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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
Adult #30: THE LIGHTNING SPEAKS FOR US (Dark Fantasy)
Kola Heyward-Rotimi
Mentored by:
Jason Hine
Book Title:
2018 Adult Entries
Dark Fantasy
Word Count:


THE FIFTH SEASON meets THE HATE U GIVE in a colonial West Africa-inspired setting:

Decades after battling demons underground for metal ore, retired hellwalker Aj Asedi confronts a new monster: the Hada Empire’s occupation of his home town. When his oldest friend is unjustly cut down by Hada soldiers’ machetes, Aj turns his death into a rallying cry. He will sacrifice anything to secure his people’s safety, even resurrecting broken magic from the pits he used to mine.



Aj’s stories grew empty after magic’s death. He didn’t speak of the hell young ones knew, so the children greeted his past with glazed eyes. The type of stare that told him the world below was truly silent. That he should let it sleep and stick to carving the mining staffs.

At least the children found excitement in the staffs. Adisa and Nari played with the pile of wood shavings growing at the base of Aj’s stool. Though carving inside made a mess, having Esojo’s children around made it bearable. When Aj and Esojo were done, the kids swept the sawdust out of Aj’s hallway and into the streets. Until then, they bounced between Aj and their father, placing bets on whose staff would knock down the most demons when it was handed over to the diving crews. Esojo chuckled at their squabbling. He laid the half-finished staff across his lap, his skin several shades darker than the beige wood.

“What do you all know about diving anyway? You two been sneaking off down there when we’re not looking?”

With a furrowed brow and black eyes, Nari became a mirror of his father. Aj smirked as the boy slammed a little fist against the clay floor.

“Watch out Ba,” Nari said. “I can take down more demons than you or Uncle Aj.”

9 responses to “Adult #30: THE LIGHTNING SPEAKS FOR US (Dark Fantasy)”

  1. Sarah Landis says:

    Hi! I’d love to read more. Please send the first 50 pages to me at slandis@sll.com. Thanks!

  2. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I really enjoyed this and would love to keep reading. Please send your query in the body of an email, plus your full manuscript and a synopsis (attached). I look forward to reading!

    Lauren Spieller
    TriadaUS Literary Agency

  3. Katelyn Hales says:

    Dear Kola,

    This is such a beautifully written excerpt! I’d love to take a look at THE LIGHTNING SPEAKS FOR US. Please send the first fifty pages (attached as a word doc is preferred), to me at katelyn@robinstrausagency.com, and use the subject line “Pitch Wars request: THE LIGHTNING SPEAKS FOR US”.

    Looking forward to reading your work.

    All best,


    Katelyn Hales
    Robin Straus Agency, Inc.

  4. Quressa Robinson says:

    Hi Kola!

    I’m so excited to see this again! Please send along the full MS here: QueryMe.online/QueryQuressa/PitchWars2019. Just fill out the form and follow the instructions. I look forward to reading!



  5. Erik Hane says:

    Hi Kola,

    I really like your pitch, and the rhythm of your prose on the first page was very nice. If you’d like, I’d love to see your full manuscript, sent as a word doc, at erik@redsofaliterary.com. Just put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line somewhere, if you could. But I’ll look forward to seeing it and reading in full!

    Thanks so much for considering, and good luck with the rest of the event.

    Erik Hane

  6. Abrams Artists says:

    This is a great sample! We’d love to take a look if you’re able to email the first 50 pages to books@abramsartistsagency.com

    -Abrams Artists Agency

  7. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there! This sounds fantastic! I’d love to take a look at the first 50 pages. Please send them attached as a word document to rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com.


    – Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

  8. Annie Hwang says:

    Please send query letter in the body of the email and attach the first fifty pages and a brief 1-2 page synopsis as word docs with the subject line: Pitch Wars: [Title]. You may send to me at: annie@foliolit.com. Thanks so much, I look forward to seeing more!

  9. Kristin Nelson says:

    This one is fantastic. I know Quressa has already requested so I’ll read along side with her. Kristin