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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 #17: BY ANY OTHER NAME (Sapphic Retelling)
Mae McCall
Mentored by:
Sarvenaz Tash
Book Title:
Young Adult
Sapphic Retelling
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Off-Page Sexual Assault, Murder/Violence, Off-Page Abortion, Suicide, Drugs


Juliet Capulet knows three things: 1. She wants to be a botanist, not a wife; 2. Some people deserve to be poisoned; and 3. Love is shit. But while apprenticing as an apothecary (disguised as a boy, no less), she meets Stella and has to rethink #3.



She awakened slowly, groggy and confused. Her first thought, when the boy who sobbed against her raised his head, and snot trailed from his left nostril to her dress was—God, that’s gross.

“Juliet?” he gasped, brown eyes wide. Pink foam gathered at the corners of his mouth, and he coughed once, twice…and dropped his head to her abdomen with a shuddering final breath.

Juliet frowned. She attempted to say, “Romeo, what the hell?!” but what came out instead was a gurgle and hiss.

Okay, so she remembered drinking the tonic, and this was her family’s crypt. But why was Romeo even here? This. Was not. The plan.

Panic and rage forced enough strength into her arms to press a hand against Romeo’s face and shove. His head thunked against the stone dais on the way down, and she cringed at the sound. From above, he looked as vapid and handsome as ever, and she spent a moment remembering the good times—only a couple of days, but the most hopeful days of her life. You were supposed to be my ticket out, fool. Then she guiltily registered the fact that he was maybe not unconscious, but dead.

Juliet propped herself up on her elbows. “Friar Lawrence?” she croaked. “Any minute now would be great. Any. Minute. Now.”

But the friar didn’t come, and she was trapped in a tomb with a dead guy—two dead guys, actually, as a malodorous lump on the other side of the room appeared to be Tybalt.

16 responses to “PW2021 YA #17: BY ANY OTHER NAME (Sapphic Retelling)”

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

  2. Hi, Mae. I’ve seen a handful of Romeo & Juliet retellings in my query box this week. Must be something in the air. However, I have to say yours really stands out! Your voice is AMAZING!!! I’d love to see more. Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Send to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.
    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime
    Looking forward to reading more.

  3. 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.

  4. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Mae,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! This project sounds wonderful, and the excerpt has a great voice. I’d love to read more! If you could please send your query and the full manuscript using my Query Manager link: QueryManager.com/EricaBauman/PitchWars

    And if more than one ACM agent requests, feel free to send to both—just let me know who else is reading, so I can coordinate on my end.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    All my best,

  5. 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

  6. Amanda Orozco says:

    Hi Mae!

    I love this–I’m a sucker for retellings, especially Shakespearean ones with queer feminist twists–and I’m already hooked with this excerpt; I’d love to see more of this! Please send the query and full ms to amanda@transatlanticagency.com with “Pitch Wars” somewhere in the subject line.

    Feel free to submit to other agents at the Transatlantic Agency if they also request; please just let me know so we can coordinate our responses.

    Many thanks and looking forward to reading more!
    Amanda Orozco

  7. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Hi Mae,

    What an amazing twist on a classic! I’d love to see more. 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!


  8. Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong says:

    Oh my gosh! I love this premise! I’ve been ridiculously addicted to all-things Romeo and Juliet retelling since I was about 13 and read it for the first time. I would be delighted if you would consider letting me give this a read. Before doing so, please take a look at my agent bio at http://www.thepurcellagency.com and then, if your think we’d make a good team, email me your full manuscript to querycathieh@gmail.com with the synopsis pasted just above the title line of manuscript so I can remember what I’m reading when I settle down to read. On the subject line, please type “#PITCHWARS REQUEST / “TITLE OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT” / NUMBER OF WORDS. That’s all I need!

    Thanks, and best wishes with PitchWars and your agent search! You’re gonna find an agent for sure!

    Cathie Armstrong, Literary Agent
    The Purcell Agency

  9. Caitlin White says:

    Hi Mae! Your pitch completely captured my attention — since I first read Romeo & Juliet in 9th grade, I have been hooked and had *THOUGHTS*. So, I completely adore your whole concept and, moreover, your first line made me cackle!! I would be thrilled to read your full manuscript if you’re also interested. If so, you can send your query and full to my special QueryManager page here: https://querymanager.com/query/caitlinwhite/PitchWars

    If more than one agent at Emerald City Literary Agency loves your pitch, feel free to send to any or all and if more than one of us fall in love, we can work that out!
    Yay, thank you!! – Caitlin White (@caitforestell)

  10. Jen Nadol says:

    Hi Mae,
    Love your voice here and am eager to read more! If you think we’d be a match, please forward a query & first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com

  11. Laura Bradford says:

    This voice is so good! I didn’t know I was looking for a R&J retelling but apparently, I AM. I’d love to see more! Please send me the full manuscript and synopsis (as attachments) at laura@bradfordlit.com. Please put Pitch Wars in your subject line.

    Can’t wait!
    Laura Bradford

    ***If you receive a request from more than one agent at Bradford Literary Agency, you are welcome to send to all agents who made the request, but just let us know when you send the material***

  12. D. Ann Williams says:

    Hi Mae,
    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! Your excerpt is intriguing, and I would love to read more. Please feel free to send me your query, full manuscript, and synopsis (if you have one) to QueryManager.com/DAnnWilliams/PitchWars2022

    Please let us know if you get multiple requests from ECLA agents, and we will coordinate internally if one (or more!) of us falls in love with your manuscript.

    Have a great showcase!
    D. Ann Williams (she/they), Associate Agent, Emerald City Literary Agency

  13. Jessica Spitz says:

    I love this excerpt and would be thrilled to read more. Please send your query and the full manuscript to jjspitz@wmeagency.com, and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If multiple people from my agency (WME) request, please only send to one of us. Thank you!

  14. Kari Sutherland says:

    Ooh, this is a fun spin on Juliet–I love how much more agency she has even in this opening. I’d like to read more. If you think we’d be a good match, please send the full to me using the submission form: QueryManager.com/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form/PitchWars.

    Warm wishes,

  15. Dear Mae,

    I’ve reviewed your pitch for BY ANY OTHER NAME and am intrigued by your excerpt. Please send your full manuscript in Word or PDF format to me at victoria@hgliterary.com and copy my reader at gabry@hgliterary.com. We look forward to reading your work.

    Thank you,
    Victoria Wells Arms

  16. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Mae! I love the idea of an independent and snarky Juliet. I would love to request the first 50 pages. If you’d like to send it my way, please upload it here: QueryManager.com/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2021​

    Alexandra Weiss (she/her)
    Azantian Literary Agency