Pitchwars Badge (Square MG)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Juliana Brandt
Mentee Name: Julie Artz
Category: MG
Genre: Fantasy
Word Count: 60,000


Eleven-year-old Kai and his annoying nerd-sister only agree on one thing: moving to Helsinki equals epic disaster. But when they discover a mysterious book of Finnish folklore, the squabbling siblings must overcome their rivalry and protect the book’s ancient secret before their dad’s power-hungry boss uses it to tear the earth—and their family—apart.


The basketball thuds against the driveway as I run warm-up drills. I line my toes up with a crack in the pavement, but before I can shoot a free throw, someone draws a rasping breath behind me. I spin, holding the ball out for protection, half expecting to find an evil hag or an ax-murderer lurking in the eerie fog. But nothing’s there except a pale circle of sun hiding behind clouds so low they touch the treetops.

Finland officially creeps me out.

Dad never mentioned a cold sun or endless fog when he described the “unusual atmospheric disturbances” he came here to study. I’ll ask him about it if I ever see him. He headed straight to the lab after the shuttle dropped us off, only coming home long enough to sleep.

Curtains swish in the neighbor’s window. A gaunt, wrinkled face stares out, gawking at me with unblinking, washed-out eyes. I dribble a few times, my gaze flicking from her to the ball, then aim for a patch of ivy on the cement wall of our house. An imaginary hoop will have to do—I haven’t spotted a single basketball court since we arrived last week.

I chase down my rebound and shoot, but I can’t ignore the spooky audience. She’s still there, her lips moving behind the glass, when a voice echoes all around me.


The ball drops from my fingertips as I race for the door.


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. I’m a sucker for folklore and mysteries! Please send the first 100 pages as a Word doc attachment to, with the subject line “Pitch Wars Request.” Thank you and I look forward to reading more!

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  2. Wow, I love this opening. Great atmosphere, great language, awesome set-up. Please send the query and first 50 pages in an attachment (with PitchWars in the subject line) to Thanks!

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  3. I’m a sucker for folklore, so this is right up my alley! Please send a query (with #pitchwars in the title) as well as the first 100 pages to!

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  4. This has such a cool premise, and your writing is really strong. I’d 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!

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