Write out your pitch ahead of time (as in don't type it directly in the comment column first!)
Let it sit for a bit.
Go back and review/revise.
Do this till you have something you like.
Select your target audience: adult/YA/MG/picture book. PICK ONLY ONE
Select your genre: romance, crime, SF, fantasy, western, or commercial fiction. PICK ONE
Select your "context material"--generally this will be what develops and explains your pitch. I think of it as the first paragraph of your query. This is a work in progress, so don't worry about making a mistake.
THEN POST all of this as one comment in the comment column of this blog post.
ONE entry per person
NO DO OVERS.
(that is, you cannot erase your entry and start over)
This means it's essential to draft in a place that is NOT the comment you intend to post.
30 words max. Fewer are fine.
Please do NOT talk about this on Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms. I'd like to keep this to regular blog readers for now.
Be prepared for me to discuss your work here on this blog if you enter.
If you do NOT want me to do that, DO NOT ENTER.
I will close the comments when we've reach the number I think I can read and consider. It won't take long: 10:31am
On Sunday, a post for discussing this will go up. Please do NOT post anything here other than pitches.
My comments will be posted no earlier than Monday.
Adult or YA: YA
Paragraph: (100 words or fewer)
Seeking truth amid her father’s bullying and her mother’s secrets, sixteen-year-old Priya unlocks a series of questions better left unanswered. Her friend—her love—Xander dies during a scuffle with a Phospholis city official, and King Devon orders Priya’s eye removed for witnessing Xander’s death. She’s banished to the secret underground city of Oblitus, where everyone is maimed to mark them as outsiders. To prevent war between the two cities, Priya needs to reunite as many people as she can—especially after she finds out the real reason they took her eye.
Pitch: Sixteen-year-old Priya loses an eye, and gains a new kind of sight, which she’ll need to save two cities from a war based on ignorance.
Adult or YA: YA
Lissa suffered the humiliation of marriage to a man cursed to spend his days in falcon form.
Despite her resolve, she grew to love him.
When her betrayal sends Finist beyond the horizon, Lissa follows. She wears iron shoes to dust. She journeys through cities and steppes. Aided by Finist’s kinswoman, an eagle huntress, Lissa finally reaches the gates of 13th Kingdom.
And that was the easy part.
It will take courage and cunning to free Finist from an enchantress and perhaps, win his heart once more.
WIP is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale, Finist the Falcon.
She’ll wear iron shoes to dust and journey beyond the eastern horizon to challenge an enchantress. She’ll save the man she betrayed, whether he wants rescue or not.
Category: fantasy (magical realism)
Paragraph: Legal magic use is on lockdown. Mages all work for the United Church Council; warlocks are all criminals waiting for death row. That worked for a while. Some warlocks may deserve the needle, but no tolerance policies always go awry. Alex doles out second chances under the table. Each 'escape' increases suspicion against Alex. If caught, they run the risk of exposing the White Tower Project, a modern Underground Railroad. But a hurricane hit Louisiana, so most mages in the surrounding states were tapped for disaster relief. During the labor shortage, warlock activity and public disapproval increased.
Pitch: Illegal magic use incurs the death penalty in Texas. It's Alex's job to catch warlocks. So long as they don't get caught helping, instead.
Starring in local Friday Night Lights should be a thrill for sixteen-year-old Hunter. That is, if he loved football enough to do anything to keep his position. And didn't have asthma. Hunter struggles with the demands of football, and his dad’s expectations. He suspects his coach would risk anything to win this football season. Scholarship, status and loyalties collide when Hunter believes teammates are taking deadly drugs. After a teammate, and friend, nearly dies Hunter determines to find the source of the drugs—even at the cost of alienating Coach Hart and his promise of a Division One scholarship.
Scholarship, status and loyalty collide when Hunter suspects Coach is dosing teammates. After one nearly dies Hunter has to choose: keep bro code silence or throw flag on the play.
Both women have good reasons to enter the Contest, beyond wanting power. Ashvi is in position to win, but at the last minute realizes Sorina needs it more than she does, so she lets Sorina win. Sorina becomes queen, but then dies. Ashvi is invited to rule and she marries Sorina’s widower. In a Snow White turn, she later finds Sorina eternally sleeping in the castle. While caring for her she wakes her. They’re left with a dilemma involving two queens, the king they both love, the witch who put Sorina to sleep, and Ashvi’s wish for revenge.
Two women compete to become co-ruler of their country. They become friends. When the winner dies unexpectedly the runner-up takes power, only to find her friend is alive.
A retired mercenary helps the daughter of an old enemy on her quest. Unfortunately, she doesn’t trust him, and he won’t let her father perform the same depravity again.
Sometimes Hurshash hates his conscience.
The former mercenary was enjoying his comfortable life when the daughter of an old enemy appeared on his doorstep. The naïve, self-righteous princess Daliah demands that he fulfill an oath he never made. Rather than let her continue her quest alone and get herself killed, Hurshash agrees to help Daliah . . . and her father.
Unprepared for the hazards of the world, Daliah is forced to rely on the mercenary. Hurshash tries to teach her with anecdotes from his own life, although she only believes one word in ten at best. Through both her trials and his words, a delicate bond is forged between them.
Pitch: A letter she was never supposed to read leads a terminally ill girl to find the family she was never supposed to know and her last hope for survival.
Eighteen-year-old Cassidy Reed knows three things: Her grandmother loves her. She will die without a bone marrow transplant. She was never meant to read the letter she found hidden in her grandmother's bible. But there is so much more Cassidy doesn't know, like who her father is and why he abandoned her. Armed with the letter as her only clue, she sets out, racing against time, to find the man who helped give her life and who may also be the only one able to help her save it.
Target audience: MG
Paragraph: Lera Levashonok must decide whether to admit she is human when she gets mistaken for a refugee alien and transported to the Scratch—the transition space between neither this nor that, not longer and not yet, where extraterrestrial newcomers are trained and tested by Intergalactic Immigration Services. If Lera tells the truth, she is toast. A walking and talking security threat that must be neutralized. If she doesn’t say anything, she will be either granted the right to live permanently on Earth or deported to a war-torn planet.
Pitch: Immigrant kid gets mistaken for refugee alien + transported to space between neither this nor that. Struggles to return home. Help = tree-like creature + albino alligator allergic to tears.
Adult or YA
Jade, daring to cheat to win, never wins. She becomes an accidental stowaway on the charlatan of Oz’s escape balloon that encounters a fierce, disorienting whirlwind of dust. Unceremoniously dumped in a colorless, magic-less place called 'Kansas' in 1936, Jade is sold to a ragtag medicine show filled with characters that wear their desperate dreams under coats of choking dust. Disappointed, angry and dirty, Jade never gives up. She survives behind the bars of a dilapidated sideshow wagon as "The Moon Girl". No place like home? Sometimes there is a place that come damn close...even if you lose.
Jade will win by cheating. Or not.
A mistake, a medicine show and
1936, dustbowl Kansas interferes with her dreams.
Is there really no place like home?
Adult or YA: Adult
Paragraph: Zoey Prescott, former military and tough as they come, doesn't do personal protection. Not after the failure that still haunts her. She leaves fieldwork to her employees, focusing her skills on design and testing of security systems. When reclusive tech mogul Anton Ferraro hires her to evaluate his security it sounds like an easy, low risk job. But Ferraro is as inscrutable as he is imposing and Zoey discovers he's been receiving threats far more dangerous than he let on. Soon she's reliving her nightmare, defending against an enemy she can't identify, in an isolated place filled with unpredictable magic and menacing shadows. To say nothing of the dragon.
Pitch: She's a kickass ex-military security expert who can handle anything. But when protecting a client involves making deals with a temperamental dragon, she might just get them all killed.
Category: Domestic Suspense
Adult or YA: Adult
All Laney Bird ever wanted was to be a detective, and she’s excellent at it. But when her marriage implodes, she shatters,
and her case against the Russian mob is dangerously compromised. Unable to work and care for her troubled son alone,
she quits and relocates.
Sylvan has zero crime rate. Perfect schools.
Then her boy vanishes.
Everyone believes he ran away (and good riddance). As Laney investigates her son’s secret life, she realizes that between vengeful mobsters, bitter confidential informants, and an ex, her boy’s best chance of survival depends on how good of a detective she really is.
When an undercover’s case against the Russian mob is compromised, she quits the NYPD and escapes upstate with her troubled son. Zero crime rate. Perfect schools. Then her boy vanishes.
Target Audience: YA
X-men meets Jason Bourne meets The Outsiders.
Kade Maddox, a sixteen-year-old with a unique gift, lives a privileged, yet secluded life, thanks to his parents’ employer. But when armed mercenaries invade his family’s property in the Appalachian Mountains, Kade must rely on an escaped prisoner– his deceased brother– to help them avoid capture. Caught in a world of lies, intrigue, and manipulation, Kade works to protect his family while learning how to control his emergent power before the leader of The Collective finds them. Unfortunately, for Kade, everything comes with a price.
Pitch: Hunted by the leader of a clandestine organization known as The Collective, four teens with special abilities seek refuge– and answers– in a small southern town.
Category: Upmarket/Book Club
Adult or YA: Adult
Paragraph: (100 words or fewer)
She was ready to divorce the cheating bastard; she hated him, almost as much as she hated herself. Then the Towers came down. Ellen’s secretly grateful. She emerged from the wreckage a new woman, a strong, independent New Yorker. Her father would be proud.
Ellen’s son Rob is still filled with anger and guilt, emotions which two years in Iraq have only magnified. Then a drunken joyride in a horse carriage triggers a court-ordered stint at the stables. There, real friendship and a cause Rob can believe in provide unexpected hope.
Pitch: 30 words
He came to the cantina just days after 9/11, white ash coating his $800 loafers, asking for work. But when Mack embraces a new future, his past roars.
Commercial Fiction (Domestic Suspense)
Jackie Mason is running from her violent criminal ex-boss (ex-lover, ex-whatever), Cort. He thinks she stole from him. She did. She’s planning a temporary stop-over at home to pick up the inheritance from her dead parents’ estate, pay off Cort, then start over somewhere else to rebuild her life. Nothing goes to plan. At home, Jackie runs directly into the icy wall of her ex-fiancé David Mann (with whom she’s still in love), and her sister Sara. Sara Mason Mann. One of them may have murdered her parents. She has a choice: investigate or keep running. Neither option is trouble-free.
The only way out of trouble means wading into a different kind.
Then the old trouble comes knocking.
Her perfect sister holds the invitation.
And twists the knife.
The letter and the spirit.
Category: Crime. Adult
She waltzes in, focused, poised, and the flowing robe doesn’t hurt either. And George…well, he’s speechless. Damn good thing too, because it’s her courtroom, and he’s up on charges. Our knight in rusting armor was out rescuing damsels in a parking lot, late last night. He saved a tipsy maiden from a lecherous sleazebag. Later, that same sleazebag turns up dead…the prime suspect: George.
He left Vietnam ages ago, but it never left him. Now his inner demons, phantoms, and taunting windmills have company…an expeditor chasing a dubious pipeline permit, and the psycho hired to frame him. …
George Archer’s a veteran, he fights inner demons, tilting windmills, and now, a very real oil company pursuing a dubious pipeline permit…and the psycho they’ve hired to frame him.
Dark Fantasy, YA
Seventeen-year-old fry-cook, Marte Daikan, is struggling to keep her homicidal tendencies in check. She needs to escape the magical slum of Hillend, before the influence of her father’s Death magic transforms her into something equally grim.
But Marte feels she is responsible for everyone; her traumatised mother, sister, cousin; even her estranged, killer father.
When her mother disappears, Marte knows that her obsessive father is to blame—she’s just praying he hasn’t hurt anyone yet. To save her family, Marte must confront her father’s past and challenge the grisly addiction to magic that rules their harbourside town.
Marte always protects her family. But when her mother goes astray, leaving a fresh track of blood behind, unmagical Marte must finally take on the obsessive Death-mage responsible… her father.
Adult or YA: New Adult
Paragraph: Laramee Fibbs—bumbling space cadet by trade—gets caught in a whirlwind of fragrant, pink space dust, the moment Five, the Unknown Ruler of the Known Universe’s feisty daughter, solicits his help in preventing a bunch of depressed, homicidal cyborgs from getting their ravenous claws on The Book of Blish; an erroneously translated, ancient text, which bestows permanent bliss—or rather blish—upon anyone within earshot. At first sight never-ending happiness might sound like a pretty snazzy idea, but where there is eternal blish, bad things will follow: the obliteration of life as we know it; to name one option.
Pitch: In this humorous yarn of intergalactic proportions a bumbling space cadet finds himself on a quest for courage; while, as a perk, saving the universe from annihilation through never-ending bliss.
Title: Forget It!
Author: Brent Salish:
Pitch: They carved “NIGR” into her back. Last hope: ex-ballplayer Sequoyah. Minimal detecting skills, but smart, persistent, and pissed at meatheads who consumed a life and skipped out on the check.
Start of Query: They’ve gotten away with it. Carved “NIGR” and a swastika into Althea Dorrell’s back. Beaten her white husband into permanent brain damage. Dropped off Seattle’s radar two years ago, long past the cops’ sell-by date. So how’s M.E. Sequoyah going to find them? He'll never be as good at anything as he was playing second base for the Mariners, just a part-time detective-wannabe with a part-time job scouting players, a part-time girlfriend, and absolutely zilch to tie him down. He’s not the guy anyone should depend on to nail the bastards who destroyed the Dorrells.
Justice isn’t black and white, it’s blood-red. Lily runs The Center where the broken enter and avengers emerge. With help from the finest minds, she molds victims into elite teams trained to rescue, retrieve, redeem . . . and eliminate. Her dark secrets are about to come out. At six, she witnessed Sissy’s murder. At seventeen, she stole a piece of Center equipment and took revenge. Only her best friend knows the whole story, including the lives lost that night. The truth could destroy her, and bring down The Center. Letting it happen on her terms could save her trainees.
Pitch: QUANTICO meets REVENGE. In a heart-wrenching 180, Lily grows from terrified child to lethal revenge master rescuing victims and exacting justice, her way.
Paragraph: Freddie Wodehouse has been determined all his life that he will marry Kitty Aitken, his best friend, but has little chance of success. To improve his prospects, and for want of anything better to do, he chooses a career in politics, under his father’s guidance. Kitty, meanwhile, has spent her adolescence hiding books by radical authors under her bed, and has ambitions of her own. When they are married, their devotion is tested by Freddie’s career and Kitty’s growing radicalism, as she joins a secret society dedicated to the advancement of women, one of whose members is dangerously beguiling.
Pitch: All he wanted was her. All she wanted was to change the world.
Query 100 words: My mother disappeared when I was 13 years old. Given that my parents were in the middle of a contentious divorce, my father immediately became the prime suspect. However, with no firm evidence, the police were powerless to remove me and my three sisters (15, 12 and 9) from his custody. How did I manage to live with the man who I grew to believe killed my mother? My book will not only answer this question but will detail the murder trial that took seventeen years to unfold -- one with no body, weapon, or eyewitness.
Pitch: My mother disappeared when I was 13. It would take 17 years to bring my father to trial for her murder. A trial with no body, weapon, or eyewitness.
Category: Adult Fantasy
1st paragraph: With a thirst for blood, an angry Northlander pretending to be her mother, and no way home, seven-year-old Sarlona has big problems for someone so small. None bigger than Ciarán, the vampire politician determined to weaponize her—or destroy her, so no one else can.
Benton has problems, too: a thirst for ale, an angry Northlander pretending to be his boss, and no home to go back to (he may have burned it down). Never mind the pretty little monster who’s decided his blood tastes best. He has to protect her from a bigger, uglier monster, or hang.
Pitch: A 7yo girl confronts dragons, humanoid insects, and genocidal vampires to save her pet—an ex-highwayman with a big mouth and a drinking problem.
After his boss is whacked, Frank hides from the mob by joining a diverse team of recruits at Superheroes, Inc. which claims to mold geeky wannabes into true heroes.
Geeky Frank Lambda loves his day job at the comic book store, but he lives for the night, when he can atone for the death of his baby brother—a death he failed to prevent. At nightfall, he squeezes into green spandex and becomes Lambda Man, the bumbling but sincere protector of his Philadelphia neighborhood.
Frank’s life is upended when his beloved boss is murdered and his best friend, Raunch, is involved in a mob hit gone wrong. They’re offered salvation by a mysterious woman named Keira, whose business, Superheroes, Inc., claims to turn wannabes like Frank into real heroes.
Agbert is a Genie's Apprentice in the Wish Granters Guild. Soon he'll earn his magical Endowment. And just in time. Agbert's brother is deathly sick. Only magic can cure him. Agbert lost his father in a mysterious wish-granting accident. He won't allow his brother to die, too. But as Agbert learns Wishcraft, he grows disillusioned. When a human boy finds Agbert's Master Genie's lamp, Agbert helps the human outwit the system and earn a life-saving wish to heal his dying mother. Too late, Agbert discovers why the Genies hoard their magic. The Leprechaun-in-Chief Eamon enforces strict limits on magic usage.
When a Genie's apprentice discovers that the wish-granting system is rigged, he must defeat the magic-hoarding Leprechaun to free the wishes and save his sickly younger brother. Wish him luck!
(I knew I forgot something)
Adult or YA: Adult
Paragraph: Faye Presley is an Appalachian woman who, in her later years, is staring over the edge and wondering if what her children are offering her is a hand or a fist. Offspring far away, husband gone, the coal industry which shaped her life gone, all that remains is her modest coal camp house and her friends and neighbors. Now her children are trying to take that away.
Pitch: An Appalachian King Lear without the armies.
Category: Commercial fiction
Adult or YA: Adult
After his sister’s husband is killed in a car accident, former runaway Charm Freeman returns home to find a fragile family still shadowed by long unresolved issues. Drawn in against his better judgment, he finds himself at odds with his sister over how to best help her ten-year-old son, Lucas, deal with the death of his father. Against his sister's wishes, Charm and Lucas join together to turn an injured retriever into a champion, a journey that forces the family to face the issues that still threaten to tear them apart.
A wayward traveler and his suddenly-fatherless nephew defy family and challenge their faith to turn an injured retriever into a field champion.
Believing that life is undeserved by those who refuse to abstain from using mind-altering substances, social extremist, Cason, has decided to take action. Tayla can’t be too surprised to discover that, true to his character, her wayward brother has fallen prey to this inconceivable scheme. Endeavoring to save him once again would mean sacrificing her morals, risking her newfound freedom, and endangering her own life. Tayla’s already given up so much for her ungrateful twin, and saving him isn’t likely to end the cycle even if he does survive. Now the clock is ticking.
Although Tayla’s well aware that her brother cares only for self-preservation, she’s entirely in the dark about the truth behind the depth of his predicament, and in turn, her own.
Target Audience: YA
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Context Material: When Alex finds an injured girl with no memories on his doorstep, he convinces himself this is fine too. He’s juggled all his other stressors for this long, so what’s one more thing? But Terryn isn’t the only magical stranger in town. Local teenagers are being attacked, and none of the victims can remember who hurt them. As Terryn regains her memories, she recalls visions of the serial attacker—who is a general on the opposite side of a war she may have started. Alex begins to realize “one more thing” is actually a big deal.
Pitch: Boy with crippling anxiety finds magical maybe-war-criminal-girl on back porch. Hijinks (including attempted murder) ensue.
Category: adult crime
Harold knows there is something wrong when he comes home from work and there is a body in his apartment. Harold lives alone. There shouldn't be a body there. Things get worse when the poilice, who are already there, tell him they think the body is his. Harold is alive. Somebody tried to kill Harold and snuffed an intruder by mistake. They will be back. That is, if Harold is who he thinks he is. Harold has partial amnesia. If he can find out who he is, he will know who they are. Harold's time is running out fast.
Harold finds a body in his apartment. Harold's problem is, the police think it's his. When his would-be killers find out it isn't, his problems will get worse.
100 word paragraph:
Vesper is the daughter of a warlord desperate for a male heir. Hoping she will bear sons, Vesper’s father orders her to marry Aubrey, her dissolute neighbor. Rather than wed, Vesper wants to be named heir and become the king’s first female overlord when she inherits. Her father scoffs at the idea, but in a fit of temper he wagers that Vesper is more capable of ruling than Aubrey. To decide the bet, Vesper is pitted against Aubrey in armed combat. Vesper must dig deep and transform herself into a warrior in order to defeat Aubrey and win the competition.
Pitch (under 30 words): William the Conqueror's overlords have always been men. Until now.
An imposter posing as an Economics professor coerces Jericho College students into his escort service. In Curtains for the Corpse, a 75,000 word contemporary mystery, Lizzie Christopher uncovers a plot to silence the professor's two whistleblowers--a college student, Dee Atkinson, who is missing, and her artist friend Joe Pye, whom Lizzie finds dead. With the imposter professor on the run, Lizzie is determined to find him, realizing that her daughter and the other young women in Jericho will never be safe until he is captured.
Pitch:A body dumped at a construction site. A missing college student. An interior design shop manager determined to investigate.
Target audience: adult
Genre: commercial fiction
Susie’s son told his teacher he didn’t do his homework because his mother had died. Susie’s daughter is a perfectionist who chugs Maalox. Her husband’s indifferent, her mother’s cold, her grandmother’s dying, and her passive-aggressive psychologist Eugene refuses to say her name. She quits Eugene and vows to never return. When Eugene ends up in traction from a seven-story fall, while counseling a suicidal patient, Susie goes to see him. He’s helpless and depressed. His wife had left him and he has no visitors. Susie takes pity on Eugene and visits him daily, and that’s when the real healing begins.
When my psychologist told me, “Susie is a cutesy name… for your mature years,” I vowed I’d never return. Then he ended up alone in life and in the hospital
Target audience: Adult
Sometimes spies wear crinolines.
The country is on the verge of war in April 1861. As bad as that is, it's the least of 20-year-old Lorena McKenzie's worries. Her father died in November, leaving her Rosemount plantation and boarding school in Virginia and their renowned horse farm in Charleston, South Carolina. Unfortunately, they're both massively indebted. The bankers in Virginia will work with her. Those in Charleston will literally kill to get the farm. She's prepared to sacrifice Rosemount to save it until General Beauregard's spymaster reveals her father was one of their spies. Now they need her and Rosemount.
Sometimes spies wear crinolines.
Bankers will literally kill for Lorena's horse farm. She'd sacrifice her Virginia home to save it, but General Beauregard's spymaster reveals he needs her and Rosemount.
When the rich man running against the current District Attorney shows up dead at a sketchy motel, newly minted homicide detective Rosalinda Fell investigates the case. She decides it’s definitely murder, but “victim” was no gentleman. As she interrogates grudge-holders who seem to be multiplying faster than she can question them, fewer of her supposed allies want her to keep digging. Her partner, her bosses, and the current DA all push Rosy to close the case, but Rosy has never been about easy. She’s here for justice… even if it ends her career.
Pitch: New homicide detective Rosalinda Fell must prove herself to her co-workers while solving a sensationalized, political, possibly career-ending murder.
Target audience: MG
Genre: High Fantasy
Context material (1st paragraph of query)
Thirteen-year-old aspiring lawyer Kat Su wants nothing more than to be a Chosen One--one of the few kids sent through a magic portal to the mystical world of Fantasia. Being Chosen means glory, the adventure of a lifetime, and most importantly, a chance for Kat to finally prove she's just as good as her Chosen sister Marie. After four years of fruitless efforts, Kat is ready to resign herself to a normal life; until her best friend Will is Chosen, and seems all too eager to leave her behind.
Pitch: LEGALLY BLONDE + Portal Fantasy, DISCWORLD-style: unChosen girl follows Chosen One BFF into a troperiffic fantasyland and accidentally becomes the new Evil Overlord. Turns out, this Villain thing is kinda fun.
Pitch: Twelve-year-old Calvin shares a raucous consciousness with an American crow. When Calvin’s first crush is kidnapped, he must choose between her or the bird. And Calvin really likes to fly.
Paragraph: Twelve-year-old Calvin Jones suffers seizures. During these episodes, his spirit leaves his body and shares consciousness with a crow named Sherlock. Together, boy and bird streak into the heavens. Their flights together are brief and spectacular.
Superstition clashes with science in SEA OF DARKNESS, a middle-grade historical novel about survival at sea, inspired by a true event.
Sagres, Portugal, 1446. Twenty-two men set sail around Africa's Cape Bojador on an exploration caravel sponsored by Prince Henry the Navigator. But after the captain and his experienced crew are massacred, only five young boys remain. Manuelo Santana, a scribe with no sailing experience, must make some hard choices to save them all.
When Manuelo take the caravel's tiller, he has a dangerous choice. Follow the rocky coast against impossible headwinds. Or venture into the Sea of Darkness, where sea monsters lurk.
1st 98 words of Query
Phaedra is not a dragon. She is but named for that mythical creature. She is dead and damned. Her afterlife is a torment of reliving her murder on repeat. She died paralyzed, unable to scream as rats ate her alive.
The rulers of Pandemonium offer an eternity of bliss if only Phaedra will forfeit her name. She refuses them. When a carelessly echoed spell frees Phaedra from Hell, the demons pursue her. They fear her. And they should. Phaedra understands their game. Her second bite at the apple will not benefit Pandemonium, not like the last time.
A tutor, priest, and sorcerer fight over a demon with a dragon’s name. One wishes to redeem her, one to banish her, one to absorb her power and destroy her.
Michel, homeless, has nothing. Twenty-five years earlier, he had it all...the luxury apartment in Paris, a career as an airline pilot, and the girl, Katalina, a Brazilian-American art student. The only problem in his perfect life — his best friend.
Gui's infatuation with Katalina turns to obsession because what Michel has, Gui wants. As far back as he can remember it was his dream to become a pilot, not Michel's. When Michel got his wings and he didn't, Gui's envy turns to hate. He plots to tear the couple apart.
Pitch: After 25 years, a homeless man learns the truth about his best friend's betrayal. More importantly, he realizes sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.
(I changed my mind and figured, what the heck. Why not.)
Category: Issue Book
Target Audience: YA
100 words: Peri Atwater might have a knack for theoretical hydrodynamics, but she’ll need to build a working prototype of her pitchpoling prevention invention if she wants to land the Galley Scholarship. Fortunately, she’s saved enough money to cover supplies. She’s even snagged late-night access to a tank testing facility. Everything is on track for her to make an epic impression on this year’s scholarship panel. Or at least everything was on track until Peri rescued Chance Damiano from the death grip of a rip.
Chance was Peri’s unattainable uptown boy. Now he’s making Peri the center of his everything.
Pitch: When Peri rescues her crush from a rip, she lands his interest. But first love turns lethal in this issue book disguised as a budding romance via an unreliable narrator.
Twelve-year-old Maddie Koster never planned on becoming a farm kid, but there’s more to her father’s inheritance than corn and soybeans. When Maddie moves into the dilapidated farmhouse, a teenage boy named Neil shows up at the door, offering to help with the cattle. As Maddie gets to know him, she suspects that his peculiarities go beyond his old-fashioned overalls, outdated vocabulary, and fear of technology. He might actually be a ghost. If so, he might be able to make Maddie’s secret, impossible dream come true: maybe she could see her mother one last time.
Bad news? Dad's inherited a run-down farm.
Worse news? The only kid within miles is a scowling, weirdly-dressed boy.
Worst news? He’s not even alive.
By the time Nia graduates from the Academy, she’s been missing for twelve years and legally dead for five. She’s nameless. It’s why the system works. The Academy specializes in training gifted children, and with a gift for stealth, Nia is the perfect all-purpose villain. Unlike most Academy graduates, though, Nia has fragmented memories of the family she was snatched from. She’s been planning her escape for years… and they always knew she’d try.
Fragmented memories of parents, the training to be a villain, and a gift for stealth. The Academy can’t afford to lose her and she’ll do anything to make them pay.
Pitch: Struggling artist Portia Blake wants to know why her muse destroyed her.
Target audience: adult
Context: Once a rising star on the London art scene, Portia Blake now spends more time in a barmaid's uniform than in her studio. She's still determined to create the statue that will make her name, and she's even found her muse – her boyfriend, John. But although John supports her work, he won't agree to be her model. Portia's chance to salvage her career is slipping through her clay-stained fingers.
Pitch: Kelly returns home to help aging parents.
Dad has a heart attack.
Fireman at the scene was Kelly’s first kiss.
15 years has passed yet time has stood still for Kelly.
Paragraph: Kelly is forced to quit her Caribbean island job and return home to help care for her parents. Readjusting to life in a small Midwest town is not easy; then Kelly’s father has a heart attack. But in tragedy can there be hope? Kelly recognizes the Lieutenant at the scene as her first kiss. Depressed, desperate for attention and consumed by thought of that summer 15 years ago, Kelly reaches out to him. But will he be her savior or just add to her heartache?
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Leliana is a high schooler whose biggest worry is getting into a good college - until she wakes up from what she thought was a dream to find herself on the run, with a newly awakened power she doesn't know how to control. Eirik, the boy who got her into this mess in the first place, tells her she's descended from an ancient bloodline that was tasked with killing a god. The good news is, her ancestors already killed the god a thousand years ago. The bad news is, now a descendant of this god wants to bring him back to life, and said descendant has mind control abilities. Leliana and Eirik must find a way to rescue the people he's gotten under his power and prevent the resurrection from going through, or else no one's going to have free will ever again.
Leliana finds out she can stop time! ...and that she needs to kill a god. And quickly, or her grades and college career are toast. Like the rest of humanity.
Pitch: With classmates turning up murdered, Scotland’s first female medical student grapples with what ends–and deeds–people go to achieve dreams and how far she’ll go to protect her own.
Context: When seventeen-year-old Rosey Blackwell gets into the male-only Medical school at the University of Edinburgh it is not to universal delight. Going by the projectiles-verbal or otherwise that greet her first lectures, you'd wager she'd just single-handedly ruined the British Empire. For fun. The worst of the damage comes curtsey, not from the elitist professors, but rather the schools well known prodigy-James Baker. The cleverest pupil, he goes out of his way to make her life hell. But when Rosey's classmates mysteriously start disappearing, missing soon becomes murdered…and Rosey and James become suspects.
Target Audience: MG
Tarisha, eleven, is dying in a Russian hospital, her malady’s cause unknown. She dreams of a bannik, a Russian creature who reveals an incoming army of vodyanye, rakshasa, djinn, and other supernatural evils. But this is a dream…until Maalik arrives. He comes from Arana, ruled by the demigod Geshon, where the creatures of our folklores are real. Trisha is one of seven children who must go there to help fight. If she does, magic can save her, where science cannot. But stopping Geshon and his army will entail years of perilous training. And if she survives, Tarisha can never return.
Tarisha’s decision: stay; hope Russian science saves her; pray demigod Geshon and his vodyanye army are dreams.
Or go, unable to return. Hope Aranan magic saves her. And fight Geshon.
When the Mayor of Miramba dies in a single vehicle crash police believe it’s a tragic accident. However, gossip circles that local mechanic Erin Cooper, who serviced the car the day before, was at fault. Erin knows the car was in tiptop shape when it left her workshop, but it doesn’t take long for the string of rumours to have an impact. When customers start cancelling, Erin acts to save her business and reputation. But when she stumbles across a second dead body, proving her innocence becomes more than a fight for her reputation.
When brake failure causes the mayor’s death, mechanic Erin is blamed. But when she discovers a second dead body, proving her innocence becomes more than a fight for her reputation.
Robbie’s brother thinks he has magical powers. Robbie has to believe him to save his life.
Robbie Reid has looked after his older brother, Owen, since they were kids—and he’d do anything for him. But lately Owen has been claiming to have occult visions, and he’s started doing weird things, like call coin tosses and pool shots with 100% accuracy. When Owen impossibly saves a kid from being run over, witnesses label him “The Prophet,” and he becomes an instant internet folk hero.
[I wasn’t sure what to provide for the context material. This is the actual first paragraph of the query.]
Adult or YA: Adult
Hollywood agent Buddy Price dies in a car crash and finds himself in Heaven. There, he discovers God’s had enough and will pull the plug if we can’t learn to get along - a 'love thy neighbor or else' message. An unlikely hero as there ever was, Buddy gets a second chance to fix things back on Earth. From the first few lines, we know he’s probably the last person we’d want to depend on to save the world, but God’s got His plan. Our fate rests in Buddy’s hands… or, who knows, maybe he just needs lithium or something.
When Hollywood agent dies, he learns God ends the world if we can’t get along. He negotiates a second chance for everyone including himself. What’s God got up his sleeve?
Target Audience: Adult
Genre: Commercial fiction
Harrie Jones thinks her luck has changed. Broke and in debt, she has just landed a dream job, valuing art and antiques in a Tuscan palazzo. Her new client is a good-looking, wealthy connoisseur. But the economic crash is hitting hard; no-one is immune, not even the super-rich. After a teenage boy falls to his death from the palazzo window, Harrie begins to look closer at the glossy surface of this beautiful place. What she discovers lurking beneath will make her wish she’d never set eyes on it.
Italian guy, nice suits, fast car, palazzo, WLTM young, gullible female for art appreciation, games and serial lies.
Genre: Psychological Suspense
Paragraph: In a sleepy seaside town, two masked men appear. Scarlet Scott is held at gunpoint. And her father, the formidable Levi, is murdered. One year later, Scarlet’s apartment is torn apart and a message is scratched onto her wall: Like liar, like daughter. You’re next. Determined to fight back, and find justice for her father’s murder, Scarlet sets out for the truth. But nothing about her father’s life—or death—is as it seems. The more she unravels, the darker and deadlier the search becomes. And someone is watching her every move. Someone who knows the truth and will stop at nothing to get what they want.
She’s marked for death, just like her father was.
Lies kept her safe. The truth may kill her.
Category: Historical Adventure
Adult or YA: Adult
Paragraph: Jeanne de Clisson is out for revenge. At forty-two, her perfect life—a loving husband, three boisterous kids, and two castles in the French countryside—is shattered when the King of France arrests and beheads her husband for treachery. There’s no evidence and no trial—only the execution. The nobles are shocked and largely disapproving. The paranoid king is relieved. And Jeanne…Jeanne wants the king’s head on a pike. To get justice, Jeanne will have to sell her castles, learn to captain a pirate fleet, and risk everything—including her life and the only family she has left.
When King Phillip IV unjustly executes her husband, 42-year-old French noblewoman Jeanne will do anything for revenge—including trading her castles for a pirate fleet. Based on a true story.
Category: commercial crime fiction
The Partners, six elite operatives who recover stolen property, have a thief within their organization. Desperate for money after a costly divorce, veteran airline pilot Roscoe Edwards moonlights as their courier.
Tasked with smuggling cigars into the US from Cuba and ordered to never open the shipments, Roscoe disobeys, discovering a cache of exquisite jewels. Willing to betray anyone for personal gain, he double-crosses not only the Partners, but a Cuban drug dealer causing the murder of one of their agents.
They must regain control of the mission and protect their remaining contacts from this sociopathic courier.
Veteran airline pilot Roscoe Edwards moonlights as courier for the Partners, elite operatives who recover lost property for select clients, but he is a sociopathic thief who will betray anyone.
Joya’s world has (almost) no music. She mumbles the required songs twice a year and that has always been enough...until she meets Angelo, a clone carrying all the music from a lost world in his head.
A time traveler stuck in a loop, Angelo has given up hope of ever going home again. But the loop was no accident. When he refuses to complete his assignment even as he is finally able to do so, the loop ends.
Angelo and Joya are transported to the last remaining outpost of his world by the woman responsible...Joya herself.
He can only keep playing and hope they repair the timeline before the music kills him. If they succeed Joya’s world will no longer exist.
Adult. Women’s fiction that takes domestic suspense to another level.
When a successful appeal vacates Pete’s sentence, Jessie knows that he’ll face the same prosecutor and stand before the same judge again—both notorious for denying youthful offender. And a YO is priceless because it means a much shorter sentence and no felony label. Frantic, Jessie comes up with a plan. This time, she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that Pete is granted a youthful offender adjudication and released from the institution designed to dehumanize before it’s too late. The prosecutor will recommend YO. The judge will grant it. They have to. She can’t lose her son. She won’t.
After her eighteen-year-old son is arrested and sentenced to prison as an adult, Jessie Chérie Thomas goes on a mission to save him…no matter the cost.
Paragraph:Roland Dalmanar longs to be a hero. His wish seems fulfilled when he’s given a heroic quest: his foster mother wants him to destroy the immortal conquerer and evil wizard, Mantor. She says Roland was born to wield the wizard-killing sword, Godfire. She doesn’t mention Mantor was once her lover, or that her motive is revenge. Another thing Roland doesn’t know: a stranger who befriends him along the way is the man he’s supposed to kill.
Pitch: Hero unknowingly befriends conquering wizard he's supposed to kill. Wizard is evading fairies wanting to use him in war against demons. Demons' plans will destroy world. Magic sword manipulates everything.
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