Good morning, readers!

It's time for NA Alley's first Editor in the Alley Pitch Contest, which means you, the readers, get to have a chance at reaching publication by submitting your pitches to Libby Murphy, Associate Editor at Entangled Publishing.

She will be judging all the pitches, and winners may get a partial or full manuscript request.

Other editors from Entangled Publishing might be stopping by, as well, to check out the entries :)

Two Partial Critiques will also be given out by Libby amongst the entries.

Wondering what the rules are? Look no farther than below!


* Submission must be for finished and polished manuscripts.

* Only ONE entry per person.

* No other manuscripts besides New Adult (generally, 18 - 25 year old protagonists) will be considered. So make sure your manuscript falls into that category before entering, or your entry will be disqualified. If you are unsure, see here.

* No novellas (anything under 60,000 words)

Here is how you must format your entry in the comment section below:
  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Title:
  • Genre:
  • Word Count:
  • Query:
  • First 250 Words of Manuscript:

The submissions window will open, today, October 3rd at 8 am EST (5 am PST) and will remain open until October 5th at 11:59 pm EST.

You don't have to follow NA Alley to submit, but we'd appreciate it if you did!

Libby Murphy will choose the winners, and we will post the results within the next two weeks. 

Have fun, and good luck!

Post a Comment

  1. • Name: Dave Connis

    • Email:

    • Title: Underwater

    • Genre: NA Thriller

    • Word Count: 86,000

    • Query: Twenty year-old Kendi Drummond is a member of a group of rebels called the Old Burdens. The Old Burdens have stood against the mysterious government entity called the Revisionists since the country of Mainland replaced America when the world went underwater. Over the last few years, Kendi’s lost faith in the Old Burdens. But when she witnesses the murder of her ex-lover, who left her to fight with Old Burden rebels, she realizes he was fighting for her freedom. Soon after, she agrees to help transport contraband across the country hoping it will validate his sacrifice. The choice sets off a series of events that sinks her deeper into the darkest corners of her country where her and her friends find themselves running from a ruthless and omnipresent enemy that’s lusting for their blood. When hope seems to have disappeared, Kendi discovers a hundred year old secret that could turn the Old Burdens stale rebellion into a raging fire that could collapse the Revisionists rule; and it’s her plan to expose it, if she isn't killed first.

    • First 250 Words of Manuscript:


    Beneath the shadow of the sea lies no human grave;
    ‘Twas a cleansing deep preen, seen from far away.
    The flow of waters speech, a winter of a way ‘tis cold and sudden,
    A goodbye kiss, that sent us on our way.

    Ye faithful men, who rose to meet the rivers as they came,
    Now hold accord on the foamy peaks of waves.
    Here we gaze upon the seas, encompassing our days;
    But dark has come, alas, again to leave none in its wake.

    -Old Burden Poem: circa 2536-

    I read the lines for the fourth time, ignoring work. The writer was eerily accurate; he saw what others were too blind to see when the Revisionists took over. He probably didn't consider himself a prophet, but in one line he foresaw the way citizens would be easily swayed by promises of a better above water America and the banning and burning of Old World items; and that wasn't all he prophesied.
    He foresaw the Old Burdens slow rise against the Revisionists and the birth of the Minutemen, established to “disarm and disable those against true peace.” He foresaw the first war, then slaughter of over half a million Old Burdens and the vows of silence they would take in order to survive. He foresaw their desperate, yet secret attempt to save every Old World item not destroyed in underwater vaults, one of which I sit in now.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Name: Tara Brown
    Title: Born
    Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic
    Word Count: 80,400


    Ten years ago when the world ended she ran for her life.

    Five weeks ago the world she'd hidden from came knocking on the door of her secluded cabin.

    Ten days ago she found salvation hiding amongst the dead.

    Yesterday she went back for the living.

    Today she wonders if she will live to see tomorrow.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:

    They say that the world is built for two, but in the silence of the old cellar two feels like a long lost dream.
    It's an ice cream cone on a boardwalk with the sun above and the sea below. It's the wind rolling around you gently, trying to persuade in all the directions at once and mixing sand over your feet as your toes dig in.
    It's a perfect place none of us tries to remember.
    In any mind left functioning the world was built for pain. Perhaps once there had been a place where love and companionship was something to push your life toward.
    This isn't that world anymore.
    To me that world had never existed anyway. The world has always been a selfish place where love is fleeting and people are fickle. Once upon a time, true love accidentally happened to the fortunate. They polluted and corrupted it, and like everything else it got sick.
    I've seen it.
    I've seen it and in the end when it's taken away the people who protested or cried the loudest, were the ones who had taken it for granted the most.
    I look around the cellar, in four days I have barely moved.
    It's my rule and now because of it I can leave easier knowing I'm safe. I always end a shopping trip with a quiet few days in a cellar or basement.
    I wasn't born to this.
    I've had to learn how to move around quietly, how to sit still.
    I know what I need to do to live.
    I have lain amongst the dead.
    I have run through the woods in the dark, feeling my eyesight clear like a wild animal's and embrace the darkness.

    Thanks as always NA Alley!!!!!

  4. No entry from me. :-( Just wanted to say this is a really epic opportunity! :-D Very cool of Libby and Entangled to do this. (And of you all for sharing it.)

    Heading off to tweet it to the world!

  5. Name: Yvonne R. Jones
    Title: Hooked
    Genre: NA Contemporary Fiction
    Word Count: 83,800

    Adrienne earns an A+ in chemistry—only this course teaches her the ramifications of lust.

    Born and bred in a small, historical town, Adrienne Whitney has the potential to escape the scarce and slim career opportunities within the community. Her parents worked relentlessly to ensure that their children obtained the best education, which in turn pays off when Adrienne is awarded a full scholarship to the University of Florida (UFL) in Gainesville. As of her college sophomore year, Adrienne has a secure job, her own apartment, semi-good grades, and an active social life—everything a girl could ask for in her early 20s.

    While in a declining, long-distance relationship and while submerging in boredom, Adrienne unexpectedly meets a younger yet attractive UFL student from St. Lucia named Zephyr via an online social networking website. When a budding friendship quickly evolves into a lust-based relationship, Zephyr’s indecisiveness creates a recipe for heartache, rage, and depression for Adrienne. To cope, Adrienne seeks the support of other men, only for the encounters to remind her of her sensual and heart-wrenching desires for Zephyr. Adrienne must now choose whether to continue enduring the heartaches to remain with one man or find the courage to break free and salvage what is left of her heart and dignity.

    HOOKED (new adult fiction) is complete at 83,770 words and chronicles Adrienne’s college years where she learns the difference between love and lust.

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:
    Dogwood trees. Stray cats. Fierce dogs. Kids playing in the middle of the street. The typical sights of the deep south, I would say. After being gone for two months, a hint of nostalgia hasn't even come over me. Not yet anyway. I only have one thought on my mind right now and that is my baby—my car. Oh yeah, I can see her now—a '93 candied apple Honda Accord. Being without my car for my entire freshman year and most of my sophomore year make me cherish the smaller things in life, like the transit system. Driving deeper into the South, I grow more anxious to take that baby for a spin.

    "Adrienne,” calls Lisha, my baby sister. "Stop daydreamin’ so we can stop and use the bathroom. I gotta pee!"

    For a second there, I almost forgot that I’m driving. Hell, I almost forgot about my boyfriend. Elliott is the last person on my mind right now. All we seem to do is fight every night, always ending the night in tears—oh, the hazards of pursuing a long distance relationship. Hopefully, my visit home this week will put a smile on his face and shut him up for a while.

    "Baby, we can stop at this next exit. There should be somewhere we can eat and use their bathroom."

    "Aight, Ma, but will y'all take long?"

    "Girl, Elliott ain't going nowhere."

    Little does she know that rushing home to see him was the last thing on my mind.

  6. Kate Brauning

    On her twentieth birthday, Ava finds out the god of war has been stalking her. When Artemis shows up and tells Ava she’s his newest obsession in a long line-up of human women, and he’s been the one sending her strange magical gifts, she’s terrified. Going with the Olympians is her only option if she doesn’t want to be abducted, and that means leaving her world behind. But the Olympians are more human than she expected, and Artemis’s castle in the Garden of Eden quickly becomes the home her abusive father never provided.

    Ava has no special powers, and the god of war has risen from the dead and can’t be killed again. She could barely handle her home life; handling an undead god of war is hardly a skill on her resume. When he breaks past Eden’s defenses and kidnaps Ava, she thinks he’ll kill her, but instead he asks her to marry him. He is determined to become Earth’s only god, and he’s already destroyed Yemen for resisting his rule. He says he loves her and needs her to negotiate with humans for him- that people will trust her more readily than him. If she doesn’t help mediate, every nation who won’t give up their gods will be blood on her hands. Marrying him will make her the enemy of the Olympians she loves, but if she doesn’t, he’ll destroy them along with her world.

    First 250:
    A twentieth birthday seemed like a good day to run away. Only it wasn’t running away so much anymore as it was leaving. Ava picked up her backpack, wincing as the weight of her college textbooks hit her bruised ribs, and, just to convince herself that she really was going to do it this time, checked the duffel bag in the closet. Three changes of clothes, five protein bars, bottled water, her two favorite books, and a bag of toiletries. The bag had been hidden under an old blanket in the back of her closet for three years. She’d changed out the items from time to time so she wouldn’t end up eating long-expired protein bars if she actually ever did run away. But the bag had mostly sat there, waiting for her. Just like her life.
    She turned off the light in her room and locked the empty house on her way out. Paint curled up over the buckled siding. Weeds invaded the front step and cracked the sidewalk. The ugliness was more than skin-deep.
    She wished she hadn’t remembered her birthday was today, but the date was announced on the morning news; more unrest in Somalia, more fighting in the Balkans. Her father never listened to the news, but if he was gone in the morning, she could.
    A package sat on the sidewalk. Every year since she turned fifteen, on her birthday, a package sat on the third square of cement leading up to her doorstep. Never any closer.

  7. Name: Mara Valderran
    Title: Heirs of War
    Genre: New Adult Epic Fantasy
    Word Count: 144k
    Zelene scoffs at the horoscopes in the back of Cosmo and would call you crazy if you told her that she is part of an ancient prophecy that foretells five girls bringing about the end of a generations-long power struggle among the worlds. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them.

    She changes her tone when her foster-home is turned into a nightmare she barely escapes. She is whisked away by Varrick, the warrior blood bound to her for life, and taken to Estridia, the world of her birth. For every answer he gives her, she is only left with more questions. The prophecy speaks of five girls and three of these girls come in the form of an older sister and two cousins that Zelene is reunited with, leaving her wondering just who this fifth girl is and where she might be.

    The answers leave her shaken. Ariana, the fifth, is Zelene’s twin sister and has been captured by the Cahirans, the enemies of Estridia that intend on sacrificing Ariana in order to gain her power. Unfortunately for them, the four other girls need to be dead for the ritual to work. Safe in Estridia, Zelene is told to focus on her training and let the elders worry about Ariana. But Zelene has never been the best at doing what she is told.

    She finds herself torn between her need to save the sister she has never known and her longing to return to the simple life she never appreciated before now. But how is she supposed to go against an army of Cahirans when she finds that her ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her? And can she really trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

    Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:
    The football stadium was still littered with kids when Varrick got there. His chest lifted as he sucked in a breath and suppressed a growl at the same time. This part of his job always frustrated him. He understood that Ariana was seventeen and therefore entitled to a certain amount of angst, but he hated having to deal with it. They had bigger problems to deal with. Of course, she was blissfully ignorant of them.

    He scanned the stadium through his dark sunglasses, trying to assess where she would be. A group of girls were running on the track that encircled the grass of the stadium, ponytails bouncing as they chatted with one another. When he noticed the cheerleaders edging the track, he knew where she would be and marched over.

    He cocked a brow as the girls began chanting in time with their moves. Sure enough, directly in front of them in the stands stood Ariana with camera in hand, snapping away pictures. She was wearing a dark blazer over a cream top, giving the same curtaining affect her jet black hair lent to the light skin of her face. She noticed him and lowered the camera, revealing a scowl. She sat down on the stands, digging around in her bag for another roll of film as he walked across the bleachers to stand before her. He felt the fear that had allowed him to track her fade, predictably shifting to anger. He glanced to the sky as if to ask for aid in dealing with the teenager and the temper she had inherited from her true mother.

  8. Kristen Strassel
    NA Paranormal Romance
    78,000 words

    Immortal Dilemma is the hottest band in the Las Vegas vampire rock scene. These vampires draw insatiable fans from around the globe thanks to a supernatural attraction called Bloodlust. Tristan Trevosier craved such an opportunity to fill his empty mortal life, and now he has eternity to earn his place along the legends of rock n roll debauchery.

    Blade Bennett came to Las Vegas looking for excitement and he found it with Immortal Dilemma. After having a taste of what the vampire scene had to offer, he turned down their offer and chose a normal, mortal life. But Blade can’t get away from the scene or Immortal Dilemma.

    Callie Chabot-Wilkes couldn’t get her first love, Tristan, off her mind. It had been four years since he walked away from her. She enrolls in Las Vegas State to reconnect with him. Callie always knew that Tristan’s excesses would get him into trouble, but she never thought they’d lead him to immortality. Tristan still struggles with his mortal addictions, and once he sees Callie again, she becomes one of them.

    Blade is everything that Callie wishes Tristan could still be. Callie tries to hide her attraction and her desire to protect Tristan from Blade, but the paparazzi and ever-present Immortal Dilemma fans make their relationship impossible to hide.

    After Blade finally has enough of Callie’s deception. He drives her into the waiting arms of Tristan and she learns the true meaning of Bloodlust.

    First 250 words:
    All I could see through my haze was blonde hair. Even though I knew that what I saw and what was actually there were two different things, I didn’t care. I just wanted the pain to go away.

    My post show ritual never changed. A drink, a line, a girl. Usually in that order, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter what or who, either. Tonight, I already took care of the first two. This chick had my attention. She smelled like fresh air, sunshine…familiar.

    “I can make you a star in your own right, Tristan,” she whispered in my ear as she ran her hand lightly down my chest. I shuddered as her cool fingers trailed down to my stomach.

    I closed my eyes, moaning as she nibbled at my neck. The time had come for me to be more than just billed as my father’s son. But what could this girl offer that my father couldn’t? There was nothing he didn’t have.

    Whatever she had to offer, I was interested.

    This chick wanted me, just like all the others. As my lips met hers, I led her to the dingy backstage area, just like I did after every show here. I navigated down the hallway, lit only by blacklight, careful not to bang up against the sticky walls. I eased her down towards the couch, which had seen plenty of action of this kind, and kicked the door closed behind us.

    “What’s your name?” Just a formality, although something about this one was different.

  9. Name: HL Carpenter


    Title: Walled In

    Genre: NA Contemporary

    Word Count: 76,000


    Vandy has everything: unimaginable wealth, a gorgeous geeky boyfriend, and a fantasy gap summer ahead of her.

    Then her dad is accused of masterminding a Ponzi scheme. Overnight, Vandy’s life falls apart. Reporters lurk outside her home and pounce when she emerges; the victims of her dad’s swindle vow revenge; accusations and innuendos surface daily, leaving Vandy reeling.

    To escape, she decides to re-enact the life of philosopher Henry Thoreau. Though her own Walden Pond project begins as a joke, she finds peace in simplicity and the solitude of the woods—until her dad disappears. The upheaval culminates in a revealing scene, when Vandy realizes the true depth of her dad’s deception.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. (Thoreau, Walden)


    “I’m not going, Stenny.” At ten o’clock on a June Wednesday, Vandy Spencer sat on the wood deck with her bare legs dangling in the coolness-kissed night air, and one arm hooked around the railing for safety.

    She stared into the darkness. She’d never given much thought to how high the tree house was, but it was high enough to see over the tops of the trees between her childhood castle and the main house. A glimmer from the desk light in her dad’s office, pink-white in the shape of a rectangle, winked at her from that direction as the wind made the trees sway.

    Was he still working, still trying to sort out what he’d called a misunderstanding?

    Beside her, one shoulder brushing against her as he moved, Stenny pried a splinter from the railing and dropped it over the edge. He leaned forward, peering at the ground, counting under his breath, calculating the time it would take for the splinter to fall thirty feet and land on the mat of leaves beneath the tree house.

    Vandy wondered if the sharp little spike would impale an ant, ending a life neither of them could see or even imagine, and then wondered whether ants wandered around at night, and then had to wonder why she was thinking about the lives of ants when everything in her own life had gone so wrong.

  10. Name: Shannon Wixom
    Genre: Contemporary w/ elements of adventure/romance/sci-fi
    Word Count: 76,000


    No girl should have to spend her last summer before college stuck on a remote island in the South Pacific, babysitting her brothers. Yeah, tell that to Trinity Holbrook’s divorced parents.

    What begins as the most eye-rolling, sigh-inducing summer of Trinity's life quickly morphs into a Gothic novel. Strange, haunting screams wake her in the night. Exotic birds? Maybe, but the natives claim their island has been cursed with a monster. And everyone seems wary of something lurking in the darkness of the jungle, even Rylander, the cute but totally annoying guy stuck as her tour guide.

    Dogs are disappearing, sharks dying and the island’s famous blue-eyed eel population has been mutilated. Victims of coincidence, or do they have something to do with her dad's secretive work? As Trinity unravels the island's secrets, one thing becomes clear: her dad is Frankenstein. But will this discovery inadvertently turn her into the next victim?

    First 250 Words:

    Fluffy blue towel, check. Red bikini from last year’s end-of-season sale, check. Yummy-smelling sunscreen, check. Hot new sunglasses, check. Friends waiting for me at the beach, check. Ever so quietly I open the front door.

    “Where’re you going?”

    The dreaded words every teenager hates to hear, especially when they’re coming from her mother. I pivot slowly and prop my sunglasses on top of my head. My mom has frozen in the act of washing dishes to stare at me from across the kitchen. The only sound is the hot water that streams from the faucet onto the partially cleaned plate in her hand. It’s a gushing waterfall; the rest of the house is a cathedral of quiet. As if to answer her own question, she says, “You’re not going to the beach, are you?”

    “Actually, yeah.”

    She turns off the faucet and the waterfall evaporates. “But I told you I needed to talk to you before the boys get home from school.”

    “I thought it could wait 'til tonight.”

    “This is really important, Trin. Ogling the lifeguard with Jess and Lexy can wait.”

    Ouch, my mom knows me too well. “Fine,” I reluctantly say, “but I let me text them I’ll be late.” Inconvenient chat with my mother, check.

    Her blue eyes crease around the edges. “Once you hear what this is about, you’ll be glad I didn’t wait until tonight to tell you.”

    “Whatever.” My mother is cryptic as ever.

  11. Name: Danielle Graham
    Email: drgrahambooks at
    Title: And Then What? (Brampton Beach Series)
    Genre: New Adult Contemporary Adventure Romance
    Word Count: 60,000 words


    After nineteen-year-old Derian Lafleur’s long-term boyfriend Trevor Maverty no shows to the twenty-first surprise party she hosted for him, she and her best friend Sophie take off on a last-minute spring break trip to Mexico. While at the resort, Derian runs into her ex-boyfriend Mason Cartwright and agrees to go with him to work at the humanitarian project he’s been involved with. When Derian inadvertently reveals Mason’s wealthy family background, a violent drug cartel comes after them. They flee into the remote mountains in the Guerrero State. Injured, lost, and without food, Derian would normally count on Trevor and his Search and Rescue team to find them - the problem is, the only people who know where she is are lost with her.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:
    My mom’s apartment was packed with all of my boyfriend’s friends, family, and the Search and Rescue guys he volunteered with. I put his birthday present on the kitchen counter with the others and fidgeted with my dress to make it hang right.

    My best friend Sophie sat on a stool next to me. “Derian, just relax. Everything’s ready, the place looks great, and you look hot.”

    “A surprise party was a bad idea.”

    “The hard part is done,” my mom reassured me as she poked toothpicks into the meatballs. “Trevor will love it. All you need to do now is relax and enjoy yourself.”

    I waved my hands to cool my face.

    Sophie looked at me as if she knew there was something more going on, but she didn’t ask. She poured herself a glass of wine then took the bottle out into the living room to top up other people’s glasses. I took the quiches out of the oven and slid the tins of apple cinnamon muffins in. The apartment was getting ridiculously hot, so I opened the sliding glass patio door and breathed in the cool rainy spring air. Trevor’s best friend Murphy came into the kitchen to load up a plate with chicken wings.

    “What time do you have?” I asked.

    He took his phone out of his pocket and glanced at the screen. “Seven forty-five.”

    “What? Are you sure?” I leaned over and checked the time on the microwave. “That can’t be right. He was supposed to be here at seven. He’s never late.”

  12. Name: J.M. Bray
    Title: Tearing the Shroud
    Genre: Paranormal
    Word Count: 99,000


    Vincent is having visions. Glowing words, voices in his head and time slowing are not what he expected in college. They say he can become the Companion and have someone's spirit live in him. Or let evil creatures called Kafla enter California through a tear in the Shroud of reality. Vincent wants to change his shy, unassuming nature. He’s becoming his own person, making friends, and falling in love. But possession -- how can that turn out right?

    One vision shows Coleman, the person who will inhabit him. He’s a warrior on the other side of the Shroud with his own issues. Two women are in love with him, as well as one another. Coleman regularly faces death, but on his own terms. If he becomes the Traveler, he must attempt crossing the Shroud, then trust this untried college student with his spirit. Besides that, it means leaving those beautiful women.

    If Vincent and Coleman fail, they forfeit their lives, and the Kafla will spread destruction. If they can work together, they might stop the sorcerer bent on tearing the Shroud.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:

    7493 AR, 9th Cycle
    East of Callendel

    The young warrior staggered as a severed hand clawed at his boot. His tall muscular frame ached with wounds and fatigue, gore and blood, dripped from his short blond hair. All things told, the day had not gone well.

    The battle started hours before when the beasts came out of the mist, their talons clacking over the rocky soil. They were randomly assembled, a disjointed collection of nightmarish animals. Sharp teeth erupted at all angles from their gaping maws, some piercing their own faces. Serpentine drool oozed from their mouths, hanging in long strands before finally plopping to the ground. Where it struck, fires burst into life, as if they brought the flames of the Abyss with them. Strangely, the creatures smelled of mint, as if they had freshened up before setting out on wanton destruction.

    Randolf, his Second, turned with a smile. "Coleman, my lad, this could go wrong, but at least we'll have a good smell about us."

    Coleman's gray eyes sparkled, as he said, "Wrong? It looks like a party's comin' our way."

    He didn't speak to his men again. They fought silently, knowing that it unnerved their opponents. Unfortunately, these were not normal opponents. That fact became clear with the first clash of arms. He brought his longknife through a powerful downward strike, as the beast raised its arm to grab him. The stroke severed its taloned claw and carried into the creature's head, splitting it to the chin.

  13. Name: Katie Teller
    Email: katiejteller[at]hotmail[dot]com
    Title: Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh
    Genre: Historical Romance
    Word Count: 87,000
    To save her younger sisters from being taken to the cruel life of the palace, Naomi intervenes and gives herself to be a wife of the erratic Pharaoh. She is the oldest daughter of the direct line of Israel, and as her father's favorite child, she is well-educated and knows she is the closest thing her people have to a princess.

    In the palace, Naomi finds herself thrust into the intrigues of the royal family. She is savvy and bright, so the Great Queen Nefertiti perceives Naomi to be her greatest threat. But Naomi refuses to submit to Nefertiti’s physical and emotional abuse. Naomi becomes beloved by the Pharaoh, who declares that she will bear him his heir. Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Naomi and even brings her fidelity into question, which could cost Naomi her very life.

    Naomi must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. And when she does bear an heir, she must fight to protect him as well as herself from Nefertiti who is out for blood.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:
    I sprinted through the dusty, narrow streets. My two younger sisters were hot on my trail, their footsteps sliding in the dirt as they took the corners, their hands occasionally slapping the mud brick walls for balance. I took a sharp turn and headed for the abandoned temple district.
    I rounded a corner and came face to face with the grand gates to the Temple of Bast, where I paused. It had been only a few years since we Hebrews had not been allowed into that sector of Thebes, and I still felt apprehensive to enter.
    “Naomi!” my sister, Rena screeched as she saw me step up into the gateway of the temple. “Don't go in there!”
    I reached out and touched the smooth stone wall. “Are you afraid I will be struck down by Bast for being unworthy to enter?”
    “Yes!” she hissed. “Well, maybe not Bast but... you know what I mean.” My sisters halted in their tracks and watched me in fear.
    I turned and looked across the courtyard at the temple doors. “No one has been inside in years. Aren’t you just a little curious?”
    “No,” Eliora, my youngest sister answered with a quaking voice. “The Egyptians are evil. The things they did in these temples are abominations before God.”
    I scoffed, suppressing my fear while trying to look brave for them. “It’s just an old abandoned building,” I said, pulling my hood tighter around my head as I turned and began marching across the courtyard.

  14. Name: Brittney Coon
    Title: Radar Blade Kisses
    Genre: NA Bildungsroman Fiction
    Word Count: 63,000


    When life seemed too painful to endure, eighteen-year-old Rachel Montgomery knew her razor blades’ would save her from her inner demons. For the past two years Rachel’s life has been in a tailspin. Her parents hate each other, driving her mother to be distant and her father to be an abusive drunk. Rachel has started a deadly addiction, one she can’t escape from. To ease her pain, she carves herself with razor blades. She craves the love the blade gives her and the sweet escape she gets when her pain drips away in scarlet drops.

    After learning her best friend, Violet Cox, is murdered, she’s thrown into a deep depression. Razor blades whisper to her, saying cut deeper and let your soul free. Rachel’s depression, and being accused of murdering Violet by classmates, causes her to flee school. The voices in her head tell her to go anywhere, anywhere but home.

    That’s when she runs into Derek. She met him once at a party and thought he was someone she could trust. Without anyone to talk sense into her, Rachel runs away with him. He promises her a new life, promises to take away her agony. Only Rachel never imaged this new world would be darker than the one she was trying to leave behind.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:

    Sunlight poured through the window of my small bedroom, making me have to shield my eyes from the painful rays. As I sluggishly walked over to shut out the light, I silently cursed at myself for not remembering to close my curtains before bed. I wanted to blame my razor blades, but there wasn't any point. I was still aware enough after my cutting session to shut the curtains. It was the lack of care that blinded me this morning.

    Before I killed the blithe, cheery sunshine I took in the dawn. The sun was appearing out of a red horizon, like a fresh bleeding wound. There was hardly a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect start to a day, some would say, but I preferred darkness any day. I glanced at the clock on my wall and realized I was going to be late for work. Cutting the night before work cost more than just bloodshed and torn flesh, I had to remember that more often.

    Five hours later I was home once again. I simply loved how four days a week, five hours of my life were stolen from me thanks to the department store Bullseye. Time felt like it was frozen whenever I was standing at my register. You’d think being a cashier wouldn't be that horrible of a job. I was that ignorant once.

    It was like a leech, sucking away all my energy. The pay was decent, but I would've liked to keep the precious hourglass of my time intact.

  15. Shawn Keenan
    NA dystopian adventure
    93,000 words


    When eighteen-year-old intern Kip Pureweather dares to defy an order from the all-powerful Vassalcorp, he triggers a revolution across the country and calls into question everything he thought he believed.

    Kip’s first assignment away from Vassalcorp headquarters in York City sends him on mechanical horseback to the farmlands of Ohio. Upon arrival, Kip learns that he has to deliver a foreclosure to the family of his co-worker, Abbey Fairchild. Faced with destroying a family to secure his future, Kip sacrifices his boyhood dream of becoming a knight-executive and lets the notice expire, giving Abbey’s family an extra year to save their farm.

    Kip’s insubordination makes him an instant outlaw and the only spot on the map out of Vassalcorp’s reach is the forbidden Empty Lands north of the Realms. Unfortunately, the Empty Lands turn out to be the fire outside the Realm’s frying pan and Kip is caught up in a secret the corporations have kept since the time of the war that brought them to power and ushered in the second Dark Ages.

    With a new war in the Realms imminent, Kip returns to York City to warn Abbey. With the help of a slave, a mailroom clerk, a tabloid princess, and a disgruntled wizard in a lab coat, Kip and Abbey take a stand against Vassalcorp and the army of genetically enhanced soldiers unleashed from the north to crush the country back into submission.


    From the saddle of his mechanical horse, Cian gazed across the underground garage in an uninterested way, but Kip knew better than to let his guard down. Cian’s opponent had nearly scored a point on him during the last pass. It was clearly unintentional, but his opponent’s lance had missed Cian’s shield by only a few inches. The slip-up was more than Cian was used to tolerating. He wouldn’t lash out at his opponent and subordinate in an obvious way – that would come later, more subtly, in the boardroom about something seemingly unrelated. But he also wouldn’t wait that long before venting in some meaningful way. Kip had seen it a hundred times while serving as Cian’s valet during jousting practice. The snake was going to strike, and for once, Kip wanted to avoid the sting of those fangs.
    Cian removed his sleek, steel riding helm to reveal a head of tightly cropped hair, a style in fashion with all the affluent knight-executives of York City. His pitch-like eyes betrayed no secrets about the thoughts behind them, a great asset during negotiations. Another of his assets was the unchecked power and considerable influence he held over all matters that affected the Incorporated Realms. As is said throughout the Realms, it’s good to be a knight-executive.

  16. Name: Ryan Hill


    Title: Dead New World

    Genre: Urban Fantasy

    Word Count: 80,000

    Query: Fresh out of boot camp and on their first search-and-destroy patrol, best friends Holt and Ambrose are attacked by a zombie horde, led by the mysterious Reverend, a former Chaplain betrayed by the government. His goal is to infect survivors with the virus and remake the world in his image. The mission ends in disaster. Holt loses a leg. Ambrose is bitten and survives the virus, only to become a zombie-human hybrid.

    Recovering at a nearby hospital, Holt falls for the beautiful Nancy. Complications arise when he is shipped back to Fort Bragg and a romantic rival emerges in Gabriel. After a massive strike across the east coast that includes zombie suicide bombers leaves the military in disarray, Holt and Ambrose return to the hospital to search for survivors. Gabriel is the only one. He tells the pair that the Reverend’s army, known as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, kidnapped Nancy.

    On their journey to rescue Nancy, the three encounter a doomed family, a satanic Colonel, and a host of other lunatics driven mad by the zombie apocalypse. Holt, Ambrose, and Gabriel travel through the treacherous wild in the hopes of catching the Horsemen before Nancy dies…or worse.

    Can Holt make the ultimate sacrifice in order to keep the one he loves from becoming the thing she fears most? Is there anything worthwhile left in the world to even fight for? Holt will be forced to decide if he wants to live in this dead new world.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:
    Sunlight filtered through the trees, brightening parts of the forest while leaving others in shadow. Birds chirped and chattered serenely. Everything seemed peaceful.

    That’s what frightened me so much.

    Nothing was ever peaceful anymore. Not since I’d been alive, at least. I tightened my grip on my M16 and tried not to let the guys see my hands shaking.

    It was my first time out. A search and destroy, away from the relative safety of the bases or towns. No walls or fences to hide behind. No machine guns or bunkers for protection. Out here it was just your rifle, your squad and, if they happened to be in the area, air support.

    The summer heat weighed down my bite-proof fatigues. Sweat drenched my body and dripped into my eyes, stinging. I flipped up the visor on my helmet to wipe my face.

    Ambrose patted me on the shoulder. “Cold enough for you?”

    I turned to him and grinned, struck again by how he’d changed since basic training. He didn’t look like the kid I’d known practically my entire life anymore. He’d shot up and filled out, his built frame and square jaw making him look older than sixteen. Even though we were the same rank, I couldn’t help looking up to him, and I wasn’t the only one.

    “I hate these things. It’s like wearing an oven.” I closed the visor.

    “Better than being dead, Holt. Or worse, dead-ish.”

  17. Name: Christy Trujillo
    Title: Playing With Fire
    Genre: NA, Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 66,200

    Basic facts that every Dragon should know:
    1) Of the two clans, Jai’ will always fight for truth and honor. Say’ will always
    lie and deceive. The only true path is with the United Council.
    2) Keep your DragonStone with you at all times, for it holds the key to your power.
    3) Never, ever fall in love with a human. This means you, Lea Conti!

    Okay, so maybe I made that last part up, but it’s the truth. My kind, DragonKind, we aren’t supposed to socialize with humans, much less love them. We’re their guardian angels, the Anninuaki, the watchers. My name’s Lea and, well, I’m a hot mess. I was adopted by Dominic, the head of the North American DragonKind Council, when I was a baby and on my eighteenth birthday he asked me to succeed him. Can you believe that? Anyway, I kind of took off and coerced my two best friends Tig and Tinsley (Yes, they’re twins) to go with me under the guise that I was searching for my birth mother, which, by the way, I really did want to do and was in fact doing. Things pretty much went downhill from there.

    I did the unthinkable and fell in love with a human – don’t worry, he doesn’t love me back, I’ve gone against direct orders, lied to everyone who ever cared about me and completely turned my back on my responsibilities. Oh, and did I mention that I’m the only dragon alive who can bend fire and doesn’t need her Stone for her powers to work? No pressure. I’m trying to get it together and figure out who the hell I am. Am I the leader of DragonKind, or am I just a big screw up who got lucky in the gene lottery?

    See, like I said. A hot mess. Things can’t get much worse than that, right? Great. Thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Dear Ms. Murphy,

    Since you’ve already met Lea, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christy Trujillo and my Urban Fantasy, NA Novel, Playing With Fire, is complete at 66,235 words. As a new twist on the Anninuaki, mentioned in the ancient Sumerian text, Playing With Fire blends fantasy and history through the story of someone who is more important than she knows, but aren’t we all? Stuck between two worlds, she will make her choice, but fate doesn’t always allow us to have the final say. Playing With Fire can act as a standalone, but is meant to be the first novel in a series of three.

    Currently, I have five published novels through and am seeing representation in hopes of a more traditional publishing experience. I look forward to hearing from you and am happy to send the full MS and/or series synopsis upon request.

    First 250 Words:


    In the beginning there was heaven and earth, that much is true. Things branch off soon thereafter though, depending on whose beginning you’re referring to. Our beginnings mix with yours, as we once lived together in peace on this earth. We are Anunnaki, though you know us as Dragon. As with much of what comes after, ‘In the Beginning’ the truth of what we are has been diluted and molded to fit the purpose of whoever has been chosen to relay the information. I honestly don’t know what they’re writing in the records they keep these days, but I can guarantee that it’s wrong. People like to make things pretty by adding all sorts of pink and fluffy nonsense. Well, sometimes, it just is what it is.

    So I’m going to start from the beginning, or at least where it began for me. Consider this your one and only warning: this isn’t a story for the squeamish or delicate. It’s real and gritty with pain and loss, but it’s a story that’s worth being told. If you’re still with me, you just learned the first of many truths to come. Not all of the stories worth being told have happy endings.

    Chapter One

    I hated running. Don’t get me wrong, I could sprint like a Pronghorn Antelope when I needed to, it just wasn’t my thing. Parts tended to…jiggle, and I don’t give a damn what kind of super runner’s bra you wore, they still jiggled.

  18. Name: CL Campbell

    Email: clcwords (at) gmail (dot) com

    Title: Nice Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars

    Genre: Contemporary

    Word Count: 105,000


    Ali Fisher is no groupie. She may have been a starry-eyed fan of rocker Matt Hartley in her teens, but at 27, she’s shared five fairy-tale years with him. While her friends are climbing career ladders, buying properties, and raising families, Ali is content being Matt’s right arm. Mostly.

    Then Ali meets Kelly—her mirror image in a 19-year-old’s body—who claims to be Matt’s lover from the road. Eerie parallels between them spotlight how much Ali traded to be a songwriter’s muse, and no personalized power ballad can make up for that now.

    Stuck in a dead-end job and an apartment on the corner of Nearly 30 and Nowhere, Ali’s left only with determination. Before Matt, her life had been a whirlwind of creative passions to pursue. In her college years, Ali jumped from one dream to the next, afraid to commit her whole future to one path. Now without Matt, Ali sees how she hid herself in his success, stamping it over the deserted attempts at her own. The only constant ambition before Matt was seeing Britain, so she heads there, collecting the pieces of herself she deserted as far back as childhood. The journey stirs up her own artistic talents, and soon Ali’s the one with an audience—including an attentive British bassist. But committing to herself to finish something she starts is a much bigger challenge than winning the heart of a wayward soul. Even one wielding a guitar.

    First 250 Words of Manuscript:

    I’ve known Matt Hartley since I was fifteen. I didn’t actually speak to him until I was eighteen, and by twenty-three, he knew my name. Some might call that a pretty slow-moving relationship, but since it started with his image adorning my bedroom walls, I call it outrageous fortune.

    The packed bodies shift like planets aligning in perfect sync, and for one split second give me a glimpse of Matt from head to foot. The foot taps slow and steady, and the head is creased by tell-tale narrowing of dark brows. I’m the only one in the room able to read this exact expression, though I wish the world knew everything that face hides. Sometimes.

    Sometimes I just want to keep it tucked safely inside, with the shameless, selfish notion that it’s mine. But like the beauty of a sunset or tear-jerking movie moment, you want to turn to the person next to you and communally gush. So it goes if you date a celebrity of any stature, I suppose. You’re delighted when others get what he does, but you also feel like Gollum, hoarding away the person’s private quirks like the One Ring. I’m happy to be the only person who knows Matt watches Reading Rainbow over breakfast, or that he stores his paperwork in a series of grocery bags.

    Except I’m not the only one. I’m last in a long line. When you tell people you’re dating a musician—a touring, album-selling one with a pin-up past—they’re prone to chuckle and wink, “You and what army?”

  19. Name:Jen Duffey
    Genre: Contemporary
    Word Count:75,000

    Skylar Davis would have never guessed that she'd spend her final research project immersed in the world of Native American pow-wows. Nor did she think she'd find the man of her dreams. Too bad Daniel is also her point person for research, and it wouldn't be right for them to attempt a relationship. Not to mention her family promises to disown her if she doesn't find a man worthy of her.

    Daniel Yazee would never deny that the first time he laid eyes on Sky she stole his heart. Even when his family tells him it's a bad idea to get mixed up with a girl like her, he doesn't stay away. Helping Sky with her research is the perfect excuse to get close. But when Sky turns against him without even a simple explanation he has a decision to make.

    Decisions and opposition provide plenty of roadblocks for Sky and Daniel. But with enough conviction and force, they may be able to figure out just how to overcome it all.

    First 250 Words:
    “You have to come with me. I don’t want to be the only white person there,” Sky begged her friend Amber.

    “Why do you assume you’ll be the only white person, Sky? That’s ridiculous. The powwow is a public event. But explain to me, again, why you have to go.”

    It wasn’t that Amber didn’t understand the reason for her going, it was more that Amber couldn’t fathom the idea that Sky actually wanted to spend time completing an assignment. Over the years, she'd taught Sky the finer points of procrastination. It was no surprise that she didn’t understand Sky’s need to get going on an assignment that wasn't due until the end of the semester.

    But this was Sky’s next to last major project for her degree. It had to be perfect.

    “I need this to graduate. It's important to me, Amber. Please go. I’ll take you out for dinner first.”

    “Dinner. Make it my choice and I’m in.” Amber chuckled on the other end of the line.
    With a long sigh, Sky gave in. By giving Amber a choice, they’d end up at a nice restaurant rather than the drive through Sky could actually afford. Amber was a great friend, but she knew how to take advantage of a situation.

    “Fine. But only because the thought of going by myself makes me sick to my stomach.”

    “Good. I’ll see you at your place in an hour. You’re driving.”

    **I have queried another manuscript to Entangled. I hope it is okay to submit this one for this contest.**

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