SonofaPitch Entry 10: TOSOM Freshman #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: TOSOM: Freshman
Category and Genre: YA Fiction
Word Count: 60,000

Query:

Amarea is a brat. You may love her, but be honest, she’s a brat. She thinks the world owes her something because she is sick. I guess the world does need to be nice to her, but doesn’t she need to be nice to the world?

She wants to control Joey. I mean she can communicate with him telepathically, so doesn’t that make him hers? Joey just wants to be Joey. I guess Amarea wants some sort of control in her world, really she has none. Cancer did that to her. Stripped her of everything she can control.

She wants friends, but doesn’t know how to be a friend. She wants to be liked, but doesn’t really like anyone.

She’s the hero of this book, because, well, you don’t know any better.


First 250 Words:

Amarea walked between her parents. Maybe that would make her less obvious. She noticed him across the courtyard, big brown eyes and messy brown hair. She blushed when she looked at him. She knew even the top of her skull would be pale pink; that’s the trouble with being a bald freak.

I’m not a bald freak, Amarea thought.

The boy searched the crowd. He found her eyes and stared at her.

Stop looking at me, she thought. The boy looked away.

After a stimulating twenty minutes of welcomes from the principal and assistant principals, students were corralled into their homerooms, girls on one side of the hallway, boys on the other. No one said anything to Amarea. She sat by herself in the corner. She could see people glancing back at her, whispering about her.

I’m not a freak, she thought as a girl carefully placed a piece of paper on Amarea’s desk. The paper contained her schedule and locker combination.

Amarea had trouble opening her locker. The boy had come to her rescue. The lock opened easily with his skillful touch.

“Thank you,” Amarea said. What a cutie, she thought.

“You’re welcome,” the boy said blushing. “Do you need help finding your classes?” 

“That would be great,” she replied. She wondered if he was always this nice.

“Yes, I am,” he admitted.

“Are what?” Amarea asked.

“Always this nice,” he replied.

“Oh,” Amarea said. I wonder if I said that out loud, she thought.

“Yes, you did,” he said.

#SonofaPitch Entry 9: On the Road to Marty McFly #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: ON THE ROAD TO MARTY MCFLY
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 66,000 words

Query:
When fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, the siblings aren’t prepared for what’s inside: their mom’s high school diary.

 

Desperate to find out who their real dad is, Zinnia begs her brother to keep the find a secret while she investigates. That’s easy for him but not so for Zinnia whose anxiety and need for order rules her world. Besides, she can’t expect her mom to tell her the truth about her dad if she’s secretly reading her diary. Her brother’s less interested in discovering their deadbeat dad and more curious about the recent strange connections to the movie: the BTTF lunchbox, his sister’s Marty McFly vest, their neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute boy named Martin. Ultimately, they team up, but it will take more than the two of them to uncover the truth, and time’s running out. Their town’s planning a yard sale to raise money for Parkinson’s, and Zinnia’s mom wants to clean out the attic for donations. She’s especially interested in the lunchbox.

 

If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job breaking it apart.

First 250 Words:
If Life’s about straightening every visible imperfection, then I’m definitely on the right road. While my therapist scribbles on her notepad, I’m occupied with the tangled fringe of her office rug. Mom’s brilliant idea to sign me up for therapy after the last six months of my life turned into a television reality show for closet organizers.
“How does that make you feel, Zinnia? The rug. Better? Is the…sizzling in your chest gone?” Lisa the Scribbler flips through pages then sets the pad down and folds her hands in her lap.
This is our fourth session in two months.
I shrug. “I guess.” Staring at the rug’s other side of fringe, I resist the urge to kneel again and comb through crooked threads. Snakelike electrical impulses crawl across my chest.
“Like I said, if something eases your nerves, and no one’s getting hurt…especially you…go for it.” Lisa tucks a purple streak of hair behind her ear. She could be in one of my classes. Looks-wise.
My palms rest on my thighs, and I make a mental note to trim my nails after dinner. Then I ask the question I’ve been chewing on for two months: “Is it true anxiety’s passed down? I mean, my mom is the least organized person I know.”
“What’s your dad like?”
The million dollar question. I swallow. “Never met him.”
“Oh.” Lisa lifts her pad and scribbles. “Is he alive?”
God, I never even thought of that. Thanks, Lisa.

#SonofaPitch Entry 8: Wacky Wednesday #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Wacky Wednesday

Category and Genre: YA Magical Realism
Word Count: 80000
 
Query:
Switching gender’s with her best friend’s crush was not how Andy planned to spend the last few weeks leading up to prom. Andy has crushed on Taylor all year, and has every intention of asking him to the upcoming prom. The only problem is, it turns out, he’s crushing on her best friend. So she hides to sulk, which is where Kokopelli appears and casts a spell on her.
The next day, she wakes up as guy-Andy. With new and strange body parts, Andy freaks out. She’s never been a dude before! Except, her mom treats her like nothing has changed, and when she goes to school, she’s suddenly Taylor’s best friend. But Taylor already has a best friend, Hayden, and when Hayden appears with long locks and curves, Andy loses it with laughter. 
Together they have to figure out why they are switching and solve Kokopelli’s riddle for them. They grow closer, and although Andy’s best friend is crushing on Hayden, Andy’s feelings switch to him as well. Jealousy flares, and Andy’s insecurities hold her back, making the spell linger. But if Hayden and Andy don’t solve the riddle, they will be stuck switching places every Wednesday.
 
First 250:

The back of Taylor’s head has me mesmerized. Yeah, his face is way better, but since he’s sitting right in front of me, the back of his head works just fine. Those thick, chocolate brown locks, practically screaming for me to run my hand through, his ears poking out ever so slightly, that strong neck, the short, shaved hairs from his recent trim begging to be stroked, those solid shoulders in that grey-blue t-shirt—

Smack!

I glare at my best friend, Hannah, beside me. She grins like an idiot and shakes her head. “You zoned out there.”

“Yeah.” I avert my gaze as Taylor turns to face us.

“What are you guys doing after school?” he asks.

“It’s Tuesday,” Hannah says, tapping her chin, “so, homework? Why? You have something awesome planned?”

He shrugs. “Dunno. Just thinking we could all hang out at the park or something.”

Yes! I give Hannah a look that I hope says it all. Because moments like this around Taylor get me all tongue tied. It’s not that I can’t talk to him, because we talk, usually about sports, but we can hold a conversation. It’s just these, Hey, let’s spontaneously hang out moments that get me all wound up.

Hannah’s sparkle in her eyes tells me she grasped my message. “Sure. We can meet you there at four.”

He winks at us and taps the snare drum. “Awesome.”

As he turns back around, I meet Hannah’s gaze and fan my face. She silently giggles at me.

After school, Hannah and I meet and head to my car. She wraps her arm around mine as she practically skips. “Do you think Taylor will invite Hayden?” She bounces on her toes. “I hope so.”

#SonofaPitch Entry 7: Flying Close to the Ground #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Flying Close to the Ground

Category or Genre: Young Adult – Coming of Age
Word Count: 62,00
 
Query:

For 17 year-old Jessie Reilly, life moves very fast – in perfect ovals. She’s an apprentice jockey at the local racetrack. To Jessie, nothing beats the feeling of tearing around the track on a fiery horse, an experience she describes as “flying, only very close to the ground”. 

But, as any pilot will tell you, flying close to the ground is a dangerous business. You have no margin for error and little chance of recovering if you make a mistake. And Jessie’s certainly under a lot of pressure. Her rivalry with an aggressive fellow apprentice, her efforts to maintain the sport’s low weight requirements, and the dangerous nature of horse racing challenge her at the track. Away from the track, Jessie dodges the concerns of her friends and family, tries to establish a relationship with her distant father, and struggles to balance school and racing.

Will Jessie be able to find her stride and stay in balance or will she lose control?

 
First 250 Words:
What’s the secret to being a good jockey? It’s control – both of the horse and of yourself. Even though you’re racing around at 40 miles an hour, you want your body to be the picture of serenity. You want to be completely still, back flat and steady enough to carry a wine glass. You want a good rhythm, your hands moving with the motion of the horse’s head. Most of all, you want perfect balance, your center of gravity holding you in place as you fly around the track. 
We get through a mile of cantering and then I goad Miz into a gallop. She doesn’t need a lot of urging. I feel her gait change from a 3-beat to a 4-beat. I saw a photograph once that showed a racing horse at that split-second when all four of its feet are off the ground. It confirmed my belief that what we do is flying, just very close to the ground.
The galloping goes by quickly and then I pull out the crop and ask her for all she’s got for the last stretch. It doesn’t feel appreciably different to me. When we finish, I pull her back to a trot and we have a cool-down lap. Patch didn’t ask for this, but I’ve been working with him long enough to know that he always wants one cool-down and that he might want another. When I’ve completed one, I look at him and when he doesn’t nod, I bring 

#SonofaPitch Entry 6: On The Edge #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: On The Edge
Category and Genre: NA Romance
Word Count: 80000

Query:

Collegiate champion, figure skater, Trace Hayward, is convinced there’s something wrong with her V-dar when she finds out she has fallen madly in love with the wrong man of her dreams. She thought the feelings of blissful love were mutual, until she walks in on him in bed with someone else—one of the running backs from his football team. Her heart is shattered into a million pieces. 

After one night of binge drinking, transferring to another university is the only way Trace can escape the choice she made that night; the night that changed her life.

A new start free from destructive relationships is her plan—until she crashes into a hot-as-the-sun-hockey player while skating. Smoldering sparks heat every inch of her body when she takes one look at him, but Trace has no intention of opening her heart to another cocky a**hole athlete. And she has no problem expressing her explicit annoyance for him and his rude ice etiquette.

 

Captain of the hockey team, Dakota Andersen, gets everything he wants. He never has to work too hard for women, admiration, grades…women. But he wasn’t always such a player. He had the woman he thought he was going to love forever, until he loses her in a tragic accident. Dak can’t get past his responsibility for her death and he can’t forget his lost love—but he’s trying with every puck bunny 

that comes his way. One-night stands of lust-filled sex keep his mind off the past and his heart protected. But when a feisty spitfire collides with him at the rink, the ice around his heart begins to crack.  

 

Maybe Dak and Trace can help each other find a way to let go of their crushing pasts and open their hearts again. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first!

FIRST 250

         I am never going to fall in love again. It’s too…destructive, too fatal. That’s the most important thing I’ve learned in the past god-awful year of my life. It’s time to focus on my future sans sticky relationships that do nothing but screw you over—and not in a good way.

 Close your eyes and imagine in your mind what you want your future to look like. I hear the voice of my therapist, Gail, encouraging me just as she has done a thousand times in the past. Huh, my therapist. Who would’ve thought at twenty-three I’d be saying those words! But my parents insisted I see her, so I reluctantly agreed. In the end I was glad I did.

I don’t see Gail anymore now that I’m at Bernard. But all the support I got from her and my family, in the past year, has gotten me to the point where I’m strong enough to stand on my own; figure things out for myself. Still, the thought of the warmth of Gail’s office and soothing scents of eucalyptus are comforting memories that cross my mind as I open my eyes and stare mindlessly across the shimmering expanse of  ice.

       Shivering, I focus on the mist of my breath as I blow out a big puff of air. This rink is cold—colder. Maybe it’s just my newfound, uncharacteristic fear making it seem like it is. The tons of championship hockey and figure skating banners that decorate the perimeter walls of the rink stand out in the glaring overhead lights. 

#SonofaPitch Entry 5: Virtual Space #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Virtual Space
Category and Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 45,000

Query: At 14.2 years old, Kade Walker has never heard of death. Literally. But neither has anyone else he knows. Kade is one of hundreds of teens living across the solar system through the use of robotic avatars while their real bodies sleep in pods on Earth. Nothing can hurt him this way; the adults all said so. They just never said how to survive high school when only one person on the planet will talk to him.

Kade will admit, his obsession with numbers might deter 35.7% of people from hanging out with him. But the bigger issue is his best friend — Princess Tamika of Venus. So her mom almost let a crazed hacker take over everyone’s bodies twelve years ago. The queen is locked away, and Tamika herself is really nice. Kade needs to give her reputation a serious reboot. He starts off simple: an interstellar tour using an old teleportation machine he’s reconstructed. But the machine’s not rigged for current use, so when Kade fires it up, he unwittingly kills a major security wall and unleashes the same hacker from twelve years ago. Panic rating: ten times infinity. The hacker shuts off all communications with the adults and begins to take control of the royal avatars. If Kade doesn’t want to see his best friend used as a puppet, he needs to stop the hacker fast — even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt.


First 250 Words:
It wasn’t the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it (and there was very little he didn’t put a number on), he’d give it a 9.7. The 9.8 and 9.9 scores were reserved for something epic he hadn’t thought of yet, and 10.0 was for the day he would finally reprogram how his robotic body looked.

Still, assuming he didn’t get caught, his skills today would land him on a totally different planet. Maybe that deserved the 9.8 slot after all. If Tamika would hurry and get here, he could ask for her opinion.

Kade straightened against a metal door embedded in a burnt orange mountainside and flicked his left wing. A line of glowing text scrolled across his view: 5:03:34pm. He’d checked the time fifty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn’t reading data, he felt lost. The adults called it unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds, but healthy people sounded boring. Besides, the numbers comforted him. Nobody got weirded out by seeing their own hands all the time, did they? His numbers were just that — an extra set of hands. Or wings. Or whatever.

Kade froze. His sensors detected a deep clunking sound that echoed across Venus’s stone-hard surface. Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was that it was a patrol robot, but it was coming too fast.

#SonofaPitch Entry 4: Designs of Euphoria #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Designs of Euphoria
Category and Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 68,000
 
Query
Seventeen-year-old Lottie might have accepted that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic.
 
When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself. Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors have launched a counteroffensive. But the uprising captures her father, thinking he works for the AI.
 
Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie has to decide what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots.
 
First 250 Words:
The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up.
 
Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.
 
The transparent display ignited a faint orange glow, signaling an alert. The following ding said it all: they’d identified us. Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the book closed and jumped up. A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift inside. A good kick and it closed. Once settled, I switched the transport to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward at a slow pace.
 
Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear.
 
Either the automatic alert or my scurry woke Dad.

#SonofaPitch Entry 3: Cheater. Faker. Troublemaker #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Cheater. Faker. Troublemaker
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 80,000

Query:

When it comes to losing her virginity, seventeen-year-old Alex has every intention of waiting for “the one.” Problem is, she’s attracted to trouble. After a traumatic breakup with the local “it” boy leaves her emotionally shattered, she departs from her tiny New Jersey hometown to stay with her cousin, Caleigh, in L.A. hoping to distance herself from boy trouble for the summer.

Enter, Elias King, seventeen-year-old whirlwind with a reputation for tearing through girls and leaving a string of broken hearts behind. Still reeling from a tragic accident that resulted in the death of his girlfriend, Elias relies on drugs, alcohol, and sex to drown his pain.

When Elias’s addictions nearly leave him homeless, his brother offers him a place to stay at his girlfriend Caleigh’s house, complete with roommate tailor-made to clean up his act. Once Alex and Elias find themselves sharing a space under the same roof, their night-and-day personality differences set them on the warpath.

Though Alex and Elias try to deny their intense sexual attraction, a simple bet changes the game. Alex wagers she can keep him sober and one-night-stand free for the rest of the summer, while Elias bets he can steal her heart and her virginity in less than thirty days.

 
First 250 Words:
Dear Nobody,
Today, I socked my therapist in the face. He didn’t call the cops. Maybe he thinks I’m making progress. This journal is supposed to be a start—at least, that’s what he says. But I hate doing what he says so I think I’ll stop here.

-Alex.

Okay, wait, that looks bad. I’ll start over.
Dear Nobody,
I’m not a violent person.
Really.
Ask anybody—except maybe my therapist because he’ll probably tell you I’m lying. The thing is, Dr. Harris just had one of those punch-able faces—mousy, judgmental, portrait of a shrink who knew nothing about genuinely helping people, and everything about making things worse.
Plus, he asked for it—literally.
He said that if I was still angry at my situation I could let it out, so I did. He just wasn’t expecting my way of coping to involve a fist and the bridge of his nose. People say you’re not supposed to hit a girl, but there’s no rule that says you can’t pop a guy if you feel like it. And, I’d felt like it since he started our session.
“Do you still have romantic feelings towards your ex-boyfriend, Alex?”
What do you think?
“Do you blame yourself for the situation?”
No comment.
“Have you forgiven him?”
Are you joking?
“Forgiveness is the first step towards—” and that’s when I hit him.

#SonofaPitch Entry 2: Prosperity #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle:  Prosperity
Category and Genre:  YA / Supernatural Mystery
Word Count:  75,000
 
Query:
Nora is a supernatural private investigator who is trying her best to fill her father’s shoes after his mysterious disappearance during a case.  She is brought to Prosperity by an anonymous benefactor in search of a person the town has no record of.  Nora stumbles upon a series of attacks by a supernatural creature called The Burning Man who can burn his victims with just a touch and she quickly takes up the case.  After an attack by The Burning Man at the high school, Nora meets Kyle, the person that Nora has been summoned to Prosperity to help.  The odd thing is, Kyle just moved into town yesterday.  Nora must now navigate a case of fiery possession, mysterious hauntings, and supernatural powers before more people in Prosperity get hurt or worse.
 
First 250 Words:

Nothing else brings with it glorious calm like the corner booth of a diner.  For whatever reason there was just something cozy and comfortable about a diner.  No matter where you went throughout the country and no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to them.  It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same look and aesthetic.  Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave behind.  You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom you would pass a jukebox that had only music in it going up to the past twenty years.  The feel of the tables at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the table that a hap hazard wash rag went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean.  Then there was the food.  You never really have to see the menu; you can always order the same thing regardless of where you were.  The BLT sandwich and fries was always my go-to meal; it passed for both breakfast and lunch.  It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life.

I traveled a lot.  I mean, really a lot.  I probably haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. 

#SonofaPitch Entry 1: Its Own Kind of Miracle #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-final

Title:  Its Own Kind of Miracle

Category and Genre: YA (Magical Realism)

Word Count: 82000

Query:

As fifteen-year-old Cole watches his grandmother’s cancer gradually and painfully rob her of life, he guards his heart behind his inveterate cynicism. Grounded and skeptical, Cole has never been one to give much thought to matters of spirit. That changes when he finds himself reluctantly falling for his religious childhood friend Sara, who embraces her buoyant faith as effortlessly as breathing.

 

After witnessing a series of bizarre coincidences surrounding an enigmatic old man, including the stunning recovery of Cole’s dying dog, he decides to take a chance on hope. Cole is certain that if he can learn the man’s secrets, he can save Grandma’s life and win Sara’s affection in the process. However, he has to balance the slim prospect of a miracle with the knowledge that hope has the terrible power to crush his carefully constructed defenses. 


First 250 Words:

Cole held his phone in front of him like a shield.

The teenage boy had hunkered behind it for nearly forty-four hours. Or seventeen-hundred miles or six states. There are so many fun ways to measure time on a cross-country train trip.  As he peered into the display, the pale light gave the angular features of his face a cadaverous pallor. 7:16 AMFriday, June 13

Eight hours, five-hundred miles, and two states to go.

And then…?

A familiar anxiety bubbled in his chest. He deflected the question with a flick of his finger across the screen. No, he didn’t have to think about that. Not yet.

Why doesn’t Jake answer my texts? He should be up by now.

The second of his two older brothers normally rose early. Cole’s fingers danced over the phone and he quickly proofread his fourth message to him in ten minutes:

<–Stop ignoring me.

One extra job while I’m gone, he thought as he pressed send. Feed the dog. And he screws it up the first day.

This time, he didn’t have to wait for a reply. His phone vibrated quietly, but loud enough to cause the mound of blankets in the seat next to him to stir as he examined the return text:

What the hell is wrong with you? –>

“’Mornin’, Cole,” said a sleepy voice deep within the mound. A lock of hair the color of milk chocolate peaked out the top.

“’Morning, Mom,” he said, typing as he rose.