Pitch Wars 2019 Wishlist

About Me

I am an Adult Mentor for Pitch Wars 2019. This is my first year as a mentor, but I have provided feedback and critiques in other settings.

My debut novel,  The Conductors, is set to arrive in July 2020. It’s an historical fantasy set in 1870s Philadelphia following a pair of former underground railroad conductors solving murder and mayhem with magic.

 

Why Me?

Think of me less of a mentor and more of a guide that will  show you the path to unlock the story you set out to write.  I will point places of concerns,  prompt to expand in certain places,  and overall get you to think deeper about your book. 

While I particular tastes in story, I’m not a book snob and I have read widely not just in fantasy and science fiction, but in other genres as well. 

I’ll communicate mostly through email but I promise to respond promptly whenever you have questions or concerns.

 

For all categories…

I’m looking for Adult stories and I will also consider any that fall into New Adult territory.

 I would love to see a story with one (or a combination) of the following :

  • Established & committed romantic relationships (no break ups! no cheating!) 
  • Friendships as the core relationship story (doesn’t ended romantically but with a stronger friendship!)
  • Strong family (or found family) dynamics. 

 

 

What I’m Looking For…

 

Overall I’m primarily interested in fantasy stories.  It’s the genre I’m most familiar with and can best guide towards.   I am most interested in the following categories:

 

Historical Fantasy, Steampunk (or any of the “punks”), and Alternative History

I am particularly keen on history that highlights people whose accomplishments seldom make mainstream history.   I’d love to see STEM topics, particularly astrology, botany, zoology, physics, either on its own or with a fantastical twist it.  I would especially enjoying seeing  obscure bits of history that isn’t mainstream,  or even niche.

 I definitely want to see the fantastical element woven into the DNA of the story. 

 

 Epic or High Fantasy 

Give me your witches, your scholars of ancient history, your knights, and your humble tailors.  Show me your dragons, griffins, or talking carnivorous plants.   Tell me about larger than life characters,  quests to save the world,  and juicy political drama..

 

I’m also interested in…

 

  Paranormal, Contemporary (aka Urban), or Lighthearted Fantasy 

 I’m looking for something fun, that doesn’t take itself too seriously.    Give me your quiet stories with stakes that aren’t about the world ending but saving the local bodega from getting set afire by dragons.   Superhero novels also fall into this area.

 

Space Opera, “Soft” Science Fiction, and Science Fiction with a touch of romance

I want to explore the universe with a motley crew, see alien planets, and maybe not necessarily get involved in a galactic war.   I don’t mind romance thrown into the mix, but it shouldn’t be overwhelming.

 

Retellings

Give me your best spin on a well-known classic from myth and fairy tales, to Shakespeare, to Jane Austen and more.  Doesn’t matter how you do it, all I care about is celebrating the best parts and breathing new life into familiar tales!

 

Also interested, but not my top priority…

 

General Mystery or Cozy Mystery

Contemporary Romance

My top interests are seeing diverse characters taking on the tropes of the genre.   I’d love to see something about food (eating or cooking), STEM topics (computers to botany to genetics and more), theater  and other performing arts,  and  various Geek topics ( DnD,  video games, comic books, etc). 

 

A few things that don’t excite me:

  • Time Travel
  • Portal Fantasy
  • Faeries / Unseelie Court
  • Stories told between alternative time periods (character A in present time and character B in the past time that referenced by character A)

 

Questions? Email me at: nicole.g.pitchwars@gmail.com

Happy writing!

 

 

 



Pitch Wars 2019 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. Paris Wynters
  2. Kathleen Barber (Accepts NA)
  3. Ian Barnes
  4. Mary Ann Marlowe (Accepts NA)
  5. Elizabeth Little
  6. Hayley Stone and Erin A. Tidwell
  7. Gwynne Jackson (Accepts NA)
  8. Maxym M. Martineau (Accepts NA)
  9. Katie Golding (Accepts NA)
  10. Ava Reid and Rachel Morris (Accepts NA)
  11. Carolyne Topdjian
  12. Natalka Burian
  13. Tim Akers
  14. Alex Segura
  15. Michelle Hauck and Carrie Callaghan (Accepts NA)
  16. Laura Brown (Accepts NA)
  17. Mia P. Manansala and Kellye Garrett (Accepts NA)
  18. Kerbie Addis and Ren Hutchings (Accepts NA)
  19. Susan Bishop Crispell (Accepts NA)
  20. Kelly Siskind and Heather Van Fleet (Accepts NA)
  21. Janet Walden-West and Anne Raven (Accepts NA)
  22. Kate Lansing (Accepts NA)
  23. Kristen Lepionka and Ernie Chiara
  24. Alexa Martin and Suzanne Park (Accepts NA)
  25. Gia de Cadenet (Accepts NA)
  26. Rob Hart
  27. Layne Fargo and Halley Sutton
  28. Michael Chorost (Accepts NA)
  29. Sarah Remy (Accepts NA)
  30. Nicole Glover (Accepts NA)
  31. Farah Heron (Accepts NA)
  32. Samantha Rajaram
  33. Keena Roberts (Accepts NA)
  34. Rebecca Enzor (Accepts NA)
  35. Matthew Quinn Martin (Accepts NA)
  36. Denny S. Bryce (Accepts NA)
  37. Meryl Wilsner and Rosie Danan (Accepts NA)
  38. P.J. Vernon and Kelly J. Ford (Accepts NA)
  39. Gladys Quinn (Accepts NA)
  40. Diana A. Hicks (Accepts NA)
  41. Damyanti Biswas
  42. Stephen Morgan (Accepts NA)

 

Pitch Wars 2019 Young Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. Aiden Thomas (Accepts NA)
  2. Kelsey Rodkey and Rachel Lynn Solomon
  3. Nancy Werlin
  4. Olivia Hinebaugh
  5. Abigail Johnson
  6. Rebecca Schaeffer
  7. Rebecca Coffindaffer (Accepts NA)
  8. Laurie Dennison
  9. Sam Taylor
  10. ST Sterlings (Accepts NA)
  11. Brenda Drake and Kyle T. Cowan (Accepts NA)
  12. Carrie Allen and Sabrina Lotfi
  13. J. Elle
  14. Andrea Contos (Accepts NA)
  15. Raquel Vasquez Gilliland and Sandra Proudman (Accepts NA)
  16. Ayana Gray (Accepts NA)
  17. Susan Lee and Auriane Desombre
  18. Julia Ember (Accepts NA)
  19. SA Patel
  20. Kat Dunn (Accepts NA)
  21. Sonia Hartl and Annette Christie
  22. Jesse Q. Sutanto
  23. Ray Stoeve
  24. Aty S. Behsam and Kylie Schachte
  25. Cole Nagamatsu
  26. Rachel Griffin
  27. Adalyn Grace
  28. Adrienne Tooley and Kelly Quindlen (Accepts NA)
  29. Ciannon Smart and Deborah Falaye
  30. Kristin Lambert, Sasha Peyton Smith
  31. Kimberly Gabriel and Dawn Ius
  32. Lyndsay Ely
  33. Jamie Howard
  34. Jenna Lincoln (Accepts NA)
  35. Jen Marie Hawkins and Anna Birch (Accepts NA)
  36. Judy I. Lin
  37. Leila Siddiqui
  38. Zach Hines (Accepts NA)
  39. Hoda Agharazi
  40. Michaela Greer (Accepts NA)
  41. Liz Lawson and Jeff Bishop (Accepts NA)
  42. Lindsey Frydman (Accepts NA)
  43. Chelsea Hensley (Accepts NA)
  44. Isabel Ibañez

 

Pitch Wars 2019 Middle Grade Mentors’ Wish Lists

  1. K.C. Held
  2. Kit Rosewater and Ash Van Otterloo
  3. Amanda Panitch
  4. Graci Kim and Karah Sutton
  5. Sarah Suk and Julie Abe
  6. Erin Entrada Kelly
  7. Rebecca Petruck
  8. Adrianna Cuevas and Sarah Kapit
  9. Kim Long and Jennifer L. Brown
  10. TJ Ohler
  11. Eric Bell
  12. Lacee Little and Bronwyn Clark
  13. Jessica Bayliss
  14. Shakirah Bourne
  15. Sean Easley
  16. Nicole Melleby and A.J. Sass
  17. Julie Artz and Jessica Vitalis
  18. Maria Frazer and Meera Trehan
  19. Rajani LaRocca and Remy Lai
  20. Nicole Panteleakos

Charmingly Cursed

While this is related a bit to this, it is a rather different project together. Drawn heavily by fairy tales, I modeled each character after the tale and then put my own twist on them. For example the main character in Charmingly Cursed, is a princess with a keen interest in the stars and affinity for magic. She spent the last few years locked up in a tower, and her mage mother’s fear of trouble left her protection spells that had turned her hair unusual shade of gold. When she finds the means to escape she tags along with a would be thief who turns out to be a princess seeking to regain her own kingdom. Along the way the pair rescue other princesses from peril, and learn that the enchantments placed on them were done by chance.

This was originally a series that followed a different princess, and explored a vast world with conflicts both on the small and large scale. I tabled it mostly because I realized the characters would be better served in another tale. altogether.

The Desert Windup Spider

I started The Desert Windup Spider happened back when steampunk was popular. Set in a secondary world where the Black Death decimated the European side of the Eurasian continent so much the conquest and colonization of the world never happened.

The story follows Mijiza, an inventor whose created a dozen inventions to save lives of soldiers and civilians during a civil war, but the last one she is most famous for is the one that had wiped entire villages off the face of the earth. The story is set in the aftermath where the past exploits and new scandals make her life difficult.

I did a lot of interesting research for this story. From inventions circa late 19th century, to the London Blitz, to World Fairs, to East African countries and their respective histories, and to the infamous Beale Ciphers. While I liked the characters ( supporting characters were a code breaking linguistic, a mail courier who did everything not to lose a package, and a doctor who dabble in poisons) , and certain subplots, I didn’t have an arching story to keep it all together. Which explains why I rewrote this story at least 20 times, with the latest cut thrust it into the future with spaceships and blasters, before admitting defeat. I have banished this story, but still mine it for characters, motifs, and the atmosphere of a world recently recovered from war.


Lesson Learn From Rubato

Keisha Adams has two great loves, her cello and food. With dreams of opening her own restaurant one day, Keisha’s plans to learn all she can from her aunt who had worked in some of the best kitchens around the country. However when her aunt is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, their lessons become overshadowed with desperation and painful loss that becomes real more and more each day.

Hoping to escape the pressure to live up to her family’s expectations, Keisha lands a lottery spot in a summer music program, where things are no less simpler but if she can handle tedious practice schedules, intense rivalries, and learn just how fast she can run with a cello strapped to her back, she might just be able to figure out how to bring all elements in her life into perfect harmony.

Heroes Indeed

A mock cover for novel starring Maggie Wu, the youngest daughter in a family of superheroes.

Maggie biggest mistake was choosing a college not far from home. Not only is she expected to help out her with family’s event planning company, her attempts to go solo on crime fighting keeps getting crashed by her older siblings who still see her as the kid that doesn’t know to control her own powers. However when given a mission to unmask a vigilante that had been appearing in the city, she finds instead of criminal a friend she didn’t know as well as she thought she did…..

Charmless

I have a deep love for video games, mostly RPG and related variants. When I was working on a fairy tale story I wanted it to be like a video game. The characters were made a party with specific yet convenient skill sets, there was a main goal that kept being forgotten due to more interesting side quests, boss battles they meet at different stages of the journey, and a sprawling open ended world. I ended up putting this aside, but there are lots of things I liked about the story, including the video game concepts I came up for it.

The gist of the idea was pretty simple, a party of characters that representative Rapunzel, Snow White, Frog Prince, etc go adventures, look for treasure, save the world, and break the curses cast on them. simple stuff, plus I did research into more obscure European fairy tales and looked to included fairy tales and folklore from around the world.

Simple Mathematics

Way back when I stumble across a post that took a poetic term to few mathematical terms. It caught my interest and became inspiration for as I learned the nuts and bolts of Photoshop.

The idea for the following images were whimsical love stories that may or may not work out in the end, but for long as they lasted made all the sense in the world.

Side Trips or My Visit to the NY Transit Museum

I took a trip to NYC the other day,  as a treat for myself in a year of exciting changes.    I didn’t have much of a plan —  I never do when I go on vacation for some reason.   I plan everything else from arrival to hotels, and even where I’ll grab food.   But everything else, happens without much planning.

It makes it fun a way.  I get to explore parts of city I hadn’t seen before and do things I haven’t planned.  While I had a short list of things I wanted to do or see,  the Transit Museum only happened because it was nearby.

I’m glad it did., for it one of the highlights of my trip.

One of the stories I’ve been working on takes place in the earliest days of the subway system (1922 to be exact).  While I found a bounty of web resources, maps I had to squint to read, and a single book in my local library,  it was just enough to cobble together a scene move on.  After visiting  this museum, I wanted to rewrite it to add in all this i discovered.

Built inside an old subway station (naturally)  you get a crash course in  the history from the first station to modern subway system.  There lots of artifacts from days long past and several earlier turnstiles (btw fare evasion was problem back then too, there was a whole case of slug used to put in machine instead of fare token).   There are tons of subway maps,  tour guide from the old days, and lots of posters and signs.   The best part for me was the actual subway cars housed in the lowest part of the station.

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There are several cars dating from 1912 always the up to 1960s,  and it was fascinating to walk through them, comparing them to their modern siblings.   I could even tell the age of the cars by a glance, as they were reflective of their eras.

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It’s a small museum, but if you like history or have interest in transportation I recommend a visit.  There’s plenty to see and explore!

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Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova – A Review

I liked the first book in the series, Labyrinth Lost a great deal, so I was excited when I won an eARC through Netgalley for Bruja Born.

From the very start I found that a great deal of issues with the first book were cleared  and I found myself enjoying this book a great deal more.     This is due to two reasons.  One the book setting’s remains in the real world and second the family dynamic is used to its full potential, along with being tested and strengthened throughout the story.

Bruja Born follows  Lula, the eldest sister of the trio.  In the previous book she was left with scars striping her face, and they serve as both of reminder what happened and symbol of her issues.  The beginning shows her getting the scars healed by her sister in order to pretend things  are normal.  However normal is relative.  The events of the previous book has brought her family out of favor by the other witches in her circle, some even going as far to say they are cursed.  This sense of being curse is best illustrated when Lola on route to a game with her teammates is inovled in a deadly crash in which she becomes a sole survivor.

The crash is never explained at any point in the book,  but is the right sort of chaotic event to propel the main thrust of the story.  Lula desperate to not her lose boyfriend, casts a spell to keep him from dying but in turn changes into a type of  zombie.  Which is bad enough but she also managed to trap the Lady of Death  between of worlds, making more zombie as the natural order of death is halted.  What follows is a quest for information it  undo all the magic business before lives are lost.  From this point the plot moves along at a speedy pace with a few twists and turns along the way.   While this plot certainly drives the piece it’s also a handy way for a world building,  from fleshing out magic council, to detailing more rules that exists in the world, and expand on the history between various supernatural beings , not to mention characters that are sure to show up in forthcoming books.

Like Labyrinth Lost, this story is kicked off by a purely selfish motivation without thought of consequences, but I bought this more with Lula.  Although the act was in line with YA cliques,  I found never to be about the boyfriend and more about keeping things normal as possible in the wake of so many traumatic things.   The circumstances also pushes Lola to rely more on her family and stopping her from pushing them away.  This allowed for the showcase of  her bond with her sisters,  and anytime the trio is together is easily the best part of the book.

I liked a less of the shoehorning of a few characters into the story,  and the obvious romantic lead that really didn’t need to be there.  (Speaking of romance,  Alex’s girlfriend Rishi is conveniently out of town for the story,  with a flimsy excuse.  Though I expect she be back in spades for Book 3).  I also didn’t like spots where for magical foolishness, such as  the curse to raise the boyfriend in the first place, needed the plot to go out of its way to make circumstances occur.   Minor things, and perhaps a bit realistic, but disappointing overall.

Final Verdict:   A vast improvement of already great series and  I can’t wait to where the story goes next.     ♥♥♥♥

A Tale of Auidobook Players

Recently I gotten rather into listening to audiobooks.  I never was interested before, usually preferring to print.   However I  go into cooking and found I needed something in the background.  I started with music, but when I found myself spending too much time skipping songs instead of watching the pan sizzling on the stove I knew i needed to try something else.    I tried out an audiobook on  a lark on day, and haven’t looked back.

I listened too wonderful books,  terrible book with great narrators,  good books with bad narrators, and few seconds of awful books.   I have fallen asleep to  to these books, and been jolted awake of the production of quality of some.  And quite often been annoyed by the odd inflections narrators used.    While I have gotten access to wide variety of books,  I stick mostly to what my library offers, which is a mix of new,  popular, and old classics.  Since I’m using library services, I’ve gotten to sample different audiobook players and couldn’t help but notice the different quirks and strengths of each.

 

Hoopla

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I listened to my first audiobook (Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older) on this player,  and it’s simplest one.     I can easily download the player and utilizing controls, but it’s playback odd at times.   A few times I gotten cracking or static feedback, and it wasn’t always tied to my headphones.   I also had the player start back at the beginning to many times in the middle of a book,  I’ve taken to bookmarking pages when I’m the midst of a book.   This player also lacks chapters, which makes it hard to skim or find place in the story, especially when I want to skip ahead.      Although Hoppla has the deepest and most varied collection of books,  since my library implemented a 8 loan limit per month,  I  don’t use this service as often.   Since I tend to be picky I rather not “waste” a loan on book I might not finish.  Because of this I turn to other players first for books.

 

RB Digital

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The UI elements are rather clunky at times, being unresponsive and rather outdated to honest.  This player has chapters in it,  and becoming accustomed to Hoopla’s player I I took to the chapter to easily I missed them when I went back to Hoopla.  While I can find a few more recent book in this players, it’s mostly classics and older fare.  Not that it’s a bad thing. I recently enjoyed my favorite Jane Austen,  Persuasion, and probably will again when the mood strikes me.

 

 

 

 

 

Overdrive

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The mainstream library offering,  it doesn’t have the deepest catalog of books, but its combines the elements of previous two.   The UI is modern and very easily to navigate.  I can flip between the library’s website and my bookshelf with a few quick taps.  The only real trouble I encounters is downloading files as they often sputter, and sometimes even missing a file next in sequence.    As it’s tied to my library I can easily return and check out books with ease,  something I admit to using to my advantage when I’m searching to new  book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libby

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Libby is built on Overdrive, using the same resources but placed in new packaging.  Because of this difference its merits its own section.  Like its parent, the UI is very easy to use, but I found the onboarding process delightful as well as the degree of personalization in the app.

It is not so easy to browse the library to select books, but it doesn’t sreamline  all my checkouts together.  I happen to have multiple library cards,  and the app combines them into a central shelf, so that I  no longer have to switch between profiles.  Like Overdrive it also had trouble download at times, but  it’s far less finicky.

 

 

If I had to go with a favorite, Libby might be my choice.  But I don’t truly have a preference, as an audiobook player is only as good as its books!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I have read some grAudiobooks, come

 

 

 

the interest is cooking and baking.

 

I have In the past

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