Word count: 66,000
Genre: YA contemporary
When sixteen-year-old Anna ran away from home she just wanted a little freedom, she didn't plan on becoming a prostitute. That just sort of happened.
She would do anything for Luis, her pimp, anything for a life with him. Until they both get busted.
Luis goes to jail and Anna is sent back home to the suburbs and the parents who hate her. To Anna, that’s more terrifying than dark alleyways and threats of STDs. She can’t even pretend to be normal when everyone knows her secrets.
Anna feels more naked now than she ever did as a prostitute.
Then she meets Arney, a geeky boy who teaches her to eat honey suckles and climb trees. He's the only one who doesn't look at her like a prostitute. Just when she is beginning to separate Anna from the hooker, an old John finds her and attacks her in the parking lot after homecoming. Now the whispers get louder, the stares get bolder. Anna must face her controlling parents, the nasty rumors, even her old pimp, if she’s ever going to gain control of her own life.
First 250 words:
I look into the familiar blank eyes that stare back at me from a Missing Person’s poster. The name reads: Anna Rodriguez.
The name’s familiar, but it’s not me. Not anymore.
I turn away from the innocent thirteen year-old in the poster, with her pony tail and pearls around her neck. Now I just find myself wondering how much I could cop out of a necklace like that. Three hundred?
Every time I pass this poster I stop and stare at the girl I used to be, but that just brings attention. I’m not allowed to bring attention.
So I keep walking and make a plan to go the long way around Bleecker Street so I won’t ever see my parents attempt at finding me again. I cross my arms, and breathe out to see if I can see my breath. It’s getting cold, I hate cold.
I shake my head. I mean, it’s been three years, I don’t see why my parents still try to find me. I’m not their little girl anymore.
You’d think they could at least find a better picture, you know? No one would guess that girl was me. Why not use a picture like that one from Halloween when I dressed up like Cindy Lauper but really just looked like a hooker? That might catch someone’s eye.
I smile at my stupid joke, but know they want to cling to the ideal, pristine daughter they always thought they had. Too bad I was never that girl.
Entry Nickname: The Little Red Head
Title: The Believer
Word Count: 91,000
Genre: YA Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Syndle Baxter is the only person standing between a powerful druid and the safety of her island home. The only problem is she isn’t a wizard.
The Isle is a mysterious place hidden in the Atlantic Ocean where wizards and Believers (non-wizards) live together in strained harmony. Syndle becomes disillusioned by the fact that she’s destined to remain a second-class citizen simply because she can’t do magic. When she befriends a wizard apprentice named William, and he asks her to go with him to find his missing mentor, she drops everything to join him on the quest, seeing this as an opportunity to do something Believers rarely get to do.
Their search takes them into the Bermuda triangle where they find a group of druids, whose ancestors were banished from The Isle centuries before. Syndle and William discover the leader’s plot to take over The Isle. Using an ordinary mirror, a bit of dumb luck, and no magic whatsoever, Syndle stops the druid’s attack long enough for them to get away.
With new confidence, and William as her best ally, Syndle returns home to improve the lives of Believers like her. The druid, defeated but not dead, bides his time as he infiltrates the island and plots his revenge on Syndle. This time he’s prepared to finish her off for good, and prove once and for all that Believers have no worth, before seizing The Isle for himself. Syndle puts her life on the line to stop him, but this time there might be no escape.
First 250 Words:
Deep in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean resides a small, very unusual, island. For one thing it drifts, never staying in one place for too long, and never coming close to other land masses. For another, the rest of the world isn’t aware that a whole society lives there. But what really makes this island special is it’s the last place on earth where magic still exists.
It’s called The Isle and it’s my home.
A brief history of The Isle goes something like this: Long ago the island used to be right up near the coast of England and there were all kinds of comings and goings between us and them. But over time people stopped believing in things like magic and all else that goes with it. The lack of belief caused The Isle to fade. So all the wizards, the fairies, the druids, the trolls, along with all the people who still believed in magic packed up onto the island and just…left.
That’s right, the island drifted away, right into legend. Except that legend has forgotten about us, too.
I love The Isle. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but there are times I’ve felt like my beloved home doesn’t love me back.
On the first day of work at my first job as a mail carrier, the biggest challenge was trying to stay positive. I walked down twisting streets, checking my map marked with red lines to make sure I didn’t miss anyone’s mail.