Gail and Isabelle’s Pitch Wars 2017 Wish List (PART 1)

Hey there, Pitch Wars Hopefuls. Are you excited for this year’s Pitch Wars? Well, we are. Team Patatas can’t wait to get started!

First off, intros!

I’m Gail, and I write historical fantasy and contemporary with a dash of magic for middle grade readers. I’m represented by the amazing Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group. I live near Manila, in a province urban enough to experience heavy traffic, but still has a rural community that allows me to keep a little backyard farm. I’ve got four dogs, six ducks, two turtles, a chicken, and a cat. They’re quite a handful, but I love them all.

So, that’s me. But Team Patatas isn’t Team Patatas without my other half—my co-mentor and writing BFF, Isabelle Adrid!

No joke, Isabelle’s a great writer. She’s even a recipient of the 2008 President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo award of outstanding achievement in campus journalism. It takes a lot for me to get into a YA novel (I’m primarily an MG reader), but I couldn’t put Isabelle’s book down when I read it. I don’t cry easily, and yet, her story managed to turn me into a puddle of tears. I’m lucky I’ve got her on my side as my friend and critique partner. And as the Team Patatas apprentice, you will be too!

While we both live in the Philippines’ capital, Isabelle and I met on Twitter, and it’s just like your usual online-meet story 😀 Seriously, I think it was fate that brought us together. I mean, what are the chances you find the one friend who basically loves and hates everything you also love and hate? The friend who knows what you’re thinking even before you say it out loud? Or the friend who complements your strengths and weaknesses, writing or otherwise?

That’s Team Patatas for you 🙂

So why choose us?

This is our first year mentoring in Pitch Wars, BUT that doesn’t mean Isabelle and I are new to mentoring.

For the past years, we’ve critiqued manuscripts for both agented and yet-to-be-represented authors. We’ve done sensitivity reads, focusing on the portrayal of Filipinos and the Philippine culture in fiction. We’ve taken on mentees through the Author Mentor Match program, and we’re proud to say they’re all doing a fantastic job revising their manuscripts. Won’t be surprised if they get offers soon!

Isabelle and I had been on both ends of mentoring—as mentors and mentees. I’m a proud protégé of middle grade maestro, Kate Messner, whom I met through the Writing in the Margins mentoring program. I’ve worked with Erin Entrada Kelly and Anica Mrose Rissi too, and I’ve learned a lot on the craft of writing from them. Isabelle was a finalist for the Writing from Color and Native Voices (WCNV) pitch contest.

But that’s not the best thing. You see, Isabelle and I are so much alike in so many ways. Our revision ideas are very similar, so our future mentee won’t worry about conflicting feedback. And of course, since there’s two of us, you’re getting two rounds with fresh set of eyes each time (Isabelle will discuss more about this in her post). We’ll do everything we can to make your manuscript shine.

Oh, and yeah. We believe in long-term relationships (I mean, Isabelle and I both married our college sweethearts). You can expect we’ll be your mentors even after Pitch Wars. Like, forever.

What we’re looking for

Yay! You’ve read this far. I hope that means you’re interested in being our mentee 🙂 Here’s a quick view of what we want, and don’t want:


  • MG with emotional punch (if you can make us laugh and cry, that would be awesome)
  • Contemporary
  • Contemporary with magic and/or speculative fiction elements ***
  • Family and friendship stories
  • Sisters
  • Contemporary STEM fantasy
  • Food magic
  • LGBTQi* main characters
  • Protagonists with disabilities
  • Filipino main characters 🙂
  • People of Color as primary protagonists
  • Pets
  • Stories set in South East Asia
  • #ownvoices

Do Not Want

  • Horror
  • Mermaids
  • Fairies
  • Sports-heavy themes
  • High Fantasy
  • Novels in Verse
  • Epistolary novels
  • Violence towards animals (NO. Just no.)

*** UPDATED 2017-07-20 to Add: I think a popular term used for this is “Magical Realism.” I’m not here to debate whether or not it’s correct, but we personally cannot use the term without considering its post-colonial influences and its turbulent history. While we love reading in this genre, we feel that three months may not be enough to work on a magical realism project (“magical realism” as defined in this article) and do it justice. But like all other genres not mentioned, you can try us just in case 🙂

As Filipinos, we do have fondness for stories featuring People of Color. Growing up, we rarely saw ourselves in the books we read, and we’d love to change that. We won’t ask you to disclose sharing a marginalization with a main character if you’re not comfortable. However, we do want our mentee to be willing to ensure proper representation, and get a sensitivity/targeted reader should the need arises.

If your manuscript doesn’t fall under either of these lists, you can still try us. Who knows? We might like something we aren’t actively looking for.

Head over Isabelle’s blog to learn more about our preferences, and how we do things. HINT! A scavenger hunt word is also hiding in her post. 😀

For more details on Pitch Wars and the Mentor Blog Hop, visit Brenda’s post.

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Hi there, stranger!

I'm Gail. I'm a Filipina author born and based in the Philippines. I'm also a web designer, an entrepreneur, and a graphic artist. I love pineapple pizza, seafood, and chocolate, but not in a single dish together (eww). My husband and I live in the outskirts of Manila with our dogs, ducks, turtles, cats, and one friendly but lonesome chicken. My Fate According to the Butterfly is my debut novel.

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Gail on Instagram!

  • Voted! The poll guy spilled so much indelible ink on my finger that I couldn't scratch my nose until it dried up 😁 but voters get a free upgrade on medium-sized Blizzard from Dairy Queen, so the day's good so far and it's worth taking a break from work and writing 😁 #halalan2019
  • They hungry 😘💕😂🤣 #ducksofinstagram #petducks #petsofinstagram #petstagram
  • Thank you for Free Comic Book Day, @_fullybooked 😊💕 in pics: me and my sis with Dog Man and the fabulous Fully Booked UP Town Center branch manager, Gelo 😁 #fcbd2019 #fcbd
  • Look at all those pretty butterflies!!!! 😍😍😍 thanks for this gorgeous pic, Gillian!!!! ❤❤❤
#Repost @gillianmcdunn (@get_repost)
‪So excited for MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY by fellow #novel19s debut @gaildvillanueva When 10yo Sab sees the black butterfly (omen of death) she decides to make the most of her remaining days and help reunite her family. Can’t wait to read! ‬
  • We visited our grandmas (Mama Nena, Lola Polly, Lola Goco) and my uncle Joe today ❤ of course I showed them my book ❤💕😊
  • The Butterfly blog and bookstagram tours are organized by these three amazing people!!! 😘💕💕💕 this is open INTERNATIONALLY, so if you're a book blogger or a bookstagrammer from anywhere in the world, sign up now!!!! 😊😘❤💕
#Repost @yourtitakate (@get_repost)
I'm so very happy to present #ButterflyTour, a promotional book tour for @gaildvillanueva's debut, MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY! 🦋
This tour will be both a blog tour and a bookstagram tour! You can opt to either write a review or other feature content, or take pretty photos of some lovely ARCs and post them on your feed. Or, if you're a completely extra person, you can sign up for both! You can do that over at! 👀 This tour is open to INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPANTS, so don't hesitate (bitch!). 😅😎
Need a little more info? Head on over to my blog,! Or you could also check out or because whaaaaat this tour is a collab! Yes, I am THAT cool. This blog and bookstagram tour is being brought to you by myself, @shealeairal, and @littlemissryssa 🇵🇭 You definitely don't want to miss all that Filipino pride up in here! 🌿🌻🐥
What are you waiting for? Sign up now!
  • Since the karinderya (canteen) is closed for Holy Week, I cooked salmon belly sinigang sa miso 😁
  • I am cast-free!!!!!! 🎉🎉🎉 so of course we're celebrating this awesome day with beef udon 😁 my elbow is still sorta swollen, but at least I'm now free of this horrible contraption!!!!! 😁
  • Dog pee is DANGEROUS! Slipped on dog pee again, but wasn't so lucky this time 😬 so annoying that the first time I ever wore an arm sling, it'll be because of dog pee 😑

Anyways, I'm ok! They gave me pain meds & I'll be seeing a specialist tomorrow to check the "suspicious crack fracture" 🙏 
If I owe you an email or something, I will get to you but just a bit slow 😊
  • Sunday ride at UP Diliman with my husband and his basketball bud! 😊 just had a haircut yesterday and now my hair is a flyaway mess 😁
  • Quackie is wondering what you guys think of her new Butterfly necklace! 😁 when I bought that in Bicol, it was supposed to be MY Butterfly bracelet but now I can only "borrow" it when Quackie isn't doing photo shoots 😂🦋 #petsofinstagram #petducks  #pekinducks
  • Saturday bike ride with the husband 😊😊😊

I support:

We Need Diverse Books

Writing in the Margins

Pinoy Dog-Lover

CARA Welfare Philippines