Archive | March 2017

SJ6: YA Horror – Neffers

Title: Neffers

Category: Young Adult

Genre: Horror

Word Count: 75,000

Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Delilah collects fresh corpses to access a magic fountain that can heal her younger sister. When the fountain’s beastly protectors demand her sister’s soul, a defiant Del desperately searches for alternatives to satiate them.

First 250 words of manuscript:

The toe tag on the decapitated body read: IF FOUND, CALL (512)555-5813, so Del pulled out her iPhone.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Del said, circling the decaying corpse. She maintained a perimeter outside the buzzing flies and fluid soaked ground but breathed easier knowing it wouldn’t answer her. “I’ve seen other dead people, you know.”

*Seen. Created. Collected. Same difference.*

The burning Texas sun played spotlight for the headless body starring center stage. Nothing else in the barren field warranted a second glance. Del spied a turkey vulture gliding in a copycat pattern around the body. She reached down, snatched a piece of gray limestone from the dirt, and launched her projectile at the hideous black bird.

“Get outta here, dumb bird! He’s mine!” Del’s temples bulged purple veins. The vulture settled into the field’s lone oak tree and voiced its displeasure, but, for now, Del owned her prize uncontested.

She sneered at the corpse. “He’d eat you if I let him, but you’re my entrance fee.” Del flipped her head toward the unstained wooden boards under the live oak. “And them.” Dead bodies were a one-way ticket to life in jail for most, not a bloody precursor to salvation.

Del chewed her last unbroken nail to a jagged nub before dialing. She figured most would be afraid to call, but most weren’t in her situation.

*What if no one answered?*

Del wondered if she should have dialed 911, but the cops would canvas the field. Talking her way out of one dead body seemed plausible, but not half-dozen.

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 2 Comments

SJ7: YA Science Fiction – Rogue

Title: Rogue

Category: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction

Word Count: 80,000

Pitch: Unaware her world is virtual, seventeen-year-old Mei is programmed to help human players win. But when three deceitful players plan to destroy the game server that keeps her alive, she’s done playing by the rules.

First 250 words of manuscript:

They say only Heroes can leave the monastery. If that’s the case, they should’ve made the walls higher.

I dash up the stone, the soles of my boots making dust fly, and grab the ledge to peer over it. In this broad daylight, too many of my fellow students could spot my return.

The coast clear, I vault overtop and drop back inside. Hiding behind a weapons rack, I rub my daggers against my leather leggings, removing leftover wolves’ blood. I wish I could’ve stayed out in the wilderness longer and leveled even higher, but the Hero will be returning from her quest soon. Experience points won’t mean much if I’m not present for the guardian selection.

I remove my stats scroll from my belt and unroll the parchment.

MEI SUN

**

Level: 5

Profession: Assassin

HP: 500/500

Mana: 200/200

Weapon: Novice Daggers (Damage: 1-3)

Attire: Novice Armor (Armor: 1)

Level five. My chest swells with pride. This morning, before the Hero arrived, I was like all the other students: a measly level one. By now, I’ve ridden around most of Newburos Island and discovered all manner of beasts. I didn’t pick fights with anything more than one level above me. Even experience points aren’t worth my life.

“Mei.”

I gasp and clutch my scroll to my chest.

Instructor Stefan steps toward me, his robes casting a long shadow onto the stone floor. “What were you doing outside the gates?”

I pull my hood off and put the scroll away.

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 5 Comments

SJ8: Adult Paranormal Thriller – Specter of a Chance

Title: Specter of a Chance

Category: Adult

Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Word Count: 87,000

Pitch: Thief-for-hire Layne Knowles uses a quid-pro-quo system with her ghostly accomplices. When she accidently steals CIA secrets, she becomes embroiled in a deadly web of federal agents, poltergeists, and gangsters.

Odd Thomas dabbles in crime.

First 250 words of manuscript:

I hated burglarizing an occupied house, even with ghostly help. It was crazy and dangerous, but unavoidable tonight. After casing the place for weeks, I learned that the family or security guards were always around. So here I sat in the study of a local electronics mogul, wrestling trade secrets from his computer. The laptop created the only illumination in the room while the faint murmuring from a television floated up from the first floor.

The screen’s view changed again, displaying multi-level directories with coded names. I froze in mid-keystroke, holding my breath as loud voices rose up through the stairway. The client wanted the theft of the computer chip designs to go unnoticed. A great idea, but escaping unharmed trumped any of his wishes. After a few moments, the sounds faded away, leaving only the tick of the antique clock marching on toward eleven.

The directory name of DEVEL2017 finally popped up. I checked my watch and cursed. Eight minutes runs five minutes too long in any burglary. Time to grab the files and flee.

“Got you.” The soft words slipped out as I thought about the forty-thousand-dollar payday. The money would put me one step closer to a tropical island life where no one thought I was insane for talking to “invisible friends.” My smile disappeared when white lines fluttered across the screen.

“Charles, back off. You’re screwing up the computer.” I whispered to the air.

His tenor voice came through the digital recorder. “Layne, I’m hungry.”

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 1 Comment

SJ9: Adult Literary Historical – The City With Three Names

Title: The City With Three Names

Category: Adult

Genre: Literary Historical

Word Count: 116,000

Pitch: When Prince Suleyman declares his love, Iro leaps from harem student to princess. But either she sacrifices freedom for gilded captivity–or perishes in smoke from the fires of war. Ottoman MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA

First 250 words of manuscript:

Venezia, October 1500

She battled for every breath.

My grandmother, my yaiyai, lay on her low bed in the darkened room, bedridden since September.

In and out. In and out. A slow rhythm of crackling wheezes slipped from her dry parted lips for the past hour. When the pause between intakes stretched on, I held my breath as well. Sometimes in solidarity, but more often in fearful expectation. I knew either she would inhale–or her lungs would finally capitulate to the exhaustion of living.

Weeks of poor appetite and strained breathing made her ribs and chest protrude, barely concealed by the brown woolen dress she wore. The usual softness in her wrinkled face withered over those several weeks, deepening the lines around her mouth and cheeks.

Before Mother left for Mass at dawn, she demanded my brother Nickolas and I watch over Yaiyai. My eleven-year-old self could manage dabbing her hot brow with a dampened cloth. But while the chores were not physically demanding, my heart grew wearier each passing minute. Every breath brought her closer to death yet prolonged her anguish.

Nikko sat as close to the door as he could, fiddling with the poorly carved wooden sword he never went without.

I resented Mother for forcing me to play nurse. This rasping creature did not resemble my yaiyai. She had an iron will and caustic humor, unafraid to challenge my mother and energetic enough to manage my rambunctious seven-year-old brother.

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 5 Comments

SJ10: Adult Gothic Science Fiction – L’Abatteur

Title: L’Abatteur

Category: Adult

Genre: Gothic Science Fiction

Word Count: 127,000

Pitch: L’Abatteur inhabits Cajun folklore and Julie’s imagination. But after her father’s brutal murder, the college dropout must cut through a thicket of lies or pay the price for her family’s deal with a bloodthirsty monster.

First 250 words of manuscript:

All I needed was thirty-two dollars. If the coffee can was gone or if it contained some amount of cash less than that magical number, Louisiana Power and Light would shut off my electricity first thing Friday morning.

My car could’ve handled the dirt road that straddled the levee, but I trudged through the swamp in worn tennis shoes. My screwed-up life had devolved into a bill triage list. Groceries were luxuries, so the old box of baking soda from the back of cabinet did the job when the toothpaste ran out. Dish soap stunt doubles as adequate shampoo. But the needle on the gas gauge hovered just below half a tank, and it was a long drive to town if somebody — anybody — called me in for a job interview.

And then there was the little fact that I was trespassing through the thick copse of oak and ash trees behind the crumbling cemetery. I didn’t want to be seen.

The empty, abandoned church slumped close to the levee, its rafters jarring and black against a blue summer sky. Beyond my sight, Bayou Dernière’s muddy waters ran slow and steady towards the Gulf of Mexico. The old honey locust tree marked the far west corner of the church yard, its roots buckling the graves beneath its boughs.

Entre les deux, my grandmother would have said. Betwixt and between. She probably would’ve crossed herself, too. She never liked this place much. The old church yard, the cemetery, especially the old tree.

This entry was posted on March 16, 2017. 4 Comments