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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 #16: THE DEAD DON’T SING (#OwnVoices Fantasy)
Lauren E. Turner
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#ownvoices Fantasy
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Death, Parental Abuse


Sapphic Hades and Persephone X BEYOND THE RUBY VEIL

With her winter-cursed queendom starved to the bone and her sister in mortal danger, Sirena hatches the perfect two-for-one plan: Poison her murderous mother, the queen, to take the throne and protect her sister. But before Sirena finishes the job, the queen sacrifices her to the alluring Cryptkeeper to bring back summer. Trapped in the underworld, she must do whatever it takes to escape, or she’ll lose her sister—and her crown—forever.



Everyone says the Long-Dead don’t have voices, but they sing to me.

“A new queen there will be,

One without sacrifice,

One who holds grief.”

A shiver unfurls down my spine. Villagers walk the snow-dusted path beyond the temple, hunched against the wind as it rips through threadbare tunics, pushing against the lifeless bodies of loved ones cradled in their arms. They place the dead into the silver pond at the center of the gardens, passing them to the Cryptkeeper who will tend to them in the afterlife.

Soon, I’ll be among them, carrying my younger sister Calantha to the silver shore. The thought fills the hollows in my body until I, too, am dead weight. After the sacrifice brings the summer thaw, our mother, the queen, will have Cal killed—an easy target in her bloody game of succession. The image of Cal dead in my arms turns my stomach. To never hear her laugh, count the stars beneath the summertide sky… I would die with her.

The clock in the village square tolls. I’m running late, but I pause to absorb the grief-twisted faces by the pond. A sharp reminder—Cal will die if the queen does not.

A smile splits my cold-chapped lips. Killing my mother will be a pleasure. She deserves it.

14 responses to “PW2020 YA #16: THE DEAD DON’T SING (#OwnVoices Fantasy)”

  1. Ellen Goff says:

    Hi Lauren! (moderators — please use this one!)

    I’m a big fan of Persephone and would love to read more, your pages hooked me. Could you kindly send your full query and full manuscript (word doc) to ellen@hgliterary.com ?

    Thank you!

  2. Natascha Morris says:

    Hello Lauren,

    OMG I need this, so much. 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

  3. Penny Moore says:

    Hi Lauren,

    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

  4. Maggie Kane says:

    Hello Lauren,

    I would love to read the full of THE DEAD DON’T SING. 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!


  5. 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.

  6. Emily Forney says:

    Hi Lauren! I am so happy I got the chance to read this query. The story premise sounds incredible. I love sapphic romances and the dead, so it’s pretty much right up my alley. If you’re willing, I’d love to take a look at this one. You can email the full manuscript to eforney@bookendsliterary.com with the subject line PitchWars with your story title.

  7. Hi Lauren,

    One of my favorite myths!!! I love the high stakes of this pitch. Can I please see the first fifty pages or so, 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

  8. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Lauren,

    OMG, I have been DYING for a sapphic Hades/Persephone retelling for so long!! I squealed when I saw 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

  9. I would love to see this! Please send your query, the full MS, and a synopsis (if you have one!) to jessica@dhliterary.com. Looking forward to reading!

  10. Zabé Ellor says:

    This captured me with ‘sapphic Hades/Persephone’–and drew me in with a stellar voice! I’d 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.

  11. Nicole Payne says:

    I love it! Please send query, synopsis, and first 3 chapters to nicole@goldenwheatliterary.com with Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds SO good! 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