Tuesday, July 19, 2016

#PitchWars Mentor Bio and Wishlist

Welcome to PitchWars 2016!!!

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a mentor again. There are so many fun, NEW things happening this year, too, so pull up a chair, sit down, and prepare to be thrilled :)

Let's start with the most important announcement of all, shall we?


That's right. I have teamed up with the super lovely, highly talented, and uber-fun Meredith Ireland! We are seriously so damn happy we can't stand it. We're all like....


This means y'all get a two-for-one! A tag team of awesomeness! A duo of delightful fun! 

So, who the hell are we and what do we know? We're glad you asked. Allow us to introduce ourselves and tell you why we're qualified to be your mentors...


Hello! I'm Kara. I'm a multi-published romance author represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. I currently live in Michigan, but was born and raised in a very small Central New York town. As Kara, I've written and published a variety of things ranging from erotic romance to young adult to Christian romantic suspense -- most of which have since gone out of publication.  My alter-ego, Lexi Lawton, recently signed a three-book deal with Entangled Embrace for a series of contemporary NA romances. 

  • I've worked as a professional acquisitions editor for a little over three years now. Until just recently, I was the Editorial Director for Anaiah Press, LLC. I had to temporarily step down due to some massive writing deadlines, but I'm still on-staff as a Senior Editor where I work with a small list of authors. Additionally, I'm a freelance editor and part-time ghostwriter. 
  • I have two college degrees: one in Criminal Justice and another in Paralegal Studies.
  • I did a very short stint as an Agent Apprentice with Corvisiero Literary Agency last year. Sadly, family issues prevented me from continuing on with them, but that doesn't mean I won't return to the agenting side of things in the future. Never say never!
  • I'm a huge Pit bull lover and advocate! Really, who wouldn't love these sad, pathetic, squishy faces??

  • I'm NOT a coffee drinker, but I can't go a day without a Pepsi. I also have a killer sweet tooth, and I have a constant supply of Hershey's and tootsie rolls on hand. 


Hi there! I’m Meredith, the second half of this power duo. I recently signed with Lauren Abramo of Dystel & Goderich for my Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance novel SCATTERED thanks to #DVPit. You can read about my agent journey HERE. I also have an erotic romance short story called Ink & Ocean coming out in 2017 in the kINKED anthology. 

  • As a 2016 Writing in the Margins mentee, I have a good feel for what you’re currently and about to go through.
  • I have a law degree I use some of the time.
  • I went to law school at U Miami (Go CANES!), and college at Rollins in Orlando, but I grew up in NYC.
  • I’m adopted. I was born in Seoul, Korea, but raised in an Italian American family.
  • Unlike Kara, I’m allergic to cats, but I have a goldfish named Emo that has lived for a freakishly long time.

  • Like any good writer, I love coffee and bourbon (just kidding… sort of)
  • I love to travel but I have two tiny people who rather like me here
And now, here are a few of our favorite things....

Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert)
Renegade (Lora Leigh)
Six of Crows (Leigh Bardugo)
Wait for You (J. Lynn / Jennifer Armentrout)
The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
Taming Darkness (Kat Daemon)
Bared to You (Sylvia Day)
The Saint (Tiffany Reisz)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Napolean Dynamite
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Minion Movie
The Godfather
Anything w/ Mark Wahlberg
Gone with the Wind (a problematic favorite)
Spy (w/ Melissa McCarthy)
Mad Men (I know, it’s not on anymore, but it still counts)
The Big Bang Theory
Modern Family
The Last Ship
Korean BBQ
Chicken Alfredo w/ broccoli
Soft pretzels with lots of salt
Chopped salads from Subway!
Peruvian chicken w/ every available side
A thick, tender, medium-cooked steak
Before children: rock climbing, cross-stitching, traveling, lifting

After children: missing my hobbies!
Scrapbooking, reading, going to the gym

Now that you know a bit more about us, we'll (finally) tell you what you really want to know...

What categories are we mentoring? 


What are we looking for? 



More specifically, we want...

  • Contemporaries with romance at the center of the plot
  • Romantic suspense a la Lora Leigh, Julie Ann Walker, etc.
  • New Adult stories that have the potential to be aged-up to the adult market. (College-set contemporary NA stories are a very, very hard sell right now, so while we are open to NA, if your book has the potential to be aged-up, your chances with us just got a lot better!) 
  • Contemporary-ish romances set in the 70s, 80s, or 90s.
  • Erotic romance. (If 50 Shades of Grey is one of your comp titles, please move along. We are not the mentors for you.) We would love to see something new and fresh. A female domme, perhaps. And please be sure there's an actual romance in your story and not just pages and pages of sex.
  • We love us some alpha males! Tough as nails on the outside with a sensitive heart. 
  • Characters over the age of 25-30 a la Something's Gotta Give.
  • Love triangles! Give us some heartbreaking angst with an impossible choice.
  • Taboo stories -- We love the dichotomy of, "We want each other, but we can't /shouldn't." Absolutely NO incest (step-sibling romances are okay) bestiality, pedophilia, or rape. 
  • Women's fiction with STRONG romantic elements.
  • Thriller & mysteries with STRONG romantic elements.
  • Very, very light sci-fic a la Station Eleven with STRONG romantic elements
  • Friends to lovers.
  • Exotic locales. Make us fall in love with places we've never been before!
  • DIVERSITY! We openly welcome and are excited for your diverse stories, so give us your LGBT, persons of color, and all your diverse characters. Remember... 


...And as long as you make us fall in love with your characters, we'll be happy!

  • At the end of the day, we want a strong, compelling voice that makes us want to follow along with a hero/heroine who has tension we fall in love with. 

Things that are firmly on our NO list...

  • Horror
  • Paranormal -- this means everything from vampires to ghosts to shifters to witches, fairies, dragons, etc. We're not looking for anything supernatural. 
  • Hard core sci-fi / fantasy or anything with a strong magic system. (There are better mentors out there for this type of stuff.)
  • Weak, whiney heroines
  • Virgins -- No. Just no. We want heroes and heroines who know what they're doing in the bedroom!
  • Rape. We absolutely do NOT want a story that deals with rape, has rape as a major or minor plot point, or has a character that dealt with a rape in their backstory that is then used as a character flaw. 
  • Historical anything. 
  • Cozy mysteries
  • Literary fiction
  • Dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic
  • Small towns in romance. We'll gladly take a look at WF, thrillers, etc. that take place in a small town. No "city girl moves to small town and falls in love with small town boy." No "character whose life falls apart and so returns home to small town and falls in love with past boyfriend/high school sweetheart." 
  • WF that centers around a Bed & Breakfast remodeling. 

N is for NO!
It's also the scavenger hunt letter you need ;)

Don't forget -- PitchWars Needs Your Help!!


Please, please don't forget to support PitchWars! Doing so not only ensures the continuation of a fantastic writing contest, it will also earn you a few extra entries. READ ABOUT IT HERE!

So, what's next? Check out the other mentors' bios and wishlists, and then hop on over to Brenda Drake's Blog for a complete list of participating agents and details on how to enter


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Monday, July 18, 2016

Re-branding and Book Updates

Last week, I shared some important updates with my newsletter subscribers. (Not signed up? Do so now!) And now, I'm going to share them with all of you...

Back when I started writing in 2010, I created the Kara Leigh Miller pen name, under which I wrote and published some rather steamy erotic romances. But then I had an idea for a young adult romance, (formerly known as The Georgia Corbins) which I also wrote and published as Kara. During that time, I was asked a lot about why I didn't create a new pen name for my YA stuff. And my answer was always -- Because I don't have the time or patience to create and maintain multiple social media accounts, and because I'd already built a following as Kara and I wanted -- no, needed -- to cash in on that from a sales standpoint. And I really didn't have any issues. 

Until I signed on with Anaiah Press, which is a Christian fiction publisher. For the record, I do NOT regret my time or my books with Anaiah. It's been such an amazing experience that I wouldn't ever change :) 

But clearly I couldn't continue to use the same pen name to write across a variety of genres like I had been. And so, it's come time to re-brand myself as an author. 

From this point forward, Kara Leigh Miller will ONLY publish young adult books. My alter-ego, Lexi Lawton, will publish the steamier New Adult and Adult books. If that's your thing, please feel free to follow Lexi on her website, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, sign up for her newsletter and get a FREE digital copy of Christmas Confessions -- an exclusive short story not available anywhere else!

Due to various reasons -- issues with the publisher, contract expiration, etc. -- FOUR of my books will no longer be available for purchase after the end of August....

Love and Other Games
Love by Number (Aurora Island Resort #1)
Love on the Rocks (Aurora Island Resort #2)
Love at the Edge (Aurora Island Resort #3)

I know this might not sound like a good thing, but it is! Because I'm in the middle of a major re-branding, having these steamier titles removed helps me achieve that goal. Plus, this now gives me the opportunity to revisit these books, re-edit, maybe even re-write portions and then re-release them as Lexi. Be on the look out for those sometime next year :-) 

If you follow me on social media, you'll remember that back in March, I was on the fast-track to having this book ready to release in early May. However, in a weird but exciting turn of events, the book landed in the hands of an editor at a publisher that I would love to sign with!

As a result, all of my carefully laid plans came to a screeching halt. I've recently heard back from this editor, and while she's interested in the series, there are some rewrites she feels need to be done before it's ready for publication. And after taking some time to really think about it and discuss it with her, I've decided to do it. All of her suggestions are spot-on and will only make the series stronger. I can't tell you how excited I am to dive back into this story!

Unfortunately, that means this series won't be published any time soon. I'm really hoping for sometime in 2017, but no guarantees. I do promise that this series WILL be back in the world at some point, though. I love it too much to just let it go.

While I've been busy working on the Collins Brother Series, I do have a lot of projects in the works and hope to have a new Kara book out sometime next year. In the meantime, this is what I'm working on....

Warped Remains -- A YA romantic thriller that's LOST meets AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. This is a co-written project that will be in front of an editor by the end of the month. 

Hallowed Ground (Graves Barren, Book 1) -- A YA paranormal romance series. It has the same tone and style and epic-ness of the Twilight Saga but without any vampires or werewolves. 

Untitled -- A contemporary YA romance that has a dual timeline (one told in present time and the other told via journal entries). It's a heartbreaking love story. 

Thanks for sticking with me, and until next time...