My Pitchwars Mentee Bio

TLH7ED_vHi everyone!

So excited to be taking part in #PitchWars this year. I took part in #Ficfest earlier this year and found it to be an absolute blast!

I’ve been meaning to get involved in #PitchWars for a couple of years now, and it’s been great getting to know all you lovely mentors and mentees. Seems like there’s a big, varied mix of people from all walks of life, which is exciting. I’m seeing friendships taking shape across the #PitchWars feed, so whatever the outcome, it’s nice to know we’ll all reach the end of #Pitchwars in much more agreeable company.

I only learned about the #pimpmybio hashtag late last night. I’m about 5-8 hours ahead of many of you guys thanks to that chuffin’ timezone nonsense. Sincere apologies for how late I am in posting this as a result, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading all the same 🙂

So, without further ado…

About me

Liverpool_Pier_Head_from_ALbert_Dock.jpgI was born and raised in Liverpool, England – home of the Beatles, Daniel Craig and girls that wander around in their pyjamas with soup cans in their hair.

I mispent my early adulthood in New York, working for a pittance in a costume shop while interning for free at various animation studios, then Vancouver for a few years before moving to the wrong side of the Pennines and settling down in fantastic Leeds, UK. My leafy suburban neighbourhood is peppered with sparkly-eyed students, young families, elderly folk who greet the dawn with the scratch of a yardbrush, and a family of pewter-furred foxes who like to squabble outside my living room window.

harshestofcriticsramona.pngI share my home with Rob, a fellow writer and my partner of nine years, and our ‘furry daughter’ Ramona. Here we see her casting a scrutinous eye over my manuscript. Best critique partner ever? Possibly!

By day, I work in marketing for a charity that provides free debt advice and support to thousands of struggling people and families across the UK. When not filling my evenings writing, reading, watching stuff and (mostly) tweeting, I find time to attend my local writers group, peruse the wares at the fine comic shops of Leeds, visit friends and explore the local forest, parks and hills near my home. There’s always new terrain to wander, so I consider myself spoiled!

In a previous life I was Head Writer on seasons five and six of Ed Edd n Eddy. More recently I wrote graphic novels for Regular Show. Writing scripts is vastly different to writing novels (and this just in, water is vastly wet!). For the past five years I’ve been reading lots, writing…semi-lots, getting as much advice and brutal feedback as I can to get better at writing books, which is ultimately the dream I’ve been carrying around since I was a little girl writing stories about my Nan’s Scottish terriers.

My dream mentor

  • Enjoys quirky, fast-paced and tension driven writing
  • Enjoys folklore, comics, cartoons and history as much as I do!
  • Is ALL ABOUT DEM TWITTER GIFS. Because that’s pretty much your life forever if we become friends.
  • Loves snappy dialogue but can show me opportunities in my writing for stronger setting, description and action. I love writing dialogue, and found I could rely on this a lot in my previous work. Not so with books! Any lovely person who can give some guidance on this would be hugely appreciated.
  • Has an excellent grasp of pacing and structure – I’m an impatient writer and have to be careful not to rush through my story setup to get to the goodies!

For what it’s worth, you all seem amazing and I’d be honoured to work with any of you 🙂

Books I love

PLEASE PLEASE TALK WITH ME ABOUT BOOKS ALL DAY ERRY DAY. Any books at all, books books books! Comics, movies, comedians, musicians and TV too, I’m ravenous for all of it!

My pitchwars entry…

Is a Young Adult urban fantasy novel set on the Isle of Man, one of my favourite places in the world. AMARAN – THE COINS OF CRUELTY follows a mentally ill British teenager, a magical relic from his past life, his friendship with a sea god, and a game of chance that threatens the souls of his loved ones.



A wave was coming to devour the Isle of Man.

Eoin Wade waited on the ramparts of the Tower of Refuge. The small, neatly bricked fortress glowed red and green under artificial spotlights. It sat on a tiny patch of stone and sand some four hundred yards from the coast of Douglas. Even from this distance Eoin knew the wave would loom over the little tower, making it useless as a place of sanctuary.

Black hair trailed from his oilskin hood. Heavy metal screeched from the earbuds hanging from his shirt collar. Seagulls drifted above the wave, then backed off, shrieking.

Eoin’s heart hadn’t thundered like this since he killed his first Nord. His mouth hadn’t run this dry since his best friend turned to ash. He tasted death then, as he tasted it now, and it filled his stomach with cold cinders.

Eoin couldn’t decide what unnerved him more; the size of the wave, or its silence. Sometimes the ocean flails and screams like a drunk gone blind. There was none of that here. Only cold pursuit. The exposed seabed stretched below, scattered with pebbles and shells as always. Only tonight, fish spluttered and flapped in their vain attempt to breathe. The water had receded so fast it had left them behind. They gleamed like diamonds under the moonlight as they drowned on air.

Heavy boots thundered up the tower’s stairwell and crunched on the gravelled floor behind Eoin. He sniffed the air, smelled sweaty vodka, and then turned. “You shouldn’t be here.”

Pete Smythe, the local conspiracy enthusiast who raided Eoin’s pub bins, accosted his customers, and howled suspicion at him on a weekly basis, held onto the brickwork to catch his breath. He stank of urine, but not his own. Pete’s urine carried notes of Fremniran spiceworm larvae and piccalilli sauce. Eoin could have asked how Pete got hold of the fire realm’s most popular snack, but there was no time. Tonight’s piss medley was from drunken townsfolk unable to wait until they got home. For years they’d relieved themselves in the bus shelter Pete sometimes slept in on warm nights like this.

“I knew you’d come.” Pete said, wagging a fingerless gloved hand at Eoin. “You were never one to bail on an oath.”

Pete clung to Eoin’s shoulder to steady his footing on the rampart, and then rubbed his hands. “No point hiding who you are after this, lad. Although you’ve given it your best shot up to now.”

Eoin bristled at the word ‘Lad’. He was older than Pete could ever know, but there were no lines on his face to argue otherwise. He’d laugh at the man’s sweeping naivety, if he wasn’t so terrified. Not for himself, but for the many sleeping souls at his back.

An idea stirred in the darkness. An insane notion from a time Eoin had strived to forget.

Pete plucked a camera from his inside coat pocket. Eoin grabbed it and tossed it onto the beach some forty feet below. Pete scrambled to leap after it, and for a moment Eoin wondered if he should let him. Few people would miss Pete, he wagered. He was a raving lunatic to most, and his kin were long dead or estranged from him. Poor mad fool. Harassing Eoin was all he had.

Eoin dragged Pete back by his jacket. “Do you have a deathwish?”

Pete grinned, his foul breath filling Eoin’s nostrils. “You can’t hurt me. I’m under your protection like everyone else here.”

“More’s the pity.” Eoin said, pulling him back off the ledge.

They flinched at the screech of iron on stone in the distance. The wave was running roughshod over a beached trawler. Eoin shoved Pete away, sending him skidding on his arse towards the stairwell. “Disappear. Now!”

Eoin plummeted from the Tower of Refuge, his jacket riffling behind him. Suspended in that bubble of time between leap and land, Eoin hoped his bones wouldn’t fail him. He landed in a crouch. Jagged stone grazed his palms, but he was otherwise intact. Pete’s camera crunched under his boot. Eoin heard the brown-toothed misfit scream something about a replacement as he sprinted across the parched sand towards the wave.

Water doesn’t choose where it’s going to flow, at least not the water that mankind is used to. This wave did seem to exercise a choice, however. It should have been spilling over the edges of the bay by now. It should have been rushing through front doors and dragging parked cars down streets. Instead, it was funnelling into Douglas Bay, charging towards Eoin even as he charged toward it. He stopped with around fifty yards between him and the wave. He lifted his hand against the moonlight. His skin was so pale it sometimes glowed silver. Faint scales shimmered on the backs of his hands, made more visible in the presence of seawater. He felt tiny gills flutter open behind his ears. They brought more air rushing into his lungs, but this air was sweeter. More alive. His sleeping senses stirred. The cliff walls of the surrounding bay glimmered blue and pearl. His blood coursed cold then hot then cold again through his veins. He heard the songs of his home from the wave, songs unknown to the ears of man.

The wave slowed, and then stalled some ten feet before him. Eoin stepped forward, his hands knotted tight at his sides. “What do you want?”

Of course, there was no answer. He was expected to draw closer, or to turn his back and walk away so he could be devoured. His throat tightened. His fingers itched. Could he do this? Could he do what his mother did with such ease?

Eoin stepped closer to the trembling slab of water. Shoals of fish darted ghost-like in its darker reaches. A shadow fell. Eoin leapt back. A face of brine and froth lunged at him from the wave. Glassy teeth gnashed. Out of the creature’s mouth rattled curses in a language Eoin long thought dead. His hand ploughed through the apparition, reducing it to seaspray. The wave writhed and thrashed, and more transparent faces emerged. Their spindly hands flailed in liquid jets.

It all made sense now; the constant scent of ink and bile on the air. The endless news coverage of floodwaters rampaging across parts of coastal Britain. The Sea Hag’s army had tore through river and reef to find Eoin. No more time. No more air. Death loomed and rumbled before him. He’d be torn to shreds before the wave even filled the cove.

Eoin pushed his earbuds back in place. He raised his pronged hands before him. The words came surging out of his deepest memories. Past the blood, past the ice, past a woman’s shadow against a red sun. They filled his throat, rushed against his teeth and into the open air.

“Err forra neer,” he said in a voice like rainfall, “Vens pana tee en smay?”

His words set ripples racing through the wave. The faces twisted, snarled, hissed. The water bubbled and boiled. The wave melted into one giant mouth lined with thousands of tiny, razor teeth. Its throat stretched on and on into the bowel of the sea, an endless churning column that reduced fish to chum and scales.

“Did you not hear what I said?” Eoin almost laughed. His fingers pulsed as the wave lunged mouth first. “Sod off!”


Here be more smashing #Pitchwars mentees – do check ‘em out 🙂



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