Oct 28, 2015

NoQS Monster 13 - Drowning in Rivers, YA Contemp.

Name: Heidi Peitz
Twitter Handle: @hpeitz
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 76K

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obstacle:

Grace's most fearsome obstacle is falling into old habits that nearly killed her and paralyzed an innocent girl. She's afraid that people will see past her tough, smart-ass exterior to the weak and naive girl she feels like on the inside. She's afraid she'll never learn what it takes to overcome those feelings inadequacy.


Seventeen-year-old ‘city girl’ Grace Burns got revenge on her controlling, abusive ex by pushing his truck into a lake, running over twelve-year-old Andrea “Andy” Rivers in the process. Six months later, Grace leaves juvy ready to start her life over. She just has to finish the last part of her sentence: five hundred hours of community service. Grace’s case worker sends her to Hannibal, MO to assist wheelchair-bound Andy for the summer.

Convinced the Rivers family hates her, Grace is suspicious of their ‘Stepford’ appearance when she arrives. Overwhelmed with panic attacks since the accident, Grace immediately returns to old habits, partying and flirting with older guys as a distraction. She is drawn to one guy in particular, the oddly named Bear. Grace is confused by his resistance to her forward advances until she learns who Bear really is: Theodore Rivers, Andy’s brother.

While struggling to makes amends for her past, Grace discovers none of the Rivers are as perfect as they seem. Secrets of infidelity, alcoholism, illegitimate children and abuse threaten to tear the family apart. Feeling obligated to help save the family after what she’s done to Andy, Grace will have to rediscover her confidence and accept that her past doesn’t define her or risk losing what could be the love of her life.

First 250:

I never did much with my hair before being locked up. I’ve always been content to leave it straight or pull it up in a ponytail. It’s my bunkmate who loves experimenting with my hair. It’s been like having a personal stylist.

Ha. Prison stylist. Total oxymoron.

Her fingers move through my hair impossibly fast. The resulting braids are flawless even though she’s working with my finer ‘white girl’ hair.

“I’m not ready.” I confess, picking a microbraid off of my shoulder to examine the intricacy of the woven strands.

Lox huffs, “Ho, you gettin’ out. Don’t play like you ain’t ready ta take a shower by yoself.”

“That’s the only good thing about getting out of here. I mean, five hundred hours? That’s like a part-time job with no pay for a year. Couldn’t they just let me stay another month?”

She makes a sound, sort of like ‘I don’t know’, in her throat. “They tryin’ ta teach you humanity o’ some shit. You lucky.”

Lucky. Right.

“You mean humility?”

She jerks my head back and gives me an over-exaggerated stink eye. “I said o’ some shit.”

I grin as her sable eyes soften and her robust cheeks ball up with her smile.

“Don’t start something you can’t finish, Shayla,” I counter, sardonically.

She scrunches her nose and goes back to work, her silence loaded. Lox is more famously known outside of Watson-Wakefield Juvenile Detention as Shayla Rockelle White. The girl who stabbed her stepfather to death for trying to rape her.


  1. Shriek. Please send with a synopsis to crubinobradway@lkgagency.com.

  2. Shriek! Please send pitch + short bio + synopsis with attached pages to Clelia@martinliterarymanagement.com. Thanks!

  3. Shriek! Can you send with synopsis to penelope.gsliterary at gmail.com, with NoQS in the subject line and your query in the body?

  4. Shivering...please send a biography and a quick blurb on other wips you may have to vselvaggio@windstream.net --Please put "NoQS" in the Subject line. Thank you!

  5. Shriek--please send pitch, synopsis, and pages to query@newleafliterary.com with NoQS: Danielle in the subject line!

  6. Shiver!! Please send with query to jordy@thebookeralbertagency.com with NoQS in the subject.

  7. Screaming! Please send your full manuscript as a word doc to whitley@inklingsliterary.com, with your query letter copied on the first page of the doc. And please put #NoQS in the subject. Thanks!


    In addition to your full, please send a detailed synopsis to bcampbell@bookendsliterary.com with "NoQS" in the subject and your query in the body of the email.