Pitch Wars 2015


Greetings, Pitch Warriors!

It is no exaggeration to say that Pitch Wars 2014 changed my life. Seeing my name on the list of mentees was an indescribable thrill, followed by a whirlwind agent round with multiple requests and offers, and a contract with an agent who exceeds my expectations in every way on a regular basis. I owe a ton to this amazing contest and its generous organizer, Brenda Drake, along with my supportive mentor and pitch whisperer, Sarah Nicolas, and my awesome, sharp-eyed co-mentee, Shannon Cooley. I have met friends through this contest that I hope will be friends for life (waves to the supremely talented Mara Rutherford and Nikki Roberti.)

I’m so excited to be mentoring Middle Grade this year!


About Me

View More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/takaki-family

I work in a small town library and I have three boys, so my pursuit of great middle grade books is constant and enthusiastic.

My book, The Frost King, a YA fantasy that “won” the most requests in Pitch Wars last year, is represented by the supremely awesome Suzie Townsend (along with the amazing literary assistants, Jackie and Jaida) at New Leaf Literary & Media.

What I’m looking for in a mentee:

I’d like to work with someone who enjoys open communication, is willing to listen and discuss ideas, and who is willing to make whatever changes are necessary to make the book stronger. You don’t have to use all my suggestions but I ask that you consider them!

My critiquing style:

I’m a good cheerleader. I will tell you what I love, as well as what I think needs tweaking. I will (hopefully) not destroy your writerly soul with my critiques. I want to be your partner, your brainstorming help, your second set of eyes, and your biggest fan.

What I love in MG:

I love books I can read to my kids, but I also love books I can sink into and read on my own. Some of my favorite books:

The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney


The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer (I’ve seen it as YA as well, so possibly straddles upper MG and YA)

The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner

The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

anything written by Jonathon Stroud (creepy and full of voice)


anything written by David Walliams (heartwarming and funny)

gangsta granny

The Timmy Failure books by Stephan Pastis

timmy failure

The Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey

The Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park

The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne (although I like her retelling of The Odyssey even more!)

The 39 Clues series

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

As a kid, I loved C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Joan Lowry Nixon, Gordon Kormon, Judy Blume, Alan Garner, Robin McKinley and many more.

Though I admire books in the literary vein, my tastes tend toward the commercial. In upper MG, I tend to like more fantasy or sci fi, including things with a bit of a dark and creepy feel. In younger MG, I love humor, even if it’s a bit rude! (I appreciate anything that is action-packed and/or funny and appeals to boys). I may not know what I love until I read it, so I’m open to seeing something new! Or a retelling of something old, like myths or fairy tales.

Your turn! I can’t wait to read your submissions. Pitch Wars is an incredible opportunity to get help polishing and perfecting your manuscript, as well as showcasing your pitch and opening to a bevy of interested agents. Kudos on taking the plunge. No matter what happens, you should take pride in having the courage to submit your work. Good luck!

IT crowd gif

1. Kes Trester (co-mentoring with Jennifer Hawkins)
2. Mindy McGinnis (co-mentoring with Kate Karyus Quinn)
3. N.K. Traver
4. Kristin B. Wright
5. Laura Heffernan
6. Mary Ann Marlowe
7. Joy McCullough-Carranza
8. Lisa Lewis-Tyre
9. Jenni L. Walsh (co-mentoring with Trisha Leaver)
10. Sarah Glenn Marsh
11. Julie C. Dao
12. Kellye Garrett
13. K.T. Hanna
14. Jessie Devine
15. Rosalyn Eves
16. Jami Nord
17. Samantha Joyce
18. Helene Dunbar
19. Jenna Lehne
20. Linsey Miller
21. Jessica Vitalis
22. Stacey Graham
23. Dan Koboldt
24. Brighton Walsh
25. Kate Brauning
26. Lisa Maxwell
27. Wendy Spinale
28. Sarah Cannon
29. L.L. McKinney
30. Juliana Brandt
31. Scarlett Cole
32. Hayley Stone
33. Jennifer Blackwood
34. Kendra Young
35. S.P. McConnell
36. Nikki Roberti
37. Emmie Mears
38. Lori Goldstein (co-mentoring with Chelsea Bobulski)
39. Jennifer Hawkins (co-mentoring with Kes Trester)
40. Elizabeth Briggs
41. Ron Walters (co-mentoring with Meredith McCardle)
42. Fiona McLaren (co-mentoring with Dionne McCulloch)
43. S.M. Johnston (co-mentoring with Stacey Nash)
44. Max Wirestone
45. Jaye Robin Brown
46. Molly Lee
47. Rachel Lynn Solomon
48. J.C. Nelson
49. Holly Faur
50. Sonia Hartl
51. Natasha Raulerson
52. Marty Mayberry
53. J.C. Davis
54. Rebecca Wells
55. Michelle Hauck
56. Tabitha Martin
57. Rebecca Petruck
58. Sarah Henning
59. Alex White
60. Jeanmarie Anaya
61. Laura Salter
62. Wade Albert White
63. Brooks Benjamin
64. Margarita Montimore
65. Megan Grimit
66. Charlie Holmberg
67. Diana Gallager
68. Stefanie Wass
69. Tamara Mataya
70. Rebecca Sky
71. Kara Seal
72. Lee Gjertsen Malone
73. Katie Bucklein
74. Kevin A Springer
75. Brianna Shrum
76. Kate Karyus Quinn (co-mentoring with Mindy McGinnis)
77. Kim Graff
78. Emily Martin
79. Trisha Leaver (co-mentoring with Jenni Walsh)
80. Kim Long
81. Catherine Scully
82. Stacey Trombley
83. Stephanie Scott (co-mentoring with Valerie Cole)
84. Valerie Cole (co-mentoring with Stephanie Scott)
85. Lizzy Charles
86. Dannie Morin (co-mentoring with Alexandra Alessandri)
87. Kate Foster
88. Elly Blake
89. Julie Sondra Decker
90. Lady Lioness
91. Susan Gray Foster (co-mentoring with Monica Bustamante Wagner_
92. Kelly Calabrese
93. Sarah Nicolas
94. Kelly Siskind
95. Roselle Kaes
96. Monica Bustamante Wagner (co-mentoring with Susan Gray Foster)
97. Renee Ahdieh (co-mentoring with Traci Chee)
98. Traci Chee (co-mentoring with Renee Ahdieh)
99. Janet B. Taylor
100. Jessie Humphries (co-mentoring with Mara Rae)
101. Lynnette Labelle
102. Erica M. Chapman
103. Summer Spence
104. Marieke Nijkamp
105. Meredith McCardle (co-mentoring with Ron Walters)
106. Thomas Torre
107. Phil Stamper
108. J.A. Souders

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