I’m a Pitch Wars mentor!! Last year I was a mentee and received The Call (i.e., offer of representation) from the fabulous Stacey Donaghy the day after the agent round ended. My experience was so positive—the learning, the community and the opportunity beyond my wildest expectations—I am honoured to have the chance to give back.
Did you notice that I spelled “honoured” with a ‘U’? Don’t worry, that’s not because I suck at spelling. I’m Canadian and we like those extra letters to keep us warm at night. And yes, I know my US spelling conventions as well.
The boring stuff (Don’t skip it! If you have a story that involves communication or French, you’ll like this bit, I promise):
This is me:
Oops. Wrong Yates.
I have degrees in psychology and linguistics. I’m a pediatric speech-language pathologist (SLP) in my day job and grew up in a French household in an English-dominant city. So yeah, I know some stuff about human behavior (see? US spelling. I’ve got it down.) and how we communicate.
I live near the Canadian Rocky Mountains, work in public health as an SLP, mother my three young children (in French), and act as best friend to my husband of 14 years (in English, except when we kiss ;)). I love to travel and have visited every major Canadian city and many international destinations as well.
I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense. I love helping other writers and have worked as a critique partner and beta reader for many other authors (you may see me in an acknowledgment page or two.)
Now that we’ve got that out of the way. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
I am looking for ADULT or NA CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE (so please, no historical, western, gothic, etc.).
I want a love story with well-developed characters with real-life relatable struggles. I love angst and heart. I don’t want weak, overused tropes such as, “I have to pretend you’re my wife for X reason. Oh. Okay. Sex. Love. The end.” And, sorry, I don’t dig alpha males who treat women like garbage but the woman’s magical vagina fixes him. Please. Just…no.
I love a man who is sexy because of who he is at the core, not because he has a tattoo. I want dimension. Sell me the love. Give me a story I haven’t seen before. The overlooked guy. Something unique or diverse. If your manuscript has anything to do with communication disorders, I AM YOUR PERSON.
If it leans toward women’s fiction or chick lit, I’m grabby hands all over it, but there has to be a central love story for me to consider it. I want to laugh and/or cry. There has to be some fun in there. I love me a little sass and a kick-ass voice.
I’m also open to romantic suspense, magical realism, and M/M romance, but it has to be character driven, and must have some sexy times. I love a hot, heart crushing M/M.
I’ll summarize it in a few words: Hot. Heart. Voice. Inner struggle. Got it?
What I am NOT looking for: historical, inspirational/Christian, science fiction, gothic, horror, western. If I receive any of these, they will be put in my, “This person was not listening pile.”
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM ME
I will provide you with a developmental edit letter as well as in-line notes for the entire manuscript. Once you’ve completed those, I will read a second time and help you brush it up. I have a knack for voice and dialogue which I attribute to analyzing how people speak for a living (don’t worry, I won’t judge how you speak in real life. Okay, well maybe just a little.)
If comma splices are your biggest hurdle, I may not be for you (though I know what they are). Be ready to work hard, and kill some darlings. Our goal will be to get the pacing, story, voice, and character development bang on. If you’re ready to put the work in, kill some scenes, take critiques like a champ, and do it while having fun, we’ll be great together.
But if you’re like this?
Then, well, maybe Pitchwars isn’t for you.
Because I’m looking for this…
To get an idea of what I enjoy reading, here’s a list of some of my favorite books:
You by Caroline Kepnes
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens
Nuts by Alice Clayton
The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
If any of this speaks to you, then I can’t wait to read your sub!! Looking forward to working with a fabulous mentee to help them develop their manuscript into something that they love and will capture the eyes of agents!
– JR Yates
p.s. This post was brought to you by Wall-E…(meaning ‘E’ is your scavenger hunt letter).
Here’s a list of the other mentors and their links: