Monday, April 11, 2011

Win a Special-Query Stamp!! The Contest STARTS NOW!!

 THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! Thanks for participating! =D



So it's past midnight, and it's already Monday! The Special-Query Stamp contest begins NOW!

But what the hell is a Special-Query Stamp, you might be wondering.  Well, it’s a virtual stamp I will give the winner that will tell the agent that his/her query + 10 pages are special.  There are 5 agents who represent YA novels who will accept this stamp after the contest.  And the stamp has a different meaning for each agent.

Now, let’s meet the agents who are already waiting to hear from the winner and see what the stamp means for them. Shall we?

Currently Ms. Fisher is closed to queries.  But if you get the stamp, it means you don’t have to wait until she’s opened to queries again!  You can query her as soon as the contest is over.  And not only that, she will give you a PERSONAL response!







Agent Weronika Janczuk of D4EO Literary Agency!
For her, the stamp means that you can send a query along with a PARTIAL with a promise of concrete, personal feedback!! (How freaking awesome is that?)








For her, the stamp means that she will write a personal response when queried by the winner of this contest! 





Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency! 
She isn't open to unsolicited queries, so this stamp will give you the opportunity to query her with your first 10 pages!





 

Agent Krista Goering of the Krista Goering Literary Agency LLC!
She will read the query plus 10 pages and will either (1) ask to read the full manuscript, or (2) send a personal note passing.  






How to participate:

Comment on this post.  Include your name, the title of your YA ms, the genre, the word-count, and your email.  Then write a once-sentence pitch followed by the first page of your ms (240-250 words).  Next week, I’ll select some finalists, and I will ask them to email me the first 10 pages of their manuscript + the query.  After that, I’ll select one winner, and mark their query with my SPECIAL STAMP!

Rules:

(Yeah, I kinda hate rules, too, but I figured I needed them :P)
1) Your manuscript must be 100% READY.
2) Your manuscript must be YA.  It doesn’t matter if it’s YA paranormal, contemporary, etc, though.
3) I’ll accept only ONE entry per person.
4) The contest ends tomorrow (Tuesday) at midnight EST— BUT I’ll keep it open if I have less than 50 participants.  (I guaranteed the literary agents I would select a winner among 50+ YA entries.) I will close the contest if I get more than 100 entries, though.

And that’s about it… oh, and for updates you can follow this blog and follow me on Twitter (@Monica_BW).  Plus, let’s be honest, I’d LOVE it if you follow me! (Nothing would happen if you don’t, I’m just sayin’ =D)

130 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Anthony J. De Franco
    The Soundtrack
    YA Coming-of-Age
    anthony.defranco4@gmail.com

    A soon-to-be radio disc jockey can't leave his past loves in the past.

    Pictures do strange things to people.

    Think about the effect the last picture you saw had on you. Chances are that it reminded you of better times. It probably was taken at a wedding or some other party. I'm sure it made you happy. That day meant something. The picture probably made you remember a feeling that you had long forgotten. A simple five-by-eight glossy piece of paper did that to you. However, I always thought there was something inherently evil about pictures. The man who invented the camera did a big thing wrong. Moments were meant to be fleeting and memories were meant to be embellished. To create a device that points out exactly what one felt at a specific time is simply criminal.

    That brings me to the photo album that sits in front of me. This is something entirely different. It's less like the album that every newlywed couple keeps on their coffee table and more like the magical tomes that you see in bad movies about teenage wizards played by twenty-five year old English dudes. When I open it, years full of fantastic memories and better times aren't pouring out. No. This is something different. Something entirely different. When I open this album, memories will be released in the form of buried skeletons being raised from the dead. Ghosts that I've worked hard to put where they belong: in the past.

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  3. OH MY GOODNESS. What a wonderful opportunity! Thank you so much for offering it.

    Title: The Sundered
    Genre: Speculative YA
    Word-count: 97,500
    Email: Ruthanne Reid.

    One Sentence: A world that hates you is pretty bad; survival based on slavery is worse; but nothing tops having to choose between the survival of someone else’s species or your own.

    Thank you for the chance!

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  4. Oops! I'm sorry, it posted before the 250 words. Here they are:

    The world I know is flooded.

    I believe it wasn't always that way, but that doesn't set me apart. All we know now is swamp, tufts of land here and there, occasionally islands or muddy peaks big enough to sleep or build on. Everybody knows that the water wasn't there before. That there used to be dry land all over the place. What sets me apart, makes me different, is I believe it can go back to that.

    We walk on the tufts, knob-sized things that stick out of the water with limp grass all over them. When there are a lot of them, we have to carry the boats. The water's black. You don't go in the water. You don't touch it. If you do, it will get you, drag you down, and you're gone. The only safe way to interact with the black water is inside the nets or in a boat, at least if you're a human. The Sundered can do anything they want in the water. Who knows why.

    Maybe that's one of the things I'll learn when I find the Hope. It's supposed to have all the answers.

    "Hey, Harry!" Toddy, one of my younger travelers, is pointing at something. He straddles the black water, each boot on a different tuft, standing with the easy balance we all must learn or else we die. "There's something over there!"

    The Hope. I have to find the Hope. Whatever he wants to show me, it's not the Hope, but I'm young, and I can fake interest.

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  7. Let's try that again, haha!

    Name: Caitlin Darrell
    Title of MS: Robyn Hood
    Genre: YA Historical Retelling
    Wordcount: 84,000
    Email: caitie(dot)darrell(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: Disguised as a man, Robyn seeks revenge on the Sheriff of Nottingham for her father's death with help from her fiery partner in crime, John.

    250 Words:

    Robyn knew a change was coming.

    It was like the wind before a wild storm, the quiver in the earth before heavy rain. As soon as her feet hit the same floor of the same house of the same village she’d lived in for seventeen years, she knew. Something was different. Something extraordinary was about to occur.

    “What’s the matter with you?” demanded Marianne as she tightened the laces on Robyn’s gown. “You’re all skittish.”

    Robyn tried for a casual shrug. “Excited, I suppose. I haven’t been out hunting with Tristan for quite some time.”

    “Excited about what, exactly? There’s nothing in that forest, save for the prospect of a horrible death. Animals, mud, insects, poisonous plants…” Marianne shuddered. “A proper lady would never set foot in that awful place.”

    While Robyn could see the logic in her elder sister’s argument, she was determined to escape the confines of their dingy home by any means, even if it meant hunting with her brother Tristan. Nottingham had been saturated for nigh on a fortnight, and she planned to make full use of the sun while it was out. Simply seeing the sunshine burst through the windows and fill the room with happiness was enough to plaster a smile on Robyn’s face.

    --Thanks so much Monica for this amazing opportunity! I really appreciate it :)

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  8. NAME: Jolene Perry
    TITLE: Night Sky
    GENRE: YA contemporary
    Wordcount: 63,000

    One Sentence: Jameson's senior year isn't going as planned - the girl he's in love with is kissing someone else, and his dad walks out for another woman; the only thing keeping him sane is a Native-American girl named Sky whose about to split his heart in two, and make him feel like the man he accused his father of being.

    Eric’s hands rest low on her back as they dance. Sarah’s chin lifts up in anticipation of the kiss he’s sure to give her. And then there’s me. Alone. Standing off to the side. Slowly being crushed by the inevitable. Because Sarah shouldn’t be with him, she should be with me.
    I can’t stay here and watch this – breathing is important, and something I can’t do in the same room as them. I push my way through what suddenly feels like masses of dancing couples, out the heavy doors of the school, and stop.
    Now I can breathe. The air fills my lungs, but doesn’t clear my head.
    I’m the one that’s in love with her. I’m the one that’s been her friend…. There’s no way someone else could appreciate all the awesome things about her – least of all Eric. He practically has player stamped across his forehead. Even his football friends can’t stand him. I know, cause some of them are my friends, too.
    The thing is, I knew it could happen – that Sarah could end up with another guy. But I didn’t know it would hurt this much.
    The screeching brakes of the city bus travels across the parking lot. Crap. I sprint and grab the doors at the last second. The bus is empty. I’m alone. Alone on the one night I wouldn’t mind distraction. I slump in the back seat, the only row with enough legroom, and pull out my iPod.

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  9. ZTD. (ZOMBIE TRANSMITTED DISEASE): A TALE OF FATAL ATTRACTION
    by S.B. Springer
    YA Urban Fantasy
    54,000 words
    scott@scottspringer.com

    Jenny O' looks for love but finds the half-life instead; so now it's virtue vs. zombie, and whichever wins, life as she knows it will end.


    It's Friday evening after dinner and a girl just wants to have fun. Only instead, I'm sitting cross legged on my bed. Alone. I'm smacking on a wad of flavorless gum, my jaws chomping to the stale beat of a worn-out playlist. This sucks.

    My mom peeks into my room and points to her ear. I pull one bud and tilt my head. She says, "Don't just sit there and mope, call Marcy."

    Marcy's on a date, so I shrug my shoulders.

    "Or call Carl. I'm sure he'd love to take you to that Zombie Fest I've heard so much about. And it's in Midtown." Her voice rises at the end like so exciting.

    Only . . . so not.

    Carl and zombies?

    —are you kidding me right now?

    I've known him since preschool. He used to eat his boogers. And he still laughs when he farts. So, let's just say he's not the one I'd my swap my gum with.

    But we are friends, so calling him is not totally out of line.

    And my mom wants me to be happy. She stares at me. I stare back. You can totally tell I'm her daughter. Same skinny bones. Same sense of nerdy. We especially have the same red hair. Only, I hope I never look so earnest. She's got puppy dog eyes; but hey, Carl is not what I want. Friday night should be for love.

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  10. Tasmin Bowerman
    Spyder
    YA magic realism
    90,000 words
    TasminBowerman@gmail.com

    One sentence pitch:

    When a mysterious boy crashes into her – literally – Avery, for the first time, isn’t alone in her strange powers; as someone threatens her new friends, she realizes that he might need her help as much as she needs his.

    First page:

    Spyder

    Chapter One



    Mud.

    I stopped at the edge of the road I walked home on every day, standing where it turned from pavement to dirt. Normally. Today, the warm day melted months of snow into pure mud.

    Great. I could either ruin my favourite winter shoes or get lost

    Pathetic, really, that I couldn’t go one street over from my normal route without getting completely and utterly lost. While I could handle a lot of things, I couldn’t handle that much mud. Not in these shoes.

    What could happen? It’d come out on the same street. Then I’d go my normal route. The chances of getting lost to the point where my brother found my corpse on the side of the highway were minimal.

    Yeah. If I believed that, I had a bridge in London to sell myself.

    The little voice in the back of my head screamed this was a stupid idea, but when I took another tentative step onto the road, the thick mud sucked at my shoe like a vacuum. I cursed and gave up, walking past the gravel road over a block to the drier paved road.

    The noise almost disappeared. The low murmur of foreign thought lingered at the back of my head, but I turned my music down. As I did, muffled shouts drew my attention to a house to my left.

    The huge picture window exploded, glass shards tinkling against the sidewalk. A dark, heavy shape slammed into me and knocked me onto my ass. Ow.

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  11. Wow - for once being on the other side of the world works to my advantage =) Great competition Monica.

    Name: Sharon Johnston
    Title: Mishca
    Genre: Science Fantasty/Speculative Fiction (depending on your definition)
    Word Count: 50,500
    Email: smjohnston@live.com.au

    One sentence pitch: When Mishca is plagued by nightmares she thinks they are just post operative nightmares, but she doesn't realize they are actually part of her "sleeper" programming condition for duty - and she's about to be called into service.

    Chapter 1: A Matter of Heart
    I always knew that I was adopted; it was pretty obvious.
    My parents – oh so white. Alicia, my mother, is a natural blonde with creamy skin and deep green eyes; a real hottie. Tall and slender, she just oozes grace, although regular Pilates and yoga help. My father, Tom, is your typical Australian male, with an even tan from too much beach cricket and sun-kissed brown hair that complements his blue eyes.
    I, on the other hand, appear to be a strange exotic mix of unknown origins that have resulted in smooth caramel skin, smoky almond eyes, and a mass of brown curls. While not quite an afro, my hair still spirals out in every direction.
    Our best guess is a mix of Asian and African-American heritage, given that I was born in the US, but, to be honest, it has never been an issue.
    Until now.
    I know everything is different as I watch my mother, Alicia, trying to fill in the hospital admittance form. The pen shakes between her delicate fingers, threatening to rattle against her gold rings. I glance sideways at her. She’s not taking this whole your-daughter-needs-a-heart-transplant saga well.
    If anyone doubted my mother’s strong denial of plastic surgery, they only need to look at her now to see the truth. Her forehead creases with lines of angst as she pours over the form.
    Is there any family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure?

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  13. Name: Linda McLaren
    Title: Koru
    Genre: YA/Contemporary/Magical Realism
    Word Count: 85,000
    Email: mclarenoz@bigpond.com

    When Sophie McConnell’s mother dies, a stranger arrives to take her back to a place of legends and a land that remembers, and she must choose to be Sophie or carry the burden of an unknown past.

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  14. Thank you for offering this contest!

    Name: Martina Dalton
    Title: The Third Eye of Jenny Crumb
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 50,000
    Email: martinadalton@comcast.net

    One Sentence:
    Jenny Crumb has it all, she’s beautiful and popular – just what every teenage girl wants… but her secret is on the verge of being revealed… and if it does, she could lose everything.


    The scoreboard ticked down time remaining.
    “Three, two, one,” the crowd chanted.
    By the time the clock hit one, the ball had left Blake’s fingertips from center court and was soaring through the air. The whole auditorium slowed – silent. The ball sailed through the air in slow motion. Swooooosh! The crowd roared. My eardrums nearly exploded from the noise. The Pep Band struck up our victory song, “Mighty Knights.”

    “We won!” Julia shouted, jumping up and down.

    People rushed the court, encircling the team members, hugging, and whooping.

    “Come on, girls, we’re up,” said our head cheerleader, a tall brunette named Kassy.
    We pushed our way onto the gym floor.

    “Here they come!” shouted a boy in the crowd. People stepped back and made way, like Moses parting the Red Sea. A narrow path appeared, allowing us out to center court.

    It was time to do our signature pyramid, and it was time for me to perform my spectacular mid-air flip off the top.

    Kassy gave us the signal and our squad got into their positions. The second tier of girls climbed up to their posts. Laura, one of the cheerleaders at the base, gave me the go-ahead to climb up. How could her frame withstand all that weight stacked on top of her?

    I better go light on the after-game pizza, I thought to myself as I carefully ascended to the top of the groaning bodies.

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  15. Name: Linda McLaren
    Title: Koru
    Genre: YA/Contemporary/Magical Realism
    Word: 85,000
    Email: mclarenoz@bigpond.com

    Fact One: Rot

    I gouge each letter into the index card like it’s the sick joke it is. ‘She saw brilliance. I saw reality.’ The words stare back at me with a hint of accusation before I stuff them into my box full of other index cards, alphabetized and categorized into facts.

    When things don’t make sense, this is where I go. I take my cards out one by one, and in some small way they reassure me there’s some truth to the world - logic even – something for me to reason out. Most times anyways.

    Take for instance the kanohi pupu- the operculum or cats eye of the common sea snail - Turbo smaragdus. Its job is to keep the lid on what’s inside. You know, keep the life inside safe, protected - hold the secret of its very existence. When the snail is threatened or exposed, it withdraws into its shell and the operculum seals the opening. And when the snail dies, it falls free from the shell.

    That’s me. I’m the operculum falling free from my shell and it’s a long way when you’re falling like that, but I try not to interject myself into the facts, because that’s when the trouble begins.

    So, the facts.
    It was a Tuesday when it happened. The sun shining, the sky a crisp blue. I got home early - Tuesday being cruisey, if anything could be cruisey senior year.
    ‘Hey Soph.’ Mum called out, and she sounded, well – normal.

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  16. I have no idea why, but I had tremendous difficulty posting. It kept saying 'comment published' but then it wasn't there, so I tried separating it and as you can see that worked. So I went back and tried the entire thing again and the same thing happened. I'm at a loss, and it's really bugging me.
    Please forgive the separation.

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  17. Name: Jo Hart
    Title: The Labyrinth of Middle Realm
    Genre: YA fantasy
    Word count: 62,000 words
    E-mail: thegracefuldoe@hotmail.com

    Pitch: Lost in a parallel realm, 15yo Katie battles soldiers, dangerous beasts and a labyrinth to find a way home.

    First page:
    As Katie sat on the pool deck, dangling her feet in the cool clear water, she let out a gasp. She felt a pull around her middle, as though someone grabbed her around the stomach and squeezed the breath out of her. She glanced over her shoulder, but of course, no one was there. Both her brother and sister were in the pool playing Marco Polo and her parents weren't due back until later that afternoon. I've probably just been out in the sun too long, she thought. Katie could think of no other explanation, so she got up from the pool edge, dried off her legs and slipped her sneakers back on.
    "Come on, Katie," Zach yelled, flicking water at her. "You haven't even been in yet."
    Katie looked at the deep water and shuddered. She'd never intended to come out for a swim; she just wanted to soak her legs in the water for a little while. She hadn't even bothered taking off her shorts and t-shirt from over top of her bathers.
    "No thanks. I'm going inside before I get burnt."
    It wasn't a total lie. She could already feel the rays penetrating her fair skin. Unlike her siblings who turned golden brown at any hint of sunlight, Katie was more inclined to turn into a lobster. Plus she had more freckles than she could count and she didn't need any more. Why mention the pulling sensation to her brother?

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  19. Name: Nik Johnson
    Title: SEEING
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 76,000

    Pitch: Eden is a bisexual sixteen-year-old boy who is torn between wanting to have sex with Alice and wanting to have a relationship with Finn even though he's not sure either choice will work out since Alice and Finn are ghosts ... or figments of his imagination.

    First Page:

    I didn’t know who she was, or what the fuck she was doing in my room, but she was naked. The shirt I was holding slipped from my hand and I stopped short.

    She was in front of the window with her head cocked to the side, looking right at me, like she had been waiting for me. White-blonde hair, parted in the middle, fell to her waist. Her left breast was covered, but the other one, I could see. My eyes drifted lower. She was shaved. No hair. None.

    "Who" — I took a breath and began again — "who are you?"

    "My name’s Alice," she said. I glanced up at her face and she smiled, straightening her head.
    "Don’t be afraid, Eden."

    Alice seemed like a nice name. A girl named Alice wouldn’t hurt me. I wasn’t afraid. I was more focused on the fact that my jeans were getting tighter. Normally, I guess I’d be embarrassed getting hard in front of someone, but she was naked; we were past that.

    My mind wasn’t working right … I couldn’t really piece together my thoughts. I didn’t know her. I’d never seen this girl before. I thought of walking back out of the room; instead, I stepped into the room and closed the door.

    "Umm …." I couldn’t get the words out of my mouth. "Why … I mean, how … how do you know my name?"

    "I just know."

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  20. There's an email attached to my profile, but I thought I'd add it just to make things easier.


    Email: nik.r.johnson@gmail.com

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  21. Name: Sara Riouch
    Title: Thrice Born
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word: 65,000
    Email: riouch.sara@gmail.com

    When a mercenary targets her twin and ensnares him in a spell that drains his life-force, witch-in-training Andra must sacrifice everything to save her brother.

    Andra watched the library’s no-talking sign blur as the pain in her chest intensified.

    “Are you all right, miss?” the elderly librarian asked, looking at Andra over her glasses.

    “Yeah,” Andra said. She tried to smile, but it must have come off wrong because the librarian’s look went from concerned to suspicious. She probably looked like a junkie jonesing for her next hit. Which wasn’t that far from the truth.

    In her more pathetic moments, Andra wished she was a drug-addict. At least then she could get a hit from the dealer at the corner. But nope. She was a Halfling, born with a fractured soul, and the drug she needed was human and also very late.

    “Shit,” she said, massaging the center of her chest in the vain hope it would help with the Crave. Fumbling inside her bag, she checked her phone and started putting her homework away.

    No messages.

    “Damn it, Jamie,” she muttered, earning her another chiding look. Her hands shook as she grabbed her bag and walked to the exit. The crisp morning air made her eyes water.

    Her fingers shook badly enough she nearly dropped her phone as she dialed her brother’s number. It rang twice, then Jamie’s voice came out of the phone.

    “Hey,” he said. “What’s up?”

    “Hey,” she said, closing her eyes. “I thought we were meeting at the library.”

    Something crashed on the other end of line.

    “Right,” he said, sounding distracted. “Sorry. It slipped my mind.”

    “Where are you?”

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  22. Name: Stephanie Winkelhake
    Title: The Matter of Souls
    Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
    Word Count: 55,000
    Email: stephaggie99@gmail.com

    When sixteen-year-old Riley dies and refuses to continue into the light, she must learn to let go of her grieving family…or she’ll find there are worse things than death.
    __________________________________

    I repeat the words in my mind. They shouldn’t be this hard to understand. They’re just three simple, little words. I try again. It’s difficult enough when they’re said separately. But saying them all at once—that’s impossible.

    Inoperable. Spreading. Terminal.

    Put together, these words don’t make any sense at all.

    My mother sits beside me, directing a myriad of questions to the doctor across from us. The doctor nods his head and seems to be listening intently. He answers in a calm, steady voice. I only catch bits and pieces of the conversation. My mother squeezes my hand. I want her to squeeze harder. Perhaps that will keep me from wanting to scream.

    I realize it is time to leave when the room is suddenly silent, and my mother and the doctor stare at me expectantly. They both wear a look of concern, and I can’t face the reality of what they just discussed. The metal legs of the chair screech as I jump out of my seat.

    “Riley!” my mother calls.

    But her voice doesn’t stop me.

    I run out of the room, past the receptionist, down the five flights of stairs. I accidentally collide with a man on the way down, with enough force that my shoulder will probably display an ugly bruise by nightfall. But I keep going. A bruise is the least of my worries.

    I pause when I reach the entrance of the building.
    ____________________________________

    Thank you so much for this opportunity, Monica!

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  23. (I'm not entering the contest, but I just wanted to say this is awesome! So, so nice of you to do this, Monica! Good luck to everyone!)

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  24. Name: Chelsey Blair
    Title: Background Vocals
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 81,000
    Email: Chelseyblair(at)gmail(dot)com
    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old guitarist Meridian realizes some promises can't be kept after she attempts to support her cousin--who lost her leg in an accident--by putting a halt to her search for stardom.
    ----------------------------------
    Outside of Boston’s South Station I became the anonymous girl-with-the-guitar, the person I’d been when the Paris streets had been mine to fill with music. The chords drove Uncle Rob’s threats away and reaffirmed my chose to flee from suburban exile. New York would not be Paris, but at least no one there would want to take my music away.

    “Sweetheart, do you have a permit?” My tiny audience parted for the cop who spoke.

    I misfingered a chord, and my E-string let out a low moan, like it knew we were in trouble. Shit, merde. I dropped to my knees and laid my guitar in its open case. The concrete bit into my skin through the holes in my jeans. The right clasp on my guitar case refused to snap. I’d bent it when I removed the lock Uncle Rob had fixed around the case. I forced it with all of my strength.

    “Can I see some ID? Lots of runaways lately,” he said with an I’m sure you’re not one of them smirk.

    I slipped my hand into my pocket, preparing to explain why my D.C. license didn’t match my Boston location, or my New York destination. Perks of a flighty mother.

    “Meridian!” Shit. Who knew my name here? I folded my ID back into my hand.

    The late-April sun blinded me, but the approaching silhouette was dishearteningly familiar. “Meridian, come on!”

    I shaded my eyes. Kyle’s Fernsgrove High School letter jacket symbolized everything I was running from.

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  25. Name: Kimberly A Miller
    Title: TRIANGLES
    Genre: YA urban fantasy
    Word Count: 60,000
    Email: kimberlymillerpa@aol.com

    Pitch: A seventeen-year-old girl experiences bizarre alternate realities when her cruise ship enters the mysterious Bermuda Triangle.

    First Page:

    I spotted her shivering figure cowering under a tall pine tree. Pulling up to the dark curb, I slammed the car into park and dimmed the lights. She slinked across the lawn and yanked the passenger door open.

    “Get in!” I whispered. “Hurry!”

    “Where are we going?” Nisha slid into the passenger seat and wiped the sleep from her eyes. Her bedhead and Happy Bunny pajamas forced a chuckle out of me.

    “Trystan wants to see me. Just for a few minutes.” I shoved the car into drive and stomped on the gas pedal. “We’re meeting him at the reservoir. You have to keep watch for us in case the cops patrol the park.” I turned down the back road leading to the reservoir. Our heads bobbed and jerked as my mom’s old Ford Taurus navigated the uneven blacktop at high speed.

    “Damn, Autumn Rayne! You woke me up to screw around with your boyfriend?” Nisha let out a giant yawn. “You suck.”

    I kept my eyes on the unlit road. “Shut up. You’re my best friend. I’d do the same for you.”

    She grabbed the steering wheel and tugged. “Turn this thing around right now.” The car listed to the right.

    “Nisha! Let go!” I yanked her hands off the wheel, causing the car to bank left. I had just enough time to see the huge ditch on the side of the road to know we were screwed.

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  26. Not entering, of course (Michelle might object *grin*), but I wanted to say this is an awesome idea for a contest. You rock! :)

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  27. Hi! I already entered (great contest by the way, thank you!) but I wanted to clarify something. Is there going to be one winner who'll get to submit to the five agents, or five winners and each one will get one agent? (Personally, I hope it's the latter to give more people a chance!) Anyway, thanks again for the contest!

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  28. Thanks for this contest!!!


    Name: Rebecca Paulin
    Title: Nark
    Genre: YA Mystery
    Word Count: 61,000
    Email: BeckyPaulin@gmail.com

    Pitch: When Chad's AV camera in the school gym catches a murder, the evidence catapults him into the killer's spotlight, forcing him to act fast and change from AV nerd to manly hero to save the one he loves from the one who could take it all away.

    *****

    Chad Hunter wasn't a stupid guy. Never was and hopefully never would be. So what the hell came over him and made him determined to install a camera forty feet above the ground? Why, when everyone was safe from the forces of gravity, was he putting his life in jeopardy for a shot? Okay, well, the game winning shot. The shot no one else had been able to get before now.
    The worst part wasn't the height, although that definitely bothered him. No, it was the distraction down below. It was the cheerleaders dancing to that God awful Lady Gaga song over and over again, only to stop half way through because someone was off beat. And he couldn't fully blame the song, although Poker Face was about the worst song ever recorded, an honor previously reserved for all of Britney Spears' albums. No, the worst part was the way they dressed: black spandex shorts that were so short and tight, a centimeter of each girl's butt rounded the edges. Add that to a tight red spandex tank top and wild hair pulled up in a high ponytail and he was a goner, lost in his lusty thoughts for days. But even then, he couldn't fully blame all the cheerleaders. No, not all, just the crazy blond in the back that with each look she granted in his direction reached deep inside his chest and ripped out his heart. That was worse than being forty feet above ground on a scaffold.

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  29. Name: Lindsay Currie and Patricia Leaver
    Title: FATUM
    Genre: YA Contemporary Dystopian
    Word Count: Appx 60K

    One line: A year after a massive solar storm plunges the world into total darkness, Jake Holloway finds himself holed up in an abandoned, cold-war missile silo with two of his high school friends, fighting for survival against a humanity that has turned on itself.

    1st page:

    We’d been having this argument every day for the last week, but here I was again, defending a score I knew for a fact was correct. Guess that’s what happens when you’ve been cooped up in a missile silo for the better part of a year with nobody to talk to but each other. Somehow, something as trivial as the score of our last baseball game becomes a matter of life and death.

    “I had nothing to do with us losing that game, Keith. We were ahead five-two until you stepped onto the mound.”

    “Whatever, Jake. We would’ve been ahead five nothing if they’d let me start.”

    I stood up, sending the old cable spool we used as a table crashing down, our only deck of cards scattering into the thin layer of dirt that covered the floor.

    “Are you kidding me, Keith? The only reason you made the varsity team is because your dad is the assistant coach.”

    “Was!” Keith roared. His father had died along with the rest of our team that day on the bus, leaving the three of us to fend for ourselves. “And if you’d done your job and won the game before that, we wouldn’t have been on that damn bus. We would have been home.”

    “Now you’re saying it’s my fault your father is dead?”

    He nodded, took one aggressive step to invade my personal space. “I’m saying you losing that game sure as hell didn’t help matters.”

    “You little prick!” I grabbed him by the shirt collar, the thin fabric fraying in my hands. He’d been blaming me for everything lately, and I’d had enough.

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  30. Name: Anne N Kenny
    Title: Fate Crest
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 79,000
    Email: Anne.N.Kenny at gmail dot com

    Pitch:Bearing a mark signifying strength, strategic skill, and the ability to predict outcomes, sixteen-year-old Angelyn will fight anyone and anything to claim her place as the first female knight in the Knights Academy.

    First 250:

    The sprawling gate into the Knights Academy was inches from her face but felt miles away as wintery air crept around her like a wet, unwanted blanket. Angelyn adjusted the pack on her shoulder and blinked as she looked up into the circles of remaining sunlight.

    “Hey, what do you think you’re doing down there?” A deep male voice called down to her. She looked up into a young face with wind burned cheeks that didn’t seem to match the sound. “If you don’t belong here get a move on,” he said.

    Angelyn balled her fists and bit down on her lip. “No, I do. I do belong here. I’m Angelyn Bowmoore. I’m a—well, I’m a knight.”

    She cringed as his boisterous laughter rained down on her like a volley of arrows. “Right. Do you take me for a fool?” he said. “There aren’t any fated female knights, sweetheart. Believe me, I’ve been looking all my life.”

    Angelyn rubbed the shining black and silver shield on her wrist that for the first time in her life was undisguised. She took a deep breath and spoke again, this time making an effort not to sound completely mouse-like.

    “I assure you, I was just as shocked to find out as you now are,” she said. “If I had any other options I would certainly use them. Now if you would please let me in, Captain Baylor has instructed me to meet with the Grandmaster as soon as possible.”

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  31. Oops, sorry. . . forgot the email. lindsayncurrie@gmail.com

    Great contest:)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Name: Matthew Stern
    Title: The Guardian
    Genre: YA Adventure
    Word Count: 72,000
    Email: fourpaths@gmail.com

    Pitch: When Kyle Richell is hit by a truck with nothing to show for it save for a few bumps and bruises, he does what any comic book nut that discovers he has superpowers would do, he decides to become a superhero.

    *****

    CHAPTER 1

    I was twelve years old when it first happened. Later, when I looked back on things, I realized there were signs all over the place. At times I was stronger than kids who were bigger than I was. I fell out of a second-story window when I was nine and had only bruised ribs to show for it. By the time I was eleven I could jump so high I could almost dunk a basketball.
    But it took getting hit by a truck to see that I was really special.

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. Not entering, but just wanted to say that Monica is so awesome for doing this, and good luck everyone! :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Name: Amy Machelle
    Title: Saving Elizabeth
    Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
    Word Count: 72,000
    Email: AmyMN28(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Pitch: Elizabeth denounces her faith after the death of her father, but when she meets the angelic stranger she's been dreaming of and runs into demons in the halls of her high school, she realizes that, not only does the spiritual realm exist, but its most prominent members are battling for her soul.

    First 250 Words From Chapter 1

    “Don’t do it, Abby,” I pleaded as my knees slammed onto the hardwood floor. Now, eye level with the girl, I stretched out my hand, praying she’d take my advice and hand over the bottle of pills she clutched in her palm like a prized possession. “Give them to me. You don’t have to do this.” I heard Abby’s heart thud wildly against her ribcage.

    “No! Just leave me alone!” She scooted away from me as far as she could, and pressed her back against the dresser. An empty bottle of Vodka teetered on top. It slipped off the edge and shattered on the floor. Broken glass slid in all directions.

    “Abby, there are other ways, better ways for us to get through this. You don’t have to listen to the voices in your head. They’re lying to you. They’ve been lying to you from day one. Let me show you the truth. I know someone who can help.”

    Abby began to rock back and forth. Her head slammed against the dresser with every backward motion. “No. No,” she mumbled. “You’re not real. You’re just a figment of my imagination. They say you don’t exist.”

    I could tell by her movements and the putrid smell of impending death I was running out of time. “That’s what the dark ones want you to believe, but they’re wrong. I am very real, Abby, and if you hand over that bottle, I’ll show you just how real I am."

    ReplyDelete
  36. Author: Heather McCorkle
    Title: To Ride A Puca
    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
    Word count: 89,000
    Email: hmccorkle(at)wildblue(dot)net

    Pitch: During the twelfth century invasion of Ireland, Emily, one of the last of the druids, must master her power to keep her kind from being annihilated.

    First page:

    Just like they had done time and again, invaders were coming to take what wasn’t theirs. Emily adjusted the spyglass with a shaking hand to get a better look at the ship that marred the perfect blue horizon of the ocean. It was still too far away to tell much about it save that it was large and imposing. Then she saw that the prow was carved to resemble the head of a dragon. Fear rose up to clamp its icy grip on her throat. Norsemen invaders had never come this far down the coast.

    “This can’t be good,” she murmured.

    Emily had never seen a Norseman and she didn’t want to. The horrible tales of what they did to entire villages was the stuff of legend. Her heart started to thud with the intensity of a blacksmith’s hammer. Nervous energy hummed through her body.

    A hot summer wind blew a strand of her long brown hair across the spyglass, obscuring her view. Her horse shifted beneath her and stomped his foot. She didn’t need any more urging, it was time to go. The ship was at least half a day out to sea which would give them just enough time to disappear.

    The click the spyglass made as she compacted it made both her and her horse jump. It was silly to think they could hear but knowing that didn’t make the irrational fear go away. Murmuring soothing words to her horse, she patted the arch of his muscular, black neck and took up the reins.

    “Easy Dubh,” she said, not liking how loud her voice seemed out here on the deserted hilltop. With no saddle between her and the horse it was easy to feel his muscles bunch in preparation to run. It was as if he was anticipating her thoughts. He always did that.

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  38. Name: Chersti Nieveen
    Title: THE LAST ONSET
    Genre: YA DYstopia
    Word Count: 90,000

    Pitch:
    Armageddon is imminent & Myka is elected to survive . . . only to find out that the natural disasters and disease are really a plot to destroy those not elected.

    1st 250 words:
    My first thought was of my father. How his eyes crinkled when he laughed. How he shared secretive smiles with my mother, back when she was normal. How he’d tuck me in at night and tell me his war stories.

    And how I would never see him again.

    Anger pushed through me, giving me courage to pull up the Military’s online database. The floorcomp projected four screens around me, like a shimmering lidless box that should’ve projected an exercise sim for my fitness class. But they never did when I could get away with it.

    I licked my lips, my fingers tingling in anticipation as I began to hack. The screens flashed around me as I raced from one touch screen to another to keep the monitoring chip in my hand happy. Minutes passed as I worked through the system. As long as I kept my heart rate up, it wouldn’t notify the teacher. And I wouldn’t be Punished.

    At least, I’d thought so until the soldier showed up.

    I’d already prepped a destruct sequence, so a tap against the screen destroyed all evidence of my actions when the teacher called my name. I nudged the projector button with my toe, the screens dissolving around me to reveal the fitness room. Sweat trickling down my forehead and I wiped it away as I met the soldier’s black eyes. I’d still had over two minutes before the Intelligence Unit had a clue I was hacking—so why was this soldier here?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Monica, this is a great contest - but I have tried five times now to enter, and I cannot comment. Why?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thanks so much for hosting an AWESOME contest!

    Author: Becky Wallace
    Title: SAW IT COMING
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 64,000
    Email: becky_vallett@hotmail.com

    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Sam Oliveira can't change the future...even when he knows exactly what's coming.

    First 250 words:

    Sam collapsed onto the cot. Its aluminum frame shifted under his weight, threatening to dump him onto the concrete floor. He was too sick to care.

    The Thai soup he’d eaten for dinner was spicy going down, and molten lava coming back up. His nasal passages burned with the acrid scent of regurgitated shrimp and red peppers.

    Never again, he vowed. Bread. It doesn’t burn as much. I’m only going to eat bread until these nightmares stop.

    Gulping, Sam prayed that if there was any food left in his stomach it would stay put.

    He hadn’t been asleep for long. The cinderblock room was still dark when a security agent burst through the door.

    “Pega suas coisas,” the tall Latino said as he flipped on the light. “Estamos saindo ja.”

    Adrenalin pumped through Sam’s body, temporarily washing away the nausea and dizziness. “A onde vamos?”

    A stack of clean clothes waited in the chair, a simple preparation that made the all-too-frequent escapes easier.

    The guard shrugged and reached for Sam’s cell phone on the bedside table. He removed the battery and stomped on its shell.

    Too bad. I had some good songs downloaded on that one.

    Opening the top drawer of his dresser, Sam pulled out the Glock and clip he stored under a stack of ratty t-shirts.

    “Noa.” The man held out his palm.

    Sam ignored the request, slid the clip into place, and chambered a round. He tucked the gun into his waistband. “E o meu favorito.”

    The statement wasn’t precisely true. Sam had left plenty of handguns behind. He’d probably have to dump this one before they reached the airport, but at least he’d have some way to protect himself if they were attacked along the way.

    (The internal thoughts are actually italicized, but I couldn't get it to work in the comment box.)

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  41. Mary-j: Maybe try posting as an anonymous person and then put your name below? If it doesn't work, let me know.

    Jenn, Linda, and Meredith! Thanks for stopping by to say hi! :D

    Sara: Only one winner, sorry! :(

    <3333 everyone! Looking forward to reading all the entries! :D

    ReplyDelete
  42. Name: Lizzie C. Friend
    Title: LEGACY
    Genre: YA Mystery
    Word Count: 84,000
    Email: lizziecfriend(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: When scholarship student Sadie Marlowe is inducted into an elite secret society at her prestigious boarding school, she follows a trail of dead students to a powerful political family, a decades-old cover-up, and the truth about what really happened to her mother.

    Chapter 1:

    "For shit’s sake, Dad, even the dogs here look like snobs." Sadie watched as a white poodle in an argyle sweater pranced down the sidewalk outside the window of their old Camry. Its hair was shaved into a pattern of puffy snowballs--its body mostly bare--and the puffs on each ear were dyed the same shade of pink as its owner's crisp polo shirt. She groaned and looked over at her dad in the driver's seat. "I mean, seriously. I’m not even convinced that’s an actual human and not some Stepford robot engineered to look rich and smug."

    He stifled a laugh. "You’ll get used to it. It’s a big adjustment, but just remember what a great opportunity this is. If an athletic scholarship to UVA or Northwestern means spending a few years eating tea sandwiches with WASPs who like to humiliate their canines, then so be it." He grinned, and she couldn’t help but laugh.

    "And don’t swear," he added. "It makes you sound like some hick from Oregon who doesn’t know how to use the right fork during the salad course." She rolled her eyes. "It’s the small one, by the way. That will probably be on a test at some point, so you’re welcome."

    She turned back to the window. Her dad had grown up in Eugene, Oregon--land of hippie activists, Buddhist retreats, pot smoking, and all things the complete opposite of Keating Hall.

    ReplyDelete
  43. What a great contest!

    Name: Eliza Tilton
    email: Elizafaith13@gmail.com
    Title: Broken Forest: A Keening Blade Novel
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    wordcount: 60,000
    Pitch: 17yr old Avikar thought he was rescuing his sister from bandits, not a reptilian lord planning a world invasion.

    1st 250:

    The blueberry patch looked like a grisly crime scene. Avikar’s stomach turned as he studied the red and blue stains, covering the ground in a sloppy mess. He knelt down, swiped his pointer across the sticky substance and smelled it. Raspberries, he concluded. Thank goodness, it’s not blood. Footprints smeared the grass in a tangling design. Calli’s were the easiest to spot. He tracked her steps to where he saw two wicker baskets. One had been smashed into splinters.

    Derrick stared down at the last place Jeslyn had been. “Do you think that she’s still…I mean she has to be okay.” His hand grasped the wooden emblem that dangled from his neck.

    Avikar turned to his friend and put a hand on his shoulder. “I don’t know what it is, but I know she’s still alive. We’re going to find her.”

    Derrick’s chin quivered, but he held his ground. “Let’s hurry, then.”

    Avikar traced each step, imagining how the attack unfolded. He pictured the men his five-year-old sister, Calli, described. He was still amazed she managed to escape. The kidnappers would have headed west towards the main trade road.

    His eyes spotted a red silk ribbon stuck on a tree branch, swaying in the wind. He grabbed it and held it in his hands.

    “Find anything?” Derrick asked.

    Avikar nodded and handed over the soft material.

    Derrick’s face paled. He slowly wrapped the precious item around his wrist. “I gave this to her yesterday,” he replied in a strained tone.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Name: Rena Ford
    Title: THE ACCIDENTAL GODMOTHER
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word-count: 89,000
    Email: RenaLFord(at)gmail(dot)com

    Tessa can cast any spell she’s ever seen—movies, cartoons, you name it—there’s just one problem: the rest of the story comes true to.

    First page

    Sean opened the tome. The front cover thumped onto the desk. One candle lit the room, and no one, not even his father’s minions, knew he had the book. This one detailed the construction of gates and portals. The candle light caught the gold illumination, and Sean read quickly, committing every detail to memory. The book drew him in, and he dashed notes on a spare bit of vellum. Magic studies were forbidden to Sean. His father declared that he’d rather have a magicless son than one with marginal talent. Easy for the Royal Wizard to say; he had more talent than any other living wizard.
    But Sean was only half: half wizard, half fae, and magic from neither race coursed through his veins. He fought for every ounce of magic in his meager repertoire.
    The door opened, and Sean jumped. He slid his notes over the book, to hide it from the maid, his father’s minion. The maid walked into the room and began dusting his window sill.
    “Why didn’t you let someone know you were awake, Master Sean?” she asked.
    Because I don’t like being watched. “I couldn’t sleep is all. I thought I’d read.”
    “And what are you reading tonight?” she asked. Sean hesitated. The maids didn’t read. “You aren’t reading one of your Lord Father’s books, are you?”
    “He’s not a lord,” Sean said.
    “You shouldn’t speak so of your father,” she said.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Name: Shannon MacDougall
    Title: TALON’S REACH
    Genre: YA Dystopian
    Word Count: 83,000
    Email: butterflyvader@gmail.com

    Sentence:

    In a future America, rival camps vie for control before the Second Civil War and Lillie Forester trades in a fast-food spatula for a Revolver.


    250 words:

    Chapter 1: Whatever
    “Anthoneee. HEY! You can kish my saggy, white ash …” Jeanne cackled a drunken laugh.
    “ASH!” She yelled the word, as if it would help her form it better. “You … you lef! Ah’m sill HEER!”
    She pointed at her bed, but her hand slipped. Her face hit the pillow and her hysterical laughter was muffled for a precious moment. She pulled her makeup-smeared face off the pillow and blinked in slow motion trying to keep me in focus.
    I didn’t respond.
    She wasn’t talking to me.
    I finished shoving her right leg and arm under her covers, careful to make sure she was on her side. I placed her trash can in easy barfing distance and closed her door. Her vibrato of incoherent slurs wafted down the hall as I headed for the kitchen.
    I waited for my oatmeal to warm up and watched my dog’s dark shadow sniff around our tiny backyard. The darkness engulfed her for a moment until she took off after something white.
    The morning note. “Lillie.”
    “That’s me.” I sighed.
    “We need bread. Get me some Quervo too. You got paid yesterday. Mom.”
    I shoved the note in my pocket and grabbed my backpack.
    ‘Mom’ was the least used word to identify Jeanne.
    My pace would have put a speed-walker to shame. The autumn mornings were my favorite, but I wasn’t stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  46. I followed your AW link here. Thanks for hosting such a great contest!

    Author: Rob Livermore
    Title: THE MESSENGERS
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 85,000
    Email: rob@roblivermore.com

    Pitch:
    Michael, an Angel with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude and the '69 Camaro to go with it, falls in love with Tess, a human girl, but must find the strength to give her up in order to unleash the full extent of his powers and defeat an ancient enemy who threatens her life.

    Opener:

    In a town called Hope, a guy with a knife stared at me through the driving rain.

    Water sluiced across the windshield and he was gone. Clunk, went the wiper blades. Clunk. For a brief second, the scene reset itself and there he was again; just a fraction of a snapshot but it was enough for me to read the violence in his eyes.

    The deluge slammed down like a battle cry; thick, heavy droplets that broke apart like they had some kind of a point to prove, like maybe I’d done something to wrong them in another life. Water pooled and flowed all around and the fresh scent of it filtered in through the ventilators, crisp ozone cutting through the damp heat. It sizzled and hissed on the Camaro’s hood and rose back up in trails of steam that were beaten savagely back down to earth.

    There were two others with him in the dark space underneath the bridge, all the way back in the shadows. I couldn’t see them, but that didn’t matter; I could pick up their signals as clear as day. There was a girl there too; she was the one who’d brought me here. I’d followed the acid sense of her fear all the way in. It was sharp and hopeless and it made me angry.

    Clunk, went the wiper blades again. Clunk. And I got a glimpse of her, rammed right back behind the guy’s arm with her knees bloodied and her face scratched and her blouse pawed at and ripped open to expose the soft skin underneath.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Name: Brian Kell
    Title: Honestly Bogus
    Genre: humorous YA urban fantasy
    Word Count: 73,000
    Email: bkell932@hotmail.com

    One Sentence Pitch:

    Having the ability to swap bodies with people isn’t so great, and when it begins to happen on its own, it can ruin your life… or end it.

    First 250 words:

    The night was cool, crisp and clear -- an October evening primed for a bonfire. Paul Simmons, one of my good friends, had only invited about twenty people to this party, but from what I could see, nearly half of the Greentown High School student body had shown up. The thump of music shook the house windows. A few girls danced inside, but the majority of the kids mingled in the backyard.

    The fire raged as a few of guys threw on branches covered with dry leaves. Smoldering ash rose hypnotically into the air, the wood hissed and crackled. I loved the smell -- it could be bottled and sold as “Autumn in Northern Ohio”.

    I sat on a large chunk of log, a perfect stool.

    “Hey, Dekker?” One of the girls warming by the flames asked. “Could you sing something from the play?”

    This year’s fall musical was South Pacific. Though only a junior, I had one of the leads. I liked singing on stage, but in private I preferred to be alone. Still, I couldn’t say no, so I obliged, just loud enough for those around the fire to hear.

    After I finished, Kelly Marvel strolled by -- stunning in her denim jacket and jeggings. Her long blonde hair, bound in a ponytail, sprouted out the back of a pink baseball cap. A line of jocks trailed her like Egyptian slaves.

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  48. Name: Patricia Brooke
    Title: SEPARATE
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 58,000
    Email: patriciaannbrooke(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: There’s one important rule at the Paranormal Grievance Bureau: don’t get involved in the clients lives, and unfortunately for Veronica she isn’t very good at following the rules.

    First Page:

    When a fire creature makes a complaint there are certain precautions you need to take. First, obviously, you need to have a fire extinguisher as close as possible. I prefer one on my desk, but the floor next to me is also acceptable. It’s also important to have a fireproof chair. Fire creatures are generally in control of their fires, but accidents have been known to happen. If there is an incident protect your eyebrows at all costs. They take a remarkably long time to grow back. Finally, it’s a good idea to turn the air conditioning in your office to maximum, otherwise you will dissolve into a pool of sweat two minutes into the interview.

    “Mr. Anderson, welcome to the Paranormal Grievance Bureau, how can I help?.” When I meet someone like Mr. Anderson, I understand why paranormals were able to hide in human society without us knowing. He looks like a perfectly normal, except for the red eyes and the slight smell of burnt hot dogs that follow him. Most paranormals look just like your average human being. Fire creatures like Mr. Anderson, used to wear colored contact lenses to hide their red eyes.

    Pretty much every paranormal you’ve ever heard of is real in some form or another. That lady, at the market, with the super cold hands? Probably an ice creature. The really hairy guy, on the bus? Possibly a werewolf. You get the idea. Except vampires. Vampires are made up. Think about it. How could someone exist if they depended on blood to survive and couldn’t go out in the daylight. That guy in Transylvania was a psycho not a vampire. Anyone else who claims they’re a vampire is trying to get into your pants.

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  50. Matthew Mallicoat
    Alannian and the Sword of Azallyan
    Young Adult Fantasy
    100,000 words
    mmallico@gmail.com

    Alannian is only thirteen but King Fayavor wants him dead by any means possible, for Alannian is the biggest threat to the king's rule.

    Chapter 1 THE SHEPERD OF RETAVARA


    The smell of death permeated the night air. Candles cast long shadows over a man sitting on the base of a bed. Next to him, his wife held a sick, four year old boy wrapped in a woolen blanket. Shivers wracked his tiny body, boils coated his face and his chest heaved in violent coughs.
    Another woman, the boy’s mother, lay on the bed. Dark, matted hair clung to her sweaty forehead as puss from pustules oozed onto the sheets. Pain gripped her stomach and she clutched it, crying at the sight of her husband lying beside her, pale, grey…dead.
    “No! Sariet,” she croaked, her shoulders shaking in sobs. “Hal…Halmar. Ell…Ellyana are you there?”
    The man grabbed her arm. “Can you hear me?”
    “Alannian, love,” Ceilana whispered, reaching out towards the boy with a shaking hand. With a groan revealing two missing front teeth, Alannian opened his eyes.
    “Mama, I don’t feel good,” he muttered, his voice shaking just as much his mother’s. He tried to squirm out of Ellyana’s arms but she held him until he stopped moving.
    “My son. How is he?” Ceilana asked.
    “I am so sorry.” Sorrow flashed across Halmar’s face. “His fever is high and he can’t keep anything down.”
    Before anyone could say anything, Ceilana thrashed about on the bed, foam at her mouth. Ellyana shielded the eyes of the boy as Halmar rushed forward, holding Ceilana’s arms down to keep them from crashing into the bedpost.

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  51. Name: Ginna Moran
    Title: Finding Nate
    Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
    Word Count: 63,000
    Email: GinnaNicole1@gmail.com

    Pitch: After an end of the year stunt leads to her boyfriend’s disappearance, sixteen year old Marlee Waters embarks on a cross country road trip that forces her to carpool with a corpse, evade memory erasing scientists, and decide if love is really worth fighting for.

    First 250 words:
    Chapter 1
    Nate

    Jumping from the roof of Ocean High’s five-story auditorium wasn’t exactly my idea, but it seemed like a good one at the time, that is, until I got up here. The tips of my Converses stick over the edge, dragging roof gravel onto the crowd of students getting ready for the pep rally held in the courtyard.

    I tug the elastic rope attached to the guardrail welded to the blue metal walls of the roof access. It creaks, but not in the moment-you-jump-I’ll-break sort of way. It’s just the metal clamps scraping against metal, promising a fun few seconds of adrenaline with the freefall.

    The crowd thickens below me. Cute cheerleaders demonstrate their flexibility in tiny blue and white skirts that let my imagination run wild. Man, I wish my girlfriend would wear something like that for me. She’d look hotter than hell.

    I shake the distracting thought from my head, scoping the crowd for Dude and Marlee. I spot Dude standing near the ridiculous bronze statue of an alumnus, chiseled and gleaming under the hot California sun, looking like a modern-day Adonis. It’s such a joke. I’ve seen pictures of that guy and he looks nothing like the statue with his balding head and beer belly. But, he won’t matter much longer, not after today. The plaque will read: Nathan Fish, the guy who jumped to new heights...or at least fell from them.

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  52. Name: Jenny Michaud
    Title: IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 99,000
    Email: kford2007@gmail.com

    Pitch: A rash of murders has plunged the realm of Fallhollow into chaos, and now the fate of its greatest kingdom rests on the shoulders of an unsuspecting fifteen-year old boy residing a dimension away in Havendale, Tennessee.


    First Page:

    David Heiland chucked the PS3 controller on his bed and scrambled onto the balcony as four F-18 Hornets screamed overhead, disappearing into the sunrise over the Tennessee Mountains. A flock of ducks took to the sky, squawking as if in protest.

    “Yes!” David punched the ice-cold air. “Man, that’s freaking awesome!”

    He bounced on the balls of his bare feet and scurried back inside, flicking a sideways glance at the photograph on the wall of his father in the cockpit of an F-16. Sucks you can’t be here for the air show next weekend, Dad. We’d have a blast.

    After a quick rummage through the closet, he carried his gray cashmere sweater and Hollister jeans to the bathroom. In no time at all, he emerged showered and dressed, his short hair dried and styled to perfection, and checked his phone. He smiled at the midnight text message from his best friend, Charlotte.

    chk ur e-mail. sent you a pic from my 5th b’day party that will make u laugh!

    Oh, man, this has got to be good, he thought.

    David opened his laptop and within minutes brought up a photograph dated ten years earlier. Charlotte stood sopping wet in the foreground, her fists clenched at her sides. Martin Sanderman lay at her feet, his hand to his cheek. The third person in the picture – himself at five years and one day – stood in the background, his mouth twisted in a grin.

    He chuckled and typed:

    OMG, talk about an April Fools Day gone bad for Martin! I still can’t believe you clocked him, but he so deserved it for pushing you in the barrel. Idiot. You know, I really think you should report what you saw last night. He can’t get away with beating up that kid and vandalizing the gym. Think about it. Signing off.

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  53. Name: Rubianna Masa
    Title: Lightning Strikes
    Genre: YA fantasy
    Word Count: 83,000
    Email: rmasa@sd6.k12.mt.us

    Pitch:

    Kyra, a ‘bolter’, with the ability to travel through time and space to other worlds in shafts of energy, must control this power before it rips her apart.

    Chapter One

    With difficulty I'd remember the last day of my former life; no hint or clue warned me it was about to change. One small thing set off a chain reaction causing my ordinary life to wobble. A bolt of lightning streaked towards me, forcing me forward, in a brilliance of pain.

    ***

    Middle of the room, sitting up pin straight, in a wooden desk I attempted to pay attention to the mathematics lesson, a daunting task.

    “Kyra, would you accompany me to the corridor?” said Miss Sharrow.

    I jumped at the sound of my name. “Why was I being asked to the corridor?” I’d done nothing to deserve a reprimand. With dread, I stood, smoothing my plain high-necked blue long-sleeved dress. My worn shoes echoed across the stone floors, drawing eyes that bored into my back. Self-conscious, I tried to walk quieter. Without glancing back, I followed her in silence.

    “I need you to deliver a message to Professor Wicksome’s office,” said Miss Sharrow.

    My eyes widen at the request. “But isn’t that in the forbidden sections, Miss?”

    “Yes, it is, but it can’t be helped,” she said, staring down at me sternly. I scarcely reached Miss Sharrow’s shoulder, even though I was almost seventeen. Everyone always told me I’d hit a growth spurt, but at barely five feet, I never did.

    Miss Sharrow thrust a parchment map and a heavy letter with the ornate letters “N” and “H” stamped in a red wax seal. “I’ll be waiting, expecting your return.”

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  54. This contest is so fabulous, Monica! I'm currently revising my YA, so won't enter now, but hope there will be future opportunities.

    Off to tweet this to the world. Good luck, everyone!

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  55. Monica, I'm having a really hard time posting too. It says my comment is posted but then when I look it isn't there.

    I'm going to try again under anonymous *fingers crossed*

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  56. Shayda Bakhshi
    SPITFIRE
    YA Fantasy
    95,000 Words
    shayda.bakhshi (at) gmail (dot) com

    PITCH:
    Mattie Bower can create fire out of nothing, which is cool; but when someone finds out and forces her to escape to an entirely different world--where having her gift is punishable by death--things get much less cool.

    PAGE:
    Smoke. Smoke everywhere. It stings my eyes when they fly open and I scramble off my bed, which is smoldering. My pajamas are half-gone. I trip over a box trying to get to the water bucket, crash into the floor, and hear the fire alarm start blaring on the staircase. In ten seconds flat, my parents are thundering up the stairs. The door flies open and the light flicks on. Mom whips the bucket off my dresser and flings the contents over my bed. It hisses.

    Dad helps me up. Mom puts the empty bucket back on my dresser and brushes soot out of my face. “Are you all right, Mattie?”

    I nod.

    “Nightmare?” asks Dad.

    “Don’t know. Can’t remember.” But I bet it was. I haven’t sparked in my sleep since I was ten, when I’d insisted I was old enough to watch the Friday Night Horror Special with Dad. Nearly burnt the house down. My parents laugh about it now, but I could’ve killed them.

    “Well, it’s not too bad,” says Dad cheerfully. “Need to get you a new mattress and some sheets—”

    “—And pajamas,” I mutter peevishly, plucking at the smoldering tatters that barely cover my body.

    “And pajamas.” He grins, then gives me a quick hug at the look on my face. “Hey, it’s all right, kiddo.”

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  57. Name: Chelsea Hendrix
    Title: Vessel
    Genre: YA paranormal romance
    Word Count: 71,000
    Email: chel.hendrix@gmail.com

    Pitch:

    Seventeen year old Knox Acotas knew the day would come when he’d face down the man who killed his parents, but he hadn’t expected Napezi to bring a demon army with him.

    Chapter One

    Lazy Pete’s Biker Bar was a dingy hole-in-the-wall several miles outside Knox’s small hometown of Sedna, Alaska. Tucked back behind the main road and hidden by towering evergreens, it was a favorite haunt for those who walked the worlds between the living and the dead. Known for making deals and breaking promises, their loyalties belonged to the highest bidder. Some called them snitches, others called them traitors. Seventeen year old Knox Acotas preferred to call them punching bags.

    “Come on, man. I told you everything I know!” The thin man lying on the cement floor, his hands and feet bound with rope, his body shaking with fear, reminded Knox of a rat. Worthless, hairy, smelled like a dumpster, but he had information Knox desperately needed.

    The moonlight filtered through the bars of the small windows in silver strips, casting shadows across the hard planes of Knox’s face and illuminating the dagger in his hand.

    Knox chuckled. “For some reason, I don’t believe you.” He placed his leather boot against the man’s ribcage and pressed down. “Tell me what they’re looking for, Red.”

    “I can’t,” Red said. “They’ll kill me.”

    “And what do you think I’ll do?” Knox pressed harder until Red’s breath came out in a wheeze.

    “No, please, that’s all I know!”

    A rib cracked and Knox’s foot sank further into Red’s side. His screams were drowned out by the heavy metal pumping through the bar’s stereo. Knox pressed his dagger against Red’s throat. “Are you sure about that, friend?”

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  58. Name: Nicole Settle
    Title: Peter & Poppy
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 52,000
    E-mail: settle.nicole(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: On Poppy’s first day of school, she sees the beautiful Peter and makes a decision that’s probably more crazy than sane—she will love this boy unconditionally, thus beginning her plan to get Peter to fall in love with her in return.

    First page:

    I wasn’t stalking. I was just ardently admiring beauty. Plus, there was nothing else to do as it was pouring—a thunderstorm to welcome me to my first day of senior year at my new school. So while I was stalling, not wanting to go out to battle against the rain, I was greeted by a very pleasant distraction when I glimpsed him through my car’s rear-view mirror. I kept my eyes on him from the moment he got out of his truck, which was parked one row behind mine. I was thankful the rain started to slow as he stepped out, giving me a better view of him.

    He was tall, dark, and handsome. I always admired that particular combination in a boy, especially when I imagined him against my pale, petite form. His dark skin was smooth and his black hair was shaggy in an adorable way, flopping and curling over his ears. I wanted to run my hands through it. Or just over him in general. I paid close attention to his hands next as he picked up his backpack, threw it over his shoulder, and then slammed the door of his truck. They were exquisite hands, probably very strong, too.

    His face turned in my direction as if he sensed me staring at him. He frowned, as though disgruntled that he was being watched, but I didn’t stop. Not even when his eyes caught mine.

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  61. Name: Lauren Becker
    Title: The Heartbreak Boys
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 53,000
    Email: Lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

    Pitch:

    Being a mom means you don't leave your child behind...but does being a dad mean you can fall for another boy?

    Alex (p.o.v.)

    Annabelle Williams gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Ryan.

    Wonderful words for a heartless bitch.

    Two days later, she was gone.

    Ryan was seven months now, seven fucking months.
    “Alex, get over it. Alex, move on.”

    They didn’t get that I couldn’t. So I moved out on my own.

    Ryan on one hip, I opened the door, already pissed at the guy standing outside.

    “Come in,” I muttered. I shut the door after him, watched as he carefully sat on my couch.

    A hole in the cushion would probably never be fixed.

    Ryan liked the stuffing.

    “So you’re Alex, yeah?” the guy asked. His eyes were bright blue.

    Annabelle had green, a washed out color like it had rained the night before.

    “Or I stole his kid and took over the apartment,” I said, leaning against the television.

    Ryan grabbed my shirt in his fist, rubbing his eyes on the soft cotton.

    “He likes you too much for that,” the guy said, smiling. I wanted to smack him.

    Eoghan.

    I couldn’t even pronounce his name. As soon as Ryan began to cry, he’d be gone.

    Just like the rest, thinking they could take it. I’d live alone if I could afford it.

    Me and Ryan. Just like it always was once Annabelle disappeared with her family, leaving me alone.

    No way in hell was I giving Ryan up. I wasn’t like that.

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  62. Name: Brandi Kosiner
    Title: Fractured
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 60,000
    Email: brandileigh2003@yahoo.com

    Pitch: Meredith overlooks Kaden's temper and his fists willing to sacrifice all she is until she finds out she's pregnant.

    First page:
    I scan the audience desperately hoping to see my parents’ faces. I feel sick to my stomach thinking they may not be here.
    “Meredith Lyons. Graduating with full honors.” I walk across the stage and receive my diploma from the principal. In a flash, I’m officially a high school graduate. As I’m leaving the stage I finally catch sight of my sister Lucy clapping wildly, a glowing smile on her face. But my heart drops at the sight of the empty chairs beside her.
    They aren’t here.
    I bite my lip and close my eyes, fighting back the tears. I need them here, and I feel sick imagining what would keep them from being here. I take a deep breath and plop down on my chair. Sherry Matthews flashes me a half-smile but her brows are furrowed as she takes the seat beside me.
    “I’m sure everything’s fine,” she whispers.
    I look away. I don’t want her pity. I saw her throw up on the playground in first grade and went with my Mom to take her and flowers when her grandfather passed away in middle school.
    I manage to give her a smile and attempt to shove the disappointment away. I hang my head. I know I shouldn’t be this negative in the first place; it’s not like anything can be done to change things. Sherry is just trying to acknowledge my pain. I should be grateful that Lucy’s here for me, even when my parents can’t be. I take another breath to calm the emotions washing over me and bite on my fingernail. I want to be mature/ I know what I should feel but I’m angry they’re not here, guilty that I feel that way, and I feel empty on the day that should be happy.

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  64. Great contest, Monica. I'm glad I found your blog!

    Jamie McHenry
    On Fallen Wings
    YA Fantasy
    87,000 words
    mchenry.jamie@gmail.com

    When Rhiannon's boyfriend is kidnapped, her quest to save him forces her to choose between the Faerie life she loves and losing him forever.

    CHAPTER ONE
    The Darkness Between Trees

    For as long as I could remember, Faeries had danced at Stone Meadow.
    I loved dancing and the night was perfect, like a dream; I was innocent to its graces. Raising my arms, I leaned my head back to absorb glowing blue rays on my face and hands. Then I closed my eyes and caressed the cold tips of grass with my feet, repeating the familiar sway of my steps. As a frosty wisp of air stirred me from my trance, I swept my gown in a circle and spun gracefully to where my young sister, Leila, sat watching.

    She reached up and parted a long strand of hair from my face. “That was wonderful,” she said. “Are you nervous for tomorrow?”

    “Oh, yes.” I fell to the grass and sighed. “I can’t believe this is happening.” Then I covered my face with both hands and moaned with joy. “Everything is going to change.”

    Leila rolled onto her stomach and leaned on her elbows, propping her chin with her palms. “What is it like to be in love?”

    I grinned at her curiosity and stretched my arms straight. “It’s like dancing barefoot in the meadow under moonlight,” I told her. “Love tickles your toes and then climbs to your heart.” I rolled on the grass. “It spirals toward your fingertips as you spin and spin. Then it reaches up to the moon, grabs its rays, and pulls them down like a warm blanket.”

    Leila sighed loudly. My sister’s wide eyes revealed their wanting.

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  65. Hi - trying again, and thanks for a great contest!

    Name: Mary Johnson
    Title: HONOR
    Genre: YA SF/speculative
    Word Count: 84,000 words
    e-mail: mekj at earthlink dot net.

    Twitter pitch: When his little brother is enslaved, sixteen-year-old Kiril abandons home, people, family, life and honor in order to rescue him.

    First paragraphs:
    The boy jerked his chin at the girl holding the holocam: he was ready. She balanced the camera on a bit of broken wall and focused on the boy, who began speaking a heartbeat after she started to record. His lips seemed pale to her - he had been gnawing them - and his eyes were glassy. But, though his voice shook a bit when he began, it soon steadied, and he continued in a monotone. Both of them knew the declaration must be perfect.

    I, who was once Kiril Tesurik, renounce my family, my name, and my life. I am dust and ashes. I have no name. He who was my father, Varen Kelesta, is dead to me. I do not know him. The woman Lirith, who was my aunt, is dead to me. The man Keren, who is her husband, is dead to me. . . .

    The declaration was long. It had to be. Kiril named every member of his household, from his great-aunt to the youngest servant child. Then the animals the serfs kept for their milk and fur. Then the house, the land, every field and all the crops. There must be nothing omitted, no way for the police to take their revenge on his family, once he had become a traitor and criminal.

    Website: http://mary-j-59.livejournal.com
    Mary

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  66. Thank you very much for this opportunity :)

    Name: Sam Suffrat
    Title: THE ABILITER'S BLOOD
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 92,000
    Email: SamSuffrat@gmail.com

    Pitch: When a centuries old monster lurks within a game and ransoms Breana Daniels's friend in exchange for her blood, the odds of surviving is that much harder.

    It was Bully Week. As far as Breana Daniels was concerned, it was enough reason not to get out of bed today. “You have got to be kidding me,” she mumbled and leaped from the ladder over the sticky brown liquid on the floor. It was the second week before the school year ended and Blake had already begun with the first prank.

    I should have stayed in bed.

    Without wasting time, she ran to the bathroom and to take a shower (there were earthworms crawling against the shower floor), attempted to brush her teeth (an odd sort of smell came from her brush), and threw on her clothes before hurrying downstairs. The kitchen television was blaring loudly down the hall as Breana entered. Blake greeted her with a smirk and Uncle Joe went on reading The Miami Herald. Grams continued to watch the early morning news.

    “Sorry to disappoint you all but Blake’s tricks didn’t work,” Breana said dryly. She grabbed a spare toast on the plate centered at the table.

    “Are you running out of materials? Dumping maple syrup on the floor? Worms?” she winced at her cousin Blake. “You’re losing your touch.” Breana adjusted her backpack on her shoulder and started to leave the kitchen.

    “I’ve got until Friday, its Bully Week remember?” Blake called out.

    “Next time make it count,” Breana shouted behind her.

    “Come here.” Uncle Joe started. Breana internally kicked herself and turned in time to see Uncle Joe snap his paper closed.

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  68. Name: Rebekah L Purdy
    Title: The Fairy Godmother Files: Cinderella Complex
    Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
    Word Count: 73,000
    Email: rebekahg22 (at) yahoo.com

    One Sentence Pitch: God, what had I gotten myself into, I was the new Fairy Godmother and I had no idea what in the hell I was doing.

    First Page:

    “Oh. My. God. Maggie. There he is,” Taylor squealed, jerking on my arm.
    The prince rode up on his white steed like he’d fallen out of the pages of a fairytale. Golden hair, tanned skin, and a smile that made me want to recite Shakespeare. Sigh.
    Okay, so it was Connor Prince, not “real” royalty, and so what if his horse was a white Ford Mustang? I had two words for him. So. Hot.
    “I swear, I’m going to talk to him this year,” I said, shielding my eyes from the sun.
    Taylor handed me her cappuccino, while she adjusted her out of control curls. “Yeah, right. You say that every year. And every year you walk up to him, open your mouth to say something, blush, and then turn right back the way you came.”
    I deflated like a balloon. God, she was right. It was hopeless. I would be the only junior without a prom date come spring, not to mention the only girl in the entire school who hadn’t been kissed. I groaned.
    No. I’m not going to do this again. Junior year would be my year. I’d be more assertive, aggressive, a go-getter. Connor Prince and I were going to exchange words this year—hell, we’d exchange more than words. He’d be my first kiss.
    The sound of splashing water interrupted my Connor-laced fantasies, and I glanced at the nearby fountain. The large stone otter spewed water, which crashed over carved footballs, winged shoes, tennis rackets, and baseball bats.

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  70. Thank you for this contest! I am so excited! :)

    Name: Shawna Railey
    Title: Sycamore Meadows
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 98,000
    Email: shawnarailey@yahoo.com

    6:37 pm.

    Cole couldn’t escape the feeling that they were being watched. Or that their lives were about to change forever. He once again glanced nervously over his shoulder.

    “There’s something different about tonight. I can feel it in the air.”

    “I’ll tell you what’s not different,” Emma quipped. “Your mouth.”

    The siblings had waited for night to fall so they could lug their new telescope down to the lake, away from the glare of the neighborhood lights. Standing on the familiar shore, Cole was the first to look through the lens.

    “This is so cool.” Cole forgot what he’d been saying as millions of stars twinkled before his eyes.

    “My turn,” Emma cried, pushing him out of the way.

    Cole picked up a book of constellations and flipped through the pages until he found what he was looking for. “Let’s find Gemini first. It says here that it’s easiest to see during winter and Gemini means 'twins'. Since we are twins and all...”

    Emma smiled distractedly. “Sure.”

    Cole was busy looking at the book, when a moment later Emma shrieked, “Hey! A shooting star!”

    “Let me see.” This time, Cole shoved Emma to the side. He was still squinting into the lens when he shook his head. “I don’t know, Em. I don’t think that’s a shooting star.” He tried to keep watching it, but Emma was tugging roughly on his arm.

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  71. Name: Elizabeth Reinhardt
    Title: Blue Rebellion
    Genre: YA Dystopia
    Word Count: 85,000
    Email: elireinhardt@gmail.com
    Pitch: In a world where one drop of blood taken at birth determines your fate, two young rebels will fight against all they’ve ever been told to discover the truth about who they really are.
    I’m ready to end this mission. As a trained Eka soldier, I know better than to desert. But as a recessive, a weak blue-eye in a sea of strong, perfect brown, I already know I march to the beat of my own drum. I’ve seen a lot of my comrades go down in the field because they didn’t know when to walk away.
    Scaeva and I have been baking in the sun on the cracked banks of the Erie river for three days. There’s nothing to hunt, there aren’t any rebel insurgents, and I’m tired of listening to Scaeva’s rambling about ‘bagging a dirty Catur.’ There’s a lot of Eka warriors who go rogue, come back to Romulus with some kind of war memento from a bagged enemy, and Scaeva’s desperate to come home with some sign that this mission was all about glory. I have a feeling the sun and his own stupid ideas are going to lead to trouble. He fidgets and scans the horizon through the scope of his rifle with a desperate hopefulness that makes my blood cold.
    It’s time to go.
    “Scaeva, let’s pack up and get out of here.” I nudge my brown-eyed, brown-haired Eka poster-boy comrade with my boot and start to pack my gear.
    Scaeva ignores me and swings the gun left, then right, slowly. I stuff my gun into its holster, fold up the maps, put my goggles back in their case. I prod Scaeva with my boot a second time, but he’s trained on something down the river like a hunthoud with a scent to follow.
    Down by the bank of the sluggish Erie River, there’s a girl and a young boy. She’s maybe sixteen or seventeen; our age. He’s younger, maybe thirteen. I can’t see her eye color from this far away, but she has light red hair. A recessive, like me.

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  72. Thanks for hosting this contest! :o)

    Name: Erin Schultz
    Title: THE NEW ZERO
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word count: 86,000
    Email: erin-schultz@hotmail.com

    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Lucinda must escape from the Ice Palace and its depraved beast-king before she too becomes a beast.

    First page:

    The men approaching the village trudge through the freshly fallen snow, destroying its smooth surface along with any hope that the call for the New Zero wouldn't go out this year.

    But this could be something else entirely, I argue with myself. But it's a weak argument and all I can do is stand here among the snow drifts behind my house, watching the men and wishing that the blizzard hadn't ended earlier today. If the harsh winds were still blowing, travel would be impossible and my friends and I would be safe—for one more day, at least.

    Franciste and Vivienne are several paces ahead of me, continuing on the invisible path we walk after every blizzard to survey its effects on the snow-covered land, and catch up on village gossip.

    They stop now and turn around.

    “What are you looking at, Lucinda?” Franciste asks, stepping toward me.

    “There.” I point to the men.

    “They came from the east,” Vivienne notes. The edge of wariness in her voice tells me she fears the same thing I do, that the Ice Palace has sent out its guards to collect every seventeen-year-old girl in Near-Elshim. The call for the next New Zero has gone out.

    Since the three of us turned seventeen, we've been spending our free time west of the village rather than east, to be a little further away from the Ice Palace, even though the slight difference in location wouldn't save us from the guards.

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  73. When I posted my entry, the spaces did not carry over. Should I post another entry?

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  74. Name: Josin L. McQuein
    Title: Arclight
    Genre: YA Sci-FI (post apocalyptic setting)
    Word Count: 120,000
    Email: JosinLMcQuein@yahoo.com

    First Page:

    All I have to do is close my eyes.

    I try to ignore the fact that my classmates ignore my presence, and focus on the lesson at hand, but the air's too warm. Mr. Pace's voice settles into a rhythmic drone that welcomes sleep more than study. A nap would be great. I can sneak four minutes before the bell signals next class.

    Four minutes without having to adjust my leg to stop its throbbing, or feeling the need to make sure my inhaler's still hung around my neck in case another headache comes. Four minutes... make that three... without pain.

    But then that blue bulb starts blinking again.

    Everyone sits straighter in their seats. There's a pause in the cadence of Mr. Pace's words, the chalk breaks under the pressure of his halt against the board, and his eyes flick to the silent alarm over the window. He takes a breath, erases his stray marks, and starts over.
    This time, everyone listens because the sound of his voice gives us something to think about other than the light reflecting off our desks a half-beat out of time with our hearts. It doesn't matter that the words are artificially slow, or that his voice is higher than usual, or that Mr. Pace makes another mistake.

    We don't look sideways, because no one wants to admit that everyone else is as scared as they're trying not to be. Warnings aren't supposed to last this long.

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  75. Name: Julie Reece
    Title: Crux
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 76,000
    Email: Inkslinger@juliereece.com

    Thanks for the shot, appreciate you :)

    Single sentence pitch:

    Homeless and hungry, seventeen-year-old Birdie Orin is running out of options until a stranger reveals her ancient identity and an amulet, complete with supernatural powers, to free the souls of Viking warriors trapped by a curse.

    First paragraphs:

    I meander down the street, minding my own business. I am nobody special, nameless, faceless in a crowd of hundreds when a guy who looks like the actor Jeff Bridges rushes toward me, hauling an enormous black suitcase. Oh, my gosh. Jeff Bridges? I do a double take. Can’t be him, can it? No. He’s too tall.

    He looks me in the eye, then right on through, not seeing me at all, only his destination, whatever it may be. The guy is on a mission to get somewhere—fast. He knocks my shoulder. “Easy!” I say as he passes. I pull my waist long hair out of the way and rub my throbbing shoulder.

    I hear him mumble to himself chanting the same mantra, “Find the one, give it away. Money means nothing, this time we must not fail.”

    A funny tickle dances down my spine as he says it.

    A man with gray hair in a three piece suit follows him. So do three young guys wearing army jackets, an older, Hispanic lady with a fox stole around her neck, and a mom pushing her sleeping kid in a pink stroller. I’m not normally the groupie type, but I’m intrigued, and act on a hunch.

    It can’t be. I tell myself. You’re crazy. Stuff like this only happens in movies.

    Still, my instincts are usually good. Curiosity wins out, and I follow blindly along behind the rest of these hopeful idiots, jogging to catch up.

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  76. Name: Lauren
    Title: Tangled
    Genre: Fantasy
    Word count: 55,000
    Email: empressawesome1@gmail.com

    A blind outcast finds out she's the only one who can protect the world from demons-- if they don't kill her first.


    Fay leaned her upper body out of her burrow’s lid, sighing at the carefree nature and happy song of the local sea birds that flitted above her head. Everyone said that they were the most beautiful birds in the area, that they made perfect pets for royalty. But what did that matter? The noise of their wings flapping annoyed her. She picked up a nearby rock and nailed one right in the chest. Ten points for the artful nosedive, but the landing sucked.

    “Come eat your breakfast, Fay,” called her father, Val. Foster father, really, but it made no difference to either of them. Fay was blind and didn’t see their physical differences, Val was open minded and didn’t care. You’d have to be open minded to adopt a fair skinned child.

    Fay huffed and closed the dreadful heat and salty air away as she skulked back down the ladder to the table. “My potato is shaped like a foot.”

    “Fay,” warned Val.

    “No, really, it has five toes and everything…” She poked each toe with her finger. “No, it has seven. Close enough.” She made her potato foot skip merrily around the rim of her plate.

    “Don’t play with your food, honey. Come on, now, you’ll be late for school.”

    Fay sighed heavily. “Do you think they need potato-foot dancers in the circus?”

    “For the last time, you’re not joining the circus.”

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  77. Name: Kimberlee Turley
    Title: Note to Self
    Genre: YA Fantasy/Steampunk
    Word Count: 75,000
    Email: kimberlee.turley@yahoo.com


    When Gracie finds threatening notes in her circus costume, she doesn’t realize the person trying to warn her she’s in danger, is herself.

    Gracie glared at the recommendation letter Mrs. Minchin had given her for a job at a chicken factory. Plucking feathers off dead chickens was a task unworthy of her rounded vowels and articulated consonants. Her English should have at least earned her a job in a seamstress’s shop. She suspected this job was Mrs. Minchin’s revenge for all those fights she’d gotten into with the other children. Though in her defense, Gracie had ended most of the spats long before Mrs. Minchin had need to intervene with her yardstick.

    With her few possessions rattling around in her small cabin trunk, Gracie went to the front lobby to meet Mr. Minchin. The past eight years had turned her into a woman and now she needed to say goodbye to her childhood and earn her place in the world.

    The shrewd headmaster escorted her to the large iron gates at the perimeter of the orphanage. Her skin pebbled in the cold spring air. She noted the smile which pulled at the corner of Mr. Minchin’s lips when she blew farewell kisses over her shoulder rather than acting sullen. Mr. Minchin could be blunt with his parting message and not need to worry he’d make her cry. After all, she wasn’t leaving her home, she was finally getting the chance to search for it.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Name: Mary Holm
    Title: DARKLING
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 68,000
    Email: worddance8@aol.com

    Pitch: Taela of Riverin is determined to kill the man responsible for her sister’s death, even if the rest of the kingdom believes he’s a hero.

    First Page:

    CHAPTER ONE
    THE RENEGADE

    The heavy stoneware crock slipped from Taela’s grasp, and with a crash, shattered on the dirt floor. She jumped back as shards of pottery and summerbeans scattered at her feet. She bent to clean the mess. Footsteps approached from the other side of the weathered door. Cursing herself for her carelessness, she ducked behind a barrel.

    Blood rushed in Taela’s ears. Ribbons of moonlight shone through the slats of the storage shed illuminating the casks, barrels and crates stacked around her. The sour smell of vinegar soaking the dirt overpowered the scents of aging wood and hay.

    The wooden handle turned and the door inched open. Taela hunched in the shadows, holding her breath. A young woman wearing a white nightdress entered, flickering candlelight illuminated her face. Selita. Long brown hair hung loose around her shoulders and she carried a wooden spoon as if it were a club. Misshapen shadows cast by the candlelight danced on the opposite wall.

    Taela shifted to ease a cramp and her boot scuffed the hard-packed dirt. Selita turned toward the sound. “Who’s there? Show yourself or I’ll let in the dogs.” She was bluffing. The dogs weren’t anywhere near or their yapping would have given Taela away. Selita took another step toward her hiding place.

    Taela cursed under her breath. Conceding defeat, she stood. “Selita, it’s me.”

    Selita shrieked, then laughed as she recognized her. “Taela, you nearly startled me to death. I thought you were a Terrinian raider."

    ReplyDelete
  79. Name: Katy Upperman
    Title: Where Poppies Bloom
    Genre: Contemporary YA Ghost Story
    Word Count: 76,000
    Email: katy.upperman@live.com

    Pitch: Consumed by guilt after her sister’s tragic death, Callie Ryan must choose between life with Tucker, the golden boy who dulls her pain, and eternal escape with Nathan, a ghost who holds his own dark secrets.

    First Page:

    I never used to be the type of girl who hotboxes her bathroom.
    Sitting perched on the countertop next to the sink, I slip a joint between my lips and lose myself in a haze of pungent smoke that distorts the flower patterns dancing across my shower curtain. My bare feet bounce against the cabinet below, drumming out a staccato beat. I zone in, a microscope focused crisp and clear, absorbing the irregular thudding until it permeates through flesh and muscle and organs, vibrating right into my bones.
    Joint to lips. Deep, deep inhale. Hold the smoke until my chest sizzles. Exhale.
    Smoking is a solitary thing for me. Something I started doing six months ago, the first time grief clenched my chest, wringing the air from my lungs like water from a wet rag. Trapping blood in the chambers of my heart until I’m certain they’ll explode. Stinging my eyes with hot, salty tears, telltale tracks racing down my cheeks. It’s during these times, when the hurt becomes too much to bear, that I steal a moment to lock myself in my bathroom. Only then can I truly breathe.
    The irony doesn’t escape me¬¬—polluting my lungs with illegal herbal smoke shouldn’t comfort me the way, say, a warm hug used to. But the smoke—the simple, methodical act of smoking—kneads otherwise suffocating thoughts from my brain and calms me like nothing else.
    I’m drifting today—more so than usual. A wisp of cotton caught in an unpredictable summer breeze.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Name: Allison Schellong
    Title: REDDO
    Genre: YA urban fantasy
    Word Count: 99,000
    E-mail: aschellong@smcvt.edu

    Pitch: When Sophie Rowan meets a boy who claims he can answer any question in the world, she discovers her dearest question is the only one that can't be answered--and that there are dangerous secrets that come along with knowing so much.

    First Page (I went to the end of the sentence, hope that's okay!):

    Spending five hours in the sort of rainstorm that sent people running for cover didn’t bother Sophia Rowan.

    As part of the preservation crew at Ellery Wildlife Preserve, she spent more time outside than inside. Bad weather was an unavoidable consequence of wandering the trails every day. In fact, Sophie actually liked the rain. Refreshing and cool, it transformed the forest into another world entirely—a glittering, green Eden. Vibrant colors burst out from behind every uprooted tree; the ferns reached their tips high to welcome the drops, to drink them in. On her walks around the preserve, Sophie often stopped to watch the raindrops slide one by one off the drooping leaves.

    Technically, her it was her duty to enforce the rules of the preserve, which is why she had given her job the more appropriate title of an “enforcer.” After all, when she wasn’t lost in thought strolling down the trails, she was reprimanding kids and adults alike for venturing off the clearly-marked paths and stomping their feet through the precious New Hampshire flora. Whenever this happened, she would pull out her thick blue notebook, jot down the perpetrator’s motives for leaving the path and harming the oh-so-delicate environment, and report that person to her boss, Maggie.

    It was a pointless job, Sophie always thought. People should be able to explore if they wanted to. That’s what the woods were for.

    But now, as she knelt in the mud as a consequence of slipping in the mud (poise wasn’t usually an issue with her—she’d practically grown up in the forest), she suddenly realized why her job existed.

    ReplyDelete
  81. Name: Penny Wright
    Title: NO USE FOR A NAME
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 50,000
    Email: penny@penelopewright.com

    Pitch: When fifteen year old Baby finds out her first name's not a nickname, it's up to her to select a new name that fits...but her choices carry baggage and stereotypes, and she's about to find out what's *really* in a name.

    *Now serving…ticket number…one…five…two…at window number…nine.*

    I looked at the scrap of paper in my hand for about the thousandth time, but my heart still leapt when I saw the 152 in bold black font. Jumping up, I hurried over to the last stall on the right. I grinned when I saw who it was.

    My next door neighbor refused to even look at me, just tapped away with her long green fingernails on her keyboard, chewing her gum about as fast as her fingers flew.

    Finally she swiveled her head to face me, and her look of mild annoyance melted away into a smile.

    “Baby Anderson! I wondered when I’d see you here.”

    “Hi Mrs. Dutton.”

    She blinked her eyes rapidly. So much mascara coated her lashes I was surprised they didn’t make a clicking noise when they beat together. “Any other member of the Anderson clan walks in here, I’m taking out extra insurance, but you behind the wheel? Now that doesn’t scare me at all. You have your social security card?”

    “Right here,” I said, digging around in my bag. Mom and dad have, I’m not kidding, like fifty storage tubs full of unopened mail in a shed behind our trailer. I found the one from the year I was born, and I found my card – fifteen and a half years old – and brand-spanking-new.

    I handed it to Mrs. Dutton and her brow wrinkled.

    “Is something wrong?” I asked.

    “It says your name is Baby Girl Anderson.”

    ReplyDelete
  82. Holly Boland
    The Phantom Relic
    Paranormal/Romance YA
    65000
    hbwaas@gmail.com

    Everyone is intrigued by the possibility of eternal love; but what happens when you are forced into creating it?

    You know the couple. They look like Greek gods. They seem like royalty, and don't ever try to impress anyone. In fact, they may not even know anyone else exists outside their phenominal party of two. The couple who makes everyone else bleed with envy. They have the most incredible aura, almost as if a glowing magical ring surrounds them. You feel lucky, blessed even; just to have witnessed them together. In the same regard, they remind you of what you do not have. Their unbreakable bond is both physical and emotional. I know this couple well. I have been told I was part of this couple; right up until the uncontrollable events in my life altered everything I thought I knew.

    My name is Dorothy Ellen Bradford. Sounds like a mouthful, I know. That's why my friends call me Dee. My parents insisted on naming me Dorothy after my father's mother, who passed away before I was born. Not to dishonor her memory, but I don't know what my parents were thinking. Such an old fashioned name. I mean really, why stop with Dorothy? Why didn't they just name me Helga and get it over with? I guess they thought it was a great honor for me to be named after her. She was a very interesting woman from what my parents have told me. They said I would be a lot like her someday because I was destined to do great things. We'll see I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Just stopping by to say hello and that this is awesome! What a fantastic contest!

    ReplyDelete
  84. Thanks so much for this awesome contest!

    Shallee McArthur
    Devolutionaries
    YA dystopian
    84,000 words
    shallee.mcarthur [at] gmail [dot] com

    Pitch: 16-year-old Ash must sacrifice his ability to talk in order to hone the telepathic skills he needs to rescue his grandfather from a Government experiment on thought control.

    250 words:

    Grandad lied to me a lot. I’d known that for a long time. But standing at the counter at the Distribution Center, I decided everybody lied.

    “You only gave me four potatoes,” I said.

    “Well, you only gave me four Produce coupons.” The clerk tossed her braid behind her shoulder. She smiled, making her pox scars wrinkle across her face. Was she flirting with me while she cheated me?

    I ignored the smile. My eyes went to the shelves that stretched behind the counter, piled high with tin cans and semi-fresh produce. Including two more potatoes that should be mine.

    “I gave you six coupons.” I glared at her through the damp brown hair hanging in my eyes. The ceiling fans circled above me, totally useless.

    Her smile faded. “Maybe you dropped some. I only counted four.”

    “Look, my boss doesn’t give me enough—“ I clamped my mouth shut.

    Working in Kessler’s bike repair shop should have given me more coupons than it did, but Scavengers had an unspoken rule. We didn’t rat each other out to the Government. I didn’t want Kessler’s death on my head.

    I glanced toward one of the military policemen in his blue uniform. He scanned the silent line of people that trailed out the door and bounced the butt of his automatic rifle in his pox-scarred hands like he was bored. Nobody made a sound under his watch. We knew the rules: silence and order. We knew the punishment, too. That gun was loaded.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Diedra Danby
    Apeiron
    Contemporary YA
    50000 words
    diedra_danby@hotmail.com

    Emily develops a crush on an unusual high school teacher, forcing her to confront her existentialist beliefs.

    Emily doesn’t want a bullet in her head. At least, not now. She knows that death is the one thing we all have in common and some ways to go are better than others. For her, the ideal exit involves no pain and minimal anticipation. But she is still young and hasn’t done much, so for now she’d rather postpone the end. She thinks of the remaining half of raspberry torte sitting on the kitchen table. She has been looking forward to it all day, the best motivation she has for going home. She knows she’d go home anyway, but it’s so much more pleasant when torte is waiting. If possible, she’d like to be on her way again. Instead of both feet planted on the ground, back to the graffiti stained concrete wall, waiting for the heavy man to make up his mind. His outstretched arms are quivering, one hand clasping the other clasping the gun. His lips twitch, tongue sliding over them. His eyes are small. Or maybe just crowded by unnecessary bulges and flaps of skin. His eyes are dark brown, or at least she imagines them to be in the fading daylight, but not black. She doesn’t believe anyone could actually have black eyes.
    “What the hell do you want, hey?” he shouts. “Go back to Eddy and tell him he can come show his stupid face himself, the next time. You tell him what we said before, what we always say. You tell him. Maybe I’m gonna put one through you right now, yeah? Maybe that’ll show him. You tell him, bitch.”

    ReplyDelete
  86. This is a wonderful contest, Monica! But PLEASE let the next one be for Women's Fiction and/or Historical writers, too! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  87. You are fantastic, Monica! Thank you for this contest! :)

    ReplyDelete
  88. Name: Morgan Shamy
    Title: Shadow Watchers
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 70,000
    Email: MIC804ever@yahoo.com


    Pitch: Everyday the storms drift through the town, erasing the memories of everyone except Clara.

    First Page:

    “Clara …”

    I heard my name spoken softly through the hum of the car. I glanced over to Ricki, who was on her phone, texting. My eyebrows pulled together as I continued driving.

    “Clara …” the voice whispered again. My heart accelerated and the steering wheel became slick beneath my palms. I checked the rear-view mirror. A semi-truck followed behind, not tailgating but closer than I wanted. I glanced out the open window. Was the voice coming from outside?

    Blinding white light suddenly flashed into my vision, searing through my mind like a hot blade. I screamed, clutching my head, feeling as if my eyeballs were about to burst. Ricki cursed, her voice fading, sliding into a different realm. Very slowly, I blinked, and the scorching light melted into the blaring sun. Squinting, I saw myself come into focus, a child version of me sitting in my backyard. I was laughing … beaming at what the voice was telling me.

    “You don’t really mean that,” the younger me said.

    “Go on. Touch it. Just one touch and it will turn into a butterfly.”

    The caterpillar crawled up my thin arm, goose bumps visible on my flesh, following in the little bug’s wake. I saw my young face grow tentative as I brushed the caterpillar with the tip of my pinky. Color exploded in front of my astonished eyes as not one, but two butterflies erupted upward into the air. I screeched in delight.

    “See? Beautiful. Just like you, Clara.”

    Ricki’s scream ripped me from my delusion. I jerked my head to the side; the horror in her eyes alerting me to the dark van heading straight at us. Fear smacked me in the face as I spun the wheel to the right, praying there was no one in my blind spot. My shoulder slammed against the window as the car did a one-eighty, and skidded to a stop. My eyes clenched shut, not wanting to see my impending death.

    ReplyDelete
  89. J.A. Beard
    Title: Osland
    Word Count: 70,000
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    bms.beard@gmail.com

    Pitch: In this modern re-imagining of The Wizard of Oz, Kansas teen Gail Dorjee must ally with an airhead, a wuss, and a cold-hearted jerk to find the mysterious Principal Osland, the only person who may be able to prevent the magical destruction of Seattle.

    Page One

    I think everybody, at some point in their life, gets a piece of advice that seems real worthless at first but later strangely useful. For me, the advice came from my friend, Jessie. We were both fourteen at the time. I forget how the subject came up, but we started talking about how a person survived in prison.

    “Gail, this is the God’s honest truth about prison,” he told me. “My uncle got locked up over stock fraud stuff, so I know all about this. I’m telling you the only way to survive is to go up to the biggest guy on the first day and punch him right in the face! Punching them scares everyone because they think you’re psycho. Remember in case you end up in prison someday! Well, you’d punch the biggest girl in your case.”

    Okay, so maybe it’s a bit much to compare a boarding school to prison, but the advice still echoed in my mind as I took in the little slice of near-prison life I'd stumbled upon. A willowy, blonde girl and her two scowling cronies towered over a dark-skinned cringing girl. The blonde girl stepped forward and shoved the other girl’s shoulders.

    The prey stumbled to the ground and let out a strangled yelp as her butt hit the ground. The sight made my own rear hurt. After a few seconds, she scooted away until her back was up against the edge of one of the many fountains nestled throughout the school grounds.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Name: Michelle Flick
    Title: The Owens Legacy: Revelations
    Word Count: 99,884
    Genre: Paranormal Young Adult
    Email: mf060784@gmail.com

    Pitch:The telekinetic Owens twins find out truths of their family history, their loves, and themselves when factions at Evermore Academy battle over the revelations of an ancient prophecy, which deals with their special heritage.

    Where have they dropped us this time?
    Black, rusted iron gates stood in front of my sister and me. Gargoyle statues stared down at us; I think they were angels at one point, but years of sitting perched on those brick columns turned their cherub faces into faceless demons. They warned us not to enter the place where they had dropped us off. I guess “dropped” is a loose term considering our so-devoted aunt and uncle, had their chauffeur drive us to the airport - again with no goodbyes.
    Certainly doesn’t look like the website, does it? I heard Ryder say.
    I shook my head in agreement. We both stared at the sign “Evermore - School for the Gifted and Talented.” Actually, it should have read “a great place to drop the unwanted.”
    The iron gates were part of tall brick fence, seeming to stretch for miles in opposite directions. The gate was lower than the rest of the compound. A walkway went up to the building, a massive structure, more like an old brick mansion, rather than a boarding school. The brick was worn and weathered supporting my opinion that this building had been used for something other than a boarding school at first. There were four floors to the building, the fourth being broken up with peaks of green shingles. White lattice weaved with ivy, sporadically went up to the third floor and in some cases all the way up to the fourth floor.

    ReplyDelete
  91. I love this blog!

    Name: Christine Skrutowski
    Title: CHASING PREMONITIONS
    Genre: YA Suspense
    Word Count: 77,000
    Email: cskrutowski@gmail.com

    Pitch: A dead classmate, a cross burned into her flesh, and tirades of a fanatical religious nut bent on a new world order are enough to cause chaos in sixteen year old Jamie Starr’s life, especially when enduring it is in the name of friendship- or so she thought.

    First 250 words:
    The heightened pitch of noise outside swirled closer as Jamie readily dismissed it from her mind. Distracted by a pair of penetrating eyes, she stared, totally awed, at the best looking guy in class. Hell, the best looking guy in the whole eleventh grade. Long, thick lashes attached to incredible brown eyes swallowed her attention.
    Connor Hayden, a.k.a ‘hottie’ to the other girls at school, sat two desks over, his mouth curved and the corners of his eyes crinkled. Ah… gorgeous. Wait… was he laughing at me? Jamie’s eyes diverted to the desk top while her brain scrambled to figure out what she did. A few moments ago she was rambling on to nobody in particular, just mumbling to herself. Yup, that would do it. Often her friends caught her in the act of talking to herself when she sank into deep thought. It didn’t matter if she dwelled on her worries or mindless chatter, her lips moved all on their own, as whatever was in her head regurgitated through her lips. She ducked her head knowing her cheeks flushed pink, one of the hazards of being fair skinned.
    Mr. Childer droned on about the difference between a dominant and recessive genetic trait while a staccato rhythm continued, echoing outside the classroom window like a chorus of cicadas singing a full mating song as they marched towards the school. The background noise intensified, competing against the harsh April rain. Searching through the window, Jamie focused on the cause of it.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Leslie Rose leslie.rose@sbcglobal.net
    Title: Moon Strings
    Genre: SciFi Love Story
    Word Count: 72,000

    In a galaxy where a commoner can still catch a prince, fifteen-year-old science brainiac, Mellylora Whisper is the one who finds herself entangled in a royal romance.


    The rustling graduation robes hissed like a nest of snakes. Mellylora Whisper shoved into homeroom through the clog of gooey-eyed female cadets surrounding Prince Jexa.
    She wanted to yell, “Guess what girls. The Firstson Prince of Hokuu comes as a package deal with me, best buddy, Mellylora Whisper.”
    No matter how appealing the idea was, she couldn’t do it. The outburst would make Jexa mad, and the roomful of fifteen-year-ole graduating cadets would think she was stranger than they already thought she was.
    Melly dug her nails into her palms.
    Slow down. Life was going too fast and she wasn’t ready to give up her best friend.
    Next year, at Larkan University Prep, Jexa had to learn politics and military strategy like a dutiful prince, while Melly wanted nothing more than to hide in a lab. There would be no more shared classes, no more mirrored days. They would be apart.
    Then who would overlook her idiosyncrasies and still want to spend time with her?
    Melly tried to concentrate on the pixits flashing across the three screens spanning the front wall of the classroom, chronicling their four cadet years at the Larkan Academy. They all looked so young and unconcerned by life in those first two years. Even the flirty redheaded Mageline showed up in a pixit turning a cartwheel on the grassy quad. The prince-seeking debutante wouldn’t be caught dead doing that now.
    The pixit show gave her a headache.

    ReplyDelete
  93. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Name: Pierre Sylvestre

    Email: pierre.sylvestre@gmail.com

    Story Name: Deathless: The Reawakening

    Genre: YA urban fantasy

    1 Sentence Pitch:

    Fourteen-year-old Aaren Danielson launches an investigation to discover his real identity, but he will have to escape a clan of immortals who rise from the shadows, ready to unleash Hell on Earth.

    First page of the MS:
    Scorching rays from the California sun beamed through large glass windows, bathing the two occupants of Danielson Tae Kwon Do’s main training room in natural light. They didn’t speak, communicating only with their eyes. Aaren Danielson stood over a stack of six thick wood planks that rested on two dusty gray bricks, placed on top of a blue mat. Breathing in deeply, he sucked in cool air, trying to focus his nervous energy. His forehead was slick with sweat. A droplet trickled down the bridge of his pointed nose, descending to the floor below, but Aaren never even blinked. Absolute focus was necessary.
    His master stood behind the stack, arms crossed. Stoic, his eyes gazed upon Aaren, watching his movements carefully. Concentrate, Aaren repeated silently. Bringing his fingers together, he exhaled, slowly practicing his striking motion. Once, twice, and a third time, he repeated the same, simple motion. Keep your palm flat, and extend the arm until the elbow is straight at the end of the motion, Aaren thought, recalling the instructions before this portion of his red belt test began. Touching the smooth surface of the wood with the palm of his left hand for a little reassurance, Aaren felt ready.
    “Kiyap!” Aaren yelled, puncturing the silence with his loud shout, as his hand crashed against the stack of wood boards. The angle wasn’t right, and his hand glanced off the top plank. An unpleasant tingling sensation coursed up his arm.

    ReplyDelete
  95. Name: Sarah Nicolas
    Title: The Demons You Know
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 66,500
    Email: Sarah.nicolas.ya at gmail dot com

    One sentence: When supposedly-extinct demons kidnap every adult Mage, 16 year-old Miranda must partner with a young Holy Warrior for a cross-country rescue mission.

    Miranda launched the second fireball from her left hand a fraction of a second after the first, urging it to fly a touch faster. She knew the timing needed to be precise; she knew how improbable this trick was. She knew it because she had already attempted it – and failed – 273 times today. And as many the day before.

    Her earphones blasted a hard rhythm. The music drowned out random sounds from the house and helped her focus. The magic inside her pulsed in time with the heavy bass.

    Her mother said what she aimed to do was impossible, but Miranda had seen the explosions when flames from two Fire Mages collided. If she could do this, no Mage alive could defeat her in The Tournament. And though her mother, the Pcyhic Mage, taught her about power, her dad had taught her its real secret – control.

    The two flames raced to the practice room's stone wall. Based on her studies of The Tournament film archives, the pinpoint centers needed to perfectly overlap a hair's breadth from the stone target. She squinted, trying to tell how close she had come this time.

    Not impossible, but near enough.

    In answer, a bone-jarring explosion blew her backwards. She tucked into a ball and rode the shockwave forty feet to the far wall of the practice room, laughing as she tumbled.

    She felt the envelope of her protection spell disintegrate, spent by the explosion.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Just came back to check on the contest and noticed that my word count got cut off. Terribly sorry.

    Word Count: 86,000

    ReplyDelete
  97. Name: Meyn Lorenzo
    Title: Resonance
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    WordCount: 110,000
    email: eric.meyn@gmail.com

    "An accidental demon magnet, high school student, Emma Drishumn stumbles into a dark world where soul is currency and memories are trade."


    Cars, buses and taxi cabs honked, stuck in traffic, amidst a mass of people crowding the road, who held burning red and green sparkling sticks in the cool air. Men and women in red silk pants and shirts jumped and danced to the beat of drums, holding wooden poles supporting a red paper dragon with yellow eyes and a flapping mouth. Fireworks soared through the night sky, exploding in rainbow colors, lighting the faces of the people with stark amazements and admiration.
    On the rooftop of a ten-storey building apartment, a man garbed in black stood on the ledge, head shadowed by a hood with crimson streaks from the back, eyes dilating, glowing white.
    Down below, a girl in glasses looked to a boy beside her and smiled. ‘I wish I could say it tonight. I really, really like him,’ her thoughts circled in her mind.
    The man blinked.
    A girl in pigtails clutched a baseball in her hands and focused on the bottles stacked in front of her. ‘Okay, just breathe. I can do this. I have to just knock this last one and I’ll have the grand prize,’ she said to herself.
    The man shifted his head to his right.
    A girl in baggy pants entered a convenience store a kilometer away from the building apartment. ‘What was I supposed to get? Err…was it tissue or soap? I should have written it down.’
    Turning to his left, the man sighed and let his mind skim even further.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Thanks so much for hosting this!
    Name: Sarah Enni
    Title: Reliance
    Genre: YA contemporary
    Word Count: 58,000
    email: sarahenni@gmail.com

    When her on-the-wagon, off-the-wagon mom follows her to West Texas, Poppy has to choose between running away with the quarterback heartthrob or facing up to her broken family history.


    The first thing I see as we pass the dusty “Welcome to Texas” sign is an armadillo plodding along the highway. I can’t believe it. Short of Clint Eastwood cocking an eyebrow at a passing tumbleweed, it’s the most Texas thing I can imagine. I start to reach for my cell to text Caleb, but let the bag drop back on the passenger side floor when I remember. We broke up.
    Well, he broke up with me. But I went to our cliff yesterday with every intention of doing it myself. So it was sort of mutual. Anyway, in my new, single, reality, Caleb is in Santa Cruz and I’m not. I don’t need him to care about a crappy pixilated image of a red-brown lizard-mammal on the side of the highway. The armadillo passes under my window and disappears in a plume of dust the U-Haul kicks up behind us. I don’t know if Dad even noticed.
    Don’t know if he notices much. We’ve been driving for twenty-three hours and hardly spoken a word. I’m surprised when he clears his throat and, in a gruff voice, says, “Here we are.”
    Nothing announces Reliance. No red, white, and blue sign, no feverishly flapping Lone Star flag. The first ranch houses just appear, sand-colored and squat, like extensions of the wind-stripped earth. “This is it?” I ask, trying to bite back my growing panic. “Where are we, Tatooine?”

    ReplyDelete
  99. Name: Taryn
    Title: Playing God
    Genre: YA Dystopian
    WC: 70K
    Email: tarynalAThotmailDOTcom

    Pitch: In a dystopian future where humans are gods, a shy teenager exploited by the government discovers the awful charade by which writers seem to create portals to other worlds.

    250: The inscription was faded and scratched, but Kalyn Gale had never seen such potent words.
    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
    It had probably been there for centuries—one, at least, since no one had believed in the silly myths of religion for over a hundred years—but the weathered marking of age suggested longer.
    Every time she came to this spot, it seemed bolder, deeper, more prominent than the last, as if time itself were going backward and erasing the very marks of age. At that ridiculous idea, Kalyn gave a rueful laugh, the sound echoing in the empty ruins of the old stone building. Progress. That was the key word of this era. Moving forward step by step and leaving behind anything that would suggest man did not have control of the world.
    Her gaze slid from the thick gray wall and searched the sky above. Through a jagged hole in the roof of the crumbling structure they used to call a chapel, she saw the moon hanging like a fat fist amongst a glimmering array of stars. A burst of light cut the darkness in half, and for a moment Kalyn could almost bring herself to believe she’d seen a shooting star.
    But no. Reality told her it was most likely a shuttle, or a passenger plane, or even a ship off to the colony on Mars. Not something as natural or uncontrollable or beautiful as a shooting star.

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  100. AAAArg this is terrible. My MS is nowhere near finished, so I was only reading some of the comments to see what people are entering. Now I have a raving case of want-to-read-this-itis. dammit :(

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  101. Monica, you must a glutton for punishment:) This contest is going to be crazy-hard to judge. But thank you for giving so many writers this opportunity. You're fantastic!

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  102. Christina! LOL, right! I want to read sooo many, too! :P

    Krista... omg, yes! But you know what I'm going to do? I'll just ask for many 10-first pages! And then I *hope* to get an AWESOME ms and, like, fall for it, or something. :P

    Hey Lorena! Lol, I'll try! :P

    Author Alannian, if you want you can post again and delete the first entry, but you have until midnight.

    Jenny! Thanks for stopping by, my friend! <3

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  103. Sorry if this is duplicating. I'm having a hard time posting. I hope I can still squeeze this in for the contest. Good luck to everyone!

    Name: Jamie Kleinkauf (jamiekswriter(at)yahoo(dot)com)
    Title: Gear kin
    Genre: Young Adult Steampunk
    Word Count: 60,000

    Pitch: Katie Lynn, a gear child, is searching for her human Papa but her new family, a rag tag group of gear kin, wants her to give up her quest and fight in the war of independence from the humans who are distracted by their own Civil War.

    The Mama bear took a swipe at her. Katie Lynn didn’t feel the pain at first, just a coldness where her arm used to be. But the blow knocked her flat and she landed on Samuel, which probably saved his life.

    The bear rose up on its hind legs and bellowed into the forest. The cubs that had seemed so cute and playful, now cowered at their Mama’s feet. When she came down on all fours, the forest floor shook. Snuffling, she investigated Katie Lynn’s severed arm. Coal slag and brass sprogs from Waterbury littered the moss underneath it. She bit into it. Shook the arm. Gears fell like golden raindrops on the leaves and Katie Lynn watched her arm collapse in the bear’s massive jaws. The Mama bear spat it out and then licked the ground over and over again.

    Katie Lynn was so scared. Papa was going to be very angry. The townspeople were never going to believe she escaped the bear unscathed, even if Samuel survived the mauling. They would take her away. They wouldn’t stand for her going to school with their children. They would hate that Papa fooled them for so long. Katie Lynn whimpered.

    The bear turned at the noise and locked her gaze on Katie Lynn. She bit down on the scream when the bear nudged her with her snout. The mini steam engine pistoning her heart was pumping hard and fast in her chest. Katie Lynn held her breath, didn’t blink. Steam plumed out of her shoulder. The hissing and whistling of her internal engines agitated the bear.

    Katie Lynn couldn’t stop the tears from leaking out the corner of her eyes. They were tinged with soot. With a disgusted snort, the Mama bear lumbered back to her babies and crashed back into the underbrush.

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  104. Name: Anin Pandey
    Title: Lives Archive
    Genre: YA paranormal fantasy
    Word count: 120,000 words
    Email: pandeyri@topaz.co.nz

    Pitch: LIVES ARCHIVE is a YA paranormal fantasy about sixteen year-old Charlotte Meads who awakens in a haunted mansion as a Para-Dies, and has to solve the conundrums about her death, her identity and whether she killed Kieran – drop-dead gorgeous and just as unattainable the second time around.

    Lives archive
    Chapter 1 – The End of the Week

    I stared out the window, wistful, at the Sunday afternoon lingering. Sunday! I groaned. It is arguably the most stressful night of the week for me, as I peep into the new one looming ahead while the pleasures of the weekend are still fresh. That’s when even my sixteen-year-old self has no energy to argue. And I didn’t. I sighed as the computer clock turned to six, although it was clearly not its fault that the gleaming window behind it gloated with two more hours of June daylight. My online messages and phone equally echoed the call to the outdoors: to the eighty-degree, humid Texas heat.

    Their summons was like a trumpet over the drone of leftover homework, drowning it out. So my books used their visual weaponry, rearing their various heads to overshadow me. Eyeballing me, fangs on display, they announced, ‘No more good times for you Charlie, thanks to the fun you’ve devoured all weekend.’ Just scraps of schoolwork but they tried to bite into escape time with my friends. Well they could keep trying!

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  105. [Sorry, rest of the 250 words! Anin]

    Lives archive
    Chapter 1 – The End of the Week

    I stared out the window, wistful, at the Sunday afternoon lingering. Sunday! I groaned. It is arguably the most stressful night of the week for me, as I peep into the new one looming ahead while the pleasures of the weekend are still fresh. That’s when even my sixteen-year-old self has no energy to argue. And I didn’t. I sighed as the computer clock turned to six, although it was clearly not its fault that the gleaming window behind it gloated with two more hours of June daylight. My online messages and phone equally echoed the call to the outdoors: to the eighty-degree, humid Texas heat.

    Their summons was like a trumpet over the drone of leftover homework, drowning it out. So my books used their visual weaponry, rearing their various heads to overshadow me. Eyeballing me, fangs on display, they announced, ‘No more good times for you Charlie, thanks to the fun you’ve devoured all weekend.’ Just scraps of schoolwork but they tried to bite into escape time with my friends. Well they could keep trying!

    I know this will sound like a pathetic excuse for the way I resolved my dilemma – but the threats made by my uncompleted homework actually kick-started me out the door. As I hibernated my computer, I considered that going out into the open arena would make me fair game. I averted my gaze from the ruins of the upcoming week: doing detention in dark classrooms.

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  106. Name: Cassandra Marshall 

    Title: SALTWATER
    Genre: YA contemporary
    Words: 52,000



    Pitch:

    Sixteen-year-old Tavi’s broke-ass family just won the lottery, but with the cash comes grief over the death little brother James to cancer two years prior, hot new boyfriend Bran, and a crazed stalker who wants Tavi for his own.

    First page:

    The bagger puts our groceries in the cart and Dad tries to swipe our food stamps card without everyone seeing. But they see. I know they do.
    The cashier makes a big deal about pushing the EBT button, his arm moving in a large arc, in slow motion no less, as smooth as a boy putting his arm around a girl in the back of the movie theatre while pretending to yawn.

    Dad and I hold our breath.

    We called this morning and the mechanical voice said there’s two hundred dollars on it, but we can never be sure. Nothing is ever sure with us.

    He calls it ‘hand to mouth’ and I know it’s wearing him down. He’s been working fast food for two years now and looks more like my grandfather than my dad. Worry lines and grey hairs don’t suit him as much as they suit Sean Connery.

    The receipt nearly trips over itself trying to escape the printer and I hear Dad exhale. He grabs the receipt from the cashier, thanks him, and tells him to have a good night. The cashier says nothing as he begins to ring up the next customer who has three gallons of milk. We haven’t bought milk yet.

    I feel a little bit like a thief as we pack the groceries in the car. $150 in free food. It’ll last us the month if we’re careful. But we’re always careful. We’ll probably have food left over. We’ll have enough to spurge on a birthday cake for me in November. Four months left to go. I’ll be seventeen.

    Dad pulls our car into the gas station. I notice a sign for the lottery, it’s LCD panel flashing ‘LARGEST JACKPOT EVER: 210M’ at us through the light mist.

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  107. Name: Christa Desir
    Title: Gestapo
    Genre: Contemporary YA
    Word Count: 52, 000
    email: christadesir@comcast.net

    Pitch: Eight friends play a game of manipulation and coercion and pay the price when one is implicated in a murder that occurs during the game.

    First 250 words--

    Logarithms and differential equations were sucking the marrow out of my social life.

    What sort of scheduling sadist thought to make Mr. Wilson’s AP Calculus my last class? It was boot camp painful. He even barked orders like a drill sergeant: “Rachel Hunt, you will write the homework on the white board before frittering off to the plethora of after school activities that keep you from doing the extra credit problems for my class.”

    Geez, weren’t extra credit problems supposed to be extra? And to top it off, he asked me to mentor one of the struggling kids in the class. I couldn’t say no even if it did add another thing to my precariously teetering pile of commitments.

    So I was late. Again.

    I had to walk past three couples making out to get to my locker so I was pretty annoyed by the time I stood before the door of the Menagerie office. I smoothed down my once-curly-now-fuzzy hair and put on my most serene face.

    Menagerie was our high school’s literary magazine and honestly, the best part of my day. I stepped into the room, slightly out of breath, and scanned the twenty or so people milling about. They sat on old desk chairs or perched on throw pillows scattered about the threadbare rug on the floor. As usual, the overhead lights had been switched off in favor of the four mismatched lamps resting on desks throughout the room.

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  108. Name: Katrina Lantz
    Title: MUSED
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy (romance)
    Word Count: 60,000
    Email: katrina (dot) lantz (at) gmail (dot) com

    Pitch:

    Music turns Azalea’s world, but the electrical connection that feeds all muses could fail if a family of self-proclaimed demon hunters have their way.

    The first page:

    Zephyr’s eyes went completely white. The crystal encrusted silver of her bracelets gleamed. Her crown erupted with silver-purple light as she levitated above the marble floor, above every head. Around the room, great gray-veined pillars vibrated electrically in the eerie light. Calm fell over the panicked assembly. One woman stopped mid-attack, dropping her hands in awe. A man close to Zephyr cringed as the light coming off of her burst even brighter. She seemed to be watching them all at once. Her hands stretched to the vaulted sky. And she spoke.

    “Born of a Seer, she does not see, imbued with power she does not seek. But one will see. One will defy the blinding twinkle in her eye.
    The power she wields, a curse to her, will save us from the scourge of fear. The chosen soul, in his despair, will save her with a gift so rare.”

    All at once the glow receded into her and Zephyr collapsed on the cold, hard floor. Healers appeared in the calamity that followed to lift her weightless body away. But as they paraded through the parting crowd, Zephyr’s form began to buzz and shine. Gasps from the unruly onlookers made the healers stop and watch. Her lily skin grew bright, whisking the breeze away with it, as everything that made Zephyr whole dissolved into the ether.

    That was the day my mother disappeared. I’ve been watched like a cell in a petri dish ever since.

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  109. Monica, thanks a bunch! What a great opportunity!

    Name: Joy N. Hensley
    E-mail: joynhensley at gmail dot com
    Title: GEMMA UP-OVER
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 61,000

    One Sentence Pitch: Right before Gemma's dad dies, he leaves a mysterious letter about a mom she never knew prompting Gemma to pack up, head Down Under and go on the hike of her life to find a mom, and maybe herself, along the way.

    First Page:

    May 16
    T-minus 90 days and counting.

    The guy at the Customs booth squints at me. He looks a lot like a member of the Gestapo from some old World War II movie Jimmy and Dad used to watch. “Next person in line.”

    I march the five steps to his little glass-enclosed cubicle. After getting puked on six times on the plane by that screaming baby and my bag getting lost in Hawaii, this Hitler wannabe is who I have to deal with?

    Great. Just freakin' great.

    “Passport and documentation.”

    Well, hello to you, too. My flight was great, by the way, in case you were wondering. Oh yeah,
    and I'm thrilled to be here.

    I just look at him.

    Other than the Qantas flight attendants with their creepy I'm-only-faking-my-cheeriness-I really-want-to-kill-you smiles and uniforms straight out of that 70's show (they really must be robots, there's no other explanation), this guy is my first impression of Oz. And, I am less than impressed.

    Wiggles souvenir bags and lukewarm tea? Come on, Australia. You want people to come to the Land Down Under? Get a clue.

    “Passport and documentation, Miss.” The squint has turned to a full-fledged glare.

    I resist the urge to do a Heil-Hitler—he is not one to mess with—and hand him my blue United States passport and visa paperwork.

    “Anything to declare, Miss?”

    Well, let's see. There's the bomb I sneaked through security, but since the damn airline lost my luggage after making me wait (on a plane, by the way) for six hours in Honolulu, I don't have anything, no.

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  110. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  111. Monica, this is an amazing contest with a great list of agents! I see some of my favorite people here. Well done! And thank you!

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  112. Name: Haley Whitehall
    Email: unionadvance4ever@gmail.com
    Title: Shades of White
    Genre: YA historical fiction - bildungsroman
    Word count: 96,000

    One Sentence Pitch: In antebellum south, after Zach is sold, he pretends to be white and battles his faith and a manipulative lover, all to protect his family.

    First Page:

    Michael grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him aside. “Yuh tryin to get yo’self sold or worse?” he growled.

    Zachariah’s eyes widened. He shook his head vigorously. “Nosuh.”

    “Coulda fooled me. De way yuh been talkin,” Michael whispered as his gaze narrowed into a hard stare.

    Zachariah swallowed. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. He hated getting in trouble by the man he thought of as his pa. He pulled his arm back in an attempt to free his arm from Michael’s firm grasp but was unable to.

    Michael used his free hand to pull up his left pant leg.

    Zachariah’s jaw dropped as his eyes caught a glimpse of the disfigured flesh.

    “Look real close, boy.”

    There was a gouge in Michael’s calf as big as his fist. Zachariah had always wondered why the man walked with a limp. Looking at the scar turned Zachariah's stomach.

    “Dog bit me,” Michael explained. “Dat ain’t de only place neider. I was talkin freedom when I’s bout yo age. Den one day I let out. Dam dogs caught my scent right off. I spent dat nigh in chains in de barn. In de mornin dey took me to de market an had me whipped fo’ all to see. De jailer was awful mean bout it. Massah say he needed to teach me a lesson I ain’t gwine to forget.”

    Michael paused. He saw the horror gradually sink into Zachariah’s blue eyes.

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  113. Name: Jenn Nguyen
    Email: phanhnguyen1 at yahoo.com
    Title: JUST A CON
    Genre: YA contemporary romance
    Word count: 52,000

    One Sentence Pitch: Sixteen-year-old con artist in training Megan Benson scores her and her mother a place living in the Keller mansion only to realize too late that this isn't the family she wants to lie to.

    First Page:
    His stomach grumbled like a bizarre hybrid between a sputtering submarine and a wounded grizzly. Glancing at his watch for the twentieth time, Alex Harper let out a heavy sigh. He ignored the weird looks people gave him and impatiently tapped his right foot, mentally urging the middle age cashier to hurry up with the orders.

    If he was late for soccer practice one more time, he’d get kicked off the team. Or at least that’s what Coach threatened every other week. Although if anyone asked him, it was Coach Wilkins’s fault for having practice so early. Didn’t he know that teenagers weren’t supposed to get up before twelve in the summer? It was practically a law.

    But he knew Coach would never actually kick him off the team. Not if he wanted to keep winning. Alex was the best sprinter on the field. No lie. He could also casually mention that he knew Coach was sleeping with his stepmother whenever his dad was out of town. She brought more than snacks to practice.

    Thank God for adultery.

    He relaxed and leaned back against the plastic yellow railing. Yeah, there was no need to hurry.

    As he studied the burger menu above his head, Alex couldn’t help noticing the girl in front of him. Not only was she wearing very tight jeans that showed off her slender legs and round, although small, ass, but she was sniffling and wiping her eyes on a Kleenex every few seconds.

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  114. Name: Christy Hintz
    Title: Solstice
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 64,000
    Email: nc_hintz@yahoo.com

    An intuitive fifteen year old can see shadows outlining those dying from a bizarre strain of influenza, only to learn she must find a cure or stand accused of spreading it.

    An icy sensation dripped down my spine, warning me. I looked up and saw the blue shimmering form creeping toward me. The one I hadn’t seen in years and had hoped never to again. Scrambling to my feet, I hugged the journal, grabbed my backpack, and took off across the frosty ground. Leaves crunched and scattered as I raced through them, trying not to slip. I veered off the path, hoping to lose the hissing figure in what little coverage the fall forest left for me. Every step brought me closer to the edge of the trees, though.

    I emerged from the forest, blinded by unshed tears, darted left and sprinted to the boulevard that paved the road into Haven Park. I’d be safe once I reached school. I had no idea why I thought that was true, but it's the thought I clung to as I raced forward. My breaths came in labored gasps. Too scared to look behind me, I pressed on. My backpack hung off my arm and smacked against my thigh.

    Only a quarter of a mile to go.

    I no longer sensed the figure behind me, but the memory of its hisses confused my intuition. Plus, my heart thumped so hard it pounded in my ears and deafened me. I couldn’t be sure if it followed me or not.

    Come on legs! Almost there.

    A patch of grass left to cross and I’d reach the pavement of the school.

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  115. I thought I was late in putting my entry yesterday... Seemed to have mixed the dates. Heh. Although I am partly sure I may have missed my chance, I shall post anyways.
    Name: Gabrielle Dinh
    Title: Malice of Beautiful Things
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 54,000

    When an almost-death experience leads to someone finding out that seventeen-year-old Brook can make words come to life, it also leads to licorice-people who can use her ability against her will and whose plans may or may not involve a body count.

    The neighbors didn't wave back.

    No matter how discreet our neighbors thought they were being when they stared at my older cousin and I, they weren't.

    So I thought I'd be the kind citizen I was. Because having a window opened all the way where a person like myself can see people gazing at Nate putting up bright plastic flamingos is pretty weird. Not to mention, rude much?

    The glorious world of the internet told me that waving and smiling so wide my mouth hurt was what I needed to do in a situation like that. We were, apparently, main spectacles for the day. Except the internet got something wrong. They did not treat my welcoming very well. Instead, as Nate turned to look at both me as I was waving and said window for a moment, we saw the cedar-colored window come to a rather abrupt close.

    I thought it was the end of that, to be honest. It seemed like our show was over and there was going to be no encore or any finales at all. So Nate resumed putting up the not-so-average Christmas decorations while I watched as usual.

    Only when a few flamingos later did a car pull up near the snow-covered driveway. It was Nate's friends.

    Once they piled out of the car, they looked at Nate and mouthed something to him. He nodded.

    And that was how I watched a bunch of college students do the can can in front of plastic flamingos.


    (Thanks for the contest! Great list of agents ;D)

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  116. Name: Sheenah Freitas
    Title: The Chosen
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word count: 84,000
    Email: bellesfairytale[at]yahoo[dot]com

    Pitch: A reincarnated goddess must gather the powers of the gods in order to prevent a dire prophesy.


    From behind the bar counter a young woman looked about and sighed. There was much that she still needed to do before dusk arrived bringing with it her first customers. Diminutive sunlight made its way from a shattered window; the ones that were intact had so much dust caked on them they sucked everything in like a black hole allowing nothing to pass through. Like the windows, the floor was covered in a film preventing its true luster from being seen. Miniscule tables filled the room with dull chairs on top. She pulled her blonde hair back behind her, but it managed to come undone within the first hour of cleaning.

    Children could be heard outside, giggling. With a heavy sigh she dropped her mop and headed toward the door.

    The sun was shining down on her as she walked out of Eternity, a small building in the dilapidated part of town. A month of cleaning and repairs wasn’t enough to take the years of negligence away. It was a bar for the hopeless, the weak, and the poor.

    She peered down the alley. It stopped at the main street and continued on until it hit another road before continuing on again. To her, the alley was never ending, forever testing a human’s patience much like time. In front of her was a concrete courtyard the other businesses in the area used. The children, who were playing with a ball, hadn’t noticed her yet.

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  117. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  118. Very sweet contest! Thanks so much for the opportunity!

    Name: Cait Peterson
    Email: caitpeterson78@gmail.com
    Title: Child of Fire
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 66,000

    Born in a land enslaved by demons, Kat must learn to embrace her past and her identity to survive her fate and find freedom.

    ***

    Get down NOW.

    Kat dropped to the ground, pretending to trip on the cavern’s uneven floor. The stone which Jormund had thrown at her head careened instead into the rock face behind her. It was a narrow miss, and Kat was not as lucky with the debris. She winced as the flying shards cut into her face and hands, but she was already up and running, ignoring the initial sting. Her fights with Jormund kept her too busy to pay attention to the smaller cuts and bruises – the trainers would heal them later anyway, with their mysterious salve. Just more scars to add to the collection.

    Incoming! Pay attention!

    The Fire’s warning gave Kat just enough time to prepare for the hit. Still, the blast of flame knocked her hard into the cave wall. The fire never burnt, but the impact drove the jagged rock into her back. The thin fabric of her shirt did nothing to dull the sharp edges, and a small sound escaped her. Jormund crowed his delight as he swaggered towards her.

    “That was a close one, pz’akyn,” he boasted, using the demon word for ‘weakling.’ “Even your clumsiness can’t save you every time!” His hand brushed upwards across his bald head, wiping away the sweat from his casting.

    The knife in his hand glinted in the darkness, reflecting the dark demonfire nestled in the upper shelves of the cavern.

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  119. Hi Monica,

    Posting the full 250 words. Not sure why mine dropped some. Thanks for noticing and letting me know.

    Matt

    *******
    CHAPTER 1

    I was twelve years old when it first happened. Later, when I looked back on things, I realized there were signs all over the place. At times I was stronger than kids who were bigger than I was. I fell out of a second-story window when I was nine and had only bruised ribs to show for it. By the time I was eleven I could jump so high I could almost dunk a basketball.
    But it took getting hit by a truck to see that I was really special.

    CHAPTER 2

    We were just trying to cross the street. Granted it was a street where people tried to get up to warp speed but still. All of our parents said over and over again that we needed to cross at the light but that was like a hundred miles down and Riteway, the store we wanted, was right there.
    My friends Stephen and David wanted to go for the candy. School was over, backpacks were away, and homework was being ignored. Summer break was only a few weeks away and it was getting harder to focus on school work with an impending three month vacation.
    Stephen and David wanted the sugar rush to get through the rest of the day. Maybe they'd try to sneak a look at the Playboys. Once, Stephen stole some beer, no mean feat for a twelve year old.

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  120. Blakely Chorpenning
    Souled Out
    YA supernatural/urban fantasy
    63,500 words
    blakelychorpenning@yahoo[dot]com


    Ell Clyne had a chance at a normal life until the vampires cracked her tiny human world open, forcing her to swap fates and souls with her sister, and now she will answer for her stolen ability to read souls, fight to remain breathing and, oh yeah, fall in love...twice.


    I never expected eternity to feel so damn long. The real shame is that it’s barely started. I took the vow two years ago to become the Cypher, but hadn’t figured on life losing its gleamy little patina until I was at least one, maybe two hundred years old. And the prospect of eternity, especially in this town, will drive a girl unequivocally batty. No pun intended.

    It seemed like a sweet deal at first. Live forever without becoming the undead. Possess a bank account that could be mistaken as the country’s deficit. Days and holidays subject to my whim. And all I do in return is a little soul searching. But it turns out that reading souls, which saved someone very dear to me, has left me with one dangerous mother of a secret. Oh, and a hole next to my heart where my own soul used to be.

    I learned pretty quickly what my world was… And more importantly, what it could never be.

    My life isn’t normal because I am no longer normal. I’m eighteen and already pissed at the world. And now the monsters are growing wise to my conspiracy.

    Am I ready for what I’ve started?

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  121. THE CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!

    Thank you all for participating and sharing your first pages with me!!! I'm having a blast reading all the entries.

    Come back next week to see who are the FINALISTS! :D

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  122. I forgot my pitch, I forgot my pitch!!! PLEASE don't disqualify me for being stupid!! Here it is:

    When children suddenly begin to vanish, a group of unlikely teens join together and discover the disappearances are somehow linked to their powers and the town’s cryptic history.

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  123. No problem! I'll take a look at it too :D

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  124. Gah! I missed the one-sentence pitch:

    A refugee in a world divided by light and dark may be the key to defeating human-kind's worst enemy or she could be a Trojan horse.

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  125. Ah, forgot my word count on my entry!

    Deathless: The Reawakening - 55,000 words

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  126. Looks like a great contest sorry I missed it, but it looks like you had a great response. Good luck reading them all.

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  127. Monica, I just had a lot of fun reading through these amazing entries. I don't envy you for having to choose! Good luck, everyone.

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    ReplyDelete