Pitchwars Badge (Square MG)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Cat Scully
Mentee Name: Kendal Snow
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Mystery
Word Count: 63,000


Elsie doesn’t believe in magic—or curses. But when the strongman goes missing and fires threaten to destroy her parents’ trapeze troupe, she must uncover the truth behind a decades-old circus curse and a mysterious falconer who makes everything around him change shape, including Elsie’s own memories. Nancy Drew meets Something Wicked This Way Comes.


The circus was a normal place to live until a few hours before showtime. After a lazy Sunday spent washing laundry and raking leaves, performers stretched across the fairground lawn. They juggled ceramic vases with their eyes closed or back flipped off their brother’s shoulders to warm up for the evening ahead. It didn’t matter that the ticket booth hadn’t opened and the audience hadn’t arrived; Applegate and Rook’s Festival of Mysteries rumbled with activity.

Elsie Caldera moved through the crowd, dodging outstretched arms and whirling props. Even the fire jugglers didn’t slow her down.

Strands of lights hung across the midway. They hadn’t been switched on yet, and the wires crisscrossed the sky like a web. Mr. Riabold sat perched on a ladder. His head brushed the lights as he strapped on his stilts. It wasn’t time for him to enter the ring—he wasn’t even in costume—but he always tried on his stilts before showtime so he could remember what it felt like to be ten feet tall.

Elsie squinted up at him. “Have you seen Oskar?”

If anyone had a bird’s eye view to spot a missing strongman, it was Mr. Riabold. But he hadn’t seen him. Neither had the Palermo twins, brother and sister contortionists who sat twisted in knots by the tent.

“Haven’t seen him since breakfast,” the brother said as he lay on his stomach with his legs arched over his head, his toes on his eyebrows.


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

Share This Post On


  1. Oooh, I’m totally in! Love the pitch. Please send the complete manuscript as a Word doc to query(at) And I’d love to know more about you, so please tell me about yourself!

    Post a Reply
  2. I have always loved the circus 🙂 Please send on over the first 100 pages in a word doc to In the subject line put Pitch Wars Request. I can’t wait to dive in!

    Post a Reply
  3. 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.

    Post a Reply
  4. Hi Kendal

    This looks great and I’d love to see more. Could you send me a detailed synopsis (500-700 words would be wonderful) together with the full MS as a Word doc to claire at rhaliterary dot com?

    Good luck!

    Post a Reply
  5. Circus curses? Yes, please. I’m at and would love to have a look. Word attachments most preferable if possible!

    Post a Reply
  6. I’d love to read more of this! Please send the first 50 pages attached as a word document to:



    Rena Rossner

    Post a Reply
  7. I’ve been looking for a good circus book for almost two years! This one seems right up my alley! Please send a query (with #pitchwars in the title) as well as the first 100 pages to!

    Post a Reply
  8. I’d like to read more! Please send the first 50 pages in Word format and a query letter to, and include “Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line of the email. Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  9. I’d love to see more. Please send me the query and first 50 pages in a word document with the pitch on page 1. Include #pitchwars in the subject heading. furyqueries(at)thebentagency(dot)com


    Post a Reply
    • Love this! Please send the query + full manuscript to with the subject line, PITCH WARS – JAIDA. Looking forward to reading!

      Post a Reply
  10. This sounds really cool!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.

    Post a Reply
  11. !!!! I’ve been on the hunt for a good circus story. I love this and definitely want to see more. Please send the query + synopsis + Full Manuscript in one word doc to MFsubmissions [at] with “PitchWars Request – THE FLYING GARZINIS” as the subject. I can’t wait to take a look!

    Post a Reply
  12. Hey Kendal,

    I was lurking on PitchWars and I LOVED this entry! Brenda was kind enough to let me comment here. If you’re able, I would love to see the query and the full manuscript, please!


    Post a Reply


  1. Pitch Wars Agent Round - Brenda Drake | Brenda Drake - […] PW #128: MG Mystery: THE FLYING GARZINIS […]

Leave a Reply to Amy Jameson Cancel reply