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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.
YA #37: A CROOKED MARK (Paranormal)
Linda Kao
Mentored by:
Heather Ezell and Rachel Griffin
Book Title:
2018 Entries
Word Count:


Palmer Watts knows there are no miracles. Accidents that leave unlikely survivors usually mean Lucifer’s involved, and someone who should be dead is walking the streets.

Until Palmer burns them.

That’s the job, and she’s the best. But when she grows too close to her newest assignment, Palmer must decide whether to strike the match or spare a life—even if it means sacrificing her own.



The flames come first. My ears strain for the crackle of wood, but it’s the soft orange glow behind the cottage windows that tells me the burning is underway. Growing flames lick the night, and smoke oozes through cracks in the house’s walls. I lean forward in the passenger seat of the car, and the charred air hits me.

The screams begin.

They rip the darkness like machetes, carving memories that will never fade. Yet each jagged wail hides a lie. The real Mrs. Polly is already gone, her soul scraped away in the months leading to this moment. All that burns in her bed tonight is the dry husk that remains after Lucifer ate her from the inside out.

But it’s still her voice, and every shriek sends an ice bath over my bones.

I squint through the ash-covered windshield at the empty road. I’m just the lookout, but I know our plan for tonight so well I can almost see it happening through those singed stucco walls: the smoldering cigarette igniting the couch, those burning cushions torching the rug and curtains. The ribbons she once braided through my hair are now cinders, and the cozy kitchen table is nothing more than kindling.

Trapped in the bedroom, Mrs. Polly’s windows won’t save her. The glue I used to seal them shut had three days to dry.

5 responses to “YA #37: A CROOKED MARK (Paranormal)”

  1. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    Hi Linda,

    I’d love to see the first 50 pages! Please submit your query, synopsis, and first 50 to http://QueryMe.Online/KaitlynJohnson/Contests. Looking forward to the read!

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Corvisiero Literary Agency

  2. Colleen Oefelein says:

    Dear Linda,

    I would love to read more! Please see my bio at JDLit.com, and if you’d like, please send your query + synopsis pasted into the body of an email with your full attached to: colleen@adventurewrite.com with the subject, #PitchWars – A CROOKED MARK.

    If more than one agent from JDLA requests your manuscript, please feel free to submit to the best fit.

    Thank you and looking forward to reading!
    Colleen Oefelein

  3. Natascha Morris says:

    Hi Linda,

    I love your writing here and I’m intrigued. I’d love to see more. If your interested, please upload your manuscript to QueryMe.online/1067/PitchWars2019.

    Thank you!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  4. Annie Hwang says:

    Please send query letter in the body of the email and attach the full manuscript and a brief 1-2 page synopsis as word docs with the subject line: Pitch Wars: [Title]. You may send to me at: annie@foliolit.com. Thanks so much, I look forward to seeing more!

  5. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Linda,

    I’m intrigued here. Can you send your query and first fifty pages to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,