- Hero*: Non-traditional, cinnamon roll boys, anti-heroes. Beta boys who own it. If your hero has a crunchy anti-hero outer shell and a sweet cinnamon roll filling, we are here for you.
- Gender-flipped narratives.
- Wounded / “damaged” characters (who haven’t had the typical “white picket fence” life experience).
- Complicated MCs, especially intersectional ones—culture, identity, economic, etc. (especially here for characters that are navigating having a foot in two different worlds).
- Subverted tropes (Your MC isn’t The Chosen One, but a benched B-teamer who gets stuck averting the apocalypse? Your MC has a spouse/offspring/a dragon that still isn’t housebroken and an IRS audit looming and now some joker expects them to save the kingdom? Yes, please).
- Slow burn / Enemies to lovers / Friends to lovers / Second chance / Opposites Attract.
- Consent. Consent.
- All heat levels except erotica.
- Emotional intimacy in relationships.
- Stories where the love is a platonic, deep, I’ve-always-got-your-back friendship.
- Healthy female friendships.
- Found families.
- Foodie / Fashion / Music / Painting (visual arts) / Dance / Jewelry / Animal (especially those who are characters in their own rights).
- Vivid settings—we love setting as another character in a story.
- Alpha heroes (this one comes with a major caveat, folks. We love alphas, not alphaholes. We’re not the right mentors for arrogant dick alphas who treat the heroine like dirt but she keeps coming back for more. If he is a dick, we want to see his POV/ and silently HE’S SOOO ANGSTY IN LUV, and/or the heroine is an equally in-your-face obnoxious alpha. We have a secret love of furniture-destroying mutual angry sex.
NOT our jam (aka what we aren’t the best fit for):
- Alphaholes/toxic masculinity (see above note).
- Mean Girl antagonists (not to be confused with a strong/unlikeable female antagonists).
- “Mary Sue/Stu” characters (aka perfect heroines or heroes who can miraculously do everything).
- The “she’s not like all the other girls” heroines.
- Racism, misogyny, intolerance, victim-blaming/shaming.
- Depictions of rape/sexual abuse/child abuse or any of the three as the MCs catalyst.
- Kidnapping/controlling / Dubious consent / Non consent.
- Animal abuse.
- Secret baby/pregnancy / Insta-love (insta-lust is okay, but not top of our list).
Our mentoring style and why you want to work with us:
We will tell you what we love about a MS as well as what we think doesn’t work—because both are equally important.
We believe in the compliment sandwich. We’ll absolutely highlight your strong points and swoon at the awesome parts, be it romance, gorgeous fantasy world building, breath-taking writing, or anything really eye-catching. We are obnoxiously enthusiastic cheerleaders. Our gif game is on point and we will flood you with both relevant gif-age and OMG! LOVE! comments in your manuscript’s track changes.
On the flipside, we’re not afraid to be direct and dig into the hard parts to address the areas that aren’t working. This may mean killing some darlings, altering POVS, or restructuring and rewriting to raise stakes. We’d hope to work as a team with our mentee to find solutions to the problem areas. We’re not here to steamroll you, but to offer guidance and suggestions. Of course, that means we’d expect our mentee to put in the work to better their manuscript.
Basically, we are a coach/cheerleader hybrid!
There may will be homework.
Pitch Wars is, above all, a mentoring program. Between us, we’re 3x mentees, so we understand how much work and dedication goes into the revision period. We’ll be there with you for the entire journey, ready to hold your hand and offer unending support, provided you’re just as ready to put in the work. We want you to come out of this not only with a stronger story, but with tools you can apply to your next story. And hopefully, two more members to add to your writing community-support network.
Our strengths (aka why we make such an awesome combo):
Together, we’re equipped to tackle big picture issues and small details.
We’ll dig into structure/beats and pacing, as well as overall world building. We’re great at characters and their motivations/arcs, authentic, snappy dialogue and high-action/fight sequences, steamy scenes and continuity. Because we collaborate often, we are practiced at brainstorming sessions, both big picture and subtle nuances. So much creativity can come about just lobbing ideas at each other. And we’re all about those hooky openings! Capture the reader’s attention right from page one and you’re golden.
We are also those inexplicable outliers that enjoy playing with and refining pitches and query letters.
Want to know more about us?
Janet Walden-West lives in the southeast with a pack of show dogs, a couple of kids, and a husband who didn’t read the fine print. A card carrying Weird Dog Show Lady, she’s easily distracted by great cars and bad coffee. A founding member of the East Tennessee Creative Writers Alliance and The Million Words craft blog, she is also a member of Romance Writers of America. She pens Urban Fantasy that escapes the neat confines of the city limits in favor of map-dot hillbilly towns, and inclusive Romantic Suspense and Contemporary Romance.
A 2x #PitchWars alum and Golden Heart® finalist, her debut multicultural Contemporary Romance, SALT+STILETTOS, is due out Spring 2020 from City Owl Press, along with two unapologetically feminist Urban Fantasy shorts from Prospective Press out Fall/Winter 2019. She is represented by Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency.
Anne Raven was born and raised along the windy coast of South Africa and can assure everyone there are no lions roaming the streets—unless you count the feral cat next door. When not reading or writing, you can find her spending time with Luna, her giant Boerboel aka South African Mastiff puppy, taking freshly baked goods from the oven, or drinking too much coffee.
Anne loves writing in multiple genres, but her stories always tend toward darker themes with gritty edges. Her books often feature found families, resilient heroines, non-toxic alpha heroes, and vivid settings. Her romantic suspense IN THE NAME OF THE MOTHER was showcased in Pitch Wars 2017.
Anne is represented by Amanda Jain at BookEnds Literary Agency.
Our full “how we got our agents” stories? Spoiler, we had very different journeys, especially post-Pitch Wars, so we UNDERSTAND!
Hit us up on Twitter or in the PW forums (we have an AMA) if you have any questions or if you’re looking for clarification on anything listed here. We’re super excited to read your submissions.
~Janet and Anne
Pitch Wars 2019 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists
- Paris Wynters
- Kathleen Barber (Accepts NA)
- Ian Barnes
- Mary Ann Marlowe (Accepts NA)
- Elizabeth Little
- Hayley Stone and Erin A. Tidwell
- Gwynne Jackson (Accepts NA)
- Maxym M. Martineau (Accepts NA)
- Katie Golding (Accepts NA)
- Ava Reid and Rachel Morris (Accepts NA)
- Carolyne Topdjian
- Natalka Burian
- Tim Akers
- Alex Segura
- Michelle Hauck and Carrie Callaghan (Accepts NA)
- Laura Brown (Accepts NA)
- Mia P. Manansala and Kellye Garrett (Accepts NA)
- Kerbie Addis and Ren Hutchings (Accepts NA)
- Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)
- Kelly Siskind and Heather Van Fleet (Accepts NA)
- Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven (Accepts NA)
- Kate Lansing (Accepts NA)
- Kristen Lepionka and Ernie Chiara
- Alexa Martin and Suzanne Park (Accepts NA)
- Gia de Cadenet (Accepts NA)
- Rob Hart
- Layne Fargo and Halley Sutton
- Michael Chorost (Accepts NA)
- Sarah Remy (Accepts NA)
- Nicole Glover (Accepts NA)
- Farah Heron (Accepts NA)
- Samantha Rajaram
- Keena Roberts (Accepts NA)
- Rebecca Enzor (Accepts NA)
- Matthew Quinn Martin (Accepts NA)
- Denny S. Bryce (Accepts NA)
- Meryl Wilsner and Rosie Danan (Accepts NA)
- P.J. Vernon and Kelly J. Ford (Accepts NA)
- Gladys Quinn (Accepts NA)
- Diana A. Hicks (Accepts NA)
- Damyanti Biswas
- Stephen Morgan (Accepts NA)