OH NO! I’m a little late to the party, but I brought a REALLY GREAT bottle of wine! (Pinot Noir, of course.)
Like a ton of crazy fun writers I’ve recently met online, I’ve been in serious training mode the past month or so to enter the 2016 #PitchWars. I decided the time was ripe (well—actually, a bit overdue) to go ahead and #PimpMyBio for the Pitch Wars mentee blog tour.
I’m Keli Vice. I live in middle of Sonoma County wine country in Northern California. By day, I consult for amazing wineries who make some of the most incredible wine on the planet (for real—this is not an exaggeration). This is Cab country (Alexander Valley), Zin country (Dry Creek Valley … and NOT the pink kind), Pinot country (Russian River Valley). Yes, they also make a crap-ton of Chard, but I’m a card-carrying member of the ABC Club (Anything But Chardonnay).
Books are the foundation of my life. I have been kicking people out of my room because I’M READING since I was seven. (Seriously. Ask my sister.) I regularly stay up hours after my husband, bleary eyed and yawning, just because I have to know what happens next. Thank God for my back-lit iPad and a consulting schedule that allows me to sleep ’til 7:45am and still start working at 8:00am.
I have a strange habit of re-reading novels. Like multiple times. (Most people think this is insane.) I will not even admit how many times I’ve read the Outlander series. I always find some new turn of phrase or different take on a scene—Diana Gabaldon is my hero.
Like many of us working on getting our first full novels out there, that pesky day job and mortgage have kept writing on the side for many years. I have seven book ideas in various stages of development—one complete and edited enough to participate in Pitch Wars this year.
The manuscript that is complete is a YA romance with a paranormal twist, but not all of my books are YA. I also write NA and Romance and am working on a screenplay.
I love writing dialogue. When working on a novel, I usually write the beginning, then the end. Then the key scenes in the middle. Then connect all the dots. I have days where I can’t write a word. I have days where I fall into writing only to emerge out of the rabbit hole hours later. I’ve become more of a plotter than a panster.
My #PitchWars Novel
I’m entering a completed YA manuscript titled Shift (67,800+ words).
After fending off a drunken pass from her best friend’s boyfriend, 17-year-old EMILY WESTIN is left thoroughly “unfriended” in every sense of the word. Now dreading the senior year she’d dreamed about, she soon becomes entangled in a strange relationship with an intriguing new student … who is not quite as human as he seems.
It’s the first day of senior year … and all EMILY WESTIN wants to do is crawl back into bed. Over the summer, her best friend LYLA’s lecherous boyfriend made a stupid drunken pass at her. Unfairly blamed, Emily was demoted overnight from one of the cool kids to unfriended social outcast.
Things look grim as Emily navigates her way through the first day of school, but to her surprise, a new student steps up to defend her from Lyla and her boyfriend MARK DUNN’s verbal abuse, and an unusual relationship is born. New students are not all that common at Kennedy High, and SAM JACKSON attracts a lot of attention. He’s stupid-gorgeous, and quickly displays uncanny athletic abilities. Though he’s mysteriously aloof and distant, he seems to keep an awfully close eye on Emily—especially when Mark Dunn is lurking about, eyeing Emily like she’s the one that got away.
As Emily adjusts to her new social status, she and Sam are paired up to work together on their senior project. The more time they spend together, the more intrigued Emily becomes. As the chemistry grows between them, a series of strange events brings her growing suspicions about Sam and his family to a boiling point. Determined to find out what the Jacksons are hiding, she spends the evening spying on their house, and ends up learning far more than she bargained for. The boy who has stolen her heart is definitely not what he seems.
I’ve been querying for a month or two—had a few nibbles (yea!), a few rejections (ouch but part of the game), a few I’m waiting on. And here I thought writing the story was the hard part!! I’ve got my fledgling “author platform” underway (which is really interesting when you have no “there, there” yet!)
Why I Want to Work with You
Shift is a promising young story—with lots of romantic YA appeal and characters that teens can relate to (we all have our teen beta readers who love our stories, right?). BUT … with the expertise and advice of one of you fabulous PitchWars Mentors, I want to transform it from a promising story to a solid story to a great book.
Why You (Hopefully) Want to Work with Me
I will work hard. Really hard. I’ve spent years in corporate marketing, so I know how to take feedback on a project, incorporate it and turn in into something better. I want your constructive criticism to make this story stronger, better and more believable. I’m ready to tackle the rough parts and reshape the characters into bigger, brighter more interesting people.
And … did I mention I will work hard?
- Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw (I wanna be a Gryffindor, but the sorting hat insisted)
- Faction: Erudite (the nice ones)
- Favorite YA Novels:
Harry Potter (esp. The Goblet of Fire), The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Raven Boys, Percy Jackson, The Selection, Forget Tomorrow. And yes—I loved and love Twilight, that much-maligned book from way-back-when that sold 100 million copies and might just have started it all for today’s YA market, so let’s give Stephanie some props.
- Favorite non-YA Novels:
Too many to list. A handful: Outlander (all of ’em), The Help, Eat Pray Love, The Pelican Brief, The Prince of Tides, The Art of Racing in the Rain, The Secret Life of Bees.
- Favorite Princess: Belle (‘Cause she’s a geek who reads and saves her father, herself AND the beast — ‘nough said.)
- Favorite Villain: Loki and anything played by the late, great Alan Rickman
- Favorite Ice Cream: Chocolate on Chocolate
- Favorite Movies: Love Actually, Pride and Prejudice, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love, Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather (I and II), Shreck
- Favorite Baseball Team: SF Giants
- Favorite Yoga Move: Dancer
- Favorite Beach Activity: Snorkeling
My Street Cred
I have an BA in English from UCLA and wrote for a magazine in LA for the first few years after school. Then I got into PR and worked for a tiny audiophile record company that made specialized reissues for hi-fi stereos on gold CDs (great product, bat-shit-crazy owner). After that, I ran the publicity department at our performing arts center and got to rub shoulders with folks like Bonnie Raitt, Wynton Marsalis and Carole Burnett. From there I entered the wine industry and moved through PR and Marketing into consulting. Today, I develop and manage websites, email marketing programs and social media outreach for winery DTC departments (that’s Direct to Consumer for those of you outside the industry).
I have two awesome teenaged daughters, a marathon-running husband, a teeny 5-pound rescue cat who’s a badass birder and the sweetest Lab on the planet. Seriously, the sweetest.
If you got this far down the page—THANKS! I appreciate you reading my pimped up bio! Good luck to all this year’s PitchWars Mentee hopefuls—and THANK YOU to all the PitchWars Mentors. See you in the Pitch Wars thread on Twitter.