Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NoQS Minions 9: NORTHERN GHOSTS, YA Thriller

Genre: YA thriller
Word Count: 64,000

My Main Character's Most Fearsome Obsession is:

Sixteen-year-old Travis Whittaker has been in love with weather since he turned ten. Fog, clouds, wind, hail, rain, sleet, and snow—he adores it all. Previously a Texan, he hasn’t had much experience with colder climates, but his new home in New Hampshire will let him see a world covered in ice first-hand . . . if he survives until winter. For now, he’ll keep watching the old barometer affixed to the rickety barn’s wall for the daily forecast. Though it’s a seemingly beautiful day in July, it says a storm’s coming, so trouble must be brewing somewhere.


NORTHERN GHOSTS is a YA thriller complete at 64,000 words, inspired by Sebastian Junger’s non-fiction account of the Boston Strangler in A DEATH IN BELMONT.

The rickety New England farmhouse Travis’s mother inherited is over two hundred years old. It’s falling apart and none of the appliances work. Worse, it’s filled with useless stuff that Travis’ hoarding grandmother piled up into artificial mountains before she died. Oh, and there’s a strange man hiding out in the cellar.

The squatter is a veteran with PTSD, and though Travis forces him to leave the house, he can’t get him off the property. Ghost, as the man calls himself, holes up in the barn. When Travis discovers the soldier might be his long-lost uncle, Ghost’s choices make more sense. He won’t go, Travis thinks, because he subconsciously wants to be reintegrated into the family, and Travis is just the sixteen-year-old to make this happen. But when the veteran starts raving about blood and people in pain, Travis worries that Ghost’s mental illness isn’t so harmless after all. Travis might not only have stumbled across a lost relative, but The Hilltop Strangler, the serial killer who’s been stalking high school boys, and plucking them out of their yards before brutally murdering them.

Determined to keep his mother safe, Travis vows to confront the soldier. But he doesn’t have all the pieces of the puzzle and The Hilltop Strangler might be closer than he ever imagined. If Travis isn’t careful, he could become the killer’s next target.

 First 250:

The toilet gulps and sputters twice. The water from the bowl rushes downward, heading into the pipe. All seems fine—like the toilet’s not Satan—but then another gurgling sound erupts, and water squirts out of the tank, pushing past the cover like it’s nothing, pours down the sides, and splashes onto the floor.

“I told you not to flush.” The words come out of my mouth before I can stop them.

The repairman leans toward the torrent and says, “Hmm.” He scratches his chest through his old gray work shirt near its sewn-on nametag that says, “Gary.”

“I’ll go get towels.”

“It’s not so bad.” Gary waves his hand at me, dismissing my concern.

“You have no idea. That toilet’s completely evil.”

He glances at me. When he sees I’m serious, he backs up a step, maybe trying to save his shoes. The water keeps coming. He has to lean far over to jiggle the handle.

This house blows.

“I’ll be right back,” I call as I vault over the growing flood and race out of the room.

My eyes had left Gary only for a moment, a second. “Don’t flush it unless you want all hell to break loose,” I’d said. He’d nodded, examining the toilet with a grim face, and I thought he’d understood. But as he’d inspected the demon-latrine, a text from Mom had distracted me.

Are you doing okay? I heard something weird at work. Stay inside. For me, Travis, please.


  1. I'll give this one a Scream :)

    In addition to your full, please send a detailed synopsis to with "NoQS" in the subject and your query in the body of the email.

    --Beth Campbell

  2. Shivering...please send a biography and a quick blurb on other wips you may have to --Please put "NoQS" in the Subject line. Thank you!

  3. Screaming for this! Can you send to penelope.gsliterary at gmail please? With your query in the body and NoQS in the subject. Thanks!

  4. Scream! Please send to, with NoQS in the subject and the query + a one-sentence description in the body.

  5. *Shiver*! Please send your query, a 1-2 page synopsis, and the first 10-15 pages to queries at azantianlitagency dot com. Also, please include "NoQS REQUESTED" in the subject line. I look forward to reading!

  6. Scream! Please send this along with your query and a 1-2 page synopsis to query(at)corvisieroagency(dot)com and be sure to include my name and "NoQS" in the subject

  7. Screaming! Please send your full manuscript as a word doc to, with your query letter copied on the first page of the doc. And please put #NoQS in the subject. Thanks!

  8. Shriek! Please send the requested pages as a Word or PDF attachment to querysara (at) fuseliterary (dot) com, including "NoQS" in the subject line with your query letter in the email body. Look forward to reading!

  9. I don't know the lingo because I was directed here by one of my clients...but send me the full please - would love to read this.