Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NoQS Minion 10: THE GARDEN, YA LGBT Suspense

Genre: Young Adult LGBT Suspense
Word Count: 63,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:

Being outed. As a gay seventeen-year-old whose dad decided to move to a fortified compound in preparation for Armageddon, Jake’s become obsessed with making sure Pastor James Conan doesn’t peg him as an irredeemable sinner. He over-analyzes his behavior and views the responses of others through a lens of fear and suspicion. His obsession causes him to dwell on what he says and does, picking over his words and actions until he is absolutely sure that his cover hasn't slipped. Because if it does, Jake might just become another ‘runaway’ who vanished during the night.


When Jake Wagner's father finally goes off his rocker and joins a doomsday cult, the seventeen-year-old is dragged to a remote compound in rural Wyoming. As a closeted gay teen, Jake already knows what it's like to exist on the fringe between acceptance and solitude. However, fitting in with the crazy cultists will be the least of his worries, considering Pastor James Conan's extreme "preaching" techniques, which include blackmail, drugs, and psychologically abusive group confessions. Even those could possibly be overcome, but Jake really gets concerned when he discovers that some members of the congregation have gone missing.

After arriving at the isolated commune, Jake is quick to befriend Uriah, whose sarcastic attitude is a refreshing change from the unnatural geniality of the other residents there. Underneath Uriah's offhanded remarks and cynical smiles, Jake senses that the other boy is hiding something. What Jake doesn't know is that it's a secret that could destroy them both. 

As the boys’ feelings for each other deepen into romantic attraction, the situation at the commune grows dire. Jake is approached by an ATF agent and asked to become an informant as part of an ongoing investigation. As the Pastor’s rhetoric becomes increasingly erratic and Jake learns that other cultists vanished under suspicious circumstances, Jake is inclined to tip off the ATF that they need to raid the place before another tragedy like Jonestown happens. However, before Jake is able to alert them to the Pastor's growing delusions, a fatal mistake puts him at the Pastor’s mercy.

First 250:

Mikhail Ivanov aimed the gun at my head.

I knew I’d only have one chance to disarm him. A split-second decision, the accumulation of years of training. One chance. One pull of the trigger and it’d all be over.

“I told you what would happen, Jake.” Mikhail spoke with a heavy Russian accent. “Any last words?”

“Yeah. Come up with some new catchphrases for once.” I lunged forward, knocking the gun from his hand. Before he could react, I brought my fist forward, only to stop it inches from his face.

Clapping his hands, Mikhail smiled. He retrieved the pistol—a black rubber gun with a red stripe around the end of the barrel. “Good job.”

With the exercise over, I plopped down on the floor. Sitting cross-legged, I pushed my hair out of my eyes and wiped off my face with the bottom of my shirt. We were fifty minutes into the session, and I was sweating like a pig. I couldn’t wait to get home and take a shower.

“Get up, get up. You’re not free yet, kid.” Six foot three, thirty-four years old, with a body that would put Rambo to shame, Mikhail was the definition of masculinity. His forearms were heavily veined and he wore his light brown hair at military shortness.

He had been my first crush, though he was nearly twenty years my senior. Unfortunately, like most of the guys I was attracted to, he was straight.


  1. *SCREAM* Please send ms to as a word.docx attachment. Include query/synopsis in body of email. Use #NoQs in email subject line with Title of story.
    Looking forward to the review.

  2. Scream! Please send to with the pitch in the body of the email! Thank you!!

  3. Shriek! Please attach a synopsis and your first 50 pages, with "NoQS Query Request" in the subject line, and send to