Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!

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 #38: ASH, OAK, AND THORN (Nordic Fantasy with LBGTQ elements #OwnVoices)
Steve Hugh Westenra
Mentored by:
K.A. Doore
Book Title:
Ash, Oak, and Thorn
2018 Adult Entries
Nordic Fantasy with LBGTQ elements #OwnVoices
Word Count:


In a haunted forest, exiled witch Wytha seeks the means of her redemption: a gift for the king who banished her for witchcraft gone awry. But when she finds the perfect prize, Wytha and her loyal band of misfits are savaged by spectral barrow wights determined to stop her. Wytha must uncover which of her cherished friends is summoning the spirits, or risk losing the only home she has left: family.



The oars of the koning’s men lay still against the tide, as rhythmic waves ripped Wytha from her home with a terrible gentleness, to deliver her into exile.

Wytha clutched the side of the knorr-boat. Skaldi stood beside her in his coat of patched and faded rags, his storyteller’s stave gripped about the middle as the many pouches and charms at his belt rattled in the wind. Her uncle shared the burnt umber of Wytha’s skin, her red-tinged eyes, and that resting expression Lae so often accused of being suspicious. But where Wytha’s hair still hung proud and brown in thick locks, Skaldi’s was the mosaic of stormcloud—grey and frazzled and as threadbare as his cloak. He had at least forty years to Wytha’s thirty, but Wytha could only wish she were so quick to smile as he. His eyes were impish to her, not suspicious.

She met them, but couldn’t match his humour.

Tell me a story.

Wytha had asked it of her uncle so many times she had but to look at him and he would understand. Her eyes asked it now, as she strove to ignore the bobbing of the knorr upon the ocean’s grey waves, and the ruminations of the even greyer sky as it pressed upon her broken pride like a pestle against its mortar.

Tell me a story.

8 responses to “Adult #38: ASH, OAK, AND THORN (Nordic Fantasy with LBGTQ elements #OwnVoices)”

  1. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’d 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

  2. Naomi Davis says:

    Oooh, such vivid characters in this sample. I’d love to read this book. Can you please send me a query, synopsis, and the full manuscript to ndavis@bookendsliterary.com – with #PitchWars in the subject line with your title?

  3. Quressa Robinson says:

    Dear Steve,

    Congrats on making it through the editing rounds with your mentor! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to check out everyones showcase samples. Based on what I’ve read so far, I’d love to see more. Please query me at this link (QueryMe.online/QueryQuressa/PitchWars2019) and follow the directions. If more than one NLA agent requests work from you it is okay to query more than one of us, just give us a heads-up. Good luck!


  4. Erik Hane says:

    Hi Steve,

    This sounds very much up my alley, and I really liked your first page. If you’d like, I’d love to see the full manuscript sent as a word doc to erik@redsofaliterary.com. Just put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line, if you would please. But I’ll look forward to reading!

    Best of luck with the rest of the event.

    Erik Hane

  5. Margaret Bail says:

    Hi! Please send a query, a brief synopsis, and the full manuscript as a .doc or .docx document to: margaret@fuseliterary.com. Be sure to include #pitchwars in the subject line. I look forward to reading this!


  6. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’d love to see the first 50 pages of this! Please submit your query, synopsis, and first 50 to http://QueryMe.Online/KaitlynJohnson/Contests. Looking forward to the read!

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Corvisiero Literary 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. Christa Heschke says:

    I’d love to see more! Please send the query, synopsis and first 100 to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com with Pitch Wars request in the subject line. –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis