Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!

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.
PW2021 Adult #34: SUNDOWNING (Psychological Horror)
T.S. Zupancis
Mentored by:
Yvette Yun and Marith Zoli
Book Title:
Psychological Horror
Word Count:


ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST in a locked memory care home

When ninety-year-old Caterina Aosta suspects a sinister force is harming her fellow residents, she plots to expose its evil and redeem herself for a long-buried secret before she becomes the next victim.



It’s a shock in a garden, how much you pull away. You pile aside the unproductive to rot, the better to use their decay as food for the living later. And even with all that skin shed, a garden never seems so different. Just looks the way it should. You’d never know how much was lost unless you saw it taken.

That morning among my plants, I unfixed my vision and let reality unhinge to show me the crawlers. They swarmed on anything at the verge of molder. I tore at where their wriggling unmasked blindweed roots strangling edible things. I plucked petunia heads softened by their squirming. Then I flexed my fingers to unkink the arthritis and looked past the rooftops of town, past Shadow Mountain, to stare at the uncountable craggy mountaintops beyond. 

They peek out to comfort me with the way things are, whispering, “Hullo, you. You are a small little nothing.”

The mountains’ crust can crumble underfoot, letting souls fall through hollow spaces big as cathedrals, past canary bones in rusted out cages, past candles still nailed into stone. If there in the garden I’d thought on that, recalled how our world hides its truths, maybe I’d have been more prepared for the strangeness to come. 

Instead, I wondered at the greenness of those peaks. Such an early melt in a high-altitude Colorado June seemed unright. But we were deep in a warming drought they said would never end, so who could tell what was normal any longer?

9 responses to “PW2021 Adult #34: SUNDOWNING (Psychological Horror)”

  1. Melanie Figueroa says:

    Hi T.S.,

    Congrats on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to take a look at SUNDOWNING. You can query me directly using this link: QueryManager.com/melaniefigueroa/pitchwars


  2. Kim Lionetti says:

    Your excerpt really pulled me in. I’d love to read more!

    You can upload the full manuscript here: QueryManager.com/klionetti/PitchWars

    I hope to see it in my inbox!

    ** If more than one BookEnds agent requests, please just send to the one you think would be the best fit.

  3. Paige Wheeler says:

    I can’t wait to read more! I’d love to take a look at more of your work. Please email me the synopsis and first 100 pages to me at paige@cmalit.com. Please write “Pitch Wars Requested Material” in the subject heading. Thanks so much!

  4. Jennifer March Soloway says:

    I have long wanted a story with an elderly protagonist, and I love the setting and garden metaphor you’ve chosen for this project. If you think I could be a good fit for you, please query me and submit the full manuscript: QueryManager.com/JenniferMarchSoloway/PitchWars2022

    I love a good story and look forward to reading yours!

  5. Jen Nadol says:

    Hi T.S.,
    I really like your voice & this unique premise; would love to read more. If you think we’d be a match, please send a query & first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com

  6. Dorian Maffei says:

    I’m very intrigued by what I’ve read and would be thrilled to read more! If you feel we would be a good match, please send along the first 50 pages of SUNDOWNING and fill out my submission form here: https://QueryManager.com/dorianmaffei

  7. Julie Gourinchas says:

    Dear T.S. Zupancis,

    I absolutely loved your excerpt for SUNDOWNING—you have a real gift with atmosphere and description, and these few hundred words felt lush and haunting. I was so eager to read more, and how fascinating to see a psychological/horror story from the point of view of an older character!

    I am currently reading SFF and horror submissions for John Baker at Bell Lomax Moreton, a U.K.-based agency, and he’s asked me to have a read of the Pitch Wars showcase and request manuscripts on his behalf. (You can read more about John and his taste here: https://belllomaxmoreton.co.uk/agents/john-baker or me and mine here: https://belllomaxmoreton.co.uk/agents/julie-gourinchas.) We’d be delighted to read more of this and would love to receive the full MS at julie@bell-lomax.co.uk and john@bell-lomax.co.uk.

    Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


  8. I’d love to read more!

    You can send your query letter, a synopsis, and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript to me directly at maria@psliterary.com. One document (attached to the email) that contains all three items is preferred.

    Please include “Pitch Wars” and your manuscript’s title in the subject line of your email.

    (If another agent at P.S. Literary requests your manuscript, please submit to only one of us.)

  9. Chelsea Hensley says:

    I love this! If you’re interested, you can send the full manuscript, your query, and a complete synopsis to my Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/Chelseahensley/PitchWars2021