PW #356: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy: SALTWATER BLOOD

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Chelsea Bobulski
Mentee: Laura Robson
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 82,000


Sixteen-year-old Astrid Stroud is cursed with magic she can’t control. When she gets hurt, her body heals itself—by taking someone else’s life. Astrid’s brother Liam fears her grisly abilities, but when he finds himself tangled in a plot to kill her, both Strouds begin to wonder what exactly makes someone a monster. THE SCORPIO RACES meets THIS SAVAGE SONG.


For the first nine years of his life, Liam Stroud was afraid of the steely winter days when the sun never rose, afraid his parents would realize they got married too young, and afraid his classmates would see the woebegone, tattered Stroud home and laugh.

Once he got older, Liam was afraid his little sister was going to kill him.

If Liam was made of fear, his sister, Astrid, was made of something else entirely. Spit. Salt. The spray of a storm-angered sea. But before he’d seen the very darkest parts of her, he’d only ever seen his reckless, aggravating, beloved little sister.

When the family took walks on the beach, Liam kept his eyes on his feet. He watched every loose rock underneath him. He held his breath.

Astrid darted away from their parents, leapt over surf-smoothed stones, teased the frigid arctic waves that almost, almost caught her.

She played this game on every walk, and because she always won, their parents always laughed. They never told her to stop. They never understood why it made Liam’s heart squeeze in his chest, press against his lungs, pulse with his nauseated stomach.

They never quite got why Liam was afraid that one day, Astrid would play her game with the waves, and she would lose.

Until she did.


Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. This sounds incredible. Please send the full manuscript (as well as a synopsis if you have one) to with “Pitch Wars: [YOUR TITLE]” as the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email. I look forward to reading!

    -Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS

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  2. I’d love to read more of this! Please send your first 50 pages as a Word document to Include Pitch Wars in the subject line along with your query in the body of your email.


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  3. I’d love to take a look at the first 50 pages! Please send your query pasted in the email and the pages attached in a word document to: rena (at) thedeborahharrisagency (dot) com


    – Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

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  4. I would love to see more of this! Please send a query (in the body of the email) plus the first 50 pages as a Word doc attachment to, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” and the title in the subject line.

    Looking forward to reading!

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  5. I’d like to see more. Please send 50 pages to with query, and please include “Pitch Wars – Stefanie Lieberman” in the subject line.

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  6. Sounds beautiful! Could I see the full, please, as a PDF, sent to lana@chalbergussman along with the query and “Pitch Wars” in the subject line? Thanks so much!

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  7. I’m very intrigued and would love to see the full manuscript! Please send it to as a Word doc or PDF with your query in the body of the email, and be sure to put “Pitch Wars” in the subject line.


    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

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  8. I’d love take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
    Andrea Somberg
    Harvey Klinger Inc.

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