Friday, April 30, 2010

Write me a query

While we're waiting for the rest of the bio info from our winners, I thought you might want to do a little writing, and at the same time, hone your query letter skills. This should be fun.

I want you to write a query. Not for one of your own works, though. This will be the query you would write if you had written an already published, well-known book. Here's an example to give you an idea of what we're talking about:

When she doesn't make it into the cellar in time, Dorothy runs to the safety of her bedroom. But before she realizes what's happening, the funnel cloud is lifting her home from its foundation and dropping it into a strange new environment filled with singing and dancing little people.

Unfortunately, the tornado has dropped her house on top of a wicked witch. If things weren't already bad enough, now she's got the dead witch's sister ticked off at her, and her problems are about to get much worse.

When the sister of the dead witch, equally wicked, learns that Dorothy has stolen her sister's ruby slippers, she's bound determined to get them back. No matter what the cost. Dorothy's only hope in getting away from the witch and finding her way back home lies with the Wonderful Wizard. With the help of her three new friends, they make the journey to the Emerald City to seek the wisdom of the great Wizard.

But the Wizard turns out to be no help at all. Dorothy has to solve the problem on her own, and she discovers that she's had the power to do that the whole time. 

In case you haven't guessed by now, I suck at queries, and this one is no exception. But I think you get the idea. So think of a well-known novel and create a query for it. Try to imagine what the author would have written, in the style they would have written it, and pen me a masterpiece. Don't give us the title, and we'll see if we can figure out what it is. Are you game? Then get busy. Just post your query as a comment and give it some kind of title so others can comment on it using the title you've chosen.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jamie Weiss Chilton

I'd like to personally express my appreciation to our Mystery Agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton, for her generosity in sharing her time and her expertise in judging our query contest. She's very busy over at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and this project required time above and beyond her normal schedule. I confident I speak for all of us when I say, thank you so much for taking the time to do this!

I asked Ms. Chilton to provide some biographical information, which I've added below. Take a moment and get to know her, find out what she's done, and what she's looking for. And be sure to read the masthead copy above before you leave.

Jamie Weiss Chilton represents children's books exclusively: teen novels, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, picture books, and narrative nonfiction. Her specific interests include contemporary literary fiction with intense emotional content (character-driven, not issue-driven plots); smart thrillers and mysteries; science fiction; surreal stories and magical realism; and sweet, funny, quirky picture books.

Jamie's career in children's books began in 1998, with an editorial internship at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, followed by positions as an Editorial Assistant and Assistant Editor at Bantam Delacorte Dell and Knopf & Crown Books for Young Readers, divisions of Random House Children's Books. After returning to her hometown of Los Angeles, Jamie pursued her love of children's books in a new arena, as Conference Manager and Golden Kite Award Director at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before joining the Andrea Brown Agency in 2008.

Her recent sales include ORCHARDS, a YA novel in verse by Holly Thompson (Delacorte); FALL INTO ME, a debut YA by Jennifer Castle (Harper Collins)BAD FOR YOU, a graphic novel by co-creators Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham (Holt; JAMMY DANCE, a picture book by Rebecca Janni, to be illustrated by Tracy Dockray (FSG); and Tracey E. Fern's nonfiction picture book BARNUM'S BONES to be illustrated by Boris Kulikov (FSG)

Thanks again to Jamie Weiss Chilton for judging our contest.
Here are the winning entries!


A huge round of applause and sincere congratulations to our winners!
If you're not certain what you've won, or what you need to do next, email me at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Entry 50

Title: enTWINed
Genre: Young Adult

I am never alone. My brother, my twin is always with me. Whether I’m playing guitar, doing homework or kissing my girl, Bobby is always there. It’s a blessing and a curse, but mostly, it’s a blessing. I’d be half a man without him.

Peter and Bobby Chang are fifteen-year-old conjoined twins; two halves joined to make one whole. Sweet, funny Peter controls the right side and tough, sarcastic Bobby controls the left side, but together they walk, run and even snowboard. Peter falls in love with their best friend Kellie, but Bobby worries a romantic relationship will take away the focus from their garage band, RockIt.

I don’t know what’s up with my dumb ass brother. But he better get his priorities straight. Peter’s totally lost focus on what’s really important – RockIt. How can we get our band out of the garage and up on the stage if he’s love-sick over a girl? Chicks just complicate things. Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles, didn’t she?

At first Peter is influenced by Bobby’s objections but realizes he’s more concerned about losing Kellie than losing Bobby. As Peter says, where’s he going to go? The brothers’ bond is further tested when an unexpected medical crisis forces the question of separation surgery.

Entwined, a 50,000 word contemporary YA novel, is told in alternating chapters from each brother’s unique point of view and distinctive voice. I’d be happy to send the complete manuscript upon request.

As a published author/illustrator, I’ve written and illustrated two historical chapter books for Hachai Publishing, The Great Potato Plan and The Secret Tunnel, and co-illustrated Let’s Talk About the Sabbath. I’ve also written over twenty-five books for the educational market for publishers such as Harcourt Achieve and McGraw Hill.

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

Entry 49

Genre: YA Fantasy

I am seeking representation for my YA fantasy THE WAKING GROVE, complete at 50,000 words.

Melina believes that she’s the last of her kind until a blossom appears at the base of her tree. Much to her surprise and delight, she discovers that the mysterious flower is a young dryad and her soon-to-be-daughter. But as the world changes around her, the humans beyond her borders believe there’s something worth fighting for within her Grove.

As the blossom grows, her powers weaken and the protective veil around her forest falls. Humans are poised to strike and Melina’s time has almost run out. Now she must choose between her life and the one of her unborn daughter. She can regain her strength and bring peace back to the Waking Grove by destroying the blossom, but this is also her last chance of becoming a mother.

If she chooses to allow the tender flower to unwrap and bloom, she risks the Grove's destruction at the hands of man.

Entry 48

Genre: YA Paranormal

All seventeen-year-old Keely Morrison wanted in death was for peace and tranquility to call her home. What she found was that she couldn’t have fallen further from heaven’s grace.

Death was never supposed to be like this. It was never supposed to be the stygian afterlife designed to keep her from reuniting with her murdered sister. It wasn’t supposed to be a dangerous, cruel world where she finds herself caught in a deal between a bounty-hunting reaper and the devil.

The deal isn’t one Keely ever agreed to. She never asked the reaper, a mysterious man in black, to keep her from the iron gates of hell. But, if Keely breaks the rules and avenges her sister’s murder, the devil gets not just her soul, but the reaper’s as well.

Never one to play fair, the devil has sent a rebellious but charming demon to keep Keely from the straight and narrow. In purgatory, everyone has secrets, including the young demon. Has he truly become her friend, or is he the trickster he tells her he is? She must trust her instincts when he delivers her greatest temptation – her sister’s killer. With time for salvation running out, the reaper has a plan – one that could beat the devil at his own game. But, it will change Keely’s fate forever.

DON’T FEAR THE REAPER is a young adult paranormal that deals with love that transcends death, the things we leave behind, and the courage to accept new beginnings. The manuscript is complete at 79,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 47

Genre: YA fantasy

Elizabeth is a sixteen year old above-grounder living in a world surrounded by water. She doesn’t have a last name; in the new world, it’s not good form. What she does have is a sharp instinct for survival, something that’s constantly put to the test. Lack of food and clean water along with a hell of a lot of disease make Elizabeth’s day to day life no picnic. And it doesn’t help that her people have to compete with the underwater peoples, known as the Hybrids, for just about everything. Especially since the Hybrids are starting to infiltrate the above-ground economy with their own currency.

When Elizabeth tries to rob a Hybrid of his money, she’s seized and brought underwater for punishment. But there are Hybrids who seek to protect her; there’s a peculiar disease targeting the underwater young and a component of Elizabeth’s DNA provides a cure. But not everyone’s happy with her being there. The corrupt politician Dacre, the fanatical Father Grey and the young Hybrid male Tyler all want to destroy Elizabeth for their own ends.

For Elizabeth to return to her own people, she’ll have to confront the prejudices of some and the political aspirations of others. It will be up to the friends she’s made down below to save her from certain death.

THE VISITOR is a young adult fantasy novel of 54,000 words. I would be happy to furnish additional materials upon request.

Entry 46

Genre: YA Contemporary

SILVER MEDAL is a contemporary young adult novel complete at 62,000 words.

Seventeen-year-old Maggie’s job selling hot dogs at the beach is the epitome of unsexy, but it’s not like she wants to hook up with a guy wearing something a few inches shy of a Speedo anyway. Then she realizes Andy, the head lifeguard, isn’t visiting her three times a day because he forgot ketchup. Maggie finds out there’s more to him than his gorgeous abs, and their summer fling turns into a real relationship.

Then Casey, Andy's ex, calls to tell him her birth control failed.

It doesn’t help that Casey has graduated from pushing Maggie on the playground and making fun of her absent father to leaving Andy’s old love notes in her locker. But Maggie is sick of the bombshell’s bitchcraft. She won’t let her ruin Andy’s pre-med plans or the only relationship that’s felt real to Maggie since her family dissolved.

The only way to coax Casey into choosing adoption is to earn her trust, even if it means opening up to the girl who knows how to hit Maggie where it hurts. But her plan backfires when she starts to empathize with an unborn baby more than the idiots who made it. Even worse, finding out the real reason Casey is willing to trade her ballet slippers for stretch marks reveals something within Maggie that terrifies her: sympathy for her worst enemy, and the realization she might not be so different from her after all.

Entry 45

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Vesuvius is readying itself to spew hot ash and burning rocks over the seaside town of Herculaneum.

Fifteen-year-old Mira recognizes the signs from her vision of a year earlier. Massive destruction, bringing its own burial, is coming to the town and its people.

Mira's first attempts at escape are stopped, but she finds an ally in the mother of Remy, the Roman child Mira looks after. Serena, near the end of her second pregnancy, dreams of her own death. She makes Mira promise to save her son and sends Levi, another house slave, with her. Mira is determined to take this chance to return to her childhood home.

Mira vows to keep her promise to the child’s mother, while she battles to get to safety before Vesuvius explodes and buries her along with the town and everything else for miles around.

Seeing the violent and compete destruction and burial of the town she has lived in for eight years, and knowing Serena is dead, overwhelms Mira and nearly stops her from going on.

Soldiers who come to investigate the carnage will also have the task of rounding up runaways.

A farmer offers them ride on his cart when their stolen horse becomes lame.

Although given her freedom by Serena before leaving, Mira still has scars on her neck from the slave collar. With Serena dead, she has no proof of being set free. They hear the regular march of the military returning to the village where Mira and Levi were given refuge. Terrified of being caught and resold, they accept the offer of a ride into the mountains, where Mira’s home is.

The farmer father Mira thought killed the day they were attacked and she was sold into slavery. Although she looks familiar to him, they have both changed so much in eight years they do not, as yet, recognize each other.

Entry 44

Genre: YA Fantasy

For your consideration is STRANGE SOBRIQUET, my 95,000-word novel of young adult fantasy adventure set in an alternate early-twentieth century Europe.

What if you were a teenager, capable of drawing strength from the latent energy in your world -- and others -- but could literally be remembered for no more than 15 minutes? What would make you care enough to continue on as a hero?

This responsibility of protector could prove too much for sixteen-year-old Gabriel. An assistant to the world’s greatest Warden, the boy's been sheltered for years, his parents' identities kept secret and his gifts untapped. That is, until the day cloaked men, bearing the mark of a long-extinct evil called the Sundu, attempt to kidnap the King's strong-willed daughter. During a routine errand for his master, Gabriel intercepts the Sundu and thwarts the kidnapping.

But the princess is not the only one under attack. The Sundu target all of the Cirri Children, prophets with a gemstone birthmark of royalty, in the hopes of harvesting the children's stones and unlocking an evil that will complete their return.

While the King deploys the Wardens and other allies on a mission to save the children, Gabriel is ordered to stay behind. Nearly everyone fears what will become if he discovers his powers -- all the pedigreed scholars and wizards unable to see the lines, let alone the ends, of his future. It is only after the King learns of Gabriel's budding romance with the princess that he is sent out with the others. His aim may be to rescue the children, but once outside the care of those who had protected him, he'll need all his abilities just to salvage his own identity.

I’m an award-winning marketing communications professional, which I believe could be an asset in marketing STRANGE SOBRIQUET. Furthermore, my fiction has received recognition from Writers of the Future. And I’m a graduate of Viable Paradise, where I studied with scifi and fantasy luminaries, including Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi.

I appreciate you reading the query for STRANGE SOBRIQUET and considering representation. The full manuscript is available at your request.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 43

Genre: YA paranormal

Seventeen-year-old Keelie Liang never dreamed siding with the cool kids would lead to such deadly consequences. But when her friend, Aspen, washes up on the beach in a tangle of seaweed – she knows she’s party to blame. With Aspen gone, Keelie has to deal with her guilt, her insecurities and the fact she can never say sorry. Yet everything changes when a mysterious stranger crashes Aspen’s funeral.

If the stranger is telling the truth, Aspen is alive. He’s stuck in Styx – the land between life and death. Sounds far-fetched at first, but with the stranger’s supernatural abilities, Keelie can’t help but believe him. Now she must forge an agreement with underworld lord, Charonne, to set Aspen free.

But bargaining Styx-style isn’t easy. Sure Charonne agrees to release Aspen, but it comes with a hefty price tag: he wants the mysterious stranger’s soul. No soul means no deal, and an existence for Aspen trapped eternally between worlds. With her love for Aspen growing, Keelie is desperate to bring him home. But can she really condemn one to save another? And can the underworld kingpin really be trusted to return Aspen -- unchanged?

Set in coastal Australia, ICE CAROUSEL is an Orpheus and Eurydice-inspired YA paranormal romance, complete at 82,000 words. At its heart, it is about a girl finding her voice, without the need for a boy to boost her self-esteem. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 42

GENRE: YA Romantic Comedy

Gwen and Jack are best friends. Everybody knows that. At least, they
did before the night that perpetual nice guy Jack got in a fight over
Gwen. Now the school is buzzing with rumors that something more is
going on. Fighting the rumors is like trying to eat one potato

Sure, Gwen knows that her oldest friend in the world would be a great
catch--smart, funny, and not exactly hard on the eyes--but that
doesn’t mean she likes Jack that way. Just because neither of them
really date much and they spend all their time together doesn’t mean
they’re a couple, does it? They’ve got the worlds longest running game
of Risk to finish, after all. And it’s not like those two kisses
counted for anything. Now if Gwen could just get everyone to leave
them alone, maybe she could figure out why she started resisting this
idea in the first place…

I am seeking representation for my Young Adult romantic comedy novel,
complete at 50,000 words. I believe A GAME OF RISK
will appeal to readers who fell in love with characters like those in

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

Entry 41

Genre: YA

Most teenage girls would give up everything for Jacob Roman, a heart-throb teen rock star, but not Aly Sullivan. Aly aspires to be an architect and has a clear plan to make it happen. She dreams of designing buildings and a normal life which doesn’t involve Jacob, his rabid fans or the paparazzi stalking him.

After having her heart broken by her cheating ex, she isn’t interested in putting herself in that position again, especially not with a known player like Jacob. Her unexpected friendship with his brother Andrew makes him hard to ignore - and even though falling for Jacob definitely isn’t part of her plan, time proves it’s out of her control. When the unthinkable occurs and forces Aly into the life she’s tried to avoid, she fights to stay on the path she so carefully laid out for herself, even if it means walking away from love.

NORMAL is complete at 65,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 40

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Everything Grace thinks she knows about angels turns out to be dead wrong when she discovers she is secretly dating one.

Even before moving to a small South Carolina town—where southern hospitality is code for gossip seekers and southern belles aren’t as nice as they look—seventeen year old Grace Rutherford knows she will always be different. The flickering visions and tingling sensations plaguing her life seem to intensify in this god forsaken town, and the only thing making her life remotely bearable is spending time with the breathtaking, yet elusive Leo St. Claire.

Leo knows Grace is far from being a freak. She can sense the presence of heavenly spirits (more commonly known as angels). Grace’s bizarre ability and Leo’s compulsion to know her threaten to expose Leo’s family to the Shadow Demons—unholy beings, blackened with hate and revenge, who want to eradicate all angels from Earth.

As their feelings grow stronger, a menacing Shadow Demon from Leo’s past begins to stalk Grace and haunt her dreams. To protect her, Leo is willing to surrender his life, his family, and even his soul. However, the Shadow Demons know the surest way to kill an angel is to destroy his soul mate.

SOLSTICE, a Young Adult Paranormal Romance, is complete at 90,000 words. I’d be happy to provide the full manuscript upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 39

Genre: YA Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Blume is sick of being “hotel-schooled” by her globe-trotting parents, sick of having no friends, sick of her family not taking her pleas for a normal life seriously. After a nasty fight with her parents, Sophie stalks off, determined to forget her problems on a plane tour over the Bermuda Triangle. But when her airplane plunges into a freak electrical storm and crashes in a different dimension, Sophie figures she may have gotten way more than she wished for.

In this new dimension people levitate and materialize objects at will--from mansions and yachts to gruesome creatures and guns. As magical as it seems, Sophie quickly discovers the dark side of such powers, and swears to get back home no matter the cost. Easier said than done. What starts as a single-minded quest for a way off this realm is complicated by Luke Evan, a young native who, against his better judgment, tries to help Sophie find a portal home. Together they discover Sophie's only chance is to pilot an airplane straight into a deadly lightning storm. But as the time of her escape approaches, Sophie realizes her feelings for Luke Evan go deeper than friendship. Worse still, he can’t follow her home. If Sophie thinks flying into the eye of a hurricane is hard, leaving Luke Evan behind might just be impossible.

SECRET WONDERS is a 76,000-word stand-alone novel with series potential. It is similar to Richard Matheson's What Dreams May Come, but for teens.

I’ve published flash fiction on 6S, and soon one of my short stories will appear in the Foundling Review. Since I’m bilingual, I’ve also published a short story in Semanario Tiempo, a Spanish journal.

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

Entry 38

Genre: YA Dark Comedy

Devon McCauley has a secret: a crush-your-best-friend, lose-your-popularity secret. Equal parts scandalous and disastrous, Devon only sees two ways to forget it—go back to being the naïve Homecoming Queen everyone loved or leave that girl so far behind, everyone forgets she ever existed. She goes with option B.

That is, until her college’s star baseball player AJ Green tells her he knows what happened last year. He’ll keep her secret for a small price—a promise of good behavior from Devon.

Devon would rather eat off the Phi Beta fraternity house floor than let anyone know what happened to her. But she won’t be pushed around and lose some jock’s game. She vows to destroy everyone involved, and fast. Easy-to-manipulate AJ should fold like a lawn chair, but her real target is the person who tipped him off: Mark Echells. And Devon knows just the right way to deliver the blow to the All American pretty boy: by corrupting his innocent and socially inept girlfriend. The way Devon sees it, there’s more on the line this time than reputation or a few party invites—only one of them will get through this in one piece.

With sex games, deceit, and a little Jim Beam, you get a whole lotta southern hostility. SOUTHERN HOSTILITY is my 64,000 word young adult dark comedy. A full manuscript is available upon your request.

Entry 37

Genre: YA Paranormal

Deities and demigods from Celtic folklore to Shinto myth toy with the lives of mortals in PERSONIFIED, my YA paranormal complete at 98,000 words.

Sixteen-year-old Remi Adesina isn’t too interested in becoming a goddess. She’s quite content with being a socially tragic, yet blissfully ignorant human. Hell, before Friday she didn’t even know gods existed. But after she finds one in a city park just seconds away from being executed, she learns more about them than she was prepared for.

Apparently, there’s a whole realm of gods up there and leaving it is a death sentence for any god stupid enough to try it. That’s why none have dared to for centuries— until Set did. Now his divinity’s gone and in losing it, he’s shattered the balance between his realm and the Realm of Humans. To re-establish stability, gods like him usually face execution. But as Remi soon discovers, Set can still keep his gorgeous head if a human becomes divine in his place.

Lucky for him, Remi’s conscience is annoying to an almost unhealthy degree. Unlucky for her, passing Calculus is nothing compared to the trials she’ll have to face to become a goddess.

PERSONIFIED is my first novel and could be expanded into a series. I love putting a fresh spin on fantasy in my writing and since this is a fast paced adventure staged in a unique paranormal setting, I thought it might interest you. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Entry 36

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Liam doesn’t want to believe he’s crazy - but when he starts seeing doors that no one else can, he’s resigned to it. The only thing he can do is hide it: he knows how to fade into the background, and he’s accepted his role as the listening ear for his loving, high-powered family. He’s confident, at least, that he’s prepared for anything… until the day he opens the door.

Lost in an unsettling new world, Liam meets Mary, a woman with a pretty face and rows of sharp teeth. Mary agrees to help Liam find his way home on one condition: that he return to her with a chessboard. He agrees without thinking. He doesn’t expect her to prove that she’s more real than he thought.

With his unwitting help, Mary challenges her rival, a mysterious woman who controls the doors, to a game of chess in which Liam plays the king to her queen. All Mary wants is to win – and all Liam wants is to keep his family safely in the dark. But when the boundary between the game and his well-ordered life breaks down, Liam must play alongside Mary to protect his family and himself.

Control is everything behind the doors. But in chess, the only thing the king controls is when the game ends.

Grandmaster Draw is a young adult urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 35

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old gothic outcast Natalie Sugarman bartered her soul for her dying mother’s life eleven years ago to a boy demon who could stop time. Now, the lifelines on her palms are slowly vanishing, and she knows it’s just a matter of time before Satan’s little helper returns.

Natalie's learned to keep the soul bargain to herself; after all, blabbing about it in the past has only landed her on a suicide watch which was followed by a string of lame psychiatric appointments. But when the weirdness begins—snakes gathering around her, disappearing beetles—she seeks answers about her dwindling lifelines from a freaky, glowing-eyed fortuneteller. Creeped out by the psychic’s methods, she bolts from the reading and misses the warning that the demon who stole her soul is closer than she thinks.

After some strange incidents with her new boyfriend and a hot levitating make-out session, she realizes he’s the grown-up version of her little nightmare. Natalie must figure out how to win her soul back from the demon before her lifeline completely disappears—even if that means damning five other souls to take her place.

DEMON AT MY DOOR, my YA Urban Fantasy is complete at 52,000 words. The manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 34

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy

If there's one thing teen angel Tia is bad at, it's her job. After bringing the wrong soul to limbo, killing him with a single touch, she doesn't think the afterlife could get much worse. Then an angel of death is murdered. Shit. Her father, head honcho in the death department, is supposed to be the only one with the power to kill angels, so how the hell is this self-proclaimed "Reaper" destroying angels' souls? When the Reaper targets Tia's family and her little brother disappears, Tia will go to any length to find him and stop the Reaper.

No investigative skills of her own, she enlists the help of the fresh-from-the-academy human cop, Sean, who caught her standing over the dead body of her last soul pick-up. But the last thing she needs is a hot guy to distract her--particularly when that distraction doesn't die after touching her. It can't be a coincidence that Officer Immortality just happened to appear at the peak of the Reaper's hostile takeover. Tia needs to figure out Sean's role in the Reaper's plan before her entire family is destroyed--and before she falls for a guy who might be doing the destroying.

AFTRLYF is a 65,000-word YA contemporary fantasy. At your request, I am prepared to send the completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 33

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy/Romance

A young prince in ancient Greece tests his mettle at the grueling Isthmian Games and along the way, finds a love worth fighting for. A young princess risks her father’s alliances to find her heart’s companion, and discovers a love worth dying for. Caenus And The Quiver Of Artemis is complete at 52,100 words.

Desperate to prove his worth to a disapproving father, Caenus of Iolkos, an unassuming and undistinguished prince, competes tooth and nail in the Games against the best princes from across the Hellenic world. A victory could erase his father’s doubts, but could a loss deepen the divide?

Disgusted with the customary arranged marriage social construct, Kalliste, princess of Samos, travels under an assumed name to the Isthmian Games to find her true love. Will the deception derail her plans?

While competing in the Games against the gleaming backdrop of Corinth, Caenus meets two people who alter his life's path; Makedon, a brash and ruthless prince from Neapolis, and Adriande, a peasant girl from Corinth who is not all she seems. Romance brews between Caenus and the elusive Adriande, who is actually Kalliste, and she promises to wed him if he wins the Games. The only problem is, her hand is already promised to another prince, Makedon.

The hands of the gods guide Caenus and Makedon toward a final showdown in the Games, where an unethical act is performed to secure victory- the genesis of what becomes a bitter rivalry fueled by bad blood. Tension roils to a fevered pitch when Caenus is later blindsided by the revelation that Adriande is actually Kalliste, Makedon’s bride-to-be. Tempers flare, leading to an all-or-nothing fight for Kalliste’s hand, thrusting Caenus into a set of events that test his faith, his mettle, and his love, sending him to the Underworld and back.

I taught high school for six years. Mythology has been a lifelong passion of mine, which shows through in my passionate personification of the gods.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Entry 32

Genre: YA

What happens when you fall for the one you are forbidden to love? When destiny takes over everything you fought to control, that which was forbidden could now destroy you.

Erebus is a Shadow, an immortal night dweller, walking the Earth for the last century. By day he is the occlusion of a payphone, and by night he returns to human form. He’s different than other Shadows, solemn when Shadows are meant to live for personal fun and satisfaction. That is, until he meets Aurora, a young law student at Cornell University, a human girl. His entire world is shaken. Human feelings he's never had, and urges he’s never understood, like wanting to have a place to live of his own, drive him to question everything about himself and his kind.

Prohibited by the Night Council to have a relationship with a human that involves more than just sex, Erebus is risking severe punishment to be with Aurora on a completely different level.When a jealous old flame, Nanny, stalks back into his life, Erebus breaks the most important law set by the Shadows and reveals his secret to Aurora. By telling her, he jeopardizes everything, and must protect her from Nanny and the judgement of the Night Council. His biggest fears are realized when he sees his desire for Aurora could destroy her, or worse, erase his own Shadow forever.

SHADOW OF DOUBT is complete at 51,000 words and falls into the category of young adult fantasy. The storyline has a unique twist that goes beyond the traditional fantasy, with pure love that can conquer anything – something the older teenage market won’t be able to put down. 

Entry 31

Genre: YA Reality-based Fantasy/Thriller

A centuries-old mystery surrounding the James Madison administration has just been unwittingly solved by sixteen year-old Jacey Grobe, whose days as a homebody are about to end.

It all begins on a dark mountain pass, where a near-death experience introduces Jacey to the Sojourners--those humans among us who travel threads of time and space not visible to the rest of the world. When Jacey's historical abilities indicate that she is a Sojourner, too, she joins their quest to protect a small town from the otherworldly predators that vie for control of the teen social scene.

With the help of Sojourner soldier Adam Lodge, Jacey's historical powers begin to uncover life-saving secrets from the past, but when the search for a missing girl throws them together in a heart-stopping race against time, Jacey and Adam must also fight the forbidden love that could hurt an innocent friend.

Entry 30

Genre: YA Contemporary

It’s been five years since fifteen-year-old ‘Fatty’ Patty Dantes left her hometown, humiliated and accused of a ‘crime’ she didn’t commit. Five years since she first entered Château D’ifference, fat farm/boot camp for the gifted and talented. Now ‘Patty’ is back and while things in Bozeman don’t appear to have changed, everything about Patty has.

She has a new name, Tahnee Graff. (One of the perks of her parent’s bitter divorce.) She’s rich. (Who knew the sandwich making business could be so lucrative?) She’s popular. (Turns out, all those lonely Friday nights dreaming of throwing the ‘ultimate’ party weren’t such a waste of time after all.) And, she’s hot. (Although no one would ever accuse her of being thin, some might argue that there were worse things in life than being the only 9th grader with a size C cup.)

At first, everything falls into place as Tahnee sets out to settle the score with the three girls who ruined her life. When things start to go horribly wrong, she must ask herself, if revenge is worth the price she might have to pay.

Tahnee likes to think so. After all, she’s a girl, not a saint.

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

Entry 29

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Sixteen year old Leah Sullivan shares a secret with her mother, a secret that her father must never know: her baby brother was conceived by hoodoo conjuring. Baby Elijah is perfect -except for a strange birthmark of three half moons on his left shoulder.

Only a few days after his birth, the newborn’s crib is found empty --Elijah has been taken! Determined to solve the mystery of his disappearance, Leah seeks out the conjurer Kali Despierre, only to discover that Kali is gone. She is the one who has kidnapped Elijah. Kali believes that Elijah is the legendary Voudou King, whose conjuring has been predicted and who would be identified at birth by half moon markings on his body. Kali is taking Elijah to New Orleans with plans to use Elijah as her way to claim Marie Laveau’s position as the Queen of Voudou.

Leah follows Kali through the war-devastated South toward New Orleans. She is accompanied by a mysterious man-ghost, who has mysteriously appeared and serves as Leah’s protective guardian angel. Also helping her is a young Civil War veteran she meets, Marcus Simonton, with whom she falls in love.

Arriving in New Orleans, Leah finds an ally in Marie Laveau, who is fighting Kali’s claim to her position. With potions provided by Marie and assistance from the man-ghost and Marcus, Leah sets a successful trap to overpower Kali. She rescues Elijah and in doing so, discovers even more secrets about Elijah’s real destiny.

THE SECRET OF ELIJAH is a historical YA novel (70,000 word count). The tone and voice may remind readers of historical fiction by Avi or Ann Rinaldi. I teach literature and composition in a junior college. While earning my MFA in Creative Writing, my mentors included Susan Campbell Bartoletti and Joyce McDonald. I am active in SCBWI and The Atlanta Writers Club, who awarded me 3rd place in the YA fiction category for my novel in verse Benevolence. Thank you for considering THE SECRET OF ELIJAH. I look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 28

Genre: YA paranormal

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Steinberg is a self-professed Star Trek junkie (original series, please) and band geek. Tragically, her mother dies and, with her last breath, whispers a secret in Darcy’s ear, “During my coma I watched you from above, attached to my body by a silver cord.”

Meanwhile, Angelica Mills, a member of the high school’s “it” crowd, experiences a terrible car accident that leaves her in a coma. To her surprise she finds herself floating above her physical body, tethered by a damaged silver cord.

Angie, unable to communicate with the physical world, must discover how to return to her body before her well-meaning family disconnects her from life support. Darcy and Angie, two unlikely friends unite to help each other. Darcy acting as a paranormal detective does everything she can to reach Angie and prove to herself that her mother’s dying words were true. The situation becomes more urgent when convincing others may mean the difference between life and death for Angie. The clock is ticking…

THE SILVER CORD is a 60,000 word paranormal YA novel.

Entry 27

Genre: Middle Grade

Eleven-year-old preacher’s kid Danny Albright has no friends and fewer prospects when he discovers Weasel Potts, a boy from the local homeless shelter, spying on him through a grate in the wall. They band together as their families are falling apart, but their friendship is threatened when a social worker recommends Weasel be placed in foster care. Unwilling to say goodbye, Danny smuggles Weasel out of the shelter. They live in their secret hideout for three days until a television report on a missing child reveals Weasel’s true identity. Angry and betrayed, Danny banishes Weasel from the hideout and from his life. But when fire threatens to destroy everything they built together, Danny learns the distance a true friend will go to make things right. If only it’s not too far.

I have published non-fiction and creative non-fiction pieces in professional and literary journals. I am a guest blogger on Writer Unboxed and a former writing instructor. I also worked in the foster care system for seven years.

I wrote FOR WEASEL with a male audience in mind. It is complete at approximately 28,000 words.

Entry 26

Title: LARCH
Genre: YA

Seventeen-year-old Larch has her uncle, the dictator of New America, wrapped around her finger. She can have anything she desires -- except for her freedom, the one thing she wants most. To make matters even worse, after two kidnapping attempts she's assigned a mysterious new bodyguard named Stone.

Larch can’t decide if he’s a blessing or a curse. He makes her feel alive, special...and even LESS free than before. He's stuck to her like glue -- until her house catches fire, and she's separated from him...and realizes he's not the only one with secrets.

Larch is a clone of her uncle, the dictator's, dead wife, the only successful clone in the world, and her creator -- none other than Stone's father -- wants her back.

Larch must escape the dictator's marriage bed, her creator's lab, and her own doubts about Stone if she is to survive, and finally gain the freedom she has craved her entire life.

LARCH is complete at 60,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 25

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Sixteen-year-old Justine Kwiatkowski doesn’t believe in magic.  She doesn’t believe in reincarnation.  All she knows is that last night, the best friend she’s ever had, Gwen Martinez, went missing outside the town of Avalon and she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.        

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

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

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

Knights of Avalon, a YA Urban Fantasy, is complete at 88,000 words.  While intended to be the first in a series, the book can stand alone.  Hopefully this manuscript will be of interest to you.  Thank you for your consideration! 

Entry 24

Genre: YA Paranormal/Romance

When sixteen-year-old Casandra moves to California and learns she is a witch, her relief at knowing why she is different from other kids her age is short-lived. Now she knows she is a target for the elusive and deadly Hunters; covens all over the world are at war with one another; and any exposure of her magical abilities to “normal humans” will have disastrous consequences on all of society. Her spirits are lifted when she meets Nicholas, the most interesting (and best-looking) boy she has ever known—and to whom she feels a powerful and mysterious connection.

Nicholas returns home to New York the next day after they meet, but Casandra cannot forget about him, especially when she is asleep and Nicholas’s face is so clear and his kisses feel so real. Casandra knows her obsession with him is borderline insane, and she struggles to live her life as normally as is possible (for a teenager who is a witch). She agrees to go to the Winter Ball with her close friend Justin, a sweet and lovable surfer boy who makes his romantic feelings for Casandra very clear. On that fateful night, Casandra’s secret identity is accidentally revealed, forcing Nicholas and Justin to reveal their own secrets: One boy is her mortal enemy and the other is her magical true love. Only one can survive, but Casandra desperately wants to save them both.

Thank you for taking the time to review my query. My 88,000-word manuscript for DAWN OF THE MORNINGSTAR is available for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 23

Genre: YA

He’s going to call on me, I think. He’s going to call on me and I’ll
probably puke.

Writing is a means of self-expression. It can also uncover the truth
about events and people. Writing is a means of self-discovery,
catharsis and re-invention. These are some of the discoveries made by
Kiersten Stoltz, the eighteen-year-old protagonist of my 71000 word
Young Adult novel, Assignment 9.

Kiersten was thrilled to have been accepted into a prestigious
creative writing class, but as the second semester begins, she is
struggling. The class has been given an assignment to write something
autobiographical, with the proviso that the event has to have been
meaningful and life changing. Unable to even start
writing, she accepts an invitation from Mark, a classmate she knows
little about, and discovers that Mark is having difficulty with his
own piece.

As their relationship develops, Kiersten and Mark learn that their
childhoods were similar, and they are both still reconciling old
hurts, fears and obsessions. Through writing their “Assignment 9”,
both Kiersten and Mark discover things about themselves and their
families that will change their lives forever. But is their
relationship strong enough to withstand the often-devastating

My short stories have appeared in HER Magazine, Viola Beadleton’s
Compendium, All Things Girl, Halfway Down The Stairs and Residential
Aliens. My play, All In A Day’s Work, was produced by the Victoria
University Drama Club and another, It Was In The Paper, was
workshopped as part of the AGC Young Playwrights’ Festival.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Entry 22

Genre: YA Fantasy

Fifteen-year-old Ben Grange is the third son of a powerful duke. He spends his days carousing and avoiding responsibility, but dreams of something greater. When an attempt is made on his life, a strange and powerful magic awakens within him, reflecting the dark omens plaguing the Kingdom of Galidan. Perhaps he can become the hero he always dreamt he could be.

Sent to foster with his father’s best friend, Ben enters an even more dangerous world: the royal court. Seduced by the promise of glory, Ben aligns himself with a group of cads known as the Third Sons, alienating his closest friends with his smug and obnoxious behavior. While he struggles to control the power building within him, his friends are left alone to deal with questions of loyalty, friendship, responsibility and isolation.

Ben realizes he has one last chance to make up for his mistakes: the Challenge Cup Tournament. There he will sacrifice the very prestige he craves to redeem himself in the eyes of those most important to him. But it may be too late. All they know and love may be coming to an end - because of Ben.

Winter’s Discord is a young adult fantasy and complete at 83,000 words. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 00

This is a non-entry and does not qualify for the contest. I'm only posting it to get your comments for improvement. (It's mine.)

Genre: MG Steampunk

Your turn-of-the-century cabin is waiting aboard The Seahorse for a 70,000-word steampunk adventure that will take you from England to Peru, complete with a Light Emitting Oscillator and Perpetual Matches.

When Richie Armstrong’s father dies, their long search for the ancient time-travel device ends — until he hears a fantastic tale about a treasure hidden on an uncharted island off the coast of Peru and recalls his father's final request: The Golden Disk is near Lima. Find it! But Richie's archenemy, Hans Von Hisle, is eavesdropping and hatching a plan to get there first.

When Richie and two friends set sail aboard the flagship of the Armstrong Steamship Line, he spots one of the Von Hisle's dirigibles shadowing them and discovers the Von Hisle's have an accomplice on board. After a harrowing journey around Cape Horn, the Seahorse arrives at the island, and Richie finds Werner Von Hisle waiting for them inside the pyramid — swaying like a grotesque puppet with his throat slit and his eyes burned out.

Before Richie can retrieve the Disk, the cannibals come out of the shadows and the ancient clockwork mechanism is set in motion. Between the poison darts flying toward them and the walls crumbling around them, Richie realizes that surviving this adventure is going to require a lot more than dumb luck and a treasure map. His dream of acquiring the Disk fades and his nightmare begins when he feels the sting of a poison dart in his neck and the cannibals start closing the circle.

I would be happy to send sample chapters or the full manuscript at your request. Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Entry 21

Genre: MG Historical Fiction

All the other 13-year-old boys around have been working the coal mine since they were 10, and where has Mitch Thomas been? In school with the girls. Times are hard and knowing the three Rs doesn’t buy food for the table or seeds for planting, so Mitch defies his father’s wishes and signs up with his pa’s boss at the mine. Faced with dangerous and backbreaking work and the constant popping and creaking of the mountain, not to mention rats, Mitch’s courage wavers. Worse, Pa’s gruff cold shoulder dashes Mitch’s hope of growing closer to him and becoming one of the boys.

On payday, the only bright spot of the summer so far, Mitch’s ma and sisters are accused of stealing from the company by picking coal from the slag pile. Mitch stands up for them and lands himself and his pa in the boss’s office where Mitch watches his father cave in like a beaten dog. Later in a heated argument, Mitch calls his pa a coward. Now, with Pa and Mitch not speaking, Mitch feels more alone than ever.

When a deadly cave-in traps Pa, Mitch is faced with the stark reality of the life of a coal miner, the life from which his father had tried to protect him--every day you go in, you may not come back out again. Mitch must gather his courage, go in and save his pa.

Entry 20

Genre: YA Paranormal

Sophia White is in for more than just pillow fights and the Food Network when she befriends a blood soaked Spirit named Crystal Gannon, a former Dothan Academy classmate. She’s thrown into a world where the dead don’t just rot in the ground for all eternity; they come back as ghosts, invade your privacy, and hustle you for help. But the issue isn’t limited to just one earth bound ghost, it turns out there’s hundreds. They all have one thing in common, an eight-point star branded into their palms –as though they’re ghostly cattle marked for slaughter.

It’s only a matter of time before the unlikely duo discovers the cause of the branded ghosts. With Crystal’s boredom, infinite time and sleuthing she’s able to point her vaporous finger at new-to-town hottie Daniel Stryker. Who isn’t as charming as he seems, he slinks in the shadows stealing souls. He’s a demon on a noxious mission and the one soul he’s most hungry for is Sophia Whites.

The branded ghosts will never get to soak up the rays in heaven if they are not released. And even though her very soul is at risk, Sophia vows to do it, but banishing the centuries old demon isn’t just about sending him back to hell. In order to get the souls to heaven Sophia has to get the Hell-Hottie to repent.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

BRANDED is a completed 79,000 word young adult paranormal novel. I would be delighted to send you sample chapters of BRANDED, or the entire manuscript, at your request. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Entry 19

Genre: YA

“If someone tried to put me to sleep, I’d strangle him with his own poisoned apple.”

That’s what Princess Rosaline Gabriella Kingston would say. No wonder her parents' efforts to get their daughter included in the princess fairy tale books always fail. Although pretty, when it comes to princess greatness, Rosy is a few diamonds short of a beautiful tiara.

But even tone-deaf, smart-mouthed princesses have their fair share of enemies. Rosy lacks an evil stepmother, so she has to settle for her deviously innocent cousin, Lady Christina, who's determined to leapfrog Rosy to become the most famous Princess of all.

She succeeds by hiring a lackey to kidnap the young princess. Luckily Rosy is able to escape and gets saved by handsome Prince Edward. Unluckily, she hits her head against a rock during her escape and loses her memory. Stuck in another kingdom with no memory of home, it seems like happily ever after isn’t such a sure thing after all.

THE PLASTIC SLIPPER (52,000 words) is a fairy tale for young adults, combining the charm of traditional fairy tales with a quirky heroine to lead the way.

Entry 18

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rose Woodman is a half-blood living in the mortal world. Though her family loves her dearly, they’ve taught her to hate anything to do with the Fae including the father who enchanted, impregnated and abandoned her mother to the fatal birth of his unusual child. Rose has spent her life trying to ignore the voices of the wind and the trees. She has no intention of following in her mother’s footstep. The last thing Rose wants is to cause her loved ones any more pain, so when the one she loves best becomes Edan, leader of the faerie Clan of the Stars, Rose is forced to use the powers she’s kept hidden, to do the only thing she, as a halfblood can do: tear down the barriers that keep her two worlds apart.

That’s exactly what Sarcon, leader of the powerful Clan of the Snake, has been waiting for Rose to do. His clan and Edan’s have been in a state of cold war longer than Rose has been alive; all the faerie clans are concerned about human encroachment onto their ancient isle. The difference lies in what’s to be done about it. Sarcon has no intention of letting humans gain strength through faerie blood nor does he wish to see a rival clan gain numbers through human fertility. Once Rose ignites the faerie wars, our world will never be the same.

Beneath the Trees is my first novel. It’s intended as the first in The Seeker’s Charm trilogy. The second and third books are also complete at 100k each and are currently being polished. When I’m not writing, I blog at LiveJournal as elfmama and tweet as @susiebj.  Thank you for you time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 17

Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Isis has spent her whole life hiding. She hides the dreams that regularly come true, and the strange things that happen around her. She hides the bruises from her mom’s psychotic episodes that result from something strange Isis did. And she hides from her extended family and their whispers questioning her sanity. But it is easier to hide her headaches that are steadily getting worse and hope that insanity really doesn’t run in the family, than to fight against something beyond her control.

But all that changes the day Isis accidentally uses her powers to save herself from an exploding car. Dane, a classmate, witnesses the event and pulls Isis into a battle between two secret societies. Dane has the answers Isis has always wanted. He can help her learn to control her powers and hang onto her sanity. She finds herself drawn to his charms until her cousin, Kalli, shows up to persuade her to join the other side. Isis realizes that she’s not the only one who’s been hiding things.

Then Isis discovers she has the power to control people through their dreams, a skill very few people possess. When Isis pieces together the warnings from her dreams she learns of an impending bombing planned by Kalli’s group. Isis has the power to stop it from happening, but she has to choose between saving her cousin or stopping the attack. A choice no ordinary girl should make. Good thing Isis is anything buy ordinary.

DREAMING ISIS, a young adult contemporary fantasy novel, is complete at 65,000 words. It will appeal to readers who loved the intrigue of THE SUMMONING by Kelley Armstrong and to those who enjoyed the paranormal romance elements of NEED by Carrie Jones.

Entry 16

Genre: YA Dystopian

IN THE AUTUMN is a 71,000 word dystopian YA.

Seventeen-year-old Althea is an oddball. If melting objects in her hands and living her entire life without seeing summer didn't prove it, well, she could list plenty more quirks that made her a freak. In a world where there is only human and Other, Althea has always known she's something else - and now she's being hunted.

The truth begins to unfurl when a mysterious cousin reveals Althea is both Other and human. The Others are cruel, superior beings and have ruled Earth since war evicted them from a ravaged home. They conquered and control the planet by erecting an ironclad veil between humans and their most powerful emotions.

The Others recently learned of the existence of children like Althea and, considering them both an abomination and a potential threat, will stop at nothing to exterminate them. Desperate and scared, Althea stumbles on latent powers she never guessed existed. Among them lies the ability to save not only her life, but to ensure a future for the human race.

IN THE AUTUMN is complete and the first of an outlined four book series. I appreciate your time and consideration.

Entry 15

Genre: YA Humour

It has been a year and a half since the day Guy Scotts’ heart was sucker-punched with the image of Tina Marlin in a tight The Kills t-shirt, and short little jean skirt. He’s been a hopeless sack of hormones, nervous perspiration, and misfiring synapses, ever since.
In their senior year, Tina’s boyfriend moves to Alaska to take up caribou herding, and Guy moves in on his girl. But when Tina’s meat-sack-of-an-older brother hits Guy with the craziest ultimatum, suddenly he doesn’t just have to worry about surviving the, ‘Tina Marlin Incident’ emotionally, but physically too. And it’s not going to be easy.

Between his best-friend’s tendency for giving crap advice, his gym teacher’s creepy personal agendas, and his mother’s flying-trapeze of emotions, Guy finds himself forced to volunteer at his senile Nana’s nursing home; and he’s pissed! He has more important things like A LIFE to attend to, and if he wants any shot at keeping it, he’ll need to seriously spend less time with old people, and more time thinking about himself.

I am a fourth year middle school teacher in Mississauga, Ontario. My literary accomplishments include co-authoring an action research journal on student engagement. ‘Engagement Through Choice,’ was published in the ‘Journal for Classroom Research in Literacy’ (2009).

During my undergrad (honours English) I submitted works that gained me entry into both creative writing fiction & creative writing poetry courses at Sir Wilfred Laurier University. Aside from my Bachelor of Education, I also hold additional teaching qualifications in English.

THE TINA MARLIN INCIDENT is a 54,000 word humourous YA novel for which I am seeking your representation. Hope you love this project as much as I do!

Entry 14

Genre: YA

Living in the historic Hunt Country of Virginia, the secret daughter of the Archangel Michael doesn’t realize she inherited her father’s powers over the otherworldly prisons until a demon named Lilith manipulates those powers to stage a jailbreak. The next thing seventeen-year-old Michaela Bell knows, she is running for her life, falling into forbidden love with an enigmatic soul named Luke, and plunging heart-first into the world of the last Wind Walkers, beings like her father who are simultaneously archangels, gods, and the mythology behind all mythologies. At a magical construct called the Winter House, she discovers the truth about her father’s death and the demons he imprisoned, but defeating Lilith requires Michaela to control all her father’s powers. Failure means losing both Luke and her mother to the demon and unleashing chaos on humanity. Success almost certainly means sacrificing both her love and her life.

Being an immortal, Michaela discovers, pretty much completely sucks.

Complete at 76,000 words, THE WIND WALKER is likely to appeal to readers of Lauren Kate and Cassandra Clare, but the consolidation of archangels and biblical Watchers with classical mythology is a unique approach within the genre.

I am a full-time copywriter and a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. My fiction for children has been published in Ladybug, Highlights, Humpty Dumpty, and a number of parenting magazines.

I would be honored to have the Andrea Brown Literary Agency represent my work because I, too, believe in the five “P’s” of Publishing Success. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 13

Genre: YA Mystery

Jennifer Roby’s editor for the student newspaper assigns her to write about the charred skeleton found in the university’s ceramics kiln. Her article reports the skeleton was fake, placed there as a prank according to the campus police detective. The students who discovered the skeleton protest to her with graphic descriptions of the remains.

Believing the students, Jennifer seeks answers from civil and university personnel. Her editor orders her to stop investigating, but he’s too late: she discovers the bones are human. She schemes to thwart the lies and roadblocks as evidence of the cover-up reaches higher in the university. Threats to her safety are set in motion. Jennifer races to unravel the crime and expose the cover-up before the stalker succeeds in stopping her.

Clear and Convincing Evidence is complete at 77,000 words.

Entry 12

Genre: MG Earth-Based Sci-Fi

THE END OF NORMAL: The Dream, The Boxes, The Courage and The Book is a complete middle grade novel at 57,000 words.

Twelve year old Theodora can't read. Sure, she's smart, and her vision is fine, but whenever she looks at a printed page the words change into strange symbols and move into weird shapes -- and no one believes her. To top it all off she's plagued with very real nightmares and a bully she'd like to level.

When her grandmother "finds" Dr. Rivale's website touting a procedure that could correct her "reading problem", Theodora is skeptical. When he leans in and whispers, "I've been waiting for you for five hundred years," her normal life, with its comfortable trappings, is devoured in that one sentence. Before she knows what's happening, Theodora is swept into an international journey to unravel her mysterious heritage.

It's in the streets of Miravale, Portugal where Theodora's grandmother reveals her true alien lineage; her grandmother and father escaped from planet Miravale in the Ruby Galaxy thirty-four years ago. Their essences Brainboxed into two humans and so began their lives as Earthlings. If Theodora doesn't find her late father's Box of Intention she may not survive The Beings of the Darkness, and the entire Miravalian planet will be destroyed. Oh, and she's got to Brainbox back to Miravale without her mother ever finding out.

Fans of THE LIGHTING THIEF and HARRY POTTER and their page-turning-suspense will enjoy a similar style in THE END OF NORMAL.

I am a member of SCBWI and have a long and lively background teaching middle school language arts.

I could send you the full manuscript upon your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 11

Genre: MG Fantasy

VELVET BALL AND THE BROKEN FAIRY is an MG fantasy novel, complete at 17,000 words. Sprites have the power to grant many wishes, but if they don’t pay attention at magic school, they may never learn how.

After an illness, Velvet Ball arrives at her new school, but none of the girls in forth-grade want to hang out with a bald girl, especially a girl with no eyebrows or eyelashes. They only care about hairstyles and clothes. At lunch time, the boys chase her, pull off her headband and call her a tennis ball. In no mood to be teased again, Velvet runs home through the woods. Stopping for a moment, she discovers a peculiar sight. A long-legged fairy calls out for help as she hangs from the bow of a tree. When Velvet helps her, she introduces herself as Roseberry - Fairy of Woodland Forest, then she grants Velvet a wish. Velvet’s only wish is to have her hair back. Trouble is, this fairy’s been catapulted into the forest by bullies. Now, the fairy has no magic and her wings are broken.

Thinking it’s a doll, the boys try to steal the fairy to use as a football, but Velvet fights back. Happy to have a friend, Velvet hides Roseberry in her bedroom, but the fairy isn’t an endearing fairy. She’s rude, bad-mannered and spoilt, and to make matters worse, she gets Velvet into trouble by making a mess. Velvet wants to help the fairy get her powers back, but Roseberry’s too busy trying on doll clothes, looking in the mirror, and dancing around the bedroom. Velvet wonders why she’s even bothering to help such an ungrateful little thing, but when the boys break into her house and kidnap the fairy, Velvet realises how much she cares for the little sprite. After all, Rosebery is her only friend in the whole wide world, and Velvet plans to save her.

Thank you for your time and consideration. My full manuscript is available upon request and I hope you like my query enough to represent me.

Entry 10

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

After her father was murdered when she was six years old, Shale Peterson made a resolution: never to lose anyone, or anything, ever again. For the ten years since, she’s used strength of will to win every competition she enters, from tennis to chess to tae kwon do. Her mother’s mysterious suitor Grey also believes that Shale’s incredible willpower is the only reason her mother is still alive long after doctors say that a brain tumor should have killed her.

Grey, the CEO of a powerhouse headhunting company called Kingmakers, challenges Shale at arm wrestling, at skiing, at work, at life, appealing to her competitive nature in a bid to recruit her. What Shale doesn’t know is that Kingmakers is the public face of a hidden world—a world of people who believe that willpower can work magic—a world Grey intends for Shale to one day rule. But there are plenty of people who will do anything to keep Shale from becoming Grey’s successor, especially Grey’s weak-willed son Duncan and the growing number of dissenters who want to break free of Kingmakers’ control and use magic for their own personal gain.

Grey and Shale’s mother disappear while on their honeymoon. Meanwhile, Shale barely survives a string of attempts on her life, starting with a hit and run that lands her in the hospital. When she finally uncovers the truth about Kingmakers, she doesn’t know whether to believe that magic actually exists. What she does know is that she won’t be a target any longer. All she can rely on now is her indomitable will as she sets out on a desperate journey to confront Grey, defeat her enemies, and rescue her mother.

And if these so-called magic users have hurt her mother? Shale is going to burn their world down.

KINGMAKER is a young adult urban fantasy novel, complete at 84,000 words.

I am a student in Columbia University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 9

Genre: YA Paranormal

Life really blows for sixteen-year-old Janelle. Ever since moving to Florida, she’s been ripping doors off their hinges and hearing a roar in her head whenever she’s near the water. And her new friend, Gary, tells her she’s a Tempest, someone who can turn into a hurricane by touching the ocean. So much for going to the beach.

As if that’s not lousy enough, all Tempests have to become storms once in their lives to keep the world’s weather in balance. It’s their secret law, and it’s Janelle’s turn to twist and rage over the Atlantic. To her horror, she learns her dad’s going to make her go through with it.

No way in hell is she going to kill people, even by accident. So she does what any sane person would do—she runs away.

But it’s not long before the human-hating Tempest leader kidnaps her. Janelle’s told that she’s the strongest Tempest alive and will be forced to destroy a major city. Now stuck in a plot to hold the world ransom, she must use the power she fears most to escape.

TEMPEST is a 64,000-word young adult paranormal. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 8

Genre: MG

Chuck Masters isn't gunnin' for trouble; he just wants to have a little fun. Fun is not something his one-horse town of Harley, Oklahoma is famous for. It is famous for basketball, and Chuck's the M.V.P. of the eighth grade team. Then Foster F. Finkman blows into Harley like an F5 tornado.

In REVENGE OF THE PINK GRANNY PANTIES, a contemporary middle-grade boy story of 28,000 words, Chuck and his buds, Naz and Bryan, get sucked into Triple F's vortex of chaos. The dude is as rich as he is funny, and knows how to stir things up. The boys pull one prank too many, and cause a long-time substitute teacher to loose his cool and his job. Chuck's conscience kicks in, and when he bucks Finkman's next stunt, the two tangle. Finkman disses Chuck and his single mom because they're poor and run Sudz 'N Dudz, the local laundromat. To Chuck, this is a declaration of all out war. He and his posse plan the "Revenge of the Pink Granny Panties," with a basket of over-sized undies as their arsenal.

But there's something Chuck doesn't realize about revenge: it never pays. In fact, Chuck's get even scheme costs him his friends and his spot on the basketball team. Finkman then becomes the new home court hero. The view from the bench helps Chuck to see things clearly. He musters his guts and makes things right with his friends and Finkman, learning that sometimes the bravest act of war is to call a truce.

My magazine credits include, Highlights for Children, Characters, Story Something and Chess Life for Kids. Several of my boy stories have won awards, most notably: "Valentine's Day Disaster," Highlights Author of the Month, February 2010, and "Quince Chaos," 2009 Highlights fiction contest winner. I'm a member of SCBWI.

Thank you for considering REVENGE OF THE PINK GRANNY PANTIES.

Entry 7

Genre: YA

Fifteen-year-old Ben’s entire life—including his name—is a lie. With the belief that his father died twelve years prior, he and his mother have been living in an impoverished area of Memphis. When Ben spots a stranger outside his classroom window, little does he know about this slime-ball’s sinister dealings. Later that day, the mobster breaks into Ben’s apartment, shoots his mom, and kidnaps him to his father who is alive and ruling a mob in St. Louis.

Ben’s terrifying world of gangsters is not like the movies. BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA means severe punishment for breaking rules, a lack of freedom, but worst of all, Ben is forced to diverge from his strong moral code. Corpse feet sticking out of the lawn and giving the yardman grief is mild compared to Ben accidentally murdering two people. This gives him a reality slap that leads him on a journey to save his skin—literally. Only later, this true hero discovers that his mother is alive and in danger. He must rescue his mom and break free from the mob or abandon all his high ethical standards to become a part of a crime family.

My 67,000-word completed YA novel mixes humor a shade darker than Korman’s, “Son of the Mob,” with the excitement of Haddix’s “Shadow Children” series. I teach writing and other subjects to children, am active in SCBWI, and recently completed an online course through The Institute for Children’s Literature. Thank you for your time and attention in considering BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA, which is a multiple submission. I look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 6

Genre: YA/Paranormal

Lost in the panther’s eyes, at the mercy of the very creature whose deadly force saved her from a demon’s cold grasp, sixteen year old Callie Michaels can no longer deny all the strange things happening to her are real.

When her best friend, Tammy, shuts her out rather than explain the runes covering her walls, Callie knows something’s up. Renewed friendship with James, the football stud that got swept away by the 'cool crowd' and the trap of popularity, exposes her to a whole new level of weird. Witness to some very odd behavior, she presses to know more. James confides that his family and close friends live by the rules of the jungle, but can divulge nothing else. Secrets make it hard to know who to trust and Callie is afraid of what those secrets will reveal.

With nowhere left to turn, Callie accepts the mark of the demon and watches all her dreams come true. Her talents are recognized, she’s popular and she even finds love. And then comes the price. Small tokens at first, but the decrepit form playing genie wants more. The changes she once welcomed have made her into something to be feared. The greatest danger--what she’s become.

A Breed Apart: The Token, complete at 98,000 words, has strong paranormal elements that are woven into the very heart of the story, yet as a twist from the nature of the genre, being 'supernatural' never makes things easier. The romantic aspect will appeal to audiences that enjoyed novels like The Demon's Lexicon, by Sarah Rees Brennan, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. However, the style is likened more to Kim Harrison and Laurel K. Hamilton who greatly influenced my writing. I have been writing in different genres for several years, most often young adult or romantic fiction, and have contracted an urban fantasy novel with a small, Canadian publisher, Blade Publishing, under the pseudonym Bianca Sommerland.

I would like to thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to hearing from you.

Entry 5

Genre: YA Paranormal

Eighteen-year-old Tessa James can’t even watch Casper the Friendly
Ghost without nightmares, so when letters written in a foreign
language appear on her nightstand she does her damnedest to ignore the
implications. She has enough ghosts of her own, thank you very much.

Soon Tessa realizes the letters are pieces of a diary, and the tale of
Ava Dubois, a runaway millgirl turned rising starlet, begins to
unravel. As Tessa is unwillingly drawn into Ava’s past, connections to
the present become stark—and scary. Manchester’s Castle Theatre, her
employer and once Ava's, is about to produce Hamlet, the very play
canceled by Ava’s untimely death in 1935. A bizarre series of
accidents plague the theatre staff, while the steady stream of letters
and rumors of ghosts force Tessa into a dangerous game. A séance goes
horribly awry, a boiler room acts as though it has a mind of its own,
and an entire cast of otherworldly inhabitants—including a poltergeist
willing to kill to protect his secret—come out to play. Tessa wants no
part of it, but the spirits won’t leave her alone, nor will the
suspicious detective investigating the accidents. With the body count
piling up—in the past and present—Tessa must checkmate her ghosts and
Ava's if she wants to live long enough to have a future.

I'm seeking representation for THE GHOST WRITER, a YA paranormal novel
complete at 60,000 words. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature and
Music from Hampshire College. As the former marketing director of a
professional theatre, I have the skill set to actively promote my
work. That theatre and its longstanding legends of hauntings inspired
my book.

I understand you have a passion for young adult literature. I would be
happy to supply sample chapters or a full manuscript of THE GHOST
WRITER upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 4

Title: LURE
Genre: MG Paranormal

Fifteen year old Mitch hates reading. In fact, pounding a nail through his thumb sounds more fun than five minutes with a book. He's got better things to do, like hang out with Jen, or work on the shelf he’s building for her in his workshop. Heck, he'd even rather be doing his geometry homework. When everyone at school starts obsessing over a new novel, he hopes the craze passes quickly.

But it doesn’t.

Within days, all of the students, teachers, and even Mitch’s parents are reading Lure. Their obsession with it deepens until everyone is reading it all of the time. Mitch has to pull his dad out from under a fallen truss while he--and everyone else on the construction site--continues to read. He pulls two friends out of a car wreck only to watch the life bleed out of them while they read on. And even when Mitch and Jen realize people are literally reading themselves to death, Jen succumbs to the book’s mysterious pull. With Jen now under its spell, Mitch is the only one left to find some way to break the obsession... before he loses everyone he loves.

My MG Paranormal novel LURE is complete at 35,000 words. I am a member of SCBWI and the Florida Writers Association. Although your identity is a mystery for this contest, I am a fan of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and feel I would enjoy working with any of the agents there. Thank you for the opportunity.

Entry 3

Genre: YA

LOST IN A HEARTBEAT is a 77,000-word YA contemporary novel. It will appeal to readers who enjoy the character-based stories of Sarah Dessen and Sarah Ockler, and also to those who love the romance and danger in PERFECT CHEMISTRY and THE BODY FINDER.
Seventeen-year-old Calleigh has a plan for summer vacation. Too bad her goal of forgetting what happened ten months ago clashes with everyone else’s plans.

Her mom wants Calleigh to spend her summer training for the high school swim team tryouts. That’s so not going to happen. Her best friend wants this to be their summer for romance and guys. As if. Not after Calleigh’s last boyfriend cheated on her. And the guy her best friend’s lined up for Calleigh wants her to admit the truth about what really happened last summer. To top it off, he’s suddenly super protective . . . and she has no idea why.

As a romance develops between Calleigh and Aaron, she discovers the truth surrounding his sister’s death. Only thing is, she and Aaron’s sister are linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Entry 2

Genre: YA

Waking up with wads of gauze wrapped around your head and your mother
crying in the corner is pretty much a crappy way to start the
day—especially when you can’t remember why you’re sporting such
unattractive headwear. As seventeen-year-old Faith Daniels gradually
pieces together the events that landed her on the neurosurgeon’s
table, she becomes haunted by her past. Literally. And there’s nothing
worse than being stalked by a bunch of your dead classmates. Except
perhaps becoming one.

When Faith eventually recalls the horrific details of the catastrophe
at school that lead to these unexpected and ghostly class reunions,
she must make a heart-wrenching decision: hide the truth or betray her

My young adult novel, PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, is complete at 55,000 words.

Entry 1

Genre: YA

When fifteen-year-old, Los Angeles bred Shelby Brockhurst meets her clodhopper relatives for the first time, she understands why her mom has kept them a secret. Shelby’s grandparents only have running water when you move the pump handle, and her cousins are complete barbarians, especially the twins, with their gross preoccupation with bologna rinds and dog butts. Throw in a wild mountain boy by the name of Eddie Pickens, and Shelby begins to wonder why any sane person would stay in Caney Forks, Tennessee.

But as the summer progresses, Shelby discovers the love that holds this family together, and the pain her mother’s leaving caused. She also finds Eddie has a way of making her heart do a crazy little happy dance every time he comes near.

With the questionable assistance of her hayseed cousins, Shelby devises a plan to reunite her mom with her family. Her grandfather doesn’t realize he’s helping; he’s too busy tending to his imaginary pigs. If Shelby’s plan doesn’t work, she may never see her relatives, or Eddie, again. That would be worse than, well, than falling off the turnip truck and landing in a fresh cow paddy.

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

The starting bell has chimed. It's time!

Submission entry window opened at 9:00 a.m. Central Time this morning. You can now email your query. If you're among the first 50 entries, you'll be included in the contest. You should receive a reply email from me sometime today with your entry number. In case you're a newbie and weren't aware of the contest, the official rules can be found HERE! Just click that link and read what's required for entry.

Also, and I didn't include this in the previous post, all entries are open to comments from any readers of this blog. In addition, any writer who enters should comment on at least five other entries. Please give constructive input. Any obviously snarky comments will be deleted.

And there you have it. Keep in mind that the contest is open to the first 50 entries, based on the time stamp of the email containing the entry. When we reach the entry limit, any additional entries will not be included. In addition, when the clock hits 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 14, 2010, the contest entry window closes.

So click on the link above for the rules, and best of luck to all who enter!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Amanda Morgan signs with Andrea Brown

A couple of months ago, it was my pleasure to read some of Amanda's writing. I had just started the blog at that time, and decided to host a query contest. Amanda entered. We started out with our own critiques. After that, I sent everyone to Query Letter Hell at Absolute Write for further assistance and suggestions for improvement. Meanwhile, I was busily trying to find a literary agent to judge the entries. It was my good fortune to link up with Chris Richman at Upstart Crow, who generously offered to act as judge.

Amanda's entry, ZOMBIE IS AN INFLAMMATORY WORD (AND I RESENT THAT), was a winner, which resulted in a request for a full from Chris. As sometimes happens, the manuscript wasn't quite what he was looking for, but Amanda didn't let that stop her. I'll let her tell the rest of the story in her own words...

"About a week and a half after the contest, I queried Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Agency.  One of my good writing friends, Ryan Gebhart, had recently signed with her and loved her, so I was excited to see what she thought of ZOMBIE.  I actually broke a rule and queried two manuscripts at once, focusing mainly on ZOMBIE and a little on a sex, drugs, and roll and roll manuscript Mary had on her wish list at

"Mary asked to discuss representation the very next day.  Her vision and revision plans were absolutely in line with mine, so I signed with her pretty quickly, and I'm so glad I did.  Mary's great!

So, there you have the rest of the story. Congratulations to Amanda, and I'll speak for all of us when I say that we wish you the best of luck as your journey continues and look forward to reading Zombies!

And since we're talking about queries and agents and all that stuff, don't forget about tomorrow. You've had the weekend to get your query in a stupendously polished condition. At 9 am Central Time, the window for entries opens. In case you need to review the rules and mechanics of how it works, click HERE!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Andrea Brown agent will judge contest!

That's right! Our query contest will be judged by an agent from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Does it get any better than that? Nope.

Agent will request 
a full manuscript
from the winner! 

So here are the details you've been waiting for. This contest is open to all writers, including previous winners. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to create a mind-blowing query that will knock the reader's socks off. We've studied the mechanics of queries in the past, so you know the drill. As mentioned earlier, there are prior posts on here that will give you a starting point. (Remember the Hero's Journey?) Plus, if you'd like to read some queries that just won a similar contest, agent Jason Yarn has posted his comments on Querytracker.


The following rules apply to this contest:
1. Your query must be for a completed YA or MG manuscript.
2. Maximum word count is 350.
3. Contest entries will open 9:00 a.m. Central Time Monday, April 12, 2010.
4. Contest entries will close at 9:00 a.m. Central Time Wednesday, April 14, 2010 or when 50 entries are received, whichever comes first.
5. Only one entry per person.

When the contest entry window opens, please do the following:
1. Email your entry to me at
2. Subject line should include QUERY CONTEST - YOUR NAME
3. You don't need to include a salutation.
4. Your email should begin with the TITLE and GENRE.
5. Paste your query below the title. (350 word maximum)
6. Include your name and email address at the bottom.

That's it! Meanwhile, if you'd like to post your query below for comments, feel free to do so. You can also visit Query Letter Hell at Absolutewrite and post it there for additional comments and suggestions between now and the time the entry window opens. If you don't know how to get there, leave a comment, and someone will give you directions. Try to get as much feedback as possible and polish, polish, polish.

Now, for the prizes!
Our Mystery Agent will select one winner and two runners up. The winner will be asked to submit their full manuscript to the agent for consideration. The two runners may submit their first 50 pages.Anything can happen from that point on.

Good luck to all. Feel free to post your query below if you'd like. Visit for more help. And be sure to check back tomorrow for some related info that will be very exciting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Great Contest — Fabulous prize!

You can tell from Max's expression that he's as shocked as I am by the results of our poll on the right sidebar. When we saw where it was heading, Max and I had a discussion. It didn't take long to figure it out — you don't like queries. It's obvious.

You. Don't. Like. Queries. In fact, with only four pitiful votes, the query letter is clearly your least favorite thing to write. It's apparent that the majority of you are leaning toward that 250-word snippet. So that's what we're going to do.

But not this time. What?

Not this time. This time we're going to do that thing you hate. That dreaded, despicable, hateful query letter. Come on, you're saying, why do we have to do that? We hate queries. You know we hate queries. I suck at queries. My dog ate my query.

I know you hate queries. Every writer I've spoken with hates queries. I'm guessing that even agents hate queries, sometimes. But they're a necessary part of landing an agent, getting published, and getting your wonderful writing out there and into the libraries and book stores where readers can get lost in your beautiful words and fall in love with you and your story.

But no matter how well you write a scene, how believable your dialogue is, how clearly detailed your visual elements are, you have to be able to use that ability to create a query letter that's going to pique an agent's interest enough for them to request a sample of that writing. That's why doing it well is so important, and that's why we're having the query contest. This post is simply an advance notice so you can create that query and polish it to perfection. Have others read it. Visit and post it there for comments and suggestions, and revise it until it shines like a rare gem. There's time for that, but none to waste.

So stop groaning already. You haven't heard the good part yet. This is one very special query contest. This one might get you published. Although our previous contests have been helpful because of the reader comments and suggestions for improvement, we're not going to judge the queries ourselves this time. We hate queries, right? And since we hate them so much, we're going to have someone much more knowledgeable do that ominous task of judging. (I can hear your sighs of relief.) Now, get your faces right up to the monitor —  closer — because you don't want to miss this next part. Ready?

We're having a real literary agent judge them. But wait —it gets even better! This agent, herinafter referred to as the Mystery Agent, is from one of the most prestigious agencies in the country. If you haven't heard of this agency, you've been living in a cave with a lava lamp, drinking Ovaltine, and listening to an 8-track tape of James Brown and the Famous Flames Live at the Apollo Theater. Or something equally distant from the real world. Enough of your lame humor. Give us the details!

Sorry. That's all I can tell you at this point except that it's a done deal, and it's Game on! I will have the rest of the story tomorrow morning, so be sure to tune in to find out exactly what's going on. Same bat time. Same bat channel.

Now get to work on that winning query I know you can write. If you haven't read the two previous posts below, you might want to do that first. Both could provide a spark to ignite that bonfire of a query letter you're capable of writing. That's all for now, but check back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Also, look for a special post this Saturday regarding something serendipitous. You're going to love it!

Your Query at 30,000 Feet

To continue our topic of yesterday, I wanted to offer you a little writing exercise that will incorporate the Hero's Journey and your query letter. As we know, query letters are one of the hardest projects to tackle. Many times we are so interested in giving the agent the entire plot that we include a lot of unnecessary information and actually fail to capture the real story. Getting mired in the minutia, trying to reveal all the sub-plots and all the characters and their relationships, isn't the direction your query needs to take. Your query may be more effective in getting an agent's attention if you step back and take a look at it from a 30,000-foot level.

So here's the exercise: Think about your story and condense it to four sentences. This isn't going to be easy, but it will help you condense the story to its bare essence, and it may prove valuable as a starting point when you write (rewrite?) your query. The sentences should include:

1. ORPHAN: Who is the main character and what happens to toss them into a new situation? Examples: With Dorothy it was the tornado that landed her in a whole new world. In The Hunger Games, it was the reaping that placed Katniss in a new situation. What happens in your story that changes the playing field?

2. WANDERER: What does your character do once their lives change? (Bilbo Baggins sets off on a journey to find the ring. Coraline goes through the door in search of her missing parents. Etc.)

3. WARRIOR: Who or what is the character fighting? What is at stake? How are they planning on changing the situation? What happens if they don't?

4. MARTYR: What does the character have to do to make things right. What sacrifice will they have to make in order to fix everything?

If you'd like to leave a comment with your four sentences, feel free to do so. Then others can comment as well and perhaps add some additional insight. Have fun!