May, 2010

#32 VITILIGO

>Dear Secret Agent,

James Nathanial Pratchett left Balmer, Alabama as a terrified black
boy, falsely accused of his adoptive father’s death. He returns
sixteen years later as a white man, enacting the plan he has bent
every decision towards: taking something from each of the five men who
ruined his life.

He plans to take the livelihood of the town’s general store owner, who
didn’t stop the sheriff from beating James’ mother over a loaf of
bread she didn’t steal.

He plans to take the joy from the sons of those bigoted men, who
tormented him throughout his childhood for his dark skin and the
strange white spots that began to appear and grow on it– the same
sons who attacked him the day he fled town.

He plans to take everything the sheriff knows for the beating his
mother didn’t survive.

Sixteen years of preparation and a diagnosis of vitiligo, a condition
that de-pigments the skin, have brought James back to where he began–
only this time, with a plan. But there’s one thing in Balmer that
James isn’t prepared for: Katey Adelaide, his only childhood friend
and first love, is still there, and James’ arrival has put them both
in danger. As the plan begins to change in ways he never considered,
James will have to decide if the revenge he has craved for so long is
really all that matters to him.

VITILIGO is a 77,000 word commercial fiction novel of vengeance and
the vagaries of even the best-laid Plans.

Sincerely,

***

       Sixteen years ago I left Balmer, Alabama as a black boy. I
return today as a white man.
   
Not a stick of the town has changed. Not even the weight in the air,
the hot, dusty wind, or the mottled blue sky overhead threatening
equally distasteful sunlight or thunderstorms.

    I approach on foot from the outskirts, and a well of trembling—what,
I don’t know exactly, fear? rage?– fills me at the very sight of it.
I expected something else. I don’t really know what I expected, but
after the calm of the years past, coming back here with a purpose
feels . . .different.

    A sharpness pierces me as McPherson’s General Store, the first
building on the left, looms up out of the dusty morning shadows.
Sixteen years ago a boy stood there, next to the bottom step. The
other boys surrounding him called him a freak, along with other names
I won’t repeat in dignified company. He didn’t stay standing for long.
They shoved him down, their feet connecting with the strange white
splotches on his mocha face, raining pain and fear on him from above.
They didn’t understand a black boy. They understood a black boy
covered in white patches even less.

    The memories of that day bubble up inside of me, causing the
trembling to intensify as I walk down Main Street, looking for changes
in the buildings and people. There are none.  Main Street is still,
like the mindsets of its residents, from another, older time.

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#31 BITE ME, YOUR GRACE (REVISED)

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Dear Secret Agent:

BITE ME, YOUR GRACE takes place in London in the midst of Western Europe’s vampire craze spawned by the publication of Dr. John Polidori’s The Vampyre.

Angelica Winthrop has big plans to ruin her reputation so she may avoid marriage and become a gothic authoress like her idol, Mary Shelley. Unfortunately, her schemes always backfire and the wedding noose tightens with every escapade. To find inspiration for her next story, she breaks into the home of Ian Ashton, Duke of Burnrath. Ian is the Lord vampire of London and because of Polidori’s story, tongues are wagging and wagers are being made about his nocturnal proclivities.

The duke destroys Angelica’s plans by publicly proposing marriage to her in order to save his reputation and to keep her from revealing his secret. Sparks fly as she attempts every impropriety to dissuade him and he retaliates with his skills of seduction.

After a quirky courtship and a tender wedding night, their rocky marriage is played out before the scandalized eyes of the ton. When Angelica writes a vampire novel, Ian is infuriated and threatens to abandon her by leaving for the continent. She learns that literature can have dangerous effects when she faces a vampire hunter and a pair of misguided kidnappers to save her love.

BITE ME, YOUR GRACE, a regency paranormal romance complete at 75,000 words, is available upon request. I am a member of the Idaho Writer’s League. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


*******
 
“Mother, no!” Angelica cried, lunging forward too late. Her stocking clad feet slipped on the smooth wooden floor and she had to grasp the bedpost to keep from falling on her face.

“I cannot have you reading such trash,” Marjory Winthrop said as she threw her daughter’s favorite book in the fireplace.

            Angelica watched in dismay as the pages of “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” by Mary Wollstonecraft, was engulfed in flames. It didn’t matter that she had read it enough to recite it verbatim. It broke her heart to see a precious book destroyed. Her lip curled in self-recrimination. She knew she should have waited until after the ball before taking it from its hiding place.

            Her mother’s furious countenance was nearly as red as her curls. “It is bad enough that your father turned you into a blue-stocking, with all the Plato and such he raised you on, but if anyone knew you were a radical, your reputation would be blackened beyond redemption, with all hope of an advantageous marriage turned to dust.”

            “Maybe I want my reputation to be ruined, mother,” she said, unable to hold back her ire. “Maybe I do not want to be a brood mare for some stupid cad while he spends my dowry on his mistresses and… Ouch!” She rubbed the skin on her upper arm where her mother pinched her.

            Lady Winthrop hissed, “If we were not going to the Wentworth ball tonight I would slap you.”

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#30 The Beautiful People (revised)

>Dear Secret Agent,

The problem with witnessing a mob hit is that Natalie Ross becomes a liability. She’s given an ultimatum – keep quiet or die.

Natalie Ross’ brother gets her a job at Crimson, the hottest nightclub in Philadelphia. Her first night there she meets Dominic and becomes instantly hooked. She’s finishing up her last semester of college; her bills are paid and, despite her brother’s protests, Natalie finds herself in a trusting relationship with Dominic– a new concept for her.

Natalie learns why her brother, Grant, is so resistant the night she witnesses him kill three men; shot them, in the head, with no remorse. Turns out he’s a hit man for the Philly Mob and has been for years. Dominic, the man she let her guard down for, is a second generation Mafioso. She’s initially enamored with the mafia as it offers the close-knit family she has craved her entire life, but Natalie soon learns that this “family’s” values are more than skewed. A series of traumatic events, including a sexual assault and a friend’s suicide, comes to a violent end and she flees the city. Natalie doesn’t know if her brother will pay the price with his life or if she will be pursued by the mafia, the FBI, or both.

The Beautiful People is voice-driven commercial fiction and complete at 88,000 words. While numerous books have been written about the mafia, The Beautiful People is from the unique perspective of a young woman thrust into the criminal underworld.

I worked in the Philadelphia nightclub scene while attending Temple University, where I received a degree in Journalism. Professionally, I have a background in marketing and advertising. I recently won an online flash fiction competition and I’m a current member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Association.

Thank you in advance for considering The Beautiful People.

 

Regards,



***  



The club thumped and pulsated. I watched the crowd move with the beat as I waited for my drink orders to be filled. One of the bartenders, Dominic, smiled and winked at me as he put two beers on my tray.

“How’s it goin’?” He yelled over the music.

“So far so good!” I hoisted my drink tray up and proceeded to weave through the wall of people. My short skirt and tight top showed more skin than I was comfortable with and even though this was my first night working at Crimson, it didn’t take long to realize how many men considered the skimpy uniform an open invitation to grab at my body. If I earned a dollar for every time someone touched my ass, I would have been able to retire after that night.

When the club had cleared out, I joined the other employees around Dominic’s bar.  He was busy stacking clean glasses and smiled when he saw me approach. I looked away quickly before gathering the courage to meet his gaze. His attention no longer focused on me, but on the beer tub girl, for obvious reasons. Her cosmetically enhanced boobs were testing the confines of her top. She was skinny and had white blonde hair, a regular Barbie doll. I glanced down at my B cups and attempted to get them to grow on command, but no such luck.

I noticed the rest of the employees around the bar were all in various stages of perfection.
 

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#29 Enchanted Goddesses: The Genesis

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Dear Secret Agent,

I am querying you about my YA contemporary fantasy novel titled Enchanted Goddesses: The Genesis.

Between first dates and school dances, five sixteen-year-old girls find it hard to fit in time to be superheroes.

Okay, so they are not officially superheroes yet, but when the girls slowly begin to discover their elemental powers, that is how they start to see themselves. These new powers are exciting (Who wouldn’t enjoy conjuring a breeze on a hot day or turning on the TV without a remote?), but also dangerous (especially when your hands emit fire while fighting a stuck-up girl who spilled punch on you). Separated at birth, the girls are reunited by their eccentric guardian, Malaysa, who reveals their true identities. She’s a little late teaching them about their powers though; one of the girls is in trouble with the law because of hers while another nearly exposed hers to her adoptive family. However, the girls still believe going out on dates and shopping at the mall is more important than training their powers, until they realize dark forces from their home planet have set out to destroy them. Somehow they’ll have to find a way to stop arguing about superhero names and who should be leader, for their bond is the only way to overpower their enemies.

This novel is like a “sisterhood of fantasy” and may become part of a series that will watch the friendship of these girls grow through hard times. I wrote a short story for the anthology, Potpourri, and another of my novels was a finalist in the Zirdland Novel Competition.

The manuscript is complete at 54,000 words and available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

* * *


There was no mistaking the darkness on the eastern horizon. They were coming.
Malaysa clutched the balcony railing as she stared out over the land in the predawn glow from the sky. The tinkling of metal tubes continued to ring out in the air. They were what had woken her up.
 
Her mother, standing by her side, bore a terrified expression. “Those are the alert chimes. Mage Breez must’ve rung them.”
 
“The Drab Forces are attacking, aren’t they?” Malaysa asked.
 
Mom nodded. “And you know why.”
 
“But how did they find out the Enchanted Goddesses have been born?”
 
“Perhaps they have undetectable spy drones, just like we do.”
 
“Do you think the Drabs want to steal the infants?”
 
“Or kill them.”
 
Malaysa frowned and looked down to where fellow clan members were also rising out of bed and gathering together for battle. Most of them were sorcerers, their long robes billowing in the conjured gales; the same winds that tossed Malaysa’s auburn hair to and fro.
 
“It’s the beginning of the war,” Mom muttered.
 
“Can the Lucent Forces win?” Malaysa inquired.
 
“Our clans will certainly try their best. But it will be years before the Goddesses can fight.” She glanced towards the approaching enemy army. “Our powers won’t help in this battle. Let’s get to the underground shelter.”
 
Malaysa and her mother began to turn away, but before they could reenter their hut, they heard a voice shout from below.
 
“Malaysa!” a woman called.
 
The young girl spun back around and approached the balcony’s railing again.

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#28 LARCH

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Dear Secret agent,

I am seeking representation for my 60,000 word Young Adult dystopian manuscript, LARCH.

Seventeen-year-old Larch has her uncle, the dictator of New America, wrapped around her finger. She can have anything she desires — except for her freedom, the one thing she wants most. To make matters even worse, after two kidnapping attempts she’s assigned a mysterious new bodyguard named Stone.

Larch can’t decide if Stone’s a blessing or a curse. He makes her feel alive, special…and even LESS free than before. He’s stuck to her like glue — until her house catches fire, and she’s separated from him…and realizes he’s not the only one with secrets.

Larch is a clone of the dictator’s dead wife, the only successful clone in the world, and her creator — none other than Stone’s father — wants her back.

Larch must escape the dictator’s marriage bed, her creator’s lab, and her own doubts about Stone if she is to survive, and finally gain the freedom she has craved her entire life.

Sincerely,

*****   

    The excitement flowed through my body like molten lava until I thought I would explode with happiness.  Today was the day I would meet my secret friend, the first friend I’d ever had in my almost fifteen years of life, and I just knew it would be special.

    It wasn’t as hard keeping the secret as it was hacking into the guards internet connection to experience the outside world.  Although the government controlled everything from the internet to television channels, the active Underground had many secret sites available, which is where I met my friend, Renee.

    Renee was sweet and funny, and wrote of a world I couldn’t imagine, a world full of people of all ages and freedom.  She even had a boyfriend.  During the six months of our friendship building, I waited and dreamed of the day I could truly leave my prison.

    “Come on, Larch,” Kate called.  “Time to go.”  I loved Kate.  She was tough yet still beautiful, and I admired her, but didn’t want her going today.

    “Kate, please stay home,” I said.  “You need to rest and think of the baby.”

    Kate rubbed her belly where her baby was growing.  Rodriguez, her husband, came out of the house and dropped to his knees in front of Kate, pressing loud kisses against her stomach.  Kate giggled, glowing with happiness.

    “Our Larch doesn’t want me going,” she said to Rodriguez.

    “You can take the day off, Amante,” Rodriguez said, using his pet name for Kate.

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