Thao Le

YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Historical

Something Dark & Holy (2019)
Wednesday Books / Macmillan

Emily A. Duncan is merely a construct made of black lipstick and bitterness. She was born and raised in Ohio and works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons.

I wrote and rewrote the same book for 13 years of my life and it was an unmitigated disaster when it was finally queried. Sometimes the best way to learn is to have a lot of doors shut in your face! I wrote SOMETHING DARK & HOLY when the last few rejections for my other book were still trickling in. I revised it for a year then queried for two months before receiving an R+R from my agent which led to signing with her. We revised a few more times and I went out on submission and a month later sold to Wednesday Books.

I’ve mentored in AMM’s past two rounds, but I also have a degree in English and am CP’s with authors who have many books under their belts.

I was lucky enough to meet a number of more experienced authors through Tumblr who have mentored me through the years and I want to be a similar cheerleader and source of tough love to up and coming writers.

I’m passionate about genre fiction but most especially high fantasy. I love twisty—possibly even convoluted—books with excellent villains and morally gray protagonists and fleshed out secondary worlds. I like when settings feel lived in and real and when magic feels fresh.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Horror
  • Gothic

I’m open to pretty much every subgenre of fantasy so long as it’s second world (aka not in our world). Contemporary fantasy is a harder sell for me but if it’s dark, I’m open to it. Enemies to lovers is my reason for existence. I also love found families, villain origins, revenge plots, the villain winning, and political fantasy. Hard sci-fi is not for me, but I’d love to see soft sci-fi and space operas. I only would like to see high fantasy-style horror, so dark fantasy. I’m really not into books about fantasy races or where the monster is just a metaphor.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I work in sequences as necessitated by the MS. I’ll first do a big picture edit letter and then from there we can skype or chat about it as needed. Because line edits take me *forever* because I’m meticulous, I won’t do those until I think the draft is query ready. Expect to revise with me, things can always be improved! My strengths are characters, dialogue, world building, and hammering through big picture issues.

Someone who is open to critique and suggestions, is hard working, and is willing to go the extra mile whether it’s with research, revision, or whatever it is their book needs to make it stand out. Someone who has thick skin and willing to have open channels of communication, and someone who is aware that I have a full time job and I also have writing responsibilities of my own.

The Witcher but with Ladies, Fantasy in an Eastern European-analog setting (I would love something other than Russia, but I’d love to see Russia, too), books that feel like Dragon Age 2 (or Inquisition, but mostly 2), OR books that feel like Dishonored, a fresh take on a Dungeons and Dragons-style party quest high fantasy, if the villain of your book can be compared to Kylo Ren then I want it, ditto the last point but with Raistlin Majere, the YA version of Pillars of Eternity, if you can comp to Bloodborne — I want to see it. Books that are dark without being Edgy (I want jokes!), if you think it’s “maybe too dark” i probably want to see it.

I’m not a fan of SJM-style fantasy so if you are comping to her novels I’m not the best fit, I like romance to be a subplot not THE plot, I also veer away from books with elemental-type magic systems (is it like Avatar? Then it’s probably not for me), I am not the best fit for fantasy dystopia, portal fantasy, and no secret princesses or assassins, thank you!

Some author and book faves are: Leigh Bardugo, V. E. Schwab, Lindsay Smith, Rosamund Hodge, Laini Taylor, Roshani Chokshi, Catherynne M. Valente, Brandon Sanderson, GORMENGHAST, A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD, THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, DUNE, UPROOTED, THE OLD KINGDOM CHRONICLES, WINTER BE MY SHIELD.

Also Star Wars. I love Star Wars.

Video game faves are: The Witcher (all), Dragon Age (all), Pillars of Eternity, Bloodborne, Tyranny, Baldur’s Gate, Dishonored, Amnesia.