I write dark fantasy. Read at your own risk ;)
I'm a serial traveller, adventurer, and daydreamer. I'm Canadian, but in the last five years I've lived in Peru, Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
My debut novel, NOT EVEN BONES (HMH 2018), is about a girl who dissects monsters and sells their body parts on the internet. But when her mother brings home a live one, she follows her conscience and helps him escape -- and ends up sold on the black market in his place. DEXTER meets THIS SAVAGE SONG.
I was a mentee in PitchWars last year, working with the wonderful Rebecca Sky and Stacey Trombley (who you should also sub to cuz they are amazing). My PW book was agented and sold within a month of PitchWars ending (which I’m still in shock over). I’ve hopped the aisle this year to be a mentor, and I’m hoping I can help do the same for my mentee!
What I'm Looking For
This year I will be accepting fantasy, horror, science fiction and historical young adult and their various subgenres, starring morally ambiguous characters. Give me your villains, your fractured and flawed heroes, your sympathetic monsters! I love action-based plots and all things monstrous. Send me your dark fantasy, your brutal scifi, your badass historical fiction and your twisted horror.
This year, I am NOT accepting contemporary or romance. I don’t read much of it, and I’m not the best editor. In that vein, I’m also not accepting SFF, horror, or historical fiction where the primary story line is romance (but a romantic subplot is totally fine). Basically, I prefer SFF with a dash or romance, not a romance in an SFF setting.
I am open to writers from all backgrounds, and I would love to see an own voices work!
All right! Let’s talk more about the things I want to see from everyone!
I like my main characters to be complicated and to not always choose the 'right' or ‘good’ path.
I love villains and antiheroes who make morally grey choices. Characters that appeal to me include Meda from Eliza Crewe’s Cracked, Adelina from the Young Elites, Kaz from Six of Crows, August and Kate from This Savage Song, Cassel from The Curse Workers, Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, etc.
If you’re protagonist is a straight up villain, even better. I’m a big fan of villain protagonists and I’d love to see more unapologetically ambitious main characters.
I also like characters who are very broken or deeply flawed, though not purposefully evil, like Monty from A Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue, or Cole and Isabel from the Shiver series.
Character is make or break in a book for me. I will read the worst plot in the world if I love the characters. And I will put the best book down half way through if I hate them. Whoever your main character is, I want them to be fully fleshed, three dimensional and have strong voices.
I tend to like my horror mixed in with fantasy a bit. Faustian bargains, curses, demon summonings gone awry. I like things that make me shiver and curl up in terror in the dark. Vivid descriptions, lots of tension, and monsters! Think the Devouring or the Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
I write dark fantasy with horror elements myself, so there's very little that's too much for me. Gory? Sure! Will give me nightmares for years to come? Bring it.
All right! I read almost every sub genre of fantasy and I read a LOT, so one thing I really look out for is something with a really cool twist. Some examples of recent fantasy twists I liked: Forest of A Thousand Lanterns — Snow White from the evil queen’s PoV in China. This Savage Song — A world where actual monsters are born when humans commit a violent act.
I also love fantasy with non-western settings. I would love to see a Mongolian or Incan Empire inspired fantasy, or anything with really fabulous world building. I love to see stories where the world is a character in it's own right.
In terms of plot, I tend to like action oriented stories. Explosions, treason, monsters and demons!
I also enjoy comedic fantasy, especially when used to point out and mock tropes. Diana Wynne Jones Dark Lord of Derkholm, Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, Brooding YA Heroes’ Guide to Being a Main Character.
My interests here are really broad genre wise — I love space opera, cyberpunk, superheroes, near future, etc — but I’m really picky about cliches. Like fantasy, I like to see things with unusual twists. Some examples: Cinder — a cyborg retelling of Cinderella. Steelheart — what if superheroes existed, but they were all supervillains?
Again, I tend to like action-oriented scifi. Epic battles, betrayals, cool use of technology to make all the action scenes more awesome. I'm also a huge fan of AI main characters, and would LOVE to get a novel like Claudia Grey's Defy the Stars.
Historical! There are never enough good historical fiction books out there. Send me more!
Pirates, highwaymen, ransoms, murder, coup d'état, give me all the amazing things that history has to offer. Some favourites include Vengeance Road and The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue.
I also enjoy historical inspired, like the gender swapped Vlad the Impaler story in And I Darken, alternate history, like Kester Grant's A Court of Miracles, and history with magical elements, like in The Flame in the Mist.
My grabby hands are all over your book If you have a historical fiction starring people like Chinese pirate Ching Shih, badass Egyptian Queen Shazar al Durr — basically anyone covered in Mackenzie Lee’s Bygone Badass Broads or Jason Porath’s Rejected Princesses.
Here is a non-extensive list of things that I love. You don't need all of these in there (it'd be one he'll of a weird story if it had all these elements) but if you have any of these please sub me!:
- Non western settings! Bonus points if the story is set in one of the places I’ve lived, or fantasy/SF inspired by them (Canada, Japan, Peru, Hong Kong, Taiwan).
- Monsters. I love monsters. I especially love complicated, three dimensional monsters.
- morally ambiguous protagonists.
- badassery. Much badassery.
- No romance, or an Ace main character.
- Faustian bargains
- AI main characters, especially multidimensional ones that question what it means to be human.
- ambitious main characters
- twisty plots
- stories where it's unclear who the 'good guy' and the 'bad guy' are.
A list of books I really like (if your book can reasonably comp to one of these, sub me!):
- This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab
- The Young Elites, Marie Lu
- Defy the Stars, Claudia Grey
- Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black
- An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir
- Dragon’s Bait, Vivian Vande Velde
- Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Julie C. Dao
- Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo
- The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani
- Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
- Across the Universe, Beth Revis
TV/movies I like:
Buffy, Death Note, Fullmetal alchemist Brotherhood, iZombie, Stargate, Brain Dead, Sherlock, Psychopass, Darker than Black, Tokyo Ghoul, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Legend of the Galactic heroes, Death Note, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Monsters (jdrama), The Mummy (the '90s one, not the new one), Pan's Labrynth, Jumanji.
DO NOT SEND ME:
- novels where romance is the major plot. Romance subplots are fine.
- Christian fiction. I won’t know what to do with it.
- novels where the main character is raped during the book.
- contemporary. I don’t read much of it, and there are way better PW mentors for you.
Things I tend to not be a fan of, but aren’t make or break:
- Controlling or dominating Alpha male romantic interests.
- Main characters who are super powerful but just want to be ‘normal’ like the other kids in school
- Love at first sight.
- black and white good and evil dynamics. Where the MC is SO GOOD and the villain is SO EVIL. Unless it's being played for comedy or to poke fun at tropes.
So, after all this, why should you choose me over any other mentor?
These are some of the things I can help you with.
- Structure. I’m very good and structuring, scenes, and pacing. It may require shifting large pieces of text around or cutting, but shaping a story into a solid structure is one of my strongest talents.
- Plot holes. I’m a terrier when it comes to finding them, and I’m also a great brainstormer for fixing them
- World building. I love world building, and I'm great at finding inconsistencies and helping plug them.
- Character arcs. Making believable and strong character arcs that work within the plot.
- Career planning and advice. I'm a strategic thinking, and I think planning is important. I have a lot of industry tidbits, and am excellent at helping plan careers.
- Query help. Not to brag, but I am ace at making queries shine ;)
- Synopsis help. Me and my red pen are very good at helping you get to the point.