Pitch Wars 2016 Mentor Bio and Wishlist

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 9.22.18 AMHi there!  This is an exciting post to write, but as anyone who clicks back can see, I only post when absolutely moved to do so. Which is not often.  But PitchWars is certainly something that moves me to do so. So read on, prospective PitchWars people.  I hope that your manuscript fits my wishlist.  I’m looking forward to reading your work.

WARNING: Ye will find no GIFs here! Not my thing. Reading beautiful writing is my thing…not that there’s anything wrong with GIFs and entertaining pics.

My sales pitch: if you write well, write engrossing stories, and you want an editorial mentor who will not pull punches…


OK, that’s IT for the GIFs. This is PitchWars, after all, and it’s supposed to be FUN.


I’ve been writing forever. However, I started writing novels about six years ago. It was tough getting started, but I learned much along the way, mostly from beta readers like Brianna Shrum—whom I meant through PitchWars—and genre fiction fans like John Como and Austin Pierce. My work has dark elements and I love that in what I read. Here is the bio I use officially at this point:

Dan Malossi is a speculative fiction writer represented by Douglas Lee of Kimberley Cameron and Associates. He was chosen by the inimitable Sarah Henning in Pitchwars for his first novel a few years back. He is currently on submission with his debut novel, a sci-fi thriller called THE REAPER PROGRAM. 

Here’s the photo I’ve been using recently, because I don’t find myself on camera very often and I haven’t yet hired a professional to make me look like what I wish I saw in the mirror:


I’m working on it.  Now that you know me just a little, this is…


I write speculative fiction.  However, for most of my life, I had no idea what that even was.  I’ve always preferred horror and science fiction, but I didn’t categorize, and I read across nearly all genres. As a kid, I found myself enjoying most stories by Stephen King and Kurt Vonnegut and Cormac McCarthy and so on. Around the same time, I also fell in love early with the beautiful prose styles of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harper Lee…most of the high school standards…and, later, Ron Currie Jr. and Albert Piñon. After some introspection—forced by the process of finding my own voice—I realized that the writing itself needs to strike my ear in a certain way in order for my brain to open up and accept the story at hand. I cannot help this.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 4.13.50 PM(for the scavenger hunt)

For this reason, I say this: If your work is voice-heavy and laced with darker elements, it’s likely very much for me. I like “literary” science fiction, but mostly on the “soft” side of sci-fi—think Slaughterhouse Five or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? I also welcome horror and suspense, but not of the super-depraved variety. Think Stephen King (It/The Stand era) or Joe Hill, or anyone else in that particular genealogical line. Surprisingly for everyone including me, my first novel—the one selected for mentoring in PitchWars—was a psychological suspense/thriller that “went for it” in terms of literary voice. Whether it achieved such things is subjective. Ultimately, I’m looking for high-quality writing in the following genres: Horror, Science Fiction (soft), Thriller, Suspense, and Literary Fiction (only with an actual plot…no navel-gazing, please).  That’s the wishlist!

Here’s what you CAN send me, because I enjoy it, but I’m really no expert:

Fantasy—esp. Urban and High Fantasy, Medical/Legal Thrillers, Historical Fiction

Here’s what I’m absolutely NOT looking for, mainly because I am totally unqualified to help you:

Romance of any type, Women’s Fiction, YA and MG. I’d love to help you in these areas, but it just ain’t gonna happen. Sorry. If you write YA, might I suggest Brianna Shrum?  She’s an excellent CP for me, and a great choice for your YA shtuff.

Finally, when choosing a CP/mentor/beta reader, it was always helpful for me to know from what books the writer drew/draws inspiration. For me, a top-six list is always helpful.  So here’s mine:

  1. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
  2. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
  3. World’s End by T.C. Boyle
  4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman


Happy hunting!

































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