PW #357: Young Adult Fantasy: ALL OUR VILLAINY LAID BARE

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor: Sharon M. Johnston
Mentee: Rosanne Rivers
Category/Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 99,000


Lucks only slides her blade into the duke on instinct, hoping to protect her sister. But her action sees the young, sly, and rather dashing, Seaborne, rise to power, putting her gang at risk. To atone, Lucks enters court to find leverage on the new duke. While they play their game of power and manipulation at court, a bigger danger creeps up on the city, one which also holds the key to Seaborne’s secrets. Lucks must choose between loyalty to her gang and her growing feelings to Seaborne, or risk losing them both. ALL OUR VILLIANY LAID BARE takes the court politics of THE WINNERS CURSE mixed with the heists of BREAKING BAD set against a fantasy dukedom inspired by the Italian Renaissance.


My sister’s going to kill someone tonight. If it’s not the duke, it’ll be me, for stopping her. Though I’m not sure how I’ll manage that considering my only weapon’s a varium-soaked rag. Unless Ceci’s scared of having a soggy cloth wafted in her face, it’s unlikely to help.

Focus. I shake my head and dare to shift my knees. When I get nervous, I trivialize. And right now, I’m more nervous than that time I flashed my backside at a temple priest.

Another tedious conversation spills through the gallery; I flatten my cheek against the cool marble floor and peek beneath the hem of the dust sheet.

The women vibrate lacquered fans before their mouths as though they were scattering their gossip to the wind. Their dresses explode in ruffles from the pinch of their waists. I can’t help but fantasize about how many gold oaths I’d get for that fat gemstone dangling from the younger girl’s velvet choker.

“Mama, stop fussing! The Duke’s never shown any sign of re-marrying and-” She’s cut off.


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. Love this pitch! I’d love to take a look at the full manuscript. Please send it to, along with the query letter and synopsis, and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Thanks!

    Caitlin McDonald
    Donald Maass Literary Agency

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