Need a YA Pitch Wars Mentor? Why You’ve Come to the Right Place!

pitchwars mentorVampires, Dirty Dancing, and the Jersey Shore: Ten Facts About Me

1. I had a grandmother named Snookie and grew up on the Jersey Shore before it was something to be embarrassed about (okay, so maybe growing up in Jersey has always been something to be embarrassed about).

2. I slept in a tent in the Serengeti in Africa and survived the terrifying hours of an unidentified animal thumping the outside directly behind my head by reciting, often word for word, the entire story of Dirty Dancing to my husband. He countered with Star Wars.

3. I am 4’10”. I may or may not have a Napoleon complex. In times of war, this is a good thing.

4. I wish I knew at the time that my sixth-grade teacher was a psychic. She foretold the future by writing on my report card “Lori will be an author.” Nice. But would it have killed her to add a winning Powerball number or two?

5. I have copyedited everything from an essay by the president of Mexico to the energy policy plan for the state of Oklahoma to a knitting for dogs book. I will find every missing comma, every double word, every “than” instead of “then.” Promis. Promise.

6. I cannot be friends with you if you do not like Fight Club.

7. I love all things vampire. Always have. Always will. If you know who Damon and Klaus are, you are my people.

8. I write about teenagers because apparently I still am one. My editor was impressed with my ability to nail a sixteen-year-old’s voice. I didn’t confess that the voice is simply mine.

9. I need three things for my perfect day: beach, book, and backup book for when I finish book one.

10. I can successfully hail a taxi in New York City in the rain.

My YA contemporary fantasy BECOMING JINN publishes May 12, 2015, from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I’m represented by the inimitable Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency. My main character, Azra, is a Jinn, a modern-day genie. So I know a thing or two about granting wishes. You can read a snippet of my book here. I am a bursting-with-pride member of the amazing group of 2015 debut authors known as the Freshman Fifteens and the Fearless Fifteeners.

My PitchWars Wish List

I’m serving as a YA mentor. While I read and love all genres, I’m most drawn to contemporary, whether contemporary/urban fantasy, straight contemporary, or realistic (light) science fiction. Historical if it’s Tudors/Downton Abbey like. If your book makes me laugh, you will win my heart. Characters rule for me. The stronger, the better. I love stories that blend genres and styles: a dash of humor, a pinch of suspense, an ounce of romance. The more you flavor your writing stew, the more I’ll want to gobble it up (after writing, cooking is my next love). I want your LGBTQ stories, your snarky and/or strong heroines, your antihero gents. Make them real and make me care about them, and you’ve got me. I’m less drawn to straight-out action, crime, horror, romance, and high fantasy. Stories involving religious themes, sports of all sorts, and very dark or political aspects are probably not for me.

Most of all, my mentee should be ready to work, and work hard. My 2013 mentee Laurie Elizabeth Flynn can attest to that (she tied for third in number of YA agent requests during Pitch Wars and signed with an agent shortly thereafter; check out her great Pitch Wars advice!). My critique will be full of smiley faces but won’t shy away from pointing out the areas that need work. I have a knack for dialogue and am particularly good at trimming the fat. I won’t ask you to do anything I won’t, and haven’t, done. I have recently come out the other side of doing revisions on BECOMING JINN for my editor and know firsthand how one or two pointed questions can make your book better. If you pick me as your mentor, I’ll devote all I’ve learned to make your book the best it can be.

Oh, and don’t forget, if needed I can pull out my big Jersey hair, whack a hyena, wiggle through the smallest of spaces, contact my psychic sixth-grade teacher, slash a dangling participle, never talk about Fight Club, resist compulsion, pass for sixteen, build a sand castle, and if we’re ever in NYC together in the rain, get you that cab.

Like last year, I’ll be offering some free query and first-page critiques prior to the August 18 submission date. Follow me on my blog (sign up at the top right of this page), Twitter, and Facebook to find out the when and how!

I’ll also be giving more hints on Twitter about what I like from now until submission day. If you submitted to me last year, this does not preclude you from subbing to me again if my wish list matches your book!

For more on the contest, including submission details and the agent list, visit host Brenda Drake’s Web site.

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Becoming Jinn has a release date!

May 12, 2015, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan


Available now for preorder!

Add it to Goodreads!




16 Responses to “Need a YA Pitch Wars Mentor? Why You’ve Come to the Right Place!”

  1. 3. I am 5′. I was briefily 5’1/2″ after a year and a half of yoga.
    6. I bought the special edition DVD as soon as it came out, and kept it, even though I have the Blu-Ray now too.
    7. I prefer Elijah to Klaus, but either Salvatore brother will do.

    I watch Supernatural, I like me some Jinns.

    Following you on twitter and facebook now! :)

  2. Patrice says:

    Hi Lori!

    So glad to hear you’re mentoring again this year! I’m looking forward to submitting my YA Paranormal Mystery to you especially since you love snarky and strong heroines, antihero gents, LGBTQ stories, and TVD (I could watch TVD & The Originals all day… although, unfortunately, there are no dashing vamps in my MS).

    Take Care,

    • Lori says:

      Yay! Can’t wait to see your entry Patrice! I’ll just have to picture one of your characters as a dashing vamp as I read! 😉

  3. Shana Silver says:

    Fellow mentor here but had to comment since I see you grew up on the Jersey Shore. I did too. In fact, I went to high school with The Situation (he sat right near me in home room). I’m from Manalapan. You? (Now I live in Somerset County.)

    Also, I’m 5’0″. (And yay Klaus/Damon and Fight Club!)

    • Lori says:

      I hear the shorter the mentor, the better the mentor. 😉

      I grew up in Wall, next town over from Belmar. That’s too funny about The Situation. Small (and strange!) world!

  4. Great Bio. Short women rule. Can you talk more about what you mean by Tudors/Downton Abbey style historical fiction? Do you specifically like those time periods or is it more about sexiness and scandal? I have a YA mystery which is sort of Veronica Mars meets PILLARS OF THE EARTH. Would that be something that would interest you?

    • Lori says:

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the bio!

      I loved PILLARS OF THE EARTH and I love Veronica Mars so I would say definitely! For historical Tudors/Downton Abbey, you are right, I like my historical with a good amount of scandal, sexiness, and relationships/character drama as opposed to focusing more on the historical events. Thanks so much for swinging by and good luck!

  5. Sussu says:

    Hi Lori,
    How would you feel about a jinn story? My jinns are different from yours, I think. My main jinn character is secretly looking for a human bride. He whispers bad advice in the ear of my MC and grants her silliest wishes only with all the good intentions in the world. There is also a love triangle and I know some people hate them. I was wondering how you felt about having another angle to the life of jinns from the Middle east folklore.
    Thank you kindly for your answer :)

    • Lori says:

      Sussu, thanks for swinging by! Your story sounds terrific. Unfortunately I’m probably not the best fit. I think it’d be too hard for me to mentor something with a similar topic to my own book. I have actually stayed away from reading any fiction Jinn books so I can ensure I keep my ideas as fresh as I can! But, I love love triangles! Good luck with it and with Pitch Wars!

  6. Sussu says:

    Thank you so much, Lori,
    That’s what I was afraid of. I’m glad I asked :)

  7. Hi Lori!
    Since we didn’t get to personalize our Pitch Wars entries, I wanted to drop by and tell you why I chose you. I don’t know many girls who share my love of all things Fight Club; it’s my all-time favorite book-to-movie adaptation. Based on your wishlist, I think you’ll enjoy my quirky main character and the contemporary style with a dash of magic. I can’t wait to read Becoming Jinn next year!

  8. Emma says:

    I submitted to you because I am one of your people that also loves the people that you love. My book is Vampire Diaries meets Twilight minus the humans with a sprinkling of prepare to meet thy doom. I shall now retreat to the bathroom where I shall spend the next few weeks fixed to the loo.

  9. […] my bio, I’m doing something a little different. I’ve given ten facts about me before as a way of offering you a tiny glimpse into my wacky world. This time, I’m doing […]