Sunday, December 6, 2015

Meet the Judges! Pitchmas 2015

MEET THE JUDGES! Pitchmas 2015 official judge list!

Introducing 2015's Holiday #PitchMAS participating agents and editors!

Logo Awesomeness courtesy of S.P. McConnell


We're waiting on a few more judges to confirm, but we couldn't wait to introduce you to our OFFICIAL judges!! A few not mentioned will also be requesting from the hashtag during the twitter pitch party, but were unable to participate on the blog pitches themselves. 


*Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary: Kevan Lyon is a Literary Agent and partner with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She has more than 20 years in the publishing business, including 10+ years as a Literary Agent and many years on the wholesale, retail and distribution side of the business, Kevan brings an informed and unique perspective to her work with clients. Her background on the buying and retail side of publishing affords her helpful insight into the challenging world of retail bookselling and distribution.
Kevan handles women’s fiction, with an emphasis on commercial women’s fiction, young adult and all genres of romance. Her list includes NY Times and USA Today Bestselling authors Jennifer Armentrout, Marie Force, Laura Kaye, Jamie McGuire, Jennifer Probst, Kristen Proby, Molly McAdams, Jennifer Robson, Laura Griffin and several others.
Kevan works with her clients to help them realize their dreams of being published and to build a long term career as a writer. The Marsal Lyon Literary Agency strives to partner with their clients on all phases of the publishing path. When not reading clients’ work or obsessively monitoring email, Kevan loves to walk near the beach with her 4 legged office mates.

For more information on the agency and their client list, visit their web site at, visit their Facebook page, or follow Kevan on Twitter!

Wishlist: Women’s contemporary and historical fiction, romantic suspense, Contemporary romance and young adult. 

*Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary: ABIGAIL SAMOUN was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years, working on a wide range of projects, from board books to young adult novels. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, and the Pura Belpre. In 2011, Abigail made the transition from editing to agenting, co-founding Red Fox Literary. She is the author of several children’s books, including What’s In Your Purse? (Chronicle Books, 2014) and the Little Traveler board book series (Sterling Publishing).

Abigail likes to organize her library according to which authors would get along well together (the Brontes next to George Elliot, Lois Lowry next to Margaret Atwood). Abigail lives in Sonoma, California with her entomologist husband, a chihuahua, a gaggle of chickens, and a curious little boy named Tristan. Visit

Wishlist: I'm an anglophile so anything British and Victorian captures my attention (THE SECRET GARDEN was one of my favorite books as a kid). I also like Gothic stories, ghost stories with a fresh approach, contemporary fantasy, a heart-stopping thriller, or a concept-driven, psychological horror story that really gets under your skin (like Caroline Cooney's THE FOG trilogy). I'd love to find a middle-grade that's set in its own strange, fantastical world, like A Series of Unfortunate Events or any of the Roald Dahl books. For YA, I'm on the look-out for a romance about two social misfits who have an "us-against-the-world" outlook. I'd also love a historical YA that doesn't feel dusty or distant, but really steeps you in the time and place and where the characters feel vital and intimate. I was born in France so I have a soft spot for European settings (particularly Paris). My tastes are fairly eclectic, but I do have a hard time really falling in love with sci-fi or futuristic stories. The three principle things I look for are good storytelling, a fresh approach, and a care and respect for language.

*Nicole Resciniti, The Seymour Agency: Nicole has been listed by Publisher's Marketplace as a top dealmaker in the country, and named ACFW's 2012 Agent of the Year.
She loves discovering new talent and helping established authors to take their career to the next level. Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She holds degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Nicole taught in the public school system and has worn many hats before heeding her calling to become a literary agent.

Wishlist: HEA’s are a must for romance. Mainstream suspense, thrillers, mysteries, YA and inspirational novels are welcome. A consummate science geek and card-carrying Mensa member, Nicole would love to find the next great science fiction/fantasy novel or action/adventure masterpiece. 

*Laura Zats, Red Sofa Lit: graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. While completing her studies, she took advantage of her love of Young Adult (YA) literature and wrote a thesis on identity formation in YA. She’s been working as an editor since 2011 and has held positions at companies in both the US and the UK. In 2013, Laura joined Team Red Sofa as an intern but quickly became more of an apprentice, leveling up to Associate Agent in the same year.

Even though she loved YA books first, titles that are Middle Grade, romance, and Sci-fi/Fantasy have been slowly taking hold. Picking a favorite genre now would be like choosing between puppies and kittens. In her free time, Laura likes to craft, swing dance, bake, and binge on Netflix marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who.

Wishlist: Young Adult — Fiction, especially contemporary. I love funny and gritty, especially when the two go together. Interested in geekery, retellings, innovative storytelling, and authentic voices. Please no paranormal romance, contemporary romance, dystopia, Chosen One plotlines, or didacticism.
Middle Grade — Fiction, especially contemporary. Prefers smart, literary writing disguised as adventures. Looking for books that are heavy with STEM and will appeal to girls and boys.
Contemporary Women’s Fiction — Looking for funny, lighter fare. Think Sophie Kinsella.
Science Fiction/Fantasy — Must pass either the Mako Mori or Bechdel tests. Love non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor. Please no high fantasy.
Romance/Erotica — Especially contemporary. Must be feminist, have verbal consent throughout, and feature an independent, smart heroine. Please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids.
New Adult — I want the same things as I want in YA, but will also consider contemporary romance.

Wish list for every genre and category: feminism, diversity (in all forms), unconventional storytelling techniques, and voice-driven narratives.

*Lane Heymont, The Seymour Agency: Lane Heymont was born in Pennsylvania. He has been a lifelong reader and writer. As a child, his grandfather would pay him $5 to read the best literature had to offer. Such titles included Ivanhoe, the Iliad, the Odyssey, A Tale of Two Cities, and more..
Serving as a Literary Assistant for two years at the Seymour Agency, Lane Heymont led the marketing efforts for their authors and enjoyed connecting clients with readers.

Lane was promoted to associate agent in July of 2015.

Wishlist: Romance (all sub-genres, especially romantic suspense, sweet, small-town)
Military sci-fi
Tolkien-esque fantasy
Scientific sci-fi
True crime

*Courtney Miller-Callihan, Sanford J. Greenburger and Associates: Courtney Miller-Callihan joined Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in 2005, after several years’ working in Random House’s subsidiary rights and contracts departments. A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz and The Johns Hopkins University, she specializes in romance, women’s fiction, and young adult novels, and is particularly drawn to fresh and original voices, strong and smart heroines, and new takes on classic tropes. She lives in Southern California and travels frequently for meetings and conferences. Visit her agency website at or find her on Twitter @millercallihan.


1) lighthearted YA, especially novels about friendship or novels with strong romantic elements.
2) upmarket high concept women's fiction (I love: historical settings, romantic stories, magical realism, multiple POVs, settings that are like an extra character, stories about sisters)
3) fiction in any "genre" I represent with a diverse cast of characters (POC, LGBTQ+, and differently-abled characters especially welcomed)
4) romance in almost any subgenre (I don't do inspirational, dubcon, or noncon)
5) smart, strong, capable, funny heroines

*Peter Knapp, New Leaf Literary:  Peter Knapp is an agent at New Leaf Literary & Media, where he represents fiction for all ages. Previously, he was an agent at The Park Literary Group. He began his career as a story editor at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based movie and TV entities. His clients include Melanie Conklin (COUNTING THYME, Putnam/Penguin), Soman Chainani (author of the New York Times bestselling THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL series), Lucy Keating (DREAMOLOGY, HarperTeen), Brenda Drake (THIEF OF LIES, Entangled Teen), Anna Michels (26 KISSES, Simon Pulse) and Will Walton (ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, Scholastic). He graduated from NYU and lives in Brooklyn with his husband.

Wish list: I am actively looking for high-concept middle grade, young adult and speculative adult fiction. I love a story set in a big world with high stakes, a memorable voice, and a fresh premise. I particularly want fantasy novels with unfamiliar settings--that explore a particular corner of a bigger fantastical world. I also love bittersweet middle grade. I would love to find a laugh-out-loud funny middle grade or young adult novel.

*Mark Gottlieb, Trident Media Group: Mark Gottlieb’s focus on publishing began at Emerson College, where he was a founding member of the Publishing Club, later its President, overseeing its first publication and establishing the Wilde Press. After graduating with a degree in writing, literature and publishing, Mark began his career with the Vice President of Berkley Books (Penguin), working with leading editors. His first position at the Trident Media Group literary agency was in foreign rights, selling the books of clients around the world. Mark later worked as Executive Assistant to Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident, with responsibility for organizing/managing diverse authors and their complex business transactions. He next assumed the position of audio rights agent. Since Mark has managed the audio rights business, the annual sales volume has more than doubled. Mark showed great initiative and insight in identifying talented writers. In passing the Audio Department's torch, Mark is building his own client list of writers. He is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available to Trident. Since that time he has ranked as high as #1 in Agents on in Overall Deals. He has also ranked #1 in categories such as Science-Fiction/Fantasy, Children's, and Graphic Novels. He has ranked in the top five for Thriller, Mystery/Crime, Womens/Romance, Young Adult, and certain nonfiction categories such as Pop Culture, Memoir, How-To, and Humor.
Wishlist: Mark accepts all submissions, except for short stories, poetry and textbooks.

*MacKenzie Fraser-Bub, Trident Media Group: MacKenzie Fraser-Bub's interests are wide-ranging and include women’s fiction, fiction, romance, new adult, memoir, cooking, sci-fi, and lifestyle, and she is seeking new clients in all areas. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors Kyra Davis, Paige Weaver, Jay Bonansinga, and J.B. Salsbury.

Wishlist: Women’s fiction, romance, new adult. Specifically, I love books set in the South, the beach, dogs, strong heroines, smart & sexy men, and people with relatable problems.

*Beth Phelan, The Bent Agency: Beth Phelan is originally from Fall River, Massachusetts but now lives in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of New York University, lifelong reader and dog person. After holding positions at Waxman Leavell Literary (then called the Scott Waxman Agency) and Howard Morhaim Literary, Beth joined the Bent Agency in 2013 where she represents authors of both fiction and nonfiction. She favors poignant, bittersweet stories with sparks of humor and is always looking for diverse writers and authentic characters in all her submissions. She can be found at, and on Twitter at @beth_phelan.

Wishlist: In fiction, she is looking for strong story-telling and richly-drawn characters in young adult of any genre; select middle-grade; female-driven domestic suspense, mystery and thrillers; adult contemporary romance; and general literary and commercial fiction, including some women’s fiction. When it comes to non-fiction, she is selectively building a list limited to cookbooks and humor/pop culture.

*Heather Flaherty, The Bent Agency: Heather Flaherty grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and started working in New York City as a playwright during college. After much country hopping and some work in editorial, Heather became a YA and Children's Literary Scout, consulting with foreign publishers and Hollywood regarding what the next big book will be. Now as an Agent, she's thrilled to grow authors for that same success. @HeddaFlaherty

Wishlist: Currently, she's looking for authors of Middle-Grade and Young-Adult fiction, as well as select Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction projects. For YA, she's looking across all genres, and loves an excellent and authentic teen voice. For MG, she's looking for more realistic stories (either contemporary or period), about coping, coming-of-age, or situations seen through the eyes of a young person. In Adult, she leans towards upmarket fiction, female-centric thrillers, commercial women's fiction, as well as humor and pop-culture non-fiction and teen memoir.

*Victoria Lowes, The Bent Agency: I was born and raised in Queens, New York and graduated from the City University of New York, Queens College. Before joining the Bent Agency, I completed internships at Serendipity Literary and the Carol Mann Agency

Wishlist: I’m looking for both commercial and literary fiction as well as young adult titles. My favorite genres include historical fiction, suspense, mysteries, upmarket women’s fiction, and romance.

*Erzsi Deak, Hen & Ink: Erzsi Deak is the founder of the boutique literary studio, Hen&ink. She is an agent, a writer, and an editor. With nearly 30 years of experience on the international stage, Erzsi is most happy connecting individuals around the globe who can make things happen – no matter where you find yourself or what hat you are wearing. She is an editorial agent, pushing her authors and illustrators to go the extra kilometer to achieve sometimes surprising insights and results. Following the publication of Whitney Stewart's BIG SKY MIND (Albert Whitman 2015) and Ann Jacobus' ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT (SMP 2015), 2016 sees Susan Montanari's MY DOG'S A CHICKEN (Schwartz & Wade. PW calls it "a very funny debut") and WHO'S THE GROSSEST OF THEM ALL (Schwartz & Wade); Laura Gehl's PEEP & EGG series (FSG); and Andrea Zuill's MY DOG'S A CHICKEN (Schwartz & Wade). A two-time SCBWI Member of the Year awardee, she speaks on craft, “the market,” and current industry topics. She is pleased to announce that new independent publisher MAB Media will publish PERIOD PIECES: STORIES FOR GIRLS as one of its launch books in 2016. Her picture book, PUMPKIN TIME! (Sourcebooks, 2014, illustrated by Doug Cushman), has just been picked up by the Scholastic Book Clubs. Thanks to technology, she can work from France and be in New York and London at the same time.

Wishlist: Voicey commercial-literary MG fiction with hooks that don't let you go even after you've closed the books. Stories that mine the inner and outer plot lines with smart humor and emotional resonance using rich yet accessible language and writing. Levity, tension, and balance are hugely important. I want to laugh out loud, worry for these characters, and tear up (and then laugh out loud again). A la Robert McKee: "Don't bore the people!" For more details, see:

*Kaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary: Bio/Wishlist to come! @Kaylee_Davis

*Rena Bunder Rossner, Deborah Harris, Lit: Rena Rossner works at The Deborah Harris Agency, which is based in Jerusalem, Israel. She represents authors from all over the world. A native of Miami Beach, Florida, Rena graduated from Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars Program, where she double-majored in poetry and non-fiction writing. She also studied at Trinity College, Dublin and holds an MA in History from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She is also a writer of both fiction and poetry as well as the author of the cookbook EATING THE BIBLE, which has been translated into five languages.

Wishlist: Rena’s actively seeking Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult books. She is a big fan of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction across all genres (kids and adult). She also represent Adult Literary and Contemporary Fiction especially Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction and Thrillers. In general, her tastes skew more towards the literary, but she’s open to falling in love with anything in any genre.
Twitter: @renarossner

*Terrie Wolf, AKA Literary: a full-service agency that represents both commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction projects. Prior positions in publishing, international media, government, and education have bolstered the groundwork for our network of connections in print, television and film. AKALM is honored to focus on the whole enchilada when it comes to career building and multi-platform opportunities for our diverse list of clients and their endeavors. AKALM collectively represents adult fiction including upmarket women’s, all romance, the occasional mystery, thriller or suspense offering and soft horror. Terrie will also consider literary works that might lean a tad to the commercial side and all levels of children’s books. Her nonfiction interests include food/celebration, lifestyle, faith, memoir, empowerment, narrative and pop culture.

Wishlist: Exclusive to PitchMAS, Terrie would like to find a completely different cozy with fantastic characters, a fun adventure/thriller, and an exciting inspirational romance.


*Mary Altman, Sourcebooks: Mary Altman was born in South Carolina and still considers herself a Charlestonian at heart. Her love of reading came from an early obsession with The Hobbit andThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and she’s only gotten geekier over the years. She has a passion for travel and lives in a tragically unhip corner of Brooklyn with her fiancé and an overflowing TBR pile. She’s looking for unique, engaging single-title romance.

Wish List: I’m looking for all subgenres of Romance: contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, historical, and erotic. If you would go to the Romance shelf to find it, then it’s a good fit for me! I’m interested in books that have something interesting to say and am not afraid to take risks on the right book. (Firefly-esque Science Fiction Romance? Contemporary Capers? Sure, point me at them!) The key element for me is the hook. The hook needs to be catchy enough that it stands out in a crowded market and can be explained in 1-2 sentences.

*Tera Cuskaden, Samhain Publishing: Tera Cuskaden began working in the romance field as a proofreader and reviewer in 2005 and quickly wanted more. After working for multiple publishers as a final line editor, she applied to Samhain Publishing and is currently Senior Editor and Art Department Coordinator there. She has edited multiple New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors and is currently acquiring short and full-length romantic fiction in all genres. You can find her on twitter @teracus

Wishlist: Bad boys, billionaires, BDSM/kink, LGBTQ, stepbrother romance, biker romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance.

*Meredith Rich, Digital Editor, Bloomsbury Spark: Meredith Rich is the Digital Editor for Young Adult, New Adult, and Romance at Bloomsbury Spark. Previously she has been a historical reenactor, a regular actor, a barista, a playwright, a math editor, and a children’s bookseller. Her best days are spent with a good book and iced coffee in the park, preferably with someone else’s dog to pet and a proper Philadelphia soft pretzel. You can find her on twitter at @MeredithJHRich.Bloomsbury Spark is a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA, and adult readers. Our outstanding list features multiple genres: romance, contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi, mystery, thriller, and more.
Submissions email: BloomsburySparkUS at

Wishlist: I am looking for fresh women's fiction and steamy romance with strong characters, especially featuring strong and smart women! I would also love to see some fun and flirty manuscripts centered around holidays: Christmas, Valentines Day, summer at the beach, etc. I am also looking for steamy NA, diversity in fresh fantasy, and still hoping for the right YA tear-jerker!

I am open to submissions from agents and directly from authors, and for more information please see our guidelines at

*Kate Brauning, Entangled: Kate is an author of young adult fiction and a senior editor at Entangled Publishing. She earned her B.A. in English literature, then went on to teach high school English, and intern with a publishing house and a literary agency. She first edited with Month9Books before moving on to edit adult and YA fiction for Entangled Publishing. She’s represented by Carlie Webber of CK Webber Associates, with her debut YA suspense HOW WE FALL released November 2014 from Merit Press, F+W Media, to positive reviews from Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Voya, and Horn Book Guide. She runs the group industry blog Publishing Hub, and loves attending writing conferences and book fairs. Kate loves unusual people, good whiskey, dark chocolate, everything about autumn, bright colors, red maple trees, superstitions, ghost stories, anything Harry Potter, night skies, pie, and talking about books.

Wishlist: What I’m looking for: High concept, big hook, fast-paced YA/NA of any genre, particularly local disaster stories or a YA Breaking Bad. Anything like The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Dangerous Girls, orWarm Bodies
Literary YA and NA with that perfect balance of character-driven, thought-provoking story and a gripping plot and concept. Think This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers orWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart
High stakes YA & NA romance, including taboo romance, such as The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott, Unteachable by Leah Raedar, or Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Charming, heartfelt YA & NA of any genre, particularly dealing with sibling relationships, careers/passions, and complex friendships, such as This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, and Everything Leads To You by Nina Lacour
Messy, dark YA & NA of any genre. Toxic friendships, destructive romance, cult stories, unreliable narrators, unresolved endings, teens who swear and drink and want something but don’t always get it right, tough stories about teens who have to handle things we wish they didn’t. Think Sex & Violence by Carrie Mesrobian, Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir, and If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch.

In adult, if you have something similar to Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, What Alice Forgot, A Discovery of Witches, or the TV shows The Killing, Friday Night Lights, or Battlestar Galactica, but all with a little more romance, I’m interested. If your women are Claire Underwoods, Cannie Shapiros, Lisbeth Salandars, Leslie Knopes, Joan Holloways, or Lady Mary Crawleys, I’m interested. I’m particularly looking for women’s fiction that includes romance, and hilarious or clever submissions for our Lovestruck and Bliss imprints.


*Kisa Whipkey, REUTS: Kisa Whipkey is a dark fantasy author, a martial arts demo team expert, and a complete sucker for Cadbury Mini-eggs. She's also the Acquisitions & Editorial Director for YA/NA publisher, REUTS Publications. She developed a passion for storytelling at a young age and has pursued that love through animations, writing, video game design, and demo teams, until finally finding her home in editing. She believes in good storytelling, regardless of medium, and applauds anything featuring a snarky lead character, a complicated narrative structure, and brilliant, uncommon analogies. When not working or avoiding the rain like a cat thrown in a bathtub, she browses the submission pile, looking for the following:

*New twists on paranormal creatures (bonus points for vampires or zombies)
* Dark fantasy in the vein of Uprooted by Naomi Novik or Fire by Kristin Cashore
* Thriller/Suspense (think Gone Girl for a YA audience)
* Intricate, multi-layered narratives a la Inception or The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack
* Science Fiction (space opera or soft sci-fi, specifically)
* Dystopian in the style of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard or Legend by Marie Lu
* Mythology/Fairy Tale infused fantasy (Preferably not urban fantasy or paranormal romance)
* Gothic fantasy and/or romance (Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte, Dracula by Bram Stoker, and The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux are personal favorites of the team)
* Historical fiction (any time or place, as long as it’s accurate)
* Contemporary fiction (romance is fine, but not required)
* Paranormal satire in the style of Christopher Moore

*Curiosity Quills Press: Taking part in PitchMAS this year are a selection of Editors from Curiosity Quills Press including Lisa Gus, Andrew Buckley, Alison Nee Heller, and Kathleen Kubasiak.

At Curiosity Quills Press, we believe a book is a portal to another world, a break from reality that frees both mind and spirit. We want to bring a little piece of that magic to every life we touch with the written word. W. Somerset Maugham once said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” Everyone needs a place where they can relax, become another person, travel to a different realm. Welcome to CQ Press :)

Wishlist: Here’s what we’re ideally looking for this year: Contemporary, historical romance, historical fantasy, dieselpunk, and anything MG.

Get polishing those pitches!

xx Tam & Jessa

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