Dorian Maffei



Arianna Emery lives in Ohio with her wife, bestie, and several furry freeloaders. When she’s not writing, she can be found daydreaming about Dragon Con, studying Japanese, collecting new mugs she’ll never use, watching Scooby-Doo, or singing ‘Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.’

I first thought, “This writing thing seems pretty cool,” when my 2nd grade teacher had my short story assignment published in our school’s weekly newsletter. From there, I never really stopped thinking it. (Okay, okay, sometimes when I’m drafting I stop thinking it.)

When I was 17 and finishing off a vampire/vampire hunter romance that was cliché in all the ways you’re thinking (and 60,000 words too long), I had the idea for the book that would much, much later find an agent. (The idea: “I want to write about a violinist, a very sad ballet dancer, and a super magical circus. I will drop these ingredients into a blender.”) I spent nearly a decade drafting+revising other manuscripts, but I always found myself wandering back to the circus book.

In 2018 I submitted the circus book to Pitch Wars, and while I had a few full requests, I didn’t make it in. I was pretty sure I knew what kind of revising needed done, so I made it happen. #DVPit was happening right around the time I planned to start querying, and after struggling to come up with a Twitter pitch, I decided not to do it…until the night before, when I spontaneously wrote a pitch I loved. Two weeks later, I had an offer of representation!

I’ve spent the better part of a decade working with a wide variety of critique partners and beta readers, learning to recognize problem areas and troubleshoot manuscripts. I also majored in creative writing, and giving and receiving critique were a significant part of my program.

One of my favorite aspects of the writing community is how much time we can spend uplifting each other. I want to contribute to that, and I’m excited to help another writer hone their craft! Plus, we could all use a cheerleader in this business.

I was delighted to see that Author Mentor Match would be expanding to include adult for its seventh round, because it meant I had a chance to be a part of it! I’ve been at least on the periphery of online writing communities for a decade (heck, I met my now-wife on the Absolute Write forums when we were 16) and applying to be a mentor felt like a way to really give back for all the help I’ve gotten over the years. I’m eager to help someone in all the ways I’ve been helped, from polishing your craft to writing a great query letter.

While I read across multiple genres and categories, I’m strictly accepting adult fantasy—though elements that verge on horror are very welcome! I’m drawn to character-driven books that make me feel like I’m holding magic in my hands. (I’m a whole lot more likely to follow a character I adore through story that needs some help than the other way around.) I love, love, love fairy tale retellings, and if you have a queer version of Beauty & the Beast or The 12 Dancing Princesses in particular, I want that in my inbox yesterday, whether it’s a light and fluffy take, or a dark one.

Saving the world narratives are cool, but I really enjoy small-scale, low-stakes stories. I also love my fantasy with a heavy dollop of romance, but plenty of my favorite books don’t have any romance at all, so don’t be afraid to sub to me either way!


  • Fantasy
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I love a strong romantic thread (though it isn’t a must), and I’m a lot more interested in stories that are queer than stories that aren’t. I love books that make me laugh and cry in equal measure. I’m not a huge fan of sad endings, but I don’t mind some bittersweet territory.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Freestyle in chat

I’ll admit it: I can come off kinda rough, but I really want you to walk away from my edit letter feeling like you have a sense of direction. I’ll point out what’s working just as much as what isn’t, and help you build on all your excellent groundwork to make your book shine. I’ll always be available for questions and to help you work through anything you’re struggling on, whether it’s a character arc or a single scene. Once we’ve taken care of any big picture issues, we can dive into a round of line edits, and then I’ll help you through all the fun of querying.

I absolutely adore revisions, and so does my ideal mentee; at the very least, they aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and dig in deep.

If you have a strong vision for your book, I absolutely want to help you achieve it, and with that in mind, I never want you to be afraid to come to me with questions, or to dig your heels in and defend your own choices. (It’s your book, and I understand sticking points!)


  • Character-driven stories
  • Women who support each other
  • All the whimsy of Diana Wynne Jones, but for grown-ups
  • I absolutely adore fairy tale retellings, or books that feel like new fairy tales (think The Starless Sea or Every Heart a Doorway)
  • Queer-positive worlds make me very happy
  • Diverse casts all-around, in fact, make me very happy
  • While I’m not mentoring in horror, I do love horror elements
  • Do you have a character who falls in love with a monster? Awesome, I want it immediately. (The more eldritch-beast, the better.)
  • If you somehow have a book that feels like Natsume Yuujinchou, I’m gonna have the grabby hands
  • In general, I love kissing books
  • Heroes who really aren’t, a la Victor Vale (Vicious) and Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)


  • Standard Edition “Character A chooses between Characters B and C” love triangles
  • Traditional quest narratives, Chosen Ones, and “bringing down the regime” books will be a hard sell
  • So will insta-love
  • Along with pure grimdarkness
  • Absolutely no on-page: slut-shaming, queer-targeted violence, child abuse, domestic violence, rape, or animal abuse
Books: The Starless Sea, Shades of Magic, A Charm of Magpies, Johannes Cabal, The Tarot Sequence, Fire & Hemlock, Newsflesh, When the Moon Was Ours, Uprooted, Timekeeper, the Fairyland series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Seraphina

TV Shows: Santa Clarita Diet, The Good Place, Stargate, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Movies: It, Midsommar, Hereditary, Black Swan

Anime: Natsume Yuujinchou, Madoka Magica, Fullmetal Alchemist (the original AND Brotherhood), Higurashi, the Fates series, Clannad

Video games: Persona 3, Dragon Age series, Danganronpa, Final Fantasy 8 (even though I haven’t finished it yet)

My favorite favorite: Scooby-Doo