Monday, July 18, 2011

Revision Contest Update

Time for comments is now closed on the fifteen entries.

Please take your entry and make it shine then place in the comment section under this post.

Please include your name, contact info, and your post number.

You have until July 25th, then Natalie gets to take a gander at them.

Good luck!!

Update: There seems to be some confusion, so please let me elaborate and hopefully this will clear up the confusion. If there are any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

This is a revision contest.

Fifteen entries out of the 48 were chosen.

The fifteen chosen entries were posted where fellow writers can comment on the entries until today, July 18th. At this time, please use the comments to help tighten, correct, and or change the entries---or if it is perfect, leave it alone.

When you got your entry shining like a brand new penny, please post in the comment section below by July 25th. Please include your name, contact information, title and genre, and your post number.

I will repost the newly revised entry and Natalie will then judge and award super fab prizes.

The prizes are:

1st prize: A query critique and a first chapter critique

2nd prize: The first five pages and a query critique

3rd prize: A B&N gift card

If you have any other questions, please ask.

GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. So to be clear, only the 15 get to post?

  2. Yes, that is correct. Only the fifteen entries chosen for this contest can post.

    Any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

  3. Thanks for the awesome contest! Here's my entry...

    TITLE: Chasing the Taillights
    GENRE: YA Contemporary
    CONTACT: katelarkindale(at)gmail(dot)com

    PITCH: Lucy and Tony share nothing except their genetic code and a love of rock music. When a car accident kills their parents, Lucy and Tony are forced to rely on one another--and decide whether to reveal their secrets. As the siblings struggle to overcome a lifetime of past conflicts and jealousies, they discover they might have more in common than they ever thought.

    2nd LINE OF 1ST PARA.: I strain to push the lids up, but they’re already wide.


    I cup my chin in my hand and stare at the screen, fingers scraping across unshaven stubble. It’s not late, but I find myself drifting off to sleep in front of the computer. My leaden eyes close and my head drops down toward the heavy wooden desk. I snap myself awake and shake my head. This assignment isn’t going to write itself, is it? Focus. Focus. World War II. That’s what you’re supposed to be thinking about. More importantly, the economic factors that led to World War II. I bite the inside of my cheek and the sharp bloom of pain makes me start. With the salty taste of my own blood flooding my tongue, I begin typing again.

    I’m dragged away from hyper-inflation and the rise of the Nazi party by the insistent ringing of the phone. I realize it’s been shrilling for several minutes now, and wonder why neither of my roommates picked it up. Maybe they’re not home; it is Saturday night after all. It’s only jocks like me who have to spend Saturday nights catching up on schoolwork. Parties are just one of the things I sacrifice for my sport. Diving’s a huge time suck.

    “Okay, okay… I’m coming.” I drag myself out of my chair, stumbling over the sneakers I kicked off earlier. My legs ache. A four hour practice can do that, especially when it’s all platform. Climbing all those stairs is a killer.

    I scoop up the phone from the kitchen counter, half-expecting whoever’s at the other end to have hung up. “Hello?”

  4. Hi Ebyss, thanks so much for having this contest and thanks to Natalie for giving us her time. I just want to be clear on what we are to be posting here. I see that Kate entered just what we were told to do for the contest. However, I think I read we are to post our query and first chapter for Natalie to judge. Am I correct? Thanks a lot, Sherry

  5. No..

    This is a revision contest. Please, the fifteen who were chosen, use the comments, revise your entry, and then post here in the comment section.

    Natalie will then review and choose a winner. Whoever the winner is will WIN a 1st chapter and query critique.

    Sorry for any confusion.

    If there is any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

  6. Thanks Ebyss, as I keep telling my husband, I can confuse myself I don't need help lol

  7. Phew! For a moment there I thought I'd done something wrong...

  8. Thanks Ebyss for the contest and your patience!
    Sherry Auger post #4
    Title: A June Snowstorm in Maine
    genre: chapter book

    No Way! 10-year-old Abigail Snoot can’t let the Highway Commissioner put a school bus turn-around in the middle of Mr. Pickle’s Store, home of her favorite one of a kind snacks. But what can a kid do about it? Plenty as Abby finds out when she puts her mind to it. She makes a deal with the commissioner; if it snows in June, the Highway Department would find an alternate location.

    2nd line of 1st paragraph 1st chapter:

    I was so happy that the snow was finally gone and we could walk to the store.

    1st 250 words of 2nd chapter:

    Now that I’m ten, and we’re on our way to Mr. Pickle’s Store, I can’t understand how I ever survived without Mrs. Pickle’s whole-wheat carrot and pineapple muffins, or the heavenly zucchini bread she makes. When we arrived at Mr. Pickle’s he greeted us as he always does.
    “Hello! Hello, Mrs. Snoot, Miss Snoot. How are you on this fine day?”
    “We’re just fine, Mr. Pickle. How are you and Mrs. Pickle doing?” asked Mom, handing Mr. Pickle her grocery list.
    Mr. Pickle always insists on getting our groceries himself. He’s nice that way.
    “Well,” begins Mr. Pickle. “We would be much better if we didn’t have to close our store by the tenth of June.”
    “What!” I yell. “Close your store? You’ve been here forever. Not that you’re old or anything, but for as long as I can remember, and Mom can remember, and anyone I know can remember! You can’t do it. What would you do? Where would you go? Where would we buy our groceries?”
    “Abigail! I am so sorry Mr. Pickle. Now apologize at once,” Mom demanded. “Give Mr. Pickle a chance to explain before you badger him with all your questions.”

    “Sorry Mr. Pickle. Sorry Mom,” I said, hopping from one foot to the other impatiently.
    “That’s okay dear,” says Mr. Pickle handing me a crispy and chewy oatmeal cookie. “It’s the highway’s fault really. Someone has decided that another school bus turn-around is needed and it’s being put here. There are more suitable places, but you know how those folks can be.

  9. I hope I have my post number correct. I'm really out of it today, lol :o)

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Name: A. J. Spindle
    Entry #15
    Title: The Bridge Between Two Minds
    Genre: YA
    Contact: ajspindle(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Alice Reid can handle pain, she’s been trained to. But training isn’t enough when her best friend, Daniel Cole, takes a bullet for her. Being a student at KAT was supposed to be like a spy movie- a place where they train teens to work for the CIA. Now she has to deal with her emotions and find his killer before the killer finds her.

    2nd line: If I hadn’t tripped, he’d still be here.

    First 250 of 2nd Chapter:
    Beep, beep, whir. Beep, beep, whir.

    Low noises, white lights. I felt groggy and confused, my head heavier than normal. It took me a minute to realize I was dressed in a hospital gown, stretched out on a bed. Without moving I could feel the IV taped to my arm and shuddered, sending radiating waves of pain up my back. I sucked in a breath. I hate needles. I didn’t want to open my eyes with the bright lights over me, but someone was holding my hand. It was rough and calloused. I peeked from under my eyelids to find Dan sitting in the chair next to my bed.

    “Hey, how do you feel?” he asked me. I stared at him, it was all I could do.

    “Dan?” It was really him sitting next to me. Breathing. Alive. I must be dreaming.

    “Yes, Alice?” he asked. “What do you need?”

    “You’re not dead,” I said evenly. My voice was soft like a whisper but I knew he could hear me.

    “Neither are you, thankfully.” He tried to smile. Had he been crying? His face betrayed no emotion, but behind his eyes I thought I saw something.

    “I’m not dead?” I asked, my voice thick with uncertainty. I didn’t feel dead, but then again I had no idea what “dead” felt like.

    “No,” he said and then his smile faltered. “Why did you take the bike?”

    The bike. His bike that I had ruined in the crash.

  12. Title: MARTYR
    Genre: Paranormal Thriller
    Contact: Bethany Ray

    PITCH: When she is thrust unwillingly into a deadly feud between politics and the mafia, all Evelyn wants to do is save the Senator's daughter - the girl that went from being Eveyln's job to the only friend she had ever known. In order to do that, she has to be willing to go on the offensive, sacrificing her own safety - and possibly her own life.

    SECOND SENTENCE OF FIRST CHAPTER: "You know ignoring my dad isn't going to help. He'll just send the secret service after you."

    A week later, I’m up earlier than normal. The blackout curtains in my own bedroom helped shield the bright morning light, making it easier to sleep in as late as I wanted on weekends. Chloe was probably loving that.

    Already annoyed with waking up on my couch in a house my money was paying for; my body flexed and stretched the kinks and tightness. Then I heard the sound of my own shower from behind the closed bedroom door.

    It was only the first day of my new living arrangement, and already I was missing Amber. While she might have been a bitch and a little bit crazy, she at least knew how much I loved sleeping in my own bed and taking a shower first thing in the morning.

    Over an hour later, Chloe came from my bedroom clean and sparking in a short denim skirt with leggings and a white wrap shirt. Her red hair corkscrewed down her back and her make-up nothing short of perfect. She’d look that way since the first time I met her years ago - runway perfect.

    “You have your own shower, and room, I might mention.”

    She lowered her head for a moment, but the shine in her eyes started me, pushing any sarcastic retort I might have had sailing back down my throat.
    “Why are you crying?”

    She turned away again, rubbing a manicured finger under her nose. “I don’t like being snapped at.”

    “Then your dad should have sent you somewhere else.”

  13. I should also say, a million thanks you to Ebyss for hosting this contest, and to the two wonderful people who commented. I'm trying to find a balance between creating a scene where interpretations are important, and oversharing. You're all great, thank you!

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. thank you so much Ebyss for this opportunity and a huge thank you to Natalie for her time. Here is my revised entry for The Way to Dendara YA Fantasy: entry #2

    Pitch: Lucy, a young woman with bad dreams and a tragic past, inherits a kingdom. But instead of the nice kingdom with the fairies and elves and wood sprites, this is the other one, the one with trolls and goblins and a half brother who’d like nothing better than the throne for himself. For Lucy, the hardest part will not be ruling the kingdom; it will be keeping it.

    Second line, first paragraph: No return address, no postage, not even any tape to keep the paper from being torn.

    Second 250: She saw it as soon as she woke. The creature. The thing that had stolen her away, standing by the only door, waiting, watching her with cat’s eyes. She looked around, noting the ornate bed and heavy velvet drapes, pulled back and tied.

    This was not her room.

    Dreaming, she thought, still dreaming. She closed her eyes and told herself to wake up, but when she opened her eyes again everything was just the same.

    The room was immense, the size of her flat, and as richly appointed as the bed. The decor was French, all rococo and curved lines, plush upholstery in deep, vibrant plum. She could smell incense burning.

    The creature hadn’t moved, still stood by the tall wooden door, watching her with its amber eyes. She had thought at first it was some horribly deformed person. She had rather hoped, in fact. Because in the back of her mind there had come an unbidden thought: not from here. Now she knew there could be no doubt about its lack of humanity. It was too tall, too big, and its shape wasn’t right. It wasn’t a person at all. No person she’d ever seen had ridges like scars so perfectly made. No person had hands like claws and no one wore studded leather armor – except in books or movies.

    She shuddered. Not real, she told herself. Couldn’t be. It was a dream, just like all the others she had. A very bad dream.

  16. Title: Insulin Junkies (Entry #10)
    Genre: YA contemporary
    Contact: Nora Coon, nora.e.coon[AT]gmail[DOT]com

    Pitch: Eva knows something’s wrong long before the doctor diagnoses her with diabetes - no seventeen-year-old wakes up to a wet the bed for the fourth time in as many days and thinks, “Yep, this is totally normal.” When her parents send her to diabetes camp, though, she discovers that surviving life as an insulin junkie will take a lot more than shots.

    2nd Line: The door wouldn't lock, so I hauled the big metal trash can in front of it, hoping it’d keep some people from coming in, and stood there in nothing but my shirt, washing my underwear.

    250 of Ch. 2: I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: two tablespoons of jam, two tablespoons of peanut butter, two slices of bread. I wonder if I’ll think of all food in terms of carbohydrates for the rest of my life. I draw up my lunchtime insulin injection - just short-acting insulin, this time - and my hands sweat, my palms prickling, as I try to decide if I can do it myself. I hold the syringe like a pencil, which feels wrong, and then like a joint, which feels even stranger. Just stab your arm, I tell myself. Just do it. It doesn't hurt that much. What's wrong with you, just do it!

    I can't. I even touch the tip of the needle to my skin, like maybe it will jump out of my hand and just inject me on its own, but I can't go further. "Mom," I say at last.

    She raises her head a little. "What is it?" She's hoarse - how has she gone hoarse since I've been sitting here?

    "Can you...?" I gesture with the syringe, and I see her flinch before she collects herself and holds out one mute hand.

    I drag my chair over next to her, chair legs screeching on the floor, and give her the syringe. Mom starts to cry when she slides the needle into my skin, and for the first time all morning, I can't help being a little annoyed with her too.

  17. Name: Erin L. Schneider
    Title: THE LUCKY FEW
    Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
    Post #: Lucky #13

    1) Pitch:

    For over six hundred years, 99.9% of the world’s most powerful and influential leaders, scientists, CEOs - and yes, even most of Hollywood’s elite – successfully achieved greatness because of one thing…they were chosen. When a mysterious invitation shows up at sixteen-year-old Blakely Sullivan’s door, she can’t help but wonder what she’s gotten herself into now. Little does she know, she’s the next in line.

    2) The second line of the very first paragraph of the 1st chapter:

    Those were the only words in perfect, jet-black calligraphy that crossed the formal white parchment of the invitation.

    3) The first 250 words of your second chapter:

    "First things first, I'm sure you're all wondering who I am. My name is Thaddeus Vaughan, but please, call me Thad; I’m the Dean here at Oren Preparatory.” He shifted slightly in his seat as he rested his hands along the surface of the table. “In order for us all to get to know one another, why don't we go around the table, introduce ourselves, and tell everyone one interesting fact, shall we?" He motioned to the boy sitting to his left, who sat across from me.

    "Reid Whittley, nice to meet you all. And one thing about me? I’ve been riding and racing motorcycles since the age of four." He said it with such a matter-of-fact tone as he nodded at everyone around the room, until his frost blue eyes came to rest on mine. Unlike the glare he'd given me earlier, this time his lips curled up into a devilish grin as he winked my way; the motion lightning fast, I wasn't sure if anyone else around me noticed. I found myself blushing – the twinge of déjà vu I’d seen that wink before, flittered at the back of my mind - as I turned my gaze to the girl sitting next to him.

    "Hello, my name is Naomi Forbes and yes, it’s a pleasure to meet you all. Let’s see, one thing about me is that I entered and won the Miss California Teen USA pageant last year." She smiled a cheesy, politician-style grin at everyone around the table, but it faded as it got to me.

  18. nice blog... have a view of my blog when free.. (A Growing Teenager Diary) .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

  19. Thanks again for doing this! :)

    Entry #9
    YA Contemp

    lydiasharp4sff (at) yahoo (dot) com


    At the beginning of senior year, Rocklyn's family moves from the city to the boondocks, forcing her to start a new life when her old one had finally gotten semi-sorta good. Now she must come out as a lesbian all over again, at a school that's more straight-laced than her Doc Marten boots. Rocklyn just wants to survive this year, but along the way she makes new friends, falls in love, and finds the strength to confront an old enemy who discovers her new stomping grounds.

    Second line of 1st paragraph:

    I prefer to walk, to relish every step of my final trek across town.

    First 250 words of 2nd chapter:

    Sunday, August 20, 1995

    I pass my sister, Candy, on the way downstairs. She's all sweaty from her daily morning run, which never accomplishes anything. She refuses to accept that she'll always have a baby pooch.

    "Hey, slut," I say.

    "Hey, dyke."

    This is about as affectionate as it gets between us. At least we acknowledged each other.

    The kitchen smells like a typical Sunday morning--coffee, maple syrup, and bacon grease. Dad's sipping from a mug and reading the Plain Dealer. Mom's fussing over Candy's brat in the high chair, trying to get him to stop throwing Cheerios at the stove while she's cooking. I'm pretty sure he hasn't cut any teeth yet, so why she gave him Cheerios is a mystery.

    But everything Mom does is a mystery, really.

    My five year-old brother, Jeremy (Mom's "change of life" baby), explodes into smiles when he sees me. I ruff up his hair then sit across from him, grab a plate of bacon and ignore the rest of the spread.

    Dad bends the corner of his newspaper down just long enough to say, "Good morning, Rocklyn."

    Sure it is. "What're you so happy about?" I ask Jeremy.

    "We're moving!" He thrusts both hands in the air like he just scored a touchdown, then immediately goes back to wolfing down his pancakes.

    "Don't remind me."

    "Ring, ring!" Jeremy mimes picking up a telephone. "Oh hi, Snow White. You're looking for Grumpy? Yeah, hang on." He hands me his invisible phone. "It's for you."

  20. Title: Thornbriar
    Genre: YA Fantasy Retelling
    My Name: Artemis Grey
    Email: Greyvaledesigns(at)gmail(dot)com


    Most Ladies get china sets for their wedding. Beauty got a Beast with multiple personalities and a cursed magic kingdom nobody believed in. Now, as the new Queen, it’s up to Beauty to sort things out.

    Second Line:

    Instead, the black shaft of the arrow passed through her ruby curls as she staggered sideways.

    First 250 of Second Chapter:

    Beauty spent the remainder of her journey sequestered in the shadows of Liivan’s coach. The Senior merchant attended her only enough to satisfy protocol but otherwise let her be. She did not again ask about the possibly bestial Woodlord. Part of her truly wanted to, for would it not be better to know of what she faced? But then, in a way, it didn’t matter. She would marry him regardless.

    It was much easier to uphold her fierce determination and bold resolve within the shelter of the coach. The peculiar way in which the Altheans had moved around her made all the more sense now. They had seen from the moment she’d been introduced that she did not fully understand her own situation.

    Her cheeks burned to think of it but when she spoke to Liivan, it was with easy elegance and lovely smiles. The strange people of Althea might think her a simpering, foolish maiden, but Beauty would make the most splendid Queen they could have ever imagined. Her beauty had brought her this far, it would serve her yet.

    Selene did not have the same spine on the matter. Of course, Selene was plain, in manner more than feature. Her demeanor only dimmed what would have else wise been a comely enough face. Beauty had no patience for the quailing of her handmaiden and might have left her standing beside the roadway if it wouldn’t have caused talk later.

  21. Thanks again for this!

    Name: Elizabeth Arroyo
    Contact: elizabeth(dot)arroyo5(at)
    Title: Some Kind of Trouble
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Entry #8

    Pitch: After a drive-by shooting leaves Arianna with an unexpected boyfried, she finds that love alone won't save him from life on the streets.

    2nd Line: I once chanted one hundred and three thousand times in one night for my mom to get better.

    First 250 of 2nd chapter:

    I awoke the next morning with David standing beside my bed, already dressed. “Where’s mom?”

    “She’s at the clinic. What time is it?” I asked, still nestled under the covers.


    “Seven?” I jumped out of bed, got caught in the sheets and went sprawling to the floor. Shit. David laughed as I scampered to the bathroom. “Are you ready?” I asked him while brushing my teeth and pulling my hair in a tail. I had thirty minutes to drop him off and get my butt to school. I didn’t wait for him to answer. “Get my keys and turn on the car and come back inside.” I rinsed my mouth and ran to my room frantically searching for my school uniform, which I found where I had left it: on a chair near my bed. I grunted, threw it on and ran downstairs. It was seven-ten when I grabbed my jacket and got in my car, three minutes after that I realized I’d left David and went back for him. I had five minutes to make it to school after dropping him off.

    The school parking lot was full and I managed to squeeze my car between a Honda, whose driver could care less about the lines on the pavement, and a minivan. Sliding out of my car, I ran inside.

    I was three minutes late to Mr. Hanlon’s class and froze when I entered. In the front row away from the door sat Rebecca Townsend. In my seat. I narrowed my eyes and wanted to remind her that she usually sat near the door with Marcus when Mr. Hanlon spoke.

    “There’s a chair near the door,” he told me.
    Of course there was a chair near the door. It was her spot. I turned and sat down hard, dropped my book bag on the floor and took off my jacket. This day could not get any worse.

    I was so wrong.

  22. Name: A.E. Martin
    Title: Graveyard Phoenix
    Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
    Entry: 12


    When necromancer Blaise Evarin unexplainably starts resurrecting people who get four days of life again, she uses her ability to help criminal trials while dealing with severe political and religious criticism. Things become more complicated when several of her recent resurrections remain alive, go berserk, and embark on murderous rampages. And that's only problem number one.

    Second line of first paragraph:

    I took the container of blood from the sobbing woman, wondering why she’d even picked it up.

    First 250 of second chapter:

    After Gideon seemed stable enough with the resurrection, I called his family over and they unleashed their joy on him. I stepped back to collect the empty blood container, and watched as the gravediggers covered the open grave with a tarp. Since Gideon would be going back down in a few days, it didn't make sense to fill it up again.

    His family was doing a lot of hugging and crying, but Gideon seemed to be in shock, because he was holding himself stiffly and avoiding eye contact with them. Everyone came back acting differently. Some were back to themselves in a snap, while others screamed and wailed for an hour before they could be made to understand what was going on. Gideon seemed to be an internal, confused screamer.

    Once again, watching someone who'd been dead not ten minutes ago walking, breathing, and talking, raised all the frustrating questions I had about how I, of all people, had the power to do this. Raising zombies was one thing, but I was still coming to terms with the fact that I could raise living people. Not knowing where the power came from or why, and having to watch the people I brought back die again four days later, didn’t make anything easier.

    Stop thinking so damn much, I said to myself. At least the reasons I do this are justified, even if not everyone thinks so. I walked over to the Tillars.

    “You should take Gideon home now,” I said.

  23. Thank you again, Ebyss, for hosting such a fun contest!!

    Title: OUTCAST
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Contact: susanoloier(at)gmail(dot)com
    Post #: 11

    Always the compliant, Catholic school girl, Noelle grows tired of people’s hypocrisy. Her pious mother criticizes her; the popular group bullies her. With the help of her black-sheep aunt and a defiant, new classmate, Noelle seeks revenge. But vengeance comes with a price: Noelle risks friendship, first love, and self to get back at those who have wronged her.

    I felt it in the desert breeze, heard it in the sounds of broad tailed hummingbirds and mourning doves, and stared at it in the bathroom mirror.

    The ocotillos writhed and twisted out of the sandy, desert floor as dust devils curled and raced one another. The monsoon season proved a fraud, leaving the last of the autumn months dry and arid.

    It was Sunday. Another Sunday of wiggling my way out of church. It became a ritual, a ceremony, and a game. I crept down the stairs with predatory stealth, slipping out the back door before my mother even realized I was awake. I escaped the house early enough to avoid 8:00 a.m. mass. My Reeboks beat a rhythm on the asphalt of Civic Center Boulevard. Sweat dampened my sports bra, pooled between my breasts.

    As I ran, the September sun bled carmine and tangerine from its place in the eastern sky. The Arizona fever scorched the alien, oxide green of the golf courses to a raw sienna. Cumulous clouds, tethered to the air, taunted us. In the Midwest, people call this heat Indian summer. To us, it was a cool-down from the daunting summer temperatures of 120 degrees.

    The beat of The Black Eyed Peas greeted me as I labored through the door, and I knew Becca had evaded church, too. She took advantage of every moment, every second, of our parents’ absence. She paraded around the living room, phone pressed to her ear. She spotted me and made a curt one-eighty.

    “Oh my God! Tell me he did not say that.”
    Her chats always revolved around some guy. The new one: Carl.

  24. ashleydmaker Entry Number 1

    Name: Ashley Maker

    Contact info: ashleydmaker(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Title: Under the Trees

    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Romance

    Pitch: Fleeing an arranged marriage, Araya’s last intention is to fall in love; when Prince Thor helps her, he doesn’t consider the consequences of harboring a fugitive princess…until Araya’s betrothed arrives, armed and determined to take her back.

    Second line of first paragraph of 1st chapter: My muscles burned and sweat rolled into my eyes, but I could not let my horse slow down as we cleared fallen logs and ducked under branches.

    First 250 words of 2nd chapter:

    I intended to leave with the hunting party in the afternoon. After stopping and hearing requests and complaints in the villages along the way, we planned to set up camp under the yellow trees of the Golden Woods. Ten of my best men, all part of my signet guard, were to accompany me, in case we ran into trouble. Father feared we might.

    “It has been too long since Darrell has pulled one of his stunts,” he said. “Expect trouble on your hunt. Be prepared. No harm can come from that.”

    “My men are always prepared,” I replied, turning away to tie off my bag of supplies.

    “Thor—” Father grasped my upper arm. He waited until I looked into his narrowed gray eyes. “If you come across them, don’t underestimate them. Be careful. I fear Darrell is up to something.”

    His words sobered me, but they were not unexpected. The feud between King Cyric, my father, and King Darrell was well known and had only worsened since the engagement between my sister and Darrell’s son had fallen apart. They fought over the resources of the Golden Woods, for the rare white wood provided excellent lumber and supplied a plentiful source of game animals for hunting. Darrell’s men frequently crossed the boundary, meaning we had to constantly patrol, making sure no one pushed the line.

    Still, I gave him my promise I would be careful, although sometimes I wished Darrell would do something so that the situation could be dealt with.


  25. Title: The Picasso Project

    Genre: YA Contemporary

    My name and email: Carol Anne Shaw, shawshack(at)shaw(dot)ca

    Pitch: The world hasn’t been easy for 17-year old Eddie DuMont. A few years ago, his abusive father vanished, and his mother succumbed to a nervous breakdown soon afterwards. Any dreams for art school were quickly forgotten in Eddie's struggle to survive. The rules are simple: Lay low, trust no one, and make sure you have plenty of Duct tape on hand. But will Eddie's passion for art provide a way out for him and his kid sister, Maya, or will it derail them for good?

    2nd line: I remember the stupidest things about that day, like the way the Beefaroni in the cracked enamel saucepan bubbled over the sides and messed up the stove.

    250 of 2nd chap: 

    “Why do I have to wear this stupid coat, anyway?” my sister asks. She’s at that age where she thinks it’s cool to walk around in t-shirts, getting soaked in the pouring rain.

    "Because you do," I tell her, "so don't argue."

    "Jeez Eddie, you're so uptight!"

    I hold up the green coat for her to put on and she thrusts her arms angrily into the sleeves. As coats go, it's not bad. Almost new, down-filled with pockets and zippers everywhere, and the best part was that it was eight bucks. Some days you just get lucky.

    "Just wear the damn coat, Maya."

    She flips me the bird and begins to walk off toward the trees.

    "Wait," I call after her. "You forgot your lunch."

    I push the plastic grocery bag into her hands and she looks at it hopefully, like by some miracle there’s going to be a massive corned beef on rye or a couple of super-sized brownies inside it. Right.

    "Gross. Bran muffins again? They're totally stale, Eddie, and the banana is seriously rotten. No way am I going to eat that!"

    "Listen, your ass is scrawny enough as it is,” I tell her. “Eat something.”

    Maya is really starting to piss me off. Lately, she's always in a bad mood. Maybe it's girl stuff. She just turned fourteen so I guess all that psycho hormonal crap is probably going on, not that she'd ever tell me.