Pitch Wars Bio – Adult Urban Fantasy

Bio 1

Me, myself, and I

During the day, I science for money. Sometimes, I math instead. At home, I write low/urban fantasy when I’m not chasing my toddler and two dogs. They’re faster than I am.

Does it count as a secret identity if no one cares who your alter ego is? I’m asking for a friend, I swear.

Bio 2


I’ve been compelled to write since I was tiny. My first stories were in crayon, and became gradually more sophisticated once I saved up for my first typewriter, one nickel and dime at a time. I wrote through high school and college, even sending articles and essays to the school newspaper and entering contests. Once I started graduate school, I took on longer works, not the least of which was my dissertation. Drafting something new has never been my trouble, as I love discovering where a story will take me. Knowing when not to edit any further is something I struggle with.

Bio 3


In high school, I gave my English teacher fits. I never got the knack for Dickens, but I loved Dumas, the more unabridged, the better. I obsessed over L’amour, and at one point collected every single thing he ever wrote. I still have them all, but Haunted Mesa is my favorite.

As an adult, I lean towards Koontz, King, and Crichton, who all gave me a taste of the fantastical. They flavored my own writing, which tends to erupt with unplanned fantasy and horror elements. I was thrilled when I discovered magical realism, urban fantasy, and low fantasy were genres. I belonged.

Bio 4

The Manuscript

The MS I’m submitting to Pitch Wars is an adult low/urban fantasy. I’ve been working on it for several years, and it’s currently going through re-writes following read-throughs by two critique partners. Is this draft 7? 12? 20? I think it’s 12, but I lost track a long time ago. If you’re curious, I write about it here a fair amount – those posts usually have ‘Marcy’s book’ as a category.

Tag line? When the only surviving family member of a young graduate student goes missing, her search for him pulls her into a centuries-old war between two supernatural groups.

There’s no werewolves or vampires, sparkly or otherwise. Just shifters.

Bio 5

Favorite time and place to write

I’ve moved ten times in twelve years. Pretending I have a routine time and place to write would be silly, but I do tend to write a lot on my lunch break, the evenings, and weekends. I’m not one to get up before work, but then I leave for work at 6:15 am.

Bio 7

Favorite tools

Scribophile has helped break me out of my introverted shell. I’m not one for social media (I have no idea how to do pictures or gifs on here – this is a fledgling effort to avoid the dreaded text wall), and it got me more comfortable talking to people and letting them look at my scribblings. I’ve found several wonderful critique partners through the Novel Exchange group, and the contests are also fun. I highly recommend the Octagon.

Scrivener – I don’t know how I managed before Scrivener. I wrote my first novel in a plain word processor, and I may never go back and edit it. It’s one huge wall of text. With Scrivener, I can tackle scenes out of order, and if an edit I need to make pops into mind, I can find the location quickly and move on. After the iOS version was released, I’ve had my files ready for notes, scribblings, and edits wherever I am – computer, tablet, phone.

Bio 6

Favorite beverage and snack

I’m a tea drinker. I switched to drinking coffee socially during graduate school, but stopped when I was pregnant and never got the taste for it back. I love trying different loose leaf teas, and luckily have some good inexpensive spice shops near where I live. I’m fond of dark chocolate, but too much sugar makes me excitable. Refrigerated chocolate and caramel are the best.

Bio 8

Favorite writing ritual

I write and edit better if I read for an hour first. Granted, it can be dangerous – sometimes I never put the book down to work on my own.

Bio 9

Favorite rule to break

Oxford commas are the only grammar rule I can’t let go of. As for ending with prepositions, I read somewhere it’s not a real rule, and chose not to research to find out otherwise.

Bio 10

Favorite crutch words

Then. Common motions, shaking and nodding of the head, blinking, shrugging. Doors, and turning of knobs to open and close said doors. Locking and unlocking of doors. All things door. Door is even in the name of my Pitch Wars MS. I have a problem. Send help. (Knock first.)

Bio 11

Favorite challenge

The Pitch Wars community has been exciting, and I hope to get to fully be a part of it. If not, it’s still shaken me up out of my little box, and gotten me talking to people and sharing my writing. Without it, I don’t know that I would have every gotten the nerve up to query anyone.

If you don’t know, Pitch Wars is a contest run by Brenda Drake each year that pairs authors with published mentors. If chosen, the author works with their mentor for two months putting a final polish on their manuscript and getting it ready to query agents.


Shameless self-promotion

Follow me here. Come find me on Scribophile or Facebook under Rachel C. Hanner. My twitter handle is @Rachel_Hanner.

Behind the Red Door Aesthetic

Now that I have my manuscript edits complete and my submission for Pitch Wars…well, submitted, I thought I’d upload some of the pictures I’ve taken that inspired some of my settings.

I travel a lot for work, so some of these are in the US, and some were taken in Europe.



Writing Update

Writing Update Header

I’m still editing my main novel for Pitch Wars, but I thought I’d give an update on my other works-in-progress.

Midnight (novella)

Basically, a horse brings people who need each other together, so growth and healing can occur. Yeah, I started this when I was really young, but I’d like to finish it for me and never let anyone else read it. I’m fond of it. Young adult.

  • Completed draft
  • Initial re-write will have to wait until everything else is done

Faye’s book / They’re Coming

Witnessing a professor’s death agitates a woman hiding from her own grief to action, driving her to expose an unknown threat before it’s too late to save those she loves. Adult low fantasy.

  • Completed draft
  • Initial re-write pending outlining of the second book below

Marcy’s book / Behind the Red Door

When the only surviving family member of a young woman goes missing, her search for him pulls her into a centuries-old war between two supernatural groups. Adult low fantasy.

  • Completed draft
  • Currently undergoing violent edits in preparation for entering in Pitch Wars

Eva’s book in the Behind the Red Door universe (not a sequel)

A flood pushes tension between two supernatural groups to the breaking point, forcing a free spirit to choose between her own kind and the man she secretly loves. Adult low fantasy.

  • Half drafted
  • Currently outlining remainder

Unnamed third book in the Behind the Red Door universe (takes place after Marcy’s book)

Marcy and Eva have to confront loose ends and learn how to move beyond their pasts. Adult low fantasy.

  • Quarter drafted
  • Currently outlining remainder – may absorb events planned for Heidi and Jodi’s books in one

Good at Math

A scientist who is good at math and bad with people struggles to balance a need to change with learning to appreciate what makes her unique. Adult fiction.

  • Quarter drafted
  • Outlining pending for remainder

Confessions / The List

The lines are blurred between the MC’s fantasy world and reality, and unraveling it’s half the fun. Did they really commit the crimes they’re confessing? Adult fiction.

  • Two chapters written to get a feel for my MC, POV, and chapter structure
  • Currently outlining for NaNoWriMo


This story’s also been with me a long time, even longer than Midnight. It’s changed a few times over the years. A man and woman find each other again after events drove them apart in their childhood, and to accept and move past the terrible things that happened when they were young, they have to forgive and let go of one another. Adult low fantasy.

  • Several chapters to scope out characters and their motivations
  • Outlining will have to wait until after November

Unnamed second book in Faye’s universe (not a sequel)

Things hit the fan in other regions aside from Faye’s. While her book focuses on one side of what happened, this one pulls out and you see the bigger picture as a whole. Adult low fantasy.

  • Minor drabbles to scope out characters and their motivations
  • Outlining will have to wait until after November

I like writing low/urban fantasy, can you tell?

I’m resisting the urge to outline another novel idea I have, even though it’s my husband’s favorite so far. Nine WIPs and I’m-not-going-to-count-them-so-I-don’t-know-how-many short stories in various stages of completion is enough. Yes, ten would be a lovely round number, but the last five on the list weren’t technically supposed to be started yet. Words just sort of happened.

Anybody else have too much in their brain all the time?