Friday, August 1, 2014

I'm a Pitch Wars Mentor (aka Pitch Wars bio)!

Pitch Wars is here! Who’s ready to rumble?

I’m thrilled to be a mentor for this legendary event! I know you have lots of terrific mentors to choose from, but how many of them wake up with hair this spectacular?


Real name: Ronni Arno Blaisdell

Pen name: Ronni Arno (because apparently there are 17,265 incorrect ways to spell and pronounce “Blaisdell”) Categories: MG Genres: Contemporary, Magical Realism, Light Fantasy

My debut novel, RENEE REINVENTED, comes out from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin in Fall 2015. A second middle-grade contemporary, tentatively titled POPPY SEEDS, publishes with Simon & Schuster/Aladdin in Summer 2016. I’m repped by the truly amazing Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary.
When I’m not writing, you can find me stalking my kids for story ideas. I often volunteer to drive my children and their friends to pretty much anywhere in the continental US (longer car rides = more time to eavesdrop). I like to kayak and eat chocolate. Oh, there’s also a day job. I’m a marketing PR, and events consultant. WHAT I LOVE:

I tend to gravitate toward middle-grade and young YA. Perhaps that’s because, on any given day, I am mentally between the ages of 11 and 15. I’d love to read a smart story with any (or all) of the following:
  • a strong hook
  • some humorous elements  (but not over-the-top)
  • realistic dialogue
  • heart (I want to laugh! I want to cry! I want to feel all the feels!)
My own work tends to be on the lighter side, but I always add poignant undertones. That will be an important element for me. I adore slightly quirky and very spunky characters who find themselves in unique predicaments. Let’s be honest… tweens and young teens are absolutely outrageous. I love their sense of humor, I love their irrational motivation, and I especially love the heartfelt ways they try to be both individuals, and part of the crowd. If you’ve got characters like that, I want to meet them!  What sucks me in the most, of course, is VOICE! If you’ve got it, I want to read it! WHAT I DON'T LOVE:

I don’t like to be grossed out, so horror is usually not for me. Although I adore reading intense, brooding, and dark YA, I’m probably not the best at critiquing that type of thing. WHY YOU SHOULD PICK ME (besides the hair, I mean...):

  1. I read. A lot. I write. A lot. I figure some of that reading and writing has seeped into my brain and helped me to become a decent beta-reader. 
  2. And speaking of beta-readers, I read dozens and dozens of manuscripts! I am lucky enough to be a part of the most spectacular critique group on the interwebz, MG Beta Readers. This group is filled with brilliant writers and all-around talented people. We critique each other’s work, we help each other grow as writers, and we blog at Kidliterati. We laugh at each other’s jokes. Or sometimes, we laugh at our own jokes. Many of my CP's and friends have found agents, and many have gotten book deals. While I'm sure this isn't because of my mad skills, I read lots of great manuscripts and because of that, have a pretty good idea of what agents are looking for. 
  3. I entered both #PitMad and #PitchMas last year, and received a whole bunch of requests from them. I can help you do the same!
  4. As a marketing and PR professional, I know what sells! There are few things I like doing more than writing query letters. Weird, I know. Often I write my query letter before I write the actual manuscript… that’s how much I like writing query letters. There may be a self-help group for this. I should find out. But in the meantime, give me my fix! I’ll help you perfect your pitch and find your niche!
  5. Did I mention I like to rhyme?
  6. Spelling and punctuation mistakes leap off the page. I’ll catch those buggers and make them pay. Or, at least, I’ll point them out to you.


Long walks on the beach, boxes of the finest dark chocolate, and a fun and fruitful writing experience. Besides that...

The most important thing in looking to improve your manuscript is to keep an open mind. I know how hard it is to put your work out there. 


But, as I’ve learned, beta readers make your work better. I’m a kind and thoughtful person (unless you try to eat my chocolate, in which case we’ll have words). I’ll give you my honest opinion in the nicest way possible. But I’ll always be honest. I only ask that you keep an open mind. At the end of the day, it’s your story, and hopefully what I say will resonate with you and make your manuscript that much better. For more information and how to submit your entries, please visit

And be sure to check out all the incredible mentors!

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Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to see you and your fabulous submissions soon!


  1. I always keep a notebook handy when I'm hanging around my teenage sons. You seriously can't make this stuff up. You sound like a kindred spirit:) Any book for me (esp. MG) has to have a sense of humor. Great bio!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! I like the notebook idea... all too often I hear something hilarious and forget it later on!

  2. Loved your bio. Congrats on the book deal! I write MG because I really am a 12 year-old tween at heart! I have a high concept contemporary I'll be sending your way:)

    1. YAY! Thanks, Jacqueline. It's always a pleasure to meet other tweens who "get it." ;) I'm looking forward to reading your submission!

  3. I'm totally submitting to you for your hair!

    ...Oh, and all the other great stuff you said! (-:

  4. I'm YA so I won't pick you, but a friend of mine has Blaisdell as his last name, so I can totally pronounce it :D His wife writes romance, or I'd send her over.

  5. I'm just thrilled you can pronounce Blaisdell! Some of my best friends still get it wrong... Good luck in Pitch Wars! So many great YA mentors out there.

  6. Thanks for making me laugh. I really appreciate how genuine your bio is. I'm planning to send a contemporary upper MG your way -- with a spunky, slightly quirky girl who's on the run.

    1. GAH! A contemporary upper MG with a spunky, quirky MC?! I'm drooling! Can't wait to see it. :)

  7. You are totally going on my "possible 4" list. I'll bring my own chocolate. My humor is light and rich and so not over-the-top. Like chocolate.

    1. Excellent, Jen! I look forward to possibly reading your MS! Or eating your chocolate... ;)

  8. Great mentor profile/post, Ronni, thanks. Do you mind also listing a few of your fav books?

    1. Sure, Erika! A few of my MG faves include anything by Wendy Mass, Jerry Spinelli, and Rebecca Stead.