Author Archives: Aty Behsam

#TeamThrowingRocks Pitch Wars Wish List 2019

Category : Uncategorized


Welcome to #TeamThrowingRocks (Kylie Schachte and Aty S. Behsam)’s #PitchWars 2019 wish list!

Before anything, let’s take a moment to freak out because Pitch Wars is finally here!

What is Pitch Wars?

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript, pitch, and query shine for the agent showcase. If you want to learn more, check out the Pitch Wars website.

Awesome, right? RIGHT?

Now … let’s get down to business!

Here’s who we are and why you should submit to us:

  • We were both PitchWars mentees in 2017. Kylie with her debut book YOU’RE NEXT, and Aty with her book COUP DE GRACE. We understand the pressure and the commitment, and now we can help you.
  • We have a lot of experience building up people’s writing, regardless of what stage they’re at. Kylie is a tutor and mentor to high school students, and Aty has been teaching and mentoring writers and artists for years.
  • We’re each other’s CPs, and we have a great working chemistry. It helps that we both love to make our characters suffer– I mean– anyway … we get each other! So our mentee can rest assured that we’re a fully functional team!
  • If we pick you, we  will love your book baby like it’s our own, and we will cheerlead, kick your ass, or join your pity party–whatever you need–at every step of the way.
  • We are not here to tell you that we know the one perfect solution for your story.We want to be your creative partners, respect your vision for your book, and help you bring that out in the most authentic way.
  • We’re animal lovers, so we can send you pictures of our pets when you’re sad or ready to light your manuscript on fire (it happens to all of us).
  • Say hello to Kylie’s adorable dog Clementine and Aty’s adorkable cats Haise and Arima!

You’re still here? Good.

Before we get to the “want” part, a tiny note about our team’s name, #TeamThrowingRocks

  • Someone once said that an author’s job is to put their characters up a tree, then throw rocks at them. No matter how much we love our characters, it’s the struggle that makes a good story! We both write dark, gritty Young Adult with plenty of conflict, and we’re here to help our mentee up the ante and tell the most powerful story they can.
  • So with that said…


  • Polished Contemporary/Romance/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery/Adventure Young Adult novels or graphic novels.

  • Below is an overview of what we want in each of those categories, but don’t forget to check out Kylie’s website for more details!

  • For Contemporary, we want moving stories that deal with the real world we live in, like The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. We also love stories about kids who are really into their thing: organic chemistry, baseball, volunteer EMT, show choir, model UN–give us all the teens with passion and drive! Kylie would also love a rowdy sex-positive teen comedy like the movie Booksmart
  • Aty wants a strong voice and characters to root for, but she’s a particular sucker for anti-heroes.

  • For Romance, we love angst and yearning, and all the lovely tropes! Think The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. We also want sex-positive romantic comedies like Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemud-Broka, or a YA Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ). Give us star-crossed lovers finding their love in each other’s intelligence, tolerance, and beauty (think YA version of Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman). We love “we’re supposed to be enemies but we’re also really in love” trope a lot. Just saying.
  • Give us friends to lovers, strangers to lovers, bad boys/girls falling for the unlikely person, sloooooow burn, “I am bound by duty/honor, but this devious wildcard has shown up in my life and I will never be the same.” OH NO, THERE’S ONLY ONE BED, and excessive use of nicknames until a Soft™ moment.
  • Truly we want all the tropes, but we also want the tropes turned on their head!
  • We are super interested in all types of pairings, every sexuality, and gender identity. 

  • For Science Fiction, we want action-packed, gripping, witty, adrenaline-fueled, freaking fun sci-fi, y’all! Kylie loves The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Firefly. Aty just wishes OH SHE SO WISHES someone would send us the Sci-fi, YA version of The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum. We both absolutely love Mad Max, or anything that resembles the Fast & Furious franchise but make it sci-fi! We’ll also take your sinister, creepy, chilling sci-fi, like Wilder Girls by Rory PowerorKazuo Ishiguro’s dark romance sci-fi Never Let Me Go. 
  • If you have the YA version of Neon Genesis Evangelion or an awesome psychological sci-fi thriller like it, ATY WOULD KILL FOR IT. For real.

  • As for Fantasy, we want EVERYTHING. 
  • Fantasies with settings based on real world locales (think Leigh Bardugo’s Ketterdam and Ravka in the Grishaverse, or Julie C. Dao’s East Asian-inspired Forest of a Thousand Lanterns). Creepy, beautiful, chilling fairytale retellings–the looser the interpretation, the better. Fantasy (& sci-fi for that matter) that’s BIG on heart, intimacy, and empathy as the main point of the story (with the epic adventure and magic as the backdrop), like Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman. Give us strong female leads! We also love lyrical whimsy, like Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, or anything that can comp Hayao Miyazaki. We love Hayao Miyazaki. A lot. 
  • We would love to see magic that deals in unique trades and skills–clockmaking, woodworking, FOOD–anything special and highly specific turned into enchantment. For contemporary fantasy, Kylie loves ultra-specific settings–the Everglades, a strip mall suburb in Southern California, a refugee camp in Greece. Aty wants dark, compelling stories in creative settings with an interesting crew of characters, think Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. Huge bonus point if your story is a dark comedy fantasy, like Adachitoka’s Noragami series.
  • Also extra extra bonus points for fantasy that’s based on or inspired by Russian Jews, Iranians/Persians, or Muslims. Kylie is Jewish and of Russian ancestry, and Aty is Persian and Muslim. Just give us fantasy with Jewish, Muslim, Russian, and/or Persian characters in general. Like, if you can comp Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, you must give it to us (it’s the law!)
  • Other favorites include Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, and Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (the books and the series).

  • In Horror, give us your dark stories that walk the thin line between death and beauty, like Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, and anything gothic-inspired (horror, fantasy, romance–we want it all). Kylie has a really overactive imagination, though, so subtle horror that’s big on the creep but lighter on the jump-scares is her sweetspot. The Diviners (if you can comp it, hand it over) and Sawkill Girls are favorites, but both books also gave her nightmares, so anything more than that is probably too much for her poor lil’ heart. Aty wants ghost. That’s it. That’s what she wants. Also delusions and nightmares that turn out to be real AHHHHH

  • In Thriller & Mystery, we love fast-paced, commercial mystery with a BIG VOICE. A Study in Charlotte, One of Us is Lying, and Trouble is a Friend of Mine are some of our favorites. Mystery that blends hijinks, banter, and dark comedy. Kylie also believes American Vandal is a perfect TV show and if you can comp that, please slide into our inbox nownownow. Aty loves Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Give her freaky twists like that and she is hooked! Also, once again, she really wants a YA Jason Bourne book. She’d kill– um– die for that. You know how Jason is always several steps ahead of his enemies because he’s smart and knows how to make things happen so he scares the hell out of higher-ups? THAT SPARKS JOY!

  • In Magical Realism and Fabulism, if you have lovely, lyrical writing that places magic in our real world without explanation or reason, we would very much like to read it. Favorites include anything by Anna-Marie Mclemore, and The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. 
  • We want to be entranced by your prose and the aching loveliness of the magic, but we also want to explore The Dark Side™ .
  • For Graphic Novels, we want stories of all genres. Give us amazing story with memorable characters like Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist
  • If you have a historical graphic novel with awesome art like Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond, or colorful, unique story and art like Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’s Saga, we want it!
  • Give us sport graphic novels like Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu!! 
  • Give us unforgettable, masterfully written antagonists like Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, or villains as main characters like Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s Death Note. We want exciting thriller graphic novels like Alan Moore’s Watchmen, or anything by Alan Moore really!

Okay, that’s the overview, but if you want to know more about the extra special somethings that make our hearts sing, the things we are definitely not accepting, and our mentoring style, you’ll have to head on over to Kylie’s site

  • You definitely want to check that stuff out. Please don’t waste one of your mentor slots by submitting something we won’t be the right fit for.
  • Once you’ve checked out her site, don’t hesitate to reach out to Kylie or Aty on twitter if you have any questions!

Don’t forget to check out the wishlists of the amazing YA mentors this year:

    Pitch Wars Wish List 2018

    Tags :

    Category : Pitch Wars


    #PitchWars is here, so let’s take a moment to freak out.

    Done? Good. You don’t know what on earth Pitch Wars is? Here’s a post explaining the contest, submission guidelines, dates, and rules

    Let’s get down to business!

    Here’s who I am and why you should submit to me:

    • I have been teaching writing and mentoring writers for years.
    • I was a mentee last year (won the contest with my adult speculative fiction, Coup de Grace), and I understand the pressure and the commitment on your side. My awesome mentors Kelli Newby and Mary Ann Marlowe helped me make my novel what it is today. I’ve learned a lot, so now I can help you a lot.
    • I have judged in multiple writing competitions.
    • I’ve got my university degree in English Translation and have been writing stories for more than seventeen years, which means I’ve spent years and years studying English literature–books and screenplays–and have taken courses and classes that improved and empowered my ability in storytelling.
    • There is a very rare place for writers, in which they are at last completely happy with a draft they’ve worked on… That’s where I’m going to help you get!
    • If I choose you, it means I care for your story. A lot.
    • Now…

    • I want your polished Contemporary/Romance/Fantasy/Speculative Young Adult or New Adult novels or graphic novels.


    • Contemporary
    • Contemporary Romance
    • Romantic / Fantasy Comedy
    • Mafia / revenge
    • Women’s Fiction
    • Magical Realism
    • Urban / Epic / Romantic Fantasy
    • Sci-Fi
    • Time Travel
    • Thriller
    • Literary Fiction / Commercial Fiction
    • Paranormal
    • Speculative Fiction

    • If you want to ask me about your genre and whether I would accept it or not, just write to me on Twitter.
    • Your story includes romance? AWESOME! Give me healthy relationships that defy the rules and tropes of the setting. Give me all the AWWW. Enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, star-crossed lovers, strangers to lovers, bad boys/girls falling for the unlikely person, all the goooooods. Want to know more? Read below.
    • Your story doesn’t include romance? AWESOME! Give me a strong voice and characters to root for. Give me bad boys/girls turning against mafia bosses. Give me anti-heroes finding reasons to live or to destroy! Give me female leaders who care more about their people than ahem-relationships-ahem. Give me REAL cultural references and characters who are from various backgrounds, of difference races, sexuality, genders and nationalities, even in fictional worlds. Give me athletes who struggle and fight against their fears, anxieties and injuries. Give me teenagers who carry the burden for their family and hold them together–real heroes. Want to know more? Read below.



    • Is your story #OwnVoices?

    • Does your story feature LGBT romance?

    • Does your main character have HUGE, rational development?

    • Is your main character an athlete (especially a female one) whose whole life doesn’t revolve around just relationships and instead takes me on a journey about BOTH their professional and personal life?

    • Does your story take place in Asia or Africa with genuine, correct cultural references?


    • Interracial friendship and/or interracial couples?

    • Strong females as main and/or supporting characters?

    • Stories that make me laugh?
    • Stories that make me cry my eyes out but also show me hope?

    • Same-sex couples in the Middle-East?

    • Are your main characters immigrants or refugees?


    • Whoever has a story that sounds like a Christopher Nolan movie. Yup. That’s right. You see this genius dork?


    • He’s one of my favorite writers. So, if you can play with, or redefine the concept of ‘time’, if you can create unforgettable gray characters and/or make incredible plot twists, and if you have a unique voice that takes my breath away, COME TO MEEEE.
    • I love comics, but more than comics, I love reading manga. A lot. So if you have a graphic novel or a novel along the awesome, unique stories of Japanese manga, COME TO MEEEE.
    • A few of my favorite stories:
      • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
      • The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
      • Tokyo Ghoul (Manga) by Sui Ishida
      • Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
      • Noragami (Manga) by Adachitoka
      • Batman: The Killing Joke (Graphic Novel) by Alan Moore
      • Dread Nation By Justina Ireland
      • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
      • Persepolis (Graphic Novel) by Marjane Satrapi
      • Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
      • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
      • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
      • The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
      • Turtles all the way down by John Green
      • Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertall
      • Furyborn by Claire Legrand
    • I love happy stories, but I also love sad stories with bittersweet endings (or bittersweet endings in general). Basically, go ahead and break my heart, but be sure to patch at least some pieces together at the end. You see, that’s what I try to do as a writer, but sometimes I just…

    • Haha… Um… Back to business. The “Not Right For Me” part, which DOES NOT mean there is anything wrong with your story, it’s just not right for me if it fits in the following list.


    • Historical (except mafia)
    • Regency
    • Fairy Tale Retelling
    • Suspense
    • Inspirational
    • Memoir
    • Crime (except mafia/revenge)
    • Horror
    • Natural disasters
    • Erotica
    • Mystery (except mafia/revenge)
    • Western


    • This year, we have more time and more rounds of edits (YAY!), so in the first round, I will mark up the issues with your plot, character arc and development, opening and ending, and large issues that would need to be revised. I’ll provide you with an edit letter with my opinions and suggestions about how we make your story better. You will have in-line notes with my opinions and edits, about what I think works really well and what I think should change. You will have some homework for your novel, like forms and charts to fill in for your characters, making scene maps, outlines, etc. We’ll work on your novel in another round of edits after you made the revisions, then a line edit, and we’ll also work on your pitch and query.
    • We’ll be in touch via Twitter, emails, and a couple of applications we’ll both see fit. We’ll be in constant communication. Be ready for that! I will try not to stalk your Twitter. But I will stalk your Twitter. Be kind to everyone. Encourage people. Then you will be encouraged as well.


    1. I DO ACCEPT NEW ADULT. Just a reminder!
    2. SYNOPSIS. Don’t forget to have your synopsis ready, ’cause if I like your story I will ask for a synopsis immediately. Yup.
    3. YOUR MANUSCRIPT MUST BE POLISHED AND READY. Pitch Wars is about working on your FINISHED and POLISHED book. It would do neither of us no good if we were to spend all our time fixing basic and easily fixable grammar/punctuation/etc while we should work on IMPROVING the already polished MS.
    4. ART OF YOUR GRAPHIC NOVEL. Consider the level of professionalism you would expect from a published graphic novel. You see, the story matters SO MUCH, but it is the art and the art style that leave the impact in mind.
    5. PITCH WARS IS MORE THAN A CONTEST. I had taken part in Pitch Wars for years before becoming a mentee. And you know what? Never did I regret entering. To make the most of Pitch Wars, you should try to make friends. Many writer friends are just waiting to meet you and become your CPs and that is the greatest gift Pitch Wars gives everyone who enters every year. Find yourself a CP who cares about your work as much as you care about theirs. Find friends who help you, read for you, give you courage and strength in your writing journey.
    6. BE READY FOR SOME HARD WORK. We will revise your work, and you will need to work really hard for weeks after weeks. But you will also take small breaks. It’s all about teamwork. A partnership. If I pick you, you are my partner in a difficult but great revision process.
    7. PLEASE REMEMBER THAN NOT BEING CHOSEN DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE NOT A GOOD ENOUGH WRITER. In the end, no matter how much we love your stories, each of us can only pick ONE mentee. It doesn’t make us happy to say no to many good stories. It’s about falling in love with that one MS, that one MC, that one writer. Never forget that gathering enough courage to take part in the first place is huge, and you are awesome no matter what. Also, you can always find so many awesome writers through #PitchWars tag.
    8. You have questions? Do not hesitate to write to me on Twitter.
    9. You are awesome.

    Don’t forget to check out the wishlists of the amazing YA mentors this year:

















































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    New Website Is Finally Up

    Category : Announcements

    At last! My website is back and online.

    There will be more changes soon. The gallery is only a selection of my artworks, and other pages need to be updated as well.

    Thank you for your patience.