Hello, my normal bloggy audience and welcome visitors from #PitchWars. For those who don’t know what #PitchWars is, please read about it here. It’s basically the greatest agent-searching contest out there where you pitch your book to a mentor who will work with you to get your manuscript and pitch ready to be perused by fantastic agents.
I’ve been interested in this contest since last year, but this is my first time entering, and I’ve been told in an effort to help mentors make their very hard decisions (hundreds are applying, but only 75 mentors available! EEK!), it’s unofficially customary to write a mentee bio.
So… here’s me!
Uh…whoa. Wait. Maybe this is more appropriate.
But, basically I clean up well, and I’m banking that my manuscript, a YA contemporary called THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES, will as well. Here’s what you, oh awesome future mentor, might want to know:
1) I’m actually a professional writer/editor
My living is made writing, and I obtained the journalism degree to do it. Not only do I freelance on the regular for various magazines and websites, my day job is writing for an international relief non profit. The kind of copy I write varies from marketing to feature articles, but my predominant beat is U.S. Disaster Relief. However, just because I travel to write about really sad situations, that doesn’t mean I’m not fun!
In the above picture, I’m the one in the long sleeves dancing with a homeowner after a tornado rampaged through Mississippi. I was interviewing this lovely homeowner that my organization’s volunteers tarped a roof for (see the notebook still in hand?) when we all decided to have a dance break. And honestly, that’s how I try to make my books– smiling and laughing amid hard, often sad, situations. I guess, to me, that’s just how life is. And so, that’s what and why I write.
But more often than not, I’m basically like this:
My experience also spans more than 12 years journalism-wise (official portfolio here) with some highlights being…
- working at a newswire in DC
- totally got punched by a photographer while covering Michelle Obama at a children’s event
- had same article published front page of three Texas newspapers
- convinced an infamous homeless protestor to let me do a documentary on her by watching her protest hut outside of the White House while she peed (got 2nd place in mini film festival. So worth it)
- working a summer in NYC at Parents magazine
- falling even further in love with health reporting (hence the overall theme of this blog when I’m not authoring it up)
- writing for the FLORIDA TODAY newspaper for five years
- as their youngest writer on staff
- won two national awards
- starting and running my own online magazine, REALITY Check Girl
- and somehow convincing a volunteer staff of more than 60 writers, editors and photographers to join me
- working as a writing consultant at a University Writing Center for three years
- where I presented at the 2011 International Writing Center Conference on direct vs. indirect methods of mentoring writers (I actually developed a board game to illustrate how both methods are vital in communicating with mentees).
I especially loved being a writing consultant because it not only taught me to be a meticulous editor and mentor for other writers. It taught me how to accept constructive criticism and personal mentoring writing relationships as well. So basically, I’m not only pumped and ready for this #PitchWars experience, but I have studied the mentor-mentee relationship on an academic level and have a huge respect for it.
2) I’m an award-winning playwright
While I’ve taken a hiatus from playwriting for the past couple of years to focus on my journalism career, at one point that was seriously all I did and I’ve had my plays performed from coast to coast. By the time I was 18, I had four short theatrical pieces performed at the Kennedy Center in D.C., and in college, one monologue performed off-Broadway in NY (which the monologue served as a basis of inspiration for the novel I’m entering).
I’d like to think that because of this background, my novels tend to be stronger in the dialogue and action department. But I guess only you will be the judge of that.
But now I’m enjoying novel writing as a way to basically have full on productions (in my readers’ heads, that is) without the headache of hiring a cast, painting sets, etc etc….
3) And here are some other random facts
- I LOVE Superman/ Lois Lane, especially the Teri Hatcher rendition
- My high school senior superlative was “Most Optimistic” (hence, why I’m excited for this great new relationship with my mentor!)
- Weird things happen to me, but I like to think it’s just great writing fodder for later (for example: one time, I picked up a hitch hiker from Ghana in a tornado zone who put on latex gloves and invited me inside of her house…)
- I won my engagement ring in an online contest that resulted in 17,000 votes with the help of my mad social media skills and the Firefly loving browncoat community. Like…even Nathan Fillion tweeted about us because we promised to name a future baby after a Firefly character. My first job post-grad was as a social media specialist as a result.
- I won homecoming princess in 10th grade because I convinced a group of non-voters/goth kids to vote for me
- My second love to writing is cooking (and I’ll totally make you cheesecake)
- My favorite movie is The Princess Bride (and so is my favorite book)
- I have always wanted to tap dance and when I was in high school, I taped quarters to my sandals and convinced a group of middle schoolers that I knew what I was doing. I also got to dance in a number that went to the state level of competition, but I had to agree to take the taps off my shoes.
- I LOVE the Renaissance Fair and go every year in NC. Was almost hired by them too when my best friend and I came up with an act where I was an ugly, ocarina-playing hag who had a beautiful fairy chained to her that I’d make dance for money.
- And my husband has short-term memory issues so I can read my manuscript to him over and over and he still laughs every time. Oh and because I love him, I totally was a TARDIS once.
So yeah…that’s me in a nutshell. Regardless of who you pick, it’s been great mingling with the Mentors online and connecting even deeper with the writing community. Thanks for your consideration. I hope you like me at least half as much as I hope you’ll like my novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES.