Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Names: Meredith McCardle and Ron Walters
Mentee Name: Elizabeth Runnoe
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Gothic Horror
Word Count: 80,000


When 16-year-old disfigured Talmage apprentices to his deranged uncle, they create a living, breathing clockwork boy.  But when its flesh-and-metal body rots, the once gentle boy becomes increasingly monstrous, and Talmage must decide whether to save his creation or turn against the only friend he’s ever known.


My father always told me his brother, Mordecai True, was a wicked and ungodly thief.

“Steer clear of him, Talmage,” he would often warn, “for he is no brother of mine.”

They’d quarreled when I was young although I didn’t know why, and since then my father had forbidden him to enter our house. I grew up hardly knowing the man, and didn’t think of him often, if ever at all—a boy of sixteen only had so much capacity for thought. Besides, I had troubles enough to manage on my own. You see, I was born with a very unfortunate appearance.

My ears were deformed, my teeth pointed—every single one of them like a series of notches upon a serrated blade. On my face, each cheekbone swelled up and pinched my eyes. I looked more like a long-eared bat than a boy. My father said I would grow out of it, but I never did. As for me, I never understood why Nature created me so.

“What a frightening child,” people whispered. “His eyes are clouded with such an awful gloom it’s as if he’s thinking something quite sinister.”

And so I was, most of the time.

Needless to say, because of these God-given traits, friends were elusive to me and rarely, if ever, did I leave the farm. And for good reason—the people of the Vale were a superstitious lot. But my life changed forever one night at the end of summer. Let me tell you how.


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’d like to see more of this. Please send the manuscript and a query letter (MS Word preferred, PDF okay) to carlie @ with the subject PITCH WARS REQUEST: Title of Work. Thanks!

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



    Rena Rossner

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  3. I’ve already requested this and am so excited to dive in! Can’t wait to read more and get back to you soon 🙂

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  4. Must. Have. Gothic. Horror! Please send a query plus the full ms and synopsis attached as .doc or .docx files to lane(at)theseymouragency(dot)com!

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  5. I’d love to see this! Please send query, synopsis, and full manuscript to ESubmissions at SarahJaneFreymann dot com. Thank you! 🙂

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