PW #201: YA Contemporary: CAST IN SHADOW

Pitchwars Badge (Square YA)

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Phil Stamper
Mentee Name: Lucinda Troy
Category: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 61,000


Tomoe Ikeda is as skilled in her ninja training as she is at getting into trouble. But when a failed heist ignites a feud with rival shinobi, the conflict threatens not only her school, but her life. Being a twenty-first century ninja wasn’t supposed to be this complicated.



So many myths surrounded us. Silent assassins. Invisible spies. Mercenaries without allegiance or honor. It all sounded very dramatic.

But really, all I wanted was to win my bet.

I stared at the ceiling, letting my body sink into stillness. Silent. Focused. I’d bandaged the nicks I’d gotten from training with Parker-sensei. They’d heal fast enough. But my sternum ached with each measured breath. That would take longer to go away, although I’d deserved nothing less for losing control of my momentum. A rookie shinobi mistake.

My heartbeat sped up at the thought of my clumsiness. My skin tingled with a mixture of embarrassment and shame. Angrily, I pushed it from my mind. I forced myself to take deep, even breaths. Concentrated on tonight’s goal. If I wanted to slip out of the dorms, the other girls had to think I was asleep. Despite the mess of a day, a smile tugged at my lips.

My fingers ghosted over the homemade smoke bomb tucked in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to try it out.

When the last of the girls around me settled into a heavy sleep, I made my move. Soundlessly, I unwrapped myself from my bedding and pulled on black jeans, a black t-shirt, and black shoes. Color that blended with the night. I’d hoped for an overcast evening, but the light from a bright, full moon filtered through the windows. It made my job infinitely harder.

Good thing I loved a challenge.

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. A modern-day ninja? I absolutely love this! 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. This sounds so intriguing! I would love to see the first 50 pages, sent as a Word attachment, to querycaitie(at)lizadawson(dot)com, with the words “#PitchWars request” in the subject and your query pasted in the body of the email!

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  3. I’d love to take a look! Please send query (in the body of the email) with synopsis and full manuscript attached as Word documents to ESubmissions at Please mention Pitch Wars in the body of the email. Thank you!

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  4. Sounds 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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