Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Marianna LealHall of FameGerardo DelgadilloYAContemporary85000

HALL OF FAME is a YA contemporary romcom novel with strong Latinx representation, complete at 85k words. Its emotional beats compare to the contemporary works of Brigid Kemmerer and the wit of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski.

Who said baseball isn’t for girls? Not Peyton. All she wants is to someday become the first female coach in major league baseball. The first step to achieve her goal, and get the college credits she needs, is to become her high school’s assistant coach. But she faces two obstacles—the coach is her dad, and he refuses to hire her. Peyton doesn’t take no for an answer and before her complaints turn into her high school’s biggest PR disaster, the principal and her dad agree to let her become the assistant coach on one condition: dating any of the players will be strike three and she’s out.

No big deal, except the team’s star player and Peyton’s childhood friend, Santiago, hasn’t touched a baseball bat since his older brother, the ace pitcher, died in a tragic accident last year. Now that Santi’s back from a trip to his home country, Venezuela, Peyton must convince him to be in the lineup if the team is to stand a chance this season. But as she coaches him back in the game, her feelings for him grow deeper, and she finds herself at a 3-2 count between a trailblazing future in baseball and her heart.

Writing as Marianna Leal, I have two goals with my books: bring Venezuelan and Latinx representation, and entice the younger generations into carving a better future. Luckily, I get to work on the same goals at my day job in a renown engineering company. I currently live in Florida, USA, after a couple of years of living in the Midwest—after a few years of living in Scandinavia—and nowadays, enjoy traveling through my books more than through cross-continental moves.

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,
Marianna Leal


INNING ONE—WELCOME HOME

First female MLB coach.

The idea hit me like the crack of my bat against the ball. My teammates cheered as the ball vanished in the outfield, while the opposite team burst into boos and whining.

Jimmy, the pitcher, stomped the ground, sending a cloud of red dust flying around him. I sensed the beginnings of a tantrum as he said, “That’s not fair.” 

After coaching my neighborhood’s peewee league for the duration of winter break, the six- to eight-year-olds had as good a grasp on the basics as expected. Some of them were little prodigies while others still didn’t know which end of the bat to hit the ball with. Knowing that basics were boring for kids with the attention span of a rock, I shook things up with a practice game on the last session before school started—and shook them up some more by joining one of the teams.

“This is life, kids. If you see an opportunity you gotta take it.” I dropped my bat, jogging at a leisurely pace toward first base. Rounding the diamond I added, “In this case the opportunity was the easy pitch, which will still be a strike if you don’t practice your swings.”

A chorus of whines rose up. Swinging the bat was one of the least popular drills, along with anything that didn’t have them running around the field like wild goats. 

Meanwhile, my heart hammered in my chest thanks to that wild idea I couldn’t shake off.

A diamond was supposed to be a girl’s best friend, except in baseball. It didn’t matter that in my peewee days I’d been the best. At bat, at catching, at pitching, at sliding to base like a boulder if I could put my team in the game. The fact was I’d come out of the birth dugout without dangly bits between my legs, which meant as a batter I was out. Three strikes before my first wail. Before I was able to prove I deserved a bigger role in baseball than spectator. 

What if I wanted to be more than that? Making the ball fucking fly was exciting, which was why for a while I tried playing softball. But it wasn’t quite the same, not just because the ball was bigger and softer. With so few eyes on the sport, how I could leave my mark?

The peewees gave me the answer. 

Pedrito was next at bat. His swing nearly decapitated the catcher. I corrected Pedrito’s stance and showed him where to aim. Two strikes later, he made a decent hit and took off like a rocket. He would never forget how success felt like a shock to the body. 

This was what I wanted to do: mold the next generation of baseball players like my dad did, as coach of my high school team. I wanted his job. 

Well, not his specifically. I wanted to be the first female coach in a professional league.