S-8: YA Mystery: THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF

Name: Jocelyn Rish Title: THE DRAMA QUEEN WHO CRIED WOLF Genre: YA Mystery Word Count: 76,000 Pitch: Because Breanna’s overactive imagination has made her the town joke, everyone pooh-poohs her claims of a killer on the loose, so she must access her inner Veronica Mars to save her reputation and her life. Excerpt: The woman screamed as she raced through the dark woods wearing nothing but a white towel. I shook my head. Seriously? That was a terrible outfit for trying to outrun a homicidal maniac. She tripped and crashed to the ground, but instead of jumping back up, she cowered in the leaves. “At least grab a tree branch to defend yourself,” I muttered, but the woman only whimpered and shook her head like that would change the killer’s mind. He stood over her and adjusted his grip on his machete. She shrieked when he raised his arm. As he swung the blade, something cold and wet touched my hand. I yelped before my brain remembered the psycho couldn’t crawl through the TV screen to attack me. I glared at Maximus, my seventy-pound Frankenstein mutt taking up more than his fair share of the black leather couch beside me. “Dang, Max, you trying to give me a heart attack?” He chuffed in a way that sounded suspiciously like a yes and then nosed my hand again. “Really? You have to go out just when the movie’s finally getting exciting?” Max blinked like he’d never do something so obnoxious. Then he barked at me. I sighed to make sure he knew he was inconveniencing me, but before I could push myself off the couch, Max’s giant German Shepherd ears swiveled toward a sound that sent my heart into Riverdance mode. Footsteps on the stairs. Pitch Madness Clue:  Mr. Boddy...

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S-7: Adult/Historical Fantasy: FORTUNE

Name: Adrienne Proctor Title: FORTUNE Genre: Adult/Historical Fantasy Word Count: 93,000 Pitch: Devana’s transported to her past life on an 18th century pirate ship. Her murderer from long ago may be the key to returning home, but falling for the dashing captain could end her life again. Excerpt: I lifted my head out of the calm Atlantic water, pulled off my snorkel and mask, and slapped them against the surface as hard as I could. Saltwater splashed my face and overpowered the rubber tinge from the mouthpiece. I spit and cursed, then I tread water, rubbing my eyes until the stinging stopped. A little way off, my sister Emily’s blond head cut a trail of ripples through the blue surface, the rocky coastline of Annobon Island behind her. And there was that damn V-shaped boulder, the one that had been in my dream every night. Emily was right. I was being selfish. I wasn’t sure how I’d decided that I might have an epiphany here, that my childhood spent bouncing between foster homes could have some meaning at the sight of this place. But apparently some people had life-altering revelations and others just stared at rocks dumbly while nothing happened. The boulder and its reflection formed a stumpy exclamation point–the perfect punctuation to our three day waste of a trip. I hit the ocean again. The cool sapphire water trickled down the neck of my wetsuit, and I replayed the only dream I’d ever had–the dream Emily knew nothing about. I stood on a ship at dusk, alone, my hand firm on a slick wooden rail. The torn edges of my thin dress flapped against my thighs in the cold breeze, but a blazing hot fear stretched from my insides to singe the tips of my fingers and toes....

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S-6: Adult: PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT

Name: Karen Pashley Title: PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT Genre: Adult Word Count: 85,000 Pitch: Feisty southerner Sugar Brennan’s deep-rooted faith is put to the test when she steps up to care for a dying pregnant woman who also happens to be her husband’s mistress. Excerpt: It was still dark outside when Sugar Brennan finished dressing. The moon, blurry behind thin clouds, cast a sliver of gray across an inky sky. She stuffed another jacket in her suitcase, reminding herself of why she’d thought this trip was a good idea in the first place. She needed to distance herself from him—to try and make sense of what was happening—and to figure out what to do next. “No turning back now,” she muttered through clenched teeth, using all her strength to pull the stubborn zipper around her bag. She hurried from their bedroom to the kitchen, seething at Clay, who seemed as relaxed as an old dog on a warm porch. She rushed around, taking care of a thousand last-minute details while Clay, hunched over the morning paper at the kitchen counter, casually sipped his coffee. How could he just sit there, smiling at her as if nothing were out of the ordinary? She stormed past him, sending the newspaper’s inserts off the counter’s edge to the floor in her wake. Clay bent over and picked up the papers. Sugar whished past him again, grabbed the coffee pot, overfilling her cup, then gasped as brown drops expanded into quarter-size circles on the cuff of her sleeve. She reached under the sink for a spray bottle and vigorously scrubbed the stain away, tisking at herself. “Nervous?” he asked. “Course not.” They both knew that was a lie. Pitch Madness Clue: Mr. Boddy is found in the dining hall, face down in his roast...

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S-5: YA Magical Realism: SILVER TONGUED

Name: Kindra Keitel Title: SILVER TONGUED Genre: YA Magical Realism Word Count: 64,000 Pitch: Fifteen-year-old Delphine summons miracles with music. Now she must protect her magic voice from thieves who would slice her open to take it—and somehow hide everything from the boy who’s fast stealing her heart. Excerpt: It was there again, the metallic sting that bit Delphine’s throat every time music crossed her mind. She knew better than to try to actually sing, that only made it worse, made her cough and gag with what tasted like a mouth full of pennies. She cleared her throat, swallowed hard, and stretched out on her back, her toes and fingertips reaching the four edges of her childhood tree house. Closing her eyes, she imagined the wind was her father singing to her. She’d met him only once, right after she was born, and liked to think she could still hear his voice if she tried hard enough, his song hidden deep within the folds of her mind. And having been abandoned by her mother—again—Delphine was desperate for the familiar, no matter how faint. It wasn’t long before the singing became real, a melody tossed by the breeze that barely moved as if afraid to venture from a single pitch. The air reached down through the open roof in quiet breaths that stirred something behind the skin at the base of her throat. She gasped, for it was just that: a stirring and nothing more. Nothing like the searing pain she expected music to bring with it. The melody tiptoed along, not yet moving from the first pitch more than a few steps. It grew louder and Delphine was afraid to open her eyes, afraid she must be dreaming, afraid to be awake. Images of her father glittered from side...

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S-4: Mystery: Ladies Smythe and Westin Mysteries #1: SWEET WAY TO GO

Name: Lisa Mathews Title: Ladies Smythe and Westin Mysteries #1: SWEET WAY TO GO Genre: Mystery Word Count: 70,000 Pitch: Impulsive, down-on-her-luck partygirl Summer Smythe, 29, and cautious but determined widow Dorothy Westin,78, form an odd-couple sleuth team to solve the murder of Dorothy’s heartthrob cardiologist–and Summer’s sleazy new boss–in glitzy Southwest Florida. Excerpt: As a general rule, Dorothy Westin preferred to mind her own business. But the leggy blonde on the top-of-the-line smartphone three lounge chairs down was making that rather difficult. “Come on, Joy, give me a break. I’ve only been in Florida two weeks, and I’m living in a freaking old farts community.” Well. Dorothy carefully concentrated on applying number-fifty sunscreen to whatever parts of her weren’t covered by her black, old-farty swim dress. She might not get away with a candy-cane-striped string bikini like her rude young pool companion, but she was in decent enough shape for seventy-eight. “I told you, I’ve got a job.” Bikini Girl’s voice was louder now. “I start tomorrow, and as soon as I get a couple of paychecks I’ll send you the rent, okay?” Maybe she was visiting her grandparents, Dorothy considered. Of course, Hibiscus Pointe had strict rules regarding how long visitors, even relatives, could stay. The owners association didn’t generally approve of renters, but they’d loosened the rules a bit when the economy tanked. “Forget it, then!” Bikini Girl practically shouted. “I don’t have to listen to this, especially from my own sister. You’ll get your stupid money. Have fun freezing in New Jersey.” She tossed her phone toward the chic straw bag beside her lounge chair, but it missed and hit the concrete. Dorothy pursed her lips. Those fancy phones were expensive. It didn’t sound as if the young woman could afford another one, either. With...

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