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My Gift to You

I love Christmas. To me, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and the best part of Christmas to me is the giving. So while this is the last official blog post of the year (BookEnds is closed December 22 to January 5), I decided we should go out with a whole heck of a lot of holiday cheer.

That being said, my gift to you for 2008 is another round of pitch critiques. For newer readers, let me explain what I mean. For almost any writer the pitch is one of the most important parts of your marketing plan. It’s what you use in the one key paragraph of your query letter to explain your book to agents, it’s what your agent uses to pitch your work to editors, editors use it to pitch your work in-house, and eventually you’ll use it again to pitch your work to readers, publicists, newspaper reporters, and everyone and anyone you want to impress.

To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post. I will not consider pitches posted in other posts or those e-mailed to me and I certainly won’t take pitches from any query letters I receive. Over the course of the next two weeks I’m going to randomly select and critique (on the blog) as many as I can. Since I’m officially on vacation over the course of these two weeks the posts will truly be random. In other words, I’m going to do whatever I want. I’ll post them whenever I want and I’ll critique anywhere from three to three hundred, depending on my mood.

With a HO, HO, HO, have at it!

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, and Happy Kwanzaa to all!

Jessica

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268 comments

  1. Any insight into how I could strengthen this pitch would be much appreciated!

    Nephilim, an ancient Biblical race. Children born of the union between the Fallen Ones and the Daughters of Man.

    Pandora, half-demon, half-human; born to be bad, but desperate to be good. Possessed by the demoness Lust, she lives in a world of shadow and light and walks the gray in between. For thousands of years she did as she wanted, killed as she wanted; indulged herself in every carnal whim. But now Pandora wants to find some meaning in her life. Problem is even when she tries to be good evil finds her anyway. Vamps have overtaken the city, children are missing and an ancient god has come to life.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, she also has a Grimoran on her tail. Very little is known of the Grimoran, other than their sole purpose in life is to seek out the Nephilim and destroy them. And now one has tagged her. Named Billy, he’s all that’s dangerous, dark, and deadly and arouses every wicked instinct inside her. And yet whenever he has the chance to kill her, he doesn’t. Can she trust him? Her body and heart say yes, but something evil this way comes. Who can she trust? Or is it already too late?

    Thanks so much for this oppurtunity, Jessica!

  2. Is this pitch too short?

    A gutsy, divorced high school teacher and an emotionally adrift Iraqi war hero confront an internet predator – with some unexpected help from the family ghosts.

    85,000 Romantic Suspense with light paranormal elements.

    Thanks.

  3. For Jessica and everyone else’s sake, I’m not going to participate this time. But…

    from having read most of them last time, let me offer this one bit of totally unsolicited and possibly unwelcome advice.

    REWRITE THEM BEFORE YOU POST THEM.

    Happy Holidays, y’all, from very cold and snowy Michigan.

  4. Thanks for doing this for us Jessica! I’ve really needed input on mine, so thanks a bunch!

    Siren has a perfect family; two adoring parents, and a sister who teases her, as sisters do. Being Princess of Sylia makes her life perfect. She can do what she pleases and lives a lavish life. The life that is her perfection however, was simply ignorance gifted to her by her Father. Unbeknownst to her, Siren’s Father and Mother have both been keeping evil at bay. When this evil takes her parents lives and turns her sister against her, Siren is thrust into the role of Queen. Now quickly, she must learn how to handle ruling an entire kingdom and lead a nation into a war she didn’t even know could happen.

    Siren Chronicles explores how quickly a human being can mature when they are forced to do so by circumstance and what changes they must go through, both internally and externally to except this change into their lives.

  5. Chloe Williams has had a crappy year, with her drunk father losing his job, her brother joining the army, and her mother choosing to boink her coworker instead of show up for dinner. When she discovers she has the power to manipulate the future through her drawings, she thinks she’s got the answer to her problems. But her drawings have unexpected consequences. After she unintentionally ruins the life of a girl she’s always hated, she realizes there are boundaries she mustn’t cross. Some of her mistakes are fixable; most aren’t. Chloe ultimately has to decide whether she can use her pencil responsibly or if she’ll have to put away her sketchpad for good.

    DRAWN TO YOU is a YA novel with elements of magical realism, completed at 60,000 words.

    Thank you so much! Happy holidays!

  6. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Halcyon Days

    Lucy Waterman is a little angel. That’s exactly what scares her parents most: How can a child go through life without revealing her divinity? They must decide whether to let the world see a real Messenger of God or, with a little surgery, let her have a life like any other child. The trouble is, Lucy knows she’s different to the other kids at school and it’s almost her fourteenth birthday. Her coming of age.

  7. Vivian’s daughter is in the second grade and hell-bent on dieting; Simon is faced with a too-small restaurant booth on a third date; and Sasha decides to join a gym without the goal of losing a single pound—try explaining that to the membership coordinator. Made You Look: Small Stories, Big Bodies is a study in how everyday moments take on extra significance when the person experiencing them is significantly overweight.

    70,000 word collection of vignettes. Chicken Soup for the Soul meets Jennifer Weiner.

    Thanks Jessica! Happy holidays, all!

  8. Wil Rainolds is a painter, a father, and a husband. His marriage is crumbling, his son is in rebellion, his daughter is about to run off with a military boy, and even his paintings haven’t been cooperating lately. He could also very well be humankind’s last and only weapon against the monstrous invaders known as the creatures. What is it about Wil’s painting that makes the creatures hate and fear him? Can he save the world and still manage to keep his struggling family together?

  9. Fighting for his life from terrorists in the South American jungle, a double-crossed CIA officer heads to the mountains of West Virginia, prey to an even larger battle: the one for his heart.

    Thank you for this opportunity. Merry Christmas to you, too!

  10. Doing Honeys – My Autobiography – Julian Meteor

    Julian Meteor is somebody EVERYONE wants to BE!!! lol
    He sleeps with a DIFFERENT woman every night and is in THE best band – The Argyle Style – in South-West England.
    Read and prepare to be VERY jealous!!!!!!! lmao

    Let me know; either way

    Julian

  11. Doing Honeys – My Autobiography – Julian Meteor

    Julian Meteor is somebody EVERYONE wants to BE!!! lol
    He sleeps with a DIFFERENT woman every night and is in THE best band – The Argyle Style – in South-West England.
    Read and prepare to be VERY jealous!!!!!!! lmao

    Let me know; either way

    Julian

  12. A World War 1 romance.

    British Red Cross nurse Maria Hunt risks more than her life when she chooses to aid a wounded British officer caught behind enemy lines in Belgium three months into the Great War. Lieutenant John Bennett, a rifleman with the British Expeditionary Force, needs more than her medical assistance to escape; he needs her compassion, kindness and determination. But as they flee towards the safety of the Netherlands Maria discovers what he needs most to survive is her love.

  13. Thanks for doing this Jessica. This pitch has been rewritten so many times. It will be great to get some feedback on it.

    Darius and Dyla Telkur, the twin children of the powerful Duke of Telkur, lead the privileged life of royals on Otharia. Dyla has the power of empathy that surrounds her in an air of danger like a ring of razor blades. Darius, her dark brooding twin, has the power of telepathy in his piercing stare and penetrating touch. Though Darius is the heir to the Telkur throne by mere seconds, the twins share an inseparable bond. When their parents are murdered on their 16th birthday, their idyllic life is shattered. Reeling from shock, the twins are confronted with a pretender to the ducal crown, a rogue cousin bent on stealing the Telkur throne, but the worst is yet to come. Someone else wants them dead and they find themselves at the mercy of an evil mastermind bent on the annihilation of the entire Telkur dynasty.

    Caught in a maelstrom of murder and deceit, Darius and Dyla are forced to run for their lives. With no safe haven on Otharia, they flee to the only place where they won’t be found, the quarantined planet of Earth. Stranded in modern day London, their only hope of returning home is to retrieve an artifact lost during an ancient Otharian exploration of Earth. Hidden within the legends of Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are clues to the artifact they seek. Along the way, they stumble upon a terrible secret, a secret that will shake the very foundations of Otharia. Everything is connected and when the twins finally understand the connection between past and present, they must find a way to return home before they don’t have a home or kingdom to return to.

  14. What an awesome Christmas gift. Thanks Jessica!

    EXPIRATION DATE – 94k
    Romantic Suspense

    EXPIRATION DATE is a Nicolas Sparks meets Carla Neggers read. It has the small town moral compass of a Sparks’ community, with the race against time and risk of a deadly misstep of a Neggers’ story.

    Riley Randalls hires Private Investigator Perry Von to prove her soon-to-be-ex is up to no good, only to find she’s in more danger with his help when a paroled serial-killer targets Riley to even the score of his personal vendetta against Von who put him away.

    Thanks a million!
    Mistletoe and Merry Memories to you and your family.
    Nancy Naigle

  15. With an enchantment spell disfiguring him and a jolly roger ship making him despised from a distance, Will Landon struggles to carry out an impossible task: replace the magical royal cheese he ate. While reputedly the source of the king’s power, Will’s real mistake had been not in the thievery, but that eating it had started to unlock his true heritage as the heir to the throne. Under the guise of restitution, he is sent on a quest. With help from his enchanted dog Barky, the queen’s stowaway dinosaur, a stolen pirate ship’s crew, and a rescued witch, he just might make it back before time runs out.

    Middle Grade fiction
    Thanks!

  16. This is so very generous–thank you SO MUCH for doing this for us, and Merry Christmas to you, too!

    My pitch:

    Belle Ravenna thought that starting eighth grade would mean change: class bully Ashleigh would move on to another victim, gorgeous Matt would at least notice her, and she’d finally make some real friends. What Belle didn’t expect was that her new English teacher is a witch.

    Magical Ms. Wendt may be able to have Sophocles as a guest speaker, but she can’t escape the prison of her own classroom. Trapped behind an enchanted blue door that alters her students’ memories of magic, Ms. Wendt has little hope of rescue—although Belle and her classmates want to help their teacher, they only recall her imprisonment within the classroom. When the new science teacher introduces the kids to alchemy, Belle thinks that may be the key to saving Ms. Wendt. The more Belle learns about alchemy, though, the more she suspect that her science teacher wants to use it to steal Ms. Wendt’s magic…and if she helps, she’ll get some of that magic for her own. Caught between one teacher who wants freedom and another who wants magic, Belle must choose between fighting for what she thinks is right and taking what she knows she wants.

    Based loosely on the Greek myth of Bellerophon, The Amnesia Door is a 70k word MG novel intended for tween girls.

    THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!

  17. Thank you so much for this gift! Here is my pitch:

    The average sixteen year old girl does not hurl herself from moving vehicles, climb cliffs, and subdue assailants on the same day. Of course, Kate Wilhelm is not your average sixteen year old. Raised by The Echelon Academy for Gifted Students, Kate gained the skills needed to survive as a super spy. Being born with the ability to change her entire appearance with a single thought gives Kate that extra edge. When attending a school that routinely reviews and deletes the memories of its students, any advantage is welcome.

    Kate’s life shatters when she learns her school is a front for a terrorist organization and her mind-reading friend moonlights as a double agent. To make life worse, Kate’s highly-honed spy skills are no match for her attraction to the golden-eyed Harrison. How is a girl expected to avoid assassination attempts around such a glorious distraction? Forced to run for her life, Kate knows the only way she can protect herself and the people she loves is by bringing down the Echelon.

  18. Because both her parents died when she was sixteen, nineteen-year-old Maggie Jordan of Loveland, Colorado, yearns for lost family. When she and an idealistic young writer named Jackdaw fall in love, she is certain that she’s found what she’s looking for. They have sex and she gets pregnant, but then he blames her for not living up to his ideal. He does the right thing, though, and they get married. But after Maggie gives birth on Christmas day to a darling boy, Jes, she struggles to cope with Jes’s severe birth defect and her husband’s distance, while Jackdaw must reconcile memories of his father’s abuse and his mother’s abandonment with his own actions.

    With deceptive simplicity, LOVELAND interweaves Maggie and Jackdaw’s story with those of Maggie’s timid brother Tibs yearning to be a writer and wrestling with the success of Jackdaw’s first novel and Maggie’s straight and outspoken sister CJ unexpectedly falling in love with Jes’s female nurse.

    LOVELAND is literary women’s fiction (65,000 words) comparable to Kent Haruf’s Plainsong and Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper.

    Thank you so much. You are truly generous!

    Tamara

  19. Emergence of the Fey, Fantasy

    Marian thought the forest’s secret was hers alone. A sorrowful entity that only she could hear and relate to. When her forest is targeted for lumber, she tries in vain to find a way to save it. The mythical and hidden Fey take matters into their own hands in order to save their Goddess trapped within the trees. They burn Marian’s village to deal with the threat. Furious at the loss of her home, Marian unleashes a magic she didn’t know she had. Fey seek the hope of their race, a woman of mixed blood who can initiate the return of their goddess before their magic dies. The Enchanters fear the Fey goddess and kill every female born with magic in order to prevent her return. Marian must come to terms with her family’s killers and evade the Enchanters, or she’ll lose not only her magic, but her life.

  20. Merry Christmas to you too Jessica and thanks for the opportunity!

    When Katherine Rice’s son is murdered, she doesn’t trust the system to punish the killer because twenty-five before, the same man got away with slaughtering her brother. She hunts for the killer but gets more than she bargains for when she discovers that he’s part of an online network of pedophiles called The Convent. Now Katherine’s dream of fading into oblivion is put on hold as she sets out to rid the world of these child predators.

    (Crime Fiction)

  21. Lottie Griffin just landed the biggest front page story of the year, which should have been enough excitement for her first week at a new college. After all, she nearly tripped over the body of a dead student on her first reporting assignment and probably just launched a brilliant journalistic career. But then the dead boy’s best friend (and one of the hottest guys on campus) asks her out, she’s invited into a clique of Southern sorority belles, and discovers the most infuriating person she’s ever met is also her sexy, enigmatic editor, Jack.

    The police ruled the student’s death an accident, but Lottie can’t leave it alone. As she digs deeper into the dead boy’s past and befriends those who knew him best, one name keeps popping up: The Sigma Society, a shadowy group that could be responsible for the student’s death—and for the recent break-in at the newspaper office. Soon Lottie is sneaking into frat houses, breaking into secret passageways, coaxing information from her Greek friends and trying to avoid detection by the Sigmas, who are bent on covering up a terrible 50-year-old crime at any cost. Lottie has big decisions to make: should she risk alienating her new friends and putting her own life in danger for the sake of uncovering the truth?

    STOP THE PRESSES is a 91,000-word YA suspense novel.

    Jessica–Thank you for being so generous with your time–Merry Christmas!

  22. Wait.
    Call me confused, because I’m reading long, two to three paragraphs and not getting pitches, but descriptions of books.
    I thought a pitch was a one paragraph, cut to the heart of your book selling point?

  23. When people ask me what my best Christmas present was this year, I will tell them an opportunity for a pitch critique. Thank you!

    His entire life, Alfred Leland Donahugh has been told that his mother and father drowned in the ocean when he was an infant. He had accepted their fates and moved on, until the day he discovered his mother was actually alive and being kept in an asylum just on the other side of town. When he goes to her, he is unsure what to expect, but what he finds is even more upsetting than anything he could have ever imagined. Elli Donahugh is stuck in her own mind, remembering only one part of her life: when she was young and loved a fisherman named Leland. Everyday she sits by her window in the asylum clutching a blanket she thinks is her infant son. Everyday she tells her story over and over again with a deep conviction that her husband, who did in fact perish during a storm, will return and forgive her for the devastating choices she made which destroyed the life they had built together. After Alfred Leland learns of his mother’s whole truth, he must reckon the lies of his past with the reality of who he is. The Falling of Clouds (completed at 79,255 words) is a literary love story interwoven with the myth of the selkie that exposes the tangled and torn relationships of a wife and her husband, an adulteress and her lover, a mother and her son. I believe my novel would appeal to readers who enjoy the writings of Alice Hoffman, Anita Shreve and Sue Miller.

  24. Jessica,

    Thank you for this gift and your time!

    Claire’s reputation as a woman who competently balances her hectic family life with the demands of her small business tanks when she goes missing for a weekend and awakens on a church pew. But then again, at 32 she meant to be her small town’s District Attorney, not a chronically ill stay-at-home mother of three and freelance chocolatier. When sleek, successful, former friend Malia appears on Claire’s doorstep, she unravels the remainder of Claire’s composure. But even Malia’s dream life veers off course when she learns she’s pregnant, her new boss is her former-lover-turned-priest, and her boyfriend isn’t ready for a baby. Malia and Claire force each other to grapple with their evolving identities, careers, and families as they renew their friendship during a year of chaotic transitions.

    Women’s fiction, 85,000 words.

  25. Stuart Jannetty is a desperate sports agent who takes a shortcut to revive his career. Rory Hudson is the clone of a Hall of Fame quarterback who doesn’t know his life was manufactured to serve the greed of others. Milton, a strange man with a penchant for mustard covered fried foods, uses a deck of trading cards to unite them under peculiar circumstances. Together, the duo rises to the pinnacle of their respective professions. Stuart later learns that his former employer is secretly pulling the strings and he realizes he’s become the enabler of a massive human cloning operation that spans sports, entertainment, politics, media and more. Hudson pieces together the truth while witnessing the manipulation of social conscience. Both men must make decisions that will impact their lives forever and the right path is no easy choice. Their final actions will surprise. “Recycled Heroes” will force readers to think about the way society raises up heroes and ultimately tears them apart. In fact, many will question what constitutes the fundamental concept of heroism. With the constant headlines of corruption in modern sports and our cultural obsession with celebrity, the timing is perfect and marketable to a broad range of audiences.

  26. Is it okay if I post two (for the same book?) One is longer and is the set-up for the book, from the perspective the reader gets. (It looks really long on here, although it fits quite easily on a one-page query letter.) The other is VERY short, but it highlights what’s more unique… and it also gives away part of what the reader is figuring out as the book goes on. My biggest question is which approach is best. (Or, perhaps a combination of both?) So that’s what I’d like feedback/critquing on, specifically.

    Oh… this is a completed 95,000 word time-travel. (Although most of it takes place in the present.) I’ll post the short one first.

    ——————————
    Jason McCaskyll was born in Scotland’s past, lives in the American present, and has responsibilities in both. Kyra MacDonnell is the woman who falls in love with him. She only wants to be a part of his life and his family… but she has no idea how unusual both are.

    ——————————
    Kyra MacDonnell can play her violin well enough to please even her professor’s exacting standards. But that’s not what she loves to do. When she’s alone, this daughter of a billionaire takes the music and improvises, weaving into it her hopes and dreams for the two things she does not have – a loving home life, and the courage to stand up to her manipulative and domineering mother.

    Her best friend, however, has both, and a brother. When Audrey McCaskyll sidesteps the schemes of Kyra’s mother and convinces Kyra to come home with her for a week, Kyra both dreads her mother’s vengeance and looks forward to the opportunity to be part of Audrey’s family for a little while. It’s also a chance to get to know Audrey’s brother, Jason, before she joins the McCaskyll family in Scotland for Audrey’s summer wedding at Duncarragh, their ancestral family castle.

    But the events of that week hint at possibilities Kyra never dreamed of. It all begins on a misty dawn when she discovers Jason’s awe-inspiring skill with the Scottish broadsword. As she watches, the fog shifts, and she sees a vision of him fighting to defend her in a time long gone. The vision fades, but a bond is forged between them that neither can deny – or understand.

    Jason McCaskyll doesn’t want Kyra to visit. He’s less-than-thrilled when he, too, sees a vision of her. The unwelcome feelings that accompany it do little to improve his mood. But the Kyra who comes isn’t the Kyra he thought he knew, and the exquisite music she plays touches something inside of him that he can’t quite identify.

    Fascination turns to love as the days and weeks pass, bringing complications. He has a family in Scotland as well as in the US, and both are depending on him to keep their secret safe and their future secure. He both yearns and fears to tell Kyra what he’s hiding; longing to tear down the wall that it’s building between them, but unsure how he can ever explain the unexplainable.

    For his secret is hidden deep in the Scottish Highlands, and his future is tied to the past…

  27. “Wildflowers and Winged Boys” is a 86,000 word YA manuscript:

    Fern’s work to restore native plants to save her Gran’s meadow takes on new meaning when a winged boy reveals the land is part of a hidden enclave of Sapaksan wizards, and Fern’s Mom is their runaway Witch of the Meadows. Fern’s story about her unusual inheritance and the care of the natural world, is bound together with magic and the excitement of first love.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  28. Not sure whether this is too much or not enough, so a quick critique would really help at this stage! Happy holidays!

    When her three-year-old daughter Daisy vanished, young wife and mother Rose Darien lost her family, her marriage, and her mind. Fifteen years later she is living a wild, dissolute life alone. When a young woman shows up claiming to be the long-lost Daisy, Rose has to learn how to trust again. She fights her suspicion and fear, reaching out to the young woman, and accepts her… until a second Daisy appears.

  29. (Apologies for the earlier deletion, but Blogger somehow changed some of my spelling…)

    Everything is spiralling out of control for Violet. Already struggling against the assumption that she’s going to become Alpha after her mother, Violet’s disjointed Pack is thrown into further disarray with the arrival of hunters intent on finishing the slaughter started years before. Her brother Nick has shapeshifted, even though male werewolves are bitten, not born. When the hunters reveal the werewolves to the town, exposing the lies the Pack has built their lives on, Violet realises just how far she’ll go to protect those she loves–especially when Nick reveals her own secret: she’s fallen for her best friend Sabine.

    THOSE WHO FAVOUR FIRE, YA fantasy, 65,000 words

    Thank you for this chance! Merry Christmas. 🙂

  30. This is so nice of you to do! Thanks, and have a very merry Christmas 😀 Below is the pitch for ALWAYS READ THE FAE PRINT, or, among friends, “the crack novel”.

    As the normal daughter of a warlock merchant and a shape-shifter, Lillian became resentful of all things magic after a childhood accident with a hellhound that left her heavily scarred. Now working as a help cook in a pancake restaurant in Amsterdam, she’s determined to enjoy a blissfully magic-free existence, but getting away from the magic inherent in her life proves to be easier said than done. When she finds out her dad is in danger as the result of a bad debt with some tricky fae, even the Atlantic ocean isn’t enough to separate her from her much-hated roots.

    Her safe Dutch haven gets put on the line as Lillian’s conscience drags her kicking and screaming back into the life she’s tried to escape from. Teaming up with her estranged mother who’s crashing on her couch, she struggles to release her dad of his contract while balancing an overly curious Goth coworker, mentally unstable Germanic gods, her would-be boyfriend’s annoying attachment to his dog, her boss’s eagerness to fire her and the threat of the fae, who turn out to have much more up their sleeves than simply collecting human souls…

    She *knew* there was a reason she hated this world.

  31. ATTENTION Writers:

    The pitch should be one paragraph. A paragraph is 3-5 sentences usually. Your pitch is not your entire query letter.

  32. Some Kind of Normal (literary fiction)

    All that stands between her daughter’s life and death is a tenth grade education, a zealous group of Baptist ladies, and 1.8 million Google hits.

    Babs’ days, once full of grit-making and house-cleaning, just got a lot harder. Her husband’s growing away from her, her son is suddenly sporting a rainbow colored Mohawk, and her twelve-year-old daughter is on the brink of death. After Ashley faints and seizes in front of her, Babs embarks on a seemingly impossible journey: establishing some kind of normal life around her daughter’s volatile diabetes while not losing her husband, son, and overbearing but well-meaning friends in the process.

    But when Ashley develops a rare allergy to insulin – the only medicine that can keep her alive – Babs has to overcome her high-school-drop-out education to find a cure the doctors say isn’t there. In a frantic rush against the clock and Ashley’s quickly dwindling days, Babs turns to the Internet. The answer she discovers is the one no one wants to hear: a risky stem cell operation that pits her against her husband, her faith, and the conservative church that’s been their biggest support.

  33. Maybe if Beatrice Greyson knew someone faked her death as a child, she wouldn’t wish so desperately to remember the first decade of her life.

    As a young girl, she collapsed in an unfamiliar house in rural Illinois. No one knew where she came from or how she ended up on war widow Thea Greyson’s front porch that stormy night. Thirty years later, Beatrice is devastated by the death of the woman who took her in. But her grief turns to a sense of betrayal when she finds the letter from her birth mother that Thea claimed was lost. Leaving everything behind to search for her birth parents, Beatrice follows the railroad tracks across the Midwest. She never imagined the fate suffered by her parents, but there are darker family secrets. Uncovering them will force her to confront a violent murderer. And maybe miss out on the love of her life.

  34. The angels hand Gillen, guardian of the city of Trebridge, a recipe for disaster: Three gargoyle warriors. Four fractious human teens. Tie them together, and throw them into the battle to save the city of Trebridge from demons.

    PSL: Thanks for doing the critiques. I’m sure they’ll be as useful as the other information you share.

  35. BREAKING ALL THE RULES – Women’s Fiction

    The last thing Jill Sullivan intends to do is fall for her sexy new co-worker, Andrew Chisholm. She’s already committed to Jamie O’Rourke, the son of her father’s best friend. He’s safe, in need of her support after the sudden death of his parents and is the only boyfriend her family has ever approved of. But one night Andrew kisses Jill on a crowded dance floor, which throws her emotions into complete turmoil. Finding she can no longer deny her feelings for Andrew, Jill becomes increasingly torn and soon realizes she’s in love with both men. When she’s eventually forced to decide which one, if either, truly owns her heart, Jill discovers that sometimes you have to give up the things you want, in order to gain the one thing you really need.

    Thank you for doing this, Jessica. Happy Holidays to everyone!

  36. Jessica,

    Could we get a ruling? Do you mean the pitch including title, genre, etc., OR just a 3- to 5-sentence paragraph.

    Thanks!

  37. What a great idea, Jessica, and very generous of you.

    I’m not participating this time, but have linked to the post on my blog and will drop in to scan the pitches and read your critiques. It’s always a learning experience.

    Jill Wheeler, I love your premise for Drawn To You. Good luck with it!

  38. Here is my lovely pitch for my YA novel:

    When seventeen-year-old Katie inherits her mother’s mysterious pendant, she not only finds herself transported through time, but also finds she is able to stop time itself. Her newfound power is no secret. The usurper King Luther wants her power, but can only acquire it with her death and will go to any length to see it so. Hero, the rightful king, swears he has loved her in the past and will do anything to keep her safe. Then there is Weston, Captain of the Guards, who just wants her for himself. Torn, Katie must choose what the future will hold for her. Will she follow her heart, follow her head, or will she run out of time?

    Excellent ~ I hope you have a great holiday season and don’t have too many headaches from reading all these awesome posts! =) (love your blog, by the way)

  39. Jessica, thanks for this! Happy holidays and enjoy your break.

    Legend Hunters

    Four embark on a journey into insanity: a brother, a reporter, a park warden and the Nakoda guide she once loved. They’re hunting a legend; the thing that mauled a woman to death a year ago, the thing that left another man maimed both in body and in mind. Legend Hunters is a fast-paced thrill ride that takes the reader through the wilds of the Rocky Mountains, up steep mountain slopes, down turbulent rivers, over glaciers and sacred ground in search of the legendary Bigfoot. One of the four is intent on killing it. One covets its power. One doesn’t believe in it. And, one will protect it at all cost. Even though two rekindle a romance thought lost forever, only one will emerge unscathed.

  40. And a very Merry Christmas to you. Thank you for such a generous gift. This is my sixth (unsold) novel and I’m trying hard not to lose my belief in the possible. Your posts are so positive and inspiring. Best wishes for the new year – Leslie Doak

    In MONDAY LIES, Dresden Truell can see a lie. She is the lie-detector of choice when machines cannot be used. When an ambitious young woman with a promising career as a Las Vegas dealmaker dies in a performer-wanna-be’s bed, Denny does not see the bed’s owner as the killer. Never mind that Denny’s ex-boyfriend and homicide detective, Darwin Lane, is sure he has the right guy. It could be that Darwin wants to keep Denny close or maybe he just likes frustration. Either way he keeps her on the case. When the disappearance of a friend is linked to Denny’s ex-husband, a wild-card FBI agent becomes the link between murder and the closest thing to Las Vegas royalty, the owner of a major Strip resort. Denny is determined to sort out the two cases, even as intrigue and danger close in on her.

  41. Not trying to be snarky but I’m a bit confused.

    I was worried that I was stretching things by having a paragraph followed by a line detailing word count and market comparisons.

    Many of the entries are quite longer and seem more like what I thought a brief synopsis would be.

    Just wondering where the disconnect is and whether I’ve misunderstood.

  42. After surviving an accident that severely injures his only friend, reclusive programmer Samuel Cooke decides it’s time to stop hiding from life. He moves 500 miles north and takes a job teaching high school computer science.

    Impulsive? Yes. But Samuel’s got a handle on this teaching thing. He’s so sure of himself that when coworkers warn him away from Greta Hampstead, he seeks her out. The girls’ basketball coach is brusque, butch, and as intimidating as everyone said. She’s also pretty decent – at least when Samuel’s alone. He suspects it’s because of his crutches (he has spina bifida), but when he confronts her she scoffs and calls him an idiot.

    So he asks her out. Because seriously, what woman would date a crippled computer programmer half her size?

    Uh… Greta, apparently.

    (Mainstream romance, 109,000 words.)

  43. For Kimberly Mueller, “broken home” is a sad understatement. Her mother has had two brutal divorces and is heading for a third, and Kimberly’s father rarely wants anything to do with her. There are some benefits to having a hippy mother, though. She doesn’t mind Kimberly’s many piercings (all done at home with a needle), and there is never a curfew. And on her thirteenth birthday, Kimberly’s mother introduces her to marijuana, as an “ancient bonding ritual.” But when Kimberly proudly confesses this secret during a visit with her father, she sets in motion an unexpected catastrophe. With her mother possibly facing jail time, and her five-year-old half-sister sent away to her own father, Kimberly is left alone with a dad that never wanted her, but always wanted control of her. Kimberly knows that a simple lie would put things back the way they used to be; but she will have to decide whether going back is really what she needs, or if she would be better off moving forward.

    “The Broken Generation” is a YA novel complete at 62,000 words.

  44. Happy holidays, Jessica, Jackie, and Kim. 🙂 (And thank you for doing this.)

    Pitch:

    Weakness is intolerable, so much so that in the world of my 85,000-word futuristic romance, Perfect, people who are born with or develop physical ailments are called Problems and terminated. Thanks to her genetic engineering, Madeleine Lindbergh has a wildly successful movie career and a life expectancy of 141, but when she opens a gift, Madeleine doesn’t just have a problem, she becomes one. She convinces Rhys Andersen, head of the Adult Problem Termination Unit, to sign off on her clear slip in a way that could get him more than fired. When he learns that Madeleine conned him, Rhys, with his high government clearance, should know who set her up and why, but he doesn’t. And he should terminate her, but he can’t. Too many unanswered questions and feelings too strong to ignore unite Madeleine and Rhys in a battle against the part of the human condition that can’t be engineered out, the soul.

  45. Thank you so much!!! And happy holidays to you and yours. I’m still working on my rough draft for this wip, but I put together a quick pitch to post:

    FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD:

    For Jack Poverelli, scrounging up food is a bigger worry than his test in Freshman Algebra. Lucky for him, he’s got friends who’ll help him keep the electric on when his mom’s too drunk to remember such things. When Jack and his buddies get arrested, his father’s brother gets involved. Jack hasn’t even seen Uncle Joe since his father’s funeral, two years before. Now he has to go live with him and his uptight wife in their swanky suburban neighborhood, while Jack’s mother “gets her act together”.

    Life with the relatives means a full cupboard and disapproving glares from his aunt, his teachers, and the kids around him. They all think they know who Jack is because of where he came from. Can he learn to control his temper and succeed in a place where he’s defined by his background? And if he can, does that mean he loses his place in the neighborhood, and all of the friends who really loved him to begin with?

  46. Merci beaucoup, Jessica and all those here. Wishing you merry days and bright nights by the blazing fire. Would this pitch make you ask for the manuscript, my goal!

    In 1563 Eleone Girolle, left motherless by the step-father she hates and soon to become a mother herself, sets fire to the local church, illuminating long-hidden truths about the death of her gypsy Mother. The sleepy village of Ceres in southwest France will never be the same, and it all began with a book – a book passed from daughter to mother, thrust impulsively into the oven’s fire and the few pages, rescued in haste, that will become the singed map for a journey to the legendary City of Ladies.

    Eleone is fiercely determined to learn the art of bread making — a dangerous ambition. The society of bakers is closed to women, and violation of this prohibition is punishable by death. To pursue her passion, Eleone assumes a boy’s disguise and binds herself as apprentice to her vicious step-father, the man who, unbeknownst to the rest of Ceres, murdered her mother. But even as she struggles to tease the perfect golden crown of bread from the ovens, Eleone faces a far more difficult task. She has a vow to keep – a vow passed down from mother to daughter – to travel to St. Gilles and thank the Saint for protecting her younger sister, Térèse.

    Departing Ceres has a high price. Eleone must leave alone, without Antoine, her fellow bread apprentice and father of the child that none but herself know she is carrying. She also feels compelled to confront and unmask her step father — during her eldest sister’s wedding, and releases the rage she has suppressed for so long, burning the village church in the process. Her cathartic actions have unanticipated consequences when her beloved sister Terese is killed – mistaken for Eleone herself, whose clothing she has donned to assist her elder sister in escaping.

    Once on the road, Eleone’s journey to St. Gilles takes her far beyond her initial destination to places that she never imagined. Crossing the ancient pilgrimage valleys and mountains of Languedoc she is reunited with her real father. Then, disguising herself as a priest, she sets off on a perilous voyage for the Holy Land to search for the legendary City of Ladies and Antoine who also left Ceres – and who she learns has born grave injuries in the crush for bread at St. Gilles and perhaps been taken to Pistoia. With each step, as she gets further from the village of her youth, she comes closer to the truth – that home is not where you are born, but where you are found.

  47. The Syntax of Things is a 60,000-word literary novel.

    Adair Sullivan has done the impossible: she has escaped her past. At age 23, Adair has moved to New York, found a steady job, and is pursuing the utterly conventional life she always thought she wanted. But there is something missing. There is someone missing.  

    She comes back to her apartment one day and finds a letter waiting. The return address: Johnson City, her tiny Texas hometown. Neil O’Conor, her once-best friend, once-lover, the very reason she has been trying to escape, has died, and Adair is to come back for the funeral. Struggling with her own emotions as well as the painful circumstances that tore her from her old community, Adair returns to Johnson City, where an encounter with an old friend propels Adair towards her desperate search across time and oceans for anything she can salvage from the wreckage of her old life.

  48. Kathleen,

    I wondered the same thing. These terms can often get muddled. In my mind, a pitch is the mini-synopsis in your query letter that can be one/two paragraphs, which the comments seemed to confirm. Based on that, my own was comparatively long.

    Re-reading Jessica’s post, I now also wonder if what she meant was what I usually refer to as a hook, the much briefer description of the overarching plot. If that’s the case, I’ll happily post that one instead. It’s so easy to get confused.

  49. Thanks, Jessica! Happy Holidays.

    Catherine Shelby is the skeleton in her father’s closet. The illegitimate daughter of a powerful senator and his longtime mistress, she has a secret some want to exploit and others would kill to keep. Drew St. John is her old flame with a dangerous knack for solving other people’s problems. In CROSS MY HEART, Catherine must navigate a web of deception to protect herself from a slimy tabloid reporter, a murderous political operative, and the only man who ever made her want to tell the truth. My 63,000 word romantic suspense is a secret baby story where the baby’s all grown up and Daddy will do anything to keep her a secret.

  50. Thank you for taking the time to consider any of these, Jessica. You’re a trooper.

    ~~~~
    VARUNA KANNON AND THE CALUMINAR’S CAVE

    Growing up in the suburbs of Seattle is about as ordinary as it gets for VARUNA (UNA) KANNON. Her biggest adventures happen between the covers of books or in her mother’s stories. Strange accidents and too-real dreams in the days before her thirteenth birthday are the first signals the stories she’s enjoyed her whole life are more than just fantasy. A stalking crow, an immortal pirate queen, and a fallen Caluminar are after Una, but why? She couldn’t possibly be the promised one who’ll return balance to the natural world. Not when she can barely manage to keep her mind straight as she begins her training as a Guardian of the Elements.
    ~~~

    (YA fiction, approx. 95,000 words, first in a series of five books)

  51. Eight months ago a mistake cost Rose Connolly her career as a homicide detective. Now as a private investigator on the hunt for a killer a mistake could cost her life.
    Deadly Betrayals is a 90,000 word mystery/thriller.

  52. Trena, a doctors assistant, loves to dress up in gothic clothes and hang out with vampire wanna-be’s in fake blood bars every weekend.

    Her life is forever changed when she spurns a real vampire and ends up fighting for her life and those she loves.

  53. I’m pretty much a novice at this, as will be evident by my pitch 😛 It’s the first one I’ve attempted to write.

    Anyway, this may be too long, but I’ll post what I have for now:

    Kaiyo McAllister is the illegitmate daughter of an American mother and Japanese father, isolated from both societies because of her heritage. She is consumed with bitterness towards her nameless father and grief over her beloved mother’s death. But life takes a turn towards the unexepcted with the arrival of two strange men, “guardians” sent from her father, claiming that her life is in danger and that she must leave Tokyo with them immediately. Kaiyo must now assume a new identity and a new life in the secluded mountain village of Kakunodate, with an unfamiliar family and the mysterious Ryuji, one of her guardians with secrets of his own.

    But even here, the secrets of her father will endanger her life more than she could have imagined. Kaiyo must find the strength to overcome it and learn to finally forgive the transgressions of the past before it is too late.

    (Historical Fiction, 112,000 words)

  54. Turning Right was what Marcia was trained to do from the time she stepped out the entrance door of her grandmother’s second floor apartment. She never knew her mother worked long hours in the storefront to her left while the mob father she never knew went about his life not caring about the life he formed or those lives he took.

    Turning wrong was what she did with her life in trying to deal with her feelings of abandonment while living in a not so Brady Bunch lifestyle with a stepfather who wasn’t capable of showing love to his three boys, let alone her.

    It was until Marcia’s third marriage in her forties and after issues of diseases, surgeries, drugs, adoption of her children to another family member, did Marcia figure out how to turn right into the arms of the man who would heal the gaping wound that was her heart.

    Turning Right is a creative non-fiction memoir.

  55. Darn! Thought I got any typos removed. But noooo! I saw one after the post.

    Turning Right was what Marcia was trained to do from the time she stepped out the entrance door of her grandmother’s second floor apartment. She never knew her mother worked long hours in the storefront to her left while the mob father she never knew went about his life not caring about the life he formed or those lives he took.

    Turning wrong was what she did with her life in trying to deal with her feelings of abandonment while living in a not so Brady Bunch lifestyle with a stepfather who wasn’t capable of showing love to his three boys, let alone her.

    It wasn’t until Marcia’s third marriage in her forties and after issues of diseases, surgeries, drugs, adoption of her children to another family member, did Marcia figure out how to turn right into the arms of the man who would heal the gaping wound that was her heart.

    Turning Right is a creative non-fiction memoir.

  56. I subscribed to your feed about a month ago – always enjoy seeing something new from you!

    Lania’s scouting for a yacht, not a lover. She decides to bend on the issue when she meets Ole, whose his footloose dating style dovetails with her ferocious self-sufficiency. For the short term, right? Casual dating isn’t Lania’s forte, though, and Ole forgets his training in smooth escapes after going with Lania on a boat-hunting expedition. It takes the perfect two-person boat–and some helpful friends–to open their eyes to love and get them afloat, sailing the world together.

  57. As You Wish: A jaded rock star, who on his path to redemption, travels to Vermont for the Christmas holiday to spend it with his estranged family in a lake house, but never counts on falling in love with a local florist.

    100,000 word Single Title romance.

  58. Jessica, you’re a saint to offer this, even during the holidays. I hope the comment section doesn’t get as bogged down as Nathan’s when he did the first paragraph contest.

    I’m reluctant to post my plot part of my query, simply because it’s 3 short para’s versus one, and if I made it one, it’d be rather long. So with that said, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and enjoy your time off as much as possible.

  59. Technically mine is one paragraph–it’s only 6 sentences. 😛

    Still it’s probably too long…I tried to make it only 2 or 3 but it just sounded awful. I’ll have to work on that 😛

  60. To save those she loves, a mutant rebel in pink combat boots must decide between the treacherous body dwelling lover from her past, and a mysterious man who promises to change her future, all before her altered cells succumb to a mutant plague destined to destroy her kind.

    Urban Fantasy, 82,000 words

    Nice present, thanks.

  61. Thanks, Jessica! Merry Christmas!

    Spared from the noose by the king with a command to enforce peace, Gavin Woodrington trades in his kilt for the garb of an English border warden. When the infamous warrioress, the border Hellion herself, forces her way through his door with an offer no man in his right mind would refuse, he is tempted beyond reason, but the one thing she asks of him could jeopardize his well-laid plans to save his clan from total annihilation.

    Historical Romance at 100,000 words.

  62. Ok, so I re-did mine, since it may have been too long…but I can’t delete the first comment I made. Oh well.

    A Japanese-American young woman has harbored hatred towards her nameless father for years and refuses to have anything to do with him–until two strangers,”guardians” sent from her father, arrive on her doorstep, claiming her life is in danger. She must now assume an alias in a remote mountain village and confront the dark secrets of her heritage and the frightening reasons for her father’s absence in her life.

  63. Since I’ve been feeling a little guilty and unsure about breaking the limit, here’s a one-paragraph pitch for ALWAYS READ THE FAE PRINT. Sorry if I misunderstood earlier.

    Twenty-six year old Lillian thinks she’s finally managed to build up a normal life after growing up in a family where magic is ever-present and goblins are more common pets than cats and dogs. When she finds out her dad signed a supernatural contract with the fae to save her life after a childhood accident that left her badly scarred, she has no choice but to dive back into the much-hated world of magic she’s tried so hard to escape from. Teaming up with her estranged shapeshifter mother, Lillian reluctantly tries to make a deal with the fae to save her dad’s soul from a thousand years of torment. She risks everything she’s built up in her new life in Europe, from her job to her apartment to her budding romance with coworker Arjan – and even her life itself when she finds out the fae are up to much worse than simply enslaving souls. She knew there was a reason she hated this world.

  64. THE POWER THAT BINDS is the first in a series of paranormal novels along the lines of Marjorie M. Liu’s "Dirk & Steele" series. Instead of the standard occult myths of vampires, and werewolves, I have transformed elements of the occult and paranormal traditions into a complex society of psychics and psychic predators living among “normal” society. Internationally famous illusionist Daniel Demaris is introduced to this world when a killer begins to stalk him with a psychic demon. Only Tony Chaucer and his fiancee Penn, a gifted yet troubled psychic, can protect Daniel, yet every time they barely check the demon, it gains strength. Their only hope is their emotional bond and the strength it gives their defenses, but that is being destroyed as Penn becomes more drawn toward Daniel.

  65. Just when suburban mom Tracy Weber finds her footing as the only divorcee in a very married suburb — her ex-husband is killed in a car accident. Now she’s not just a single-parent; she’s the only parent. And if things aren’t confusing enough, her ex’s young mistress-turned-wife-turned-widow arrives on Tracy’s doorstep with a baby on her hip and suitcases in hand, offering to help.

    An Accidental Luxury is 75,000 word women’s fiction.

  66. Thanks, Jessica!

    Gavin’s got a serious problem. A “praise Jee-sus” rich bitch caught him fanging—and banging—his Halloween date. Everyone else at that party was too drunk to listen to her, thank God. Now she’s playing Holy Vampire Killer, and it’s ticking him off. But since then, Gavin’s found someone better to occupy his mind and heart. Isolde—in bed, on the couch, in the shower. She has a thing for Disney princesses, but he’s willing to overlook it: women like her only come around once or twice in five hundred years. He wants a life with his luscious princess. Sex, marriage, the whole picket fence deal. Then the Jesus-freak kidnaps Isolde to bait a deathtrap for Gavin. Abandoning Isolde is unthinkable, but rescuing her could mean death for both of them.

  67. Warm holiday wishes, Jessica and thank you for this gift!

    Emma Brown was a normal 13-year-old because her parents kept secrets from her. They never told her that she was born in another dimension; they never mentioned that her mom could create fire with her bare hands; and they certainly never brought up the fact that she is destined to save an entire species from extinction – a species she never even knew existed. Emma discovers the truth when her mom mysteriously disappears, catapulting Emma back to her birthplace, Drualtys. Here, children study to become Tamers, people who form unique bonds with legendary animals to save them from extinction. Emma immediately begins taming lessons to help her find her mom, unaware that the disappearance links Emma to the dangerous Hunters, a ruthless clan of humans hell-bent on murdering the creatures of Drualtys to steal their majickal abilities. Their biggest prize yet: a unicorn’s cloak of invisibility. What the Hunters don’t expect is finding a more tantalizing prey than the elusive unicorn: a teenager named Emma Brown, who is either the savior of the unicorns or the downfall of mankind. THE UNICORN TAMER is Emma’s fairy tale, a middle-grade fantasy that is complete at 100,000 words.

  68. Jesse Runnel’s has three major problems. Number one being she’s almost positive she has murdered at least two men. Number two, part of her memory is missing. Number three, one of her victims is haunting her. Scratch, make that five problems. Number four, number three is about to ruin her wedding. Number five, the return of Jesse’s memory brings her a fresh set of problems that still includes number three and number four.

    Jesse grew up in a town riddled with prejudice against the Colton family, who reaped havoc on the community before she was born. Despite the rumors of witchcraft and devil worship, Jesse be-friends Dorian Mohan, a troubled boy who lived in the old Colton homestead. When Dorain mysteriously disappeared, Jesse suffered major heartache and hallucinations for years after. During her senior year in high school those feelings are re-hatched when Hunter Colton moves back in to town. The mystery of Dorian’s disappearance is resolved, but now the Colton’s secrets are thoroughly exposed; which proves to be very dangerous for Jesse.
    COVERED BY DARKNESS is 100,000 word YA paranormal.

  69. It’s amazing at the mistakes you notice after you post. That should have been Jesse Runnels. LOL

    PS Jessica I think your nuts for doing this, but thanks and Merry Christmas. I’ve never new there were so many bloggers.

  70. WORD THIEF is woven with tight plot threads which knit together the lives of crazy southern writer friends. Tangled knots and snags create tension and threaten to pull the women apart as they search for authentic lives, voices and friendships. WORD THIEF features juicy private emails hijacked by the author. We’re talkin’ Ya-Yas meet the Sex in the City gang.

    (80,000 women’s fiction)

  71. Magnolia Meadows is a small town in the bayous of southern Louisiana
    and Frank Adler is its sheriff. He has spent most of his time
    shuffling papers, putting small time criminals behind bars and
    caring for his Alzheimers-ridden mother-in-law. But when a
    mysterious woman is found brutally murdered, Frank must battle the
    media, the FBI and his own growing obsession to ensure the body
    count does not continue to rise.

  72. Uh… so there are three Kathleen’s. 🙂 I’m the second one, with two versions.

    After I read the other Kathleen’s question, it occurred to me that you might not have been thinking the pitch section of a query letter (which is usually longer.) Instead, you might have been talking about the “I just ran into an agent and I’ve got 30 seconds to pitch my book” pitch. I know my longer one is too long for that… I was assuming you were going to critique query letter pitches.

    Anyway… I’m eager to see what you say about whichever of these you chose!

  73. Okay, this is it. Please tear it apart.

    The shaky truce that has held for decades between the three ruling vampire covens is about to come undone when Madison, a newly turned vampire and Jonathan, a young man with a dark past and an even Deadlier existence collide.

    Thank you and Happy Holidays!

  74. PS: If you are feeling extra jolly during this holiday season, could you tell me if my “pitch” would be a good way to start a query letter (provided I happen to be one of your random selections and it does not suck)?

    Thanks Again! You Rock!

  75. Gone Tropical follows the journey of two Americans through the rainforest at the northern-most tip of Australia. Written in the vein of Romancing the Stone, it asks the story question: “What if a psychologist–determined to find her ex-husband who embezzled millions from her estranged father’s business–pits her wits against the skill of a solitary skip-tracer hired by her father, and finds instead that joining forces in the adventure means more than revenge?”

    Gone Tropical is a completed 90,000word romantic adventure.

  76. LOL, you guys! Holy synopses, batman! Not a good first impression by not following directions. I don’t know how anyone can misunderstand what “one paragraph” means. Jessica said it twice in her post! To participate, you’ll need to submit your one-paragraph pitch in the comments section of this post.

    If you’re really serious about wanting Jessica to critique your pitch, I strongly suggest you each delete the synopsis you posted and then repost a corrected pitch paragraph per Jessica’s instructions.

  77. Wow, thank you! I hope you have a wonderful vacation!

    This is for a category inspirational romance.

    Ten years ago timid Katrina Ross left her hometown’s temperamental bad boy at the altar. Now Alec is back, a successful businessman who’s snooping around her little bookstore with a vengeful gleam in his eye. She’d like to tell him to leave, despite still being in love with him, but things have changed. She’s a Christian now and her principles demand she tell Alec the truth, no matter the consequences. Because ten years ago she had Alec’s child. And now their son is dead.

  78. Jenny Sampson’s experience as a rock goddess in the Denver music scene does nothing to prepare her for life as a domestic goddess in the suburbs of Philly. As Jenny and her family settle into a McMansion in the burbs, her country club lifestyle holds many surprises. Like a beautiful assistant DA interested in a threesome, a wealthy heiress who has eyes for Nate, and a rock club owner who falls hard for Jenny. When her longing for stardom resurfaces, will Jenny be forced to choose between the intoxicating world of rock and roll and life as a suburban doctor’s wife, or, is it possible to have it all?

    75,000 words; Women’s Humor Fiction

  79. Awe, one paragraph! Here in lies the problem; most authors have great difficulty summing 100,000 words down to 1 paragraph. Especially if you follow proper paragraph structure. The people who managed to contain themselves with one paragraph really fail to tell me anything about their books, with of course a few exceptions. It’s nice in theory, but most everyone wants you to fully understand what they are trying to sell. So please, all of you people who are upset about going over one paragraph, please remember only yesterday Jessica said there were no rules!!!

    PS it would be nice to keep it down to at least two paragraphs! You don’t want us to get bored!

  80. I suppose you can get it all into 1 paragraph if you break a lot of rules. Jessica doesn’t like rules. Of course it would look better if you just broke the one paragraph rule. Or it just seems like it doesn’t make sense. Any way you look at it, I guess you lose.

  81. To 5:35 – You said:

    Awe, one paragraph! Here in lies the problem; most authors have great difficulty summing 100,000 words down to 1 paragraph. Especially if you follow proper paragraph structure.

    And this is why you are still looking for an agent.

    Follow the instructions, keep it short and keep it interesting, or keep on looking. Because if you can’t keep it to one paragraph, rest assured that there are a dozen others that can.

  82. Karen Duvall:

    For purely selfish reasons, I hope people don’t delete. I like to see the before and after.

    Of course if the list of comments gets much bigger, I won’t have the patience to find the before and afters.

  83. Awe Anon 5:50
    Just wondering where you got the idea I was looking for an agent. What makes you think I’m not an agent looking for that perfect book. Rules Rules Rules. I want to understand what your selling, and some books that have a lot of sustance can’t be summed up that easily. Maybe you should get your own business!
    Anon 5:35

  84. Lily Gardner is a freak; dyed hair, combat boots, super powers, and all. When she loses control of her powers during a meltdown at the mall the Great Lakes School for Exceptional Young People comes calling. GLS is secretly a haven for the supernatural. What Lily finds there is very little acceptance and a whole lot of rivalry. Her life has never been normal, but now it’s complicated by super-powered cat fights; Vincent, her best friend who has complete access to her mind; and a crush on her classmate Reid, the hottest werewolf in school. In a place where everybody else is striving to stand out, Lily just wants to fit in.

  85. Betrayed by former friends, space pirate Aston West must face his past, and keep himself alive long enough to make an escape from Lars and Elijah Cassus. Elijah claims it’s fulfilling a promise to crewmate Leah Jordan, but they only want to collect hidden money from a heist gone wrong. Aston discovers Leah’s desire to leave the twins, but Lars and Elijah are masters of fear and intimidation and no one leaves their crew alive. It’s a case of kill or be killed, and Aston has to become more like the brothers than he ever wanted.

  86. Desperate to rescue her kidnapped father and set right a string of careless wrongs, Jenny Potter must reluctantly align with Royal Navy Commander Ewan Strom, who’s secret mission has turned him and his crew pirate to save their careers. How can a commander in control of a ship full of plucky lads be so hotly opposed to female sailors and dizzily passionate at the same time? Jenny calls Ewan’s cherished instructional warfare book The Art of War for Lovers, but soon she and Ewan must wonder—will the mission be their final chapter?

    100,000 word historical romance

  87. Thank you for doing this, Jessica – hope you have great holidays.

    The wizard’s apprentice had helped to win the war, returned home, and lived happily until the end of his life. Almost.
    Some wars refused to stay won, and this time, Rhailed Devenan has none of the advantages of his youth. He has no apprentice of his own; the wise old men of yore are dead. Everybody else in the kingdom of Ceri Loram – at least those that believe in the evils of Norshalne – seems to think that Rhailed ought to be able to organise a successful defense. Nobody else will.
    Rhailed only wants an opportunity to sort out the rest of his life. His son-in-law has gambled away the family fortune, a mysterious jewel defeated his wizardry, his rivals seem intent on crushing the Devenan house forever, and the King gives every sign of wanting to curb what little influence his wizards have left.
    It could almost drive a man to treason. Which is exactly what Rhailed’s friend Rhanion – the only wizard he is willing to trust – has been accused of. To learn the truth, Rhailed must cast away the habits of a lifetime and reinvent himself or else watch his kingdom fall.

    (120K Fantasy novel. The reinvention, in which Rhailed discovers how to escape the constraints of his position and how to deal with the limitations of age continue over the next three books.)

  88. umm..wow, I’m rather embarrassed to admit this, but I’m the very first post and I have to say it was quite early in the morning and I completely overlooked the fact that the pitch was supposed to be one paragraph. *blushes*

    So I’m reposting just one paragraph and asking for forgiveness because I should have paid better attention.

    Carnival Diabolique: completed 90k urban paranormal.

    Pandora, half-demon, half-human; born to be bad, but desperate to be good. Possessed by the demoness Lust, she lives in a world of shadow and light and walks the gray in between. For thousands of years she did as she wanted, killed as she wanted; indulged herself in every carnal whim. But now Pandora wants to find some meaning in her life. Problem is even when she tries to be good evil finds her anyway. Vamps have overtaken the city, children are missing and an ancient blood thirsty god has come back to life.

  89. Please also forgive my slip on COVERED BY DARKNESS. I really wanted to show the mood of the book with the first chapter, but I suppose it could have been done with just the second. Thank-you

  90. Cooper Wilson’s life is in the tank. Not only is he the shortest kid in 8th grade, he’s also the smartest. He’s dying to play for the varsity basketball team, but the ones who want him belong to the math team. Throw in the fact that him mom is beginning to sub at his school, “so they can stay close,” and you’ve just begun to peek inside Cooper’s misery.

    MG novel, 71,000 pp

  91. Sparta in 450 B.C. is unforgiving, relentless in its pursuit of strength and military might. Self-sacrifice for the greater good is the order of the day, and Melaina’s first bitter taste of it was when her adored brother was taken away at the tender age of seven to the agoge, a brutal, mandatory military training school. With her staunch, battle-scarred warrior father and her quietly accepting mother exemplifying the Spartan ideal, Melaina struggles as a young woman to live up to their examples. And she wants more – not just to be good, but to be remembered. Her goal is to win the Heraia, a prestigious footrace for women, and through her training she meets Alexandros, a young soldier who will eventually become her husband. The two provide for each other a safe haven of acceptance and understanding amidst the harsh realities of their world. But when Sparta asks one sacrifice too many, Melaina must weigh the cost of refusing, and contemplate a life away from all she has known. Through this last, momentous struggle she will learn that strength comes in many forms, and that some of the most surprising are borne of fierce love.

  92. In Jersey City, Patricia Gee, a Pentecostal teen, is beaten up by a girl for looking at her funny. Patricia prays for God’s help. Enter Miggy Perez who picks Patricia back up onto her feet. As their friendship develops, Patricia learns that God sent Miggy for bigger reasons. Miggy is a Buddhist punk. She needs to be saved. She just doesn’t know it. Patricia claims Miggy for God in hopes she will change her faith.

    Jesus Freakz and Buddha Punx, 40k YA. By MEP

  93. ALY is an ex-clairvoyant, enjoying her first year in college without her horrific and pesky premonitions. But when a student gets raped on campus, her visions unwillingly come back on their own. With the full moon marking her chance to perform the two-week long ritual to keep her ability dormant once again, Aly gets more terrifying premonitions of each of the next victims.

    Then she foresees her best friend, CALLIE, being the rapist’s subsequent victim. Aly knows from prior experience all of her premonitions come true no matter what. Question is, will getting rid of her visions prove to be fatal for Callie and ruin their friendship if she were to ever find out, or can she somehow change the fate she sees in store before it‘s too late?

    SHIVERS, is an 80,000 word YA paranormal novel.

    Thank you for even this opportunity to possibly get critiqued.

    -Amanda

  94. Thank you for this opportunity. Here is the one-paragraph pitch for my 85,000-word urban fantasy, NORMAL:

    Celeste Reed was born with powerful healing touch that provided her unparalleled insight into the human body even as it prevented any casual physical contact. Then one morning, Celeste woke up and her power was gone. She had become normal. Now unemployed and neurotypical, she must cope with ostracism from her super-powered peers, deaths she cannot prevent, and discover the true power of unencumbered human touch. Through it all, the benefits of being normal emerge, and Celeste discovers something amazing: her own humanity.

  95. Very cool! Thanks for the opportunity!

    Jolted from sleep every night at 4:04 AM, Rachael DeSalvo is haunted by a nightmare of a charred little boy begging her to take him somewhere. But where? Merrick Rocha, the man she just met, has the answer. He is so familiar to her, like she has known him for lifetimes. She’s about to find out she has.

    Danger and deception unfold as Rachael is kidnapped and her ability to open new worlds for departed and deranged spirits is revealed to her. Threatened by a revenge obsessed, violent demon and a gang of money hungry opportunists, she is torn between who she can trust and who she must sacrifice in order to protect them. And how can she trust her best friend or the man she loves when they’re both shrouded in mystery and secrets? In the end she has no choice but to trust them as she faces a struggle for her life from the little boy in her nightmare. He is now a murderous demon demanding things she can’t fulfill and refusing to move through the gate into his next life.

    Taken By Seven relays the story of Rachael’s reluctant acceptance that she is one of seven very different people who are bound together by their unique gift. As Conviare they speak the language of angels to open gates for the departed to pass through into their next lives. Rachael is faced with a choice between her fate as a loyal Conviare, or her free will to execute revenge upon the living for the deceased spirits who come to her.

  96. Pitch Submission from jbs:

    Having recently settled within the cosmopolitan milieu of London’s Southern Boroughs, Marcella Scott’s temporary move from her native Jamaica presented an opportunity for work and study in one of the most dynamic cities in the world. But for the beautiful and accomplished Marcella, her UK adventure would ultimately subject her to much more than she ever bargained for:

    Like the advances of an alleged Brixton gangster with mysterious ties to her past…

    Or the arrival of an intriguing American businessman who potentially holds a key to her future…

    And the reckless manipulations of someone close; someone willing to compromise her safety and the lives of those around her – a price they’ll gladly pay in order to keep their damaging secrets buried.

    As opposing forces converge around her, Marcella is thrust into an emotional vortex where past crimes traverse the boundaries of time to impact her present condition, and where deception and outright lies form the ingredients to an escalating conflict that will resonate from London to New York, before culminating in a life and death confrontation on the streets of Jamaica’s Capital city of Kingston.

    Many thanks for your time and attention!

  97. Don Amberly is Bloodborn, destined to become a vampire. Running isn’t a choice and the local werewolf pack refuses to grant protection, so he does the only thing left to avoid his fate, he hunts those who would have him undead.

  98. Very kind of you to do this. I look forward to learning through yor critiques of the pitches!

    ~~~

    Ten-year-old Mason Ferguson is all about logic—if the neighborhood Psycho Boy wants to feed you snowballs, you run. If you get the chance to ditch the broom at your mom’s coffee shop, you take it…especially when it means checking out a new bookstore. Once Mason is inside Myron’s Bookshelf though, nothing adds up. The owner, Myron, acts like an escaped mental patient and dresses up like his book hero, the wizard Norym. The store is plastered with St. Patrick’s Day decorations…in December. Strangest of all, the new bookstore seems to be missing the most important thing: books.

    When Mason is shown to the Adventure Room for a story about pirates, he’s ready to get his hands on a book. Instead, he’s marooned on a deserted island with Captain Silverfang and his crew…who discover him holding coordinates to their stolen treasure hoard! Can a gift for logic and code deciphering help Mason bargain for freedom, evade deadly traps, make friends out of enemies and unravel his biggest mystery—how to return to Myron’s Bookshelf?

  99. Seamus McCree, a financial crimes investigator, finds a nude corpse posed in the rocking chair on his Cincinnati, Ohio front porch. Recognizing the IRA-style executed body as a bizarre message threatening his family, Seamus searches independently of the police for its meaning. He focuses on an open insurance fraud case with links to the victim, until he pries out a family secret: the IRA mistakenly executed his father thirty-two years ago. Seamus determines his adversary is the son of his father’s killer and realizes that paradoxically, the only way to protect his mentally-frayed mother, his lover and his son is to risk his property, his family and his life.

    89,000 word mystery
    Thanks for your time on whichever pitches you choose.

  100. Okay. JT left a comment at 802pm and I think it was all kinds of awesome. I realize that I am an unpublished-would-be-writer and my opinion does not hold much, if any weight but I just wanted to share my thoughts. I am biased, I love vampires. But more importantly I feel like there are not enough strong male characters in the genre, and if they exist they are typically secondary characters that get stuck playing the doomed love interest. JT’s pitch was so far from the norm and compelling. I’m sure a literary agent could tear that to shreds, but I really liked it.

  101. A series of strange crimes inspired by inkblot interpretations occur but who’s the culprit? Seventeen year-old, Tiffany Wright unravels the mystery. Is it her brother, computer based business owner, Matthew Wright or a newspaper reporter, Darlene Phillips? Due to evidence, Matthew is arrested and police search his apartment for more clues then a policewoman and Tiffany find links to Darlene.Matthew is released from jail and Darlene is arrested. Matthew is heartbroken and Darlene feels regret until she realizes that a book with an inside look at jail life could be a best seller. Submitted by Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank’s diary being sold at the New York Anne Frank Center website.

  102. A query for the YA novel- INKBLOT
    A series of strange crimes inspired by inkblot interpretations occur but who’s the culprit? Seventeen year-old, Tiffany Wright unravels the mystery. Is it her brother, computer based business owner, Matthew Wright or a newspaper reporter, Darlene Phillips? Due to evidence, Matthew is arrested and police search his apartment for more clues then a policewoman and Tiffany find links to Darlene.Matthew is released from jail and Darlene is arrested. Matthew is heartbroken and Darlene feels regret until she realizes that a book with an inside look at jail life could be a best seller. Submitted by Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne- a poetic interpretation of Anne Frank’s diary being sold at the New York Anne Frank Center website.

  103. Contrary to what a friend of mine recently commented–much to my chagrin–not everyone in Latin America lives in a mud hut, runs around hungry and semi-dressed with the sole purpose of scheming a ride into the United States. A USA-free life in Central America is very possible. Millions of people live it every day.
    Take Cecilia, for example. She’s about to marry the most sought-after bachelor in a city on the pacific coast of Guatemala. On her wedding day, she receives a two-carat diamond ring, along with a few promises. It will never be lost or stolen and, most importantly, it is capable of returning to her that which she treasures the most: her husband’s heart.
    If only Cecilia didn’t fear her fabulous diamond. If only she didn’t depend on it.

  104. Nicole Devaney has a relaxation problem – as in she can’t. Not when she’s the only Keener Hotel Group employee who knows someone is using the Keener/Devaney family-run business for kickbacks and blackmail. Not when logic says that the person is her beloved stepfather, George Keener. Not when a quick hunt through his office ups the likelihood of his guilt and gets her caught by a curious, but helpful, knight dressed for battle (Italian wool suit – jacket missing and shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows). Jed Pruitt hasn’t arrived to solve Nicole’s problems, but to ‘clean up’ the financially floundering hotel company. He doesn’t realize his business partner landed the consulting job by offering a kickback to George Keener.

    Fall a Little Farther is a 100,000 word romantic comedy about an intense, perfectionistic, and slightly klutzy accountant who must save her step-father, the hotel company, and the consultants from first – the Yakuza (mafia of Japan) and second – each other (which proves to be the more difficult). Relaxation is out of the question.

  105. I agree with Anon 5:35 PM. It is difficult to summarize a novel down to a single, short paragraph.

    Even though I am not participating, per se, I am enjoying the entries and I look forward to learning from the critiques. I’ve already learned something about my story from just trying the exercise of crafting a short pitch.

    Good luck everyone, and thanks Jessica for doing this.

    Jodi

  106. Nicholas is a hard-ass angel with one weakness, Noelle Spencer, who has been his charge since her birth. He’ll fight to the death to keep her safe from the demon world. He has more at stake than fighting demons when he learns the woman he loves has the blood of the Deities running through her veins. Divine blood the rogue demons want to infuse into their next generation of demons. Now Nicholas must face the ultimate test, as legions of demons want to claim her as their queen. If he fails, not only will he lose Noelle, but the balance between angels and demons—good vs. evil—will be turned upside down, ending in disaster.

    Thanks! Happy Holidays!

  107. I have deleted my previous entry. When seeing it on the screen, I saw how much I wanted to over-explain the plot in the one paragraph. And that is not what a pitch paragraph is for, is it? I’ll leave it for the book to tell the story.

    Here is the revised entry after I critiqued myself. I cut it down from 9 sentences to 6. The wonders your blog accomplishes are outstanding!

    ******************
    Twenty-one-year-old Jena Polsen feels she has stepped into a fairytale world as she journeys to Clare’s house. Jena hopes the opportunity to take care of her sick grandmother will prove to everyone, especially to herself, that there is more to her than being a worthless pill-popping felon. Unfortunately, several people have gone missing in the neighborhood, including a young man related to her new parole officer. At the discovery of a bone in the yard, she starts to realize that not everything is as it seems with her grandmother. A dark personality has manifested inside Clare as an inner guilt over a past incident has unleashed itself in dangerous ways. Now Jena has to prove her innocence without breaking her parole while discovering what secrets hide among her grandmother’s mulched flowerbeds.

    Thanks again for this opportunity and Happy Holidays!

  108. Yippee! What a great gift. Happy holidays to you and thanks for a great blog.

    Pitch:

    When a company spokeswoman is forced to spin financial news she knows will lose investors millions of dollars, she must choose between her ambitions, her love interest, and her reputation. Candace Davis can make anything sound good. As the spokesperson for Hartford and Stiles, she is in charge of the firm’s high-class image. Still single at the age of thirty-six, and the daughter of Arizona’s busiest socialites, she’s feeling pressure to find a husband. When H&S hires hotshot New York trader Erik Hansen to manage their new hedge fund Candace believes she’s found the answer to her relationship troubles. Soon Erik and Candace are an item and Candace is so confident in his abilities she has her society friends invest in the fund he manages. But when Candace uncovers Erik’s been hiding trading losses and the fund is a fraud she must decide if she’ll continue to spin the news to investors or give up her fairy tale relationship.

    SPIN is a contemporary novel (women’s fiction) complete at 82,000 words.

  109. Dear (agent),

    My name is Gabriel Beyers and I am seeking representation for my 95,000 word paranormal thriller GUARDING THE HEALER.

    When Silas Walker begins healing the sick with just a touch and a whisper, he catches the eye of a rare and ancient evil. As his guardian, Nassarius, desperately tries to protect him from the onslaught of Shadow Angels attempting to exterminate him, Silas is torn between his desire for a normal life and the deep pull he feels leading him on irrational paths. Labeled a fraud by some, a heretic by others, Silas’s situation worsens when he becomes the obsession of a man possessed by a powerful demon. After every healing, Silas is taunted with gruesome photographs of the Demon Stalker’s victims, and with the ominous threat: “I have no interest in martyrs.” As he searches for the true purpose of his divine gift, Silas struggles to shield his loved ones from the evil that haunts him. When the Demon Stalker’s noose tightens and the cataclysmic showdown between Light and Shadow converge, Silas will learn that some gifts can cost you everything.

  110. High-priced call girl Tawny Dell boasts a client list that’s part Fortune 500, part Five Families. With a tidy chunk of money stashed offshore and a Ph.D in art history, she hangs up her G-string with plans to retire to a touristy Mediterranean island and open a gallery. Lincoln Walsh, head of a special sex-crimes taskforce, has other ideas. He wants Tawny to work undercover—euphemistically—to help bust a string of sex clubs using blackmail to target unwitting victims. In exchange, Linc will see that she avoids prison for failing to pay Uncle Sam his due from years of illegal earnings. Now she has to do whatever it takes to save her lovely derriere without exposing some of the same guys she used to service. Only problem is after years of strictly business, Tawny struggles to fight off her attraction to the hot federal agent sending her back into the world’s oldest profession.

  111. When struggling talent manager Ricky Landon releases a sexy djinn from a lamp, he demands she grant his wish to manage a really good rock band. She puts him under contract to Maelstrom, her own band, explaining that they want to be famous—legitimately and not by magic. This is no easy task when the band includes a vampire, incubus, zombie, and a fairy, none of whom think human society’s rules apply to them. While a rival band of washed-up deities tries to sabotage their efforts, Ricky channels Maelstrom’s energies away from demon mischief and into local success and the first big break of their career, an invitation to play the prestigious Midsummer Night Festival. Disaster threatens when a scheduling error puts them on stage at midnight under a full moon, and now it’s up to Ricky to keep their werewolf roadies from wreaking havoc, because if they can get this gig right, they might just hit the big time in a way that defies their wildest dreams.

    MAELSTROM – humor/satire

  112. The Duke of Temborough’s daughter, Edrienne, and his most trusted servant, Hulgardt, are the pawns by which he plans to overthrow the Queen. But Edrienne is coming of age with her own ambitions, and the magic that once bound Hulgardt to the duke has been broken. Freed from his bindings, Hulgardt must choose between obeying the duke or protecting Edrienne. When Hulgardt chooses to defend Edrienne, he is forced to leave behind everything he’s ever known to defeat his former master’s schemes and to find redemption for the contemptible misdeeds of his past.

  113. Thank you very much Jessica for this opportunity! Below is my 1 paragraph pitch for “Feint Impressions”

    ————————

    Kyle Johnston’s world is thrown into a tailspin when his 7 year old daughter is kidnapped and killed. In the year since, the culprit has yet to be caught and as Kyle and his wife Elena try to pick up the pieces they are tormented when a letter shows up from the killer bragging about the act. Every facet of their lives appears to be an open book to this unknown tormentor. As the police continue to search for a suspect, mysterious happenings begin to make them wonder if Kyle is involved in his daughter’s death as well as others. When and if Kyle finally comes face to face with the killer will he be able handle the startling revelations that come his way?

    —————————-

    Happy holidays and a happy new year to everyone!

  114. I am a new screenwriter, trying to jump on the scene. The problem is getting into the door of reputable producers and taking off. Check out my Logline to the first comedy I have ever wrote. I love this blog so much, thought I leave it behind, Real producers, dedproduct.com is where I write till the films leave the ground, and begin flying to God.
    Logline: A comedic twist of fate occurs when a man
    late for work sees the biggest heist in history, and a
    twist of fate drives him to help police capture the
    robbers who did it.
    http://www.dedproduct.com

  115. What a tremendous opportunity (and I can see how the comments have grown in just the day that it took me to put my pitch together). Thanks a million.

    For 17 year-old Jessie Reilly, nothing beats the feeling of tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”. But, as any pilot will tell you, flying close to the ground is dangerous business with no margin for error and little chance of recovering if you make a mistake. Her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements and the dangerous nature of horse racing challenge her at the track. At home, she dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father and struggles to balance school and racing. Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control? “Flying Close to the Ground” details one determined young woman’s attempt to fulfill her dreams without destroying herself.

  116. Julie Wagner is back home in Little Big Cove with two kids, a rusty old car, and her husband’s twice-cremated ashes in a green fake marble urn. Since her total meltdown at work, Julie has been searching for answers. Why did her husband Billy die? Can her childhood friend Luke Davison ever forgive her for destroying his perfect family? What really happened the night it all started, the night she killed her best friend’s wife?

    TIME AND TIDE, 91,000 word women’s fiction

  117. The Stork Mis-Delivered is a fascinating tale in which the primary family tracks down their sister and a daughter they never knew existed. The tale begins in the 1950’s. A newly married couple wanted a child. The woman was unable to conceive, so she found a doctor to buy a baby from. Twenty years later, she returned – to buy another baby for the bought daughter to raise. Little did she know – this second baby (an identical twin) was the daughter of her first baby’s identical twin sister. How could this happen? In the 50’s, and even the 70’s, father’s were rarely allowed in delivery rooms. Moms could be drugged to the point they were unconscious. Ultrasounds were uncommon, so twins were often a surprise, and not expected. The story begins at the death of the families grandmother. On her deathbed she says, “Before you were born, I always felt I heard two heartbeats. Twins were always so common in our family. It saddened me to know there was only one child. Though you brought me great joy.” Through her tears, the mother thought, “I always felt the same way with my daughter ….” So begins the families legal search for answers. Was the girl they knew eight short months many years ago truly theirs? Where was she now? What legal, and moral webs would they have to unweave? If the child was hers, would she be alive? Would she be healthy? Would she be in danger? Would she be successful in life and family?

  118. Happy Holidays! Thanks for doing this.

    Alabama Hargrove has taken on yet another career path—house flipper. So what if she knows zilch about renovating homes–how hard can it be? The place is rife with ghosts and a killer on the loose leads to chaos in Flip This House meets Ghost Hunters.

  119. It ain’t for the faint of heart – and deadly, 19th century Wyoming Territory makes the term ‘Wild West’ sound two-dimensionally tame! In the rowdy and debauched railroad town of Cheyenne, an innocent young man is set to hang for murder and his brave and beautiful sister arrives to try and save him…but can she, without the ‘aid’ of a dangerous, mysterious stranger, the outlaw Jake Logan? (The plot really thickens after Jake kidnaps our virginal heroine…) Populated with memorable secondary characters and the nastiest robber baron ever (he adds a little ‘villain humor’ to the mix), “Cheyenne” is a ‘new’ twist on a 100,000-word western historical romance, with super-sexy romance and sweeping action that never gets old!

    Thank you so much – all the best in 2009!

  120. Thanks, Jessica! I always learn so much when you do these!!

    In Gryphon’s Snare – 100K Historical Romance

    Gryphon, the Duke of Chestington, was left enough property and money to keep him happy and satisfied well into his dotage. However, the one thing Gryphon truly wanted was the one thing his father gambled away foolishly; his childhood home, which has since been turned into a Home for Unfortunate Girls. When Gryphon comes to the Home and demands Keira, the fiercely protective and openly scandalous owner, sell it to him, it’s no wonder their tempers run just as hot as the passion ignited between them. The only unanswered question is whether either of them will survive the inferno with their heart intact.

  121. Black Box

    Suzy Radwill grew up in the peace-loving, feminist ’70s, but comes of age in the money-grubbing ’80s, finding herself betrayed by idealism. Her parents donated her inheritance to the poor, she’s supporting a kind but seriously depressed husband, and is drowning in numbers on sexist Wall Street. Disturbed by her desire for Gavin Fitch, a dazzling capitalist in the London office, she questions the viability of her marriage and her denial over her past. She’d always looked back on a year studying in London ten years before as idyllic, but it was the scene of a rape. Now ceaseless sexual harassment at work and highly publicized crimes against women revive her old trauma. Falsely implicated in an insider trading scheme, she’s transferred to London in lieu of firing. Delivered into an affair with Gavin, she’s forced to confront her past. When the lid of the black box blows off, a legion of frightening memories fly out. This knowledge forces her to make tough choices. Return to her troubled husband, or choose the rich but corrupt Gavin? Avenge the crime that happened long ago, or cave into forgiveness? Black Box reverses the usual assumptions about victims and villains, and explores how a crime can look radically different, framed by the shifting mores of a mere decade.

  122. I’m sorry I submitted an elevator pitch earlier, so if it’s okay, will try again.

    Gone Tropical
    Amy Helm is certain she has matured since her marriage to Stephen Fray ended in divorce court and he embezzled her father’s business out of millions of dollars. Gone are her country club days, now she has an established psychology practice and trusts only herself. Stephen, the true chameleon financial planner has been on the lam for over two years and the FBI leads have gone cold. Amy’s estranged father blames her for everything. When she get’s a hot tip that her ex is in Australia she tosses aside all commonsense and takes the first plane to Sydney. Her only mistake is confiding in her father. He sends a skip tracer, Jake Turner, a solitary but handsome ex-cop, to do the job and to keep her out of harm. The last thing Jake wants is the rich daughter of his employer tagging along on his mission, besides he’s working with the Australian Federal Police. Amy is furious, defies both men and follows her lead to the northern most tip of Australia. In the rugged rainforest, amidst wild forces of nature, thugs that are shadowing her, the discovery that her ex is linked to a drug cartel on a private island, she finally concedes that a partner might be good. Amy and Jake join forces and end up merging more than their desire to flush out the embezzler.

  123. A 100K word historical romance – The Woman is Dangerous: Eve Arlen is caught shop-lifting from a New York department store on the eve of Christmas, but instead of being arrested, the sympathetic owner offers her a job. Unbeknownst to John Van Cortlandt, his new hire is a con artist on the lam from a busted theft, and she plans to fleece him before escaping to Canada. The normally unflappable John is set off-kilter by Eve, but when the cynical thief falls for him, her old cronies return and blackmail her into getting them positions in order to pull off a magnificent heist. Aware her relationship with John has been a sham, Eve is caught between the mounting pressures of returning to her old life, or taking responsibility for her actions–because either choice would cause her to lose him forever.

  124. Evangeline, your pitch sounds so interesting but you didn’t include the time period, important in a historical!
    Sounds like it could be a modern romance as well. I’ve enjoyed reading these, but I think a “short pitch” is more like a 25-50 word condensed version of your novel? Most of these sound like a synopsis, not a query. Good luck to all!

  125. Thank you for this opportunity, I’ve been struggling with how to present this idea for a while. For one, I think the last line might be too much—or is it all too much? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    “After being accused of his wife’s murder, Mark finds himself going back in time to relive moments from his youth. While trying to understand how and why this happens, he discovers a plot that goes back generations. As he gains insight into his own difficult past, he also discovers clues that might prove his innocence in the present. But can changing the past save his wife’s life?”

    –Lawman

  126. Thanks so much for this great opportunity!

    The following is for my 90,000 word paranormal romance.

    When JARETH WINTER first lays eyes on SARAH DUKE, his desire leads him to ignore dragon law, family loyalties and common sense. He quickly weaves a web of seduction and lies around the lovely human female to keep her at his side and earn the respect of his father, the clan leader. The charade holds until an old enemy taps Sarah’s dormant power, forcing Jareth to decide whether to betray his clan or his heart. He makes his choice, not knowing Sarah has secrets of her own. Now the fate of every dragon shape shifter hangs in the balance as they decide whether love can overcome betrayal, or if family loyalties will ruin them all.

  127. Thanks for this great opportunity, Jessica! Here is my pitch for an 85,000 word women’s fiction novel—it has the feel of a Southern novel but with a Yankee accent.

    ~ ~ ~

    Still reeling from the implosion of her latest campaign days before the election, jaded political spin doctor NIKKI WINSTON thinks her career is headed in the same dismal direction as the rest of her life—namely, nowhere. Then her former mentor dangles a golden carrot: if she can generate some major feel-good PR for her profile, there will be a spot for her on an upcoming high-profile presidential campaign. He even knows the right project to do it—heading the mayoral campaign of Rufus McDawg, a Keeshond-German shepherd mix, for a group of disgruntled business owners in a tiny village in upstate New York that gets more annual snowfall than any other place east of the Rockies. Before long, Nikki is reassessing her view of life and her career path, bonding with the eccentric locals whose economic existence relies on winter tourism, matching wits with a group of dognappers who support the incumbent mayor, trying to thwart the election-day embezzlement plans of the octogenarian village clerk and maybe just maybe even falling in love with her “client’s” owner, semi-retired—and very, very reluctant about the whole campaign—local attorney, JAMESON “MAC” McKENNA.

  128. For my YA fantasy:

    When the peasant Adara magically destroys her home, she is branded a halfblood because only nobles have the Gift. She must attend the Academy to learn control, and challenges such as becoming literate and correcting her speech pale in comparison to the hostility of Tressa and the other students. Only when romance, dragons, and an insane mage enter Adara’s life does she learn that blood does not matter as much as honesty, ingenuity, and a good Incinerate spell.

  129. Bento Santiago must leave Argentina because his village believes that the seventh son will turn into a werewolf under the full moon at the age of sixteen. They will not allow him to see that birthday. Bento escapes to the United States and lives with a family who believes werewolves were once a living race but intermingled with humans and lost most of their werewolf tendencies. They even have a message board! Bento is assured that shape shifting no longer occurs, but his worse nightmare comes true when he becomes lupine under the full moon. He must hide his true identity and evade an enemy in the States who would like him dead. Bento must balance his secret, his new girlfriend, and the results of racing hormones — and not get killed.

  130. Jessica, any feedback would be welcome and I am sure helpful. Merry Christmas to you and yours

    Ace Evans is a refugee from a busted Witness Protection Program assignment. After two anonymous years he ventures into his past to visit an old friend, Granville Tubbs, the last surviving link to a life short circuited by betrayal.

    Maybe he shouldn’t have pissed off the fussy lawyer, Harlan Tremont, he found hovering over his friend’s sick bed. And maybe he shouldn’t have let his guard down and become friends with a collection of town characters like Del Leets and Art Drury from the hardware store.

    He should have seen trouble coming for damn sure when Dicky turned the hose on Reena, puke covered or not!

    It’s hard to stay anonymous in a small town when you whup the town bully. And it’s hard for an ex-undercover operative to leave his new friends in danger, especially Annie Travers and her kids. Not to mention the will.

    Just head on out one more lonely blue highway. Don’t look back. That’s what Ace should have done. But he let himself relax, spent a day too long in Ferris’ Bluff, and the young US Marshal finds him and gives him a message. The Russians are coming! Again!

  131. If Halli Montgomery hadn’t disobeyed her father, she wouldn’t be dangling from a cross a decade later. But running out of time had her taking chances. If she didn’t get down soon, she’d have to wait two years to be free. Not from the rusted nail that had her bound but from the curse that left her unable to love.

  132. An American family with three small children moves to a small city in China to teach at a local university. They experience cultural changes both small and surprising, such as when they order a poultry dish and the waiter brings an entire hacked up chicken–with the chicken’s head adorned atop like a maraschino cherry; as well as significant: putting their three creative, independent American children into a Chinese kindergarten that emphasizes group conformity. Gradually they adjust to their new life. They become acquainted with ordinary Chinese—students and shopkeepers, villagers and businesspeople. They study the language, spend several days in the countryside with one of their students, and make contact with their adopted Chinese daughter’s foster family. Essentially, as the title implies, FOREIGNER, AUNTIE is about one family’s journey from distance to closeness, from remoteness to friendship over the course of two years in China.

  133. Surviving summer in Palm Springs seems challenge enough in the late ’70s until Audra Fleming’s orderly world suddenly collapses. Her mixed heritage and quirky upbringing provide insight and inspiration in the crisis, yet she fears that her difficult past consigns her to an arid future. Although Audra’s friends and memories comfort her, ultimately she must find her own way through the summer’s emotional losses to a world of rapture and redemptive joy.

  134. Thank you Jessica.

    “A ROCK AND A DEAD PLACE” an 80K romantic suspense.

    A dead body at her feet in an out- of-the-way museum is the least of Antonia Perez’s problems. A mysterious Mesoamerican stone tablet, Hebrew inscriptions and hidden sea caves lead her on the biggest treasure hunt in her archeological career.
    But when Micah Eisner catches Antonia with his dead boss at her feet, treasure hunts don’t interest him. Catching the killer does. Convinced Antonia’s search holds the answer to his own questions, Micah teams up with her to search for an ancient artifact. One that may have connections to one of the most debated mysteries in history.

  135. An impetuous Pinkerton agent is out to prove to a righteous US Marshal that she’s the best “man” to complete the assignment and the only “woman” who can capture his heart. The only problem- there’s a revenge seeking outlaw killing off anyone the marshal gets close to.

    90,000 word historical western romance.

  136. Jessica, that is so sweet of you. Hoping you have a wonderful holiday and whoever spiked your eggnog is going to help you dig out from all the submissions.

    Since I am in the revision process now, I would appreciate feedback on this. Paladin is a 135,000-word epic fantasy.

    Allies who joined forces thirty years ago to defeat the demon armies are now poised to destroy each other, which is exactly what the demon lord and the sorceress planned when they kidnapped the king. Sixteen-year-old Gentyl just wants to get through military school and apply to her aunt’s elite cavalry unit. It’s going to be a long two years in an academy that doesn’t want women and especially not M’eiryn women, since the king’s M’eiryn guard was blamed for the kidnapping. Hope of advancement dies when she’s assigned to guard a senile sorcerer with a penchant for irritating nobles, botching spells and livening things up with fireworks. She realizes he isn’t as demented as he acts after he recruits her to help him solve a string of murders and find the king, but each new clue only leads to another body.

    Now someone is trying to add them to the list of unsolved murders.

    Thanks again,

    Julie

  137. My book, titled WHIRLWIND, is a complete, 90,000 word, first person contemporary romance. It is a single title with sequel possibilities.

    Melissa Williams, a practical journalism major, is not prepared when she first locks eyes with visiting med student, Jason McConnell, at her friend’s wedding. She doesn’t believe in love at first sight, and is shocked when she finds herself its unwilling victim.

    Jason refuses to let Melissa hide in the background, inviting her to spend the night with him after stunning her with a single, amazing kiss. He isn’t the only man to notice Melissa, however, and as she succumbs to Jason’s pull, she also becomes the target of a killer.

    Jason stays to protect Melissa, making no secret of his affection, or his responsibilities thousands of miles away. As the murderer slowly homes in on his target, it seems that Melissa is destined to lose Jason one way or another, ending their whirlwind romance just as it is beginning.

    ***
    Wishing you a very restful and happy holiday,

    Robin

  138. My post never showed up so I’m resubmitting. I’ll delete if it shows up twice.

    Thanks for doing this, Jessica, especially on your holiday. Truely a gift! — Sharla

    Grace is thirty and single, with a struggling bookstore, family and friends demanding her time, and a dog taking up most of her bed. She isn’t worried about marriage yet, but having sex again soon would be good. Luke, her best friend of twenty years, may be hot and somewhat mysterious in an annoying sort of way, but he’s her rock, her confidante, not someone she visualizes going commando in a tight pair of jeans. Luke’s an everyday guy, who builds custom furniture, whips up a mean omelet, and whisks Grace off for rides on his Harley. She thinks she knows him, until a chance bit of eavesdropping knocks her world off kilter. He leads a top secret double life that is more like Rambo than Tim the Toolman. Grace has to figure out how to deal with the new knowledge, the deception, and the gnawing fear for his safety. And the mental head slap–she wouldn’t worry so much if she didn’t love him.

    98000 word Women’s Fiction. Having trouble on the subgenre. Romantic–something? 🙂

  139. He served honorably against America for more than twelve years. Now, in June of 1986, KGB Colonel Alexei Andreyev is back in Moscow for reassignment, still faithful in a KGB roiled by a series of executions for treason, still loyal in spite of his deep friendship with one of the highest ranking agents of the United States FBI. But when the KGB turns brutally against the wife of a defector, a woman Alexei once loved; and the secretary of his commanding officer needs him to help clear her father’s political dossier, the KGB’s most honorable spy is caught between past loyalties and those of the present–and the only way to freedom lies through a murderous trap set by a man who has none at all.

  140. Hope you have a Merry Christmas!
    //////////////

    It’s a love square of confusion at a country party. Four people are in love. All four are confused on who loves them back. And if that’s not bad enough, they can’t figure if they should follow their hearts or be honorable. AFTER THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER is a regency with a projected 100,000 word count.

  141. Thanks Jessica! Happy Happy to you too!
    The pitch:
    Woman dies and bargains with God to be reincarnated. She asks to live a perfect life and find her soul mate. God sends her back as one of the smallest dogs on the planet. Now she must make her way in the world and over come extreme adversity to discover there might be more than one kind of soul mate. And maybe, just maybe, God does have a plan.

  142. My pitch for “Hawking’s Grove”:

    Most people have bad memories of regrettable things they did in high school… sins they hope have been erased with the passage of time. Few, though, harbor as dark a secret as Joel Bradstreet. As a teacher at his alma mater, Joel hopes to keep the mistakes of his past there concealed. Instead, they will once again lead to inescapable and deadly consequences. “Hawking’s Grove” is a 105,000 word cinematic mystery/suspense novel with a plot that unfolds in parallel story lines, set nearly fifteen years apart. As a high school senior in 1987, an unrequited teenage crush and a bitter rivalry lead Joel to a tragic graduation day confrontation. Years later as a teacher, Joel discovers the bodies of five varsity football players in a grove adjacent to the school. He soon suspects their deaths may not only be connected to a female student he’s become involved with, but also to events from his youth. As the authorities investigate, Joel races to find his own answers and to keep the secrets of both his past and present hidden.

  143. Love has many faces, and sometimes an angel is disguised as a friend.

    WHEN HEARTS CRY OUT, a 78,000-word novel, centers on an aging beauty salon denizen and the influence she has on the lives of saints and sinners.

    Born in Mississippi and divorced from several well-heeled Texans, Liz McCall is a source of wit, wisdom, and life-changing advice for the ladies at the salon. Liz takes a special interest in Leah Starks, a twenty-six-year-old whose life has been burdened by abandonment issues and doubts about her self-worth. When Leah’s mother is killed in an automobile accident, Liz unravels a family secret that lies in the spelling of Leah’s name. With her health deteriorating, and estranged from all but the youngest of her six sons, Liz has to decide to whom she should distribute her wealth and if, when, and how she should reveal her family secret.

    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  144. From the moment he fixed Libby Larson’s flat tire, Drew Samson knew she’d bring trouble to his middle-of-nowhere, Oregon ranch. Intent on gaining custody of his son, he didn’t predict that he’d fall for this dark-haired, half-Indian, high-maintenance minx. Libby just wanted to find her birthparents, restore her sense of self after her adopted parents’ divorce, and get back to her life. She wasn’t about to let one reclusive rancher get in her way, and she never imagined she’d fall in love with him. Or worse, discover that he might be her half-brother. They both have to overcome their pasts in order to find the promise of their future together in this 60,000 word contemporary category romance: Coming Home.
    __________________________________
    Thank you for the opportunity to learn from your reaction to the pitches. I hope that your holidays will be wonderful despite the unexpected change of plans.

  145. Hi Jessica,

    Hoping you got where you need to go! If you have any notes, comments, whatevers about my pitch, I am certain that your reward in the Kingdom of Heaven will be great;-)

    Thanks!
    Sarah

    “Maximum Comfort”, a Memoir

    Raised in a small town as the middle child of six by a Black father and White mother, I couldn’t help but ask myself “Who am I? Where do I belong? What in the hell do I do with my hair?” These questions became urgent when my parents’ relationship exploded after 27 years of marriage. For most of my twenties I wrestled with my life, desperate to pin it down with context and meaning. There were a few excellent moves that made me feel in control for a while; Oprah-style weight loss, cool career in television, my own place in New York City. But it was an intense break-up with a guy so blonde, hot and blue-eyed that he SURFED, that finally forced me to ask myself what I truly wanted from life. Everyone knows the only place you can answer that question is at a Buddhist monastery. So thank God there was one just north of the city. There was no way I was going to India. My hair would be impossible to manage!

  146. Yay!!! I love these!!! Thank you so much!

    Here is my pitch for a YA Mystery:

    Oliver has to finish the game he’s creating in three weeks in order to be accepted to Seattle’s elite game design academy and secure the future of his dreams. Unfortunately, he’s fallen in love with his kick-ass cyber heroine – or rather, the woman he sees walking to work every morning who he’s written into his game. When she disappears, he’s convinced he has to find her so that his game can go on. But instead of playing the hero, he ends up a suspect in her presumed death and discovers that real women are far more dangerous than virtual ones.

  147. Sylvia Ledbetter left the South a dozen years ago, vowing not to return, at least to her trailer-living family. A job as chief nursing officer brings her back. As she navigates the society of a small town in Mississippi, she encounters an electrician who sports a mullet and knows his way around a flank of venison. What will it take for her to realize that she can’t judge this man by his accent, or his double-wide?

    My Electric Lover is a 57,000 word contemporary romance and the first in The Mullet Trilogy, a series of stories set in the fictional town of Market Springs, Mississippi.

  148. Sixty years in the future, utopia is around the corner
    For those in at the top of society, everlasting life is potentially theirs. For those at the bottom, there is only one shot.

    Robbed of her wealth and identity and left for dead, Suzanne Jones is rescued by a man accused of killing his family. From deep within her past a plan that has been in motion for a decade is coming close to fruition, and the results may change the world forever. On the run from the authorities and pursued by corporate bounty hunters, both she and her companion must try to stay alive and reclaim their lives. By traversing the faultines of an emerging society she discovers that someone, somewhere, will do anything to destroy utopia.

  149. Gwyllim, a crippled warrior values his honour above all things and yearns to be one of the revered Incaris Knights. On the brink of fulfilling his dream, he unwittingly rescues a girl hunted by the Knights and is tricked into giving his oath to aid her. At first he spurns the girl’s claim of an evil spreading through the Knights of Incaris – an evil which will place Incaris in peril – but soon the evidence becomes too convincing. The Knights no longer dispense justice but persecute anyone who has dealings with the Shae, the guardians of the gods. Plague and famine stalk the cities. Gwyllim’s loyalties are divided. He must make a choice – betray the girl to keep his honour and dreams, or lose both in order to thwart the corruption of the Knights of Incaris.

  150. Thanks for the opportunity, Jessica!

    When Puck Railian receives a phone call from the Chief about the Bay Area kidnappings, she knows he’s up to his elbows in deep poo. He would never willingly bring her back into the department—even as a consultant—unless it involved money, big money. With no ransom demand and uncooperative parents, all the evidence points to the kidnapping as an inside job. But only after Puck talks to the Pilkington’s garden gnomes does she discover the child’s been kidnapped by leprechauns and transported via rainbow to the parallel world of Celestia where the leprechauns intend to use the child as a pawn in a far more sinister game of keeps. With this shift in Celestian power, rifts open in Earth’s atmosphere allowing the infiltration of Celestian creatures and the resulting instability could implode both worlds. Puck must discover an entrance into Celestia, find the child, and investigate THE LEPRECHAUN CONNECTION.

    Fantasy: 117,000 words

  151. The angels took everything from Cade. They destroyed his home, his family, and the comfortable 21st century life he’d been leaving. Now, as the world struggles to recover from the devastation of the War of Rebellion, Cade learns of the girl born to be the world’s savior, destined to grow into the only warrior who can stand against the Host. He’s determined to find her and help her grow into her destiny.

    If the angels don’t get her first.

  152. This is awesome Jessica! Thank you.

    Romantic Suspense

    Anyone who knows Rafiq Rodriquez is not safe. Rafiq is being hunted. Thirteen years ago, aided by an unknown traitor, an assassin tortured and killed his family and forced him to abandon his royal heritage, to assume a new identity, a new life. But that was then. When the same assassin puts the crosshairs on Lily Jones, Rafiq’s love, he turns the tables and becomes the hunter. What he doesn’t realize is, Lily has her own set of secrets. The assassin isn’t after Rafiq at all but rather Lily who’d rather die than reveal to Rafiq she knows exactly who betrayed his family all those years ago.

    Thanks again, Jessica! Have a great holiday even if your plans did change. 🙂
    Cole

  153. Magnum bonum-for the greater good; the unwritten code that all Makers follow to keep their world hidden. The year stretches out in Zinnia’s mind- her first year at Edoceo, the Harvest Ball, new friends- things she has dreamed of for as long as she can remember. When a seemingly straightforward introduction to Stephan changes everything; suddenly the hope of her world rests upon her and Stephan’s shoulders. Learning the Legend is more than just a bed time story, impending danger from the Dark One, running for her life, and an impromptu wedding- all things Zinnia never thought the year could possibly bring; all done for the greater good. When forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, Zinnia learns just how far she will go to save her world and follow the Makers code-magnum bonum- for the greater good.

    90,000 YA Fantasy. Any insight would be great! Thank you.

  154. Jessica, thank you so much for doing this. Happy Holidays!

    Nina Weaver, a feisty, struggling NYC photographer whose photographs contain intrusive spirit messages, felt bespelled when she met Anthropology Professor Pascal Guzman… and she was right! Though he swore that he’d never unleash the power of the Stag God, Cernunus, locating the woman he once loved from afar overwhelms his self-control. And when Nina’s best friend is shot by men breaking into her apartment to steal her “magic” photos, Pascal convinces her that the answer to the mystery surrounding her work lies in his hometown of Santa Fe. She agrees to head out with him on a sex and danger filled road trip—but what neither one of them knows is that they are at the heart of a power struggle between rival gods, one of them bent on destroying Pascal.

    90,000 word urban fantasy

  155. Tanalai, a dragonfly larva, grew up in a pond display in an insect zoo hearing the wise old larva, Tombo, tell wondrous stories about the outside world. Tanalai longs for freedom, to see a real pond. She is the only witness when the keepers kill Tombo after he climbs out of the tank and emerges into an adult dragonfly. The other larvae refuse to believe her warnings and after her metamorphosis she escapes alone.

    A sensitive dragon, who eats her prey alive, Tanalai befriends Melli, a ditzy honeybee, who wants to find her sisters and Queen, and Mo, a street-wise, suspicious housefly, who turns out to be the Harriet Tubman of the insect world. This unlikely trio makes their way out of the city and into the countryside. Tanalai discovers her power as a feared predator and with the help of her friends learns how to deal with the uncertainty and dangers in the world outside her tank. After many adventures they find Melli’s farm, Tanalai’s pond, and Mo’s lovely horse manure.

    To Fly Circles Under the Sun,a middle-grade novel is complete at 44,000 words. On the anthropomorphic continuum from animals with walking sticks and top hats to the rabbits of Watership Down, this book sits at the rabbit end.

  156. In a body where necessity created two women, turmoil abounds. The discovery of an equally incomplete soul in a man could tear them apart forever with a final unrequited love. Or the possibilities of love could unite the women enough to find happiness for the first time. They strive to find the reason to love themselves.

    Romance 90,000

  157. Thanks as well, this is extremely awesome of you Jessica. Have been a blog-reader of yours for quite some time now. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

  158. Morning Jessica,

    I’m wondering, ‘How does one know how much to reveal or not?’

    In my pitch I would put who the traitor was one moment then take it off. The readers find out in the first chapter, so its not really a secret, only to the hero. But at the same time I think maybe that’s too much information. It adds to the conflict between the guy and gal and tells us they have a huge hurdle to get over for a HEA but like I said before, how does one determine when to say enough is enough info?

    Thanks!

    Cole

  159. Street-waif Cora believes her troubles are over when she’s rescued from thugs by a fish-tailed Merrowan. Given a sorcerous sponge that allows her to breathe underwater, Cora revels in the wonders of the sea … until her “savior” sells her to an oceanic sideshow. The Merrowan king eventually takes pity on Cora and adopts her into his household; it’s more than any guttersnipe could wish for, and Cora happily bids her former life farewell.

    When a betrayal lands Cora unwillingly on solid ground once more, she learns that a deep-sea invasion threatens the Merrowan kingdom. If she cannot wring an alliance out of a wary human prince, her adoptive people will be enslaved. Before the waves settle, Cora will have to face down a long-standing feud between Merrowans and humans, thwart the invaders–and discover where she truly belongs.

    100,000 words, fantasy

    Thanks!

  160. Jessica,
    This is a fictional memior. Not sure it’s your cup of tea, but here’s the pitch:

    The “63 Chevy convertible slams dead center into the concrete bridge abutment and Jeremy Shoff wakes up in a Navy hospital ward from a four day coma; stricken with shame. The wounded Marines on every side of him are constant reminders of his easy way out of the draft. As the only nineteen year old on Ward 2B with both of his arms and legs, Jeremy has only one thing to offer; friendship. For the next twelve months, the confined space of Ward 2B, the sprawling Naval Hospital and the nearby streets and bars of south Philadephia becomes their home. Like any home, it serves as a place to gather, to belong, to struggle, to play, a place to find support and, in its many descriptions, a place to heal. And every day of healing brings them closer to the day they could go home; a day they will cherish–and fear.
    AJMac

  161. This is for my first-draft finished but not yet edited novel titled Jack O’Lantern. Category is commercial fiction:

    Propositioned by a Playboy model, hit by a car, mugged, and arrested for the murder of a man he’s never met, it’s safe to say that Brian Green has never had a crazier day in his life.

    It’s about to get even weirder. A man calling himself Jack O’Lantern, with a smile to match the name, magically heals Brian’s injuries and gets him out of police custody with a few words. The price tag? Simply the promise of a favor returned. But what could Brian possibly do for a man like that?

  162. Mae Simon is on her first assignment as a Pinkerton operative and determined nothing will stand in her way of accomplishing her task. When the simple assignment turns into a murder and kidnapping, she has to stop hiding behind her disguise and trust a man she’s betrayed.
    U. S. Marshal Beck Harlan can’t afford to befriend anyone. Not with a vengeance seeking outlaw killing off his intimate acquaintances. Yet, he falls hard for the French prostitute he talks into being an informant. Not realizing, she is a Pinkerton operative after the same man.

  163. Thirty-one year old Norah Cassidy excels in her roles as a small-town craft lady and dependable friend, hiding painful secrets from her childhood. After years of molestation by her mother’s live-in boyfriend, Norah, then fourteen, went to her mother for help. Instead, Norah’s mother coerced her into changing her story, incriminating her childhood sweetheart, Brian O’Malley, and sent Norah to live with her grandmother. Now, following sixteen years of estrangement, Norah’s dying mother calls, and Norah thinks she has one last chance to mend their relationship. But back in her hometown, Norah hears about a present-day crime. The man who molested her all those years ago is accused of assaulting other girls, and after years of secrecy, Norah must decide whether she can risk coming forward and unearthing a truth that will reveal every lie she’s ever told and tear apart the fragile bonds of her renewed relationship with not only her mother, but also Brian O’Malley.

  164. Some things you can never forget: the touch of your mother’s hand on your hair, the smell of your father’s hug, your first kiss. The time you tried to fly and everyone mistook it for a suicide attempt, or trying to walk on water and nearly drowning. The day you found out your little brother is dying. Some things stay imprinted on your memory forever – the day your life changed.

    Riley Kimball’s life has changed. Her twelve year old brother has leukemia and is dying.

    Water Walker is a story about family and self-discovery. It is the story of Riley Kimball’s freshman year of high school, of her struggle to understand what is happening to her brother and to rediscover a sense of normalcy in her life. As her friendships crumble, her brother’s health continues to decline. But even in the darkness that surrounds her, Riley finds hope and strength in unexpected places: a renewed relationship with her older sister, the encouraging words of a jock football coach, the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and most unexpectedly, from within herself.

  165. “Cold-Blooded Beauty”

    Tysen stepped out of the unmarked patrol car and into a sea of inquisitive reporters. She was clad in the standard issued orange prison jump suit, which she donned like the newest addition to the Dolce and Gabbana collection, accessorized by matching shackles and handcuffs that almost appeared to be diamond encrusted as they sparkled to the rhythm of the multitude of camera flashes. How could a specimen of such astonishing beauty have committed such hideous crimes? Well, the life of Tysen Marie Summers has been anything but beautiful, and when the last person that she loved and trusted betrayed her, it sends her life spiraling toward a tragic end.

  166. Thanks for doing this, Jessica! Happy Holidays!

    Isabel Holden is an idealistic and opinionated woman who hates womanizers. Her best friend, on the other hand, has taken up with matinee idol Raymond Morgan, the biggest ladies’ man in 1938 Hollywood. When her friend receives letters saying, “Keep away from Raymond – or else,” Isabel gets worried. Then a not-so-accidental accident claims a life, and Isabel becomes convinced her friend was the intended victim. Another murder confirms her suspicions.

    To keep her friend safe, Isabel has to figure out why Raymond’s ladies keep dying. Aided – and hampered – by Raymond’s womanizing best friend, she discovers that, in the movie industry, no one is exactly who they seem to be. Then a fire destroys crucial evidence and seriously injures Emma, and Isabel knows the killer is getting desperate. When a nosy gossip columnist is poisoned at a party at Raymond’s mansion, Isabel begins to wonder if he might be the killer — and her best friend his next target.

    (light-hearted historical mystery)

  167. Hi Jessica. Thanks for being so generous with your time.

    “Playing Hookey”

    As Melinda sketches a skull and crossbones onto the logo of her client’s about-to-be-printed brochure, she thinks of all the rivers that DF Chemicals has polluted, all the politicians it has bought off. And if she sees one more new-age motivational poster telling her to Reach for Your Dreams, she’s going to puke. She’s tired of playing by the rules. Over the next fourteen hours Melinda leaves her dull boyfriend stranded at the Olive Garden and hooks up with a bad-boy tattoo artist, exposes the fake credentials of an incompetent colleague, and defaces the brochure that will be given out to politicians at a fancy cocktail party that night. But her rebellion could cost her everything: her job, her boyfriend, and all the nice things she bought to forget how unhappy she is. PLAYING HOOKEY, complete at 72,000 words, will appeal to anyone who has ever questioned if the compromises they make to get ahead, at work and in love, are worth it.

    (commercial fiction)

  168. Elle Bennet is saddled with a family that attracts social devastation the way Britney attracts paparazzi. Her youngest sister is the prep school slut, her family is drowning in credit-card debt, and her mother’s only hobby is social climbing. Elle’s life revolves around performing daily damage control to keep her family out of trouble, and when trying to save her older sister’s derailed romance, Elle meets trust-fund baby Will Darcy. She labels him arrogant and he labels her inferior. Determined to protect her sister, Elle is forced to navigate Will’s world of old money, and finds herself drawn to the very person she hates the most.

  169. I’ll give this a try.

    ***

    On the planet Cleo, Ezekiel is a young colonist who lives a double life as the gravity-defying thief Wally. When an ambassador from Earth brings an alien war to his planet, they uncover the dark secrets behind the colony’s founding. With his friends staging a revolt and the fate of humanity in his hands, Wally finds that his wall-walking ways might leave bootsteps across the entire galaxy.

    ***

    I’m thinking of changing the title and the lead character’s name to ‘Wallboy’, to avoid comparisons to Wall-E. Wrote mine first, but Disney jacked the name. 🙂

  170. Thanks Jessica!

    Hound in Blood and Black – Speculative Fiction, 110k

    The world is ash. Humanity clings to the edges of the continents, leaving the center lands to the corrupted and walking dead. Society has rebuilt itself, with the undead serving as the center of commerce through arena warfare. Wranglers and herders capture wilds, the unchecked undead, and pit them against one another as warriors; gladiators. Gambling, murder, and true death are the philosophies that make a forsaken Earth continue turning on an empty axis.

    Kumari, a wrangler whose family was lost, exists to survive; the only fight in her soul is that she will decide the means of her own death. Driven by the need for food and water, Kumari achieves success in the arena, fueled by her uncanny ability to select the perfect gladiator from the wandering hordes. When a gamble against her fiercest rival turns sour, Kumari uncovers his scam and takes from him his treasured child-whore, Heaven.

    As Heaven struggles somewhere between the disruption of her compliancy and acceptance of misery, and the chance live for herself, Kumari stares in the maw of her only fear when she is bitten by a wild and the death she believes so strongly in is threatened.

  171. I appreciate you taking the time to review pitches, Jessica. Your blog is so incredibly helpful.
    Tammy H.

    “GOOD SAMARITAN” — 95K, Romantic Suspense

    When FBI Agent Colby Lanphear’s undercover investigation is blown, he’s forced to seek refuge in his hometown. And when his high school sweetheart, local librarian Erica Whitehouse, inadvertently saves him from a mob hit and becomes their next target, he’s obligated to protect her in return. But soon he finds himself falling for her all over again, only this time he can’t turn and run.

  172. Thanks so much for doing this!

    Zombie
    YA, 60,000 words

    Camielle Moreno never imagined that she’d be spending the summer before her senior year putting zombies back in their graves, but when her parents sign a contract with the Wrights, one of the secretive Families responsible for dealing with the undead, quit their jobs, and move the family to Tennessee, she doesn’t have much choice. Now her family’s future is in her hands. If the Wrights like her, her parents and younger sisters will have money and advantages they never dreamed of. If they don’t, the Morenos will be jobless and penniless.

    With no friends, a mentor that hates her and a job that involves re-killing small children and family pets, Cami doesn’t think things could get any worse. But then Gramps, the Wright patriarch, dies, and things get weird. A rival Family decides they want Cami for their own, abnormally intelligent zombies appear wherever she goes, and Cami’s mentor is suddenly begging for her help.

    Can she figure out what’s going on before someone gets hurt?

  173. Twenty-four year old Rosalynn Monroe is dreading her next birthday in a few months. This vampire slayer may be one of the best in New York City, but she can’t escape Crispin, the master vampire of the island. Crispin will change Rosalynn into his queen on her twenty-fifth birthday unless she can find a way to escape him. She has been a victim, of his sexual expertise for years, and Rosalynn is finally at her breaking point. Her only hope is another slayer, who seems to hate her with every sense of his being. Rosalynn must decide if she wiling to give in to the immortal delights that Crispin offers her, or try to save her body and soul by defeating this man who can offer her every wish and desire.

  174. I’d love some feedback on this pitch.

    Growing up in a foster home nestled in an anonymous suburb of South Los Angeles, Cyrus Hart never expected much from himself. Sure, he has skin that fades to gray whenever he feels strong emotions, and strange miracles protect him anytime he’s faced with a threat, but does that make him special? Not if you consider his lackluster grades and inability to control his impulses. But then a magical book arrives via FedEx to let him in on a secret: Cyrus is the Hearth Tender, charged with protecting the flame that fuels all life on his home planet. Having the fate of a world in his hands does a lot to brighten his prospects. Now, if only he can deal with the local street thugs and find a way home….

    Complete at 90,000 words, Soul Sorcery, the first in a trilogy, is a unique amalgamation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy, and John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood.

  175. Blocked by a spell since birth, Sebastian Telth can see magic but can’t use it. He is willing to do anything to have this removed including cutting a deal with the dragon, Blackfire. With the help of his friends, Cecil the troll, Buster the shape-shifting beagle and an ill-tempered wyvern named Claude, he sets out to accomplish the tasks set to him. Along the way he learns the value of friendship, kindness and loyalty. However, to complete the last task he must either betray all he has learned or defy the dragon and give up the one thing he desires most.

    DRAGON’S DEAL is a 65,000 YA novel

  176. The world has fallen victim to yet another global war. Fought between the newly-created Normals—genetically engineered clone slaves—and the newly-revealed Paranormals—humans with magical capabilities—the war reaches past borders and threatens to destroy everything in its path. Solomon Hunter is a telepathic reconnaissance soldier who holds two terrible secrets: one that could destroy him, and one that could destroy society. But when enemy fire blows apart his body and his life, Solomon forces himself to forget his secrets. He constructs a new life to hide behind: teacher, husband, father. Only a heartbreaking betrayal, and the memories of the man Solomon once loved, can reveal an enemy terrorist’s plans to end the war at last—and to silence Solomon forever.

    SHADES OF HUMAN, science fiction, 95,000.

  177. Thanks so much Jessia, hope you have a wonderful holiday!

    Johanna Jergensen never thought that training to become a Guardian at the elite Teras Academy would be easy. But she had no idea it would be this hard. At eighteen, she’s the oldest student ever admitted and her classmates aren’t exactly welcoming. The only bright spot in her new life is the hunky Prince Nerrith. Charmed by his sapphire eyes and dreamy smile, Jo can’t help but falling hard for him. When she overhears a sinister plot that threatens not only the kingdom, but also the prince of her dreams, Jo discovers that the conspiracy reaches all the way to the Queen’s top military advisor. And she’s on his hit list. Tangled in a web of magic and deceit, she must now choose between saving her prince or saving herself

  178. Earthquakes, months of unrelenting snow and a complete loss of contact with the outside world tell Peter that something terrible has happened, but not what. Trapped in a remote mountain cabin, he maintains a tenuous grip on his sanity when a beautiful young woman mysteriously shows up at his doorstep just days before the snow stops. She is his salvation, an end to unbearable isolation, but when her dark past catches up with her, Peter is forced to choose between love and conscience. His decision sends the two of them fleeing for their lives and searching for answers as the melting snow reveals a world unlike anything anyone has ever seen. Together they will learn not only what caused the greatest disaster in the planet’s history, but that the worst may be yet to come.

  179. Maggie Mortimer always misses the baby she longed to have. A child of the system, at 34 she’s widowed when her husband dies in a tragic accident. Made redundant from her job, she opens her home to troublesome teenagers, young women who need someone to listen to them as much as a roof over their heads.

    Liz McKenzie turns to Maggie when going back home puts her in fear of her life. Becky Ward is arrested for shoplifting after sleeping rough for two nights. Going to Maggie’s house is far better than going home to face a murder charge. Jess Myatt has spent her whole life with a family from hell and thinks nothing of using this to her advantage. Cheryl Morton comes and goes as the mood, or the drug of her choice, takes her.

    All in all, there’s never a dull moment at Maggie’s house. So when things start going missing, property is vandalised, notes pushed under the door and a homeless teenager is murdered, Maggie never suspects that the culprit could be after her. Until maybe it is too late.

    The Caretaker: Real women. Real problems. Real crime

    Merry Christmas!

  180. What happens when seven African-American singles rent a New Jersey beach house for the summer? For the third year in a row, writer Shontae Nichols plans a quiet summer in Beach Haven sharing a rental house with friends – a drama instructor, an accountant/realtor, a cosmetologist, an aspiring actor, and a hip-hop video-dancer. The friends learn the truth behind two age-old questions: Can men and women ever just be friends? Is it possible for women peacefully co-exist in the same house? Their quiet summer is shaken to the core when one of their housemates ends up in the hospital in critical condition. The hospital vigil acts as a catalyst to the already growing tension in the house and ultimately defines their relationships.

    Hot Fun in the Summertime, is a sexy 100,000 word, multicultural story I would compare to The Big Chill or Why Did I Get Married? featuring singles.

  181. Well, I finally got the time to work on my 3 paragraph query plot into a one para (though maybe a longer one para) pitch.

    YA Adventure Fantasy, 95,000 words

    Cursed by a spell that erased most of her memory, dark mage Lusa Cralet flees her homeland in an attempt to leave her past—and possible evil deeds—behind. Her chaotic, jumbled memories haunt her but are nothing compared to her powers trying to possess her. If the dark magic succeeds, she’ll be nothing more than a mindless monster, destroying everything in her path. But she soon finds out she isn’t the only one with magic. The empire is under a sorcerer’s magical plague, and the empress turns to Lusa for help. She agrees only for the sake of redeeming herself. While the temptations of her powers grow more difficult to resist, she begins her whirlwind journey of magical war and dangerous quests, all while trying to deal with the foreign affairs of love for a bounty hunter she knows may never love her in return. When Lusa is sure everything in her life has turned to failure, she finally confronts the sorcerer who reveals his connection to her mysterious past. Lusa must either master her powers to destroy the only family she has left, or become a slave to them both.

    Thanks again, Jessica, happy holidays!

  182. Merry Christmas, and thank you for this!

    Schroeder Kelly was quite happy living her solitary computer geek life. Edward Valenti-Kirby was happy with his technical consultant life until he was named one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. A chance encounter with a ring at Tiffany’s sends them back in time together, and the couple gets married on their third date. In 1749 England. Balancing traveling through time, being newlyweds, Eddie investigating Schroeder’s company for a buyout, and hiding their marriage from friends, family, and coworkers isn’t easy. Toss in an ex-boss out for revenge, and Schroeder’s not having a good year. In any century.

  183. Magic is alive in modern Chicago where sixteen-year-old Kiera attends a private school for Vamps, Changers, and Mages and struggles with homework, bullies, cute boys, and the fact that she just found out she’s adopted and her best friend’s mortal enemy. Angry with her parents for lying to her and on the outs with her best friend, when Kiera stumbles on a scheme to destroy a four hundred year old alliance and throw the magic community into chaos, she has no one to turn to for help but the new guy in school, a demon, who may, or may not be, after her soul.

  184. Ellie wants a family life and when she meets Justin online his kindness shows in stark relief her husband’s long-term neglect. But whenever she allows hope to build of a shared future Justin vanishes. Her attention is diverted by a whirlwind visit to a remote island to plan the publicity launch for a luxury retreat where she is stunned to have the owner Laurence and project director Marcus both vying for her attention. On her return home she is greeted by a husband with a revived interested in her whereabouts and Justin reappearing with the proposal that they meet in few weeks at the Taj Mahal to explore what they have found.
    But what does a woman say to the love she’s never met in person and a usually absentee husband when she discovers that she is pregnant?

    Thank you Jessica,

    MEWriter

  185. Here is my pitch for the novel I am currently working on. I won’t submit queries til the book is done, but never hurts to get advice early!

    In “After Death”, Erica Jordan wakes up in a parking lot and realizes she is dead. With all her plans for the future thrown out the window, Erica wanders the streets of Los Angeles as a ghost- until she discovers that her death was the third in a string of serial killings across the city. Using her new state of undeath to her advantage she begins to investigate the murders and struggles to aid the detectives on her case, hindered by the fact that no one can see or hear her. As more women end up dead and the killer seems to have no intention of stopping, Erica discovers that the murders are a lot more personal than she originally thought- and her sister may be the next victim.

    Thank you for doing this! Merry Christmas!

  186. Sorry to hear about your travel plans and thanks for the gift of your time and knowledge.

    One minute Krea is snatching money bags from unsuspecting nobles, the next she is being told she belongs to an ancient race of shapeshifters. Now, sixteen year-old Krea is saddled with Sorin, a surly Caller hiding from his past, and is on a journey to the Royal City to meet the elders who will decide her fate. Along the way, they add a seven year-old elemental wizard and a scheming faerie to their haphazard group. But they are about to find out that things are not as they seem. The Torbadyn has infiltrated the Royal City and it will be up to Krea and her group of reluctant heroes to save the Empire.

    Thanks!

  187. This is a wonderfully helpful thing you’re doing, so thanks. This is a new WIP so if it gets chosen, I’d be so excited to have the feedback. And here goes:

    Princess Zaya Vallian had heard of Channelers just like everyone else in Larness. The Old Tales told of mysterious sorcerers who worshipped energy – treading dangerously close to the realm of the Gods – and could bend the powers of wind, water, fire, light, sound and even the pull of the earth to their will. They were slain en masse for their blasphemy centuries ago and Zaya never believed the rumors that some survived deep in the Border Forest until one came to her in a dream, telling her things she didn’t want to hear about herself and the future. In disguise, using magic she didn’t know she possessed and trapped in a prison cell of former childhood friend and now bitter enemy, King Arrakus of Ancar, Zaya is mortified to learn she is a latent Channeler whose powers are only beginning to surface. Even more disturbing is the realization that the small band of reviled and outcast magicians could be the salvation of her kingdom and the key to winning a war against a tyrant.

  188. In a dystopian future, a badly injured young girl in a hospital is brought back from death by an unlikely savior: the tiny alien headliner of a circus side-show. Elsewhere, a wounded solider is trapped on ship and stalked by an unseen danger that has already decimated the crew. Unable to remember anything except the phrase “Lex Talionis”, the young woman calls herself Lex. With the help of her doctor, Colin Mayfeld, and his friend, the mysterious empath Dr. Anton Slake, she begins the search for her identity. Where her story intersects with the wounded soldier’s lies the answers to her past, present and future.

  189. I apologize if I’m not supposed to post more than one, but here is the main body of my other query letter:

    In the quiet grasslands of Gailand lies the Queendom of Dun, home to the High Court and the divinely appointed Hand of Gaia, Queen Elise. The Ladies of Gailand and their warrior magicians, the Amazores, carry out the business of the Queendom within golden hallways filled with magic and knowledge, as they have since the ascension of Gaia to the Heavens.

    But beneath the gilded tiles of the High Court of Dun, an ancient threat slumbers. And even as the Queen enjoys precious moments with her son and her daughter, Viyella–the Spirit of Gaia and heir to the throne–political ambitions weave delicate webs of lies and manipulation. For Gailand is a world ruled by women and their magic, a world beholden to the Goddess Gaia and all her blessings. But there are some who do not worship the Goddess. There are some who do not accept Her rule. And the horror that sleeps beneath the Court is stirring…

    Soon, treachery will open the long hidden Nightward, the book of magic that even women fear to wield. Blood will flow along the darkened corridors of the High Court. And the fate of Gailand will rest with a reluctant young soldier and one powerful Amazores, who must find a way to protect a special child–the last hope of Gailand–from the ancient magic that hunts her.

    For if Gailand falls, other worlds fall with it…

  190. Jessica,
    Thanks for spending some of your holiday time with us!

    Courting the Pawn is a 101,000 word fantasy romance.

    Bound by his ancestor to restore the family power stone, and thus their land, Bryown learns the witch sent to guard him has been ordered to steal their crystal wand. He must rely on his one magical gift—jumping through space—and the help of his spectral ancestors to convince the beautiful but fiery witch Kel to break her master’s bond and help him, or kill her to fulfill his duty to his land and people.

  191. Detective Lew Dante is a survivor. As a child he survived the horrors of a Nazi death camp. In his long career as a police officer, he has survived the deadly force of numerous felons. Now he is facing an end to all that. He is retiring. And he is dying from terminal cancer. But before he turns in his badge, he is determined to solve what has become his most personal and dangerous homicide case. Someone is kidnapping twins. Their bodies are found weeks later in public areas, grotesquely posed and ritualistically mutilated.

    Haunted by his past and racked by ‘survivor syndrome,’ Dante’s investigation into the murders forces him to revisit the horrors of his youth. And as he delves deeper into the case, the insanity of the past comes full circle, and Dante is once again confronted by a powerful cabal that will stop at nothing to protect the killer, a twisted genius whose deadly motives are chillingly tied to that evil time.

  192. This is so nice of you! Thanks =D

    This pitch is basically what (in a few months or so), I’ll be sending out to agents. :X Comments and critiques from an agent beforehand is more than I could ever hope for, and the best Christmas surprise. Ever. *crosses fingers* Note that the title is a working one. I have yet to come up with a good one. :X This novel is a mixture of historical fiction, paranormal fiction, and mystery.

    Fifteen year old Kitty Hawkins, daughter to London’s most affluent widow, has a secret: she can talk to ghosts. On the morning of March 19th, 1743, England buzzes with the news of Lord William John Brinsley’s sudden suicide, but only Kitty knows that Lord Brinsley was murdered: he told her. Driven by a persistent spirit and compassion for his now disgraced family, Kitty becomes devoted to exposing the crafty criminal; however, what first appeared to be a simple quest of vengeance soon thrusts Kitty right into the middle of a terrible conspiracy, orchestrated by one of the most ancient sects of English society. Now, Kitty must utilize the only two tools she has: men’s clothing and her disgraceful unladylike intelligence, to uncover and expose this sinister plot before it destroys Lord Brinsley’s family, her, and all of [Great Britain]. However, there is only one major complication: she must protect her secret, or else she just may find herself stranded on the wrong side of one of London’s infamous witch hunts.

    KITTY HAWKINS AND A FIST OF FOX FIRE is a Young Adult novel finished at 80k words.

    Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  193. As luck would have it, I queried you just minutes before you announced your critique session. I would love to have known what you thought of my pitch before I sent it! I would still appreciate your insight, as it would help with future queries. Thanks!

    Nick Sanchez is emphatic about one thing: crime. Armed robberies, drugs, kidnappings, murder… these abominations ensnare him with their endorphin induced rushes. He is addicted to the dark underground world of corrupt criminals. His propulsion into this godless world comes not from bloodlust, but from his pledge to uphold justice.

    Through his work with the FBI, Special Agent Nick Sanchez’s life has become a hodgepodge of seedy associations and meetings with one low-life after another, all in efforts to uncover the mastermind of each unpardonable crime. Dark alleys and shady back-rooms and all the possible dangers contained therein do not stab fright into Agent Sanchez’s heart. But falling in love does.

    The Saving Race is a complete 104,000-word romantic mystery novel set in the panhandle of Idaho. When Agent Sanchez is sent to the area to investigate the disappearances of three women, he expects to solve the cases quickly and notably, enabling him to continue his arduous climb up the FBI’s career ladder. But instead, Agent Sanchez stumbles onto a radical religious sect whose white supremacist beliefs are based on a fictional account of Armageddon. Nearly as troubling to the man Nick Sanchez is the fact that his heart has tripped over love for the first time…a happenstance that places a harrowing labyrinth on his career path.

  194. Thirteen-year-old boys rarely go to hell. They rarely have to. But David Lowell does. One year after an accident killed David’s father and nearly killed David, his world begins to change. David has had epilepsy as long as he can remember, and the accident left him with other damage: he can no longer read. He’s sent to a school for children with special needs, but nobody can help him. Another seizure brings new medication, and soon there’s a problem. David is seeing shadows around certain people, and those people start to die. He can see a shadow around anyone who is due to die, a skill Death himself needs to find them. Death will chase David through Heaven and Hell, wanting to put him to work forever. David cheated Death once, and Death hates a cheater.

  195. Jessica, thank you so much for this opportunity. My fantasy, The Yellow Trolley, is approximately 13,000 words or 70 pages. It is currently being edited. I would appreciate any thoughts you have about the pitch.

    Marcia Keyser

    Matilda’s world is disintegrating: the classroom clock talks; a jellybean is devious; a recurring nightmare of two shadowy figures fighting haunts her dreams. She retreats into a dangerous part of her mind called Ceiling Land where she forgets everything. Neither her home nor her school offers her sanctuary: her home harbors frightening memories and her beloved Grandfather, her only friend, is not the same—he will never be the same again. Then her notebook comes to life with a frightening series of images: an evil sprite named Stitch who changes shapes with abandon, who hides his identity behind a mask but who somehow seems familiar, says the images show that she is to fight the Chimera—a beast with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and the tail of a dragon—and that she will die. Grandfather as he used to be comes for her on The Yellow Trolley, the trolley crashes on a strange land called Nowhere, huge white mounds turn into jellybeans that would crush them and an old man winds clocks backwards to give her more time.

  196. The six nerd gamer friends of the Sleepless Knights team expect the newest high-tech video game to be exciting and challenging, but they don’t anticipate it being so deceptive and deadly. SmackJack, CuteGirl, Slash, Doc, BiPolarBear and Bitz eagerly sign up to play the Virtual Assassin game, the first game to be played over the EYE-Net. The game is touted as being super realistic, a fantasy world projected over ordinary life. The game even includes pain for total realism and excitement.

    EYE-Net, 118,000 word science fiction

  197. Peregrine is a mining dragon, and an aging one. He lives side by side with the weasel-like Tillian, his hearing guide and best friend. Determined to live under his own power, Peregrine needs to learn to seperate Tillian’s life from his. But when a young mage, Rose, needs help to save her plague-striken village, that seperation comes sooner than Peregrine or Tillian could have imagined.

    http://climbthesky.blogspot.com

  198. Great fun, thanks!

    YA — dystopian

    Years after a series of diasters have wiped out most of the earth’s population, the only survivors now live in a part of Michigan now known as Mishca. They are divided into two groups: the Dornons, whose land is fertile enough to grow food, and the Outliers, who face starvation and the brutality of the police. For sixteen-year-old Paul, life is barely survivable. But he meets his fate when he illegally escapes to the Dornon’s land and discovers the food shortages are a guise to eliminate the Outliers. In order to save the Outliers from destruction he must fight both the police and the Dornons vicious leader.

  199. DARK MERCY—historical fiction 75,000 words

    Like a sloop battered by the storms that churn the North Sea near Marika’s home, she finds the course of her life destroyed by a pregnancy she didn’t intend and a marriage she did not want. As though these burdens weren’t enough, war catches up with Marika drawing her inescapably into dangerous relationships with the Dutch Resistance and a German officer.

    In Dark Mercy, Marika struggles to find the love she has always craved. But when she finally grasps it, it slips through her fingers and she ends up shouldering responsibilities she can’t bear. But Marika presses on through occupation, death, hunger, and fear to save the lives of her son and niece. When everything finally seems safe, the thing that Marika dreads most overtakes her, and she must strike back in order to survive. In the end, she discovers that dark mercy sustained her and gave her the love she desired.

  200. Paranormal Suspense

    Newlywed Cadence Marshall suddenly finds herself a widow, grieving alone with only her husband’s ashes for company. She is unaware that a mix-up by the funeral home is about to turn her self-imposed exile from life into a terrifying ordeal. The young widow struggles to maintain her sanity as she searches for an escape from the horror that has invaded her home before it’s too late.

  201. Thanks for doing this and on your vacation.

    Mallory Donovan’s ‘life is good’, world is thrust into the unknown of the mystical when she travels to Ireland to settle her deceased grandmother’s estate and learns she’s inherited the haunted Grayson castle. Unaware of the deadly blood spell placed on her family centuries ago, she encounters freezing mists, out of body experiences complete with an evil narrator, and messages warning her to leave or die. Add to that, her dead grandmother wants to carry on conversations from a video and she’s sure her next home will be an eight by ten padded room. Issues of trust are put to the test as Mallory must decide to stay and claim what is hers or leave the place to the evil inhabitant dooming the castle and its past to the blood spell forever.

    Trevor Riley, International Realtor, seals deals, big deals, not caring who he hurts along the way. His motto: wine them, dine them, gain their trust, but never become emotionally involved. And he thinks he’s just the man to schmooze the new owner, Mallory Donovan, into selling the estate. That is until she uncovers his motivation for lavishing so much attention on her. Now he’s caught between protecting a woman he hardly knows from the very place he wants to buy, leaving her on her own, making the deal of the century and losing the one love he’s always wanted.

    90K paranormal romance

  202. Thank you for taking the time to do this!

    Paul Harrison longs to play Hamlet, but he has no acting opportunities on the spaceship where he lives with his family. Each year, the spaceship passes through a wormhole to a parallel younger Earth in another universe, where time travelers harvest DNA and historical artifacts. After Paul’s mother is killed during leave on their own Earth, he is stunned to learn he is a product of the time travelers’ work: he is the clone of Sean Quinn, a legendary rock star who was murdered. Now Paul’s Great-Uncle Jack, so obsessed with Sean that he funded the cloning project, expects Paul to give up acting for music. Paul suspects his great-uncle arranged to have his mother murdered to awaken Paul’s musical gifts. He determines to trick a confession out of his great-uncle by impersonating Sean’s ghost. With only his acting skills and equipment, his friends, and an untested ability to make improbable events possible, Paul must escape the spaceship so he can meet Sean on the parallel Earth and create a realistic holo of him for Paul’s costume. If Paul can evade angry time travelers and Sean’s murderer on the parallel Earth, then he can face Great-Uncle Jack before he hurts someone else Paul loves.

  203. Sylvie was a pleaser. She did as her mother pleased and she did as her fiance pleased. Then she did as she pleased. Raised by a domineering mother, Sylvie doesn’t like the submissive woman she’s become. Determined to take back her life, she heads to the hills on the day she’s to wed. Coming across a quaint, country inn with an intriguing name, she impulsively checks into SERENDIPITY HOUSE. Peopled with an odd assortment of characters, the inn has clearly seen better days. Even the regulars have a bit of wear on them. Thus, when debonair Alex arrives and is strangely comfortable vacationing among the geriatric set, Sylvie finds it suspicious and does her best to ignore him. Not until she’s hired to manage the inn does she learn he’s not the pedigreed gentleman he purports to be, but a streetwise PI hired by her ex to find her. Adding insult to injury, he’s also the new owner of the inn.

  204. A mysterious wood, a growing evil, and secrets…

    When Ned Nasterdly unearths a centuries old dungeon in the Wysiwyg Wood, the lives of those in the Magical World will never be the same – and the evil may exude the boundaries into another realm.

    Stormy Reed thought himself fairly normal. But when the bizarre starts becoming the norm, an unknown creature attacks him, and three people disappear from the lake, Stormy finds himself at the center of it all. His world begins to fall apart as questions arise that he cannot answer. When he discovers a hidden cabin across the lake, he is left with secrets of his own, terrified, and fearing for his sanity.

    With the help of the Gatekeepers, Lionel and Eaglantine Griffin, Stormy will discover the truth about his life and a destiny he may not survive. Torn between the mortal world in which he lives and the Magical World from whence he came, Stormy realizes that his adventure is just beginning.

  205. Any feedback you could offer would be great!

    Growing up in a foster home nestled in an anonymous suburb of South Los Angeles, Cyrus Hart never expected much from himself. Sure, he has skin that fades to gray whenever he feels strong emotions, and strange miracles protect him anytime he’s faced with a threat, but does that make him special? Not if you consider his lackluster grades and inability to control his impulses. But then a magical book arrives via FedEx to let him in on a secret: Cyrus is the Hearth Tender, charged with protecting the flame that fuels all life on his home planet. Having the fate of a world in his hands does a lot to brighten his prospects. Now, if only he can deal with the local street thugs and find a way home….

    Complete at 90,000 words, Soul Sorcery, the first in a trilogy, is a unique amalgamation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy, and John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood.

  206. Would you tell people of your special gift if everyone you’ve ever loved rejected you?

    Empath, Jade Calhoun has never been successful in relationships. Hiding her ability has become second nature. But when forced by circumstance to rent a haunted apartment on Bourbon Street, she finds herself surrounded by an unlikely set of new friends. And attracted to Kane, a man no one’s mother would approve of.

    While the ghost haunts her day and night and Kane invades her dreams, Jade’s emotional radar works over time picking up more than she’s ready to handle. Unnerved by the haunting and her out of control hormones, Jade focuses and seeks help to rid the ghost from her life. And when the haunting extends to one her new friends, Jade takes charge and learns she is the one who must stop the ghost before her friend is lost forever.

    With secrets revealed and trusts broken, Jade needs to find a way to work with Kane to save her friend and hopefully along the way accept the love that’s waiting for her.

    Paranormal Romance 85K

  207. Sleeping on the COuch: A Novel

    Liz Gallagher survives a divorce of convenience, transfers her daughter and herself from a house to a studio apartment, and takes a full-time job, all within a few short weeks. She’s calm, she’s cool- she’s supermom. When her daughter Emma’s school burns down, she falters, but only for a moment; within days Emma transfers to a college prep high school on a full scholarship. Maybe this raising-a-teenager thing won’t be so bad! But Liz can’t compete when Emma’s new best friend, Alex, pulls her into a life of shopping sprees, ski trips, and Ivy League aspirations. Liz is tired of her impatient boss, tired of fending off her ex, tired of being the poor mom surrounded by wealthy parents. Tired of sleeping on the couch. When the Chambers ask Emma to move out of the studio apartment she shares with her mom and into their three-story mansion, Liz fears she may lose her already-distanced daughter completely.

  208. Thank you so much for running this pitch critique!

    Service of the Crown

    Sixteen-year-old Renee Milledy is about to get kicked out of the Realm’s top military Academy. Although she trains harder than anyone, she can no longer keep up with her stronger male classmates. And that’s only the start of her troubles. To make things worse, a bully is sabotaging her gear, her best friend is an illegal mage, and the new instructor, legendary swordsman Korish Savoy, seems intent on finding her breaking point.

    And then, everything turns upside-down.

    While protecting Renee in a turned-bad field assignment, Savoy falls captive to an underground organization. Athletic and experienced, he’s the perfect conscript for its illegal gladiator games. When the Academy turns a blind eye, it’s up to Renee and her friends to mount a rescue before he dies in the ring. But to succeed, she’ll have to do a lot more than find her teacher: she’ll need to leap from academia to Cater’s gang ridden streets, where weapons are real and referees don’t exist.

    Service of the Crown, an 81,000 word Young Adult Fantasy novel, fuses a coming-of-age story with an adventure quest. Ethical dilemmas sneak their way into the plot, discretely challenging the reader to weigh loyalty against law, safety against sovereignty. Audience who relish tales with strong female heroines, such as Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness and L.A. Meyer’s Bloody Jack Adventures, will enjoy Service of the Crown.

  209. Ginny Marie Holtzinger thought the job description sounded normal enough. WANTED: honest, hard worker able to deal with the day to day of hospitality industry and many curve balls. After the past year, Ginny thought she could deal with anything so long as it meant a job. Little did she know that ‘curve balls’ was meant in a more metaphysical than metaphorical sense.

    Daphne Ambrosia knows an honest soul when she sees one. Even if that soul is flustered and has no hospitality experience to speak of, a soul like Ginny’s is exactly what is needed to keep the Dark Horse Inn from falling apart at the seams.

    Employment and housing secure Ginny starts to relax when everything begins going wrong. Daphne skips town and leaves Ginny in charge of the inn, its demanding guests, and stopping local hellions determined to do her a mischief. And to top it off the inn is plagued by storms – only what’s falling from the sky isn’t water. With Daphne gone, Ginny’s only help is the wizard/handyman/resident pain in the ass, and a cat who dispenses cryptic advice – a week prior and Ginny would have thought a talking cat was the weird part, but that was before she met the guests and life started getting stranger than fiction.

  210. In “Shattered Lens,” Catherine Winter is sucked into the dark and dirty shadows of Hollywood’s entertainment elite when her investigation into the stalking of two young print models becomes distorted and out of focus. Murder, pornography, illicit drugs, and blackmail color the view in Catherine’s determined search for truth.

    Thanks, Jessica for any comments.

  211. When a stranger dressed in the remnants of a Confederate uniform rides up seeking water for his travel-weary horse, Maggie McCormac greets him with a shotgun. She’s seen too many strangers on the Four Eights lately and all of them have been bad news, thanks to her late husband’s no-good, if genteel, brother. Ethan McCormac wants both the Texas ranch and its widow, and Maggie is determined he’ll own neither one. Of course, hanging onto the spread with the help of only her fourteen-year-old daughter and the handful of saddle tramps Ethan hasn’t run off or killed is more of a challenge than even Maggie’s checkered past prepared her to handle. Maybe the man with the startlingly blue eyes and the cultured Southern manner is the answer to a prayer.

  212. Thanks for offering to critique some of these, Jessica! Happy holidays

    One mistake three years ago, and Noah Cole’s life imploded. Today, he’s still in the protection business, providing private security for corporate executives in Baghdad, and he hasn’t slipped up since. Until Kenneth Acheson is snatched from his fingertips and Cole finds himself reliving the same nightmare — searching, begging, praying that this time, what he finds won’t be a mangled body. When Cole’s search leads him to a reporter who’s keeping more secrets than she’s telling, who might just hold the key to both cases, he’s willing to sacrifice anything to redeem himself and find the truth — even the pretty reporter who’s somehow worked his way her way into his heart.

  213. Happy holidays, Jessica.

    An unlikely partnership between a man who writes briefs and a woman who sells them becomes seriously sexy business when she retains him as her lawyer…and her lover.

    Roxanne Eberly opens a lingerie boutique, hell bent on success after childhood learning disabilities earned her the label of “Least Likely to Succeed.” When she’s sued by a former employer, Roxanne seeks help from Jamie Wright, an attorney with ambitions of becoming his law firm’s youngest partner. Unfortunately, the firm has an unwritten rule about the prerequisite for partnership—a suitable spouse. Jamie’s career is jeopardized because the only woman he wants is Roxanne, and neither she nor his firm believes a woman who peddles panties and prophylactics is a good match for a prominent urban attorney.

  214. Murder is a dirty business, as baby boomer Cecelia “Sissy” Cavanaugh is about to find out. Her cushy lifestyle is on the verge of collapse after her husband leaves her for his sexy, young assistant. Sissy has two options: take a handout from her manipulative mother-in-law or get a job.

    When investigators name her daughter’s friend, Kim, as a murder suspect, Sissy unknowingly hires on to clean the crime scene. After a few false starts, she embarks on a mission to find evidence that will clear Kim. Along the way, she bumps heads and hearts with an attractive and very eligible detective.

    MURDER IS A DIRTY BUSINESS, explores how a pampered woman learns self-reliance on a personal and emotional level while learning that crime does indeed pay.

  215. Jessica,

    I really appreciate this. I’ve learned so much already.

    Here is the pitch to my YA Fantasy novel,
    Isis has spent her whole life wanting to be normal. Until she is assigned a history project with Dane who is convinced that she is gifted, and draws Isis out of her normal world. Dane introduces Isis to a world of two magical groups, each vying for control of the other. She finds the explanation for the strange events of her childhood and a place where she may fit in. Then Isis’s cousin, Kalli, shows up to recruit her for the other side, and Isis finds herself in the midst of a battle with herself as the prize. Isis’s powers go beyond the extraordinary, and the fate of both groups rests entirely in her decision.

  216. “Go Small or Go Home”, commercial women’s fiction, 84,000 words

    Tess, a massage therapist and aspiring artist of miniature dioramas, takes a job massaging stressed but attractive hockey star Forrest. Her art career soars thanks to Forrest’s gallery-owning mother, but her creativity plummets under the weight of rules and deadlines, and soon she’s losing the freedom and joy she’d always found in her art. Tess must decide whether having the career she longs for is worth losing doing her art her way, or whether somehow she can have both at once.

    Thanks for doing this!

  217. Hi Jessica,
    Thanks for doing these – reading your critiques has been extremely helpful!

    Nowhere to Run, Romantic Suspense, 96,000 words:

    Noah Cole is an expert at protecting people – except that one mistake, three years ago, which still haunts him in quiet moments. But his careful attempts to move past it implode when his corporate executive client is snatched from his fingertips. Cole finds himself reliving the same nightmare, once again in the position of searching, begging, praying that what he finds this time will not be a mangled body. When his search leads him to a reporter who’s keeping more secrets than she’s telling – who might hold the key to both cases – he’ll sacrifice anything to expose one corporation’s greed. But in his search for redemption, what he’s required to sacrifice might just be the pretty reporter who has somehow sneaked her way into his heart.

  218. Twenty-three-year-old Maive feels lost when her life-loving father dies. Inspired by his memory, she decides to live her dream of traveling and find a better life as a flight attendant at small, low paying airline in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Maive spends a few months traveling, dating and living an American dream of a wanderer. Things seem to go perfectly until a plane crash leaves a man dead in her arms. The crash forces her to realize she hasn’t gotten over her father’s death and that she feels even more lost than when she left home.

    In a panic, she leaves for New Jersey and sets off on a dangerous path that puts her spirit and, eventually, her life at stake.

    Women’s Fiction: 90,000 words

  219. William Colegrove should be dead but instead will now live for forever with abilities that should be impossible.

    Following a near fatal attack, William is able to do things that should be impossible. His body is changed but he has no idea what he has changed into. But when these new abilities cause him to nearly kill his younger brother he is forced to leave his home and everything he knows and loves to try and figure out what he has become. Along the way he is forced into the task of assassinating the crowned Prince of England and eventually meets a strange child who seems to know his future and the terrible things that it holds. He comes to learn that he has become an Ever, one of a small population of beings who never sleep, never eat, move at impossible speeds, have unlimited strength, are nearly indestructible, and most importantly, live forever. In essence he has become the epitome of perfection without limitations or restrictions. But can he come to terms with this new life or will he destroy himself from the inside out?

    Ever Burning is a 72,000 word Fantasy.

  220. Jessica,

    Thank you for the opportunity to see if my pitch could intrigue an agent to ask for more.

    This is for a young middle-grade (tween?) novel:

    Once the top dancer in her Nevada ballet class, aspiring ballerina Melissa, 10, now faces a new dance studio, a new school, a new life in Southern California. At the new studio, Melissa encounters a rival unlike anyone she’s met before: eleven-year-old Jade. Jade’s dances with grace and skill, which bolster her stuck-up attitude. By accident, Melissa bumps into Jade during a simple exercise, and Jade tells her off. Melissa tries to be her friend, but Jade mocks Melissa’s training . When the teacher’s back is turned, Jade trips Melissa on purpose. Jade’s snide comments are accompanied by their classmates’ laughter. Angered, Melissa vows to outshine her rival whenever possible.
    Then their teacher challenges both to tryout for a solo at the upcoming recital. For the winner, it’s a spot onstage to shine. For the loser, she’ll be one among the twenty in a class dance. This tryout could be Melissa’s chance to settle the question of who is best.

  221. Contemporary western with strong romantic elements:

    Brit Moonchaser is a loaded gun without a safety. Rancher Em Roark doesn’t need to see the scars that crisscross his skin to be reminded how dangerous he can be. When the Apache reappears ten years after she fired him, she can’t help being chilled by memories of the hair-trigger temper that sent him to an Arizona prison, and Em just doesn’t need the aggravation. Her late brother’s family is pressuring her to sell Ghost Shadow Ranch, the Roarks’ declining legacy, just when she’s most confused about her relationship with her childhood sweetheart, who’s now the local sheriff.

    As Brit’s brutal history catches up with him, the echoes sweep all of them into a desert whirlwind that may never settle. Ghosts of the past and treachery in the present threaten their lives and futures while pitting two determined men against each other, one haunted man against himself, and one tough, independent woman against both of them.

    Thanks for giving us this opportunity! 🙂

  222. When Jake, a blue collar politician from Wisconsin, discovers his family went bankrupt because of his wife’s uncle—a veteran Senator—he decides the only way to get even is to run for Senate against him and his wife’s wishes. Victory seems possible when Jake’s best friend, Grant Emerson, a blue-blooded businessman- turned political reporter receives a tip about the corrupt Senator that could ruin his career. However, when Jake’s wife delivers him a delicate ultimatum and Grant follows his tip to a foreign country and a surprising end, Jake is forced to reevaluate his lifelong dream, cherished friendship, and beloved family and decide: Will he become the man he should be or remain the man he wants to be?

  223. “No hablo ingles sufficiente!” Carlos tells his aunt. Carlos has just arrived in Wisconsin and has very little English How will Carlos, a native Spanish speaker, learn English fast enough to understand a new soccer coach and teammates as he tries out for the local team?. His family is no help at all. His sister is lost in her own world as she prepares for her Quincinera. Alberto and Alejandro, his four year old twin brothers cause chaos everywhere they go. His father is too busy with his new landscaping business to help Carlos and expects Carlos to help with the family household duties. Carlos finds a new friend in Kong, another non English speaker on the soccer team. Join Carlos and Kong as together they embark on a journey not only to learn English, but to find their place on the soccer team.
    Lisa Endicott 2008

  224. A man who thinks he’s losing his soul meets a man who has.

    Detective Michael Bailey is a ruined man. He can’t escape the murders that took place under his watch years ago, the hellhound that mutilates his nights, or a man possessed by a forgotten god who threatens the city.

    As new murders occur that echo the past and strange storms threaten to destroy his city, Michael Bailey’s salvation may rest with the last of the Norse gods.

  225. The Green Dragoon – Historical Fantasy – 94,000 words

    Antiques seller and genealogist Lena Grève is none too happy to find herself in 1776 New Jersey, caught in the crosshairs of guerrilla warfare between the Continentals and the British in the dead of winter with a cranky time-traveler and no parka.

    Malcolm, the temperamental, era-hopping Traveler who’s forcing Lena to tag along so that he can collect a crown land grant from her ancestors, follows no rules but those he chooses to, and he’s the least of her worries. Their afternoon jaunt into the eighteenth century results in victory for the British in the American Revolution.

    One rule Malcolm does follow: you break it, you fix it.

    She and Malcolm must race against time to prevent one British dragoon from murdering one of his fellow officers, the pivotal event their actions set in motion four years earlier. But they’d better work fast, before unjust laws and the ruthless dragoon’s machinations trap Lena in the past forever…

  226. Memoir: Foreigner, Auntie

    They say you never forget your first love. For me, I never forgot that first Chinese pictograph I fell in love with: 家. This character, meaning home, shows a roof over the ancient Chinese representation for pig. In ancient China, every home had a pig. These few brushstrokes reveal the essence of “home” in a way no phonetic language ever could.

    I determined that one day I would live in this culture whose language allowed me a portal into ancient China. This I finally did in 2006, taking along my husband and three young children, one of whom we had adopted from China.

    Our family landed in Tai’an, a small city nestled in the countryside about midway between Beijing and Shanghai. We had to navigate the bookend levels of China’s education system: my husband and I teaching at the local university facing classrooms of quiet students who rarely raised their hands, and our three creative, independent (and loud) American children chafing in their kindergarten, the first rung in society’s efforts to ensure conformity.

    But my first love was the Chinese language, which I studied assiduously. As I made progress in the language, I finally got the confidence to contact the peasant family who fostered our daughter before we adopted her, and get to know these people who had loved her before we did. I was also able to communicate on a deeper level with our beloved doorman/super/minder. And to discover that he was an anti-aircraft gunner shooting down American planes in Vietnam, at the very time my father served in Vietnam flying in those very planes. Each new pictograph I learned opened up the culture, but also the people, until China itself became my “home.”

  227. Thanks for the opportunity, Jessica.

    While bedding 90 women in 90 days may seem an ambitious goal to even the most dedicated ladies man, Anthony Blaise is up to the challenge, and in fact surpasses his ego-driven objective. The real fun, however, begins almost five years later when Blaise—ready to settle down with a devoted fiancé who shares his aversion to children—is methodically, and independently, confronted by 30 of his former conquests, each claiming him as the father of her four-year-old darling.

    Who’s Your Mommy? chronicles the hilarious exploits of an unabashed womanizer as he is yanked, scratching and clawing, into unexpected fatherhood(s) and realizes that it’s all fun and games until 30 women get pregnant.

    Peace,

    Dennis

  228. It all began, as things often do in Italy, with a bottle of wine. One small verbal faux pas in a restaurant becomes the life-changing moment for the protagonist, an American woman on an unexpected and unwanted vacation in Italy. Not even aware that she was in desparate need of a life, she finds one in la bella Italia anyway, with the help of an old man in a castle, a fisherman, a banker, a girl with purple lips, a guy she’s seen only on a webcam, and others.

    Taking place primarily in the rural hills of Tuscany and an enchanting little village on a lake, as well as other locations in Italy that her travels bring her to, the book is a story of the little moments, mystical, sublime, and magical, that can transform us if we allow them to.

    Part travelogue, part love story, told in a series of vignettes, each of which is a lovely story unto itself, not unlike in the film Love Actually, we eventually see that the characters and short stories are intertwined together, woven together, and they create a beautiful new tapestry of a life for her.

    Written in both English and Italian, semi-autobiographical, life, love, learning.

    Thank You!

  229. You Don’t Know Who You’re F@#king With: One Family’s Brush with Terror details my family’s very real ordeal with our former landlords who have ties to Hamas, a known terrorist organization. Though the father/son duo’s illegal activities, and subsequent convictions, have been recounted in various newspapers, most of the published information is superficial, and does not reflect the fear these two men evoked in our community.

    You Don’t Know Who You’re F@#king With ¬– the title is a phrase the son often used and it turns out he was correct – will grab and entertain readers with true experiences, from the moment I unwittingly signed a blank lease in August 1999, through the ugly, often scary eviction process, to my nervous testimony in federal court regarding the 42-count indictment charging the men with conspiracy, bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, Social Security fraud, insurance fraud, money laundering, failure to file income tax returns and being felons in possession of firearms and ammunition. In addition, the son was later convicted of attempting to bribe a juror, and specific documents and testimony suggest both men encouraged terrorist activity.

    Truthfully, I waited until now to develop this project out of concern for my family’s safety. Now that these men are in federal prison for at least eight years and likely face eventual deportation, I feel compelled to finally tell this story.

  230. This is a pitch for SHIMMER, the YA novel I’ll be sending out to agents in the New Year (BTW, I’m a British writer and wish, wish, wish UK agents would do blog pitch critiques like this too. Thanks for the opportunity!) :

    Watching a horse gallop down a deserted shopping centre wasn’t quite how Tori Hamilton imagined spending the first hour of her sixteenth birthday. When the horse begins to shimmer and, moments later, is replaced by a boy, all thoughts of her sixteenth birthday disappear.

    SHIMMER tells the story of a young girl whose life changes when she meets Cam Chase, a shapeshifter who can morph into any person or animal he comes into contact with. As Tori falls in love with Cam, she finds out more about the world of shapeshifters, including the difficulties he faces when trying to control his abilities – there’s nothing like morphing into your girlfriend’s dad to ruin the moment! Events start spiralling out of control when Tori discovers her father works for Altus, the Government agency that seeks to capture shapeshifters. With Altus fast on their heels, Tori and Cam go on the run to the atmospheric Isle of Skye cottage owned by Cam’s parents. Their journey and the time they spend at the cottage will test their relationship and Cam’s abilities as Altus finally catches up with them…

  231. George Armstrong Custer once seemed invincible. Fearless, victorious, at twenty four they called him America’s Napoleon. But the Civil War’s been finished for years, and, fallen on harder times, the general faces a life of obscurity. His final chance for greatness is a crushing win over the Sioux.

    Opposing him is tribal chief Crazy Horse, an inward, quiet, yet ferocious warrior with a pledge to revenge a dead brother. Between Crazy Horse and Custer is the aging Chief Red Cloud, who bears ridicule and shame to forge a third way of peace and compromise.

    Little Big Horn is one part historical fiction, one part myth. Characters visit with the ghosts of the dead, pray to and get guidance from angels, and also battle rivers, winds and seasons in a haunted western landscape. All the while, they march inexorably to the 1876 battle, where the future of both nations will be cast.

    In the last measure, it’s a story of one man’s unquenchable ambition, and the joy and grief it leaves in its wake.

    Little Big Horn, historical fiction, 90,000 words

  232. Rome, 382 A.D. When incurably inquisitive Cellina, daughter of a pagan senator and his Christian wife, begins her studies with the fiery, irascible future Saint Jerome, little does she know the curriculum will include conspiracy and death. For Jerome’s new patron is Bishop Damasus of Rome, a man stained with innocent blood. Or so his enemies say.

    In the wake of Jerome’s arrival from the deserts of the East, an old feud over the bishop’s succession bubbles to the surface. Damasus receives threatening letters. An archdeacon is slain. Sixteen years after the deadly riots that marked his election, the Bishop senses his old foes at work and orders Jerome to investigate. When Cellina discovers her father’s secretary delivering secret messages to the bishop’s palace, Jerome has the clue he needs to unravel the conspiracy. But now Cellina fears her curiosity will cost her father his position in the Senate–and perhaps even his life.

    WINDS FROM THE EAST (81,000 words) is a historical mystery that will appeal to fans of Sharan Newman and Alan Gordon.

  233. FRANNIE FREEMAN, a software training specialist for Harper & Lyttle, Inc. with a penchant for embarrassing, public mishaps and no filter between brain and mouth, is in love with her boss SAM, who is married to the vile MALIA (aka Malaria). When Sam suddenly confesses that he believes he was roofied the night he married Malia, Frannie can’t believe her luck. And you know what they say: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A quick divorce seems the ticket. But Malia doesn’t want one, and she’ll do anything to stop Sam from filing—even blackmail her own father, the HARPER of Harper & Lyttle. Desperate to save his hide, Harper charges into the situation and lays down ultimatums. If Sam files anyway or if he and Frannie leave the company to escape the ultimatum, Frannie will be accused of sabotaging important, expensive software and Harper will make sure that the only bars she’ll see for many years won’t be offering tequila. Frannie makes a desperate gamble to win her man. And if along the way she learns about extending forgiveness and risking everything to follow her heart, just call it a healthy dose of quinine.

    OFFICE POLITICS is women's fiction and is complete at 72,600 words.

  234. I’m sorry your holiday plans fell through! Thanks so much for doing this!


    Frank Birch lost his sister in the first night of the London Blitz–and he lost his arm trying to protect her. Months later, he only wants to spend his days drunk in an Anderson shelter until some German shell inevitably ends it all.

    Then he finds Albreda, waifish and shell-shocked in the ruins of St. Aubrey’s church. She has no home to return to…and she claims she’s here to kill a man. She’s crazy, of course. But as a trail of murder and torment come closer and closer to home, Frank must confront impossible darkness–and decide what he will sacrifice to stop it.

  235. Gina Slater always expected her sins to catch up with her. She just didn’t know it would be today.

    All Gina wants is to get out of town before the New Year’ Eve wedding between her ex-boyfriend and evil half-sister. There’s only one problem – the bracelet she stole to help finance her trip won’t come off her wrist. Turns out the bracelet is more than a pretty piece of silver – it’s a tag used to identify demons. As the daughter of a serial killer Gina isn’t exactly surprised to find out that she might be less than human, however the truth turns out to be more complicated than this. Now with the handsome half-demon creator of the tag trying to protect her, the woman who took over Hell trying to kill her, and Christian demon-fighters wanting to remove her left eye to save her – Gina needs to find out what is going on and who she can trust if she’s going to live to see the new year.

  236. Mercy’s not just another combat pilot in the Commonwealth civil war. She’s a telepath – an outlawed Talent she has to keep secret, or she’ll be exiled from the very civilization she’s fighting to save. Everyone knows exile is a death sentence–or they did, until the ship Mercy’s stationed on finds a lost, derelict vessel. As it turns out, the Nemesis is crewed by pirates now, descendants of the men and women exiled centuries ago for the very Talent Mercy possesses. And they’ve been looking for her.

    Mercy’s the missing granddaughter of their dead Queen, last in a line of powerful telepathic women, wiped out by a deadly virus that only attacks the Talented. Now, she’s meeting a family she never knew she had. But half of her new ‘cousins’ want to use her, and the other half, to kill her. Worse, her own government is responsible for unleashing the virus on the pirates, in a deliberate attempt at genocide that may still succeed. Mercy has to choose a side. Either she helps the pirates take what – and who – they need to survive, or she remains loyal to the Commonwealth that wants them destroyed. Mercy doesn’t know who to trust. And on a ship full of telepaths, secrets are the most dangerous currency.

    ~~

    Thanks!

  237. hi there

    Just a day or so ago you were kind enough to comment on a query I sent you.

    So I thought I would rewrite and see if I could do a better job!

    thanks for doing this Jessica…I am learning a lot regardless of whether my pitch is chosen.

    Redemption: Psychological Thriller

    Ian Templeton, Psychologist and Profiler knows the “accidental” deaths of child abusers are the work of a serial killer. First he has to convince the police; then he has to find a killer who leaves no evidence and is different from any killer he has come across before. His insights suggest the killer has his “day job” of killing freed criminals — and a more perverse, personal type of killing. And Ian’s desperate plan to catch the killer makes him the next target for the killer’s personal kill list.

    now, one of the difficulties I am having writing a pitch is that the book is in Ian’s voice AND in the killer’s voice, so I thought I would try a pitch showing the killer as the main character instead…would welcome your thoughts on this!

    Cathy Williams has always believed in doing the right thing; being a good person. When she was 10, she killed her mother, made her own favourite packed lunch, and had a great day at school. When she was 18, she watched her rapist fall under a subway train and die. But doing the right thing is killing her, along with too many other people, and she can’t find a way to stop. Only Ian Templeton can help her. But he is the profiler trying to catch her. And she can’t allow that to happen…

  238. Sheri J
    Swan Song

    Lily March has hit a plateau in her life. It isn’t until she takes the advice of her psychologist friend and begins journaling that she falls off her plateau and into the destined journey she’s been avoiding since 1940. She will not die, she refuses to love her own kind, is running from her past, and has dreamt of her own swan song ever since—until she meets Sam. Life is better, but conflicted…she is a monster among humans and Sam, well, he’s human. Ignoring rules and guidelines, Lily releases her still heart until her past finds her again. A past that not only threatens to destroy Lily, but also the man she has come to love.

  239. Burdened since birth, after a lifetime of trauma and plagued with haunting visions of children that could never be hers, the real challenge began as Somer Brisko is taken to the Land of Molior; her role in a horrific fable is revealed. She is destined to become the Maiden of the Song, her gift, her pain, her demise the lands will stand.

    Maiden of the Song, is a fantasy fiction tale involving a young woman named Somer who is forced to evolve from high school adolescence to battle worn woman of grace and mother of the future king of Molior. Somer had been injured at a very young age that robbed her of the right to bare children. As she enters womanhood strange things begin to happen that results in the arrival of a magical land called Molior. Written towards mature teen and adult readers, the story has nice character progression and action that will keep readers interested. Completed work includes 136,000 words.

    Thrown into a hostile environment without warning, Somer must survive as her reality collapses. Her unconscious body lies waiting to be discovered in the real world, the new Somer emerges in a strange land, full of breath-taking magic and terrifying creatures. Could the visions that had been driving her insane, now be considered a sign? She wonders now while standing before the enormous castle gates to the City of Molior. Two weeks ago, Somer would have laughed at the idea of having children now, but as her new companion named Krojac, whom looked very much like a frog, escorted her to see his King, Somer was not certain of anything.

  240. I am sorry if I wasn’t supposed to post a second time. I am finding this exercise so interesting and helpful whether I get critiqued or not but I would appreciate any thoughts about the pitch.

    My fantasy, The Yellow Trolley, is in process. I see it as Young Adult but it has gotten very dark so what it is exactly I’m not sure.

    Marcia Keyser

    Matilda’s world is terrifying: the classroom clock talks; her home harbors frightening memories and a recurring nightmare of two shadowy figures fighting haunts her dreams. Grandfather, her only friend, is not the same, he will never be the same again. She retreats into a dangerous part of her mind where she forgets everything. Then her notebook comes to life with a frightening series of images. An evil sprite named Stitch says the images show that she is to fight a beast called the Chimera and that she will die. Grandfather as he used to be comes for her on The Yellow Trolley, the trolley crashes on a strange place called Nowhere and an old man winds clocks backwards to give her more time.

  241. Jessica, this is a great Holiday treat. Thank you.

    When Alex and his two brothers decide they have had enough and must run away, they get some much-needed help from a half man, half black dragon and a grumpy deteriorating house fairy. That is only the start of Alex’ battle as he enters his new friend’s world and must learn to accept help from others and what being a friend really means.

  242. Tarrah Mann was fathered by a Demon and her human family has spent the last eighteen years making sure she never forgets it. When she finally escapes from the torture and captivity she quickly learns surviving in the real world isn’t that easy. Whether by luck, or the Creator’s divine intervention, Tarrah meets Zoë, a petty thief with a soft spot for runaways. Zoë takes Tarrah in and the two of them become fast friends as Zoë trains Tarrah in the ‘art’ of thievery. Unfortunately, Tarrah’s family, both Demon and human, have hunted her down. Now, Tarrah must decide whether she fights for her new life and friends, putting everyone at risk, or runs, knowing if she starts running now she’ll never be able to stop.

  243. Until she opens a door to see a man being strangled, Susanna Shepherd’s worst fear had been the embarrassment her inadequate Polish was sure to cause her. It is summer’s end, 1992, in Krakow, where Susanna is beginning her first week as a Fulbright Scholar. Elated to have won the appointment and cautiously optimistic about the attentions of fellow Fulbrighter Arthur Michaels, she conscientiously sets out for the language lab but spends the evening instead being interviewed by Inspector Skurzak. He makes her his chief suspect. Polish jails are still notorious. Determined to clear both her name and the reputation of the Fulbright venture, Susanna is about to learn that working for mutual understanding among nations can open closed doors on Cold War nightmares, on family vengeance, and on corrupting capitalistic ventures.

  244. Pseftis cared for Leonard the way a candyman in a blacked out van cared for the souls of eight year olds. Praeses, however, genuinely care for Leonard, his wife, and their newborn child – not just as proof of his father’s claim that was previously validated via a previous “object of hostility.” Leonard knew nothing of the existence of Praeses and Pseftis, only the Answer Ladies (later to be dubbed the Crossing Guards and then the Bailiffs) who, in their perfect sense of timing, had shown up at his door one Saturday morning with mouths full of blinding truths that would persuade him to pull the P99 out of his that morning. The duplicitous act of opening a door for the Answer Ladies brought Praeses and Pseftis into his life, and the gun would spend every other day set to safety after that. Every other day until he was tested by way of the death of Leigh, their six week old daughter. Praeses knew the death was coming, he knew that Pseftis would use the oldest trick in the book, the Trojan Horse of a newborn child’s death to break apart a family, a truth, and more importantly, a man and his post-natal faith in something he recognized as God.

  245. Jessica has always found it easier to run than face any problems. So, when her life went sour, she decided to get away from her family, friends and the place she grew up, and once dreamed of living. When she needs to return home due to her beloved father being diagnosed with a terminal illness, she gets swallowed into a deep hole of new and old issues. From her sick father, a terrible relationship with her mother, that damn bartender who makes her feel a way she never wanted to again and the guy that seems to have caught her mothers eye, she just wants to run and hide, but knows it is time to grow up and face her issues.

  246. Sure, they’d have to fool the press, the international art community and eight million New Yorkers–but it was only a little hoax. Until someone died.

    On a lark, Margaux Williams, a struggling artist in New York City, agreed to her a crazy idea from an old friend, Fredrick. Their art hoax would be a good laugh and she’d get her career off the ground. But Margaux soon discovers that their hoax wasn’t Fredrick’s first such scheme–and his last fraud just got an old friend kidnapped.

    The only likely suspect is Fredrick–who happens to be sleeping on Margaux’s couch. But without proof, will Margaux be able to convince the police before she becomes Fredrick’s next victim?

  247. Thank you so much for doing this!

    In my parents’ hometown during the Revolutionary War, thirteen women and their children were alone, with no men or guns, when they learned that General John Burgoyne and his army of seven thousand fully trained, fully armed men marched toward them. They escaped, barefoot, over the mountains of Vermont south to meet up with Colonel Seth Warner’s regiment and their town’s militia. The main character, the town’s midwife, leads her people during this two month period that encompasses the Battles of Hubbardton and of Bennington.

    Laura

  248. Thanks so much for this opportunity, Jessica! And happy new year!

    Kristan

    ###

    THE GOOD DAUGHTERS

    At the request of her sister Grace, sculptor Madeline Chen reluctantly puts her career on hold and returns to Houston to help care for the mother who disowned her. But Madeline brings with her an all-consuming grief for her late husband — grief in the form of a vengeful spirit named Gui. As her mother’s health deteriorates, and Grace’s marriage falters, Madeline must decide whether to stay and help the loved ones who renounced her, or to put herself and her career first. Only one choice will satisfy Gui, and he’s willing to do anything to make sure Madeline obeys.

  249. Your feedback would be invaluable to me. Thanks!

    Growing up in a foster home nestled in an anonymous suburb of South Los Angeles, Cyrus Hart never expected much from himself. Sure, he has skin that fades to gray whenever he feels strong emotions, and strange miracles protect him anytime he’s faced with a threat, but does that make him special? Not if you consider his lackluster grades and inability to control his impulses. But then a magical book arrives via FedEx to let him in on a secret: Cyrus is the Hearth Tender, charged with protecting the flame that fuels all life on his home planet. Having the fate of a world in his hands does a lot to brighten his prospects. Now, if only he can deal with the local street thugs and find a way home….

    Complete at 90,000 words, Soul Sorcery, the first in a trilogy, is a unique amalgamation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Nix’s Abhorsen Trilogy, and John Singleton’s Boyz N the Hood.

  250. Katie’s life was slow and uneventful. Until one misty night when she was spirited away into the very game that she played to indulge her love of all things spooky. Where she found herself was a far cry from the safe board game of GhostHunt, where the ghosts and vampires were only on playing cards. Trapped in a world of werewolves, witches and undead creatures Katie had to become more daring and resourceful that she has ever been before. Winning a real life game of GhostHunt in this strange and dangerous world of haunted mansions, grave yards, ghosts and monsters was her only way home.

  251. Sooner or later I’ll get it right.

    What do you get when Dirty Harry lives in a Seinfeld world? Monterey Madness.

    Seeing the world from the outside gives the detective a perspective he never knew existed. His old obnoxious PI buddy solicits the help of a lesbian client, who gets help from a dominatrix girlfriend who uses the inside track of a submissive transvestite police bureaucrat. Together these unruly and social misfits help detective Shaw get to the bottom of what nobody else could find. Powerful people can pull big strings, but nothing stops a friend from saving your ass.

  252. Jessica, thank you for sharing your time and expertise. I really need some suggestions!

    ISLANDERS, 55,000-word tween novel

    When Adelaide Jones falls overboard and washes up on the shore of an island in the Bermuda Triangle, the once-shy boarding school misfit discovers a mysterious land where dodo birds still exist, a misplaced celebrity hides from fame, and a crush-worthy boy struggles with an identity crisis even worse than her own. When the island’s isolated society and whale colony on which it depends are threatened, Adelaide pushes her insecurities aside to prove what a teenage wallflower armed with new friends and a shot of self-confidence can do. But it isn’t until her troubled past follows her to the island that Adelaide must make the ultimate choice–remain hidden in paradise, or return and embrace her true life.

  253. I hope I’m not too late, but more than that – I hope I’m in the right place!

    Thank you, so much.

    Raising the neighbors’ feral orphan is a challenge, but Samantha Selby isn’t anxious to relinquish custody to Matt Logan when he says he’s the father of the child, Alexandria, who had been abducted nine years before. To prove his claim, Matt describes the orphan’s unique birthmark of clustered stars and a crescent moon. Samantha cannot dispute his claim, nor can she have authorities intervene because she buried the neighbors’ bodies thinking they were the parents.

    She keeps the accidental deaths and the child’s existence secret because it’s the only way she can teach the child some basic life skills. Otherwise, Samantha fears the girl will be deemed insane and placed in an institution with no chance of recovery. Matt’s sudden appearance threatens her future with the girl she had grown to love.

    In the completed 75,000-word women’s fiction, The Stars and the Moon, Samantha and Matt are united in a single goal to civilize Alexandria. First confusing Matt’s professed love with gratitude, Samantha learns that he means it when he digs up the bodies and places them in their shack before torching it to erase evidence that she’d been there. Additionally, he saves her from the neighbors’ demented son seeking to recover Alexandria whom he had abducted and left with his parents’ while he served prison time for murder. At the funeral of the twice buried, once cremated couple, Samantha sees the irony – she saved Alexandria from an institution and Matt saved her from incarceration.

  254. Happy New Year!
    Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Middle aged, and in denial of a severe depression with post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, Nyima tries to dodge the dark cloud that has followed her from the East Coast to the West. Homeless again, she holds up in a motel retracing her experiences in California as she tries to restore stability. Up until now her faith in God has kept her from taking desperate measures, but now her faith is losing ground fast as she contemplates whether to push forward or step back. Meanwhile she’s haunted by previews of a recurrent nightmare threatening the reawakening of her repressed past.

    Woman’s Fiction – 85,814 words

  255. Happy New Year!
    Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Middle aged, and in denial of a severe depression with post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, Nyima tries to dodge the dark cloud that has followed her from the East Coast to the West. Homeless again, she holds up in a motel retracing her experiences in California as she tries to restore stability. Up until now her faith in God has kept her from taking desperate measures, but now her faith is losing ground fast as she contemplates whether to push forward or step back. Meanwhile she’s haunted by previews of a recurrent nightmare threatening the reawakening of her repressed past.

    Woman’s Fiction – 85,814 words

  256. Happy New Year!
    Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Middle aged, and in denial of a severe depression with post traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, Nyima tries to dodge the dark cloud that has followed her from the East Coast to the West. Seven years later and homeless again, she holds up in a motel retracing her experiences in California as she tries to restore stability. Up until now her faith in God has kept her from taking desperate measures, but now her faith is losing ground fast as she contemplates whether to push forward or step back. Meanwhile she’s haunted by previews of a recurrent nightmare threatening the reawakening of her repressed past.

    Woman’s Fiction – 85,814 words

  257. I am highly pleased with your writing abilities as well as while using framework for a site. Is this fact your compensated design or even have you customize that by yourself? Anyways remain inside the wonderful high quality producing, it is really rare to see an incredible site like this one these days.

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