PITCHWARS 2016 - My Wishlist

Hello there, Pitches. I am so excited to be back again this year and I am equally excited that U decide to swing by to check out which category I am mentoring, and which genres I am hoping to see in my inbox. I can't wait to see what amazing manuscripts U (in case you missed it the first time) have in store for me.

But first … a little about me.

I’m Scarlett Cole, and I write contemporary romance and contemporary romantic suspense. I am repped by Beth Phelan (who I adore) at The Bent Agency. My Second Circle Tattoos series is published by St. Martin’s Press, and The Darkest Link, the fourth book in the series releases August 30th. I signed a 7-book deal with them earlier this year for two more series. My first book, The Strongest Steel was a double-RITA finalist at the Romance Writers of America conference, and a Best Debut Goodreads Author finalist.

I’m technically a full time writer, although there are days when I truthfully acknowledge that I am a part-time internet surfer. I’m an a-type personality and scorpio starsign so competing comes naturally. I love sour candy, hate olives, and feel like is too short to wear ugly shoes. I am dying to be blown away by your submissions.

Feel free to find me on twitter @itsscarlettcole if you have anything specific to ask.

So what am I looking for?


I was warned last year that narrowing my genres might limit my submissions, but I got oodles and oodles of fabulous manuscripts, so I am sticking with that formula. 

I am looking for Women’s Fiction or Romance. If you have a book that skates the line between the two, awesome. One of my favorite authors who pulls this off is Jennifer Robson. Look to her book Somewhere in France for inspiration. He’d probably hate me for putting him here, but Sidney Sheldon’s book If Tomorrow Comes is still one of my all-time favorites. Tracy Whitney’s story arc in that book is incredible, and the romance with her arch-nemesis is hot!

In Women’s Fiction, I want a really distinctive character arc. Give me books that could have been written by Anita Shreve. From the quiet progression of Sea Glass, to the unique way the story unfolded in The Last Time They Met. I also love Jodi Picoult and the way she crashes into contemporary issues.

In romance, I don’t care who is doing the loving, as long as they are consenting adults chasing a HEA. More than two people? Cool. LGBQT - I'm on it! Not quite human (like Laurann Dohner’s Cyborg Seduction or New Species series) – send them along. Consent is key (if unclear, tag me on twitter and ask). Romance authors I love? Jaci Burton's series romance is a go to favorite. I love Kathryn Le Veque for historical. Vivian Arend's Granite Lake Wolves and JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood are fave paranormals. I love Laura Kaye's Hard Ink romantic suspense series. Cherise Sinclair all the way for BDSM bad boys (I'd trade my husband for Master Marcus in a heartbeat). It goes without saying that sex is important so bring me your sexy!!

I’m on a quest for the happy ever after, but not before generous helpings of tension and conflict. I want to be so gripped by your story, whatever it is, that I can’t go to sleep at 2am because I have to know how it finished. If you have mystery/suspense in your story, keep me on the edge of my seat.

In romance, I love contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal, and historical, but will definitely take others. I’ll take everything from sweet to super-hot. I’m all for instant chemistry, but give me something more than flash and burn. If your romance/women’s fiction is inspirational/religious, I am probably not the right mentor for you. I am really hoping to see some strong heroines/protagonists with great character arcs.

Send me your broken and bruised, but wow me with their stories as they head toward their happy ever after. Give them flaws, make them human, but no dramarama conflict for the sake of it. Please don’t send me whiny or pushover heroines.

Bring me your bad … An evil antagonist, a monopolistic business, a corrupt administration, stalkers – anything that will make me wonder how our h/H will survive. Think big stakes, people. One of my favorite books? I already mentioned it. Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes.

Send me your small towns, submit your big cities, bring me your boats, tropical islands, and the Highlands … wherever it takes place, I want to feel your location as if it were a character in the story. Immerse me in the surroundings. I want to feel like I’ve been there by the time I finish the books.

Alphas all the way, baby … not a huge fan of jerks, so give me redeeming characteristics that temper bad boys. Betas don’t really float my boat, but I won’t automatically dismiss them if they wrapped up in a hugely distinctive women’s fiction premise where the protagonist’s journey is the spotlight. I’d love to see sensitively handled and well-researched social issues.

Random notes:

 I write third person, but I won’t reject a first person manuscript

 You have a romance genre I didn’t list? – Ask me if I am interested on twitter.

 No cliffhanger endings.

 Constant repetition of the same word at the start of sentences is enough to make me close the book, so check your manuscripts carefully.

What kind of CP/Mentor am I?

 I’m very straightforward. I spent years as a senior vice president of a $34 billion company. So I am a straight shooter. I want you to be successful, and I want to help get you there. I’ll tell you what works (the fun stuff) and will offer feedback on what doesn’t (the not-so- fun-but- oh-so- good stuff).

 I don’t expect you to make all the changes I suggest. My job is to challenge your thinking. I get how difficult it can be to have someone suggest you remove your favorite scene because it doesn’t develop the plot (true story - my editor does this to me), but this should be a partnership and you should totally feel comfortable to push back. My only request is that you think through the suggestion objectively before doing that.

 I am a character/plot/structure/pacing person – if you are looking for someone to fix commas or line edit, I am not the mentor you are looking for. (Tell me you didn’t say that like Obi-Wan).

 Ask my mentee @leahcollum what she thinks. She’s agented now, busy working on getting her book published 

Please take the time to check out the other mentor bios so you find the perfect fit for you.