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Wednesday, 13 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: MG Mystery

Word Count: 41,500
Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy wants to be brave and spontaneous. But she’s not. So when she and her fearless cousin Jake stumble upon century-old clues leading to gold coins hidden by Butch Cassidy—farm boy turned infamous bank robber of the Wild West—she crumples her “to-do” list to prove that she really can be daring and impulsive.
Searching for gold with Jake and their quirky Grandpa Jim in his beat-up motorhome seems like a grand adventure, until Maggie learns they must outsmart and outrun a dangerous thief who is also after the treasure. Her newfound courage falters.
The race is on. They have only three days to discover the treasure, or the boys’ ranch for troubled youth founded in Butch Cassidy’s name will be forced to close its doors forever. Just as the cousins have solved the mystery, Jake is captured. Maggie is finally forced to find her bravery.
RACE TO BUTCH CASSIDY’S GOLD is complete at 41,500 words and stands alone, but can open the door for a series that exposes readers to fast-paced adventures across the fifty states.
I have a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and have been both an elementary and middle school classroom teacher. I am a regular attendee of writers’ conferences and have three published magazine articles. I created the successful marketing website, Giveaway Today, with an apex of 176,000 page views per month.
 250-word excerpt:
Twelve seconds until summer vacation. Maggie’s eyes locked on the jerking hand of the classroom clock that counted down the last seconds of sixth grade. Someone in the back of the room began chanting, “Ten, nine, eight—”
Everyone else joined in, “Seven, six—”
No more homework! Maggie thought.
“Five, four—”
No more books!
No more teachers’ dirty looks!
RRRRINGGGG!!  The class erupted into cheers.
Maggie jumped out of her chair, slung her pink backpack over her shoulder, and slipped out the classroom door. As she ran down the school’s rickety old steps, she pulled the “to-do” list she had carefully prepared the night before out of her back pocket.
Fourteen minutes. That’s how long she had given herself to make it home. She studied the large crowd in front of her and took a deep breath. She looked down at her bright blue digital watch, pushed the start button, and took off running.
“To your left,” she called, pushing past a circle of fifth grade girls in a group hug. “Coming through.” Maggie sidestepped a large boy picking gum off the bottom of his shoe. “Watch out.” she darted around a curly-haired girl rummaging through her backpack. Just a few more steps and Maggie would be out of the crowd. She glanced at her watch. One minute down, thirteen to go. At this rate, she thought she might just make it home in time.
Boy, was she wrong.

Filed: Contests, Misc


    I love this. You’ve outlined the stakes, the plot. My only nit-pick is this sentence “Just as the cousins have solved the mystery, Jake is captured. Maggie is finally forced to find her bravery.” I’m wondering if there’s a different way to write it, but still say the same thing.

    This query is really good!


    I love this too. I’ve seen it before somewhere, but for the life of me I don’t know where. I liked it then too. The first sentence is a little wordy, but other than that, I really enjoyed all of this and would have read it all and more.

    Thank you for sharing your work ;o)

  • Emily says:

    Erica, thank you so much for taking the time to read my query and 250 words. And thanks for what you wrote–it made me smile! 🙂

  • You’re very welcome! I really enjoyed it ;o)

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