40. CHARMING THE DEAD – Young Adult Speculative Mystery


Mentor Name: N.K. Traver

Mentee Name: Marisa Hopkins


Category: Young Adult

Genre: Speculative Mystery

Word Count: 82,000


When 15-year-old necromancer Fontaine discovers a centuries-old unsolved murder in her sleepy magical town – and accidentally unleashes a dangerous spirit using forbidden magic – she must master her power and find the killer in order to prevent a deadly repeat of history.


I was having a Lady of Shalott moment. The one where she rocked in her boat, lovesick heart weeping bitterly, cursed with unrequited love. I was equally cursed. Out, damned love for Benjamin Corey!

Perched on the side of my boat, my best friend Bertie heaved a sigh. “You don’t look dramatic enough.”

“How do I not look dramatic enough?” I squinted at the sunlight caught inside Bertie’s sepia form, giving her the appearance of an antique photo brought to life. “I’m a necromancer in the middle of the lake, lying on my back, calling an unrequited love from my heart forever—”

“Precisely.” She trailed her fingers over her short wavy hair as if keeping it in place, though it hadn’t moved since her death in 1927. “This is a moment, Fontaine. You can’t fling your arm passionately when you’re holding your divining rod like a child. Go on. Hold it in one hand, not both.”

My fingers tightened around the handles of my hawthorn rod. “Newsflash: I don’t know how to call one-handed.” But I shifted it to my left hand to humor her. This ritual was Bertie’s idea, anyway. I didn’t believe it would work. She was a chiromancer in her lifetime: a palm reader and healer. She might’ve been able to call aches from the heart, but I could only call spirits, and I wasn’t very good. Calling love from my heart as if it was a dead thing in a grave? Impossible.

Author: Brenda Drake

New York Times bestselling author of Thief of Lies (Library Jumpers #1), Guardian of Secrets (Library Jumpers #2), Touching Fate (Fated Series #1), and Cursing Fate (Fated Series #2) available now, creator of #PitchWars, #PitchMadness, and #PitMad, fueled by coffee and Goldfish crackers (but not together), and represented by Peter Knapp with The Park Literary Group. @brendadrake

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  1. Yes please! I’d like to see query (in the body of the email) with synopsis and full manuscript attached as Word documents. Please send those to Esubmissions at SarahJaneFreymann dot com. Thanks! 🙂

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  2. I’d like to see more! Please send the query, synopsis and first ten pages to submissions(at)janklow(dot)com. In the subject line of your email, please type: For Stefanie Lieberman – PITCH WARS REQUEST

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  3. Hi Marisa,

    I’d love to see more! Please feel free to send a query and the first 3 chapters (as a word or pdf attachment) to lara@andreabrownlit.com and please write “Pitch Wars Request: Charming the Dead” in your subject line. Thanks!

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  4. You had me at Lady of Shalott. I’d love to see the first three chapters. Send them in an attachment to laura@redsofaliterary.com with a query in the body of the email.

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  5. I’d love to read more! Please send the query plus first 100 pages as a word doc attachment to rachel(at)lperkinsagency(dot)com with “Pitch Wars Request: Title” in the subject line. Thanks!

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  6. I’d love to read this! Can you send me the first 50 pages attached as word document to: rena(at)thedeborahharrisagency(dot)com – and please reference PITCHWARS in the subject line.


    – Rena

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  7. Hi Marisa,

    This looks fantastic! I love witchy books, and Fontaine’s voice grabbed me right from the start. Please send email me the 50 pages in a Word doc, with PITCH WARS somewhere in the subject line, to bjohnson@writershouse.com. Thanks!

    – Brianne

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