2017 Pitch Wars: Kissing & Donuts Here

doughnutCongratulations on writing your novel and entering Pitch Wars!

You have wandered into the tasty land of Team Donut, also known as co-mentors Victoria De La O and Layla Reyne. We’re excited to be mentoring Adult/New Adult this year, and we’d love to go on this wild and exciting adventure with you.

Here’s why we think you should hitch yourself to our wagon.

About Us:

Victoria is the author of the Tell Me New Adult trilogy from St. Martin’s Swerve, including Tell Me How This Ends, a 2017 RWA® RITA® award finalist. She is currently hard at work on a San Francisco-based contemporary romance series. While this is her first time mentoring Pitch Wars, she has judged various RWA competitions. She is represented by the fabulous Laura Bradford of the Laura Bradford Agency. Besides writing, Victoria argues about films, hangs out with her husband and two sassy kids, and practices Wonder Woman spins.

A 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist, Layla was a Pitch Wars Adult/New Adult mentor last year. She writes M/M and M/F romantic suspense and contemporary romance, including the Agents Irish and Whiskey series from Carina Press, and the upcoming Changing Lanes series from Riptide Publishing. She, too, is represented by the inimitable Laura Bradford. When she’s not writing, Layla downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband.

First, we’ll give you an editorial letter assessing your manuscript as a whole, primarily focused on big picture items such as plot, pacing, characters and setting. We’ll discuss a revision game plan, and you’ll go forth and revise. When we get the revised manuscript back from you, we’ll give it another read-through to see where we are on the story front. If all looks good, we’ll copy edit at least the first three chapters, maybe more time depending. As far as communication, we’re happy to chat by phone, but regardless, email and proficiency with tracked-changes is a must. An online method of chat, such as G-chat, Skype, Facebook messenger or Twitter direct messages, is also helpful.

Romance is a MUST. It doesn’t have to be the central storyline, but romance has to be present and the couple (M/F, M/M, F/F, or a combination thereof—we’re open to them all) has to get their happily ever after or a firm happy for now by the end of the novel. Sex scenes can be light or heavy, but they should be open door. Be warned that if you fade to black, there might (will) be cursing.

The writing should be clean (as free of errors as possible) and the word count appropriate. Edit your manuscript before submitting, and do your genre/word count research. Head-hopping POVs or 100K+ word counts will be auto passes for both of us.

And finally, we love compelling characters and a strong voice. We want to feel something when we read your book. (Bonus points if you make Victoria cry.)

Here are the Adult/New Adult manuscripts we’d like to see:

Contemporary Romance – Fresh tropes, LGBTQ+, Sports, Food/Wine

Historical – Regency or non-Regency is fine. Should be accurate but not written like a history textbook. If you have a moody, gothic historical or an M/M historical, we want it.

Romantic Suspense – A good balance between plot and romance, please.

Mystery/Thrillers/Crime/Procedural – Yes, please, but Layla is an attorney, so research those details.

New Adult – NA is welcome. While this is a digital market now, we still feel good NA stories need to be told, especially in LGBTQ.

Please do not send us the following:

Damsels-in-Distress, Sweet Small Towns, Fantasy Adventure/Magical Realism, Inspirational, Westerns, Dystopian, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Time Travel, Highlanders (If we receive an Outlander comp, we will send it back through the stones.)


Not sure we’re a fit? If your manuscript is a comp to one of our favorites below, please submit it to us:

Contemporary Books: Five Boroughs Series (Hassell), Cut & Run Series (Roux/Urban), Him/US (Bowen/Kennedy), For Real (Hall), Beneath the Stain (Lane), Off Campus Series (Kennedy), Burgh and Colorado Mountain Series (Ashley), Stage Dive Series (Scott), Dark Obsession Series (Stein), Abroad (Jacobs), His Royal Secret/Favorite (Pace), Small Change (Parrish)

Historical Books: Lord of Scoundrels (Chase), Bridgerton Series (Quinn), Survivor Series (Balogh), Wallflower Series (Kleypas), The Princes Trilogy (Hoyt), The Lawrence Browne Affair (Sebastian), Society of Gentlemen series (Charles)

Questions? Join us for the Pitch Wars live chat on July 19 at 9 PM Eastern (6 PM Pacific).
You can also ask us questions via our pinned posts on Facebook:

Layla’s Lushes
Victoria’s Author Page

We hope we get the chance to read your words!

Pitch Wars Blog Hop:

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Victoria De La O