Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Revision Contest

Sorry, the contest is now closed.

I'm so very happy to be hosting another contest with agent extraordinaire Natalie Fischer from the Bradford Literary Agency.

You can follow Natalie at her blog where she gives awesome writing advice and twitter. I was lucky enough to interview Natalie and you can check that out here.

The contest we are hosting is focused on revisions. A very important part of the writing process that not only needs to be concentrated on the first chapter, but throughout the entire manuscript.

Now off to the contest.

Please read and follow the rules. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.

Your submission should contain:

1) Write a short pitch. No more than two or three sentences. We need to know what your book is about.

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

3) The first 250 words of your second chapter.

4) Please include your title, the genre, and a way to contact you.

5) Post in the comment section.

What will happen next:

I will take the first 50 entries or the contest will end July 11th. Which ever comes first.

I will randomly select 15 entries and post them by July 13th for comments.

Comments will end by July 18th.

At that time you will be given a chance to revise your entry and repost it by July 25th.

Natalie will judge and then reward super awesome prizes cuz she is a super awesome agent.


If your entry is included within the ones randomly selected, then you must comment at least on three different entries.

If you won in my previous awesome contest with Gina Panettieri then please do not enter this contest. That does not include the honorable mentions--you can still enter.

You have to be a follower. You know...cuz it's my blog and I get to do that.


1st----A query critique and the first chapter.

2nd---A query critique and the first five pages

3rd---B and N gift card

Good luck everyone. Can't wait to see what ya got!!!!


  1. Title: A New Day
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    My name and email: Erica Olson, erica.olson75(at)gmail(dot)com
    Pitch: Kenz Grayson never thought she'd spend her summer in a new town, let alone dodging a group of nasty girls, nursing her mom back to health after an accident, or learning to love, and then lose, exactly the right guy for her. Well-known for choosing flight over fight, it's up to her to decide what it will take to make her truly happy, and if she's strong enough to do it.

    2nd line: I didn't stop until I was right between my mom and the two movers she was leading toward our house.

    250 of 2nd chap:
    The moving company had dumped our stuff in the right rooms, but it still took a few days to get organized. With my mom also training for her new job, it seemed like forever. My threats of major chiropractic bills from sleeping on my grandparent’s rollaway convinced her to get it over with. We put the finishing touches on furniture arrangements and started arguing about paint colors again.

    "You're leaving me next year, Kenz. I'll end up putting it back on the market before long and you know beige sells."

    "Our last house had lots of color and that sold just fine." I had a magazine cutout of a pale green bedroom with a funky border that I really wanted to try. The only thing holding me back – besides my mom – was the amount of time it would take me to finish it myself.

    "Listen, let's compromise and put up curtains and pillows and all the color we had before - just not on the walls, okay?" I crinkled my nose in submission and grabbed one end of the couch to haul wherever she wanted it next.

    Once everything was put away, I liked it better than our old house. Beige walls and all. After the last box was emptied, it was way past suppertime and the refrigerator held a bowl of assorted fruit one of the neighbors had brought over and three cans of soda left over from the drive up here.

  2. Title: Riona's Pen
    Genre: Fantasy YA
    Nicole Zoltack


    Fifteen-year-old aspiring novelist Riona loves that whatever she writes with her magical pen comes true. But she questions the pen and its magic when it writes of its own accord about a fantasy world and she learns that each time she writes with it, someone becomes a demon. After a demon kidnaps her family, Riona will do anything, even if it means giving up her power, to save her family.

    2nd line:

    A story about an evil goblin warlord.

    250 of 2nd chapter:

    I opened my front door shortly thereafter, and the smell of Italian cooking assaulted my senses. "Mmm, smells good, Mom," I called, dropping my school bag by the door.

    "Pick up your bag, and take it up to your room," my mom said. "And wash your hands. Dinner'll be on the table in five minutes."

    I wrinkled my nose, grabbed my bag, and ran upstairs. My bedroom was my refuge, the one place where I felt safe from Mom's pressure, my teacher's expectations, even my own artistic failings.

    Turning to leave, I paused when my gaze fell upon a small dragon statue. My thoughts immediately started churning. Dragons. Wouldn't it be nice if dragons could keep the demons from my nightmares away?

    I grabbed a fresh piece of paper and a pencil and began to write. A large emerald dragon clawed at the demon. If writing was therapy, maybe I could finally sleep tonight without a nightmare.

    "Riona, it's time for dinner," Mom called.

    "Just a minute!"

    "Now, Riona. Are you writing? It can wait until after dinner." Despite her being downstairs, there was no mistaking the annoyance in her tone.

    "And risk sending my idea to the abyss of lost memories?" I muttered. The dragon hadn't killed the demon yet.

    "At this instant, Riona." Now she sounded exasperated.

    I jotted a few more words, and the dragon's fiery breath torched the demon. Done. Demon dead. Footsteps sounded on the stairs, and Dad stood in my doorway, his arms crossed.

  3. Title: THE DEVIL’S FOOL
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Contact: authorrachel@gmail.com


    There’s nothing eighteen-year-old Eve can do about her corrupt, power-hungry wiccan parents who kill at the slightest insult, except vow never to use her own powers, adding to the family evil. But when her father introduces her to Boaz, a powerful vampire who manipulates her by giving her the one thing she’s never had—love, Eve finds herself caught up in a world of greed and lust, using black magic to harm others purely for enjoyment. Unbeknownst to Eve, however, Boaz’s true desire is to steal her power for himself, and he will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

    Second sentence: A girl dangled before him, her pale hands clinging to the rope around her neck while her naked toes struggled to touch ground.

    Second chapter (first 250):

    A sharp sting burned the side of my face. The shock of it forced me awake and I gasped for air.

    “This is a terrible morning to sleep in, Eve,” Elsa, the upstairs maid, said. She held a rolled up, wet cloth.

    I moaned and pulled the covers over my head, already wishing the day away. Tonight, Erik and Sable, my mother and father (though I’d never call them that again after what I’d witnessed in the forest weeks ago) were hosting their annual All Hallows Eve ball. It was also my eighteenth birthday, but like my other birthdays it would never be mentioned.

    Elsa jerked the covers from my grip. “Get up! You do not want to make your parents angry.”

    Reluctantly, I moved to the edge of the bed, cringing when my bare feet touched the cold, wooden floor. “Are they ever anything else?”

    “Yes—terrifying.” Elsa fumbled through my closet, her wide backside knocking several books off a chair. She handed me a black slip. “Put this on. Your mother is coming.”


    Elsa’s pudgy fingers wiped sweat from her wrinkled forehead. “She wants to make sure you are presentable tonight, and you must not disappoint her. Now hurry!” She took a deep breath and fled the room.

    This disturbed me. Sabel had never overseen my appearance before. Something different was going to happen tonight, and with my parents, different was never good.

  4. Title: Soulmark
    Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
    Contact greyjamie1 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Pitch: When sixteen year old Holly is forced to spend the summer with her grandmother in Japan, she doesn’t expect meet a time dragon posing as a hot seventeen-year-old boy. But when she discovers that her blood is the key to releasing him from his five hundred year old prison and rewriting history, she must decide if he’s worth the price –if she fails, she’ll not only lose him, she’ll lose her entire future.

    2nd Sentence:
    Ozone, sharp and sour, mingled with the iron-soaked scent of the girl’s blood.

    250 from 2nd Chapter:
    Holly slammed the car door shut and wrinkled her nose. Usually the scent of yuzu and fresh chestnuts spiced the air of the farmer’s market. But today was Wednesday. Fish day.

    Located at the edge of town, the market was a shiny new structure of red iron pipes and stretched canvas roofing that provided shelter. It bustled with the usual morning activity. Vendors shouted and laughed as they greeted customers, shoppers gossiped over glowing fruit. It could have been any market in America.

    Except it wasn’t.

    She was back in Japan for another summer and now she had to get used to the place again. It had only been a year since her last visit, but it always felt so foreign, so alien to return, like stepping off a spinning merry-go-round and trying to stay upright.

    And the older she got, the longer she took to regain her balance.

    “Are you coming, Holly-chan?” Her grandmother slung the nylon shopping bag over her shoulder and gestured for Holly to follow.

    The scent of burning leather replaced the fish as they passed tables strewn with belts and wallets. Men streaked with sweat hunched over their tables, hammering designs into the glossy surfaces. Several glanced up as she passed, their quick assessment of her easy to read in their drawn brows and cold eyes.

    Despite being half-Japanese, she was still an outsider. Everyone was much too polite to say anything but she knew what they were thinking.

    Hafu. Hapa. Half-breed.

  5. Title: The Forty-seven Words of the Broken Girl
    Genre: YA/Crossover Fantasy
    Contact: London @ brokengirl.info

    Pitch: Only Jinxx Relinkerys’s talents at the secret and possibly blasphemous science of magic can save her family from ruin. When she casts a powerful spell to protect her brother and her self from vicious mob, she discovers that it’s not only her family that’s interested in her skills: everyone wants to use her for their own ends as the world crashes towards war.

    Second line of first chapter: It flickered with hundreds of beeswax candles and smelled wonderfully of leather, paper, ink and… Jinxx wanted to call the scent knowledge, but of course that wasn’t a smell.
    [It=Mr. Taálix’s Book Emporium.]

    First 250 words of second chapter:

    Jinxx woke to her parents arguing; the fire was still dying and the moon cast them in blue, leafy shadows. Jinxx felt certain that her parents only did two things at night, both of which were noisy and intrusive: that Thing and squabble. Jinxx’s technique for not overhearing them was to turn her back away, put her fingers in her ears, and multiply four-digit numbers times their inverses: 7,498 × 8,947; 5,972 × 2,795.

    This particular fight lasted for 127 calculated pairs. Her mother told her father that with such catastrophically poor prices for olive oil, they couldn’t afford that clock. Her mother should know to not use words like catastrophically, since her father would then yell at her as loudly as he could for at least ten pairs about how she was a sophisticate who was still stuck with the superior attitude of a Templist. Jinxx felt angry whenever her father said that about her mother. She couldn’t help being born a Templist, but she chose to become a Celebrant. That’s all that should count. However, before Jinxx ire rose, her mother cut her father’s anti-Templist rant short, telling him that by spending so much on a clock, he was being like a Templist and worshiping an icon. Uncharacteristically, this ended the argument. Even with her ears plugged and doing multiplication and trying as hard as possible not to hear, she could tell that her father had begun crying.

    Jinxx couldn’t resist taking her fingers out of her ears and listening.

  6. WORMHOLE is MG Space Opera complete at 49,000 words

    I am scott(at)scottspringer(dot)com


    Sabotage the Narvino for me, Jerry, and the girl lives. It’s really just that simple. Only, there’s nothing simple about it. This is asking a boy that can’t even step on a spider to kill creepy aliens. Pressed into action, Jerry discovers his native ability to lie and connive, traits he must have inherited from dear old dad, but can he save the world while staying true to himself.

    2nd line:

    Normally, people don't have spaceships; and especially, seventh grade boys don't.

    First 250 of 2nd chapter:

    Outside of the gym, on our way home, it's a gorgeous fall day with blue sky and white clouds. The summer heat wave is over and a breeze flitters through the leaves. Overall, I'm pretty happy. Nervous, like, really nervous. But happy.

    Brandon slaps me on the back again. "Dude, you did it. Way to go, man. Way to go." He's been doing this the whole time we've been walking. It feels good, but I'm annoyed.

    Finally I stop, swing around, and confront him. "You told her about the space ship. How could you. It's a secret. It has to be a secret. My dad could get in so much trouble over this if he gets caught."

    "Dude, I had to. Sneed was moving in on your girl and he plays basketball, so they've got that in common. I needed to make you seem exciting to her, and good luck with that. Besides, what's the big deal, anyway?"

    "Because having a spaceship is dangerous." Doy? "You can get in trouble for it. Like maybe even serious trouble. You'd think my dad would know better. I mean, I could end up in foster care over this. Or what if the aliens found out. I swear he loves science more than even his own kids. But he trusts me not to tell, so I don't. Except for you, that is."

    "Oh, um. Yeah, I guess. But Sneed was moving in."

    "The more people that know about this, the worse it is."

    CONTACT: medennler@ameritech.net
    PITCH: Kimberly Murphy is caught standing over a dead body, again, only this time it isn’t her fault. Kim seems to be the only connection when dead bodies start popping up, and being the police chief’s daughter won’t be enough to keep her out of a prison jump suit is she can’t prove her innocence.

    To clear her, ugh, good name Kim will have to find a desperate killer while avoiding a hot homicide detective determined to put her in handcuffs – and not the pink, fuzzy kind.

    So as I stared at the corpse and fought the urge to hurl, it occurred to me that they probably weren’t going to be too thrilled that I had trampled all over this scene too.

    The next morning, I was jarred awake by something the radio station insisted was music. To me it just sounded a lot like chain saws, dental tools, and my neighbor’s leaf blower. I turned the alarm off and considered staying in bed. After eventually falling asleep I was plagued with nightmares. In the light of morning I couldn’t remember them and for that I was grateful. I jumped out of bed and got dressed in workout clothes, making sure to put my favorite sports bra on underneath. With a 36C chest there was no way I was going to exercise without one. I rushed down the stairs, grabbed my purse and took off for the Lakeview Gym. It was an unoriginal name but the membership fees were reasonable and it was close to my apartment.

    Over the next hour, I was tortured by several evil machines. I didn’t know who the lying piece of crud was that had claimed some bullshit about endorphins. I did know that if I ever got my hands on him I’d beat the crap out of him. I assumed it had to be a guy because let’s face it a woman wouldn’t lie to other women about something that important. As I walked towards my car I wondered how many calories I’d burn beating him up.

    At home, I showered, got dressed, and threw my hair up in a ponytail. Before leaving for the office I took a few minutes to apply lipstick and mascara.

  8. Title: LOCKER 43
    Genre: MG Magical Realism
    Contact: deanna[at]teachersidea[dot]com


    After being assigned locker 43 on her first day of middle school, eleven-year-old Chloe must figure out what to do the with the strange things that keep appearing behind her locker door, threatening her coveted anonymity and her magical secret.

    Second line of first paragraph:

    By three o’clock that afternoon, one hundred forty-four people knew my name.

    First 250 words of second chapter:

    One hundred forty-four personalized pencils. Is this some kind of joke? I had no idea why those pencils were in my locker or who would have put them there, and I couldn’t decide whether I should be freaked out or just plain curious. I certainly didn’t think I could ever use them all. Not in a million years.

    I knew I couldn’t bring myself to dump them in the garbage, and getting my name off of them seemed like way too much work. One thing I knew for sure was that my friends would ask to see the evidence. And if they had anything to do with it, well, then I’d need them for the interrogation.

    The passing bell rang, reminding me to get a move on. Three minutes wasn’t enough time to figure out a plan, so I picked up the pencils and wrapped one arm around the rectangular box. I managed to hang on to everything as I squeezed the padlock and locked everything up. When I looked up, I saw a soft, green glow coming through the slats of the locker. At least I was pretty sure I did.

    I had only seen a glow like that once before. I shook my head to bring myself back to earth. Lockers don’t glow Chloe. It’s not magic, it’s just middle school. Go to class.

    As I hurried through the halls, students slammed lockers, dropped books, and dodged the slowly thinning crowd.

  9. Title: Graveyard Phoenix
    Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
    Contact: aje237@yahoo.com

    Pitch: When necromancer Blaise Evarin suddenly starts resurrecting people who get four days of true life again, she has to deal with severe political and religious backlash. 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 fought not to show my annoyance at the whimpering, weeping woman as I took the blood from her; I don't even know why she'd picked it up.

    First 250 of 2nd chapter:

    After Gideon seemed stable enough with the resurrection, I called his family over and they smothered him. I stepped back to collect the empty blood container, and watched as the grave diggers 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, and 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 a person who'd been dead not ten minutes ago walking, breathing, and talking, made me feel strange. I couldn’t help but think that no one should have this sort of power, least of all me. These past months I’d worked hard at not letting hysterics get the best of me every time I had to do this, but it was always a struggle. The fact that in four days I’d be back here watching Gideon succumb to death for the second time didn’t make it any easier.
    Stop thinking so damn much, I said to myself. If I continued down this road I'd end up losing my mind. I took a deep breath and walked over to the Tillars.

  10. Title: Dream Thieves
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Contact email: cdanek13(at)gmail(dot)com

    Pitch: Junior year sucks for Sadie Perkins, she creates a dream world (hot guy included) to escape her far-from-perfect life, but when the hottie tries to enslave her, she must fight to leave her growing nightmare alive.

    Second line of first paragraph: Even the splashes of sunlight that sprinkle over my artwork, don’t brighten their darkness.

    First 250 words of second chapter:
    I watch the exhaust swirl around the Mercedes logo as my mom drives off. First beat down of the day, fabulous. Thank god they’ll be gone by the time I get home. Boarding school keeps flashing in my head. Uniforms, snotty girls—do they whip you there? I can’t go there. The stairs to the front door of my school seem extra steep and my feet don’t want to climb them.
    “Hey, Sadie.” Aaron, the big nerd, approaches me. One side of his shirt tucked in and the other side not. He pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose. Did he really have to talk to me here? Right in front of the school as everyone is walking past with most of my classmates eyeing me up and whispering. So embarrassing. He trips, but grabs onto my upper arm to regain his balance.
    “You may want to tie your shoes.” I yank my arm from his grasp.
    “Yeah. So. We have a date tomorrow.” He smiles, braces glistening, rubbing his acne stained chin. I cringe at the word date.
    “It’s not a date. You’re tutoring me.”

    “Maybe we can get ice cream or something, afterwards.” He combs his disheveled hair with his fingers. I think he just woke up and left the house. No mirror was involved.
    Graham's at the top of the steps, glancing down at me as he walks into school. His arm slung over Avery, his new girlfriend. “Not likely,” I say.

  11. Title: Vital
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Name: Shalena Parker
    Email: writerquirk(at)live(dot)com

    Pitch: All Lotte Les Vi wants is to be a normal girl of sixteen, not the heir to an ancient magical heritage she hates. Lotte finally gets her chance when her globetrotting parents send her to a boarding school in Missouri with other regular, if filthy rich, teenagers. But when real-life drama, two magical boys, and an unseen enemy converge on Lotte’s new life, fitting in will be the least of her worries.

    2nd Line: I’d been lying beneath the sun for an unmarked amount of time, the weight of the African heat making me feel like part of the earth instead of what I was, a stupid teenage girl.

    First 250 Words of 2nd Chapter:
    When my family’s little house came into view, I felt Max scoot away from me. I looked up and saw why. His mother, Gregoria Florin, stood, arms crossed, watching our approach. I ground my back teeth, not just because of Gregoria‘s freeze-the-desert stare, but because my parents were no where in sight. They weren’t even among the large group of people, all Liners, that milled around by more jeeps parked a good distance from the house and from Max‘s mother.

    “Another successful mission, my son,” Gregoria called in German as the engine noise died away. She nodded to our drivers as they went to join the group then she gave me a slanted look. I bit back a scowl, keeping my face as blank as possible. Gregoria and I didn’t have warm fuzzies for each other. Max had told me once that she disliked how I often distracted him from his path or whatever. Evidently the Order of Lot preferred having humorless automatons rather than people in their magical army.

    I passed Gregoria on my way to the house while Max stopped beside her. He had informed me during our ride that we would all be parting ways at dusk, so I had to get packing.

    “Do not go in. You’re parents are busy,” Gregoria said, her words hitting me in the back like pointed, rubber pellets. But before I could ignore her, the window glass rattled and the wooden front door shuddered as something, or someone, slammed around inside the house.

  12. Title: Stormland
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Contact: sharonebayliss(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Thanks for the unique contest! I know the first 250 words are important, but the rest of my words were getting jealous from all the attention.

    1) Pitch
    Lena Lowell is happy to be far away from the royal family of Trion and their power to brew storms. Living in the Republic, she dates the son of the President, who would be perfect if his father hadn’t been the one to drop the bomb that destroyed Trion and killed her parents. When Will starts showing signs of having electrical powers like the members of the Trion royal family, Lena fears that he is either under attack by the royals…or is one.

    2) The second line of the very first paragraph of the 1st chapter.
    Ferocious shouts and chanting rose over the roar of the chattering crowd.

    3) The first 250 words of your second chapter.
    I am home. Out the window, I can see the sky on fire. A ball of flame falls and sets a nearby trailer ablaze. The fire spreads across the brown grass hungrily and another trailer lights up, then another. I want to scream for Mommy and Daddy to wake up, but I can’t move or speak.

    The fire rushes toward me. It is lapping against the door. Then it stops. The fire freezes like orange ice sculptures all around me. Nothing moves. That’s when I see her. She steps across the frozen fire and it doesn’t hurt her. A princess. She could have stepped out of a story book in her cascading white gown and silver tiara. She holds the most beautiful bouquet of pink balloons. They are shaped like hearts and flowers and covered with pink glitter that sparkles in the light of the motionless fire. The princess looks right at me and smiles. She beckons me to follow her.


    Lena jerked awake. Her heart beat in a jagged way and she thought she might be on the verge of a panic attack. It was the same dream from her childhood. Not again. She clutched her chest and focused on breathing. The sheets were soaking wet and for one horrified moment she thought she had wet the bed, but then she realized it was sweat.

    “It is half past nine, child,” Maggie ripped Lena’s comforter away.

    The smell of burning grass lingered in Lena’s nostrils. “That’s not very late,” Lena said.

  13. TITLE: Blackbird
    GENRE: YA Fantasy Thriller
    CONTACT: kyle(at)skyledavis(dot)com


    In this “Mission:Impossible with magic” tale, 16-year-old witch Taylor Keaton decides to take on the final mission of the elfin spy-school recruiters that died saving her life. With only the project name to go on and a few short months to find the truth, Taylor must first discover what a team of dark sorcerers are trying to steal and then retrieve it before they use it to gain even more power, further unbalancing the rift between themselves and the rest of the magical world. Oh, and if she could do it before they kill her, that would help, too.

    2nd line:

    We were playing The Hell Hole in Austin—the most appropriately named metal club ever—when there he stood in the second row.

    2nd chapter excerpt

    I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t think my head would hurt so much if I was dead. Surely, the afterlife would hurt less... or a lot more, depending on how things went with St. Pete. I cautiously opened my eyes. No angels... but close. The silver-haired girl leaned over me, her strange eyes tight with concern. “Are you alright pet?” she asked, and she put a hand to my cheek.

    I leapt up, clambering up on the couch, trying to get my back to a wall, trying to get away. My eyes darted from face to face to door to face. There had to be a way out of here. The window? No way. Maybe, if...

    The silver-haired girl—Ms. Silver, I guess—backed away, moving toward the window. I was trapped. There was no escape. This was it.
    “Easy,” Ms. Silver said. Even her voice was sterling. “It’s alright. You’re safe. We’re not here to hurt you.”

    I laughed at that, a harsh, shrill sound. “Oh. Right. Sure. Well, I hope you don’t take reassurances from the people that just shot me.”

    Ms. Silver fought to suppress a laugh. “Our phasers are set on stun.”

    “What the hell does that mean?” I couldn’t believe she was laughing at me!

    “It means our weapons are nonlethal. Subdue only,” said Egnis from over by the door. With his arms crossed like that, he looked like a sentry. Then, maybe that’s what he was.

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  15. Title: Ordinary World
    Genre: Contemporary YA Fiction
    Name & Email: Louise Tripp, lulutripp@gmail.com

    Pitch: Hedy Freedman has lived in the same small, North Carolina town her whole life but that never seemed to matter as long as her cheerful, outgoing best friend, Emma was around. But now it's the end of junior year, Emma's acting strange and Hedy's struggling with some things of her own, like the fact that she kind of wants to kiss the new girl in town.

    2nd line of the 1st paragraph of 1st chapter: I watched out of the corner of my eye as she pulled papers from a thick stack in her arms and placed them, one by one, on each of my classmates' desks.

    250 of 2nd Chapter: In our homeroom, Dori was sitting cross-legged at her desk and sighing over a piece of pink notebook paper, scribbling and then marking out what she had written. Finally I leaned over to her.
    “Okay, I'll bite,” I said. “What's up?”
    “I'm just trying to write this song. And think of a name for the band. And get today's chem quiz out of my head for three seconds, because I've done all the studying I can and the rest is in God's hands,” she said, then frowned. “Not that I'm religious. It's just what you say.”
    “Right,” I said, drawing out the word so that the “i” was especially pronounced. “Could I help? I mean, not with the song. And, okay, probably not with the chem test either. Chemistry is the bane of my existence. That's why I took Algebra instead. What was the other thing?”
    “Band name,” she said. She leaned her chin on her hand and looked at me with pleading puppy eyes.
    “Oh,” I said. “Well...you're a writer, Dor. I'm sure you can come up with something.”
    “I write songs, Hedy. Often rhyming, or at least story-telling, songs. This isn't exactly my area. You, however—well, I'll bet you have a thousand ideas already."
    She wasn't really wrong. “You want my help?” I said. The idea of collaborating with Doreen Perry, even on something as small as a band name, made me a little nervous.

  16. Title: OUTCAST
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Contact: Susan Oloier (susanoloier[at]gmail[dot]com

    She wasn’t supposed to fall for Chad; he was part of the revenge plan. But Noelle risks friendship, love, and self to get even with Trina.

    Second line of first paragraph of first chapter:
    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.

    First 250 from second chapter:

    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.

    As I ran that morning, 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.

    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.

    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.

  17. Title: Faux Paw
    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
    Contact: crystal(at)immortalthemusical(dot)com

    Pitch: Ugly, socially inept Faux (Fox) only wanted a boyfriend. Abandoned by both career-parents on her seventeenth birthday she lit the candle, made a wish, and exploded--literally. Seems there’s one or two things Mom and Dad hadn’t mentioned--like the way she could imitate the human torch, or the reaper-like creatures chasing her, or the two opposing and steamy misfits working to psychologically win her over. Uncovering the truth about her origin is the only thing that may save her from these monsters—all of them.

    Second line of the very first paragraph of the 1st chapter: Flames licked down my arms, up lime-colored drapes, blackened seventies-textured ceiling, and ate across hardwood floors.

    The first 250 words of the second chapter:

    Most girls would have cried. Emotionally constipated me? I stood there like a dolt, staring at the envelope and working to comprehend what just happened.

    I opened the envelope. A gift card for the best smoothies in town and movie tickets… He was going to take me out, for real.

    All the build up, all the hoping and I didn’t have him. I never would.

    I couldn’t breathe. I felt hot, feverish. Pulling at my shirt front I tried to alleviate the pressure on my lungs, warmth hanging stagnantly over me.

    No guy would want me. I couldn’t blame them either. I just needed to accept the fact and start planning for my boy-less future.

    Grabbing a shelf for support I stopped a sob, and a tear rolled down my cheek.

    I didn’t want to be here anymore. I wanted to melt into my surroundings and cease to exist, but logically I knew there was nowhere else to go but second period.

    Leaving too hastily, I knocked over a couple books. They clattered to the floor.

    The aid definitely heard that.

    I went to wipe away tears, but my face was dry.

    No tears? I looked at my fingers. They weren’t wet, but my eyes still were.

    Someone shuffled my way.

    Quickly, I turned to set the books right, fighting a wave of nausea, and gasped. The shelf I’d been holding was dented--the reverse of my fingers.

    What the…?

  18. Title: Alchemy
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Contact: christinerains[dot]writer[at]gmail[dot]com

    Magena Silver is a professional celebrity and a witch. She uses love potions to help her clients reignite the passion in their relationships. Making the mistake of giving one to the wrong couple, Magena must either make an antidote or fight a witch with far more power than herself.

    The second line of the very first paragraph of the 1st chapter:
    "I really need it to work or I'm lost."

    The first 250 words of my second chapter:
    She smoothed her hands down her black skirt and took in a deep, calming breath. She put on a kind smile and opened the door. “Helena, Michael. It's good to see you. You're a few minutes early, but please, come in.”

    Helena was a tall and willowy woman. Her gaunt cheeks and deep set eyes made her look like she had not slept in years. She marched in without looking at her husband. “Good afternoon, Miss Silver. Be forewarned, he's in one of his moods today.”

    Rising from one of the chairs, Michael snorted his displeasure. “Being stuck in traffic with Helena will do that to anyone. That's the last time we come here in the same car.” Where she was slim, he was broad. His dark curls and thick brows made her think of a bear when looking at him.

    Emily breathed a silent sigh of relief when the Carvers left the reception area and mouthed 'good luck' to her employer.

    The couple took their places on opposite ends of the couch. Magena closed the door and ignored the negative energy crackling between the Carvers. “Though it might not have been a good ride, I'm glad that the two of you at least tried to travel here together. That's a step in the right direction. Right now though,” she walked over to the table with the beverages. “I think you both need something to soothe that anger. I have a few kinds of tea, coffee, water-”

  19. Title: Some Kind Of Trouble
    Genre: YA Contemporary
    Contact: elizabeth.arroyo5@gmail.com

    Pitch: After a drive-by shooting leaves Arianna with an unexpected boyfriend, 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.

    2nd chptr:

    I awoke the next morning with David standing beside my bed, already dressed.

    “Where’s mom?” he asked.

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


    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 I realized I left David and went back for him, and six minutes after that I dropped him off at school. I got to school late.

    I entered Mr. Hanlon’s class and froze. 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.

  20. Title: Solstice
    Genre: Paranormal Romance (YA)
    Email: Christy's address: nc_hintz(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Pitch: An intuitive fifteen-year-old sees shadows outlining those dying from the mysterious Influenza X. She learns she must find the cure or stand accused of killing them.

    2nd Line: I sat on a bed of dry, crunchy leaves with my back against one of the oak trees in Haven Forest.

    2nd Chpt:
    My friend Stana had an unmistakable shade of fiery auburn hair. The other girl, a blonde, I couldn’t place. I pushed my way through elbows and chests until meeting a wall of cold wind.

    I slid my arms through the straps of my backpack and hurried to Stana. I stood behind her while the principal and a firefighter talked to her and the blonde. The wind whipped my pony tail, and I shifted my weight from one foot to another, looking at the serious faces.

    What is going on?

    “What’s going on?” A voice echoed my thoughts.

    Another of my besties, Jordyn, bumped shoulders with me. I shrugged. She huddled close to me while we waited.

    “Stana looks upset. Is it for real?” Jordyn asked.

    I stared at Stana’s pale face and whispered, “Vibes feel genuine.”

    We never knew what drama Stana’d get herself involved in or how much she’d play the whole thing up. She had a thing for attention. I had a thing for seeing through the phony. Once in a while my intuition came in handy. When it worked.

    I wondered what Stana did to get mixed up in the fire. With all the wind and noise behind me, I couldn’t hear the low voices my ears strained to listen in on. I’d never been much of a prier, but this seemed like an I-should-be-in-the-know kind of conversation.

    Stana slanted her body, opening up the tight circle, and at once the firefighter’s voice became clear.

  21. Title: PLAYING GOD
    Genre: YA Speculative fiction
    Email: tarynalAThotmailDOTcom

    Pitch: In a future where humans are gods, a shy teen exploited by the government discovers the awful charade by which writers seem to create windows to other worlds.

    Second line: Kalyn stared at the weathered words, ready to run at the slightest sound in the darkness behind her.


    As Kalyn prepared her breakfast the next morning, Tony stumbled in from his run, sweat dripping into his eyes. “What are you doing?” he asked, eyes boring into hers.

    “Making breakfast?” she replied, unsure what else her actions would mean.

    “You hate to cook.”

    “You were gone.”

    He poured himself some orange juice, still scrutinizing her. Maybe he won’t figure out I was at the chapel. He hated that place. As she cracked two eggs into the frying pan, her shaking hands dropped the shells down as well. She quietly cursed and tried to fish out the white bits.

    “What were you doing last night, anyway?” he asked.

    “I went for a run,” she said, eyes fixed on her cooking.

    “You hate running. You hate any sort of physical activity.”

    “Untrue. I’m on the gymnastics team.”

    “Only because you have to be.”

    “You don’t love wrestling, yet you do it.” She flipped her over-easy egg and grabbed a plate.
    Tony waited for her to slide the egg from the pan before he said, “You were at the chapel, weren’t you?”

    The egg missed the plate and slithered to the countertop then to the floor. Kalyn blinked back panic, her eyes wide and jaw tense. How could he know? “No, I wasn’t.”

    He rolled his eyes and helped her pick the remains of her breakfast off the floor. “You know I won’t tell. You’re weirdly obsessed with that place, but I don't care. It's not the school's business."

  22. Title/Genre: Undying, Upmarket Commercial/Magical Realism
    Email: fourlittlebeesATgmailDOTcom

    Pitch: Cameron Tattersall’s wife, Adrienne, should not be cooking breakfast when he wakes up. After all, she died of breast cancer three days ago. Yet the woman in his kitchen not only claims she is his wife, but also refuses to accept that she's supposed to be dead.

    Second Line: I'm grinning like a crazy person as Cam and I walk along the river holding hands, glancing at the shops and doing a little bit of

    250: Logically, I know there must be words coming out of the man's mouth. After all, I see his lips moving, and he seems to be looking at me, but I hear nothing but the roaring in my ears. It's like someone has taken two conch shells and placed them over my ears like headphones; all I hear is the sound of the sea. I look around the room, tastefully decorated in pastel shades with the type of prints you see in hotel rooms--soothing and evoking exactly no emotional response whatsoever--to see if I can find the source of the noise, but I can't see anything that could be making it. It must be me, and if it is, it's clear I'm losing my mind.
    Helplessly, I flip my hand over and squeeze the fingers that had been covering mine as it's rested on the arm of my pastel-upholstered chair. My mother, who's sitting next to me in my chair's identical twin, has been alternating sniffling into a tissue and stroking her fingers over my knuckles in a silent show of support. She's impeccably dressed in gray wool slacks and a lavender cashmere twin set, blending right in with soothing blandness of the room. She glances over at me before turning back to the man behind the deep cherry desk.
    "I'm sorry," she apologizes for me. "I think he's just so overwhelmed right now.

  23. What an awesome contest idea! I love using the second chapter--shaking it up a little!

    1) After an event known only as the Collapse, the Colony chooses to forgo rebuilding technology in favor of primitive living--and this suits Norah, the apprentice to the Courier, perfectly. When the Federate, newly established warlords, threaten the Colony, only Norah's ability to navigate the woods and trails, her best friend's prowess with the books stored in the Archive, and a tenuous alliance with old enemies will prevent the Federate from conquering the Colony.

    2) 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.

    3) Even if I wanted to talk to Marius, there isn’t time in the days following the meeting. My father is right—winter is coming on quickly, and there is wood to chop and stack and cover with long strips of bark against the onslaught of heavy snows. There are trap lines to set, so we will have fresh meat and furs to trade. There are repairs needed on the chicken coop and the chicken yard’s fencing, roofs to be reinforced, and cracks to be mended in the chimney.

    Added to all this are new duties and intensified study as my father’s apprentice. I thought I already knew much of his occupation, and I do, but there are a multitude of details to commit to memory before the midwinter trip to Havilah. He insists I learn how to repair the snowshoes, and tests me over and over on different ways to set a shelter, judge how much daylight is left, start a fire with a flint, without a flint, with dry wood, with wet wood.

    “Do you expect to keel over midway through?” I ask as he critiques my work on a pair of repaired snowshoes. I’ve tied the sinew sloppily, he says without a word as he points at the shoddy work. I knew it wasn’t up to his standards.

    “I don’t expect anything. Your problem is that you expect nothing to happen.” He picks my knots apart. “If I did keel over halfway to Havilah, you would need to know how to manage on your own.”

    4) Title: The Courier
    Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic
    Email: rowenna dot miller at gmail dot com

    Thanks for this contest!

  24. Pitch: Kyle never believed the legends were true - until now. Not only does he discover that the Brethren exist, he is destined to become one of them. Kyle is put through a series of tests. But once Kyle learns his gifts were being used for the deadly benefit of the Brethren, he must decide between loyalty and love.

    2nd line: It was the only way, yet few were brave enough to go through with it.

    2nd chapter 250 words: It was hard to breathe down in the tunnel. The air was stale and suffocating. But the young man was still fascinated with the unknown that lay at the end. His grandfather had never shown so much interest in him until now. Quietly, they walked together.
    The tunnel suddenly ended; it appeared to be a dead end full of dirt and rock. The elder of the two, turned a small stone triggering the wall to open in front of them. The young man stiffened, frozen in place as he realized the legends were true.
    The Brethren were whispering in a circle near the fire. It became silent once he had entered; all eyes focused on him.
    Most of the men were strangers, clothed in crimson robes, but a few of them he recognized from his town. The young man tried to process and make sense of everything. All the stories he had heard around campfires with friends trying to scare him were as real as the flesh on his bones. He wondered what else would he discover?
    One of them men left the circle and approached him. He was tall, slender, and older with a crooked smile.
    “We have been waiting for you for some time.” Mathias smiled as he placed his hands on the boy’s shoulders.
    The boy looked toward his grandfather searching for answers, but he remained silent.
    They led the boy to a small room that was down another corridor, which was lit only by candles.

    Title: The Chosen One
    Genre: YA paranormal romance
    Contact: email jfaulkinbury@yahoo.com

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

    PITCH: Lucy and Tony share nothing except their genetic code. When a car accident kills their parents and leaves Lucy scarred - both physically and emotionally - she and Tony are thrown together and forced to rely on one another in a way they've never had to before. As they struggle to come to terms with their loss, and each other, they discover they might have more in common than they thought.

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

    1ST 250 WORDS OF 2ND CHAPTER: 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?”

    Thanks for an awesome contest!

  26. Title: Under the Trees

    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Romance

    Contact: ashleydmaker@yahoo.com

    Short pitch: Desperate to escape an abusive arranged marriage, Princess Araya flees her father’s kingdom only to find herself at the mercy of Prince Thoredmund, the neighboring kingdom’s crown prince. After deciding to help Araya by hiding her in a forest near the castle, Thor has to cover their tracks with secrecy and lies. It isn’t long before the two royals start falling for each other, but their tentative new love is put on the line when Araya’s father and her betrothed show up, accusing Thor of kidnapping and demanding the return of their princess.

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

    First 250 words of second chapter: The hunting party intended to leave 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 and be prepared. No harm can come from that.”

    “My men are always prepared,” I replied. “They’re trained to anticipate such things as you say.”

    I turned away to finish tying off my bag of supplies.

    “Thor--” Father grasped my upper arm. “If you come across them, don’t underestimate them. Be careful. I fear Darrell is up to something. I don’t want to give him reason to cross the line.”

    His words sobered me, but they were not unexpected. The feud between King Cyric, my father, and King Darrell of Rowlst was well known and had only worsened since the engagement between my sister and Darrell’s son had fallen apart. They fought over resources: the Golden Woods. The great woods were the most significant source of lumber for either kingdom, and the best game always came out of it. Darrell’s men frequently crossed the boundary from his side to ours, meaning we had to constantly patrol, making sure no one pushed the line.

    Still, I gave him my promise before we set off.

  27. title: A June Snowstorm in Maine
    genre: chapter book
    contact: ricksgalsherry@msn.com


    Abigail sets out to save a local mom and pop grocery store destined to become a school bus turn-around. The once hated store that doesn't sell junk food has become a store she couldn't live without.

    2nd line 1st paragraph 1st chapter

    Yes, the store really is called Mr. Pickle's!

    1st 250 words 2nd chapter

    But now, on the way to Mr. Pickle’s store with Mom, I don’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 greets us like he always does.

    “Hello! Hello Mrs. Snoot, Miss Snoot. How are you on this fine spring day?”

    Of course, he doesn’t always say ‘spring.’ He’ll use whatever season it happens to be. Just thought I should point that out.

    “We’re just fine, Mr. Pickle. How are you and Mrs. Pickle doing?” asks 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?”

    “Hush now Abigail,” Mom says. “Give Mr. Pickle a chance to explain before you pressure him with all your questions.”

    “Sorry Mr. Pickle. Sorry Mom,” I say, 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.

  28. Title: The Glass Prince
    Genre: YA Magical Realism
    Contact: Donea Weaver at donealw(at)aol(dot)com

    Pitch: After touching a family heirloom, a 17-year-old girl discovers two things – she’s just been cursed and Snow White’s immortal son is the only one who can help her break it. Too bad he'd rather kiss her than help her.

    2nd line of first chapter:

    I shoved my head back into the chair cushion and scanned the room for this personal-space invader.

    First 250 of Chapter 2:

    My guests arrived around 8pm. Mom agreed to leave right as the first few partygoers showed up, but they convinced her to stay. Just for a little while. I didn’t always understand my mom’s popularity amongst my classmates. It had always been this way. She taught fifth grade all through my elementary school years. She taught ninth grade English during my stint in junior high. Mom now basked in the glow of being the most popular senior AP English teacher Hill Top High had ever had. It wasn’t often, because I enjoyed having my mom around, but every once in awhile I wondered if my own popularity was mere reflected glow.

    “Hey, Miss Crys. You staying for the party?”

    “Oh, boys. I know how much you’d like to throw a t.i.l.f. into the mix tonight. But, I’ve got plans. Be good.”

    A few boys from school snickered. I shook my head. “Mom? Seriously?”

    She winked at me.

    Mom left for finger foods and a night of Mahjong at the neighbor’s house. Her “I’ll ground you to spinsterhood if the cops come, if there’s drinking, smoking or any other –ing verbs” warning flitted out of my mind as the living room filled with loud music and all my friends. Well, my friends and Shane’s friends. People knew me best as 1.The “cool teacher’s” girl and 2. As “Shane’s girl”. My boyfriend just happened to be one of the most popular boys in school and the Junior Class President.

  29. Pitch:

    Emma’s psychic abilities help her find her soul mate, James, but she soon learns he has another soul/spirit inside of him. The fate of this soul’s existence rests in both their hands. To free it requires an ultimate act and Emma doesn’t like it one bit – James will have to die.

    2nd line of 1st paragraph of the 1st chapter.

    How many times had she wandered along the water's edge, ducking under the willow tree’s weeping branches that fell over the small lake?

    The 1st 250 words of your 2nd chapter:

    People were crazy, James thought as he shoved his way through the throng of party-goers, hangers-on and groupies. Tired and feeling another one of those headaches coming on, James knew what he needed. Some pills, a little weed, some Jack then when the headache disappeared, he needed a good fuck. He eyed some of the young groupies lined up in the hallway and licked his lips. Yeah, a good lay helps relieve the stress, he thought as he reached out and took hold of a buxom blonde’s hand. She giggled, while the rest of the girls glared in jealousy. They wanted to be the ones to spend the night with him. If this headache wasn’t so bad, he’d bring them all into his room. He grinned impishly at the wicked thought.

    “James, stop this. Just go to bed,” said the voice inside his head.

    Shut up and leave me alone, he answered back in thought. Stop trying to ruin my fun?

    “You call this fun! Sleeping with young girls, the drugs and booze? You’re better than this James.”

    Fuck off, he told the voice.

    His head throbbed now and his sex drive plummeted. James pushed the young girl back towards the bevy of females, much to their delight. The girl’s crestfallen face was lost on him as he turned and strode down the hotel corridor towards his room. He opened his door quick and slammed it shut, the sharp sound echoed through his throbbing skull making him cringe in pain.

    Title: SEREN’S ANGEL;
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Contact: S.A. Hussey,

  30. Title: You Cannot Kill a Swan: The Love Story of Lyuba and Ivan
    Genre: Historical fiction saga
    Contact: CarrieAnne79@yahoo.com


    When her mother and aunt go to America to escape the Bolshevik takeover of their homeland in 1917, 17-year-old Lyuba Zhukova goes into hiding with her young cousin and her friends. As she runs for her life from the Bolsheviks during the terror and uncertainty of the Civil War and later navigates the harsh reality of immigrant life in Manhattan in the early Twenties, the one bright spot in her life is her best friend and soulmate Ivan Konev. But before she can live happily ever after with the man she loves, she’s going to have to outwit personal demons worse than the Red Terror or a tenement in a poor neighborhood.

    2nd line:

    Lyuba has told Iván to pretend their month-long clandestine romance never happened.

    First 250 words of Chapter 2:

    “Hello. Get into the wagon quickly,” a big-boned, huge-breasted woman says.

    An older man resumes driving after they’ve climbed in. Borís glares at Iván for helping Lyuba step into the wagon.

    “I’m Katalina Godimova, and these are my husband Ryudolf, my mother Kitya Belinskaya, my father Aleksándr, my fourteen-year-old daughter Ánya, and my five-year-old son Leontiy. We’re taking you to an old dacha with a working phone. We’ll bring you medicine and food weekly. There will also be two other providers, Basil Yakovlevich Beriya and Pyotr Stepánovich Litvinov.” Katalina’s voice trails off. “Who are these two boys? Your mothers told me only you two would be going into hiding!”

    “I’m Borís Aleksándrovich Malenkov, and that’s my best friend Iván. Lyuba saved us from being killed by the dirty Bolsheviks.”

    “A young woman alone with two unrelated men? I think I should arrange for you to stay someplace else.”

    “Let people talk,” Iván sneers at Katalina. “It’s their problem if they think there’s something wrong with a woman living with two men!”

    “I don’t want to know what goes on with Mrs. Zhukova’s daughter.”

    “Lyuba’s a virgin,” Borís says proudly. “She’d never do anything so scandalous as to have sexual relations outside wedlock! You can trust *us*.”

    “You’ll be allowed out of the house on certain hours on certain days.” Katalina sighs, feeling she has little choice but to accept the situation. These two young men need sanctuary anyway, and it would be wrong to let them fend for themselves on the streets.

  31. Title: Insulin Junkies
    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 having 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 being an insulin junkie doesn't transform you into a saint - far from it.

    2nd Line: The door doesn't lock, so I haul the big metal trash can in front of it, hoping it’ll keep some people from coming in, and stand 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 give her the syringe, plunger end first, and slide my chair over next to her, chair legs screeching on the floor. 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.

  32. Title: The End World.
    Genre: YA sci-fi.
    Contact: stephaniesauvinet[at]gmail[dot]com


    Lana is one of the many prodigy teenagers chosen by the Recovery Program to study and rebuild The End World: a devastated parallel Earth.

    Her job description is simple: keep The Researchers safe, even if that means having to trank a survivor or two. But when she falls in the love with a survivor and discovers The Program is a cover up, her rough attitude and potty mouth doesn't save her from being scared out of her camouflage panties that she will have to choose between defending her people and killing the other side.

    2nd line:

    My labored breathing and sweaty back reminded me to lay off the extra rations at dinner.

    First 250 words of 2nd chapter:

    The DNA lock chirped as I closed my locker, the LED turning from green to red.

    “If I have to escort one more team of whiny brats to The End World after today, I think I’m gonna shoot myself with my own rifle.”

    We spun this morning and stayed Earth side for a couple of hours. We were scheduled to spin back to the End World with a bunch of newbies.

    I sat on the bench, grabbing one of my boots.

    “It’s all part of the job, Lana,” Mor answered from behind the rows of lockers.

    I rolled my eyes. “Just tell me I was never that much of a pain in the ass when I started.”

    He didn’t answer right away.

    Was I?

    “Nah, you caught on pretty quickly.” He came around the corner, uniform crisp and smelling of soap. I loved that smell. It reminded me of father. “Let’s hope they do, too.”

    He put on his leather gloves and leaned against the lockers.

    “So how did last night’s mission go?” He looked up at me.

    “Nothing Sal and I couldn’t handle,” I shrugged, grabbing my other boot. “Just a few members of the Salanac clan. Nothing major.”

    I took my rifle off the bench, my fingertips sweeping over its smooth and cool surface.

    “Did she come?” He dared to ask. I looked up at him.

    I always tried to convince myself the only reason Mom didn’t come visit was because the Station reminded her of dad.

  33. 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.

    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 duration of the remainder of her journey sequestered in the shadows of Liivan’s coach. The Senior merchant attended her for an evening meal and for breakfast the following morning 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 be marrying 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.

  34. Title: The Picasso Project

    Genre: YA Contemporary

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

    Pitch: The world hasn’t been kind to Eddie DuMont. He knows more than his fair share about betrayal, abandonment and fear. The first lesson came when his abusive father left home a few years earlier, and the second, soon afterwards when his mother was hospitalized with mental illness. Now it’s just Eddie and Maya, his fourteen-year-old sister, living in a beat up 1984 Buick Le Sabre in a clearing in the woods. The rules are simple when you live the way they do. Lay low. Trust no one, and make sure you have plenty of Duct tape on hand.

    2nd line: Eddie knows he’ll remember the stupidest things about this day, like the white enamel saucepan on the stove that’s full of ravioli and the way the tomato sauce has bubbled over the sides.

    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 tee shirts in the pouring rain and get soaked.
    "Because you do," I tell her, "so don't argue."

    "Eddie, why do you have to boss me around so much?" She thrusts her arms angrily into the sleeves when I hold up the green coat for her to put on. As coats go, it's not bad. Almost new, down filled with pockets and zippers everywhere, and the best part was that it was only eight bucks. Some days you just get lucky.

    "Someone's gotta do it."

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

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

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

    "Yuk, muffins again? These are totally stale, Eddie, and that banana looks completely 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. She's always in a bad mood these days. Maybe it's girl stuff. She just turned fourteen so I guess all that weird hormonal crap is probably going on, not that she'd tell me.

  35. Title - For What Shall I Wish?
    Genre - Adult Fantasy
    Contact - Adrienne Carrick (adriennecarrick@gmail.com)

    Pitch - Sadie Jacob’s father, a small town doctor believes in going above and beyond for his patients, but when he over steps his boundaries in treating a young patient, tragedy follows. Out of anger the child’s mother places a curse on Sadie and her sister; they can have whatever they wish for, but always at a price. As Sadie and her sister’s cope with their gift will they do what is right for those around them or be drawn into the power of the curse?

    2nd Line - Had I been older, I might have been more concerned about the implications.

    First 250 of 2nd Chapter -
    A week after Hannah’s accident, she was fully recovered from her slight concussion and things had returned to normal between Momma and Daddy. Momma’s anger was directly related to her fear over anything happening to us, which Daddy understood, and held no grudges over. We were with him on one of his rare days off, which we’d spent at Sylvia Lake for some swimming. Even though Halliwell had opened a town pool the summer before, Daddy loved the old fashioned swimming area at the lake. It was where he’d taught Hannah and me to swim, so he had a soft spot for the old watering whole.

    We were driving back home when he called to us in the backseat, “You girls feel like some corn for dinner?”

    I struggled to see out the window to where he pointed. We'd come upon Parker's farm stand and I could see that the tables were overflowing with freshly picked vegetables.

    “Yeah Daddy, can we please?” I asked as we reached for the door.

    “Wait until we come to a stop please,” I could see he was trying to hide a smile, despite his stern warning. At the table we began filling a basket with corn and tomatoes. Hannah struggled with some strawberries, refusing to set them down until we were ready to pay.

    “Benjamin? Why I thought I recognized your lovely, little girls.” Raysa appeared before us with an open smile on her face. She crouched in front of Hannah. “Hello pretty one”....

  36. 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; Alive.

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

    Low noises, white lights. My body hurt like no other. 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 pain radiating up my spine. I sucked in a breath. Ew, 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.

    “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.

  37. Title: SpindleWish
    Genre: YA Historical Fantasy
    Contact: Debbie Maxwell Allen (dallenco@gmail.com)

    Pitch: Wakening after a century, Sleeping Beauty's chambermaid vows to find the powerful blood-tipped spindle before it can be used to destroy the remaining faeries. Tikva has been raised to serve, not to survive. Without the overbearing princess telling her what to do, and with her fiance left one hundred years behind, Tikva is about to discover the hidden possibilities within herself, ultimately facing a choice more terrible than she can imagine.

    Second Line: I haven’t spoken his name in one hundred years.

    First 250 of second chapter:
    It’s the same woman as before. All in black. Strangely patterned lace about her shoulders and covering her hair. A severe expression on her face.

    Her dark eyes pin me to my spot. “One hundred years of sleep did you precious little good, princess.”

    Somehow, my raspy voice is braver than my heart. “I . . . am not the princess.”

    Imperceptibly, the black brows rise, then draw together. “She lives?” She murmurs to herself. “I am surprised anyone did.”

    I’ve been dismissed, for the woman’s eyes scan the grimy room. My first thought is to run for the soldiers. This traitor ought to be arrested. She who brought the spindle and set the evil faerie’s curse in motion. But her eyes brighten at something behind the open door.

    I lean around the edge of the wood and my breath catches, sticks in my throat. One of Petar’s saddlebags. It’s covered in dust like the rest of the room, but glimpsing one of his precious belongings fills me with hope.

    That he left one of his bags here is a marvel. The pair of them never left his sight. When an object is all you have left of your parents, it becomes far more precious. The collapse of the princess must have befuddled him for him to forget one of them.

    My hand reaches past the door’s edge and just closes on the strap, when the bag is yanked in the opposite direction.

    I snap my head around. It is she.

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. oops, forgot the pitch!

    Title and genre: The Way to Dendara/YA fantasy
    Contact: marcy@tidewater.net

    Pitch: Lucy, a young woman with bad dreams and a tragic past, inherits a kingdom. But it isn't the nice kingdom with the fairies and elves and wood sprites. It's the other one.

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

    First 250, second chapter: 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 a cat’s yellow 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 colors. 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 hoped. But now she saw there could be no doubt about its lack of humanity. It was not a person at all. No person she’d ever seen had ridges or scars so perfectly made. No person was ever so tall or had hands like claws and no one wore leather armor except in books or movies.

    She shuddered. Not real, she told herself. Couldn’t be. A dream. She would simply get up and leave, and this dream would slip into another from which she could awake.

  40. Title: Bound By the Heart
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Contact: Caitlin - catiecate86@gmail.com


    1880's Boston. Emily Jane Hollister isn't opposed to marriage, she embraces the idea of marrying someone you truely love. What she STRONGLY opposes to, an arranged marriage, the idea of marrying someone just for the convience and being viewed as a piece of property bartered to whichever potential suitor has the most money. When her brother Jack writes requesting that their brother John join him in Texas to help on the ranch, Emily's rebellious side sees this as her opportunity to not only escape an ill-matched marriage, but as an adventure where maybe, just maybe she will find the love she has dreamed of having.

    Second Sentence:

    "I ABSOLUTELY refuse to marry Mr. Wilder."

    Second Chapter (first 250 words):

    When John Hollister saw his one and only baby sister step off the ship with Jack he frowned wondering why she wasn't safely back in Boston, where she belonged. A million thoughts went through his mind. Did something happen to their father and stepmother? No, that couldn't be the reason why Emily had traveled with Jack to Texas. Neither one of them looked somber at all. So what was she doing here?

    Judging from the guilty looks on their faces as they walked over to him, he knew something was amiss. As if Emily's apperance in Texas wasn't the biggest hint that something was wrong. If their father had agreed to this trip and knowing him, he didn't, then ...

    Suddenly an idea came to him, one that he knew could be the only explanation. Their father didn't know she had come to Texas. What other explanation could there be? Judging by how guilty they looked, he knew that his theory had been correct. He raised an eyebrow and gave them an I'm not amused, you better start explaining impatient look. He couldn't wait to hear their explanation. When neither one of them said anything, impatience won out as he growled, "What the blazes is she doing here?"

    "Nice to see you to John." Emily hugged him and looked up into his eyes. "Please don't be too furious with Jack." She looked behind her at Jack with sympathy knowing full well that he was going to have to deal with not only John's fury that she was here, but also their fathers.

    John closed his eyes and silently counted to ten. He pinched the bridge of his nose and opened his eyes. "One of you had better start explaining .... fast."

    "I wanted to have an adventure before I settled down."

    "Em, I don't think that was the best approach, I ..." John had been uncomfortable with the whole situation and he didn't want to add fuel to the fire.

    "Will escort her back home where she belongs on the first boat leaving port."

    "But ... "

    "This matter is not open for debate ... period."

    "That isn't fair John and you know it."

    "Emily Jane, it is now my sole responsibilty to not only make sure you stay safe while you are here, but to get you home where you belong. You have no business being out here because you decided on a whim that you wanted an adventure."

    "Maybe I shouldn't have said adventure. It's more like an escape."

    "Emily Jane, I'm serious when I say you can't stay here."

    * I tried following you on your blog, but it keeps saying service unavailable. I am however, following you on Twitter.

  41. I finally got blogger to work and now I'm following you

  42. Title: That Succs
    Genre: YA Paranormal
    Author: Larissa Hardesty
    Contact: lchardesty@yahoo.com
    Fifteen-year-old Emmy's first kiss puts her first date in the hospital. When she finds out the truth about what she is, she must learn to embrace her heritage and accept herself. But, since her dream of a happily-ever-after with her crush Paul may be gone forever, accepting herself isn't as easy as it sounds.

    2nd line:
    I was so shocked I didn't know what to say.

    2nd ch 1st 250 wds:
    Throughout the morning, the back of my neck prickled. Pretty much everyone started whispering as soon as I passed. I figured they were gossiping about Jake Miller asking me out, but the constant feeling of being watched built until I had to remind myself to relax my shoulders every five minutes. The tension headache that hit after third period told me I was failing.

    At lunchtime, I slipped outside and plopped next to Lily with a huge sigh of relief. The desert sun beating down in the courtyard kept most people inside, but Lily and I loved the heat. There would be no weird staring out here. I felt more myself than I had all day as I soaked the comforting heat into my skin.
    Keeping her face turned toward the sun, Lily said, "I hear you made your first conquest today."

    My face heated even more, and it had nothing to do with the sun. I should have known she'd hear about the way everyone was whispering. "Yeah, it was kinda weird. I dropped some papers--totally lame, right?--and Jake picked them up and then asked me to go out with everyone after the game." And it still didn't feel real. I glanced over as I opened my lunch.

    She still had her face upturned. "That's great, Em." She finally turned to me. "Just be careful." Her gray eyes bored into mine with a warning I didn't understand.

  43. Title: Coffee, Tea, or Me?
    Genre: Commercial Fiction; Woman's Fiction; New Adult
    Author:Syl DeLeon
    Contact: syl(dot)deleon(at)gmail.com

    1) Pitch:
    Starting over is as easy as breaking into a new squat in a new city. But when Claire breaks into an abandoned ice cream shop and decides to open a cafe to attract local business hot shot, Lowell, she serves up more than the community bargained for. COFFEE, TEA, OR ME? is a funny and warmhearted account of a young woman living on the fringe learning how to navigate the mainstream.

    2) The second line:

    I work the lock in darkness, the alley stretching with shadows toward Main Street behind me.

    3) The first 250 words of CH2:

    Two nights earlier...

    Imagine a place the color of tattoos. That’s Café Minnies. Corner of Broadway and Roy in Seattle. Loud, gritty, friendly; full of goths, punks, urchins, and street rats. Then there’s me, the hired help. I’ve got the night shift and the short spiky hair, legs up to there.

    I push through a migrating crown and run smack into Zed.

    “Claire.” That’s all he says. His piercings are out, hair cut and combed—a regular college boy already.

    “Can we talk?” He’s got my keys in his hand. So this is goodbye. Again.

    Half the place is dead still as I grab my jacket. It’s not that he’s going: it’s the way that he did it.

    He showed up on the scene with rants in his pants. Religion, government, ethics, literature… don’t get him started. He battered mainstream systems of organization and big-media emulation like a frisky kitten plays with its catch before abandoning it half-alive and bloody for a neat dish of canned tuna.

    We step outside and I want to look at him like the stranger he always was, but the natural urge is to fall on his neck with kisses. My hands drum restlessly against my thighs. “When are you leaving?”

    “Tomorrow. It’s rush week.” He drops the keys in my palm. “Can I have my jacket?”

    You cannot be for real. I just stare.


    I hold it out by the scruff, my arms full of goose bumps. “What’s your real name?”

  44. Title: THE LUCKY FEW
    Genre: YA Contemporary Thriller
    Contact: elschneider@hotmail.com

    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'm not 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.

  45. 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. 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."

    The sun shining through my living room windows woke me up a week later much earlier than normal. The blackout curtains in my own bedroom let me sleep in as late as I wanted on the weekends, something Chloe was probably enjoying very much.

    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. The white leather couch was aesthetically pleasing, especially with the cream colored carpeting and the bright green walls of living room. It wasn’t, however, comfortable enough to sleep on.

    Perturbed and in need of more sleep, my hand was already on the knob to my bedroom door when rustling came from inside. Not wanting to walk in on my guest, I stood in front of the door assuming she would emerge shortly and let me have my room. Instead, after a few moments the sound of the showering from my master bathroom sounded.

    Wrapping the quilt from the couch tighter around my shoulders, I opted for coffee instead of my own shower and clean clothes. 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.

    I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Her furniture would be coming soon. The semester started even sooner. The more than modest salary coming in was enough to make me grin and bear it.

  46. Title: Extra Innings
    Genre: YA Contemp
    Contact: LSMurphy (at) gmail (dot) com

    Pitch: Victoria Hudson wants nothing more than to play baseball again. When she gets the opportunity, she hides away at her grandmother's house so her father doesn't find out. The last thing she needs is the Senator to show up at her games and bring a media firestorm along to make it all about him, just like he has all her life.

    Second Line: She was the only person who would ever dare make that kind of entrance into Chez Hudson.

    250 Words: Grandma Hudson’s new house in St. Louis was smaller than her old one in Webster Groves. My father wasn’t happy when she decided to move. Grandpa had passed away two years earlier when I was fifteen and Grandma found the place too big and too empty.

    After forty-five years of marriage, Grandma didn’t have anyone to keep her in-check anymore. She went back to full hippie mode. Her silver hair grew to her waist and she started wearing clothes that hadn’t seen the light of day in decades, and probably should’ve remained hidden.

    She also became a lot more fun to hang around.

    I moved only the things I needed over the last few weeks of school, mostly clothes and got a new driver’s license with my new address on it. Mom thought that was excessive. I wasn’t taking any chances. The league might have been “everyone plays”, but that wouldn’t stop Coach Strauss from kicking me off the team. I wasn’t about to give him a reason. If I learned anything from my father, it was to cover all my bases.

    “Vicky, when’s practice?” Grandma asked as we sat at the breakfast table in her small kitchen. It was chic with bright yellow walls and sunflower accents. The table was a relic from her single days. I couldn’t believe she’d kept all that stuff.

    It was my first official day at Grandma’s and my first practice. I picked at my eggs. “Ten this morning.”

    “Then you really should eat.”

  47. Thank you both so much for doing this! :D

    Genre: YA Contemp
    Contact: lydiasharp4sff (at) yahoo (dot) com


    At the start of her senior year, Rocklyn Geiger is moving from the city to the backwoods. Now she must come out as a lesbian all over again, in a school that's more tightly laced than her Doc Marten boots. As Rocklyn awkwardly navigates through foreign waters, she finds new friends, her first love, and an unexpected confrontation with an old enemy.

    Second line of 1st par.:

    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 Candy in the hall on my way down to breakfast. 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 my nephew in the high chair, trying to get him to stop throwing Cheerio's at the stove while she's cooking. I'm pretty sure he hasn't cut any teeth yet, so why she gave him Cheerio's is a mystery.

    But everything Mom does is a mystery, really.

    My little 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 leans over and pecks my forehead. "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.

    "Don't remind me."

    "Ring, ring!" He drops his fork full of pancakes and 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."

    Only Jeremy could get me to laugh at such an outright insult.