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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 YA #06: AFTERDEATH (Urban/Contemporary Fantasy)
Loretta Chefchaouni
Mentored by:
Lyndsay Ely
Book Title:
2020 Entries
Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Child/Parental death, Kidnapping/Abduction, Grief, Islamophobia, Suicide (off-page), Bipolar (mention of), Alcoholism (mention of), Incarceration (mention of)



Seventeen-year-old Muslim detective Jannat hears the dead—except the voice that matters most: her kidnapped mother, whose body was never found. To solve her mom’s case, Jannat travels to Barzakh—the after realm—where unbeknownst to her, an ancient evil awaits.



The dead are loud tonight.

More than usual, I should say, since loud seems to be their default mode. What is it with October? The month ushers in the first chill to Chicago’s nights, a hint of the brutal cold that will engulf our city in the months to come. It’s almost like the dead sense winter coming too, but that’s silly. The unseen barrier between our world and theirs is—mostly—impenetrable.

The headstones in Eternal Hills are gaudy, rising waist-high in odd shapes like giant, crooked chess pieces. A woman’s disembodied laughter rides the air, full and ripe with joy. But it’s swallowed by the spectral scream of another, shrill as a wind storm. I try to block them out and concentrate on lifting one foot and then the other. Soil squelches under my Vans’ thick soles, dampness seeping through the canvas sides.

An old man weeps. Someone croons a Chinese lullaby, begs for mercy in Dutch, cantillates a sacred scripture. I suck in breath after breath. I can’t lose myself in the cloud of voices. They’ll drown me if I do. I stagger forward. Stumble. The crumbling ivory edifices around me become a shifting maze my eyes can barely focus on.

Remember why you’re here!

I have to talk to the little girl… to help her family. And something else… someone else… I finger the loose fabric of my hijab, the white one with dainty, blue roses like the pattern of a porcelain plate. It reminds me of Mama.

19 responses to “PW2020 YA #06: AFTERDEATH (Urban/Contemporary Fantasy)”

  1. Mary C. Moore says:

    Would love to read more! Please use this link to send: QueryManager.com/Mary_C_Moore_KCA/PitchWars

  2. This sounds amazing, and 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

  3. 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

  4. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to read more. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send your query + full manuscript to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren

  5. Amelia Appel says:

    Dear Loretta,

    I’m intrigued! I’d love to read more of this. Please send along the full manuscript as a Word doc. attachment to amelia@triadaus.com at your earliest convenience. Please also paste the pitch, full synopsis, and author bio in the email, with “PITCH WARS REQUEST – AFTERDEATH” in the subject line.

    Thank you so much and I can’t wait to read!

    All best wishes,

  6. Rick Richter says:

    Hello Loretta! This sounds like a fantastic project and I’d love to read more. Could you send a full manuscript in .docx (or .doc) format to me at rrichter@aevitascreative.com and cc my assistant at cmarsiglia@aevitascreative.com? Please use “pitch wars” somewhere in the title. Hope to hear from you soon!

  7. Haley Casey says:

    Dear Loretta,

    This description of your work immediately had me hooked. I would love to read more!

    Would you please send your full manuscript, a synopsis of the project, and a short bio about what you do and any of your previous publications to Haley@CMALit.com? Each should be a separate attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF format. To ensure your email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    The two other agents at Creative Media Agency, Paige Wheeler and Shannon Snow, are participating in Pitch Wars with me. Should one of them also request your manuscript, we would appreciate it if you would choose the agent you’d most prefer to work with and only send them the requested materials. Should they pass on the project for any reason, and you find yourself still seeking an agent, then you are of course free to resubmit to another member of CMA.

    Thank you for taking the time to send me more of what you’ve written!

    Haley Casey

  8. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to take a look! Kindly send the manuscript along to me at jmccarthy at Dystel dot com. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible. If more than one DGB agent requests, please feel free to send to the agent of your choice and just let us know who else at the agency requested. Thanks so much, and happy Pitch Wars!

  9. Adrienne Rosado says:

    I’d love to take a look at your work. Please feel free to send me the full manuscript and synopsis to arosado(at)stonesong(dot)com with Pitch Wars in the subject line.

  10. Alex Rice says:

    Loretta, would love to see more! Please send me your query and first 50 pages to alex.rice@caa.com. Please let me know if you are sending to more than one agent at CAA. All my best, Alex

  11. Em Lysaght says:

    Hi Loretta, 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

  12. Hi Loretta,

    I *love* your comps and the premise and the opening are both fantastic! Could I take a peek at the full manuscript, via QueryManager.com/JenniferWills/PitchWars2020? I’d also love to see a query letter and a synopsis if you have one.

    Thanks so much!
    Jennifer Wills
    The Seymour Agency

  13. Ameerah Holliday says:

    I’m so excited to see a diverse paranormal story! Please feel free to send me your bio, query and first 50 pages to Ameerah@serendipiitylit.com

  14. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds great! I’d love to read more. Please send a query in the body of the email to queries@parkfine.com with “Pete Knapp – Pitch Wars: AFTERDEATH (YA)” in the subject line. Please attach the manuscript as a Word document, and include a short synopsis (either in the beginning of the same document as the manuscript or as a separate attachment). Thank you, and I’m looking forward to considering.

    Pete Knapp // Park & Fine Literary and Media

  15. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Loretta,

    I love your pitch and sample!! Could you please submit your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to my Query Manager?


    Please mention this is a PitchWars request at the beginning of the query, or in the referral section of the form. If another Belcastro agent requests, please make sure to only submit to one of us (we’re good at sharing!).

    I look forward to seeing your pages!!


    Cortney Radocaj
    Literary Agent
    Belcastro Agency

  16. Laura Bradford says:

    LOVE this–great mood! Please email me the full manuscript + synopsis at laura@bradfordlit.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line and paste the pitch into your email. Thank you!

    Laura Bradford

    *If more than one agent from the Bradford Literary Agency has requested this, go ahead and send it to those agents and just let us know

  17. Sandy Lu says:

    Hi Loretta,

    I’m intrigue! Please send the full manuscript, preceded by your bio and complete synopsis (all in one Word document) to submissions@bookwyrmlit.com. I look forward to reading more!

    Sandy Lu
    Book Wyrm Literary Agency

  18. Christa Heschke says:

    I love your writing and this sounds like an incredible story! 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

  19. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Loretta, I would love to read this! Please send your full manuscript, query and synopsis via email to mollie.glickasst@caa.com with “Pitch Wars Requested Submission” in the subject line. Please let me know if you are submitting to more than one agent at CAA.