Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

SvS 6: Your Favorite Mascot – MG Contemporary (Ownvoices) February 8, 2017

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:29 am
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Category/Genre: MG Contemporary, Ownvoices

Word Count: 27,000



Is your main character hot or cold?


Taylor might describe herself as a warm person, but her alter ego Leo the Lion is hot hot hot! Not only is it literally hot in that 130-degree mascot suit, but when she’s in her lion costume she can she can act like a completely different person (or lion) and be way more mischievous and outgoing than she’d ever be in real life.






When Taylor and her two best friends are zoned to attend three different middle schools, the girls are separated for the first time ever.  Without cellphones or homes within walking distance of each other, they know the traditional ways of staying connected aren’t going to cut it. So the girls decide to become mascots at their respective schools, and document their adventures on a shared Google doc letter.  With secret identities, giant armadillos, crying babies, and puking co-mascots, the girls discover the life of a middle school mascot is one big adventure.


Too bad life apart is harder than they expected. Taylor loves being a mascot, but starting a strange new middle school all by herself is even worse than she imagined. When their plan isn’t enough to overcome the distance, Taylor has to find a way to save their lifelong trio, or risk losing it for good.




First 250 words:


The warmth from my breakfast taco seeps through the aluminum foil wrapper, and it feels like a cozy blanket for my hands. A cozy blanket that smells delicious. There’s no better way to start the day than with my two best friends and a fresh tortilla stuffed with perfection.  If only it could stay like this forever, no middle school, no being separated, no new anything. Just the same three best pals at my kitchen table, having the same important debates about taco fillings.


“I still don’t understand why y’all insist on getting bean and cheese every single sleepover. You guys are so boring.”


Ana takes a big bite out of her taco. Chorizo and egg tumble out of the tortilla and onto her plate.


“I’m not gonna try to convince you they’re the best. That just means more bean and cheese for us, right Taylor?” Chelsie asks me. Her taco is already half eaten. That’s proof right there that bean and cheese tacos are the true champions of the breakfast universe.


Ana pretends to roll her eyes and her whole head along with them, as if we haven’t had this argument at every single sleepover since we were old enough to spend the night at each other’s houses. “Bean and cheese is the taco equivalent of vanilla ice cream.”


“So… a classic?” I ask.


“Using four syllable words isn’t gonna help you win, smarty-farty.” Chelsie says at the same time.




SvS 7: An Ambiance of Lies – YA Thriller

Filed under: Publishing,Literary Agent,contest — chasingthecrazies @ 6:29 am
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Category/Genre: YA Thriller

Word Count: 63,000





Is your main character hot or cold?





There, I said it. I lose my cool under pressure. Happy?


In my defense, with this much bottled up rage and unexpressed emotion, it’s kinda hard to be otherwise. I mean, I only have one outlet: the weird girl from writing class. People call it bullying, but it’s nothing personal. I’m just blowing off steam, you know?







Ahna has gone missing, and the only person who knows it is her bully.


Just days before summer break, sixteen-year-old Emerson pulls his nastiest stunt yet, one that humiliates Ahna so badly, even he’s left feeling guilty. He later texts her to apologize, but receives a strange reply from someone claiming to have kidnapped her—someone who can, and will, pin the crime on Emerson.


He plays the threat off as a joke, but when Ahna doesn’t show up to the last day of school, he worries. When her adoptive mother is found dead, he panics.


Emerson reaches out to the kidnapper, but gets a riddle in return.


Sent on a scavenger hunt via texts, he rushes around town collecting seemingly random facts about Ahna and reporting them back to the kidnapper. Along the way, Emerson finds out about Ahna’s traumatic past and dead biological family. He learns about the school-wide wave of bullying he unintentionally inspired against her. He begins to realize how cruel he’s been, and vows to make all his wrongs with Ahna right—if he can find her.


But then the riddles stop, and a timer on Ahna’s life—and Emerson’s freedom—begins.


THIRTEEN REASONS WHY meets GONE GIRL in this completed young adult manuscript. AN AMBIANCE OF LIES is told from three points of view: Emerson’s, Ahna’s, and the kidnapper’s.




First 250 words:



Chapter One

June 21, Afternoon




Jason stabs his pencil into my upper back. He doesn’t have the courtesy (or brains) to use the eraser end. One second I’m hunched over my notebook, trying to piece together a story for the writing prompt we’ve just been assigned, the next a honed graphite tip digs into the skin between my shoulder blades. I stiffen up like a soldier surprised by his captain. From across the room, Mr. Keane glances at me over the top of his rectangular glasses.


Damn you, Jason. I’ve already gotten one-too-many warnings from Mr. Keane this year. I can’t blow it on the last day of class.


He studies me, chewing the inside of his cheek as he does. I’ve come to know that stare well—the must pin something on Emerson stare. I try not to make it obvious that I notice, but with his eyes on me, I can’t do much besides stare back.


Mr. Keane sighs, a slight whimper escaping with his breath. He returns to the papers clutched in his hand and scribbles something onto one of them in red. When he does, Jason leans forward and breathes warm air into my ear.


“Work your magic, dude.”


I’m sure a few people hear Jason’s whisper, but only I take in its sour cream and onion aroma. His words are a reminder that even though I know what I want to write about, I don’t have much of a say about it.


I take my frustration out on the page and drag my eraser all over the upper third of it.






SvS 8: The Badger Project – YA Speculative

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:28 am
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Category/Genre: YA Speculative

Word Count: 98,000




Is your main character hot or cold?



Well, although I’m a kid from Wisconsin (a place where the air hurts your face thirteen months outta the year), I’m also a vehement vigilante. My super-suit, though armed with animal-inspired abilities, doesn’t regulate my body heat. On the coldest night I work up a sweat, prowling for the poacher who killed my dad. So when things heat up, and they do (not until like August, but they do), emotions run a little hot—like a first-time camper attempting to set up a tent on a humid summer night (complete with swarm of mosquitoes and distant, but approaching, banjo music).







Brock’s environmentalist father died protecting the Wisconsin woods he loved. Now, to save those woods, Brock must join the very poaching gang that destroyed his family.


Sixteen-year old, Brock Forrester, is not like most Wisconsin cheeseheads. He doesn’t just hear animals, he can translate their barks, caws, and howls into human words. Neat trick, except that in a time when hunting has been outlawed and poaching reigns as the crime of choice, all Brock hears from the forest are cries for help. Driven by the memory of his late father, Brock dons the brown mane and black, solar-powered tactical suit his dad created, and becomes the vigilante known as The Badger. Though the suit is a bit clingy, and makes Brock look like Batman’s redneck cousin, it’s also equipped with an arsenal of animal abilities, like reptilian camouflage and raptor-vision that will help Brock bring the son-of-a-birch who killed his father to justice.


When Brock finds a link between the murder and an extinction-level plot devised by Wisconsin’s most malicious poaching gang, the Bear-Trapperz, it becomes clear that his problem is bigger than his family’s tragedy. The Bear-Trapperz, are removing their rivals by giving them deadly abilities if they join. As a super-powered force with numbers rising into the thousands, they will desecrate both human and animal populations as they lay irreparable waste to the ecosystem.


Knowing he can’t stop a super-enhanced legion as a lone kid on the outside, Brock joins the gang as a double-agent. His Mission: To gain the gang leader’s trust and ascend to a position where he’ll be able to sabotage the poacher’s plans for good. As casualties rise in the wake of Brock’s necessity to ignore tactics that would only stall the gang, Brock fears he’s done more harm than good. Distracted by his conflict of conscience, Brock realizes all too late that he’s been played from the start. Now, with his mother’s life hanging in the balance, and the Bear-Trapperz’s army preparing to march, Brock has no choice but to finish what his father started.




First 250 words:



The air was crisp, the moon, hidden behind a canopy of trees, and somewhere among their branches, a squirrel chittered something beastly in a language I understood.


I think it was a yo-mamma joke. There’re about as many rodent dialects as there’re species of rodents, so sometimes it’s difficult to interpret (either way, the little guy was miffed for sure). I couldn’t blame him. Seven humans in furry, blood-stained jumpsuits, boots and spiked gauntlets had invaded his territory. Their masks cloaked them in the visage of a zombified bear.




In just ten years, poaching gangs like theirs had pushed hundreds of species to the brink of extinction in Wisconsin, and across the country.


Behind the poachers’ ATVs was a brush pile, that’s where I was, waiting for their deal to go down. The sound of approaching engines told me it was time to get ready. I scrolled through my phone for the video recording app (Exhibit A: Video Evidence, Your Honor). But my stupid, fat thumb hit the wrong pixel, or whatever, and brought up my photos instead.


Ah technology…


Easy enough fix, all I had to do was swipe back, but I’d already seen that picture of Dad—the one I’d kifed off his Facebook memorial page before Mom took it all down.


You’d think it would’ve reinforced my resolve, after all, Dad was the reason I was out here, doing what I do.


But all the photo did was remind me that Dad was out here, too, doing what he did, when he disappeared.



SvS 9: The Blood Blade – YA Fantasy

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:28 am
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Category/Genre: YA Fantasy

Word Count: 77,000





Is your main character hot or cold?



Both, because of his dual personalities. On his next birthday, Prince Arek will be king. And as leader, he’ll need to be level-headed to make the right decisions for his people. But as Rykter the assassin, he is a raging inferno of vengeance. Driven by his flaming, bloodthirsty blade, Rykter stalks his prey from the rooftops, inflicting death from the shadows.







Dear Awesome Agent,


When night falls, Prince Arek trades his crown for a mask and a blade. As an assassin, he’s unstoppable. . . except now he’s been hired to kill himself.


Seventeen-year-old Arek has a lot to learn before he takes the throne on his next birthday. Including the fact that when he thinks he’s sleeping, he’s actually prowling the rooftops of the city as Rykter, one of the best assassins in Troander. Although a lethal force, he’s a slave to his bloodthirsty blade, addicted to the power and strength it provides him.


When the Lord Regent, determined to usurp the throne, hires Rykter to assassinate Prince Arek, Rykter can’t find the prince in the royal chambers — until he looks in a mirror and removes his mask. Confronted with this secret life and unsure who he can trust, the prince flees the kingdom.


Now on the run with the Lord Regent’s army at his back, Prince Arek must decipher the fragments of memories he has as Rykter and learn how to manage when the assassin takes control. Without Rykter’s powers, he’ll have no chance against the soldiers hunting him.


But Prince Arek, as the only heir to the throne, is needed as well. He must reconcile his two personas to wrest his kingdom back from the corrupt Lord Regent — before it’s too late.




First 250 words:



Rykter balanced high on a rooftop, an endless carpet of city lights flickering below.


Just as before, he had no memory of how he got here.


What he did know was that son-of-a-dragonspawn would die tonight. An image of the orphan boy’s mutilated body flashed in Rykter’s mind, the boy’s dead eyes staring off into oblivion. When Rykter found his target, the man would get what he deserved.


Winds wrapped around him, fluttering the dark cowl of his thick black cloak, almost revealing his hidden face. He adjusted his leather mask, grateful for the added protection.


At Rykter’s hip, his sword hung heavy. He itched to toss the cursed thing off the rooftops and be done with it for good. But its hold on him was an iron fist, wrapped around his throat, crushing his windpipe.


Tonight’s kill would satisfy the blade’s bloodlust, but it was never sated for long.


From a cloak pocket, Rykter yanked out a long black rope with a grappling hook attached. He commanded shadows surrounding him to envelope the length of thick cord and cracked the rope like a bull whip through the air. The clawed end crunched around the lip of a nearby rooftop.


Running full tilt to the edge, he leapt into the void.



SvS 10: The Gemini Curse – YA Speculative Thriller

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:28 am
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Category/Genre: YA Speculative Thriller

Word Count: 68,000



Is your main character hot or cold?


My main character is hot.


Alex is a hot mess. Her black-painted nails are chipped. Her hair hangs in her face. And she can’t get through a bike race without wanting to puke. So when a serial killer’s voice skitters into her mind like a thousand tap-dancing fire ants and threatens to kill her, Alex’s first reaction is to mumble incoherently and scratch at her head. But if she’s going to survive, she’s going to have to chill out long enough to clear her mind and outsmart a killer.







Dear Agents,


To save one, the other must die.


These are the first words sixteen-year-old, nationally-ranked cyclist, Alex Swanson hears when she starts reading minds, and the demonic-sounding voice that thinks them chills her to the bone.


Alex wants nothing more than to defend her national cycling championship, but the near constant onslaught of voices threatens to drive her insane. Her only solace is her identical twin sister Zoe. When Zoe is close, the voices go away. But for Zoe, blocking thoughts feels like getting bludgeoned in the head by a baseball bat.


As the twins search for a way to control the voices in Alex’s mind and stop Zoe’s pain, Alex once again hears the chilling voice. And this time she makes a terrifying discovery: the voice belongs to the Gemini Killer—a serial killer who targets twin girls, killing only one of the set. According to the killer’s thoughts, he’s targeting twins born into the Gemini Curse—a supernatural prophecy responsible for Alex’s ability. Triggered by envy, the curse pits twin against twin and demands one twin be sacrificed or both will die.


Stopping the killer won’t be enough. To save each other, the twins must break the curse.


THE GEMINI CURSE will appeal to fans of The Third Twin by CJ Omololu, The Killer in Me by Margot Harrison, and Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis.




First 250 words:



Forty-five minutes, twenty-three cyclists, and a heaping dose of self-doubt—that’s what stands between me and not becoming a giant freaking disappointment.


I tilt my face toward the sun, absorbing its warmth through the crisp fall air, and inhale the smell of pine and dirt and water. Riverside Park is one of my favorite venues for cycling. Over sixty-five miles of single-track through wooded rolling hills, a river, and beautiful grassy fields. Nothing beats biking here.


Except winning here.


Left foot clipped into my pedal—knee bouncing up and down—and right foot planted firmly on the grass, I sit on the top tube of my bike and wait behind the yellow caution tape that marks the boundary of the cyclo-cross course. My race begins in ten minutes. Which means in eleven minutes, I’ll be able to stop stressing about the race and just ride.


“You can do this,” I say.


“You CAN do this.” My sister Zoe rolls up next to me. Although, Zoe and I are identical twins, our styles are nothing alike. Her hair is our natural shade of blonde and hangs down her back in a braid. My hair is dyed black and shaved up the back with chin-length bangs that hide my face, when they’re not stuffed under my helmet. “Don’t let your head get in the way.” She palms the top of my red helmet as if trying to screw my head on straight.



SvS 11: The Hollowed Heart – YA Science Fiction (LGBT/Ownvoices)

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:28 am
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Category/Genre: YA Science Fiction (LGBT Elements/Ownvoices)

Word Count: 80,000




Is your main character hot or cold? 



Caleb Bryar’s positivity never bends even when he’s sent to an asteroid prison for murder. Burying toxic emotions, trauma, and less-than-ideal thoughts is his main defense against anything that threatens his cold exterior. But a boiling hotheaded character is waiting underneath.


When the realities of an isolating juvenile detention center wither away his armor of optimism, the lockbox of repressed emotions and memories consume him. His cold exterior melts into a character that becomes erratic and dangerous. Caleb tries to find a balance between his two personas throughout the story.






When sixteen-year-old Caleb Bryar murders his boyfriend after a night of designer drugs, he’s sent to St. Moria’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Center—an asteroid prison for criminally defective youth. He doesn’t remember that night, but like all inmates, he’s implanted with a sensitizing psychomod that makes him repeatedly relive his crime.


At first, these memories come in pieces: an argument, a gunshot, someone screaming in pain. Finally, Caleb sees the entire murder, and has a startling revelation: he didn’t actually kill his boyfriend.


When Caleb insists he’s innocent, the staff claims he’s insane. Memories of the crime devolve into visions of faceless creatures, and Caleb wonders if the staff is right or if these strange visions are part of a conspiracy to keep him locked away. With his sanity in question, Caleb must unlock the truth about these visions and prove his innocence, or stay imprisoned forever.




First 250 words:



An optimist is always free. The adage clung to Caleb even as a robot guard dragged him into a dim holding room. Until his first day in high court, he hadn’t known a prison on an asteroid in the Kuiper Belt existed. Even now, on that very asteroid the idea sounded ludicrous.


A prison. For teens. Sitting on a chunk of space rock near Pluto.


He thought for sure he would be sent to a state prison—something more tame, more safe. But as two sentry robots surrounded him, clanking under a halo of yellow lights, he knew everything would be okay.


“Welcome to St. Moria’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Center, inmate 1013979,” a humanoid robot said, entering the room. Metallic sounds grinded with each of his consonants. “Sit down.” A glass mask of a human face expanded over the robot’s head. Projections of a man’s worn skin, hard eyes, and thin mouth glared inside the mask. “I’m Uglov. From Earth. I wear this robot’s body. Explain to me your crime.”


Caleb dug trembling hands into a jumpsuit pocket, where microbots congealed into a small ornate music cube. He cursed under his breath, trying to disassemble it as his mother’s lullaby spilled out, “Oh my angel of the star, sleep forever in the dark.” He didn’t mean to play it. The cube was his secret keepsake, a reminder of Earth.


“Hand it over,” Uglov said. “NOW.”


And like the rest of his former life, it was taken from him.



SvS 12: Mr. Frank’s Five – YA Contemporary

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:27 am
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Category/Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 78,000




Is your main character hot or cold? 



My MC, Jolene, is most definitely a feisty firecracker and could therefore be described as hot. Jolene is laser-focused on her future and is determined not let anyone, or anything, get in the way of her goals. She is passionate, determined, and at times even a little hot-headed.







Dear Agent,


Seventeen-year-old Jolene Jasper is determined to break her family’s cycle of teenage pregnancy and poverty. She’ll do anything to pursue her dream of getting her doctorate and becoming an historian. As a reclusive bookworm, Jolene banks on her brains being her ticket out of her small southern town. But such dreams aren’t easily attainable when her family can barely afford bread.


When her favorite history teacher, Mr. Frank, dies, she’s surprised to learn that she is a beneficiary of his will. Thanks to his generosity, she may be one step closer to seeing her dreams become reality—but there’s a catch. Per Mr. Frank’s stipulations, she must go on a road trip to uncover clues that will lead to various historical spots, and she must do so with four other students specifically chosen by Mr. Frank. Including Jake Wyatt, the boy Jolene finds herself fighting hard not to fall for.


Jolene and her fellow road trippers come from different backgrounds, but they share one common goal: to leave their town behind and become something greater than they’re destined for. During their trip, they’ll discover clues that will lead to their reward, as well as learn about themselves, each other, and perhaps gain the greatest prize of all—friendship.




First 250 words:



A large mahogany desk was the only thing separating me from the nasty stench coming from the lawyer sitting behind it. He smelled like a combination of cigarette smoke, sweat, barbecue, and stale liquor.


Maybe I watched too many courtroom dramas on T.V., but I’d always thought lawyers were supposed to be clean-cut and well dressed. I imagined they smelled like aftershave. Not Mr. Talbot, whose name I knew thanks to the plaque that stared me in the face. His appearance gave me the impression that perhaps he’d lost one too many cases. Defeat did not look good on him. His short-sleeved white button down had what looked like a mustard stain on it, and the little amount of gray hair he possessed was unruly and very greasy.


I’d never been to a lawyer’s office. I wasn’t even sure why I was here now. Last week at school, I was called to Principal Edward’s office, where his secretary handed me a sealed envelope. The letter inside said I was to come to the Talbot and Tilmadge Law Office on the 25th of May at four o’clock. I’d never been in trouble, and the only explanation I could come up with for this summons was a case of mistaken identity.


“Can I get you something to drink, Miss Jasper?” Mr. Talbot asked peering over his glasses.


“No, thank you. Um…why exactly am I here?” I asked.



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