@rochelesmit

AGENT
Christina Miller at Nancy Yost Literary Agency

WRITES
Romance & SFF

ON SUBMISSION

BIO

Hello potential mentees! I’m a flight attendant that lives on a historic ranch in the beautiful Rocky Mountain foothills where we raise cuddly Scottish Highland Cattle and friendly Mammoth Donkeys. It’s a great place to raise our three kiddos! I love the wide open space and being far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Born and raised in Michigan, my husband and I moved to Colorado 11yrs ago after we graduated college. (My degree is Aviation Science and Administration, and I also did three years in flight school!) When I’m not writing or chasing after kids, you may find me outside in our huge garden, testing out new recipes in the kitchen, traveling to a new destination, or binge watching Great British Bake Off! My love for romance began when I was 12 years old and discovered my mom’s box of Johanna Lindsey books hidden in her closet. I used to sneak them, one at a time and read them under my bed with a flashlight at night. Those bold heroines and dashing heroes carved a little space out in my heart.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND

I’ve been writing ever since I could pick up a pen and could put my daydreams down on paper. In high school, I struggled with most subjects, but excelled in my English and Writing classes. I’ll never forget my 11th grade Creative Writing teacher commenting I would one day be an author. It became a dream of mine and I would research literary agents in my free time. (This took HOURS per agent on our prehistoric internet back then!) Between college and having kids though, I could never seem to find the time to write and the prospect of fulfilling that dream slowly began to fade.

Fast forward to 2016 and I was involved in a tragic accident where I lost a dear friend. While deep in my grief, I made the choice to start making time to do something I wanted, and started writing again. I wrote a YA Fantasy and when I finished, I discovered book Twitter and gained a much deeper understanding about publishing. I got beta readers, found some amazing CPs, read craft books, and joined an incredible writing/querying group.

Even though I loved my YA, I gave in to my soft spot for Historical Romance and wrote my second book, an Adult Romance set in 1871 America between Chicago and the Colorado frontier. This is the book that connected me with my super awesome agent, Christina Miller, during March 2020 #PitMad—just in time to usher in the pandemic. After sending my query, she requested my full, then offered an R&R. We stayed in touch through my revisions and when I finished, she offered representation.

But there was a plot twist!

Right after I accepted her offer, she switched agencies. I then had to choose again, between another agent at her original agency, or to follow her to Nancy Yost Literary Agency. Christina had such passion for my project, I honestly couldn’t picture myself with anyone else! Two months after my original offer, I was able to announce! (A good lesson to be careful about vague tweeting writing news! Publishing is notorious for moving SLOW.) We are on Sub with that Western Historical Romance right now. In the meantime, I’m about midway through my WIP, a pirate romance set in 1804 Savannah when piracy enjoyed a brief resurgence.

EXPERIENCE

I’ve enjoyed writing since I can remember. In addition to being an avid consumer of craft books, I have a sharp editorial eye. I’m great at catching filtering, crutch words, passive voice and too much telling. When I write, I use beat sheets and outlines so I can help mold a story into the right structure and make sure character arcs progress smoothly. I love CP’ing and editing other authors works. I’m a member of the online writing group the LLAMASQUAD—fun fact, there are five llamas mentoring in R8! Being part of this group completely changed how I write and I’m constantly in awe of the talent among members. We do a lot of critiquing and sharing of resources between each other. Through participating in so many of my friends paths to becoming agented, I’ve become a very good pitcher, whether it’s a query letter or Twitter pitch, I’ll make it shine!

OVERVIEW

Ever since I learned of mentorship style programs, I couldn’t wait to be on the “other” side. I have learned SO much from others in the writing community and I realize how valuable that can be to writers just starting their journey. I know it sounds cliche, but I’m SO excited to give back and pay it forward by helping to guide another author in their journey. I’m looking forward to gaining another friendship and cannot wait to cheer on my mentee and their book through every step of the process. I’m a very loyal friend, so my mentee is very likely going to be stuck with me for life!

I am SO excited to dive into all the Adult ROMANCE!!!

Bring on the KISSING books!

Since I’m looking for Romance, your book needs to follow a romance arc and MUST have a HEA (Happily Ever After) or HFN (Happily For Now). No if, ands, or buts!

I am accepting all genres of romance and all heat levels other than Erotica. If you read through my MSWL and you have a romance of any type that fits my list, I’m probably going to be on board to take a peek! If in doubt, reach out and ask!

Above all, the number one thing I’ll be looking for is VOICE! Voice that sweeps me away into another time or world, voice that makes me unable to put the pages down, voice that makes me close my eyes and sigh.

I LOVE tension through the pages and good cliffhangers at the ends of chapters. Make me want to keep reading and I’ll request more!

Give me deep POV. I’m good with first or third and am fine with multi-POV. (Although, more than two and there’s a good chance I’ll ask you to reconsider unless it’s a very well done love triangle)

While I will look at NA, if I choose you as my mentee, we will age up to adult.

I’d like to add, to everyone reading this, WELL DONE! You finished and edited a book. Not many people can say that! I’m so proud of all of you for taking the even bigger step and putting your words out there. It’s one thing to write a book, another thing to have it critiqued and then reshape it into an even better version! The AMM writing community is AWESOME, and I encourage you to be active and reach out to your fellow mentee hopefuls. You’re bound to make lasting friendships, find betas and CP’s, and gain a whole crew of folks to cheer you on in your journey! Good luck to each and every one of you, I mean it!

  • Romance
  • LGBTQIA
  • #ownvoices

Spoiler alert… I love tropes! So. Many. Tropes.

Let’s see, if you have ANY of the following, please please please send me your MS!!!

  • ONE BED. (This is how I met my husband. Seriously).
  • Enemies to Lovers.
  • Friends to Lovers.
  • Stuck Together/Stranded.
  • Witty Banter. If you can make me laugh, I will love you!
  • Independent Women.
  • Sensitive Men.
  • Men Who Treat Women With Respect.
  • SLOW BURN!!!
  • Fake Dating.
  • Disguises.
  • Beards.
  • Non-“Common” Time Periods. I love learning something new about history!
  • Spies.
  • Forbidden Love.
  • Matchmaker.
  • Mistaken Identity.
  • Second Chance.
  • Mountains. Oceans. And everything between. I love vivid scenery and especially outdoor locations.
  • Interesting professions.
  • Flawed, REAL characters. (This includes the antagonist!)
  • FOOD. All the food!!!
  • Gender Flipped Retellings.Ok. I guess I could have just said I’m a sucker for romance in all forms, but it’s so much more fun listing all these out! (And gets me really amped up to read all your amazing words!)

As always, I’ll be over the moon to receive #ownvoices/diverse rep in any form! I LOVE underrepresented cultures and heritages and think it is SO important to have those stories told.

I WILL PROVIDE:

  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat
  • Email/Text/DMs/Zoom

WORKING STYLE

I’m not going to lie, if you are chosen as my mentee, you’ll have your work cut out for you. In a good way!

I’m a very thorough editor and ask lots and lots of questions along the way to make you think.

First, you’ll be getting a full edit letter. I’ll make big picture/plot suggestions and if you haven’t outlined, I’ll have you reverse outline your MS. If your book needs more historical details (it probably will) you’ll be doing some more research. I’ll also have some homework to help you flesh out your characters even more.
After all that, you’ll get another edit letter. This time with smaller picture edits, side plots, side characters, etc.
When the revision is complete, I’ll be diving into line level edits. We will be looking at sentence structure, punctuation, word choices.

And when you’re ready to query, I’ll be there to look at and help tweak your submission package!

Through all of this, I’ll be available by email/text/DMs/Zoom.

IDEAL MENTEE

I’m here to help polish your book into the best version of itself so I’m looking for someone not afraid to work hard and put a lot of effort into “leveling up” their craft. I’ll also need you to be open to lots of different suggestions. When I give feedback, I’d like you to be able to work it into your own style and voice! I’m not going to sit here and dictate what needs to be changed, I want an organic implementation of advice and suggested edits. Please be willing and eager to jump into these revisions head first. You’re here to get your novel in shape and that’s exactly what we are going to do. I’ll work with you in the beginning to figure out a timeline that works with your schedule and we are going to do our best to stick to it.

I would like to point out that getting into a mentorship program is not a magic button to representation and publication. Many, many people who are accepted into a mentorship don’t get an agent right away. I cannot guarantee any of that. However, I’ll be helping you polish your manuscript and submission materials to the best of my ability, and I will be rooting you on the whole way, no matter what your publishing path looks like.

Finally, I’m really looking most forward to a new and lasting friendship with someone I can cheer on and keep in touch with LONG after the mentorship is over. Someone I can laugh with over the crazy aspects of publishing, commiserate with during the lows, and all and all, just plain enjoy each others company (and words).

SEND ME:

First and foremost, give me ALL of the HISTORICAL! Since this is what I write, it is going straight to the top of my list! I am here for all time periods.

  • Ancient world? Mmhmm!
  • Viking? Swoon!
  • Medieval? Send it.
  • Scottish? Yes, please.
  • Colonial/Revolutionary? Give it to me.
  • Regency/Victorian? Be still my heart!
  • Western? Bring on the cowboys! (I live on a historic ranch in Colorado, and the book I’m on sub with is a Western, so I have lots of knowledge here!)
  • Roaring Twenties? Affirmative.
  • Give me everything up until WWII.

I’m also interested in Romantic Suspense, Fantasy Romance, and Paranormal Romance (no angels/demons as lovers) For Contemporary, I tend to shy away from stories featuring big city/big corporations/sports/celebrities. I’d be more interested in a contemporary Western, something small town, or anything outdoorsy. Oh, if you have a flight attendant book, please send it my way!

And I’m open to all heat levels!

  • Clean? Yes!
  • Sweet? Yep!
  • Steamy? Oh yeah!
  • High heat? Wooo Baby!

I’m all about strong characters. Not bench-pressing 200lbs strong, but characters that have emotional depth, that make me feel a connection to them. I want to care DEEPLY about your characters. If you have multi/duel POV, make sure each voice is distinct and separate.

Also, I adore friendships between the characters that don’t involve their lover. I love seeing unbreakable female friendships and tight “brotherly” bonds between men.

DO NOT SEND ME:

  • Non-Consent. It is never, EVER, sexy.
  • Nazi Romances. I can’t believe I have to say that.
  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say this again. If it doesn’t have a HEA/HFN, or you are not willing to change it into a HEA, it’s going to be a pass. No matter how good the writing. Think of the HEA/HFN as the foundation of the Romance industry. Without it, everything else crumbles. Romance readers are some of the toughest critics out there and if you don’t give them the ending they are expecting, they will throw you to the wolves!
  • Also, because my WIP is all about pirates, I’ll probably shy away from something too similar! BUT I do love me some pirates. So if your pirates are NOT set in Southern USA/Caribbean, PLEASE send them my way!!!
  • No Epic Fantasy Romance.
  • I’m not the best fit for Sci-Fi unless it’s super low tech.
  • Reverse Harem is probably the only trope I’m not a fan of.
  • I’m also not the right mentor for erotica.

FAVES

Ok.

You’re going to laugh at me.

I don’t have a TV. And I’m Netflix’s favorite customer because I pay them monthly but maybe watch something once a quarter. (Usually Great British Bake Off)

That being said, I LOVE reading. I am a voracious reader and can read more than a book a day when I’m on a roll. Here are a few of my favorite authors, and if you can comp to any of them, you will make my heart sing!

 

  • Tessa Dare
  • Sarah MacLean
  • Evie Dunmore
  • Anna Harrington
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Sarah J Mass
  • Mary Pearson
  • Margaret Rogerson
  • Tahereh Mafi
  • Fellow Mentor Jen DeLuca’s Well Met