Today, we're hosting the Editor in the Alley pitch contest with editor Patricia E. Riley from Spencer Hill Press. (Spencer Hill Press | Spencer Hill Contemporary | Spence City).


Your manuscript must be complete and polished, and it must fall into the New Adult (NA) category to be considered. She is interested in submissions of Contemporary in between 55k and 100k words!  

The submissions window is now open and will close after one week, 
on April 19th at 11:59pm PST. 
One pitch per person. To enter, you will be required to submit via comment the following:
  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Title:
  • Genre:
  • Word Count:
  • Query + 250 first words

You do not need to follow our blog to participate -- but if you want to stay up-to-date on further details about this pitch contest, and be informed about future contests, you really should.


Patricia will choose 1 winner and 2 runner-ups for this contest. The winner will receive a full-manuscript request. Runner-ups will receive partial requests. Winners will be posted within two weeks.

Without further delay, please submit your pitches! Go!

Good luck!


Post a Comment

  1. Name: Kelsey Ketch
    Email: leather_bound (at) hotmail (dot) com
    Title: A Daughter of Isis
    Genre: Upper YA/ NA Contemporary Dark Fantasy
    Word Count: 89,691

    Query: The last thing Natti Stone wants to do is to start anew at Setemple High School. She would rather she never left her home in England, much less move out to the middle of the California’s high desert. Yet the brutal murder of her grandmother has made things complicated, very complicated. The only possible clue related to the murder is an ancient, encrypted necklace Natti discovered just after her grandmother’s death. And if trying to adjust to American life is not enough, Natti is being stalked by a mysterious and handsome high school senior, Seth O’Keefe, who seems to have the power to charm anyone into doing anything he pleases. He is annoyingly persistent and despite her resistance to his attempts at seduction, he simply won’t give up.
    Seth O’Keefe is secretly a member of the Sons of Set, an order that worships the Egyptian god of chaos and hunts down their enemy, the Daughters of Isis. Seth’s blessing from Set allows him to magically “charm” anyone into doing or thinking anything he pleases, except for one person: Natti Stone. Her ability to elude his power both infatuates and infuriates him, and he becomes obsessed about ensnaring her in his web. But the closer he gets to her, the more his emotions take a dangerous turn, and he risks breaking one of the most valued covenants of his order. If he is discovered, the punishment is a fate worse than death.
    I understand that your time is precious. I would love to send you my manuscript and I hope to hear from you soon.

    First 250 words: Tired and grumpy from the long flight from London, Natti fidgeted in her seat as she scanned the Southern California desert with its rolling hills of brush. The rental car whizzed east along the empty road that split off Highway 40. “The desert?” she groaned, her British accent giving her words a bit of an edge to her voice. “You moved us from beautiful London to live in the desert?”
    “I was tired of the fog and rain.” Alexander smiled, and she glared at his so called humor. “Oh, come on. It’s not that bad. It’s kind of peaceful out here.”
    “Yeah, except for the buzzards flying overhead, it’s great.” Natti breathed.
    She hated this. She didn’t want to move from her home in London. It was Alexander who thought this was best course of action, considering her grandmother had just been murdered. The police stated it was most likely a ‘robbery gone wrong,’ but not everyone was entirely convinced. The Waterford mansion had been tossed; priceless Egyptian artifacts had been smashed and broken. Her grandmother, Zofia, was left on the floor of the sitting room, her throat slit and her heart cut out of her chest. It was more than robbery, it was a brutal act. Even Trish, her grandmother’s attorney, felt something was amiss about the case, and though she openly didn’t approve of this move, she agreed it was best that Alexander and Natti leave Europe.
    Life is so unfair, she moaned to herself, still feeling the…

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    1. Made an edit and reposted below...


  3. Author Name: Kenya Wright
    Book title: Flirting with Chaos
    Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
    Word Count: 76,518

    Can two mentally unstable best friends have sex and not drown in chaos? Rain's been washing her father's blood off her hands for far too long. After five years, she accepts that she's still crazy, but healed enough to try at being normal. Parties, drugs, and sex flood Marcel`s life. He's the son of a rock star and grandson of a jazz legend. Music and scandal run through his veins. With so many groupies vying for his attention, his best friend Rain keeps him anchored in reality.

    She's nothing like him—a college girl with no idea of her own beauty. Rain would rather read a sci-fi book at home, and then go to the club. So when she comes to him for a favor, he can't help but oblige. She wants him to take her virginity. He's honored, but at the same time, feelings rise to the surface, ones their both unprepared to deal with. Suddenly their simple friendship shifts to confusion and complication, and neither one of them are sure if sex was a good idea, or if they had been flirting with chaos the whole time.

    Flirting with Chaos is a New Adult Contemporary Romance complete at 76,518 words. It is book one in the Crazy in Love Series, involving romantic stand-alone books with artists that maneuver through mental illnesses while they fall in love.

    The First 250 Words:


    “Sometimes it’s okay to kill, if you’re saving someone else in the process, Rainbow.” Dad wiped my tears off of my face with bloody hands. “Go ahead sweetheart. Do it for daddy. Pull the trigger.”
    And I did.

    Chapter 1

    I’d been washing blood off of my hands for five years. It was time to stop swimming through guilt and make a go at being normal.
    Tonight I would lose my virginity to my best friend, Jude. He didn’t know and it didn’t matter. He was tan muscle wrapped around a sex fieneend with blue eyes that made the Caribbean ocean jealous in spring. Even worse, he knew it. Once I’d joked that more women walked into his bedroom and spread their legs, than at a women’s health center. He winked and proudly agreed.
    Jude will say yes. Stop worrying.
    The difficulty rested on me, and if I could lock my heart and emotions into a steel cage where nothing could slip in or seep out, while we shared the most significant moment of my life.
    I can. No big deal, right?
    Once summer was over. I would return to art school. He would go into the studio and produce his first album. Our lives would return back to normal and neither one of us would regret tonight. Our friendship would remain intact.
    “Don’t over think this.” I crossed my fingers on both hands for added luck.
    My driver, Thompson drove the limo along the path

  4. Name: Katie Teller
    Email: katiejteller at gmail . com
    Title: Deceptive Cadence
    Genre: NA Contemporary with Paranormal elements
    Word Count: 85,000
    Cadence awakes in a hospital to find her husband and daughter dead, killed in an earthquake. So when her guardian angel appears and offers her a chance to go back in time with all the knowledge she has, she accepts, desperate to prevent their deaths.
    She shoots back eleven years to her fourteen-year-old self, and faces high school all over again. She is determined to do everything better, including preventing the loss of her best friend and not dating any of her original, drama-inducing boyfriends. Her main focus is on her future husband, who she won’t meet for several years.
    But James Gordon crosses her path. While she wishes to remain single, the bad boy pursues her. He threatens to disrupt everything that is to come as she begins to develop unwanted feelings for him, and distract her from her original goal: to save her future family.

    250 Words:
    A steady beep brought me out of unconsciousness. My eyes felt heavy and I struggled to open them. A distinct aroma of cleaning products hung in the air. My brain switched on as I realized where I was. I forced my eyes open and the beeping sped up. The walls were white in the hospital room, and directly across from me was a closed bathroom door. To my left was a brown couch under a window – which was covered by blinds – and to my right was a tan leather armchair. I was completely alone. Where was my family? My husband? My eighteen-month-old daughter?
    I tried to sit up but my whole body writhed with pain. I moaned, and a second later a nurse, dressed in aqua scrubs, burst into the room. “It’s all right, just don’t move,” she said in a soothing voice.
    I wanted to ask a million questions, but I couldn’t seem to form any words. She gently pressed me back onto the bed and checked me over. I watched her, as she avoided looking directly into my eye. I followed her movements which was when I became aware of the cast on my arm. My right leg was bound and raised in a sling and appeared to have large bolts sticking out of my thigh. “What happened?” I finally managed to utter.
    The nurse slowed. “You have a fractured femur, ulna and radius. You also sustained substantial head trauma, which is why you’ve been unconscious for the past few days.”

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  6. Name: Nicole Cetnarowski
    Email: nicolecet (at) gmail (dot) com
    Title: Tainted Lullaby
    Genre: NA Contemporary
    Word Count: 63K

    April 13th, 2013

    Dear Patricia Riley;
    I am requesting permission to submit my manuscript for your evaluation. The working title, “Tainted Lullaby” is a 212 page double-spaced typed new adult suspenseful romance, of a woman who runs from an abusive husband and tries to start a new life for herself. She ends up befriending a man who is the epitome of the flirtatious bad-boy, and he starts to prove to her that there just might be such thing as a Prince Charming, even if he doesn’t really look the part. Currently this manuscript is in the process of being professionally edited.
    The market for this book would be any woman who is in need of a great romance with a mix of suspense. Twenty-year-old Anna was only sixteen when she married the man to whom her father had betrothed. His dying wish was for her to be taken care of and provided for after he was gone. Now, four years later, in modern day America, she is on the run from her abusive husband who was supposed to give her the world, but instead just took all things that made her feel alive. Finding sanctuary in a small college town, she heals and grows, starting to make a new life for herself, not at all expecting to find her body and her heart yearning for a man that seems all too wrong for her. Dexter Jenkins flirts too much, drinks too much; he makes up the epitome of a bad-boy. If that’s not bad enough, he has a brother, both of them seemed to be sculpted from the covers of romance novels. Their bodies are too tempting to be good for anyone. Can Anna find a Prince Charming in this rough, sexually driven man? Or will he just add to her already damaged, baggage-filled life?
    I write under the name Emmalee Aple, and have self-published my first YA novel a year ago in digital format only. Since then, I feel I have grown a lot as a writer, learning many lessons from the time of the first draft of that novel to now.
    Thank you for your time.
    Nicole Cetnarowski
    (writing as Emmalee Aple)

    Below is the first 250 words as requested.

    Tainted Lullaby

    “Get back here!” his voice called as I walked away, picking my path carefully through the crowd. He was making a scene, jealous over something that in his mind was far more than it actually was. “Anna! Get your ass back here!” I could feel him getting closer as I ducked between two guys carrying a beer in each hand.
    The speakers crackled above me as the announcer asked for the bmx bikers to get to the start gate for the next race. I made my way into the metal and wood bleachers, to the safety of our friends. If I wasn’t alone, he couldn’t do much harm and maybe he would cool down a bit.
    “Anna!” he hollered over the sea of people that were waiting anxiously for the next race. I continued to ignore him as I sat down between Becs and her brother, Jack. I realized as I did this that I was just making the matter worse, and before I could move, he was behind me, his hand wrapping around my ponytail. “I was not done talking to you.” He growled through clenched teeth as he pulled me up by my hair.
    “Let go of her!” Becs cried out, leaping from her seat. In the lifetime that I have known her, this would have been one of the first times she ever seen him act like this. Sure, she had seen the bruises, but those were easy to explain away. I was pretty clumsy anyway.

  7. Name: Colette Ricketts
    Email: cs.ricketts27(at) gmail (dot) com
    Title: Pieces of One
    Genre: Mature YA/NA Contemporary Action/Drama
    Word Count: 80,080


    Waking up to the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke in her hair, let alone the curious bruises on her arm, was the riddle she should not have wanted to answer so quickly in hindsight. But she already knew the answer, yet not the precipice.

    For over two years, 17-year old TRISTA DIVIDIR kept their lives separate and that’s the way she liked it; it was the only way to keep the life she built reasonably rational. Thanks to MARVY, one youthful, stupid mistake, perversely melded it together, channeling it down an unimaginable path. Trista suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and Marvy is her alternate personality, her alter.

    To get her life back, trapped between love and desperation, blood and bruises, Trista finds herself an informant in a DEA-Vice investigation, and involved with two men; one of which she is traveling the world with and the lead target of the investigation. Yet every step closer to the end, drops her deeper into the Baltic criminal world, strangling that life from her. She emerges by force of fingertips for better…and for worse.

    PIECES OF ONE, a Young Adult/New Adult novel is complete at 80,080 words. This story and its main character have already dove into the next chapters and I am currently in the process of its shaping.

    First 250 Words:

    Marvy finger tipped the volume up when one of her favorite songs came on spilling the tune through the car stereo speakers vibrating the windows. A rush of excitement flooded her; it swirled around her head like a beloved old friend. She could feel her heart pump the blood warmly rushing through her in anticipation of the night. She licked her lips and held the tip of her tongue with her teeth before sliding it into her mouth. The taste of apple red lipstick fueled her pleasure. Her eyes lowered in seduction and her left eyebrow arched up. A closed, smirky smile slowly crossed her lips curving one side up. She pressed her thighs together basking in the warm, pulsing sensation between them. Her lust was blazing tonight.

    A handsome, yet acne inflicted boy opened the car door when Marvy pulled up to the club’s valet. Her dress, being too tight and short, made her turn sideways, but she spread her legs even more slightly to exit the car just the same. The valet boy dropped her keys as she purposely released them an inch from his fingers. She liked manipulating the situation causing him to have a closer look at her. Starting with her legs, to her hips, to her breasts and then to her face. She made him take her all in with his eyes but that was not a challenge based on his reaction. Despite the line of waiting cars, he took his time slowly standing up.

  8. Name: Iris St. Clair
    Email: Irisstclair (at) gmail (dot) com
    Title: Louder Than Words
    Genre: Mature YA/NA Contemporary
    Word Count: 83,000


    Disappointment has been on speed dial in Ellen Grayson's life lately. Her dad's dead, her mom is numbing the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called friends are slowly abandoning her. Trusting a popular teacher with her troubles should have been safe, shouldn't have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt, shouldn't have sent her running to the girls' bathroom for the final moments of her Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all the sordid details of her life to herself.

    Enter Rex Jacobi, a cocky teen recently transplanted from New York and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her in, she's not letting him get too close, not til she's sure she can trust him. By the time Rex's charming persistence wears down her resistance, it's too late. He's put Ellen on the perma-pal shelf and shifted his romantic attentions to her arch-rival. Even worse, the teacher who tried to seduce her is still misbehaving with impunity.

    With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about her teacher and risk retribution, to tell Rex how she feels and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside, the only safe place she knows.

    LOUDER THAN WORDS is a contemporary upper young adult novel, complete at 83,000 words, and targeted to readers of Stephanie Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss with glimmers of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.

    My prior published works include novels/novellas and short stories written under the pen names of Claire Gillian (The P.U.R.E. from J Taylor Publishing) and Lila Shaw (All’s Fair in Love and War and Prometheus Unstitched from Evernight Publishing).

    First 250 words:

    I hadn't meant to say a word, hadn’t meant to talk about my whacked out home life—that was nobody’s business but mine—but he was Mr. H. He said he wanted me to open up to him. I didn’t realize he meant my legs. Bastard.

    I pull my limbs in tighter to my chest where I’m perched on the toilet seat in the girls’ bathroom. Every breath is held in check to prevent my hiding place from being discovered. I don't have a hall pass. I didn't think he'd offer one after I wrenched myself out of his arms and ran for the door. I damn sure wasn't going to ask.

    He said he understood my unique "situation", said he wanted to help. Everybody loves Mr. H, the most popular teacher in school. He listens when kids talk to him. He nods and asks gentle questions, never pushes, never judges. Why wouldn't I have trusted him?

    Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I looked at him the wrong way, said something more suggestive than I'd intended.

    I snatch a shuddery breath of the blissful silence, comforted by my solitude in the bathroom. For now anyway.

    Why was I so stupid? I didn't pull away ... not soon enough. So that had to be my fault, didn't it?

    I can't believe he kissed me. Why'd I let him? I should have dodged him when I first saw him moving closer. I should have pulled away, shouldn't have let it go...

  9. JoLynne Lyon
    Title: The Truth Inducer
    Genre: NA mystery, magical realism
    word count: 85,550

    Query: Nobody close to Anthony Blackwell can lie to him. His new ability compels people to confess their worst deeds in his presence. But when he scrambles to free an innocent woman from a web of deceit and murder, the the hardest truths he uncovers are about himself.

    Ever since Anthony's inexplicable gift manifested itself, he can't shut it off. It pushes him to the fringes of society, where he becomes a detective. His first case thrusts him into a nest of political intrigue in the energy-rich plains of Wyoming. Soon he is desperate to save a redheaded violinist--first from false accusations, then from the killer who framed her.

    As they work to find the real murderer, Anthony is sure of two things: his gift is unbeatable, and it will only work if he comes too close to an enemy who wants them dead.

    The Truth Inducer is a detective story with an element of magical realism. It will appeal to readers of Dean Koonz's Odd Thomas and Charlaine Harris's Harper Connelly books.

    First 250:

    The Monday before Thanksgiving, my car disappeared. Or it might have been late Sunday night. The day was half-over before I even looked outside. Instead I focused on an ugly painting until I realized I was hungry. I was out of bread and low on groceries in general. I cleaned my brushes, grabbed my keys, opened the front door and stared at gray asphalt where my Mazda used to be. A few dead cottonwood leaves swirled there before the wind swept them off.

    I didn't bother calling the police. My car hadn't been stolen, it had been repossessed.
    My cell phone buzzed. It was my brother, Bart.

    “Hey,” I said.

    “Hey, Bro. How's life in the Big City?”

    Bart wasn't being ironic when he called Cheyenne the Big City. Compared to our hometown, Cheyenne was enormous.

    “It's good!” I stepped back into the cafe` and tried to think of something else to say. Something that would back up my lie.

    “Great. When are you coming for Thanksgiving?” Bart asked.

    My brain scrambled, too busy to pay attention. I didn't need a car. The abandoned Sam's Cafe` was a great studio, with north-facing windows and indirect, natural light. My work happened right at home.

    My work was also stacked against the walls, waiting for a gallery to accept it. The art that was already in a gallery had hung there for months. I needed a day job. A car would help.

  10. Name: Shantiece Williams


    Book Title: The Fruit and Its Lamb

    Genre: NA/Dark Contemporary Fantasy

    Word Count: 75,000 words

    Query: Lamb Vaughn is a "lost soul" having it removed from her years ago for killing an innocent person in cold blood. The end result makes her feel little to no compassion and to love almost impossible. Then there is the food problem she craves raw meat every four hours because she can't consume the flesh of others without feeling the after effects of how that person in question has died also making her life as a detective that much harder to endure because she always surrounded by dead bodies, but that was what she was hired for anyway. See Lamb is what they call a death reader but when she is called about a young female murdered in the most heinous way with a peach inside her at a fast food joint she's unable to touch the women body and find out who killed her. When she tries to find out answers the people that have answers are targeted or killed. With the help of the Dragon King she tries to find out who and why this happening, but when things start to slowly unravel will she stop it or will she just become one of the victims.

    First 250 Words:
    A person is never evil once detaching from their mother’s womb. It’s after once there soul has been deprived from the course of their flesh, then catapulted into the pits of hell does true evil evolve, and damnation take over, no one ever asks the question of what becomes of the one’s like me? The one’s whose soul has left purposely from their flesh to never be found again. Are we also consider damned or is there simply no afterlife for us?
    It was a quarter past four a.m. when I made my way into my disheveled kitchen to sedate my hunger for raw meat. I woke up prior to excruciating pains eroding from abdominal telling me that it’s been four hours since I’ve last eaten. There was a package of defrosted pork-chops still wrapped in the plastic encasing sitting on the edge of my kitchen table. As I got closer I noticed a crusade of baby roaches hovering near waiting for me to slip the plastic open so they could feast upon it.
    I wasn’t surprised by their presence they were always lurking around whenever I had meat around but I was annoyed—to prove as much I slammed my palm down on the table crushing a few in the process and leaving the others to scamper away. I brushed away their now desecrated bodies onto the back of my black jeans and took a seat at one of the two white lawn chairs that bordered the small table.

  11. Hi Everyone! Thank you for all your wonderful submissions so far!

    I just wanted to clarify that for this pitch contest we are looking for strictly contemporary novels -- without paranormal/fantasy elements. While we LOVE our genre fiction at Spencer Hill Press, Spencer Hill Contemporary focuses only on contemporary novels.

    Looking forward to reading some great submissions!

    Patricia E Riley
    Editor-in-chief, Spencer Hill Contemporary

  12. Name: Yvonne R. Jones
    Email: author.y.r.jones (at) gmail (dot) com
    Title: Rock the Boat
    Genre: NA Contemporary
    Word Count: 85,000

    Lust-crazed college students Carmen and Vincent weren’t supposed to meet—at least not until 10 years later.

    Carmen spends a lot of time browsing the Internet in between classes at the University of South Florida (USF). During one of her many boring days, she unexpectedly meets Vincent, a younger yet smart-alecky USF student from Grenada, via a social networking website. The two quickly become close friends—close enough to allow a lusting attraction to brew, despite the existence of Carmen’s long-distance boyfriend.

    As their desires accelerate, Vincent begins to pull away, rejecting Carmen one month only to reenter her welcoming arms the next. He lies to her about other women and his celibacy in hopes of forever pushing her out of his life. Carmen tries to stay away by seeking comfort in alcohol and other men—one more so than the other, but her heart won’t comply, her body can’t resist, and her mind doesn’t understand.

    But Vincent does.

    Vincent has already met Carmen—albeit a 30-year old married Carmen—10 years into the future at his mind and psyche institute. He wants to tell her, the woman he isn’t supposed to love, about her future, her life, and why she visited the institute, but revealing what he knows may further alter their predetermined futures and at a great cost to Carmen.

    ROCK THE BOAT is new adult contemporary fiction with romantic elements and complete at 85,000 words.

    First 250 Words:

    “What in the hell was that?” Dr. Douvray yelled in his native Grenadian accent from inside the glass chamber.

    “Oh no! Oh no! I am so sorry, Dr. Douvray!” his assistant Vesta responded as she scrambled to collect debris from the explosion off of the floor. “I – I don’t understand what happened.”

    “What do you mean I don’t understand?” The sealed steel door and compact glass muffled his voice as he banged against the window. “Unlock the door and let me the hell out of here!”

    “Yes, sir! Yes, sir!”

    Vesta dumped the broken pieces of glass from her hands back onto the floor and dusted off her knees before rushing to the control panel to unlock the chamber door. Dr. Douvray stared into Vesta’s contrite eyes as he took menacing steps past the control panel. He reached the lab station several feet away from the chamber where she managed to destroy his only trial of Time in a Bottle. His hand stroked the counter where his elixir once waited for its last component to bond to the remaining elements.

    “Oh my god, Dr. Douvray! I can’t tell you how truly sorry I am!” Vesta stood petrified with her fingers interlocked to refrain from rushing the doctor with an apologetic hug.

    “Vesta, normally during one of your daily fuck ups, I’d just tell you ‘It’s okay’ and then we start over fresh. But this time?”

    “Yes sir?” she murmured with her chin tucked into her cleavage.

  13. Name: Karen Y. Bynum
    Email: bynum.karen(at)gmail(dot)com
    Title: BECOMING
    Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 70,000

    Dear Ms. Riley,

    BECOMING is a new adult urban fantasy complete at 70,000 words. It is a standalone novel with potential to be a series.

    A heart transplant leaves nineteen-year-old Zoe Moore with a six-inch Frankenscar on her chest. Terrified of intimacy, Zoe shuts out everyone except the boy she meets online. Scared or not, she’s fallen hard and agrees to meet Taylor Sinclair...only, the UNC-Charlotte sophomore isn’t who Zoe expected. Despite being sexy, blond and green-eyed, Taylor is also female, shattering Zoe’s fantasies.

    Ruthless killing is in Taylor’s dragon DNA, and the only way to stop it is to fall in love and procreate—a major problem for someone who has already given her heart, literally and figuratively, to a girl. As Zoe slowly lets her in, it’s torture for Taylor not to tell her the truth: because of what Taylor did, Zoe is turning into a monster. And in order to stop the transformation, Taylor must risk her own life.

    Though concerned by her smoke burps, scalding-hot skin and taste for flesh, Zoe’s more frightened by her growing feelings. Even with her world spiraling out of control, Zoe would rather die than let anything happen to Taylor. But, when the moment arises, will Zoe choose to embrace what she’s becoming?

    I am a PRO member of RWA, YARWA, FF&P and Backspace, as well as being active in my local RWA chapter, Chesapeake Romance Writers. BECOMING is a finalist in the 2013 Great Beginnings Contest (Utah Chapter of RWA). My young adult paranormal romance, WITCH WAY TO TURN, is published through Lyrical Press, and USA Today recently recommended the book trailer.

    Please find my first 250 words listed below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

    First 250 words:

    Impatience gnawed at the edges of Zoe Moore’s sanity. She clicked her phone on. Again. Why hadn’t he texted?

    Looking at it isn’t going to make him text any sooner.

    She shoved the cell into her messenger bag and willed herself to face the professor. The PowerPoint presentation he flipped through could’ve been pictures of naked people for all she cared, even though Introduction to Psychology was her favorite class so far. But knowing she’d finally get to meet the person who’d been there for her all summer messed with her head, whether she wanted it to or not.

    Screw it.

    She took the phone back out, heart hammering, and clicked it on. Nothing. Had she misread the text? Maybe they weren’t even supposed to meet today. Scrolling through her messages, she reread the text from last night, even though she had it committed to memory:
    “Can’t wait 2 meet u. Will send place & time in the AM.”

    Not to nitpick or anything, but morning had come and gone. When the bell rang in ten minutes, it would be noon.

    Keeping the phone hidden under the white speckled desk, she scanned her replies. Maybe she’d said something to turn him off. She clicked on her response.

    “Can’t wait to meet you too!”

    Oh hell. She’d spelled everything out. And used an exclamation point. Maybe that’d been too much? Had she come across as needy? Would a stupid punctuation mark really end things between them?

  14. Name: Ryan Hill
    Email: johnryanhill(at)gmail(dot)com
    Title: Sin and Tonic
    Genre: NA Urban Fantasy
    Word Count: 87,000

    Dear Ms. Riley,

    There’s a reason high school is hell. It’s infested with creatures from the darkest corners of the universe, all of them looking to corrupt souls, destroy lives, and deflower virgins.

    For Bartholomew, it would be like Mardi Gras. If he weren’t a disgraced demon.

    Six years ago, Bartholomew was sentenced to the seventh circle of hell because of a failed coup. When Lucifer suspends his punishment to find the Shard of Gabriel, a powerful relic that gives one the knowledge to rule the world, he sees his chance for escape. Or redemption. He hasn’t decided yet. Of course, he could fail and be busted to the torturous ninth circle of hell, but Bartholomew is focusing on the positive.

    Things go from bad to worse for Bartholomew when he’s forced to partner with Samantha, a suicide victim looking for redemption. Her presence challenges Bartholomew' world view, making him question what it means to be nuisance on humanity.

    Chased by a mysterious monster, the search for the Shard leads the unlikely duo to go undercover at high school, where a rumor can be the difference between sitting alone in your mom’s basement on a Friday night and saving the world.

    Sin and Tonic is complete at 87,000 words. The first 250 words can be found below, and thank you very much for your time.


    Ryan Hill

    First 250 words:

    The nerve.

    One minute you’re in hell, minding your own business, getting your ass pummeled by every demonic being that fancied a go, and the next you’re shown the door and back on the ethereal plain without even the common decency of being escorted out by security. At least they could have warned me about the transfer first.

    I opened my eyes. I was in a dark alley, completely naked. I coughed, emitting a small black cloud from my lungs. Every inch of my body felt like it’d been put through a meat grinder then nibbled on by a thousand cockroaches. My stomach was sick and heavy, much like it would be the day after eating Tex-Mex. Even my bones vibrated like a tuning fork. What was I doing back on Earth? Obviously someone had sent me here—you don’t suddenly get excused from a sentence in hell, even for a short frolic in the mortal world to stretch your legs. And especially not with a sentence like mine. I’d tried to take down Lucifer and failed. It took everything I had to keep them from adding an endless Highway to Heaven marathon to my punishment.

    No, someone had struck a deal to get me out. But who? And for what?

    Not even the chalk message on the brick wall provided a clue:

    Bartholomew. Take the bag and clothes. Go home. More details to come.

    That’s it. No name, no date, nothing. I didn’t even know the year.

  15. Name: Brenda Rothert
    Email: bjrothert(at)sbcglobal(dot)net
    Title: Stripped
    Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance
    Word Count: 58,250


    Abby Gillis is used to being called a promiscuous, uneducated whore. It’s all in a day’s work when you’re a stripper. Since her job allows her to provide for her siblings, 24-year-old Abby takes it all off in stride.
    A chance meeting with ER doctor Chris Reneau throws Abby for a loop. He’s sexy, sweet and easy to talk to, but isn’t just interested in what’s beneath her clothes. As their relationship slowly unfolds, Abby becomes increasingly aware of the desire building in her for the first time, and of her yearning to be wanted by the one man who truly sees all of her.
    Chris, a confirmed bachelor, finds himself spinning into uncharted territory. He wants Abby, that’s clear, but he can’t accept not having all of her. As the distance he’s trying to maintain erodes, he tries to convince Abby to give up stripping for a chance at something real.
    The further Chris delves into the reasons Abby is so guarded, the more she realizes that truly baring it all has nothing to do with her body. Chris makes her feel more exposed than she ever has, and Abby has to grapple with what’s left when all her notions about herself and those around her are stripped away, leaving only the naked truth.

    First 250 words:

    As she wound a leg around the top of the metal pole, Abby closed her eyes briefly. Her favorite part of the song was approaching, and it never failed to move her.
    She pressed her hands to the cool surface of the stage, balancing herself before parting her legs into the splits. A chorus of gasps was quickly drowned out by the deep hoots and hollers of onlookers.
    The lyrics of ‘Angel of Harlem’ led Abby as she approached the row of men eyeing her eagerly, clutching dollars readily. She was an angel in Devil’s shoes, she reminded herself as she approached a man who licked his lips in nervous excitement. Tonight this song was her anthem.
    As bills were tucked into the snug string of her panties, Abby smiled seductively. The only reason she worked at Mickey’s was for the money, and she always did what it took to bring in the most.
    The stubby fingers of a large, red-faced man trailed down her thigh after he tucked his money in. She moved away from him smoothly.
    “Hey, baby,” breathed a man with a receding hairline as he pushed a bill in with a lusty expression. Abby bit her lip and gave him a tantalizing smile. She swung her long hair up with a swish as she stood, giving one last glance over her shoulder.
    As she left the stage, Abby pretended the cheers she heard were for her dancing.

  16. Name: Lizzie Wood
    Email: lizziewhisperwood(at)gmail(dot)com
    Title: WAITRESS
    Genre: New Adult Contemporary
    Word Count: 95,000


    Nineteen-year-old Beth has life measured out— runways, photo shoots, and a twenty-three inch waist, even if she does have starvation to thank for it. But when her modeling debut in Paris is cut unceremoniously short, Beth finds herself working a job that doesn’t involve a camera and size zero designer clothing. She’s the newest waitress at the Baron, a restaurant where the rumors are served hotter than the food and staff hookups are business as usual.

    Beth thinks of her waitress label as something transient, a brief blip on the way to becoming the Next Big Thing. She expects to hate her unglamorous new gig, but instead finds herself more than a little intrigued by the Baron's racy crew, whose pastimes are more or less limited to drinking, bed-hopping, and debauchery. For the first time ever, Beth is determined to fit in— problem is, she has never felt so out of place, having zero experience with any of her new coworkers’ extracurricular activities. But nobody at the Baron knows the real Beth, the consummate good girl, so she takes advantage of being somebody else, making up wild parties she never actually attended and wilder men she never actually slept with. Pretty soon, Beth fits in better than she ever imagined with the Baron’s partygoing crowd— girls for whom food isn’t forbidden, and boys for whom flings trump fidelity. As she replaces crash dieting with binge drinking, Beth starts to care less about runways and more about romance— in particular, ditching her ever-present virginity, and maybe even falling in love.

    But along with its perks, every job has its dirty little secrets, and Beth is about to discover what her new friends really do when they're not waiting tables. And when an unexpected Halloween party leaves Beth in a very compromising position, she has to decide how far she will go to maintain her newfound party-girl reputation.

    First 250:

    This show, like all runway shows, starts half an hour late. In modeling, nothing runs on time. Backstage, half-dressed girls are being pulled and pinned into impossibly small, corseted gowns. I’m one of these girls, standing as patiently as I can as a makeup artist jabs at my eye with an eyeliner pencil and a stylist yanks and buttons me into my dress.

    ‘Hold still,’ the makeup artist says as I fight the urge to blink.

    ‘Hold still,’ the stylist says as I fight the urge to breathe.

    The show itself is over in minutes, barely worth the hours spent making us look like porcelain dolls. I don’t know it yet, but this will be my last runway show in Paris. Two days from now, my agency will sit me down and tell me that they’re sending me home because I haven’t been getting enough work. Three days from now, I’ll be on a plane, laden with three bulging suitcases and a burgeoning identity crisis.

    A week from now, I’ll be sitting in a different kind of interview, one that doesn’t involve my portfolio and a measuring tape.

    A week from now, I’ll be a waitress.

    But if you told me that now, as I’m backstage chatting with the other models and drinking diet pop through a straw so I don’t mess up my carefully applied lipstick, I’d say you were completely and certifiably crazy.


    My interview at the Baron, unlike any other interview I’ve had, starts on time.

  17. Name: Aimee Laine (writing as Emi Gayle)
    Email: me(at)emigayle(dot)com
    Title: Perry Road
    Genre: NA/Contemporary/Dystopian
    Word Count: 77,400
    Query + 250 first words

    There are three houses on Perry Road.

    A white house.

    A black house.

    A red house.

    No one ever goes in the white house.

    No one ever leaves the black house.

    Those who enter the red house are never the same when they come out.


    Or so rumor has it.

    Eighteen-year-old Erianna Keating hasn’t thought much about Perry Road’s reputation. She’s just been waiting, as patiently as possible, for her invitation to one of the houses, believing acceptance into the American Union’s national registration program will pull her up from the bottom of the societal barrel.

    The 2132 candidates for adult-classification, though, are in for a big surprise.

    Especially Erianna.

    She’s been partnered with—or stalked by—Zane Warren, an awkward but hot boy who won’t shut up about a history that doesn’t matter anymore. He may have saved Erianna’s life, but he’s also challenged her political and cultural presumptions and shaken her core belief about her family, her country and herself.

    Now, standing at the intersection of her childhood past and adult future, Erianna must decide whether to fall in line with the American Union’s plan for her or consider that Zane might not be wrong, and everything she’s ever known is a lie.

    First 250 words:
    “Did you get it?” Cam sits next to me waving her PCD through the air. She’s been antsy for the last hour, reminding me all about her invitation—one she received at precisely nine A.M., two months, three weeks and six days ago. On her birthday. With her brand new personal computing device. Not that I’m jealous or anything.

    “Still nothing.” I’ve been waiting for my invitation all day. All day.

    “Check again.”

    I refresh the screen, but again, nothing shows up on my P-Comm—my old, ancient, decrepit communicator. “Nope. Nothing.” When I say I received nothing, I mean nothing. Cam gets countless messages, both text and voice. Me? Nada. May be normal, but someday, I want to be more like Cam. Popular. Interesting. Someone people want to talk to.

    “It has to come today, Eri,” she says for the hundredth time, as if I didn’t hear her the first ninety-nine. “It will come today. It’s your birthday.”

    “I know.” I know. Her reminders aren’t helping my slowly dying self-esteem.

    “Maybe if you upgraded your equipment …”

    Like that can happen.

    “Or maybe it’s just late.” She says it as nonchalant as always and as if she didn’t just insult my P-Comm.

    What she hasn’t yet mentioned, and I’m waiting for it to come because it will, is that someone probably left my name off the registration list. On purpose. By accident. Who knows? It happens.

    “Check it again,” she says.

  18. Name: Tara Brown


    Title: The Lonely

    Genre: NA Contemporary-Psychological Thriller

    Word Count: 88,770

    Query-style Pitch:

    The truth is subjective to what the lonely lets in.

    Emalyn Spicer has lived with it for a long time. She thinks it goes back further than her memories do. She knows it goes back further than the OCD.

    When she arrives at college, her OCD's and the lonely refuse to let her have her wish to be normal.

    When she meets Sebastian and starts to fall for him, she lets herself believe it's possible to outrun the things chasing her from the past. But how to you get away from the things inside of you? How do you run from yourself?

    Just as she gives up and succumbs to the lonely, the unthinkable happens. She finds herself once again trapped in the dark, once again held against her will.

    This time she meets the lonely head on. In the darkest corners of her mind, she discovers there is more to her world than she ever imagined. She discovers that the lonely was there for her, protecting her from herself and her secrets.

    How far would you go to find yourself?

    This novel is rated 19+

    This is a dark and captivating tale, tread lightly.

    First 250

    The front steps of any building you've never been in before, always feel intimidating and seem larger than they really are. The entrance and steps to Speare Hall had felt full of inspiration and excitement the first time I saw them. The stairs were intimidating and exciting.
    Orientation cured that feeling.
    The cinderblock cell-like room was not what I expected. I expected romance and creativity and downtown Boston. I never expected blazing heat, lack of air conditioning, humidity and a general sense of sterility. I looked around that first day for the cameras and guards. I assumed I was on the set of the remake of 1984. Surely Big Brother was watching me.
    Now, months later, I still can't seem to get back that initial inspiration and excitement as I cross the threshold to start the year. I am stuck in the sterility and 1984.
    The school is alive with people and energy, but the building is strange and smells like prison. I know about the industrial smell of prison, all too well.
    My excitement about being a freshman is long gone. Instead, I'm climbing the stairs, gripping to my belongings and trying not to make eye contact. I don’t want my fellow students to see it. See the fact I don’t belong there, with them.
    I glance at my watch and count the minutes until my saving grace arrives. I wish we'd managed to get flights together. But we did not and so I am stuck with the responsibility of walking through the front door of our room alone.

  19. Name: Amy Pine
    Email: amy(at)pineshome(dot)com
    Title: If Only
    Genre: NA Contemporary
    Word Count: 67,688

    Twenty-year-old Jordan Brooks is NOT a virgin. But, according to her roommate, a two-year dry spell earns her V-card back. Tired of waiting for life to happen, of waiting for love to happen, Jordan wants to make the most of her junior year in Scotland by journaling her experience, figuring out life after graduation, and earning re-admittance to the club.

    On the train from London to Scotland, Jordan meets Griffin—sweet, sexy, not to mention unafraid to say what he means—admitting that he sits by Jordan because he likes her smile. He’s only staying the semester. He could be the boy she enjoys for the short time they are together. The only problem—Noah—the stranger who stumbles out of the train’s loo right into her, a boy with impossible blue eyes with whom she feels an immediate connection, a boy who came to Scotland from Ohio…with his girlfriend.

    Jordan knows everything this year has an expiration date. Falling in love was never an option. But her obsession with E.M. Forster’s A Room With A View and inability to avoid Noah on campus make it impossible to be the girl who shirks it all to just have fun. Because she is in love, just with the wrong guy. If only Noah could admit what’s there between them. If only she didn’t write that damning entry in her journal. If only the year didn’t have to end. Then, maybe, Jordan’s wait could be over.

    First 250
    It is a truth universally acknowledged that a two-year dry spell meets the statute of limitations for earning one’s virginity back. At least, that’s what my roommate told me when I admitted how long it had been since, well, you know.

    “Two years? It’s been two years? Jordan, honey, you are officially kicked out of the club.”

    There’s a club? What club? “What club?” I ask.

    I look at the clock. 1:02 a.m. We’ve been home for over an hour, but neither of us has been able to fall asleep. So, we do what we always do, me on the bottom bunk and Sam on top. We talk each other to sleep. Tonight I curse the Red Bulls we drank while out.

    “THE club, Jordan. You are out of THE club, the one you joined when you were eighteen, but it looks like you haven’t paid your dues for quite a while. You’re going to have to earn re-admittance.”

    Despite her teasing, I let her continue.

    “Finals are next week, and then you have how much time until you leave me for an entire year?”

    “Twelve weeks. I leave the first week of September.”

    I can hear the wheels turning in Sam’s mildly twisted mind. I don’t like it.

    “Relax, Brooks,” she says, as if sensing my accusation. “I’m not rushing you to gain re-admittance by summer’s end. I know how are you are. But a year in a foreign country with no strings attached? I see possibilities.”

    Based on her tone, I see trouble.

  20. Name: Dan Ryan
    Email: dcdanoland(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Title: Expecting to Fly
    Genre: New Adult - contemporary
    Word Count:55,000

    It’s the summer of 1987, and Thomas Riley, a nineteen-year-old computer genius, has come up with a killer app: a program that manages five and quarter inch floppy diskettes. He and his business-savvy friend Diana Eastman create a software company with Thomas as the programmer and Diana the CEO. They have lots in common: both grew up on a farm, both want to make it big after college. They’d make a perfect couple, but Diana lives with her wealthy boyfriend and expects a proposal any day now. Thomas likes Diana but is thunderstruck by Miranda, a quirky English major who got on a bus one day and escaped her overprotective family.

    Thomas wins Miranda heart, but discovers that writing software is much easier than keeping a steady girlfriend. The sex is hot, but her mood swings and meddlesome sister take a toll. Meanwhile, Diana becomes friendlier to Thomas after she catches her boyfriend cheating on her. In the middle of the night they demo their program to a prospective client at an interstate diner. The company loves the prototype so much that they try to steal the program’s diskette.

    Thomas and Diana work late nights at the computer lab perfecting their program and sharing secrets via one-line text messages on old-fashioned terminals. But there’s one secret he can’t divulge: he’s fallen in love with her. He can’t because he knows a more important secret: Miranda is pregnant.

    Meanwhile, Diana’s boyfriend begs forgiveness and sends his mother with a proposal of marriage. Thomas and Diana drive to Chicago for a high-stakes sales meeting where Diana makes two demands of Thomas: he must write a last-minute change to the program, and he must be a gentleman despite the mixed signals she sends while sharing a room in a luxury hotel.

    First 250:
    Diana stood outside the computer lab wearing a navy blue suit, a silky white blouse and a matching bowtie. I wore a faded t-shirt and frayed-at-the-bottom jeans.
    “I could run home and change,” I said as I unlocked the door and let Diana in.
    “Don’t bother,” she said. “They probably won’t show up.”
    It was the summer of 1987 and I was nineteen. Diana was twenty-two, but she knew everything. We had met in the computer lab I monitored in the evenings. Normally I’m shy around pretty women, particularly those with long legs and ever-so slender hips. But the computer lab was my domain. I drew strength from that super-cooled windowless den of underperforming PCs and green-screen terminals. Mickewa State University, the third best public school in the state of Iowa, prided itself on bargain-basement chic. Why shell out money for a raised floor when you can hide your cables in corrugated plastic tubes that dangled from the ceiling?
    I put on my brown lab monitor jacket. Diana inspected me carefully. “I guess that will do,” she said. “Give me a Breezy-Graphics diskette. I’m going to show them our mock-up of the user interface.”
    A few days earlier I had told Diana about my idea for a computer program that would keep track of files stored on five-and-a-quarter-inch floppy diskettes. She took my idea and ran with it. We formed a software company where I was the programmer and she the CEO. Our first customer would be Chicago-based Omnium Consulting where she had interned the previous summer.

  21. •Name: T Torrest
    •Genre: NA Romance
    •Word Count: 80,000

    Dear Ms. Riley:

    You know how sometimes, your high school crush grows up to be an insanely famous movie star? Okay, probably not. But Layla Warren does. Back in 1990, Trip Wiley was merely the gorgeous new guy at her Catholic school. Fifteen years later, he just happens to be Hollywood’s hottest commodity.

    My name is Tina Torrest and I am a New Jersey author. I am writing to request submission of my manuscript, entitled "Remember When". It's the first book in a trilogy (Books 2 and 3 are currently under construction and will be released in June), but is a complete story on its own (no cliffhanger).

    It will take you back to that time before the real world kicked in; that limbo between adolescence and adulthood, that trial of hanging on to the past while figuring out where the future will lie. It's filled with hilarious eighties references, a few steamy scenes for good measure, with a heart-shredding romance at its core.

    It's a relateable journey through the tumultuous world of friendship, family and high school…
    …and the memory of that one incredible guy your heart just can't seem to forget.

    With over 100 reviews, Remember When is currently maintaining 5-STAR rating at amazon and a 4.5 at goodreads.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    T. Torrest

    First 250 Words:

    Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class.

    I’m sure I don’t need to tell you who Trip Wiley is. But on the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable.

    And not just to casting directors, either.

    I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was a celebrity, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept.

    I should know. I was one of them.

    And my life hasn’t been the same since.

    Trip and I met when we were teenagers, way back before anyone, himself included, could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today. This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from Northern New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough.

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