July, 2010

#13-Twisted Summer (REVISED)

>Dear Agent,
Sydney was plagued with depression a few years back and has refused to seek counseling. Keeping control of her life and staying relatively happy has helped her fight the sadness and anxiety that comes as a result of the depression. But when flowers and cryptic notes from a secret admirer arrive Sydney becomes obsessed with figuring out who he is. Her obsession leaves her feeling like the careful control over her life she’s established is slipping away.

While Sydney’s trying to unravel the secret admirer mystery AJ, her best guy friend, feels compelled to confess his feelings for her in fear that this may be his last chance.

TWISTED SUMMER is a young adult novel complete at 51,000 words. I’d be happy to send a partial or full manuscript at your request. Thank you; and I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

****

First 250
Deep breaths in and out, in and out; telling myself that helped with the anxiety of post try-out jitters. I’d made it down to the locker rooms to decide if I should change. Since it took time while I stopped to talk, I only had fifteen minutes to get ready before everyone left. The anxiety shouldn’t have been that bad. I landed all the jumps. I knew what I was doing. It’s not like I hadn’t been in this position before. I’d been on the squad for three years running. I guess the stage fright never really went away. I was in my black shorts and tiger shirt, my hair was pulled up in a ponytail. I looked in the mirror and my makeup looked fine. Everything was still in place after try-outs. No need to change clothes. There was too much adrenaline left over for me to walk casually, so I jogged back up the stairs and outside to meet up with my teammates.

Walking out to my car I saw that everyone was standing around it, this wouldn’t have been unusual except that they weren’t talking. They were all looking patiently at me like I was about to give a speech. I didn’t understand what was going on. When I got to the door of my Mini Cooper, a gift from my parents for my sixteenth birthday, I saw something lying in the front seat. My first thought was “who broke into my car?” I never left my car unlocked.

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#14-SECRET KNOWLEDGE (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent,

The stars and signs don’t lie, but sometimes the diviner reading them does.

On the surface, life is pretty normal for sixteen year-old Mossy Burke. She goes to a regular high school, she’d love to make varsity cross-country and have a boyfriend–if she could get her parents to lift their ban on dating, imposed after Mossy’s epic indiscretion. But Mossy’s home life is far from normal. Her family belongs to an ancient Druid clan. They work with the elements, and wield secret knowledge, which is memorized and safeguarded by a few select members.

When Mossy finds a wren’s skeleton during her coming-of-age ritual, the clan’s diviner proclaims Mossy’s path in life is to memorize all the Druid’s secret knowledge. Mossy fears she isn’t smart enough, but accepts the task to regain her parents’ respect. Soon a crush-worthy shape-shifter and a nightmarish kayak trip make Mossy question why anyone would entrust her with secrets capable of tipping the balance of all realms: mortal, immortal and fey.

Too late, Mossy discovers she’s been set up. The very knowledge she is responsible for protecting has been stolen from her while she slept, and is about to be used to destroy her family and clan. To save them she has to act now, she must push aside her fear of failing, risk the respect she craves. And confront a powerful diviner who knows Mossy’s weaknesses and the true meaning behind finding a wren skeleton.

SECRET KNOWLEDGE is unique to the market because Druids haven’t been prominently used in contemporary YA novels. At the same time, Druids are popular in computer games and therefore are a culture and mythos which many of teens are familiar with.

I am seeking representation for my 65,000-word YA contemporary fantasy, SECRET KNOWLEDGE and future works.

I am a member of SFWA and SCBWI. I have had short stories appear in a number of magazines, including Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, The Mythopoeic Society’s Mythic Circle, and also George Scither’s Cat Tales anthology (Wildside Press).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

#

Mossy blew out a breath and pushed herself from a jog to a sprint. If she didn’t stop worrying and start focusing on her running, she’d never make the varsity team. But how could she not think about it? Tonight she’d recite the words, take the candle and go into the forest alone. Tonight everything would change.

A pair of varsity runners passed Mossy on her left. She willed her legs to move faster, but her muscles tightened and she dropped to the back of the pack. Damn. She had to focus.

Mossy pumped her arms. She struggled to catch-up. But by the time she reached where the jogging path started up the forested hill, she was a good fifty yards behind the team.

 As the other runners disappeared over the hill’s crest, Mossy stopped running and hunched over in the middle of the path, hands on her knees, dizziness pulling in around her as she struggled to catch her breath. Of all days, why did practice have to start today?

The thud of a runner’s footsteps came back down the hill toward her. “You okay?” Bethany’s voice asked.

Mossy looked up at her older sister. “I feel like I’m going to puke.”

“I told you to pace yourself.”

“That’s not it.” Mossy took a gulp of air to steady her voice. “I keep thinking about tonight.”

“Why don’t you skip the rest of practice?” Bethany nodded at the forest, toward the direction of their house. “Take the short cut home.”

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#12-DESCENDANT (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent:

Alex is willing to sacrifice anything to save her sister. The problem?
Her sacrifice might spell bad news for the rest of the human race.

Alex’s life is typical of an average sixteen-year-old: there’s school,
a part-time job, a modest social life (it doesn’t get much better than
‘modest’ in her rural North Carolina town). Then along comes a
werewolf that tries to drown her in the lake behind her house. She
escapes, but not before receiving a healthy dose of the creature’s
toxin—which should make the next full moon interesting. And it does.
Just not in the way she was expecting. Because the full-moon comes and
goes, but it doesn’t bring the expected gruesome transformations or
beastly urges with it. In her search for the reason behind her
obstinate humanity, Alex starts to unravel a past that threatens to
make her future very complicated.

The complications don’t waste any time starting, either. While she’s
busy trying to figure out just who (or what) she is, the most
important person in her life—her little sister Lora—is taken. During
her quest to get her back, Alex learns of the magic, binding pact that
prevents lycans (the creature from which werewolves originate) from
harming humans. It was invoked centuries ago, in a desperate
last-ditch effort to curb the bloody relations between the two races.
As the descendant of the one who created the pact, Alex is the only
one capable of severing it. Something she would never even think about
doing. Or at least, she wouldn’t have thought about it—until she
realizes the cost of not doing so may be her little sister’s life.

DESCENDANT is a young adult paranormal, and it is complete at 88,000
words. Although the story stands complete as-is, there is strong
potential for a sequel to follow. Thank you for taking the time to
consider representing my work. I look forward to hearing from you!

All the best,

First 250:

  
    The newspapers all said it was an accident. That there was no reason
to suspect any foul play had been involved. That the lake was swollen
from the recent rains, and my dad hadn’t been a particularly strong
swimmer to begin with. It was tragic, yeah. But things like this
happened.
  
 It was a beautiful day for a funeral. My mom kept saying we should be
thankful for that, but to be honest it was kind of pissing me off. The
sun’s rays were too warm, that breeze too refreshing, and every note
those stupid birds chirped was like a personal insult to my grief.
Rain would have been more appropriate. Or a thunderstorm with
gale-force winds and hail the size of golf balls.
  
 The pastor from our church was reading something from the Bible
propped open in his hands, his voice sounding like it might crack any
second now. Like everyone else in Dalton, he’d been a close friend of
my father’s.  A small group of mourners stood with us in a semi-circle
around the pastor, most of them with wads of well-used tissue clenched
in their fists. My little sister, Lora, had gone through almost an
entire box by herself. She’d absentmindedly shredded and dropped most
of them to the ground, so now the pointy toes of her black heels
peeked out from underneath a mountain of white.  I felt a little
ashamed, looking at them. My own heels were completely visible, and my
face was dry.

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#11-RUNAWAYS (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent:

I am currently seeking representation on my Paranormal Romance, RUNAWAYS.

The magical world is trying to hunt down seventeen-year-old, shadowarine fairy, Felicity Taylor.

Felicity is accused of murdering her roommate, Mary Swan. Brooks, her appointed guardian, steals her away before the magical council can punish her. Innocent, on the run, and living among the humans, hoping no one will discover them.

In order to take back her freedom, she must find Mary’s killer. But the truth lies within Edinburgh, the place that holds the magical council. Determined to clear her name, she heads off to Edinburgh. There she finds a scroll foretelling her destined path, and the real reason the council wanted her dead. Felicity feels she will never be free again. With the help of Brooks and some friends, together they will stop what’s foretold to come. Even if fate calls her to do what’s wrong. RUNAWAYS is complete at 70,000 words.

I am an active member of the YALITCHAT writing community.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Revised 250 words:
**************************************

      Chapter 1

Exhausted. I dreaded these long hours at school.

I needed to be outdoors. Maybe climbing a tree or on a safari. But no, I was chained to a desk, waiting for the horror that should arrive at my house at dusk. Yeah, my past is catching up with me.

My Anatomy teacher, Mrs. Nelson, a pudgy, middle-age woman with too much lipstick on her lips and teeth, bored me. She droned on and on about the DNA structure in humans. Caring less, I scribbled loops on the outside of my notebook.

Her body shifted as she wrote more notes on the board that I didn’t bother taking. Her thick fingers barely held the thin piece of chalk.

I looped another castle then studied the other students surrounding me. Some paid attention, but most looked as bored as I felt—glazed eye and slacked jaw. I glanced at the ticking second hand of the clock and stifled a sigh. Today was never going to end.

“Felicity. Felicity,” Brooks whispered, snapping his fingers in front of my face.

I blinked and stared at him. He surprised me by speaking verbally instead of mentally like usual.

He narrowed his icy-blue eyes. “Are you writing any of this stuff down?”

I shook my head. What was the point? I already knew the stuff, and structurally speaking, I was not human. All this high school stuff was nothing more than a cover while I lay hidden from my magical parents.

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#10-WISTFUL LOVERS

>Dear Secret Agent,

Bound in a loveless marriage to an eighty year old man at the age of fifteen.

This is Julie Avery Haynsworth’s fate. Or at least it will be if she abides to her parents’ wishes and marries Viscount Vaugh to settle their numerous debts.

Driven by desperation and clad in a stable boy’s clothing, Julie escapes in the middle of the night with nothing but the desire to live her own life. She finds shelter with a poor yet kind family as Avery Haynes, a homeless lost ‘boy’. Even though she knows she is far from safe, she can’t help but lower her guard around the trusting family–enough to fall in love with Hayden Bennett, the only son in the family, who sees her as the “brother he never had”. Despite her unrequited love and the fact that he is about to pledge his life to another, she finds life at the Bennett house happier than she ever thought possible.

But happily ever after doesn’t last for long. Her simple life is soon interrupted by a handsome stranger, Marcus Edmund Atherton, the son of the Marquess of Wickham. From the start, his taunting smirk and knowing eyes make her worry that he may know more about her than he lets on. But just when she convinces herself that he doesn’t know anything after all, she gets a surprise visit from the last people she ever wanted to see—her parents.

WISTFUL LOVERS (73,000 words young adult historical romance) is a Regency era love story loosely based on the popular Chinese legend The Butterfly Lovers. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

***

I left that very night.

I didn’t want to, nor did I plan to. But it was something that had to be done. I no longer had a choice. Not after my parents decided to practically sell me to keep themselves in splendor. Although in their defense, weak as it was, I wasn’t even supposed to know about the deal. If I hadn’t skipped my lessons that day I certainly wouldn’t have.

That morning, I silently slipped down the stairs, away from the library. Darting down the hall, I was sprinting toward the door when I heard Mother’s excited voice coming from the sitting room. I stopped on my tracks.

This was a change, she had been quite downcast for the past week.

Curious, I tiptoed down the hall until I could hear her more clearly.

“I didn’t think he would agree to our proposition. Thank goodness his wife had the courtesy to pass away when she did.”

“And for once, I am thankful you’ve given me so many daughters.” Father’s familiar deep chuckle drifted through the air.

I peered around the edge of the door and saw them sipping tea together by the parlor window.

“Even so, we’re lucky that he agreed to forget our debt in exchange for one of our daughters. Even if she is still a bit young.”  Mother countered with a shake of her head, her dark hair so tightly pinned back that it barely moved.

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