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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 #19: ART OF DEATH (#OwnVoices Chinese Fantasy)
Tesia Tsai
Mentored by:
Meg Long and Xiran Jay Zhao
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#OwnVoices Chinese Fantasy
Word Count:


As a priestess who reanimates corpses to shepherd them home, Daiyu is accustomed to death. But when death comes for her ailing father, she refuses to let go. Unable to afford treatment, Daiyu accepts a risky job guiding a prince's corpse back from a battlefield—only the prince awakens more alive than dead.

To re-anchor his soul in his body, they must capture energy from malicious ghosts while uncovering the mystery of his untimely death—a truth that threatens not only Daiyu’s father but the fate of the entire kingdom.



The high-pitched chime reached the village gate, death’s waves ringing toward the shores of the living.

Mothers swept their children from the windows into their beds, locking the shutters. Overworked farmers hurried home like rabbits dashing for the safety of their burrows. Even the night sentry abandoned their posts, leaving only a flickering torch to greet their inauspicious guests.

From the shadows of the main road, a tall figure emerged, carrying a staff of peach wood from which hung a single iron bell. He wore the crossed-collar, cotton robes of a priest, the teal fabric ghostly pale in the moonlight. A black, square cap sat atop his head.

Clinging to his side was a girl no older than ten, her plump face unusually stoic for a child so young.

What followed behind them was what frightened the hiding villagers most: a line of stiff corpses, arms outstretched for balance. The Fu talismans taped to their heads like long, yellow paper veils compelled them to lumber slowly, wordlessly, after the priest.

As the group approached the quiet village, the priest turned to the girl.

“Do you know why we must always ring the bell, Daiyu?”

“To guide the deceased home?” she replied, eager to impress.

“Correct. But there is another reason as well.”

35 responses to “PW2020 YA #19: ART OF DEATH (#OwnVoices Chinese 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. Oooh I love this opening, and I’d absolutely 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. Karly Caserza says:


    Please send first 20 pages to QueryMe.online/Karly/ and please add “PitchWars” before your title. Thank you for sharing your work.

    If another Fuse agent requests your work, please query us one at a time.

  4. Hannah VanVels says:

    Tesia, you had me at “reanimated corpses.” This sounds incredible, and I’d love to take a look. If more than one agent from Belcastro Agency likes your pitch, please submit to the one that you feel is the best fit.


    Good luck!
    Hannah VanVels

  5. Laura Crockett says:

    This sounds intriguing! Could you send me your official query in the body of the email, subject line containing “Pitch Wars,” and attach the first 50 pages (Word doc preferred) to laura(at)triadaus(dot)com? I look forward to reading!
    -Laura Crockett, TriadaUS Literary Agency

  6. Rick Richter says:

    Hi Tesia! 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. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Tesia,

    This sounds incredible, and I’d love to read the full manuscript! Could you please send along with your query letter to ebauman@aevitascreative.com (and put Pitch Wars somewhere in the subject line)? Looking forward to reading!

    All best,

  8. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Tesia,

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

    Looking forward,

  9. Penny Moore says:

    Hi Tesia,

    I love the sound of this, and it’s exactly the type of YA I’d love to read! When you’re ready, please submit your full manuscript here: QueryManager.com/LiteraryPenny/PitchWars2021.

    Thanks. Looking forward to reading!

    All the best,
    Penny Moore
    Aevitas Creative Management

  10. Hi, Tesia! This is fantastic! Totally up my alley! I. MUST. READ. MORE!!! 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. Please go here: QueryManager.com/QueryLynnetteNovak/Pitch_Wars_2020_Requested_Only to submit to me. Attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). 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.

  11. Natascha Morris says:

    Hello Tesia,

    I am so intrigued by this pitch! I can’t wait to read the full. Please upload at QueryManager.com/natascha/PitchWars. And if another Tobias Literary Agent requests, please know you can submit to multiple parties for this event, and we will discuss in house if multiple agents are interested.

    Thank you and can’t wait to see this!

    Natascha Morris
    The Tobias Literary Agency

  12. Rebecca Podos says:

    This sounds so good!!! I would love to see the full manuscript at Rebecca@reesagency.com, if you’d like to send 🙂


  13. Alexandra Levick says:

    Hi Tesia,

    I am ever the lover of necromancy stories and I’d love to take a closer look at this! If I seem like a good fit for your body of work, please send your query letter and the first 75 pages of your manuscript (attached as a word document) to me at alevick(@)writershouse(.)com. I would appreciate it if you could note in the subject line that your message is a Pitch Wars request.

    More information about me is available here: https://www.alexandralevick.com/
    More information about Writers House is available here: http://www.writershouse.com/home

    Additionally, if more than one agent from Writers House requests your work, please note you may only submit to one of us at any given time.

    Thanks very much!

    | Alexandra Levick | She/Her | Writers House

  14. Hi, Tesia. Happy Chinese New Year! This manuscript sounds amazing. You established such a rich atmosphere right away, and I would love to read on. If you’re interested, please submit a query at QueryManager.com/SavannahBrooks and be sure to mention that this was a Pitch Wars request. I look forward to seeing more!

  15. Em Lysaght says:

    Hi Tesia, 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

  16. Dorian Maffei says:

    I absolutely love the dark elements in this! I would be thrilled to request the full manuscript. 🙂 You can send the query and manuscript through my online submission form: QueryManager.com/dorianmaffei/Request.

    If more than one agent from KC&A has requested the manuscript, please mention this in your submission. Thank you!

  17. Jessica Errera says:

    Hi Tesia–your writing is so compelling, I can’t wait for the next sentence,. I’d love to see the full ms (and a synopsis if you have) to jerrera(at)janerotrosen(dot)com at your convenience. And please include Pitch Wars in the subject line so I know to dive right in!

  18. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    I loooove the voice in this and would be thrilled to read the full! If you find us a fit, please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  19. Tamara Kawar says:

    Dear Tesia,

    The ART OF DEATH sounds amazing and I’d love to read. If you’re interested in sending, could you please email the full manuscript to tamara.kawar@icmpartners.com and make sure you include “PW2020” in your subject line?

    Thank you!

    All best,

  20. Michaela Whatnall says:

    Oh, I’m intrigued, and I would love to read more! Please send your query and the first 50 pages as a Word doc attachment to mwhatnall@dystel.com. I’m looking forward to reading!

    Please note that if more than one agent from Dystel, Goderich & Bourret has requested your work, we ask that you choose which of us you’d like to submit to first, and let that agent know who else from our agency made a request. Thanks very much!

  21. Anya Goncharova says:

    Dear Tesia, wow, I really need to read more… this is such a gripping story and an unbelievably interesting world that you created. Could you please send through the first 50 pages of your MS for our consideration? My email is anya@peonyliteraryagency.com Can’t wait, and I really hope you are doing as well as possible at this uncertain time! All best, Anya; Peony Literary Agency

  22. Emily Forney says:

    Hi Tesia! Oh, I absolutely love this pitch. I would be thrilled to take a look at it. If you’re willing, you can send the full manuscript to eforney@bookendsliterary.com with the subject line PitchWars and your story title. I truly hope to see it!

  23. Jackie Williams says:

    Hi Tesia,

    I’d love to see more! Please send the query in the body of an email with the full MS attached to jackie.williams@knightagency.net. Please mention Pitch Wars in the subject line!


  24. Hello Tesia,

    I love stories about truths being revealed… and reviving the dead here is a bonus. This feels like a slam dunk! I’d love to see the full manuscript. Can you please share it via QueryManager.com/JenniferWills/PitchWars2020? I’d also love to see your query letter and synopsis if you have one.

    Thanks so much!
    Jennifer Wills
    The Seymour Agency

  25. Amanda Orozco says:

    Hi Tesia,

    Your pitch sounds AMAZING; I’d love to read more!

    Please send the query and full ms to amanda@transatlanticagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. You can read more about me and Transatlantic Agency at: https://www.transatlanticagency.com/about-us/agents/amanda-orozco/. (Please only submit to one agent at Transatlantic at a time.)

    Feel free to reach out with any questions and I can’t wait to read more. Many thanks!

    Amanda Orozco

  26. 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: ART OF DEATH (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 reading.

    Pete Knapp // Park & Fine Literary and Media

  27. Lee OBrien says:

    This sounds great, and I’d love to see the rest!

    To query me, you can send the query and full MS to lee.queries@irenegoodman.com with the words “Pitch Wars” in the subject line! If another agent at Irene Goodman requests your manuscript, please submit to just one agent at a time. If they pass, you are welcome to resubmit to another.

  28. Zabé Ellor says:

    I love this atmosphere and imagery! I would love to see more.

    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.

  29. Rebecca Sherman says:

    Hi Tesia,

    I would love to read more of Art of Death! Please email me with your query, synopsis (optional), and first 50 pages at rebeccasubmissions@writershouse.com. Please put Pitch Wars Requested- [Title] as your subject line. If you receive requests from more than one Writers House agent, you must chose one agent to receive your material.

    All my best,

  30. Sandy Lu says:

    Hi Tesia,

    No genre is dearer to my heart than Chinese fantasy! 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

  31. Jessica Felleman says:

    Hi Tesia! I’d love to take a look at your query letter, synopsis and full manuscript. Please send them over to me at jfsubmissions@jenniferlyonsliteraryagency.com and mention that I made the request via Pitch Wars in the subject line. The query and synopsis can either be attached or in the body of the email, but please send the manuscript as a Word Doc attachment. Looking forward to reading! -Jessica Felleman

  32. Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds really interesting! I’d love to read more. 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

  33. Roseanne Wells says:

    Hi Tesia,

    This sounds so good! (And I want to know the other reason!) Please send the full manuscript and a synopsis as doc or docx attachments to queryroseanne@gmail.com with Query: #Pitchwars and the title in the subject line. I’m so excited to read this!



  34. Kari Sutherland says:

    Dear Tesia,

    This sounds so intriguing and I love the atmosphere and tension in just this excerpt. I’d really like to read more! Please send the full via this form: QueryManager.com/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form/PitchWars. If more than one Bradford Literary agent requests it, you can send to multiple of us, just let us know so we can coordinate. Many thanks! Kari

  35. Mollie Glick says:

    Hi Tesia, I’d 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.