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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.
PW2021 Adult #45: THE SANTA PAGEANT (LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance)
Lillian Barry
Mentored by:
Alexandria Bellefleur
Book Title:
LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance
Word Count:


Queer Stars Hollow at Christmas

Determined to prove to her naysaying family that Santa could, in fact, be a lesbian, Effie enters the Santa of the Year Pageant—only to find a rival in her ex-best friend Tove, who has become a complete Scrooge in the ten years since their ill-fated first and only kiss.



Picture me in ten days’ time in this joyforsaken carpark, dressed in an obnoxiously gay Santa suit, eyeing up the giant scissors one lucky muppet will use to open the new shopping centre… I can’t. My world is a grey plain of tarmac and rain, with the new shopping centre looming all darkness and windows, and eight hours a day to kill with my clipboard.

“Oi, you!”

Beyond the sopping strands of my hair slapping my eyeballs, a Christmas shopper marches across the carpark in my direction. Santa save me…

“What are you doing with my car? Are you some—”

I wave my clipboard. Even though the paper is translucent and the ink is running, my assailant recognises me as A Professional. They flip from attack to defence, scissors to rock in an instant.

“—some, uh, parking inspector? Is there a problem?”

They halt. Five or six lengths of tinsel loop round their neck, Poundland tags attached, and they clutch a transparent sack from the fancy-dress shop containing what looks like a full-on Santa suit. But that ankle-length coat doesn’t disguise their tiny figure…and the shadow from their umbrella doesn’t hide their face.

“…Effie?” says my once-upon-a-time best friend.

We stare at each other, tasting the rain, and it’s like no time has passed since we were standing by the lake at prom in the heady scent of the hydrangeas, about to (or so I thought) tell each other how we really felt.

6 responses to “PW2021 Adult #45: THE SANTA PAGEANT (LGBTQ+ Contemporary Romance)”

  1. Sharon Pelletier says:

    Hallmark devotee here! I’d love to read. Could you please send the full (as a Word doc) and your query to spelletier@dystel.com? If you get more than one request from DG&B, please choose the agent you think is the best fit for you and note in your email the other requests.


  2. Ann Leslie Tuttle says:

    Dear Lillian,
    Your opening excerpt immediately drew me into THE SANTA PAGEANT, and you have a compelling premise. Please do send me the first 50 pages with a short synopsis (if one is available), and I look forward to reading further. My email is atuttle@dystel.com, and please note that this is a Pitch Wars request. Also, if you receive a request from more than one DGB agent, please approach the agent you feel might be the best fit and notify us of other requests in the agency. We’ll work it out on our end. I wish you success in Pitch Wars and with your writing and will hope to hear from you.
    Ann Leslie Tuttle

  3. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Yes please! I would love to see the full manuscript. If you find us a match, please send query, synopsis, and pages to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  4. Jessica Alvarez says:

    Hi Lillian,

    I love a Christmas romance, and am eager to take a look at your full and synopsis. You can upload them here as Word docs: http://www.QueryManager.com/JessicaAlvarez/PitchWars. If someone else at BookEnds has also requested, please choose whichever agent you think is the best fit and only submit to one of us. Thanks so much. Looking forward to diving in!

    Jessica Alvarez
    Senior Literary Agent
    Foreign Rights Director
    BookEnds Literary

  5. Maggie Cooper says:

    Lillian! I could not be more excited about this pitch—second chance romance, lesbians, PLUS Santa?! I would feel like the metaphorical kid on Christmas morning if you would send me your query letter and manuscript via email to mcooper@aevitascreative.com.

  6. Larissa Melo Pienkowski says:

    I’m really enjoying what I’m reading so far—this is absolutely up my alley! I’d love to see more, so if you’d like, please feel free to send me the first 50 pages at larissa@jillgrinbergliterary.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.