The pitch contest is here!
Let us get to it.
Writers, are you ready?

For those of you who are just joining the Alley today, well, you picked a lovely day to stop by! Agent (with ADA management group) and author Lauren Hammond is judging a pitch contest. You can find out more about Lauren at ADA Management and at her website. 
For more information, check out our announcement post.
For a post on pitches, check out a post Juliana did last month.

The rules:

-Your manuscript must be COMPLETE and polished.
-It must be in the New Adult (NA) category to be considered.
-The submission window is open today from 12:01 am EST and will remain open until 75 pitches are submitted OR until 11:59 pm EST, whichever comes first.
-To enter, leave a comment with the following:

·         Name:
·         Email:
·         Title:
·         Genre:
·         Word Count:
·         Blurb:
·         First 250 Words:

The blurb is where your pitch skills come in. The blurb should be no more than 200 words and is similar to the pitch paragraph in your query.

*If you are agented, please discuss entering this contest with your agent before entering. Also mention that in your pitch.
*Please no questions in this comment area. If you have questions regarding the contest, please leave them in the comments on the announcement post or email us.

The winners will be chosen by Lauren Hammond and we will post the results on the blog within two weeks. Lauren may request partials or fulls from the pitch winners.

****** I know this is a late note, guys, but Lauren replied to one of our questions recently. She does NOT accept novellas.**************

AND GO!!!!

Post a Comment

  1. Kelly Allan
    NA Contemporary
    80,000 words approx.

    Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Kenzie Baker, a girl whose only constant is the sky, predicts Indianapolis to be much like every other place she’s lived. However, when she falls into an overwhelming friendship with Mags – her new school’s wild valedictorian – she fights her urge to pick up everything and leave.

    Kenzie is hesitant to befriend Mags at first – a girl who shaves half her head and sneaks liquor into clubs – but when Mags sways a teacher to reconsider Kenzie’s failed prerequisite Astronomy exam, she earns Kenzie’s trust. What Kenzie doesn't know is Mags' dark secrets, like how she brought a gun to school, that she’s slept with Kenzie’s new boyfriend, or that she’s suicidal and pregnant.

    Kenzie must step outside her comfort zone – commit to sticking around – to make sure her two-faced friend and unborn baby will survive Mags’ dark tendencies.

    Exerpt:Blood thumped in my veins as I fled.
    I hadn’t even waited to unpack yet. Hell, I hadn’t even waited for Mom to stop the car all the way. We’d been on the road for a day and a half and I had to get out. I had to feel the air on my face, fresh oxygen in my lungs. I absolutely had to stretch my legs.
    Luckily I was already donning my Nikes.
    The air in Indianapolis was sticky, and the sky gray. Nothing like it had been in California, where everyone overdosed on vitamin C and salty ocean water on a daily basis. This place had a kind of dirty feel to it, especially the buildings that were dull and brown, and I was rethinking our move as I dashed down the asphalt. Even though there was nothing left for us back in California. Even though we had begun to feel way too comfortable in our skin with our daily routines, how we could find our way around the town blindfolded. I knew we couldn’t exactly stay in El Cajon much longer, mostly because Mom had been fired from the only place that was hiring in town, but this bland neighborhood seemed like it might be stretching the whole Something New idea. It had such a depressing feel to it, like the gray-browness of it could pick me up and swallow me whole. Certainly, it was a stark contrast from my old neighborhood, where every house had its

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  3. Name: Rachel Lynn Solomon
    Genre: NA contemporary
    Word Count: 103,000

    Grad-school dropout Jordan has spilled enough bowls of palak paneer to know that being a waitress definitely isn’t her calling.

    After moving in with her parents in Seattle, Jordan waits tables at the Indian restaurant to pay off her student debt. During breaks, she chases a real career — never mind that she still doesn’t know what that means.

    India Palace is limbo between adolescence and independence, and Jordan’s coworkers are stuck, too. Reed plays customer bingo to forget his punk band never got famous. Lux masks adult addictions and childish habits with smiles so broad her face must hurt. Even the restaurant can’t pull itself together: the power shuts off, the owner disappears, and the health department spies like one of the Sikh gurus on the walls. The sole comfort is the food. Punjabi kitchen ladies brew curries so spicy they’ll make you cry. In a good way.

    A charming customer’s visits make work enjoyable, and a scathing health inspection compels Jordan to fix the restaurant. But there’s more wrong with India Palace than broken dishes. When confronted with the immorality of those around her, Jordan must learn to grow up, though this job wasn’t meant to be an education.

    First 250 Words:

    I knew that face. Unblinking eyes. Stiff jaw. Brows parallel to the line of his lips.

    The customer was recalculating my tip. He’d whittle it from eighteen percent to ten, or maybe down to an insulting fistful of coins that had attracted lint in his pocket all day. Quarters if I was lucky, nickels and pennies if I wasn’t.

    “Doesn’t this come with chapatis?” he asked before the thali plate touched down at his table, like I had already ruined his dinner.

    Someone had told me what a chapati was. In fact, I was certain several someones had, probably followed by a list of ingredients. But the word banged around in my brain’s dictionary, the entry blank. Maybe it was the oily bread bloated with potato crumbs, or the minty yogurt customers used to dilute the curries they insisted on ordering five-stars, too spicy for most American palates. I hoped the customer couldn’t sense my panic.

    “I'm sorry?” I asked, sliding the plate and accompanying tin of rice onto the table. The bowl of red goo I was balancing for table two was starting to burn my other hand.

    “Doesn’t. This. Come. With. Chapatis?” He metered out the sentence, a frustrated breath punctuating the final word.

    “Let me check,” I promised, but then the woman at the table spoke up.

    “You don't know?” she asked. I shook my head and smiled forcedly, as though the corners of my mouth were magnetically opposed to twitching so far upward.

  4. Name: Erika Enigk Grotto
    Email: erikagrotto(at)gmail(dot)com
    Title: Deadline Day
    Genre: NA Mystery
    Word Count: 75,000

    The murder was more than Stella had hoped for.

    No, really. Way more. All she really wanted was for something newsworthy to happen on her beat at the Lake Erie Bee. With her editor making job cuts, Stella knows she needs a career-making story. But she did not ask for someone to bash the mayor's head in with a rock. She did not ask the mayor's wife to ask him for a divorce two hours before that. And she certainly did not ask for the killer to send notes to her in the newsroom, telling her what to write.

    Stella knows this is her big break, and she's determined not to screw it up. But who can she trust? Her editor is no help; the former proponent of no hard news, ever, is suddenly pushing her to publish every rumor she hears. The lead detective spends more time flirting with her than giving her quotes. The paper’s hot photographer only seems interested in talking about his own whodunit theories. However Stella decides to play it, she'd better do it soon, because the killer's ready to kill again. And he knows exactly where to find her.

    Worst. First. Job. Ever.

    First 250 Words:

    I guess it's a testament to how dedicated I am to my job that when I find myself staring down the barrel of a gun, all I can think of are potential headlines for the story about my death.

    Community newspaper reporter shot at own desk: coworkers forced to work overtime to write stories she didn't finish

    Hot photographer regrets not having gone on a date with Stella Parker before she was murdered: “She was totally cute,” he laments

    Elton John rewrites “Candle in the Wind” to pay tribute to fallen reporter

    My would-be killer asks if I have any last words, but my mouth is full of cotton. I'm not sure I can talk, though I am desperately grasping for something to say.

    The thing is, it's hard to know what to say to someone who wants to kill you. And I've never been much good at talking to people anyway. That's why I became a reporter. It's easy to interact when you've got a list of questions and no personal stake in whatever you're writing about. But when someone points a gun at you with the intention of shooting it, well, that's pretty personal. So here, facing certain death in the newsroom of the Lake Erie Bee, I find myself completely tongue tied, not to mention so scared I think I might pee my pants at any second.

    Dead reporter's last move was to wet pants, police say

    How did I get here? I'm a community news reporter!

  5. Margaret Alexander
    NA Urban Fantasy

    Something sinful resides in Diane's memories, she's certain of it. That's why she traded them in to protect her father and her best friend.

    Trained in the task of erasing criminal masterminds' memories, Diane yawns at the notion of converting yet another Rebel. But when her target turns out to be a little less than human and a bit more than demon, a whole new breed of beings invade Diane's world and lure her into another dimension, where the world is a ruined, enchanted mirror of reality. Some of them are ideal doppelgangers of humans called Shadows; others are hybrids with sinister intentions. And they're about to reveal a lot more than the reason for the trauma in her past or why the world is ending. Like who are the biggest pawns in a conspiracy to weed out mankind. Diane must push her mind past all limits and master a set of elements no human has ever controlled to stand any chance of confronting the organization responsible.

    After they’re through with her, the Shadows give her a choice: to live the life she's always wanted or save more than the chosen few. Good thing Diane always has a plan B…

    First 250 words:

    This world…it’s almost difficult to believe…how calm it can appear from up here. This must be the way the angels see it, and why it’s so easy for them to accept us…how naive. From far away, anything can appear perfect. But up close, if you dig deep enough…that’s where the real filth lies. Like an infection, gnawing from within. It exists in every creature, especially humans. No, it’s more like a disease. That which kills, some sooner than others. No matter how you look at it, sometimes it’s better to ignore it and pretend it isn’t there. To go about your life as if the darkness in your heart doesn’t exist. As if the infection is a delusion. That way, you can cope a while longer. I wonder…if we choose that path, do the angels care?

    A young woman sat on the railing of a balcony. Her legs dangled over the edge, towards hundreds of stories beneath her. The sleeves of her black jacket were rolled up to her elbows. A small metallic contraption clamped onto her left wrist gave off a bright glare from the sun. Her hair, a pale blonde, curled down to her shoulders. Three thin strands traced down both sides of her face, sharply contrasting her deep green eyes.

    A song hummed in her throat, but otherwise, she sat quietly, immovably, as if waiting for something, perched like a hawk above the skyscrapers. Their numbers no longer allowed for a glimpse of the horizon between them.

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  8. Name: C.L. Howland
    Genre: NA/Adult
    Word Count: 77,000

    There isn’t a heck of a lot that doesn’t scream target about Mina Mason: her weight, the out-of-date homemade dresses, even the hoarder’s paradise loosely disguised as the Masons’ home. Dependent on Mina, her reclusive parents are oblivious to the bullying she endures at school since they’ve never been past the driveway. Mina decides blending into the background is her best defense until she can escape her bleak reality by going to college.

    Samuel Two Bears Miller reshapes Mina’s understated existence with his arrival at the school, his dark skin and long black braid exotic next to the Puritan pallor of the local boys. Happy, loud and often larger than life in the rural Vermont community, the Millers are the antithesis of the Masons. All through high school, Mina conceals her odd home life behind the closed doors of her dilapidated house, even after discovering love with the outspoken, confident boy. In a confrontation she can’t avoid, Mina must choose between the one person who makes her feel alive and the family who relies on her.

    First 250 words:
    Chapter 1

    May 1990

    “Hey, Mouse…I drew a picture of you.”

    Please, please don’t embarrass me, Mina prayed. A spiral notebook was shoved across the desk. Too late. She didn’t have to look at the picture to know it would be unflattering; it always was. Her cheeks burned as she laid the handouts on each desk in the group, keeping her eyes trained on the pile of papers in her hand.

    “Like it?”

    The giggles made Mina’s face flush even more. Setting the packet on the last desk, she heard a quiet, “Thanks.” Surprised, she looked up. Dark eyes met her gaze. Sam Miller had been here two weeks and had already been to the office three times for fighting. This was the first time she’d heard him speak. “You’re welcome,” she said, dropping her gaze and turning to leave.

    “Hey, Mina, don’t forget your picture,” a whisper came, followed by louder giggles. Mina went back to her group of desks and slid into her seat. Don’t you cry. Don’t give them any more fuel.

    “Blair and Missy, I don’t know what’s so funny, but you need to settle down,” Mrs. McIntosh warned. “Thanks, Mina.” Coming around her desk, the teacher leaned against the front edge. “This handout’s for a creative writing project we’re going to start next week. This is just a general guideline. Basically, you’re going to take the premise of a well-known fairy tale and write your own story.”

  9. -To enter, leave a comment with the following:

    Kate Brauning
    NA Fantasy
    101,000 words

    Ava’s nineteen, but she feels like she’s thirty, and every one of those years has been lonely. When the Olympians rescue her from her abusive father and bring her to the Garden of Eden, Ava falls in love with their world. But war looms on Eden’s horizon. Ares, god of war, has vowed to remake Earth as one monotheistic nation- where all people worship him. The Muses say only Ava can defeat Ares, but she’s not magical at all. She could barely handle her home life; defeating the god of war is hardly a skill on her resume.

    When Ares kidnaps her and says he loves her, Ava thinks this might be the fulfillment of the prophecy. Being loved is more tempting than she ever expected. Marrying him will make her the enemy of the Olympians she loves, but mediating between Ares and humans might be the only way to stop the war and save Eden.

    First 250 Words:

    Years after the war, the neighbors would brag about how they used to visit the Wallace family before Ava was born. Her mother had loved entertaining. But then came the child, and after that, the wasting illness that left Ava motherless.

    After the mother’s death, the neighbors stopped visiting. Her husband clearly didn’t want to see them; he wouldn’t answer the door or return their phone calls. He was a red-faced, small-eyed man.

    The toddler went to live with the mother’s parents and the neighbors forgot about her. After the war, in furtive undertones, they would say, “We saw how it started, you know.” They would tell how one evening, six years after the toddler left, a rusty Toyota sputtered to a halt near the house.

    Ava, now an eight-year-old child, had been sent back to her father. Her grandparents had died. The girl wasn’t crying, wasn’t screaming. She simply held on to her seatbelt and refused to get out of the car. She clutched a picture frame.

    The neighbors saw leaves swirling in summer dust devils around the car. They saw the father jerk the single suitcase out of the back seat. They didn’t see the tall woman in white standing by the street lamp, watching as the child refused to budge. Her father didn’t see the woman, and neither did the social worker. That day was the first of many days they walked right past the figure without noticing her.

  10. Name: Kelly Lynn Thomas
    Title: Naked At the Gates
    Genre: NA Hybrid Memoir/Short Story Collection
    Word Count: 72,000

    Blurb: I thought I’d found myself when I converted from Christianity to Wicca at the end of my sophomore year of college. A few months later, when I arrived in Alcalá de Henares, Spain, for a month-long study abroad program, I realized that self discovery is more than epiphany—it’s hard work and sacrifice.

    Alcalá, that unfamiliar place filled with unfamiliar people, enticed me to seek out Mystery in the sun-worn red brick buildings and literary heroes of my new home. As I explored Spain, I found myself on a figurative journey to the Underworld, where I faced seven gateways—seven fears preventing me from becoming my true self.

    Along the way, I heard stories whispered from the corners of old cathedrals and from the lips of statues. I met people who only hinted at their past lives, cities that winked at me in the heat. I explored these stories—not real, but true—with fiction. Through these tales, clearly marked as such and positioned at specific points throughout the manuscript, I fill in the gaps of my own experiences and Spain’s unspoken histories.

    First 250 Words: Isabel, my surrogate mother for the next month, leads me into the streets of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, with the grace and purpose you gain from living somewhere the entirety of your life. Including her permed red hair, her head comes up to my shoulder, and she wears a long, flowing skirt. My mind, dulled from a sleepless airplane night, shrinks within itself; her Spanish comes too fast to hear, let alone interpret.

    As we step into the Spanish sunshine and leave the Colegio de Trinitarios, I catch in the threshold, stuck between my home in the United States and my home in Spain, between being a Christian and being a Witch, between falling in love and falling out of it again. The red brick building, part of the Universidad de Alcalá, houses classes for foreign exchange students in summer and is where I will spend much of my month-long study abroad program. A raised porch acts as a buffer zone between the world without and the world within, the heat of Spain and the coolness of history, the ignorant and the knowledge-seekers. A three-fold arched doorway set with heavy metal doors dares entrance and repels the unworthy.

    Rather than crossing the Atlantic Ocean, I’ve descended into the Underworld as the Mesopotamian Goddess Ishtar did, and must now face the dark aspects of myself and triumph over them, or return to my old life, unchanged, defeated. Passing through the threshold of the Colegio de Trinitarios, I meet my first test…

  11. •Name: Andrea K. Robbins
    •Title: Face the Music
    •Genre: Contemporary/NA Romance
    •Word Count: 95,000


    While grieving the loss of her mother, Allison Banks takes on the role of caretaker, supporting her baby sister, her young niece, and her disabled grandmother. Adding to the pressure, Allison’s long-term boyfriend walks out, offering little in the way of explanation and leaving her totally confused and utterly heartbroken. To cope, the 24-year-old closes herself off to any serious relationships and dives into her work as a graduate student.

    Needing the extra income, Allison takes a job for the hot, new, reality TV show, Superstardom. Captivated by the competition’s front-runner, the mysterious and sexy singer, Chris Knots, Allison dismisses her attraction as nothing more than a school-girl crush. When the hunky performer reveals an interest of his own, Allison must work through her reservations and decide if there’s room in her life for something more.

    •First 250 Words:

    I pushed open the door to his apartment and froze. The place was empty. Totally bare. There were dents in the grey carpet where the couch had been. Nails poked out of the wall, but the framed mirror that hung there was gone.

    My brain was slow at comprehending. I just stood there, dumbfounded, trying to understand. What was happening? Where was everything?

    Paul stepped out of the back bedroom but stopped when he saw me. He had a suitcase in one hand and the red duffel bag I’d given him for his birthday slung over his shoulder.

    “Allison?” he said, looking anywhere but at me. “What are you doing here?”

    I drew in a deep breath, trying to contain the panic rising inside me. “I was going to surprise you with dinner.” I glanced at the sack of groceries in my arm. “I haven’t seen you for two days.” My mind was replaying recent conversations, trying to recall if he’d mentioned anything about taking a trip. I was drawing a blank. “Are, are you going somewhere?”

    His baby blue eyes were dark and darted from the wall to the floor to my face. He may have been at an absence for words, but the look I got gave all the answers I needed.

    “You’re leaving.” It was more of a statement than a question.

    He nodded so slightly that I wondered if I had imagined it.

  12. Name: Marlo Berliner
    Title: The Ghost Chronicles
    Genre: NA Paranormal w/ strong romantic elements
    Word count: 79,000
    Can Michael Andrews get to heaven before the devil gets him first, and if it means leaving Sarah is he sure he still wants to go?
    One minute, Michael is an eighteen-year-old basketball star with a promising future. Next minute, he dies tragically and he’s an invisible spirit roaming among the living, struggling to understand why he’s stuck. He’s angry, he’s lost, and he has no idea where to go or what to do. Basically, Michael hasn’t got a clue how to be a ghost. Most of all, he desperately wants to move on, but he has no idea how.

    Fortunately, Michael finds Tom, an older man who’s also a ghost. Tom becomes a mentor of sorts, but unfortunately he’s keeping secrets. Michael can’t be sure if Tom's keeping him out of trouble or leading him into it. Things get more complicated as Michael learns he’s being pursued. Demons are looking for him because he’s a marked soul, a soul the devil wants very badly for some unknown reason.

    Then Michael meets Sarah, an attractive young woman who died just as tragically as he did. Trouble is, falling in love and binding oneself to another soul is forbidden, for it may keep one or both of the souls bound to earth for longer than they should be. To make matters worse, there’s also a danger in going too far with Sarah, because the "joining" of two souls in the afterlife is also strictly forbidden and they don’t know what will happen if they do go that far. Each time they touch they can feel the boundaries of their energies slipping perilously into one another. So, maybe falling in love in the afterlife wasn’t such a good idea.
    First 250 words:
    Michael could feel the warm blood running down his face. Fully regaining consciousness, he had no idea where he was, or what had happened. He tried to lift his eyelids, but they wouldn’t budge. Moving any part of his body failed, so he just lay there, with an overwhelming feeling of having been pressed inside a small box. His head felt very heavy, as if doubled in size, and a rushing sound in his ears stifled his hearing. Indistinct voices warbled nearby, but he couldn’t quite figure out whom they belonged to, or what they were saying.
    As he opened his eyes, his vision blurred. After a few seconds, the inside of his car came into focus and his mind flashed through the last scenes in his memory. I was driving…there was a bend in the road…and sunlight reflecting off the grill of a truck…
    His stomach lurched as he stared straight ahead. Oh, my God.
    The tractor-trailer and his car sat inter-twisted at the front, a pair of grotesquely conjoined twins. The jagged edges of his exploded windshield framed his view of the crumpled wreckage and an acrid smoke drifted in searing his nose.
    With great effort, he moved his head an inch and glanced downward. The car’s steering wheel and dashboard lay crushed against his chest. He couldn’t even see his legs, let alone move them. Tilting his head upright again, a thick, warm liquid rose up the back of his throat and a rusty, unpleasant taste crept into his mouth.

  13. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Title: Soul Driver
    NA Historical, retelling of Sleeping Beauty and a Celtic Myth
    Word Count:76,000

    River Morgan knows how to erase a memory. To keep the memories from becoming her own, she must write them in a Memory Book. When the Book is stolen by Shae Conniers, River is no longer able to tell the difference between her memories and memories she’s wiped away. Unless she finds the Book, her identity will be lost forever.
    It’s the memories bring River and Shae together, but River’s spunky, funky personality clashes big time with Shae’s princess-got-to-be attitude and her fairy tale, pink-dress wearing days are over. When mysterious Ashton Drake shows up offering to help, River doesn’t trust him, but she can’t help falling for his good looks. She turns him away after learning her new bestie, Shae, thinks he’s hot, too. She knows time is running out to stop the Memory Book from overpowering her mind. She has the Book back, why hasn’t her memory returned?
    In order to unlock the secrets of the Book, River connects with underground forces who promise they have the answers. Now River must choose between doing what is right and doing what her heart wants.
    Because some memories you want to live over again and some memories are best forgotten.

    First 250

    River tore a piece of material from the hem of her petticoat and wrapped it around her hand. The white linen turned red before she finished tying the knot. Clutching her throat, she gulped as much air as her aching lungs could hold. The fresh breath calmed her racing heart as she rested her head on her knees, trying to clear her thoughts. An image swirled through her mind, yet River didn’t recognize the memory.
    I have to get away. I have to leave now. I’m not safe any longer. How did they find me? This can’t be happening. Oh God! What am I going to do? Where can I go?
    Staggering to her feet, River leaned against the side of the wagon. She strained her ears for any noise, any movement. Nothing. She had to hurry, before they came back for her. No time to think, no time to waste. They would return once they knew their assassin had failed.
    The shanty door swung back and forth, creaking a sad, singsong melody as if to say goodbye. Someone had been inside her makeshift home. Panic seized her heart as she thought of the Memory Book.
    Please be safe. Please be there.
    Every muscle in River’s body throbbed, but she forced her legs to move forward. Her entire life hinged upon keeping the Memory Book safe, away from prying eyes. No one knew it existed. Except the Thief Takers. They had chased her for months lusting after the powers held within its pages.

  14. Name: Benjamin Chiles
    Email: storymultiverse (at) g ma il
    Title: TIMES NONE
    Genre: NA Contemporary Fantasy
    Word Count: 85,000


    Amanda Leonard is the only one who knows that the world is going to end shortly after her upcoming 18th birthday. She tries not think about it.
    It's not like she has much to lose. Amanda has no memories of her single mother, who died and left her in the care of four "uncles” who raised her. She has no idea why she's been given this strange and seemingly useless ability. She has no plans for what to do with her life. Unsure of her past, present, and future, Amanda returns from college to the small town where she was born, hoping to find some relief from the forebodings of imminent disaster.
    Relief, however, will be in short supply. Her family, her friends, her town-- everything feels different from when she left it. What's more troubling, though, are the secrets in her past that will come to light. Amanda will learn that she is not a mere witness to the apocalypse. She is its harbinger. The walls Amanda spent her life building will come crashing down when she is faced with an impossible choice between the only family she's ever known . . . and the fate of the world.

    First 250:

    Amanda Leonard opened her eyes on a cold winter morning, the first day of the new year, and her first thought was: Not again.

    Her alarm clock was silent. It would be, of course. It wasn't the reason why she was wide awake, staring blankly at the ceiling. No, the cause for her rude awakening was "the other clock."

    As far back as she could remember, Amanda had been aware of something inside her head, something she called "the other clock." It wasn't really a clock, though; it was closer to intuition or instinct than timekeeping. The units of measurement were so erratic that she had given up trying to make sense of them years ago. And now, obeying whatever inscrutable formula dictated its movements, the other clock had just gone tick.

    There was nothing she could do about it, though. There never was.

    Amanda could tell it was going to be a bad day from the queasy, unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach. She felt no better even after a warm shower in the pleasant early-morning emptiness of the dorm's communal bathroom. She always hated traveling, especially in the winter, and she was dreading the long bus ride back home.

    She tried to get the other clock out of her thoughts, but it was a futile effort. There was no relief for her, and never would be, until it stopped ticking. Days like this made her wish she'd never learned the other clock was counting down to the end of the world.

  15. Mary Vettel
    NA Contemporary
    Words: 58,000

    THE STORY OF LAUREL BLUE STONE was named a quarter finalist in the 2012 ABNA contest. Forced to date a strange Navajo, Laurel bolts from her New Mexican Zuni reservation. Sensing his bad medicine, she runs to her favorite mesa encountering park ranger Cal Trillig. They feel an immediate kinship but when he asks her out, Laurel explains that her father will not let her date a non-Indian. Smitten, Cal vows he will prove himself a worthy suitor.

    When Laurel is barely civil to Reddington Cornudas, the meth-head Navajo, it drives his drug-fueled fury to the point of rage, culminating in a violent outburst that gets him arrested. When his menacing letters and jailhouse statements reach her, Laurel knows things are going to get very ugly, very fast. A restraining order, and a 300-mile move south with Cal do not prevent Cornudas from kidnapping Laurel and taking her into the desert and caves. Now she must outsmart him and escape using her wits and not depend on the police or Cal, because in this hell, there is no one else to save her.

    First 250 Words:
    Reddington Cornudas paced the shabby, tin-roofed hovel that was his home for the last three of his twenty years. It was barely eight a.m. yet the leaden mercury crept beyond 98ºF, and despite them being in the desert, it was not a dry heat. Rivulets of sweat coursed down his pimpled back beneath his white wife-beater. He stopped at the bare window and looked out onto the parched desert, his black Navajo eyes rimmed in meth-red. He attempted to light his empty crack pipe as he followed the progress of a prairie hen wobbling nearer the trap he’d laid.

    He swore when the fowl bypassed the noose on the sepia ground. But Cornudas’ lack of appetite and the burning in his belly wouldn’t have allowed him to eat breakfast anyway. He tugged at the taut skin of his neck, his long thumbnail leaving half-moon pinch marks. The hinges on the screen door screaked, followed by a bang.

    “Ooh my god, Chili!” His girlfriend Nadine rushed toward him in a swirl of desert dust. She paused dramatically to catch her breath, fanning herself with one hand, while leaning against the cracked adobe wall with the other.

    He didn’t bother to acknowledge her, instead kept his eyes trained on Hobo, the three-legged mutt from down the way. Hobo balanced himself on two legs while lifting his back leg to piss on a patch of black-eyed Susans that Nadine had planted and lovingly watered and weeded. A smirk creased Cornudas’ crusty lips.

  16. Name: Aine P Massie
    Title: Blood's Voice
    Genre: Paranormal Romance
    Word Count: 119k

    Anya Millar had no memory of her life or an instruction manual on how to navigate the insane world of humans, biting, and reality. Instead, Anya has had to learn to navigate the world of love, life, and sanity while avoiding those that would see her dead or enslaved.

    This is the ongoing journey of Anya and Nicholas, human loving vampires and the human they love, Declán. What makes it all more complicated is that they are abominations in their own world and Declán is a natural born vampire hunter called a Guardian.

    Anya must come to terms with who she is and her missing past, Nicholas must win back the object of his eternal love while dealing with new cravings in his silent heart, and Declán must learn to destroy the very creatures that he has unequivocally given his heart and blood.

    First 250 Words:
    Arriving home, I immediately sensed that someone had been in our home. Someone like me! In the middle of my bed sat a note on expensive, ivory parchment and a deep, blood red rose.

    Dearest Anya,
    Please accept our deepest regards on your recent entry into our area. We’re pleased to have new blood move into the neighbourhood but are concerned you have not availed yourself of our company.
    To clear things up we would like, formally, to invite you to “Tea” tomorrow. We will send someone to pick you up at noon.
    Nicholas Young

    I read and reread the note, paced anxiously in the front room, and waited for Star to come home. I had never met another of my kind. How many is ‘we’?
    Star caught me mid-pace when she came in the front door, stiffened, and took in my dishevelled appearance.
    “Oh Star, I am . . . um, what do I do? Who is Nicholas?” I choked out, unable to hide the tremor in my voice.
    “Who’s been here and what do you mean ‘who is Nicholas?’” she demanded.
    I handed her the note I’d already read over a dozen times.
    “I found this sitting on my bed when I came home from my outing today. I was having a lovely day till then!”
    “Oh, that Nicholas. I didn’t expect him to contact you so soon, much less in such an invasive manner.” She sighed and grasped me by my shoulder to stop my pacing. “Anya, try to relax.

  17. Name: Angi Black
    Title: Love in Real Life
    Genre: NA contemporary romance
    Wordcount: 78,000


    Josey, a dancer and actress, has the perfect life. Then she meets Alex, Hollywood’s up and coming star. Winning the leading role in his latest movie is a dream of a lifetime. And a huge pain in the ass. Confronted with demons from her past and forced to take a hard look at her present, Josey learns about the curveballs life throws after you find happily ever after.

    First 250:

    Shower time. I could do this with my eyes closed. Every detail was so burned into my brain.

    Step in. Turn on the water. Adjust the spray, temperature. Reach out, turn on iPod. Today’s selection: “Time Is Running Out” by Muse.

    Great. Please don’t be prophetic.

    Shampoo in hand. Wash hair. Soap. Scrub. Rinse.

    I stood in the hot spray, feeling my overworked muscles relaxing a bit. Not enough, but a little. I had been dancing way too much lately. I ached in places a younger body wouldn’t feel and I was tired. Stretching my arms out to brace myself on the wall in front of me, I closed my eyes and imagined a certain set of hands on me, rubbing that soreness right away.

    The reverie was interrupted by heavy footsteps made by a tiny person. Tramp, tramp, tramp. It was Rose. My baby girl was five. I could not believe it. She came running in the room. Smart, funny, beautiful, healthy. All the things you want a child to be. And I loved her more than the moon. She carried none of my damaged psyche. In short, she was perfect. And not just because I’m her mom. It was the truth. I may be lots of things, but liar is not one of them.
    “Mama, did you make my lunch yet?”
    “Mama will be out in just a sec. Are you dressed?”
    Same questions, different morning.
    I couldn’t help but smile. She was exactly what I never knew I wanted.

  18. D.R. Graham
    New Adult

    Blurb: After eighteen-year-old Tienne Desrochers’ father is murdered, she leaves behind her biker boyfriend and the dangerous world of outlaw motorcycle gangs that she grew up in. She creates a new life with her aunt and starts dating a country-club corporate guy. When her brother is found dead, she has no choice but to go back into the underworld to take care of family business and come to terms with the consequences of loving the very people she’s terrified of. What she discovers is that her two lives are more connected than she knew and maybe she was running away from the wrong things.

    First 250 Words: Both sides of my family and their friends are filing down the aisle of the church. To my left, dark suits, expensive shoes, and conservative skirts. To my right, ripped denim, leather vests, and skanky dresses. There is also a row of twenty uniformed cops standing in wide stances along the back wall shoulder-to-shoulder with their arms folded across their chests. My push up bra is creating way too much cleavage for a real church, but the red 81 that is silk screened across the chest of my white tank top is a necessary show of respect. If God was here sitting up in the rafters, he’d be frowning and shaking his head at my trashy funeral attire, but he’s not here. He’s too scared to be here.

    One of my dad’s old helmets is on a chair next to me at the altar. My uncle Ronnie put it there so everyone would be reminded who my father was. My mom is sprawled across the bench in the front row to my right. Her blonde hair is matted, her makeup is smeared across her face, and she’s leaning on my uncle Terry’s leg like she’s the one who’s dead. The eulogy I wrote is rolled up in my clenched hand and getting soggy from the sweat. I don’t want to ruin it, so I place the curled paper on my lap and wipe my palms on my cut off jean shorts. I try to breathe, which becomes even more difficult when Leland walks in.

  19. · Name: Pauline Germanos
    · Email:
    · Title: THE UNITY
    · Genre: NA Light SF, Romance
    · Word Count: 95,000
    · Blurb: Only nineteen-year-old Marina sees the creatures with glowing eyes trying to get through the fences surrounding the Unity. Other citizens, even her family, think she’s crazy. They tell her not to worry. The Guardians can handle a few animals near the border, like they always have. Even though it goes against her stubborn and honest nature, Marina does what she’s told.

    That is, until she starts dating Guardian Taite. He tells her Guardians are slowly, but surely, disappearing.

    Marina decides to investigate the creatures she’s seen. The government of the Unity is downplaying the magnitude of the attacks, and her friends plead with her to stop. But Marina knows what she sees – she’s not imagining the unearthly creatures that strike at people who get too close to the border. Besides, Taite needs her help to stop the attacks.

    With government prohibiting access to the border fences until the “animals” are driven off, Marina has two choices: listen to her friends and family, or risk everything in a race to help Taite and expose the truth.

    · First 250 Words:
    I have never been one to believe in the idea of love at first site. But I do believe in being extremely physically attracted to someone within a five second glance.

    I’m on my sunrise run, not really thinking about anything at all, and so I don’t really pay attention to my surroundings. Normally I would claim that I know my route like I know the back of my hand, but he really does appear out of nowhere when I crash into him. Literally, I turn the corner and just smack! I’ve never realized prior to this moment how loud it is when human flesh comes in contact with other human flesh.

    If it weren’t for his cat-like reactions, I would literally look like a banged-up mess right now. I am absolutely positive I would have a huge bruise and perhaps some scrape marks on my legs, because I was definitely headed towards the black pavement. That is, until he grabbed me mid-fall.

    Fortunately, he is not impacted by the crash like I am, due to his tall, lean, and muscular figure. He maintains his balance while he grabs my left arm before I hit the ground. Unfortunately, he is able to get a good look at my really shocked face. I wouldn’t be so embarrassed if he wasn’t so freaking attractive.

    “I am so sorry,” he says while staring right into my eyes, “I wasn’t paying attention to what was in front of me.”
    My expression is a mix between shock and horror, and he seems to mimic my expression. I can only assume he is making fun of me, so I abruptly pull my arm out of his grasp and run away as fast as I can. I don’t dare look back, but I have this strong sense he is still looking at me. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

  20. Name: Logan Clark
    Genre: NA Fantasy
    Word Count: 125,000

    Blurb: Jet Black found something that changed his life forever. It wasn't money, fame or was an old forgotten book. At age sixteen it only opened to a single page, one that retold of an ancient fable of pending darkness. Now three years later, it is his only chance to survive. As the second and third pages turn he learns that the book will be his only mentor on the way to becoming a Sorcerer. But he's not the only one with a secret book.

    First 250 Words:

    He pulled back the curtains and watched the black Taurus turn into the driveway and a measure of Jet’s nervousness blended with excitement. Tonight was going to be the best night of his life, he felt it so deeply. With any luck, it would end with a sweet kiss from Samantha Downs. That would be the first great thing to happen in his life in the last two years. Another round of torture began two weeks ago when a phantom pain tore through his back and dove into his stomach. In Mrs. Johnson’s class he’d been knocked over by the pain, sprawled out on the floor. All his friends, except Samantha, had found it to be the funniest thing to happen since the school year began.

    He tore away from the window of Nana’s upstairs bedroom at the sound of the car doors closing. He slid to the bottom of the stairs just as Samantha, her sister, and her parents stepped into the hallway. Samantha wore a dark red dress and her brown eyes sent chills down his arms like ants scurrying excitedly for food. Her eyes first searched the hallway, and when they finally landed on his, the world literally stopped moving. Her golden hair was braided like a princess; he’d never seen her look so enchanting. She was the last of his friends and their families to arrive. Tonight, they were going to enjoy a New Year’s celebration like never before.

  21. · Name: D.J. Swank
    · Email:
    · Title: The Ludus System
    · Genre: NA
    · Word Count: 66,000
    · Blurb:

    Chives wakes up one morning to find that something is different. He tries to shrug it off and go about his day like any other recent grad caught in the transition between high school and the rest of his life, but then his brother appears—his brother whom he hasn’t seen in years, and, for some reason, whom he can’t even remember. Chives follows his brother and discovers that the world isn’t as it seems, and reality isn’t so different from that of the video games he grew up on.
    THE LUDUS SYSTEM is a novel about the search for purpose and identity in a world with no clear line between fantasy and reality. Life is like a video game, and every Gamer has his or her own unique abilities. What they’re supposed to do with those abilities, however, is a question no one has been able to answer. Chives and his friends embark on a journey that takes them deep into the world of the System, where they must learn how to play the Game, and maybe even eventually how to win it.

    · First 250 Words:

    I woke up one morning to find that, out of the corner of my eye, I could see my life changing. You can’t really trust your eyes when you first wake up, so I started by trying to rub the sleep away. I glanced around my room, at the golden light peeking in from behind the curtains, at the Final Fantasy posters on the walls, at the neon red digits of my alarm clock, and everything looked normal—except something was a little off. It took me a while to figure out that it wasn’t the room.
    It was me.
    I swung my legs out of bed and made my way to the bathroom. I splashed some water on my face and stared into the mirror. The same face as always was staring back at me, but there was something else there, too. I leaned in closer and watched my eye as it tried to focus on itself. Same blue iris with dark flecks in a ring, same hint of redness I usually get when I wake up. I made a slow sweep of both sunken orbs, trying to see if I had a cat hair or something hanging from my lashes. It felt like I had a smudge on my glasses, except I didn’t wear glasses. But there it was: a faint strip or streak right there in the top right corner of my eye.

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