Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

2017 Sun Vs. Snow Agent Round! February 8, 2017



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Today is the day our 21 amazing agents can begin reading the Team Sun entries and making requests. Not only will they see the amazing entries here, but they can also make requests for Team Snow over at Michelle Hauck’s blog!



As the agents move through the entries, please remember that contests are subjective. Our agents have a definitive idea of what they would like for their list. If they do not request, it DOES NOT mean the entry was not worthy. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep querying and NEVER GIVE UP!



Before Team Sun outshines Team Snow, here are some guidelines to remember:



There is no commenting in this round except for agents. Sorry, but no cheerleading as this may lead to an unconscious bias.



We are happy to see and retweet your thoughts and cheers over on Twitter under the #sunvssnow tag! That’s the place to hang out and have fun! I hope to see my Team Sun members present and waving their pom poms! We have some blazing hot entries that are going to completely melt Team Snow!



Watch both my and Michelle’s Twitter feed as we will be tweeting when an agent makes an appearance!



Agents will consider entries at both the blogs regardless of whether they are Sun or Snow fans. Michelle and I are hoping the agents go crazy with the requests! There is amazing talent on both our teams!



Good luck to all! And get out the shades and SPF 50 because the heat is coming for Team Snow!



SvS 1: Broken Promises: The Last Gift – Adult Contemporary Romance

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:30 am
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Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Word Count:  88,000




Is your main character hot or cold?



I’m numb. Somewhere between hot and cold — emotional limbo, so to speak. Heartache will do that to a girl. In the past, people would’ve described me as cold. I called it guarded. If I kept everyone at a distance, my heart was safe. That was before him. He melted my frozen heart, made me feel whole again. But now he’s gone, making me wish I had died, too.







Dear Sun Vs. Snow Agents,


Isabelle learned at a young age that life has a way of making people break promises they intended to keep. Her life is a series of numbers marking those broken promises. Five: how old she was when both her parents died. Nineteen: how many years she pushed people away — until she met Sam. Six:  how many months she had been his wife. Four: how many weeks it’s been since she buried him.


The only thing worse than waking up next to her dead husband was finding the letter he left behind. He’d known he was dying and his last request was that she go on the cruise he had planned for them and spread his ashes.


This trip was supposed to be about saying goodbye to Sam, but fate had a different plan. She had no idea that when Ian sat down next to her he’d change the course of this trip…and her life.


Isabelle tries to ignore her feelings, but several chance encounters with this kind Irish stranger, and a couple of lifelike dreams that seemingly deliver Sam’s blessing, drive her straight into Ian’s arms.


If she can’t overcome the guilt of moving on, and the fear that it’s all happening too soon, the second chance life has laid at her feet may just slip through her fingers, sending her back to a life of isolation.




First 250 words: 




Brave. Courageous. Strong. These words make me ill. People mean well, using them to describe me, but I hate it. I pretend I’m all those things, but I’m not. They say I’m brave, but they can’t feel me shake when someone mentions Sam’s name. They say I’m courageous, but they don’t see me hiding under the covers at night. They say I’m strong, but they don’t hear me cry myself to sleep. In what seems like nanoseconds, my life has gone from glorious Technicolor to gray. I’m drowning in despair and loneliness and there are moments, brief ones, that I just want to slip under their waves and let them consume me.



My flight leaves in five hours and despite the fact that sleep these days is all but unheard of, I only just started packing an hour ago. Sadness weighs heavy on my heart as I reach for the dress he bought me for this trip. The memory of the night he gave it to me paralyzes me and I freeze. Thoughts of Sam’s memorial service play over and over in my mind like a bad movie I can’t turn off. If I didn’t know better I’d think that the Grim Reaper had targets on the backs of everyone I love. I thought losing my parents so young had hardened my heart to loss, but I was wrong. Sam found the key to my heart and once it was opened up to love again, that gave pain easy access.



SvS 2: Loving Laney – Adult Contemporary Romance

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:30 am
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Category/Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance

Word Count: 70,000



Is your main character hot or cold?



Laney Wilson would be described as cold. After being abandoned by her mother and breaking up with the love of her life, Laney has learned to keep her emotions bottled up and her heart protected. The relaxed persona she presents on the outside is frustrating to close family and friends who often perceive her as detached. As a teacher, Laney is patient and kind while instructing her students. Her calm personality helps her when dealing with stressful situations. She tends to show more emotion with her students because her classroom is her safe haven.







Dear Agent,



Avoiding your ex-boyfriend in a big city should be easy—unless he’s the star quarterback of the professional football team and wants a second chance.



Falling for Luke Claiborne in college wasn’t in Laney Wilson’s plan, but it happened. And it ended…badly. She walked away heartbroken and vowed never to come second to a man’s career again. Years later, she’s focused on being a dedicated teacher and making a difference in her students’ lives, leaving little room for romantic relationships. So when Luke’s children’s foundation partners with Laney’s school, she’s determined to resist his sexy Texan drawl and intoxicating smile.



Quarterback Luke Claiborne has enjoyed a successful NFL career, but regardless of all he’s accomplished on the field, he feels a sense of loneliness. Now, after recovering from a serious knee injury and a recent divorce, Luke’s looking for a fresh start in Philadelphia: home of passionate fans, the Liberty Bell, and Laney Wilson. Convinced Laney’s the love of his life, he’s determined to prove to her that they’re worth a second chance.



Regardless of how hard she tries to fight her feelings for him, it doesn’t take long for Laney to realize that Luke is still the only person who can knock down the walls around her heart. When she receives devastating family news, she can’t help but turn to the only man she’s ever loved for comfort. But then Luke’s past resurfaces, putting their rekindled romance to the ultimate test. Now, Luke and Laney must decide whether to risk their hearts and fight for each other, or lose their second chance at happily ever after.




First 250 words:



“Welcome to the Mike Marino show on 99.9. Philly fans, we’ve been talking about big moves made this season by Coach Kelly and the Independence staff. The move getting the most buzz is the signing of former LA Hawks quarterback Luke Claiborne. Opinions, Philly?”



Laney Wilson grimaced as she tightened her grip on the steering wheel. Every time she heard his name, she felt like she was suffocating. And she’d been hearing it a lot.



She slammed the OFF button on her radio as she pulled into Hope Academy’s parking lot. Stepping out of the car, she immediately started to sweat, causing her curly hair to crimp. There wasn’t enough anti-frizz serum in the city to fight this humidity.



“Hey girl, you ready for this meeting?”



Grinning, Laney turned toward the voice of her favorite co-worker, Taryn DeLuca. “I guess.” She sighed. “I can’t stand these beginning of the school year meetings.”



Taryn held the door open for her. “Ditto.”



Laney walked into the school, breathing in the smell of new crayons and disinfectant. “What’s on the agenda?”



“We’re talking about a new foundation the school wants to partner with — The Claiborne Foundation.”



Laney whipped around to look at her friend. Just as suddenly, her body slammed into a rock-hard chest. Two strong, familiar hands grasped her shoulders, steadying her. She closed her eyes, taking deep, cleansing breaths , trying to fight the wave of nostalgia washing over her. His woodsy scent consumed her, making it difficult to think straight.





SvS 3: The Underappreciated Art of Not Dying – Women’s Fiction (Ownvoices)

Filed under: contest,Literary Agent,Publishing — chasingthecrazies @ 6:30 am
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Category/Genre: Adult WF, OwnVoices

Word Count: 65,000



Is your main character hot or cold?


Leonie’s depression makes her run cold as ice.






Twenty-three-year-old Leonie has a respectable job at a Seattle law firm, a crappy 226 square foot “apartment,” and a list of five ways to kill herself. Today she crossed off four.


There’s nothing wrong with Leonie’s life. No great tragedies have befallen her. Hell, she’s never even been to a funeral. Yet depression strips her will to live as easily as a thumbnail might puncture the peel of an orange. But with the knife pressed to her wrist, she realizes bidding farewell to her crappy life isn’t as easy as she thought it would be.


Instead, she walks away from her job, breaks her lease, and gives away all of her belongings. Leonie books a one-way ticket out of the country in a last ditch effort to find happiness, but her search has an expiration date, and it coincides with the shrinking number in her bank account.


If Leonie can’t regain her will to live in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Amsterdam’s coffeehouses, or the wild, green hillsides of Ireland, it’s off the Cliffs of Moher she goes.


With the help of a businessman-turned-smelly masseuse, a Dutch prostitute, and a snarky yet infuriatingly hot Irishman, she may find that happiness, though precarious and elusive, is worth the battle.



First 250 words:



The rank fumes of someone’s—I can only assume to be radioactive—tuna lunch permeate the hallway, seeping into my cubicle just as I decide, yes, I am going to kill myself.


I don’t mean that in the God, if I have to go home with that cheap fish smell on my clothes one more time I’m going to blow my brains out kind of way. The two are mutually exclusive, completely unrelated.


Karen’s having tuna. I don’t want to live anymore.


I look down at my phone, scrolling through the never-ending Facebook feed once more—eternally searching for something to distract me from the monotony of my work. For the tenth time, my ex’s face fills the screen alongside the face of a woman I don’t recognize. A little heart pops up between them, declaring their newfound love. Scott Haring is now in a relationship with Vanessa McMahon.


I grind my teeth, hoping a few might break off and give me something to really suffer over.


Screw them and their stupid happiness. Good luck, Vanessa. I hope you have a good job, girl, ‘cause he sure as hell isn’t getting one.


I hit the like button before scrolling past the status update.


The shrill ring of my office phone pulls me from bitter thoughts. I squeeze my eyes shut, so tight that color blooms behind my lids. My hands are so heavy in my lap. I have to convince every cell from my right shoulder down to the pinky finger to lift, just lift, please.





SvS 4: Jumping Fences – MG Contemporary

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

Word Count: 41,000



Is your main character hot or cold?


Here’s a tip. If a girl with a Puerto Rican mom and an Italian dad describes her personality as “cold”, then she’s a lying liar from East Liar-stan. And you can take that to the bank, courtesy of me – Mira Caputo.



I love my dad and my best friend Cecy with all I’ve got inside. As for Luna, the flat out most amazing horse in the world? I’d jump through fire for her. Actual fire. No joke.



What I’m definitely not is a green-eyed, horse-hating, walking ice cube…like someone else I know (I’m looking at you, Peppy Prinsen).







Dear Agent,


Jumping Fences is about fathers and daughters and unlikely friendships. But most of all, it’s about the powerful bond between a girl and a horse.


A sleepy summer in Connecticut horse country suddenly gets interesting for 12-year-old Mira Caputo, when a headstrong thoroughbred gallops into her life and steals her heart. Luna is spunky, proud, and beautiful. Unfortunately, she also belongs to the pretentious Penelope “Peppy” Prinsen. Mira dislikes Peppy immediately, and the feeling is mutual.


To be with the horse, Mira fakes her way into the wealthy world where Luna lives. She introduces herself as the daughter of her father’s foul-tempered boss, the man whose estate they’ve lived on, and whose horses they’ve cared for, since the death of Mira’s mom. With access to the hunt club secured, Mira revels in early morning rides with Luna – and avoids Peppy like a pile of steaming manure – until she learns that the Prinsens are selling Luna to a third-rate race track.


Rescuing Luna from a life of misery means Mira must somehow change Peppy’s mind about the high-spirited horse. Yet each time she blunders into equestrian high society, with its polo games and horse shows, she risks her dad’s job and the new life they’ve built around it. Mira discovers the key may be to help Peppy stand up to her own domineering father in a very public way. At the hunt club’s biggest event of the summer, Mira must risk all the consequences of discovery to save the horse she loves…and the girl she despises.




First 250 words:



This summer isn’t exactly living up to my expectations. That’s the polite way of saying that falling into a pit of poison ivy would literally be an improvement.



So far there’s only one reason to crawl out of bed. The bad news is, I’m late again.



I throw my hair into a quick ponytail and tuck the t-shirt I slept in into my jeans, then find my way down the dark hall to the ridiculously bright kitchen. The paint color is called ‘cheerful mornings’, like that’s possible. Temporarily blind, I feel around for the fruit bowl and grab three apples.



Horses love apples almost as much as they love those red and white peppermint candies. Unfortunately, Dad stopped buying candy after my last trip to the dentist. Somehow he missed the dentist’s memo about soda, which is the only decent thing that’s happened to me all summer.



Outside, the air smells like salt and buzzes with flies from the nearby barn. I swat at one with my soda can.



“Die, foul beast!”



But it doesn’t die. The stupid things never do. They also don’t spend all summer without their best friend.



I charge down the hill, but skid to a stop at the driveway. It’s covered in perfectly white stones, like a layer of snow that I’m not allowed to mess up. So I ballerina-toe my way across, arms way out to my sides for balance. I’m the world’s most ridiculous tightrope walker – a soda and apple in one hand and two apples in the other.




SvS 5: The Sound Inside – MG Magical Realism

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

Word Count: 32,000





Is your main character hot or cold?



On the outside, Cassie is as cold and calm as snow covering the mountainside, a quiet calm like a steady mountain stream. But, on the inside, she has some summer sun flaring to come out in courageous drum beats, ready to crescendo into her own song.








Dear Awesome Agent,



Twelve-year-old Cassie can hear music emerge from almost every person and thing in her tiny mountain town. Old buildings creak out history, songs sizzle up while folks cook breakfast, readers flip pages to a beat at the town’s bookstore, and the winds whisper their own special sounds—and carry a little extra magic. But even with magical music, when the fireflies disappeared ten years ago, they took Firefly Mountain’s visitors, income, and hope with them. A school assignment spurs Cassie and her best friend, Bard, to more closely investigate the vanished fireflies, and she learns some secrets are stealing her town’s perseverance—and her mom’s song and joy.



As the town’s hope dwindles, its music starts to dim. The problem is, music generates more magic, but Cassie can’t figure out her own song. If only Cassie’s sound were a bold and spunky fiddle like bookstore owner Mrs. Anne’s, high energy banjo like her father’s, steady drumbeats like Bard’s, or loyal bagpipe like her dog’s, maybe then she’d be able to solve this mystery and her mom’s problems. When everyone’s pain deepens under new development plans, Cassie must uncover a family secret and find her own sound to try to set everything right again.



Complete at 32,000 words, THE SOUND INSIDE is a middle grade novel with notes of magical realism that will appeal to fans of Natalie Lloyd’s A Snicker of Magic and Cynthia Lord’s A Handful of Stars.





First 250 words:



I swing my foot across the dirt-coated path into a rock, sending it skittering ten feet to the side, like a piano player’s fingers across the keys. The rock’s song crescendos and clunks into a huge sneakered foot, which belongs to my longest (both in time and in height) friend, Bard.



“Why’d it have to be us, Bard?”



Bard shrugs. He shifts the rock with his toe until he’s satisfied with the angle, then sails the rock ahead, making me run for it.



I lunge to trap the rock under my shoe. Almost. It scoots just ahead of my toe onto three other rocks with a tap-tap-tonk like they’re clapping because I missed.



I huff and wait for Bard to catch up. “Why did we have to draw the missing fireflies as our report topic?” I shudder as I remember drawing the slip of paper off the teacher’s desk. “Scientists can’t even figure it out. So they want to put all the pressure on two kids to write a report with no answers out there? Where’s the logic in that?”



He quirks his mouth to the side and sighs. Bard doesn’t talk much. Or at all. Not since the accident three years ago. And it’s okay. When you’re best friends, you don’t always need to say everything out loud.



His always-steady beat matches his footfalls and I wish for my own song to join in. But I only hear the echoes of a whole lot of unanswered questions.



SvS 6: Your Favorite Mascot – MG Contemporary (Ownvoices)

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.




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