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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.
Melissa McDaniel
Mentored by:
Erin Entrada Kelly
Book Title:
2019 Entries
Word Count:


With loss comes longing. With trust comes betrayal. And with the black-haired boy comes a choice: Beatrix can stay with her loving found-family in dreary post-war Durnham, or sail away with him to find her long-lost mother, never to return. Beatrix isn’t sure she should trust him—until he shows her a paper cutting only her mother could have created. SPLENDORS & GLOOMS + BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA.



Beatrix often dreamed her mother was behind a closed door, and if she could find the right one—the right house, the right door—she would find her. 

But this morning, as she leaned out her bedroom window—all the way out—to view Durnham through her monocular, Beatrix peered not at doors. Nor at the rubble of the church next to her orphanage, nor at the enemy soldiers—the Others—walking down the pavement, nor at the gloomy sky. Instead, her gaze followed the cobbles of St. Lucie Street down, down, past horses and carriages to the foggy harbor, then up, up to the clock tower—but not high enough to notice the iron silhouette of the soldier perched on top—just high enough to glimpse the gargoyles guarding the clock face.

Only then did Beatrix gaze upon her intended destination, where she had played in the snow with her mother on the night she disappeared, many years ago. Every morning, she looked at the townsquare, hoping to find her mother.

Every morning, she sighed, disappointed. 

At least there was always her beloved Cuttiere’s, the island’s finest, and only, stationer. Beatrix skimmed past the market to find Mr. C, enjoying his morning espresso at his usual table in the square. 

At first glance, it looked like any other Saturday in Durnham.

Except today, sitting with Mr. C, was this boy.

40 responses to “PW2019 MG #11: ISLAND OF PAPER HEARTS (Gothic)”

  1. Patricia Nelson says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I would love to take a look at this! Could you please send me your query + the full manuscript as a Word doc attachment to patricia@marsallyonliteraryagency.com? Please make sure to put “PitchWars Request” in the subject line.

    I’m looking forward to reading!

  2. I love, love this opening scene. The atmosphere is gorgeous and almost acts as a character on its own. I’d love to read more about Beatrix’s adventure. If you could please send your query, full manuscript and a complete, detailed synopsis to hilaryquery@ktliterary.com with “Pitchwars: Your Title” in the subject field. Can’t wait to dive in!

  3. Sarah Landis says:

    I’m so intrigued! I’d love to read the full manuscript. Could you email it to me at slandis@sll.com? Thanks!

  4. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hi Melissa!

    I love this premise and your opening, and I’d be thrilled to read more!

    Could you send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to Kelly@reesagency.com? You can simply attach the manuscript as a Word document and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Requested Submission” in the subject title! =)

    Looking forward to reading more, and wishing you all the best of luck!

    -Kelly Peterson

  5. Adriann Ranta Zurhellen says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Am loving what I’ve read so far! Please submit the full manuscript to arsubmissions@foundrymedia.com, cc’ing in flmasst@foundrymedia.com, with the subject line “Pitch Wars: ISLAND OF PAPER HEARTS.” Thanks so much, and looking forward to reading more of Beatrix’s adventures!


  6. Andrea Cascardi says:

    What an incredibly powerful pitch, matched by the evocative opening that makes me eager to read more, and savor every sentence as I do. I’d be honored to see the full in my inbox! andrea@transatlanticagency.com

  7. Katie Grimm says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I am SO intrigued by pitch and excerpt! I’d love to see the full manuscript. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send your query letter and manuscript (as a Word doc) to dca@doncongdon.com with “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line. Can’t wait to read more of Beatrix!
    Katie Grimm (Don Congdon Associates)

  8. Elana Roth Parker says:

    Hi! I’d love to read more! Please email me at eparker [at] ldlainc [dot] com:

    * Subject line: PitchWars Submission: YOUR BOOK TITLE
    * Your query letter in the body of the email
    * The full manuscript attached as a Word document

    If more than one LDLA agent requests your book, you are welcome to send to as many or few of us as you like. Just tell us in the query, and we’ll chat amongst ourselves.

    Elana Roth Parker
    Laura Dail Literary Agency

  9. Rena Rossner says:

    I would love to read this full manuscript! Please send it attached as a word document to rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com


    – Rena Rossner

  10. Natascha Morris says:

    This sounds amazing and I absolutely want to read it! Melissa, if you please, you can upload to QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars. I really cannot wait to dive into this Gothic MIddle Grade book. The atmosphere already has me hooked.

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  11. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to have a look. Kindly send the manuscript along to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible.


  12. Hillary Jacobson says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I would love to read more! Please send the full manuscript as a word document to hjacobson@icmpartners.com

    Thank you!

    My best,

  13. Erin Clyburn says:

    I’m so intrigued by your pitch and excerpt, and I’d love to see your full manuscript! If you’d like to submit to me, you can do so through this link: QueryMe.online/ErinClyburn/PitchWars.

  14. Jennifer Mattson says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I’m a sucker for this entry’s sensibility! I’d be happy to see the full, with thanks for your participation.

    Send via email, jmatt[at]andreabrownlit.com, with “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line. Note, if you receive a request from more than one agent from Andrea Brown Literary Agency, choose just one of us, but let us know who the other requester is, with thanks.

    Best of luck with all!

    Jennifer Mattson

  15. Peter Knapp says:

    Hi Melissa,

    This sounds incredible – I’d love to keep reading! Can you please send the full manuscript to queries@parkfine.com attached as a Word document, along with a 1-3 (or so) page synopsis if available (in the same document as the MS or attached as a separate doc is fine)? Please include a query letter in the body of the email and put “PitchWars Submission – Pete Knapp” in the subject of the email. Thanks so much for the opportunity, and I look forward to reading!

    With warm regards,

    Pete Knapp
    Park & Fine Literary and Media

  16. Colleen Oefelein says:

    Wow! Love the excerpt! I’d love to read the full!

    Please email me directly at colleen@adventurewrite.com. Paste your query and synopsis directly into the body and attach your full. Thanks and looking forward to reading!

    Colleen Oefelein
    Associate Agent
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
    245 Park Avenue
    39th Floor
    New York NY 10167
    Facebook: Colleen Oefelein
    Twitter: @eerie_o

    Celebrating 19 years of making dreams come true!

  17. Jennifer Unter says:

    This sounds great – I’d love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol (at) theunteragency (dot) com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  18. Ashley Blake says:

    Hello Melissa, I’d love to read more of this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com and put QUERY PITCH WARS in the subject. Hope to hear from you soon!

  19. Marlo Berliner says:

    So much goodness packed into this excerpt!! I’d love to read more! Please send the full with Pitchwars Adult in the subject line to marlo.jdlit@gmail.com. Looking forward to reading!

  20. Mary Cummings says:

    I’d be happy to read more. Please send the first approx 25 pp and final approx 25 pp as a Word doc, with a synopsis and some bio info, to b.amster.kidsbooks@gmail.com. Be sure to mark header “REQUESTED MATERIAL/PWMG” as we delete emails with attachments without this note. Thanks much.
    Mary Cummings
    Agent, Books for Kids and Teens – Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises
    amsterlit.com cummingskidlit.com

  21. Kristin Nelson says:

    What a lovely opening! I’d be delighted to take a look at your full manuscript. I’ve created a special Pitch Wars link so you can send the manuscript my way.

    Query Manager Event Link

    Pls also include your query letter as the first page of your full manuscript to help orient me when I dive in for the longer read starting on the 11th.

    It’s also okay to send to more than one agent at NLA if you have received multiple requests. We’ll coordinate on our end.

    Congrats on being a part of Pitch Wars. I can’t wait to read.

  22. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this! Please send a query letter and 10 pages to carlisle @ fuseliterary .com with the subject PitchWars: TITLE. Thanks!

  23. Alexander Slater says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I’d love to read this. Please feel free to send to ASlater@tridentmediagroup.com.

  24. Christa Heschke says:

    You had me at Gothic MG! Please send the full manuscript and query to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com. Please put “Pitch Wars request” and the title in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  25. Wendi Gu says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I love this opening salvo and would be interested in seeing the rest. At your convenience, please send the full manuscript in Word to wgu@sjga.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

    All my best,
    Wendi Gu

  26. Shannon Hassan says:

    Hi Melissa, I’m intrigued and would love to read more! Please send a query + 50 pages to shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com (with PitchWars in the subject) Thanks, Shannon

  27. Ginger Clark says:

    I would love to take a look at this. Can you email me the first fifty pages as either a PDF or DOCX or RTF? Put the words “Pitchwars 2020 request” in your subject line. Thank you so much!

  28. Clelia Gore says:

    Hi, Melissa! Lovely writing–I’d love to read more. Please send the full manuscript (Microsoft Word doc format) along with a query letter to my email at clelia@martinlit.com. Please put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I look forward to taking a closer look!

  29. Sara Crowe says:

    This pitch! And this opening! Please send the full! Sara

  30. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi Melissa,

    I would absolutely love to read this – will you send me your query and first 20 pages to tara@emliterary.com at your convenience, and mention Pitch Wars in the subject? There’s no timeline on my end, just whenever you feel ready!

    Thanks so much!

    Tara Gonzalez
    Associate Agent
    Erin Murphy Literary Agency

  31. Alec Shane says:

    Would love to read the full – please send as a Word doc to ashane@writershouse.com with “Pitch Wars request: ISLAND OF PAPER HEARTS” as the subject.

  32. Kari Sutherland says:

    Oooh! Intriguing. I’d love to read more. Can you please query me here with “Pitch Wars” in the title line as well? https://querymanager.com/query/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form

  33. Karyn Fischer says:

    Dear Melissa,

    This sounds sooooo wonderful–right up my alley! I’d love to see more. If you’d like, please send the first 25-30 pages to QueryMe.online/1325/PitchWars. Thanks and I hope to hear from you!

    Karyn Fischer

  34. Carrie Hannigan says:

    Dear Melissa,

    My name is Carrie and I’m a partner and agent over at Hannigan Getzler Literary (HG Literary). 
    I’d love to read more of your manuscript! Can you please send me the first 100 pages of your manuscript as a word doc to: 


    Best wishes,

  35. Bridget Smith says:

    I’d love to take a look! Please send the query (in the body) and the full manuscript (as an attachment) to querybridget@awfulagent.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!

  36. Melissa Nasson says:

    I’d love to see more of this! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com with Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thank you!

    -Melissa Nasson, Rubin Pfeffer Content

  37. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear Melissa,
    I hope this finds you well! I would LOVE to read ISLAND OF PAPER HEARTS. If you’re interested in sharing, could you send the full manuscript along to me as a PDF file or MS Word doc? I really hope to hear from you!
    My very best,

  38. Laurel Symonds says:

    Hi! I’d love to see this. Please send a query and 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  39. Alyssa Henkin says:

    Hi Melissa,
    I would love to read 50 pages of this! Would you please email me and my assistant, Alice, the first 50 pages as a Word document or a PDF, and please make the subject line “Pitch Wars 2020”? We look forward to reading! ahenkin@tridentmediagroup.com and henkin.assistant@tridentmediagroup.com. https://www.tridentmediagroup.com/agents/alyssa-eisner-henkin/
    Alyssa Henkin

  40. Love the premise and voice here! Please send this pitch in the body of an email, synopsis and first fifty pages attached as a Word doc, with MG PITCHWARS and your title in the subject, to Jennifer@theseymouragency.com.