Monday, April 26, 2010

Read our INTERVIEW with YA Agent Taylor Martindale and Enter to WIN a Manuscript Critique


Before we do anything else today, we need to announce the winners to GotYA's innaugural fake bio contest!

Third place added prize ($15 gift card): Laura McMeeking
Second place ( $15 gift card and a copy of Beautiful Creatures): Heather Dougherty
First place ($75 gift card): Margay

YAY WINNERS!! Please, email me at houndrat at yahoo dot com so I can send you your goodies!


Now, before we get to our next contest, I'm incredibly excited to share my Interview with Taylor Martindale! For those of you who don’t know, Taylor is an AWESOME new agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. If you’re looking for an agent who communicates regularly, is super enthusiastic, hands-on with editorial, will totally have coffee and dinner with you if you live nearby, and, most importantly, won’t think you’re a nutter if you email her with your neuroses on a weekly basis—then you should SO query her. (Neurotic writer? Where? Where? Wait a second…who put that mirror there? Very funny!) In fact, she’s so full of awesomesauce, you can’t even hate on her for being so adorable:

Read the interview, then read below to find out how you can WIN the manuscript critique in a contest judged by AW’s own resident badass, HANNAH MOSKOWITZ!


When did you first realize you wanted to be a literary agent?

First of all, I want to thank you for interviewing me! I’m so excited to be making an appearance on this fabulous blog, and for the opportunity to speak to such a great community of writers. Loving the new GotYA site, too ! :)

I’ve always known I wanted to work in publishing. Even as a little girl, I just couldn’t imagine a career that didn’t involve books. I was lucky that I knew so young what I wanted my future to look like, and it helped me structure my academic goals and extracurricular activities to that end. The funny thing was that I had always pictured myself as an editor. The first time I thought seriously about agenting, however, was during a publishing seminar put on by my college. The career center would invite authors and a range of publishing professionals to speak about their experiences and the industry itself. Something they stressed was figuring out where your passions would lead you in publishing, and that there were so many careers from which to choose.

It was then that agenting really popped up on my radar. I loved the idea that I could be a part of authors’ first steps into publishing, helping build their careers; that I could be so involved in the development stage of their work; that I could be their advocates in the industry. I love working with authors and the early drafts of their “babies.” I find being a part of that creative process inspiring.

What steps did you take to make that goal a reality?

I was blessed with some awesome opportunities as I got into publishing. During school, I worked at Bliss Literary Agency, with Jenoyne Adams, for a year as an intern and then as the Submissions Coordinator. Like I mentioned above, I also went to as many seminars, talks, etc. about publishing that I could find. Then, after school, I chased the best combo for job-searching graduates: informational interviews and more internships. Being a native Southern California girl, I was determined to find the publishing niche out here. The incredible Kate Gale of Red Hen Press took a chance on me—after my random email that somehow made it to her—giving me both an informational interview and Elise Capron’s information at SDLA. Elise was also kind enough to meet me for an informational interview, and an internship spot opened up a week later. I’ve been there ever since, and am so thrilled to be a part of the SDLA team.

What kind of material are you especially interested in right now?

O wow, I am interested in so much! Where do I start? Before I dive into all the genres I’m looking for, I have to say that what I am particularly looking for are characters. Engaging, deep characters whose voices light up the page and stick in your head even when you’re not reading. Those characters who make the plot captivating because of who they are, not what is going on around them. The relationships that make you laugh and cry and long to touch some part of the world around you…

That being said, I’m interested in a wide range of genres. I’m particularly looking for YA titles: contemporary, urban fantasy, literary fiction, historical fiction, etc. I would also love to find commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and multi-cultural fiction. I’m not currently working with non-fiction, but am definitely keeping my eye out for that project that inspires me—cultural studies or literary criticism, possibly.

Overall, though, I’m looking to fall in love with a project, whether it matches my stated interests or not. A lot of publishing is highly subjective, so I’m looking for the authors and books that fit me, and vice versa. I keep my eyes open for them.

I know you were reading slush long before you started at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. If you could tell writers to concentrate on one thing to get pulled from the pile, what would it be?

I’ve found that the best thing an author can do is not get swept up in the bells and whistles of querying. The most important part of your query is simple: your writing. Before you submit, ask yourself if your query letter and sample pages really show off your strength as a writer. Don’t worry about putting your submission in a bright pink envelope with confetti (so hard to clean up!). Focus on being strong, not fancy or flashy. Believe me, it shows!

A few quick tips:

1. Have a solid title and show it off. Titles in a query are like book covers in the bookstore; they catch your eye and make you read the summary. Don’t bury your title in the postscript of your query. Place it where it makes sense for your letter, and have it act as the extra punch to your already awesome pitch. If it’s an email query, put your book’s title and genre in the subject line (per that agency’s guidelines, of course). It stands out from the hundreds simply labeled “Query.”

2. Don’t start off with a rhetorical question. They will never be answered the way you hoped when you wrote it! It only ends up sounding cliché and vague.

3. Do your research before you submit. Show that agent you know a little bit about who they are and what they are interested in representing. Mention where you found them, the more specific the better.

4. When you are querying, know that everything is a process and we’re all in this together. If you’re rejected, don’t be intimidated. Pay attention to the feedback you get and use it to make your project and your writing stronger. A positive, collaborative outlook will get you far.

Now, for the really crucial stuff. Tell us the three songs that currently get the most play on your iPod.

Oh, dear. “Beast of Burden” by Lee DeWyze. Yep, the “American Idol” contestant. He’s my favorite and I’m not ashamed to have already bought a few songs, haha. “Turn It Off” by Paramore. It’s from their newest album, which I only just got (I know, pathetic), and I love it. Hayley Williams is so awesome! Finally, “In Your Atmosphere” by John Mayer, because it gets to me every time.

Salty foods or sweet?

Salty, no contest. It’s bad. I’m currently battling a huge craving for French fries, and resisting is taking Herculean effort. No, seriously. Herculean.

(Deb’s note: Hmmmm, I will definitely have to talk to her about this. It’s common knowledge that sugar kicks salt’s un-sweet tushy all over the grocery store.)

Which YA book have you read recently that you really wish you’d represented?

I was extremely impressed with Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER. I loved what she did with a theme that’s feeling tired and overdone these days, and with the characters who drove the story throughout.

I know working in that ocean-view office must be rough, but if you HAD to choose a different career, what could you see yourself doing?

Haha, I know, I drew the short straw on that one, huh?

If I were to choose a different career, I think I would like to teach literature and literary theory at the college level. Those classes and those professors were hugely formative and influential for me and changed the way I thought about literature. Teaching new ways to think about and write about literature seems like an incredible thing to do each day.

I have to say, though, that I’m already in the profession I was born to pursue, and I’m not going anywhere. Helping authors take their work from a new manuscript to a finished book… What better job is there?

And there you have it! THANK YOU Taylor, for both the interview and the very generous donation of a manuscript critique
! If you want to query Taylor (trust me—you do!) her submission guidelines are as follows.

Send a query letter, synopsis, and the first 50 pages to:

Taylor Martindale
Sandra Dijkstra Literary AgencyPMB 515
1155 Camino del Mar, PMB 515
Del Mar, CA 92014

E-query by referral only.

And now…


The Prize: A 30-page manuscript critique by Taylor

The Judge: Hannah Moskowitz, author of Break (wait, you haven't read BREAK? What are you waiting for?) and the upcoming Invincible Summer, will be judging (which is kind of perfect, since Taylor and Hannah have worked together before).

The Rules: Since both Taylor and Hannah are all about voice, we thought it only apropos the contest be about voice, too. Enter up to 200 words of your manuscript that best highlights your character’s unique voice in the comments section. Hannah will read all the entries and chose one winner, based on which entry's voice grabs her the most and makes her want to read more.

The Deadline: You have until Friday, 11:59 EST to enter.

Go! Enter! Win!


DeStouet said...

If it were possible, I would have liked to begin my story long before I started committing things to memory, but for obvious reasons this is not possible. Babies are born with no memory of the race to fertilize their mothers egg, and while there are recent studies that have shown babies will remember their womb music well into later life, I have chosen to begin my story later.

It was only after careful consideration, I decided to start with the neighborhood where I spent the majority of my youth.

I grew up in a working class neighborhood, where a long stretch of brownstone colored row homes were barely divided by a breath and huge lush green trees lined the streets. Houses so close in inches that it only took one badly neglected home to make the entire street look in desperate need of a makeover. It was a neighborhood where everyone possessed a hard working spirit and was living proof that adults enjoy laughter and play with the same gusto as children.

I enjoyed early mornings best; when fathers were heading out to work and mothers walked with their children to school.

Anonymous said...

“Tom, come on. Please stop staring at me like that. It's unnerving.”
Tom's frown became deeper, twin lines between his lowered brows. “I'm not staring. I'm glaring.”
“Oh. Well, please stop glaring? I haven't done anything!”
“Oh really?” Tom settled back in his chair and crossed his arms. “You haven't said anything for the past hour!”
I frowned. “Are you sure?”
“Of course I'm sure! I never say anything I'm not absolutely certain about!”
“Oh.” My gaze dropped.
I hadn't slept much after the strange 'dream' last night. I hadn't been able to work out if it was one of Hazel's, or something else entirely. It had vanished when I awoke the next morning, but I could still see the blood vividly in my mind.

Christina Farley said...

I really enjoyed your interview with Taylor. I'm thrilled that she likes multi-cultural stuff too!

Jill Wheeler said...

I watch all the kids running around, chasing a little black and white ball like it means something. Because that’s what they have to tell themselves, I guess. That it means something if their team scores a point. Maybe if they win this game, their dad will stop banging the waitress at Ruby Tuesday’s. Or maybe tonight there will magically be enough food on the table. Or maybe the boy who spread the rumor about them giving head in the boiler room will fess up that it was all a lie. But all those kids have to know, don’t they? They have to know the stupid reindeer games won’t make a difference, won’t get them into Harvard, won’t ensure them that white picket fence? Right? If not, then I’m just really sad for them.

MC Rogerson said...

Great interview. I've posted my extract below:

“Izzy? Are you still there?”
I spun the locket on its chain, watching it sparkle in the light. I hadn’t taken it off since we’d found it.
“Did you hear what I said?”
She sounded upset. Result.
There was a pause, “I can see that it’s useless talking to you now. You’re obviously in one of your moods. Can you pass me back to Nan, please?”
“So you don’t want to talk to me then?”
She sighed, “of course I want to talk to you, but I want to have a proper chat, not an argument. Do you think you’re capable of that?”
There she was again, patronising me. It always happened like that. She’d make friends then ruin it straight afterwards with some stupid comment.
“If you’re asking that, then you obviously already think I’m not, Mum.”
“Why is it always games with you? Why can’t we get on with each other?”
“You tell me.”
“Just pass me to Nan, will you?”
As soon as I handed the phone over, I ran straight back upstairs, pushing the bedroom door open so hard that it slammed against the bed frame.

Angie said...

Loved the interview. Here's mine.

And that’s how I ended up that afternoon back at Glitz! trying on dresses again. I had returned the white dress I bought on Saturday, knowing that since I now had a suitable dance partner, I didn’t have to resort to the color that made me look like an albino rabbit. I flipped through the hangers, looking for something a bit darker, and finally decided on a mocha number with short sleeves and a dipping neckline. I had always imagined prom dress shopping to be a thing that Shani and I would do together. She would have tried on every dress in the store only to end up with the one she had first spotted. I tried to smile at my reflection, and imagine what she would have said about it. But her voice was still gone and that depressed me. I missed her nagging baritones. Still, the brown dress was an improvement. Maybe if I colored my hair a bit darker…
“What are you trying to do to yourself?” I jumped a foot in the air as Maxine walked towards me, followed by her ever faithful lap dog/android, Guy. “Seriously, that makes you look like something a dog dropped in the park.”

Nicole Thomas said...

Loved the interview, thank you so much for posting it. And now, my less than 200 words ;)

“As observant as you are, my gender shouldn’t concern you. You’ll not be fighting me.” Nimue smiled, promises whispered across pale lips. “Now, draw up your sword.”

Kyle wrapped his fingers around the hilt and held Excalibur in front of his chest. Sunlight gleamed off the flawless metal as prisms of light flowed through the open air. He closed his eyes and thought of what Merlin said the night before.

He’d seen plenty of swordplay and duals on television and in movies to get an idea of how fighting with a blade worked. However, to be a master with a blade required vast hours of training and more time than he had to spare. Beads of sweat rolled down his brow. His hands were clammy and made it difficult to hold onto the hilt without it slipping or turning. He dug his uncut fingernails into the dark leather, holding it tight.

“We will start slow.” Nimue said. “The image you’re about to see is yourself. You can attack it and injure it, but it cannot harm you. Should the blade get too close, it will disintegrate.”

Kathleen Peacock said...

Great interview! I see why Deb was so smitten when she signed with Taylor. :)

Also, is it just me, or is that the cutest picture of Hannah ever?

Heather Dougherty said...

Not entering - although Hannah rocks (apparently Taylor does too!)... just wanted to say thanks to the GotYA group... I never win anything... so I'm very excited! Can't wait for Beautiful Creatures!

Amanda Hannah said...

Great interview!

I shoved the cups into the dispenser and turned around.

The freshman giggled and I swear to God I could actually see her eyes glazing over. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. All customers under the age of seventeen tended to go all giggly when Kyle was at work. I had no clue why.

Wait. Yes I did.

Because they were enthralled with the fact he was older. Were fooled by his strategically unkempt hair that said ‘I’m cool without even trying’. In reality those inky layers that fell artfully across his forehead probably contained enough gel to choke a moose. He was enough of a troublemaker to earn an assigned seat in detention, but hadn’t reached the scary level of doing time in Juvie.


And he was in a band. Aren’t they all these days?

Whatever their reasons, the bottom line was he attracted groupies like garbage collected flies and for the past year I’d had to swat the pesky little gnats away just to get Kyle to do any work.

Annie McElfresh said...

Thank you Taylor and Deb for an AWESOME interview!

Unknown said...

Great interview! I love your open attitude, Taylor! Ok, hope you enjoy:

She dumps me out of her car with nothing but the magic marker I'm holding. Ta f'ing da. At least I'm dressed, even though a swipe to the seat of my pants drives home that I'm missing my wallet. I can only assume that it's still wedged in her back seat someplace, a carnival prize for the next guy.

I think I underestimated how hot it could be in the Mojave Desert. I didn't really give the warning sign enough credit. It was billboard sized, on the side of the road, and read like a hazmat instruction manual. It listed off a thousand precautions that are hard enough to read when you're puttering through, let alone racing past it, aimed straight into the hot orange choke of the desert. Stuff like: have a full tank of gas, bring water and dial these numbers for help, should have meant a little more to me, but at the moment I saw it, I was zipping along in a brand new, air conditioned Mustang. It seemed we had a way better chance of getting through the desert than the road bombs smoking along in front of us and in the rearview.

Sandy said...

I’m so tired of overly helpful and chipper adults. I walk into the auditorium and scan the seats. Fourteen year old freshman are scattered about, some already in groups, some alone. I walk up the steps in the aisle, being sure I don’t make eye contact with anyone. I sit in the back, a mostly empty row except for two kids with long hair and trucker hats and an overweight girl that can barely fit into the seat. I grab a seat between the two and put my feet on the one in front of me and lean back. The lack of good sleep, a hangover induced headache and the fight with Michelle were all starting to catch up with me. I’m exhausted and just want to sleep.
The principal, Mr, Murphy, dressed today in a sports coat and tan pants, begins his welcome to Emerson talk. The trucker hat kids are kicking the seats in front of them, bothering a couple of generic looking girls. Mr. Murphy finishes his talk and hands the mike over to Miss Marshall. She begins her talk with an upbeat, fake “Aren’t we all glad to be here?” From the non-reaction of the crowd, I’d say no.

Kara said...

Hannah's hair is so badass.

From my contemporary YA-

I grunted and crushed the paper into a ball when he said her name. Seeing Casey at the beach was a skid mark on the otherwise perfect day Andy had first kissed me. She ruined everything. Seriously, if evil, manipulative people were landfills, Casey was the fucking Staten Island Dump. In kindergarten she tripped me on the playground and left a tiny piece of asphalt permanently embedded in my left palm. In the third grade she’d stolen my first boyfriend. And in the fourth grade she taunted me because I was the only person whose bean sprout project withered and died on the day of the science fair.

A few days later, my mother’s plane plummeted into a field in Pennsylvania. Everyone said I had to be brave because lots of people died that day, and Mom would want me to be strong. Everyone said not to be afraid of airplanes, since it wasn’t the pilot’s fault- there were bad people out there who hated America. Except Casey. She said if Mom didn’t hate me so much, she would have stayed home more instead of going on all of those business trips.

And after that, I never stopped believing it was my fault.

Anonymous said...

Awesome interview! Thanks!

The following is from my historical YA...


I want to look away but I don’t.

Instead, I stand transfixed as the woman stumbles up the gallows steps. Her skirts are torn, revealing bloody grazed knees beneath. Long hair matted with prison floor straw. Tear-streaked face but an expression of steel. I know she will refuse to cry out. Not that one woman’s shriek would be heard over the jeers and chanting.

As Baron Laroche mounts the platform, the shouting slackens. By the top step, I can hear the clink of the spurs on his calfskin boots. There’s a suppressed excitement emanating from the crowd, like a quiver full of arrows anticipating their shot from the bow. At one end of the gallows, a loop of heavy rope sways in the breeze. Sebastièn grabs my arm as more townspeople surge forward for a better view.

“God, it’s awful!” I sob.

Sebastièn hisses through his teeth. This is the way things work, his eyes tell me. Don’t bring trouble down on yourself, on us.

I bite down on my lip.

The guards now flank the woman. Sabine. Her name’s Sabine. They grip her arms in cruel mimicry of Sebastièn’s supportive hold on mine and lead her to the noose.

Katie Ashley said...

Thanks Taylor for doing such a fabulous interview! Thanks to Deb for bringing it to us.

GOOD LUCK ALL YOU GUYS!! I'm enjoying your snips!!!

H.F.West said...

That interview is full of all kinds of awesome. I'm definitely entering this contest! But I have to decide which 200 words to use first.

Ellen said...

Great interview! My entry is below, an excerpt from my science fiction YA:

“What did you tell him?” Rohric shoved her against the tree trunk, the front of her shirt clenched in his fist.

Kiara had never seen him this angry. “Tell who? Let go, that hurts!”

“There was a baby-man here, calling your name. You spoke to it, Kia. Why? What does it know?”

Her legs quivered. “Nothing, bro, I swear!”

He released her shirt. “Why’d you talk to it?”

“He ain’t an it!” She rubbed her collarbone. “I didn’t say nothing. He don’t even know there's more of us. He thinks I came off one of his ships, that I crashed down here ages ago. I told him I’m alone.”

“Why’d he come looking for you?”

“Cause I told him to meet me! That's the best way to find out more about ‘em. How d’you think I learned about them pistols? I could learn their weaknesses just as easy.”

“’S too dangerous. You can’t talk to these things. They ain’t like us, Kia.”

“You sound just like Maserat. Webs, what’s gotten into y’all?”

He shook his head. “You be too young to remember the siege. You don't understand the risk.”

Unknown said...

Great interview. Tons of good tips.

Here's mine. It's from my new Fantasy Novel

Arieana’s head turned back to the room and home she'd lived in all her life. The night she lost her parents it had become her and Rydan's place. Though never around, she'd always left his room as he liked it. It had always made her feel closer to him. Now it was all that remained of her brother.

Anger and frustration boiled deep inside. "I'll find and bring you back." She whispered into the night.

Her skin crawled at the visions she'd caught before he'd been cut off from her. Such darkness and pain had surrounded him. She'd always known it would come to this. How many times had she warned the Council that those who opposed their peace were conspiring against them? Not to mention their numbers had grown in the last few years. More than any of them could have imagined.

The room drew colder, ice forming along the shelves. Her temper was bordering on dangerous and she knew it. Those who had taken Rydan from her had unleashed more than just her hate. His death would release a fury she'd reigned in for so long.

"Arieana?" A light voice pulled her back from the frigid darkness.

Unknown said...

“What is that?” I demanded in an angry whisper. “What is that?” My voice rose with every word I uttered, but I already knew what it was. I guess I should have known it’d be there, but that didn’t stop the white-hot rage from surging through me. “What is that?” I shrieked again, slashing an accusing finger through the air.
Our lockers had always been side-by-side…ever since they first started assigning them in the fifth grade. It made sense. Hannah and Hope Morton. Twins, always inseparable. Even in death, you’d always be right there beside me. It never really bothered me before.
But, standing there, frozen in the middle of the hall, I realized that I couldn’t handle being beside you any longer. I already had you dogging my every step. I couldn’t take this, too. I didn’t want to pass by your locker every day, especially with the memorial they’d set up there.
Pictures of you—of us laughing together—stared back at me, accusing me, taunting me. Flowers affixed to the door. Words of remembrance shouting out to one and all that I was no longer ‘the other Morton twin’ or ‘Hope’s quiet, somewhat dorky sister’. I was all alone now. I would forever be drowning in a sea of loneliness, cast adrift by the one person who could save me but hadn’t even cared enough to save herself

Dorothy Dreyer said...

My feet are cold. I look down at them and become aware that I don’t have any shoes on. Huh. I am outside. Standing outside in the middle of the night. With no shoes.

Um . . . .

How did I get here?

I wrap my arms around myself, because like an idiot I also don’t have a coat on, and I study my strange surroundings. There is a slow fog drifting along near the ground. It languidly envelopes objects that stand in its path, the dewy particles of moisture swirling into eddies as it comes into contact with the obstructions in an eerie choreography. I realize with a sense of dread that the fog’s dance partners are gravestones.

Great. I so did not buy tickets to this show.

How the hell did I end up in a cemetery? Oops. Maybe this isn’t the best place to use the H word.

A cold shiver washes over me, and although I desperately yearn to leave this place, I find I can’t move just yet. I wonder, standing here terrified, if my brother was buried in this cemetery. I wouldn’t know where to begin looking. This place is huge. And dark.

Laurie said...

Great interview, hound. I'd be happy to play the contest:

Students line the tables in the quad, sit on benches and in boyfriends’ laps and on the grass stretching beyond the bricks.

Ask. Ask any of them to describe a cheerleader in three words. Pretty, peppy, popular. The three p’s. Yeah, I know. I’ve heard it. Every day of my life. Seriously, spare me.

That’s me, over by the soda machine. I lean against the brick wall in my uniform. It’s game day, so this is expected. Mom says I’m haughty. She says I always look that way. Oversexed, overused, underloved. I slide one of my nails under another, flicking away a piece of dirt there. It’s just a matter of time.

I dropped the notes in their lockers during third period. The words dark—etched in black ink, spilling through the thin paper. I slid my fingers over them all morning, finally slicing my pinkie on an edge. The leftover red line is thin now. I’ll forget it soon. A tall blonde boy by the trash can says hey to me so I wave back. I don’t know his name. I’m tired of waiting. It’s all bubbling up to the surface; I want something to happen.

Bobbie said...

The black of night was Ani's favorite color of any twenty-four-hour period. It went with everything and was perfect for all occasions—like a little black dress. And Ani wore the night sky in the kind of way most people wore tattered jeans or their favorite pair of Converse or a faded college t-shirt: comfortably.

She stood on the cement patio of the basement apartment, the home in which she'd truly grown up, and stared across the gravel driveway at the trailer park next door. The light in Creek's bedroom was on. He would be reading right now, unwinding after a day of taking care of River and Spring and then working his four-hour shift stocking shelves at Kroger's.

Ani closed her eyes and pictured him lying on his narrow bed, his head propped up on his left hand as he gently turned the pages, caressing the fragile paper as she imagined him caressing her body. A dark curl slipped onto his forehead. She saw herself kneeling next to him and brushing it back. He looked up to smile at her. Her heart stalled at the way his dark blue eyes softened at the sight of her.

Amna said...

The brilliance of youth trickled into our laughter.

“I’m glad I’m you’re first.”

Her words floated in the mist of my dreams. Then she did that thing with her hips, and I died a little.


Our cries colored the night. My grip on the sheet tightened, my body shook and hundreds of little static explosions went off around my body.

Oh God. Azura will be the death of me.

The sheets rose and fell with our languished breathing. Azura moved, and curled up at my side.

“I always thought I would do that with the person I loved. Then I realised Love doesn’t exist.”

She shuffled closer, and pecked me on the nose. “At least I did it with the person I liked.”

I didn’t reply, and just let my breathing do all the talking. I couldn’t answer her immediately. I had to chew over her words, let it echo in my mind. My mouth was impossible dry, I couldn’t find the right words because at the moment— at that very moment: my heart was breaking.

How was I supposed to reply? Thanks, I’m glad you like me even though I’m completely in love with you.

No. I would just let the silence do the talking.

Allen said...

I saw an accident last year on the freeway, car lost control, flipped like seven or eight times. I mean, I saw this freakin’ happen, Christopher. I was behind it. Worst thing I ever saw, it was like the Indy 500 or something. The car rolled, finally landed on its back and caught fire. All these pieces of the car were scattered on the road. Traffic was stopped, and a bunch of us ran over to help. The driver was hanging upside down in his seat. This one guy had a knife, we reached inside and held the driver while his seatbelt got cut, and we pulled him out. But the man was dead; blood all over his face, probably had internal injuries, I don’t know. We carried him as far away from the car as we could. This one lady, her name was Tracey I remember, started CPR on him, and here’s the weird part. I looked back at the car, and I swear I saw someone standing next to it. I realized it was this guy. The guy lying dead on the shoulder right next to me was over there next to his car. Then, he just vanished.

Anonymous said...

Great interview, thank you!

Dear Sir,

Your article of 19 December, “Glue Bandit Remains at Large! Investigation Still Ongoing, Police Say” gave me great pause. I found myself pondering not only the customary ineptitude displayed by local law enforcement, but also the very role that laws play in a democratic society.

For the purposes of this discussion, I will refrain from commenting on the very real fact that all aspects of our lives are manipulated by a shadowy group of elite power brokers comprised of, but not limited to, the Bush family, the Skull and Bones society, and a plurality of the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Thus, in theory anyway, those nagging guidelines we know as “laws” are simply a behavioral contract between members of a society, duly approved by their representatives, enacted for the sole purpose of improving the quality of life for all parties concerned. If this somewhat utopian concept is in fact our reality, then I hope you can understand my befuddlement as to why exactly this “Glue Bandit” of yours is still under investigation by the authorities for a crime of vandalism. If this “Bandit” did indeed go to Herculean lengths to slip superglue into the door locks of seventy-two separate overpriced retail establishments on King Street during the wee hours of Thanksgiving night, as he (or she) is alleged to have done, we have borne witness to much more than a minor act of graffiti.

Ryann said...

“Is there something funny, Zach?” I asked.

How could I have ever been attracted to him? I was quickly becoming angry, and that mixed with fear were a dangerous combination for me. I knew I should run. I knew whatever it was they wanted wouldn’t be good. But the effects of the alcohol I’d guzzled earlier weren’t completely gone, and even without that handicap they would have been able to easily subdue me. I bit my lip, thinking. I had no clue how to get away from them.

I crossed my arms over my chest. “Okay,” I said when Zach didn’t answer my question, “what exactly is it you guys want then?” I was trying not to let my irritation show, but it seeped into my voice without my permission. Judd moved closer to me. He was so close that I could feel the warmth of his stale breath on my face. Coupled with the wooziness I was feeling it was enough to bring back the nausea from earlier in the evening, but I was determined to hold steady. I steeled myself.

“You.” He whispered.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Excellent interview! :-)

From Scott and the naughty Boy Factory:

His hands fisted at his sides, he faced Mr. Little. “Excuse me, Mister Little.” Everyone turned to look at him. He stood a little straighter and coughed to hide his nervousness.

“I don’t get it. I know I’m not a very good listener, because everybody’s always telling me to open my listening ears. And I know I’m not a good cleaner, because I’m really good at making messes, but I hate to clean them up all by myself. My manners are okay, but I do like to stick my tongue out at bratty girls, and my mom says I talk too loud.

“Fixing that stuff made a little bit of sense to me. I guess.” He looked at Dusty and took a nervous breath. “But fixing us so we can’t wrestle or chase each other or play ninja...that doesn’t make sense. That’s just fun stuff. My grandma says that’s what boys are born to do.”

The others enthusiastically agreed with him. Some of them gave him the thumbs-up sign and others just smiled and nodded their encouragement.

“Can’t we have any fun? Does being good all the time mean we can’t sword-fight with sticks or throw snowballs or smash bugs or thump on each other…ever?”

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Here's my snippet... It's from a guy's POV so hopefully Hannah likes it!

"If you're going to act upset and not tell me why then I'm leaving," I say, moving to stand up but not actually standing because this fake threat works every time.

"No!" She grabs my arm. "Don't leave, please." Yep, works every time.

"Why are you suddenly sad?" I ask. “We just made out – you should be stoked.”

She looks down at the buttons on the remote. The highlights in her hair have grown out an inch already and I wonder if it's really been that long since her birthday when I paid for that dye job.

"I just feel really bad that you want sex so much and I keep denying you." Her bottom lip curls out, her little force of habit that always makes me feel bad.

I don't want a deep-ass emotional talk right now.

"Well then stop denying me," I say, making this exaggerated wink so she knows I'm kidding and won't tear into me for being insensitive. She cracks a tiny smile, and I continue, "Look babe, it's not a big deal." Actually, it is a big deal because I'm the only guy on the team who's still a virgin but I lie anyway. "Whenever you're ready for sex, just tell me. But until then, its fine."

"Really?" she asks, settling on a cooking show.


Amanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

ooooh! A chance for my pirate!

Haban sat back sharply, as though surprised that Van Gast had agreed without even a lame attempt at bargaining. Van Gast couldn’t help it; he had no time for the niceties of trading in Estovan. It didn’t matter if he’d offended Haban. He peeled back a corner of the brightly striped awning carefully.

Here came the boy with the bodyguard, huge and brown skinned with a face only a mother could love, bristling with scars and weapons and leather. Too late. The pale beggar, the darker man from Kyr’s mummery had been joined by another. A big, blond giant of a Gan, covered in more weapons even than the bodyguard and that was quite the achievement.

Racketeers? No others mixed their races so well, but they weren’t dressed like it. The beggar was in rags, the mummer in the robes of a priest of Kyr and the Gan – well Gan dressed oddly at the best of times, they could never get used to the heat here compared to the cold of their home. This Gan wore breeches, boots, a bandolier full of sharp blades and a whole lot of sweating, sun-burned muscles.

A bad day for Van gast just waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview and an amazing contest! Thanks!

“Jamey.” Emma gasped as she awoke tangled in her sheets and dripping with sweat. She has dreamt about the day her best friend was kidnapped over and over but the memory always comes more frequently, and vividly, around this time of year. In less than a week it will be her birthday again. Not a day she likes to celebrate anymore. Now it’s the anniversary of the day her idyllic childhood was ripped to shreds as she watched a monster snatch James off the playground.

She put her hand to her neck and fingered the birthday gift he had given her moments before he disappeared that day eight years ago. In honor of her last name, Nicols, he and his grandfather drilled a hole through a buffalo nickel and put it on a chain for her. She has worn it ever since to keep his memory alive.

A spidery sense of unease over took her senses and she forced herself to get out of bed and look outside. Of course there was nothing there but the man in the moon and she couldn‘t help but ask him the same question she always asks, “Where is Jamey?… Please send him home."

Tracey Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracey Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I duck under the police tape. The police are long gone. Now it's just me and the grave. And inside the grave is what is obviously not the corpse of Adam Easton. I mean, come on, did anyone really believe that Dr. Easton would bury his son in a simple plot like this? Well, I'm sure that the son would have, but the point is that this is not him.

But that's not what pisses me off. It's that the ring is gone. How dare she take it? It's not hers to take. It's one thing for me to desecrate the grave and steal from it. You just can't trust anyone anymore.

I sigh and get out of the hole, then brush my hands free of the dirt. Ew. I can't see them, but bet my designer jeans aren't faring any better. Don't think Abercrombie would approve. I'll change as soon as I get home, but first I'm washing my hands. I hate getting my hands dirty.

Ironic from me, I know, but, come on, there are worms and shit in this mud. Ew ew ew.

Wonder how dirty I have to get my hands to get my ring back.

Unknown said...

Great interview!

Pushing the memory of last year’s party from my mind, I followed Alejandra into the spacious, well lit kitchen, and walked over to the fridge to grab a Coke.

Garrett and Aaron were by the table, laughing and talking to two guys from school. Garrett had a can of beer in his hand. Aaron held a glass with Coke, but I couldn’t tell if it was plain or spiked with something.

I tried to tear my gaze from him, but it wasn’t easy. It was like I needed to spot some flaw that would reveal the real him. So far I couldn’t find anything wrong, which meant I wasn’t looking hard enough.

With Liam, it had been his intense desire to have sex with me, even though I wasn’t ready to go that far. He’d even tried to convince me to give him a blow job, claiming it wasn’t sex. As if.

Okay, I’ll admit Your Blossoming Body: A Book for Teenage Girls was definitely one of the more useful self-help books Mom had ever bought me. Though I seriously doubted Liam would have agreed.

Unknown said...

“So this is the infamous Marty Barsell,” she said once we were assembled on her porch and standing in front of her. “Not so much a big shot when you get right down to it.”

He fumbled clumsily, tripping over his feet in his attempts to make eye contact with anything but her.

“That’s not the way it goes around here, Marty,” she insisted. “We look people in the eye here. If you want me on your side, you’re going to have to take that last step on your road to redemption, son. I’m up here. I’ll wait.”

Jeff pushed his brother forward and it was almost as if he were on a cliff afraid to take that step. He backed into Jeff before finally summoning the courage to lift his head and look her in the eye.

“That’s much better,” Mrs. Halverton said.

“Once people realize I only bite my food, they’re a bit better to get along with. I’ve never laid a soul flat on their back in all my days, but it sure seems they think I might sometimes.”

She was right, there. I think we were all more than a little afraid of her.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Okay, I LOVE the picture of Hannah with the pink streaks, but because of that pic, I'll forgo the MS with the pink haired MC. ;-P

I'll use this one instead:

If I close my eyes now, I can sneak four minutes before the bell signals next class. Mr. Pace won't care, he's in his own world full of numbers and letters, and I lost track of what he was saying half an equation ago. A nap would be great.

But then that blue bulb starts up again.

Everyone sits straighter in their seats. There's a pause in the cadence of Mr. Pace's words. The chalk breaks under the pressure of his halt and his eyes flick left to the silent alarm over the window. He takes a breath, erases his stray mark, and starts over.

This time everyone listens because the sound of his voice gives us something to think about other than the light reflecting off our desks a half beat out of time with our hearts. It doesn't matter that the words are artificially slow, or that his voice is higher than usual, or that Mr. Pace makes a mistake.

He never makes mistakes.

We don't look sideways, because no one wants to know that everyone else is as scared as they're trying not to be. Warnings aren't supposed to last this long.

Then the blue turns violet.

Amanda said...

From Delilah Wakes :-)


“Delilah, Delilah. What has you so upset, love?”
The whistling voice sent a shockwave of fear into my gut.

“Nothing is wrong, Elijah. I’m fine.” I placed my hands behind me and pushed myself off the ground.

“Now, now, love. I can see when something is wrong with my sweet Delilah. Let Elijah make it better.” He brushed his thumb along my cheek, taking my tear with him. I could still feel the rough callus on his finger long after he’d stopped touching me.

“I said I’m fine.” I looked straight into his slate gray eyes, hoping that he couldn’t see through my false confidence. His crow’s feet wrinkled as he smirked back at me.

“You’re lying. You know how I feel about that.” He wrapped his fingers around my arm in a way that would definitely leave their mark.

Elijah reeked of danger. I could taste it, feel it – all of my senses were on alert. His body leaned into mine as his grip grew tighter.

“My bag is gone. That’s all.” Our faces were so close that I could make out the nasty blackheads in the crease of his nose. The garlic on his breath made my stomach heave.

Jamie Blair said...

Great interview Deb! Thank you Taylor and Hannah! You're both badass in my book! :)

Christina Widener said...

. I loved being around Patrick so much that I didn’t really mind not seeing my friends as much as I used to. It was kind of scary how easy it was for Patrick and me to cut ourselves off from the rest of the world when we were together. And the only time we ever had any problems was when the rest of the world intruded on our relationship.
Most nights we just hung out at his house. His mother was never home and his dad just stayed upstairs in the family room watching TV. The only time I even saw Mr. Staler when I was at Patrick’s house was when he would get up from the couch to get a snack and I happened to be in the kitchen getting a glass of water. In the months that I had known Patrick, I had never even heard his father have a conversation with him.
“Hi Bud,’ he’d say when Patrick and I would walk into the house.
“Hey Dad.”
My relationship with the Stalers’ wasn’t all that different then Patrick’s relationship with my parents. The difference was that in my house it mattered and in Patrick’s it didn’t.

Gemma Cooper said...

Great interview - now I have a craving for french fries! Here's one of my fave bits from my current project:

Another throbbing pain fought for my attention when I took a break from bowl hugging. I looked down to see my left ankle twice its normal size and the same colour as my purple toenail polish. Damn it. By now I should’ve known better than to start on the shots. Amnesia and random bruises were always the end result. But drunk Thea never said ‘no’ to tequila. Drunk Thea was an idiot.

Sarah N Fisk said...

"Those reporters know what they were getting into and they chose to do it anyway," Miranda said. "They aren't my responsibility.”

“No, you are right,” he said. “They are mine.”

Right. How could she have forgotten? His oath was to protect humans. Even from themselves. That's what he had told her the first night they met and it hadn't changed even though everything else had. She saw the decision in his eyes and knew he wouldn't be talked out of a rescue.

“Fine,” she said. If he was determined to rescue these people from their own stupidity, she wasn't going to let him do it alone. “Who's the oldest Wind Mage here?” she asked the children.

A six year-old girl raised her hand and Miranda raised an eyebrow at her. “My sister is,” the girl said.

Anonymous said...

(Not an entry)

Wow, great interviews and great contest, guys.

Hannah, I adore the hair, woo.

Taylor, thanks for your insights into querying and what you want to see.

And thanks to all of you for this contest. I can't wait to read the entries that come in.

Anonymous said...

I love the interview! It's so wonderful to read agents' journeys, and thank you for the tips!

Now I must go revise my 200 words. :)

Unknown said...

I can tell Beth’s really hurting from all this running and walking (and throwing ourselves in the path of doom), but she hasn’t complained one bit. It makes me feel sort of guilty for this pit of loathing that’s started to form in my stomach. It’s weird, the feeling. Insidious and dark, like a lump, growing. The numbness in my brain is starting to wear off, and now everything, every tiny memory, is starting to worm its way into my consciousness. And it makes me mad.

Flashes of faces—Mom’s, Dad’s; my Aunt Tilda’s; Gran’s—flashes of places—home, more home, home in Texas, home in that cloying forest—It all makes me mad. Like it’s all turning it’s back on me. Like, look at you, Matilda. So stupid. Why would you ever leave us? What’s wrong with you?

And I want to shout back that I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I want to go home. I want to just—just—

This isn’t me. I don’t care what Mrs. Quigley or Miss Ida say. I don’t belong here, no matter what anyone says. This isn’t my world and I want to go home.

seeyouupside said...

I probably should’ve done something to stop it.

Instead, I just stood there, watching as he shot himself in the head and time froze.

I was supposed to do it, too.

He said he loved me and that if I loved him too, I’d do it with him.

But now as I watched his body crumple to the floor, his knees collapsing and everyone’s screams silencing like a movie, and his dark hair falling over his eyes and blood…blood everywhere, on his hands, through his shirt, I knew I couldn’t have done it.

We weren’t in love. This was high school for fuck’s sake. Love was something out of fairy tales and make-believe. Cass and I… We were in lust.

I knew as the sounds became louder and ringing pounded in my ears that I couldn’t have done it.

I couldn’t have killed over lust.

Except…I already had.

Leah said...

Oh my! These are all amazing!
Good luck to everyone entering. We're all excited to see who wins!

Margo said...

Monday March 10th, 4:30 pm

I just didn’t anticipate that it would be this difficult. I thought that Cooper would do a Kool-Aid man through the wall to come get me when he heard the mere suggestion of sex. Apparently my sex appeal is on the fritz.

I could talk to him about it.

Monday March 10th, 4:32 pm

Okay, clearly I’m going senile in my old age. What am I thinking? I can’t talk to Cooper; he might say something unpleasant. What I need to do is think rationally. Problem solving. Research.

Off to buy Cosmo!

Monday March 10th, 6:00 pm

I’ve been researching for basically hours. My friend Molly has a subscription, so I took a ton of her old copies and looked through them.

According to Cosmo, so far I have to be… elegant, down-to-earth, funny, caring, comfortable, aloof, available, coy, honest, confident, constant, serious, fickle and loyal.

So basically Gandhi in a wig.

You know, before I read the Cosmos, I was feeling pretty optimistic. Now I’m convinced that only Mary Poppins in Megan Fox’s body could achieve the enlightened feat of seducing a man. Still, I strive on tirelessly.

Monday March 10th, 6:05 pm


Anonymous said...

It was late October and especially cold for that time of the year. Adrian put his hood up and he thrust his hands deep in his pockets. Every time he exhaled he could see his own breath. He strolled away from the restaurant.
Since his parents told him about their origin on his eighteenth birthday, he could not think about much else. He sometimes even dreamt about it.

‘We felt like you deserved to know the truth.’ had they told him and his sister, Sarah.
When Adrian had asked them ‘When are we going?’ – something he desired greatly – they had informed him that going back to Agoria was out of the question.
It angered him still.

'It’s hard to locate people on another planet...'
Adrian had always loved Johannes and Grace, but he still wondered excessively about where he came from.

He was able to forgive his parents for lying about it, despite the fact that they had let him search for his real family for over a year - knowing he would never find them. Now he finally knew, he wanted to go find them. He could not comprehend why his parents refused to go back.

‘Family… Revenge…’ were Adrian’s argument.
‘Too dangerous.’ deemed his parents.

WriterChick said...

I’m in total concentration mode as I have been for the last few hours and don’t realize how hard I’m flicking my pen back and forth and it suddenly takes flight right across the table. I watch as the blue pen skids and falls right over the side and hear the plunk as it hits the chair opposite me.

No one is around and I’m too lazy to get up and walk around so I just slide myself right across the table. As I’m sliding my scoop-neck shirt gets snagged on a sliver of wood and jerks down almost to my belly button. I’m revealing my whole chest and my bright pink bra. Now I don’t have a lot in the boob department but taking a quick glance down I notice I’ve got some killer cleavage happening from being squished down on top of the table. Yay me!

I grab my pen quickly from the seat and while I’m trying to wiggle back across the table I hear a loud snap, a book being slammed shut. Shit, I think. Please don’t let it be anyone I know. I really don’t want to be the next funny video posted online

Jess said...

Great interview. :)


Ronnie closed her mouth. “This sounds a lot less fun than it did a minute ago. You should’ve talked me into joining and then sprung your Commie ways on me. Now I don’t want to.”

Mom patted her hair. “Don’t do it, baby. We can move. I got out once, I can do it again.”

Ronnie saw the age on her mother’s face: thin lines around a full mouth, brown eyes that didn’t sparkle as brightly. She had worked so hard to keep this day from coming, but here it was. She had known it would come, too. Her unhappiness said as much.

“Okay. I’ll help with this one case, and then we renegotiate. Like any other job,” she said.

Her mother shook her head, tears welling in her eyes. “There’s no negotiating with the Agency.”

There was always a way. Eli held out a pen and a contract he pulled from the inside pocket of his jacket.

“If I sign, you won’t harass my mom?”

“Your mother earned her way out,” Eli admitted. “But we’ll be less likely to keep an eye on her if you help us.”

“Ronnie, no.” Mrs. Casate started. “Not for me.”

Ronnie held her mother’s gaze and signed the contract.

roh morgon said...

I love this blog! I'm so glad I found it!

Here's my YA sample:

Stupid werewolves. They drive me crazy with their idiotic howling at the moon. They're running through the woods and it sounds like a big pack. Think I’ll wait inside ‘til Sanders gets here.

But I wish that shapeshifter would hurry so we can leave, even though I promised my ‘parents’ that I’d stay home tonight. Right. I’m as big a liar in this life as I was in my other.

They’re not really my parents. They’re just who I was assigned to because the Elders said I'm too immature to be on my own. Whatever. They can go suck a tree.

A soft tapping at the glass sends a thrill through me. I turn, open the window, then laugh at the ridiculous little bat as it does flips in the air. He swoops in and shifts to human form mid-air. Landing gracefully on his feet, he bows with a sweeping gesture of his arm.

“Come here, my dahrling,” Sanders announces in a mock Bela Lugosi. “I have a special gift for you.”

Walking into his embrace, I sink my fangs into his exposed throat.

“Ouch, Jade. Do you have to be so rough?” he yelps, his voice his own again.

Debra Driza said...

So excited to see all the entries so far--this ought to keep Hannah out of trouble for at least half a day!


Thanks for entering, everyone, and good luck!

Anonymous said...

"Looking for this?"

Her head snapped up.

It was the Beast, holding her switchblade in one huge, furry paw and flipping it open with a sharp thumb. Faye had seen many monstrosities in her seventeen years. Yet, she couldn’t help taking a step back in involuntary horror.

He was ugly. Terrifyingly so. He had a body full of fur, a nose like a bear's, and large lips pressed into an angry snarl, revealing protruding fangs. Only his eyes were dark and human.

Faye opened her mouth. Nothing came out. The practiced argument had fled from her mind faster than she did when she caught hints of the Inquisition.

"Why did you break into my house?" His voice was a dark growl.

Marshaling her courage around her like a thin cloak, Faye replied, voice hoarse, "I—I have a deal for you."

The Beast raised an eyebrow. "And what makes you think I'd be interested in any deal you have to offer?" His eyes raked down her body. Her blouse and trousers were dirty, much-mended, and a size too large for her thin frame. It was that single glance, one she'd received from every magician she'd ever met, that gave Faye a courage borne of a slow-burning anger.


Thank you for this opportunity! :)

Anonymous said...

Roxy turned just in time to reach out and catch the keys sailing through the hot morning air at her head. She grinned and scrambled into the Jeep behind the wheel. Eddie hopped in beside her as Brenda rushed to the door.

“Gun it, kid.”

Obediently Roxy turned the key in the ignition and the Jeep roared to life. She found first gear - with only minimal grinding - and eased out onto the street.

Eddie stretched like a cat. “You’re getting better at that, kiddo.” A tinny rendition of “Rehab” exploded from his phone, which he ignored.

Roxy, eyes diligently on the road, asked, “You aren’t going to pick that up?”

“Nah. I’ve heard enough lectures from your mom to last three marriages. Besides, what’s the point of having a driver’s permit if you’re never permitted to drive?”

“I’m pretty sure that’s her point.”

Brenda was an ER nurse who’d seen one too many examples of the hazards of teenage drivers. As far as she was concerned, Roxy was S.O.L. until she turned eighteen.

She’d nearly stroked out when Eddie’d picked up Roxy to go surfing and brought her home with a freshly minted learner’s.

Father and daughter found themselves grounded for two weeks.

K. E. Carson said...

I'm not going to win, but why the hell not.

"You know, I don’t visit the monastery enough. But perhaps I should…” She linked her arm with his and leaned in so close he could feel her breath on his neck. “Tell me. Are all you monks celibate?”

Jonah’s heart seized in his chest and for a moment he thought he was suffering heart failure again.

A very logical part of Jonah wanted to scream, “Yes!” and dislodge himself from the young woman.

But another (much lower) part of Jonah commanded him to fall to his knees and scream, “Oh dear Nyx, no! I refuse to remain as pure as the gods made me! Take me and my Magik, temptress!”

Jonah was saved from having to answer when the path widened and the pools came into view. The children hurried past them to see.

“We’ll talk about this later,” Jonah told her. His voice cracked. He despised his very existence.

Sandra Cormier said...

"I lost them," Rachel said, her words soft and slurred beneath the hiss of foaming surf.

Rebecca crouched beside her. "What did you lose?"

Rachel gestured vaguely at the water. "My keys. I dropped them. Now I can't get into the apartment."

"Mikey would've let you in," Lori said.

Rachel shook her head with wide, sweeping arcs, listing to starboard in the process. She slowly corrected her equilibrium and swayed upright like a metronome. "No, he wouldn't. He hates me."

"No, he doesn't."

"Yes he does. Everyone hates me. Your father hates me." Rachel thrust her chin out to sea, toward the unseen Algerian coast. "Why shouldn't he? I'm a lousy wife, I argue with him all the time and he hates that."

Rebecca couldn't fathom the intricate goings on of adult relationships. All she could hang onto was the notion that her father couldn't possibly hate her mother. "How can you say that? Daddy doesn't hate you, Mom. He's just busy."

Her mother looked at her with a fierce clarity that drove through Rebecca like a spike. "Yes. He's busy. He gets to have meetings with bigwigs and fly all over God's acre, and I get to put away the groceries."

Anonymous said...

Arriving at the party in a tan sedan boring enough for Grandma to drive put a massive dent in what was left of my good mood, but what really bludgeoned it to death was That Look on Kaydrien Singh's face as I slid out of the back seat. It was his own special mix of disappointment, resignation, and just a hint of delight at knowing you knew you'd let him down. He was leaning against the metal casing of one of the lamps dotting the parking lot, just lighting up a slim, filtered cigarette he'd probably borrowed from his mom's purse. One glance at the solitary blood red ruby dangling from his right ear suggested it wasn't the only thing he'd "borrowed."

It was a private little war they'd had going on ever since she remarried. Every time Kay stole something from her, she'd cover it up so his stepdad didn't find out, and every time she covered up for him, he found something more expensive to steal. I tried once to get him to explain why he did it when his stepdad let him buy pretty much anything he wanted. He'd just said, "What else? Boredom," and changed the subject.

Weronika Janczuk said...

Since police officers stop everyone these days, I pretend that I am innocent.

It would be harder to play this part—an incapable, naïvely happy girl—if I weren’t so excited to be a part of this movement, the one that’s put the government in a frenzy. Every few meters, I follow through with routine: step off the sidewalk, twirl in the street, laugh as I come too close to the flock of doves pecking at nothing. I used to twirl extra, but today I can’t bring up the energy.

I like to think this ploy of mine works, but I still keep my gaze moving and my leather canvas tucked to my side; I can’t afford to be questioned, not so close to headquarters.

The rundown elementary school rests at the city’s northeastern end, at the corner of two streets that once held apartment buildings but now house small antique shops. I wonder how their owners haven’t bankrupted yet: the men that sit on cement steps with passive gazes and toothpicks in their teeth don’t look capable of running a business.

I stop by the closed kiosk that stands next to the school and pose.


Great interview! Thanks for the opportunity! :)

David Colby said...

I’m in a ditch, lying on top of something hard and solid and wet. I roll over and look and I don’t want too but I have to look and I have to see it, have to see him.

Goldie. Grinning from a new mouth right below his jaw, bright red blood covering him, so real it looks fake.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

I realize it, buzzing insects are screaming in my ears. I look at my hands. Red covered. Blood red. Rust red. Screaming red. Fuck, shit. Scrabble at muddy dirt that makes the ditch edge and fall back into the mud and the blood, against Goldie. A scream bubbles in my stomach. Clamp limps, close eyes, get feet under me and stand. Work a knee up. Roll over. Then scrabble my hands on the ground and clean them off, works bad, gets purple all over my fingers.

Eyes closed. Focus inwards. Think. First things first…gender. Boy. Milo-boy, getta grip. Kay. Fingernail grip on panic, held in a slippery grip. Next things next…sit up…look around.

I want to look elsewhere...but my eyes go back to him. Goldie looks like he’s resting, except for the stain red blood. Everything blurs.

“No…” I whisper, soft, reaching out. Hand presses to his chest and I cough up tears, eyes closing tight squeezing. “No! I…I'm sorry..."

I couldn't save him.

Anonymous said...

Gracefully he swept up and kissed me. Hard. Passionately. It surprised me but only for a moment. Soon it was like every doubt, every fight we had had was wiped away and I kissed him back just as intensely.
He had never kissed me like that before. He had always been gentle, as though I was a precious doll. But now…now we were hungry for each other and he could not quench his thirst.
Seth held my face in his hands, pressing me against him like the world would end if we parted. And if it had ended, we wouldn’t know. Everything else seemed to melt away and there was only the two of us. That was all that mattered. I was vaguely aware of the softness of his hair as I ran my hands through it, the sweetness of his breath, and the way he clung to me with his hand in the small of my back.
I don’t know how long we stayed like that. It was Seth who finally broke it. I cried softly as he pulled away, wanting to stay in this dream forever.
He rested his head against mine and whispered into my ear. “We’re a disaster in the making, you know”.
“I don’t care. I’ll always want you”.
“You’ll always have me”.

Anonymous said...

I slid one foot forward, glancing at the Dragon’s expression. He sneered at me and growled something that sounded like a question--and a mocking one at that--in my direction.

“Yeah,” I drawled, taking another tiny step towards the outer doors. “And yet I still don’t understand you.”

None of the people in the courtyard made a move towards me as I edged towards the exit, though I felt every single eye burning into my back.

The Dragon asked another question, not looking at me but scanning the sky. I didn’t know if he was talking to me or even what he was waiting for, but I sprang forward.

I had made it about halfway to the doors when the Dragon took two leaping steps and grabbed me by the back of my sweater as I tried to run. He threw me into the air and for a moment my stomach dropped and I watched the world spin confusingly. Then I crashed down to the ground.

Gasping at the new pains, I squinted up at the Dragon. He purposefully lifted his booted foot. I tried too late to wriggle out of the way and he placed his foot on my neck, pinning me to the ground.


Reading everyone's blurbs has been great fun. Thanks for the fun opportunity.

S.L. Naeole said...

He took the pansies from me and brushed the petals against the back of my hand. “There’s one thing that nature does not have, though. Everything works together; everything has its purpose, feeding each other, nourishing each other; a symbiotic relationship that fears no conflict, no war of emotions because nature, in all its beauty, is emotionless.”

It felt like he was describing me, like he had taken the core of who I was and turned it into some flower garden surrounded by trees. I watched as the pansy slowly made its way up my arm, the soft petals skimming over my shirt and up towards my ear. The silky texture tickled my lobe and I shied away from the sensation. “Nature’s done pretty well as an emotionless entity,” I managed to get out before the flower brushed across my cheek.

“Yes, she has. She can continue on forever feeling nothing, just doing her duty as she feels she should, but people cannot live that way. People cannot live their lives by duty. They cannot exist mainly to make others happy while sacrificing their own happiness.”

Rondi Olson said...

The aegis that covered New Lithisle arched across the heavens like a fiery dome, taller than the tallest tree, burning orange and sienna. Amy stood at its base and gazed at her reflection in the fire, light and airy, transparent, an angel, or maybe a ghost. She reached her hand to the gossamer likeness and her fingertips grazed the edge of the aegis. A spark leapt to her hand and a charge flashed through her body like lightening across a midnight sky.

Amy jumped back and almost fell into the thin man with graying hair who stood a few feet behind her. He caught and steadied her, his hands on her shoulders.

“You expect me to walk through that?” she asked.

Gilchrist pushed her toward the wall. “We don’t have time to argue, you’re due in Sophia tomorrow. Trust me, you’ll be fine.”

Amy’s feet skidded in the dirt. “There is no way. You go first, make sure it’s safe.”

“I’m not going through,” he said.

Amy pushed back against him, and he stumbled. “We need to talk about this.” But then she heard the swallows. They swooped down, thousands of them forming a whole, following the arc of the dome.

Susanne Winnacker said...

Great interview! :D
Here's my snippet:
1,640,160 minutes since I'd run, since wind had tousled my hair, since I'd seen any other person apart from my family. And with every other minute passing by, my life felt more like hell.
Mom glared at Dad. “Your father died six months ago. His ration should have provided enough food to compensate for the grown calorie requirement of the children!”
Grandma winced, but she didn't stop knitting. She seldom did. Her hands moved even faster, the knitting needles clicking together while she did one stitch after the other.
Click. Click.
If we had taken as much food with us as Grandma had taken yarn, this argument wouldn't have taken place. There was yarn for a decade in the pantry.
My eyes flitted over to our top-opening freezer. Grandpa's last resting-place. Until three months ago, we'd still stored our frozen food next to him. I shuddered and pedaled faster, ignoring the burning in my legs.
98,409,600 seconds since I'd felt sun on my skin, since I'd talked to any of my friends.
98,409,602 long seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off to the outer world.
Imprisoned us.

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

Though his eye color remained a mystery, since he quivered on a ledge thirty feet above her, and she’d never more than glanced at him before, those windows to his soul bulged like half-dollars, minted with fear. Fear was good. That meant he didn’t want to die, right?  At least not by plummeting into blacktop. What was his name?

This guy, who was three pounds heavier than the Crypt Keeper, and honestly not much cuter, melted into the walls, which was probably why he wanted a splattery exeunt. But he appeared to be reconsidering, clinging to the backside of Cedar Creek High, fingers spread wide like the blue ones on a strawberry poison dart frog.

“Well, jump already. What are ya waiting for? Haven’t got all day. Hear the frenzy? I’ve got a victory annihilation to attend to, managerial duties to punch out. Ya know, the usual, ’cause, my beloved Colts are rockin’ a most glorious, undefeated season.”
“What? You…think I should jump?”
“What do I know. Call a hotline. I can barely handle my own turmoil, never mind yours. Unless you’re holding a bat or glove, can’t help ya, sorry. Crisis aversion is not in my job descrip.”

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Yea! I'm excited to submission is below.

Laughing, Cole sauntered back to his corner of the room where his fellow meathead friends could slap him on the back and congratulate him. He was really twisted. Meredith snorted at the fact that she, of all people was calling someone else twisted. Better than any average seventeen-year-old, she knew that within each mind was a dark corner; a corner where the sinister and demented side of their personality is allowed to take refuge. But Cole's dark corner seemed to occupy much more of his mind than it did the average person.

Meredith glanced cautiously in his direction, wondering what his secrets were. Drugs or alcohol? Abusive parents? No, definitely not abusive parents. At least, not physically. Judging from the sheer size of Cole, any parent who attempted to abuse him would be in for a tremendous surprise. Maybe he was the product of the newest forms of "bad parenting" - his father wouldn't let him sleep in their bed as a child and his mother didn't breastfeed him. Meredith covered her mouth and dissolved into quiet laughter. She should write a book on what true bad parenting was.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oops, sorry. Forgot to include my website.

Lacey J Edwards said...

Great interview! I'm a fan of salty too.

This is from my WIP, FATED; a YA Historical Fantasy set in 1942, Russia.

My gaze drifted along the tree line to the rear of the shack, cursing over the smoke from the fluke, and then I saw him—a boy not much older than me standing as still as the trees. No breath clouded in the cold air in front of his face and I blinked twice, making sure he was really there.

His knee high boots were clean, polished by the snow. His long blonde hair hung loose around his face and a dark cloak draped over his shoulders. As odd as it was to see him there, I couldn’t help but think he must be cold.

He stared at me, at first with no interest or emotion, but something changed in his expression as I passed. He cocked his head to the side, his lips parted and his eyes followed me with a strange curiosity.

I stumbled when my foot caught on something and I fell to my knees. A hard blow to my ribs left me slumped over gasping for breath.
“Stehen Sie auf!” shouted the soldier behind me. Clutching my side, I staggered to my feet. I glanced back toward the boy, my eyes willing him to interfere, but he was gone.

Thanks for the opportunity!

Ifi said...

Cheap holographic hedges separated Aunt Jaexa’s house from the neighbors’. The fake plants flickered every so often, calling attention to the much nicer houses on either side of my new home. That’s something Rainsey would call adding insult to injury, which is just a retro way of saying “Yesterday I found out I have to live with my overplasticked aunt and her three whiny hellchildren for no explicable reason, and it turns out their house is a cleverly disguised black hole.”

As we flew past the house to the right of Jaexa’s, I noticed a teenager of indeterminate gender sitting on the front steps. I swiveled my seat around to study the stranger, but my aunt was flying like the sunpanels were about to run out of fire, so I didn’t get a very good look.

Once we pulled into the garage, Aunt Jaexa keyed the landing sequence into the hovercar and hurried into the house, leaving me alone with my bags, which numbered approximately a billion and three. I picked up my smallest suitcases and tried to stack them on the ground. I was hoping I could kneel down and grab them around the middle, but when I gave it a try, the cases beneath my arms hit the ground, and the ones above slid off. I heard something shatter, probably a perfume bottle.

Catherine said...

You can tell a lot about a person by the writing instrument she uses. Pretty much everyone in the world falls into one of two categories: pencil people and pen people. Take my sister, Christine. Classic pencil person. Everything about her is sharp-- from the clipped timbre of her voice to the point of her severe (yet stunning) chin. Thoughts march across her cerebral cortex like regimented soldiers, processing in a measured cadence, disciplined in their formation.

And then there's me. I have a perpetual black stain on the fourth finger of my left hand. Ink pools just beneath my fingernail on a hemispheric callous caused by years of writing with my fingers curled into a tight fist. I’m indiscreet. I spill things. I make mistakes loudly, and wear them like Rorschach tattoos. If pacing sentries guard Christine’s emotions, then drunken fraternity boys tend to mine. I’m in the habit of telling strangers secrets.

Sometimes I dream that ink is seeping from my pores. It begins as small black pinpricks peppering my skin, then crescendos to a deluge that soaks my hair and socks. A pen person’s Ebola.

They named me Grace. They might as well have named me Irony.

roh morgon said...

I watch my daughter, her belly round with new life, kneel down to place flowers on my empty grave. Pink carnations this time…last year was red roses, the year before, golden mums.

Her lips move as she whispers to the flower-strewn ground. Her shoulders quake with her sobs and, swallowing, I fight to stifle my own. She caresses my name etched into the grey granite, tracing the letters one by one before wiping the tears from her cheeks. Her fingers touch her lips, then the top of the cold hard stone.

I press my own fingers tight against my mouth and smother the impulse to cry out to her.

As she turns to walk back to her car, a breath of summer wind lifts her hair and it floats for a moment, waving goodbye.

Her scent reaches out to me, triggering memories of our brief life together. Seventeen years was not enough time to share with her, to hold her and teach her and tell her how much I loved her. In a flash of anger I curse the evil creature that stole me away, leaving my daughter to finish growing up alone, and leaving me…leaving me no longer human.

X said...

Awesome interview! Here's my entry:

Mrs. Adesina wasn’t too keen on watching her daughter drag Set down into her bottomless pit of extra-curricular mediocrity. So, when they came home once again before 4:00, she tossed Remi an old Margaret Jay brochure and ordered her to find an after-school activity they could both do.

“It’s time for you to stop being so lazy,” she said before heading to the salon.

Lazy. Remi’d spent half of yesterday running around some fairy brothel, trying not to get killed and/or sexually harassed. Lazy.

She tried obliging her mother anyway, but when she flipped open the brochure, Iara’s face stared back at her, pretending to laugh with her photo shoot ‘friends’. There were more Iaras, studying in the school’s wonderful library, playing the clarinet in the school’s wonderful Wind Ensemble.

Remi and Set played poker on the kitchen table instead, the brochure discarded on the floor and dirty with her shoe-print.

YA Librarian said...

May was trying to be polite, but Henry seemed content with giving her curt replies. He was distant and she had to drag every answer out of him. The night was beginning to turn sour and May's mood was dark.

Andrew leaned over the table and put his elbows on the pressed tablecloth. "How is your work going, May?"

Henry cleared his throat after taking a sip of wine. "You work, Miss Campbell?"

“I am an abolitionist and a suffragist.” May was proud of her many causes.

“I see.”

“If you are offended, it doesn't surprise me." She dipped her spoon into a bowl of beef broth. "I often offend people.”

“And you take pride in this?”

“No, but people dislike my views because they are seen by some as impractical and radical. My father says ladies shouldn't trouble themselves with politics. It hurts our minds.”

For the first time since their encounter Henry smiled then raised his glass. “Perhaps we can discuss your radical and impractical views in the future? This may surprise you but unlike most men I support suffrage."

Celise said...

An excerpt from my YA:

“What about the agents assigned to the program?”

I tuck my other leg underneath me and turn to face Mary with a big smile. “Oh yeah, Agent KAPOW. They’re fabtastic.”

She blinks once, looking at me over the top of her glasses. “Excuse me?”

“For what?”

“Who is this Agent…Kapow, you say? I thought there were…” she trails off, flipping through a folder. My folder, I’m sure. “It says here Agent Jamal Karr and Agent Cassandra Powers are assigned to the Y.I.P."

“Yeah, and? That’s who I was talking about. Agent KAPOW.”

She tilts her head to the side. “I don’t understand?”

“You would if you saw these two. Have you ever met them?”

“No. I haven’t had the pleasure yet.”

“Hopefully you won’t have to. Your self-esteem drops to about a five just passing them in the hall. I still can’t believe they’re really FBI agents. They look like they should be on a runway in Paris or something. My friend Rico would want to give them an Academy Award for their fashion sense. They can seriously rock a suit. Hence the nickname I gave them. KAPOW.”

Patricia B said...

By second period word went around that Ms. Feldman was holding a meeting after school about the future of “Macbeth: The Musical”. Why Ms. Feldman was in now in charge of the show was a mystery, but I guess she didn’t have enough to do with being a gym teacher/first aid attendant. I was personally of the opinion that perhaps we could have waited more than a day after the murder of the Director to have a meeting, but I guess that the show must go on and all that.

I was almost late for the meeting, because my fifth period teacher Father Collins is an old school hippie. On the one hand this is awesome, because Father Collins thinks that grades are fascist and only reward imperialists, so everyone gets an A in the class. Unfortunately, he also believes that "the man” wins when we let the bells dictate our lives. Sometimes, this means we get out of class a half hour early, but sometimes we end up staying for twenty minutes to discuss our feelings. With Mr. Marks’ murder, we were forty minutes late getting out of class. People had a lot of feelings about Mr. Marks.

Kathy Bradey said...

Magic is overrated, my father always said. And I guess he’d know. He’s Santa Claus. Yes, that’s right. The fat guy with the fuzzy beard is my old man. My chip off the old block. Father you can never live up to? That’s him.

I’ve been told I don’t have his genes -- in the nicest possible way. Dad’s short and gluttonous; I’m six-foot-two and lanky. I’ve been working on my guns though. Guns are important. Because, let’s face it, you don’t want to be a beanpole if you don’t have rockin’ arms.

I live with my family in the North Pole or, as I like to call it, the snowy jail. The technical name for what I am is an elf, but it’s a stupid name – everyone thinks so -- makes us sound like a bunch of squeaky-voiced idiots with dumbass names like Jingle and Jangle. For the record though, I’m not named after a bell, or some punchy Christmas spirit, or a festive song. Don’t know what the parents were thinking when I popped out, but when I did they called me Carsten.

Carsten Claus.

So lame.

Bast said...

I’ve never been with a girl – or a guy; I like both. What I mean to say is I’m sixteen years old and a virgin. That’s why I didn’t run or scream or call the cops when I walked into my bedroom and she was standing there naked.

I froze. I couldn’t think – or move. Well, one part of me was moving, but it was just making my jeans a little snugger (and it wasn’t something I was doing consciously).

She was in front of the window with her head cocked to the side. She was looking right at me; like she had been waiting for me. White-blonde hair, parted in the middle, fell to her waist. Her left breast was covered, but the other one – I could see.

My pants were still getting tighter, but I hadn’t moved. Normally, I’d be kind of embarrassed – getting hard in front of someone – but she was naked; we were past that. Also, I didn’t know who the hell she was.

“Don’t be afraid, Eden,” she said. I glanced up at her face and she smiled, straightening her head. “My name is Alice.”

Bidisha said...

<3 the interview and <3 Hannah's cool!

Yikes, I'm so bad with choosing an excerpt, but here's something from my ms 'What I Was' that I did a teaser with, recently..

I push my feet into the sand, loving how the little grains snake around my toes, then fall out of the gaps.

I head towards the shack-like structure - sometimes used as an emergency changing room - built on a slightly raised platform at the other end of the beach.

Lick clean the ice-cream carton.

Stare at the horizon.

Dig, dig my feet as far as possible into the sand, sometimes wishing I could dig myself in there, too. Forever obscured.

...Exactly one year, seven months ago, we were on a similar palm fringed, white pearly beach. The difference? Another country, another continent and more glaringly - another life. Dad with the camera, Mum with her magazine and me checking the boys. Never exactly verbose, but there. Comfortable.

No exhilarating booze after-effect tonight. But nausea and memories - both unwanted.
It starts with the hiccups. Small minty gasps. I pull my legs upto my chin and bury my head between my knees. Pits of darkness stare back at me. I think about the events of that summer and I think about the events of this one and I think about the time inbetween.
And then, I cry.

Lou Dischler said...

. . . the blast of air hit me like a wall. I swerved onto the shoulder and almost went over the handlebars. I twisted around and flipped the guy off. It occurred to me too late that flipping off a maniac in a ten-ton truck wasn't the smartest thing in the world, and now I'd have to worry all the way back. Was the rig coming the other way driven by that same driver? Who'd stopped off somewhere for a belly-fill of brewskis and stewed over this teenager who'd had the fucking audacity to give him the bird, telling the bartender how he'd mash the kid flat if he ever got the chance.

I could worry about anything it seemed, if I put my mind to it. I wondered if I could get a job worrying. A designated worrier for people too busy to do their own worrying.

"You have any experience?" the interviewer would ask.

"Yes, sir. I spent four years in high school worrying about everything. And even when I wasn't worrying, I worried about not worrying."

"You're hired," the guy would say, sticking out his hand. Then I'd worry it was too fast, too easy.

smr said...

As they approached, the sleeve of the man’s jacket shifted up just slightly, allowing the sun to glint off a flash of gold bangle at his right wrist. The woman wore a gold bangle as well. Sadie immediately recognized this as a sign that they were Lyors, members of the small religious community from Mt. Arbor, the upscale suburb over the bridge.

Lyors were a fiercely private group. Extremely tight-knit and exclusive, their undying commitment to all things beautiful dictated the ways in which they lead their life.

It had always seemed like a dumb thing to base a religion on, in Sadie’s opinion.

They lived in immaculately maintained row houses in the historic district and always wore those gold bangles with their perfectly tailored outfits. In a town of rich and beautiful people, the Lyors stood apart. They were just a little better looking and a little better dressed than anyone else. Even their accent was different, sweeter, slower.

Her dad called them aesthetes, but Sadie called them assholes. Not because she knew any of them personally- they didn’t talk much to the English, that’s what they called non-Lyors- but people who flaunted money like that just bothered her.

Heather Zundel said...

For my YA Fantasy:

     Everything hurt. Inside, his body ached as if he had been thrown against a cliff, his throat burned, and his mind could not connect one thought to the next, no matter how he tried.

      Waving a hand feebly in the air, Valkonen tried to banish the spots that danced before his eyes, but even that was too great. A few inches and his body seized up and he wanted to retch, though he doubted he had the strength to do it.

      “Oh my, he’s still alive. I thought we had been caring after a corpse.” A kind voice was followed by a soft hand. He flinched as the wet cloth was put over his eyes.

      “Shh, it’s okay now, you’ve been through the worst of it I think. Your body rejected most of the drug.”

      Valkonen again tried connecting anything she was saying, but it all came out as a thought of mush.

      “You’ve only been out eighteen hours, but your father did give orders that you were to be brought to him as soon as you regained consciousness.” She sounded perturbed by such a thought. It was the one idea that sank through to him. Valkonen’s eyes snapped open.

      “My father? I’m summoned to my father?” The pretty nurse nodded lightly. Valkonen groaned and this time really did throw up.

H.F.West said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
H.F.West said...

Finally entering


I never really understood why people called gays ‘in the closet’, anyway. Because, come on, if there was a closet full of gay guys then why the fuck would I want to come out? And if there was such a magical place, then why hadn’t anyone told me about it?

“I deserve at least one dance with you tonight.” Tasha held out her hand, and we moved to the center of the room where I put my hands on her hips as she wound her arms around my neck.

We shuffled like every other idiot in the room. I would have loved to see what we all looked like from a bird’s eye view -- hundreds of people attached to one another, shuffling their weight from one foot to the other. At least no one could say I danced like a girl -- it was just a shame I had to look like a penguin waddling on the spot to achieve it.

Anonymous said...

On the day I turned sixteen years old, I suddenly went from a nobody to a somebody. From fab to flab. From ugly duckling to beautiful swan. From meh to OMFG. Overnight, I shot up from a measly five-two to six feet tall. My smile glistened like a bar of ivory, my eyes sparkled, my skin glowed. The hot guy in my biology class (the guy I'd never had a conversation with, although I’d been cyber-stalking him all year) dumped his bitchy girlfriend and declared his undying love for me.
Okay, okay. All that's a lie. On the day I turned sixteen, I looked exactly like I always had: completely unremarkable. Thin, lifeless hair, brown eyes, flat chest, and a rash of zits on my forehead. No guy (especially not the hottie from biology) asked me out--instead, I went out for dinner and a movie with my best friend, Amy. The pizza was greasy and the movie was lame. I was in bed by ten that night.
It was pretty much business as usual on my birthday.
It was actually the day after my birthday that the interesting things started to happen.

Karla Calalang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karla Calalang said...

I wanted to change my snip only to choose the same snip. *headdesk*

From Rules Not to Fall in Love. Robbie's POV.

My life as Mason O’Brian was full of flirting with girls and never being in a serious relationship. I was this infamous player that girls learned to avoid. None of them even got to second base with me. Back then, I had high expectations for my girl. She had to be smart and reserved. Someone completely unlike me. Opposites attract, right? And none of those rich, snotty girls at East Prep were able to fit that.

Now I supposedly had a new life as Robbie Bailey because of this witness protection thing. How awesome would it be to try to experiment with being a good guy? I’d try to win over Maddy’s heart to see if me as a good boy had better luck with the ladies.

Better yet, Maddy met those expectations. Jason said she’s smart and known as the nicest girl at school. Good-girl Maddy falling for good-boy Robbie could definitely go my way. And maybe if I did start to like her for real, I’d go ahead and date her. But for now, it’s all an experiment to see if my new life as a golden boy would be any better than my old bad-boy ways.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Here is my entry from my current YA wip:

I never asked for a lot. Really. In my family, there wasn’t much to ask for, anyway. I guess you could say that demand out-weighs supply. But that was fine by me. I was okay with what I had, so why ask for more when I didn’t need it? Still, it would’ve been nice if, just once, I could ask for this: To get through the day without someone making fun of my name.

Just once.


No, of course not. Never happens. Inevitably, someone, some time, is struck by the urge to make fun of my name. And how could they resist? With an unfortunate moniker like Irene Goode, they have a lot to work with.

Yes, that’s right.



That’s me. A born punchline for all the budding comedians of Amory High. Or wanna-be mean girls.

Today, Bridget Taylor stepped up to the mike for her shot at school fame. And me. Poor Bridget lacked imagination. So rather than dazzling her classmates with her stunning wit, she fell short with a dull pun. A variation of which she’d been slinging at me since our first encounter in grade school.

“Can you pass this to the Goode girl?”


Abby Annis said...

Three seconds. That’s how long it took for my life to end.

Well, it was an end of sorts. And it might’ve taken longer. I suppose it depends on which point was the actual end. Some might say it was the first or second or third time I died. For me, it was the moment I saw that truck barreling toward us. A girl really should have better memories of her eighteenth birthday.

The day started gray—beautiful and dark—a rare occurrence in Mesa, Arizona, and my absolute favorite kind of day. Okay, so it actually started with a stomach ache, but I did my best to ignore the lump in my gut as I walked to my locker after second period. I always had that something-isn’t-right feeling on the days I officially became a year older, but something about this year was different, though I couldn’t figure out what.

“How’s my favorite redhead on this lovely December morning?” Trevor hooked his arm around my neck and gave me his cheesiest grin. Fat drops began to fall from the sky, drumming the metal roof and muffling the chatter of the students filling the outdoor locker area.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I just double checked the rules and they don't specifically say we are limited to just one entry... so hopefully this won't get me disqualified. :)


"You gonna ask her out or what?"

Startled Josh blinked at Emma. "Sorry?"

She rolled her eyes and pointed her fork at him. "You haven't taken your eyes off my mom for more than a few minutes since you got here. So either you like her or you’re stalking her." She frowned. "Stalking's not cool. She's got enough to worry about."

"Does she now," he murmured. He cleared his throat. "So let me get this straight: you're asking my intentions toward your mother?"

She chewed thoughtfully. "Yeah, I like that. What are your intentions toward my mother? You gonna ask her out or what?"

He laughed and shook his head. "Afraid not; I go back to Los Angeles on Monday."


Josh stopped laughing. "What do you mean 'so’? Your mom doesn't strike me as the one night stand type. And am I really having this conversation with a mathematically challenged eighth grader?"

"Hmpf," she said. "Technically, if you're leaving Monday it would be a two night stand, Mr. Wizard. Looks like you've wasted all this time checking out her ass and not paying attention. Typical." She turned back to the magazine she’d been engrossed in, dismissing him. "Have a nice flight."

Rose Moriarty said...

Great interview! And even greater contest! Below is my entry from my YA paranormal romance.

I placed the feather in a book, thanked Ms. Ryken for her time, and got out of there quick. If I hurried, I could catch Farrell.

I walked as fast as I could to the side exit where we always parked. When I turned the corner, I saw him just outside the glass doors. I burst through them. “Hey! Farrell!”

He hesitated a moment before turning around. I threw my books down and got right in his face.

“What are you doing to me?”

He raised his hands in the air, like he was giving up. “I’m not doing anything.”

I shoved him so hard it hurt my wrists. “Yes you are, and you know it!” Anger rose inside me, and all I wanted was for him to hurt too. I was just about to give him another shove when he grabbed my arms.

“Don’t do this, Dominique. Please.”

I was almost completely out of breath, my chest pounding. And then I stopped, and look away.

“You’re ruining me,” I whispered.

He released my arms and took a few steps back. “What?”

“Just leave me alone.”

Becca said...

Great interview and great opportunity!


Sitting in the hard plastic chair in the office was surreal. Olivia did not want to think of Chase as a victim. She did not want to think about the situation at all, but as she sat there waiting for her parents, listening to the ongoing click-clack of a keyboard behind the receptionist’s desk, the thoughts pushed their way through, invading Olivia’s mind and filling it with unpleasantness.

The girl to her right had her arms and legs crossed, her right foot shaking to some muted beat that only she could seem to hear. Her gaze never found its way towards Olivia. Chase’s brother, who as far as she knew went by the name Hunter, was seated to her left, his arms residing over both armrests. His eyes were set on the receptionist’s desk, unmoving, fixed as though he could see through the panel of wood, directly at the secretary who continued to type away at some problem of her own.

Every now and then, Olivia felt his gaze shift, and through the corner of his eyes Hunter stared her down, examining her from head to toe, fury building inside him with each glance of the girl beside him.

Laura Espinosa said...

Here's my entry from my urban fantasy mss! Wow, this was hard to choose!



He blinked, pausing in his egg scratching. A warning bell began to jingle in his head. Christine did that when she was gearing up for a low blow to his self-esteem. “Well… what?”

Sarah lifted her chin and tilted her head at him. “You’re not going to ask me for help again?”

Roy stared at her, unbelieving, the spatula in his hand momentarily forgotten. “Again? Are you crazy? No way!”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “And why not? Something wrong with me?”

“You hit me with a frying pan!” He shouted, incredulous. “I don’t want to be ten feet near you!”

She rolled her eyes at him. “Oh my God, you’re a pansy. I hit you once.”

His eyes bugged out. “Once was enough, you nut case! You nearly gave me a concussion this morning!”

“You’re walking around. You’re fine.”

This whole family was definitely crazy.

Anonymous said...

Hey hey! Thanks for the contest. Here are my 200 words. (Okay, 167).

I was a predator. A predator with a hundred year-old Rolex on his arm.

I leaned against the rusted metal flashing wrapped over the ledge before me and looked at the ancient watch. Two-thirty. God knows how the old thing had survived all these years. It was pretty beat-up, but its wind-up mechanism had far outlived its battery-operated counterparts, and for that I was grateful. You could barely read the inscription on the back anymore. My Grandad got it when he retired, just before the arse fell out of her, 30 years ago.

I had an hour to get some food and meet my brother. We would eat together, by the shore. You couldn’t call it supper. Not lunch either. Those sorts of rituals were long gone. We wouldn’t say much – we’d just divide the food, and then quickly – furtively – consume it. As I always say: if food is currency, eating makes you vulnerable. That’s why Hugh and I do it in hiding.