My Pitch Wars Wishlist & Bio

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Welcome to Pitch Wars!!!!

I am so excited to be participating in Pitch Wars again, this time as a mentor! In 2013, I decided to throw my finished manuscript into the PW fray and hold my breath, not expecting much to happen. Lo and behold, my manuscript was chosen. Whoa!  Seriously, life changing! I worked hard, listened to what my amazing mentor (Lady Lioness) had to teach me, and I entered the agent round with a polished, beautiful story that caught the eye of Louise Fury, who is now my agent!

That is my hope for you! If you choose me as your mentor, I will take the publishing knowledge I’ve gained in the last three years and pass it along to you. Pitch Wars (and publishing in general) isn’t for the faint of heart. If your desire is to be a published author, to share your stories with others, then be prepared to work hard, make sacrifices, be open minded and ready to learn. I want to help you take the files on your computer and hopefully start them on the path toward a bookstore shelf!

All About Me…

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All of the Pitch Wars mentors are FANTASTIC, but I hope this mini bio will lead you to choose ME!!!

As you read above, I’m a Pitch Wars alum. I’ve been where you are. I know what you’re feeling right now: excited, nervous, scared, OMG-what-am-I-getting-myself-into. No worries, I’ve got your back, we’ll get through this together!

Besides my Pitch Wars experience, I’ve published three new adult contemporary romance novels with Grand Central Publishing’s Forever Yours imprint and have two more in the works. I’m familiar with the extensive editing process that is required to prepare a manuscript for publication.

Along with my writing career, I am a middle school science and Spanish teacher, and have a degree in teaching language arts and music. This fall, I will begin my sixteenth year of teaching (Holy cow, where did the time go?!). I enjoy teaching, I love the kids! I love reading out loud to my students, sharing great stories, and fostering a lifelong passion for books!

Outside of school and publishing, I’m a wife and mother. I have two beautiful daughters (thirteen and nine years old). Teen Darling is a gold medal winning Special Olympics gymnast and Lil Darling is a fierce middle defender on her select soccer team. My family keeps me hopping! In my free time (Yeah, right! What’s that?), I love to read, play my piano to destress, have an incurable addiction to Starbucks and chocolate, catch Pokémon when they swoop into my house, binge-watch OutlanderArrow, and The Walking Dead, and occasionally, I may sleep…but not often!

So, that’s me, in a nutshell. If you have other questions, you can find me on social media, or leave a comment on this post.

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 What I’m looking for in a YA or NA manuscript…

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My grabby hands will be all over CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE. It’s my favorite genre! I want a love story that makes my heart skip a beat, gives me that wonderful pinchy feeling in my chest, and extra points if you bring me to tears.

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Bring on the sexual tension, well developed characters and plots, and sex (although, I’ll pass on erotica and BDSM)!

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Some of my favorite CRs are:

YA: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

NA: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover, Faking It by Cora Carmack, Written on My Heart by Cole Gibsen, Rule by Jay Crownover, Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

FANTASY. I love a good fantasy! Whisk me away to your well developed world, send me on an epic quest, mix it all up with a heart-thumping romance, and I’m yours! Although, I will pass on high fantasy manuscripts, think Tolkien or George R.R. Martin.

My fav YA fantasies:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare, Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Above all else, I’m looking for a manuscript that gives me ALL THE FEELS! Contemporary, fantasy, historical, paranormal, magical realism, they’re all great. Make me fall in love with your characters and your world!

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The only genres that will get a hard pass from me are sci-fi and horror. There are so many fantastic sci-fi and horror mentors, but I am not one.

Do you have a manuscript that will give me all the feels? I WANT IT!!! What are you waiting for? Sub to me, now!

What I Expect from a Mentee…

My mentee MUST be prepared to kill darlings, flip scenes, and rewrite. Basically, you will need to take an ax to your work and chip away at the rock in order to reveal the diamond inside. Be prepared for constructive criticism, it’s the only way your story will improve. If you aren’t comfortable with constructive criticism, then this contest isn’t for you.  Be sure the manuscript you’re subbing is complete and polished to the best of your ability. Remember, I’m a teacher, there are differences between their, there, and they’re.  😉

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What I will do for my Mentee…

Having been through Pitch Wars, I know how grueling the process can be, but it’s so rewarding! I will help you with big-picture issues, typos and grammar problems, we’ll make sure your dialogue flows, your voice is strong, characters are believable, and your story is well paced. We’re a team and we’ll get your story whipped into shape for the agent round, Oliver Queen style!

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This gif is highly distracting! 🙂 ❤

Well, that about sums everything up. I’m the mentor for you, right?! I’m so excited to see what kinds of awesome flood my inbox on August 3rd! Good luck, Pitch Wars Hopefuls, and don’t forget to jot down the scavenger hunt letter below (I think you can figure out my special letter *wink wink*)!

You and  i1  will make a great team!

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WELCOME TO FOREVER Release Day!!

WELCOME TO FOREVER

by Annie Rains

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I am so excited for this book!!! Seriously. I was honored to have read snippets way back in 2013, when Annie and I were on the same Pitch Wars team! Today, I get to dive in and read this fabulous, beautiful, long-awaited novel! I’m launching the confetti cannon and sending Annie lots of love as she celebrates her debut! Congrats, Annie! I’m so happy for you!!!

To celebrate Annie’s debut, I’m giving away three Team Pride ebook bundles! Each prize bundle will include my titles (Across the Distance & Can’t Go Back) and Annie’s debut, Welcome to Forever! To win three hot romances, click on the link below!

The Pride Ebook Giveaway

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About WELCOME TO FOREVER:

If you love Kristan Higgins, Susan Mallery, or Jill Shalvis, you won’t want to miss the Hero’s Welcome military romance series! Welcome to Forever introduces a small coastal town where America’s best and brightest risk everything for love.
 
In Seaside, North Carolina, there are two kinds of people: Marines, and kids of Marines. Then there’s Kat Chandler. Recently hired as the principal of Seaside Elementary, Kat makes it her mission to turn the school into a place of peace and calm. That’s not going to be easy with hard-liner parents like Micah Peterson storming in, telling her how to do her job—and then kissing her with those gorgeous lips of his and turning her brain into mush.

As a Marine Sergeant and a single dad, Micah Peterson has just two priorities: doing his job better than anyone else, and getting the absolute best for his son, Ben. But when he meets Ben’s beautiful new principal, a different yearning shifts into focus. He wants her, sure, but he’s also moved by the connection Kat forges with her students. So after learning that she refuses to date Marines, Micah sets two more objectives: convincing Kat to give him a chance . . . and then holding on to her forever.

WELCOME TO FOREVER Buy Links

Amazon | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo | Barnes and Noble 

About Annie Rains

AnnieRainsAnnie Rains is a contemporary romance author who writes small town love stories set in fictional towns on the coast of North Carolina. Raised in one of America’s largest military communities, Annie often features heroes who fight for their countries, while also fighting for a place to call home and a good woman to love. When Annie isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and 3 children, or reading a book by one of her favorite authors. Represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NYLA).

Stay in touch with Annie:

Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon

What a Year!

Every writer says that the road to publication is a long one. And indeed it is! But it’s certainly not a journey I’d want to end any time soon!!

One year ago today, I parked myself at the kitchen table and started writing my first solo project. Over the next four months, my fingers raced over the keyboard, putting the story in my head onto the page. After the words were out, I took a short detour and distanced myself from the story for a few of months.

While I left my story behind, I gave a lot of critiques and did some editing for other writers (something I love to do)! In turn, I also gave my story over to some writer friends for some honest feedback. All of the comments and constructive criticism I received was invaluable, which paved my road for Pitch Wars.

By November, my Twitter feed was blowing up with talk about Pitch Wars (you can read about my Pitch Wars experience here). I decided to throw my manuscript into the fray. What did I have to lose? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!

December and January went by in a Pitch Wars induced blur! I was rewriting and editing like a mad woman! I am positive my family would agree.

With January coming to a close, my fast-paced journey began to slow down. I had a beautiful manuscript and a solid query letter, so I started sending them out (and even found time to take down the Christmas tree).

So, February became the month of waiting. In keeping with my “road” metaphor, I equate February as being stuck in query traffic: stop and go, stop and go! I sent out a handful of queries and waited. On the morning of February 14th, I woke up and thought about how an offer of representation would be the BEST Valentine’s Day present. That night, I got what I wished for!!! Louise Fury of The Bent Agency emailed, saying she wanted to talk. AHHHH!! I was soooo excited!! At the beginning of March, I was officially an agented writer and a member of #TeamFury!

Now that I’ve pulled off of query road and onto publication highway, my manuscript, THROUGH THE STORM, has come full circle. It is now in Louise’s competent hands, and I couldn’t be more pleased! Her enthusiasm and vision for THROUGH THE STORM is a dream come true.

And today, I’m back at my kitchen table, beginning a new journey as I tell my next story. I’m so excited to see what the next year brings!

No matter where you are in your writing adventure, don’t give up! Enjoy the ride!

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Pitch Wars Wrap-Up

The top 10 things I learned from Pitch Wars:

10. Twitter friends are great. Twitter is a great place to meet like-minded people. I’ve met so many awesome writers through Pitch Wars and Twitter and I wish them all the luck in the world.

9. Refresh…refresh…refresh… ad nauseam! Sometimes, the refresh button isn’t your friend. Not only was Pitch Wars an intensive writing boot camp, it also provided a lesson on patience. From waiting to find out if my manuscript was chosen for Pitch Wars, to waiting for agents to leave a comment on my entry, to waiting to hear back from the queries I sent out, I could develop an OCD of refreshing my Twitter/Brenda Drake’s Blog/email. But, a better idea would be to use my time wisely. I’m going to get started on my next manuscript while I wait. After all, patience is a virtue. Thank you, Pitch Wars, for making me more virtuous!

8. Save the melodrama for your mama (but, then again, she may not even want to hear it)! Keep things real.

7. Alliteration Affection- Or was it more of an infection? I learned that alliteration doesn’t always work, and more often than not, I wasn’t even aware I was alliterating. Under Lioness’s careful scrutiny, I was made aware of my affinity for alliteration. Now, I’m hyper sensitive to this device and find myself cringing when I come across alliterated words. My thesaurus is my new best friend!

6. You’re not alone! Even though writing is a very solitary endeavor, Pitch Wars turned that notion on its head. With my mentor and my teammates, I knew I had people behind me, cheering me on the whole way through. The talented ladies of The Pride are Sarah L. Blair and Anna Rains.

5. Follow your instincts. Over the course of my Pitch Wars revision journey, I learned to listen to my characters and follow my instincts as a writer. It’s still a developing skill, and I will only continue to get better with time!

4. Constructive criticism is your friend. Personally, I LOVE constructive criticism! I thrive on it. It lights my writing fire! Pitch Wars was a godsend for me. I’ve always wanted someone to pick apart my story—tell me what works, but better yet…tell me what NEEDS work! I WANT to improve my storytelling craft, so I’m not scared when someone tells me a scene or a character isn’t working. Bring on the constructive criticism, I want to learn and improve!

3. Slice ‘n dice, then reattach!  I am not afraid to take my story apart and put it back together again, if that’s what it takes to make it shine. One of my characters didn’t make it through Pitch Wars. After my mentor advised me to cut him out, I willingly complied, leaving my manuscript with gaping holes that needed to be filled. I could have let that intimidate me, but it didn’t. I knew my story would be better in the long run. I listened, cut him out, reduced my word count by approximately 12,000 words, and have a far superior story as a result!

2. Listen to the professionals. All the amazing mentors of Pitch Wars 2013 are publishing professionals. They have found success in the industry, and they know what they’re talking about. I went into Pitch Wars with this mentality. I wanted to learn from my mentor, heed her advice, and with her guidance, revise my story to greatness. I am so grateful for all the help Lady Lioness gave to me, and I will continue to use her advice to grow as a writer. Along those same lines, listen to the agents. It still confounds me that aspiring authors don’t follow an agent’s specific querying guidelines. For the love of all that is holy, LISTEN TO THEM!! Professionals only want to work with those who are professionals as well.

1. Hard work=accomplished dreams. Writing is difficult. But, I know that being a full time author is what I want to be. Late nights, writer’s block, frustrating scenes/characters, endings that aren’t working, the whole novel-writing process is daunting and hard. But, it is something I truly love, and I’m willing to listen to the professionals, listen to my characters, and put in the time and effort that’s needed to produce a compelling story. One day, my hard will pay off, and I will see my stories on a bookstore shelf.

I want to thank Brenda Drake for her hard work and dedication to Pitch Wars. She’s beyond amazing. A big thank you goes out to all the mentors who so generously gave their time to helping aspiring authors realize their dreams. I especially want to thank my mentor, Lady Lioness! She’s wonderful and there aren’t enough “thank yous” in the world I could offer to express my gratitude. Thank you to all the agents who participated in Pitch Wars, and I hope you find some awesome stories (and writers) to represent.

Good luck to the Pitch Wars Class of 2013, may you all find the agent of your dreams! I can’t wait to see your books on the shelves! It’s an honor to be categorized with such an uber talented bunch of up-and-coming authors!!