Tuesday, May 25, 2010

CONTEST!

WIN a manuscript critique by agent Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency!

WIN a signed copy of A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY!

WIN Stella’s favorite OPI Nail Polish in “Charged Up Cherry,” “Yes…I Can-Can!” and “I Don’t Do Dishes”!

Are you looking for a literary agent? Need a professional evaluation of your work in process?

Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency will read and critique one winner’s synopsis, query letter, and first thirty pages.

How it works:


• Click “Leave a Comment” below and post the title, genre, and first five sentences of your fiction manuscript in your comment. Email entries will not be accepted; all entries must be made in the comments section of this blog.


• Semifinalists will be selected for each of three weeks. The semifinalists for round one will be posted on the blog on June 2. Round Two will begin on June 2 and semifinalists will be posted on June 9, and Round Three will begin on June 9 and semifinalists will be posted on June 16.
The semifinalists will be invited to send their first chapter and/or synopsis to Sophie.


• One overall winner will be selected on or before June 23. That winner will be invited to send his/her synopsis, query letter, and first thirty pages to Barbara Poelle, who will read it for possible representation.


• If you aren’t a writer but would like to win the signed book or the nail polish sampler, just sign up for my newsletter any time before June 8.

• Questions? Feel free to go to the contact page and send them in. I will respond as quickly as possible.

Example:
Title: A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY
Genre: Mystery
First 5 sentences:
 “This’ll put hair on your chest,” Sheriff Goat Jones said, handing Stella a little spice jar. His legs were so long that his knees brushed against hers under the old pine table, causing a feathery quiver to flutter through her body.

“Hot….pepper flakes,” Stella Hardesty read, squinting at the label, as she accepted the uncapped jar. Her reading glasses were home on the bedside table. She wasn’t planning on needing them tonight.


The fine print:
You must be 18 years of age or older to enter this contest; no purchase necessary; void where prohibited. Judging is subjective, and judges’ names will not be revealed. By entering this contest, you agree to be added to my newsletter list, which is sent out to subscribers quarterly. Personal information and email addresses are kept private and never shared. The semifinalists and winner’s names will be posted on this blog.


72 comments:

abbi said...

Okay, I guess I'll be the first guinea pig. :-) Thanks for holding this, Sophie. And good luck on your book release.

Abbi

Title: Guillermo's List
Genre: Mystery

“Taking care of her baby for one night won’t fix a thing, ya know,” Lizzie Payne raised her voice an octave to ensure her friend heard her over the humming and singing of the machinery around them.

Mimi St. Claire brushed off Lizzie’s comment and unlatched the isolette door. Of course she knew even one small olive branch on her part wouldn’t change the tumultuous relationship she shared with her younger sibling. Now wasn’t the time to start an argument with someone who didn’t completely understand the situation. She had work to do.

Peg said...

Title: Confession Is Murder
Genre: Mystery

“Holy sh*t!”

Lucille jumped back as the man slid out of the confessional and landed at her feet. Maybe he’d fainted—like people used to back when you had to fast before Communion?
She shifted the vase of dead flowers she was carrying to the crook of her left arm, bent down and patted his shoulder gently. Nothing.

P.A.Brown said...

Title: Color of Shadows and Smoke
Genre: Historical suspense

Los Angeles, our Lady of the Angels. The last, best white spot in the good ol' US of A. Open to God-fearing men of a certain complexion and even more certain spiritual persuasion. No jigaboos, kikes, Micks, or bohunks welcome.

What a piece of hooey.

Pamela Cayne said...

Congrats on the paperback release, Sophie! And only 2 more weeks until A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY--hooray! (Though for being an instant gratification kind of gal, that's almost like saying only 2 more years. I want my Stella now!)

Melissa Eiselein said...

Any of those prizes would be awesome. I love those OPI shades and a signed "For Sorry" would go nicely on the bookshelf next to my signed "For Pretty."
Here is my entry:

Commit me.

Just send the men in white suits to fit me for a straight jacket and get it over with.

Only an insane woman would dress like a geriatric and walk alone through a crime-infested neighborhood after dark.

When I first arrived at the Aging Sisters Poetry Society meeting I thought I was prepared. I had a shawl and solid-strapped handbag I bought at a local thrift store, keychain pepper spray, and plastic tie straps.

Mary said...

Title: GhostStalking
Genre: Romantic Suspense

He had often wondered what it would feel like to kill another human being. The thought of killing had been haunting him now for such a long time that the wondering became an urge. An urge that had become uncontrollable. One day, he thought, one day…
“You worthless little boy.” Mother’s shrieks echoed in his mind until it became a thunderous pounding roar, and his head felt like it would explode.
Mother sat in her chair and rocked slowly. The wooden floorboards creaked as she hummed to herself.

Tamara said...

Thanks for this contest, Sophie! And congratulations on the upcoming book release. Here’s my entry:

Title: THESE WALLS CAN TALK
Genre: YA Paranormal
First 5 Sentences: I press Record, and the red light of my voice recorder cuts into the darkness.

“The former Western State Penitentiary, June 20, approximately 1 a.m.” My voice echoes off the basement’s cement walls. “I know you're here. Can you make a noise for me?”

Grace Topping said...

Title: "Staging is Murder"
Genre: Mystery

The laundry chute in the Thompson home was wide enough for someone to fall from the third floor to the basement. Jeannette Channing learned that when a body landed at her feet.
Nothing in her horoscope warned Jeannette that her staid life would soon be turned upside down. She sat in Vocaro’s Coffee Bar, as she did most mornings, sipping cappuccino and reading House Beautiful magazine, while her friend read their horoscopes and offered advice—most of which Jeannette ignored.
“You can’t work for that woman. She’s dreadful,” Nita Martino said, taking a large bite of a sticky bun.

Bettina said...

Amaury's Hellion
Paranormal Romance

First 5 sentences: From his vantage point on the mezzanine, Amaury LeSang gazed over the heads of the crowd in the trendy nightclub. The sea of bodies swayed to the loud and monotonous techno rhythm. His skilled eye surveyed the clubbers writhing against each other, looking for a female in need of company.
Too many emotions slammed into his mind in this busy place, the reason he preferred his own company to that of the crowd.
A bolt of pain assailed him.

Contact: Bettina Clairmont
bettina at clairmontcpa dot com

Leona said...

Leona Griffin

A Death in January
Mystery


Late on gray afternoons or in the pre-dawn hours of a sleepless night, I relive the events of last winter. All the ghosts appear.

First is Joe, who would be alive if I had not left Long Island that afternoon.

Next comes Jenny, who would have been spared the nightmare of the months that followed. They tell me, at that place in Connecticut--she's there again--that she is doing much better now.

T.S. Richardson said...

Thanks Sophie! Here it is.

Title: The Prodigal Detective
Genre: Noir/Mystery
First 5 Sentences:

He was there again. Looking up at the falling body as it plummeted downwards in slow-motion. Finally, the eerie, nauseating smack. The woman with the afro ran to the body and then turned towards Jason, pointing at him. She opened her mouth, and he knew her line: “You motherf*cking murderer.”

Debra Lee said...

Title: Taken
Genre: Suspense

“Havin’ a new baby around can be a big burden at times. You know, all that cryin’ they do starts workin’ on your nerves.”

Teary-eyed, Mary peered up at the soft spoken man hovering over her from where she sat on the couch. “What are you saying?”

“Maybe you couldn’t take it anymore.”

Florence said...

Title: Songbird
Genre: Mystery


An old adage somewhere reminds us to be wary of good deeds. Those we do for others or those done for us ... either way, it's a trap.

After three long months on the road, living in an RV the size of a small closet, all I want to do is soak in a tub for a day and a half, sleep for a week and then eat a pound of my grandmother's pasta, in that order.

I develop the last of my negatives at my final pit stop in Washington, D.C., call ahead and arrange to have all my equipment, dirty laundry and other personal items removed and the RV stripped down and stored.

Why I answer the phone is a mystery to me.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Hi. I'll give it a try.

Title: Arclight
Genre: dark YA fantasy

All I have to do is close my eyes.

I can sneak four... make that three... minutes before the bell signals next class. Mr. Pace won't care, he's in his own world 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 blinking again.

CJ said...

Title:Kin and Spirits
Genre: Historical fiction

28 March 1865

I just counted and today is 287 days since we stopped here at Petersburg. Guess they call it a siege now, though there don’t seem to be no Yanks to the north. Ain’t nowhere to go north except Richmond though. Seems like most every day there’s rumors Richmond’s fallen, but don’t figure that can really be the case since no one official’s said it. And we’re still here.

littleone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna Glaser said...

What a wonderful contest! Thanks!

Title: THE ENEMY WE KNOW
Genre: Suspense

I heard him coming. The hall funneled the sound of his rage, racing just ahead of the man. Our clinic’s manager screamed, “Letty! Watch out!” but he already filled the doorway. Despite training, I leapt to my feet. Waves of booze and the clamor of civilized people fumbling in the throes of chaos seeped around his mass.

littleone said...

Title: The Stepmonster
Genre: Mystery

“Good evening,” the officer who answered my call in Northern California said, “County Sherriff’s Department”.
“I’m hoping that you can help me. I have rather an odd request”, I ventured.
“Go ahead”, he answered, “I’m sure we’ve heard them all by now”.
“I don’t live there. I live seven hundred miles away in Canada. I received a very odd letter today from my father. I called his home there. The answering machine picked up the call, it was a new message and I didn’t recognize the voice on the machine. It was not my father’s voice or that of his wife”.
“And what is it that you would like us to do?” the officer replied.

Allene said...

Title: Where the Mourning Dove Waits
Genre: Paranormal mystery

Ada Allen hit the accelerator of the Cadillac Escalade. Fishtailing in the wet, loose grave it swerved dangerously. The heavy, dual wheeled pickup was behind her the menacing black hood growing larger in her rear view mirror. It was the stalker – the one behind the phone calls and the dead rat. And, he was going to kill her.

erstwhile luddite said...

Title: Aphelion
Genre: Literary

My mother did not begin speaking until her eighteenth year, whereas I began my descent into silence at the age of thirty-two.
I’ve become an old woman, and now that I consider breaking this silence no one is left to hear me. They’ve been taken from me years ago by husbands, children, or death.
How do I begin to say it, then? Should I become a lunatic crone muttering my story to the street, arousing fear or pity?

suzanne said...

Title: Beware of Heels
Genre: contemporary romance
Ania Michaels was sinking. Already. And she wasn’t even near the water yet.
She was in some miserable town, called Ashton Bay. In the parking lot of a backwater marina, on the remote northwest Florida coast, far from her beloved Atlanta.

Marjorie said...

What a great opportunity! Thanks, Sophie.

Title: At Any Cost
Genre: Suspense

In the back of a Skybird cab, Greg Conley opened his laptop for another look at his estranged wife’s frantic email message. The print across the screen stood out in a large, bold font: “Please, come home immediately. It’s urgent!” He slammed the laptop shut with unnecessary force. His flight to Jacksonville had already taken off without him, and that knowledge didn’t sit well.

PatRemick said...

Title: Murder Most Municipal
Genre: Traditional mystery (cozy)

KC Dunham pointed toward the large erasable white board announcing the Question of the Day in precise black lettering: “Who invented peanut butter? Winner gets a free muffin.”

“The Incas, although most people think it was George Washington Carver,” she said without hesitation. “You can keep the muffin.”

The woman holding a steaming pot of coffee behind the cracked Formica counter laughed. “I was beginning to think I'd never find anyone else in this town who appreciates the long and glorious history of my favorite food, after chocolate that is, though I bet you'd agree they're damn fine together too."

coffeecolouredworld said...

Title: On The Way Down
Genre: Romance

It was going to be one of those days, Tatiana could just feel it in her bones. Everything reminded her of times past and things better left there. Of course if they were better left in the past then why was she so damn bad at keeping them there? A question better left for a day when she had time to deal with it. Maybe somoe time next decade.

Kiera McAllister said...

Woo Hoo! Congrats on the release!

Title: Desire Bound
Genre: Paranormal

Aaron sensed the demon was near. He could feel its anticipation as it stalked its victim through the streets of Barcelona. The city was packed with tourists and locals, and Aaron had to tune out their constant flux of emotion, focusing only on the thin thread of the excitement of a hunter. As an immortal warrior of the constellations, it was his job to vanquish the demon before it could hurt anyone. Although demon emotions felt different, this one was stealthier than most, as if he knew Aaron was close.

Grapeshot/Odette said...

Title: Promiscuous Mode
Genre: Medium-boiled mystery

The minute I noticed him, I knew he was going to hit on me. His just-for-you smile, like we shared a secret joke, and his half-lidded bedroom eyes gave him away. He sat in the Chicago hotel conference room with fifty other attendees, the audience for our dog and pony show, Conduct Your Own IT Autopsy, a snoozer for anyone but techies. Today Wayne was presenting and I was manning the PC which had a lively Powerpoint presentation. At least we thought so.

valerie said...

Title: Blogging Murder

Genre: Thriller

"I'm a dead man."

He didn't look like a dead man. He looked like a surfer, a surfer dude like any of the other surfer dudes Megan McNitt had seen hanging out on beaches and in bars since moving to Maui. But this surfer dude had a conspiracy complex.

The dude said, "If you weren't a malihini, a newbie, on this island, you'd know my name."

HelenSS said...

Thanks Sophie!!

Title: Game Girl
Genre: Mystery

“911. State the nature of the emergency.”
“It doesn’t look like them.”
“Do you need assistance?”
“There’s so much blood. I see mom’s hair. But, Dad, I can’t tell. His arm’s across mom, I can see his ring. But it’s not right, his legs are all the wrong way.”

Daisy said...

See, I'm torn. On the one hand, I think I already know what Barbara would say if presented with my current book, but on the other hand, that's some great nail polish. (I mean, I like it, not that it's on the hand. I'm pretty sure the hand is wearing No Room For the Blues.) So I think I'm going to offer the opening lines of my new opus: Land Squid*.

Title: Land Squid
Genre: Literary Fiction

Roger swung his paintball gun around, searching the hillside for those bastards from Accounting. He knew they were out there somewhere, planning their secret strategies with their damned accountant minds, but this time he was ready for them. He stepped back, crouching low and keeping his eyes on the clearing in front of him, the only way through to get to Project Management's flag, when suddenly something grabbed his foot.

Roger sighed and said, "C'mon, Larry, enough with the dumbass commando moves."

But this wasn't Larry; Larry didn't have tentacles.


*Novel may or may not actually exist.

Suzanne Adair said...

Title: Regulated for Murder
Genre: Historical thriller

A message scripted on paper and tacked to the padlocked front door of the office on Second Street explained how the patriot had come to miss his own arrest:

*Office closed due to Family Emergency*.

Family emergency? Horse shit! Lieutenant Michael Stoddard hammered the door several times with his fist. No one answered.

Catherine said...

Title: The Blood Runs Cold
Genre: Mystery

Even in death Leonardo del Balzo was gorgeous. He lay on his back on the sofa, wearing only pajama bottoms, hands folded over his bare chest, a rosary entwined between his fingers. Except for the small hole at the back of his head, he could have been sleeping. Of course, if he was sleeping, she, NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli wouldn't be staring at him from the door way to his living room at a little before ten o'clock in the morning.

In life Leonardo del Balzo had been someone's son, husband, brother, friend, but now he was hers.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Title: Pretty Girls Make Graves
Genre: YA Paranormal
First five: Strange things go through your head when you’re having an MRI. And I’m not just talking about the electromagnetic currents, although that certainly does cause a flicker of scientific curiosity. I mean things like if my hair will grow out right, or if my mother would let me get my favorite band’s new CD, or who it might be that cleans the insides of these machines, or if Adam and Eve had belly buttons.

That I’m thinking so clearly at all is a miracle, they tell me. The number of patients who can function as well as I can after the type of brain surgery I underwent is not an impressive figure—according to them anyway.

Andrea Land said...

Thank you, Sophie, and congratulations!

Title: Swamp Boulevard
Genre: Romantic suspense

First five sentences:
"I'm so sorry, darling, what did you say?" John asked sweetly, smiling with one corner of his mouth at his girlfriend in an unconscious imitation of Rayford McGuire, the philandering scoundrel he'd played in his last movie. Filming had wrapped just a few days earlier, and he was still at least partly absorbed by the character.

Victoria, who recognized the smile and the fiction behind it, gritted her teeth and said, "I asked you where you went last night after you got out of bed at 2 AM."

The outdoor cafe at which they'd met for lunch still bore remnants of the previous night's Cinco de Mayo party. John, startled out of his reverie about where he'd gone last night after he got out of bed at 2 AM, reached up to yank irritably at a crepe streamer dangling from the pergola above their heads, to give himself a few more seconds to come up with something.

Contact email: andreajane at sbcglobal dot net

marla said...

Title: She’s Not There

Genre: Suspense


The percentage of abused women that had gone missing seemed to levitate up from the paper. Assuming its accuracy, the figure was too high to be written off as a statistical aberration. A predator—targeting abused women?
Lisa shivered, looking up from the sheet of paper the young woman had thrust into her hands. The girl with the waist-length, tawny hair had vanished as suddenly as she’d appeared.

April said...

Hey, just thought you might be interested: There's a blog called Hot Guys Reading Books, and today there's a picture of a guy reading "A Bad Day for Sorry." :)

http://hotguysreadingbooks.tumblr.com/post/654072519

Sophie Littlefield said...

Thank you, everyone! A wonderful bunch of entries, and I'm wishing you all the best of luck! The two semifinalists will be posted tomorrow, and then we'll be on to Week Two.

Special thanks to both April and Holly for the HotGuysReadingBooks fun. :)

mcoyle said...

Title: Yesterday's Echo
Genre: Mystery

The first time I saw her she made me remember and she made me forget.
                       
I remembered another time I’d felt the deep pull of instant attraction and, for a moment, forgot the gnaw of regret. It was a short trip back to a long time ago. Back to Santa Barbara, back to the police force.

Back to Colleen.

Julie Hennrikus said...

Title: A CHRISTMAS PERIL
Genre: Cozy/Traditional

“You could kill him without getting caught, couldn’t you Sully?”

I assumed Dimitri was referring to Patrick King, Scrooge in our production of A Christmas Carol. I’d considered killing him myself, but purely as a stress-relieving measure. Some people do yoga. I try to plan the perfect crime, and then I figure out what would trip me up.

Lori Wolf said...

Title: SAVE A PRAYER: LIKE TOTALLY A TOMMIE MYSTERY

Genre: Mystery

First 5 Sentences:
See me.
In red ink, these words stain the bottom of my typed, three-page essay for my English class. No grade, no comments anywhere, not even in the margins. Just two words without a "please" or any explanation.
He's never written anything like this before.

Rhaina said...

Title: Dirty Bastard
Genre: Gay Lit

That thrill of finally getting my own placenever once dissipated, looking back on it, I still get that tingle of excitement every time I think what it was like starting out on my own for the first time.
My mother, of course was the first in command; she was and always would be the boss, and already she had outlined everything we needed to do in those two days during our trek into the city to get everything straightened out as she put it.
“You just remember why you’re here Joel. First and foremost to get an education the rest can wait and you know what I mean by that.” With her hands firm on the steering wheel of our 78 station wagon, I knew she meant girls and partying.

Todd said...

Title: Rick Frost & the Alaskan Adventure
Genre: MG

Alexis Blair sighed and drew a sad face on the fogged-up window.
“That’s not funny, Lex.” Robert Blair glanced at his daughter and smiled.
“News flash, Dad, it’s not supposed to be. Art is an expression of the artist’s inner feelings and emotions.”
“Well, at least I’m getting something out of the twenty grand a year I paid for those two semesters of college.”
Alexis rolled her eyes and sat back in her seat.

J.E. Seymour said...

Title: Normal, NH
Genre: Crime Suspense

Before Kevin Markinson even walked into the bar he was on edge. He avoided bars as a general rule, but this was where the two guys, Fred and the other one, wanted to meet him. He figured this was better than meeting them on their turf, where he might be seen and labeled a rat.
The place was more crowded than he expected in the middle of the week, full of young adults, drinking, laughing, cheering at the late-season baseball game on the big screen TV. It wasn’t the kind of bar that he would have frequented, even when he wasn’t avoiding bars.

Ellen said...

Oooo, cool contest! Thanks for the opportunity :)

Title: Stray
Genre: YA Dystopian

"For the third time this week, someone has jacked my ride.

I stand at the corner of Broadway and 17th, exactly where I know I tied it up. But there's no gondola to be found. How desperate are these shitheads, to steal the leakiest, ugliest boat in New York City? I'm sure they'll abandon it as soon as the bubble-gum plugging the cracks in the prow pops out, but that ain't the point."

Miriam said...

Title: Make it Concrete
Genre: Literary Fiction

Isabel took Zakhi’s hand when they entered the cave’s low and narrow doorway. The bright September morning did not give way easily to the cool dimness and it took their eyes a few moments to adjust. At seventy-five meters square, the Cave of the Coffins was the largest in the park. Holding hands, Isabel and Zakhi walked without talking down the long-spined corridor, peering into shadowed niches filled with large stone sarcophagi. At the very end, inside the largest and tallest niche, Isabel finally spoke.

Janet King said...

Title: A More Than Ordinary Love
Genre: Literary

"You can't publish that article, Katie," says Eli, breathing raggedly and pacing my cubicle at the Institute for Jewish and Christian Scholarship and Fellowship. It's nothing to write home about, this cubicle, with its graying walls, cell-like dimensions, and cosmetic prints to mask the scuff marks. But it's my sanctuary, the place where I feel safe and effective and strong.

"Why not?" I counter, which is ludicrous because even I know that this is the mother of all piolemical articles, making anything I ever said, thought, or wrote about evangelical Christianity sound like a song of priase.

Eli is blowing onto his fists and sighing while he paces.

cttiger said...

Title: 99 Bottles of Beer
Genre: Mystery

Be careful what you wish for --that's what my great-grandmother, Nanny, always tells us. I should learn to pay more attention to what she says.
I'd been wishing , hoping and praying, even, for the perfect catering job, the one that would make me, Kensing Delaney, a household name in Fairfield county. On an impulse, I'd ditched a lucrative, fast-track job in the City and a gorgeous Tribeca loft, and then proceeded to sink all my savings into a fixer-upper cottage, and max out my credit cards to set up K's Katering Kreations. All I had left was wishes.
Maybe I should have been more specific, as in: I want to be known as a fabulous caterer, not a murder suspect.

Susie said...

Title: Lobster Red Aries
Genre: Mystery

"Head laying in her lobster remains, it was."

"What's this about lobster, Alice?"

Astrologer Di Darwin leaped through the doorway of Judy's nailed-together diner before the spring-loaded storm door slammed her bum. This morning put her two up on the offender.

Her nose twitched; muffins, blueberry muffins; coffee, bacon, and maple syrup aromas swirled in the oven-scented air.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

How fun, I love contests, and I love finding new worthwhile blogs. Here's mine:

Title: Those Lost at Sea and Drowned
Genre: YA historical/paranormal

First 5 sentences:

"Where are you taking me?" I tried to plant my feet, but Miss Bonney roughly pulled me into motion again.

"I'm taking you to the east wing, to put an end to this superstitious nonsense once and for all," she answered, holding my arm in an iron grip. "I will solve two problems with one fell swoop—get some use out of that room, and cure you of lying."

"But I don't lie," I said, my breath coming in puffs as I trotted to keep up.

David Hagerty said...

Title: They Tell Me You Are Wicked
Genre: Political Murder Mystery

There it was in the driveway, spotlighted under a street lamp’s yellow glow, a mint condition Cutlass - high-gloss canary yellow paint contrasted with black air vents on the hood, a spoiler on the tail - just like in the cover photo of Car and Driver.
A dozen silent steps across the pavement, still damp from a misting rain, and he stood next to the driver’s door. A test tug and it opened, squeaking on its hinges, but inviting him inside with black leather bucket seats. He sat down, gripped the ball of the shifter, rotated the steering wheel.
It was wrong he knew, but being so close now, it seemed inevitable.

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Title: The Lion Inside
Genre: YA Contemporary/Fantasy

First 5 Sentences: Renna Healy got on her hands and knees to reach the animal huddled under a bush. “Oh my gosh, it’s a lion cub,” she said picking it up and cradling it. “It looks like its sick. We should find its mother.”

“You want us to search for a pride of lions? Typical.” said Sean Taylor, Renna’s best friend.

C. Mercer said...

Here's Mine:

Title: Arrow of the Mist
Genre: YA Fantasy
First 5 Sentences:

A pair of horses charged toward Lia’s cottage. She recognized Da’s friend, Kenneth, and then her insides went cold. Riding beside him, Da’s body lay limp upon his horse.
Lia dropped the harvested mallow root and sped from her garden. Ma’s scream shot like arrows through her heart, but Kenneth’s words, “He’s alive, Carin,” offered them a measure of hope.

Beth said...

Thanks for such a fun opportunity!

Title: I Swear I Didn't Do It!
Genre: Mystery

“I swear I didn’t do it!” I screamed, light years past any sense of propriety or self-control. The officer glanced at me. How could he not? But what kind of expression was on that sun-touched, brown-eyed face? Quizzical?...

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Here goes,

Title: To End A War
Genre: Thriller

He wanted it all to be over; the war in Iraq, the terrorism, the death, the killing. But it wasn’t going to stop. Not anytime soon.

Explosions rocked a large market in Iraq disrupting a diplomatic visit by two senior congressional leaders. The in-country reporter glanced nervously over his shoulder as he searched for something to say

Leo said...

Title: Mass Murder in an Age of Mass Information

Genre: Literary Fiction

On a Friday morning, Kevin received an e-mail informing he would be arrested, interrogated, violated, and shot in 20 hours. The e-mail linked to a profile page depicting a tall, balding man of 45, with crooked teeth and a pale demeanor. This man, Bartelby, had occupied the post of head inquisitor for a very long time. Bartelby’s rating of 94% attested to the well honed skills he had acquired over the many years spent meticulously interrogating guilty men. Videos of all 2555 integrations, each one valued between one and five gold stars, had been made easily accessible.

Judy said...

Thanks for this opportunity.

Title: Deadly Whispers
Genre: Traditional Mystery/Cozy

Sure the media reported the murder of tabloid journalist Gideon Cole in great detail for weeks, but if you want the whole story, I'm the person you should ask. I was there, at B'nai Torah, our synagogue, where Gideon died and where my friend Councilwoman Carmen Perez became a suspect. But I'm putting the finale before the overture.

The fact is even the Los Angeles police admit I helped them put the clues together.

D. said...

Title: Killer Intuition
Genre: Mystery

I thought I’d seen every kind of monster over the ten years I was district attorney in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin. Low lifes who’d shoot a pregnant woman and steal her purse to get enough change for a Big Mac. Highway patrolmen who’d rape teenagers in the back seat of their cars while “questioning” them. Last year I needed it quieter so I’d moved to Madison to work for the state attorney’s office, where most of my job now involved getting sexual predators committed for psych treatment after finishing their prison time. Then today, a man imprisoned for abducting children had been released through a prison paperwork error and disappeared—with my luck, probably taking on a fake identity as a nurse in a children’s hospital somewhere.

Jenn said...

I'd love to enter this too :) Everyone's entries looks great!

Title: Wistful Lovers
Genre: Historical YA Romance

I left that very night.

I didn’t want to, nor did I plan to. But I no longer had a choice after my parents decided to practically sell me to keep themselves in splendor. Although in their defense, weak as it was, I wasn’t even supposed to know about the deal. If I hadn’t skipped my lessons that day I wouldn’t have.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Title: Frontier Town
Genre: YA SF

Luz knew it was going to be a bad day as soon as she heard the sound of the waterfall coming from her mother’s bedroom. The sound meant her mother was watching her honeymoon virtie again, mainlining her memories like an addict, oblivious to everything around her, including her daughter.

Even when Luz was a child, her mother had spent hours lost in the virties, retreating from the harsh reality of homesteading another world. When Luz asked her father why her mother was so unhappy, Victor had sighed and told her that the ways of women were mysterious and that her mother was an enigma nonpareil. English had not been his first language— or even his second—and when he spoke it, he often chose ornamental words and phrases out of his sheer delight in their poetry.

Alyx Morgan said...

Title: Reichenbach Fell?
Genre: YA Mystery

“High school sucks.” I said to no one in particular, and dropped my backpack on the floor of the front hallway. Since Grams is the only other resident of the house, she was the one to respond.

“I take it the talk with your guidance counselor didn’t go the way you’d hoped it would.” Her voice came from the living room, & I heard sounds of her stowing her knitting.

Gayle said...

Title: Floats The Dark Shadow
Genre: Historical Mystery

Gilles unlocked the scorched oak door and raised his lantern, illuminating the staircase that coiled down to the dungeons of the chateau. Underneath the smell of ashes, of damp stone and lantern oil, he inhaled traces of other odors—mold, urine, feces, and clotted gore. The reek of fear. The fetid bouquet blossomed in his nostrils. Revulsion entwined with anticipation.

Alisha said...

Title: Branded
Genre: YA Paranormal

“I don’t want this anymore! Do you hear me? I’m done!” The man called out to the dark, cold and near empty space. He clenched his hand at his chest, his heart thumped loud in his ears. The pain of a thousand tons weighed on his upper body; crushing and tightening with each breath he took.

“Let me die, I want to die!” He called out again, the pain was the worst he’d experienced; he hoped it meant the end of his life. That he would die of a heart attack on the floor of his apartment, alone.

sheadakota said...

Title; The Center of the Storm
Genre;YA

Running horses. The sound of hooves pounding on hard-pack earth, the feel of wind and speed, power and grace, I dreamt of running horses – until the phone woke me. I answered on the third or fourth ring trying to wake up enough to be semi-coherent. I cleared my throat and glanced at my wife who rolled over and pulled the pillow over her head. Anna was not a morning person, let alone a middle-of-the-night person.
I put the receiver to my ear, my eyes still closed, perturbed at my interrupted dreams.
“This better be good,” I told whoever was on the other end of the line.
“Dodge, I’m sorry about the time, I hoped this could wait until you got back.”

Kat said...

Thanks for the opportunity!

Title: Instinct
Genre: YA sci-fi.

Hope is the enemy of reason. That was my father’s favorite saying, his motto, the way he’d explained just about everything to me; life, pain, death. And let me tell you, he knew a hell of a lot about the first two, and four years ago he’d gotten to the last. A couple of weeks before he died he’d brought me to the town cemetery and held me on his lap, placed the cigarette he’d been smoking between my lips and hugged me while I coughed. “Hester? You see all these stones here?”

Amy Saia said...

Sophie, thank you for the great opportunity here. Good luck on the release of your book!

Title: The Soul Seekers
Genre: YA paranormal romance

July, 1979 - We were playing a game, the same one every day without fail. I'd walk by with a book-filled cart—no eye contact. He’d sit and read—no eye contact.

I’d been working at the Springvail Library all summer and this game was the only thing that kept me from quitting. Well, that and the money.

Q said...

Title: Clipped
Genre: sci-fi/spec-fiction

The sun was at its zenith, the rays shattered by the multi-coloured fragments of frosted glass, reflecting off the felon’s tanned face. Zachary sat on the smooth windowsill and gazed just past the glass, out into the city, which sprawled out vast and far. The tops of buildings broke through the cloud cover and a rolling mist blanketed over the streets. For someone of freedom, it was just another day, to a being wearing bracelets of chain, it was a beautiful one. He knew that today would be his final day of divinity, today would be the day that Zachary would lose his wings.

Kippur said...

Title: Oracle Blinded.
Genre: Romantic Fantasy

Most parties were enjoyable events, fancy foods, expensive drinks, gorgeous men and women in fine clothes, were all important ingredients. However, if the people attending happened to be utter bores who were only there to meet other people who also were other bores and really weren’t there for the party, then the party became just as entertaining as watching a rock walk. Leaning in the shadow of a stone column in the Council Leader’s garden, Jono watched a bunch of boring bores stand around talking at what should have been his birthday party. Technically, it was his party, but only in name. Dignitaries from all the important kingdoms and states, important traders and merchants arrived to use his birthday as an excuse to make nice and money. Peering through the entire crowd, he didn’t recognize one single person there.

Christine said...

Title: FRIENDS WITH DEATH
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Mary Kate Stewart secretly hoped that her Calculus teacher would get hit by a taco truck.

It was Monday, 1:15 p.m. when she had that thought. She knew the exact moment because that’s all she was doing – staring at the clock and wishing for the demise of Mr. Randolph Hagen. She didn’t want him to actually die, but if the accident caused the kind of amnesia where you forgot one specific thing and that thing just happened to be Friday’s Calculus test, she’d be all for supporting careless lunch truck drivers.

Something to impress the colleges with, she repeated under her breath, trying to remind herself why she had signed up for the class in the first place.

Susie said...

Title: Ding Dong Dead
Genre: Mystery

I closed in on the cat, or maybe a raccoon, and experienced a thump to the chest. It wasn’t the cat, or maybe the raccoon, causing the thump, it was the blackberry bramble snarling through the granite stone retaining walls of my overgrown garden and scratching the hell out of my leg. I ignored the pain and grabbed for the perpetrator.

Before I could wipe my hands on my already filthy jeans and try again, I got the call, the type of call that sends shudders through your body and you have to locate a bathroom in an instant or miss. I'm not usually irregular but I blame it on moving into this backwater godforsaken house.

Karen Duxbury said...

Title: A Murder of Crones
Genre: Mystery

Delta Daily shivered under the threadbare blanket. She didn't know if it was the cold mountain air or the never-ending draft blowing in around the window that had her teeth chattering. Or maybe it was simply the cold blue light of the digital alarm clock so thoughtfully provided by Reverend Ray-El, the demented holy-roller cum grief counselor of The Rainstick Lodge Foundation, that sent the deep chill into her bones.

She'd almost fallen asleep when the slow shuffling sound of footsteps eased her out of her dreams. One traitorous eye ventured open then snapped shut at the twisting of the door knob.

Aimee Laine said...

Title: Mystic Therapy
Genre: Paranormal Romance

The threat of death stood a foot from Morgan Prince. In the frame of the door, hidden within a silhouette cast by the streetlamp behind him, Drake waited for her invitation.

“It’s a little early, don’t you think?” Morgan’s voice reflected a morning huskiness.

Still dressed in her a T-shirt and sleep-shorts, she waved him in with a slight bow.

Anne Caroline Drake said...

Super idea! Thanks!

Title: I Survived! You Can Too! How 100 Successful People Survived Abuse and Found Joy

Genre: non-fiction/self-help

First five sentences:

Everybody tells you to leave, but nobody tells you how.

You may instinctively know that leaving could get you killed, and it may not be viable if you're a kid.

You have probably heard horror stories of how leaving morphed physical and emotional abuse into other forms of abuse: child custody battles, interference with professional aspirations, stalking, poverty, and murder.

Yet, you know that others have successfully escaped, survived, thrived, and found joy. How did they do it?

Anonymous said...

Title: My Brother Sam Is A Hungry Hungry Caterpillar
Genre: Paranormal Young Adult Mystery Thriller Realistic Historical Fictional Self Help

"Hey Mom! Mom! MOM!"
Sally was starting to get frustrated. Yes, she understood that her mother had a deadline, but there were more important things for her to be doing than writing. Like taking Sally to Marshall's, or to see Micmacs like she had promised.