2017 PitchWars Co-Mentor Bio & Wish List


No automatic alt text available. Hello! If you've found your way here, you're either scoping out the mentors to see who you might like to work with for PitchWars, or you accidentally fell through the Internet rabbit-hole and are really lost. Either way, welcome!


Now that you're here, please secure those tray tables, return your seats to their upright positions, and buckle up for a fun ride!

I'm Katrina, and this year I'll be co-mentoring in the young adult and new adult categories with the fabulous Diana Gallagher. Diana and I go waaaay back to 2014, when I was a PitchWars hopeful. She selected me as her alternate mentee for a NA contemporary rom-com, and has been a friend, critique partner, and all-around supporter ever since.

You can find a bit more about me here and below, but as far as writing goes, I spend my time in the contemporary and historical YA and Adult romance arena. I tend to veer more towards sweet romances (think Hallmark-movies), and my main characters are often smart and spunky. I would love to write a murder mystery someday. Occasionally, I scribble poems and short stories.

As for my PitchWars history:

2012: What is Twitter? 2013: I joined Twitter and entered PitchWars with a NA time travel romance. Spoiler alert: I did not get selected! 2014: I tried again with a NA rom-com manuscript, and was chosen as an alternate (see above). 2015-2016: I cheered on from the sidelines, jealous of other mentor-mentee teams. 2017: I'm a co-mentor!!!! Woo hoo!

So, the cool thing about a co-mentor team is that we each have different skill sets, so we can bring you the ultimate mentee experience. Sure, our wish lists are a bit different (you can check out Diana's here), but ultimately, Diana and I will work together find the best fit for all.

What I'm looking for:

  • Smart protagonists
  • HEAs or HFNs (A must, especially if you're writing romance)
  • Humor - dark, light, punny, witty, wry. Make me laugh!
  • Voice/quirk- I love characters that jump off the page
  • Totally cool with multiple POVs/time periods
  • Contemporary and/or historical YA or contemporary NA
  • Epistolary is fun, if it's done right
  • Heists/cons/good-to-be-bad stories a la WHITE COLLAR or HEIST SOCIETY
  • Female MacGuyver/Sherlock Holmes/James Bond-types
  • Fantasy along the lines of CARAVAL or AN EMBER IN THE ASHES
  • A mentee who is positive, energized, and open to revisions/suggestions

I'm NOT the mentor for:

  • Anything requiring an entire Kleenex box (I don't mind crying, but not tears for years).
  • Fantasy featuring honey badgers (Is that even a thing?)
  • SciFi
  • Characters who are "cured" by falling in love
  • "Preachy" or "message" stories
  • Horror/gore
  • Manuscripts with graphic sex, rape, explicit violence, or drug use.
  • A mentee who's looking for a proofreader or a ghostwriter, or who isn't serious about their MS.

Diana, you, and I will make a great team if you are:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Open-minded
  • Humorous (we take silly seriously)
  • Serious about your writing journey
  • Able to take feedback and run with it

Why you want to work with us:

  • We have first-hand insight into all aspects of the publishing industry, from the very first query to having a book on the shelf. We've been through the amazing ups and the crushing downs, and we'll be here to support and guide you after the agent round concludes.
  • We've worked as a team before, and we rocked at it!
  • Two sets of eyes are better than one.
  • We both write professionally; along with our author lives, I'm a technical/scientific report writer, and Diana teaches writing and works for PS Literary as a Literary Editorial Assistant.
  • Diana and I will provide you with track changes comments/light edits in your manuscript, as well as a combined edit letter with our in-depth thoughts and suggestions.
  • We'll help you with your query letter, synopsis, and pitch!
  • We love to brainstorm.
  • We'll support you during and after the contest!

Wow, that's a lot of information! Are you still with me? Good. To give you an idea of what I like to read, some of my recent favorites have included:

  • CARAVAL by Stephanie GarberIMG_0371
  • LESSONS IN FALLING by Diana Gallagher
  • THE HATE YOU GIVE by Angie Thomas
  • KILL THE BOY BAND by Goldy Moldavsky
  • SOME KIND OF MAGIC by Mary Ann Marlowe
  • AMERICA'S NEXT REALITY STAR by Laura Heffernan

Want to see a full list of what I've been reading over the past few years? You can check out my reading lists for 2014, 2015, 2016, & 2017.

When I'm not writing, I enjoy:

  • My family & kids --I have a baby girl and a 5-year-old boy starting Kindergarten in August, plus I live with my hubby and father-in-law.
  • Chemistry/science--I work as a technical expert/consultant and have a Ph.D. Most of the time, I review data and then write/compile technical reports for food/ingredient regulation.IMG_0549
  • Cooking/baking--someday I will make a pie crust that isn't a failure!Image
  • Gardening--I'm still trying to figure out how to do this in a SoCal dessert environment, having lived in the North East/Mid West most of my life.SONY DSC
  • Crafts--sewing, knitting, crocheting, etc. If it involves a trip to Jo-Ann's, I'm game.SONY DSC
  • Traveling--I'm more of a "let's go see ALL the museums, historical places, etc." kind of traveler, but a white, sandy beach and some palm trees work, too.
  • Murder mystery TV shows--Murdoch (swoony sigh), Murder She Wrote (that Angela Lansbury!), Miss Fisher (she's so fab!), NCIS, Elementary, etc.

If you still aren't sure if we'd be a good fit, check out our #PitchWars Query Workshop or if you have any questions about #PitchWars, or just want to connect, you can find me on Twitter @KatrinaEmmel. [Please keep it in the feed and don't flood my DMs].

Writing Jargon: A Quick Reference

Writers love words, so it's no surprise that a bunch of writing-related acronyms and terms have cropped up. You'll notice them tossed around on Twitter, Facebook, and other publishing-related sites. And if you're participating in #PitchWars, you're sure to see many of them in the mentor's wish lists posts. Since not everyone has the same background (and might not necessarily ask for clarification), I've decided to channel Noah Webster, and put together a short, and by no means all-inclusive, dictionary of common terms.

A          Adult

ARC     Advanced reader copy; early copies of books used for publicity and review

Beta    A reader familiar with your genre who gives overall feedback on a polished MS. Is not necessarily a writer. I usually think of my betas as test subjects. They can be a one-time reader or help with multiple projects.

Bio        A 2-3 sentence background on the author.

Blurb   Promotional quote

CB        Chapter book

CP        Critique partner. Another writer, familiar with your genre, to exchange scenes and/or manuscripts with, who provides detailed, honest feedback. CPs tend to dig deeper and provide more in-depth feedback.

CR        Contemporary romance

DV       Diversity

H/h      Hero/heroine

HEA     Happily ever after

HF       Historical fiction

HFN     Happy for now

HR       Historical romance    

MC       Main character

MG      Middle grade

MR      Magical realism

MS       Manuscript

MSWL Manuscript wish list; what agents, editors, or mentors are looking for in their inbox

NA       New adult

PB        Picture book

PNR     Paranormal romance

POC     Person of color

POV     Point of view

SFF      Science fiction and fantasy

Slush   An agents normal query inbox, filled with unsolicited pitches; also called slush pile

TL;DR  Too long; didn’t read. Can be used to point out passages that are too long or precedes a summary of a longer section.

UF       Urban fantasy

WC      Word count

WF      Woman’s fiction

WIP     Work in progress

WOC    Women of color

YA        Young adult


If you stopped by looking for a term that's not listed above, please feel free to let me know so I can update the list!