Son of a Pitch Round 2: Team Ursula Entries are LIVE!

soap-FINALHey, hey, hey! Are you excited?? It’s time for Son of a Pitch Round 2! (More on the contest here.) In this round, judges will leave critiques, and will cast their votes.

Team Ursula entries are all posted. We have some great entries! I’d love to read all of these books.

ursulaI’m really interested in learning more about the authors that entered Son of a Pitch: not only of Team Ursula entries, but all of them. I’m especially eager to know about the diversity in your books, and why you were inspired to write about diverse viewpoints. However, diversity in your story isn’t a requirement to get my vote, and I’d still like to know more about you and your book, no matter what.

If you want to let me know about you and your story (to try to sway my vote or otherwise πŸ™‚ ), please comment on this post (no comments on actual entries unless you’re a judge, please). If you would prefer to have a more private conversation with me, you can DM me on Twitter or on Facebook.

Here are links to the Team Ursula entries, so you can easily peruse them:






Entry 6: NASCENT





Check out the other Son of a Pitch teams here:

Elsie Elmore

Samantha Bryant

Em Shotwell

Tegan Wren

Kathleen Palm

(More links to come…)



30 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch Round 2: Team Ursula Entries are LIVE!”

  1. I’ve never lived in a world that wasn’t diverse, and so when I go to the page, it’s natural to write what I know, what I see, and sometimes, to write what I want to see in this world.

    Growing up military, the world opened itself to me. By the age of twelve I’d lived in five states and two countries. Each place was different and I had to learn a new culture and embrace a new cast of characters.

    What I write is inspired by the people and the places I’ve been (or want to go to ;-).

    Southern Cailfornia and my current hometown of Charleston, SC, were my inspiration for the diversity of cultural settings, while my earliest friendship group, my rainbow on an especially gloomy day, inspired the diversity in the friendships between the young Spoonsters.

    As far as why I want to represent different viewpoints, I guess because different viewpoints have shaped my life, and it’s really important to me that the people who shaped my life see themselves on the page.

    1. That sounds like a really interesting way to grow up. I think that would really open your mind to different cultural ways of thinking, and shape the way you thought yourself.

      Thank you for sharing, and thank you for showing the world how beautiful life can be when seen from many points of view.

  2. My story:
    I wrote a historical fantasy set in 18th century Orkney.
    I’ve wanted to write about selkies ever since I’ve heard of them, which was like back when I was 15. Back then I didn’t know “historical fantasy” was a subgenre, until I read Juliet Marillier’s breathtaking “Daughter of the Forest,” and just like that, I knew what types of stories I wanted to write.

    This ms didn’t happen until this year, and I still haven’t actually visited Orkney, but it’s near the top of my list! I’m teaching English in S Korea with my husband right now, and I wanted to stop by Orkney for a visit (and maybe spot a few seals) before heading back to the States. We’ll see if that happens!

    1. Oh, wow! South Korea! I’m jealous. For one, I’ll bet the food is amazing. Korean food is my hands-down favorite.

      I hope you get to see Orkney soon. Thank you for entering and I’m glad to have you on my team πŸ™‚

  3. If you watched much Sesame Street as a kid, you’ll remember the “One of these things is not like the other” part of the show. That one is me.

    Now you’re singing it in your head. You’re welcome.

    My submission is different. My genre is different. I probably don’t belong here, but here I am. In a pitch contest filled with amazing worlds, dystopian futures I hope we can avoid, and powerful personal stories, my book is essentially the memoir of a smart-ass, but with the camera lens focused on everyone else. But observation is what I’m good at, and I won’t try to be someone I’m not or write with someone else’s hands.

    At the last writers conference I attended, I felt more out of place than a donkey in a diner. Writing is not my career and it’s almost like the other attendees could sense it. But I’ve been in sales for twenty years and worked plenty of trade shows, so I bought books I don’t need and art I’ll probably never hang. Hopefully it helped a little.

    Maybe one day writing can be a full time gig. I hope so, because I can’t carry all these characters and stories to the grave. Coffins, after all, aren’t built for groups.

    My three young boys are the best things I’ve ever been a part of. When I think about what I want to accomplish in life, it mainly comes back to guiding them to becoming good men. I fail at it every day, and every day I try to do better.

    So that’s me and it’s as close to the bone as we can get at this point. I’m a middle-aged white guy and not exactly the most diverse or underrepresented individual. But I love words, just like all of you do. Good luck to everyone and hopefully we will all learn from this.

    1. Your book looks hilarious, and I know how it feels to be the odd-person-out in a group of writers. I’ve only been to one writers’ conference – RT this year in Vegas – and I felt like a blue-footed booby amongst swans. I did write a romantic suspense, and no matter how fun it was to write, and how much I do enjoy certain types of romance, romance is not my thing. I wish it were, since it sells so well, but I tend to write very strange stories with characters that have schizophrenia or addiction problems, and my plots tend to take left turns into different genres. Romance especially tends to be formulaic – there are very strict rules you have to follow to fit into the genre, with slightly different ones for every subcategory. So I was left to chew my lip and wonder how I’d ended up there, and how I could ever expect to find my audience.

      But, I’m discovering, my audience IS out there. It’s not bad to be different. In fact, the diverse books movement is basically about the promotion of stories told from new or underrepresented points of view. You may not be a diverse person, but your point of view is of course still valuable and wanted. You have something to contribute, something to give to the world. You COMPLETELY belong in this contest, and I’m proud to have you on my team.

      And most writers don’t get to write full-time. It’s unfortunately really hard to make a living this way, so don’t feel alienated for that reason.

  4. Well, since you asked about diverse viewpoints, I should tell you how I came about the topic of my book.

    Basically, the genesis of this book is an article I read in the paper about the daughter of a man in the UK caught with thousands of images of child pornography on his computer. The daughter was publicly condemning him, although she claimed he was a wonderful man right up until that point. To the media she said the things that the general public would expect, that he’s a horrible person and she wants nothing more to do with him, but I couldn’t help but wonder what did she feel inside? Which led me to think about the families of criminals in general. I wondered how it is they struggle to piece together what they now know about someone who was at one point very close and dear to them. What do they see, a monster? The person they once loved? Do they still love them? Or something else entirely?

    Usually, narratives about terrible crimes centre around the victim, their family or the perpetrator, but very rarely the perpetrator’s family. My book looks at this. I think it’s an under-represented viewpoint, and one that hasn’t been easy to navigate.

    They story is set in 2007 because, I travelled a lot in that year and all the places I write about I went to, and knew quite well (I imagine they have all changed by now). I wanted authenticity for time and place. My protagonist is running from her past – she just doesn’t want to know about it. But her subconscious won’t let her rest. The book is a document about her mental decline as a result of her suppressing her past, and it is about how the actions of others have altered the trajectory of her life irrevocably. I actually don’t think it’s fair to her at all, I still feel bad about what I put her through. But I think it is true, which , when it comes to writing, is more important.

    I’m an Aussie living in Belgium and a mother of two young children. I’ve written my whole life, but have only started seriously writing again two years ago. My writing has lead me into various non-fiction work, but fiction is still my heart, and always will be. Even if I don’t get very far in this contest, or any contest, I will still sit down at my computer, plug-in my headphones, and become another person for a few hours just to see the world through their eyes.

  5. Hey Ursula,
    I enjoy working with Hades in the underworld. We bad guys should stick together. You might enjoy my latest scheme to take over the world–a little YA story with some thrills and chills (and lots of romance, because we both know how pliable those human half-growns become when hormones are involved). My so-called heroine moves to rural Wyoming, where someone terrorizes her family. She thinks it’s her boyfriend’s vindictive ex, but naturally it’s not. I mean, what’s the fun in having readers guess the right bad guy? The real bad guy, though fictional, would make a great addition to our armies. Think about it. You can reach me in the flaming gulch, around the corner from the pits of despair…

      1. Old Man Boone. But beware my first query–I had a nasty fight with Hercules which left me in a slump. Thankfully, Hades has inspired me. The edit is better.

  6. Writing an intersex character was very important to me because as a member of the QUILTBAG community, I’ve seen how intersex individuals are pushed to the side, struggling with oppression socially and medically, by both cis and sometimes the QUILTBAG community itself. My story is a parallel and warning of a future not entirely implausible considering the continued political and social war we wage on people’s right to be who they are, biologically or socially.

    That said, it was also important to me not to… pretty up or downplay the situation. My particular story is graphic, but what we face today IS graphic and so is Andi’s (my main character’s) life and experience. But the story is about transcending what we “think” we are, and becoming the hero we need in our own life. Beyond the politics and implications, Trans Liberty Riot Brigade is about how we survive, the friends and family we make along the way, and how we win the day against seemingly insurmountable odds.

    1. I’m glad you’re on my team πŸ™‚ And I’m glad you didn’t pretty up or downplay the situation. The grittiness in your entry caught me by my proverbial balls and yanked me into the story.

  7. For me, writing diverse viewpoints in my book (and the series it’s intended to start) was essential. The story is meant to explore the way different people view the world, its problems, and the solution to those problems. Naturally, having diverse viewpoints requires diverse people. I never sought to fulfill any kind of diversity quota. I merely listened to the voices behind these unique perspectives, and followed them to their sources.

    I myself am bi-racial. My mother is a Venezuelan first-generation immigrant, and my father has a range of Western European backgrounds, so I’ve been exposed to a variety of cultures growing up.

    Like Tim Haynes said, sometimes I feel a bit of an anomaly in the writing world. I actually have a full time position as a research chemist, but I have loved reading and writing and exploring the worlds of fiction since I was a child. As I got older, I also gained a fascination with mythology and supernatural lore, and it was only natural for me to start writing with what I knew and liked best. I hope someday my works will inspire others to write the way I was inspired by the woks of others.

    1. Thank you for your comment! Do you mind directing me to which entry is yours? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.

      Weird fact – I studied chemistry for a couple years, wanting to be a research or synthetic chemist. I had to quit for various reasons…

  8. Hi, I entered an Adult Fantasy. Looking forward to getting feedback from everyone!

    FORGE BAY is essentially about the depth of friendships, and the inevitable fallout when loyalty and duty collide… (including fun tidbits such as conflicting magics, a harsh but vibrant landscape, Vikings [sorta], soul mates and lovers, fighting and spying, rebellions and betrayals.) See the pitch and query here!

    I included diversity in my story because that’s what the world is! I also know what it feels like to be different. Thankfully, I could find sanctuary within fiction, especially SFF. I hope that my novel can resonate with people who may not often see people like them represented in a SFF landscape.

    I guess, as a background to why I wrote this story… it’s a morph of a morph of a story that’s been rattling around in my head for years. I was inspired by lines of gray… stories where it was hard to tell the “good guys” and the “bad guys” apart because each are flawed and nuanced. I finally wrote the basics of this draft in fits and starts in veterinary school, and have been revising/rewriting bits since then while taking breaks to write other things. So excited that it’s finally in the stage for other people to read it and give feedback!

    1. I will check out your story. It sounds awesome. Thank you for your exploration of diversity.

      I’m totally with you with regard to the grey line between “good guys” and “bad guys”. I love writing the “bad guys” so that you end up identifying with them despite yourself, and the “good guys” so you end up wanting to smack them sometimes.

  9. My story is featured on Team Hades (Eden). As a nurse, I’ve always been fascinated with how drugs change our bodies and manipulate our minds. So I wrote a story about it. Mix that in with another curious question of: where do all the missing people go, and viola you have my story. My story is a battle between the MC and her captors (an immoral underground research facility) to discover not only what they’re trying to do to her mind but what they plan to use that information for in the future. It has elements that seem dystopian, but it’s not. It’s set in contemporary times, in the here and now, which makes it quite a bit creepier. I love stories that have this battle for control and that’s what I’ve tried to incorporate in my story. Hope you enjoy it!

  10. My submission (THE DOLL TRAIN) is pitched as John Green’s LOOKING FOR ALASKA meets Walter Dean Meyer’s MONSTER when a black teen is framed and falsely accused of killing his best friend.

    Years and years ago when I wrote the initial draft of the manuscript, I knew I was bothered by the vast injustice in the country, but I didn’t understand just how deep the problem was and how I was a part of it. My first draft fed into every stereotype of a black man. My main character was poor, came from a family of drug dealers, got bad grades in school, was aggressive, and to top it off was an unreliable narrator who didn’t remember the events that led up to his best friend’s death. Yeah, on the very last page of the manuscript he turned into the hero, but up until that point I was only encouraging readers to not change their perception. I cringe reading that first draft at how naive I was to the very problem I was writing about. I thought I was writing this great, world changing book, but it was only giving people another reason to treat others unfairly.

    I think it’s important that we not only write diverse books, but we write them well. Whether that be by proving all stereotypes wrong or by writing a culture so well that our readers want to experience it for themselves. As someone who isn’t part of the community I wrote about it can be a little daunting. My upbringing was filled with white privledge, and I’m hoping that despite that I can still do this story justice.

    News and media give me a lot to work with in terms of inspiration. There’s a particular scene that always gives me chills. My main character is having a conversation with a police officer and starts to notice how the police officer is tensing up, flinching, and even stepping backwards. One of my favorite lines stems out of this scene. “But I see. That’s the thing about being dark. The only thing that separates me from them is skin. Everything else is the same. My eyes work just like his do. So I see. I see it all.”

    1. Nice! It’s hard to tackle issues related to other oppressed/diverse communities. I’m glad you’ve really internalized this difficulty and learned from it. This is the point of diverse books to begin with.

      Thank you for your story πŸ™‚

  11. My story is what you might call “inspired by the mentally diverse.” I have an anxiety disorder, and up until recently it was undiagnosed. When I was a teen, it felt like I saw the world differently than others. I lived outside it and found it hard to participate, often wondering if I was there at all. I was certain that, as my MC Tori thinks, “Perhaps some people are lies the universe never meant to tell.”

    At 13 I had a year-long, incredibly intense battle with depression. In my confusion about what was happening to me, I hurt so many people who loved me. It took me a long time to forgive myself for that.

    In NASCENT, Tori literally sees the world differently. She sees people who aren’t there, and feels a buzzing in her head – a frequency that changes dependent on various factors like stress or the presence of a “non-person.” She accidentally stabs a loved one, literally hurting them vs. the metaphorical harm I did, and now has to deal with that guilt. She has panic attacks, but she also has best friends, people who love her, and a purpose. On her journey to find Terrance and rescue him from the necromancer who stole him away from her, she learns she is capable. Capable of magic, of forgiveness, and of not only saving the love of her life but also *herself.*

    I wanted to see people like me, who sometimes aren’t sure what’s real and what’s not. People like me, who are told that we imagine too much, feel too much, think too much, *are* too much, but somehow feel like we’re never enough. I wanted to see someone like me being unsure, frightened, brave, and triumphant. I wanted to see the characters who love people like me and never give up on them, despite our own self-destruction.

    I wrote this story because I didn’t see myself in books before. Now I do.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and Tori’s. I love how you’ve used your story of someone like you empowering herself, to empower yourself. I identify, because this is sort of why I wrote THE OTHER PLACE SERIES, which has neurodiverse characters and characters that struggle with addiction. I was trying to write a place in the world for myself.

      I’m glad to have you on my team, and I hope Tori’s story is published soon.

      1. I love the term ‘neurodiverse.’ I’d never heard it before today! I always struggle with what terms to use when identifying myself. I’m not super fond of the simple phrase, “I have a disorder.” While it’s true, it’s not exactly empowering like ‘neurodiverse’ is.

        Addiction factors in NASCENT when it comes to the villain. That’s way past the 250 that are up, though, and the inspiration for that story arc isn’t mine to share publicly.

        I’m super interested in reading your work! It sounds like you’ve done an excellent job making a place where you – and those who aren’t understood – can find a home. Thank you for believing in that. It’s so important, and gives me so much faith in the world we live in!

        Thank you for your kind words!

        1. Yes, I love the term “neurodiverse”. It’s a much better and more descriptive term, in my opinion, than “mentally ill” or anything else. We’re not sick (or at least not usually). We just think differently. It can be a struggle, but it can also be beautiful in ways people who haven’t experienced it can’t really understand. At least that’s how I feel…

          1. Definitely! I’m 100% certain that if I didn’t see the world I do, my stories would not be the same.

  12. My YA fantasy, JAGUAR CHILD, is part of Team Maleficent. It’s set in an indigenous rainforest village that has never had contact with the outside world. While the culture I created isn’t based on any specific real-life culture, I enjoyed researching Amazon cultures. Sadly, many groups have been eradicated and/or little is known about them. I think it’s really easy to look at these groups of people in a diminishing light, viewing them as “primitive” and somehow less important because of their remoteness and lack of connection with the outside world–and often we do this without even realizing we’re doing it. One of my goals for JAGUAR CHILD was to both celebrate cultural differences and to show how we’re the same in so many ways. Our cultures may put different expectations on us, but we all desire to be loved and to belong.

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