Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Agent-Judged Contest with Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Literary!

The contest is now CLOSED.  Thanks for participating!! :)

The day of the contest with Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Literary Agency is here, you guys!!!!

Time to post your pitches and your first page. GOOD LUCK.

Before posting, though, please read the rules carefully:

1) The contest will close as soon as 50 people enter.

2) Post your one-sentence pitch and your first page (250 words or less!!) on the comment section of this post. 

3) The contest is for finished YA fiction and non-fiction.

4) This is only for unagented writers.

5) Since I’m doing this to help, you don’t need to be a follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it if you’d also follow me on Twitter.  

6) Please, try to spread the word. :)

What should you post below?

-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Word-count of your manuscript
-The one-sentence pitch
- Your first page (250 words). No more than 250, and please don’t stop mid sentence.
-Your email

If you’re a bit lost: I’m pasting a few links so you can read more about writing short pitches.



  1. Monica Thanks so much for hosting this contest!
    Your Name: Cynthia
    Title of Book: Light Weight
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Word Count: 83,729 words

    Once Sentence Pitch:

    When Tony a member of the Scorpion gang gets into a fight with Kevin the school jock, Tony’s world opens up to opportunities and dreams he thought were out of his reach.

    First Page (250 words)

    Chapter One

    I stepped outside the cafeteria to the bright sunshine. I scanned the picnic tables looking for the rest of the gang. Most of the kids decided to take advantage of the weather so it took me a minute to find the guys. All the picnic tables were full. I usually sat under a tree near the building reading a book or finishing homework by myself, which was the way I liked it. Nothing ever exciting happened during lunch, except when Jose and Philippe were around. Hugo had his moments, but for the most part he kept to himself, it was usually Jose or Philippe who got him all riled up. George on the other hand was different from all of us. He was the quite one, I swear half the time you never even knew he was there. Today the whole gang showed up; at least the guys in my grade did, which could only mean one thing; lunch time would be a scary place to be.

    I found Jose where I usual found him on days that he showed up. He was bothering Michelle; a girl from my English class. She was sitting with Mary outside by the steps reading. I could hear him halfway across the court yard. I quickly walked down the steps to intervene before things got out of hand. Jose wasn't exactly known for charisma when it came to girls.

    “Come on Michelle. Look at me, I'm talking to you.” Jose grab for Michelle's book. She moved it out of his reach keeping her head in her book.

  2. Name: Angela Cook
    Title: SPARK
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word count: 59,000

    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Allison is fighting her destiny of becoming a murderer while dealing with her reckless twin sister, a bible-thumping aunt, and a dangerous friendship.

    First 250 words:
    I stayed at the library until it closed at six o’clock. I hated their summer hours. Going home that early meant having to eat dinner with my aunt, which sucked on a multitude of levels. First of all, if it doesn’t come from the freezer, my aunt can’t cook it. I’ve eaten more fish sticks and chicken nuggets in the past two years than should be allowed by the FDA. I’m pretty sure I could die right now, and I would have enough preservatives in my body to skip the whole embalming process. Second of all, my aunt is a major bible-thumper, which means I have to listen to a sermon the entire time I’m trying to eat my so-called dinner. Finally, my sister is rarely home for these ‘family dinners’, so I usually have to endure them on my own. Awesome.
    My Aunt Sarah came to live with Jade and I after my mother’s death two years ago. My mom and aunt didn’t get along and hadn’t talked much in the years prior to her death, but because my aunt was the only next of kin—and a ‘good Christian’—she volunteered to be our guardian. Sure, living with my aunt meant my sister and I wouldn’t have to go into foster care, but it also meant living with a religious nut-job we didn’t really know that well.
    After leaving the library, I took the same path home I’d taken the past several years.

    My email:

    Thanks for this awesome opportunity, Monica! :o)

  3. Thank you both for the opportunity!
    Name: Sandi B. Jones

    Title: Byronic
    Word Count: 68K
    Genre: YA Psychological/paranormal

    One sentence pitch:
    Chelsea, a bi-racial teen whose father suffers schizophrenia, thinks she may also be losing her mind, drawing Hoodoo specters no one else can see, but when a real demon attacks, she must invoke the ancient Gullah folklore of her ancestors to save her loved ones.

    First 250 words:

    Headlights burst from the open gate, blinding me in a flash of white. I flinched, reaching for the dashboard. The oncoming car hit their brakes and veered to miss us, spraying our Toyota with a shower of crushed seashell gravel. Mom swerved to stop on the shoulder of the private driveway as the shiny black Vette roared angrily, accelerating in retreat.

    “Idiot!” Mom dropped her forehead on the steering wheel.

    I craned in the passenger seat and watched as a license plate reading “GEOFF” in reflective blue letters disappeared into the gloom. My heart thudded.

    Mom released her breath and sat up. “Are you okay, Chelsea? That was close.”

    Rubber squealed in the distance as the other car spun away onto the county road.

    “I’m fine.” I scowled at her calm reaction. My own instincts told me to hang my head out the window and call the driver the name he deserved. I rolled my neck, forcing myself to chill. “Think that was your new boss?”

    “No. That definitely wasn’t Ben Ramsey’s type of vehicle.” She steered the Toyota back onto the gravel.

    “At least the jerk left the gate open for us.”

    We rolled slowly past the entry’s digital keypad. The white bars closed automatically behind us with a metallic clank as we left the lighted gateway for the blackened woods of the estate.

  4. Your Name
    This is so awesome! Thanks Monica!

    -Title of your book: SURVIVING LILAH
    -Genre- YA Contemporary
    -Word-count of your manuscript: 50k
    -The one-sentence pitch

    Lost in China without their belongings, the always cautious Joe and his wild crush, Lilah, must trek 200 miles to the closest embassy.

    - Your first page (250 words). No more than 250, and please don’t stop mid sentence.

    I flip my Traveling China guide to the page about Chongqing, and glance over it for the billionth time. I at least want to be able to ask where the bathroom is by the time we land. That way I’m semi-prepared because I know there’s no way Lilah’s going to be. I guess that’s why her mom asked me to come with her to visit her dad for summer break in the first place. Kind of like a chaperon, or something.

    I look at her now, blond ponytail wrapped in a high bun on her head. She's got her ear buds in, and she’s bobbing to this electronic music that makes me wish I were deaf. Just another reminder of how different we are. In fact, if our mothers hadn’t met during their residency at Beth Israel, and given birth to us five years later at that same hospital, I don't think we ever would've become friends.

    My other best friend, Chad, always brings up how bizarre it is that the two most dissimilar people on the planet are still so close. But I look at it in a different way. I’m the yin to her yang. An opposites attract sort of thing. That—and I'm madly in love with her.

    "Hey, Joe. You wanna Twizzler?" her voice booms in the airplane’s cabin, talking over a song only she can hear. She stretches out her tan arm, sticking the candy in my face.

    -Your email: hollyloiseau (at) hotmail (dot) com

  5. Hooray for dedicated agents and bloggers who make contests like this possible!

    Name: Joy Givens
    Title: Ugly Stick
    Word Count: 50k
    Genre: YA Contemp/Magical Realism

    Pitch: "When ugly duckling April discovers the family curse that made her who she is, she must decide if becoming beautiful is worth losing who she would become.”

    First 250:
    “And now for everyone’s favorite part of Honors English…” Ms. Kearns said with a grin, “example reading!”

    Judging by the apathetic classroom reaction, “favorite part” was a bit of a misnomer. Ms. Kearns was a brand-new teacher, fresh out of college, and she had a remarkable way of engaging our class in just about anything. But nobody really liked example reading, the Russian roulette of criticism, especially on a Friday afternoon.

    Example readings were supposed to be anonymous, but whenever the other two dozen students in my class looked over a work, they picked it to pieces. I usually remained silent, observing and jotting down notes. Invisibility was a trait I had perfected in my first two years at Prescott High, and junior year would be no different.

    Ms. Kearns passed out print-outs of the example, as she reminded us, “This was one of the prompts from last week about different storytelling lenses – imagining you were writing the introduction to your memoir.”

    My ribcage seized as I recognized the first few lines on the page. She’d chosen mine. For Heaven’s sake, why?

    I had known it would happen sooner or later – Ms. Kearns always gave me high grades on my essays and papers. She was my favorite teacher, sharing my affinity for Dickens and C.S. Lewis. However, I had never gotten up the nerve to tell her that having my own work critiqued would be the emotional equivalent of trimming my toenails with a paper shredder.


    Thanks again to you both!

  6. Thanks for hosting this contest, Moni!

    Name: Jessica Schley
    Email: jessica.s.schley AT gmail DOT com
    Word Count: 66,000
    Genre: YA Contemporary

    Pitch: When an 18-year-old pianist finds his biological brother, he finally feels he belongs--until his brother's secrets threaten his future.

    First 250:

    The envelope was big. Nine by eleven and a half, or whatever it was, and Isaac's stomach did a little jerk when he touched it. His friends had been getting envelopes like this all year. Harvard. Princeton. Stanford. UCLA. USC. One more brilliant, Ivy-league-bound feather in their high school's cap.

    But his wasn't like theirs. For one, this was the only flat envelope coming his way this year. Isaac didn't plan on putting feathers in anybody's cap except his own.

    Two, the return address on his envelope wasn't from an Ivy. The logo was stamped in the upper left-hand corner: ten keys, F through E, running up the side of an address in Chicago, Illinois.

    And three, his envelope had already been sliced open.

    "Oh, you have got to be joking," he muttered. Then, pitching his voice so that it could be heard in the great room, he hollered, "Dad! Why did you open my mail?"

    The paper rustled as he fished inside for the letter, striding toward the kitchen from the mudroom. He pulled out the letter.

    Dear Mr. Tansen,

    Based on our careful review of your recorded submission, we are pleased to invite you to the first qualifying round of the World Amateur Youth Piano Championships...

    He let out a whoop, dropped his book bag with a thud, and skidded into the great room.

    As usual, no one noticed

  7. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

    Name: Jessica LeSaicherre
    Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
    Word Count: 60,000

    Pitch: Keeping the secret of becoming a faery warrior wasn’t helping Liz get what she wanted: new friends, a boyfriend and her first kiss.

    First Page (250 Words):

    Change, even wanted change, had never come easily for Liz; she liked rules, order, and predictability. But, a smile crept across her face at the thought of what this year could bring – a boyfriend, preferably Christian. She stood and stretched finally starting to feel sleepy, noticing the low murmur of the TV. Their house was rarely this quiet. She switched it off and started for the stairs.

    “Liz, wait.”

    Her mother’s voice abruptly broke the silence. Startled, Liz whirled around to see her smiling mother who held a finger to her lips, then motioned to her daughter to follow.

    Confused, but not one to disobey, she trailed behind her mom; they walked down the hallway and out the front door. Her heart raced with anticipation and she felt the warmth of the summer night swallow her.

    Liz felt comforted by the sound of the rolling waves below as they ventured toward the cliff’s edge. Her mother stopped at a large oak tree. Liz watched, wide-eyed, as the tree began to sway and shudder, then a section of the trunk just . . . swung open. The blackness inside looked dense and impenetrable. Her head bobbed from treetop to door, treetop to door in disbelief.

    Liz’s mother gave her a smile as she stepped through the doorway. She signaled for Liz to follow, but Liz frozen couldn’t move; couldn’t speak. She struggled just to breathe.

    Her mother’s hand gently touched hers. “Don’t be afraid, love,” she told Liz. “They’re all waiting for you.”


    Thanks again Carrie and Monica

  8. Name: Marquita Hockaday
    Title: The Blues
    Genre: Contemporary YA Mystery
    Word-count: 65K

    Pitch: Blake uncovers a secret high school drug scene when his pill pushing best friend turns up dead.

    First 250 Words:

    April 20th, Thursday Morning 6:45 AM

    Henry Knight was found bludgeoned to death early this morning.

    I’m pretty sure I was whacking off to one of those phone sex commercials at the same moment that someone bashed Henry’s head in. The worst part about all of this…not worst than his parents losing their kid of course, but worst for me, is that Henry won’t be around to get high with. He was a good smoking partner. Sometimes, we would light up and try to name all of the members of the Avengers, or the order of the people kicked off of that karaoke singing competition on TV. We weren’t best friends or anything, but damn, he was pretty cool. When I got Kyle for school this morning, he was upset about Henry, too. But for different reasons.

    “If Mr. Kim looks over here, distract him,” Kyle whispers to me.

    I know exactly what that means. I look to my left and catch my best friend, Kyle Ingram (who goes by the name “K” when he’s selling), in mid-transaction. He slides a small baggie of pills inside of his history binder and pushes the binder to the brunette sitting next to him. The brunette takes the binder, removes the baggie and puts a twenty dollar bill in the pocket before sending it back Kyle’s way. Kyle is Robert E. Lee High School’s sole drug dealer. He makes tons of money, too. I’d join in the business if Ma wasn’t a cop. A mall cop, but a cop still.

    My e-mail:

    Thanks for the contest :D

  9. Very cool contest, saw your Twitter post. Thank you.

    Name: Kit Forbes
    Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
    Word count: 91,000

    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Mark Stewart is thrown back to 1888 and must unmask Jack the Ripper, but uncovering the truth could put the girl he comes to care for in danger and trap Mark in the past forever.

    First Page: (248 words)

    Of all the things I expected to do over the summer, staring at dead hookers hadn’t made the list. Yet that's what I was stuck doing in London one boring August night.

    I stuffed my hands into my pockets and gave the body a closer look. Behind me, little gasps of shock and a few "oh dears" echoed. I didn't see what the deal was. Yeah, it was gross, but kind of interesting the way the woman had been slashed and displayed. Her intestines were pulled up towards her right shoulder. Another length of her guts had been cut off and placed in the space between her body and left arm to make it look as if she cradled a baby.

    And on the slick cobblestones, arranged with the precision of someone with OCD issues, were three small black metal buttons, a thimble and a mustard tin.

    A mustard tin. Crap. If there’d been any doubt, the fact I could identify the stupid little prop meant I'd spent way too much time under house arrest with nothing to do but read the Victorian murder mysteries my mother wrote.

    "The details never cease to amaze me," Aunt Agatha said when she'd made her way through the crowd.

    Her face glowed as she studied the scene, like a kid's on Christmas morning.

    “If you ask me, they did a shit job on the color of the blood. Real blood looks grungier on streets like this once the air hits it.”

  10. Thank you so much for hosting the contest, and my appreciation to Ms. Pestritto for her time as well.
    Your Name: R. King Kollman
    Title of Book: Nothing Girl
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Word Count: 50,000 words
    email: rkollman(at)

    One-Sentence Pitch:

    When waves of jealousy and murder follow her performance of a forbidden siren's song at a local talent contest, fifteen-year-old Conchetta August May must defy the grandfather who's cared for her all her life to understand the power of her own voice and discover the source of her strange empathetic abilities.

    First Page (250 words)

    Chapter One: Busted

    THE GIRL THE CAPTAIN RAISED ON HIS BOAT stood in the stern and sang across the curl and splash of the trawler's wake. She grasped the deck rail.

         "Come to me." She leaned on her hands and closed her eyes. "Come. Feel the food and the air and the light in my hands, what you need so much. Come. All you want, all you need. Everything flows to me, flows through me, from my touch."

         Beneath the blended drone of engine and propeller, a salt-scented breeze rustled like silk through double-rigged nets spread like green wings. She felt for the rhythm under the surface through her palms and bare feet, listening in the way the Captain had taught her to the life-tones chorusing from the creatures below. She untangled strands of melody and focused on the notes he sought.

         She raised a slender arm and pointed. He throttled into a wide circle. A disc of fire above the eastern horizon silhouetted the trawler's rigging and stained the Gulf of Mexico the ruby red of a Texas grapefruit. He dropped the winch arms.

         The girl lowered her head and sang her promise to the depths, "What you need flows to me, through me." She swayed to the schooling tempo beneath the keel. Hypnotized shrimp yearned toward her, ripple-dancing into the trailing nets.

         "Two passes, we cooler out," one of the crew predicted as the trawler settled into the rich water.

  11. Thanks for the awesome contest! :D

    Name: Ellen Goodlett
    Title: <3 (less than three)
    Genre: Young Adult Memoir
    Word Count: 89,000 words

    Pitch: When a shy teenage writer with family problems (that's me!) stumbles into an online vampire fantasy game, her internet life turns her real life upside-down.

    First Page:

    The plane ride from Barcelona to London is the most frightening flight I have ever taken – and that includes three transatlantic journeys and one trip with Glasgow rugby fans, who jumped so much during takeoff that the plane shook.

    For the hundredth time since I left my host mother’s house at 5 a.m., I wipe my damp palms on my sweatshirt. The middle-aged man beside me smiles kindly.

    “Afraid of flying?” he asks.

    I have been on dozens of planes since my first flight at 6 months of age, but that is a good excuse. A normal reason to be afraid. So I nod.

    The last text message I received still plays on repeat in my head. "See you soon." My stomach lurches again, the way it’s been doing all day, as if I’ve just dropped over the first hill of a roller coaster. I both love and hate that sensation.

    For the first time in my life, I am about to meet the guy I've been in love with for four years.

    Email: ellengoodlett(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. Briana Knickerbocker
    young adult paranormal romance
    80,000 words
    In life after death, Destin's dead corpse fights to rejoin his spirit, turning him into a monster that forces him to kill the only girl he's ever loved.
    - Destin drifted into consciousness, consumed with dread, he lived. His head heavy and flat, embedded in the cold, wet dirt and he stared at the still grass as he breathed. It all seemed so languorous...the foggy overcast helping him disappear against the cool earth. But he was there, alive, just like yesterday. His life didn’t matter, he had not mattered, and now he was denied death, release.

    Gathering himself up from the earth, he headed to the front door to his estate. He watched his feet, one step in front of the other, yet numbness ran through him. The grass quiet. Each step of his was silent. Had he suffered a concussion?

    He spotted Linda, his maid, walk up the driveway. And he stopped. Wished he was invisible, dead, any way he didn’t have to say good morning and go through the motions of one more lifeless day.
    She went inside the house without so much as a glance toward Destin. But she always acknowledged him, every single time she saw him….
    After following Linda inside, Destin had to calm his nerves. “Good morning, Linda.”
    He held back from walking upstairs, with the eerie silence following his words. Watching Linda unpack her cleaning products, he couldn’t help but notice her apathy toward him.

    She stood up straight looking toward him at the foot of the stairs. She walked straight toward him.

    Destin held his breath. His awareness of time heightened, he stared unnerved, as she walked right through him.

    briannaknickerbocker (at) gmail (dot) com

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  14. Thanks for the opportunity, Moni and Carrie!

    Shelley Watters
    YA Fairytale Retelling

    Pitch: After getting in a car accident, seventeen-year-old Tori wakes up in a fairytale world where she must single-handedly slay a dragon, rescue the prince, and bring down her evil stepmother or be trapped in the crazy, twisted fairytale forever.

    First 250: Life-saving kisses only happened in fairytales. My eyes raced across the page even though I’d read the story a billion times. I was always anxious to get to the part where Prince Charming kissed Aurora and woke her from her enchanted sleep.

    It’s the part where he bends, ever so slightly, his gaze fixed on Aurora’s rose-colored lips. He hears the witch’s crackly voice replay in his head. “The spell will be broken with true love’s first kiss.” He cups her cheek and his thumb brushes across her bottom lip. Her skin’s so soft, so delicate, he fears she might crumble into dust in his trembling hands.

    I mouth the words along with him as he whispers “awakened with a kiss” and dips his head, his lips slowly inching towards hers.

    “You look like a bunch of wet noodles!” a nasally voice called out, causing the prince and Aurora to dissolve before me and be replaced by a ballet studio.

    “I want a pirouette! Like this!” Belina Sanchez, my sister’s ballet teacher, extended one shapely leg behind the other, pushed into a turn with her toe at her knee and her arms poised in a graceful circle in front of her. Everything about the woman screamed grace.

    The same could not be said about the ten-year-old students who tried unsuccessfully to duplicate her graceful move.

    Swatterswrites (at) gmail (dot) com

  15. Name: James Koonce
    Book title: FAMILY PRACTICE
    Genre: YA contemporary
    Word count: 75K

    One-sentence pitch: Midwestern teen Jason Wells unexpectedly learns that the father he’s never known is actually a famous TV star who’s in big trouble; as spin control goes into overdrive, Jason finds himself in Hollywood costarring with his brand-new dad on a hit reality show.

    First 250:
    If you want to meet your father, get in the car.

    The note is unmemorable, black words on white paper, but the gravity of what it means slams into me like a punch to the stomach. I’ve never known who my dad is. It sounds like some Bible belt hillbilly joke, but getting pregnant at twenty wasn’t exactly something my mom planned on, and I’m the nine-month dividend of her forgotten one-night stand. She says she never regretted her decision to keep me, but come on, nobody wants to check the “single mom” box on career day. It's something we don't talk about.

    My heart’s pounding. A black Escalade idles by the curb, and the driver who handed me the note holds open the door. His name tag says Carl, and sweat trickles down his beefy neck. Somewhere in the distance a dog barks.

    I read the message again. It’s addressed to me, eliminating any possibility that this is a misunderstanding. So who sent it? And why? Why now, after eighteen years?

    I fold the paper in half. I hate my life sometimes--I start college at the end of summer, but instead of being this new adventure I can’t wait for, the thought of it makes my stomach hurt. My girlfriend Charlie’s got big plans for us—-coordinated schedules, his-and-her Greek houses, an apartment together as upperclassmen--all the meticulous premeditations she mapped out (literally, in PowerPoint on her dad’s laptop) when we started going out junior year.


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  17. Name: Jenilyn Tolley
    Title: My Stepsister is a Succubus
    Genre: YA contemporary fantasy
    Word Count: 63,000
    Email: jenilyntolley(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: It’s bad enough when Natalie learns that her mother is a fire elemental and she has to attend a boarding school in Turkey, but when the Water Lord starts hunting her and Natalie’s stepsister somehow manages to become a succubus, things start going downhill fast.

    First 250 Words:
    I grew up thinking my mom was a stripper. It had seemed perfectly logical—Dad had married her in some little “Chapel of Love” in Las Vegas, after all. Without parental approval. They divorced not long after I was born and then she dropped out of our lives completely. Dad wouldn’t talk about her—not to me, not to anyone. I figured that could only be because she was something so embarrassing that he didn’t want me, or anyone else, to know about. Like a stripper.

    I could understand that, I guess. Accountants, like Dad, were supposed to be level-headed and logical. Marrying a stripper was neither.

    The morning I turned sixteen, Dad told me to hurry home after school because he had a Big Surprise for me. When he said that, I didn’t even think it might relate to my mother. No, my thoughts went in a completely different direction. Sixteenth birthday … Big Surprise … I started daydreaming about a car.

    I never expected to get a car for my birthday. My stepsister, Olivia, didn’t get a car when she turned sixteen a few months before, so why should I get one now?

    And yet, Big Surprise. What else could it be?

    For fear of jinxing myself, I didn’t mention the Big Surprise to anyone, not even Olivia, and I told her everything. It was rare for me to keep my mouth shut for any length of time and I felt pretty proud of myself.

  18. Becky Paulin
    Title: Here Comes the Sun
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    66,000 words
    Pitch: On a senior trip to England, a wallflower - desperate to connect with her class - finds herself torn between her continued loser status, or reaching out of her comfort zone for a week of debauchery, clubbing, and falling in love.


    “Here Barf Girl,” Meredith whispers as she bumps my arm. I jerk my elbow off the arm rest and stare at her through my brown bangs falling haphazardly into my eyes. Even though we've attended the same high school for almost four years now, this is the absolute first time she's ever talked to me. I'm not kidding. She's part of the so-called “popular crowd” - I stress the air quotes on that one - and I am, well, not. I have Krista. And that, sadly, is about it.
    I blame my nickname. And the awful Brunettes.
    Meredith has really short blonde hair and pretty typical blue eyes. They don't sparkle or resemble the ocean or anything. They are simply blue, like a well worn shirt. And she's holding out her hand to me, cupping it a little as if not to spill whatever is inside. I'm sad to admit that my first thought is that she wants me to pee in her hand. Because quite honestly, at this point, I just might.
    For the past twenty minutes I've been sitting cross-legged in my seat, my attention focused on the giant, red X glaring at me from above the bathroom at the back of the plane. I silently berate myself for drinking two diet cokes from McDonald's before take off, simply because my mom showed concern about my hydration levels as I cross the Atlantic.
    “Take this. It'll help you sleep.”
    “What is it?”
    “A sleeping pill."


  19. Name: Alice Beesley
    Title of book: Mystic Mound
    Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal
    Word-count: 60,000
    One-sentence pitch: When eighteen-year-old Mindy Cooper inherits her estranged father’s mountain cabin, the last things she expects to find there are: clues that he might still be alive, the beginnings of a possible romance, and signs of a beast lurking in the nearby woods.
    First page (250 words): I stood on stage, legs wobbling, while hundreds of blurry faces stared at me from the stands. My moist fingertips pressed my electric guitar strings and I started to strum. The chords boomed through the gym, and energy zipped up my arms.
    My mom screamed, “Go Mindy!”
    I bobbed my head in time to Milo’s drumbeat. My dark bangs flopped over one eye. Colton chimed in on the bass, the low tones vibrating in my teeth. Our fellow high school graduates cheered.
    My best friend Krista stepped up to the microphone. Her red and black hair glowed like fire, and the song rang from her lips like flute. She threw her head back to hit the highest pitch. It sounded like a train whistle. People gasped in awe. No one could wow an audience with their pipes like Krista. I had no doubt she’d reach her dream of becoming a famous singer someday. I just hoped to catch a ride on her shooting star as her lead guitarist.
    The show choir chimed in on the chorus from risers behind the band. Their harmonies blended, sending a thrill through me. Near the end of the song everyone hushed for my instrumental solo. My fingers flew all over the fret board. I could almost smell the smoke they left behind.
    The audience hooted. I closed my eyes, soaking up the positive vibes, and imagined my dad in the throng shouting, “That’s my girl!”
    Too bad I hadn’t seen him for thirteen years.

  20. - Jenny Kaczorowski
    - Rivers Underneath
    - YA Contemporary Fantasy
    - 65,000 words
    - Pitch: 16-year-old Emma must embrace her unwanted ability to manipulate other people’s emotions to overcome a creature known as a Soul Eater.

    Emma watched a cluster of mourners gather around the fresh 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 it away with the back of her hand. She shifted her feet and the frozen dew clinging to the grass crackled under her.

    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 every detail in stunning clarity. The lurid green of the carpet covering the hole in the ground and the cold, dead coffin that held her best friend. The sky, the same colorless grey as her eyes, burned in her mind. Overwhelming sorrow surrounded her, but she refused to absorb any of it.

    Her parents were worried. Not that she blamed them. She’d never handled loss well. She’d nearly self-destructed when Gabriel left four years earlier. And he’d only moved away.

    Lily was dead.


  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Lyla Lee
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word count: 90,000 words
    Pitch: In order to become human again and save the girl he loves, seventeen-year-old Gabriel Durante teams up with a teenage fashionista and the Angel of Death to kill the demon he serves.

    On the night that Gabriel Durante harvested his two hundredth soul, he bought himself a pack of cigarettes and a drink. There was nothing else he could do, really, other than try to forget the disturbing fact that he’d stolen that many souls…and that he’d kept count.

    But since the bar wasn’t the most entertaining place in the world and he got tired of listening to people drunkenly sob about various failures at life, he eventually joined the many bodies grinding on the dance floor.

    There, he spotted a girl dancing with her group of friends. Her chin length purple hair glowed in the strobe-lights—which was what had caught his attention in the first place. As she danced, Gabriel could tell from her hair and her flashy silver dress that she was a girl who craved attention. This, of course, made her the perfect target.

    "Hey, you want to dance with me?" Gabriel murmured into her ear.

    The girl stiffened, not bothering to turn around. Most guys would have been discouraged by this. But not Gabriel.

    With a slow smile, he mentally grasped the long wispy strands of his own luck and twisted it towards her.

    “Sure!” she said. Her initially annoyed expression quickly became one of poorly disguised awe when she turned towards him. He flashed a smile at her, and kept his eyes trained on her hazel eyes.

    His ability to manipulate luck was the only benefit he’d received when he agreed to serve a demon.


    Thank you for this opportunity!

  23. Name: Cheree Smith
    Title: Shadow Embraced
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count 65,000
    Pitch: To control the creature threatening to take over her, 16-year-old Scar joins an underground fight club of witches, werewolves and vampires.

    First 250:
    The pale girl knocks me back against the fleshy wall of the crowd with a couple of hard smacks. I scramble away from a woman in a purple dress, my eyes on my opponent. Over the pulsing music, the crowd still keeps up their tribal chant:

    “Fight! Fight! Fight!”

    This is my first time at The Basement--innovative name for a club set up on a second-storey. The dim lights and smoky atmosphere make the red and black clothing of the crowd and the graffiti on the walls blaze. Between the pinball machines, sagging lounges, and the close-pressed crowd, there isn't much room to manoeuvre.

    “What are you waiting for?” the girl hisses. She could be Snow White with her porcelain skin and long, raven hair. “You started this. It was just between me and her.” She extends one long finger towards my best friend, Alex.

    Alex watches from the sideline. This is becoming the norm. Whenever we go out, she always gets in trouble and I’m the one to fix it – usually with some bloodshed.

    I don’t know what Alex did to piss off this poisonous cow, but now I want blood.

    “Come on, Scar,” Alex calls.

    My opponent launches at me. I shield my face from her punches. It all comes down to waiting for an opening. She’s fast, almost as fast as me. It’s difficult to maintain my balance enough to strike back.

    I duck under a right hook and seize my chance.


    Thanks for the contest.

  24. Hope Roberson
    My Protector: The Calling
    Dystopian YA

    Pitch: Eri, a teenage girl, has developed an internal link to the beasts plaguing her people—The Calling—which belongs solely to the Protectors guarding the village.

    Going to the river alone is forbidden, especially at this hour. Knowing this clear-cut rule of our people did not stop me from stepping off the gravel path and walking deep into the vacant field. I no longer controlled my body.

    Adrenaline thrummed inside me as I drifted closer to the water. Heat slithered through my limbs. White-hot anger burned in my belly. If it was even anger churning there. I had never felt anger creeping through my veins before. Whatever this was, it pulled me toward the unknown.

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

    I heard the warning bell like everyone else. My people fled for safety into the closest shelter possible. Not me.

    A few more steps and I would see the river through the trees if the waning light consented. The coursing water rushed along mirroring my heightened flow of adrenaline. The sensory overload amplified, the calling grew louder becoming hypnotic, driving me like a machine, steering me down a path I would not otherwise take.

    I should not be here.

    The bell clanged again, this time with faster frequency. I froze. Not because I knew better or because I needed to sprint home like everyone else.

  25. Cassandra Cook
    The Privileged
    YA Fantasy
    84,000 words

    Pitch: Hunted down by an evil overlord, kidnapped by a pain-in-the-butt sorceress, and having a power that just won't trigger is not what Jonathan had in mind when he ditched his first day of school.

    A slow rumble shook Jonathan’s stomach. He knew he should have eaten more this morning, but in his haste to escape the suck-fest of his temporary home, he only grabbed a handful of crackers, which left his mouth dry and pasty.
    He snorted what little saliva he had and spat into the sand. He kicked the dirt around to cover the loogie, eyeing his never-before-used backpack by his feet. He had almost put a fist in the wall when his ‘guardians’ suggested he interact more with kids his own age. Never mind he’d never set foot in a public school, not to mention it’s the middle of May.
    Distractions…that’s what they called it. Jonathan called it what it was. A way to get rid of him. Not that he blamed them. He wasn’t exactly a ray of sunshine these days.
    A crunch of tires on gravel reached his ears, and he flicked his gaze to the parking lot. He let out a sigh of relief it wasn’t a cop, but the red BMW X5 did nothing else to ease his mind.
    He wanted to be alone. That’s how he liked it.
    So he bent down, hiked his backpack over one shoulder, and crossed through a couple of swings and out onto the park grass.
    The car’s doors slammed and he resisted the urge to turn. It was probably just some hoity-toity stay-at-home mom bringing her kids to the playground. He started toward the bathrooms where he could find some shade and a wall to lean against.
    Jonathan ignored the sudden outburst behind him. It wasn’t a mom, but there was no way the guy was yelling at him. He wasn’t doing anything.
    “Yo! Kid in the orange!”
    Arg. He was yelling at him.

  26. Name: Sharon Johnston
    Title: Sleeper
    Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
    Word Count: 50,500
    One sentence pitch: When seventeen-year-old Mishca Richardson searches for her birth parents she finds something she never expected - a doppelgänger bent on destroying her search for happiness.

    (1st 250 words will be in separate post as I have to post this from my iPhone as blogger and my computer are not playing nice and the comment is getting too long for my phone to handle)

  27. Ryann Kerekes
    Genre: Contemporary YA Romance
    Word-count: 57,000
    A failed ballerina joins the circus and falls for a knife-thrower with a troubled past.

    First page:
    I sat on a cold metal folding chair, clipboard balanced on my knee and again wondered what I was doing here. I read over the questions on the application and marked the yes boxes running along the length of the column. Back bend from standing. Check. Full one-hundred-and-eighty degree splits. Yup. Free hand-stand for more than ten seconds? Obviously.
    The last question stopped me; ‘Can you do two shows a day when you’re sick, injured or tired and keep smiling?’ I hesitated a moment, then darkened an X through the yes box and signed my name at the bottom.
    I’d only come to watch the auditions for Aerial Mystique, but when they handed me an application, and assumed I was here to try out, I didn’t correct anyone. After the way my morning had started, I was in no place to argue –especially about something as preposterous as joining the circus. If by some small miracle I made it through these auditions without looking like a jack-wagon, I’d chalk it up to a new life experience – something I was sorely lacking in. Besides, I wasn’t ready to face the fact that I’d been fired that morning. And after seeing a flyer on the street, baring my name – well Aerial, rather than Ariel, it felt like a sign – something to do rather than sit around and feel sorry for myself.

  28. Name: Rowenna Miller

    Title: The Courier

    Genre: YA Post Apocalyptic (and pre-Dystopian ;))

    Word Count: 60K

    Sentence Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Norah thought her biggest challenges lay in navigating the forests of her wilderness colony, not navigating an uprising against an occupation force and an alliance with her people's former enemy.

    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 slow my knife’s progress on the chicken to listen.

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

    -rowenna.miller at

  29. Sleeper entry continued.

    First 250 words:

    Being brought back to life runs the risk of something from the other side crossing back over with you. Even in a medically controlled death and revival like mine. . At least that's what my best friend, Nerissa Murray, believes. With my fingers clenched in sheets damp with sweat, I'm beginning to think she could be right. I've had bad dreams every night since I technically died on the operating table a month ago. 

    At the end of my bed my cat, Smelly Belly, is eying me cautiously in the arched position, her hair standing on end. I hope that's because I was just thrashing about in my sleep and not screaming.

    My dad bolts into the room. Nope. Definitely screaming. "Mishca? Is everything okay?" He surveys the room and goes off red alert mode when he sees there's no immediate danger.

    "I'm fine. Just a bit of a nightmare, that's all." I suck in my bottom lip and look away. I haven't told my parents about the dreams that have been plaguing me since my heart transplant. There's no need to worry them further. They're just dreams after all.

    As though he didn't hear me, Dad strides over and sits on the bed he rests his hand on a sweaty wet patch and screws his face up in a silent 'eww'. "You remember Dr Thompson said we need to let him know if anything unusual is happening. He wants to monitor the side effects of your medication."

  30. Larissa H
    That Succs
    YA Paranormal
    50,000 words
    Pitch: Fifteen-year-old romantic Emmy Duivel just put her first date in the hospital—with a kiss—but in order to accept what she is, she must give up her dreams of true love, and her feelings for classmate Paul, who has secrets of his own.
    First 250: I stared in the mirror, wondering how Lily could possibly consider the piece of cloth she’d given me a dress. It covered less than my t-shirt.
    “Do you have it on yet?” she called through the door. “Come on. I wanna see it.”
    My cheeks reddened just thinking about walking out of the dressing room with the dress on. “O-okay. Uh, just a minute.” I gave the hem one more tug, but it was as far down as it was going to get, which was less than five inches from my underwear and way too short for public viewing. Then I had to tug the top again, since every time I pulled on the bottom, the top came down, too. *I give up.*
    I stepped to the door, when what I really wanted to do was take the stupid thing off and put my clothes back on. Sadly, I didn’t have much of a choice. If I didn’t come out, my best friend would insist, loudly, and by the time she got her way, there’d be a crowd.
    With a sigh, I opened the door and stepped into the dressing room hallway. My shoulders curled in as I tried to keep as much of my body inside the “dress” as possible.
    “Oh, honestly, Emmy. Stop hunching. You look fabulous.” She pushed me in front of the three-way mirror at the end of the hall. “See? You are totally hot.”
    All I saw was way too much of my own skin.

    lchardesty at yahoo dot com

  31. Sarah Wedgbrow


    YA Contemporary
    55,000 words

    Pitch: A quirky fifteen-year old girl takes down a violent bully with the help of her cinematic (and imaginary) heroes, Bruce Lee and Mr. Miyagi.

    First Page: Until now, I’ve survived high school by being Invisible. You know, blend in with the crowd, don’t speak to anyone, move out of the way if anyone gets too close. Never make eye contact. It’s a trick I learned last year as a freshman when Cliff Cower threatened to bash my face in for the hundredth time. Like a good nerd, I was giving a tour of the school to William Blake—not the poet, the new kid—when Cliff huffed and puffed his way over to me. He bent down and got in my face as I backed up against the lockers. I squeezed my eyes shut, bracing for impact. But after a few seconds nothing happened. When I opened them, I heard Cliff’s distant laughter echoing as he rounded the corner into the stairwell. It was then that I knew what I had done. It was miraculous! I had made myself Invisible.

    The next time I saw Cliff, I wasn’t as quick with the Invisibility trick. When I followed him off the school bus at the end of our street, he spun around. His nostrils flared like a bull. He said, “You think you’re better than me, don’t you?”

    I couldn’t lie.

    That was the first time Cliff Cower really kicked my crumbs. We were mortal enemies ever since my family moved to Ypsilanti—the “Brooklyn of Michigan."


  32. Amie Borst
    The Reservoir
    85,000 words
    YA paranormal
    When an evil power threatens to take Jane's life, sacrifices of love and trust must be made - or someone's soul will have to surrender to the Mirror of Maya.

    I was already sweating, my heart pounding out of my chest when I saw the ambulance. I knew I shouldn’t be there. I knew I shouldn’t get involved. But sometimes, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t control it. Like tonight.

    Then the fog came, right on cue. But it was thicker than usual, carpeting the ground like a layer of cream. It was so dense, I swore I could reach out and swirl it with my hands. Or dig into it with a spoon and shovel it into my mouth. Normally I would have ….but tonight, for some reason I felt unsure. Afraid.

    If I was going to figure out where I was, and how I was supposed to help, then I had no choice but to push past this fear. So, I forced my way through the mist, my legs cutting through it like scissors on cardboard. Trees along my path encouraged me onward, their branches swaying in the breeze, leaves pushing against my back like cold, rough hands. In the distance, a clearing seemed familiar. But it was the cabin to the east that told me exactly where I was: directly behind my high school on a windy, dirt road known as Freedom’s Point.

    I walked closer, legs wobbling. If I wasn’t careful, they’d give out under me at any moment. Freedom’s Point hadn’t gained that name because it was a walk in the park. It was like a death sentence. In hell.

    Amiegr8tstuff (at) aol (dot) com

    thanks so much for your time!

  33. Isabel Bandeira
    -Title: "The Desired"
    -Genre: YA Paranormal
    -Word-count of your manuscript: 72 K
    -The one-sentence pitch: "Sara learns that she is the key to freeing a lost king from a prison beyond time- unfortunately, her best friend is a part of an ancient society whose only purpose is to stop her."
    - Your first page (250 words):

    This morning turned out to be perfect for a run. The air is just cool enough that I’m not sweating too badly, even though my lungs are killing me at this point. My sneakers pound along the familiar paths, kicking up a small cloud of dust. I dodge rocks and ruts in the dirt path and push up a steep incline, giving myself one last burst of speed until I’m standing at the top of the hill, looking out over acres of fields on one side and forest on the other. Exhaustion or no, being up here, staring out over the world, is definitely a rush.
    Out of breath, I slow to a walk, and then drop my hands to my knees. I hate jogging, but that hasn’t stopped me from almost daily six mile runs and being a part of my school’s track team since ninth grade. I know that it makes absolutely no sense, but… it’s either this or give up the chocolate. And I like chocolate better than I hate jogging.
    Sucking in another breath, I start walking again. Vale da Castanheira—“valley of the chestnut tree”, my grandparents’ land, is pretty and deserted at this hour. I have the forest paths to myself—brambles, briers, and all, and it’s nice to be in a world where it’s just me and the waking forest.

    -Your email: c (dot) isabel (dot) bandeira (AT)

  34. -Your Name: Julia Keanini
    -Title of your book: VEGA
    -Genre: YA fantasy
    -Word-count of your manuscript: 100,000

    -Mia Tanaka made the decision to attend Vega Preparatory Academy so that she could write her own future; little did she know Vega specialized in rewriting the past.

    - I’d always wanted to do something great. Something that changed the world. I didn’t necessarily want to be famous, although I guess that could have been nice. Looking around my bedroom there was kind of a split identity. I had hung pictures of Taylor Lautner, Shia Lebouf, and Justin Beiber. The reasons for them being up there were self-explanatory. I had also put up pictures of Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James, and Bill Gates. When people would question why I displayed these pictures, I tried to change the subject. I was embarrassed to express my biggest dream and deepest secret. Who was I to think I could be like these amazing people? They were at the top of their respective worlds.
    When I was alone though, I would find myself staring at my pictures and daydreaming of one day becoming great. It came to me that if I wanted to be like these heroes, I should try to find attributes I had in common with them. I would start to compile a list, but it usually consisted of one, maybe two things. So then I would start to include things that I was good at, things that could help me to do something great. The list usually looked something like this
    Try to be happy
    Usually willing to talk to people
    Hard worker
    Willing to work hard if it is something I really care about
    Good at tennis
    Made the tennis team, but have yet to win

    -Your email:

  35. Thank you both for this contest!
    Your Name: Stephanie Fox
    Title of Book: Fire Heart
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 79,000

    Once Sentence Pitch:
    Trapped in a medieval world, Indy gets a crash course in magic, corsets, and Realm Masters—now if she could just figure out how to get home.

    First Page (250 words)
    For the hundredth time that day Sergei sighed in contempt at his surroundings. He had been in the First Realm for a few hours, but had already decided he didn’t like it. Since he and Deriek had crossed the barrier neither of them had been able to use magic to help their search. There was something about the First Realm that acted like a damper on their magic abilities. Sergei had naturally sharper vision, which was why he was the one perched in a tree to keep watch for Zerin while Deriek scouted the woods.
    Thinking of Zerin, Sergei’s lip curled involuntarily as he shifted his position. His body creaked in protest as he balanced on the wobbly tree limb and hoped not to fall the twenty feet to the ground. Sure, the forest floor was thick with grass, leaves, and somewhat-forgiving dirt, but the hundred or so sharp branches between him and the ground was what made him wince.
    Suddenly there was a flicker of motion to the right. Sergei froze, his gaze piercing the darkness to focus on the shadow. Ahead of his perch there was a clearing in the woods with a bench and fire pit. The movement had come from the side of the clearing, but before Sergei could identify it the bark of a dog echoed through the woods. Without his magic Sergei could only tell the general direction of the barking and that it was coming closer.


  36. Shannon Chamberlain
    Resurrection Town
    YA fantasy
    88,000 words

    Non magically-inclined junior detective solves mysteries in her Wiccan community and for their fundamentalist Christian neighbors, who are convinced that the world is about to end.

    The Tuesday before Spring Break and temporary freedom, our esteemed town leaders celebrate with a locker raid. They’re looking for all of the usual contraband: hash, weed, maybe even a little Ecstasy, if their luck holds. Condoms, too, although it’s hard to say what they’d do if they found one. Cancel our yearly “don’t have sex till you’re married” lecture, maybe.

    “I wish they’d find whatever’s reeking up East hallway,” says the chocolate-haired boy with the locker next to mine. James? Andrew? Someone who attended the Last Supper. He’s been hitting on me since school started, and while I would like to attribute this to my naturally curly red hair, I know he’s got ulterior motives. He’s one of Them, and his idea of a “totally rockin’” (their words, not mine) Saturday night is going to church and watching an edited version of Poltergeist, with lots of free popcorn and off-brand cherry licorice from the Sav-Mart. Then they hit you with a purity pledge: “I promise to keep my body a temple for the Lord Jesus Christ for all days and all time.” I knew because one of James-Andrew-John’s friends, the one I always saw him with, had already done this to my best friend, Gwen.

    “It was amazing,” she said. “They even bleeped out damn. Not on the Blu-ray disc, I mean. I mean, whenever someone said damn, all of the youth counselors went ‘bleep’ at the same time. They must have practiced. That’s the part that gets me: they practiced.”


  37. Thanks for hosting another contest Monica!

    Name: Meyn Lorenzo
    Title: Resonance
    Genre: Urban Fantasy
    WordCount: 110,000

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

    Cars, buses and taxi cabs honked, stuck in traffic, amidst a mass of people crowding the road, who held burning red and green sparkling sticks in the cool air. Men and women in red silk pants and shirts jumped and danced to the beat of drums, holding wooden poles supporting a red paper dragon with yellow eyes and a flapping mouth. Fireworks soared through the night sky, exploding in rainbow colors, lighting the faces of the people with stark amazements and admiration.

    On the rooftop of a ten-storey building apartment, a man garbed in black stood on the ledge, head shadowed by a hood with crimson streaks from the back, eyes dilating, glowing white.

    Down below, a girl in glasses looked to a boy beside her and smiled. ‘I wish I could say it tonight. I really, really like him,’ her thoughts circled in her mind.

    The man blinked.

    A girl in pigtails clutched a baseball in her hands and focused on the bottles stacked in front of her. ‘Okay, just breathe. I can do this. I have to just knock this last one and I’ll have the grand prize,’ she said to herself.

    The man shifted his head to his right.

    A girl in baggy pants entered a convenience store a kilometer away from the building apartment. ‘What was I supposed to get? Err…was it tissue or soap? I should have written it down.’

    Turning to his left, the man sighed and let his mind skim even further.

  38. Sigal Wilnai Tzoore
    The Princess' Guide to Adventure
    Modern fairy tale
    66,000 words

    Misfit Princess Anna Mara blunders on an adventure and wishes she could shed fairytale norms and use her resourcefulness to become a heroine.

    Princess Anna Mara Snow leaned out her second-story window, scanning the street for monsters that might lurk about, planning their next-day attack. Try as she might, though, Anna Mara could observe nothing in the street beyond the peaceful humming of a little bit of world waking up to an early Tuesday morning. The front yard glistened with dew, and an upward wave of wind brought to her nose the sweet innocent scent of her rose climbers. Anna Mara sighed and slumped against the window sill. No monsters, no knights, she thought, why aren’t you coming?

    Up the street, tall redwoods cast deep shadows on the gothic mansion where lived Princess Catherine Cassandra Charming, Anna Mara’s neighbor and non-friend, who by a freak of fate was born on the same day and year. Over the last few weeks Anna Mara had seen many terror-inspiring monsters and unidentified creatures skulking through that section of the road. None of them, however, gave the House of Snow a second glance, or a first, for that matter. Neither did the dozen or so princes who had been camped on Catherine’s manicured front lawn since Friday night.

    “Over here!” She whispered. “One princess, totally available for kidnapping and rescuing!”

    The rose climbers whispered back in the breeze, shaking their flowery heads at her, and Anna Mara sighed again and shut the window. She had not had anything for breakfast yet, and the time drew nearer to go to school.

  39. -Liz Grace
    -Title: Catalyst
    -Genre: Urban Fantasy
    -Word-count: 90,000
    -One-sentence pitch:
    Seventeen-year-old Academy student, Avery Stirling, lives in a world within a world, where perfection is a pre-requisite, and where she's been told often enough that she doesn't belong.

    - 250 words:

    Chapter 01 | Avery

    Just four more minutes.

    I pivot to re-work the momentum to my advantage and get in a good kick—which was what my head was saying—but my execution doesn’t meet standards and my blow, frustratingly, is anything but one.

    Two more-“Fo-cus!”

    The call out makes me startle embarrassingly. The only sounds in the room had been our labored breathing and the hits of the mat. There’s a smattering of laughter before it quickly dies away but the damage is done, holes shot through my tenuous concentration, large enough that I don’t see the incoming blow until it’s too late and by then another already follows, then another, until it’s raining, hard and fast, jarring my involvement and my capacity to hold my form. Several involuntary “oofs” later, the world becomes dark. I’ve fallen flat on my face.

    Horrified? Yes, but I’m fuming. My face feels hot, my breathing short and hard. What had he thought I was doing?

    I work my head free, feeling something warm and thick, trail down to my lips. A tickle, I’m struggling to assuage with my unbound arm.

    “Time.” The voice rebounds harshly in the white-washed room with a dulling finality. I can only see the boots of our instructor’s feet, I don’t need to see his face to feel the sharp disappointment. I try to breathe out a response—express something—but my attacker is simply too heavy for me to take in the necessary amount of air to eventuate a reply.


  40. Name: Janice Sperry
    Title: So You Don't Want to be an Evil Sorceress
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word-count: 77,000
    -The one-sentence pitch: Mysty Perilous dreams of dating high school basketball star Eric Gallante; instead, she accidentally turns him into a frog and has to find the right girl to kiss away his amphibious problem before she is dragged into fairy tale land and punished for her crime.

    First page:
    Mysty didn’t notice the black knight at the bottom of the stairs until she tripped over its mace. She slammed into the tapestry, scratching her face on the rough surface as she crumpled to the floor.

    Her mom rushed out of the kitchen. “Are you okay?”

    “Who moved the stupid knight?” Mysty asked.

    “Maybe he stepped out to wish you a happy birthday.”

    “It’s an old pile of tin. It isn’t capable of wishing.” Mysty dreaded this day all year. Last year’s present was probably still scurrying around the sewer hissing and terrorizing the smaller natives. She couldn’t imagine what horrors awaited her today. “Now I have a rug burn.”

    “Tapestry burn,” Mom corrected. “You should put some peroxide on that.”

    “The entry is a bad place for the knight. We should move it.” While she still had skin on her face.

    Mom piled the armor on its pedestal. “Where would we put it?”

    “The basement, out of sight, eBay . . .”

    “We aren’t selling the black knight.”

    Mysty opened the kitchen door. “Most people keep potted plants in their entry.” She saw something outside and hurried to the window, hoping to see the terrors that lurked in the woods. Morning mist rolled over the ground and caressed the barren trees, obscuring her view.

    Mom grabbed a bundle of herbs hanging from the ceiling and dropped them in a bubbling cauldron on the stove. Smoke poured out, filling the kitchen with the stench of burning gym socks.

    email: janicesperry (at) q (dot) com

  41. Thanks for the opportunity Monica, and Good luck Everyone!

    Your Name: J.R. Wortham

    Title of your book: Jacked

    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

    Word-count of your manuscript: 87,516

    The one-sentence pitch: When the fallen angels devised a plan to return to heaven, they never dreamed the portal they built would rip a hole in the fabric of the multi-verse or hurl their unsuspecting descendants, fifteen year old twins, Ashlee and Avery Jack, into a war with the ultimate evil--now, if only the children knew how to fight.. .

    Your first page (250 words):

    Chapter 1: And Then There Was Molly

    My stepdad steered his blue Ford pickup into the circular driveway at Molly Rainer’s home. “Now, that’s a nice outhouse,” he touted, with his usual country twang.

    Before our excursion, he clocked several hours on a Los Angeles neighborhood-watch site researching the area. In addition, to get the true lay of the land, Richard pulled the satellite view, convinced that any neighborhood outside the Miracle Mile district might be infested with inner city gangs or hidden van rapists.

    Therefore, being the ultimate stepdad--or red-neck zealot, whichever you prefer--he tried to make sure I would be safe from harm. “After all,” he’d told me earlier, “L.A. is nothin’ like Searcy, Arkansas”--his native town--or “Poverty Point, Louisiana”--where my brother and I were from.

    I liked my mother’s choice of men this time. Richard trumped Dad in countless ways, and, although he could be a little overprotective at times, he proved to be a thoughtful man who loved his family.

    We got out of the car and headed for the entrance of the manicured white stucco mansion that Molly simply called her “place.” Motif hedges, alongside pink and white rose beds, screamed “They’re rich!” while Richard gleamed with pride, extra pleased with himself, as if, just this once, someone at the drive-thru window filled his order with expert precision.

    Sun rays bounced off the white-washed rocks embedded in the cobbled walkway, carpeting a pristine path to the front door.

    Your email:

  42. Name: Kristin Lenz
    Title: The Art of Holding On and Letting Go
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    word count: 75,000

    Pitch: Rock climbing meets Walk Two Moons when a sixteen-year-old uber-nature girl abandons her California mountain home for Detroit, discovering friendship, love, and family secrets.

    250 words:

    A folded note fell out of my locker, and I bent down to pick it up. White notebook paper, slanted messy writing, in pencil.

    Why haven’t you been to Planet Granite?

    Then another note three days later.

    We’re waiting for you.

    Now it was a Friday, my second week of school. The bell rang for lunch, and I drifted along the river of students toward my locker. I spun the dials on the combination lock and popped open the door. This time I was ready. I snatched the third note mid-fall.

    I unfolded the paper, my pulse quickening with each square, after square, after square. Same messy scrawl, but this time written in blue pen.

    Still waiting.

    I glanced around the hallway, expecting someone to be watching. The river flowed toward the cafeteria, shouting, jostling, giggling. I turned back to my locker, staring into the flimsy, gray metal. If only I could step right through into another world. Back into my own world, back to the mountains.

    It didn’t matter that I had rarely attended school before. My parents had made up their minds. I was to stay with my grandparents. In Detroit. Motor City Ugly. No mountains, no rock climbing, no life.

    I didn’t think anyone here knew what had happened in Ecuador. People in Detroit didn’t keep up with climbing news. Yet someone here knew who I was; the notes in my locker said that much.


    Thanks for the opportunity!

  43. Name: Brenda Drake
    Title: Library Jumpers
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count:93K


    Yanked into a gateway book linking great libraries of the world, Gia finds a new kingdom, a hot guy and learns she's a knight--perfect, except she's also started the Apocalypse.

    250 words:

    Only God and the vendors at Haymarket got up early on Saturday mornings. The bloated clouds spattered rain against my faded-red umbrella, threatening to further dampen my pissy mood. I strangled the wobbly handle and dodged shoppers along the tiny makeshift aisle of Haymarket, Boston's famous outdoor produce market. The site, just off the North End, is totally packed and stinky. The fruits and vegetables up for sale are rejects from nearby supermarkets. Basically, they're cheap and sort of edible.

    "Limes!" an older Italian man with a huge belly yelled. "Twelve for a dollar!"

    I skirted around a slow moving tourist.

    "Real Sugar Cane!" a woman battered by the sun hollered over the crowd.

    "A buck a pound!" another man shouted as he held up a tomato.

    "Fish! Fresh off the boat," a shorter man lied.

    The stench from the fish practically gagged me as I hurried past the booth, holding my breath. My sandals slapped against the wet pavement. Rain slobbered my legs, and I cursed my best friend, Afton, for insisting I get up early and wear a skirt today. Breaking through the crowd, I continued up the street to the Haymarket entrance to the T, Boston's subway system.

    Across the street, my two best friends huddled under a black umbrella. Nick held the handle while Afton leaned into him to avoid getting wet. Nick's full-face smile told me he enjoyed sharing an umbrella with Afton.


  44. Thanks for hosting this awesome contest:):)

    Name: Jamie Ayres
    Title: 18 Things
    Genre: YA Contemporary Love Story
    Word Count: 57,000

    One Sentence Pitch:

    A young girl must risk her own heart when she’s forced to complete a life list of eighteen things before her eighteenth birthday, sending her and her friends on an unexpected journey they’ll never forget.

    First 250 Words:

    I wait for Conner by his Hybrid. The fact I lack any type of wheels while he owns a thirty-thousand dollar SUV is an injustice making Communism look like a good thing. The school parking lot is deserted aside from a few cars. One of them, a Lexus, I recognize as belonging to Toe-touch Tammy. As if on cue, she parades like a peacock around the side of the building with two fellow cheerleaders.

    “Hey, Olga!” Tammy puts out her cigarette on the asphalt and blows smoke in my face. I cough but manage to fight off potential asthma attack number two for the day. A geekazoid prop like an inhaler in front of Tammy would be like pulling Star Wars figurines out of my pocket and playing with them. “So, um, like, how was your day? You look so cute waiting here for Conner like a lost little puppy.” Her cronies scoff.

    Ugh, I hate her even more than Mondays. “Hmmm, I don’t really speak cheerleader, but let me see if I can put this in terms you’ll understand. So OMG, my day was like soooooo totally fabulous girlfriend! Ew, I think I just broke a nail! Gotta go!”

    As I bolt past her, she snags my sweater and jerks me backwards. “Listen bitch, go ahead and have your sailing date with Conner.”

    I imagine my face matches the color of my red hair right now. “I plan on it, and I don’t need your permission.”


  45. Guys!
    Thank you all for participating! :)
    There are some really good entries there!

    I'm closing the contest in one hour!! (I need to close it sometime). I hope it fills. <3

  46. I'm closing the contest now, so that Ms. Pestritto can start judging. :)

    I wish you LUCK and see you around! :D

  47. Nice Post.