Feb 12, 2012

Pitch contest with Tricia Lawrence of EMLA

CONTEST CLOSED! Please comment on at least five entries IF you entered prior to 5 p.m. EST I've been in a classroom until now so will be checking date stamps of entries. If you entered after the time cut-off, at this point you will not be considered by Tricia.

Okay, writers, today is the DAY! You've helped me get the word out, you've researched Tricia Lawrence and read the interview (in case you haven't, check it out here) and you're ready to go.

 Tricia is excited to read the entries of who post their query and first 250 words in the comments below. I've changed my comments to allow replies (assuming Blogger will work!) so please check out at least five other entries and give feedback.  We're all about encouraging each other so constructive criticism only, please! Yeah, I don't have to warn you guys. You're all awesome that way. :)

Tricia will announce a winner next Monday, Feb. 20.   

272 comments:

1 – 200 of 272   Newer›   Newest»
Cassie Mae said...

Wahoo! I'm first. :) This is what us night owls are rewarded with :)

Thanks again for doing this!

Query:
Zoe has a great pair of legs, perky boobs, and wears exactly what she needs to show it all off. She works hard for the easy sleezy ‘you only wish you were me’ reputation, burying who she really is—an all-out nerd.

The only time Zoe gets to be herself is when she hides under her comforter to read X-Men comics, sending jealousy stabs at everyone who attends Comic-Con. Keeping up her popular rep is too important, and she’s so damn insecure to care about the consequences. She dates guys who only want one thing, and can be found drinking and necking at the club to drown out the nerdy voices in her head.

But when Zoe gets plastered one night, almost stumbling into her first sexual experience with a guy twice her age, she realizes just how much her fake identity could hurt not only her, but everyone she cares about—including her next door neighbor Zak.

Zak’s a geek to the core, shunned by everyone in school for playing Dungeons and Dragons at lunch and wearing “Use the Force” t-shirts. But he knows Zoe—the real Zoe. She’s drawn to him, only feeling happy when she’s by his side. Only Zak doesn’t want fake Zoe. He wants nerdy Zoe.

She has to shove her insecurities and the fear of dropping a few rungs on the social ladder aside to prove to Zak who she really is and who she wants to be… if she can figure it out herself.

HOW TO DATE A NERD is a YA Contemporary Romance complete at 61,000 words. I believe readers who enjoyed the humor in DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and related to the real life issues in FAKING NINETEEN by Alyson Noel would be drawn to this book.

First 250 Words:

Rules of keeping up your popular rep:

Number one, the shorter the skirt, the better.

Number two, natural hair color is a thing of the past.

Number three, high heels are an extension of your foot. To go without them would be like losing a toe.

Number four, guys are disposable, and should never be used more than once or for an extended period of time.

And number five, never ever reveal you collect Star Wars memorabilia, you know every line to Lord of the Rings, and you actually know the birthdates of all the Harry Potter cast members.

Yeah. I’m a total closeted nerd.

I'm not cool with pity glares in the hallways, painful jabs, and permanent scars. No thanks. It's much easier to keep my true nature hidden beneath layers of eyeliner, skimpy outfits, and even I must admit to myself, a rockin’ body. Though the push up bras tend to do most of the work.

Welcome to high school. Where everyone tries to be someone else.

Well… everyone except Zak.

Zakary Gibbons is my next door neighbor. I blame him for my extreme nerdy behavior. He was the one to introduce me to the awesomeness of the Elvish Language, the hidden mysteries of World of Warcraft, and the magical world that lies beyond Platform 9 ¾. And for some strange reason, when we reached the age of fifteen, he didn’t understand that being accepted into the right cliques in high school was the most important thing.

ilima said...

Thanks for this great opportunity!

Title: A SINGLE FEATHER

Query:

Mamo dreads becoming chief of the island on his eighteenth birthday. It’s bad enough his people can’t speak to him, touch him, or look him in the eye, but now he will have to marry someone he’s never met and wear that pretentious feather cape. His father certainly doesn’t sympathize. He revels in the cold and loveless life of a chief. Mamo’s only solace is his secret ability to transform into a rare and exotic bird, giving him a sense of the freedom he longs to have.

At a chance meeting with sixteen-year-old Kila, all he yearns for crashes into him like a welcome ocean wave. Her loose tongue, forward personality, and brazen stares give him such a thrill, it rivals the sensation of flight itself. Even her simple touch provides a comfort Mamo hadn’t realized he needed. Best of all, she doesn’t know he is the son of the chief, her ignorance a gift from the gods themselves.

As their relationship grows, Mamo must decide between his inherited responsibility and the girl he is falling in love with. When rumors of warring islands reach their shores, the people anxiously await the guidance of their new young ruler. The choice should be simple, especially when Kila’s father arranges her marriage to another. But Mamo soon learns with a girl like Kila, nothing is simple.

Set in the lush tropical backdrop of ancient Hawaii, A SINGLE FEATHER is a YA fantasy complete at 54,000 words. It would appeal to readers of Shannon Hale’s BOOK OF A THOUSAND DAYS and Witi Ihimaera’s THE WHALE RIDER.


First 250:

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, Wana’ao, 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. Kila longed for such a transformation. Akua’s tale spoke of adventure and freedom. She withdrew her hand and brushed it against her hip, wiping away the temptation with a sigh.

“Kila, hele mai!” Her father’s shout was closer now.

She jumped into the canoe, cringing as it groaned against the stilts. Lying as flat as a banana leaf, Kila tried to silence her breathing so as to not give herself away. When the only sound she heard was the lapping of waves on the sand, she grinned in triumph.

“Aue,” her father said leaning over her. “Nice try, but you are not five anymore.”

Stephanie said...

Yay! Thanks for this awesome opportunity!

QUERY:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Sixteen-year-old Clementine wants to grow old and live in a place where the moon is a beautiful, glowing orb in the sky instead of an acid-bleeding menace to the planet. So when she wins a shot at life far from the planet Surface, she takes it willingly, even if it means leaving her best friend, Logan, behind.

In the planet Core, which after centuries has been transformed into a steel-made place of inhabitance more like a space ship, Clementine lives, for the first time, without fear. Underground, there is no starvation, there are no crowbar-wielding security officials, and the moon is far enough away that no one speaks of it.

Then Clementine learns the planet leaders are going to murder Logan.

Now trapped by the steel walls of the underground and the lies that keep her safe, Clementine must find a way to escape and rescue Logan. But the planet leaders don't want her running. They want her subdued.

Complete at 64,000 words, EXTRACTION is a science fiction novel for young adults that will appeal to readers of Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT and Beth Revis's ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

FIRST 250:

I stand in the dirt watching the moon slip away, clutching the fence that separates my shack from the street. At intervals, my grip tightens on the wood, and my knuckles whiten.

Today is the day I must prove I deserve to stay alive.

The sun rises. Children emerge from doorways and head down the road. I wonder if they stayed awake all night, like I did. I wonder where Logan is and what's taking him so long to meet me here.

In a puddle in the dirt, I glimpse a pale, anxious face. I bite my lip and stare at each minuscule shard of wood in the fence.

Speed up, I urge time. Then, slow down.

My fingers squeeze the fence so hard they burn.

“Hey, Clem!”

I snap my head up.

Logan hobbles toward me, holding something in his hand.

I start running to meet him, maybe to yell at him for taking so long, but I see what it is, what he's holding. And I stop moving.

In his fingers, he twirls 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 prove I deserve to escape it?

This flower is different.

Jenny Kaczorowski said...

Thank you so much for the opportunity!

Query:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

When sixteen-year-old Emma Hawthorne finds the body of her best friend, Lily, floating in the river, her hard-fought control of her empathic ability crumbles. Capable of picking up emotions from other people like a radio signal, she is too damaged to tune out the constant static. Now all Emma wants is to move beyond her grief and be free from everyone else’s feelings.

Then an encounter with a stranger’s violent emotions triggers a vision of Lily’s tortured soul and Emma is faced with a terrifying sense that the drowning wasn’t an accident – and that Lily isn’t resting in peace. Emma’s search for answers attracts unwanted attention from Patrick, a man without emotions. Simultaneously repulsed and intrigued, she allows him into her life. And when he offers to take away her ability, along with the pain it causes, she is ready to accept.

But Lily is trying to warn Emma from beyond the grave. Patrick’s offer isn’t without a price – a price that may have cost Lily more than her life. As Emma unravels the twisted threads connecting Patrick to Lily, she discovers he’s more dangerous than she ever thought possible. Emma must find the strength to fight the growing supernatural hold Patrick has on her, not only to give Lily the peace she deserves, but to save her own sanity – and possibly her soul as well.

THE ALTERAE is a 64,000 word YA urban fantasy with romantic elements.

After earning my B.S. in journalism, I followed my husband to Los Angeles. Along the way, I have co-written two independently produced short films and published articles in two weekly newspapers. I am active in several online writing communities and workshops, including AgentQuery Connect and WriteOnCon.


First 250:

Emma hadn’t slept in three days. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the river again. Saw her again.

She shuddered and forced herself to watch the mourners gathering around the grave at the base of the hill. The black-clad figures clung to one another, finding comfort in knowing they didn’t mourn alone. Comfort Emma couldn’t share. Even from where she stood at the crest of the cemetery, their shock and grief and anger pounded against her.

The wind shaped Emma’s dark hair into softly waving tendrils and she brushed them away from her face with the back of her hand. She shifted and the frozen dewdrops clinging to the grass crackled under her feet.

Emma knew she should join the other mourners. She knew they expected her to share in their public display of sorrow.

But she couldn’t.

The slightest touch, the slightest betrayal of emotion and she would lose everything. Even a hug, meant to console, could send her spiraling out of control.

She remained frozen, a silent witness to their grief. She saw everything in stunning clarity, the delirium of her sleepless nights drawing details into sharp focus. The lurid green carpet covering the hole in the ground and the cold, dead coffin that held her best friend. The dull, grey sky burned in her mind. Overwhelming sorrow surrounded her, but she refused to absorb any of it.

Her silence, more than tears or anger, terrified her parents. Not that she blamed them for worrying.

EnchantingEditor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EnchantingEditor said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

When seventeen-year-old Lana Kavanaugh’s dad disappears, she hops a plane for Ireland to track him down, armed with one cryptic clue—the name Blaine O’Sullivan scrawled on a business card for Gallagher’s Pub. But Blaine, a guitarist with a hauntingly beautiful voice and a dark connection to Irish folklore, isn’t the only Irishman waiting for her at Gallagher’s. Within the shadows, lurks a bloke with murderous intentions, one who almost ends Lana’s search for her dad—along with her life.

Soon Lana and Blaine are running for their lives around Ireland’s coastline, navigating an underground world of ancient secrets. Swept into the mythological rivalry between the Tuatha de Danann and the Fomorians, Lana begins to worry the most important clue is the loner tagging along with her, Blaine O’Sullivan.

BALLAD KEEPER, a YA urban fantasy, combines the cultural panache of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS with the seductive allure of THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER. The manuscript is just over 90,000 words, fully complete, and the first novel in a planned trilogy.

I’m a world traveler, member of SCBWI, and the lead editor of young adult fiction for an independent publisher. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Irish air rushed across my face, dampening skin dry from seventeen years of Jersey’s smog and ten hours flying coach to Dublin. Green and salty, I took a deep breath of it. The clean oxygen flooded my lungs and quenched a thirst for Ireland I didn’t discover until that moment.

In the dim neon light from the pub, I fished three yellow Euros out of my pocket and squinted at the indistinct numbers. These better be fifties, I thought as I pressed them into the cab driver’s palm. The scraps of paper resembled Monopoly money more than real cash. They stuck to his clammy skin before crinkling inside his tightening fist.

“This place is it?” I stomped around the green cab to where the driver stood grunting, trying to disengage my oversized bag from the pint-sized trunk. No way in hell was I letting him strand me at the wrong pub. “This is the only Gallagher’s Pub in Kilkenny?”

“Gallagher’s Pub. ‘Tis the one and only.” He lifted a knobby finger toward the pub sign, as his other hand pocketed the Euros. I didn’t even wince when the long-saved cash became his.

Each swing of the front door sent light shooting across the parking lot, casting dark shadows behind every illuminated figure. The animated silhouette of my shadow—dwarfed next to the cab and the driver—only made my concern grow. If I looked like a twelve-year-old, my plan was doomed. I threw my narrow shoulders back and straightened, stretching every one of my five feet and six inches to their maximum capacity, but the shadow barely grew. I should have worn heels.

C. Issy said...

Thank you for this contest!!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

I hope that I can interest you in my young adult paranormal novel, THE DESIRED.

Sara Lobos was looking forward to a quiet summer on her grandparent’s farm in the middle of nowhere Europe—a chance to recharge, work on a few college applications, and drink tons of espresso while checking out cute guys at the local cafes. Never mind those visions of people and places from other times,they were just proof that she needed a rest. Then she meets Sebastian, the strange boy in the woods who is so much more than he seems. His only request—to free him from the centuries-old prison for which she is the only key. Because of him, she becomes wrapped up in a world of lost kings and a limbo where time stands still. And, just to add to the pressure, her best friend, Jeremiah, is a part of an ancient society whose only purpose is to stop her.

Now Sara has to decide who to trust—Jer, the boy who knows her better than anyone else on earth or Sebastian, the king who is asking her to help save him and, if he's telling the truth, the world. The history books said that he was handsome…the problem is that the history books were right.

THE DESIRED is a 72,000 word young adult novel with series potential. I would loveto have you consider THE DESIRED for representation and would gladly forward additional sample pages or the full manuscript at your request.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thank you for your consideration.

First 250 words:

This morning turned out to be perfect for a run. The air was just cool enough that I was not sweating too badly, even though my lungs were killing me by mile three. My sneakers pounded along the familiar paths, kicking up a small cloud of dust. I dodged rocks and ruts in the dirt path and pushed up a steep incline with one last burst of speed. As I neared the top, a flash of blond hit the corner of my eye and I stumbled, whipping my head around to try and find its source. Except for a few little brown birds, the woods were empty with no gold or yellow in sight. Breathlessly shaking off the adrenaline, I slowed to a walk and then dropped my hands to my knees. I had to stop being so jumpy. It’s not like the Star Mountains were some back alley in Camden or something. Nothing ever happens here.

Heart rate nearing normal, I straightened up and felt the breath catch in my throat for a completely different reason. I was standing at the top of the hill, looking out over acres of fields on one side and forest on the other. Vale da Castanheira, “valley of the chestnut tree”, my grandparents’ land, was pretty and deserted, the forest still waking up around me. Exhaustion or no, being up here, staring out over the world so early in the morning, was definitely a rush.

MarcyKate said...

Thank you so much for such a wonderful opportunity!


QUERY:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out, there are a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam in a stolen car, running from the police, the doctor who might be on to her condition, and the bald dude with a seriously bad attitude tailing them. Tommy would give anything to have her newly manifested strength, but Maggie’s not so keen—even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. All she wants is to find her Maker and get her human parts restored. As they follow clues on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style, but he is beginning to distract her from the guy who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s a problem in itself—geek love is definitely not a part of Maggie’s plan. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

I’m seeking representation for CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG, a YA science fiction novel complete at 71,000 words. I have a MS in Arts Administration from Boston University and as the former marketing director of a professional theatre, I can actively promote my work.

I understand you represent a range of young adult fiction, and I thought you might enjoy CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG. The first 250 words are enclosed below. I would be happy to supply additional sample chapters or a full manuscript upon request.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Regards,
MarcyKate

FIRST 250:

Weightlessness is a funny thing.

One moment ago, Dean and I were joking about the stupid, lime-green dress his ex-girlfriend wore to prom. His cheeks dimpled when he laughed.

Now his car skids over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo. My insides lurch and jerk, like knots trying to untie themselves. Dean’s face is a blank sheet of confusion and me, well, I don’t know how I look but I’m sure it isn’t pretty.

The free fall ends when we hit the tree. All that remains is pain and panic. And noise. All kinds of noise.

Screams, creaks, and cracks from all sides. I can’t feel my legs or arms, but I’m standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.

Dean’s stuck. I have to get him out.

Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. I tear the door off the car and nearly tear Dean’s arm off, too. He tumbles out and I drag him toward the field. The car explodes, flames consuming it in a burst of red and orange. The force throws us back from the wreck. I sit in the long grass in my tattered dress, barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side.

I can't tear my eyes away from my left arm.

It’s ruined.

The skin is ripped open, gaping from wrist to elbow, but I hardly bleed. My arm isn’t right. Something more is wrong than just the wound . . . .

Laura Renegar said...

Thanks for a wonderful opportunity!

Query:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

With a slip of paper and a lighter, Mazie ruined lives. With her sketch pad in a tattoo shop, she’ll try to save one.

She didn’t mean for anyone to get hurt. Now, fresh out of juvie for arson, fifteen-year-old Mazie is living on the streets and searching for a missing girl—the daughter of the firefighter who died in the flames Mazie started. Bringing Samantha back to her family could help make up for the loss she caused and put an end to Mazie’s nightmares.

But finding Samantha means NOT laying low—a dangerous proposition considering a sexy tattooed stranger, maybe Samantha’s kidnapper, is hunting Mazie down.

INK is my contemporary young adult mystery, complete at 33,000 words. I think it would appeal to fans of fast-paced suspense such as Lisa McMann’s WAKE series and WHAT HAPPENED TO CASS MCBRIDE by Gail Giles.

In addition to INK, I have completed several picture books and a chapter book. As the online networking coordinator for my SCBWI region, I write a column for their quarterly publication. I’ve also been published in the 2010 WRITERS DIGEST SONGWRITERS GUIDE.

First 250:

I was the only guilty kid in juvie—or the only one who admitted it. When they stamped TIME SERVED on my court docs and Aunt Deb was done posing as a responsible adult, I stepped into the street and kept walking. Past the chain-link-fence-covered basketball courts. Past the half-lit Bail Money Now sign. Past Luther’s Pawn Shop and its promise of the best price for my gold.

If I went far enough, there would be a grassy park where people walked dogs and flew kites. If I took enough steps, nobody would know enough to whisper and wonder about the girl who lit the spark that grew into the flames that devoured the house on Decatur Road.

The sun breathed on me. I squirmed as a sweat drops rolled down my back. A car turned onto the street with its bass pounding. I looked at the cracks in the sidewalk and studied the ants. They hurried like a liquid line to a smashed crispy frog.

Still, they knew where to go.

I slid my hand in my pocket and felt for the ones Mama sent me. Still there. Not enough for a bus ride to South Carolina, but she couldn’t keep me anyhow.

“I’ll send more when business picks up,” she wrote.

I wondered where she’d send it.
My stomach growled. If I could hold off until sunset I could dumpster dive at the bread store. Maybe I’d even score some banana bread.

I walked quicker. A lone ant.

Tracey J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie Herbert said...

FAMILIAR MAGIC, 30,000-words, Middle Grade manuscript.
Debbie Herbert

250 word query:

Spooky, a black cat who can communicate with humans through dreams, befriends seventh-grader Della Kaye who is targeted by bullies -- until Spooky takes matters into his own paws.

Just because Della Kaye is quiet and has a slight limp, she becomes the bullies’ target. Spooky makes it his mission to spy on these playground terrorists and get the dirt on ‘em so Della Kaye has some ammunition to fall back on.

He thinks Della Kaye is too nice for her own good. She doesn’t want to expose the bullies’ secrets, even though they are mean to her. She even tries to help one of them when Spooky finds out he’s being abused by his mother’s boyfriend.

There are other complications as well. Her so-called BFF turns traitor and feeds Spooky poisoned catnip. Worse, the bullies step up their game. Can Della Kaye learn to stand up for herself before it’s too late?

Spooky tries to give her courage and self-confidence, and she tries to give him insight into weird human behaviors like humility and forgiveness, traits useless for survival in the animal world, but seem important to humans.

I write young adult and middle grade novels with a touch of whimsy. I’ve always been fascinated by magic, romance, and the potent alchemy of youth. I’m a member of the Georgia Romance Writers of America, and am a member of two writers’ critique groups that include two published authors.

Kimmy said...

QUERY:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Thirteen-year-old Trinity Bishop is about to learn something very interesting on summer vacation: Aliens really exist. And they’re here.

Trinity’s looking forward to her family cruise to the Caribbean, especially since her best friends, Maya and Nick, are tagging along. When Trinity and her friends discover aliens with a busted spacecraft hiding in a cave, they spy on the little creatures. In need of diamonds to power up their UFO, the aliens plan to raid Trinity’s cruise ship and get their three-fingered hands on some jewels. Using whatever force is necessary.

Time to freak out.

Trinity tells her parents about the invasion, but they think she’s been out in the tropical sun too long. Forced to take matters into her own hands, Trinity faces off against the aliens with Maya and Nick. When they grab Nick and demand an exchange of the human for the diamonds, Trinity must find a way to comply that doesn’t involve grand theft, jail time, or Nick becoming a tasty experiment. No easy feat for a girl who just started wearing a bra.

TRUSTING TRINITY is a 32,000 word middle grade adventure. This novel is a standalone with series potential.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

FIRST 250:

If I heard the words “anal probe” one more time, I was going to explode.

Not the guts-all-over-the-place kind of explode, but close.

When I got home from the store with my mom, I slammed my bedroom door so hard it knocked the framed seventh grade class photo off the pink wall. I stomped on it, flung myself onto the bed, and buried my face in my pillow.

The door pushed open and Mom walked in. She stepped on the broken glass and sighed.

“Trinity, forget about those boys. You know how immature they can be.” She sat on the edge of my bed and ran her fingers through my tangled hair. “Maya will be here any minute, and before you know it, we’ll all be on the cruise ship having fun. Right?”

I shook my head against my pillow, suffocating myself but refusing to look at her. Mom had no idea how I felt. She had been popular like my older sister, Jessica.

I was just…Trinity.

The girl who lies.

And all I wanted was for people to like me as much as they liked Mom and Jess. But Jessica ruined that by making me the target of jokes and teasing.

The thing I didn’t get was, everyone lied. I saw it every day at school when boys lied about who they kissed and girls lied about who they liked and everyone lied about doing their own homework.

So why was I the only one who got teased?

Debbie Herbert said...

Hi Tracey,
Your voice is captivating and I like the use of the present tense. My favorite line is about chunking the toaster as 'another dead thing.'

The only thing I would change - and it's minor - is how she describes her friend's hair as not as smooth as it used to be and it's bent and brown from the sun. It sounded the way an older person would describe the hair.

I think you have a great entry!

Debbie Herbert

Debbie Herbert said...

First 250 words of FAMILIAR MAGIC:

From the safety of a treetop, I watched Della Kaye Presley draw a circle in the dirt with a broken stick while standing by the side door of Cottonwood Junior High, waiting for school to begin.

She was by herself and looking lonely, as usual. I knew her name because the other students always teased her. Today was no different. Three boys in Alabama Crimson Tide tee shirts raced past her singing a familiar song.

“Della Kaye’s, not okay.”

“Della Kaye, should go away.”

“Della Kaye, you’re so gay.”

Gay? She didn’t look happy to me.

All the other students were talking together in small groups. The guys occasionally pushed and shoved each other in a mock he-man kind of way while the girls gossiped and preened, trying to catch the eyes of the boys.

Not Della Kaye. I’ve never seen such a gloomy face on any of the junior high gang. When no one was looking, she snuck peeks at the others, watching them chatting easily and having fun.

I kept my eye on her over the next few days, between hunting breakfast, lunch and supper. It was always the same. Della Kaye stood alone on the sidelines drawing in the dirt or sitting on one of the picnic benches scribbling in a large black notebook she carried everywhere.

I decided to make her mine. I needed someone too.

Debbie Herbert said...

Hi Laura,

My favorite line - 'the sun breathed on me.'

I think you have a compelling premise.

Debbie

Debbie Herbert said...

Hi MarcyKate,

Great opening line.

The only thing I would change is 'on the lam' because I'm not sure that's teen vernacular anymore - although I could be wrong!

I would read this.

Debbie Herbert

Kimmy said...

I really like this. Great concept about perception vs reality in a teen's uncertain world! Good luck.

Tracey J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimmy said...

Your query is interesting, but for fantasy consider upping the word count. I would read this! Good luck.

Debbie Herbert said...

I love how you describe the Irish air as 'green and salty' -- just as how I imagine it would be!

Debbie Herbert

Kimmy said...

I like your query and think we need more sci fi around here - good job!

Kimmy said...

Great query and pages. This sounds like a good read! Good luck.

Debbie Herbert said...

Who couldn't relate to this premise? And I loved how in your query you related your MS to other published works.

Debbie Herbert

Tracey J said...

I remember reading this in another contest, and even now I still love it. I think you have an awesome concept here. I especially love the query.

Debbie Herbert said...

Hi Kimmy,

I liked the way the end of your 250 words had a question. Drew me in.

Debbie Herbert

Kimmy said...

Hi! I think the cat (though I love cats!) makes this sound younger than MG, and the abusive boyfriend pushes it into YA territory. Good luck with it.

Scott said...

QUERY:

When ten-year-old Wyatt Cook and his older, jerk of a brother, Dustin, venture alone into the mysterious greenbelt behind their Pacific Northwest home for the first time, they have no idea the discovery of a strange, blue-haired creature will thrust them into a timeless battle between two raging realms of the forest, and it will fall upon Wyatt to save them all.

As the woods around them manifest into talking beings, Dustin is taken prisoner by the Axindae and Black Thorn and Wyatt is told he is the only one who can save him - no pressure. With help from the Knights of the Wood, Pinecone Warriors, and a trusty golden retriever, Wyatt’s adventure becomes a fight for his life and the existence of the Emerald Wood. Along the way, Wyatt must lead an army, save Dustin, and find out what it truly means to be a brother.

Introducing a stunning new world filled with natural wonders, THE EMERALD WOOD is a 39,000 word middle grade novel inspired by my own daily adventures in the 8 acres behind my childhood home in the Pacific Northwest. I remember every imaginary conversation I had with the beautiful environment around me and can't wait to spark this same thrill within every girl and boy who reads this book.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts Education and English from Central Washington University and I am a Theatre Arts Teacher at South Kitsap High School. I am an experienced public speaker with access to over 2,000 High School students who are willing (and waiting) to buy, promote, tweet and Facebook the heck out of this puppy. In the spring of 2007 I wrote, produced, and directed an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, entitled ALICE IN DISCOLAND. It became the most successfully produced non-musical in school history.

FIRST 250:

“Go Dustin, GO!”

The two brothers hit the tree line at a dead sprint, the bigger of the two leading the way while the smaller, more agile figure egged him on from behind.

It was the first day of summer break.

Dustin and Wyatt Cook awakened at sunrise to get an early start on their first day of freedom. Stopping to kiss their mom good-bye and pack a few crucial food items from the kitchen pantry, the Cook brothers sprinted through the door and plunged into the great beyond of forest that lay behind their house.

The brothers had been planning this day for several months. Wyatt, the younger of the two by four years, had turned ten in April and was now allowed into the woods with only the supervision of his older brother Dustin. They saw this as a rite of passage, almost a ritual into manhood. Not only did it mean the two boys were free from the watchful eyes of adults, but Wyatt could now perform the sacred act of “swashing”.

Swashing was a technique for moving down Glenwood Creek, the small creek that ran through the woods and emptied into a large pond at the Johnson Farm about five miles east of the Cook house. The reason it was called swashing was because it wasn’t exactly swimming and it wasn’t exactly running; it was just swashing. There were spots where the creek opened up and a person could run at a full speed. At some points one might find himself crawling on his stomach through water with sticker bushes looming just inches from his back. Other times a person might have to climb a fallen tree to navigate to the next open part of the creek. Regardless of one’s progression, the journey always ended with the creek spilling into the pond at the Johnson Farm.

Sara said...

Query:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Daela Stark has no magic in her, a revelation which plunges her status from noble to the scrap on every beggar’s shoe. When she witnesses her half-brother’s kidnapping by an enemy long forgotten, no one believes her -- no one except Trey, her brother’s favorite smuggler and sometimes friend. But help is scarce, and even a coward who turned on his people’s faith to escape imprisonment is better than nothing.

With Trey as a guide, Daela tracks her brother into Ethra, the desolate world where Trey’s people have been incarcerated for centuries. There, they learn that the spell used to create Ethra has become unstable, and that the world itself is consuming its inhabitants. With death courting their every step, Daela finds herself growing closer to Trey, and must let go of her prejudices to realize that neither he nor his people are the vile monsters she’d grown up believing.

But getting into Ethra turns out to be the easy part. Now they have to get out, and Daela’s escape plan is still a work in progress. To make matters worse, Daela finds out that her brother’s kidnapper plans to sacrifice him in a dark ritual that will unravel the spell and free everyone from the lethal world. Daela must make a choice: let her brother die, or condemn a race she once despised to an ugly end.

THE GIRL IN THE MIRROR is a 70,000 word YA fantasy with series potential. I believe it will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore and Janice Hardy.

Thank you for your time.

First 250:

The two initiates gawked at me like I was a gutted animal agonizing in a corner — with equal parts revulsion and pity. Both girls wore their hair pulled back, exposing the swirling gold tattoos at their temples that flaunted their standing as nobles of Hel’s Court. The blonde one met my eyes and winced. I arched an eyebrow, daring her to utter the word lurking behind her teeth.

Come on, say it. Say it to my face, you little brat.

Csuzu.

The word everyone thought but never said. The word I’d been reading in everyone’s eyes since I was five, despite their graceful manners and false smiles.

The blonde, proving she did have some sense of self-preservation, dropped her gaze and turned to her companion. And yet I could still hear the unspoken word like a whisper scuttling through the dark corners of the Sanctuary’s dreary antechamber.

Csuzu – child of infidelity.

The wooden door tucked in the corner creaked open. An attendant, the same man who’d been ushering initiates since early morning, came out. He glanced at the scroll containing the names of all the sixteen-year-olds who’d scheduled their Pledges for today. His icy gaze raked over us from under his thick glasses. “Kerrah Mayre?”

The blonde sprang to her feet, grace forgotten in the wake of excitement. I should have guessed she was a Mayre. I thought I recognized that particular shade of blonde and patronizing disdain.

Her friend stood and bowed slightly at the waist. “May Hel bless you.”

Mel said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

As the daughter of a deceased rock star, seventeen-year-old Kendall McNamara has grown up in the public eye. And she resents every freaking minute of it. Mourning the loss of her father is hard enough, but add in Spencer, her ex-boyfriend who wants her back and won’t take no for an answer, Kendall has just about all she can handle. But when Kendall discovers proof her father is alive and panhandling in Manhattan’s subway tunnels, she’ll do anything to find him--even if it means trusting Liam, the nephew of her mom’s business partner.

Expelled from boarding school for gambling, Liam Price is forced to live with his aunt. Despite her rules, he’s unable to give up his true love--poker. After losing ten grand, he strikes a deal with Spencer--poker rations in exchange for helping Spencer get Kendall back. No problem--until Liam realizes he’s in love with Kendall. But backing out of their deal isn’t so easy when the poker ringleader demands payment and Spencer refuses to fold. For Liam and Kendall, finding her dad is the key that will either solidify their relationship or drive them apart for good.

CHASING STARS is a 62,000-word YA contemporary romance, told from alternating POVs, with romance that will appeal to fans of Stephanie Perkins and adventure that will appeal to fans of Ally Carter. I am a member of SCBWI. The first 250 words are pasted below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
Melissa Hill

First 250:

Skyscrapers loomed below. And with them, so did reality. I closed my eyes. After my summer in Paris, I knew two things. First, I was over Spencer. Completely. Sort of. But I had a plan. And second, nobody would force me to run from the city again. My stomach lurched and it had nothing to do with turbulence.

“Kendall, you okay?” Veronica squeezed my hand. I opened my eyes to see my best friend staring at me. “We’ll be on the ground soon.”

“It’s not that.”

She regarded me with her you’re-a-total-liar look. “What are you wearing tomorrow?”
The ability to keep me distracted was an art form and she was Picasso.

Hanover Academy had a dress code. But like rules, dress codes were meant to be broken. I typically shattered them. Rule bending was kind of expected when your father’s a rock star. Was. My father was a rock star. The fact he only existed in the past tense made as much sense as people who insisted the BeDazzler was a great invention. Some things shouldn’t sparkle. And the people you really needed shouldn’t be gone.

“You realize this is important,” Vee said, pulling me back to reality. “Your reputation is completely on the line.”
I ignored the lump forming in the back of my throat. “I won’t disappoint,” I said. “I’m thinking the wedge heels and my tie skirt. You know, to show off what I learned this summer.”

With that, the wheels smacked into the pavement below, and we jerked forward.

Laura Renegar said...

I love the idea of the "popular girl" reading X-men under her comforter. Definitely a great idea for a YA.

Laura Renegar said...

I love your beautiful descriptions. Good luck!

Laura Renegar said...

I'd love to read this one. Great query hook!

Dana said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

1952 Texas is a boy’s paradise providing ten-year-old Allan with endless adventure. Allan spends most of his days riding on his best friend Raymond’s handlebars looking for excitement like hunting blood-spitting horny toads, riding a bucking bronco, and winning the best Concho River storytelling contest.

For three solid years, Allan watches the construction of the town’s 128 foot dam and all he can think about is riding down its long slope—even if it might result in possible death or amputation. Usually, Allan’s promise that his Comanche Indian heritage will protect them both, gives Raymond the encouragement he needs—but this time it’s not enough.

Just like the time Raymond provides Allan with a quick getaway from the Fifth Grade Dance—and a very tall dance partner—Raymond comes through on this challenge too. Only now, his mother’s death has caused Allan to question if he’s brave enough to ride the dam. Once Allan remembers his mother’s words of him being the bravest person she’s ever known, he discovers the courage he needs to conquer the adventure of a lifetime. Allan also begins to understand the delicate give and take of life and the importance of family, friends, and a special little town.

RIDING THE DAM is a humorous, yet tender, coming-of-age MG novel complete at 40,000 words. I have been an elementary school counselor for nine years and a university school counselor educator for thirteen years. Currently, I am a school counselor in a 6th-12th grade school in the largest school system in the Southeast.

I am querying you because I read that you are interested in MG that is authentic and historical plus—and because Melodie provided this wonderful opportunity.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely,
Dana Edwards

First 250

Today, me and Raymond 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.

It took us thirty minutes to get to the far end of the dam and there, we began our slow ride to the highest point. It was straight uphill and Raymond was pedaling, almost standing straight up. This was going to be harder than we thought.

Raymond was trying to catch his breath and in rhythm with each down pedal, asked, “Why. Am I. The one. Always. Doing. The pedaling?”

We had had this discussion a million times so I said, “You know good and well, this way I can watch for rattlesnakes.”

Raymond was deathly afraid of rattlesnakes.

Krista V. said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

Twelve-year-old Ella Mae is a sensible girl. She eats her vegetables, especially asparagus, and only tunes in to watch that new show I Love Lucy if Dragnet isn’t on. So when her auntie Mildred starts spouting nonsense about deoxyribo-something-or-other and how some egghead scientist can regenerate her dead son from the blood on his old dog tags, Ella Mae doesn’t believe her. Or at least she doesn’t until a man steps out of that bio-pod and drips yellow-green slime on the floor.

Problem is, the man isn’t her cousin. He’s Japanese.

Ella Mae knows she should hate him, but she was just a baby when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Besides, she can’t bring herself to hate a man who can’t remember his own name. Her indifference even turns to friendliness after she teaches the man English and defends him from the reverend’s talk of H-E-double-toothpicks and abominations with a well-aimed wad of spit. But when the man’s memories resurface, memories about the war and what really happened on the day his blood splashed on her cousin’s dog tags, Ella Mae learns the hard way what it means to be human—and what it means to be a friend.

Complete at 53,000 words, THE REGENERATED MAN AND ME is an MG historical with a dash of science fiction. I interviewed you and Adam Heine on my blog last month, and your enthusiasm for Mr. Heine's work impressed me. I’d love to work with an agent who knows what she loves and isn’t afraid to champion it.

I am a BYU graduate, a stay-at-home mom, and a blogger. My blog, Mother. Write. (Repeat.), receives an average of 9,000 pageviews a month.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,
Krista Van Dolzer

First 250:

Mama said it was plum foolishness to keep my cousin’s dog tags like that, with his blood still stuck between the ridges of his name. “Don’t know why Mildred won’t wash ’em,” Mama muttered one day while scrubbing dishes. “It’s like she thinks that blood will keep Robby alive somehow, like it’ll keep him with her. And we both know that’s plum foolishness.” She shook a soapy finger in my face. “That’s foolishness, Ella Mae, and don’t let anyone tell you any differently. Especially Auntie Mildred.”

But that was exactly what Mildred told me. “It’s not foolishness, Ella Mae,” she said one day while sweeping floors. “It’s science.” She gave the broom a flick. “And one of these days, those eggheads who invented the atomic bomb are going to figure out how to create life instead of just destroy it.”

I never told Auntie Mildred what Mama had said, and I never told Mama what Auntie Mildred had said, either. Those two already had enough to fight about, seeing as how they were sisters and all. In fact, when Mama answered the telephone that Saturday afternoon, I figured it was Auntie Mildred calling to resume their ongoing argument about Ajax.

But I was only half right.

“Settle down, Mildred,” Mama said, since she wasn’t the sort to stand for anyone’s shenanigans (least of all Auntie Mildred’s). “Now what’s this about Robby?”

I stopped chomping on my asparagus. Something told me I’d want to hear every word of this particular conversation.

Laura Renegar said...

I love how your opening paragraph gives us a vivid view of Della Kaye from the tree. Nice details!

I'm not sure who your main character is. Della Kaye seems to have the most conflict, but it's told from the POV of the cat. If Della Kaye is the main character, be careful not to let the cat solve her problems. This story might be a good one to tell with alternating POVs.

ValerieFM said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

WHAT COUNTS is a contemporary young adult novel completed at 70,000 words.

When the panther that’s been haunting her dreams slips into her waking life, fifteen-year-old Katie McKaid realizes she is being hunted. Not only is the panther stalking her, but it’s also after her seven-year-old brother, Shawn. As if this summer isn’t already a nightmare, her father left to live with his new girlfriend and her mother has fallen into a downward alcoholic spiral. Now, Shawn has just pitched a bright, orange tent in the middle of the living room, and refuses to take it down.

When Katie’s new neighbor, sixteen-year-old skateboarder, Tim, begins to suspect something, he starts poking around inside Katie’s world, unraveling the truth about her mother’s drinking and her father’s infidelity. He also discovers that the only thing hunting Katie is the damaging, psychological effect of a parent’s addiction, a secret Katie is willing to bend reality to hide. For Katie, trying to protect your family isn't always easy, but it is WHAT COUNTS.

WHAT COUNTS takes a unique look at love, family, addiction, and the fears that bind us. With a careful blend of magical realism and contemporary romance, WHAT COUNTS will interest readers of Laurie Halse Anderson’s WINTERGIRLS and Sara Zarr’s STORY OF A GIRL.

First 250: I could always hear them arguing. They would talk in spitted whispers, like they were trying to spare us. But eventually, the sounds worked their way up through the maze of the heat duct, slamming and clanking against the metal walls and exploded from the vent in my room. Tonight they just gave up, and even though I never knew how it started, I always remembered how it ended.

I’m not sure what was said to grab my attention, but I couldn’t tune it out any longer. Pushing my battered math book aside, I slid off the edge of my bed to press my ear to the ground. The metal grated vent was cool against my cheek and a few moments later, I heard a click. Shawn, my seven-year-old brother closed my bedroom door behind him and crawled along the floor toward me. His shaggy, sandy blonde hair wagged in front of his eyes, like a dog that was overdue for a trip to the groomers. He dropped to his belly, inches away from my face, and leaned over the vent.

“Katie, they’re fighting,” he whispered. His breath smelled like peanut butter.

“I know.”

“He’s going to leave, isn’t he?”

“No.” I lied. I was a good liar. Sometimes I couldn’t even tell when I was lying. It wasn’t even a conscious decision anymore. Instead, a lie was just a knee-jerk reaction, a survival mechanism. Something that had to be done to save myself from the truth.

“Maybe it will make Mom get better,” he said before popping his thumb into his mouth.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Thank you both for this opportunity!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,
I read with interest the mention of “historical plus” in your interview, since my book falls under that description. Spirits from the Vasty Deep is a ghostly young adult historical novel set in the 1850s, completed at 107,000 words. It's Charlotte Doyle meets Blossom Culp:

After a terrifying near-possession as a child, Olivia Herald rejects her powers to speak with the dead.

Years later, en route from Spain after her father's death, seventeen-year-old Olivia sets the ship Empyreal afire while escaping its murderous crew—dooming all hands aboard. She barely makes it off alive, and so does the captain who instigated the attacks on Olivia and her traveling companions.

Once she is rescued by another ship headed to the West Indies, signs that the Empyreal’s crew are not resting easily disturb Olivia’s nights. Her days are occupied with more worldly concerns: how will she earn passage back to the States from Antigua? And should she give in to her feelings for a young sailor, when their romance is complicated by her memories of the shipboard attack and her secret struggles to keep the spirit world at bay? And most importantly, will she ever see justice for her murdered friends?

When word arrives that the Empyreal’s captain not only survived the sinking, but blamed Olivia for causing it, she’ll need to return to the States to clear her name—or risk hanging. But it’s not only her own life at stake: Olivia’s neglected abilities to speak with the dead have left her with a foot in each world, and the vindictive spirits of the Empyreal’s crew can use that connection to invade the world of the living.

As the veil between the worlds becomes ever thinner, Olivia will need to overcome her fears and reclaim her powers in order to stop the sinister shades.

I am a PAL member of SCBWI whose past publishing credits include a MG short story, “Hornworms", in Hunger Mountain, a YA short story called "Ebb Tide" which took third place in the WOW! Women on Writing Spring 2010 Flash Fiction Contest, and numerous nonfiction pieces in such magazines as Birds & Blooms and Sierra Heritage Magazine. For a complete list of my writing credits, please see my blog at http://angelicarjackson.blogspot.com.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.

First 250:

Miss Werner's Female Seminary
(A Young Ladies' Boarding School)
April, 1843

Prologue

"Where are you taking me?" I planted my feet, but Miss Bonney pulled me into motion again. What had I done this time? Did she find the copy of H.C. Andersen's fairy tales I hid inside the hollow oak? I was forever in trouble for removing books from the school library, but fairy tales begged to be read in the woods.

"I'm taking you to the east wing, to end this superstitious nonsense once and for all," she answered. "I will solve two problems with one fell swoop—get some use out of that room, and cure you of lying."

"But I don't lie." I tried to defend myself, my breath coming in puffs as I trotted to keep up.

Miss Bonney snorted. "I suppose you deny telling the other girls the ghost of the groundskeeper and his dog walk the gardens? Or that Tabitha's late grandmother wanted to speak with her? Some of those girls haven't slept in a week. You're nearly ten years old, Olivia, you're getting too old for such stories."

"They're not stories—there are shades all around us, all the time. And I told the others they didn't need to fear these spirits; they don't mean us any harm." I had only shared those things because I thought they would offer some comfort—like how the groundskeeper continued to protect us, even after he was found face-down in the violets last year.

andimjulie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anya Harker said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!

QUERY:

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

Use the future to change the past – win the battle and rule both worlds.
 
Orphaned at seventeen following the death of her father, Gwen Masterson and her younger brother Leigh are sent to live with an uncle in the middle of nowhere. Iowa farm life is a far cry from the city-suburbia of New York, but Gwen is determined to make the best of the situation. Things take a turn for the strange when Gwen discovers a book in her uncle’s study that, when read, sends her back in time… to Camelot.
 
It’s a dream come true for bookish Gwen until she discovers she’s nothing more than a pawn in a dangerous game between two legendary sorcerers – Morgana and Merlin – as they attempt to change the course of history. Merlin’s scheme is simple: change the legend by finding a strong woman to become Arthur’s wife to ultimately save his life and deny Morgana the throne. It’s the perfect plan, except Arthur treats headstrong Gwen like any other female of the time and Gwen wants nothing to do with the arrogant boy king. Unfortunately, Arthur is the least of Gwen’s problems. Morgana now has Gwen on her ‘top people to kill’ list thanks to Merlin’s meddling. When the inquisitive Leigh finds the book back home following Gwen’s strange disappearance, he attempts to rescue Gwen from Camelot and her upcoming marriage, yet becomes Morgana’s prisoner instead.
 
Alone in Camelot, Gwen must rescue her brother and find her way back home without falling prey to Morgana – while her wedding grows closer by the day. Caught in the crossfire in a battle to change the course of history, failure isn’t an option for Gwen, for whoever controls the past will reign supreme.

A modern re-imagining of the Camelot legend, CAMELOT FOUND is a YA Fantasy novel with romantic elements and is complete at 76,000 words. It is the first installment in an intended trilogy, with the main storyline based in both the modern and medieval worlds. It will appeal to fans of Arthurian literature, Meg Cabot’s AVALON HIGH, and the BBC show MERLIN.


FIRST 250:
“It is agreed. The wedding preparations shall commence within a fortnight.”

Arthur felt numb, staring straight ahead so he didn’t betray any thoughts or emotions. There should have been a gavel striking the well-worn oak table to echo through the great hall of the keep as much as those words did in his mind. It didn’t matter to the Province Kings that he was the King of all England. To them, he was the boy-made-king, a commoner who had pulled Uther Pendragon’s sword from the stone four years ago. They saw him as nothing more than a pawn, and were content to decide his fate in a Council of Elders as easily as they chose where they would next to go to war.

‘Let the petty Kings have their way,’ Merlin always said after one of Arthur’s tantrums. ‘Now is not the time for arguments.’ 

Well, as far as Arthur was concerned, controlling his marital life was far beyond petty and he intended to oppose it. Arthur began to rise to his feet, mouth open and fist poised to slam on the table when Merlin grabbed his tabard and pulled him back into his seat. His butt hit the unforgiving wood with a dull thud and Arthur swore under his breath at the sudden pain.

“Let me say something,” Arthur hissed, shooting a glare in Merlin’s direction. “I am not going to sit idly by and let them decide my life!”

“That is exactly what you’re going to do,” Merlin replied, looking straight ahead.

andimjulie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melanie Stanford said...

Thanks to you both for this opportunity!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Since you are looking for historical plus, I hope you will be interested in my YA time-travel novel Daze and Knights.

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Jacobs is a super spy, a famous actress, and a princess.

Okay, not really. But she likes to daydream she’s all of those things and more. So when she wakes up with a medieval knight aiming his sword at her throat, Jessica thinks it’s just another daydream. Until she realizes that, 1- dude is actually causing her neck to bleed, 2- her dress is so hideous she never would have daydreamed herself into it, and 3- Zac Efron is nowhere in sight.

After pondering her sanity, Jessica is left with one option: ride out her time in Crazy Medieval Land until she can figure out a way home. Unfortunately, that means working for the Count’s horrible daughter and doing her best to avoid Lord Pervy’s wandering hands. It sucks being the peon instead of the princess.

Enter Lord Alric, AKA: knight-in-freaking-hot-armor. It would be easy to let him protect her, but Jessica refuses to be a damsel-in-distress. Instead, she convinces him to teach her to swordfight. Somewhere amidst the grueling hours of training, she falls for his chivalry and playful smile. Could time have brought them together? And if so, why is everything conspiring to keep them apart?

Happily ever after was so much easier in her daydreams.

Daze and Knights is an 84,000 word YA novel about an average girl facing the kind of adventures she always imagined. I have almost completed a sequel where Jessica finds herself in Virginia during the American Revolution.

Full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Melanie Stanford
mmstanford@hotmail.com
www.daydreamertowriter.blogspot.com


CHAPTER 1: Blake the Snake

He was supposed to be my knight in shining armor. My prince charming. The guy who would sweep me off my feet and trot me away from my blah life on the back of his white horse.

I glared at Blake Chapman around my locker door, wishing I could yank his shaggy blond hair out by the roots. Never mind that I used to daydream about running my hands through it, curling it around my fingers, and then pulling his face in for a kiss that would change life as I knew it.

Daydreaming about Blake Chapman had been my national pastime for the past three years. His soccer-stud physique and cocky smile were enough to make me woozy. In a good way.

Too bad our date, our one-and-definitely-only date, was just a scam. He didn’t like me. His reason for going out with me in the first place? And I quote,

“Hey, you think your friend Dani would go for me? She’s smokin’ hot.”

When I wouldn’t dish the dirt on Dani, pay for dinner, or give him any (in that order), he dumped me on the side of the road, four blocks from my house. Now he makes me woozy in an I-want-to-vomit kind of way.

When Blake headed down the hallway toward Algebra, I slammed my locker door shut and followed. Staring at the back of his head, I imagined lightening bolts shooting from my eyes and frying that perfectly silky blond hair. I could almost hear the sizzle.

Laura Renegar said...

You had me hooked from the first sentence of your query. Nice job. I'm not an agent, but I'd definitely read on.

andimjulie said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence:
When fifteen- year- old former ballerina, Alice, is diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia her prognosis is grim, at best. So, Alice makes a list of things to do and people to ruin. After manipulating her kind-hearted best friend, Harvey, into helping her, Alice sabotages the school play, humiliates her ex-boyfriend, and rescues a tiny terror of a Pomeranian. Together, Alice and Harvey explore the highs and lows of their ever-changing, and at times toxic, lifelong relationship as well as the grey area between just friends and more than friends.

All of Alice’s scores are settled— until she goes into remission. Now, a year later, Alice must face the legacy she left behind and live in the shadow of all that she’s said and done, including her true feelings for Harvey.

Told at different intervals, and from the perspectives of both Alice and Harvey, THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS chronicles what happens when Alice says her final words, only to find that life isn’t through with her yet. With a full cast of multidimensional characters and a weaving plot, THE SYMPTOMS OF OUR SHADOWS will interest readers of Jenny Han’s SUMMER series and fans of the motion picture MEAN GIRLS and is complete at 62,000 words.

First 250:
Before I could stop myself, I reached for my hair, my fingers smoothing over my naked scalp. Gone, it was all gone. Even now, almost a year later it still came as a shock. I did this several times a day, like clockwork. It felt like a phantom limb, my hair.

My oncologist for the last year or so, Dr. Meredith, bustled through his office door. Noise from the hallway bled through for just a moment, before the door shut behind him, sealing us in. My mom drummed her fingers on her leg, a nervous habit. Dad reached over and took her hand in his, absorbing her tension.

Dr. Meredith was a large, robust man, and jolly, too with rosy cheeks and this perpetual baby powder smell. I always thought he would be better suited as a Santa Claus at the Green Oaks Mall rather than a doctor charged with the duty of delivering earth-shattering news. Maybe his appearance was supposed to soften the blow. The bad news is you have cancer. The good news is Santa Claus is your doctor. Peppermint stick for your trouble?

I’d always had this strange affinity for fat doctors. I wondered if they got on their scales every morning, shook their fists at death, and said, “Ha! Still fat and still breathing, suckers!” But, seriously, they knew how very possible it was to just die. At any moment and for no reason. Death did not discriminate. Death did not see age or cholesterol or workout regimens. Death saw time, and my time was just about up.

ladonna watkins said...

Thank you for doing this.

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

Seventeen-year-old twins Isabell and Amelia Kincaid live in a Victorian-esque world of ray guns, robots and steam-powered carriages. Isabell desires a quiet, traditional home life with her one true love, while Amelia craves adventures, sword fighting and wants to travel the world.

Until both their dreams are crushed.

Isabell is torn away from the man she loves to become Prince Finbar’s mistress, her sole purpose to produce the heir his future wife cannot. As for Amelia, her mother sold her to a wealthy foreigner twice her age in exchange for keeping their family’s shop and livelihood.

Both sisters manage to escape but are captured by bounty hunters and taken to the prince’s castle. Amelia has a chance to flee but refuses to leave Isabell’s side, whose union with the prince draws closer. But at the same time Amelia finds herself falling in love with the very guy her sister has to bear a child for.

When the sisters find out someone wants kill the royal family and make Isabell wear the crown. They must find a way to stop the murders and reclaim the one thing everyone is trying to steal from them—their freedom.

Told from dual points of views, THREADS OF DECEPTION is set in future Atlanta. This is Steampunk for teens complete at complete 83 000 words.

First 250:

Isabell knew of several wild girls who snuck out of their house. She had never considered herself one of them—until tonight. She grabbed her hot pink hoverboard and suitcase and tiptoed downstairs.

The door to her bedroom opened and Amelia dashed out with a huge smile on her face.

“What took you so long?” Isabell asked.

Amelia adjusted the black leather cuffs around her wrists, then wiped some dirt off her jeans and black tank top. A pair of brass goggles perched atop Amelia’s dark, shoulder-length curls. Isabell’s lips pressed tightly at her sister’s unorthodox attire. She looked beautiful, but pants? How improper.

“Guess what I did?” Amelia clapped her hands like a child who wanted her to figure out the secret.

“I don’t care.” Isabell’s eyes shifted to her mother's room across the hall. “Shut it, Amelia, I don’t want to wake up Mother.”

“Just guess.” She said even louder.

“What’s wrong with you,” she said through clenched teeth,” she’ll hear us.” The less she knew of her sister’s shenanigans the better.

“While you were up in the attic searching for the luggage, I went to the kitchen.” Amelia paused for a long, unbearable moment, clearly enjoying this too much, and Isabell wondered if she’d ever speak.

“And?”

“I put a little something in Mama and Auntie Edna’s tea. Let’s just say they’ll be sleeping very deeply.” Amelia winked. “You can say thank you.”

Isabell twisted the orange bottle cap engagement ring on her index finger. She hoped it wasn’t a small amount of drugs as it would take a lot to knock her mother out.

Laura Renegar said...

Love your voice in this story. Nice job!

Laura Renegar said...

REALLY nice writing! Good luck!

Melissa said...

Thanks so much for the wonderful opportunity!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Sixteen-year-old Justine Kwiatkowski doesn’t believe in magic, doesn’t believe in reincarnation, and she never planned on having to fill King Arthur’s shoes. All she knows is that last night, the best friend she’s ever had, Gwen Martinez, went missing outside the town of Avalon and she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.

But if she wants to rescue Gwen, she’ll have to believe in a world she thought only existed in legend, because her best friend happens to be the reincarnation of Guinevere and fifteen hundred years after the fall of Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table have returned, reborn as New Jersey teens.

Problem is, Mordred and Morgan le Fay are back too, having kidnapped Gwen, and unlike most of the knights, they remember who they once were.

With Mordred murdering the knights before they can regain their memories, Justine has to figure out how to track down the few remaining survivors – a star football player, a brilliant artist teetering on the brink of madness, a high school dropout working odd jobs to support his family - and convince them to bury centuries-old grudges and work together. If she can do that, she just might save her friend, and maybe, the world.

Knights of Avalon, a YA Urban Fantasy, is complete at 97,000 words. While intended to be the first in a series, the book can stand alone. Thanks so much for your consideration!


First 250 words:

Ringing. My eyes fluttered open. Why was there ringing? I scrambled to get my bearings in the darkness. Through bleary eyes, I could see the alarm clock shining three-eleven back at me. I froze as my gaze settled on my cell phone, lit up with an incoming call. No one called at three in the morning unless something was wrong. I tried to place the number then picked up. “Hello?”

“Hi, Justine. I’m sorry to be calling so late.” I immediately recognized the shaky voice on the other end of the line. It was my best friend’s mom, Mrs. Martinez, but I had never heard her sound like this. “Gwen’s not with you, is she?”

My mouth dropped, the question a punch to the gut. A murderer on the loose, cutting down the best kids in the state. Now, three in the morning on a school night, my friend’s mom couldn’t find her daughter. And Gwen? She was the most incredible person I had ever met.

“No,” I said, my mind racing with possibilities, each one more horrible than the last. “We talked earlier this evening. That was it. What happened?” I was jumping to conclusions, I told myself, even as my pulse pounded. I had to hear Mrs. Martinez out, let her explain what was going on. But Gwen was a straight ‘A’ student. She was going to be a heart surgeon and work for Doctors Without Borders one day.

Laura Renegar said...

Nice job, and I love your title!

E. Coughlin said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,


Something has always felt slightly off in seventeen-year-old Danika Keller’s life. Ever since she watched the class pet die and felt its bones breaking as if they were under her own skin, she hasn’t fit in at school or at home.

When she meets a mysterious boy with a healing touch and a mountain lion talks to her. Dani begins to suspect she’s something more than human.

But nothing could have prepared her for the truth – Dani is heir to the Animal Kingdom and is the key to ending a deadly war. Now Dani will discover how far she will go to save a broken realm and those she cares about, from and evil court . . . and choose between the love of two boys; a Prince whose marriage to will end the war or a shape shifter sworn to serve her.

MORNING STAR is a young adult paranormal manuscript that may be expanded into a trilogy and is complete at 85,000 words. It is a blend of Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely and Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves with a little of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring sprinkled in. Thanks for your time and consideration!

FIRST 250

Danika Kaller, met Naima, the best friend she ever had, in the center of an elephant-killing field. It was Dani's second week in Kenya, and the first day she followed the elephant steps. When she came upon the path, dug out by so many elephants, she couldn't help but follow the trench. She must have walked for miles; she was still unsure how, without any water, she had gone so far in the sweltering heat. She was sure she could see the faint outline of a herd of elephants but the sight was too far away to see the images distinctly; too fuzzy and distorted by the lazy afternoon heat.

After a long while she came to the place where the prints ended. There before her were large indentations in the land. Elephant body-sized dents, she thought. Kneeling in the first dent she placed her palms to the compressed land. At the connection, she felt an unexpected jolt that settled into a tingling current as it wound its way up her arms. Their life force, I can feel them, this is where they died. Unwilling to stay but unable to move her body from the sacred space, Dani lay in the dent for hours. That's how Naima found her, curled in a tight ball in the center of an elephant-killing field.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Thanks for hosting this.

Query:

Dear Tricia Lawrence,

Everyone knows Zeus as the King of the Gods, but few know how he developed his powers to control the heavens.

When Zeus’ impetuous, adolescent behavior causes Hyperion, the Sun Deity, to attack his family on Crete, Zeus soon realizes that in this world where only Gods exist, nothing can be taken at face value. When the dust settles, his best friend is dead and his mother is unconscious. The worst part is discovering that the woman who raised him on Crete was never really his mother at all. For his own protection, he’s forced to leave his injured mother and travel to Mount Olympus Preparatory Academy.

Amidst his studies, Zeus sets on a quest to find out who his real mother is, find who ordered the attack on his home, and avenge the death of his friend. His quest is turned on its ear when some of his new schoolmates vanish inexplicably. A wicked turn of events reveals that not only is Cronus responsible for the attack, he is also behind the abductions. The only way Zeus can become powerful enough to defeat Cronus is to access the power of The Sky Throne, but doing so could kill him.

Complete at 85,000 words, THE SKY THRONE is a young adult fantasy that tells how Zeus and his siblings developed their powers. It’s written in first person, yet has a wide enough scope to reveal an ensemble cast, much like The Outsiders.

I am an active member of SCBWI, having attended regional and national conferences. I am also a member of the Historical Novel Society, YALitChat.org and American Authors Association.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Christopher S. Ledbetter, Author
www.caenus.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/Chris_Ledbetter
cs_ledbetter@yahoo.com


250 Words:


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 didn’t know what she’d meant until that day. And still wished I didn’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.

"Wait. Hold on." I closed my eyes to enjoy the images of those sea nymphs. Just a while longer.

"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 to me.

I sighed. “I’m coming.”

I hated the pre-dawn runs we took every morning. The birds weren’t even up yet. I couldn’t wait to get back to the goats I tended with my mother. Against her wishes, I’d named each one. That’s why she never let me slaughter them for food. Or rather, why I never participated.

There was nothing too terribly stressful about goat herding. They were a self-sufficient lot. Sometimes watching them was like watching the sun crawl across the sky. In those moments, my mind wandered like a stray goat.

Laura Renegar said...

Great first paragraph, & I love the idea of Zeus naming the goats and avoiding their slaughter. Way to go, Chris!

Jacqueline Corcoran said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

After a forbidden kiss with the lord of the manor’s son results in her and her mother’s loss of employment as seamstresses, seventeen year old Eva loses her hand on the first day of her factory job. A Russian immigrant neighbor, a toymaker by trade, fashions her a mechanical hand that can do everything Eva’s lost limb could do – and more. When her mother goes missing, Eva has to come into her powers as a witch to find and rescue her from the Hospital of the Deranged -- and the clutches of Jack the Ripper.

First 250 THE MECHANICAL HAND (Historical Plus YA)

London 1882

The sun fought its way through a gap in the heavy, maroon drapes covering the windows in the sewing room. The room was a tiny space off the servant's quarters, not much smaller than the garret where Eva and her mother lived. The shaft of light exposed dust motes, like tiny stars in the reflection of the iridescent, lavender-blue satin of "Evening," Lady Holgrove's costume for the ball she had planned. The back and forth rhythm of Eva’s sewing summoned a dreamy state that pulled her away from her usual dreary day-to-day life as assistant to her mother, the seamstress for her ladyship and her society friends.
“Eva!” She stood at the sound of the voice of the young man who entered the room, the son of her employer. As she bowed, the material slipped from her grasp, falling into folds, slithering over the skin of her arms with a rustle, and onto the floor.
“Master Holgrove.” Eva had thought of him so many times, although she had no right. She was just a servant in his household.
“Please, call me Nathan. I’ve told you that,” he said, his voice deep with warmth.
“Your mother would not approve of my being so familiar.” She bent over, embarrassed, to pick up the fabric.
“You have come so often with your own mother, surely it is all right.”
Arms overflowing with the star-flecked satin, she straightened. “You have returned from University.”

***
Thank you!

Jacqueline Corcoran

Angelica R. Jackson said...

You've done a great job of communicating the themes, inner conflicts, and coming-of-age part of your story, but I felt like I didn't know quite enough about what actually happens in the story. It may be a quiet, reflective story (which can be good), but if it's more of a fast-paced adventure you may want to take another look at your query.

Your first page has a good sense of voice and humor--good job!

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Yes, you've definitely nailed voice in this sample! And you also nicely spotlighted the dual POVs in your query, something that's difficult to do without it sounding confusing. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

The manuscript I am submitting for your consideration, Undercover Rescue, is a mix of magical realism and urban fantasy. Complete at 27,000 words this story combines adventure with humor to appeal to young boys in the 8-12 market.

Looking for independence and adventure isn’t easy when you’re an eagle living in an enchanted community with over-protective parents and a chameleon for a brother. On his twelfth birthday EJ discovers the magical chest that his parents hid from him seven years ago. It provides the chance for adventure that EJ has always dreamed of. The excitement and danger are too hard to resist and EJ and his friends leave their protected community for the first time in their young lives. Their innocence and inexperience lead them on a hilarious journey across the United States in an attempt to rescue two kids in desperate need of a family and a new start. EJ finds more than excitement along his journey. He learns that friendship can come in many forms and that going home can be an adventure in itself.

I have extensive experience as a content editor for both fiction and non-fiction projects and I received a BA in English from Western Washington University. I am a member of SCBWI.

I appreciate your consideration of my manuscript and it is my hope that EJ and his story will capture your heart as it has mine. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Kerry Mazengia

kerrymazengia@yahoo.com



CHAPTER 1 -- SECRET BIRTHDAY PLANS


“Haaaappppyyyy Biiirrrthdaaaaay big brother.”
A sudden pressure on his chest and an intermittent sticky feeling on his face jolted EJ awake. He opened his eyes to find Camo staring at him about an inch from his face, flicking his long tongue at him. What a way to wake up!
“Thanks little bro’,” said EJ, rolling over and ungraciously dumping Camo to the floor in one swift movement.
“Yech, I got a feather in my mouth,” grumbled Camo from his sprawled out position on the floor.
EJ laughed as he sat up. “Serves you right for waking me up like that. It is my birthday after all.”
“Yeah, and what better way to wake up than with your handsome little brother in your face,” taunted Camo.
“I guess I can’t argue with that,” grinned EJ. He leaned over and offered a wing up in truce. He and Camo had a lot to do. EJ was turning twelve today, and his best friend Oliver was coming for a sleepover in the backyard. That was the great thing about having a summer birthday; he could spend most of it outdoors. It was going to be the best birthday ever!
The mouth-watering flavors of EJ’s salmon muffins were diminished by Mom’s typical over-protective tirade.
“You three have to stay in the yard once it gets dark. I don’t want you wandering off and getting lost.”
“Mom, I’m twelve now, and Camo is nine,” EJ interrupted.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I too love the idea of the girl who reads X-Men comics. And I used to play D&D so this is an awesome concept to me. The opening of your 250 words is a little unorthodox, but could work really well.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Both your word count and your sample had me wondering if this is really MG--it seemed targeted to a younger audience, in my opinion. Good luck!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I really like the decision he has to make. And your prose is gorgeous.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Like your premise--it sounds like you really could have some fun with it, like a teen girl's take on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Good high stakes and great opener.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Hi Krista, I'm a fan of your blog and all its valuable info! You've done a good job of nailing the voice in this sample, and I think your premise has a nice twist to make it stand out. Good luck!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Great concept and hook. I like that he can take away all the pain an angst of her empathic powers... and the decision she has to make.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

The voice sounds pretty authentic. Interesting premise.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Very tight query and first page--definitely caught my interest and would have kept me reading. Good luck!

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Like your premise, and you have a gift for description that shows itself in this first page. Good luck!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

Interesting premise. And as a runner myself, I loved the opening.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Interesting premise and worldbuilding--definite shades of the Uglies series and steampunk in here. Good job and good luck!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I love the hook in the query. And the opening line is great. But I'd almost want a little more build up before the great accident happens. Just my opinion though.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I like the premise. Great opening line and prose to follow.

Jennifer HIlt said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Ten-year-old Zack Watson knows how to survive an avalanche, identify an animal by its scat and read the stars in the night sky. And none of his skills matter when his Montana forest ranger dad moves the two of them to his new job creating a bat sanctuary. In the Florida Keys. In July.

Zack hates camping on the beach with his Dad but that’s all they can afford. Not only would Zack prefer a roof of their own, he also needs Wi-Fi access. Back in Montana, Zack began submitting wildlife blogs to Planet Discovery Network in his Dad’s name against his wishes. What began as a dare has developed into deadlines. But Zack is hooked on his secret success.

When Zack and his dad move into Sweaty Palms Mobile Home Park, life improves. They have a roof. They make friends. They even have Wi-Fi. Too bad a greedy real estate developer plans to pave over the park and Zack’s dreams. As he races for a way to save the mobile home park, Zack continues blogging.

But when bulldozers, bats and blogs collide, will Zack and his Dad end up camping on the beach again? And what will happen to the life he was beginning to love?

THE CURIOUS WORLD OF WATSON AND CRICK is a 20,000 word contemporary early middle grade thriller. Zack’s story would appeal to readers who love RL LaFevers NATHANIEL FLUDD Series.

Thank you for your consideration.
Jen Hilt
jenehilt@gmail.com



Chapter One:

I stink at fake sleeping. But this time I’ve got it locked down.
Slow, even breathing.
Check.
Eyelids closed but not squeezed shut.
Check.
“Still playing possum, Zack?” Dad asked.
Leave it to my Forest Ranger Father to compare everything with animal behavior.
Drat! An itch under my nose threatens my perfect possum posture.
The more I ignore it the worse it gets.
“I’ve got a surprise for you,” Dad said, shaking a box near my still closed eyes.
Sounds like clothes. The worst gift ever for a ten year old boy. Clothes are such a boring gift.
I almost rolled my eyeballs in disgust.
That was close!
Another amateur fake sleeping disaster avoided.
It was Dad’s fault that I was lying in this Florida Keys hospital bed. And I itched. And since Dad is the only family I’ve got except for Crick, I didn’t like being angry with him.
Now you can see the brilliance behind my fake sleeping plan.
I slowly opened my eyes like I was waking up.
“Surprise!” Dad said immediately, shoving the present toward me.
The low flat box clearly contained clothing.
Uggh.
But right now my father’s face was anxious. No one at the hospital let me see a mirror since I’d arrived six hours ago. My eyes were almost swollen shut but I could see the hives all over my body.
And boy did they itch.
“Open it up!” Dad said.
I lifted the lid, hoping it was not a thousand piece unicorn puzzle.

Dana said...

I love your idea - a bird saving kids!

Nice job on your first 250, great dialogue.

Good luck!

SStokes said...

Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

For Taylor Anderson, even death can’t erase the memories of her final weeks on earth.

She is haunted by the horrible names her classmates called her as she walked the hallways of her high school, and can’t shake the painful ache left in her gut after Sunny, her now ex-best friend, did the horrible thing that caused it all.

Death should make everything disappear, but when Taylor is accidentally hit by a car she doesn’t get an afterlife filled with harp-playing angels and peaceful thoughts. Instead, she appears in front of a staircase that climbs up into the sky, with no end in sight and nothing to keep her company except the ghosts of her past.

But the staircase is more than the empty relic it first appears to be. Within it lies a second chance to uncover the true value of everything Taylor thought she wanted to leave behind, but first she must revisit Sunny’s betrayal and the week that nearly broke her.

Unless the stairs break her first.

THE STAIRCASE THROUGH THE SKY is a 57,000 word YA Magical Realism novel, exploring friendship, jealousy and what happens when we die. The humor, emotion and magical realism elements will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman’s IF I STAY and A.S. King’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ.

As requested, please find the first 250 words of my manuscript below. I appreciate your time and consideration.

First 250 words:

Anyone who saw me get hit by the car will call it an accident, and by definition I suppose it was. She didn’t see me. I didn’t see her. Splat. But in the deepest pit of my stomach - the part that flutters awake when Mom catches me in a lie or I see Justin Cobb walking down my high school’s corridors - I know I wished for it.

“Well look who woke up on the right side of the bed for a change,” my mother chirps when she sees me bound into the kitchen with a Cheshire grin plastered on my face. She watches me curiously over her Mornings Are The Cat's Pajamas coffee cup, relief relaxing the fine lines around her mouth. She’s been trying to coax me out of my self-inflicted bedroom encampment all week.

“Milk?” She asks, leaning into the pantry to watch me select my breakfast. I take the carton from her outstretched hand and pad towards the table, ignoring that it’s whole milk instead of my preferred skim. It’s my mother’s not-so-subtle attempt to squeeze more calories into me. She probably thinks I’m turning into an anorexic.

“Where’s dad?” I push aside the stack of mail that's taken up residence in my usual place at the breakfast nook. My father’s morning newspaper is folded neatly on the table, undisturbed and unread.

“Seven a.m. tee time.”

Anya Harker said...

I like the feel and the voice of this a lot. :^) And great to see a male POV!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Query:

Kella Davis has the unique ability to fuse herself to her guardian angel, Gabrielle. Words cannot pass between them, only feelings and powers, but no one knows Kella better. She first discovered and used this connection to protect her little sister from the chaos of foster care. Now, while keeping her identity a secret, she helps anyone who needs her.

When an earthquake hits Haiti, Kella flies in to help with the rescue effort. While there, a boy named Asher sees her bring a little girl back from the brink of death and then disappear. When Asher tracks Kella down, she learns something she never thought possible. She is not alone, Asher sees his guardian angel too. Kella teaches Asher how to fuse with his guardian and opens up his world. Flight, extrasensory perception, heavenly knowledge- things Asher never thought imaginable. In return, Asher shows Kella what it’s like to need someone.

Just as Kella finds a sense of belonging, a fallen angel possesses and uses her body as a weapon. She fights to protect those she cares about, but can't shield her own guardian angel from abduction. Kella embarks on a suicide mission to save her angel and get her life back.

First 250:

The news blared on the radio as the ignition whined to turn over. “A seven point earthquake has rocked the country of Haiti. Hundreds trapped, thousands feared dead.” The radio went silent as Kella’s head shot up, slamming into the hood of the car.
“Dammit.” Haiti-earthquake-thousands dead buzzed in her head. She had to get her sister Emma’s car started, fast.

Her cold hands fiddled with the spark plugs. “Try it again.”

Emma turned the ignition over and the car sputtered to life.

“God, that’s awful. That’s a pretty big earthquake, right?” Emma asked. Her perfectly manicured nails tapped on the steering wheel, impatient to get going. Emphasizing she had no idea how awful things like that could be.

Kella fumbled with her tools. “Yeah, that’s really bad.” Dang, she needed to get her act together long enough to send Emma on her way.

“Well, thanks for fixing my car. I don’t think I’ll be late to work. What time do you get off?” Emma asked.

A cover story had been formulating in Kella’s head since she heard the news report. “I won’t be home. My boss needs me to dog sit for the rest of the week.” She held her breath, hoping Emma wouldn’t see through her lie. Emma was usually oblivious, but this was pretty thin.

Emma stopped digging in her purse. “He asked you to take care of his dogs? You hate dogs.”

“It shouldn’t be that hard, and he’s paying me,” Kella replied, cleaning a speck of grease off her pliers before placing them back in their designated spot.

Jenny S. Morris said...

This whole concept sounds amazing. I really like the query and the first 250 are great.

ValerieFM said...

As this writer's CP, I can advocate that this entry has an awesome premise and delivers fun and heart all at the same time. Good luck AndImJulie!

Kelley said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

There is only one among the Tarmack nation with the ability to wield magic, eighteen-year-old Rydan Gale. He lives like a prince, cherished for his talent to bend the fabric of the universe to his will. In the war against the Liasam, he is their ultimate weapon.

The Liasam have their own source of magic, but Akara’s mastery of her power is rudimentary at best. With a brilliant display of fire-rain Rydan’s side wins the war and Akara is sentenced to death. If there’s only one life taken after the slaughter on the battlefield, Rydan can live with that. Until he discovers the girl has the same symbol as he, tattooed on the back of her neck. Rydan must decide whether to betray his people and save the girl, or let Akara leave the world in a burning inferno.

For if she dies, the mystery of the tattoo and answers to a past shrouded in deceit go with her.

FRACTION OF STONE is YA Fantasy told in alternating POV, complete at 65,000 words. Readers who relished in the lyrical writing of Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and immersed themselves in the contrasting world views of June and Day in Marie Lu’s LEGEND will find themselves drawn to this tale.


First 250:

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.

Literally.

The cell swayed and whirled, like a small boat in the ocean. A state she was so used to it felt more real than normal. She never smiled. That had been stolen long ago. But if she did it would be in this dreamlike existence.

Scraping of the heavy wooden door down the hall caused her head to float up, searching for the person among the sea of swirling colors. The large blur was who she expected and though she knew she should feel something, she was unable to summon emotion.

“It is time again, girl. Your people need you.”

Jenny S. Morris said...

The query really makes me want to read more. It's sounds like it could be super funny and I like your first 250. The word count is the only thing I'm curious about. I'm not sure what normal MG books are but 20,000 seems a bit short.

Good Luck!

Anya Harker said...

*thumbs up* Nice to see a bunch of Camelot-esque things out and about.

Krista V. said...

I'm afraid the query didn't quite reel me in. The first two and a half paragraphs are all setup; we don't get to the meat of the story until midway through that third paragraph. And once we get to that third paragraph, we don't get much of a sense of how the story will unfold. Does all the forward-moving action take place as Taylor climbs this staircase? It just doesn't seem like much can happen in that setting, so I'm wondering what will drive the plot.

Good luck with this! Hopefully, Ms. Lawrence disagrees with me.

Kelley said...

LOVE Zak!

Zoe's good too. Once she grows a pair. :) Just LOVE this!

Kelley said...

This is SUCH an amazing story. Magical. Truly magical. Like, take me there and leave me, magical :)

Anya Harker said...

Nice seeing a new take on paranormal since so many aspects of it have been tapped out. Good job!

Jenny S. Morris said...

This sounds like it could be a really cool concept!!

Good luck!

Anya Harker said...

I may not be huge into the MG market? But I adored the query for this. Definitely pulls you in!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Such great voice in your query and first 250. Sounds super funny AND exciting.

Good Luck!

Anya Harker said...

I felt like I didn't get a complete grasp of the story in the pitch? But I think you made up for it in the first 250. Good luck

Jenny S. Morris said...

I LOVE your first 250 and I'm a sucker for both Sci-fi and the name Logan.

Good Luck!

Krista V. said...

My only quibble with the query is that the first sentence of the second paragraph seemed to contradict your setup of Zack's character in the first. I thought a nature kid like Zack would love to live in a tent on the beach. His concern made more sense as I got deeper into the query, but my first reaction was that something didn't fit.

As for the first 250, I found the voice delightful. If I were an agent, I'd definitely read on.

Good luck!

Krista V. said...

My biggest problem with the query was that it was too vague. What about the magical chest prompts EJ to take off? And what actually happens to EJ and his friends on this adventure? Right now, I think the query's too generic to catch a lot of attention.

Of course, I'm sure your manuscript is anything but generic, so definitely show that off in the query! Best of luck with this.

Anonymous said...

**Huge thanks to both Melodie and Ms. Lawrence for giving us this opportunity**

Query:

SHENANIGANS ON SISTANZA is a humorous 50,000 word tween romantic comedy with lots of twists that would appeal to readers of Lindsey Leavitt’s Princess for Hire series and Devon Delaney Should Totally Know Better by Lauren Barnholdt.

Thirteen-year-old fraternal twins Ashleigh and Madison Winthrop live with lovable but spacey Aunt Liss in quirky Sistanza (no cars allowed—only golf carts; houses with themed rooms; alcohol-free taverns just for thirteen to fifteen-year-olds).

A few weeks before the start of eighth grade, the girls meet two step-brothers who are new to Sistanza—Andy (who looks like he escaped from Planet of the Nerds) and movie-star-gorgeous Dan. Outgoing Madison crushes big-time on Dan but her sometimes BFF/sometimes frenemy Emily likes Dan, too. And as Madison’s lousy rotten luck would have it, Dan and Andy live right next door to Emily.

Meanwhile, reserved Ashleigh can’t ignore the signs that Aunt Liss is hiding something ginormous from her and her twin. Whenever Ashleigh tries get Aunt Liss to talk, their aunt does the shifty eye thing and rushes off to Buns of Steel class, even though she thinks exercise is a four-letter word. There are also clues that the new boys, Dan and Andy, aren’t who they seem to be. The way they look and the way they act are more mismatched than a two-year-old who put together her own outfit while sleepwalking.

While Madison tries to outwit Emily to win over Dan, Ashleigh takes a cue from the heroines in the mystery novels she loves and plays amateur sleuth. She can’t believe it when she discovers Aunt Liss’s secret and Dan and Andy’s. The only thing more shocking than the two secrets is how they’re connected to each other.

Ashleigh’s sure Madison’s plucked-to-perfection eyebrows will smooch the top of her forehead when she tells her the truth.

SHENANIGANS ON SISTANZA is a hilarious tale of family bonds, the challenges we choose to tackle, and the lessons we take away.

I received a scholarship to attend The Highlights Foundation’s Writers Workshop at Chautauqua a few years ago. In 2009, I was selected to attend The Highlights Foundation’s Heart of the Novel Founders Workshop with retired Philomel editor Patricia Lee Gauch. This past summer, I got a scholarship to attend the YA workshop at the Norman Mailer Center in Provincetown, MA.

First 250:

My twin sister, Ashleigh, and I turn onto our street after our awesome visit to the Sistanza Golf Cart Licensing Bureau. Before you ask, no we’re not identical. She has stick-straight dark brown hair which shockingly does not get frizzy at all despite the humidity for eleven and a half months of the year here. The midday sun beats down on my hair, which is the same color as my sister’s but wavy and stays frizz-free courtesy of a golf-cart-load of extra strength Frizz-Ease after every shower.
All of a sudden, Ashleigh stops walking underneath the mango tree which droops onto the sidewalk from Mr. and Mrs. Fudgewick’s front yard. At first I think she’s stepped on a mango. But before I can tell her that a little mango pulp is just what she needs to jazz up her no-name brand sneakers, my sister grabs my upper arm so tight, I have a flashback of getting my blood pressure checked at Dr. PierceIngBlueEyes’s office. Okay, so his name’s Dr. Pierce but he seriously looks like a TV doctor with his jet-black hair and, you guessed it, piercing blue eyes.
I follow my twin’s gaze to our house. Two brand spanking new golf carts--one purple, one pink--crowned with ginormous floppy bows sit in our driveway. OMG! I race toward them.
Golf carts are the best way to zip around our hometown, the Isle of Sistanza. Now we’re licensed AND have our own golf carts, we can go wherever, whenever--this rocks!

--Tessa Devan (tessadevan at hotmail dot com)

Mel said...

The voice is engaging and I think this is a fabulous concept.

Mel said...

Interesting concept and the first 250 are solid. My one question from reading the query though, is, Why do the planet leaders want to kill Logan? Add that and I think the query is solid, too!

andimjulie said...

My dear CP! This manuscript is beautiful and heartbreaking and with characters you want to root for!

Mel said...

I feel like the query needs to be a little more focused as it kind of reads like a synopsis at this point, but I think the concept is interesting. I like the last line, "I decided to make her mine. I needed someone too." It's kind of sweet. I agree with the above comments about not letting the cat solve Della's problems.

Krista V. said...

I thought the query sacrificed brevity for voice. The voice definitely fits the genre, but all the catchy turns of phrase make the query much longer than it needs to be. You might consider trimming some of this (like that last summary line, "Ashleigh's sure Madison's plucked-to-perfection eyebrows...").

Also, the first 250 didn't grab me as much as I'd hoped. You actually found a clever way to insert some physical description, but I didn't think that was necessarily the best first paragraph out there. Also, I thought the scene itself was a little bland. I just wasn't quite as excited about golf carts as Ashleigh and Madison were:)

Good luck with this. I thought your comparison titles were spot-on, so hopefully, Ms. Lawrence is looking for the next PRINCESS FOR HIRE!

Mel said...

Okay, I just adore Ella Mae. The voice is strong. And I love the idea of a historical with a "dash" of Sci Fi. Great job!

Congrats on Monster (he is so cute), BTW!

Mel said...

Love the concept for this. The query has the right amount of voice and detail. And I'm sucked into with the first 250. Great job!

Deana said...

Title: RIPPLE
Genre: YA sci-fi time slip
Word Count: 98,000

Query:

Dear Ms. Lawrence:

Kali wishes her dad never invented time machines. Maybe then the Protectorate would do their job running the country, rather than playing god. The Ripple Effects they cause by travelling back in time to "fix things" are getting old. She's tired of the people she loves changing, or worse, disappearing altogether. Turns out, worrying about it isn't needed, they're all incinerated when a bomb drops on her seventeenth birthday party--everyone, that is, but herself and the bad-ass vintage time piece her mom gave her as a present.

Stripped of her loved ones, and with her father's work in ashes, fate would have it that Kali is now a freakin' time machine. Or is it the necklace? She's too busy being catapulted into the past by a power she has no control over to think about it. Maybe the strange, but oh-so-cute, guy who turns up every time she travels can help her figure it out. But knowing the truth would mean facing the Protectorate and her own forgotten past. These obstacles may be a way bigger challenge than she's ready for. And if so, it's times up. For everyone.

Mystical mixes with real life fears of love and loss in this time travel science fiction novel for young adults, RIPPLE is complete at 98,000 words, and has series potential.

I am a member of SCBWI and David Farland's Writers Group. More important, I am a seventeen-year-old, stuck in a thirty-two year old body, writing books to fill the void.

If you would like to consider RIPPLE, I will be more than happy to send you the full manuscript.

First 250:

I hate time travel.

It's the one absolute thought I have in my head when I crane my neck to take in the massive Clandestine, and all its bland glory. The commoners appear just as dull with their outfits the shade of dirty snow and solemn facial expressions.

Today, I match them.

Preparation for a journey through time doesn't allow for distractions like color or commotion. There are no windows either. So no way to enjoy the cool spring breeze or hear the birds chirp me a happy birthday song.

Nope.

I get to be serenaded by the whispers of curious onlookers wondering why I'm travelling in public, and jostled about from line to line until we make it to the time dock I choose.

I guess I have that on my side. My loser friends; Sage, Greer and Flip are letting me pick the "when" we travel to as my birthday present. I can't understand how they think it's a present at all. They know how much I despise this whole scene. I guess I'm the idiot for agreeing to it in the first place.

Oh well, maybe luck will rain down on me and no one will notice the inventor's daughter is about to use one of his time machines. Or maybe I'll experience a first, and won't get sick when I travel. And maybe, just maybe, the tracker chip they insert into our arms before we leave won't kill us if we cause a Ripple.

Nah.

Luck doesn't free-flow into my life too often.

Cassie Mae said...

Love love love this!

Cassie Mae said...

I just love this story! Good luck Jenny!

Cassie Mae said...

Oh, I've read this before and I'm just so in love with your concept! Good luck Krista!

Stephanie said...

Having read this ms, I adore the concept and love the story even more. :) It looks like the opening has changed since I read it, and I do think the tense change is a little confusing. You consider starting with her on the stairs, as that may be a slightly stronger opening.

Good luck, Stacy!

Hope Roberson said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Fourteen-year-old Eri sprints into the night seeking a beast that wants nothing more than to feast on her flesh. She knows this is suicide, but she can't deny the pull. The Calling is too strong. As the beast’s claws reach for her throat, a Protector slices off its head, saving Eri from a bloody death.

The Protectors are River Island’s only defense against the monsters roaming the darkness. The clandestine guardians use the Calling—the internal link to the man-eating beasts—to watch over the village. Being a Protector is an honorable, secretive position, and one only fit for men.

As the link grows within Eri, she finds herself repeatedly drawn beyond the borders, hoping to satiate the rage flooding her veins. But without proper training, the beasts will destroy her. And as a girl, Eri’s not allowed the education to become one of the Protectors.

Beast encounters increase. Villager deaths rise. Eri must secretly learn the skills to fight before there's nothing left to fight for.

MY PROTECTOR: THE CALLING is a young adult post apocalyptic novel complete at 68,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


First 250:

Going to the river was forbidden. I knew this, yet it didn’t keep me from stepping off the gravel path or walking into the field.

My heart banged against my ribs. The space in my lungs folded in on itself. I sucked in a shallow breath, enough to nearly taste the crisp grass beneath my feet.

Stop your feet, Eri.

The early moonlight sparkled off the few remaining patches of snow, even it knew better than to dwell there.

A gong sang out across the village, ringing through my insides. The warning bell.

Half way between the nearest cluster of cabins and the safety border, I glanced over my shoulder to find the dark smudges of people fleeing for refuge, their shouts dying across the distance growing between us. I should have turned back. But the charcoal sky and inky river invited me forward.

An overwhelming need tumbled and collided like the rapids crashing against rock. Conflicting thoughts swirled through my head and I reached up to steady myself, squeezing my eyes shut against the confusion. I pressed my hands over my ears, begging the pounding inside to leave me alone. “Please stop, please stop, please stop, please stop, please stop—”

A current of adrenaline flooded my core. The blood tsunami in my veins propelled my legs faster, rushing through the forbidden, content to ruin me. My brain searched for one sane thought, something to stop my muscles from carrying me out there.

Suicide. This is suicide.

Something broke through the tree line.

Cassie Mae said...

Love this Deana. I actually want to read it like, right now!

Tristina Wright said...

Thank you for hosting this! This is such an amazing opportunity.

Query:

Eighteen-year-old Rumor never imagined the flawless statue of a young woman in shackles at the museum where he works could be alive. But the statue is more than an object of art—she's a Gargoyle princess imprisoned in cold marble and the victim of an ancient war between the Nightworld and the Council of Nine.

He agrees to help free the princess in exchange for protection and answers regarding his dark past and prophetic visions. While Rumor doesn't much care for politics, he cannot deny his growing fascination with the mysterious and beautiful princess, even if siding with her kind marks him for death. But while a fierce and deadly war rages around him, revelations about his bloodline and his gift make him more crucial to the Nightworld than anyone realizes.

THE GIRL WITH THE PORCELAIN WINGS is a YA urban fantasy set in what is left of the American Continents. It is complete at 97,000 words and has series potential.

First 250 Words:


The snow falls lightly, painting roadways, sidewalks, and rooftops the same shade of stark white. It collects in poorly cleaned gutters and concrete crevices, creating one shapeless landscape—a blank canvas asking to be splattered and splashed upon in some Pollack cacophony. The sun pierces the early morning haze enough to crust the top of the blanket with a thin layer of ice, sealing in the conformity. The haze slips in, refracting the sunlight in a thousand dull sparkles, creating a handsome, yet gloomy, black and white picture of the outside world.

Rows upon rows of perfectly ordered townhouses curve in graceful lines down empty streets—each home a bookend and each home bookended. All an identical shade of light gray, unique only in their polished brass numbers nailed to the door frame in precise lines.

Rumor Trent emerges from number 1363. He tugs his fingers through his dark brown hair, still trying to shake off last night's dream. He sighs. Godsdamn dreams...

He can usually handle the dreams—file them away in a corner of his mind, but they've never caused him physical pain before. He rubs his bicep where a dull ache throbs with every heartbeat. "Shit," he whispers.

He turns up the collar of his coat, shaking off a shiver that whispers across the back of his neck. He squints at the sky, watching a zeppelin patrol ship shoulder through the haze. The faint whomp whomp from its rotors only now reaches his ears, sullen and monotonous.

Cassie Mae said...

Love this. Lots of intensity and like... holy crap! What's going on? In this first page. Great job!

MarcyKate said...

Great query letter! The only thing that tripped me up a wee bit was that it *almost* sounds like she's going to another planet because Core is capitalized. If I hadn't seen it before, it might've made me wonder. However, the rest is ROCK SOLID. Love it! Good luck!

Tristina Wright said...

I LOVE this idea. I struggled with something similar in high school - Geek versus wanting to fit in.

MarcyKate said...

This sounds fascinating! Great query and you've got some lovely prose in the first 250. Well done! (Also AQC-ers unite! :P) Good luck!

Tristina Wright said...

The first 250 are gorgeous. I want to know about the flower! I also thought Surface and Core were two different planets instead of two regions on the same planet.

MarcyKate said...

I just adore this! One line in the query tripped me up - the one about the well-aimed wad of spit. I couldn't quite tell if she defended him FROM the spit or spit AT someone to defend him. Not a big deal, but it could be clarified a little.

The first 250 are fabulous - full of voice! Good luck!

Rowenna said...

Thanks for this great opportunity--and I'm looking forward to reading and replying to others here!

Query:

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

It’s been a century since the Collapse, and the Colony is thriving. Seventeen-year-old Norah Falconer is set to apprentice under her father as Courier, becoming the first woman in the occupation. Though this garners protest from some Colony leaders, the only dissent she really cares about is the disapproval of Marius—the Colony’s Archivist and her best friend.

When Norah catches an interloper from the Colony’s long-standing enemies, the warlike Metropole, she discovers that her isolated settlement is under threat. The Federate, a new power from the east, is emerging, intent on absorbing the territories controlled by the Metropole and the Colony alike. Only information housed by accident in the Colony’s Archive can reveal the real reasons behind the Collapse and prevent their plan from succeeding—and the rapidly encroaching Federate will destroy the Archive and conquer the Colony if they uncover the documents.

Though the Colony is divided over whether to ally with their former enemies against the Federate, Norah forms a tentative alliance with the Metropole. As Courier, Norah is uniquely positioned to assist in the opposition efforts—but she needs Marius’ help if she is to protect the Archive. She will have to navigate both the hidden trails of the forest and the unclear paths of her emerging and complicated relationship with Marius to keep the Federate from overpowering her first love—the Colony.

THE COURIER, a work of young adult fiction that’s Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Ann Aguirre’s Enclave, is complete at 60,000 words. Though the story stands alone, it is also the prospective first in a trilogy.


First 250:

“The winds have changed,” Father says as he tugs a pair of thick woolen gloves off his hands, his voice lowering a bit, like it’s a secret. He speaks this way when he wants me to make note of something, to see how a scuffed tree trunk in the woods tells you a deer has marked it, or the way the leaves show their silver undersides before a storm. “Winter’s coming in.”

“Early this year,” I venture.

“Early. We’ll need another cord of wood, and soon.” There is more grey in his beard, I notice, than last year. He is getting to the age that I’ve begun to think I owe him grandchildren to ease his work on the trap lines and the fields, but that is far in coming. I turn back to jointing a chicken for supper. “And village Council meeting tonight.”

My mother wrings out her dishrag and laughs. “You say ‘village Council meeting’ with that same cranky old codger voice you use when you say ‘early winter.’ ”

“Well, they’re quite similar. Long. Tiring. You run out of decent food before either is half over.” He acquiesces to my mother’s teasing and laughs. “Besides, we’re talking over next year’s apprenticeships and there’s sure to be a row over a few of them.”

I’ve waited for the last week for him to mention the apprenticeships, so I turn my head just enough to hear a little better.

“Which ones?” Mother asks, though I know she knows the answer.

Tristina Wright said...

This sounds like such a fun premise and a great twist on figuring out who you are and where your place is in society. It rings a bit of CINDER.

Rowenna said...

Really interesting premise! The one question I always have when I read queries for books about "ordinary" people (though Mazie clearly isn't ordinary!) getting caught up in looking for criminals is why the police aren't the ones handling the issue. If this could be clearer--why does Mazie feel she has something to offer here?--I'd be even more in love with the story!

Tristina Wright said...

This sounds fun and quirky and exciting. I would love to read this to my kids.

ryanjamesburt said...

Query: 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.

BODYGUARDING EVIL is the story of an assistant bodyguard who due to the economy must work for DIRE Incorporated. DIRE controls all the money, healthcare, retirement and even nourishment for non-human clientele. Almost every vampire, werewolf, goblin, or witch uses DIRE making it more powerful than most countries. DIRE is run by a woman know as The Mistress of Evil. Living up to her name, she has a plan to wipe out entire species to consolidate their money and power. Unfortunately, her plan puts a bounty on her head, which makes being her bodyguard even harder.

What follows are plenty of fights with a variety of mythical creatures from Chupacabras to Yetis. After watching The Mistress of Evil kill several species including his boss it is up to this measly assistant to stop her from not only killing even more non-humans but also using her newfound power to bring even more misery to an already miserable world.

I wrote this book thinking of what a 13 - 15 year old boy would like to read. That means plenty of fights and action but still finding a way to put in a bit of romance.

First 250 Words:

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, and a smell that makes me hold my breath. 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 wants to destroy. My boss used to have the coolest job. He was a bounty hunter. He was paid to hunt down anything weird or unusual that needed to be brought before the the Alternate Human Tribunal (ATH). The governing body of all Alternate Humans. Alternate Humans is the politically correct term for anything supernatural. Ugly walrus head is an Alternate Human. I’m not sure what type but he must be one. Vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies and the like are all Alternate Human life forms. I helped him hunt, track and sometimes kill these Alternate Humans.

Suzi said...

Thank you Melodie & Ms. Lawrence.

Query:

Sometimes you have to freeze everyone out to avoid getting burned.

Sydney’s had seven foster families in seven years. Almost everybody in her life has let her down, including her crack addicted mother. Sydney refuses to get close to anyone, pushing away those who attempt to befriend her. Now she is moving on to her next family, the Claytons. She knows immediately that she won’t fit in with their extravagant life and their spoiled daughter Brooke.

Sydney resents the snobby kids at her new school, especially Brooke’s boyfriend Corbin. Sydney thinks Corbin is just like all the other overprivileged kids; but he’s hot and she can’t help being attracted to him, even as she hates him. When Sydney finds Brooke and another girl naked on the floor, she learns that Corbin is helping keep their secret in exchange for Brooke’s help. Sydney’s frozen exterior begins to thaw when Corbin admits he can hardly read or write—the reason why Brooke is helping him.

Corbin likes Sydney, but Brooke refuses to let him go because she is terrified that everyone will discover she’s gay. But even if Brooke breaks up with Corbin, Sydney doubts it will ever work with him. He’s the popular, rich kid and she’s the daughter of a crack whore. And really… if her own mom had given up on life, had given up on Sydney, how could anyone else ever truly love her?

FROSTY is contemporary young adult novel, complete at 52,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.


First 250:

My ears tingled from the biting wind and the swirling snow, but I stayed outside to smoke. The caseworker thought I was nuts, but I liked the cold. It numbed me… relaxed me. Besides, I couldn’t smoke inside—those were the rules.

After finishing a second cigarette, my nerves were calm. Jim pulled up in a dark Mercedes. Cool—none of my former foster families were wealthy. I met him and Lana a week ago, but not their daughter Brooke. This time the caseworker suggested placing me in a family with a teenage girl. As if me and Brooke would be close friends and my senior year would be the best ever. I was smart enough to know that would never happen. I just needed to get through these last six months with the Claytons and I’d be on my own.

The light spilled out of Jim’s car and he opened his mouth to say something. Instead, he shook his head and laid his hand on my shoulder, guiding me inside.

“Good evening, Sydney,” he said once we reached the door.

Um, not really, Jim. Kind of crappy outside. Didn’t you notice the blizzard?

We sat down to do some paperwork and Jim wrinkled up his nose. He must not be a smoker. I checked out the bare gray room as the caseworker shuffled through a stack of papers. Why did these meetings always take place in dark and dreary rooms?

Alleged Author said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Seventeen-year-old Hector Mercado learns there’s no such thing as happiness when he catches his girlfriend in someone else’s arms. So much for all her pious God-talk. But, when Felicia ends up in a coma after attempting suicide, Hector realizes appearances can be deceiving.

Now he has to defy his best friend and Felicia’s preachy father to get revenge on the choir boy who raped her. Because if Hector fails, he’ll have to admit to himself that he might be the reason Felicia wanted to die in the first place.

THE COLOR OF HAPPINESS is a 56,000-word young adult multicultural contemporary novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250 Words:

I’m sitting outside Felicia’s hospital room on a Tuesday.

The nurse tells me room 209 has a view of the park across the street. I wouldn’t know. Her old man won’t let me in to see her. I saw the look he gave me when the nurse told him I was waiting outside. Like he wants to duke it out with me in the parking lot. He blames me for the whole mess. Now he’s in there with her, telling her every lie he make up.

He doesn’t love you, niña.

This is Jehovah’s way of bringing you back to the church.

He’s not one of us.

I read once that patients in comas can hear everything going on around them. They remember conversations they were never a part of. I hope she isn’t buying any of his crap before I’m able to tell her I love her. I never did that. Yeah, I know, cry me a river.

It’s funny though. Before Felicia, I could say anything to a chola because I didn’t mean it. I told girls to get them in bed with me. It was all I cared about.

Te adoro.

Te necesito.

Quiero estar contigo para siempre.

They go crazy for that type of shit. But the girl I wanna say those words to has three fractured ribs, two cerebral contusions, and one severe desire not to wake up.

Rowenna said...

Nifty storyline! Can I offer a couple spots I felt needed a brush up? First--"middle of nowhere Europe" is kind of funny, but it made me want to know the precise location to get a better feel for the book. Is this rural Italy or the hills of Bulgaria? Also, I was a little lost when we were introduced to Sebastien--the jump from "boy in the woods" (which made me think "normal, not-paranormal human male person) to "centuries-old prison" had me reeling for a sec. Also--is Jeremiah there with her even though she travelled to Europe for the summer? Is he a local?

I love where the choice here ends up--and your prose in the first 250 defintely shows a fine touch!

Tristina Wright said...

I love stories like this and your comps paint the perfect picture of what to expect in this book. I want to read it!

Rowenna said...

I love that you've created a beautiful, relateable story in a time and place completely out-of-the ordinary. Keep capturing that throughout your work as you do in the first 250, and I'll be lining up to read this!!

Tristina Wright said...

Whoa....really intense. Well done!

MarcyKate said...

This sounds like a fun book! I love Arthurian legends :)

I do think the query could use a little tightening and a better hook. The one you have now is extremely vague. Try teasing out the thing that really separates your book from all the other Arthurian based ones out there instead.

While I can't fault the first 250 writing wise, it did throw me for a loop that we were in Arthur's head. From the query it sounds very much like it's from Gwen's POV and that she's the interesting one. If you can start with her instead, that might be better way to hook the reader.

Good luck!

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Thanks so much!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,
When 16 year old Renna and her dad share a hike together while still living in Kenya, they are attacked by a lion. Renna’s dad is mauled to death, but Renna survives. Except now she has the abilities of the lion that bit her.

The lion, infected with a hundred-year-virus from a beetle that it’s now linked to, must die within three months or a plague of beetles will become unstoppable. The explosion of insects will expose the village’s secret virus to the world, a virus that can give humans extraordinary power.

Renna volunteers to kill the beast, but untrained in battle and fueled by a history of blinding rage—the kind that caused her as a girl to cut off her finger by accident— the tribe forces her to leave the country, telling her to only return if she’s learned to control her temper. Now an orphan, Renna moves to Wisconsin to live with her uncle where she finds a perfect training ground to take her revenge on the lion—high school.

Renna increases her strength and agility, but between her irrepressible feline instincts and catty people triggering her anger, she repeatedly risks revealing her secret and causing permanent damage. No one seems able to help her with her rage. With the death toll rising in Kenya and time running out, Renna struggles to control the lion within. It takes a tragedy to tame her internal beast, breaking her heart and spirit at the same time, yet her loss might be enough to give her the focus she needs to destroy the cycle that haunts her.

THE LION WITHIN is an 85,000 word, young adult science fiction novel.

I am the author and illustrator of the non-fiction children’s book, “Through Endangered Eyes, a poetic journey into the wild,” published in 2009 by Windward Publishing, and awarded an Eric Hoffer honorable mention. My article “Inspired Technique, Dots of Acrylic,” about my artistic style was published in the British, Wildscape Magazine, in Fall 2011. I am a SCBWI PALS member, and a member of the Artists for Conservation.

Thank you for your time,
Rachel Dillon

First 250 words

Insects skittered across the outside of the shower curtain. Renna ignored them, and focused on the warm bucket of water splashing over her head. After two years in Kenya, she had the timing down to the second. The shower would last three minutes. Shampoo. Soap.
Rinse. Fast.

She grabbed her towel and tapped the curtain forcing the bugs to the air or ground. All but one departed, a lime green beetle, the size of Renna’s pointer finger. She tried to flick the straggler off but it wouldn’t budge. Examining the bug would make her late, but she couldn’t help herself, she’d never seen one like it. The bug’s creepiness factors made her move slowly, yet something about it drew her closer. She admired its paper thin, iridescent wings folded across its flat back.

Like a praying mantis, the beetle tilted its head to look at her and then took flight, bouncing off Renna’s cheek. She shrieked, and fell backwards hitting her funny bone against the wooden divider that served as a wall. Pain ran up Renna’s arm. The lines between her brows deepened as anger bubbled within her. She clenched her teeth and grabbed her hairbrush, throwing it at the wall with a grunt. The crunch of the beetle’s shell made Renna flinch.

“Oh, no,” she said, running to where the bug lay motionless. It oozed green from its core. One wing tilted the opposite direction from its other. The corners of Renna’s lips turned down and her eyes brimmed with tears.

Suzi said...

You do have a great voice. This looks like a fun read. Good luck!

Rowenna said...

Very cool premise! The only thing I found missing for me in the query was why the planet's leaders wanted to kill Logan--knowing this would up the believability factor and give me insight into Clem and her relationship with Logan, plus unveil, just a little, the dysfunction of the leadership. Which would be a nifty thing out of just a couple words, if you can manage it!

Stephanie said...

Your prose is lovely. The query hooks me right away. Such a cool concept. Good luck!

erica and christy said...

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Kenz Grayson's life is turned upside down - not to mention right back where it started - when her mom finds a job in the town where her dad killed himself seven years ago. They’re headed back - the summer before Kenz’s senior year of high school. Good-bye plans. Hello Wisconsin.

The start of summer is exactly what she expects - reading books, watching TV, and doing a whole lot of nothing. That is, until she meets the son of her mom's new boss. Lincoln James makes her nervous, unable to breathe, and so not herself. But every other girl in town has a story to tell about him, so why not her? Kenz thought she'd spend the summer finding herself, not falling in love.

Now, if only she could get past how much she hates the town, its secrets, and that feeling that everything's about to unravel. This summer is about to get a lot more interesting.

A NEW DAY is a YA romance complete at 64,000 words. It will appeal to readers who enjoy books such as Moonglass by Jessie Kirby and The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Erica Olson

First 250 of A NEW DAY:

My mom was making us move back to Vespa, Wisconsin, whether I liked it or not. And I most definitely did not. Yet here we stood, watching the moving van drive off and loading the last of our stuff into the trunk of Mom's car.

"Time to go home, kiddo."

God, I hated that word. Vespa was her home, not mine. I wanted to stomp my feet and stick out my lip and shout NONONONONONONONO. Grab my stuff and stage a sit-in. Anything but get in that car. It wouldn't change anything anyway. Less than a minute later, right on schedule, I put the car in reverse, looked out the back window and pulled out of the driveway. My life in Missouri - hell, my life - was over.

"It's a junk food extravaganza, Kenz," she said shortly after we left, pointing at the back seat. She was in full-on perky mode, the one she used to sell houses. "I don't want to stop right away, so I filled a cooler with our favorites. Doughnuts, potato chips, string cheese, iced coffee, diet soda, I don't even know what else. Want anything?"

"I'd better wait. Puking on my lap is not how I want to remember this day." The butterflies had started working overtime the minute I woke up.

Crap. Now she was staring at me again.

"Mom, don't. If you make me cry, I'll miss the turn and we'll end up in Canada. Also not a good way to remember the day."

Stephanie said...

Love this! I would also consider changing "on the lam," as I hadn't heard that phrase until now :P

Stephanie said...

The first sentence of your query grabbed me as I was scrolling down. :P Love the concept.

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Great voice and premise. We know a lot about your character in a short amount of time. She has enough integrity to own up to her mistakes, that says heaps about her right there. Great job!

Suzi said...

I like this and would definitely read it. And contemporary is my favorite.

Love this line: First, I was over Spencer. Completely. Sort of.

Shows off the voice well. Good luck.

Stephanie said...

Wow, really cool concept. And I loved the first 250 words. Good luck with this. :)

MarcyKate said...

Love the query, and I've read this too - it's really a fantastic book! I actually like the updated beginning quite a bit. I'm curious to see where it goes.

Good Luck!!

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Excellent job. Great voice on your MG and interesting premise. Good luck!

Krista V. said...

I think your query does a pretty good job of giving us a sense of both your main character and the plot, but this doesn't read like YA (and if I'm not mistaken, Ms. Lawrence is only interested in children's literature). As I was reading the query, I wondered how Kella could take off to Haiti without anyone's permission, and when I got to the first 250, the talk about Kella's job made her seem older and not really at the same time of life as YA readers.

Good luck! If this is, in fact, an adult urban fantasy, I hope another agent loves it.

Melissa said...

I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the pitch, then I got to the part about Eva's witch powers and I'm afraid you lost me. It just seemed to come out of nowhere and muddy the interesting set-up.

Regarding the opening, I'd cut down on the description in the first couple of paragraphs. The color of the drapes, the dust motes - they're not important details and I want to get to the good stuff.

Good luck!

Alleged Author said...

Wow! Yo definitely have a lot going on here, and it sounds like a great read.

You might want to shorten your query. Reveal only the essence of your novel because right now, it reads like a synopsis, IMO.

RAD - Dot Painter said...

I'm concerned that the query is from the perspective of the young man, soon to be chief, and yet the beginning of your story is focused on the girl. Does your MC change via chapter?

I would also introduce a fantastic element. Right now I'm picturing Pocahontas. Your writing is lovely and I'm sure the story is as well.

SStokes said...

Thanks, everyone! Krista - I think that is great and very fair feedback. There is quite a bit of action taking place on the stairs, as well as with Taylor as she confronts the week leading up to the accident. The tricky part is how best to articulate in the query. Much to think about. Thank you!

Alleged Author said...

I love your description here. I really want to know what's going on with that bug!

Alleged Author said...

What a great amount of voice! I would definitely rread more. :)

Alleged Author said...

This sounds like a great read, but I would suggest rewriting the query. Instead of telling me what the novel is about, show me.

Love the name Mr. Ugly!

Suzi said...

I like the first page. I enjoy reading contemporary ya stories from the male protagonist's perspective. And there is not a lot out there.

My only problem is not understanding all the Spanish. I get the first one, but I had to look up the second two.

But I would definitely read this.

Good luck.

Alleged Author said...

I usually don't like 3rd person limited, but I like this. You still get some voice into the piece (and that's hard to do). Good job!

Alleged Author said...

This sounds great! I really want to know what is going to happen next.

SStokes said...

I love the first line of your story - it sets up your character very nicely. The query is also great - it sounds like a fun read. Best of luck!

Melissa said...

I'm kinda in love with your query. So good! My only concern is the word count. At first glance, 65,000 seems a bit on the short side.

Enjoyed your opening too. The only part that stopped me and made me re-read was the phrase, "twittering in the breeze." I don't think of chimes as twittering. But otherwise, I'd be excited to read this.

SStokes said...

I love this concept - a magical hand AND Jack the Ripper? IN. Plus your 250 words are nicely written.

I agree with what others are saying - I'd like to learn more about the story from your query. Also, what's the word count?

That said, I'm still curious about the story. Best of luck with it.

Jenny S. Morris said...

My book is YA. Kella is just on the older end of YA. Thanks for your comments!

SStokes said...

I love what you've done with your query and the first 250. I've been lucky enough to read the story so I know that the rest doesn't disappoint. Best of luck with it!

Rowenna said...

Really cool concepts--I love works inspired by history that take their own direction! I *love* the mechanical hand concept! That said, there is a lot going on here, and the query presented reads more like a short pitch. I think you can get away with a significantly longer query to capture more of the story. I was with Melissa--witch powers were really unexpected--but I imagine with a clearer query it might make a lot more sense! Good luck!

SStokes said...

I love your opening line - it's a great way to jump us into the accident. And the query does a great job of highlighting the action and giving just enough of a hint at the stakes that I want to read more. Nice job.

Rowenna said...

This sounds like so much fun! I'm with Alleged, though--you could do more to pull us into the story instead of "this story is about" in the query. For instance--what's our protagonist's name? I imagine the first sentence of the second para reading more like "The economy hit Bob McBobberson pretty hard--so hard he had to take the only job he could find, as assistant bodygaurd to the CEO of DIRE, Inc." And from there--not what the story is "about" but what it "is." And let that fabulous voice come out to play!

Robyn Lucas said...

Interesting concept!

One thing that you may consider- shortening the sentences to mimic the movement. It'll help tighten it up some.
Nathan Bransford blogged about this once, but I couldn't find the post.

Best of luck!

Tracey J said...

This really does sound like a great read. I really enjoyed your first 250. I sympathize with Trinity.

Melanie Stanford said...

I think this sounds great. You can probably cut your query down a bit- you give A LOT of details about both characters which isn't necessary.
First 250 was lots of fun.

Melanie Stanford said...

This sounds really interesting to me. I think you could cut the bit in your query about following your husband to LA because I don't really know what that has to do with your writing or your story.
Great opening pages.

Rowenna said...

This sounds like a lot of story--and the characters could be very interesting to get to know! The query did confuse me in a couple spots--because we had just been talking about Corbin, and the location of the "floor" wasn't specified, I assumed at first that the two naked girls had something to do with him directly--so I was confused. I also need some coffee, so maybe it's just me--but you could try clarifing this with "When Sydney finds Brooke in bed with another girl" or something like that. I love the aspect of illiteracy, here too. One thing--why does Sydney like Corbin? I feel like I want more than just "he's hot"--not that that isn't legit, of course :)

Melanie Stanford said...

Thought the query was excellent- I would read this. It reminded me of Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade and Shift.
Pages are good too but to nitpick, cut out "of it" in your second sentence so it's just, I took a deep breath.

Melanie Stanford said...

The pages were good but I thought your query was a bit all over the place. The mention of Jeremiah seems thrown in and I was surprised to find out Sebastian was a king. Clarify.

Melanie Stanford said...

I've read this before and I still love it. I'm not a big fan of sci-fi but I would totally read this.

Melanie Stanford said...

I too loved the voice in the pages, but I think it was missing in the query. Based on query alone, I can't see the comparison to Ally Carter and Stephanie Perkins. Try to bring the voice in the query a bit more.

Kirsten Squires said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

Dear Ms. Lawrence,

Seventeen-year-old goddess Inga is used to being an outsider. That doesn’t change when she leaves the human world to train in her homeland, a death-embracing place where decapitated heads make for good office décor and the constant threat of a massacre is normal. Despite her heritage, her overbearing parents have always sheltered her from anything risky, ensuring that she’ll be completely lost in this culture.

Raised in Heliga, the fatalistic gore talk doesn’t faze Patrik. Danger is a perpetual presence in his life, thanks to his family’s history in dabbling with forbidden magic and taboo enemies. But he’s a pretender in his own way, hiding the truth about himself and the ways his family’s actions have damaged him.

When Inga becomes the first to test into Kenaz, a rogue magical force that has a powerful dark side, her outcast status is sealed. The other students make you-might-blow-me-up jokes, the leaders give her cryptic worst-case scenarios, but no one can tell her why. And even though Patrik isn’t threatened by her badass skills, he knows about the evil of their worlds and worries about what it could mean.

However, there are those who know that Kenaz is more than just a random force. It’s something that intrigues enemy Loki for multiple reasons, compelling him to end a twenty-year peace agreement, which makes the foretold bloodbath of the end of days a real possibility. The mystery is something that connects Inga and Patrik—and the lies told by their families—in more sinister ways that they can imagine, making Inga more of an insider than she ever wanted to be.

THE TWISTED DIVINE is a 91,000 word YA dark fantasy inspired by the most bizarre and macabre aspects of Norse mythology and Viking culture. It won second place in the 2011 First Coast Romance Writers Unpublished Beacon Contest. It is the first in a planned trilogy, though is stands on its own. I have a BA in English, and an MA in Teaching ESL.

Thank you.

First 250 Words:

I’m used to faking it. It’s something I have to do all the time. Not that I’m really good at it or anything. But lately, I’ve had to do lots of things that fall outside my comfort zone. Shopping for a fancy deathtastic hammer. Acting cool about buying it from a bludgeon-carrying, Hawaiian shirt-wearing dwarf. Making up stories about where I’m going for the next three years. So I’ve had many opportunities to amp up my status as World’s Most Ridiculous Poser.

And now I have to do something I’d really rather not do: say goodbye to the only world I’ve ever known, and pretend like it’s not killing me.

“I can visit, right?” My friend Molly squints at a blood-red stiletto and makes a face. She’s raiding my best friend Kira’s closet, which rivals the mall in its selection. “If my mom would even let me go all the way to Iceland.”

“No! Um, I mean…” I swallow, reigning in my hysteria. I’ve been dodging Molly’s questions since the moment I got here. “I think, but I’m not sure. I’ll ask.” My brilliant truth-bending skills are shining. “Maybe Kira and I will just come back here to visit.”

I glance at Kira, who’s sitting on her bed looking all sorts of judgmental, and resist the urge to stick my tongue out at her. She spends her life lying, too, but 1. she’s better at it, and 2. she doesn’t seem to mind like I do.

Melanie Stanford said...

I think you could cut the first sentence of your query- it's a very vague tagline that could be used to describe lots of books.
Love the whole idea though- I would read this for sure.
I agree with MercyKate about being surprised that it started in Arthur's POV.

Melanie Stanford said...

The query is a bit short and the first sentence a little awkward. I'm impressed that you condensed it down so much but in this case a little bit more couldn't hurt.

Kirsten Squires said...

A world that consumes its inhabitants? I am definitely hooked :) Great premise; love your query and beginning too!

Alleged Author said...

Thank you, Suzi! This novel doesn't have a ton of Spanish, but I will so look into a way of translating it.

And for some reason, the word "anything" is missing in one of my sentences though it's in the draft I copied and pasted. Ugh!

Kirsten Squires said...

Great opening! It really draws in the reader. I love the imagery your words create.

Alleged Author said...

I didn't want this to go without a comment because it's near the end! I think your query can be condensed (focus on the essence of your story). BUT I totally love the first 250!!

ladonna watkins said...

Sounds like a great story. All the best.

Kirsten Squires said...

Very cool idea. Love the first line of the query, too--really makes it personal.

Kirsten Squires said...

Awesome voice! I love YA male POVs, too. It's a really great opening in that it leaves the reader really wanting to know more: why is she there, why doesn't her dad like him, etc.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

Your query's looking great! Good luck!

Kirsten Squires said...

Really unique concept. I'm definitely intrigued!

Kirsten Squires said...

Great voice that came across both in the query and in the opening!

EnchantingEditor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracey J said...

I love your first 250 as well. What an amazing voice.

Tracey J said...

Your descriptions are very lovely. Good luck in the contest.

EnchantingEditor said...

Great title! Your piece would be more gripping if you start around "The midday sun" and save all physical descriptions for later into the MS.

EnchantingEditor said...

Love this! Time travel books always appeal to me. Great first line--query and MS.

EnchantingEditor said...

Beautiful descriptions!

Tracey J said...

I agree with the others. You have a great voice. I adore your first 250, especially the opening paragraph. Good luck.

EnchantingEditor said...

Wow! Love this. I want to read the whole thing--now!

ValerieFM said...

Agree with the other posters: you nailed the voice. I would definitely bookmark this to read on GoodReads.

Jen Hilt said...

Your query has the feel of your story---good work! I love the fast pace and strong voice. Reminds me of the Jonn Green's "The Abundance of Katherine's". Good luck!
Jen Hilt

Dana said...

Awesome Query! You do an excellent job of building interest with it.

Great first 250 words! The historical plus sci fi sounds like an intriguing story.

Good luck!

ladonna watkins said...

Wow, great premise. All the best.

Dana said...

Wow! Your query shows great imagination and world building.

My only comment is that the query centers on the ship and getting back to the States and your title and first 250 seems to be about another story. I am sure you will get to all that in due time. Definitely "speaking to the dead" is in both.

Great first 250 words - wonderful voice!

Good luck!

EnchantingEditor said...

Love this! For me, a lot of MG is too sparsely written, but this is both "easy reading" for a MGer and descriptive enough for a parent. Great job!

Anya Harker said...

Thanks for the comments! They're appreciated. I've gone back and forth on the hook, and had an agent and editor friend say they liked it. But definitely something to think about.

It's also a multi-POV book; primarily from Gwen's POV, but this is the first 250 of le prologue!

ladonna watkins said...

Nice story so far. All the best.

ladonna watkins said...

Great voice. All the best.

ladonna watkins said...

I love this period. It sounds really interesting. All the best.

Dana said...

I've read this before and it is very good!

I agree with Melissa about the use of "twittering". I had a hard time visualizing what that was.

I love "It's time again, girl."

Good luck!

ladonna watkins said...

Very nice. All the best.

Dana said...

I agree with Alleged Author, try to shorten your query. Keep only what is most important to encourage someone to want to read more - like the "decapitated heads making good office decor". Now that paints a picture!

Loved the first 250!

Good luck!

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I like the premise. Sounds like a pretty solid MG adventure.

Suzi said...

Thanks for the suggstions. She find them quite literally "on the floor." But maybe I can clarify that another way.

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