What is Pitch Wars?

Pitch Wars is a mentoring program where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to mentor. Mentors read the entire manuscript and offer suggestions on how to make the manuscript shine for the agent showcase. The mentor also helps edit their mentee’s pitch for the contest and their query letter for submitting to agents. Mentors can participate solo or pair up and co-mentor. For more information about Pitch Wars please visit the website here.

Image Credit: True Detective Season III

What am I looking for?

HORROR! CRIME FICTION!

Or, better yet, can you blend genres? Horror & Crime Fiction? I love a master of genre, but I particularly love a master of genre blending and bending.

Again, I am looking for horror OR crime fiction. It’s certainly possible to blend both effectively. I’m very interested in manuscripts inspired by folklore, legend or myth. I am also interested in manuscripts that deal with humans as the monster, serial killers for example. While I’m not looking for non-fiction, I do very much enjoy true crime, the puzzles and tragedy that often unfold with those stories, so if your manuscript can feel like a true crime event (please make sure it’s fictional) then please send it my way!

I’m not really interested in creature features or body horror.

I am a Fiction Adult mentor, but also accepting works considered NA – New Adult within my genre.

What I am NOT looking for

I am NOT looking for science fiction fantasy, science fiction traditional, or traditional works of fantasy.
No hateful or harmful language of groups, people, or belief systems
No extreme violence, excessive gore or splatterpunk
No erotica
No sexual violence
No child rape
No pedophilia

Why do you want to work with me?

I am your cheerleader. I am here for you. I want to support you and get you the best agent possible. Trust me, I know that writing is frustrating. I know the business of writing is heartbreaking. I want to champion you and your work every step of the way. I am a huge believer in positive psychology (See note below. I’m even getting a PhD in psychology). So, I want you to believe in you, and I will make you believe in you, because you are amazing and we are going to do great things together.

What do I expect?

I expect you to do the work, and that means you are going to re-write, outline, and re-write some more. I will of course be here guiding you with recommendations. We have a very tight timeline and so we have to keep to a schedule. A schedule means regular check-ins. We will find the rhythm that works best for us, whether that is text, Skype, email, and/or working in Google docs. I know life is busy. I know busy, trust me. So, we will find a process that is beneficial to both of us and most importantly to your manuscript. So, what I expect is work, dedication, and commitment.

Credit: The Killing Season III

Why you may not want to work with me?


I am very flexible and relaxed. So, that personality type just does not work with some people, and that is quite fine. I approach all of my writing and critiques by first using the asking method. I will ask you questions about your work and expect you to think about it. I want this to be a positive experience and so it is very important to me that you are happy with your manuscript. This is your work. I want you to be proud of it. I will be here to help guide you there with structure, plot, character, and your voice.

Credit: True Detective HBO

Writers I enjoy


Agatha Christie, Angela Carter, Edgar Allan Poe, Jorge Luis Borges, Raymond Chandler, Carlos Fuentes, Tananarive Due, Ania Ahlborn, Josh Malerman, Kathe Koja, S.A. Cosby, Daniel Kraus, Paul Tremblay, Alma Katsu, John Langan, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Gabino Iglesias, V. Castro, Gwendolyn Kiste, Sara Tantlinger, Stephanie Wytovich, Max Booth III, Eric LaRocca, Stephen Graham Jones, Robert McCammon, Caroline Kepnes, and so many more.


Recent favorite reads

My Heart is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
Velvet Was The Night by Silvia Moreno Garcia
The Invention of Ghosts by Gwendolyn Kiste
We Need to Do Something by Max Booth III
The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig
Razor Blade Tears by S.A. Cosby

Movies / Shows I’ve enjoyed

El Orfanato/The Orphanage
Aterrados/Terrified
Tigers Are Not Afraid
The Changeling (1980)
The Woman in Black
Pan’s Labyrinth
Carnival of Souls
True Detective
The Killing
Manhunter
The Babadook
The Exorcist
The VVitch

Who am I?


Cynthia “Cina” Pelayo is a two-time Bram Stoker Awards® nominated poet and author. She is the author of LOTERIA, SANTA MUERTE, THE MISSING, and POEMS OF MY NIGHT, all of which have been nominated for International Latino Book Awards. POEMS OF MY NIGHT was also nominated for an Elgin Award. Her recent collection of poetry, INTO THE FOREST AND ALL THE WAY THROUGH explores true crime, that of the epidemic of missing and murdered women in the United States, and was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award and Elgin Award. Her modern day horror retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale, CHILDREN OF CHICAGO was released by Agora / Polis Books in 2021.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College, a Master of Science in Marketing from Roosevelt University, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Business Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Cina was raised in inner city Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children.

I am active on Twitter: Cinapelayo and Instagram: Cinapelayoauthor

Head back to the Pitch Wars post to see the complete list of mentors and include this link:  https://pitchwars.org/pitch-wars-2021-mentor-blog-hop/

Pitch Wars 2021 Adult Mentors’ Wish Lists


    Click here to view all Pitch Wars 2021 Mentors’ Wish Lists. To view the wish lists by genre, visit this link.