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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 YA #13: BALLAD OF THE GODS’ BLESSED (Afrofantasy – #OwnVoices)
Tyler Lawson
Mentored by:
Aaron Cole and Tamara Cole
Book Title:
Young Adult
Afrofantasy – #OwnVoices
Word Count:


When Dido, a Black princess blessed with magic by the gods, learns her brother killed her lover, she flees home and builds a sparkling kingdom with her powers. With a broken heart and lust for vengeance, Dido prepares to reconquer her homeland. But when colonizers invade her new kingdom, she must decide what’s worth saving: her motherland or her newly-crafted legacy.

This Aeneid reimagining is The Gilded Ones meets Daenerys Targaryen, inspired by African-American folklore. It features power-hungry girls who will burn down kingdoms to avenge the ones they’ve lost.



Gods don’t bless the cursed. 

It’s all I think as I prowl through the castle, tiptoeing on tension like the woven carpet is a bed of hot coals. But my eyebrows raise when the silence sings in my ears. The halls echo a hollow and empty tune audible throughout the gilded palace. It’s been this way for weeks. The normal clambering has subsided substantially since mama and papa, our beloved Queen and King, fell sick. Their imminent death caused a crumpling in the kingdom of Tumaini that used to burst with a triumphant tempo of jazzy beats and soulful warriors. There hadn’t been much noise around us for long. Not while the death of the monarchs crept closer and closer.

But this silence is different. Palpable. Something I can reach in the air and feel with bony fingers. It awakens the powers thrumming beneath my mahogany skin. It grows stronger than a storm. Blessings bestowed to me by the gods and my ancestors.

I rub the gold birthmark branded on my neck. A celestial mark blessed to me from the gods. A promise I’ll always be protected. Right now, I feel anything but.

If I am gods’ blessed, why do I feel cursed?

19 responses to “PW2021 YA #13: BALLAD OF THE GODS’ BLESSED (Afrofantasy – #OwnVoices)”

  1. Ernie Chiara says:

    Hi Tyler,

    This sounds great! If you’d like to query me at QueryManager.com/ErnieChiara and include your first 20 pages with Pitch Wars in the referral box, I would love to check it out!

    Thanks so much, and best of luck!

    Ernie Chiara,
    Fuse Literary

  2. Melanie Figueroa says:

    Hi Tyler,

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


  3. Sarah N. Fisk says:

    The conflict and stakes in that pitch are captivating! Please submit the query, synopsis and first three chapters here: https://querymanager.com/query/sarahnfisk/PitchWars

    If multiple agents at Tobias request your materials, please submit to the one you think would be the best fit.

  4. I’d love to read this! Please send query letter and first 50 pages to jessica@dhliterary.com.

  5. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d be happy to take a look! You can send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. If more than one DGB agent requests, please feel free to choose whoever feels like the best fit! Just let us know who else requested, and we’ll work it out in house!

  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.

  7. Samantha Wekstein says:

    Hi Tyler,

    This sounds great! I’d love to read more. If interested, can you please send your query and first 50 pages to QueryManager.com/SamanthaWekstein/PitchWars. Thank you!

    All the best,

    Samantha Wekstein

  8. Haley Casey says:

    Hi, Tyler. The idea of a AENEID retelling initially grabbed my interest, but your imagery in these paragraphs completely hooked me! If you’re willing, I would love to see the full manuscript, synopsis, and an author bio sent to haley@cmalit.com! As a note, if another agent from Creative Media Agency requests your work, please only send materials to the person you feel is the best fit. (I hope it’s me, but I hope even more sincerely that you choose the agent who you think will best represent you and your writing.) Thanks! —Haley

  9. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Tyler!

    I love the sound of this and would love to see more. Can you please submit your query, synopsis, and first 30 pages here?


    If another Belcastro agent requests as well, please choose one of us to send to and mention in your query who else has requested; we’ll be sure to pass the submission along to the other agent if it ends up being a pass 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more!

    -Cortney Radocaj, Belcastro Agency

  10. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hi Tyler!

    The rage in this manuscript is beautiful, and I adore your voice. I’d love to read your full manuscript, if you wouldn’t mind sending it to me. This link will lead you to my Query Manager, where you can upload your query, synopsis, and full manuscript: QueryManager.com/KellyPeterson/PitchWars

    Wishing you the best of luck, and hoping to see your manuscript! =)

    Warm Regards,
    Kelly Peterson
    Rees Literary Agency

  11. Alex Rice says:

    Would love to see this manuscript in my inbox! Please send over the full manuscript and a synopsis to me at alex.rice@caa.com, using the subject line of “Pitch Wars Query // TITLE.” If another agent at CAA also requests, please include their name in the query as well. Looking forward to reading! All my best, Alex Rice

  12. Penelope Burns says:

    I’d love to see this! If you’d like, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  13. Hannah Andrade says:

    Hi Tyler! This snippet is EVERYTHING. Please pleas PLEASE send this my way! Can you please send the first 100 pages of this to me on my QueryManager (https://QueryManager.com/hannahandrade)? And don’t forget to put PitchWars in the subject line along with your project. I can’t wait to read it!

  14. Jordy Albert says:

    I would love to read more! Please follow submission guidelines here https://QueryManager.com/JordyAlbert

  15. Chelsea Hensley says:

    Hi Tyler! This sounds great, I’d love to read more! 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

  16. Lydia Silver says:

    Dear Tyler,

    This is a great pitch – it feels simultaneously very market-friendly and completely new. I’d love to read more. If you’d be interested in me considering your work, please could you send your full manuscript to my email, lydia@darleyanderson.com, along with a covering letter and your synopsis.

    Thanks so much,

  17. Karly Dizon says:

    Hi! I absolutely love the concept behind your work. Can you please send me your first 10 pages here:

  18. Christa Heschke says:

    Hi Tyler!

    My assistant and I are so hooked on your writing! We’d be honored to read this. Please send us your query, synopsis, and full manuscript via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/christa_heschke/PitchWars2122

    Thank you!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  19. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Such a fabulous pitch! Could you please send your 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!