Fifteen-year-old Atran takes his pills and tries to ignore the voice in his head. It always gets him in trouble. Now he's on his way to the lunar prison for three years with other juvenile offenders. But when he survives a spaceship crash, loses his pills, and ends up ejected alone onto an uninhabitable Earth, he has to listen to it. Find water. You belong here.
For someone who grew up obeying the whims of the governments on two orbiting ships, Atran doesn't hold out much hope for survival, no matter what the voice says. But he wasn't the only who survived the crash. Merlin is mysterious, and sounds the same as the voice in Atran's head, but his advice is good. Atran finds water and makes fire by focusing light using broken glass from ruined houses. He reads ancient messages about climate change and millions of people on Earth being abandoned and left to die by the governments on the ships. But soon, days without pills take their toll. That's when Merlin vanishes, and the voice fades, saying only one thing: Don't trust the ships.
Atran braves feral dogs and navigates a ruined planet to find other survivors of the crash. They’re scattered and afraid, and everyone wants to return to the safety of the ships, even if it means prison. But if Atran can convince them he’s not crazy and show them how to survive, he can give humanity a second chance at surviving on Earth.
Project Excalibur: Book one of The Future King has elements of Kass Morgan’s The 100 crossed with the Legend of King Arthur. It is a YA sci fi complete at 74k words, and is the first in a planned trilogy.
Connor hopes to finish off his senior year as champion of the International Music Festival’s Student Ensemble Competition. After his a cappella group took third last year, he’s confident they have a chance. Their last chance.
But when Connor impulsively invites silent, gender-ambiguous newcomer, Rian, to join on the first day of school, the group’s most talented soloist throws a fit, threatening to quit.
As tension and homophobic bullying builds, Connor knows it makes more sense to rescind the invitation. Keeping the group together means the strongest opportunity to win.
Struggling with his growing attraction to Rian, Connor becomes even more desperate to support Rian. But Rian is reluctant to sing on stage, despite the talent he has revealed to Connor.
Can Connor find the courage to shut down the bullying? Should he replace their main soloist, or is he just blind to the right choice because of his crush? And can Connor even convince Rian to sing?
Just Sing! is an 80,000 word YA contemporary LGTBQ #ownvoices novel. The first chapter is available in my signature.
Since they rescued her from the brink of death a decade ago, Mikaelah has served with the Timekeepers, a hidden organization steering humanity towards the peaceful assigned future. Most of her assignments revolve around surreptitious matchmaking—hardly newsworthy—but on the day after her seventeenth birthday, the Timekeepers ask something new of Mikaelah: They want her to commit an assassination. But the jump from matchmaker to assassin is a pretty big one, and Mikaelah’s not too keen to become a murderer—especially with her superiors being so tight-lipped about her target. So, when the time comes, she follows her conscience instead of her orders and secretly botches the assassination.
Almost immediately, the assigned future shifts to a path of violence and unpredictability. Her superiors place the blame on Archer, the boy she was supposed to kill, so Mikaelah sneaks out to find out who he is and why the Timekeepers want him dead. When she sees him rescue a drowning toddler, she’s pretty confident he isn’t the one masterminding all the murders and bar brawls, though maybe his quick wit and dark curls sway her opinion just a tad.
Mikaelah’s petrified that the Timekeepers’ distrust of Archer is blinding them to something darker at work and she's determined to uncover it. To find the true root of the violence, Mikaelah runs away to start her own investigation. With every second away, the Timekeepers’ protective touch on her weakens, pushing her closer to succumbing to the horrific death she was supposed to die as a child. But before she can stop the world from moving too far down the wrong path, Mikaelah must confront the thought that’s been nagging at her brain ever since she received Archer’s kill order: Do the Timekeepers really know the best path? Or have her superiors secretly begun steering the world towards a future that isn’t so peaceful after all?
INSIGNIFICANT is an #ownvoices manuscript, featuring a bisexual protagonist. It is a standalone YA speculative fiction with series potential. The manuscript is complete at 90,000 words and will appeal to fans of Cristin Terrill’s All Our Yesterdays and Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You. Per your submission guidelines, the first XX pages are copied below, with the full manuscript available upon request.
As the Pharoah Thutmose I lies on his deathbed, the Maahes discovers that his master wants his to take his favorite cat into the afterlife with him. Except Maahes is his master’s favorite cat and is still enjoying his life on earth to trade it in just yet, so he runs away.
Life outside the comfort of the palace wouldn’t be so bad if Anubis, the jackal-headed Egyptian guardian of Death, wasn’t determined to keep Maahes out of the afterlife. Anubis’ attempts to keep Maahes from ever coming home to his master Thutmose result in the death of the cat’s fisherman friend.
When he attempts to save his friend from endless wandering as a ghost, Maahes discovers that he has the ability to carry his friend’s soul. But Anubis isn’t about to give up and Maahes must make a choice between living for himself of carrying his friend’s soul to the afterlife.
NINE is the script for a grisly graphic novel set in ancient Egypt. I am the co-creator and author of the Project Mammoth: Dying Light web and print comics and have professionally published several short works of fiction (Please in the anthology My Favorite Apocalypse from Tulip Tree Press and The Farewell Kiss in The First Line literary magazine).
Seventeen-year-old Analeigh Hampton would rather rip out her eyes than visit the Donor Center, the corporation that implanted them. But when she and her father are invited to stay at Donor as a publicity stunt for his political campaign, there’s no way to escape. After all, everyone wants to see America’s once-blind sweetheart support the corporation that granted her vision.
But Donor has a dark side; because of them, actions have no consequence. If you want a cigarette, you smoke it. That extra shot of whiskey? Down it. No matter what part of the body is damaged, the Donor Center will make it good as new with their ready supply of healthy, lab-grown organ donors. It's easy and affordable; everybody's doing it.
B24301, more commonly known as Black, is a donor. As he and his twin sister near their eighteenth birthday, they eagerly await their alleged Dismissal: life outside of the Donor Center's walls. But there is no Dismissal; when a donor turns eighteen, their body is chopped up and harvested for the next buyer. What no one on the Outside knows, however, is the donors are actually human.
As Analeigh meets Black and uncovers the dark truths of the Donor Center, she is left with a choice: ensure the Donor-dependent society remains healthy and thriving by keeping her mouth shut, or risk life as she knows it to protect her unsuspecting new friends.
Neal Shusterman’s UNWIND meets THE ISLAND in DONOR, a 77,000 word young adult sci-fi.
Taylor is a driven seventeen-year-old dancer on the fast track to ballet stardom until an injury forces her to take time off. She joins her best friend, Beks, and her parents on vacation in Ireland. There, the girls meet two charming lads, Jimmy and Niall, who invite them on a sightseeing trip to Inis Dubh, a remote island with a hair-raising legend about vengeful sea creatures. Taylor is reticent, but the lads laugh off the story and entice the girls to join them. Taylor thinks she’s found the summer romance she’s longed for until a freak storm capsizes the boat, nearly killing both girls, and leaving them stranded on Inis Dubh.
After Taylor’s initial terror subsides, an eerie inertia washes over her. Jimmy and Niall seduce Taylor and Beks into near complacency. But when Beks goes missing, Taylor searches the island and discovers that the lads are far from summer romance material, and that a legend can be more than just a story. In this case, it’s living, breathing, and deadly. What the lads have in mind for the girls forces Taylor to formulate a dangerous escape plan. Risking a career-ending injury, she must steal a boat and venture into the perilous North Atlantic to find a way back to the mainland—or die trying.
Complete at 83,000 words, ISLE OF NO RETURN is a YA thriller laced with authentic Irish legend. I have worked as a journalist and photographer, and my fiction has been published in Athenia West, Triad and Touchstone. My play “Sorted Out” won first place at the Beehive Theatre New Playwrights’ Competition.
I read on your #MSWL that you enjoy books based on myths and legend, and so I believe you may be interested in my YA horror novel, TATE'S HELL.
When seventeen-year-old Delia Ray is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor, the shadowy figure of a man beckons her to legendary forest Tate’s Hell, with promises of a cure. Whether he’s real or imagined, Delia is determined to find out. So when her friends plan their trip to celebrate the end of high school, she proposes an adventure. Camping in Tate’s Hell, which a centuries old legend says nobody escapes alive. Who takes a legend that old seriously anyway?
After being chased by an endangered wolf species, Delia and her friends stumble upon a waterfall deep in the forest. By the fall, Delia’s visions of the man become more frequent and insistent. She thinks it could be a good sign for her cure, until her friends begin turning on each other with vicious attacks in the night. Injured and afraid of what’s happening to them, the group attempts to leave by retracing their steps. But each path Delia and her friends take leads back to the waterfall. They’re trapped, and faced with another night, which means another attack.
Delia shares her visions with her friends, believing they hold the key to their escape. But they dismiss the idea because of her tumor. As Delia is almost convinced the visions are delusions, the shadow man reveals himself. Using her friend as host, he entices Delia with a life without cancer, promising her eternity. But there’s a catch. He has no intention of letting them out alive. At least, not as themselves. Delia must find a way to escape his clutches, because the only other solution she can see is to sacrifice herself.
Based on a legend I heard growing up in rural Florida, TATE'S HELL is a YA horror complete at 70,000 words. I believe it will appeal to fans of stories like Holly Black’s THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST and Nova Ren Suma’s THE WALLS AROUND US.
Seventeen-year-old Abby Scales’s boring Halloween evening spent doing research at the library takes an upswing when kilted, sword-wielding Callum MacGyver drops in front of her. Literally. The sudden appearance of this eighteen-year-old hottie interrupts her work . . . and her life. Man, he’s hot. God, he smells.
But while Callum insists he’s been dragged through a portal from 1765, and his costume looks really authentic, Abby’s not so trusting. He’s injured and confused—and somewhat scruffy—but man, does he clean up well. In no time, Abby’s convinced he’s telling her the truth. Unfortunately, his family was left behind to fend for themselves, and Callum’s determined to return home to them.
Her cute Highlander didn’t travel alone. Callum swiped a sword from an ancient group called The Serpent Society who will go to deadly extremes to get their sword back—and keep their time-traveling secrets hidden.
Abby’s falling for Callum’s Outlander charm—okay, that dreamy accent might play a role, too. One kiss leads to two, and when he asks her to go back in time with him, Abby’s torn. Other than Callum, 1765 Scotland means a lack of hygiene, death by plague, and losing her iPhone. How can a modern girl survive in an ancient time? As they struggle to keep the Society from killing them, they hunt for time-travel clues. But, if they find a way to send Callum back, Abby must decide if she dares lose him, or if life with Callum is worth leaving the present behind.
Set in modern-day San Antonio, Texas, MOM, I MARRIED A HIGHLANDER is complete at 79,000 words. It is a standalone with series potential. Think Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER with a YA voice similar to BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray. This manuscript won the 2015 Golden Claddagh, and finaled in the 2015 Windy City, 2016 Great Expectations, and 2016 Maggie RWA contests.
Thank you for taking the time to review queries for select WriteOnCon participants. I'm submitting my query for my young adult realistic fiction SAME AS IT NEVER WAS. It is complete at 82,500 words.
Seventeen-year-old Ali must give up his position as captain of the soccer team when his dad uproots them to build a mosque in the hills of West Virginia. Senior year should be one of the best times of his life, not a yawn fest. But what can you expect from a town whose only claim to fame is reeling in the largest catfish caught in the state? He just has to get through the year and he can return to Orlando. Then the unexpected happens: he lands a spot on the football team, gets a job at the local pizza place, and begins to think of Warrenstown as home.
Sixteen-year-old trumpet-playing Frannie doesn't have time for boys. She's determined to amaze the judges at the state Solo & Ensemble competition and land a scholarship to study Music Education at West Virginia University. But when Ali--aka tall, dark, and...damn! moves into the neighborhood, she knows she's in trouble. When she's near him, she experiences this heart-hammering, skin-prickling, need-to-puke thing that makes it impossible to concentrate. So she makes a vow to stay clear of him... which is pretty hard to do when he's hired on at the family biz. But if she ever expects her band director to take her seriously, the only thing she'll let touch her lips is a metal mouthpiece.
The days of worrying about solo scores and football games come to a screeching halt when America is attacked on September 11th. The tragedy that unites the townsfolk also alienates Ali, his family, and anyone who befriends them. When Ali's car is run off the road and his sister seriously injured, sides are taken and more than one family is destroyed. It will be up to Frannie to put her trumpet aside in order to give the performance of her life that may just save the mosque and her family's business.
Seventeen-year-old Lizzy’s wild ADHD imagination fuels her obsession with ghosts and demons. When insomnia leads her to the black iron gates of the Halifax Public Gardens, Lizzy sees light glowing from a sundial, illuminating spectral creatures that roam the Gardens’ perimeter. Too bad she doesn’t snap a picture before she runs for her life.
With the help of her friends, Lizzy discovers that the demons are actually aliens called the Euvacka, come to invaded Earth. Using their hyperlink cube, the Euvacka blanket the town in a euphoric reality of an alternate time while they prepare to drain humanity, and even the planet itself, of vital life force. Lizzy discovers one of her lifelong friends is a Divinian Guardian sent to protect her. The Divinian race, developers of cube technology have chased the Euvacka across space and are here to assist the locals to find the cube before the evil Euvacka reach stage-three planetary takeover. Unable to rally her family to see the truth because of her past "tall tales," Lizzy is forced to take alien help to save the world.
STRANGE DAYS ON EARTH is the story of Earth’s alternate reality as seen from two points of view: the saviour, and the devout. STRANGE DAYS ON EARTH, a YA dark science fiction complete at 74,000 words with series potential, would appeal to fans of Rae Carson, Rick Yancey, and Philip Pullman.
I am seeking representation for my 49,000 word, upper middle grade novel entitled I WOULD NOT HAVE YOU OTHERWISE. Thirteen-year-old Gwen feels confident she can succeed as the only girl on the boys’ baseball team. She can cope with passive-aggressive teammates. She can cope with nasty remarks. Hell, she can even cope with an outright physical assault. But when she is falsely outed as a lesbian and discovers her older sister, Bernadette, is actually a lesbian, Gwen is thrust into a world of fear and ignorance that hits home. Rumors matter in a small town, and even those closest to her draw distant. No, eighth grade isn’t going at all like Gwen planned.
The tone of this novel is suggestive of TWO BOYS KISSING by David Levithan and OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigsberg, but on a middle grade appropriate level. I am a member of both SCBWI and the Authors Guild, a former technical writer and editor, and I have several non-fiction articles published in award-winning children’s magazines (FACES, CALLIOPE.) There is timeliness to this story given the 2016 history-making recruitment of two female players for the Sonoma Stompers professional baseball team.
Fourteen-year-old Evan Tauber believes he’s responsible for the death of his father. Now, after keeping this painful secret to himself for a year, Evan has a premonition: he will die somehow on the anniversary of his father’s death and meet his dad in the afterlife to apologize.
Evan doesn’t know how it will happen, but he still has to focus on the upside of dying—after all, it’s a chance to redeem himself with his father. He also has to prepare, which means accomplishing a few goals before the anniversary: he has to make sure his best friend will take care of his little brother, a challenge because Skeet and Jeffrey hate each other; he needs to make sure his mother won’t miss him too much; and he has to tell the new girl, Meg, he’s in love with her, even though he’s never even said hello to her. The goals are in place, and this language-obsessed, jazz-loving ninth grader has eleven days to meet them. But when he’s left with a life-and-death choice, Evan will soon find out where the road to redemption really leads.
GATES ON THE WAY TO THE GREAT UPSTAIRS is a contemporary YA novel complete at approximately 73,000 words. Books such as It's Kind of a Funny Story and Where Things Come Back might give you an idea of the tone and voice. GATES recently reached the semi-finals (top-five in the category) in the BookLife Prize in Fiction, a contest for self- and unpublished authors sponsored by Publishers Weekly.
My YA contemporary THE STAINED GLASS SUN AND MOON is complete at 63,000 words and will appeal to fans of Katie Cotugno and Sara Zarr.
In the beginning, Jules thinks Jesse is cheesy as hell with his lame pick-up lines. But when he's not trying too hard, he's fun. They take impromptu road trips to hunt for ghosts and detours to watch planes at the airport. The most amazing thing, though, is the abandoned house Jesse finds with beautiful stained glass windows. It becomes their special place, where they whisper I love you for the first time.
In the middle, Jules takes a pregnancy test and a plus sign pops up. Jesse wants to keep the baby, but Jules is against it. She considers an abortion and Jesse gets upset. Every conversation about choices dissolves into an argument and Jules is barely holding it together. All she wants is for things to go back to normal.
Then she has a miscarriage.
Jules tries to resume her old life, but nothing feels the same. She can't concentrate during softball practice and her friends seem distant. At night, she can't sleep. The only person who understands her mess of emotions is Jesse, but Jules can't forget the ugly words they hurled at each other.
In the end, Jules is spiraling toward a breakdown. Her mom wants her to talk about feelings, but Jules doesn't need that. If she can just catch a stupid ball and convince her friends she's still the same person and get Jesse to stop being so clingy, everything would be okay.
But the pressure keeps building and Jules finally reaches her breaking point.
Abi, a young bonobo, loves gorging on termites, swinging from trees, and hanging out with his best friends. But those days are over when his grandmother’s illness leaves him next in line as Elderling of the Apes. And then in her confused state, she lets slip a secret. Abi's father isn't dead. The Manushur— cruel beings with unnatural powers are holding him prisoner.
To make matters worse, Tukai, a chimpanzee, challenges Abi for the leadership role. Tukai plans to put the needs of primates above all other animals. Now Abi must choose: battle Tukai for the role of Elderling or save his father's life. If Abi leaves, Tukai will destroy everything he loves about his forest home—a place where all animals respect each other. However, if he stays, his father will surely die.
Abi gives up his leadership role to travel to the forbidden land, full of strange and dangerous creatures, to search for his father. If Abi can rescue him and return home, he might be able to prevent Tukai from destroying the land and animals he loves.
SAVING PRANGA is a middle grade adventure,complete at 41,000 words.
Similar to Katherine Applegate’s, The One and Only Ivan, SAVING PRANGA steps inside the paws of endangered animals, so readers can see and feel the world as these animals do.
Eighteen-year-old Kaiya Nolan is human—it’s the lie she’s always told. To stay in Harrisonburn, where half-fae are slaughtered, means a life of always watching her back. But alone in the wilderness where fae run feral, desperate to devour the magic of any passing half-breed, she runs the risk of being kidnapped by high fae for slave labor.
The feral have caught her magical scent, and to keep her settlement safe she joins the militia sworn to fight off the decaying creatures. When she’s captured and brought to Toryn, high fae and Lord of Whitehall, she relies on the only method of survival she knows—lying about her heritage, hoping to be released.
But something has been attacking the fae, either killing them or turning them feral, and Toryn has asked for Kaiya’s help. It’s only a matter of time before it escapes the Fae Lands, endangering those still living in Harrisonburn. If she doesn’t figure out what—or who—is responsible she risks hurting those she’s grown to care about, and the only connection she's ever had to her heritage.
THE GATHERING DARK is a young adult fantasy, complete at 97,000 words. It’s a mixture of the mysterious world of the fae from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, and the feel of a zombie apocalypse from The Walking Dead.
Given your interest in world religion, I hope you will enjoy RE: MORSE, a young adult sci-fi whose main character hails from a far-future humanity when sci-fi geekdom has evolved into a star-spanning theocratic empire.
After a childhood spent traveling time and space and shielding his little sisters from their stern mother, seventeen-year-old Hugo B. Morse is eager to plant himself in a community and assert his independence.
Instead, as he travels to his new colony, an anomaly strands his time ship in the core of the galaxy where all life is extinct. Hugo wakes from stasis to find that MAHM, the ship’s corrupted A.I., has taken control and abducted four alien youth from the Core’s deep past. MAHM forces Hugo and the ship crew to serve her illegal mission: Rewrite the Core’s timeline, despite the risk of unraveling the time stream beyond.
Duty-bound by non-interference laws, Hugo tries to undermine MAHM, but she discovers his rebellion and threatens to replace him. Since he can’t let another cold authority figure come between him and his new alien friends, he vows to cooperate, at least on the surface. Then, while serving MAHM’s mission, the ship draws the attention of Moravien Tigg, a mad teen scientist hell-bent on gaining time travel for herself and will destroy anything in her way.
To thwart Tigg’s attacks and free the ship from MAHM's control, Hugo faces a terrible choice. He must either become as hard as those he hates or betray those he’s grown to love.
RE: MORSE is a 95,000-word young adult science fiction that merges Gene Roddenberry’s Starfleet with Isaac Asimov’s Foundation and will appeal to readers of Illuminae. This is a stand-alone novel with series potential.
Soufflé, 13, wants to save her mom's struggling butcher shop. Customers are turning up their noses at the common meats her mom sells in favor of rarer fare. Soufflé's not about to let a trend crush the place where she and her mom have worked and laughed together.
To put their shop in the limelight, Soufflé will make common meat dishes popular again. She'll serve up savory steaks so spectacular everyone will be banging on their door, begging for more.
But law forbids cooking without a license, and only nobles can take the Licensing Exam. This year, though, for one year only, the king opens up the Exam to all the youth of the kingdom. It's Soufflé's only chance, but the other contestants in the Exam competition are kids who have studied cooking their whole lives, each backed by powerful Pards - talking animals wielding culinary magic.
Seasoned in a hellish crash-course in cooking and backed by her own Pard pal - a snarky mutt named Mince, Soufflé won't shy from the challenge. Failure would drop her mom's shop on the chopping block. But when Soufflé discovers that her 'prize' will be adoption into a noble family, she has a choice to make: win and throw away her past, or back out and throw away her future.
POKEMON and MASTER CHEF come together in THE (MAGICAL) ART OF COOKING, a middle grade fantasy complete at XX,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.
Twelve-year old Hobie Hamer is desperate to save his dying sister. When a man named appears in the hospital with a deal to save her, Hobie asks only a few questions before accepting the contract. After all, how hard can helping a soul move on from purgatory really be? Brought before the mural of a decaying gothic mansion by Mal Hobie is pushed into the world of the painting where the enchanting young bride Mrs. Dalia waits for her love to return to her. Inside this strange world, Hobie joins the odd assembly of guests who inhabit Hatcher House. Unsure whether these guests are real or simply figments of Mrs. Dalia’s fragile mind, Hobie attempts to solve the mystery of Hatcher House while the house fights back to protect its secrets. But the longer he spends in the mural the more obvious it becomes that clarity is almost impossible to find in a place created from despair. With his sister’s life hanging in the balance, Hobie is faced with the realization that he was doomed to fail in his task, begging the question what exactly were the terms of the deal that Hobie has made?
HATCHER HOUSE is a 25,000 word middle grade novel in the genre of magical realism. Dealing with themes of insanity, loss and desperation, Hatcher House is a gothic story similar in tone to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
With her sailing canoe, Val can outmaneuver Airyllen tall ships, travel to her ancestral islands, and fly on the tail end of the wind. But her canoe is too small to reach the country of Airylle, where her brother is held hostage.
Since the council of chiefs believe one life is not worth the Airyllen’s demands to access the clan’s magic, Val is the only one left to rescue her brother. However, the only way to get to Airylle is aboard one of their ships and their laws prohibit girls from joining a crew. One Airyllen ship is hiring and its only passenger, Lady Otiyla, takes pity on Val’s plight and helps disguise her as a boy.
To get back into the good graces of the king after a rogue mission, Captain Devon Orsin must transport Airylle’s sole female mage from Rowlclan to Airylle after she ran away. Only Lady Otiyla refuses to go unless Devon hires a clan lad. Devon is wary of the king’s view of the clans and the repercussions, but the boy worms his way into the captain’s heart with his smart mouth and charming smile.
When the clans use a magical storm to blockade anyone from accessing Rowlclan and war is imminent, Val knows she must confide in Devon if she is to find her brother and get home. Devon can’t in good conscious turn his back on a new friend, but a wrong move will make him a traitor. And if Val is discovered by Airyllen nationalists, she risks losing her brother, the war and her life.
Told in alternating POVs, THE EVENTIDE is a 99,000 word Young Adult Fantasy that is a loose retelling of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. It features characters of diverse sexualities and backgrounds. It will appeal to readers of Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes and Meagan Spooner’s Skylark.
Lily loves freshman year at her private boarding school. A dominant force in her prep school league, Lily believes her Olympic dreams are a few freestyle strokes away.
Her promising swim career is jeopardized when she meets Tyler. At first her attractive teammate seems like the perfect boyfriend. He texts her constantly, gives her gifts, and understands her swim commitments.
But Tyler’s demands and insults increase as he controls her with subtle intimidation and bewildering mind games. His words leave no physical bruises, no broken bones. Lily feels abused in soul and heart, those quiet places no one else can see.
Between Tyler, the pressures of competition, and an anonymous online bully who seems intent on getting Lily expelled from the swim team, Lily risks losing the top freestyle position she has fought for as a 15-year old swimmer. Scarred by Tyler’s deep and invisible wounds, she must rely on athletic ability and mental strength to win her most important race.
Complete at 67,000 words, A COLD AND QUIET PLACE is a YA novel about competitive swimming and the dark world of emotional abuse.
It’s not easy being a mechanically obsessed, five-foot-nine seventh grade girl. It’s even worse when you’re also dealing with your mom's death and a dad who can't handle it. Edie wants nothing more than to escape, and she gets her chance—big time—when she's dragged along with a group of kids to a parallel Earth where people have tails and gravity doesn't seem to work properly. Just when an angry mob is closing in, an emergency recall kicks in and takes them back to a hidden underground facility.
There Edie learns that a secret organization made up mostly of misfit kids is all that’s maintaining the boundaries between thousands of parallel Earths. Without their efforts to patch the cracks, bizarre—and dangerous—phenomena and creatures (Loch Ness Monster, anyone?) can cross over at will.
Shifting between worlds comes with a deadly price, but Edie doesn’t care. This is the first place she’s ever felt like she belonged, and she'll do whatever it takes to join them—even if it means a risky return mission to the parallel Earth.
SHIFTING GEARS is a 57,000 word upper MG sci-fi novel with series potential. This manuscript was selected for Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars contest in 2016 and was extensively revised with two mentors. It would appeal to fans of action-heavy sci-fi and fantasy grounded in our world like Dianne K. Salerni's THE EIGHTH DAY and Gordon Korman's MASTERMINDS.
Patel Patterson has been missing from his sixth grade class for the past two years. When he returns, he tells his classmates that his hobbies include playing soccer, following competitive mathletics, and vanquishing the forces of evil. Only two of these activities seem normal for a 12-year-old boy—but Patel is anything but normal.
After he is orphaned by a freak zoological accident, Patel is plucked from Mumbai to live with his Eccentric Aunt Gilly in rural America. Gilly claims to be a financier, but what sort of banker wears nothing but turtlenecks and peppers her cereal with garlic? Only when an undead motorcycle gang attacks the house is Gilly forced to admit the truth: She is actually a world-renowned monster hunter on a mission to defeat the Legions of Darkness.
Patel finds himself entangled in a slew of magical, madcap adventures. But this new world is just as dangerous as it is wonderful. When Patel accidentally swallows an enchanted key, he becomes the only obstacle in a sinister plan to enslave humanity. It will only take a drop of Patel's blood to usher in a reign of darkness, and the Legions will stop at nothing to get it.
When Gilly is captured defending her nephew from the Legions, Patel must decide whether or not to risk the fate of mankind in a go-for-broke rescue mission. If he is going to save the world and free his aunt, he will have to team up with a shyster djinn, conquer a magical sushi-go-round, and use the power of math to escape an underground kill ring. Only then will he discover the potential to become humanity's most unlikely hero.
PATEL PATTERSON AND THE LEGIONS OF DARKNESS is an 86,000-word middle grade fantasy with the thrills of the Seven Wonders series and the quirky humor of NIMONA. This is a standalone with series potential. Though I have never wrangled werewolves, I have been a Mathlete and have hunted pirates off the coast of Africa. Thank you for your time and consideration.
JJ Jones wants to escape life confined to his sheltered bubble, where there is nothing to do but watch TV and do his homework. Then rest. Then repeat. So he steals the TOP SECRET robotic suit developed just for him and heads to San Francisco, where he learns that he’s not the only ultra-intelligent-robotic-exoskeleton-wearing jellyfish in the city.
JJ discovers that this rival jelly, saddled with a malfunctioning suit and a bad attitude, is bent on stealing the technology built specifically for JJ, and he doesn't care if he harms JJ or anyone else to get it. Bolstered by new friends and new freedom beyond his aquarium under Alcatraz Island, JJ must use his tiny but powerful brain and tinier reserves of bravery to save the one person he loves most—his dad.
Complete at 43,000 words, JJ JONES AND THE ALCATRAZ ADVENTURE is a middle grade light science fiction novel that will appeal to readers of Peter Brown's The Wild Robot and Adam Rex's The True Meaning of Smekday.
JJ JONES AND THE ALCATRAZ ADVENTURE is my first novel. Though I have never lived underwater, I have recently been accused of living in a bubble in Portland, Oregon. Thank you for your time and consideration.
In a far-flung outpost of the turbulent Seres Empire on the verge of war, sixteen-year-old Ahn ekes out a living as a dishwasher and petty thief. Shunned for the unexplained scars that mark her, Ahn longs for a better life for herself and her adoptive grandmother. Most of all, she dreams of searching the kingdom for her family.
A theft gone awry sees Ahn joining a clan of wandering swordsmen as the apprentice of their eccentric leader who helps her unlock fragments of her past. When she unintentionally saves the Crown Prince’s life, Ahn reveals herself to the formidable Empress Zhen. Her reward? A life of luxury in the Imperial Palace. Little does Ahn know that the manipulative Empress has other plans for her: she knows the meaning behind Ahn's scars.
Overwhelmed by the lavish palace life and distracted by the Prince, Ahn lets her guard down, only to receive devastating news that turns her world upside down and unleashes something hidden inside her. A dangerous power she cannot control. A power that the Empress sees as a prized weapon. With the empire in turmoil after the assassination of its Emperor and aggressive Mengu enemies closing in, will Ahn be the champion the people seek or a mere pawn in the Empress' grand scheme?
Complete at 85,000 words, THE NEEDLE AND THE SWORD has the wuxia twist of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and will appeal to fans of Kristin Cashore and Leigh Bardugo. It is a standalone novel with series potential.
Fifteen-year- old Noble Marin will do anything to make the Hampton Hills High School cheer squad, even if it means performing a risky initiation stunt like breaking into a teacher’s house to rearrange the furniture. Too bad she drops her phone inside the house. When she returns to retrieve it, a police car sits in the driveway and an ambulance is speeding toward the house. She bolts out of there only to discover later that the teacher, Mrs. Hobslinger, was found dead at the bottom of the stairs.
When someone returns Noble’s phone along with a photo of her taken from inside the house, she knows someone else was there that night and wonders if they killed Mrs. Hobslinger. A few days later, someone starts robbing the houses of Noble’s pet-sitting clients and rearranging their furniture.
Taunting text messages after each of the robberies confirm Noble’s theory that she’s being set up for the crimes. She decides to scope out the remaining houses on her pet-sitting schedule hoping to catch the real culprit. But Noble doesn’t know if she’s tracking a thief or a killer and what their plans are for her.
Complete at 60,000 words, my young adult mystery, INITIATION should appeal to fans of Pretty Little Liars and Veronica Mars. May I send you the full manuscript?
Thank you for accepting submissions for Write On Con. I read your posts about magical realism on Manuscript Wish List and although my current project does not fall squarely in that category, it is steeped in fantasy and magic. For that reason, I’m pleased to introduce you to my Roman mythology-based YA adventure MUSE WARRIOR.
When her dad’s new job moves their family to Italy, introverted 15-year-old EDEN feels like she’s losing part of herself. Sure, she has her older brother, TROY, whose fun-loving nature and easy popularity balance out Eden’s tendency to retreat into her art journal. But leaving San Diego means leaving behind her beloved grandmother, CLEO, and her childhood home, the only connections she had to her mother, who died when Eden was born.
From the start, life in Italy is hardly a dream for Eden, who is haunted by recurring nightmares of the Underworld, a mysterious stalker and a gypsy with a cryptic message. Convinced she’s losing her mind, Eden seeks solace in art class, volleyball and a new friendship with BAX, the cute son of a high-ranking military officer.
But Eden’s nightmares are just beginning. When Troy disappears on a school trip, Eden’s thrown into a quest that reveals a thousand-year-old family secret—she is the Muse Warrior, the last and most powerful heir of the Roman sun god APOLLO and the muse CALLIOPE. Not only that, but Apollo’s ancient enemies – the evil sorceress SIBYL and PLUTO, King of the Underworld – are now her own, and they’re ready for revenge.
Even as she struggles with her true identity, Eden must decipher clues and seek help from a handful of Roman gods to rescue her brother, knowing that she will either save Olympus or unleash hell on earth.
Complete at 100,000 words, MUSE WARRIOR is an epic, magical adventure for fans of modern takes on ancient myths who have grown up on Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus and devoured Aimee Carter’s Goddess Test series, as well as fans of books featuring powerful girl protagonists, such as those from Kiersten White, Sarah J. Maas, and Victoria Aveyard.
Prejudices are more than skin deep. Even in a society recovering from the brink of extinction, where the lines of race have blurred, humans can still find their victims.
L is like any other fourteen year old girl with hopes and dreams. She wants nothing more than to leave her home in the dull farming community of the Borough— a community wrought with the sorrow of a mysterious child-killing illness Tredecium. Her goal is to attend the exclusive post-secondary school in Allelius, the modern and innovative city that lies far beyond her daily reality.
She soon learns, however, that her life has been carefully designed for her. Much like her DNA, it has been mapped out long before she was born. After arriving at the school she discovers that she and her entire community are part of a genetic enhancement program designed to repopulate the human race, a program flawed by Tredecium. Based only on their pride and fear, Allelius’ presiding council has nothing but disdain for the program and the people who have descended from it. They have decided that the program must be exterminated along with L’s family and home. With the truth as her only weapon, L must find a way to save her homeland and prevent the prejudices of the few from defining the fate of so many.
I am seeking representation for my 60,000 word young adult science fiction novel, titled The Scarlet Tanager. I am a YA and MG writer, teacher, and huge science, science-fiction and book nerd. My love of science-fiction is second only to my love of inspiring my students to learn about and explore the fields of science. Making the sciences exciting and wondrous for young people culminates in my writing.
After redcoat soldiers kill her father in the early days of the Revolutionary War, 16-year-old Libby Barraby becomes hungry for revenge. She turns away from farm and family, and plunges into the dangerous world of espionage — running messages to and from British-controlled Philadelphia.
While confronting chaos and danger at what seems like every turn, Libby knows one thing for sure: She loathes the British. That is, until she starts falling for a young British soldier, Sam.
Seeing Sam’s affection as an opportunity, Libby’s handler pushes her to get closer to him, putting her at even greater risk. The British have never caught a woman spy before, but if things go wrong, she faces the noose. In this high-stakes game of romance and espionage, Libby eventually realizes she must choose between her home and her heart.
Complete at 90,000 words, SILENT RIDES THE MESSENGER may appeal to readers craving a Hamilton-era YA read who also enjoyed the headstrong girls and espionage of CODE NAME VERITY.
I noted your interest in middle grade novels with strong characters and a blend of literary tone with solid plot. I hope this manuscript matches your interests.
For twelve-year-old Cassie, music emerges from almost every person and thing in her tiny mountain town. Old buildings creak out history, songs sizzle up while folks cook breakfast, readers flip pages to a beat at the town’s bookstore, and the winds whisper their own special music—and carry a little extra magic. But even with magical music, when the fireflies disappeared ten years ago, they took Firefly Mountain’s visitors, income, and hope with them. As Cassie and her best friend, Bard, take on a school assignment to investigate the vanished fireflies, she learns something is stealing her town’s hope—and her mom’s song and joy.
Cassie yearns to discover her own music to help her neighbors and family. If only her own sound were a bold and spunky fiddle like bookstore owner Mrs. Anne’s, high energy banjo like her father’s, steady drumbeats like Bard’s, or loyal bagpipe like her dog’s, maybe then she’d be able to solve this mystery and her mom’s problems. When development plans plummet the town from bad to worse, Cassie must uncover the family secret to try to set everything right again.
Complete at 32,000 words, THE SOUND INSIDE is a middle grade novel with notes of magical realism that will appeal to fans of Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic and Cynthia Lord's A Handful of Stars.