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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 #25: LOOKING FOR SMOKE (Thriller – Native voices)
K.A. Blaser
Mentored by:
Fiona McLaren
Book Title:
Young Adult
Thriller (Native voices)
Word Count:


Native American ONE OF US IS LYING meets SADIE

When another girl is murdered on the Blackfeet Reservation, Mara and her friends doubt the Tribal Police will solve it. If they don’t investigate it themselves, they’ll be the only suspects—or worse—the next victims.



Mara Racine

Thursday, July 10, 7:15 p.m.

Something about the beat of the drum makes me stop feeling like such a fraud. Like I’m not a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Or a doe in mountain lion skin. All the blood that matters thrums through my limbs to my feet, telling me I belong. This land is mine too. For better or worse.

The pounding beat vibrates in my chest, and I force myself not to blink in time with it. The cries of the men circling the drum make my throat dry and constrict, like it aches to sing in their rhythm. My muscles tense as they pound the leather-bound sticks against the hide as one, the beat getting faster and their voices getting higher.

The older man, cowboy hat shadowing his face, whacks his stick harder as the others pause. A younger man in a flat-billed baseball cap sings alone, a wail sinking into his undulating voice, and then each of them hit the drum in sync again. Their voices rise to intertwine with his like a united battle cry. Goosebumps rise on my skin, and I sink further into the bleacher bench.

Women in beaded dresses with colorful shawls and men in buckskin regalia with feathered shoulder and back bustles dance to the beat past the drumming group. They have bells strapped around their legs and plumes of feathers in their hands. Some of their faces are painted in the old ways, with black and red, making them look fierce, powerful.

55 responses to “PW2021 YA #25: LOOKING FOR SMOKE (Thriller – Native voices)”

  1. Melanie Figueroa says:

    Hi K.A.,

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


  2. Jennifer March Soloway says:

    Another girl murdered, police seem to be looking the other way, a chance they’ll become suspects, or worse victims…I’m hooked! I’ve been hoping to find a great thriller, this pitch is right up my alley, and I find the opening cinematic and gripping. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

    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!

  3. Sarah N. Fisk says:

    I would be honored to read more and find out where Mara’s investigation takes her. 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. Masha Gunic says:

    I would love to see this! Please send me your query and full manuscript to masha@azantianlitagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If any other agents from ALA request this as well, please send to one of us at a time at your choice.

  5. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear K.A.,
    The writing in this sample is incredible and I’m very, very interested in your pitch – I’d love the opportunity to dive into your novel if you’re interested in sending it to me. I’m at andreasubmissions (at) writershouse.com. (We just ask that creators only query one Writers House agent at a time.) I very much hope to hear from you! In any case, congratulations on the showcase and on being at this point in the process!
    All best,
    Andrea Morrison

    PS – it was so nice to read your Pitch Wars interview, too!

  6. Amy Giuffrida says:

    I have been intrigued by this pitch since DVPit! The imagery in your sample really pulls me in and I’d love to read more. Please send me the query, synopsis, and full manuscript to me at this QM link: QueryManager.com/AmyGiuffrida/PitchWars Since we ask that you only submit to one of our agents at a time, if you receive multiple request from agents at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, please choose which one best fits you to submit to. I’m excited to get reading!

  7. Allison Remcheck says:

    Dear K.A.,

    This looks fantastic! I’m an agent at Stimola Literary Studio, and I would love the chance to read your manuscript. Please feel free to send it to me at:


    Please put PITCHWARS in the subject line, and attach the full manuscript.

    I’m looking forward to it!

    Best wishes,


  8. Amy Elizabeth Bishop says:

    Dear K.A.,

    I absolutely love this premise and this story sounds like it has so many themes I’m eager to see more of. I’d be honored to take a look, if you could send your query in the body of the e-mail and your full manuscript as a Microsoft Word attachment to abishop@dystel.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line.

    If you receive a request from more than one DGB agent, please feel free to approach the person you feel might be the best fit and notify them of other requests in agency. We’ll work it out on our end. 🙂

    Thanks so much and hope to hear from you!


  9. Ann Leslie Tuttle says:

    Dear K.A. Blaser,
    You have an engaging premise for Looking for Smoke, and I’d love to read further. If you’re interested in my considering your work, please do send me the first 50 pages to me at atuttle@dystel.com in a query marked Pitch Wars. If you receive requests from other Dystel agents, please select the one you feel is best suited to your voice and let us know of interest from the other agents. We can sort it out on our end. In the meantime, I wish you success with your writing and with Pitch Wars.
    Ann Leslie Tuttle

  10. Hi, K.A. This sounds wonderful!!! I need 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.

  11. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’ve really been looking forward to this one, and I’d love to read more! Please send your query + full manuscript + synopsis to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren Spieller

  12. Alice Sutherland-Hawes says:

    Hi K.A.,

    I’d love to see more of Looking For Smoke! Do send three chapters and a synopsis to QueryManager.com/ASH_Literary/Pitchwars.

    Hope to see your work soon!


  13. Rebecca Podos says:

    Oh, I would absolutely love to read this! I’d be thrilled to see the full manuscript through the Pitch Wars event link on my QueryManager: QueryManager.com/BeccaPodos/PitchWars

    Best, Becca

  14. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi K.A. – congrats on completing Pitch Wars! LOOKING FOR SMOKE sounds absolutely amazing and I would love to read it! If you’re interested in submitting to me, I’d love for you to send me your query and the full manuscript to tara@emliterary.com. Just mention Pitch Wars in the subject. Thanks so much! Tara Gonzalez (Agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency)

  15. Shannon Hassan says:

    Hi K.A., I would love to read this! Please send the full manuscript (and your pitch) to shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com. Thanks for the chance! –Shannon Hassan

  16. Haley Casey says:

    Hi, K.A. Not only does this sound incredible, but the imagery in just these first paragraphs is BEAUTIFUL. 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

  17. Ismita Hussain says:

    Hi K.A., LOOKING FOR SMOKE sounds amazing and I’d love to read more! If you think we’d be a good fit for each other, (you can read about me and Great Dog Literary at https://greatdogliterary.com/about) you can send me a query at QueryManager.com/IsmitaHussain/PitchWars and include the full manuscript, synopsis, and bio. All the best, Ismita

  18. Ellen Goff says:

    Hello K.A.!

    Thank you so much for sharing your pitch and pages here! I lovelovelove this concept (I remember listening in to the buzz panel on Sadie many years ago) and your sample, and I would be SO delighted if you would send me the rest. If you would like to share it with me (hopefully!), please send the full ms as a word doc to ellen@hgliterary.com. Don’t worry, I’ll remember this one and who you are 🙂

    I can’t wait to read!

  19. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi K.A.,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! This project sounds amazing, and the excerpt instantly grabbed me. 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,

  20. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi K.A.!

    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

  21. Kristin Ostby says:

    I would love to see your full manuscript! You can query me at https://querymanager.com/query/kristinostby. If my colleague Chelsea Eberly also requests your manuscript, we ask that you choose which of the two of us seems like the best fit for you.

    Thank you!

  22. Hi K.A., This looks really interesting, especially the fact that it highlights the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. I’d be happy to read 50 pages and a synopsis if you want to email them to me at Isabelle@Nordlysetagency.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line.
    All best wishes,

  23. Hi K.A. Congrats on PitchWars. I’d love to read the full of Looking for Smoke. I love a twisty “take the law into our own hands” story and this one sounds awesome. Please use this link to upload your manuscript: QueryManager.com/1353/PW2022

  24. 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

  25. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Hi K.A.,

    What a pitch! I would really love to read 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!


  26. 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,

  27. Amanda Orozco says:

    Hi K.A!

    This sounds INCREDIBLE–your writing here is so powerful; 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

  28. Mandy Hubbard says:

    I would love to read more of this! Please send your full my way, as an attached document, to Mandy @ emerald city literary dot com.

    If another ECLA agent requests just let me know and we will coordinate on our side.

    Looking forward to reading!

  29. Hannah Andrade says:

    I absolutely LOVE the sound of this! 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!

  30. Jessica Errera says:

    Dear K.A.–I love this excerpt and am eager to read more. If you’re amenable, please send your full manuscript (and query letter) to jerrera@janerotrosen.com, always helpful to include PitchWars in the subject line!

  31. This is intriguing, with a powerful voice. I’d be happy to read more. Please send the first approx 25 pp and final approx 25 pp, plus a synopsis to me at greatriverliterary@gmail.com Mark header “REQUESTED MATERIAL.” (We used to live in Montana which gives an added dimension to the story for me).
    Mary Cummings

  32. Cate Hart says:

    This sounds intriguing. I’d love to take a look at the full. Please send along using QueryManager.com/CateHart/REQ

  33. Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong says:

    This looks so wonderful! I’d love it if you’d consider allowing me an opportunity to read. But before you decide, please take a look at my agent profile on http://www.thepurcellagency.com and decide if we’d be a good match. If you agree we’d be a good match, please send your full manuscript to querycathieh@gmail.com and paste the above synopsis just above the title of the manuscript so I can remember what I’m reading before I dig in. In the Subject line of the email, please type: #PITCHWARS REQUEST / “TITLE OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT “/ NUMBE OF WORDS. That’ all I need!

    Thanks so much and sending you the best of luck!

    Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong, Literary Agent
    The Purcell Agency

  34. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds great! I would love to read more. Can you please send the full manuscript attached as a Word document to queries@parkfine.com with “Pete Knapp – Pitch Wars – YA” in the subject of your email? Please include the query letter at the start of your Word document, and if available please also send a short synopsis (but no worries if not readily available). Thanks! I look forward to reading.

    Pete Knapp / Park & Fine Literary and Media

  35. Laurel Symonds says:

    I’m really intrigued by what I’ve seen so far and would love to read more! Please send the first 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If more than one agent from The Bent Agency requests, you’re invited to send to all of us. Just let us know—thanks!

  36. Chelsea Hensley says:

    This sounds fantastic, 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

  37. Molly Ker Hawn says:

    I’d like to read this! Please send the full manuscript to me at hawnqueries@thebentagency.com, with ‘Pitchwars’ in the subject line. Thank you!

  38. Caitlin White says:

    Hi K.A.! If you remember me, I’m Caitlin White from Emerald City Literary Agency. I had read one of your previous manuscripts, and I’ve been hoping to have the opportunity to look at more of your excellent work. I am IN LOVE with this pitch, and would be so grateful to give your full a read. If you’re also interested, you can send your query and full manuscript to my special PitchWars form here: QueryManager.com/caitlinwhite/PitchWars

    If other ECLA agents are interested, you can feel free to send to any you’re interested in, and if more than one of us fall in love, we can work that out on our end!

    Thanks so much — just absolutely thrilled to see this and for you!

  39. Natascha Morris says:

    Hello K.A.

    This is sounds intriguing! I’d love to see more. If you can upload the full to QueryManager.com/natascha/PitchWars, I’d love to read. And if another Tobias Literary Agent requests, please feel free to go with whoever you think best!


  40. Jen Nadol says:

    Hi K.A,
    I’m intrigued and would love to read more! If you think we’d be a match, please send the first 50 pages as a Word attachment & a query to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com

  41. Analieze Cervantes says:


    I’m digging your pitch/excerpt and would love to request the query, synopsis, and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript!

    Submit here: QueryManager.com/AnaliezeCervantes/PitchWars

    Can’t wait to see this in my box soon! Have a great day!

    Analieze Cervantes

    Literary Agent
    Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

  42. D. Ann Williams says:

    Hi K.A.,
    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

  43. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there!

    I’d love to read the first 50 pages of this. Please send them attached as a word document along with your query pasted into the email to: rena@dhliterary.com


    Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

  44. Becca Langton says:

    Hi – I think your pitch and excerpt are fantastic and would love to read more. I’m particularly on the look out for stories centring Native voices and yours sound excellent. Please do query me through my email, becca@darleyanderson.com and include #Pitch Wars in the subject line. Darley Anderson is a well established global agency and I am so pleased to be building a US focussed list in a team that includes a Film and TV agent and a well experienced international rights team.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  45. Kaitlyn Sanchez says:

    I’d be delighted to consider this. Please see submission guidelines here: https://www.contextlit.com/submissions under Kaitlyn Sanchez, and please put PITCH WARS REQUEST and your genre and title in the subject line of the email. Thanks for sharing your work!

  46. Rebecca Eskildsen says:

    Hi K.A.,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’m extremely intrigued by your premise and would love to read more.

    I hope you’ll send me your project! If you choose to do so, please send your query letter and the first 75 pages as a PDF to reskildsen@writershouse.com. Please include “Pitch Wars + your title” in the subject line. Please note that Writers House only allows writers to query one agent at a time.

    I look forward to reading further!

    Rebecca Eskildsen

  47. Allison Hellegers says:

    I’m SO gripped and want to read more. I love this voice! You can send me your query, full synopsis, and and full ms pages to alli(at)stimolaliterarystudio(dot)com. Thanks, and good luck!

  48. Paige Wheeler says:

    Thanks for sharing your work at Pitch Wars. I’d love to read more! Please send the first 100 pages and synopsis to me at paige@cmalit.com. Please use “Requested Material from Pitch Wars” in your subject heading. Thanks so much.

  49. Chelsea Eberly says:

    Hi Katie,
    I’m still very interested in reading your full manuscript! LOOKING FOR SMOKE is right up my alley, and I can’t wait to dive in. Please use the following link to send me the full Word doc:


    Thanks again for sending me your submission after DVPit! Can’t wait to see this latest version.

    All best,
    Chelsea Eberly

  50. Roseanne Wells says:

    Wow, K.A., I love this image and voice. And the premise sounds great! I’d love to take a look. Please submit the full manuscript and a synopsis to querymanager.com/roseannewells/pitchrequest, and I’m excited to keep reading!

  51. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi K.A.! Your pitch hooked me in right away and I am blown away by your voice. I’d love to request the full manuscript.

    If you’d like to send it my way, please upload it here: QueryManager.com/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2021.

    ​Alexandra Weiss (she/her)
    Azantian Literary Agency

  52. Quressa Robinson says:

    Dear K.A,,

    Congrats on making it through the editing rounds with your mentor! I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to check out everyone’s showcase samples. Based on what I’ve read so far, I’d love to see more. Please query me at this link (QueryManager.com/QueryQuressa/PW2022) and follow the directions. If more than one Folio Lit agent requests work from you it is okay to query more than one of us, just give us a heads-up. Good luck!



  53. Chloe Seager says:

    Hi K.A., I’m a big thriller fan and this sounds intriguing. If you could email the first three chapters and a synopsis to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com I’d love to read more.


  54. Christa Heschke says:

    Hello K.A.!

    What a crucial story–thank you for sharing this! We would love to read it. Please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/christa_heschke/PitchWars2122

    Thank you!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  55. Dana Murphy says:

    This sounds phenomenal — plus anything comped to my dear SADIE is a book I need to read.

    Per our submission guidelines, please send a query and your first ten pages in the body of an email to submissions@thebookgroup.com — with my name, the books title, and “Pitch Wars” in the email’s subject line. I’ll be in touch as soon as I see it to request the full. (If you’d like to review our full submission guidelines, please visit: http://www.thebookgroup.com/submissionguidelines)

    I don’t believe any of my colleagues at The Book Group are participating in Pitch Wars this year, but if you do get requests from others — or if you’ve already submitted to someone else on our team — don’t worry! We happily accept simultaneous submissions. If you wouldn’t mind flagging this in your query letter, it’s helpful to know up front.

    Thank you! I hope I make the list of agents you chose to submit to but, either way, huge congratulations on your Pitch Wars participation this year.


    Dana Murphy