F-2: New Adult: RISKY

Genre: Contemporary Romance Word Count: 74,000 Pitch: An overachieving career girl who lives by her five-year plan finds herself alone in Hong Kong – where she discovers love with a carefree artist who’s never had a plan in his life. Excerpt: “So I think I’m going to go home.” Elena said this to me as I swigged from my bottle of San Miguel. She wouldn’t look me in the eyes. Instead, she stared down at her bowl of wiry brown noodles, jabbing at them with the fork she had procured from her purse. The emergency fork should have been my first indicator that she wasn’t comfortable in Hong Kong. “What do you mean you think you’re going to go home?” I forced the words from the back of my throat, suppressing a cough from the mouthful of beer that I’d gulped. The bitter aftertaste burned the edges of my tongue. “We just got here eight hours ago. Our flight’s not for another week.” “Well, when you were in the shower before, I called the airline and changed my return flight to tomorrow morning. So I think I’m going to go home.” She twirled the noodles repeatedly around her fork, watching them glisten, but never brought them to her mouth. It was the most perfect noodle I’d ever tasted, firm and salty, but here she was, wasting them with her mindless fiddling. I wanted to grab the fork from her pale, bony hand and stab her in the eye. “What about me?” “Oh, I didn’t change your ticket. You should stay,” she said. “You should definitely stay and enjoy the rest of your vacation.” It was now my vacation, not ours. The din around us at the Temple Street Night Market began to fade and I felt a dull ache behind my...

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F-3: Adult: FOR RENT

Genre: Women’s Fiction Comedy Word Count: 85,000 Pitch: A single mother struggles through the bizarre responsibilities of her new job as an apartment manager, and the eviction of a dangerous drug dealer only to find out she’s been his naïve accomplice all along. Excerpt: Something terrible is about to happen. My stomach has been twisting in a bloated ball of gas all morning, and I know whatever it is, isn’t going to be pretty. I ought to know better than to take a gamble on three-day-old Chinese takeout. *Or was it four*? The phone rings, offering me brief a distraction from the hostile takeover of my small intestine. I take a quick swig of Diet Coke, my cure-all for any ailment, before reaching over and grabbing the phone off my desk. “Thank you for calling The Best Property Management, this is Cambria.” This deceiving reception always leaves a bitter aftertaste, but *thank you for calling Southern California’s pit hole of a management company, as reviewed by over twenty Yelp users, how may I piss you off today*, is too much of a mouth full. “Cambria, it’s Trisha again. I still have graffiti all over the garages, and the tenants are at my door everyday complaining about it. I need maintenance out here now.” “Yes Trisha, hold on.” I lean back in my chair and peek into my boss’s office. Rose is perched behind her desk, her surgically chiseled nose shoved into a mysterious blue folder, just as it has been all morning. I cover the receiver with my hand and “pssst” to get her attention. Her bulging eyes meet mine, and I mouth “Appleridge”, being sure to accentuate each syllable. She is well aware of the graffiti over at the fourteen-unit building. This is the managers third call this...

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F-4: Young Adult: OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HIGH SCHOOL

Genre: Speculative Word Count: 64,000 Pitch: In high school, God creates Earth as a science project. Between turning a snotty student into a pillar of salt and causing the great flood in the cafeteria, God might not graduate. Excerpt: When I arrive at the school office, a middle-aged woman leans against the counter staring at a crossword puzzle. She taps her pencil against the empty squares as I let out a polite cough announcing my arrival. It does no good; she’s busy trying to find a ten-letter word meaning ‘to wish good health’. “Gesundheit,” I say, hoping to speed things along. “Well bless your heart.” She fills in the squares of her crossword puzzle. “How may I help you?” She asks in a pleasant voice. “I’m new here, my name is Maurice Almighty.” Her smile quickly turns to a frown. “We’ve been expecting you.” Her tone turns rude as if she flipped a switch. It could mean only one thing; my permanent record beat me here. The woman lifts horned rimmed glasses from her face and stares at me. “Mr. Allen, He’s here.” She speaks into an intercom. She doesn’t need to say my name, just He with a capital H. “Have a seat.” She points with her pencil towards a wooden bench. Not long after I sit, I wiggle on the uncomfortable bench, which makes my left butt cheek go numb. She doesn’t take her eyes off me for a second and doesn’t attempt to conceal her distrust. Let off a few plagues in school and that shit follows you, trust me. After a long wait, the door opens and Mr. Allen, all five foot two inches comes out of the doorway; he has crooked teeth and a bald head, but full head worth of grey hair growing in each...

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F-5: Middle Grade: TREASURE OF THE NINE-BANDED KNIGHT

Genre: Adventure Word Count: 60,000 Pitch: A twelve-year old city boy teams up with an undocumented kid from Mexico to find legendary Spanish treasure, stirring up prejudice, greed, and unsettling secrets about the murder of his father. Excerpt: The day Trace’s mom started laughing again, he knew things had gotten serious. It was up to him to stop her before she did something crazy like marry the rancher she had dated for a whopping three months. Every seventh grader knew Texas had more ranchers than roaches. But people from the city of Austin—especially dead cop’s wives—didn’t marry them any more than horses married cows. Unless. The dead cop’s wife had no money, and the rancher was rich. Trace hauled two plastic milk jugs full of change out of his closet. His stunt bike savings. Now the bike would have to wait. He stuffed the money into his backpack and skateboarded to Uncle Kirk’s house in the nice part of the neighborhood. “One hundred ninety-six dollars and eighty-two cents,” he said, plonking the jugs onto Kirk’s desk with a determined jingle. Kirk goggled at the money and put on his surveyor’s hardhat as if he expected the coins to geyser into the air. “Where did you get all this?” “Mostly the skate park. You should never do the half-pipe with change in your pockets. I’ve been collecting the spillage for years. Now you can take me to the casino.” “Do what??” “You told me you would take me to the casino when I had two hundred dollars for starter money.” Trace held out his open palm. “By the way, you owe me five bucks for last week’s poker game.” Kirk scratched his head, forgetting that he was wearing a...

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F-6: Young Adult: HATE CRIME

Genre: Thriller Word Count: 60,000 Pitch: DANGEROUS GIRLS meets DARK PLACES when 17-year-old Cordelia’s sister is murdered, she must stop a racist psychopath before he kills again. Too bad the only person who can help her is said psychopath’s douchey son. Excerpt: It happened again. The ugly, bright orange letters rubbed my hands raw as I scrubbed the word off of my car. *CHINK.* That’s it. Five little letters let me know exactly how someone felt. Five little letters, joined together in one big statement. *CHINK.* My hands shook as they dipped back into the now-lukewarm water. Our principal’s words circled around my mind in an endless loop, blaming me for everything. Just like last time. “Since there was no way of knowing who wrote it,” Principal Billings said, “It’s your responsibility, to clean *that word* off of the vehicle. *Your* vehicle. That *you* should take better care of and watch more closely, Ms. Sotello.” Watch more closely. Yeah. It was parked in the school lot, next to the other cars that also weren’t being watched closely. *That word* certainly wasn’t there when I got to school, so somewhere in between English (my first class) and lunch (my favorite class), *that word* made its debut on the side of my ’99 Corolla. I took a second to pull my chapped hands close to my mouth, blowing warm-ish air into my cupped palms. Thanks to twenty minutes of scrubbing, I’d reduced the word to C-H-I. I sat back, resting on the cold, uneven street. My mouth pulled into a thin line as I stared at those three letters, a neon reminder that I’d never belong. A small laugh escaped as I scraped away at the “I.” I wasn’t Chinese. Wrong slur,...

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