Dee & Jen’s Pitch Wars Bios & Wishlist

Hey there, Pitch Wars hopefuls! You know us as Dee and Jen and may have seen us hanging around together in cyberspace. We hang out in real life too, even though we live 450 miles apart. We met in the slush pile of Pitch Madness when I (Dee) couldn’t resist tracking Jen down and demanding respectfully requesting that she send me her manuscript to read. So it’s perhaps meant to be that now we both have books out in the world and we’re co-mentoring in a Brenda Drake contest, like the one that brought us together. We’ve even written a book together (okay, okay, there were seven of us, but at least you know we work well as a team).

Our official bios:

Dee Romito is an author and former elementary teacher. Her middle grade debut, THE BFF BUCKET LIST, is now available from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, with two more to come in 2017. She blogs about writing at I Write for Apples, where she and her team share tips to help fellow writers. Dee is also Co-Advisor of Buffalo-Niagara Children’s Writers and Illustrators. You’re likely to find her on adventures with her husband and two energetic kids, at the local ice cream shop, or curled up in a comfy chair with her cats. She loves to write, travel, and giggle like a teenager with her friends. You can visit her website at
Twitter and Instagram: @writeforapples 

Jen Malone writes humorous "girl power" MG adventures with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin and Random House/Dreamworks Films, and fun and flirty YA travel romances with HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Her middle grade titles include At Your Service, the You're Invited series (co-written with Gail Nall), The Sleepover, and Follow Your Art. Her young adult titles include Map to the Stars and Wanderlost. She once spent a year traveling the world solo, met her husband on the highway (literally), and went into labor with her identical twins while on a rock star's tour bus. These days she saves the drama for her books. You can learn more about Jen and her books at www.jenmalonewrites.comTwitter and Instagram: @jenmalonewrites 

Are we a great match for you?

We'll be mentoring middle grade, so first let's make sure you're in the right place. :)

The number one thing we’re looking for in a submission is voice. We’d love to get something full of voice with a great hook. Although that’s not to say quieter books that simply have a great story won’t get our attention too. Interesting characters are a big-time plus as well.

As far as what really draws us in, we both love contemporary, anything with pranks, heists, or capers, as well as light historical, stories with magical elements, sports, and humor. Smart or clever characters fascinate us, and so do fun or ingenious story lines.

Things that aren’t for us are horror, high fantasy, sci-fi, anything really dark or angsty, and bullying themes.

So you won’t find it surprising that some of our favorite TV shows, movies, and books are along these lines.

All-time favorite movies and TV shows . . .

Dee: Grease (and yes, even Grease 2), Field of Dreams, The Cutting Edge, Harry Potter, Oceans 11, etc., Friends, Seinfeld, Lie to Me, White Collar, 24

Jen: Almost Famous (“it’s all happening!”), The Parent Trap (the Linsdsey Lohan version with pranks galore), When Harry Met Sally, Bridget Jones Diary (I think I might be her), Thomas Crown Affair, The West Wing (have seen every episode 6-plus X’s, and (all-time fave) Gilmore Girls

Recent favorite movies and TV . . .

Dee: Crazy Stupid Love, Lincoln, Pitch Perfect, The Good Wife, The Grinder (why it was canceled I will never understand!), The Big Bang Theory, White Collar (listed here AND with favorites because it’s funny, clever, has great character relationships, and stars Matt Bomer)

Jen: Downton Abbey, Inside Out, Pitch Perfect, The Bachelor (mostly so I can giggle at quips on the show’s Twitter hashtag), Roadies, and Million Dollar Listing (I love real estate p*rn) (I’m also wondering if Dee is going to let me get away with using the word p*rn on her website. If so: #LifeGoalUnlocked) (Note from Dee: Sorry, Jen. he he he)

Favorite books . . .

Dee: I’ve been reading all the Sweet Sixteens books and loving them! The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society by Janet Sumner Johnson and The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop are two I loved that might give you an example of what I’m drawn to. 

Favorites besides those? It’s tough for me to nail down favorite books. Harry Potter, YES. The Truth about Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh, anything by Kasie West or Ally Carter, The Rosie Project by Don Tillman, and the sweet ones I read with my kids, like I Love You Through and Through. So that’s picture book through adult. Obviously I like variety. ;)

Jen: What kind of a sick twisted question is this? Anything by Meg Cabot, Lindsey Leavitt, Jen Lancaster, Christina Lauren, Gail Nall, Alison Cherry…. I like to LOL. Harry Potter is in a class all its own. 

Some recent five-star reviews went to Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, The Pages Between Us by Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom, Sticks and Stones by Abby Cooper, Up To This Pointe by Jennifer Longo, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and My Seventh Grade Life in Tights by Brooks Benjamin. There’s also this Dee chick’s stuff I kinda dig… (Note from Dee: I have a Jen Malone shelf!)

Dee also loves: sports (watching, not playing), photography, travel, sleeping in, chocolate, ice cream, baking, the beach, Hugh Jackman, and hanging out with friends and family. I also have a habit of taking on lots of things for the PTA, our local writing group, the online writing community, class reunions . . . I could go on, but this is long already. ;)

Jen also loves: long walks on the beach, fireside chats, and strong, sensitive types with swimmer abs. Hold on, wrong ad! Revised version: pajamas, excessive tote bags, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, color-coded bookshelves, adding stamps to my passport, gelato, my Mini Cooper, my long-suffering husband who cooks AND grocery shops, and my three kiddos. Please don’t ask me to put these in order, because my kids would not love knowing they may or may not come after gelato.

Dee (question for Jen): But do you love Piña Coladas? Getting caught in the rain?

How it’ll work:

Well that’s really up to you. We’ll do our best to get notes to you asap so you have plenty of time to fine tune your manuscript. There are two of us, so we have some options. We can both read right away, or one of us can give overall notes and we can save the other for a set of fresh eyes for line edits later.

Communication is up to you too. We’re fine with email, Google docs, Skype or Google chats, phone calls, or even the old-fashioned cup and string if we can get it to work long distance. ;)

Most importantly, THIS IS YOUR BOOK, and you should be happy with it and proud to put your name on it. Everything we give you is a suggestion, and while some might be stronger suggestions than others, you decide what to change. However, you should be entering this contest for feedback, not just to showcase what you already have to agents, so please be sure you’re willing to make changes and to have some discussions about what could make it better.
** Looking for the scavenger hunt letter? Head over to Jen's website ( to get it! Scroll down on main page. **
































  1. I wish I could submit to you two beautiful ladies! BTW I'm in Brenda's email at the moment, but this is The Other Brenda Drake. :) ~Heather


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