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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 #22: NOT A PRETTY SIGHT (Contemporary Rom-Com – Disabled #OwnVoices)
Aroa Gabaldon
Mentored by:
Amelia Diane Coombs
Book Title:
Young Adult
Contemporary Rom-Com – Disabled #OwnVoices
Word Count:


THE HENNA WARS meets diverse Gilmore Girls.

Visually impaired Lana’s summer before college is full of sabotage and (semi-hostile) flirting when she goes head-to-head with her longtime rival as their parents’ small-town businesses compete for a cash prize.



My eye throbs with every tick of the teapot-shaped wall clock.

Sitting behind the register at Flying Colors, I drum my fingers against the countertop, waiting for Dad and Papá to return and fill the store with their baritone laughter. Rainy Shallows is tiny, and they should be done with their errands soon. Good. Because all I want is to go home and avoid rearranging tattoo convention flyers for the seventh time today.

Also, beyond playing Uno on my phone, there’s nothing here to distract me. And I need a distraction, pronto. This morning, I received intake forms and a reminder for the first ophthalmologist appointment since my retina detached. Like the red marker scribble circling September 1st on my wall calendar isn’t engraved into my brain. Between the pain and the anxiety, I couldn’t forget if I wanted to.

Before I can start another mind-numbing game of Uno, the family van parks alongside the curb out front, the duct-taped rearview mirror hanging crooked. Papá comes out first and gives me an enthusiastic thumbs up through the window.

I lift my hand to wave, but then Dad steps onto the sidewalk with the most horrendous sign I’ve had the misfortune of seeing. The junky sign is taller than I am, the unlit neon spelling out Tattoo Parlor. And as if that weren’t atrocious enough, every ‘o’ is replaced by grinning skulls with chipped gold teeth and wonky jaws.

Right now, three pairs of empty, bony eye sockets stare at me.

If they think that will attract new clients, they can think again.

12 responses to “PW2021 YA #22: NOT A PRETTY SIGHT (Contemporary Rom-Com – Disabled #OwnVoices)”

  1. 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.

  2. Ann Leslie Tuttle says:

    Dear Aroa,
    You have an engaging premise for NOT A PRETTY SIGHT, 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

  3. Samantha Wekstein says:

    Hi Aroa,

    I love your comps and the enemies to lovers setup! I’d like to read more. If interested, please send a query and first 50 pages to QueryManager.com/SamanthaWekstein/PitchWars. Thank you!

    All the best,

    Samantha Wekstein

  4. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Aroa!

    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

  5. Beth Phelan says:

    Great pitch! I’d love to read.

    Please submit your query letter and the full manuscript at this link: QueryManager.com/querybeth/PitchWars. I’d appreciate it if you pasted your query letter as the first page of your manuscript (like a sort of cover sheet), so when I send it to my kindle, I’ll have both!

    If another agent at GZLA requests your work as well, feel free to submit to both of us, but let us know that the other has it too.

  6. Carlisle Webber says:

    I’d like to see this manuscript! Please submit it along with a query letter here: QueryManager.com/Carlisle/PitchWars2022.

    If more than one agent from Fuse Literary requests your work, please choose one of us to submit to.

    Good luck, and I look forward to reading your work.

  7. Jennifer Herrington says:

    Hi Aroa,

    Wow! This sounds fabulous! I would love to see more if you were comfortable sharing. Please submit your query, synopsis, and the full manuscript to: QueryManager.com/JenniferHerrington/PitchWars2022.

    I hope to see your submission!

    Jennifer Herrington
    Associate Agent
    Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

  8. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Aroa,

    This sounds fantastic! I would love to read your manuscript. Please send to querytamar@contextlit.com, making sure to write Pitch Wars Request in the subject line.



  9. D. Ann Williams says:

    Hi Aroa,
    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

  10. Allison Hellegers says:

    I’m loving the voice here! You can send me your query, full synopsis, and and first 50 pages to alli(at)stimolaliterarystudio(dot)com. Thanks, and good luck!

  11. Christa Heschke says:

    Hi Aroa!

    What a phenomenal premise, and such great writing! My assistant Daniele and I would love 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

  12. Dana Murphy says:

    I absolutely adore the voice here — plus any small town business rivalry is extremely my thing. 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