Pitch Wars – Young Adult Alternates (Urban Fantasy, Horror, Thriller)

YA Entry #29

Mentor Name: N.K. Traver
Alternate Name: Alex Brown
Category: YA
Genre: Horror
Word Count: 83,000


ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD meets THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. After her cousin disappears while hunting an urban legend, seventeen-year-old Quinn must confront Colonial Williamsburg’s secretive locals to find her – without becoming the next victim.


June 21

Battery Level: 89%

We shouldn’t be here. Despite all the signs, and how much we want to help, going into the White Woods this close to sunset is a stupid idea.

Josh throws an overly dramatic hand on his forehead. “Can we speed this up? I’m too pretty to risk being stuck in these woods for forever.”

Oh, good. If he keeps this up, I’ll punch him right where that embroidered eagle sits on his preppy polo. I swear, if we get trapped in these woods because we listened to someone who marks time by when the next GAP sale’s about to go down, instead of all the warnings – well. Let’s just say there aren’t enough words in the English language that can describe what I’ll do to him.

“It won’t get dark for a few more hours. It’s the longest day of the year, remember?” Alanna stands behind me, leaning on my shoulder as she stares into the camera’s display screen.

She’s wearing her usual overly floral perfume – which is kind of ridiculous, since cryptids don’t really care how she smells. Well, that Wendigo in Oregon did, but that was the only time. If it even was a Wendigo. I still think it was an overzealous bear.

But Alanna didn’t become a WendigoMeal™, or a BearMeal™, so I guess it worked out.

She laughs as she moves next to me. “Either the camera really does add ten pounds, or Josh needs to lay off the cheeseburgers.” She tosses her dark hair back, waiting for whatever smartass comment he’ll shoot her way.


YA Entry #30

Mentor Name: Molly Lee
Alternate Name: S.D. Grimm
Title: Witcher
Category: YA
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 85,000


Seventeen-year-old Allie accidentally unleashes a curse that’s turning her into a ghost. Cody, the one-handed boy next door, can save her by taking her place—and he’s willing—but Allie can’t bear to lose someone else she loves.


Six months ago, my mom died.

I wasn’t there.

I closed my eyes to block out the glowing crimson 11:13 on my alarm clock that marked the exact time of that night. I’d missed her last words—words for me— because Dad had sent me home.

I never said goodbye.

An ache squeezed my heart as I traced the embossing on the pale blue journal on my bedside table. My mother’s. Her last gift to me. I picked it up. Always so heavy in my hands.

The book held her advice on everything from my first day of college to having a baby. All the things she knew she’d miss. The spine cracked as I opened it, and the scent of her perfume wafted out—peaches. I breathed in.

Changes in her handwriting gave away the days she was in the most pain and revealed her excitement. Her sorrow tainted the pages too, like the passage I was about to read: Advice on helping Dad through the first-day-of-school rituals. A dried teardrop distorted the faint blue lines on the journal’s page. My mother’s tear. I trailed my finger over the surface careful not to press away the natural bubbling it had created.


My bedroom window rattled. I jolted, one hand splayed across my chest.

Just the wind. I sighed, wishing it had been a sign from my mom. I stared at the open journal. Can you hear me?

A shadow appeared over the book.


YA Entry #31

Mentor Name: Kate Karyus Quinn
Alternate Name: Tracie Martin
Title: Wild Is the Wind
Category: YA
Genre: Psychological Horror
Word Count: 85,000


After a fateful first kiss with her best-friend, 17-year-old Emily feels her body fill with lake water and sees her drowned mother’s face. As each kiss draws Emily closer to her mother’s death, Emily must confront the ghost or become one herself.


The letter smelled of starry summer nights. Fireworks and a first kiss. The sweetest of all things in life.

It pulled me out of my thoughts like a siren’s beckoning finger.

I was on my way to Javier’s, plotting a safe path through the thicket of our sexual tension, lost in maze of potential pitfalls and seriously pissed at my aunt for changing the patterns of my favorite perfect day. But I stopped, keys in hand, in front of the mailbox, pulled out a hunk of paper and flicked through it. Bills. Bills. A Victoria’s Secret catalog. Then my fingertips grazed a thick envelope, the ridges of an embossed foil seal. The scent of flowers filled the air, like a breathy sigh, something rich and seductive I couldn’t place.

The envelope had that handmade look, little filaments of pink and blue, flower petals entombed in the fibers. A silver crescent moon glinted in the lower left corner. No return address. My expectations rose, until I saw the addressee: Emliesl Piotriciwiz. Oh. I’ve seen this name a few times over the years. I’ve been responsible for the mail since we nearly lost gas, power, and cable while Aunt Lise studied for the Bar and let the bills pile up, unopened, for two months.

Someone else’s good news, then. Damn. I crossed out the name, wrote “Addressee Unknown. Previous Occupant” across the top, and popped the envelope back in the mailbox.

I put the envelope back in the mailbox. I did.

Please remember this.


YA Entry #32

Mentor Name: Trisha Leaver/ Lindsay Currie
Alternate Name: Kelly Calabrese
Title: Beautiful Bloody Duckling
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Psychological Horror/ Thriller
Word Count: 65,000


Sixteen-year-old Thea Moore vowed to get through this school trip without letting her paranoia turn her into the usual target of her classmate’s amusement. But when Thea gets pulled deeper into Neil’s twisted ambition to create a reality-based, horror movie, it becomes impossible to distinguish reality from what’s scripted. 


If it’s true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, then I’m fucked. And I don’t want to end up paranoid or void of emotion, so here I am on an Eco Expedition trip I’ve convinced everyone I’m ready for. However, I didn’t count on our shuttle bus breaking down on Highway 32 - also known as Costa Rica’s “Route of Death.”

Smoke fumes from the engine, and we slow to a creep, drawing even more attention to the straight-down drop on our right. It’s making the half-digested burger in my stomach heave up my throat, so I clench my eyes shut and rub my thumb over my amber healing ring. This helps calm me…until I hear our tires skid over rocks.

“Holy crap!” My body jerks with such a force my head thwacks into Brooke’s.

She yelps, “Thea.” And I break into a maniacal kind of high-pitched laugh, which is soon drowned out by the squeaking of plastic bucket seats.

Oh no. I cringe. All four of them are turning toward me.

“It’s nothing. I’m fine,” I mutter, waving them off.

The gawking continues, and a sinking sensation courses through my veins. It’s as if I can already hear Neil making a croaking noise, his way of saying I’m as jumpy as a frog. Or Keith and Robert competing to create the grossest reason for me to squeal. And Dina…she’s already doing exactly what I dread – giving me a glare that reflects what she thinks of me.


YA Entry #33

Mentor Name: Dionne McCulloch
Alternate Name: Lisa Preziosi
Title: The Dead List
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Horror
Word Count: 101,727


A pandemic is turning the infected into violent, undead sleepers. When a diseased and ooze-ridden child bites 17-year old Violet Black, instead of dying, Violet acquires extraordinary abilities. Along with hyper-enhanced senses, strength and speed, Violet develops a startling enthusiasm and talent for killing. But is she the hero the world needs or just its perfect monster?


“Earth to Clark,” I said. “The Death Comes for the Archbishop essay is due tomorrow.”

We sat on my bed, notebooks spread out. “What’s the point?” said Clark. “Death is coming for us a hell of a lot faster.”

“You’ve been reading those conspiracy forums again.” I sighed. “Now you’ll be all emo for at least a week.”

“No, listen Violet. You know Josh and Marcy are dating, right? When he heard she got sick, he snuck into her room. She was strapped to the bed and bluish with sores all over. She was kind of moaning too. When he heard someone coming, he hid under her bed. Guys in plastic yellow suits entered the room and said:

‘Here’s another one.’
‘You know the drill, Pete. Make it clean through the head.’
‘I hate doing the kids.’
‘I’ll bet you’ll hate getting bit and ripped to shreds more.’

Then there was a gunshot. They took Marcy out in a bright orange body bag. When I saw Josh he was a wreck—shaking, and could barely get the words out.”

“You sure he didn’t make that up? I mean… he memorized their whole fucking conversation?”

“I think you remember the shit people say when they are shooting your girlfriend in the head. He was crying. Josh was crying. The kid who broke his arm mountain biking and didn’t go the hospital for two days. The one voted ‘Most likely to end up in prison’.”


YA Entry #34

Mentor Name: Trisha Leigh
Alternate Name: Destiny Vandeput
Category: YA
Genre: Political Thriller
Word Count: 85,000


Ever since Willow’s father pushed through a bill in the Senate to establish monitored housing for potential terrorists, she’s strived to stay as invisible as possible. For Aniq, living in one of these Quarters has done nothing but ruin his chance at a future and fuel his anger toward anyone who seems to be in charge.

When both their brothers are accused of plotting a recent terrorist attack, they form a tentative partnership to unmask the real culprit behind the bombings. Soon, the two teens find themselves facing an impossible truth-- that saving their brothers might mean killing thousands more.


There are days you just want to crawl back into bed and try again tomorrow. Looking around at the crowds pressed against the glass, I decide today is definitely one of those days.

Marshall = Hitler assaults my vision as a protester slaps yet another homemade poster against the window of our town car. We inch forward, but they press in as if we're waving a red cape at a bull. I can't hear any of the throng that block our way into the school driveway, yet their lips still move in sync to a silent chant. I know better than to make the trip to school without a song blasting in my ears to drown out their screaming, but the signs? The signs I can't ignore. It’s always worse on days leading up to the Call.

"That's it," Justin mutters as he revs the engine and lays on the horn.

"Maybe we should just go back to the apartment," I say, pulling out my headphones and flinching at the noise.

Justin mutters a curse and grabs his phone. "Requesting assistance to clear the entrance. I'm trying to drop off Senator Marshall's daughter and it's a mad house out here.”


**AGENTS  & EDITORS: To make requests, enter in the comments what you’d like sent to you. Please include submission guidelines and/or additional instructions. *Since there are several entries per post, be sure to list either the entry number or manuscript title when requesting.


  1. Alex Brown--I'd love it if you would send me the first 3 chapters of your manuscript in an attachment to laura@redsofaliterary.com. Please include a query in the body of the email!

  2. Alex Brown, I'm game for the first 50 pages! Send them to jmccarthy@dystel.com, and I'll review promptly.

  3. Thanks so much for letting me review these great concepts. Two really stood out for me, personally: THE DEAD LIST and ALLIANCE. If the authors would like, please go ahead and send me the first fifty pages of the manuscript as a Word document attachment to Melissa.Jeglinski@knightagency.net. Include a query letter and put Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks so much. Melissa

  4. These are all really good! I'd like to see more of ALLIANCE. Please send your query in the body of your email, as well as a full synopsis and the first 50 pages of your manuscript (as Word documents) to ssulaiman@talcottnotch.net, and don't forget to mention Pitch Wars in the subject line of your email.


  5. These sound great! I'd love to keep reading WILD IS THE WIND by Tracie Martin - can you please send the query to sarah@bradfordlit.com & paste the 1st 3 chapters as a Word .doc? Make sure to put "Pitch Wars Alternate - [TITLE]" in the subject line. Thank you!


  6. I would love to read more of #34 - ALLIANCE. Please send your first 100 pages as a Word document to amanda[at]LMQlit.com.

    Thanks, and looking forward to reading!


  7. So many great entries here! I would love to see more of:

    #31 - WILD IS THE WIND

    Please send the first 50 pages as a .doc attachment to patricia AT marsallyonliteraryagency.com, with the original query in the body of the email. Include PitchWars and the title in the subject line. Thanks!

    All best,

  8. These are terrific ideas! I'd love to read the first fifty pages of ALLIANCE, along with a detailed synopsis. Please send them as attachments to kirstensubmit@waxmanleavell.com, and mention Pitch Wars in the query. Thanks!

  9. Lots to admire here! I would like to see more of:


    Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman - PITCH WARS REQUEST.

    Thank you!

  10. I would love to see the first 100 pages of ALLIANCE! Please send as an attachment with query and synopsis to query@newleafliterary.com and include "PitchWars--Jackie" in the subject line.

    Jackie Lindert

  11. These sound amazing!

    I'd love to see:

    Title: Beautiful Bloody Duckling

    Please send query (in the body of the email) with synopsis and full manuscript to Submissions at Sarah Jane Freymann dot com. Please put "#PitchWars Request" in the subject line. Thank you--can't wait to read more!

  12. I'd love to see more of THE TRUTHSEEKERS! Please send the first 50 pages as a word document to thao(at)dijkstraagency(dot)com with the subject line "PitchWars Alt: THE TRUTHSEEKERS". Please include a query letter, complete synopsis, and a short bio.

  13. I'd like to see more of #29 (The Truthseekers) and #22 (Beautiful Bloody Duckling). Please send your query and first 50 pages to mail@donadio.com, mentioning my name and the contest in the subject line. Thanks!

  14. I'd love to see more of #31, Wild Is the Wind. It sounds fantastic! Please send the pitch and first 50 pages as a .doc or .docx file to lbiagi(at)jvnla(dot)com with Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line. I look forward to digging in! -Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency


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