Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our Agents' Unmasked!


Velma Dinkley is:
Stacey Donaghy with Donaghy Literary Group

Ms. Harlequin is: 

Ammi-Joan Paquette with the Erin MurphyLiterary Agency.

Princess Leia is:
Hannah Bowman with Liza Dawson Associates.

Annie Oakley is:

Roseanne Wells with The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency


The Tardis is:
Natalie Lakosil with Bradford Literary Agency

Rose from Dr. Who is:
Jordy Albert with the Booker Albert Literary Agency.

Now, let's give a big thank you to our six fabulous agents, without whom this contest would never have happened. Thank you all for your participation and for picking such great costumes!

Happy Halloween!

*Participants- if you received a request, please email the contest address and wait for submission instructions.*

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's time to Trick or Treat 2013

It's time to go trick or treating! Can we get our bags filled with treats?
Trick or Treat entrants, thank you for joining the fun! You guys seriously rocked our inbox. Your entries were PHENOMENAL and we had a very HARD time narrowing them down to 39. We even have a special surprise for you....we've added a Bobbing For Slush save! If you didn't make the cut, that doesn't mean we didn't love your pitch. (I had to cut quite a few from my final list and that did not make me happy!) We've tried to give our participating agents some great choices based on their wish lists and we're hoping to see lots of incredible matches made this week.  

Congratulations to our finalists and good luck! 

* * * Reminders * * *

ONLY PARTICIPATING AGENTS MAY COMMENT IN THIS ROUND. We want our awesome costumed agents to be able to read through the entries with ease.

Agents will request "candy" in the comment section. Any kind of sugar candy (Skittles, Starbursts, etc) means you've gotten a partial request and chocolate candy (Snickers, M&Ms, etc) means you've gotten a full manuscript request. Agents can comment on as many entries as they like and multiple agents can request on the same pitch. So you just might find your bag full of treats!

Costumed agents will be revealed at 6PM EST on October 31st.

Anyone who receives candy should email into on October 31st for further submission instructions. You will then receive an email with the correct submission guidelines to follow. DO NOT contact the agent without getting the guidelines first.

If you are another amazing agent who has happened upon this contest and would like to make a request, we welcome you to take a look. Please email us after the contest has ended with requests

We'll be tweeting on #AgentTreat! @
brendadrake @kpchase817 @Dannie_Morin


Title: Macha and the River Blue
Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance w/ Supernatural Elements
Word Count: 59,000

Pitch: Sixteen year-old Alyona Roseto wants nothing more than to survive her mom-dictated semester abroad in Costa Rica. Attracting two polar opposite guys isn’t part of the plan, and neither is bringing to life an ancient jungle legend. But now a deranged goddess wants her dead, and Diego and Jim just…want her.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? Casper – I’m friendly but so don’t want to be the center of attention, hence the plain white sheet.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Unique presentation (location=Costa Rica), exotic aroma (super hot Latino bad boy), and imaginative, decadent flavor (fresh plot – seriously, none of this was ever covered in any exchange student handbook).

First 250 Words: 
A muffled voice called to me from a distance. “We will be landing in approximately fifteen minutes. Estaremos aterrizando en aproximadamente quince minutos.”
 When did Mom learn to speak Spanish?
“One more minute, Mom.” I hugged my pillow tighter. It was so warm. But then it shook. And spoke.
“Morning, Sunshine.”
My mind spun. Airport. Airplane. Cute guy…crap.
I held my breath hoping I was dreaming or better yet, that I would self-combust. No such luck. Heat swamped my face as I cracked open my eyelids and unwrapped myself from…oh God, what was his name again? Jeff, John?
“Sorry…uh, Jim.” Bingo. I bent my head away, trying to wipe the saliva dribbling from my lip, casual-like.
“It’s okay. I didn’t mind.”
My gaze flicked to his face. Why was he blurry? Dammit. One of my stupid new contacts had floated off my pupil again. I squinted. He sounded sincere, but was he grinning?
I climbed over his legs – careful not to touch him again – and scrambled down the aisle toward the bathroom before the flight attendant could stop me. I flipped the lock and stuck my left eye up to the mirror, slowly massaging my contact back home. These extended wears were an unexpected going-away present from my mom. To let people notice my beautiful bright blue eyes, she’d said. Whatever. I blinked – it was in, good – and took a step back, and cringed. 
This is what Jim was looking at? Sasquatch had better hair days. Urgh.

Trick or Treat K2- THE BARRENS

Title: The Barrens
Category: YA
Genre: Thriller
Word Count: 97,000

Pitch: Niko Molozov pines for life on the Surface, for a chance to feel the sun on her skin, to taste catsup again, to meet someone—anyone—under the age of thirty. When scientist Alec Perdue and his two teen sons join her father's subterranean bio-mine The Barrens, Niko thinks her luck has finally changed. But the Perdues have a sinister agenda—to steal the bio-mine's priceless pharma-crops and destroy the Barrens—and unless Niko can stop them, her life will be over before it even begins. 

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? You’re telling me that if I wear a costume, you’ll give me candy, and that this is all because of Hallo-wand—sorry, Hallo-ween—some holiday I never even heard of? Wow, okay… well, if it can’t be normal clothes, then that rules out my rad suit and lab stuff, but I could borrow Sarah’s apron, and that chef hat someone gave her as a joke, and go as a cook, if you think that would work?

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? For my dark, twisty, psychological, thriller, I wanted to create the same kind of claustrophobic dread that director Ridley Scott brought to his classic film Alien, and when I heard about the famed Doomsday Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, I knew a bio-mine, deep underground, manned by a skeleton crew of six scientists would be perfect. Add one lonely, naive teen girl, two seriously messed up brothers, and a nefarious scheme to steal the biomine’s priceless pharma-crops, and you get a dangerous love triangle that explores meaty questions, like when do terrible wrongs justify the use of terrible force, and when does victim become victimizer.

First 250 Words: 
They say that when the wind blows you can either break like an ash or bend like a willow. I’d hoped there might be a third option—hiding—an alternative inspired by the lowly and unobtrusive crustose lichen.

It’s not working. The winds, literal and figurative, have me firmly in their sights. They rage around me as I stand on the landing pad, watching the Terrapeutics Corpe helicopter crest over the stand of scrawny jack pines, and tired birch. I hug my arms in close and hunch down, trying to make less of a target for the bitter May gales. It’s useless. Just like it’s useless trying to hide from the fact that in a few moments I will have to meet Janus’s replacement.

The copter lands in a maelstrom of dust and desiccated leaves. Before the blades stop spinning, my father has already ordered our security chief Duncan to advance on the craft. My father can’t wait to return to the Barrens. He hates the Surface, hates anything that takes him from his beloved bio-mine. Not me. I live for these rare opportunities to experience the sky unspooling around me, to feel fresh air on my skin, to smell the tang of pine or even the stink of marsh mud.

But not today. Today I’d stay Below forever if it meant I could avoid meeting this new bioengineer, and even more, avoid the reality that Janus is truly gone.

Behind me my father clears his throat. “What?” I say.


Title: The Queen of Green and Her Dog Artichoke
Category: MG
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 30,000

Pitch: When ten-year-old Ella Baxter, a spunky, aspiring cook who loves broccoli and all things green, is offered her dream of hosting a TV cooking show, she finds that being a celebrity isn’t easy peasy, and now she needs to discover who’s sabotaging her show. With the help of the world’s cutest Pomeranian, Artichoke, Ella learns that, holy moley, she’s blaming the wrong person, and she must decide whether to risk her career by telling the truth or play into the network’s plans to exploit her for higher ratings. One thing’s for sure: it’s not so easy being (the queen of) green.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? What do I want to be for Halloween? Kermit the Frog, of course, because he knows it’s not easy peasy being green.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? The Queen of Green and Her Dog Artichoke combines a quirky MC, yummy green recipes, and the world’s most adorable Pomeranian. What’s not to like?

First 250 Words:
With her mom’s pageant crown nestled in her red curls, ten-year-old Ella Baxter poured blended broccoli into her homemade spaghetti sauce. She stirred the green into the red and let it bubble for a few minutes before scooping out a spoonful. She blew across the wooden spoon, closed her eyes, and tasted. Not the kind of taste where you chew twice and swallow. Ella let the sauce move over her tongue hitting every taste bud. 

Wrinkling her freckled nose, she sighed. “Perfect.” She knelt down and ruffled the neck of the most adorable golden Pomeranian in the world. She held out the spoon. “Okey dokey, Artichokie. What do you think?” His enthusiastic tail told Ella that he thought it was perfect too.

Two great things happened on the day Ella found Artichoke. For her birthday, her dad had taken her to the shelter, and she fell in love with the tiny three pound dog. His sad brown eyes peered through the bars of the cage, and Ella wouldn’t look at any other dog. She knew he was the one. Artichoke knew too. When Ella opened the gate, he leaped into her arms and snuggled his nose against her neck.

That night her family celebrated by going to Ella’s favorite Italian restaurant. While the pup snoozed in Ella’s back pack dog carrier, Ella ate artichokes for the first time. She found two new loves that day. It seemed right to call them by the same name. Artichoke fit her dog perfectly.

Trick or Treat K4- DEAD RINGER

Title: Dead Ringer
Category: Adult
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Word Count: 73,000

Pitch: Midori Bishop’s life is hitting all the right notes. She has her dream job playing violin in a professional orchestra and is embarking on a secret relationship with the symphony’s hot maestro. But when a cellist is murdered and the maestro becomes the number one suspect, Midori’s quest to prove the maestro’s innocence prompts the killer to gear up for a grand finale -- with Midori as the intended victim.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? I’d say I relate most to Joan Watson from the tv show Elementary. We both solve mysteries, we share a similar sense of style, and we have the same hair!

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? The sweet combination of music and murder makes my manuscript a tasty treat.

First 250 Words: 
The cacophony that hit my ears was as familiar as a favorite song. I stood at the top of a set of stairs inside an old church, a faint musty smell tickling at my nose. The still air pressed in around me, a little too warm to be comfortable, but the discordant sounds drew me onward. 

The wooden stairs creaked beneath my feet as I made my way down into the church’s basement. It wasn’t hard to figure out where to go next. All I had to do was follow the clamorous sound of multiple instruments playing out of sync.

With my violin case in one hand and a bag slung over my shoulder, I entered a small gymnasium. The sound of warring instruments came from the stage at one end of the room. Chairs and music stands had been set out in concentric semicircles and about one third of the chairs were already occupied. Some of the people present chatted with one another but most were busy tuning their instruments or warming up by playing
snippets from various pieces.

Three violinists and a violist plucked and bowed while two clarinets and a French horn ran through different melodies. They were almost –but not quite – drowned out by the tuba player, who was by far making the biggest racket of all.

The clashing notes and melodies didn’t bother me in the least. As a violinist in a professional orchestra, this was one of the soundtracks of my life.

Trick or Treat K5- NAMELESS

Title: Nameless
Category: YA 
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: When the prince of Tasmar turns away an old woman who is truly an Enchantress in disguise, she curses him into a Beast with the deadline to find true love within the year or die. Refusing to associate his hideous form with his own name, and believed dead by all who knew him, the now Nameless prince must find his betrothed, Mirabelle, and help her see past the monster to the man beneath. 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.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? Many would blatantly assume that a werewolf or some other mongrel would describe me, but describing and relating are entirely different. Instead, like a mummy, I am a creature caught between two worlds, and might as well be dead since I’m of no use alive.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Fairytales have been told and retold over the years, but few authors have considered what these stories look like from the prince’s perspective, excluding Alex Flynn with Beastly, and Donna Jo Napoli in Beast. While Flynn’s novel is set in the modern day with some darker, serious content, and Napoli’s is set in Persia with religious undertones, Nameless has a traditional setting with humorous undertones which fans of the original fairytales will enjoy.

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.

Trick or Treat K6- CHANCE

Title: Chance
Category: YA 
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 67,000

Pitch: Growing up in Leeds, England, in the ominous years leading up to WWII, Eddie and Jimmy Ward never imagine Monopoly, their favorite childhood board game, could be pivotal to surviving the war. When Eddie is captured by the Nazis, Jimmy comes up with an ingenious idea to disguise prison escape tools as Monopoly game pieces. Jimmy hopes that these Monopoly games, which are distributed as part of care packages to prisoners of war right under the noses of the German guards, might give Eddie a chance to “get out of jail free.”

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? After Eddie and I saw The Wizard of Oz, I knew brainless Eddie should be the Scarecrow for Halloween, and he thought I needed a little more courage so I should be the Lion. But even brains and courage can’t prepare us for the looming war because for that we’d need the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball! –Jimmy Ward 

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? The same way some adults slip toothbrushes and apples into Halloween treat bags, our main characters slip prison escape tools disguised as Monopoly pieces past unsuspecting Nazi guards. This delectable nugget of World War II history is no trick as it actually saved thousands of prisoners of war!

First 250 Words: 
With every stroke of my blue wax crayon, I tried to visualize what it would be like to live on the real “Boardwalk”—Packards and Lincolns kicking dust up as they rolled down the street, fashionably dressed men and women chattering as they bustled into shops. Papa had described it all to me many times. But in the summer of 1935, living at the foot of the Pennines, in Leeds, north of London, I had no shot of going to the real “Boardwalk.” I couldn’t even afford the fake “Boardwalk” with my fake Monopoly money.

Having just finished Year 6 of school and with my eleventh birthday approaching, I was ready to take on the world! But as an adventure, at least for this summer, imagining all the places on the American Monopoly board—Boardwalk, Baltic Avenue, Marvin Gardens—would have to suffice.

Papa was second in command to the managing director at Waddington, so he spent long hours deciding what card and board games to bring to market. Mama, always singing a new show tune, was absorbed in the excitement of the theater and frequently traveled to London, staying with family and catching the latest musical. This left my brother and me home alone for much of the summer. To Eddie’s dismay, Mama made him promise to keep a watchful eye on me. Eddie, who was four years older, had hoped to make his own mischief and not be stuck amusing me. But unlike Mama’s current musical fascination, Anything Goes, in our house it was “whatever Mama says goes”... and Eddie was stuck with me!

Trick or Treat K7- DAMSELS

Title: Damsels
Category: NA 
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 95,000

Briar is a former choir singer, Savvy is her beautiful best friend, and Margo is a musician-turned-recovering junkie—three very different girls, with more than one thing in common.

They all love the same guy, the lead vocalist who expresses himself best through song.

But he can only be the white knight for one girl—and when he finds out the other thing they have in common, he might be the one who needs saving.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? The Little Mermaid, minus the red hair— if I had to pick one Disney damsel, it would be her, for her fearlessness and that beautiful voice, and because she did it all for a boy and wasn’t afraid to take a leap of faith to be part of his world. Oh, and my hair is pink—which is technically the next closest thing to red! 
Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? DAMSELS tells the story of Briar, a girl who leaves the life she knows to go on the road with her best friend and a trio of traveling musicians struggling to become a cohesive unit after losing their troubled lead singer—but the higher the patched-up band’s star ascends, the more their own secrets begin to eclipse their success. It’s Gossip Girl meets Almost Famous—heartbreak, deceit, and betrayal set in a musical culture where what happens in the band doesn’t always stay there.

First 250 Words:
I saw him first, but loved him second. And when he is onstage and you’re one of a hundred girls in the crowd, being first is everything.

“Whoever that is, consider me the future mother of his children,” Savvy says, fanning her face with her tray. “For him, I’d be on my back in five seconds flat.”

I watch Savvy watch him onstage, trying not to mentally picture what she’ll be doing with him backstage when the show is over. The heat has made her skin dewy with sweat and her hair cling to her neck, the color of damp sand often imitated with something from a box. The same broken air conditioning that left me peeling my tank top off my sweaty lower back has only served to amplify Savvy’s beauty.

“As opposed to the full ten seconds it takes other guys?” I say. Savvy swats me with a coaster. I’m joking, of course, but I know she staked her claim. That’s how the rules of friendship work when you’re a girl. It’s all about who sees him first. And she made him hers before she even knew his name.

He was an unlikely candidate: late for his own show, staggering onstage with a surprising amount of grace for somebody in heavy boots who had obviously spent some pre-show quality time with a liquor bottle. I never gave much thought to how difficult it would be to stagger gracefully until I saw him do it.

And his lateness didn’t go unnoticed. 

Trick or Treat K8- STARBREAK

Title: Starbreak
Category: Adult
Genre: SciFi
Word Count: 78,000

Pitch: Stuck with a husband married to his career and a dead-end job, scientist and mother Chrissy King joins a group of interstellar peace keepers after she witnesses the murder of an alien. When the killer she's chasing starts destroying stars, Chrissy must stop the murderer before he adds the sun to his collection of celestial corpses. 

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? Most scientists are on the villain payroll (or just sidekicks), and in movies, most mothers are oddly absent or don’t make it to the end credits (I’m looking at you Bambi!). That being said, there is Elastigirl—clever, powerful, and completely able to go toe to toe with the boys—basically she rocks. 

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? My story is unique because it follows a woman through the transformation from a normal person to a superhero. Sure, billionaires, aliens, and fighter pilots have all had a chance at being a superhero, but we almost never see a mother take up the call.

First 250 Words: 
As a card carrying scientist, I knew things: gravity sucked, sound couldn’t travel in a vacuum, and chocolate always made me feel better. I slipped into the lab through a side door and dropped my brownie on my desk like I’d been there for the last ten minutes.

My boss, Dr. Owen, stormed through the opposite doors on a wave of floral aftershave. “Where the hell have you been, Dr. King?”

“I was getting you some—”

“Coffee?” He shot me the I-have-you-now smirk.  He knew I didn’t drink coffee.

“Walnut covered brownies.” I finished the sentence without any hesitation. Sure I’d be out breakfast, but post docs didn’t really have job security. Time for bribes. I pulled the brownie out of the bag like a model on the home shopping network. He narrowed his eyes at me. I saw his resolve slipping.

His aftershave filled the space between us, and the stink face came back. “We need to talk. Outside.” He pointed to the door I’d come through. The other lab techs had the wide-eyed look of gazelles watching a lion eat one of their own. Oh Galileo, it’s The Talk.

I opened the door, and the brisk Albuquerque air pulled at it like a grasping monster. March in the desert was like living in a sandblaster set up in the freezer. I pretended not to mind the cold. Or the sand. 

“What’s going on Dr. King? You’ve been jumpier than a fox at an NRA convention.” He pushed the door shut. 

Trick or Treat K9- SNAP

Title: Snap
Category: YA 
Genre: Romance
Word Count: 66,000

Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Kate Reddy has sacrificed school, family, and a social life to be a figure skating champion. But when hot hockey player Brice tears up the ice, Kate's blade is caught in a rut, and an ACL injury ruins her Olympic dreams. Her estranged physician father suggests an experimental treatment to heal her knee by next season, but she must learn to trust him again, forgive Brice, and realize there is more to her identity than skating.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? I spend most of my life dressed up in figure skating costumes, but if I could be a costumed character it would be Hermione Granger. Not only is the girl smart, but she's tough--got to respect that.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Every year in the United States almost 200,000 teenage girls tears their ACLs. SNAP isn't just a love story about a figure skater and a hockey player, but it's about never giving up on your dreams even when there seems to be no hope.

First 250 Words: 
My best friend Jen has always been my biggest fan. Seriously. Despite her supreme aversion to the cold, she’s attended every performance she could get to without a personal jet. She bundles up in ridiculous puffy jackets and thick scarves that make her look like a marshmallow on steroids and even puts hand-warmers in her mittens. And while she’s nice and toasty on the bleachers, I’m on the ice in scanty outfits that have more crystal bling than lycra and no gloves.
No matter how the performance goes, Jen always gives me a standing ovation. I love knowing she’s always there cheering for my triumphs and encouraging me to get up after I fall. But now that my competitive career is taking me to places like Prague and Beijing, Jen hasn’t been able to tag along. And because of my crazy schedule it’s been over a month since I’ve seen her. Phone calls have been impossible, so it’s just been a short text here or there.
I’m picking her up after practice and we’re going to hang out and lust after hot guys in action movies and gorge ourselves on sinful, yummy baked goods from her parent’s gluten free bakery. She’s going to show me the latest addition to her purple wardrobe and I’m going to tell her all the new rink gossip. 
But first I’ve got to make it through practice. 
When I step on the ice, a thin ground layer of fog gathers near the boards. Glycol and Zamboni fumes fill my nostrils.

Trick or Treat K10- ROOM 113

Title: Room 113
Category: MG
Genre: Humorous
Word Count: 27,000

Pitch: Fourth grade is hard, especially when you’re dead—or undead. The students of room 113 are just like other kids, except sometimes they have trouble with math because they can’t find all their fingers, they would rather chew on books than read them, and someone always loses a limb in gym class. Room 113 follows twelve zombies—and the one living kid who got put in the class by mistake—as they try to survive fourth grade, avoid getting run out of town, and become their school’s only hope against a zombie attack of the full-blown, brain-eating variety.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? I had an Einstein costume when I was younger. It was my favorite. He’s really smart—like me—and dead—also like me. And he had cool hair. It looked likes worms crawling all over his head. I wish my hair was like that. I love worms. They’re yummy.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Room 113 combines the feel and humor of Wayside School with the gross-out, boy appeal of a zombie book. Funny zombies! What more could you ask for?

First 250 Words: 
ROOM 113

“Let’s review yesterday’s reading,” said Mr. Tandoor. “Who can tell me on what day the Zombie Outbreak began?”
Telfin Greene knew this answer! Telfin knew every answer, and he answered every question. Some kids called Telfin a know it all, but he loved learning. And he loved answering questions even more. Before Mr. Tandoor could even finish saying Zombie Outbreak, Telfin’s hand shot into the air.
Unfortunately for Telfin, his hand did not stop when it reached his head. Neither did the rest of his arm. The whole package kept on rising, far over his head, until his hand hit the ceiling and came crashing back down all the way to the floor.
Limbs falling off was not unusual in Mr. Tandoor’s class. Yesterday Evan Barber lost both legs and a finger.
“Anybody?” Mr. Tandoor asked. “You should know this one guys.”
A sea of blank faces stared back at him, mostly undead. Mr. Tandoor had recently been reassigned to room 113—more commonly known at Scaresville Elementary as The Zombie Classroom. Unfortunately for Mr. Tandoor, zombies were not known for doing their homework.
But Telfin always did his homework, so he didn’t waste time worrying about his missing left arm. Scared someone else might answer before him, Telfin raised his right arm twice as fast. 
Big mistake! 
His right arm went through the stained ceiling tile and got stuck. Brown goopy zombie blood dripped onto Telfin’s head and dribbled into his mouth. It tasted like maple syrup.

Trick or Treat K11- FRACTURED

Title: Fractured
Category: Adult
Genre: Thriller
Word Count: 90,000

Pitch: While investigating the murders of a same gender couple, Detective Dani Parker, who suffers severe anxiety attacks, commits a rookie error and is fired. It's not until that moment that she realizes she will do anything to get her job back, including facing her fears and solving the case. However, what killed the couple isn't what it seems and when she finally discovers that it's a manmade bacterium; she will have to risk her family and her life to save a part of the community that most citizens would be happy if it completely disappeared.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? I'd love to be Spidey, cuz he still manages to get his butt out there and do the right thing even though everyone and everything is conspiring against him.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Fractured is based on the 2010 scientific breakthrough of a manmade bacterium, Mycoplasma myocides. Not only did the scientists synthetically reproduce it, but they also altered the bacterium's gene mapping making it non-infectious.

First 250 Words: 
A half dozen flashing red and blue lights reflected off the windows of the UPS store and the Froyo Joint where you could order frozen yogurt without sugar, gluten, and diary. If Detective Dani Parker had to live life without those goodies, she'd stick her Sig Sauer into her mouth and pull the trigger. Eating a bullet would be far more preferable than eating cardboard for the rest of her natural days. Life was meant to be enjoyed and right now, she was in hell. Maybe a bowl of chocolate ice cream loaded with tons of marshmallows and pecans would help her slip out of freak show mode and back into normal, competent detective. Too bad, she didn't have time to swing by the grocery store.

She pulled her Kia Forte into a spot far away from the commotion, killed the engine, and lifted her hand. Crap on a cracker. It shook as if she were in the latter stages of Parkinson's. She took a deep breath and waited until the trembling decreased enough that no one but she would notice. She grabbed her crime scene kit from the back seat and took another calming breath before opening the door. It required an additional drawn out breath to place her foot on the ground and one more before she could completely abandon her safe haven. If anyone knew what it took for her to get out of her car, they'd hog tie her into a strait jacket and sign the certificate stating she was a nut job.


Category: Upper MG 
Genre: SciFi
Word Count: 61,000

Pitch: When aliens abduct thirteen-year-old Gary, they give him telekinesis and demand his help with a series of impossible missions. Paired with a young alien trainer who can inherit Gary's ability through a bond, he uncovers clues suggesting they need him for more than just his ability. He’ll have to cooperate or leave their service in a body bag.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? Jean Grey from the X-Men is awesome because she's got strong telekinetic powers that she struggles with just like me. Sure smacking the school bully in the face with lime Jell-O is great, but it sucks when my power doesn't work like it's supposed to. 
Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Every kid dreams of having superpowers, but they never expect them to come from alien abductions or with the price of helping the aliens who gifted it. When the aliens demand Gary compete in simulated arena style battles and carry out impossible missions with his alien trainer, he learns to hone his ability in a unique way, by using music.

First 250 Words:
Walk the dog and stay out of trouble. Should have been easy enough. But the familiar prickle of hairs sticking up on the back of Gary's neck told him it wasn't that simple. Trouble always found him.
His mother's gaze from the living room window sent a shiver up his spine. A silent warning he knew all too well. He couldn't escape her radar. Her voice always echoed inside his head. Trying to drown it out, Gary grabbed for his earbuds and shoved them into his ears. Bobbing his head to the thundering drums and crashing guitars, he stepped in synch with the music.

Buster, his Golden Retriever, dragged Gary along as if on a mission. The dog stopped at a dimly lit street lamp near the end of the block, barked, and pulled hard on the leash. In an effort to hold him back, Gary grabbed Buster’s collar with his free hand.

“What is it, boy? What are you barking at?”

Gary looked around the darkening street. The dim lights reflected off the parked cars, but no one was outside. A brisk wind beat against his ears raising goose bumps on his skin. Nothing interrupted the continuous drumming of his music.

Following Buster’s gaze, he found the cause of the disturbance—white lights floating across the sky.  

“It’s just a plane. Come on.” He tried to yank the dog back toward the house. Buster planted his butt on the ground and whined.

Trick or Treat K13- ROYAL TRIAL

Title: Royal Trial
Category: YA 
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Word Count: 85,500

Within two days of returning from a five-year banishment, 19-year-old Lena has committed treason, created a national crisis, and rejected the king’s marriage proposal. Meanwhile, the king's scheming council plots to remove her from the equation and, if he won't let her go, the king from the throne. Obsession reigns in ROYAL TRIAL, combining dangerous romance with the madness of Henry VIII's England, the opulence of Louis XVI's Versailles, and the intrigue of Cesare Borgia's Italy.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? I relate most be Anakin Skywalker (pre-Darth Vader) because I am obsessed with controlling my circumstances, but I am insanely loyal, particularly to the man I love; if anyone tries to hurt him (except me, of course) or come between us, they should be prepared to face my sword. I can be irrational and unpredictable, but I really care deeply for people and hide hurt with ferocity and aggression. 

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)? Royal Trial is unique because it starts out like a sweet little love story but morphs into a perilous journey showing the dangers of holding onto both obsession and resentment too long and letting them twist you into someone you never thought you'd become. It also shows how quickly things can get out of control in both love and war, particularly when you're out of your league and playing against noble families who are willing to kill for power.

First 250 Words: 
The market had always been loud. Now it was deafening.
Lady Lena Zan Aurin skidded to a stop, paralyzed by the cacophony. Although she vaguely acknowledged the flashy new shops, she struggled to reconcile the market she remembered with the tumult around her. Her thoughts were as frenzied as the shoppers that scurried from stall to stall.
            Taking a deep breath, the slender nineteen-year-old clenched her fists and drifted through the bustling multitude with an uneasy familiarity. Her dark traveling attire, bulging knapsack, and five-foot frame let Lena blend in with the unusually large crowd. Andon must have—
            No. She wouldn’t even think that name. Not yet.
            Lena tried to distract herself with the vendors' wares, but to no avail. The scene was much too odd for her to feel entirely at home.
            Home. That made sense. Lor and Alessa would hide her until she’d exacted her revenge. But everything else had changed. They were probably gone, too.
No, she couldn’t think like that. They would never abandon her.
            Lena strode in the direction of the Zan Aurin manor, as eager to reach her old home as the insatiable crowds were to buy the merchants’ wares.
            “Delicacies and pastries sold here!” The smell of caramelized sugar and yeasty dough wafted by.     
            “Fresh fish, caught in Da’an Sea!” Pungent brine and oil assaulted her, salty but familiar.
            “Fine cloaks and gowns of all fabrics! Furs from the north!”
“A necklace for you, Your Ladyship?” The appeal rang out close by. As the blood drained from Lena’s face, one of her hands instinctively flew to her neck where a delicate silver necklace hung beneath her tunic and the other grasped her short sword.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Trick or Treat- Bobbing for Slush Save- WHEN IT ALL WENT AWAY

Category: YA
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 58,000

Pitch: Ever since Quinn caught her boyfriend Grayson kissing her former friend, she's been on a non-stop roller-coaster of emotional highs and lows. But with the help of her loyal best friend Harper, Quinn sets out on the daunting path of getting over Grayson - crazy colored hair, first dates and open mic nights included. But Grayson’s plans to win her back threaten her resolve to forget him, and remind her of the epic love they shared.

Question 1: In your MC's voice, what costumed character do you relate most to and why? Definitely Florence from Florence + the Machine - her uniqueness and spirit inspire me every day. Her costumes are AMAZING and a bit INSANE- I'd love to be that fearless.

Question 2: As an author, what makes your manuscript a tasty treat (aka unique/marketable)?  It's contemporary, which is hot right now. And it has a girl relying on her best friend to help her though a breakup - books with true friendship are getting harder to find.

First 250 Words: 
When I started my senior year, I had a long list of unfathomable wishes. Now that I’m more than halfway through the year, I’ve narrowed them down to one. One pulsing wish.

To forget him.

Right now, it seems an impossible task, especially considering the object of my wishing stands three lockers away from me. But such are the calamities of sharing last names in the same branch of the alphabet. I can’t even escape him in homeroom.

“Avert your eyes, stat,” a voice hisses over my shoulder.

With a sigh, I turn to face my best friend. “I’m trying my best. It might be easier if he weren’t so hot.”

Harper rolls her eyes. “Please, his hotness is overrated. Who really wants tall, dark, and handsome anyway?”

“You're not helping,” I answer, refusing to let my eyes caress his face one last time.

“Ok, then just imagine Sydney every time you look at him.”

My heart constricts painfully in my chest. “Yeah, because that visual doesn’t haunt my every waking moment.”

She bumps me with her hip. “But it works, doesn’t it?”

“It’s cruel.”

“So is torturing yourself over someone who proved that he’s not worth your time.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Trick or Treat Submission Window is TODAY!

This hopefully gives everyone plenty of time to enter!

To enter, your manuscript MUST be completed and ready for submission. Accepting MG, YA, NA, and Adult--all fiction genres. (NO Erotica, Memoir, or Picture Books)

How to Enter:

Step 1: Compose an Email. Address the email to

Step 2: In the subject line put your- Category, Genre, Title, Word Count 

              Example: NA, SciFi, The Apollo Academy, 96,000

Step 3: In the body of the email, include your 3 sentence pitch, Answer to question 1, Answer to question 2, and the first 250 words. Please leave your contact email at the bottom.

Remember to answer question 1 and 2 in 2 sentences or less.
If the 250th word ends in the middle of a sentence, please finish the sentence.
An automatic delivery receipt will be sent to everyone who enters the contest. (Though last year we had some problems with this....SO I will do my best!)

Those who send their entry between 9AM EST and 9PM EST on October 22nd and follow guidelines WILL make it into the contest. WooHoo!

The top 39 pitches will post at midnight on October 28th and will remain online until midnight October 31st. 13 pitches per blog.

Here are your  hosts..

Kimberly P. Chase
Contest Coordinator
Brenda Drake
Dannie Morin

Meet our Slush Zombies:
Melissa Hurst
L. L. McKinney