F-7: Adult: CALL OF THE KOEL

Genre: Historical, Upmarket Women’s Fiction Word Count: 123,000 Pitch: 19C Hong Kong. Cultures clash beneath masks of civility. Still, Helena and concubine-turned-servant Siu Lin become friends. When old secrets resurface, their lives hang in the balance. The reach of revenge is wide and ruthless. Excerpt:  May 1866, Hong Kong At last, and too soon, they arrived at the painted green door. Siu Lin leaned against a rough wooden post, her legs sponge and marrow from the walking that had begun the day before. Her younger brothers sat down by the side of the alley to wait. “Don’t make trouble,” Baba warned them, and they nodded. His voice was soft, but he didn’t stand for disobedience. “Come, Siu Lin,” Mama said. Siu Lin looked again at her brothers tracing lines in the dirt. “Come, Siu Lin!” Baba was growing impatient. She followed her parents across the threshold. Inside, the damp earth floor, musty in the humidity, teased at the back of her throat. Baba murmured low to the woman they had walked so far to see. So far. An anxious current, choppy and fitful, rippled in her stomach and she drifted toward the open seas of despair. She shoved away thoughts of home, and cast her nets, instead, on the strangeness of this place. A candle flickered and shadows danced over the walls. A bed. No, two beds. A large wardrobe. What did the woman keep inside? Baba was still speaking with the woman. The matchmaker amah. Finally, the woman nodded, brushed past Baba and came to stand in front of her. Ah Yip. The name had haunted her for weeks. Now it had a face, round and expressionless like the barren moon. “We cannot afford to keep her,” Baba said in a hollow voice and looked to the...

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F-8: Adult: SUPER FORTY

Genre: Women’s Fiction Word Count: 87,000 Pitch: After Shannon accidentally uses an irradiated tampon, she can shoot menstrual cramps from her fingers. No, really. This timid woman will reclaim her broken life by becoming a superheroine at age forty…or die trying. Excerpt: My name is Shannon Johnson, and I was thirty-nine years old when, for the first time in my life, I stood up for myself. Over a box of tampons. I don’t know why I maintained my death grip on them that night in the Duane Reed during a hurricane. Perhaps those forty wads of cotton were the last straw in my pathetic existence: the tampons that broke the camel’s back. In this scenario, I’m the camel—bloated full of water and bleating into an uncaring desert of bad metaphor. The last dude working in the cleaned-out drug store also didn’t seem to understand why he fought me for the squished box. “Ma’am,” he managed through gritted teeth, as if “ma’am” were the name of his least-favorite zit. “Ma’am, they’re recalled by the manufacturer, and I’m, um, not allowed to sell them!” I kicked an empty cardboard standee that used to hold canned soup toward his feet, but he leaped over it without breaking our tug of war. Darn his youth! “Sir,” I replied as pleasantly as possible when chatting about tampons. “They—they look okay to me.” I took a deep breath; talking back was my least-favorite activity, right above not talking back. “*Please.* They aren’t rotted food. I just need them to…to stop…I mean, I use them up…into…within—” I couldn’t say vagina. My mother would never forgive me. A lady doesn’t use words like “vagina” or “pregnant” or “hell.”...

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F-9: Middle Grade: KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE

Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 45,000 Pitch: Karma expects change starting sixth grade. Losing her BFF, Daddy jobless and the nickname ‘Stache Attack aren’t what she imagined. Armed with Dadima’s prayer book and chunni, she’s determined to break the karma curse. Excerpt: Dadima used to say I’d be as strong as a lion if I drank milk twice a day. She never mentioned I’d get as hairy as one, too. There should have been a disclaimer—bold letters and a voice over with a list of symptoms scrolling along the side of my grandma’s face whenever she handed me a cup of hot milk. Daddy’s back was to me as he pried pratha dough off the rolling pin in a misshapen glob and dropped it in a pan. I quickly tipped the milk he’d poured for me into a pot of cilantro on the counter. Instead of a warning that milk gave you more than a milk mustache, I was stuck consulting the *Gorgeous Georgians* section of my Horrible Histories books for a way to get rid of the hair above my lip. A magazine like *Tween Bop* would’ve been a better choice, but Daddy refused to buy it. Lucky for me, my best friend Sara was on the phone. She was a walking, talking guide of fashion and personality quizzes. Daddy flipped the pratha and turned to me. “Just like Dadima’s,” he said, grinning. I cupped my hand over the mouthpiece of the phone when Daddy turned back to the stove. “I’m serious, Sara. There are exactly seven*teen* of them.” I pinched the hairs above my lip, hoping no more had grown. “Mmm hmm.” Sara’s breath rattled through the phone. I pictured her blowing a loose strand of hair out of her...

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F-10: Young Adult: MARKED

Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 91,000 Pitch: A strange bird mark on her shoulder and her uncontrollable rage make Catia the most feared person in the kingdom, and the price for her new identity is death. THRONE OF GLASS meets The Hulk. Excerpt: Catia de Rose sat on a bench in her front garden, picking at a loose thread that was threatening to unravel the lace cuff on her left sleeve. As hard as she tried, she was never perfectly put together. Her governess always knew exactly where to find something amiss with her appearance. Madame Elyse had pointed out the grass stain on her pinafore when Catia was seven years old, the first time they’d met. Even now, ten years later, if her curls weren’t perfectly tucked away or her dress hadn’t been ironed, she was going to hear about it. Footsteps clicked on the cobblestone lane before the stern-faced governess turned into the garden, followed by Catia’s best friend, Adele Lockwood. With a flick of her wrist, Catia snapped the dangling thread from the lace and clapped her hand over it. “Good morning, ma’am,” she said, standing to greet Madame Elyse. The governess looked at her sleeve. “Is something wrong with your dress, Catia?” “No, ma’am, nothing at all,” she said, tucking her hand behind her and hoping with everything that the cuff wasn’t going to start flapping as they walked to the schoolhouse. She waited for the reprimand, but Madame Elyse just shook her head. “Let’s hurry to knitting class. There was some commotion in the Square when I came to retrieve you two. I hope it won’t disrupt our walk.” Catia grabbed her satchel from her feet and fell behind the governess to walk next to Adele. She shut the white garden gate as they...

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F-11: Young Adult: TIME SAILS

Genre: Adventure Word Count: 64,000 Pitch: The Wizard of Oz meets Pirates of the Caribbean when Emma falls from a sailboat and into the17th century. With a handsome companion, she discovers a pirate ship is her yellow brick road back home. Excerpt: I’ve heard it said if you sail long and far enough, one day you’ll meet the wave with your name on it. I always thought that was superstition, something to keep people from exploring the seven seas. Then the angry ocean hissed in my ear and my only thought was, *my* wave. Grabbing a mouthful of air, I shot upright into a coffin of blackness. After a second, I realized there was no water, no wave. I sat safe and dry in my bunk on *Sirocco.* I took a deep breath. My heart slowed its panicked pounding. It was all Mom’s fault — her and her wild stories. I flicked the switch on the wall lamp once, then a dozen more times. Nothing happened. I groped for a flashlight, my cell phone, anything to break the darkness. *Sirocco* tumbled off a wave and the phone flew from my hand, smashing onto the floor. I landed onto the sailboat’s side next to that hissing ocean, only one inch of fiberglass separating me from the deep Caribbean Sea. The violent sea tossed me from one side of the bunk to the other. The hull groaned. Footsteps thumped on the deck overhead. The cabin door slammed open and my father lurched in. His right hand clutched a flashlight while the left groped for something to hold onto. Rivers of water streamed off his blood-red foul-weather jacket, pooling on the floor. “We need you up top, Emma. It’s blowing forty knots. We have to drop the...

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