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Wednesday, 1 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Delivery Date: One Month

Mentor Name: Kim Long

Mentee Name: Diana DeBolt Johnson


Category: Middle Grade

Genre: Fantasy

Word Count: 40,000


Being Cinderella’s daughter isn’t a Happily-Ever-After for eleven-year-old Penelope. After her mom’s glass slippers are poisoned, Penelope must face a candy-magic wielding witch, survive a giant’s Beanstalk Forest, and outrun escaped villains to deliver the cure before her mom falls into a deathly slumber and the villains destroy Fablewood.


Glass slippers made terrible frog-capturing shoes.




My too-big slippers scraped against the stone of the secret passage, surely announcing my presence. 

Pausing, I scrunched my toes to keep the slippers from falling off and knelt to peek through a peep hole in the secret door. In the garden beyond, a small frog stood on a wishing well and rolled his tiny top hat up his arm to his head. He plopped down—belly up to the sun—and slid the hat over his eyes. 

I shoved my slingshot and net through my sash, cracked opened the door, and squeezed through.


I froze.

A thorn from the bush snagged the frilly hem of my dress. Clenching my teeth, I eyed my prey. The frog stretched his scrawny arms, wiggled a teeny bit, and relaxed. Whew.

I smiled.

The brave princess crept through secret passages, climbed tall towers, trudged through swamps…she was Princess Penelope, daughter of Cinderella. One slimy beastie was no match for her. 

I squelched through the mud to the well and stopped.

One happily ever after . . . two happily ever after . . . three happily ever after. 

“Surrender!” I sprang to my feet and raised the net.

A tiny splotch of water glistened on the bare stones.

“Rotten peas!” I leaned over the well.

Gribbit! Er . . . gotcha!The frog teased as he leaped from behind a broken stone onto my shoulder. He poked my cheek with his twig.



Filed: PW Entries

  • Natascha Morris says:

    Hi Diana,

    I’m super intrigued and I love fairy tales. Please query me at QueryMe.online/1067/PitchWars2017. Thank you!


  • Hi Diana,

    I would love to read more! Please query me at channigan@hsgagency.com and attach the first 100 pages as a word document. Also please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    Thanks so much!

  • Roseanne Wells says:

    I love this, and I’d love to read more! Please use the guidelines on jdlit.com to send 100pp (instead of the normal 20), and include #Pitchwars in the subject line. I can’t wait to dive in!

    Roseanne Wells
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  • Hi Diana!

    This sounds delightful. Please send the full manuscript as an attachment to querybb@sjga.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject. Looking forward to reading more!

    Abigail Frank
    Assistant to Brenda Bowen
    Greenburger Associates

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