Genevieve Angelique

Blusher, Writer, Star-Goggles Wearer


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Pitch Wars: Team Tallahassee Style

Incredibles...Something Amazing I Guess

Most people don’t know this, but three weeks ago, that little dude on the tricycle . . .

That was me.

Waiting. Hoping. Praying–I would be selected out of 1,600 applicants as a Pitch Wars mentee/finalist.

I knew the odds were against me. My YA fantasy—compared to everyone else’s—didn’t sound too special. Fantasy, it turns out, was the highest subbed genre in this contest. It got worse.

pitchwars-age-categoriesMost of the other novels were young adult. Just. Like. Mine. When I realized this, all I could hear in my head was . . .

YA Fantasy to rule them all, YA Fantasy to find them,

YA Fantasy to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

LOTR ring

Sorry, non-LOTR fans, I digress.

I tried to stay positive. Five years of drafting, revising, drafting, revising, etc. etc. etc.

That had to mean something.

I wasn’t so sure when one of the mentors I was fangirling over posted her own stats. My novel was only 1 out of 174 subs to her alone. I took out my trusty jumbo-sized calculator did the math . . .

Good-Will-Hunting_Math

I had less than a 1% chance of being selected. Or more specifically, a 0.57% chance of making the 2015 Pitch Wars cut.

Well, alright. I applied last year and didn’t make it. I survived. I moved on. I could do it again. If my eighth grade sweetheart could break my heart and still become the love of my life, what’s to say this struggle wouldn’t someday be part of a grand fairytale?

You see, I’m an optimist. I know if I keep going and have faith, things will get better. Things will become clearer. As a cancer survivor, auto-immune bleeder, and sugar-intolerant dessertaholic, I believe . . .

A certain darkness is needed to see the stars

Speaking of stars . . .

The mentor who inspired me to scribble on a mirror? Her name is N.K. Traver. She’s an editor of Cornerstones, and the author of a 2015 YALSA-nominated Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers cyber-thriller, Duplicity.

Duplicity by N.K. Trevor

Like me, she began writing while working in a different profession (most secretly, I’m sure). Like me, she loves chocolate (the darker, the better). And like me, she loves my YA Fantasy (Wait! What!?!)

N.K. Traver picked me. MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

To be honest, I was completley shocked. I was all . . .

 I can’t be a-a-a wizard. I mean, I’m just Harry, just Harry.

Harry Potter letter Hogwarts

Whoops! I’m still waiting for that acceptance letter. 

After I closed my gaping mouth and gathered some nerve, I strolled into Twitterland and found–

A Pahr-tay!!!!!

#TeamTallahassee Style.

Upon being offered an official menteeship [geeky giggle], I was formally adopted into N.K. Traver’s Pitch Wars #TeamTallahassee family: composed of all the fab writers she’s mentored thus far. And boy, oh boy, meeting them was awesome. We’re talking glittery unicorn t-shirts. A bazillion tweets. And lots of cake. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? It was. Because suddenly I realized, this is for real. I’m a Pitch Wars mentee. A finalist. A wizard! 

Next, I moved onto meeting the rest of the mentee finalists on Facebook. Oh, yes. We have this private group where we discuss really deep thoughts and use really big words. Things like,

You Tarzan Me Jane

and sort ourselves by book groups (middle grade, young adult, new adult, adult) . . .

Harry Potter sorting hat

and commiserate with one another on whether or not we will survive these next two months . . .

Ghost Busters

In one short week, I’ve grown to care for these talented and kind, funny and supportive writers, and I’m honored to be part of this journey with them.

Not all of us will find an agent in the final “round” or go on to publishing deals. But we will have shared this experience. This wonderful and frightening moment of knowing our work has been noticed. We–have been noticed.

Our dreams are not the fluffy fairytales we sometimes doubt them to be. They are very much real. And attainable. Pitch Wars is a gift of renewed inspiration. One I hope we always remember.

Well, that. And the chance to say . . .

Incredibles Totally Wicked

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Pitch Wars & Gator Boys. Who Knew.

Today my family celebrated.

First (ahem), new episodes of Gator Boys began. Yep. My family is obsessed. Well everyone in the fam but me. I usually retreat to my hobbit hole and write while my son and daughter watch and parallel play the catch and release of live gators. I *think* my husband only watches.

Gator Boys

Second (flap excited hands), Pitch Wars started! Run by the talented Brenda Drake, author of the anticipated book Thief of Lies, it’s a contest of sorts where aspiring authors hope to 1) be matched with super cool mentors 2) pitch their books to amazing agents & 3) make life-long writerly friends.

Thief-of-lies_high-res22

It’s dreamy and nerve-wracking and completely awesome (like the Lego Movie). Also a lot of work, especially if you get selected. But this is the real deal. Like really. 

Part of the Pitch Wars fun is a blog hop called Pimp My Bio. Which I did last year and am doing again. Because, why not?

So a little about me . . .

I’m totally into kindred spirits. I believe in signs and serendipity and fate. You can argue with me all you want (my husband does), but I’m a sucker for believing the universe places the right people in your life at the right time. And then magic happens.

Serendipity definition

I ultimately chose my top five mentors because of just that. I felt like they could be the onesOk. Fine. I also selected my mentors by genre. I had a YA fantasy, so I chose mentors who explicitly requested YA fantasy. Will I find a mentor (aka kindred spirit) this way? I hope so.

Kindred spirits

I haven’t settled on a preferred writing approach. I was a complete pantser with my first YA novel. My second book, a YA F, was written using a combo approach: Pants it, plot it. Pants it, plot it. You get the idea. It was a five-year beast in the making (also the novel I submitted to Pitch Wars). I plotted my third novel, a YA SF, using The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson and The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. But funny thing. I ended up pantsing most of the first draft.

Pantser vs Plotter

Fantasy, fairy tales, historical, soft science fiction, and contemporary all hold a place in my heart. I generally don’t do cookie cutter mysteries or horror (does anyone else get crazy nightmares from creepy R movies?!?). Some of my favorite books include Beauty by Robin McKinley, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Holes by Lois Sachar, The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks, Redeeming Love by Fracine Rivers, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and pretty much anything written by Lord Bryon, John Keats, and Shakespeare.

pride and prejudice reading

I don’t watch a lot of television, but I love movies. I go nerdy over Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Pride and Prejudice gets my heart fluttering. So does You’ve Got Mail. I’ve seen them a bazillion times. I have to watch Ghost Busters, What About Bob?, & Groundhog Day once a year because Bill Murray is hilarious. Last of the Mohicans is epic. So is its soundtrack. And when I’m sick, I break down and watch tv. The Office to be specific. I own the first three seasons. That’s all I need. I have to watch Pam and Jim get together. Then I’m good. Their love heals me every time.

Pam and Jim

Many thanks to Ms. Brenda Drake and the mentors who donate an unfathomable amount of time and energy into Pitch Wars. You are changing lives. Probably through serendipity (wink).

And best of luck to all the aspiring authors and future mentees (more bios here!). With or without a stopper of Felix Felicis.

Luck Potion Harry Potter


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Bird by Bird

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Author: Anne Lamott

Genre: Adult, Writing

In a Snapshot: A funny and super honest take on writing and how it affects your life.

Why I picked it up and why I couldn’t put it down:

When I attended Wisconsin’s Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) fall conference this past year, a panel of authors, illustrators, and editors spoke on their favorite books. Bird by Bird was mentioned by many of the distinguished guests. And for good reason–it’s so good! Brutally honest and yet encouraging, I could connect to Lamott’s discussion on isolation, jealousy, and what she coined “sh%&!y first drafts.”

Who will like this? 

Writers and those interested in the writing process.

Some Favorite Quotes: 

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a sh%&!y first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

“E.L. Doctorow said once said that ‘Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.’ You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.’ This is right up there with the best advice on writing, or life, I have ever heard.”


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Fancy Pics, Strange Food, & Writing Delusions: A Pitch Wars Bio

Pitch Wars has begun! It’s run by the fabulous Brenda Drake, and it’s a great opportunity for authors to connect with other talented writers, gifted mentors, and amazing agents. So here’s a little unofficial Pitch Wars bio about me–because this year, I pitched!

Genevieve's BookshelfThis is my fancy picture of myself

Note the much-loved copy of Beauty by Robin McKinley hugged closest to my heart

Love

IMG_3008This is a vintage picture of myself (well, 1.5 years old)

Note my entire family all in one spot, smiling at the same time

Awesome

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 This is what I DON’T eat every day

Note all the fermentable foods I have to avoid to keep myself from autoimmune purgatory

Sounds fun, yes?

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 This is what keeps me from wallowing in grain envy

Note the grain free flours which include coconut, almond, and tapioca

Interesting, yes?

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This is what I always thought writing would look like

Note the absent scribbled pieces of papers, cold cups of tea, and baggy sweatpants

I’d still like a typewriter like that though

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This is what I keep working on as a writer

Note this advice is best used like a band-aid, it hurts less if you just chop all at once

Sorry, it still stings

A wonderful thank you to Brenda Drake for organizing the Pitch Wars. You are amazing.

So are all you mentors, agents, & author-hopefuls…click here to see more Pitch Wars bios. 🙂