July, 2010

#20-Flirting With Fire

>Dear Secret Agent,

Flirting With Fire ~ A Pyromance is a first person YA book with alternating male and female POV.  It’s 82, 000 words and a paranormal romance.

Sidra has always enjoyed playing with fire, but things at school are a little more flammable than she is used to.  This new guy, Asher, for example, is smoking hot but also strange and mysterious.  Everyone knows her nickname is Scorch because of her pyromania, but they don’t know she is painting the local fires before they happen.  If they did, all hell might break loose, and they’d come looking for her.  Speaking of hell, there is a whole different world out there that Asher fights.  Pyrodemons and hunters and a dog that hides in shadows.  There are secrets he just doesn’t share… even if Scorch does light his heart on fire.  When fire strikes too close, Sidra has to trust someone.  She might get burnt, but with how hot Asher is, perhaps it’s time to play with fire.  With any luck, she’ll get scorched.

I’m an insomniac, and I write for crazy amounts of time instead of sleeping, so I’ve also written other manuscripts in other genres both for adults and young adults.  I have a supportive but geeky husband, and I’m blessed with two wonderful Special Needs children.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

*****

My father says I’m a classic introvert.  He claims the damage my mother did to my ego by forcing me to live out her glory days has created an unrealistic expectation for success that has made me feel like a failure.  No matter what I do—no matter what I say—I’ve already lost—according to my father, I mean.  He ran off with his secretary—no, excuse me—his administrative assistant, Bliss, a year ago, so what does he know about failing?  Actually, it seems like he’s a professional at failing.  And, yes, her name really is Bliss.  I’m to call her mother now.

I won’t, of course.  I’d just as soon staple my own tongue.  Plus, it would kill my mom—my actual mom—the one who gave birth to me—not the one screwing my father.

My father also says I have anger issues.  He’s right, but it has nothing to do with my mother.  I just like to be angry.  If I keep it to myself, it doesn’t bother anyone else, so what’s the big deal?  Nothing.  I’ve been working on channeling it into things—mostly painting.

I paint almost entirely in reds and oranges.  I like to paint fire and things on fire.  This bothers some people at school.  My mom understands, so I do most of my painting at home.  My friends call me “Scorch.”  It started in junior high, and I haven’t been able to drop the name.

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#18- Assignment 9 (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent,

Tragedies have punctuated Casey’s life, but she has never explored them – until a creative writing assignment forces her to delve into the events that shaped her.  An autobiography involving painful and traumatic childhood memories is no picnic, even as an eighteen-year-old who thinks she’s put all that behind her.

When Casey meets Mark, she discovers he is struggling with his assignment too.  Their connection is immediate, and the two are drawn to one another.  Casey wants their relationship to blossom, but is terrified by the possible outcome – everyone close to her ends up abandoning her.

As they write their ‘Assignment 9’, Casey and Mark discover things about themselves, their families and each other that will change their lives forever.  One big question remains unanswered: are they really soul mates, or nothing more than damaged goods seeking solace and empathy?  If Casey dares to find out, she may be surprised by the answer.

Assignment 9, a 71,000 word young adult novel, was a semifinalist in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  My short stories have appeared in HER Magazine, All Things Girl, Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, and Residential Aliens. I am currently revising another YA novel, a companion piece to Assignment 9, and have just completed my first book for adults, a western/romance set at the tail end of the Australian gold rush.
I would be delighted to send you sample chapters, or the entire manuscript, at your request.  Thank you for your time and consideration.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,

 *********

NOW



He’s going to call on me, I think.  He’s going to call on me and I’ll probably puke. There are only twelve of us in this class – seven boys and five girls – so it will not take too long before it’s my turn to present my work in progress.

Work in progress?  So far I’ve made no progress on this so-called work.  I have no idea how to start writing this.  We were given the assignment almost three weeks ago and I’ve been putting it off ever since.  Now my tutor is expecting something.  A draft perhaps, or at least a detailed outline.  But I have nothing.  So here I am, sitting in class, working knots out of my hair as I think about it.  Above me a near-dead fluorescent tube hums and buzzes, disrupting my chain of thought.  I’ve been thinking a lot, and the more I do, the more certain I am that the beginning of my story was long before I ever imagined.  Perhaps even before I was born.

I pray the class will end before Ian reaches me.  I even pray for Alice Wilkins to be called on before me.  Alice, with her long-winded explanations and incessant questioning, her interminable need for assurance and approval.  Usually it bugs me, the way it bugs almost everyone here, but today I would welcome it.  It may be the only thing that saves me from humiliating myself.

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6 comments

#16-THE COLLECTED (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent;

Sixteen-year-old Emma’s ability to heal makes her indispensable to the man who murdered her. The Collector has kept Emma’s soul, along with many others, as a trophy for years– until her glass bottle shatters and she escapes.

Emma is now a free, albeit hunted, ghost. But any existence is better than the torture of waiting to be used as a band-aid to a sociopath. Until she meets Ryan. He’s very much alive, making Emma’s lack of a body torturous. But, when Emma realizes the full extent of her healing ability, a real life becomes possible. She can’t justify her freedom when the Collector still holds countless other souls captive, including the girl who helped her escape. So, Emma decides to risk her freedom, and possibly Ryan’s life and soul to rescue the rest of the souls still trapped in the Collector’s morbid collection.

THE COLLECTED is a YA paranormal novel and is complete at 81,000 words. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for taking the time to consider representing me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

****

250 word revision:

Through the glass of Emma’s bottle, the tiny basement room appeared curved and distorted. The door crashed open and the Collector limped over the threshold. He dragged his left leg behind him, smearing blood across the floor with his foot. Emma’s heart sank. He needed her talent again.

The Collector staggered toward her. Glass bottles of various shapes and sizes occupied the shelves of the curio cabinet where she waited. Spotlights illuminated the carefully placed bottles, casting colorful shadows. Emma prayed he’d pass her by, but it was a wasted prayer. She knew what he needed, and none of the others could give it. His eyes scanned over them all, but stopped on her.

His fingers trembled as he grasped Emma’s bottle and loosened the lid. He left the cap on until he brought it to his lips, and in one fluid motion he removed the lid and inhaled, drawing Emma into his body.

A wave of his pain smacked into her and she gasped. She could feel the heat from his left leg as it throbbed with each beat of his heart. He squeezed his eyes closed, blocking Emma’s vision of the small room. When he opened them again the room tilted and he plopped down on the only chair.

‘Fix it’ Emma heard his thoughts as if he were speaking out loud. ‘And no funny business. If I have to force you this time, I’ll make you remember George for me. Do you want that?’

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#17-Curse of the Granville Fortune (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent:

Twelve-year-old J.B. is plagued with visions of a blinding white light that seems to burn into his skull. He can sense people around him, though all he sees is the light. But he hears the voice of an old woman, screeching and accusing and calling down a curse on him for stealing. And the strangest thing of all? He’s never stolen anything.

The visions leave him sweaty, lightheaded and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak. But when he sneaks a peek at his dad’s journal, he discovers his family really is cursed, thanks to an ancestor who stole the massive Granville fortune. Now J.B.’s life is one disaster after another.

To break the curse, J.B. and his sister must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But the fortune is hidden inside an enchanted forest that brings intruders worst fears to life. The forest is also home to the vicious Grimault thieves who will stop at nothing to claim the Granville fortune for their own. On a dangerous journey through the woods, J.B. meets two others who share his visions and suffer from the same curse. Now they must work together to break the curse that has plagued three households for hundreds of years.

My middle grade fantasy, CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE, is complete at 47,000 words. While the novel stands alone, it is the first book in a proposed series entitled The Three. As a former Middle School Language Arts teacher, I have a great understanding of the 10-14 age group. I have had eleven short stories accepted and/or published previously in various children’s magazines. I am also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

I would be happy to send you a complete manuscript of CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE for your review, in hopes that you will consider representing me. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

***
            I was about to climb the biggest bike ramp at the park when the vision hit me. Some people might think having visions was cool, but for me it was a curse.
            I clutched the handlebars, trying to steady the bike. But my hands and arms tingled with a warmth that made me sweat like a freak. Not now! I couldn’t have a vision here. Holly would think I was having a fit or something.
            “J.B., what’s wrong?” Holly asked, as my bike swerved.
            I’d never told anyone about the visions. I didn’t want to be labeled a head case and forced to see some shrink. But I felt Holly’s eyes on me as my body shook. I didn’t have a choice. I purposely missed the bike ramp and crashed into a bush, hoping the accident would cover up the strange things that were about to happen to me.
            My eyes shut at the exact moment of the collision, and the vision flooded my brain.
            “You three who bring disgrace to your families shall suffer great misfortune. Your lives shall be cursed until you return what was taken this night.”
            The old woman’s voice thundered in my ears, but I couldn’t see her anywhere. In fact, I couldn’t see anything except the brilliant white light surrounding my body. A warm electric current pulsed through my veins. I felt like I was floating, but something weighed me down by my shoulders. Something familiar. I wasn’t alone.

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#15-KAT GAMBLE AND THE RISE OF THE ROMULAIRES (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent,

High school sophomore, Kat Gamble is exceptional at everything she does.  Gymnastics.  Cheerleading.  School.  Everything.  Until the day she totally screws up the one thing everyone else seems to get right – death.

Killed in a car crash, Kat finds herself in the hospital being jolted awake by a handsome stranger named Jack, who says he can help, but she must go with him immediately.  Forced to choose between him and a doctor – who comes complete with his own Children of the Corn hospital staff that makes her hair stand unattractively on end – Kat opts to take her chances with Jack.

After all, he’s so much cuter.

In a whirlwind escape, Kat is whisked away to Wagner Academy, an elite finishing school for the undead.  There, she learns about the strange new abilities they all possess, along with the history behind the Romulaires – the beings who want to feed on the souls of the newly undead, in order to become more human.

But she won’t be expected to do this alone.  No, she’ll trudge through the following three years Linked to the next unlucky dead kid…who just so happens to be Kessler Gray: only the biggest news to light up the silver screen since RPat came to town.

Oh, and her creepy doctor?  Yeah, he’s not done with her yet.

Gaining a second shot at life, all Kat really wants is to make it through high school, preferably in one piece.  But being hunted by the legion of Romulaires for the tattered remnants of her soul – not to mention surviving her bond to one of the hottest, most arrogant teen celebs to ever grace the tabloids – well, that just might be what kills her.  Again.

KAT GAMBLE AND THE RISE OF THE ROMULAIRES is a YA Urban Fantasy complete at 104,000-words.  I’m an active member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, as well as the SCBWI.

Thank you so much for your time; I look forward to hearing from you.

*********************************************************************************************************************

     “What do you mean I’m dead?  What the hell is that supposed to mean – and I’m sorry…but who are you?” I scoffed at the potentially gorgeous guy that for some reason was standing in my room.  I say potentially gorgeous, as right now I wasn’t too impressed with what he’d been saying.   
     I wasn’t trying to be rude or anything, but come on!  What normal person waltzes into someone else’s room, wakes them up from an incredible dream about almost naked male movie stars, and announces to them that they’re dead?  I mean, who does that?  Unless of course, I wasn’t actually awake – which I had to admit, was entirely possible.
     But as I blinked almost in slow motion and scanned my surroundings, I suddenly realized something that was stranger than the fact that this guy was telling me I was dead.
     We weren’t in my room.
     Oh, my head was starting to hurt.  And as I raised my hands to my temples, to rub away the soon to be headache I knew was coming, I felt the scratchy plastic bracelet that circled my wrist.
     Huh.  That pale yellow color was so not in season right now; I mean after all, it was mid-August and nowhere near spring time.  So why would I be wearing a bracelet that wasn’t remotely chic or in fashion, let alone made of plastic?  Ew.
     I rolled the bracelet around in my fingers and realized it was a hospital I.D. band.

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