PW #226: YA Vietnamese-Inspired Fantasy: DIAMOND QUEEN

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Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Brianna Shrum
Mentee Name: Michelle Tran
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Vietnamese-Inspired Fantasy
Word Count: 75,000


Avere is blessed with the ability to turn rocks into diamonds, and cursed with a royal title that got her mother murdered. Before the emperor’s assassins kill her, she must flee, but finds herself drawn to stay—both by her mischievous hired escort and her desperate desire to assassinate the emperor.


It was the last day of pretending. Or so I thought.

I sat under my makeshift tent at the open village market. With steady hands I concentrated on my work, stringing the bright stones onto a thin silver wire. The amethyst glittered under the calm morning, sending flecks across my other pieces.

There was no need to make anything today. By nightfall my mother and I would be gone. Better to sell everything at half price and lessen our load than to increase our inventory, but I needed to keep my hands busy. Already they were beginning to ache from my nerves.

We were finally going to seek out my sisters. My four younger sisters, who didn’t even know who we were.

I let out an anxious breath and polished the bracelet, then grabbed another handful of stones to ease my mind. There was no point in worrying. I had waited for this day for nearly a decade.

Surely that was enough time for everyone to forget about my mother.

As the morning went on, between the fish seller’s booth and the herbalist’s stand, the salty sea smell mixed with the stinging, dank, herbs made me want to vomit. It took breathing through my mouth and the thought of reuniting with my sisters to keep my breakfast down.

The smell was certainly one thing I wouldn’t miss.

“A flower for your thoughts?”

But his voice was one thing I would.


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. What a wonderful voice. Looking forward to reading more; this is intriguing. Please send your official query (subject line containing “Pitch Wars”) and first 50 pages in an attached Word doc to laura (@) triadaus (dot) com. Thanks!

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  2. Sounds fascinating! Please send the full manuscript to, with Pitch Wars – Danielle in the subject line. Thanks!

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  3. You had me at “Vietnamese-inspired fantasy,” and then just utterly sealed the deal with “A flower for your thoughts?” I can’t wait to read this! Could I see the full ms, please, as a PDF, send to, with Pitch Wars and the title in the subject line? I’d love to see the query as well, in the body of the email.

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  4. Intriguing, I want to keep reading! I will pull from the copy you have already sent to Danielle, but excited to look at this as well!

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  5. I’d love to take a look! Please send the first 50 pages and a one-page synopsis as an attachment to with “Pitch Wars request” in the subject line and the query in the body.

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  6. Your premise and writing are fantastic! I would love to see more. Please send the query and full ms to LBiagi at jvnla dot com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

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  7. 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.

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  8. I’d love to read more! Please send the first 100 pages in Word format and a query letter to, and include “Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line of the email. Thanks!

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  9. Hi, Michelle- I would love to see more of this! Please send the first 100 pages to as a Word doc, and be sure to put Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

    Melissa Nasson, Esq.
    Associate Agent
    Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC

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  10. I’d love to read more. Please send me the query and full manuscript in a word document with the pitch on page 1. Include #pitchwars in the subject heading. furyqueries(at)thebentagency(dot)com
    Looking forward to reading this!

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  11. Nice! Will grab the MS from Danielle as well!

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  12. I love that this is Vietnamese inspired fantasy. So 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

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  13. Hi Michelle

    I’m keen to read this – could you send me the full MS as a Word doc and if possible, an expanded synopsis (ideally 500-700 words)? claire at rhaliterary dot com.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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