Entry Nickname: Dr. Thermo
Title: DEAD STAR
Word Count: 77,000
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Despite juggling a research career and children, Chrissy King feels like life has passed her by. At thirty-five she has a job, two kids, and a steadily more distant husband. She is trapped by a mountain of safe choices. When an alien detective falls out of the sky and smashes into Chrissy’s car, she has a choice: take up the job as an interstellar detective, or continue slogging through her life.
Chrissy takes life by the horns and joins the technologically advanced—but often draconian—interstellar detectives, the Knights of Mourning. Her first mission: figure out who is murdering the Knights, starting with the one who smashed up her car. Chrissy quickly learns that in the real galaxy, murders are more complicated than on TV. The murderer has started killing stars.
Sol is next.
First 250 words:
I dug past my daughters’ toys to the bottom of my purse and slapped the money on the counter.
“Nice pony,” the barista said, pointing at my ear.
Sure enough, tucked behind my ear was the pink pony my girls had been fighting over on their way to daycare. I put it in my pocket. “Kids, you know?”
The barista nodded and handed me my brownie and tea. Caffeine and chocolate could fix anything. Okay, they couldn’t fix anything, but it would distract me from the sleep lost to a two-year-old’s potty accident and my husband cancelling our dinner plans, again. If I didn’t know better…
With my brownie bag in hand, I stepped out into the desert morning. I could still beat my boss to the labs if traffic was light. A plum tree sprayed the parking lot in blossoms, and weeds tried to push apart the pavement. They’d be dead in days. The desert was like that.
A high pitched whistle filled the air. Then it dropped in tone, like mortar fire in a movie about World War I.
Entry Nickname: McTavish Academy
Word Count: 80,000
Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy
He wanted an education. They gave him a gun.
On a quiet hilltop outside of Boston, a stone fortress rises up from the suburban sprawl. The McTavish Academy is renowned as a top-tier military school. People call it exclusive. They call it mysterious. Eighteen-year-old Michael Solomon doesn't care about any of that. When he arrives at the gargoyle-adorned front gates it's simply the means to an end--his last chance at keeping a death-bed promise to his beloved mother. But when he's greeted by a ninja with a sword on his back and taken to a Knight Templar for orientation, he discovers he's in for a whole lot more than lunch lines and math homework.
In over his head yet determined to keep his promise, Mike finds himself the newest operative in The Alphabet Corps, a motley band of troubled youth handpicked to defend the school and its dangerous secret against an army of nightmares hiding in plain sight.
Now, a Turkish ghoul from the First Crusade stands outside their gates, unshakable in his ambition to take the school and its secret by force, even if it means destroying the structure, its residents, and the very fabric of civilization in the process.
First 250 words:
She just wouldn't stop crying. Ugly, choking gasps for air between exaggerated sobs. Kneeling there on the dining room carpet, snot dripping down her rather plain face, she looked up at him and babbled incoherently. Something about not hurting her boy. Çöl Çelik found it repulsive. Examining her with his jet black eyes, expressionless, he tried to relate, tried to recall a time he had ever been so weak. But after a thousand years, he could only vaguely remember ever being human at all.
Sitting back in his chair, old wood and well made, he turned from the woman to brush away flakes of dried skin from his robe. To his left the woman's son, only a small child, sat in quiet concern where they had tossed him, knees tucked tightly to his chest. The boy was courteous enough to keep his tears to himself and for that Çelik was thankful. In gratitude, he drew an old pistol from his robe and pulled the trigger.
The mother shrieked, crawling to her son’s body and drawing his tiny corpse into her arms. Çelik did his best to ignore her, running a long, boney finger down his polished armrest. From this room. From this chair. Here the one they had mocked, the one they had dubbed ‘The Traitor King’ so many centuries ago would finally take what he deserved. But the crying was getting to be too much.