15: THE END AND EVERYTHING AFTER

Title: The End and Everything After Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Contemporary Fantasy Word Count: 66,000 Pitch: Being the lone survivor of a suicide pact is rough. Finding a cryptic letter from your dead boyfriend changes everything. What Aura Lea uncovers as she searches for answers will completely rewrite that night. First 250 Word of Manuscript: Time. It’s what I’d been told would make all of this bearable. But time had moved forward and left me behind. I removed my keys from my backpack and found the one I’d painted burnt orange to match the equipment room door. I took one last look to make sure no one was coming and then slipped in. The fluorescent lights flickered as the small ten-by-ten-foot room filled with light. The familiar smell of damp concrete and chalk made me uneasy. The room was different. The change was subtle, but for someone who spent as much time in here as I had, it was obvious. Baseball bats were hung along the wall in order of weight and length as opposed to their usual random arrangement. The bases were stacked and placed in the corner instead of piled on top of each other in the middle of the room. The cord for the pitching machine was wound properly around its base. Four buckets of balls were placed side by side along the wall. I set my backpack on the ground and sat on one of the buckets. Not the most comfortable way to spend the next six hours, but it was a hell of a lot better than having to face the wrath of a student body ready to tear me apart with their judgmental looks and not-so-covert whispers. I reached down to open my backpack and noticed the edge of something sticking out...

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16: A RITE OF PASSAGE

Title: A RITE OF PASSAGE Age Category: Young Adult Genre: contemporary mystery Word Count: 63,000 Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Aramay can’t remember what happened after she jumped from the bridge. Her cousin’s paralyzed and she’s viewed with suspicion. She’ll struggle against guilt, bitter memories, and a shocking betrayal in search of the truth. First 250 Word of Manuscript: I squeeze my toes back and forth feeling the wood creak beneath my feet. Inches from the edge of the bridge. I don’t look down at the water; I keep my focus on the line of trees in the distance. I reach to grab the railing, but Cassidy catches my fingers. “What are you doing, Aramay?” “Nothing,” I say. “You’ve been acting weird all day. This spot isn’t like you said. You can’t really see anything from here.” Her hand squeezes mine, insistent. The shadows from the bridge girders hide the sun here. The pass sparkles with shards of sunlight and beyond the lapping waves, the sandy shore melds into the thick green of trees. If I squint my eyes. I can just make out a trail. Cassidy leans close. “What’s this about? Impressing the swim team?” she whispers. I let go of her hand. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say. I don’t look down; that will only fill me with fear. Up above the crossover, the bridge road bristles with summer heat. I shiver; I’m not cold, but I will be soon. The water below is frigid. The shock of it will be the hardest part. Once I thrust up to the surface and turn to push my way to shore, I’ll only be a half a mile away from land. Easy. Nothing like the two miles a day I usually swim. “Aramay,” Cassidy says again. I touch her...

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17: SOMEONE ELSE’S SUMMER

Title: Someone Else’s Summer Age Category: Young Adult Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 74000 Pitch: Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies, Anna is completely lost. Until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to have the best summer ever — her sister’s dream summer. First 250 Word of Manuscript: I remember the rain most of all. The day had been beautiful, the sun just peeking through the clouds and falling across the grass where the graduates sat on metal folding chairs. A light breeze played with tassels hanging from mortarboards and fluttered cheap polyester robes around shins as the speakers passed token words of wisdom across the podium. Then, just as hundreds of maroon caps took to the sky, the clouds opened up above us and rain washed the earth. It was just a sprinkling at first, enough to scatter dark spots across shoulders and cool sunburned skin. As the day wore on, the skies darkened more, until it looked like dusk at mid-afternoon. By the time the party started, the gutters had filled with small rivers and our back yard was a swamp. Hours later, the rain still pattered a steady rhythm on the roof as a shrill ring pulled me out of sleep. Mom and Dad insisted on keeping a landline, with receivers throughout the house, even though we never used it. The ancient, corded phone blaring just outside my bedroom door should have been my first indication something was wrong; I should have known right away. That’s the way it always happens in movies—there’s intuition, a feeling deep in the gut. I had none of that, just a mild irritation at whomever was calling. And the constant, insistent rain. Then my world ended with Mom’s ear-breaking...

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Pitch Madness … Game On!

Hello my darlings! The Pitch Madness Agent Round is now LIVE! Pitch Madness … Game on! Welcome to the GREEN TEAM! It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your game hosts have chosen sixty pitches for the game. To meet the slush readers, agent insiders, and the blog teams go to this post here. And you can find out more about the amazing agents playing the game on this post here. For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches and you can find the instructions here. This Pitch Madness the game is Scroll down to view all 17 picks for my blog or click on the links to each post … F-1: Young Adult: THE LIFETIME OF A SNOWFLAKE F-2: New Adult: RISKY F-3: Adult: FOR RENT F-4: Young Adult: OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HIGH SCHOOL F-5: Middle Grade: TREASURE OF THE NINE-BANDED KNIGHT F-6: Young Adult: HATE CRIME F-7: Adult: CALL OF THE KOEL F-8: Adult: SUPER FORTY F-9: Middle Grade: KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE F-10: Young Adult: MARKED F-11: Young Adult: TIME SAILS F-12: Adult: LAWS OF THE SPIRIT F-13: Young Adult: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE F-14: Young Adult: SUN AND IRON F-15: Young Adult: FALL TO PIECES F-16: Young Adult: A IS FOR ATHERTON F-17: Young Adult: BEDTIME STORIES Comments are set to moderation so the agents won’t see their competitors’ bids. Please no comments other than those from the agents. After the game, we’ll release the moderation and let you all comment on the entries. We’ll reveal the agent requests on March 4 at 12:00PM (that’s noon) EST. Please note: We will email submission details for all requests...

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F-1: Young Adult: THE LIFETIME OF A SNOWFLAKE

Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 61,000 Pitch: Two nineteen-year-old boys in Malaysia, one dying, and the other just learning to live. With little time left, Airil helps his best friend Dani make peace with himself, his sexuality, and his conflicted faith. Excerpt:  “My girlfriend doesn’t like you,” Airil says, handing me his latest collection of porn BluRay DVDs. I take the discs and spread them on his king-size bed, which is almost as messy as the rest of his room. I hold up each of the six DVDs in turn and study the front and back cover. Two Asian, two American blockbuster parodies—*Twilight* and *Avengers*…don’t ask—one lesbian and one threesome. All of them have one common theme: huge breasts. “You heard what I said, right?” “Hmm?” I say, my attention on the back cover of the *Twilight* parody. I’m not sure if the addition of pornographic elements will make the movie any less boring. “But she doesn’t even know me,” I say without looking up. Airil plops onto the bed in front of me, sending the DVDs jumping. “That’s what I told her. She won’t even tell me why. I mean, I know you don’t talk much and you’re awkward with strangers—” “*Dungu*,” I snap, because he’s being an idiot. “I’m not awkward with strangers.” I flick the DVD at Airil. It hits his chest and lands on the hardwood floor. The cover pops open. The DVD has been stored with its back surface facing upward, and I can make out fingerprints on the blue-rainbow surface. Truth is, I really am socially awkward, and we both know it. Airil chuckles and retrieves the DVD. “Anyway, that’s why you’re coming with me to the birthday party tonight.” “But she’s your girlfriend, not...

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