Oct 28, 2013

Nightmare on Query Street Wrap-Up

First off, I want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who made Nightmare on Query Street a success. Agents, Co-hosts, and entrants, you are all AWESOME. We had a grand total of 75 83 requests from just 30 entries!!!

Team requests were as follows:

Mike's Monsters

10 shivers 
13 shrieks
2 scream

Michelle's Minions

9 shivers
20 shrieks
1 scream

SC's Spooks

10 shivers
17 shrieks

*sigh* I guess, technically that kinda means Michelle won. Big round of applause to her.

But seriously, Michelle is an awesome friend with a great eye for talent. Bravo to her!

Hey! What's that....down there...

It's an elephant...in a blog!

Everyone didn't get requests. That was one of my biggest fears when I was searching for entries. Admittedly, that fear was very real for me. I didn't JUST pick entries that I knew were going to get attention. I also picked entries that I felt DESERVED attention. Do I regret it? HELL NO! And you can quote me on that. I believe in all of my Monsters, and I know each of you will succeed. So, if you didn't get a request (or didn't get as many as you thought you would) just remember, a setback is a setup for a comeback.

Now, to the important stuff. My personal awards for my Monstrous Team.

Most Valuable Query Award: THE NINE
  Note: Tracy. TracyTracyTracy. :D I found your entry at the last minute and HAD to make room for it. I loved it that much. Thank you for being a great presence on Twitter. You really helped represent this contest and leave a great impression for the agents who helped.

Scariest Query Award: RAGDOLL
  Note: Yerp, creepiest query of them all, I think. I felt this query really bought out the Halloween in me. Pasha, you came a long way from when I first read your query. May you keep on keeping on in your journey to publication.

Monster Award: SNOW FALLING
  Note: This was my all around favorite entry of the bunch. First off, I love retellings. Gina, your story sounds utterly brilliant. I am SO eager to read this it's not even funny. If I had to dropkick a toddler to read your story, I wouldn't, but I'd seriously consider it...'cause, you know, kids are resilient.

Quiet Brilliance Award: NAMELESS
  Note: Kimberly, your entry made me smile. I didn't even read the title before I read your query and first page. At the end, I was like 'what the heck is her MC's name?' I loved the entry but I felt like not having the name might hold it back. Then I thought, maybe it's in the title. Nameless. Mind=Blown. Bravo.

Ghoulish First Page Award: LOGIN
  Note: TAH! Your entry was my first pick. I don't know what it was about your title, but I just KNEW I would love it. And I did. I found myself (at the very beginning of the co-hosts slush wars, no less) reading your query over and over because I really really loved the concept. And your first page...Great job. I wish you the best of luck with all your future endeavors.

Scream-Worthy Award: MIDDLE SCHOOL MAFIA
  Note: Middle School Mafia was the most popular among our agents, and as the only entry with a 'SCREAM', this definitely deserved this award. Michelle was itching to get her hands on this entry but I wasn't having it. I knew this was a gem. Congrats and good luck, Pete. Make those agents fight to the death...sorta.

Twit Fav Award: PRIME
  Note: My Tweeps have spoken and they agree that Prime was their overall favorite. Colleen, I fell in love with your first paragraph. I didn't even finish reading it before I snatched it up an put it in my folder. Our slush pile was like a night at the Colosseum. SC, Michelle, and I were gladiators. I was lucky to have scored you.

  Note: I remembered your query from Query Kombat and even then it struck me as brilliant. Michael, I'm glad you gave this contest another shot. It was an honor to have you on my team. As the famous Buzz Lightyear once said 'Never give up. Never surrender. Someone will see this for the beauty it is.

  Note: Carl, your MC's worst fear had me in stitches. I loved your story the moment I read 'Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator'. I mean, how (UN)AWESOME is that. I really really hope I see this on shelves someday. This is sheer brilliance. Great job and good luck.

  Note: I feel like I can cuddle up with my future kids and read your story to them at bedtime, and we'd all enjoy it. That's not something I would usually say regarding Mid-Grade works. Stacey, when I was going through my entries to figure out which ones I would trade out, I starred your entry because I REFUSED to give it up. You have a golden story here, and it would be a travesty if an agent didn't see that.

To all my Monsters: I wish you the best of luck with all your life and publishing endeavors. I chose each of your because I thought your writing was something special. Don't quit, don't give up, and don't compromise yourself just because others don't see your brilliance. You see it and I see it, but the former is all that matters.
If there's anything I can help you with, shoot me an email via my blog's 'contact me' page. I'll do my best to help.


Oct 24, 2013

Nightmare On Query Street Begins....NOW!


Are you guys excited?! BECAUSE I AM!!!

Below this post, you will find the ten submissions that I picked to be my Monsters.

You can head over to see Michelle's and SC's team as well (just click on their names, but don't worry, our team is scarier than theirs). All in all, we have picked thirty submissions from our pile of about a hundred to be on our teams!

Once again, don't worry if you didn't make it in. Read this post and know that we mean every word of it (even though SC wrote it).


Commenting for the Entrants/Audience:

Sorry guys, but no commenting, cheerleading, etc. We hosts discussed this issue, and we agreed that it'd lead to too much unfairness and unconscious biases. Only agents will be able to comment :D



CHEER OVER TWITTER!!!! We're going to be under the hashtag #NightmareQuery and we will be having FUN. So vent, be nervous, cheer each other on, and hold hands over Twitter :) (I said this in Query Kombat and I'll say it again; one of the best parts of contests is seeing how the writer's community gathers and supports each other.) Also, swing by our AQC thread. I hear talk of it reaching 200 comments before NOQS is over!!!

Commenting for the Agents:

You agents will have fun ways to request in the contest.

You can scream for a full request.
You can shriek for a 50 page request.
You can shiver for a 10 page request.

And you can make as many requests as you want! So go wild :D We have some awesome talent up for you guys to peruse.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!! Hope you all get a ton of frighteningly amazing requests!


Title: PRIME
Genre: NA Sci Fi
Word Count: 61,000

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

Ravin’s greatest fear is that she caused her mother's death.


Dear Awesome Agent,

After the sale of body parts was legalized biology became the new currency. A finger can buy more food than a dollar ever could and a full arm can secure your future.

A person’s body is their potential, but Ravin hates her body. She’s still comprised of original parts which makes her a freak. And the fact that those original parts are covered with tribal scars, received as punishment for crimes against her tribe, makes Ravin untouchable.

When she is harvested for full-body recycling she’s prepared for an auction where wealthy citizens bid on new bodies. To Ravin’s shock, the citizens love her tribal markings and a bidding war erupts. She’s thrilled with the attention until she learns she’s been sold to a woman dying of a terminal illness.

Terrified by the thought of swapping from a flawed body to a dying one, she’s forced to partner with Thorn. He’s dirty and rough but he’s escaped before. When their escape plan fails, Ravin must test the limit of what her body can endure to save them both, or die trying.

PRIME is a New Adult Sci Fi, with strong Romantic elements, complete at 61,000 words.

First 250 words:

Before the sun came up my brother, Sam, changed his life forever. He traded two fingers on his left hand for food.

Food I was accused of stealing.

“Why would I steal anything Sam bought with his own flesh?” I asked through clenched teeth.

Ashley, my accuser, paced between me and the rest of the clan that gathered for the trial. “I don’t claim to understand your criminal ways, Ravin."

I shook my head. None of this makes sense. Sure, I’d broken a few rules in the past. And yes, everyone blamed me for my mother’s death, but stealing food? That was ridiculous.

I looked to my father. As the leader of the Dayton clan he could end this.“Ravin,” My father said, a deep crease between his eyebrows. “The punishment for food theft is exile.” His hands, turned up and open, looked frail in his lap.

I stared at him, mouth open. “I would never." Didn’t they know that? I balled my ten fingers into two fists at my side.

Sam’s sacrifice was huge but it wasn’t rare. After the Biological Trading Act passed people with missing limbs, or different color limbs, were normal. Fashionable, even.

Members of the Dayton clan were encouraged to Trade fingers on their non-dominant hand for the good of the group. But I haven’t. I’m all-original which puts me deep in the heart of freak territory.

Freak, yes. Thief, no. I crossed my arms and raised my chin. “What proof do you have?”

MIDDLE SCHOOL MAFIA: MG Contemporary Humor

Genre: MG Contemporary Humor
Word Count: 38,000

My Main Characters Greatest Fear:

Deech’s fear comes from several different places. The fear of a new town, a new school, and the fear that he’s not going to make friends like the ones he had back home.
But because of the circumstances, Deech’s greatest fear is that the bad guys who are after his family will somehow see past the new names, trace them to the town the U.S. Marshall has hidden them in, and come get his dad.

But on the plus side, he has seen Home Alone like a thousand times.


Dear Ms./Mr. Agent

Thirteen-year old Deech Rosselli and his family are placed into Witness Protection in a town run by a U.S. Marshall, seven hundred and thirty two miles away from home. Deech gets a new name, new friends, and a whole new set of problems as the middle school is filled with mini mobsters, all imitating what they've seen their parents do over the years

Deech makes friends quickly and finds himself thriving among forgers, bookmakers, hackers, enforcers, munitions experts, and even the random arsonist as the kids form families of their own during recess.
When the disenchanted principal, himself a former marshall, snitches on the whereabouts of the Rossellis, Deech and his new friends put together a plan that will trap the principal and capture the mob boss and the men that come looking for them.
A combination of the Sopranos meets Home Alone; MIDDLE SCHOOL MAFIA is 38,000 words of family comedy where the term family has a whole new meaning.

I am a member of SCBWI and two critique groups. I’m working on getting my Masters in English Literature with a concentration in Fantasy.
Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

First 250 Words:

After a very long drive, my dad finally slowed down in the middle of nowhere. Looking out the window at the neatly trimmed lawns, and well-kept houses, I quickly realized there wasn't a satellite dish in sight.
I can see it now, I thought as we swung around another corner. Deech Rosselli, age twelve found dead after being placed in Witness Protection. The cause of death wasn’t a snitch giving up the Rosselli’s whereabouts and the bad guys finding them, but rather a fatal case of boredom. Rosselli passed while sitting on the couch, staring at the TV, remote in hand, waiting for his new podunk little town to get DirecTV.
My daydreams were interrupted by my dad yelling, “HOLD ON,” as our Jeep came to a screeching halt less than three feet from the back of the moving truck parked in front of our new house.
DAD!” Angie, my sixteen-year-old sister shrieked, jamming her feet into the back of my dad’s seat, bracing for impact after the Jeep had already stopped. As usual she’d been playing on her iPhone, oblivious to anything that wasn’t on her screen.
“What are you putting your feet up for, knucklehead?” I asked her. “You're still crunched if dad hits the back of that truck. Only thing you can do at that point is hope the hospital you’re being rushed to has Wi-Fi.”
“I’ve only been hoping for one thing the last thirteen years,” she hissed after she put her feet back down on the floor, “but you’re still here.”

AMULET OF ZONRACH: MG Humorous Fantasy

Genre: Upper MG, Humorous Fantasy.
Word count: 77,000

My Main Character’s Greatest Fear:

Gerald's greatest fear is poop, and judging by the way things have been going recently it looks as if he is going to be in a world of it.  This minor phobia stems from the fact that his father's job - Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator - involves vast amounts of it.  One more dodgy spell could demote him below the minimum height for wizards and see him joining the family business again.  He can almost smell the future.


Dear Awesome Agent,

I would like to offer GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH for your consideration.  

In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking for promotion of an inch or two, Gerald decides his superior wizarding skills are just what his village needs to improve the view. But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, is demoted another inch; two more and he’s likely to become a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s questionable acquisition of a certain golden amulet could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his elite wizard realm, Gerald is elevated to evil wizard’s enemy number one.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might very well be his last.

GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH is a humorous, Upper MG, Fantasy. It is complete at 77,000 words. Similar in tone to Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, younger readers would enjoy this novel of the trials of an inexperienced wizard who manages to turn everything he touches into chaos.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 250 Words:

A flash of blinding blue light filled the room, followed by a billowing cloud of dark, acrid smoke.


Gerald’s eyes locked onto the bedroom door.  No-one wanted to hear that word from a wizard and definitely not one only five feet tall.  He had dreams of exceeding six feet but only the best wizards in the land ever reached those dizzying heights. Every successful spell he cast could gain him an inch in promotion, but if it failed he could also be demoted.  And Gerald had the distinct feeling the latter was about to apply to him. It seemed unfair that the only profession afflicted by this rule was his.  Hopefully no-one had noticed this little faux pas.

A rumble under his feet, steadily increased in strength until the floor beneath him rolled like a ship in a storm.  Trying to stay upright, he staggered to the window at the front of his weather-beaten cottage.  The small hill supposed to be growing outside - to improve the view - failed to materialize.  But the cotton ball clouds, normally gently drifting on the warm summer breeze, were now whizzing by.  The sight of villagers clinging to structures for dear life deepened his frown of consternation.  His flint grey eyes nearly popped out of his head when the village herbalist flew past his window and, as he followed her progress across the green, he spotted Lord Moleheart hanging onto a tree like a flag in a gale.

“Kack!” said Gerald.

SNOW FALLING: Adult Fantasy

Genre: Adult Fantasy
Word Count: 95,000

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

My main character's greatest fear is that her children will be murdered by their half-sister.


Dear Nightmare on Query Street Team,

When Anastasia married the king, she swore off the crumbling remains of her family and the dark magic that plagued their reputation. But she and her children quickly become subject to her tyrannical step-daughter, Snow White. Snow is the king’s heir, and pursues her destiny with ruthless ambition. Now, Anastasia’s mirror shows her a gruesome vision: her husband dead, her children in chains, and Snow White leading the nation to war.

Through that magic mirror, Anastasia witnesses Snow White aligning herself with rebels and assassinating the king. She vows to rid the kingdom of Snow White and sabotage the revolution. However, after the first assassin falls in love with the princess and the second finds himself garroted in the woods, Anastasia resorts to her only remaining option. She turns to her family and puts the future of the kingdom in the hands of a vengeful sorceress, her aunt Noita.

Disguised by dark magic, Anastasia sets out to poison the princess. Entrenched in rebellion headquarters, trying to gain Snow White’s trust, she uncovers a darker plot, one that requires her to get her hands bloodier than she expected. A lot bloodier. It turns out Noita doesn’t work for free – not even for family.

SNOW FALLING is a standalone title, but is also the first book in a set of companion novels titled LEGENDS AND LIES, in which the traditional villains of popular fairy tales tell their side of the story. SNOW FALLING is an adult fantasy complete at 95,000 words.

I have blogged for five years, amassing over three hundred thousand pageviews, and write for FamilyShare.com. I am the vice-president of American Night Writers Association chapter, and administrator for the Mormon Mommy Writers’ online community.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

First 250 Words:

Marrying the king meant I’d been given a whole bunch of privileges. Unfortunately, smacking some sense into his daughter was not on the list. She was the princess, and the law decreed I – along with everyone else – had to put up with whatever she dished out. But since she was my stepdaughter, and we lived under the same roof, I had to put up with a lot more than anyone else.

“I cannot believe you are picking that witch of a woman over me again!” Her screech carried through the marble palace, though not one of my servants batted an eye.

Richard and I were preparing for our annual tour of Envidia and less than twenty-four hours before we were scheduled to be in a heavily armed carriage, Snow White was pitching a royal fit. Right on schedule. Even if her shrieking had not given me a colossal headache, I would have been in a right foul mood. I was less enthused about the trip than usual, since this was the first time I’d leave my children behind. Each spring since I married, I tore myself from the comforts of palace life and trekked about the kingdom, eating peasant food and pretending to be pleased with it. I’d suffered the trip twice while pregnant, and now my boys were out of toddlerhood and deemed “ready” to be away from their mother for an extended period of time. But no matter how tedious the tour was, Snow wanted to be a part of it.

NAMELESS: YA Fairytale Retelling

Genre: YA Fairytale Retelling
Word Count: 60,000
My Main Character's Greatest Fear:
They abide in my reflection. It’s why I’ve smashed every mirror in my castle. Even then, I can’t stop myself from glimpsing them in the side of my goblet, reflecting in a darkened window, or perfectly portrayed in the enchanted mirror: my eyes. Of every aspect of my cursed, monstrous being, my eyes alone remain human. In them I see the search for love which will never be found—and that’s what scares me most.
Everyone knows his name. The soon to be king of Tasmar influences the lives of nobles and commoners alike, if not always for the best. Thinking only of himself and the perfect melodies he composes, the prince taxes his kingdom mercilessly to give himself a bit of privacy. Isolated in his forest castle, he learns just who holds the real power when he turns away an old woman—an Enchantress in disguise. Cursed to be the Beast that is the reflection of his soul, and believed dead by all who knew him, he is separated not only from his crown and shy bride-to-be, but his own identity. Refusing to associate his hideous form with his own name, the now Nameless prince has one year to earn true love, or he will die. If he can find his fiancé, Mirabelle, and help her see past the monster to the man beneath, he can be saved. However, when Mirabelle falls for another, Beast must learn not only how to let go of a love that was never meant to last, but how to find true love—if it exists.
Nameless is a young adult retelling of Beauty and the Beast from the Beast’s perspective. As opposed to Alex Flynn’s novel, BeastlyNameless is set in a traditional time period with an older narrator (age 18). Unique aspects of Nameless include Beast’s younger brother, and a dream world where Beast interacts with the Enchantress who cursed him. Complete at 60,000 words, Nameless works as a stand alone novel, but is intended to be the first of The Prince Chronicles.
My work has been featured in Stories for Children Magazine (2009), and Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales(Wayman Publishing, 2012). My short story, Sleepless Beauty (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty) will appear in theOne More Day anthology (J. Taylor Publishing, 2013), and my story, Sweet Nothings has been accepted intoThe Chronicles of Alistair Gruff (Anassa Publications) set for a tentative 2014 publication.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
First 250 words:
Everyone knows my name.
My guests, all two hundred of them, whisper it as I glide down the grand staircase into the golden ballroom. And why shouldn’t they know my name? I am their prince, the future king of Tasmar. Exactly one year from now when I turn nineteen, I will inherit the throne.
The crowds converge, skirts pressing around me as thick as a rose garden. Jewels twinkle on wrists and hands as they shake mine. I note the rare Tasmarian emeralds set in Meldovian gold—gold that has been rarer since our war with Meldova, and therefore, worth twice as much. It’s pathetic how everyone hides behind their gems. Do they think it will impress me?
My subjects drift left and right to reveal Mirabelle. She stands, exquisite, in an elegant red gown made from Banaternian silk. It hugs her slender waist before the skirts cascade in shimmering layers of scarlet and white. Her dripping lace sleeves ripple as she shakes them away to free her hand, which she extends to me. I take it, and kiss her slender fingers. As she laughs, my fingers entwine with hers.
“Everyone has been waiting.” Her free hand slides up to my shoulder. Fingering my matching red vest, she offers me a coy smile. “I assume by now you’ve finished exploring your new castle? How do you like your present to yourself, my prince?” Her fingers drift up to brush the foremost prong of my bronze crown, inset with perfectly cut emeralds, each the size of my thumb.

Oct 23, 2013

GUSTAVE EIFFEL: Adult Historical Fiction

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Word Count: 79,000

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

What Monsieur Eiffel fears most is that they will not arrive 1 May 1889. "What then?" he wonders. "What is to become of the Tour en Fer de Trois Cents Mètres, the end result of two years of our conspiratorial labors? Will it be for naught? After all, what other purpose could The Tower serve?"

Of course, based on the grim painting by Georges Seurat -- the one depicting a city afire and titled “2xMXI” -- he also fears what will transpire if they do arrive 1 May 1889.


No structure on Earth is more intimately tied to a city than the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Rising more than 1,000 feet above the Champ de Mars is a marriage of 18,000 pieces of iron and 7,000,000 rivets. When plans for the Tour en Fer de Trois Cents Mètres—the centerpiece of the 1889 World’s Fair—went public, it was universally derided. Why did the renowned and respected engineer Gustave Eiffel risk his reputation, not to mention his personal fortune, in the face of such overwhelming adversity?

Because of eight thunderous notes from Beethoven’s signature symphony, known to the world, but understood by a select few:


And five words:

we arrive 1 may 1889.

First 250 words: 


The eight notes, known throughout the civilized world, but known only for what they purported to be rather than what they truly were, rained across the sky. A single tear of joy traced down his cheek and disappeared into his now-grey beard.

Ils sont arrivés. They’re here. It is time,” he wheezed.

He struggled to stand, to raise himself from the chair, so that he might make his way over to the window to see, to see it with his own eyes.

“Will the docking be successful? Will they latch? I hope I understood the design specifications, interpreted them correctly,” he said aloud. “They seemed complete, robust. Clearly, their engineers possessed exemplary skills. Still, nonetheless, they drafted them relying on an uncertain level of understanding of our language, not to mention our newly adopted metric standards. I suppose we shall see if they managed to overcome these challenges.”

He collapsed back into the chair. His 91-year-old body had grown too weak, too feeble. So he would not be witness to the crowning achievement of his life’s work. But he had succeeded. He knew he had.

Alexandre Gustave Eiffel smiled and closed his eyes for the final time...

THE NINE: Adult Steampunk Fantasy

Genre: Adult Steampunk Fantasy
Word Count: 125,000

My Main Character’s Greatest Fear: 

Rowena Downshire can only count on herself. Mama's stuck raving in debtor’s prison, five hundred sovereigns from her freedom. Rowena's years of running black market deliveries have trimmed down the debt, but deep in her empty belly, she's terrified she’ll be collared for smuggling before earning Mama back. And that’s assuming she can survive her employer’s brutal hand and salacious gaze. Rowena fears admitting to the dread that hounds her every day. If she does, she’s already lost.


Dear Agent:

After seven years as an “apprentice courier,” thirteen-year-old Rowena Downshire has carried danger under her tattered coat dozens of times. But when her next burden is a book that writes itself, Rowena’s filthy hands hazard far more than a constable’s cuffs.

They carry the fate of humanity.

Corma is a city of iron and steam, its sooty streets a maze Rowena runs for a smuggler who pays her in beatings as often as sovereigns. For years, she’s struggled to settle the debt that condemned her mother to Oldtemple prison, praying against Reason for a bit clink, and a lot of luck.

A different fortune finds Rowena when a harried scholar thrusts his research text into her hands, desperate to evade the killers pursuing its secrets. This book records the lives of the Nine: the ultimate subjects of the Creator’s Grand Experiment, the unsuspecting souls whose actions will determine humanity’s deliverance or doom. Access to unspeakable knowledge entangles Rowena in a ruthless nobleman’s scheme to derail divine judgment. Now a witness to a dangerous conspiracy, her final wage may be the steel slipped in her back.

To survive, Rowena must find allies. Cracking the courage to put herself in another’s hands proves harder than jimmying the locks of Oldtemple – yet suspicion is a luxury she can no longer afford.

Not when the noose readied for Rowena will do more than tie up a loose end.

Not when the book reveals her name among the Nine.

THE NINE is a 125,000 word fantasy novel with a clockwork heart, steam soul, and series potential. I hold a Master’s in Writing and teach creative writing and science fiction/fantasy literature at an elite public boarding school. 

Thank you for your consideration.

First 250:

Rowena Downshire fixed the lanyani with her best glare, not even regarding the stack of coin it had placed in her palm. She knew by its weight it was shy three sovereigns, and that was difference enough in clink to earn a solid whack of Ivor’s hawthorn. The lanyani, its wooden face as rutted as old oak, blinked at her with white, irisless eyes.

“You’re short,” Rowena said, loudly and slowly, translating to half-wit. “The deal was sixteen. I en’t come two miles getting chewed to bits to leave with less than what’s due.”

She hadn’t let go of the vervet’s cage yet, either, though she wished the little beast would stop worrying at her hand under the shearling cover. The lanyani leaned for the cage, willow-whip hands sweeping wide.

Rowena danced backward, out from under the gypsy’s fringed tent and out of its reach. She ignored the curse of a costermonger whose foot she trod, though she did look up at him just to be sure he wasn’t a Constable. He spat by her boot and lifted his barrow of soft, waxy apples, wheeling off to some other corner of the Shipman’s Bazaar.

Rowena turned back to the lanyani.

“Three more clink, or no little rat,” she said. Slowly, she edged closer, the little rectangular cage clutched against her chest.

The lanyani did not speak its reply; the long drought of the summer and the cold air of autumn had left it brittle and slow, the curled remnants of a once-leafy pate drifting to the ground with every movement.


Genre: MG urban fantasy
Word Count: 45,000

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

I don't like the sun, or the moon, or my city with its high walls, so I live for the moments I can escape into the darkness of the underground. It's the best place ever, and my worst fear is that I'll get caught and not be
able to go back. I'm not afraid of the dark, I'm afraid of losing the dark.

I mean, the creatures with their howls and snapping jaws… they're kind of freaky and all (don't tell them I said that) but they won't stop me from going back. You'll see.


Twelve-year-old Darcy is bored of her city, with its high walls, fake grass and a whole lot of sameness. That is, until she finds a secret tunnel leading to an abandoned underground city. Every night she sneaks away to explore more of the winding tunnels and empty streets of The Forgotten City.

Her very own secret.

The underground seems empty at first, but the creatures who live in the dark don't appreciate a little girl poking her nose in their business. They don't trust the "sun-dwellers," a.k.a. humans. But Darcy refuses to stay away. She belongs to the dark, whether they like it or not.

When the creatures push her too far, Darcy gets lost in the labyrinth of tunnels and doesn't make it home by sun up. Now the humans know she's missing and they're coming after her—into the underground.

Because of Darcy, the forgotten race of goblins will come face to face with humans for the first time in two hundred years. An old feud turns into a fight over a girl who belongs nowhere and everywhere at once. Half human, half goblin.

First 250 words:

The best place in the whole world is a mile below my feet.

Damp sludge drips from the stone walls of the underground tunnels, surrounded by darkness so thick it's like a living, breathing thing. There are new adventures everywhere. Every turn is a new secret waiting to be uncovered.

Too bad I'm not supposed to go there, and if I was ever caught I'd be a lot worse than grounded. So right now I'm stuck above ground, in my boring apartment, doing my boring homework just waiting until I can sneak back to the tunnels.

No one can keep me away, not even Mom.

“Darcy!” Mom calls.

“What? I’m doing my homework, just like you said.”

She walks into my room carrying a pair of muddy tennis shoes. “Explain to me how these got so dirty.”

Whoops. She wasn't supposed to find those.

I shrug, playing it off. “I was playing bee with Joe.”


I hold up a Frisbee. Lucky for me it’s got some dirt on it too. Otherwise she might suspect I’m not telling
the truth.

“Leave it to you to find the only dirt in the whole city."

Here we go.

"Why do you think they did away with those parks I played in as a kid? They were dangerous. Stick to the
astro-turf, okay?"

She says it so serious that I can't help but roll my eyes. Astro-turf is just a stupid name for fake grass.
Seriously, a little dirt isn’t going to hurt me.

LOGIN: YA Spec-Fic/Adventure

Title: LOGIN
Genre: YA Spec-Fic/Adventure
Word Count: 82,500

My Main Character's Greatest Fear:

I wanted to live so badly, I let my parents die. I said I would never let anyone else be hurt because of me, but I’m being hunted now, and in my unending selfishness, I’ve allowed Kyran to run away with me. If he dies too, I don’t know if I can handle it. I already live with guilt. My greatest fear is having weight added to that guilt.


My novel LOGIN is a YA spec-fic/adventure, complete and standalone at 82,500 words (with series potential).

Technology is no longer just a part of life; it’s a part of the population.

Z-Tech produces everything from diapers, to the babies who wear them. Several generations have passed since Z-Tech first started selling Customized Children: humans genetically personalized, and physically integrated with technology. These cyborgs are now the majority, and natural-births are not only rare, they are illegal. Z-Tech owns exclusive rights to human life.

Sixteen-year-old Fayten Lena can’t stand the vacant stares of Customized Children. Fake eyes connect them to the web, the world, and each other, but sometimes Fayten wonders if cyborgs ever see what’s going on right in front of them. As a Natural-Born, Fayten is unable to use technology. Denied most basic privileges, she’s not protected by the government, and when her parents pay the ultimate price for infringing on Z-Tech’s copyright, Fayten is completely unprepared for life on her own. The world is full of black-market slavers, and vigilantes who prey on evolutionary throwbacks like Fayten. But the people hunting her now are far more dangerous. Fayten couldn’t possibly have inherited a code capable of halting Z-Tech’s global invasions, but that won’t stop Z-Tech from trying to take her down.

Along with Kyran, a tough young man with shady connections, a stubborn personality, and a complicated sense of loyalty; and Rian, a shy hacker who can literally get in the heads of his fellow Customized; Fayten must find a way to stay alive, protect a code she doesn’t even believe she has, and save a foreign country from Z-Tech’s corporate takeover.

First 250 words:

I’d woken with a jolt early this morning, peacekeepers beating on my door. I thought we still had one more day, but my parents’ Grace Period to raise me was over. They had prepared me for much, but not this—how could they? While a Customized would be thinking about blowing out candles on their sweet-sixteen, I was at the Judgment Building, trying to decide which of my parents to feed to the flame. Before I’d be allowed to leave the balcony room above the Pit, I’d have to choose which of my parents would die for me.

I dug my nails into the pale skin of my arm, not removing them until they left deep marks. I couldn’t really feel any pain. It was vague, a distant sting to a nervous system that no longer belonged to me. My consciousness seemed to float above my body, but it couldn’t escape, and neither could I. I remembered how I used to wake screaming when I was a little girl, plagued by guilt over a choice I hadn’t made yet. Now that that choice was before me, I was too numb to feel anything.

My counselor tapped her clipboard with long fingernails. She was sitting somewhere behind me, reminding me that she was still there—and that I was still wasting her time—every few minutes when she shifted the order of her crossed legs.

After a long silence she prodded me yet again, “Fayten? It’s been another hour.”

RAGDOLL: YA Dark Contemporary

Genre: YA Dark Contemporary
Word Count: 53,000

My Main Character’s Greatest Fear:

I fear my antique dolls. How they come to life in the shattered moonlight, creep across my bedroom floor, and whisper aged-torn secrets meant to stay buried. They slip up walls and bang, bang, bang their heads on my metal bed frame. I cover my ears to drown their terrible sounds, but their sounds come from within me – sorrowful, loud, and mocking. Somehow their voices blend with mine, and oh god, it’s driving me crazy.


Sixteen-year-old Jasmyn Rayne isn’t the only one writing in her Diary Dearest. Her other personalities are, too. And one is doing it in blood.

Jasmyn received the diary from Mother to ease her troubled mind, but she can't trust the soft spoken trickster who gave her to sadistic strangers as a child. They raped her more times than she can remember, and now pain and self-loathing are cancers that eat away at her soul. Jasmyn finds her only remedy at the edge of needles and razor-blades. However, when she gives into the ecstasy of tearing her flesh, she loses her hold on reality and writes in her diary from the perspective of ancestors that mimic her heirlooms: a loving slave doll and a bitter porcelain doll. One yearns to heal her emotional scars, and the other begs her to cut a little deeper.

As Jasmyn struggles to forgive her cold and distant mother, she turns to someone who has dark secrets of his own – her best friend’s older brother. His relentless pursuit and charming smile seems to ease Jasmyn’s nightmarish past and insane present. But if Jasmyn doesn’t start seeing things for what they really are, her sanity will crumble even more, and her porcelain-doll-personality may just get its death wish.

Eerily enough, Jasmyn’s only hope may lie within the blood-drenched pages of her diary.

RAGDOLL, a YA dark contemporary, is complete at 53,000 words. It is written in diary format and multiple POV between Jasmyn and her two doll personalities. It will appeal to readers of Laurie Halse Anderson’s WINTERGIRLS and Nova Ren Suma’s IMAGINARY GIRLS. 

I’ve studied creative writing at Northland Pioneer College and am an active member of SCBWI. Recently, I made it to the top 60 in Brenda Drake’s Pitch Madness contest and am the sole winner of Mike Anthony’s mini-contest for short stories.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250 Words:

i crinkle to life when her blood spills.
i move in red and breath.
she don't see me as i truly am and she don't know that i see,
i am her childhood doll.
i seen since we first found each otha’.
she was four.
that be twelve years ago.
i been ‘round lots longer.
i don't know how long.
i only remember the smell of smoke and turpentine,
the taste of oiled cinnamon,
the feel of hard straw and needle pinch as it sewed on each stitch of mouth and coarse yarn hair.
i didn't have to see to know it flamed red.
it was a long and painful process.
creation always is.
the nimble strength and rough tenderness in my maker's hands taught me everything
i needed to know
'bout love.
my button eyes were sewn on last.
i saw my maker.
old and weathered, battered by time, her skin dark chocolate, and her eyes rheumatic.
she saw me smile and smiled in return, patting my stuffed arms and legs.
she’ll need you, she whispered in a voice i recognized as my own.
i travelled great distances, through many hands and lives,
none of ‘em right for me,
to find the girl who needs me most,
the one my creator created me for.

Friday, October 31st
My dolls haunt me. They jump inside me and make me write things I don’t want to write. Things I don’t need to remember. I try to ignore them, but it doesn't do any good. 

Oct 22, 2013

My Favorite Books

I just wanted to take a minute to share some of my favorite books. These books are the reason I'm a writer and they inspire me in all my writerly endeavors. What are some of your favorite books? What are books that inspire you?