Mentor Brighton Rose

Uwe Stender, Triada US

Middle Grade & YA Fantasy


Brighton Rose is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, where she went to an engineering school and won several design awards for her graphics and illustrations. She has been writing for twenty years and writing well for three years, and has previously been a mentee in both Author Mentor Match and Pitch Wars. She currently lives in Central Texas with an electric piano and 49 houseplants. Outside of writing, she is a user experience designer by trade and works in the tech industry, where she will be partially responsible for the AI apocalypse. This is her second time mentoring in AMM.

I wrote a goofy steampunk fantasy in high school and tried querying it in college with zero knowledge of the whole Publishing Process™. Thankfully, an editor at a writing conference helped me revise my query letter and suggested I rewrite the steampunk fantasy to be more middle grade. I did so, and while querying that for the second time, I began work on a darker YA fantasy about revenge. I entered the darker YA in AMM, got selected, and revised. Later, I entered the steampunk fantasy into Pitch Wars, got selected, revised, and queried it a third time.
In total, I queried the steampunk fantasy for three years, determined that it would be the story that landed me representation. I sadly had to shelve it—but within two weeks of querying that second, darker YA fantasy, I got an offer and signed with my agent. I am currently on submission with that YA fantasy. Fingers crossed.

I worked for my college newspaper all four years and learned to be ruthless with punctuation and word choice. I have been a mentee in two mentorship programs—Author Mentor Match and Pitch Wars—and have beta read several other writers’ books. I have also participated in workshops, conferences, and #DVpit. I previously mentored in AMM8 and am excited to again work with up-and-coming writers.

When I first started pursuing publishing, I wish I’d had someone to tell me what rookie mistakes to avoid, how to to hone my craft while also honing my business sense, and how to make connections with other creatives. Publishing is an intimidating mountain to climb, even more so for marginalized writers, and mentorship programs like AMM help level the playing field and de-mystify the process.
Secondly, I have found that a creative person is only as good as their best constructive feedback. My writing improved immensely when I found beta readers and applied to AMM!
Thirdly, AMM gave me people to have in my corner no matter what. Publishing is full of thorns, from schmagents to whisper networks to unpredictable timelines, and building a support network helped me navigate even the worst of it.

I am interested in fantasy of any kind—second world, portal, historical, contemporary, and so on. The biggest draw to me is a distinctive voice, whether it’s witty and clever like Lemony Snicket, deeply empathetic and gorgeous like Kacen Callender, or clean and classic like Kate DiCamillo. Aside from voice, I have a soft spot for unique magic systems and dynamic worldbuilding. I root for underdogs.

Middle Grade

  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I am open to anything with magic. That magic can show up in our 21st-century world, or somewhere hundreds of years ago, or in a completely separate world from our own. Within fantasy, my favorite subgenre is steampunk, followed by magical realism/fabulism. I am not the best mentor for purely contemporary stories or science fiction. Horror and issue-heavy books might be a little more difficult, but they are not an automatic pass.
My favorite trope of all time is Found Family. Give me a gaggle of misfits led by an underdog who is in over their head!



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

In general, I will adapt to your needs as long as you’re upfront with telling me what those needs are. Do you prefer professional emails with a limit of two exclamation points per email? I can do that. Do you prefer Twitter DMs that are 80% memes? I can do that. Do you eschew modern communication and prefer telegrams? I can do that, but I’ll need a week to learn Morse Code.

I’ll start with an overall edit letter assessing your manuscript in terms of Characters, Plot, Setting, Theme, and Prose. From there, we’ll put together an edit plan and dive deeper into the areas that need improvement. Once those first-pass edits are returned, I will provide a document with inline comments and scene-level edits to tighten up the prose and find anything we’ve missed.

Following line edits, I’d recommend you find a fresh beta reader to read through the manuscript. Meanwhile, we will work on your query and list of agents. And once everything’s good and golden, we’ll send that baby into the world.

My ideal mentee is an introspective hustler. They can separate their craft from who they are as a person, which means that critique is a reflection of their work, not who they are. They are also really, REALLY into this writing-to-get-published thing and continuously seeking improvement. Bonus points if they’ve got a whacked sense of humor.


On the lighter side: Anything that can be comped to Howl’s Moving Castle, Discworld, or Studio Ghibli movies.
On the slightly darker side: Anything that can be comped to Coraline, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or Nightmare Before Christmas. I would LOVE that rare book that combines horror and humor with a dash of whimsy.
On the really dark side: Anything that reads like a middle grade Wilder Girls or will give me nightmares. I am not squeamish and I adore body horror and monsters.

  • Satire and/or skewering of classic story tropes
  • Immortals hanging out with humans for lack of anything better to do
  • Quirky, oddball kids with extremely niche, bizarre hobbies
  • Something that’s wild and funny from start to finish, like the Pure Dead Magic or Skullduggery Pleasant series
  • Anti-Chosen One stories featuring protagonists that aren’t destined for greatness but rise to the occasion anyway
  • Found families/a crew of misfits/a gaggle of weirdos trying to save the world. Especially if they are in over their heads.
  • Vampires and creepy crawlies
  • Non-western fantasy
  • An inventive magic system. Basically, give me something OTHER than elemental magic.
  • A main character who genuinely has no idea what is going on but is doing their best
  • Wise, snarky, brilliant aunties. Give me old ladies who are not afraid of anything.
  • Uncommon structures. Examples: frame stories, diary entries, that thing Lemony Snicket does, epistolary stories.
  • A multilingual cast. I’d love to see characters using different languages! English, Spanish, Tagalog, ASL, you name it! [Disclaimer: I cannot provide accurate translations.]
  • I am brown and kinda gay, so I appreciate stories that are also brown and kinda gay. Bonus points for #ownvoices fantasy.


  • No books written in verse, please.
  • No hardcore sci-fi, please. I love reading sci fi, but I am not the best mentor for it.
  • No animal POVs or main characters, please. Snarky animal sidekicks are fine.
  • No stories that revolve around dragons, please. (Exception: If you’re writing a fairytale satire that happens to include dragons.)
  • No portal fantasies, please. I mentored a wonderful portal fantasy last year.
  • No horse books, please.
  • If it doesn’t have magic or something supernatural, I am not interested.


TV: What We Do In The Shadows, The Mentalist, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Parks and Rec, What Would You Do?, The Magic School Bus, The Miraculous Adventures of Ladybug and Chat Noir

Howl’s Moving Castle, Meet the Robinsons, Robots, Pride and Prejudice, Coraline, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Books (MG):
Peter and the Starcatchers, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism, Matilda, Take Back the Block, The Witches, The Tale of Desperaux, Pure Dead Magic, Coraline, Dial-A-Ghost, King and the Dragonflies, Clean Getaway, The Phantom Tollbooth, the Percy Jackson series

Books (Non-MG):
The Bear and the Nightingale, Beauty Queens, Six of Crows, The Bone Clocks, Peeled, Vicious, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Night Circus, Pride, Counting Down With You