Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


PW #356: Young Adult Fantasy #ownvoices: DUSK BEFORE DAWN

Thursday, 2 November 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Laura Pohl

Mentee Name: Roseanne Brown


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Fantasy #ownvoices

Word Count: 95,000


EMBER IN THE ASHES meets CARAVAL in African-myth inspired fantasy. To save his sister’s life, teen refugee Malik enters a magical competition to gain the trust of the princess he must kill – not knowing Princess Karina plans to sacrifice the winner to resurrect her dead mother.


After two months of clandestine travel across the Odjubai Desert, Malik Hilali’s legs nearly gave way beneath him as he emerged from the false bottom of the wagon. Splotches of purple and green danced across his vision, and the noise of the wagon’s wheels still rumbled in his ears, drowning out all else.

No one batted an eye at the sudden appearance of Malik and his sister from their hiding place. Refugees were born this way every day in the tent settlement beyond Ziran’s outer wall; two new ones hardly made a difference.

However, Nadia’s mouth fell open at the spectacle around her, and Malik was too slow to stop her from darting off the moment her feet touched the ground.

Chasing her around crowded donkey pens and enormous jeweled caravans, Malik kept his peripheral vision on the Sentinels standing on platforms around the settlement, the soldiers’ obsidian armor glinting in the sun as they barked orders at the crowd.

Malik caught Nadia several yards from a mighty acacia tree, where a griot stood before a motley group of listeners. Nadia’s dark eyes widened as the traveling storyteller beat out a rhythm on her djembe drum, inviting anyone and everyone to come listen.

“Abraa, abraa!” the griot called out, her voice warbling though the scorching desert air. “Come and gather, a story is about to begin!”

As much as Malik longed to lose himself in the griot’s tale, this was not a day for stories.


Filed: PW Entries

  • Penny Moore says:

    Hi Rosanne,

    I’d love to read more! Please email me at penny[at]empireliterary[dot]com. Please put Pitch Wars and your book title in the subject line and attach your full manuscript! Thanks! Looking forward to reading!


  • Rena Rossner says:

    I would absolutely love to read this! Please send the full manuscript attached as a word document to: rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com

    I will just pace around my office until then!

    – Rena

  • Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Rosanne,

    This sounds fantastic–I’d love to see more! Please send a query and the full manuscript to ebauman@aevitascreative.com and put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.



  • Caitie Flum says:

    This looks great! It I’d love to take a look.

    Please send the query in the body of the email + full manuscript as a Word attachment to querycaitie@lizadawson.com with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject.

  • Peter Knapp says:

    You know I’m excited to take a look at this! Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc to queries@parkliterary.com with the query pasted into the first page of the doc. If available, please also attach a one page synopsis. Put “PITCH WARS REQUEST – PETE KNAPP” in the subject. Thank you!

  • Hi Roseanne,

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


  • Katie Grimm says:

    Hi Roseanne – This is such a juicy, twisty premise, and I love your writing here–such a unique open! Please email your query with full ms attached as a Word doc to dca@doncongdon.com with PitchWars Request + DUSK BEFORE DAWN in the subject line. Thanks and I look forward to reading more! – Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Associates

  • Alice Sutherland-Hawes says:

    Hi Roseanne – I’m super keen to read more of this. Do send to me at submissions@madeleinemilburn.com for the attention of Alice.

    All my best


  • Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Roseanne,

    I would love to see this! Can you send the full to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with your query in the body of the email and #PitchWars and title in the subject line? Thanks so much!


  • Hillary Jacobson says:

    This looks so amazing! I’d love to read more. Please send the full manuscript as a word document to hjacobson@icmpartners.com. Thank you!!

  • Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Ah, that pitch! I would love to have a look. Could you please send the full manuscript to me at katelyn@jillgrinbergliterary.com?

    All the best,

  • Melissa Edwards says:

    I’d love to see more! Please email the first 50 pp. as a .doc to medwards@stonesong.com. Thank you!

  • Quressa Robinson says:

    I would love, love, love to read this. I may not be the only agent here at Nelson Literary Agency who wants to read your amazing work! So, please send just one email to query@nelsonagency.com with PITCH WARS UPLOAD in the subject line. We will reply with our upload instructions, and then all the interested NLA agents will read and consider your manuscript. Thank you!”

  • Jim McCarthy says:

    I would love to have a look at this! Kindly send the manuscript along for my prompt review at jmccarthy@dystel.com. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible.


  • Blair Wilson says:

    Hi Roseanne,

    This sounds amazing–I’d love to read! Please send the full manuscript as a Word doc with the query pasted into the first page of the document to queries@parkliterary.com with “BLAIR WILSON – PITCH WARS REQUEST” in the subject. Thanks so much–looking forward to reading!

  • Love this! Congratulations, winner. Your prize is death! LOL So great! I NEED to read this. 🙂

    Please send the full manuscript to Lynnette@theseymouragency.com, attached as a Word document with the query as the first page. Put “Pitch Wars” and your title in the subject line. Please also include a brief synopsis as a separate document. Thanks! Can’t wait to read!

    Lynnette Novak
    The Seymour Agency

  • Roseanne Wells says:

    From one Roseanne to another, this is a great beginning, 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

  • Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary says:

    Can I read too? LOVE. Please send a query and the first 50 pages to tricia@emliterary.com. Cannot wait!

  • Roseanne, I’d love to read more of this! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com. Please also include your query letter in the body of the email, and Pitch Wars in the subject line.

    I look forward to reading!


    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

  • Christa Heschke says:

    I’d be really interested to see more! Please send a query, first 100 pages and synopsis to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com. Look forward to reading!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  • Roseanne,
    This sounds awesome. Can you send me the first 50 pages as a word doc, to my email address or via querymanager?
    Looking forward!

  • Sorry, I forgot to leave my email address. It’s kellyqueries at gmail. And, actually, I’d love to receive the entire. I’m really eager to read.

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2021

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.