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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 #05: TURTLES OF THE MOON (MG Eco-Mystery with STEM and Magical Elements, #OwnVoices)
Maria Jose Fitzgerald
Mentored by:
Jessica Vitalis and Julie Artz
Book Title:
Turtles of the Moon
2020 Entries
MG eco-mystery with STEM and magical elements, #ownvoices
Word Count:


Barana’s magical connection to sea turtles makes her life as the invisible middle child in her Honduran family almost bearable. Abby is a photography-obsessed American loner who can’t wait for the end of sixth grade. When poachers threaten Barana’s village after a devastating storm, she thinks she’s the only one who cares until fate brings Abby to Honduras. The girls reluctantly join forces to stop the thieves, which will either forge a lifelong friendship or cost them their lives. HOOT + THE WATER BEARS



Barana woke to the crescent moon-shaped scar tingling between her shoulder blades, calling her to the beach. To Luna. Barana turned to face Tulu’s side of the room. Her brother’s body was still, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm.

Barana slipped out of bed and tiptoed to their door. She pushed the curtain aside and entered the main room of the small wooden house that teetered on stilts above the sand. Papá snored from the other bedroom. Mamá was probably cuddled up next to him with Marisol. The baby was like a tick, always attached to Mamá’s body.

Nobody would notice Barana’s absence.

The tingling on her back turned to a persistent prickle. She hadn’t sensed Luna all season. As far as she knew, her leatherback turtle had yet to lay a clutch. Maybe tonight would be the night.

Barana slipped on her chancletas and opened the front door. The waves and crickets muffled her footsteps as she stepped off the rickety stairs and onto the shimmering sand.

The palm trees sang and the moon above smiled. Guided by Luna’s call, the warm breeze, and the sea, Barana approached her favorite place on earth––the place where turtles roamed, where turquoise waters met the Caribbean sky—la playa.

29 responses to “PW2020 MG #05: TURTLES OF THE MOON (MG Eco-Mystery with STEM and Magical Elements, #OwnVoices)”

  1. I love this opening and the writing here–wonderfully lyrical. I’d love to read more. Please kindly send the full manuscript and a synopsis as word doc attachments to hilaryquery at ktliterary.com with ‘Pitchwars Requested Material’ in the subject field. I can’t wait to dive in!

    Hilary Harwell, Literary Agent
    KT Literary LLC

  2. Mary C. Moore says:

    As an former-biologist, I would LOVE to read more of this! Please use this link to send: QueryManager.com/Mary_C_Moore_KCA/PitchWars

  3. Jennifer Herrington says:

    Hi Maria,

    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!


  4. Ann Leslie Tuttle says:

    Dear Ms. Fitzgerald,
    Congratulations on being in the Showcase. I love the atmosphere you created in your opening pages and would like to read further. If you are interested in my considering your work for representation, please do send the first 50 pages to atuttle@dystel.com. If more than one DG&B agent has responded, please send to the agent who is your first choice. Please let that agent know who else at the agency requested, and we will work it out amongst ourselves. Good luck with your writing, and I will hope to hear from you.
    Ann Leslie Tuttle

  5. Katie Grimm says:

    Dear Maria,

    I love ecological/conservationist stories with a magical bent, and the voice here completely drew me in–I’m so eager to see more! If you think we’d be a good fit, please send the query and full manuscript as a Word document to my attention at dca@doncongdon.com with PITCHWARS in the subject line. Thanks!

    Katie Grimm
    Don Congdon Associates, Inc.

  6. Sara Crowe says:

    Dear Maria, I would love to read this, if you want to share it with me! Please send the full as an attachment to scrowe AT pippinproperties.com. Thank you, Sara

  7. Hi Maria Jose. I really like the sound of your project. Please send me a synopsis and the first 20 pages to Isabelle (at) Nordlysetagency.com. Also include “Pitch Wars” on the subject line of your email. I look forward to reading more.

  8. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Maria,

    I would love to read your manuscript! Please send the whole thing to querytamar@contextlit.com, making sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line.

    Looking forward,

  9. 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 two chapters of the manuscript. Please email me at paige@cmalit.com the following attachments in Microsoft Word format (not PDF):
    1. the first two 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 

  10. Hi Maria,

    This story sounds wonderful! The language is lovely, and the atmosphere is so strong. I can perfectly see Barana slipping out into the night. I would love to see more.

    If you head to my agent page (jdlit.com/savannah-brooks), you’ll find my submission guidelines and link to QueryManager. Please be sure to include that this was a Pitch Wars request somewhere in the query.

    I look forward to reading more!

  11. Victoria Wells Arms says:

    This sounds great! Please send a full ms in a word doc to me at victoria@hgliterary.com and cc my assistant, Chanelle at Chanelle@hgliterary.com.
    Can’t wait to read it!
    Victoria Wells Arms
    Wells Arms Literary / HG Literary

  12. Hannah VanVels says:

    Wow, Maria! This looks amazing! I love the STEM meets magical elements in this pitch. I’d love to take a look when you’re ready! Please submit your query, synopsis, and full manuscript at the link below. If more than one agent from Belcastro Agency likes your pitch, please submit to the one who you feel is the best fit.


    Good luck!
    Hannah VanVels

  13. Alec Shane says:

    Would love to see the full. Please send as a Word doc to ashane@writershouse.com

  14. Elizabeth Copps says:

    Dear Maria,

    I would love to start with the first 50 pages of TURTLES OF THE MOON!

    To submit to me through Copps Literary Services, please use Query Manager and note “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line: QueryManager.com/QueryManager_ElizabethCopps/PitchWars 

    If you receive multiple requests from the agency, please refer to our Teams page to choose which agent feels like the best fit for you and your work: https://www.coppsliterary.com/our-team.


  15. Penny Moore says:

    Hi Maria,

    This sounds like exactly the type of MG I love to read! When you’re ready, please submit the full manuscript here: https://querymanager.com/query/LiteraryPenny/PitchWars2021

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    All the best,
    Penny Moore
    Aevitas Creative Management

  16. Michelle Hauck says:

    Hi Maria, I do love an eco-story. Please send the full of TURTLES OF THE MOON at this link: QueryManager.com/2011/PW2021 If another agent from Storm requests, send to the best fit. Thanks,


  17. Jessica Errera says:

    Hello Maria–I loved your sample and am a sucker for anything featuring girls in STEM. I would love to read the full manuscript (and a synopsis if you have). Please email them to me at jerrera(at)janerotrosen(dot)com and put “Pitch Wars” in your subject line. Can’t wait to read!

  18. Sarah Landis says:

    I’d love to read this! Please do send me the full ms to slandis@sll.com. Thanks!! Sarah Landis, Sterling Lord Literistic

  19. Allison Hellegers says:

    This sounds gorgeous and I would love to read the full manuscript! Do submit to me at https://www.stimolaliterarystudio.com/Submissions, and put PITCH WARS above the query letter. Thanks! -Allison Hellegers

  20. john rudolph says:

    Hi Maria, I would love to read your work. Please feel free to email me the complete MS as an attachment. And if anyone else at DG&B requested the MS, no worries–please choose who you want to submit to first, let that agent know who else at the agency requested, and we will work it out amongst ourselves. Thanks!

    All best,

  21. Alice Fugate says:

    Hi Maria,

    This novel sounds great, and the sample is beautiful. I’d love to see a query and the full manuscript of this, please. You can email me at alice@joyharrisliterary.com with the query and attach the sample as a Word doc or PDF.

    Hope to hear from you, and looking forward to reading!

    Alice Fugate
    The Joy Harris Literary Agency, inc.
    1501 Broadway Suite 2605
    New York, New York 10036
    Ph: 212 924-6269
    Fax: 212 840-5776

  22. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Maria, I love this concept and your sample! It would be great to read more. Could you please send the query and full manuscript to me at katelyn@jillgrinbergliterary.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line? (Please note, if multiple agents from Jill Grinberg Literary Management request your ms, we ask that you only share with one.) Thank you! 

  23. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Maria! This sounds incredible and right up my alley. I’d love to request the full manuscript, which you can submit here: https://querymanager.com/query/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2021

    Looking forward to reading more!

    Alex Weiss
    Azantian Literary Agency

  24. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi Maria! I would love to keep reading TURTLES OF THE MOON. If you could send me a query with the full manuscript attached to tara@emliterary.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line, that would be fantastic.

    Tara Gonzalez – Associate Agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency

  25. Kaitlyn Sanchez says:

    Maria, this sounds amazing! I am so compelled by your voice, I’m super intrigued, and I’ve already chuckled at your humor, too!

    If you’re interested in sending me your manuscript, please send the first 50 pages in Word document format to kaitlyn@redfoxliterary.com and include “Pitch Wars” somewhere in the subject line of your email.

  26. Hi Maria,

    I’m a teeeeeeensy bit obsessed with sea turtles. This is awesome so far! I’d love to see the first fifty pages or so. Could you please submit via QueryManager.com/JenniferWills/PitchWars2020? I’d also love to see a synopsis and query letter if you have one.

    Thanks so much!
    Jennifer Wills
    The Seymour Agency

  27. Zabé Ellor says:

    This is so heartfelt, and the voice here is gorgeous. It feels like such an important story, too! Please could you send the query and first fifty pages to me, as an attachment, at zrellor.books@gmail.com? Please paste your query on the first page of your attached sample pages, and also in the body of the email, and include PITCH WARS in the subject line. If more than one JDLA agent requests, feel free to first submit to the one you think is the best fit.

  28. Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds incredible. I am a sucker for all things ocean and sea life—especially sea turtles and dolphins! 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

  29. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Maria,

    I’m intrigued here! If you’re interested, can you send your query and first 50 pages to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with PitchWars in the subject line? Thank you!

    All best,