The Queen of Weird
Justine Manzano is primarily a lover of stories. For years, she has been dedicated to helping writers craft their story and find their story’s home. Justine has worked in acquisitions and as both a content and line editor at small publishing companies, as a reader in YA lit mags, and in the corporate sector, helping people grammar it up in their legal briefs. In 2017, she co-founded The Inkwell Council, an editing trio that runs a monthly lottery and provides the winner of said lottery with a free edit of their first three chapters. In 2018, she joined the Craft Quest team as an editor and as one of the panelists for their livestreamed writing advice videos. In 2019, she is stoked to be merging Inkwell and Craft Quest into one stellar editing team.
When she’s not helping other people’s stories find their way, Justine is a YA Fantasy author. Her short work has been published in the anthologies The Things You Can Create and Best New Writing 2017, as well as the literary magazines Sliver of Stone, The Greenwich Village Literary Review, The Holiday Cafe, Twisted Sister Literary, and The Corvus Review. She has received an Editor's Choice Award for her work in Best New Writing 2017, and her debut novel was a finalist in the Pitch to Publication 2016 competition. Justine lives in Bronx, NY with her writer husband, son, and a cacophony of cats and prides herself on her ability to juggle motherhood, writing, and the very serious businesses of fangirling and geekery.
Justine loves weird stuff. If your story has an odd twist to it, something that likely wouldn’t happen in real life, or something that may happen in real life that nobody really talks about (for instance, talking to yourself and getting a response, knowing you definitely have a ghost in your living room), she would love to help that manuscript shine. That doesn’t necessarily mean the story needs to be a Fantasy or Science Fiction novel, but she loves those, so that works, too. She is also a firm believer in real life not being able to fit into genres, and loves some kind of humor in everything, even if it’s gallows humor. Real people who experience trauma often laugh about it.
Justine doesn’t generally deal in books for children or MG, not because she doesn’t enjoy reading them, but because she doesn’t always feel as comfortable with knowing how to make them their best. YA, NA, and Adult are more in her wheelhouse.
Justine loves fantasy but not epic fantasy. She tends more towards urban/contemporary. She loves light sci-fi. Hard sci-fi is a good read, but Justine will not be able to fact check your science terms, which makes it difficult to edit. She loves contemporary romance, and anything with a LGBT+ influence is welcome. Diverse books of any kind are always welcome. She doesn’t even mind smut, as long as it’s well done, and she will grill you if it isn’t.
Things Justine will absolutely not read? Do not send her anything with a detailed rape scene or detailed abuse of children. Nothing with animal abuse. Nothing that pokes fun at any of those things either. If the alpha male in your book is an asshole and would likely be arrested for the way he treats the women in his life, Justine won’t be able to read it without telling you why he’s an asshole and all the things he’d be arrested for, so she’s probably not the best fit for your manuscript.