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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 #4: THE LADY UPSTAIRS (Crime / Noir)
Halley Sutton
Mentored by:
Layne Fargo
Book Title:
2018 Adult Entries
Crime / Noir
Word Count:


SUNBURN meets QUEENPIN in this sultry, feminist L.A. noir starring a femme fatale heroine. Jo’s made a career out of taking down terrible men. But when her latest blackmail scheme ends up with a body count, she’s caught between the woman she loves and their enigmatic boss the Lady Upstairs.



I’d picked the hotel for the sting because the bar had one hell of a happy hour—if you liked your drinks cheap and strong, the glasses maybe washed once in the last week. It was down the street from the studios, the right type of place to entice a movie man to meet an obliging blonde for a quick afternoon pick-me-up.

And not the least of my considerations: the St. Leo let me have my choice of adjoining rooms and didn’t mind an early check-in or quick redecoration, for the right price.

By my second drink, the apricot tinted windows were purpling with twilight—happening so early these days—turning the light in the bar a good soft color for sloppy bad decisions. I was waiting on my third when I saw Ellen escorting the mark through the lobby toward the elevator.

She stayed cool, didn’t toss me so much as a backward glance. It was harder to do than it looked. But Ellen kept her eyes firmly on the mark’s face, fingers curled around the patched elbow of his tweed blazer—a gift from one of his grandkids, no doubt, or one of the grown children benefitting from his production company’s rampant nepotism. When I’d researched him for Lou and our mysterious employer the Lady Upstairs, it had been one of the things that sold me: he kept his grabby sons on set, even after numerous complaints had been filed. I’d read that and thought: This one’s perfect.

12 responses to “Adult #4: THE LADY UPSTAIRS (Crime / Noir)”

  1. I would like to receive a Word document of the first three chapters, a synopsis, and an author bio (including all social media links) as an attachment to an email: rosenberglitsubmit@icloud.com

  2. Jenny Bent says:

    Please send ms as an attachment, with the query letter in the body of the email to info@thebentagency.com. Subject line: #pitchwars. Looking forward to reading!

  3. Michelle Richter says:

    This sounds amazing! I’d love to see the full manuscript. Please include Pitch Wars in your subject line and send the manuscript and query letter to me at querymichelle@fuseliterary.com. Ms can be an attachment.

  4. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Hi Halley, I’d like to see the full MS!
    Looking forward to reading more!

  5. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Halley,

    This sounds great and I’d love to read more! Could you please send a query and the full manuscript to ebauman@aevitascreative.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line?


  6. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi! I’d love to take a look. Please email the ms. as a double-spaced .doc to medwards@stonesong.com. Thank you!

  7. Melissa Danaczko says:

    Hi Halley, I’d love the opportunity to read more. Can you please email me (mdquery@skagency.com) the query letter and full manuscript? Thank you!

  8. Jill Marr says:

    This looks fantastic! I’d love to read more.

    Please send the full manuscript in Word to jill@dijkstraagency.com.

    I look forward to reading!

  9. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Hi Halley,

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

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Corvisiero Literary Agency

  10. Marlo Berliner says:

    Nice beginning! I’d love to see more! Please submit your query and first 30 pages via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner
    If more than one JDLA agent requests, simply submit to the agent you feel would be the best fit. Be sure to only submit to one JDLA agent at a time. If the first agent passes, you are welcome to try the next.

  11. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Halley,

    I would love to see this! Can you send the query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  12. Sandy Lu says:

    I love Queenpin! This sounds right up my alley. Please send the full manuscript with complete synopsis and author bio (all in one Word document) to sandy@lperkinsagency.com. Looking forward to reading!