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  • Writer's pictureMia P. Manansala

Mia & Kellye's 2020 Pitch Wars Wishlist

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

We are the super awesome Adult mentor team Mia & Kellye (no fancy team names here) and we love mystery/crime fiction

**We are open to reading NA. However, since NA isn’t really a thing in our genre, there’s a good chance that we might request that you simply pitch your book as Adult come Agent Showcase.**

IMAGE 1: Spy Dossier saying Pitch Wars

Mia P. Manansala

Date of Birth: November 16

Citizen: USA

Languages: English, Some Tagalog

Marital Status: Mind Your Business

Listed As: Language Specialist

Codename: Murdermongeress

File No.: 23DHI6


Hair Color: Dark

Eye Color: Dark

Height: Tall

Body Type: BIG

Marks: Four Tattoos

IMAGE 2: Spy dossier saying Pitch Wars

Kellye Garrett

Date of Birth:

October 18

Citizen: U.S.

Languages: English

Marital Status: Unknown

Listed As: Language Specialist

Codename: ThePlotWhisperer

File No.: AS2D89


Hair Color: Dark

Eye Color: Dark

Height: Average

Body Type: Average

Marks: N/A

Greetings, Pitch Warriors!

For those of you who are new to Pitch Wars, it is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each, read their entire manuscript, and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for an agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents.

It's a fantastic program that has changed many lives and also introduced both Mia and Kellye to a wonderful writing community. For more info on the program itself, go to the website.

Now, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to submit to us killer manuscripts in the crime fiction genre.

Agents Kellye and Mia are specialists in traditional mystery (stories featuring amateur sleuths as opposed to professionals solving the cases) and PI novels, but also love psychological suspense and domestic thrillers that aren't too dark.

Our WANTED List:

  • Crime fiction that combines a great voice with a strong main character, doses of humor/wit, and some amazing plot twists.*

    • For characters, think Stephanie Plum, Kinsey Millhone, V.I. Warshawki, Detective Lou Norton, Roxane Weary, Elvis Cole, Charlotte Holmes, Cass Raines, or (a throwback favorite of Mia's) Jessica Fletcher.

    • For writers, think Laura Lippman, Amina Akhtar, Megan Miranda, Lori Rader-Day, Elizabeth Little, Harlan Coben, Naomi Hirahara, Louise Penny, Alex Segura, Agatha Christie, Alexia Gordon, Peter Swanson, Gigi Pandian, Steph Cha, and Robert B. Parker.

  • We’re particularly passionate about uplifting BIPOC and other underrepresented voices, though you should feel no need to “out” yourself as part of the process.**

*We are not the best mentors for anything involving serial killers, pedophiles, child rapists, and abuse of any kind. There is an amazing group of crime fiction mentors this year who are perfectly happy to tackle dark subject matter, and we wouldn't want you to waste an entry on us.*

**Of course, you don't have to be a marginalized writer to submit to us but your story shouldn't just be populated with straight, white cis characters.**

Communications Intelligence:

Our communication style is very hands-on, but we prefer to chat online through Facebook Messenger or Gchat while revising in Google Docs. We can also do Zoom since it is the Pandemic Communications Tech™ of choice. Text messages or other social media DMs are cool too, but Mia is a typical Millennial and phone calls give her anxiety. Kellye just hates the phone.

Revision Techniques:

We have ways of making you talk. *cough* I mean, we have ways of helping you bring out the best in your manuscript.

You can expect editor-level big picture edits and detailed line edits that might make you want to *coughCURSEcough* totally love us. We’re especially strong with plot, dialogue, character development, and humor. We’ll start with your plot, including plugging in plot holes and developing say-what-now?! twists and reveals.

Once you’re happy with your story beats, you’ll be off to revise. While you’re revising Act One, we’ll be checking in with encouragement (AKA bugging you to chat about nonsense--but not on the phone!). Then we’ll line edit Act One while you work on Act Two. We’ll rinse and repeat the process for Act Three, then do another round of edits until your manuscript is shiny and agent-ready!!!!!

Now that you know what we're looking for and how we work, you're probably asking yourself, "Who the heck are Mia and Kellye? Why should I sub to them? What bomb ass lip shades are they rocking?"

All very relevant questions! (And Fenty Mattemoiselle in Flamingo Acid. You're welcome ^_~)

Assets (AKA why you should choose us):

To start with, we're both Pitch Wars vets.

Mia was a 2017 mentee (her mentor was none other than the amazing Kellye Garrett) and has mentored since 2018. Kellye was a 2014 mentee who has mentored every year since then and was also 2018's Managing Director. (She's also mentor liaison this year where she kinda mentors the mentors.) So we know how it feels to be in Pitch Wars from both sides.

We're extremely hands-on.

Seriously, got a question? Don't hesitate to ask. The world of publishing can be so confusing (and frustrating and a few other choice adjectives) especially in 2020 with the world feeling like a dumpster fire and part of our job as mentors is to help you navigate through it.

We're both mystery writers!

Mia’s debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House. It’s an #OwnVoices Filipino-themed culinary cozy, and the opening chapters won the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award and the 2018 Hugh Holton Award.

Her Pitch Wars novel DEATH COMES TO COMIKON also won the 2017 William F. Deeck – Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship.

Kellye’s Pitch Wars novel HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (formerly called IOU) was published by Midnight Ink in 2017. It won the Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, and IPPY awards for Best First Novel. It’s about a mega-broke, semi-famous black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. The second in her Detective by Day series, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, came out in 2018 and was named one of the TODAY show's "Best Summer Reads for 2019!" It was also nominated for Anthony and Lefty awards.

Kellye’s currently working on Like A Sister, a Megan Miranda-esque #ownvoices domestic suspense standalone novell about a woman looking into the overdose death of a one-time reality star found within blocks of her house—her own estranged younger sister.

Agent Dossier (AKA our bios):

Mia P. Manansala (she/her) is a writer and book coach from Chicago who loves books, baking, and bad-ass women. She uses humor (and murder) to explore aspects of the Filipino diaspora, queerness, and her millennial love for pop culture.

She is the winner of the 2018 Hugh Holton Award, the 2018 Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award, the 2017 William F. Deeck - Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, and the 2016 Mystery Writers of America/Helen McCloy Scholarship.

​A lover of all things geeky, Mia spends her days procrastibaking, playing JRPGs and dating sims, reading cozy mysteries, and cuddling her dogs Gumiho, Max Power, and Bayley Banks (bonus points if you get all the references).

Her debut novel, ARSENIC AND ADOBO, comes out May 4, 2021 with Berkley/Penguin Random House and is the first in the Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery series. Pre-order it here!

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @MPMtheWriter

Or check out her website:

Kellye Garrett’s first novel, Hollywood Homicide, was released by Midnight Ink in August 2017 and was named one of BookBub’s Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time. In addition to receiving starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, it won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novel. It was also nominated for the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel and Barry award for Best Paperback Original. Hollywood Ending, the second book in her Detective by Day mystery series, was chosen a best mystery of 2018 by Suspense Magazine, Book Riot, and CrimeReads, which called it the most fun book of the year. In addition to being featured on the TODAY show’s Best Summer Reads of 2019, it was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original and a Lefty Award for Best Humorous Novel. In addition to writing, she currently serves on the national Board of Directors of Sisters in Crime and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color alongside Walter Mosley and Gigi Pandian.

Kellye previously spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder.

Known Associates:

If you’re nosy like us, you can find Kellye’s 2014 Pitch Wars entry here and Mia’s 2017 Pitch Wars entry here.

And if you’re super-nosy (also like us), you can find Kellye’s previous mentees' entries by clicking the following links:

Kristen Lepionka (2015) (This awesome book was published as Last Place You Look in 2017 and won a Shamus Award!!)

Mary Keliikoa (2016) (This amazing book was published by Camel Press this year!)

Suzanne Park (2016) (Suzanne had not one, but two books coming out this year!)

And Mia and Kellye's previous mentees:

Meg Long (2018) (Meg’s post Pitch Wars YA Fantasy novel COLD THE NIGHT FAST THE WOLVES will be out with Wednesday Books in Winter 2022 )

Manju Soni (2019) (Manju signed with agent Jessica Craig of Craig Literary for her Pitch Wars novel, CHEKHOV’S HAMMER.)

If you have any additional questions, please hit us up on Twitter:

You can read Manju’s Success Story about working with us here.

This site also has some additional Pitch Wars resources, including Mia's Success Story interview where she explains exactly what it’s like to work with Kellye, and more cool stuff. Click here!

To see what the other Adult mentors are looking for, click the links below. Or head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors. Good luck!

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