Monday, June 8, 2015

QK Agent Round: My Monster Twin is Rotting, YA Gothic Horror

Entry Nickname: My Monster Twin is Rotting
Title: A Savage Miscreation
Word count: 86,000
Genre: YA Gothic Horror


When Talmage True was born, people said it was a mercy that his mother died for the child’s razor-sharp teeth would have torn her apart.  He was born with a full set.  

Now fifteen, Talmage hides his misshapen face from those who condemn him for being unnatural.  But a chance meeting with his estranged uncle, a curiosity peddler hawking the medically grotesque, brings Talmage a spark of hope.  For the first time, Talmage feels a kinship with the bizarre creatures on display--the eight-legged taxidermied kitten and the dog whose body ends in a shell.  After all, Talmage, too, is an aberration. 

Talmage is drawn into his uncle’s dark world and together they create a clockwork figure in his exact likeness--a mechanical boy made of metal, covered in the flesh of stolen corpses.  Late one night, the figure comes to life and Talmage--who has never had a friend before--welcomes it as a brother.  But the world is no place for a clockwork boy especially when its body starts to rust and rot.  Desperate to stay alive, it turns to murder to harvest fresh body parts.  When it sets its sights on Alice, a girl scarred by fire who sees beyond Talmage’s monstrous appearance, Talmage must decide: dismantle his clockwork brother or watch it kill the only person who has ever shown him kindness.

First 250 words: 

I always supposed it would be difficult to kill someone you love.  More than difficult.  It would be impossible, a gut-wrenching, mind-numbing horror that, if achieved, would haunt your soul forever. 

It has haunted me every single waking moment of my wretched life. 

You see, I did.

But if I had the opportunity, I would do it again.  I would tear his body limb from limb, extracting bone from delicate socket and shattering them into a thousand pieces.  From those shards, I would grind what was left of him into powder and then bury it miles apart so that there would be no chance his body could ever come together again.

If only I had. 

His chest weighed against the curve of my back, his breath rasping into my ear.  Gripping one arm, I dragged him down the rickety stairs, his bare feet knocking against the planks.  Outside, amorphous shadows clawed at the edges of the cobblestone street--only the moon would be witness to my heinous act tonight--and so, without looking back, we slipped into the trees. 

He was not awake and yet his lips began to murmur.  I must move quickly but how to do it?  How to kill?  A swift stone to the temple?  His skull was too thick.  Saw his head off his shoulders?  The spinal column too wiry.  A blade, then, through the center of his heart?

“But he has no heart,” I whispered into the night. 

A fire then, the thought suddenly dawned.  Yes, a fire would do.


  1. Please email the full manuscript and query letter my way at thanks

  2. Playing my first Wildcard. Full manuscript, please. Please have Query Kombat in the subject line, and submission may be sent to

  3. Lisa Gus here. I would love to see this one. Please send the query and the full over to Great work!
    And I would love this as my second Wild Card

  4. Very cool! Please send query and pages to, indicating Query Kombat submission.

  5. Both wild cards gone! I guess that's what I get for being slow. I'll take what I can get. Please include a synopsis with your pages and send to

  6. Sounds fascinating! Please send query and pages to Put Query Kombat in the subject line.

  7. I'd love to see more of this when it's revealed! Please send the pages and synopsis to caitlin (at) sll (dot) com with "Query Kombat" in the subject line.