Entry Nickname: Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy
Word Count: 64K
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction
Seventeen-year-old Lauren is a professional mother-disappointer… but losing her sister in an eerie underwater town sets a whole new standard.
When Lauren hears the legend, she’s intrigued; exploring the lost town under Lake Modoc is the perfect adventure to take her mind off of her mounting stack of detention letters. Together with her two best friends, she hops on a boat (somewhat illegally) and sets out to discover the Atlantis of Owego County.
One problem: Lauren must bring her eight-year-old tattletale sister, Roxie, along for the ride. In the split second Lauren and her friends find the creepy, algae-covered church steeple under the lake, Roxie disappears from the boat. Silently, impossibly, Roxie is gone.
With her sister missing, Lauren is wracked with grief and uncertainty. She becomes obsessed with uncovering the secrets behind Roxie’s increasingly mysterious disappearance. But when the police can’t see the steeple Lauren leads them to—the place where Roxie vanished—she takes matters into her own hands, scuba diving into the deep.
Lauren finds out too late that the town under the lake was abandoned there for a reason. By opening its doors, she unleashes its dark, magical ability to lure away children—and if she doesn’t find her sister soon, she might have more than one lost kid to answer for.
With Roxie’s life hanging in the balance, Lauren must piece together the secrets of the town under Lake Modoc—or live under the weight of Roxie’s death forever.
Whenever I stand on the shores of Lake Modoc, I scour the horizon like I’ll find something out of the ordinary. Today I do the same, letting my eyes skip over the dark blanket of water as the wind plays with the ends of my hair. On the edge of my vision something bobs some twenty feet away, but the moment I squint harder to see its shape, it disappears.
“Ugh, damn it! These test tubes are impossible,” Carly shouts beside me, breaking my reverie.
“Jesus. You ruined my yoga vibe.”
“Yeah, ‘cause I can totally see you doing downward-facing whatever. Can you help for two seconds?” Carly pushes her red curls out of her face, bent over the water’s edge.
As I step toward her, movement flashes in the water again. My stomach drops out, leaving a vague sense of dread in its place. Whatever’s out there avoids my glance, so I force myself to take up my time-honored duty: talking Carly down from insanity.
“Hey,” I say. “It’s a simple assignment. We’d be fine using tap water.”
“Tap water is too easy. I want a challenge.” The glass tubes she’s struggling with tumble into the lake, causing her to swear under her breath.
“Well, consider yourself challenged.”
Carly has been my best friend since that time we had the misfortune of being dressed in the same hideous sweater on picture day in the second grade, but at times like these I reconsider our actual compatibility as human beings.
Title: Lost Inside Her
Entry Nickname: Meet Me at Lake Nevaeh
Word Count: 71K
Genre: YA Thriller
For as long as seventeen-year-old Violet can remember, she’s had a voice in her head she calls Gabby. Gabby’s not just her best friend, she feels real. To doctors, the voice is a mental aberration they’ve treated with meds and therapy. But nothing’s worked.
Gabby hasn’t been her playful self lately. She begs Violet for help, but can’t clearly communicate what’s wrong. All Violet knows is the fear reaches so deep, it makes her dizzy and nauseous. Things grow even more confusing when Violet notices weird bruises on her arms. Worried they’ll put her away for good, she keeps the new symptoms to herself. When she meets Neil, her new classmate from Red Lake Indian Reservation, his down-to-earth, gentle nature draws her so close, she trusts him with her secret. And he’s the first to believe her.
When Gabby’s visits land Violet in the hospital, they discover the bruises and plan her transfer to inpatient treatment. Now Violet’s had enough. Hungry for real answers, she runs away with Neil to his reservation, where his grandfather performs a shamanic ritual. Swept into a trance, Violet learns Gabby is a real live, flesh-and-blood person, their bodies linked by a rare anomaly in their cells. Finally, Violet understands the bruises. They’re Gabby’s. And someone’s hurting her. Violet must save her best friend to save her own life…and to have any chance of being with the first guy who ever believed in her.
Three days since I’d secretly quit taking my meds. Or was it four? This might have ranked as the stupidest thing I’d ever done. Huddled in the back seat of Dad’s swaying SUV, I forced my eyes open. Swirling gray clouds dumped more rain onto the street, already flooded from a week of late-September storms.
That spot where Gabby’s voice filled my head was empty. For now, anyway. After all her drama, insisting I “stop the drugs,” she hadn’t even popped in since I’d quit. Maybe it was better that way. Because just thinking about how weird she’d been acting lately made me sweat all over. Staring out the window, tears filled my eyes, blurring the falling rain. I didn’t even know my best friend anymore. I almost wished she’d never visit me again.
A gust whipped fat drops against the windshield, forcing Dad to slow down and lean forward. We crawled through the downpour and turned into the mini mart’s lot. While Dad ran in for drinks, Mom flipped down the visor’s mirror and applied that bright-red lipstick I hated. She saw me looking at her. “You still mad at me?”
“I was tired. I didn’t mean to yell.” I’d swear she was more concerned about being yelled at than why I was so upset when she woke me for church. I’d barely slept all night, and I really wanted to tell her why. Tell Dad. Tell someone.
Gabby’s mantra echoed: Keep it inside, where it’s safe with me and you.