I'm a 2016 PitchWars mentor!

So, this is really and truly happening. Little old me is an actual Pitchwars mentor. The girl who entered two years straight (with no success at getting picked by a mentor) has done a complete one-eighty and jumped to the other side, and I am just so happy to be here. 

With that being said, I'll officially be m1entoring New Adult and Adult.

About me: 

I'm Heather! (obviously) A stay-at-home mom of three feisty little girls that are basically proteges of their father. I am also married to said father (aka my high school sweetheart) and this year we'll be celebrating 14 years of marital bliss. I live in northwestern Illinois right alongside the Mighty Mississippi River, in the same neighborhood I grew up in as a kid.

I love to read romance, (My favorite romance book of all times is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire) I love romance movies, (Dirty Dancing and The Notebook will always be my faves) and last, but certainly not least, I love to WRITE romance novels. (YA, NA, but most of all, adult) 

Some fun, useless facts about me are as follows:

1. I have a Netflix addiction that rivals my addiction to coffee (and soda pop) and am currently binging on season six of Pretty Little Liars, thanks to my 12 year old daughter.

2. I love to sing in the shower, the car, and pretty much any place that's publicly acceptable. When there is karaoke, there is Heather.

3. I love to watch rugby (my hubby played for five years on an intramural team. Plus, men in rugby shorts are delicious. I mean...look at those thighs.)

God bless  Buzzfeed  for providing me with this picture.  

God bless Buzzfeed for providing me with this picture. 

4. I'm a Chipotle Queen. In other words, I eat there at least 2 times a week.  

5. I have a huge addiction to Salt and Vinegar chips paired with Mountain Dew.

6. I love to snuggle with my ginormous Goldendoodle. (as seen below.) Walking him on the other hand? Yeah, that's just not possible.

Okay, fine. So, when I say snuggle with my dog, I mean, get mauled by him more or less.

Okay, fine. So, when I say snuggle with my dog, I mean, get mauled by him more or less.

8. NOW, the most important thing you'll need to remember about me? I'm a certifiable Walking Dead lover. Like, seriously. If there was ever such a thing as TWD Rehab, I would likely need it.

It's a disease really. A sickness I never want to be healed from. For real. I am an Abraham fanatic through and through, and Daryl, with his unmanageable, greasy hair, makes my heart race like no other.

Writing Credentials:

- I wrote my first book seven years ago, and haven't been able to stop putting my fingers to the keyboard since.

- I've been published by several small houses, but decided a couple of years back that I needed the guidance of an agent after three bad experiences in the publishing world. 

- Needless to say I went hunting for my literary soulmate and (after lots of ups and downs in the query trenches) I signed with the amazing Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary in August, 2015. (Best. Agent. Ever.)

- Stacey guided me through the world of submissions and after many revisions and words, I signed a contract with Sourcebooks Casablanca to publish a three book series that is basically Three Alpha Men and a Baby. Book one releases February 7th, 2017. (Squee!)

My experience:

- I worked as a content editor for a year under BookFish Books and fell head over heels with my job. It was rewarding and I met some of the most amazing people and authors during my time there. Sadly, I did not have enough hours in the day to commit to it and my writing, so I had to step away. 

- I was a Ficfest mentor this year. It's a writing contest kind of like PitchWars in the sense that I worked with a mentee to help her shape up her book for an agent round. It was an amazing experience and I gained an even more amazing friend because of it.

What to expect if I pick you as my mentee:

- As an editor, I was all about the CONTENT of a book. As your MENTOR, I'd be the same way. I work on the big picture as far as a manuscript goes and have an affinity with fixing plot holes, working on helping you with character development, telling versus showing, pacing, and all the stuff that goes along with content. I will be your friend, laugh with you, swoon with you, giggle with you, and be there for you long after a contest. BUT I will also be the person who pushes you the hardest at the same time. 

- If I think your book needs a major overhaul, I'm going to need a mentee who is NOT afraid to do just that. If you're not willing to possibly kill your darlings, change your love interest, or remove a point of view even, then you might not want me as your mentor. I'm not saying I will do that, (I'm not INTENTIONALLY cruel, ladies and gents) but if I think your book needs it, I will suggest it happens.

- I will also give you a lovely gushing editorial note with all my big thoughts and plans, then I will go through two rounds of edits with you in the end. It will be hard. Like I said, I WILL push you, but at the same time, I will make sure that your entry is in top notch condition.

What I want to see in ADULT and NEW ADULT submissions:

This is the part I am most excited about. (And what I'm sure you're most interested in knowing too.)

Have a look at my GIFS for clues. 

Do you get me yet? :)

The bottom line is? I HAVE to have romance and kissing in the books I read. And, unfortunately, I can't read without it. Therefore any subs I received MUST have romance of some sort in them. 

Now, I'm sure some of you say: "Oh, but Heather, you are missing out on so much by only wanting books with romance." Yes. No doubt I am. You're right. BUT, the truth of the matter is, I WRITE romance, I READ romance, it's only appropriate that I MENTOR romance, don't you think?

With that being said, I'm totally not picky at all about sub genre. (YAY!) Just as long as there is kissing. And some sexy stuff would be fan-tabulous too. Sex isn't necessary in a book, BUT it will make me a happy camper. *wink wink*

 Some specifics that I'd love to see are below.

Contemporary Romance:  

- Give me ALL the tropes.

1. Best friend's older brother

2. Brother's best friend

3. Friends to lovers

4. Next door neighbor

5. Enemies to lovers

6. Childhood friends to adult lovers

7.  Single dads or moms.

- You name the trope, I am a sucker for it. 

GIVE ME YOUR MOTORCYCLE CLUB ROMANCES. Think Tillie Cole's It Ain't Me, Babe. I would absolutely DIE A MILLION DEATHS for an MC book. Please. Pretty PLEEEEEASE. 

- I also am a HUGE sucker for sports romances. Think Sawyer Bennett's Cold Fury series or Elle Kennedy's The Deal. Not just hockey, of course. Send me your FOOTBALL players, BASEBALL players, SOCCER players, RUGBY players, ULTIMATE FIGHTERS, etc. Grabby hands for all the NA or ADULT sports romance.

- I love alphas, especially the dirty talking kind. (FOR REAL. I NEED DIRTY TALKING, ALPHAS IN MY LIFE.) 

- If YOUR HERO IS broody, grumpy, but has a heart of gold for his woman, then that is the book for me.  


- I LOVE TATTOOED BAD BOYS. I LOVE NON-TATTOOED BAD BOYS. I love bearded bad boys. I love ALL the bad boys. (And the good boys too. I like them lots.) 

- I love a HEA most of the time, but if you have a WOMAN'S FICTION with VERY STRONG romantic elements in it, but the ending holds a Me Before You vibe or any sad Nicholas Spark's book vibe, then I'd read the HECK out of it.

- I love angst. I love heartbreak. I love to be torn to shreds. Call me a masochist, but if you make me feel like I want to crawl in a hole and weep for years after reading your story, then I will jump through hoops for it.

- I want your dark romances. The kind that make me question my sanity, but I can't stop reading them at the same time.

- Your forbidden romances? Gimme those too. Teacher/Student? Yes. Totally. Stepbrother romances? Sure, I'll give it a try too, just as long as it's different than what's out there right now. 

- I LOVE BDSM and erotica romance too, but the characters have to fall in luuuurve, bottom line. 

- Give me your diverse love stories. PLEEEEEEEEASE! M/M/ F/F, POC, it doesn't matter. I WANT IT ALL.

- Got a romantic suspense? I'll run miles and miles for those. 

- I Love heroines of all shapes and sizes. With loud attitudes or quiet sass. She can be flawed, unlikable even, BUT she must be redeemable.

♥ Fantasy with VERY strong romantic elements ♥

- I love fantasy. I Just finished ready A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet and it's an adult romantic fantasy that's just soooooooo swoony. Give me swoony fantasy. 

- I do love world building, but I am also more of a fan of character driven stories. Basically, if you have a fantasy piece that holds contemporary elements, then I am yours.

♥ Paranormal Romance ♥

- Who says paranormal is dead? Not me. GIVE me your shifters, especially. Your alpha wolf, bear, tiger, etc.

- I MIGHT love a good witch or warlock story too, just as long as there are new twists added. 

♥SciFi with VERY strong romantic elements ♥

- Um, hello? Sexy alien boys anyone? I LOVE otherworldly stories like those. Think an Adult or NA-aged Daemon Black from Jennifer Armentrout's Obsidian. Yes, please, and thank you, I'll swipe those right up.

- You got a romance that takes place in space or on a spaceship or on another planet? Sure, I'll give it a try.

♥Apocalyptic/Post apocalyptic/Futuristic/Dystopian with VERY strong romantic elements ♥

Here's the thing about this genre... I truly believe there is a place out there for every book, as long as it's well written with a good voice and an equally as intriguing plot.

So, if you have an Adult or NA dystopian, post apocalyptic. or apocalyptic story that has romance in it, then by all means, send. It. To. Me! I adore these types of stories. Like, say, an adult or NA version of The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole? YES. Please, hand that right over. Now. (#TeamJack)

NOTE: I have no excuse for adding this Jamie gif, other than the fact that I love him.  

NOTE: I have no excuse for adding this Jamie gif, other than the fact that I love him. 

Things I DON'T want to see in my submissions:

- In fantasy, if your main characters have names I can't pronounce or I have to have a dictionary for some of your wording then I probably won't feel a lot of love for that story. Sorry! Complicated, epic fantasy types are just not my thing. 

- NO VAMPIRES. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, other than the fact that I read nothing but vampires for three years straight and I got majorly burned out.

- I'm not into regency romances. Even if there is romance and sexy-times, I can't seem to relate to them for some reason.  

- *NOTE* If you send me something that has no romance in it at all, then I likely won't even read it. Probably won't send feedback either.

I know, I'm terrible (don't hate me!) but I'm just not that mentor for you. So PLEASE don't send me something non-romance related because you think it will change my mind. I'd hate for you to miss out on an opportunity to be picked by a mentor that does want to read non-romance. Plus, the mentors don't get to swap behind the scenes this year.

So, there you have it, my wants for my dream mentee's book, all wrapped up into this one, pretty page.

If I didn't specifically mention your type of romance, don't worry. Like agents, us mentors look for voice in the end. Something we can connect to. Something that makes us want to weep with joy and hug and kiss (and from what I remember) even lick the pages of your manuscript. When it's all said and done, I will pick the manuscript I fall in love with and can feel myself helping the most. In fact, it may have nothing to do with the things I mentioned above.

If you want to chat more with me, or have questions, or just want to find out how NOT cool I am then follow me on Twitter.  @HLVanFleet 


Now. Go forth and check out the other mentor's pages.