Saturday, August 2, 2014

I'll be your champion #pitchwars

It is that time of year again! If you don't know anything about Pitch Wars, start here!

This is my third year as a Pitch Wars mentor and undomesticated equines could not remove me (super-duper bonus points if you get that reference) from this competition! Let me tell you a little bit about myself and what I'm looking for...

My name is Sarah Nicolas (duh) but I also write adult romance under the name Aria Kane. I'm in the publicity department at Entangled Publishing, but started out there with a few years of reading slush for the publisher. My YA debut, Dragons are People, Too will be out early in 2015. I also blog at YAtopia and video blog at the YA Rebels. I'm represented by Rebecca Podos at the Rees Literary Agency.

I'm a whedonite, a whovian, and am still convinced I'm going to marry Leonardo (the Ninja Turtle). I play a lot of wallyball and my day job is planning events for a public library. My social media links are in the sidebar to your right if you want to find me on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, or other places.

This year, I am a mentor for both YA and NA.

What do I like?
  • science fiction
  • fantasy
  • urban fantasy/paranormal
  • magical realism
  • contemporary, but only with a strong hook
  • lgbt
  • multicultural & foreign settings
  • strong voice
  • subversion of cultural norms, especially gender norms
  • supernatural creatures that we haven't seen much of
  • EDIT: hey, guys, when I say I like sci-fi and fantasy, that means everything. So if your question is "are you interested in [any sff sub-genre besides hardcore horror]?" - the answer is yes.

What don't I like?
  • on-screen rape, no exceptions
  • historical (EDIT: straight up historical. historical with some sort of SFF element is golden. For example, I'm reading RIFT by Andrea Cremer right now and am loving it)
  • hard-core horror
  • NA plotlines no different from all the others out there

Why should you choose me to be your mentor?

As a publicist for YA and NA books, I study the market every day. As a former editorial assistant, I have editorial experience and will push your book to the next level.

My former mentees have gotten agents and book deals after my mentorship and it's not because I take it easy on them! If you want a mentor who is going to take on your project, tweak a few sentences and tell you it's perfect, I'm not the girl for you! But if you want to have a true partnership where we make something beautiful together...

If you have questions, I'm very open to answering them for you so please leave them below. I will not, however, answer specific questions about whether or not I'd be interested in your specific book as I don't think it's fair.

Check out the other mentors' bios and wishlists:

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.


  1. Hi Sarah, in terms of fantasy, are you interested in fairytale retellings and dark themes (some gory scenes but not that graphic)?

    1. yep :-) I love retellings. but, of course, they need to be fresh.

  2. Hi Sarah, I know you mentioned you're not interested in overdone NA plotlines, but do you have any particular feelings on NA Contemporary Romance?

    1. yep, i'm looking at NA contemporary romance, but what I said above applies - it must have a strong hook and it must not be like every other NA contemp romance out there. One of my mentees last year, Jennifer Blackwood, had a NA contemp romance. The main character is trying to get into medical school but she's plagued by her father's legacy - he helped her mother with assisted suicide and the case is frequently discussed in medical ethics discussions.

  3. Worth it is ALWAYS better than easy, and I'm totally down for the trip of a lifetime.

    Or two. It IS the doctor, after all.

    What sort of sci-fi are you into?

    1. i edited my post a bit and added a bullet point because i've been getting a lot of these types of questions. I love all SF subgenres!

  4. Oh man, your upcoming book looks AMAZING. Just from the title alone, and then the description.
    ANYWAYS, you had me at the absolutely adorable pictures and at your awesome-sounding critiques (I'm the sort of masochist that loves to have her books torn apart). A dragon-filled, desert-world high fantasy here, and I can't wait to pitch to you!

    1. :-) thank you! i look forward to reading your query.

  5. Are you into pirates? Its a YA fantasy romance steeped in Middle Eastern culture.

  6. Hi. You sound awesome but I wanted to make sure to ask if you are comfortable with YA books that have a lot of cursing, underage drinking, drug use, violence and sexual references (although no sex and nothing graphic). I don't know if you've ever read Going Bovine by Libba Bray--but think along those lines if you have. :) So, are you okay with that or would you prefer something more PG?

    1. yes! I think books should represent the broad spectrum of teen experiences.

    2. Awesome! Looking forward to pitching you. :)

  7. Hi! Could you explain a bit of your mentoring process to us? Thanks!

  8. Hi Sarah, I was wondering if you were interested in unlikable MCs. In my YA fantasy, my MC is pretty arrogant yet whiny, but he has an awesome female best friend who reels him back in when he needs to be. She's also the one protecting him and not the other way around.

    1. It depends. i can handle an "unlikable" MC if it's done well.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hi Sarah,

    Are you open to a YA contemporary UF with "weredragons" since that is what you write? Some mentors have notes about conflicts of interest.

    Your book looks great, BTW.

    Kelly (fellow dragon lover)