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.
PW2019 YA #20: FUNERALS ARE FOR THE LIVING (Horror, #OwnVoices)
Samira Ford
Mentored by:
Leila Siddiqui
Book Title:
2019 Entries
Horror, #ownvoices
Word Count:


After her younger sister's death, teen Junie Daniel's life is in danger as she's stalked by a cult-like church, with ancestral ties to a sorcerous slave master, who want to possess Junie's body for very dark reasons.



Junie has to do a few last things for her sister.

She doesn’t like travelling back and forth from Daniels out to Williamsville—where she ain’t know nobody—but she can’t leave her sister’s funeral like it went down last month.

Daniels showed their whole ass. Neighbors, teachers, everybody and their mama wailed and screamed through Junie’s sister, Jay’s, funeral.

Lost their goddamned minds.

Jay would want her funeral to be inappropriate, but not sloppy-sad. Most townies were even louder than Junie and her mama—the actual family. Junie knows Jay was loved. She isn’t surprised everyone in town showed up.

But out of all them folk nobody pitched in for some food. Not even a little chicken or some pork chops. A few hundred people weeping over the grave of they play cousin on empty stomachs is just messy. The thin line between love and desperation for attention was drawn that day.


“Which grave is hers again?” Junie’s best friend, Omari, asks. His steps are slow and measured because of the heavy bag of soil he holds at his side. His other hand wraps around a gigantic bouquet of flowers that Junie doubts he got legally.

“It’s up there,” Junie calls. “The one with all the dead shit.”

It is Junie’s sincere hope that any ancestors looking down on her are shielding their eyes. All alone, and for the second time, Junie is hosting her sister’s funeral. This one was going to be right, and it wasn’t gonna be a solemn event. Jay wouldn’t have wanted it that way.

19 responses to “PW2019 YA #20: FUNERALS ARE FOR THE LIVING (Horror, #OwnVoices)”

  1. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi Samira,

    I’m intrigued. I’d love to take a look! Please send the ms as a doc to medwards at stonesong dot com. Thanks!!

    All best,

  2. Hi, Samira,

    This premise!!! *LOVE* Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Sent to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime

    Looking forward to reading more.



  3. Marlo Berliner says:

    Great voice and the promise of horror…yes, please! I’d love to read more! Please send the full with Pitchwars YA in the subject line to marlo.jdlit@gmail.com. Looking forward to reading!

  4. Peter Knapp says:

    Hi Samira,

    This sounds great and the opening has me hooked! 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

  5. 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.

  6. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great opening – I’m intrigued & would love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages to jen.nadol(at)theunteragency(dot)com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  7. Hannah Fergesen says:

    Loving this sample and premise!! Please send your manuscript and a full synopsis to Hannah@ktliterary.com with Pitch Wars Request + your title in the subject.

    I cannot wait to keep reading! Thanks so much for the chance to give this a look.

  8. Jana Hanson says:

    Hi, Samira —

    I would love to read more of FUNERALS ARE FOR THE LIVING. Please send the first 5 chapters to me at your earliest convenience (jhanson@metamorphosisliteraryagency.com)

    Thank you so much, and I wish you the very best of luck in Pitch Wars!

    Jana Hanson

  9. John Cusick says:

    Wow, I’d love to see more of this, please! Could you send your query and first three chapters to john [@] foliolit.com? Looking forward to reading.

  10. Dana Murphy says:

    I absolutely love this excerpt. Please send the first 50pgs and a query letter to submissions@thebookgroup.com, with my name in the subject line and #PitchWars somewhere in the body of the email. Thank you and best of luck!

  11. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Samira,

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

    All best,

  12. 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

  13. Laura Bradford says:

    The voice here just leaps off the page! I’m a scaredy-cat when it comes to horror so I hope this doesn’t scare the pants off of me because I definitely want to read more!

    Please email me the full ms + synopsis and make a note in the subject line that this is a Pitch Wars entry. laura at bradfordlit dot com.

    Laura Bradford
    Bradford Literary Agency

  14. Kari Sutherland says:

    Wow, Junie’s voice just grabs you. I’d love to read more. Can you please query me here: https://querymanager.com/query/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form with “Pitch Wars” in the title? Looking forward to reading it!

  15. Hi Samira,

    I know I already have your query for FUNERALS ARE FOR THE LIVING and am just waiting for an updated manuscript, but I wanted to take a moment to say again how interested I am. I can’t wait to read on!

    Best ,

  16. Zabé Ellor says:

    I absolutely love how well you capture this voice and atmosphere, and I can’t wait to read more! Please send the query and synopsis (in the body of an email), and full manuscript (as an attachment) to zrellor . books @ gmail . com. I’m looking forward to diving in!

  17. Chloe Seager says:

    Hi – I would love to take a look at this. Please send the first three chapters and synopsis to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com.

    All my best,

  18. Em Lysaght says:

    This sounds fantastic, I would love to read more. Please submit your first three chapters, synopsis, and query letter (and remind me of your Pitchwars pitch in the query) at this link: http://queryme.online/emlysaght

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