S-13: MG Contemporary: LUCKY ME!

Name: Erin Elisabeth Conley Title: LUCKY ME! Genre: MG Contemporary Word Count: 32,000 Pitch: Twelve-year-old Francophile/YouTube chef Clementine Sterling dreams bigger than her boring life. But life gets crazy when her mom marries a chump and a mysterious girl ropes her into a plot to humble the school snob. Excerpt: Lucky me!: Mom agreed to let me stay home alone instead of joining some lame after-school program. Ah, sweet victory! C’est la vie: Ah, sweet victory for like five minutes. Mom, who’s been known to change her mind, changed her mind. *** Sometimes dumb people are funny. Other times they RUIN YOUR LIFE. This girl who lives on my block put a wet shoe in the microwave and practically burned down her house the other day. Of course she was home alone. Of course it was after school. And, of course, that made Mom do a complete one-eighty on the whole “babysitting” myself and my brother Jack thing. See, my mom actually goes to work, unlike most of the other moms around here who just play tennis or dress their dogs up in little designer tracksuits all day. That’s why I got stuck in this Write On! class, which keeps me busy every afternoon and doesn’t cost Mom a cent. C’est la vie, I suppose. In case you didn’t know, c’est la vie means “such is life.” It’s pronounced “say-la-vee” and is more or less the way French people say, “That bites, but oh well! Just deal with it.” It’s also my Aunt Fab’s favorite phrase. It used to bug me. A lot. Maybe you can see why? ME: Omigod, I dropped my new phone in the fish tank! AUNT FAB: C’est la vie. ME: I have a giant pimple and tomorrow is picture day! AUNT FAB: C’est la...

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S-12: Upper MG Mystery: CHASING MY OWN TALE

Name: Carrie Bouffard Title: CHASING MY OWN TALE Genre: Upper MG Mystery Word Count: 62,000 words Pitch: Emma wants to find her father and finally take charge of her life. Then she stumbles (literally – eww) across a body and a hundred-year-old mystery only she can solve. Time to get her sleuth on. Excerpt: Emma York’s New Year’s Resolutions: 1. I will find out who my father is. 2. I will convince my mother not to send me to boarding school in England. 3. I will stop sputtering and drooling whenever a boy talks to me. Ditto blushing. Ditto falling down and exposing my non-age-appropriate underpants. 4. I will buy age-appropriate underpants. No more superheroes. 5. I will stop being a doormat. Assertive is the new black. My first mistake was wearing a Cleopatra costume through the security checkpoint at JFK. My second mistake was carrying stolen goods in my purse. “Jewelry in the basket,” the security woman said. “Shoes too.” She puffed her chest out like a busty gorilla and shoved her thumbs into her thick leather belt, right next to her gun. I gulped. “Hurry up, now,” the woman said. “Lotta people behind you who want to get home for New Year’s Eve.” She didn’t comment on my straight black wig, gold crown or the stuffed snake that Skye had so thoughtfully wound around my neck. It was New York, after all. I was probably the fourth Cleopatra she’d seen this week. I tore at the flimsy fake-gold bangles and rings that Skye and I had picked up at the dollar store that morning. There were a lot of them. At least two rings on each finger and a solid stack of bracelets up to the elbow on each arm. Some of the rings had shapes on...

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S-11: Women’s Fiction: DISPATCHING THE AMERICAN DREAM

Name: Carey O’Connor Title: DISPATCHING THE AMERICAN DREAM Genre: Women’s Fiction Word Count: 78,000 Pitch: When newlywed millennials Kessa and Jack find an affordable house in a “transitioning” neighborhood, they believe it means happily-ever-after—not defective windows and drug dealers. But, sometimes the American Dream ends in arson. Excerpt: An obese beagle had made me—a volunteer dog walker—his bitch. Scout and I only had made it a hundred feet from the animal shelter, and I had carried him at least fifty of those feet. For the last five minutes, he had been sniffing dried leaves in an erratic circle. While I waited, I flapped my sweater in the crisp breeze. Once, the purple v-neck made me hold my shoulders back and toss my hair. Now, its wool fibers reeked of the neighbors’ cooking. Every day in apartment 1-B, they fried fish, some bottom-dwelling variety that smelled as if it had been found on a rock beside the lake. The greasy particles circulated through the air ducts and attached themselves to my clothes and long hair. When I forgot to use Febreze, I wore the smell of 1-B’s dinner like the Scarlet Letter—except my “A” stood for Apartment-Dweller. Why We Need to Buy a House Reason #36: I’m a business development specialist, not a fish monger. I gently tugged on Scout’s leash. “Come on, buddy.” The obstinate animal did not move. Resigned to an extended wait, I tuned my digital armband to Wisconsin Public Radio. A voice droned between bursts of static. “I’m your host, Todd Podalewski. Today we’re discussing housing affordability, which has become a major problem for the middle class and younger generation.” Exactly, Todd. We need to win serious down payment cash on a game show. So please, dish your usual trivia or tell me how to sell...

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S-10: YA Paranormal Thriller: THE SWAY

Name: Ruby Knight Title: THE SWAY Category/Genre: YA Paranormal Thriller Word Count: 56,000 Pitch: 17y/o CIA operative, Julia, has her mission: Get close to Cole. Cole has a mission too. Recruit Julia to THE SWAY. They want her for her unique talents, the ones making her transcendent. Excerpt: I ran, quicker than I should’ve been able to. Motioning with my arms and screaming at the agents that had surrounded Enrique Hernandez’ residence in Miami. “It’s wired, get back,” I yelled. I watched as a few of the guys I’d trained with at Eisenhower drop behind cars. They knew me, knew I wouldn’t be blowing smoke about something like this. I could hear the ticking. Somehow, somewhere I knew I’d tripped a wire and the place was going to blow up. Hernandez would’ve killed as many agents as he could, before going down. This way his entire compound, cash, and drug loads would all go up in flames. Become ash. I hurled myself behind a car just as I heard a distant click. I covered my head with my arms and ducked between my legs. Things moved in slow motion. I could taste the salt from the ocean on my tongue. As I glanced out of the corner of my eye, I watched as a palm tree swayed. It wasn’t from a coastal breeze, it was from the gorgeous Spanish style mansion being leveled to bits of fragmented concrete. A few of the older government operatives stared blankly at the flames and held their hands against, what I would assume were, ringing ears. Idiots. Why should they listen to me? I’m a female in the Central Intelligence Agency. No. I’m not just a female. I’m a girl. A teenager in the CIA. Pitch Madness Clue:  Mr. Boddy is found in...

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S-9: MG Supernatural Thriller: ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX

Name: Patrice Caldwell Title: ALEX DE VEGA AND PANDORA’S BOX Genre: MG Supernatural Thriller Word Count: 47,000 words Pitch: To save New Atlantis, Alex, a twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, and her co-conspirators, must go undercover and retrieve a high-tech energy cube from supernatural creatures who plan to use it to annihilate her city. Excerpt: Alex licked her ice cream cone, wondering why she’d decided to do business on a day like today. The sun shone directly above her, adding a sense of despair the trash littered streets of South Atlantis didn’t need. Unlike the pristine, bot-patrolled ones of Upper Atlantis, where she lived, these streets held a much a grittier past. However, the ice cream in South Atlantis was second to none, but she could hardly enjoy it with the sun beating down. Her treat had started making sticky tracks down her hands, and if there was anything Alex hated, it was sticky hands. Unless, of course, they were sticking to items in passerby’s pockets. Beside her, a messy brown-haired boy slurped at his matching vanilla cone as Alex drummed her fingers on the splintery bench. James looked up from his treat, a sly grin on his face. “Did we really skip school just so we could get some ice cream?” Alex smirked. “Sometimes ice cream is just ice cream.” Her eyes followed a burly man in a suit that was entirely too hot for a day like this. He crossed the street, checking behind him. “And sometimes it’s not,” she said, walking over to greet the man. Alex tossed her ice cream in a nearby trashcan. She grabbed a napkin off a table and wiped her hands before shaking the man’s hand. The two of them stood, appraising each other for a few minutes. The man’s eyes darted to...

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