#7 PERFECTION (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent
 
Normal does not describe Ellyssa.  She is superior, a picture of perfection.  Genetically engineered to be faster, stronger, more intelligent, and emotionless.  Not to mention, she’s a telepath.  One of the few lethal soldiers of tomorrow.
 
But when she crosses paths with a dark-haired prisoner, the only world she’s ever known–a world built around the concept of Aryan purity–crumbles.  He speaks to her, not vocally, but in her mind.  An inconceivable possibility according to her indoctrination.  
 
Unable to resist the allure of his unspoken words, Ellyssa finds herself in turmoil, feeling emotions and running away from her life.  What’s worse is she doesn’t even understand why.
 
PERFECTION is a young-adult, dystopian fantasy complete at 100,000 words.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
***
Ellyssa, a.k.a. Subject 62, sprinted through the dark alley after escaping from her long-term captors who she’d thought of as family for eighteen years.  Not a family in the traditional sense, but family nevertheless.   

The sirens piercing the night an hour earlier had finally faded, but she still didn’t stop.  Pumping her legs harder, she carried onward with the messenger bag thumping against her right thigh.  Her mind raced as it flipped through the map that she’d memorized.  Turn right here, left there.  She had to reach the train that would take her away from Chicago.  There she might find safety…or her death.  

She slipped behind a metal dumpster and blended within the shadows.  Heart slamming inside her chest, she waited for it to quiet.  Against her expectations, it didn’t.

She knew, and knew well, the physiological responses from physical exertion–she and the others were in top physical condition and trained to fight–but the ongoing racing of her heart was caused from something different.  Another new sensation she hadn’t felt before.

Anxiety?   

Her body was capable of feeling such useless emotions, but unlike ordinary citizens, she was taught to control and suppress them.  Emotions served as a hindrance to their goal as soldiers.  But since her encounter with the dark-haired prisoner at the Center, all that had changed.

Interesting, but she didn’t like it.  It made her feel…unsure and…paranoid.  She edged to the corner and peered into the alley.  Dark shadows wavered slightly, but nothing solid moved.  Regardless, she let her mind wander across the open space.


#6 LURE

>

Dear Secret Agent
Thirteen year old Mitch hates reading.  In fact, pounding a nail through his thumb sounds more fun than five minutes with a book.  He’s got better things to do, like hang out with Jen, or work on the shelf he’s building for her in his workshop.  Heck, he’d even rather be doing his geometry homework.  When everyone at school starts obsessing over a new novel, he hopes the craze passes quickly. 

But it doesn’t.

Within days, all of the students, teachers, and even Mitch’s parents are reading Lure.  Their obsession with it deepens until everyone is reading it all of the time.  Mitch has to pull his dad out from under a fallen truss while he–and everyone else on the construction site–continues to read. He pulls two friends out of a car wreck only to watch the life bleed out of them while they read on.  And even when Mitch and Jen realize people are literally reading themselves to death, Jen succumbs to the book’s mysterious pull.  With Jen now under its spell, Mitch is the only one left to find some way to break the obsession… before he loses everyone he loves.

My MG Paranormal novel LURE is complete at 35,000 words.  I am a member of SCBWI and the Florida Writers Association.  Thank you for the opportunity.

***
             I always thought books were boring and a waste of time, but not dangerous.  I was wrong.  Anything that caused Melissa to approach me was far from harmless.

            “Have you read this, Mitch?” Melissa asked, shoving a book in my face.
          
              The paperback filled my vision, so close it blurred.  Fantastic.  An encounter with Melis-snob was the first item on my To-Don’t list.
           
              “Uh, no.  I’m not really into books, Melissa.”  I tried to keep the annoyance out of my voice, hoping to avoid a confrontation.  I just wanted to throw my stuff in my locker and head home.
           
               “Oh, but it’s so amazing!” she exclaimed.  “You really have to read it.  Here.”  She thrust a paper at me.  “I’m starting a book club.  You should join.”  Melissa had a smile plastered across her face, but her eyes were hard – predatory.

                Did she just ask me to join her club?  I looked down at the book.  Lure.  The combination of the title and the way Melissa was acting creeped me out.

                 Kelly pushed forward out of the circle of Melissa-groupies surrounding me.  “Yeah.  I read the back, and it sounds awesome.  I can’t wait to go home and read it!  I even got an extra one for Dane.”
             My mouth dropped open.  She’s delusional if she thinks Dane’s gonna read that book.
           
             “No thanks, it’s really not my thing,” I said. 
  

#5 SUBLIME

>

Dear Agent,

Sixteen-year-old Tess is forced by the government to watch her sister die in childbirth. But this is not the end of her punishment. For the sins of her sister, Tess is forced to work at Templeton.

Templeton is a training center for the chosen ones. These genetically engineered humans were created to protect a dying species. They are the enforcers of the law until the naturals, those conceived in the traditional manner, die out. As Tess discovers the secrets of abuse at Templeton, she begins to realize her desperate need to find her voice.

While struggling with the horrors and dangers of Templeton, Tess befriends James, a chosen one. As a result of their growing relationship, James and Tess must use each other to find the strength to question the beliefs they have followed all their lives.

But in the end, Tess will learn a secret about herself that will change everything. She, alone, may be the very key to bringing down a corrupt empire.

SUBLIME is a completed YA novel with a word count of 76000. It is part one of a possible four part series but can stand alone as well. It is a coming of age story about first love, discovering one’s sexuality, and fighting for a sense of self.

Thank you for your time,
(NAME AND INFORMATION REDACTED)

*******

Chapter 1:

            I heard my sister’s screams coming from inside the infirmary. The broken chair, discarded and forgotten, clung to me as much as I clung to it. It seemed funny I should feel more connection to the fragile, useless chair in which I sat waiting, than to the woman screaming in the other room.

            Funny?

            It’s not that I did not want to feel something for the woman. I just could not convince myself too. She had left me long ago.

            Liar.

            If I made her a villain, I would never have to miss her.

            My sister was dying. I would watch her die not in the comfort of a happy home, but in the compound, a place we were forced to live after the incident. We were like cattle trapped behind a fence.

            I heard my name whispered faintly among the mutinous, erratic beats of my heart. A name whispered amongst a battlefield of dying men

            Dying women.

            The women kept dying. The government could not explain why. Sure, they could cure cancer and AIDS, but they could not keep women from dying in childbirth. They could not save the female naturals. That is what they called us because we were conceived the old fashion way.

            The chosen ones wanted me to see her death. They wanted to remind me that I was part of a dying species.

#4 DESTINED

>Dear Secret Agent:

Princess Sadie might have a face that can enchant a crowd, but a goddess wants her head.  

Greeks have stopped worshipping Venus to dote on Sadie, a mere mortal.  Putting it mildly, Venus is pissed.  So when Sadie receives a prophecy that she’s going to marry a creature even the gods fear, she knows Venus is finally taking her revenge.  Lucky for Sadie, Cupid’s been sent to fulfill the prophecy.  And he’s fallen for Sadie himself.

Although Sadie never knows her husband’s name and can only see his enchanting blue eyes, he quickly wins her over with promises of unwavering devotion.  But when Sadie is deceived and ends up nearly killing her husband — and in doing so, learns he is Cupid — she realizes too late all she has thrown away.  As Sadie journeys alone through ancient Greece, trying to reclaim an immortal love, she finds the strength to take on Venus and challenges the ancient adage: you cannot escape what is destined.

Complete at 89,000 words, DESTINED is a YA historical romance novel and a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche.  The most significant alteration for the original myth is that the novel changes the role of the main character from a helpless girl to a determined and clever heroine.  

I am a member of SCBWI, am an active member in the YALitChat online community, and my undergraduate degree is in classical studies.  Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.  

****

    My forehead rested against the wooden shutters in my room as I searched for the courage to push them open. I knew what was waiting for me outside — and gods — I didn’t want to go through this again. But I had no choice.  
    My admirers were waiting.  
         If it weren’t for them, Sikyon would still be an overlooked speck on the map. Other than artists and aspiring actors, no one had known our sleepy little town existed. But then I sat for a few portraits over at the academy, and the next thing I knew, rumors spread that I was the prettiest princess in Greece. As people started flocking to Sikyon to catch a glimpse of me, the rumors escalated, until I was actually being compared to Venus.  
    At the time I’d been flattered, but come on. As pretty as the goddess of beauty? Not likely. And besides, she’d be livid if she thought a mortal was intruding on her title as The Most Beautiful.  
    So I made a few efforts to dispel the rumors. Like not bothering to apply makeup for my appearances. I even stopped combing my hair and just let the chestnut ringlets fall as they pleased. But it didn’t matter. People wanted to see a princess who rivaled Venus, and that’s exactly what they thought they were getting.
    Finally, I told my parents I was going to stop my morning appearances altogether. That declaration earned me an undeserved guilt trip from my mother.


#2 Sorbet Guy

>

Dear Secret Agent,

If love is a buffet, then Joss Keel has food poisoning.

Each first date is an intoxicating scent from the kitchen.  Each first
kiss like the first taste.  But so far, she can’t get through a meal
without finding a hair—there’s the jealous jerk, the freaky fetishist,
and the guy who can’t stop talking about his collection of wooden
ducks.  Joss might not be able to ask for the manager, but she can
cleanse her palate.  That’s where Matt comes in.  He’s the Sorbet Guy.

Joss and Matt have a contract.  Lovers for a night, but always back to
being friends.  They can handle it, as long as they follow the rules.
Rules they wrote themselves.  Rules that bend without breaking
whenever they need them to.  Because as long as it’s in the contract,
it’s okay.  Until one of them breaks the only rule they never had the
guts to write down.

I am seeking representation for my Adult Romantic Comedy, THE SORBET
GUY, complete at 80,000 words.  Filled with bad dates, sex and all the
tools you could need to start your own Sorbet relationship, this book
will appeal to fans of Megan Crane, Liza Palmer or Meg Cabot.

Thank you for your generous time.

* * *

Matt Lehrer’s college roommate was a politician above all else.  I
figured that out halfway through his obviously-not-spontaneous visit
to my dorm room, which was located directly above his–just a few
hours before he was planning to haul a quarter-barrel of Coors Light
through the window.  All he wanted was to make sure my roommate and I
wouldn’t narc on him.  We wouldn’t have, but he didn’t know that, and
I wasn’t going to turn down the invitation.  I was out on my own and
determined to have my first taste of freedom.  Or Coors Light, in this
case.

My roommate Rachel came along for the ride, and the two of us somehow
ended up wedged on the short end of one of the twin beds between a big
guy from central Wisconsin and the cinderblock wall.  The position
made it hard to lift my plastic cup to my mouth, which was okay with
me.  I’d figured out that A: I didn’t like the taste of beer, and B:
it was getting worse the longer I warmed it in my hand.

Our host was also playing bouncer, shuttling people through the door
in small groups.  His roommate was perched on a desk just a few inches
from Rachel’s knees.  He seemed bewildered by the number of people
that were parading through his room after only two days of living
there.  He glanced down at my cup, still half-full, and met my eyes.
I took a self-conscious sip.