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PW #227: YA Fantasy: HESPERIA

Monday, 2 November 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Mara Rutherford; co-mentor Jessie Humphries
Mentee Name: Joan He
Category: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 88,000


When Princess Hesperia unwittingly hires a legendary assassin to investigate the king’s murder, she discovers that the centuries-long persecution of magicians and seers is building toward a revolution. Now on the brink of war, Hesperia must decide whom to trust in a court ruled by lies and divided by blood.


Silent as a tadpole, quick as a minnow, light as a dragonfly.

I recited the words in my head as I waded into the imperial pond. They were wisps from a childhood memory, faded from the years since Father last rocked me on his knee and taught me the tricks to evading my maids. But today was the blood trial, a day of sharpened sickles, crimson sand, and gurgled screams.

A day to run.

Mother anticipated my escape tactics by now; she’d sent her fastest maids to herd me back to the arena.

“Princess Hesperia!”

Jellyweeds and lilac silt grasped at the hems of my royal robes as I ventured deeper. When the fanreeds thickened, I wrapped myself in their glossy leaves.

The maids came to a stop on the bridge. Their shadows trickled over the stones and dappled the water.

“Sweet Hesperia, don’t be difficult,” called one while the others searched the nearby shrubs of nectar flowers. 

My cocoon of fanreeds rustled as I shrank back, muttering prayers to the six gods.

They were answered with a slap of pond water against my back. I spun around.

Lilian hefted her bamboo net and grinned. Raw watersilk, still glistening with poison, overflowed from the five baskets beside her. “Enjoying your swim? Don’t worry, they’re gone.”

A ragged exhale escaped me. Watersilk worms fled from my path as I trudged up the bank. “You’ll kill me someday.”

“So let me guess what inspired your dip. Could it be…trial by blood?”



Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Lana Popovic says:

    Ooh, sounds lovely! Could I see the full ms, please, as a PDF? To lana@chalbergsussman.com, with Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line, and the query in the body of the email, please.

  • Taylor Haggerty says:

    I’m intrigued! Please feel free to send the query and full manuscript (as a word doc) to taylorsubmit@waxmanleavell.com, and I’ll look forward to reading!

  • Suzie Townsend says:

    I’d love to see the query + full ms. You can send to suzie@newleafliterary.com

  • Leon Husock says:

    I’d like to see more! Please send a query + the full MS to leon@lperkinsagency (with Pitch Wars in the subject line), along with a one-sentence description of your book.

  • Jackie says:

    This sounds fantastic! I’d love to read alongside Suzie at New Leaf. Please also send the full ms as an attachment to query(at)newleafliterary.com and include “Pitch Wars Request for Jackie” in the subject line. Thank you!

  • Laura Biagi says:

    I love your language in this opening and would love to read more. Please send the query and full ms as a .doc or .docx file to LBiagi at jvnla dot com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

  • Christa Heschke says:

    Sounds great! Please send the first 25 pages, query and synopsis to chquery[at]mcintoshandotis[dot]com and put “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line.

    Christa Heschke
    McIntosh & Otis, Inc

  • Claire Anderson-Wheeler says:

    Hi Joan

    I’m keen to read this – could you send me the full MS as a Word doc and if possible, an expanded synopsis (ideally 500-700 words)? claire at rhaliterary dot com.

    Looking forward to reading more!

  • Kitty Walker says:

    This is right up my street! Please do send the whole manuscript to kitty@evewhite.co.uk

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