Saturday, April 13, 2013

4 Announcing the Judges for the May Pitch+250 Contest

We would like to introduce all of our fabulous judges for the May Pitch+250 contest. We are so excited to bring together a brilliant group of individuals who all give so much of their talent, expertise, and kindness to the online writing community. We're beyond grateful to have them all participating in this, and we hope that we will be able to make some good things happen to a lot of writers!

Click here for all the contest details! 

Round 1 Judges - YA Bloggers

Brenda Drake

You all know Brenda, right? She's the genius behind Pitch Madness. She writes young adult and middle grade novels. Look for her debut young adult novel, LIBRARY JUMPERS, coming February, 2014 and its sequels February, 2015 and February, 2016 from Month9Books.

Follow Brenda on Twitter
Brenda Drake Writes

Talynn Lynn

Talynn has been writing books, stories, and theatrical plays for the past 25 years. She has been working on the first book of a series based on her family history and the historical the events surrounding her family.

She is busy writing the 2nd book in her family heritage series, and she’s also written several YA books she is querying. Also under her belt is a children’s series, released on the Android App, ZigZag Stories. Her first children’s book was loosely written based on the creative imagination of her 8 year old son and his side kick and partner cousin.

Currently, she is an Editorial Intern for Entranced Publishing, a book reviewer for Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg, and a writer's assistant to Kate Brauning, who is an assistant editor for Month9Books.

Follow Talynn on Twitter
Ink in the Book

Natalie Aguirre

Natalie Aguirre is an aspiring middle grade and YA fantasy writer. She’s an attorney by day, a wife, and a mother of one child. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She joined Casey as a blog partner on March 7, 2011. She interviews authors, many who are debut and/or middle grade authors, and spotlights their books with ARC or book giveaways on Mondays.

Literary Rambles

Dahlia Adler

Dahlia is an Assistant Editor of mathematics, a Copy Editor of romance, a founding member of YA Misfits, and a YA writer trying to become a YA author. She's also on a quest to make the perfect French macaron and enjoying all the flawed ones along the way. (Except the ones she accidentally made with garbanzo bean flour.) She live in New York with her husband, who makes seriously good challah and mostly doesn’t mind when she yells at the TV.

Follow Dahlia on Twitter
The Daily Dahlia
YA Misfits

Kate Hart

Kate is a young adult writer and history nerd represented by the lovely and brilliant Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.

She and her husband build treehouses, and on Fridays she writes the round up at YA Highway. She has two little boys, an oversized garden, and a fairly strong Southern accent.

Follow Kate on Twitter
Kate's Blog
YA Highway

Julie Musil

Julie is a YA author represented by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency. She's wife to her high school honey, and the mother of three amazing sons. When she's not shuttling my boys here, there, and everywhere, she's either tapping away on her keyboard, researching for nonfiction, or keeping up with writing tips and markets.

Follow Julie on Twitter
Julie's Blog

Jaycee DeLorenzo

Jaycee is a graduate of Northern Arizona University with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Art Education. She has lived most of two of her three decades in Tucson, Arizona, and still lives there now with her wonderful husband, a precocious three-year old Diva, and an adorable infant son whose smile melts her heart like nothing else. By day, she teaches English Language Learners between the ages of 5 and 12, and by night she's a wife, mom, writer, Romance Diva, voracious reader, blogger, web designer, and cover artist. She write New Adult romances here and there, when she has time.
She's a member of Romance Divas, Romance Writers of America and The Saguaro Chapter of Romance Writer's of America, and a NA Alley Sister.

Follow Jaycee on Twitter
Jaycee's Blog
NA Alley

Kristin Lenz

Kristin Lenz is a social worker whose career has taken her from a teen runaway shelter to an urban hospital, from rural Appalachia to inner-city Detroit. Currently, she lives with her husband and daughter in Michigan. She is the newsletter editor for the Michigan chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is a contributor at YA Fusion

YA Fusion

Jennifer Malone

Jennifer is a contemporary middle grade and YA writer with a love of juvenile pop culture (if it was an ABC Family Movie, she probably can quote it). She also teaches in the Film program at Boston University, drawing on her experiences as former New England Head of Publicity and Promotions for 20th Century Fox and Miramax Films. She is a contributor at YAtopia.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter

Jolene Haley

Jolene is a 26 year old writer and lover of all literature. She loves it so much that she got her degree in English, much to the dismay of her father (who suggested Business), and she's currently not using her degree at all to pay rent.

She is using her degree and her love for literature by night, when she morphs into a full-fledged novelist, writing for pleasure, pain, and sheer need to get these stories out onto a piece of paper.

She contributes to several sites besides Pen & Muse, such as YA Stands, Brazen reads, and a secret project she writes anonymously.

Follow Jolene on Twitter
Jolene's Blog
Pen & Muse
YA Stands

Round 2 - Authors


Susan Dennard

Susan is a 28-year-old reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (She really likes swoon-worthy rogues).
She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on Twitter, Facebook, or Goodreads.
Susan's debut, Something Strange and Deadly, is now available from HarperTeen, and you will never believe how happy this makes her!

Follow Susan on Twitter
Susan's Website
Susan's Blog

Cynthia Leitich Smith

Cynthia Leitich Smith is the New York Times and Publishers Weekly best-selling author of the TANTALIZE series and FERAL series. Her award-winning books for younger children include JINGLE DANCER, INDIAN SHOES, RAIN IS NOT MY INDIAN NAME (all HarperCollins) and HOLLER LOUDLY (Dutton).
Her website at was named one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet by Writer's Digest and an ALA Great Website for Kids. Her Cynsations blog at was listed as among the top two read by the children's/YA publishing community in the SCBWI "To Market" column.
Follow Cynthia on Twitter

Gretchen McNeil

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown. Her YA horror POSSESS about a teen exorcist debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011. Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – was released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59 – sci fi doppelganger horror about two girls who are the same girl in parallel dimensions who decide to switch places – is scheduled for Fall 2013. Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) about four very different girls who form a secret society where they get revenge on bullies and mean girls begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Balzer + Bray. Gretchen also contributed an essay to the Dear Teen Me anthology for Zest Books.
Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk. Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday." She is repped by Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Follow Gretchen on Twitter
Gretchen's Blog
Gretchen's Website

Talia Vance

Talia writes YA novels when she's not wrestling a giant Saint Bernard Puppy for the television remote. GOLD, the sequel to SILVER will be out September 8, 2013. SPIES AND PREJUDICE will be published by Egmont June 11, 2013.
Talia has been writing since she could talk, making up stories for every doll, stuffed animal and action figure she could get her hands on. She grew up hoping to write the great American novel, but her life ran more along the lines of tortured romance and fast paced thrillers, so that's what she writes. She is a contributor at YA Muses.
Follow Talia on Twitter
Talia's Blog
Talia's Website

Janet Gurtler

Young Adult Author. Cranky before coffee intake. Books to date include, I'M NOT HER, IF I TELL, WHO I KISSED and HOW I LOST YOU! Janet is a board member of WGA and member of SCWBI, CANSCAIP. She eats too many carbs. She loves socks. Little kids crack her up but mean adults are on her naughty list.

Follow Janet on Twitter
Janet's Blog
Janet's Website

Round 3 - Agents

Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

Christa Heschke graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009. Within Children's, Christa is interested in fantasy (urban and high) horror, thrillers/mysteries, steampunk and contemporary fiction, but is open to exploring other genres. Christa is a fan of novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. Within fantasy, she is looking for something that pushes the boundaries of what's currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on this popular genre that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys humorous contemporary, adventure and magical realism for boys and girls.
Follow Christa on Twitter

Emily Keyes, L. Perkins Agency

Emily has a growing list of clients and is also the Contracts and Foreign Rights Manager. She’s very passionate about YA and teen novels and is looking to acquire in that area.

Previously, she was a Contracts Administrator at Simon & Schuster, Inc. and a writer for “The World Almanac for Kids.” She is a graduate of the NYU Publishing program and knowledgeable about many areas of publishing, and an expert on all things “Sweet Valley.”

Follow Emily on Twitter
Emily's Blog

Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary

Laura Biagi joined JVNLA in 2009. She is actively building her own client list, seeking adult literary fiction and young readers books. She also handles the sale of Australian and New Zealand rights for the agency. She has worked closely with Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz on their titles, as well as Jennifer Weltz on the submission of JVNLA's titles internationally.

Laura's writing background has honed her editorial eye and has driven her enthusiasm for discovering and developing literary talent. She studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University. As a writer, she has participated in workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

Laura grew up in a small town in Kentucky and maintains a fondness for Southern biscuits and unobstructed views of the stars.
Follow Laura on Twitter

Alyssa Henkin, Trident Media Group

Alyssa Eisner Henkin is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Trident in December of 2006, she spent seven years at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editing the NY Times bestselling Little Quack, The Mother Daughter Book Club, and The Wedding Planner’s Daughter. Alyssa is currently seeking middle grade and young adult novels, as well as projects with crossover appeal in women’s fiction. She is especially drawn to mysteries in mansions, adventures that suspend disbelief, wish-fulfillment premises that linger with what ifs, epic love stories, and settings tilled with strong regional flavors.
Alyssa is seeking middle grade mysteries in mansions, wish-fulfillment premises that give goose bumps, and epic young adult/crossover love stories filled with strong regional flavors. She is constantly re-evaluating the literary landscapes to avoid areas that may be flooded with more of the same and to hone in on themes poised for growth. Above all, she digs deep when she sees potential, from editing, to title brainstorming, to securing the right publisher, to working intimately on marketing. “When author, book agent, and publisher work together, a book can go from a sleeper hit to a groundbreaking bestseller in a matter of weeks.”

Eric Ruben, The Ruben Agency

A graduate of New York’s Cardozo School of Law and a veteran entertainment professional, Eric has over twenty-five years experience as an attorney, literary agent, talent manager, and professional performer. His unique perspective is valuable to performers, writers, artists, and others. Working in partnership with a diverse clientele, he determines how best to move their careers forward and achieve their personal, professional and artistic goals.

Follow Eric on Twitter


  1. Wow! I'll have to type a whole lot faster to get my YA novel toned and shaped ;)

  2. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a judge with so many other fantastic authors/bloggers.

  3. Ah, the siren's call of the pitch contest. How can I resist?


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