Oct 27, 2015

NoQS Monster 4 - King of the Wild Bunch, MG Adventure

Name: Emily Cushing
Twitter Handle: @emcushi
Genre: MG Adventure
Word Count: 47K

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:

Maggie McCoy’s most fearsome obsession is staying far, far away from her former, bully-ridden school. She never wants to set foot in that place again. Like, ever. But her parents are broke, so unless she can outwit and outrun dangerous thieves to find Butch Cassidy’s hidden gold—that’s exactly where she’s headed.


Twelve-year-old Maggie McCoy has finally found a place where she fits in: small town, loyal friends, and her beloved Renaissance Academy of the Arts. But her artist parents are broke, which means moving back to the city, and away from everything she adores.

Maggie will do anything to avoid returning to her old, bully-ridden school. So when her annual cross-country trip with Grandpa Jim approaches, she twists it into an opportunity to hunt for gold hidden by infamous bank robber Butch Cassidy. With her cousin Jake and his photographic memory on board, she hops into Grandpa’s beat-up Winnebago and heads west.

But dangerous thieves are also after the treasure, and Jake’s “anger bursts”—a side effect of his parent’s divorce—make him the worst teammate ever. Only with his memory and Maggie's artistic skills working together can they hope to decipher century-old clues about Butch Cassidy. Because finding the treasure is Maggie’s last chance to save the home and life she loves.

Complete at 47,000-words, mystery and history collide in KING OF THE WILD BUNCH, a middle grade adventure which follows Maggie McCoy as she unravels the legend of Butch Cassidy.

First 250:

Whenever Mom and Dad point to the couch and say, “Sit down, Maggie, we need to talk,” I’m like, please, no. Because I know when I hear those seven little words something terrible is coming.

So tonight when they pointed, I inched away from the lime green couch, arms-crossed. I knew what they were up to and I refused to play that game. If we weren’t sitting we couldn’t have a Sit Down…right?


Even if you’re standing (and even if it’s in the kitchen—super far from the couch), they still tell you.

Dad rubbed his short beard then rested both palms on the glass kitchen countertop he had hand-blown at his Wednesday night art class. “There’s something important we need to discuss.”

My heart raced. I needed a Plan B. Fast. Humming loudly, I scanned the kitchen for anything that might stop him from talking: the flaming orange soup pot, my honor’s student magnet, a bag of microwave popcorn. Perfect. If I couldn’t hear him, he wouldn’t be able to tell me. I opened the microwave, threw in the popcorn, and slammed the door, punching each button as I turned it on.

Mom’s shoulders slouched and she released a breath. Then she pulled her hair into a messy bun, securing it with a pencil. “Maggie, please listen.”

I scrunched my face, cupped my ear, and shook my head. “What? Can’t hear you.” I pointed at the microwave. “Popping noises. Too loud.”


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

  2. Giving out a shiver here! Please send query letter in body of email and pages as Word attachment to Melissa.Jeglinski@knightagency.net. Please put NoQS request in subject line.

  3. *Shiver*! Please send your query, a 1-2 page synopsis, and the first 10-15 pages to queries at azantianlitagency dot com. Also, please include "NoQS REQUESTED" in the subject line. I look forward to reading!