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It’s on … Can You Hit A Perfect Pitch? Blogfest Contest with agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette

Sunday, 15 January 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

The contest is closed! Thanks everyone for participating and good luck. Please check back for the results soon!

Official Entry Post!
 All entries must be posted in the comments below by 8:00am EST January 17.

It’s finally here! Pitch your Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscript to agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Please enter ONLY your entry to this post. If you have any questions, you can comment here.
About the agent…
Ammi-Joan Paquette
From her agency site …
Joan joined EMLA in spring 2009 as an associate agent and was promoted to agent in fall 2011 after working in the editorial area of educational software development. In the last few years she has placed dozens of manuscripts with editors and is especially passionate about connecting with and launching the careers of debut authors. As the “East Coast branch” of EMLA, Joan works from her home office in Massachusetts, with long-distance support from the main Flagstaff office. She represents all forms of children’s and young adult literature, but is most excited by a strong lyrical voice, tight plotting with surprising twists and turns, and stories told with heart and resonance that will stand the test of time.

You can read all about Joan here or here or here.

And don’t forget about her most fabulous book . . .


The winners of the drawing for a copy of Nowhere Girl by A.J. Paquette by Random.org are

Angela Brown and Amy Jane Helmericks
(Please email me your addresses at brendadrakecontests@gmail.com to claim your prize.)
If you want to pick up your own copy of Nowhere Girl buy it here…

Barnes & Noble

Here’s how it’s going down…
On January 15th post a two sentence pitch (no more than 35 words) along with the first 150 words (if it falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence) of your finished Young Adult or Middle Grade manuscript to your blogs. From January 15th-16th hop around each others’ blogs and critique or praise them. Revise your entries, if you want, and post them by 8:00am (EST) January 17th to the official entry post. If you want, you may skip the blogfest/critique portion of this contest and just enter the contest. To participate, sign up on the linky below.
Here’s how your entry should look…
Title: Saint Michael’s Daughters
Genre: YA Paranormal
Word Count: 70,000

Pitch: Jude’s been trained to save good souls, so when the hot bad-boy from her Catholic school is claimed by the devil, she’ll break the rules and go to hell and back to save him. 
I hate the confessional. The booth is too tight and just plain creepy. You think you can hide your sins in such a dark place but that’s a ruse. I feel completely exposed. Vulnerable. I smooth my red and gray plaid dress-code skirt over my knees. The door shuts on the other side of the partition wall. The priest settles on the bench and slides the window open. I hold my breath, praying it isn’t Father Romano.

“You know it be a bit early for a confession, Jude.”

I exhale at hearing Father Kelly’s Irish accent muffle against the lattice screen.

“Yeah, but I sinned …you know.”

“You were here not quite a week ago. Surely, your sins can wait a full week.”

I sigh. “Well, today’s a big day. I don’t want to go to the ceremony with sins over my head.”

“Alright, then, we best hurry. The proceedings are due to start. Please kneel.”

I yank up my socks, shift to my knees on the prayer kneeler, and make the sign of the cross.

Well, I rushed my logline because I had fourteen girls from my niece’s basketball team sleep over last night and had to get this post done during all the craziness. Anyway, you get the idea. Good luck to everyone!

There’s still time to join in the fun. Sign up now! All entries must be posted in the comments by 8:00am EST on January 17.

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Filed: Contests, Misc

  • Cynthia says:

    Title: The Tournament
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count 89,000

    Pitch:Tony has gotten into many fights in his seventeen years. But when he gets a chance to enter a boxing tournament for a college scholarship, he realizes there’s more on the line than a scholarship, his family, friends, and even his life are on the line.

    I stepped outside the cafeteria to the bright sunshine. I usually sat by myself under a tree near the building reading a book or finishing homework. That was the way I liked it, but today I scanned the picnic tables looking for the rest of the gang. Most of the kids decided to take advantage of the weather so it took me a minute to find the guys. Nothing exciting ever happened during lunch, except when Jose and Philippe were around. Today the whole gang showed up; at least the guys in my grade did, which could only mean one thing; lunch would be a scary place to be.
    I found Jose where I usually found him on the days that he showed up. He was bothering Michelle; a girl from my English class. She was sitting with Mary outside by the steps reading. I could hear him halfway across the courtyard.

  • Kimmy says:

    Title: TRIANGLES
    Genre: YA paranormal romance
    Word Count: 63,000

    Pitch: Autumn cruises into the Bermuda Triangle and finds herself in a love triangle. Each morning brings an alternate reality, leaving her unsure of who to touch, who to kiss, and who to run from.

    First 150 words:

    If I’d known I was going to end up in my cabin with a hot guy on my bed, I would’ve worn sexier panties.

    Not that I’m easy or anything, but you know, just in case he caught a glimpse. Is there anything worse than having a guy see your granny panties in the heat of the moment?

    Of course, when I’d packed for my cruise to Bermuda, I had no idea how critical my choice of underwear would be. I had more immediate concerns.

    Like my mom crashing in the ICU for the past six months. I didn’t think it was right to go on some wild spring break blowout while she was drugged up and tubed out. But what my sister, Jessica, said, I had to do. Because she was my “legal guardian”.

    Lucky me.

    So I went. With Jessica. On this humongo ship to Bermuda, a place I didn’t care to see.

  • Kelley says:

    Title: Fraction of Stone
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 65,000

    Pitch: Akara and Rydan are the last of an extinguished tribe and only they have the power to save a crumbling world. Is the world worth saving when the only souls alive murdered their people?

    The chains around her wrists jingled, echoing off the stone walls, a cheery sound out of place. If she closed her eyes and moved her arms again it would be as if she were listening to a wind chime, twittering in the breeze. But the cold metal was not a wind chime. It was a tether, a leash, holding her captive in the belly of her city.

    She could have called it her room, for it was where she slept, where she ate. The situation would seem more bleak once the drugs wore off, sending her into a depression of why she even bothered to live.

    She had no choice, that was why. They needed her and refused to let her die. They kept her down there in an almost comatose state until it was time for her to work her magic.


  • E. Arroyo says:

    Title: The Second Sign
    Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller
    Word Count: 64,000

    Pitch: After Gabby refuses to give her soul to a demon, she’s given twenty-four hours to comply while her friends begin to die. Jake, her almost boyfriend, is the key to her salvation, but a fool with a key is a very dangerous thing.

    The floorboards creaked under the Intruder as he walked up the aisle of the small church. Moving shadows crept along the walls, brought to life by the flickering candles that rimmed the nave. Old frescos and mosaics hung between frost windows. Looming carved pieces, depicting the last moments of the prophet vital to this particular religions history, hung along the walls. The deity’s name didn’t matter, known as many different names in the world. What mattered was that people believed.

    Belief was power.

    The Intruder sauntered towards the altar, a hint of incense in the air. A stone baptismal fountain lay on the floor to his left, large enough to bathe a child or drown one depending on your intent. His eyes settled on the iconic figure crucified and displayed for all to see. He found a moments peace gazing up at the idolized portrayal of death.

  • Ms. Snip says:

    Title: Hard Nox
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 85,000

    Pitch: Nox Sumner doesn’t fear Death, she’s pissed as hell at him and has no intention of doing him any favors. Until she realizes the fate of her small town rests on her ability to kill.

    Red and blue lights flashed in the rearview mirror, setting Nox Sumner’s teeth on edge. She turned to her best friend, Billy, in the driver’s seat. “What did you do now?”

    “Hell if I know. I wasn’t speeding; my lights work. Can’t I just go home and drown my math test blues in biscuits and gravy. Is that too much to ask?”

    “You don’t have any bodies in the trunk or anything, do you? Because I still have time to hop out the window and make a break for it.” She grabbed the window crank with tight fingers.

    “Very funny.” Billy sighed, coasting to the curb.

    “Guess who it is.” The side-view mirror revealed Sergeant Carris bumbling around inside the cruiser, doing whatever cops do while people wait, hearts pounding to find out what they had done wrong. Flashing lights and sirens made her heart pound for a different reason.

  • Kathryn says:

    Genre: YA Camelot Steampunk
    Word Count: 100,000

    Pitch: Merlin’s apprentice Vivienne must help the sorcerer create a revolutionary steam-powered weapon against Morgan le Fay. But doing so will send Marcus, Lancelot’s squire and her secret beloved, into a battle he might not survive.

    When a mechanical falcon takes flight from Merlin’s tower, it means the sorcerer is bored or drunk on absinthe.

    I wonder if anyone else in Camelot knows that.

    Maybe they don’t care. Perhaps they just carry on with their day whenever the brass bird is in flight. Quite conceivably I’m the only one who pays that much attention to Merlin’s clock tower. Mechanical falcons aren’t exactly new, so why watch Merlin fly his? But it seems the sorcerer will never be completely satisfied with the mechanics of his invention until he’s tinkered some more. As though perhaps one day it could be more than just a toy. How could I not want to watch the skies in that case?

    The burgundy curtains of Merlin’s window tend to catch on the bird’s “feathers” on those days of boredom or intoxication.

    Today is no different.

  • Rin says:

    Title: Firekeeper
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 69,000

    Pitch: When a firebird chooses Dexter as its keeper, he and his companions must travel to Faer to prevent an evil Snow Queen from taking it. But Faer, too, is a dangerous place.

    The firebird sat atop an old-fashioned mailbox at Dharma Downs Lane. Rather than retreat to the safety of nearby trees and rooftops as any sensible animal would have done, it drew itself up, as regal as any queen, and waited for the shades to attack.

    The shades in question were already closing in, and assuming frightening, monstrous shapes. Some took human form, with long sharp claws in place of hands. Others took on semblances of wolves and bears and strange winged creatures; black eyeless silhouettes with teeth.

    The firebird chirped a warning, but the shades paid little heed. So it sighed – a resigned, I-really-did-warn-you-about-this-you-know sigh – and glowed. Its feathers, a variety of yellows and reds and oranges tipped with a subtle silver shimmer, flared. Its majestic tail fanned out like a vestal train, whipping at slow, concentrated intervals.

  • Tess Sharpe says:

    Title: The Art of Falling
    Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery
    Word Count: 65,000

    Pitch: After spending six months in rehab for a drug problem she’d already kicked, 17-year-old Sophie returns home to investigate her best friend’s murder, while trying to keep the relationship they shared secret.

    It doesn’t start here.
    You’d think it would: two terrified girls, cringing together, eyes bulging at the reality of the gun in his hand.
    But it doesn’t start here.
    It starts the first time I almost die.

    I’m fourteen, the first time. Trev’s driving us home from swim practice. We’re singing along to the radio in the backseat and he’s laughing at us.
    It happens fast: the screech of metal against metal, glass everywhere. I’m not wearing my seatbelt and I pitch forward as Mina’s scream drowns out the radio.
    And then everything’s black.
    I don’t remember any more.

    The second time, I remember everything. Caught in the car’s high beams, his eyes glinting through the mask, finger steady on the trigger. Mina’s hand was in mine; our nails dug into each other’s flesh.
    After, I’d trace my fingers over those bloody half-moon marks and realize they were all I had left of her.

  • MBee says:

    Title: Tears of a Clown
    Genre: YA Contemporary/Humor
    Word Count: 73,000

    Pitch: Darcy can survive the taunting, the swirlies, even the pies in the face, but being the meat in a hot guy sandwich? That’s one thing the girl with the clown makeup knows nothing about.

    The sudden sound of a car horn blaring made her hand jump, drawing a dark black line across her otherwise pristine white cheek. Darcy let loose with a loud explicit string of words. She threw down the eyeliner she was using to trace her ample lips and stormed over to the window. In one swift movement, she threw it open.

    “Thanks a lot, bitch! I would have been down in two minutes tops, but now, thanks to your heavy handed impatience, I have to fix my makeup!” she yelled at her prissy blonde doll-like step-sister. Mandy hit the horn again in reply. Darcy flipped her the bird before slamming the old window shut.

    Stalking back to her dresser, she assessed herself in the mirror. No time to take the makeup off and re do it. She’d have to improvise and try a new design. A heavy sigh escaped her.

  • ilima says:

    Title: A Single Feather
    Genre: YA fantasy
    Word Count: 54,000

    Pitch: Chief Mamo wants to abandon his island’s caste system to be with the carefree girl he loves, but when a power hungry foreigner threatens the livelihood of his people, Mamo must decide—duty or love?

    Kila stepped into the breaking surf, letting the saltwater of the Pacific dampen the hem of her kapa skirt. A wind from the south pinned the bark cloth to her legs and sent her long black hair into a frenzy about her face. She closed her eyes and raised her arms, willing the wind to carry her away from the island.

    “Kila, where are you?” her father shouted from the taro fields in the distance.

    She smiled and ran to the grassy bank beyond the sand, pausing at the open-air hut where the family’s wa’a sat on stilts off the ground. As always, the wooden engravings along the side of the canoe transported her imagination to another time. The carvings weaved together the story of the ancient chief Akua. She traced the weathered shapes of his many forms: a shark, a sea turtle and a goose stirred beneath her fingertips.

  • T. Drecker says:

    Title: The B.I.M. – Basic Intelligence Model
    Genre: MG Science Fiction
    Word Count: 51,000

    Pitch: An alien bounces out of the fridge, an evil lord promises death and destruction, and an arrogant princess refuses to disappear. Thirteen-year-old Daniel must fight them all, if he ever wants a normal life again.

    “Dag nab it! Are you going to sleep all day? Those chickens got out again. I thought you done took care of that!”
    Uncle Bob grumbled something about lazy teenagers, feathered birdbrains, and goofy lamb tails… or maybe he said something else. It was difficult to understand anything over the thunder of his work boots as he disappeared down the hallway.
    Daniel Bim moaned and pulled the quilt over his head. It was Saturday, one of the rare mornings he didn’t have to throw hay to the cows and feed the chickens before he marched two-and-half miles up the dirt road to school. Geez, he was only thirteen. Couldn’t he sleep in just this once?
    The back door banged hard and the entire house shook.
    Guess not. He groaned and rolled over.

  • Juliana says:

    DESTINY GIFT – Older YA paranormal romance with a post-apocalyptic feel – 80,300 words

    Pitch: In a world of chaos, Nadine has visions she doesn’t understand—she believes she might be hallucinating. Until she meets the guy who haunts her visions and everything starts to change … even the world.

    If telepathy, soul-seeing, or palm-reading existed, Dr. Brown was using her powers and performing one of those, if not all, on me.
    Behind her cat like glasses, her eyes were uncanny and cold. She was analyzing me. My posture, my body gesture, my eyes.
    I averted my gaze from hers and sat on top of my hands, hoping they would stop shaking.
    “Nadine Sterling,” she began, her tone almost caring. “What brings you to me today?”
    The insanity of mind, I could say. Or that my regular psychologist was busy, and since I had to follow the school’s policy and have my weekly section today, I had no choice but to meet with her. Besides, there were no rules specifying I should open up to her, so I didn’t say anything.
    “Nadine?” Her tone became more pressing.
    I glanced back at her. Her knuckles were white around her pen, her foot swung rapidly from her crossed legs, her hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail and it gave me the impression she would freak if any strand fell loose. I didn’t like her. I didn’t feel at ease with her.

  • Jamie Grey says:

    Title: Time Bound
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 70,000

    Sixteen-year-old Holly meets a Time Dragon trapped in a boy’s body while visiting Japan and learns her blood is the key to releasing him, but his freedom means Holly might become history herself.

    There’s nothing like the smell of fish to put you in the mood for a first date.

    Holly stood at the edge of the farmer’s market and wrinkled her nose. Usually the scent of yuzu and fresh chestnuts spiced the air, but today was Wednesday. Fish day.

    Not exactly the day she would have chosen to meet up with her crush, but evidently guys either didn’t mind the smell or didn’t pay attention to that sort of thing.

    She hitched up her ponytail and started to weave past tables covered with ice and slimy octopus. Fish mouths gaped at her, full of razor sharp teeth, but it was nothing compared to the looks she was getting from some of the stooped old vendors. They gawked as she passed, their quick judgment of her easy to read in their drawn brows and cold eyes.

    Despite being half-Japanese, she was still an outsider.

  • Title: A Walk Across the Ocean on Dental Floss
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 59,000

    Pitch: How much does our gender define us? Meet Jamie Turner, a 17 year old girl with girl problems, but the worst one of all is that she was born a boy.

    Sandy watched helplessly as Jamie slowly got out of the passenger seat of the car and trudged toward the school doors, her head down and her feet dragging, as though one hundred pound weights were tied to them. She never lifted her chin to meet the gazes of the students gathered in clumps that were scattered throughout the school yard. She walked on, focused on her destination—the doors to the school where she would, as soon as the bell rang, skip stopping at her locker and head straight for homeroom. Ms. Lockley, her homeroom teacher, seemed to be the only teacher on the planet who understood her and, as soon as she was near her, she would feel safe.

    But she hadn’t reached the doors yet. A vastness still existed between the crack she just stepped over in the sidewalk (one of her many habits—she couldn’t risk having her mother’s back get broken, and even though her dad was out of her life, she didn’t wish him to have a heart attack, wherever he was) and the crack in the brick on the building that she stared at every morning while waiting for the bell to ring.

  • Title: Where Are Boys From, Uranus?
    Genre: YA Romantic Comedy
    Word Count: 80,000

    Pitch: A snarky, idealistic teenager blames her terrible dates on the blunderheaded boys, but after dating her used-to-be-fake boyfriend behind her friend’s back, she realizes maybe boys aren’t the bad guys after all. Maybe she is.

    Maybe he’s just really shy. That’s why he won’t look at me.

    “I like lots of different bands,” I say in response to my date’s fifty-billionth question. But I feel like I’m trying to get to know the steak knife instead of Tyson. All I’ve seen of him since we got to The Mango Grill is the top of his blonde, healthy hair.

    He nods. Is it to let me know he’s listening? Or to make me think he’s listening?

    Why did I say anything? If I keep quiet maybe he’ll actually look up at me. Maybe he spilled some sauce on his pants and the spot is shaped like a hula dancer.

    I tap my fingers on my thigh. The Mango Grill is one of the few good restaurants in Cypress, so I’ve been here a million times. Decals of surfers and beaches cover the walls, and they use real cloth napkins and everything.

  • Jess says:

    Title: Jeremiah Copperpot
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 80,000


    Princess Noni runs away, seeking justice against the incoming King of Doorish—the man responsible for her father’s death. Assuming a gutsy peasant boy alias, she’s determined to inspire rebellion before next month’s Coronation.

    By the time the final words at the King’s funeral were spoken, I felt nauseated by incense and overwhelmed by the urge to become a trespasser.

    And a thief.

    And a vandal.

    When Renart Duchamp, soon-to-be King of Doorish, interrupted the eulogy to declare that everyone should paint their doors black in honor of the royal passing, I almost choked on the thickness of his insincerity—of the betrayal that nobody else could sense. Perhaps it was because I was the lone mourner in the front row. Perhaps the extra distance rendered the others comfortably blind and deaf. Whatever the reason, my broken heart did not melt at Duchamp’s speech, nor wither with sorrow. Instead, it burst into flames of anger.

    And of plans.

    Even as Father’s closed casket was anointed with olive oil and wafted with holy smoke, I considered my approach.

  • Artemis Grey says:

    Title: The Gone Missing Girl
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 101,000

    Pitch: Shy albino Ansel isn’t one to go looking for excitement, until the day he saves a runaway heiress and gets tangled up in a real life fairy tale that’ll change his world forever.

    I didn’t mean to find her. All I planned to do was retrieve a crappy book from the storage shed so I could cannibalize some of its pages for another book I was restoring. Instead, I found myself facing off with a deranged waif.

    The busted hinge on the door should have clued me in, but I was oblivious, already plotting how to rebind the book in my apartment.

    Shoving my way inside I went right, heading straight for the box labeled ‘GerFairy’ which held copies of the German fairy tale books in the bookstore. Even with the Coleman lantern, I didn’t notice her standing amidst the stacks of books at the center of the shed. Not until I tripped and happened to turn left.

    When her form was illuminated it startled me so badly that I dropped the book and lantern, yelping like a kicked puppy. Very macho.

  • Title: One of Darker Blood
    Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic
    Word Count: 60,000

    Pitch: When Fay discovers she may be the demon destined to annihilate her civilization, she turns to God and love to redeem herself. But when you have a natural urge to kill, sometimes not even the call of God can stop you.

    Fay sat on the dirt floor of the underground cave she called home, eyeing the small monster with slight annoyance. This particular one looked a bit like a deformed tortoise, except without the shell and with eight rows of needle teeth that could barely fit into its mouth. It hissed at her. She rolled her eyes and resumed packing her books for school. Honestly, how many more of these things did she have to kill before they got the point and left her alone? A lot more, probably. They’d been coming around since as long as she could remember.

    She cinched her bookbag shut and looked at the creature again. Again, it hissed, but this time bent down as if it were about to pounce. She lifted her foot and slammed it down on its skinny neck, severing it from the crusty body. It screamed, but its head continued to hop around, lunging for her foot.

  • Jani says:

    Title: She Knows Death
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 65 000

    Pitch: While fighting for her own survival, Kaila must keep the people around her safe from a murderer who constantly changes faces. To stop the killing, Kaila has to deliver something she doesn’t know or have.

    The cold steel of the knife cutting into my side was what made me realize this was really happening.

    I stared down at the crimson stain as it spread through the white shirt I wore, frozen with shock. To think I’d originally come here to ask forgiveness for not making it in time, knowing I wouldn’t have been able to do anything anyway. I needed to apologize.

    His name was Landon, and the way he looked at me, like I wasn’t really there, made my heart beat faster with fear. He took a step back and dropped the steak knife to the floor. The blade, painted red, made a mess where it landed. Flecks of blood splattered this jeans and sneakers.

    “You were the closest. You should have saved him,” Landon said with cold detachment while wiping a stained hand down the side of his jeans. “My best friend is dead and somebody has to take responsibility for it.”

  • Ashley Maker says:

    Title: Under the Trees
    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Romance
    Word Count: 50,000

    Pitch: Traumatized by a brutal duke, Princess Araya seeks freedom, not love, and is surprised when she finds herself falling for the man who rescues her. Too bad the duke is set on getting her back.

    I clung to the saddle as Major tore down the path in front of us. My muscles burned and sweat dripped into my eyes, but I could not let my horse slow down. Not when the heaving sound of his labored breathing tore at my heart. Not when my face and arms stung from low-hanging branches ripping at them. Not even when a monstrous fallen log loomed before us. Leaning forward and ducking low on Major’s neck, I extended the reins. With a grunt, he launched us into the air.

    For the barest of moments, time hung suspended, leaving only the soaring.

    His hooves slammed back down, but he stumbled on the landing. I pitched forward, nearly flying out of the saddle. I flailed and tried to straighten while my horse regained his footing. My left stirrup dangled uselessly beside my foot, but I pushed Major back into a gallop, even as I struggled to recover my balance.

  • Donelle Lacy says:

    Title: Lividia: A Shadow Story
    Genre: Victorian YA fantasy
    Word Count: 77,000

    Pitch: Lividia Blackwell has inherited her mother’s secrets and a magical legacy. With the help of her shadowy guardian, Lividia must unravel those secrets and understand her own magic before an evil Sandman destroys her family.

    Lividia lay awake, gazing at the ceiling past the posts of her bed, wondering what secrets her mother never told her. At seventeen, she had learned to live without her, learned to be a proper young lady, with proper goals and dreams. But there was always something there, an uncertainty that plagued upon her mind.

    With fingers folded atop a copy of Frankenstein, Lividia pondered for hours, until the wick of her candle had burnt down, and the wax filled the dish. The shadows cast were long and gaping, engulfing most of the room, except for the halo of light around her side of the bed. Within that vast amount of shadow something stirred, but Lividia didn’t notice, for she had fallen asleep.

    In her dream, there was a corridor, a set of stairs, a carpet, and then a room – her room. Finally, she was looking upon herself in her own bed as she saw herself sleeping.

  • Dana E says:

    Title: Riding the Dam
    Genre: MG, coming-of-age
    Word Count: 40,000

    Pitch: 1952 San Angelo is a boy’s paradise providing ten-year-old Allan with endless adventure. When his mother becomes ill, Allan discovers it’s not excitement he longs for, but the comfort of family and gift of friendship.

    Today, Raymond and me were going to ride the dam. I’d been waiting for this day for three solid years. This wasn’t just any dam, but the biggest dam in the world. If it was in Texas, it had to be the biggest.

    We both had bicycles, but I had decided early on that it was a lot of work to pedal around looking for adventure, so I convinced Raymond to let me ride on his handlebars while he did the pedaling. I told him riding this way allowed for easier conversation.

    This arrangement came with some risks. Kids were known to get their toes cut off in the spokes of a bike riding like this, so I learned to wrap my toes around the front axle like an eagle wrapped his talons around a branch during a windstorm and hold on for dear life.

  • Title: Extraction
    Genre: YA Sci-Fi
    Word Count: 63,000

    Pitch: When sixteen-year-old Clementine wins an escape from the Surface slums and poisonous moon, she learns the boy she loves but left behind will suffer a fate worse than death if she can’t save him.

    When Logan arrives, he’s holding a flower that could kill me.

    I like to think I’m one of the braver kids. Sure, some days the whippings and beatings make me wanna curl up in a ball. When I dream of Logan getting carted off to quarantine, I wake drenched in sweat and trembling, but I master it pretty quick. I get over it. I have to be good at ignoring my fear, ’cause how else will I ever prove I deserve to escape it?

    This flower is different.

    My feet move, then my back slams into the windowsill of our shack.

    I stare at the green stem as Logan twirls the flower, at the petals glinting silver like metal. It’s been eleven years since I’ve seen this kind of petal. Silver aster flowers are supposed to be calming for the mind, but they do something else to me.

  • Margie says:

    Title: Son of a (Hired) Gun
    Genre: YA Contemp
    Word Count: 86, 000

    Pitch: Bix, the 16-year-old son of an assassin, goes into witness protection and learns that his secret may not be the biggest one in town.

    I have imaginary conversations with my dad.
    Some people call it blogging. But to me, my posts are the conversations with my dad that I’ve never been able to have, seeing as he abandoned us when I was still incubating. I imagine that he stumbles across my blog, Simon Says, and realizes that this Simon—this short but witty sixteen-year-old—is the son he left without a trace.

    I like to think he regrets this loss. I like to think —

    “Simon,” Mom calls down the hall to me. “If you make us any later I’ll—.”

    “I’m ready.” Heading her off, I save my latest blog. Across the street, MAX pulls out of the station.

    You’d think we were having lunch with someone more important than her latest boyfriend. But seeing as she’s reached the critical get-to-know-my-son juncture in this relationship, she’s a little on edge. Or ready to jump off one.

    I take out my phone and tweet.
    @Simonsays: Lunch at Melting Pot with Omar.
    Rather stay home than break bread (and dip it) with Mom’s florist/terrorist boyfriend.

    “Simon,” Mom’s next call borders on hysteria. “You have to stop calling him a terrorist. What if he reads it?”

    “Mom,” I duck under a cloud of hairspray and meet her gaze in the mirror, our brown eyes locking. “You’re assuming he reads more English than plutonium rich.”

    Mom bites back a laugh, her mouth forming a heart. “He is not a terrorist.”

    Notice she didn’t say he could read.

  • Kelsey Beach says:

    Title: The Glass Queen
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 77,000

    Pitch: In a world where everyone has a Power (Earth, Life, Fire, or Water), Calisson must trust someone from the kingdom that killed her queen or give up her one chance of finding her parents.

    Calisson peered around the corner of the poultry shop at the pies and honeyed rolls on the bakery counter. The scent of warm, sweet dough drifted over the musk of heavy dust and sweat. The little girl licked her lips. Her gaze lifted to the baker’s son, who slouched absently behind the counter. Robert was bored, but he kept alert for thieves–for one thief specifically. Calisson smiled as he nudged a loaf in line with the others. This is too easy, she thought.

    “Are you hungry?” Calisson froze. She turned to find a woman standing behind her. The woman was middle-aged and fit, her limbs angular beneath blue plain-spun clothes. From her belt hung a long dagger and a money purse on a flimsy leather cord. A small, curious smile was set in the sun-bronzed face. She was not from Breton.

    Calisson dropped her eyes. “I’m fine,” she said.

  • Title: THE DIM
    Genre: YA Fantasy/Time Travel
    Word Count: 86,000

    Pitch: Hope despises being forced to spend all her waking hours studying history and ancient languages. Her years as a book-geek come in handy, though, when she must travel back to the year 1190 to save her mom.

    History blows.

    They were the last words I ever said to my mom. To be accurate, I actually said history blows and so do you. The woman standing before me didn’t know that, because despite being my mother’s sister, she knew nothing about me.

    She didn’t know that when I was in elementary school, my mother pulled me out of gymnastics because it interfered with my high-medieval history studies. She was ignorant of the window-rattling screaming match, when Mom informed me that sleepovers cut too deep into extinct-foreign language time.

    My aunt had no idea that I envied the non-entities at school, because wasn’t it always the cool loner-chick who ends up with the guy? I wasn’t a nobody. That might be easier, actually. Because of my mother, I was doomed to a supporting role on the stage of high school, and I blamed the hell out of her for it.

    Mostly though, I blamed her for dying. For leaving me with those words weighing on my tongue like a piece of shit pie.

  • Title: Tree of Life
    Genre: YA Adventure
    Word Count: 27,000

    The Pitch: Alex is an inventive and resourceful twelve-year-old boy who calmly deals with whatever he encounters, but he is tested when he finds himself alone and adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

    The sun was out for the moment but Alex could see clouds gathering to the west and heading his way. He watched them approach from the platform that he had built among the tree’s branches. His left arm ached badly and he looked over at the row of notches that he had carved into the branch. He counted five of them, one for each day he had been at sea. He was amazed at and proud of his resilience and his ingenuity despite some of his careless mistakes. He felt that he had been rather successful at transforming this massive fallen tree into his personal “Arc.” Alexander’s Arc had a nice ring to it.

    Alex closed his eyes and while listening to waves slap against branches below him he thought, “I bet there aren’t too many 12-year-olds who could do this good all on their own.”

  • Title: Wrectify
    Genre: YA Time Travel
    Word count: 92,000

    Pitch: When Summer receives the Native Hawaté ability to spirit walk, she’s catapulted into 1927 Montana, where she falls for a boy doomed to die, unless she breaks an ancient curse.

    It seemed like we’d stepped back in time. Sagging outbuildings and rusty skeletons of farm equipment looked on as my brother and I lugged boxes into the turn-of-the century house we were supposed to call home. Moxie, our yellow lab, sniffed her way around the yard. The air here was different from Denver. Almost like rain, but more like lilacs and leather.

    Zach gazed at the wide sky. His unruly mop of dark blond hair was greasier than usual. I should’ve said something important and big sisterly on his last day at home, but I didn’t have the first clue where to start. “Are you okay?”

    He glared at me. “Oh yeah, Summer. I’m fantastic.”

    “I bet Pitch Pine won’t be that bad.” I half-smiled, hoping I wouldn’t set him off. “At least you get to come home at night after the first bit.”

    “Dad thinks I’m some addict. I’m not!”

  • Pam Vickers says:

    Title: Witness
    Genre: YA thriller
    Word Count: 75,000

    Pitch: When sixteen-year-old Jessica Hill witnesses the horror of her father’s murder at the hands of the Russian Mafia, she must give up her old life and enter the Witness Security Program. Becoming a whole new person is difficult enough, but with the killers still hunting her before she can testify, Jessie doesn’t know how much more she can take.

    If I’d known it was the last time I’d speak to my best friend, I never would have hung up on her.

    “Seriously, Jess, you cannot leave me hanging. I don’t want to go to the dance alone. Brian will find you a date, you gotta come,” Becca whined.

    “You know I hate all those Washington Academy guys, they’re such a-holes.” I said.

    “There’s a new guy, Brian says he’s cool.”

    “Becca, unless I can meet the guy ahead of time and let him decide, I’m not doing it. You know everybody over there knows Jenn and they expect me to look like her—”

    She cut me off. “Stop downplaying yourself, you can’t keep comparing yourself to Jenn.”

    This coming from my best friend whose identifier was her perfect hair: Golden blond, thick, and so straight she’d never owned a flat iron. My identifier was my big-ass nose.

  • Ryann says:

    Title: DEFECT
    Genre: YA Dystopian with strong romantic elements
    Word count: 58,000

    Pitch: When Eve fails the mindscan that predicts crime, it lands her in a mental ward. When romance unexpectedly blooms with a guard, she must choose between saving herself or pulling the plug on the mindscan.

    All my life I’ve waited to walk under the arches leading to this compound. Today I walk toward my future with my mother at my side. We advance up the concrete steps, being drawn into the compound with its sprawling buildings surrounded by towering fences. In addition to administering the mindscan procedure here, the buildings are used for scientific research and to train new military recruits.
    We pass through the metal doors and enter a long hallway. Television screens are mounted on the walls every few feet and as we walk, I catch video clips about the mindscan. First there are sweeping scenes of the green countryside with low rolling hills, the white spray erupting from the ocean as it crashes against the shore line. The camera angle draws in on the compound with its domed gray buildings, but all I can see are the fences, which depending on how your mindscan goes either offer protection or imprisonment.

  • Jade says:

    Title: Dead for the 17th Time.
    Genre: YA Hindu Mythology Paranormal.
    Word count: 90,000

    Pitch: Loka has died. Again. But this time it’s different. A cobra bite to the neck, while in the in-between world of the Gods has injected more than just venom into her veins. It’s started a chain reaction which will not only change Loka forever, but Sathya, the world as we know it as well.

    First 150 words: My eyes cracked open to reveal a saffron infused, gothic room with high vaulted ceilings. Thick heavy banners of emerald, scarlet and cobalt hung, brushing whisper-soft, against the marble floor. The ivory marble was bitterly cold and unyielding against my cheek. It was polished to a perfect mirrored gloss, returning the image of the room upside down, like a crystal lake.

    ‘Hello Loka,’ a gravel and husk voice said. ‘What a surprise.’

    ‘No need to rub it in,’ I said. Hauling myself to my feet in an ungainly dance of vertigo. I was glad I’d died today when I was wearing under-wear. Yesterday would have been rather embarrassing, with the marble floor bouncing back my daisy knickers hidden beneath my high-lighter pink mini-skirt.

    I glared at the three Gods in front of me.

    The Preserver of the Universe, Vishnu, was seated to the right. His four arms were crossed against his naked lapis lazuli chest which dripped with gold jewellery and flower lei’s. His ebony hair was hidden beneath a turban crown of glittering gold, and his chubby, pampered cheeks dimpled as he shot me an exasperated smile.

  • Title: Flesh-Eating Zombies and Evil Ex-Girlfriends
    Genre: YA horror
    word count: 32,000

    Pitch: Erwin and his classmates are locked in their school after people start craving human flesh. As the zombies’ numbers grow Erwin must decide whether or not to stay, and who he’s willing to leave behind.

    The carpet in the school library was rough against Erwin’s cheek, but the uncomfortable floor had nothing to do with why he couldn’t sleep. No one was sleeping. Everyone was lying there in silence, the fear and tension in the air so thick it reminded Erwin of movie scenes where the ceiling is coming down to crush everyone. The only difference, he thought, was that in the movies they always escape just in time.

    It was hard to believe only a few hours ago he had been working out in the school gym. He remembered thinking, this day couldn’t possibly get any worse. He laughed at the thought now. Outside he heard another bang as the things that used to be his peers and teachers tried to claw and crash their way into the locked school.

    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word count: 89,000

    Pitch: Paranoid shizophrenic Alex Ridgemont thinks she has more important things to worry about than what’s real and what’s not—until a dangerous delusion starts involving the one boy who understands her.

    I was five years old when I met Blue Eyes at Meijer.

    My mother always took me grocery shopping with her on Sundays, but only under the threat of death by guillotine if I asked for anything that wasn’t on her list.

    Two realizations about this came to me when I was older, the first being that I couldn’t ask for anything we didn’t need because we were, as the government puts it, “at the poverty threshold,” and the second being that my mother didn’t have the resources to procure a working guillotine.

    Back then, she sometimes had soft moments when she’d buy me a Yoo-hoo and smile at me and be all motherly. I loved those Yoo-hoos, not only because they were probably the most delicious drink ever conceived by man, but because they meant my mother still cared whether or not I was happy.

  • R.A.Desilets says:

    Title: Ruhe
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 50,000

    Pitch: After Sophie’s vicious gossip ruins her high school friendships, she takes a vow of silence. But when a college relationship take a dangerous turn, Sophie needs to use the same voice that once destroyed her.

    My father dropped the last bag with a huff and looked over at the long winding sidewalk towards the main dormitory on campus. “Are you sure you don’t want us to come in with you?”

    I shook my head.

    My mother arched an eyebrow. She glanced at the measly two bags I had packed. “We could come back with more of your stuff, you know. It’s not a far drive.”

    I shook my head. I didn’t want anything else. Everything that was left at home was there for a reason. The old letter jacket from Ched, the worn out mini-skirt that had been to one too many parties… everything was a reminder of who I used to be. This was a fresh start, or it was supposed to be. I didn’t know how much of a fresh start I could get at a state school.

  • Lisa B. says:

    Title: Graceful Death
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 70,000

    Insomnia upheaves fifteen-year-old Grace’s life, causing her see shadows and doppelgangers that can’t possibly be real. It isn’t until she’s tricked into donning Death’s hoodie that she starts believing—and uncovering—the truth.

    Not in the damn hallway. Anywhere but here.

    The instant my knees hit the ground I know. My insomnia is killing me from the inside out. I struggle to pick myself up, but the sweat on my palms turns cold, tacking my hand to the faded mauve linoleum. The faint odor of disinfectant and dirty sneakers wafts up, stinging my nostrils while the other students walk around me.

    My pulse thrums erratically in my ears. White film spots my vision.

    I can’t control anything anymore. Sleep is such a cruel and distant idea by now that when my energy seeps out, threatening to pull me into unconsciousness, the only thing I can do is wait it out. So I slump against a set of coral half-lockers and watch the Santa Cruz High School crowd thin.

    Only one more period, then I can go home, deal with this in private.

  • Title: Outside In
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word count: 51,000 words


    Perfectionist Alexis works hard for approval, but inside, she’s a mess, hurting herself whenever she “fails.” When her boarding school and her parents find out her secret, she faces expulsion if she can’t stop cutting.

    First 150 words:

    A bright red B. Oh my God. My lowest grade ever.

    I bit my lip as hard as I could and stuffed the paper into my binder before anyone could see it. I didn’t bother to check the comments—plenty of time to memorize those later.

    My throat closed up and I couldn’t draw a full breath. One full grade less than an A. My G.P.A. would sink. Miranda would pass me in class rank.

    One single B could ruin everything.

    What would my mother say?

    Miranda got her paper back and grinned in triumph. An A for sure.

    How could I be such a fool? I clenched my teeth and my hands shook. I should have spent more time on the paper until it was flawless.

    Dr. Shah handed out the last of the papers, but I barely noticed. Chairs scraped. Someone sneezed. There was a giggle from somewhere behind me. But all I could see was the afterimage of a—




  • darcywords says:

    Title: Livingstonia

    Genre: YA Paranormal

    Length: 60,000 words

    Pitch: Viola Gray runs into strange events on a field trip at her new African boarding school. Lost on a mountain with a cursed boy, can her and her friends escape the dark magic that haunts them?

    Barefooted Africans throng the paved road as we run alongside in our white, athletic uniforms. I dodge stones on the dirt path that marks the cross-country route. A woman carrying a pile of firewood the size of a couch on her head narrowly misses a tall boy zipping by. His name’s Henjeko; he’s Swedish and looks like a viking.

    A cool mist- which they called “Chiperone” in our village- drifts by, bringing with it an eerie darkness that seeps across the road and clouds my eyes. The smell is thick with mist and wood-fire as my feet smack the smooth dirt. I’m determined not to let Leonie pass me if it kills me and I keel over right here on this dirty African street. Her annoying, banana-yellow hair bobs in front of me.

    Today we’re being timed and I’ll be damned if I come last. Next to last- fine.

  • Title: Phoenix Rising
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 67,000

    Pitch: When the hot guy from Julia’s dreams transfers to her school, Julia discovers he’s running from darkness he unwittingly unleashed while messing around with magic he didn’t understand, and she’s the key to saving him.

    Running through the forest alone in the middle of the night was not my idea of fun. What light came from the sky was darkened by thick tree cover. I could barely see the outline of the trees, and kept crashing into bushes and branches, scratching my arms and legs. It was hot and humid which made things worse. That on top of the physical exertion of running all out made it nearly impossible to breathe. But I pushed on. I had to keep going. I had to stop them. So I continued running through the night, fighting my way through the branches, towards them.

    Admittedly, I wasn’t sure what I could do to stop it. I was only one rather small teenage girl, and I had no fighting skills at all.

    A man’s yell cut through the night. I ran even faster towards the blood curdling sound.

    But when I got there I knew I was too late.

    Genre: YA Science Fantasy
    Word Count: 110,000

    The Pitch: A young boy, cursed with a power he cannot control, must save the Goddess before she is smothered by Darkness. It would be easy, if he could only remember who he really is.

    “I’m not going to sit here locked in a closet all day.” Magellan pulled away from his mother, leaving his whimpering brothers and sisters clinging to her skirts.

    “Magellan, come back here.”

    “No. I wanna hear Dad’s speech.” He pressed his cheek against a large crack in the door and closed one eye. Sconces lit the long stone hallway that led to the auditorium. “I wish I could see something.”

    “Get back mine scum!” A guard threw something against the door, slamming the wood against his face.

    “Ouch,” Magellan rubbed his cheek. “Jerk.”

    Footsteps clomped away, and his mother exhaled. “Magellan, your father said…”

    “I know what he said.” Magellan furrowed his eyebrows. “Right before they locked us in here.” He flicked a bug from the damp stone wall beside him. “I’m not a baby anymore. I want to help.”

    He ran his fingers across the locking plate, and jumped as flames flashed across the metal, spinning and swirling around it.

  • Title: My Protector: The Calling
    Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic
    Word Count: 70,000

    Pitch: When Eri develops an internal link to the man-eating beasts plaguing the planet, she must learn how to control the Calling and gain the necessary skills to fight them or she’ll end up dead.

    Going to the river alone is forbidden. Knowing this clear-cut rule of our people wasn’t enough to stop me from stepping off the gravel path and walking deep into the vacant field. I no longer controlled my body.

    Adrenaline thrummed inside me as I drifted closer. White-hot anger burned in my belly, if it was even anger churning there. I had never felt something creep through my veins before. Whatever this was, it pulled me toward the unknown.

    I didn’t belong out there. I knew better. I should’ve run in the opposite direction, back to our village. But I couldn’t turn away. With each step into the darkness, the foreign emotion intensified, guiding me forward. I surrendered to the aggression. I had no choice.

    The warning bell struck, ringing through my insides. My people had fled for safety into the closest shelter possible when it sounded the first time.

    Not me.

  • Title: WAIT FOR ME
    Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
    Word count: 78,000

    35 word pitch: When Anna’s invited to work on a dig in Egypt, she meets the boy of her dreams, discovers a buried secret, and must battle Jackals in order to keep them from unleashing Osiris on the world.

    First 150 words:

    The jagged rocks on the edge of the cliff sliced into my bare feet like razor blades. The roar from the water crashing on the rocks below drowned any other sound. Hot wind whipped my long, dark hair around my face, drying the tears that fell down my cheeks.

    “Wait for me, my love,” I whispered. I closed my eyes, and with one breath, stepped off the edge. The wind roared past my ears. I spread my arms and my linen wrap trailed behind me. The sound of the frothing blue-green water crashing against the rocks built until it was the only sound, its beat mimicking the frantic galloping of my heart.

    My breath whooshed from my lungs as I hit the churning water. Everything went dark. I expected pain. The water beat my limp body against the rocks, but there was no more pain.

  • Ryan says:

    Title: Bodyguarding Evil
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 55,000

    Pitch: She is pure evil and has a plan to take over and control the world. Thousands will do anything and everything to kill her. There is only one problem. I am her bodyguard.

    A thin line of drool drips from a foot long tusk and almost falls on my head. I hate drool. I guess no one really likes it, but this slobber is even worse than what people imagine when someone thinks of saliva. The drool is thicker than most slime with a horrible green hue. The drool is horrible but the face it is coming from is worse. Imagine an ugly hairy walrus but instead of tusks pointing down, they point up. Then put this walrus head on top of a giant man. The drool is flying off this ugly walrus because it is furious. Luckily, for me I’m not the object of this madness. I’m just a measly little assistant. I’m no more than a gopher.

    What is an assistant doing next to a salivating walrus headed giant? I’m the assistant of the person Mr. Ugly is about to fight.

  • Title: I’M GAME
    Genre: YA Sci-fi Thriller
    Word count: 72,000


    Dodge expects normal enhancements, like extra limbs, enhancements that’ll help him win the Game and escape the slums – but his operation isn’t normal. He must fight not only to win, but to stay human.

    First 150:

    The com on my wall buzzes, spitting out the voice of my best friend Tag. “Dodge, you there?”

    I don’t want to untangle myself from my bunk’s covers to answer. The heating in our apartment shell is broken for the second time this winter, and besides this bundle of blankets, there’s no way to ward off the chill leaking in around my bedroom window.

    Despite my lack of response, Tag keeps talking. “I know you’re there, bud. Sitting in your bunk and trying to ignore me. Don’t think you’re getting away with it – I’m gonna keep talking until you answer.” A pause. “Yes, that was a threat.”

    I roll my eyes. Tag’s not kidding. He’ll go on for hours if I don’t shut him up.

    I slide out of my bunk, the icy air calling the hair on the back of my neck to attention. As I rub the goosebumps away, my fingers trail over the microchip beneath my hair.

  • Kendra Gale says:

    Title: What Evie Saw
    Genre: MG Historical
    Word Count: 55,000

    Pitch: A famous bootlegger, a rescued horse, and a schoolteacher who isn’t as mild mannered as everyone thinks. Evie is the only one who sees the truth, but she’ll need to find proof to convince the grown-ups.

    I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

    The wind was blowing, and I’d gotten chilled from the walk home from school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the door opened, I was nearly asleep.

    “Please, come in and have a seat.” Della used her grown up voice, and it made me start awake.

    “Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

    The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich said in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

    Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”

  • meradeth says:

    Title: Shadows
    Genre: YA Sci-Fi light
    Word Count: 87,000

    Pitch: The shadows Leah attracts aren’t the normal kind—they seem to feed off evil. When they come after her family, she has two objectives: (1) figure out what the creepy creatures are, and (2) kill them all.

    The dark rind of dried blood wasn’t coming out from under my fingernails no matter how hard I scrubbed. I finally grabbed a paper towel and turned off the faucet, giving up. Slipping on the grimy floor, I used the same towel to push open the door. A quick glance around the empty parking lot left me breathing easier.

    The wooden dowel the gas-station owner used to keep any non-customers from using his bathroom was shoved into my back pocket, and I stepped inside the small convenience store to return it. The man behind the counter was reading a magazine with some stacked girl posing on the front in a suggestive manner. I dropped the key on the counter and muttered “In your dreams,” as I walked away. The clerk didn’t look up.

    An electronic chime sounded as the front door opened and I glanced up just in time to avoid slamming into a cop entering the store.

  • Title: Treasured Lies
    Genre: YA Historical Romantic Suspense
    Word Count: 75,000 words

    Pitch: Finding a legendary treasure might solve her family’s problems – then again, it might just get everyone killed. Desperate, Minuette stakes it all on a thief she might love, but can never trust.

    Minuette rolled the ladder another few feet and kicked her skirts out of the way as she ascended the rungs for what felt like the thousandth time. Arthur was one of her dearest friends and she’d do anything for his sweet old grandmother, but digging through musty books and tripping up ladders all day in a futile search for some lost memento was seriously taxing her good nature.

    Not that she’d complain to him about it. He had bigger things to worry about. At least this was a problem she could help him with. She searched through the old books on the upper shelves of the bookcase, casting anxious glances at Arthur every few seconds.

    “I’m fine, Min,” Arthur said, flinching as his words pulled at his split lip. “Just keep looking.”

    “You don’t look fine,” she muttered. Arthur ignored her and continued searching his shelf.

  • Sarah Shade says:

    Title: BITERS
    Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic Romance
    Word Count: 80,000

    Pitch: In a world of necrotic cannibals and fanatic survivors, a self-reliant teen must find a way to work with the boy who betrayed her to stop a madman from destroying the last remnants of humanity.

    I haven’t slept soundly since the world ended.
    Stuck somewhere between waking and dreaming, I hear a muffled thud.
    I reach for my pistol. A few years ago, a seventeen-year-old girl might have kept a phone under her pillow, anxious for a call from a boy or a text from her best friend. Now it’s a firearm. Lucky me.
    Odds are the noise is my new roommate – for the umpteenth time. I hate that damn cat. I never take chances, though, not anymore. That lesson is tattooed on my soul, inked in the blood of those I’ve failed to protect.
    Gun in tow, I slide off the bed, careful not to make a sound.
    The good news? The noise wasn’t the cat. It’s fast asleep in the far corner. I won’t have to kill it for waking me – this time. The bad news? The noise wasn’t the cat. That means trouble.

  • Tracey J says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • kendragale says:

    Title: What Evie Saw
    Genre: MG Historical
    Word Count: 55,000

    Pitch: A famous bootlegger, a rescued horse, and a schoolteacher who isn’t as mild mannered as everyone thinks. Evie is the only one who sees the truth, but she’ll need to find proof to convince the grown-ups.

    I didn’t mean to eavesdrop.

    The wind was blowing, and I’d gotten chilled from the walk home from school, so I’d taken my book into the parlor and curled up in the patch of sunlight on the hardwood floor, up against the back of the big leather chair that had been Father’s. The sun was so warm that by the time the door opened, I was nearly asleep.

    “Please, come in and have a seat.” Della used her grown up voice, and it made me start awake.

    “Thank you.” The voice was deep and male and familiar, but my sleepy brain couldn’t place it. Father’s chair moved behind me.

    The door opened again. “I brought you young people some tea.” Mrs. Rich said in her formal, housekeeper voice. I heard the tray placed on the table, and Mrs. Rich’s footsteps as she left.

    Tea cups rattled as Della poured tea. She must be nervous; usually she was more careful. “Cream or sugar, Mr. Jamison?”

  • Jenny says:

    Title: In the Shadow of the Dragon King
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 87,000

    Pitch: A seventeen- year old boy is thrust into a magical world, awakens an evil threat and sparks a war. His salvation: embrace his destiny, even if it means the death of his best friend.

    First 150:

    David Heiland sketched the final details on the cat-like eyes staring back at him. Just like in his nightmares, the dragon clung to the castle’s battlement, a body clutched in one talon. Small horns jutted from the top of the creature’s head and two leather-like whiskers protruded from both sides of its snout. Crouched in the shadow of a turret were a man and a woman. Their arms were raised like shields above their heads, terror etched into their eyes and mouths.

    Charlotte tossed her coat on a chair and peered over his shoulder. “Wow, talk about a major creep out. I can’t get over how real it looks.”

    She kicked off her shoes and climbed into the center of the carved, four-poster bed. “Who are the people?”

    “My parents,” David said, examining his work. “You know, it’s funny. When I was little, all I ever dreamed was for them to be alive, and someday they would walk through the door and all would be right with the world.”

  • Title: THE DEVINE
    Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
    Word Count: 100,000

    Pitch: When Brynn is murdered in one of her prophetic dreams, she discovers the boy killing her is also the boy she loves and is part of the society of demigods responsible for her father’s death.

    If I had known I was going to die before my seventeenth birthday, I would have definitely been more reckless. Like ran off with some hot college guy to the city for the weekend or chopped off all my hair for once. Or simply just stopped wasting my time planning my future. But it was too late for a rebellious weekend or a new hairstyle. And it was too late to live for the moment. My moment was gone. He was hiding in my room waiting to kill me just like my dream predicted and there was nothing I could do to change it. But I refused to make it easy for him. I wanted to guarantee the news report read ‘girl put up a fight’. I would not go out looking pathetic.

    I scanned my nightstand for some type of weapon but a furry pillow, a Sixteen Candles DVD and eyelash curler weren’t going to cut it.

  • Title: The Charge
    Genre: YA Alternate History
    Word Count: 80,000

    Pitch: Warren never lets bullies mess with his little brother, no matter how big or bad. So when the King of the Texas Empire kidnaps his brother, he embarks into a still-wild West to save him.

    Warren’s mother had taped his old Star Wars comforter over the patio door of their apartment. He didn’t pause too long to wonder why. His mother suffered from what his brother called, “severe eccentricity,” and blacking out the windows with old sheets for no obvious reason wasn’t out of character. With both of her sons out of the house now, there was no one to put out the fire if she tried to make bacon in the toaster again, so Warren always came home when she asked him to. But if she had called him for anything less than a toaster fire, he would head right back to campus to enjoy the first day of summer the way it was intended to be enjoyed – drunk and poolside.

    He wiped his feet like he had been taught even though their revolting brown carpeting didn’t show much.

  • project363 says:

    Title: Banking Trust
    Genre: YA Historical
    Word Count: 81,000

    Pitch: During WWII, wealthy 16-year-old Ellie creates a middle-class persona to patriotically join the war-efforts, despite family orders. Her first romance and double-life are jeopardized when Ellie’s employer seeks to eliminate his competition – her father.

    First 150: No one is staring. I swore fervently to myself. No one knows who you are.

    Curiosity was my biggest weakness, so I had to be sure.

    I lifted my eyes to the line of women standing outside of the factory. One met me with a cold, disapproving gaze. Startled by a sudden voice, I hopped back a step. Great, now everyone is looking at me.

    “Name?” A tall, plump woman stood beside me with a clipboard in hand. Tufts of curly black hair peeped out from the floral turban wrapped around her head. Her face was drawn with laugh lines, though, she spoke as if she’s never laughed before.

    “Ellie,” I said. My head began to itch with anxiety, “Cordner”

    She leaned in uncomfortably close, “Have we met before?”

    You taught me at private school. You taught me at private school. I’m going to throw up.



  • Title: The Princess’s Treasure Hunt
    Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure
    Word Count: 30,000

    Pitch: When a dying witch gives ten-year-old Cassandra a treasure map, the adventure-loving princess cannot refuse such a quest but the price of the treasure might be more than she’s willing to pay.

    Princess Cassandra accidentally stabbed herself with her sewing needle. She glared at it and shoved her thumb into her mouth so she wouldn’t get any blood on the fabric. Lady Bethany would have a fit if that happened.

    She risked a glance outside the large peak-shaped window. The sun shone down from the height of its journey, and Cassandra wanted nothing more than to throw aside the stupid patchwork and run down to the stable to fetch a horse.

    Not that Philip, the nasty stableman, would let her ride one. After the incident two months ago, Cassandra was banned from horseback riding, and Philip told that he would lose more than just his job if it was found out that he had aided her.

    Cassandra sighed.

    “Is something wrong, princess?” Lady Bethany asked.

    Cassandra looked at her. With a sharp nose and sharper eyes, Lady Bethany had an awful habit of knowing when Cassandra was plotting some fun.

  • Title: The Blinded Gardener

    Genre: Y/A Contemporary (edgy)

    Word Count: 63000


    Aidan, tormented by his alcoholic military father, befriends Danny, a loner, blinded by a tragic accident. Both lust after a free-spirited girl, whose emotional ties to Danny unravel the fragile threads of their friendship.

    One moment I’m my Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. That is, until Danny stepped into the picture and discovered my secret.

    Dad forced me to move across the country, and once again, I found myself at a new school, the third in two years. It sucked having a dad in the military.

    The warning bell rang for first period. The halls cleared with the slamming of doors.

    As I wandered about searching for my classroom, I heard someone approach me from behind. I turned and saw a blonde guy walking up the center of the hallway. Long bangs fell over his eyes as he loped past me with a kind of natural ease.

    How blind is this guy? Didn’t he see me standing here, fiddling with this useless map?

    “Hey, dude. Could you tell me how to get to room 305?”

  • Title: Johnny and Mr. Fredericks
    Genre: Children’s Fiction – Mid Grade Chapter book
    Word count: 38,000 words


    When orphaned Johnny Applegate is discovered asleep under a tarp in the dinghy of Mr. Fredericks’ fishing boat, he isn’t tossed out. Instead their unique partnership is the beginning of several adventures.

    First 150 words:

    Once upon a time there was a little boy named Johnny. He wasn’t a very lucky little boy. He didn’t have a Mommy or Daddy like you. Poor little Johnny was all alone in the world. He had no place to live, nobody to cook for him, nobody to wash his clothes, and nobody to love him.

    One night as he walked around looking for a place to sleep, he went down to the docks where the boats were and, being very tired, he crawled into a little boat that lay on the wharf. It had some canvas and fishnets and a big old overcoat stored inside. Johnny curled up in the overcoat and pulled the canvas over the top. He was soon fast asleep.

    Next morning when he opened his eyes, he thought he was still dreaming because the boat was moving around as if it were on the ocean.


  • Cassie Mae says:

    Genre: MG Fantasy
    Word Count: 82,000

    Pitch: After he falls in a hole, Jonathan’s told he’s an immortal hunted by the Master who wants to use his power to control every person on the planet, starting with Jonathan’s dear old mom and dad.

    First 150 words:

    Jonathan should’ve eaten more, but in his haste to escape the suck-fest of his temporary home, he’d only grabbed a handful of crackers. And now his stomach gargled and his mouth was dry and pasty.

    He snorted what little saliva he had and spat into the sand. Kicking the dirt around to cover the loogie, he eyed his never-before-used backpack by his feet. He rubbed his pinkish knuckles, sore from putting a fist in the wall when his ‘guardians’ enrolled him in public school, which he’d never set foot in.

    Distractions. That was the excuse they’d given him. Jonathan called it what it was; a way to get rid of him for eight hours a day.

    The crunch of tires on gravel reached his ears, and he flicked his gaze to the parking lot. He let out a sigh of relief. It wasn’t a cop ready to take his ditching butt back to school, but the red BMW X5 did nothing else to ease his mind.

  • Title: Max’s House #1: New Beginnings
    Genre: YA historical fiction with elements of social satire
    Word count: 60,000

    Pitch: Cousins Max and Elaine Seward spend the summer of 1941 using their wits to deal with annoying new steprelatives, clashes with peers, and living alone after being sent home from vacation for sassing Max’s stepmother.

    First 150 words (fifth version of the opening):

    There she was. Alexandria Kate Scots, the girl of Maxwell Stanley Seward, Jr.’s dreams, whom he’d had a crush on for years. As he walked down Jennifer Street on the last day of school, he could see her making a beeline for him and actually smiling at him for a change. He returned the smile and ran his hands through his hair, assured he looked the picture of coolness and confidence.

    “Hey, Max, I was wondering if I could come over to your house.”

    Max nodded, his tongue stuck in his throat. Al had been over to the Seward mansion quite a few times with their friends over the years, but never before had she gone there alone. This was the best start to summer vacation he ever could’ve hoped for, and as they walked on, he felt positive the summer of 1941 would be a summer to remember.

  • L.M. Miller says:

    Title: Threads
    Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
    Word Count: 77,000

    Adal Pratt doesn’t need Peace—he’s over-confident, rude, and too much like her. Stopping the war will be hard enough, but with the loss of one arm and Peace’s violent revolution Adal may not survive.

    First 150 Words:
    Adal Pratt opened the door to the carriage, breathing in the hot autumn steam and southern ocean breezes. The horses around the carriage kicked up dying, golden leaves in their haste, but she could see the ghosts of trees caught between summer and autumn through the crowd of guards.

    Knutt Hackett held a hand out to her as she steadied herself on the small step attached to the side of the carriage, shut the door, and wobbled a bit, her hands clutching the bottom of the window for balance. She leapt and landed softly next to the driver.

    Knutt laughed, keeping his face away from her.

    “Are you alright? You’re looking a bit pale.”

    “And your nose looks crooked,” she said. Adal brushed a hand down her chest, straightening her shirt and glaring at him.

    Knutt snorted. “Well, you could always break it again, and hope it turns out straight this time.”

  • Title: The Sky Throne
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 82,500

    Pitch: Zeus is impetuous, what you’d expect from the future king of the Gods. When his schoolmates mysteriously disappear, he must learn how to lead his siblings into Tartarus to rescue the abducted and the school.

    The distance between darkness and light was a nano-moment, my mother once told me. A sliver of space. The breadth of a strand of hair. I hadn’t known what she’d meant until that day. And still wished I hadn’t.

    I trudged up the darkened beach, digging my toes in the sand with each step. Visions of pearl-skinned sea nymphs still danced in my head. Their iridescent eyes and seductive charms made me smile.

    “C’mon, Zeus” Anytos called, throwing a stick at my feet.

    I held a finger in the air.

    “Zeus, seriously!” He clapped his hands once loudly.

    “Wait. Hold on.” I closed my eyes to enjoy the images of those sea nymphs. Just a bit of time more.

    “Zeus!” His words sliced sideways through my memories of them. “Sun’s nearly up. We don’t have much time!” Tos stood at the top of a dune calling down.

    I sighed. “I’m coming.”

  • JoMacdonald says:

    Title: Urquist
    Genre: YA fantasy
    Word count: 87,000
    Pitch: Lonely, messed up teenager Dal ends up in a beautiful but violent alternative world when her attempt to commit suicide goes wrong…. So the last thing she’s expecting to find there is a soulmate.

    Dal sat up, fully dressed, in her bed and for a moment watched the dust spin like sparkles in the moon shining in through the window. It was dark but at least the curtains were open.Margaret must have finally got the message that she didn’t like to sleep with the curtains closed. Too late now, thought Dal.
    She threw off the covers, placed her feet on the short, stubbly carpet and put her head in her hands. The room felt stuffed with tight air and bad feelings.
    She went to the window and shoved it open as far as it would go, so the cold, west coast air swept in over her face and body. That air was the only good thing about being here, but it wasn’t enough, she thought.
    She glanced down to her bedside table, and in a last minute, impulsive decision grabbed the necklace her dad had left her, threw the leather string over her head and tucked it under the collar of her t-shirt.

  • Title: The Rowaness of Shalott
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 115,000

    Pitch: When young Lancelot awakens the dormant sense of touch in the dryad Guinevere, the life-sustaining bond to her rowan tree breaks. Now she must fight for a way to survive and remain with him.

    Nimue never gave me a name. On the day I was born, she fastened a veil in my hair and clothed my ageless maiden’s body in white. “You are a Rowaness,” Nimue said. “Therefore your beauty is an illusion. If a man sees your face, you will die.” Seventeen years later I remained nameless, the veil draping the back of my hair, always at the ready.

    As I stood under a rowan tree, my imagination drifted off with a falling blossom, spiraling toward my outstretched hand. “I can feel touch,” I whispered, as if my words would make it true. I am a fawn nuzzled into my mother’s fur. A fox, scratching my back against an oak….

    I tried to forget I was a Rowaness: my life, my spirit tied to the rowan trees.

    As the blossom silently kissed my hand, I sighed and cast it away.


  • Title: The Night
    Genre: Epic YA Fantasy
    Word Count: 115,000

    Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Aerael finds the fate of the world in her hands when the power to overthrow the gods, or cement their rule forever, awakens in her, and she must decide which is right.

    Aerael. It started indiscernible and grew to a whisper, calling her name. Aerael.

    She couldn’t be imagining it—the voice rang cold in her mind, unearthly. But she didn’t know how to respond. Aerael turned over a plate in the wash water. Perhaps it would go away.


    She shivered as the word ran through her like ice. The air at her side was empty, but the hairs on her neck prickled, and she felt it there, as if it spoke into her ear and mind at once.

    Yes? she asked, forming her answer in a thought.

    The presence enveloped her in a charged embrace, and she gasped at the sudden chill and the biting touch below her collarbone, where her necklace rested. The pendant’s gentle glow swelled, its light piercing her shirt, and she hastened to conceal it with both hands.

    Well met, child—we have found you, the Master’s hope.

  • Title: The Commons
    Genre: YA dystopian
    Word Count: 101,000

    Pitch: At the end of the Great War, the world split into two societies: The Commons and The Techs. Now the two worlds are about to collide, and neither will ever be the same again.

    First 150 words:

    Once these streets had been filled with tall buildings. Large concrete structures where the people went to work every day. Streets that spanned for miles that were constantly jammed with an endless stream of cares. It was hard to believe that this was all that was left. Only one grey building stretched up to the sky, but even the top of that one was jagged and unstable. The rest of the street consisted mostly of piles of concrete.

    It was an all too familiar sight to Arisa, who had been travelling to all the city ruins. Each one seemed to be worse than the last, until she had arrived here. She did not know what city it had once been, but from the remains she would guess it had been hit hard in the great war.

    Arisa let these thoughts run through her head as she stared around herself.

  • Laura Barnes says:

    Title: sWitch
    Genre: MG Low Fantasy
    Word Count: 67,000

    Pitch: When Mina’s magic doesn’t come in like the other witches, she discovers she was switched at birth. Her quest to find the real witch leads her to choices that will change the magic world forever.

    Even her mother’s best Patience spell couldn’t keep Mina from pacing her room. In less than sixty minutes, she would celebrate the thirteenth hour of her thirteenth birthday, and her magic would finally flow from her fingertips. She would show everyone once and for all that she was not a weirdo in the world of witches.

    Mina moved to the Mystic Revealer again. She didn’t want to be the type of girl that stared endlessly into a mirror, but this object showed more than her reflection; it showed traces of magic. Like she did most mornings, she first straightened her hair, then searched the outline of her image looking for any sign, small as it may be, of her magic leaking. This time she expected to see something different – a glint of what lurked beneath, a shimmer around her reflection – but the Mystic Revealer didn’t show anything but the same old Mina.

  • Jackee says:

    Wow! Thanks, Brenda and Joan! Joan is one of my favorite agents so I’m happy to see the big turn out. Their agency is amazing.

    And I’m so glad to find your blog via my friend Sharon Mayhew. You are rockin’ it here, Brenda!

  • Mrs.Trujillo says:

    Title: FireFlys
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 65,000

    Pitch: I knew that losing my dad and moving to MiddleOfNowhere, GA would change my life. What I didn’t know was how much it would change my heart.

    I often think of that summer. When the sun hits the trees just right or the sound of a whippoorwill floats to me on an evening breeze, the memories come flooding back like the Saint Mary’s river after a hard rain. Even after all these years, now that I have children of my own, my memories of those long, hot days are more vivid and clear than they should be. I think they’ll always be with me, reverberating in every movement I make and for that, I am glad.

    It’s time to share my story, that’s why I’m writing it down now. Maybe I’ll read it to my girls; maybe I’ll just save it for my own eyes on nights when I can’t sleep. Either way, I’ve started. And there’s no turning back now. Is this a true story? I’ll leave that for you to decide but I can tell you this; it is, without doubt, the story of the summer that I lost my dad and somehow, managed to find myself

  • Jackee says:

    Almost forgot to post it here too!!

    Title. Jedda Hitler: Traitor to the Party
    Genre. YA Historical Adventure
    Word Count: 65,000 words

    Pitch. Raised, groomed, and kept apart, Jedda Hitler was her grandfather’s personal project to prove that even a small girl could be turned into a killing machine.

    Grandfather would never have allowed such incompetence in his army. That is all I have to say about him. He is no longer my concern.

    Right now I have only to save myself.

    Sagging belly and paunchy eyes, my jailer leans carelessly against the bathroom wall. He is a Brown Shirt, Nazi paramilitary. But where discipline was once religion, it is replaced by indolence. He disgusts me.

    He would not be so at ease if he knew how loose his men tied my wrists.

    I could kill him now if I wished.

    But I want information.

    “Give me your name.” His voice echoes. We are underground, in a tunnel. He believes he is the one interrogating.

    “Your name!”

    “I think you already know,” I say.

    A self-satisfied tightness crosses his lips. He has his prize.

    “Where are we?” I ask, doing my best to appear dazed.

    “North of Mosbach.”

  • Brenda Drake says:

    THE CONTEST IS CLOSED. Thank you all for participating and good luck. I’m so excited! <3

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