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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Greetings, aspiring writers of YA! I am Lisa Amowitz and this my second year as a Pitch Wars mentor. Last year was an AMAZING experience. I met so many cool people online and read a lot of great stuff! I had a wonderful mentee, Adam Sass, whom I enjoyed working with so much. 

So what I've learned about Pitch Wars is that compatibility and work styles is as important to me as my love of your writing. Adam and I were a perfect fit as far as temperament and work syle. And even though he did not get that all important call (I ADORE his book), I am certain his manuscript is way further along than it was. He is not giving up!

I am also known as The Squirrel because I like to gather stuff—like awesome writers and their manuscripts!




Publishing takes grit and continuous work and struggle to improve. I'm still learning myself.

My first book BREAKING GLASS, was published in 2013, but behind that moment was a long, long road of skill building, rejection, and loads and loads of constructive feedback to wade through. Behind that moment are three different agents, heartbreak, meltdowns. Many times I was ready to give up, but crawled and scratched my way back to the writing chair.

Why? Because I had stories in me, pushing to get out. Stories I had to tell myself. And if I wanted to tell those stories, I reasoned, maybe someone else might want to read them if I worked hard enough.

To do that I realized, I needed to develop the hide of a dinosaur and the steady determination of the ocean tide. I had to continue while watching others succeed as I did not.


I had to tell myself this:


There is always someone out there who strikes gold while you only get coal.

The process took me years—and it’s still ongoing.

Does that sound like you? Are you just itching to get your story out there, not for fame and money, but just because it deserves to be read?

Then I’m here to help.

Heck, I’m a professional helper. I’m a Professor of Graphic Design—I help people learn for a living.

I have no formal degree in writing, just an MFA in Fine Art. My writing cred comes from the internet and the countless people whom, over the years helped me polish my craft. I’ve seen many of these transform from hesitant beginners to accomplished authors because THEY DID NOT GIVE UP.

This is who I am:

I’m less about line edits (though I am kind of a sentence structure geek), and more about pacing, plotting, deleting slack scenes and extra words. If you are delicate about your ms and sensitive to red ink—I AM NOT YOUR MENTOR. I may be tough—but I am kind. I will let you know what shines, and help you cut out what is dragging down your manuscript.

If you have the passion, drive, and stubborn determination to prevail, no matter the amount of setbacks (there are ALWAYS setbacks in publishing. It really never ends…just saying) then

I BELIEVE IN YOU!!

This year I'm limiting my WL to fantasy of all varieties: contemporary, urban,  myth and fairytale retellings, high fantasy, creepy and dark, historical....and drumroll: Sci-fi, but with great characters and heart. Nothing too tech-heavy.

I might consider historical or magical reality if it hits my sweet spot (see below for said sweet spot).

I’m looking for textured, beautiful, magical YA with a distinctive voice. Great world building is a must. Fluff is not! I don't want light-hearted frothy romance-heavy stuff--though I do love romance (of all gender mash-ups) as a sub-plot. NO EROTICA, though. Also, I love #ownvoices, diversity in representation, gender, neuro-diversity--you name it.

If you have voice, conflict, and stakes—then you may be MY MENTEE!

To give you a better idea of my tastes I will list my favorite authors/books:

1. Of course, it’s no surprise I love HARRY POTTER and the HUNGER GAMES. But that’s been done. If you could come up with some new twist on it, fine—I’m your mentor.

2. One of my favorite books of all time is THE BOOK THIEF, by Marcus Zusak. This book literally changed me as an author. It taught me the power of voice. Yes, it is somewhat magical reality, as it is narrated by Death! Yep—falls right into my zone.

3. Maggie Stiefvater’s RAVEN CYCLE. Maggie is my patron saint. Her finely detailed characters, her creepy bad guys, her incredible sense of place, coupled with the wonderfully original blend of myth and magic in her stories, makes her most definitely, my Goddess of All Words.

4. Laini Taylor's STRANGE THE DREAMER, blew me away!
 Crazy, poetic, lyrical, imaginative. I live for this book.

5. Patrick Ness: I kind of worship this guy. He is the king of voice and totally original narratives, combining depth, humor and total strangeness. THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy is right up there in my pantheon. Also, I am a huge fan of MORE THAN THIS. Confession: I have not yet read A MONSTER CALLS (but I did see the movie).

6. Ransom Rigg’s MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Twisted, dark strange: Love, love LOVE!

7. Leigh Bardugo: SIX OF CROWS. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways: Character—so intricate—all interwoven with their own secrets and pasts. Storyline? Tense, suspenseful—unpredictable. All of this pulled together with deft, vivid prose. SWOON!!!

8Ruta Sepetys: SALT TO THE SEA Strictly historical, it’s really not that different in structure from SIX of CROWS in that it unfolds in four POVS and follows the character’s converging story lines. Very human, very dark—Gorgeous prose you can eat with a spoon. It hardly gets better than this.

9. ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m not always a big reader of sci-fi, but I am a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan, so any YA that has all of the above features and is set in space or the future works for me. This book was so original and amazing. I actually listened to the audio book which was performed like an old fashioned radio play. Incredible.

Other authors who have made an impact on me: 
Anne Rice: INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE; Stephen King: THE STAND, STAND BY ME; Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land; Marie Lu: Young Elites; Victoria Schwab: Vicious, A Darker Shade of Magic; John Green: Looking for Alaska.

In summation: I am looking for unique and original YA with strong voice, lyrical prose, finely wrought characters with depth, mystery, intrigue, with great world building, characters, and plotting.

But most of all, the thing I most want to see from you, my potential mentee is

YOUR ORIGINAL VOICE!



Lisa Amowitz is an award winning author of three fantasy/thrillers for young adults, UNTIL BETH [Spencer Hill Press, 2015], VISION [Spencer Hill Press, 2014], and BREAKING GLASS [Spencer Hill Press, 2013].

She is also a cover designer and Professor of Graphic Design at Bronx Community College. www.bcc.cuny.edu
She is represented by Shannon Hassan of
Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency 

Twitter: @lisa_amowitz
Instagram: @lisa_amowitz
Facebook: 

Learn about her books:



BREAKING GLASS

VISION

UNTIL BETH




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