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Pitchwars Bio (JC Nelson)

This post is my mentor wish-list for Brenda Drake’s pitchwars contest. In it you’ll find a little about me, what I’m like, and what I’m looking for:

About Me:

I’m a native Texan but I’ve lived so long in the Pacific Northwest, I melt at temperatures past 85 degrees.  I’m a caffeine addict in the recovery stages (as I’m recovering from a lack of caffeine this morning nicely), a fan of white mochas, and a belief that coffee is proof that god loves us and wants us to be productive.  I write fantasy of several flavors, but mostly urban fantasy. My most recent book is The Reburialists, from Ace. If you prefer lighter humor, my Grimm Agency series from Ace books is lots of fun. Writing as Jaycee Nelson, I’ve even published a rom-com, Toys, and am currently editing a romance. If you want to know my writing style, check them out. Those books got their start in Pitchwars. Yours could be next.

What I’m Looking For:

Age Range: Adult. Don’t even bring NA this time to lay at my doorstep – I’m not the right person for it, and if you have a heartwarming YA middle grade erotic picture book, feel free to look at the other mentors. I’m here for the big boys and girls and looking for a story aimed at them.
Genre: This year, I’m primarily looking for science fiction of all scales of hardness. One big lie? Bring it. Sci-fantasy? You bet. When it comes to SF, I am particularly interested in the type that makes me question what it means to be human, or what effect technology has on society as a whole. Think Ghost in the Shell (original, not whitewashed, Japanese version with the ending that defies our desire for satisfaction). That


mean I don’t also love fantasy, but this year I’m looking for SF Primarily and Fantasy second. If you send me fantasy, it has to knock my socks off, and I am very attached to my socks. If you’ve got quirky, funny, downright strange in your manuscript, regardless of genre, look me up.  And more than anything, I’m looking for that story telling voice that makes me lose myself in the piece so that I get to the end of the sample pages and whisper dark curses on you, your descendants, and your meter-man for not having more of the story.
Things I detest:

  • Love triangles where one leg of the triangle is obviously not equal to the others:

“Biff is a strong neurosurgeon with the body of a male swimsuit model, who rescues ducklings as a hobby and volunteers at the Children’s hospital when he isn’t flying across the world to do life saving brain transplants. But Scuz? He’s the bad-boy meth addict with no teeth who pawned my phone to get high. He’s stolen my heart–and my wallet, several times. Sure, he has syphillis and breath that would stop a garbage truck in its tracks, but when he gives me that toothless grin, my heart melts even as my stomach turns. How ever can I choose between them?”

  • Female Screaming Furniture: If I can replace your female characters with an avocado-green ottoman that occasionally screams, and the book otherwise reads perfectly well, you’ve failed and I’m going to be miffed. If it’s fantasy with dragons, why not throw in some agency with the rest of it?
  • Rape scenes: Do you really, really need to have yet another woman getting reduced to the sum of her genitals, to either give her an emotional wound, or drive a male character’s motivation? You want to give your character a wound, you know what works? Molten copper. And if you are having your FMC get raped just to motivate your MMC, don’t even bother. If that’s what it takes to get your main character interested in taking down the bad guy, your main character is an oxygen thief who should be in a love triangle with Scuz the meth addict.

I’m perfectly fine with dark. Twisted. Morbid. Awful. This ain’t a taboo that says “You include any of this crap and I’ll print out your manuscript, burn it, pee on the ashes, grow a tree in the ashes, burn the tree that grows from them, and flush the ashes of the tree.” It’s just to say that if you want to play with fire, you’d better do so very, very well.

I have female characters who treat sex as a power tool to get what they want, male characters who have left a trail of bodies in their wake, and flesh-eating crab-spiders who are the single most beloved part of one book.  Yes, you read that right. The eight-legged, eight-eyed, ravenous razor-sharp flesh-eating venomous crab-spiders who literally devour people are reader favorites.  So do dark, morbid, twisted, awful, but damnit, do it well.

Why You Want to work with Me:

I’m brutally honest, and yet your biggest fan. I believe in stories that deliver endings which make you say “Of course.  That’s how it had to end.”  See here for an entire post on endings. I will snark at you, write “Really?” or spin lengthy scenes in my comments to illustrate why you might want to be more specific. I’ll read your baby and treat it like my own (which does not mean dropping it on its head). I won’t be nice to shield your feelings, because an agent or editor won’t be either, but I’ll support you through the process of doing the hard work of taking good to great.

How to enter:

Go to Brenda Drake’s website. There’s an online submission form.


I won’t accept critique partners or folks I’ve beta read for. I’m sorry, but I’ve already helped you as much as I can. Pick someone else and I’ll root for you, too!

Why I am awesome: I kept bees for years. Have you ever picked up a swarm of bees with your bare hands? I have.  Also, I have four children and all of them are somewhat socially adjusted. I write fantasy that you may love and am going to hell for laughing at things that should not be funny (but are!).


To help you find your way onward, here’s a linky.  Enjoy!

Published inPitchwars


  1. […] Brent Taylor 6. Stephanie Garber7. Veronica Bartles8. Dannie Morin 9. S.K. Falls10. Jason Nelson11. Charlie Holmberg12. Sarah Henning13. Gail Nall14. Dionne McCulloch 15. Natasha Neagle16. Amy […]

  2. […] Brent Taylor 6. Stephanie Garber7. Veronica Bartles8. Dannie Morin 9. S.K. Falls10. Jason Nelson11. Charlie Holmberg12. Sarah Henning13. Gail Nall14. Dionne McCulloch 15. Natasha Neagle16. Amy […]

  3. What about a teenager abruptly inheriting the kingdom and struggling to find his place in the adult world with the weight of the literal known world on his shoulders? Would that count as NA Fantasy?

  4. What about a college age girl kidnapped by aliens, escapes and has to survive on their world? Think Roswell meets lost in space.

  5. Diane Diane

    Would a mythic fantasy interest you if it had a strong romantic element? There’s action and the themes go beyond romance, plus it’s funny. But if you are interested in more kick-butt action and less wars of words and sexual tension, perhaps you wouldn’t be. I had you down as one of my definite choices, then saw your Stomp vs. Romp bit.

    • I love mythic fantasy. And my SvR post makes it clear – I can take romance, but I prefer it mixed with action. 😀 I have to say, my tastes DO tend away from the war-of-words and tension bit. SRE. THe key to anything is being able to get lost in the pages.

  6. Hmmm…NA Fantasy? It would look like Charmed, or Supernatural or Smallville. Or like the dusty old novel I have in my drawer about Eros, God of Love and pathetic slacker, who is so bad at his job that he accidentally made a man fall in love with a building, thus forcing his mother to banish him from Mt. Olympus until he figures out the true meaning of love, dammit.

  7. […] with Stacey Nash)44. Max Wirestone45. Jaye Robin Brown46. Molly Lee47. Rachel Lynn Solomon48. J.C. Nelson49. Holly Faur50. Sonia Hartl51. Natasha Raulerson52. Marty Mayberry53. J.C. Davis54. Rebecca […]

  8. […] with Stacey Nash)44. Max Wirestone45. Jaye Robin Brown46. Molly Lee47. Rachel Lynn Solomon48. J.C. Nelson49. Holly Faur50. Sonia Hartl51. Natasha Raulerson52. Marty Mayberry53. J.C. Davis54. Rebecca […]

  9. Not doing an adult fiction this year, but had to say I am also a Texan transplanted in the PNW…I can totally sympathize. And I’ve been melting all summer. Why don’t they have a/c here?

    Enjoyed your spiel to the pitchees…

  10. Good Day J.C.,
    You’re a writer….
    That is amazing!

    Pitch wars, I see.
    Well, my story is simply winning combination patched recklessly by naivness, trust, confidence, and passion. Crushed with a realization of reality, forced to look into uncarring , hatefll, selfish and
    Brutally judgmental faces of many……oh well, I am sure to have been right next to you in awesomeness ( I actually stepped into bee hive and kept going with my day as if over 30 bee stings were mere kisses covering my skin) As usua. I AM too late,…so No challenge for the winners…but I did want to say Halo, and I hope.

  11. Great post. I just wanted to say your link to “an entire post on endings” is giving an “OOPS! THAT PAGE CAN’T BE FOUND” error. Seems like it was taken down; a Goodreads blog snippet leads to the same error. I’d love to give it a read if there’s a copy somewhere.

  12. Matt Matt

    Hey J.C.,

    I was wondering if you’d be sticking closer to fantasy for the contest, or if you’d be up for something out of left field? I’m entering a cop satire which uses the same sarcastic humor found in your hilarious love-triangle summary to defeat tropes and thought you’d be a great fit.


    • I will most likely stick to SSF. While I’ve written other things, I’m not certain I’m the right mentor for anything else.

  13. Lindsay Lindsay

    Thank you for your list and details of potential mentee material!

    I am strongly considering submitting to you for pitchwars but I am hoping to clarify your stance on speculative novels and whether your desires encompass very gritty elements of violence, language, and sexual references (not actual graphic sex scenes)? Clockwork Orange or Fight Club type of reading isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly what I love to write. 🙂

  14. K. S. Watts K. S. Watts

    Regarding a rape scene, what about an attempted rape in which the female protagonist stabs her attacker in the genitals with a broken wine bottle to avoid said act? Yes, the scene serves a purpose, but if need be I can rewrite a bit to avoid it.

    • I’m not saying rape doesn’t exist or shouldn’t be depicted. I’m saying it’s the lazy writer’s way to give a protagonist motivation.

  15. Julia Hoover Julia Hoover

    You made me snort.

    If you won’t take my MS, at least be my FB friend. We can commiserate over caffeine migraines.

    But before that, take a look at my MS. It’s fantasy. I’m slightly inclined to lie and tell you it’s S/F… but I think you might figure it out. Failing that, I’m even more inclined to write a S/F novel in the next week just so I have one to give you, but it would really rot, so I’m just sort of I leave your socks on the floor.

    In any case, thanks for making me blow my cold coffee all over my keyboard. I needed that.


  16. Julia Hoover Julia Hoover



    I’m ^hoping I leave your socks on the floor.

    Note that I do proofread. .


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