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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.
PW2020 MG #10: HOPE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING ANYTHING (#OwnVoices Contemporary Fantasy)
Sonja Wilbert
Mentored by:
Lisa Moore Ramee
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#ownvoices Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count:


Hope has to practice self-defense moves in secret. They’re one more thing on the “Not Now” list—all the things Mom won’t talk about. Things like Dad, Grandma, and Hope’s nightmares. But when Mom goes missing after Hope inherits an ancient book, Hope must brave her now all too real nightmares, figure out the book’s secrets and perfect her moves. If not, she’ll lose Mom forever.



Hope had a bad feeling. This new move just might turn into a worst-case scenario. And she couldn’t let that happen. Mom couldn’t catch her practicing. Not tonight.

She squinted at the diagram in The Smart Kids’ Guide to Evasive Maneuvers and Mental Combat.  The double-cartwheel fancy high-kick seemed more like dancing than fighting.

“Remember to keep your eyes off the ground,” Michelle said.

Hope shifted uncomfortably. If she got it wrong, it wouldn’t just be her eyes on the ground. “A move like this needs balance and leverage against an opponent. And it needs rhythm.” She peeked at her best friend to see if Michelle could tell Hope was stalling and met Michelle’s signature smirk.

“Stop freaking out,” Michelle urged, putting on her practiced fighting sneer. “Is Carl ready?”

“Yes.” Hope eyed Carl warily. “But —”

“Go already!” Michelle bounced on her toes.

“Okay,” Hope huffed. Self-defense guru rule number one: Face every threat. Even if the threat is humiliation. She put the Guide down, brought her arms up, and launched.

A shadow shifted near the window and Hope’s first cartwheel wobbled but she continued the move. She was going to make it! But on the second cartwheel, her foot caught the edge of the desk, which sent her tumbling to the floor, missing Carl completely.

“Ow,” Hope groaned, shooting a quick glance back at the window. Had she seen something?

8 responses to “PW2020 MG #10: HOPE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING ANYTHING (#OwnVoices Contemporary Fantasy)”

  1. Tara Gilbert says:

    I’d love to see the first three chapters! Please use this link to send in the materials. QueryManager.com/TaraGilbert/PitchEvent

  2. Melanie Castillo says:

    Hi Sonja, Congratulations on completing PitchWars! I remember this one from the Southern California SCWBI conference. I’d love to continue reading. If you’d like to share the full MS, please send the query in the body of an email with the full manuscript and synopsis attached as a Word document. The subject of the email should be “Pitch Wars Request: YOUR TITLE for Root Literary” sent to submissions@rootliterary.com. Although not all of Root Literary is participating in Pitch Wars, please feel free to query whomever feels like the best fit! We’re happy to coordinate internally. Best, Melanie

  3. Jennifer Herrington says:

    Hi Sonja,

    You have a great pitch! I am intrigued. I would love to see more.

    I hope you’ll consider submitting to me. You can send query, synopsis, and the first three chapters to QueryManager.com/JenniferHerrington/PitchWars2021

    Thanks! I hope to see your submission!



    Hi Sonja,
    I’m intrigued! You had me at the title, but your excerpt sealed the deal!
    I’d love to read more of this. Could you please send me your first 20 pages? My email address is elizabeth@transatlanticagency.com — note that our agency policy is that if you hear from more than one agent at Transatlantic, you should only submit to one of us. I can fully endorse any one of us — but I hope you’ll share your submission with me 🙂
    Looking forward to hearing from you and please let me know if you have any questions.
    Elizabeth Bennett
    Senior Agent
    Transatlantic Agency

  5. Paige Wheeler says:

    Thank you for your participation in Pitch Wars. I found your project intriguing and would very much like to see the first three chapters of the manuscript. Please email me at paige@cmalit.com the following attachments in Microsoft Word format (not PDF):
    1. the first three chapters,
    2. a synopsis of your project,
    3. a short bio including any previous publications.
    To expedite the review process, please use “requested material-pitch wars” as the subject heading of your email.
    As a professional courtesy, please let me know if any other agents are considering your work. Also, if you do get an offer, please contact me so that I may be able to review and respond accordingly.

    I look forward to reading your work!
    Kind regards,
    Paige Wheeler 

  6. Em Lysaght says:

    Hi Sonja, I would love to see more material for this project! If you would like to submit to me, please send me your query letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters/50 pages (whichever is longer) at the following link: QueryManager.com/emlysaght/Pitchwars2020

  7. Mary Cummings says:

    I’d be happy to continue reading about Hope’s adventures, Sonja. Please send to me at b.amster.kidsbooks@gmail.com the first approx 25 pp and final approx 25, with a synopsis, as a Word doc. Mark header ‘REQUESTED MATERIAL.” Thanks much.
    Mary Cummings
    Agent, Books for Kids and Teens
    Betsy Amster LIterary Enterprises
    amsterlit.com cummingskidlit.com

  8. Christa Heschke says:

    I’d be interested in reading on! Please send the full manuscript, synopsis and query to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com with Pitch Wars request and the title of the manuscript in the subject line. –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis