F-12: Adult: LAWS OF THE SPIRIT

Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 60,000 Pitch: Montana Public Defender Scarlett Parker defends a young Native American facing the death penalty for a gruesome triple homicide and faces biased judges, cagey cops and an outraged community. Longmire with a feminine twist. Excerpt: “I’m screwed, aren’t I?” the kid said as the door to the interview room fell closed behind him. His tone was hostile, defensive and scared, all at the same time. I studied him for just a moment. Not what I expected. Tall, round-faced, thin. The silky long black hair of his Native American heritage. He looked about sixteen. He was, in reality, nineteen, and yes, he was screwed. Possibly more screwed than any client I had ever had. “Your situation isn’t good, Theodore,” I said, looking him in the eyes. “But we’ll talk, and I’ll figure out what we can do, okay? By the way, what do you like to be called? Theo?” His shoulders sagged, and what little bravado he had went out of him. “Ted, or Teddy,” he mumbled. “My Auntie calls me Teddy.” Teddy? Jesus Christ. Three dead bodies, my defendant was one of the killers, and he was Teddy? As in Teddy bear. Teddy bears are warm and fuzzy and my teenage daughter still had a collection of them. I was sitting across from a young man who’d been an integral participant in a gruesome triple homicide . I was in a concrete-block interview room in Yellowstone County, Montana, a few miles from the fifth-largest Native American reservation in the country, facing a Crow client who was little more than a kid. And how could he not be a kid to me? I had a daughter two years younger. The prosecutor was already making noise about pursuing the charges in these particularly gruesome murders as a capital...

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F-13: Young Adult: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE

Genre: Alternate History Word Count: 70,000 Pitch: When the mob threatens sixteen-year-old Evelyn’s bootlegging family over longstanding liquor debts, she must conspire with a rival she fears more than Capone to nick booze from speakeasies or end up sleeping with the fishes. Excerpt: One letter—that’s all it would take to destroy us. As my father returned from the mailbox, I knew that letter had arrived. “Deliver this as soon as possible, Evelyn,” Papa said. Reviewing the envelope, I caught sight of our boss’s seal—a shimmering golden C. It may not have been the draft letter we were expecting, but it was just as dangerous. I prayed my father wanted me to bring it to anyone else but *them*. I’d even prefer it be for Mr. Mitchell. At least he was decent. As decent as an irritable speakeasy owner could be, I guess. But those dogs across town put his curt demeanor to shame. Stealing from under our noses and lying their mouths off. They were the nastiest bootlegging rival we could’ve come by. Even their polite nods scared me straight into the pews. I ignored the sudden tapping of my foot. “Shouldn’t one of the boys do it?” “No, that would give us away.” Papa peered over his shoulder to my older brothers sitting at the kitchen table, scrutinizing the latest newspaper headline about the war. “God has a plan, and He needs you to do this for us.” The worried eyes behind my father’s glasses provided no comfort. “Are you sure this isn’t Capone’s plan?” After a sharp hush, he covered my mouth with a calloused hand. “Take this to the Cohens.” I held back a gasp at the mention of their name. “And whatever you do, don’t read...

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F-14: Young Adult: SUN AND IRON

Genre: Fantasy Word Count: 75,000 Pitch: In an ancient Rome-like world, where people with magical abilities are slaves, a young girl fights as a gladiator. Magic runs in her veins, but it won’t help her now. Spartacus meets Snow Like Ashes. Excerpt: Chapter 1 – Aelia Sweaty hands catch my wrist, and I curse myself for taking the easy way and coming to the market. The crowd is ideal for getting lost in after bumping into my victims, and vanishing with whatever their pockets hold, but the merchants – like the one holding on to me – do tend to get nosy. A man passes me by, carrying an ugly-faced barracuda bigger than my upper body thrown over his shoulder and waves at the merchant holding on to me. I flinch as the smell of the fish reaches my nostrils. A raspy voice calls from behind, “What’s the hurry, girl?” I sigh, shooting one last look at the forest that I was going to vanish into, and pull the hood of my cape lower over my face to turn back towards the merchant. I can barely see for a second with the sun right behind him, but I narrow my eyes, so I can make out his perfectly pale face. He smiles, revealing his yellow teeth, and I tug on my hand one last time in vain. His meaty fingers hold me tight. My eyes fall on the girl standing behind him with chains on her neck and wrists. Her copper skin stained with sweat and dirt is identical to mine. One look at her reminds me why I have to hide day after day, and I pull my cape with my free hand even tighter. I painted my face and hands white, but my craft leaves something to be desired, and...

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F-15: Young Adult: FALL TO PIECES

Genre: Contemporary Word Count: 88,000 Pitch: After shattering his leg in front of college recruiters, Jacob’s dreams of a football scholarship crumble. Washed up at sixteen and numbing the pain with painkillers and whiskey, he can only see one way out. Excerpt: Fourth quarter, seven minutes left on the clock. One touchdown was all that put us ahead, but we had control of the ball. And I was determined to keep it that way. I studied the defense while running the next play in my head. Everything else faded to the background. I knew exactly what we needed to do. Eagleton had been on us like literal hornets all night, but we were managing to stay one play ahead. By then, they were anticipating us, but we had this game in the bag. Breaking the huddle, I glanced toward the stands, hoping to catch a glimpse of Megan, but she was just a speck of blue and silver on the opposite end of the field. Knowing she was there watching calmed my writhing nerves. Unfortunately, nothing could soothe the intestinal havoc of knowing that Colorado State and Arizona both had scouts out there watching this game. My stomach had been in knots ever since the rumors started flying that they were coming tonight, and all I could feel was their eyes on me. Tonight was for them, for my ticket to getting the hell out of Ridgeland. I wiped my hands on my legs and as soon as the whistle blew, I fell back to receive the snap. All around me, well-rehearsed chaos unfolded. The collision of helmets and pads reverberated through the air as I stepped into position to launch the pass. Step. Pivot. Throw. From the left – my blind side – a freight train struck, barreling full force into...

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F-16: Young Adult: A IS FOR ATHERTON

Genre: Young Adult Romance Word Count: 62,000 Pitch: Take one stolen SAT exam. Add an honors student with wicked computer skills and a bad-boy who specializes in B&E. Together, they’re perfectly wrong. But wrong may be the only way to prove they’re right. Excerpt: Lacey McNamara paused outside Atherton Academy’s chapel to adjust her beautiful honors pin. The golden “A” surrounded by a filigree oval was her favorite accessory. Not only did it symbolize academic achievement, it looked as amazing on her school uniform as it did her winter formal. It even looked good on her bikini. Breathless with anticipation, she pulled open the hand-carved oak door and stepped into a sea of red blazers. The chapel’s stone arches and stained glass looked like a miniature of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Lacey had never been to London, but based on photos, they were nearly the same. Underclassmen packed the pews, faculty filled the stage, and Lacey quivered with excitement. It was time for Mr. Cunningham, the headmaster, to kick off the school year. He would welcome the new students and let everyone know Lacey and her classmates were kings of the high-school mountain. They were Atherton’s senior class. Atherton, the preppiest prep school in New England. Mr. Cunningham took center stage. NBA-tall, his long arms barely reached the ledges of the pulpit. He leaned down and puffed into the microphone. All eyes turned toward him. The buzz of voices died down. “Welcome!” he boomed. The side door banged open. Flag bearers marched in, one carrying a flag from each country represented by the student body. Goosebumps skated down Lacey’s arms. Everything was exactly the way she’d pictured it. Everything, except for the…*chickens?* Horrified, Lacey counted as *four, six, ten, twelve, sixteen, twenty-four* chickens flapped and squawked down the...

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