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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 #34: FEATHER & CROWN (Fantasy Retelling)
Samantha Elden
Mentored by:
Kristin Lambert and Sasha Peyton Smith
Book Title:
2020 Entries
Fantasy Retelling
Word Count:



Friede of Trennen must choose a husband from three princes--one loveless marriage will make her a queen. But when an enchanting swan-princess leads Friede to a lake of cursed girls hidden deep in Trennen’s wood, freeing them will test Friede’s resolve and her loyalty to her own kingdom.



Marriage to her choice of three princes sounded like the perfect strategy, until Friede heard the strangers’ voices through the oak-wood door. Aranei’s, arch and lilting. Belnor’s, whiny. Nothing yet from the Markan. They didn’t think much of her, but they weren’t supposed to, not at first. She had Father, her ladies, and her court mage waiting for her inside the Great Hall, all to make her seem queenly.

No. I am queenly. No need to “seem” anything.

She grasped her late mother’s rubies at her throat and felt their cool weight. From age six, she knew she would be Trennen’s queen, and she smothered her nerves with that truth. She relaxed the corners of her lips, her brow—

A trumpet flared behind her. Smoke poured into the tiny stone antechamber, glittering and thick and a frenzy of colors.

Fear shot through her—an assassin? No, they didn’t announce themselves. Friede choked back the smoke—it tasted of overripe berries, sickly sweet—and searing light made her squint. Murmurs of the ancient Vairen tongue rose up around her, silken syllables not quite shaping into words. Glyph papers fluttered through candy-smoke.

Out of the light stepped the mage’s apprentice, Orsimer, carrying a bouquet of gilded roses, his hair curled, wearing a ridiculously fluffy fur cloak and slippers.
It was more than enough to make her retch, and then a light twinkling in the air above him spelled out: Friede of Trennen, will you marry me?

8 responses to “PW2020 YA #34: FEATHER & CROWN (Fantasy Retelling)”

  1. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Samantha, I think your pitch and excerpt are both incredibly compelling, and I’d love 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! 

  2. Maggie Kane says:

    Hello Samantha,

    I would love to read the full of FEATHER & CROWN! Please send it as a Word Document to maggie.queries@irenegoodman.com. 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!

    Thank you so much!


  3. Dorian Maffei says:

    A f/f SWAN LAKE retelling is a definite mswl for me! I am 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 your work, please mention this in your submission. Thank you!

  4. Laura Bradford says:

    A lake of cursed girls? Fabulous imagery–I’d love to see more! 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

  5. Lee OBrien says:

    I would love to read this!

    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.

  6. Ashley Blake says:

    Hi Samantha! You had me at f/f swan lake. I’d love to see more! If you’d like to query me, please include your query letter and upload your full manuscript using the link below. If you query more than one agent at Rees, that’s fine, just let us know you did so in the query. Thanks and I look forward to reading. Congrats on all your hard work!


  7. Zabé Ellor says:

    I love this atmospheric prose, and I’m a sucker for a good queer retelling! 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.

  8. Elle Thompson says:

    Hi! I’d be very interested in reading this in full. If you could please submit your work to elle@triadaus.com with the email header “PITCH WARS: [Title]”, the query pitch, and the full MS attached in .doc format, I’d be very appreciative. If another agent from TriadaUS has requested your manuscript, please submit to each of us–we will sort it out on our end. Thank you so much!