Monday, February 22, 2016


Genre: YA Mystery
Word Count: 80,000

My Main Character would use sun or snow to battle their biggest obstacle: 


Because you know what doesn’t mix well with snow? Construction. Below a certain temperature, cement foundations and brickwork won’t set. Shingles won’t seal, and are apt to be blown off by high spring winds.

If there’s one thing Julie learned from working in her grandfather’s construction business, it’s that business BOOMS in the summer. Which would be the perfect time for say, working on a half-finished mansion – left to you with more strings than a marionette puppet. Not now, not with winter coming.


When Julie applied exclusively to Ivy League schools – she didn’t expect to be rejected by all of them. Left with a crushed spirit and an admission to nowhere, she departs for a gap year – hoping work aboard the high seas as a cruise ship worker will help her figure out what’s next. But when her grandfather dies, Julie plunges headfirst into a surprisingly complicated mystery.

For starters, he didn’t die like normal people do – and leave a body behind in a coffin as proof. He was declared dead. But to date, his body has not been found. Most of his wealth seems to have vanished with him – save for an isolated half-finished mansion on a hunting preserve near Onalaska, a small East Texas lake town.

Town gossip tells a different story. One of opportunity. One of an eccentric old man who left behind a fortune, hidden somewhere on the estate. Of a large waterfront property that isn’t living up to its fullest potential as a hunting preserve. And with just a little persuasion, could change ownership, could make someone…rich. Fortune favors the bold, right?

The clock is ticking. Per the stipulations of her grandfather’s will, Julie must survive 365 days in the house and oversee its remaining construction to claim what is rightfully hers. If she fails, the estate will be forfeited to a stranger whom she has never met.

Within days of Julie’s arrival, it’s clear someone wants her out. A brick with a warning note crashes through a window, followed by a shot fired through another, missing her by mere inches. Estate employees evade questions and are inexplicably up at all hours of the night.  

Julie is determined to prove the community wrong, to prove to herself and whoever is trying to scare her off, that she’s worthy of inheriting her grandfather’s legacy. But someone else is equally determined to prove she isn’t.

First 250:

Fat Charlie was climbing up the diving board again. The cruise lines really should put breathalyzers on these things. I'd been assigned to the SeaDancer in June and this was the third time I'd seen him onboard in four months. The South Pacific waters were calm and still, but Fat Charlie swayed between the safety rails as if we were in a typhoon of epic proportion.

“Hey Texas! Watch this!” he slurred, and waved madly in my direction.

The Leaning Tower of Bourbon did an awkward kind of half-squat and leapt from the board in a cannonball attempt – successfully soaking several passengers including his drinking entourage.

An elderly man tottered by, a hand raised to shield his face from the splash, clutching a drink the color of electricity. He reminded me of my grandfather and I wondered if somewhere, someone else reminded my grandfather of me. And the last time we had spoken, nearly four months ago.

Given a long enough workday, or enough rum – the pain of our last conversation could be quieted, but it was far from absent. In fact, it took very little to pull it to the surface. Something as inconsequential and familiar as a hand raised to the sky.

I blinked back tears and took a deep breath. Nothing I could do about it now.

“Hey Julie – Ina’s looking for you,” one of the bartenders said as I refilled my drink tray.

“Oh? Do you know why?” I asked.

“Nope. Sounded urgent though – I think she’s coming up here to talk to you.”


  1. I need a snow day so I can read more! Please send the first 50 pages (rounded to the nearest chapter's end) along with query and synopsis to with SunvSnow in the subject.

  2. This sounds chillingly amazing! Please send the full manuscript to, with "Jaida - Sun vs. Snow Contest" in the subject line!

  3. Very cool! Please send the full manuscript, synopsis and query to Thanks!

  4. Very cool! Please send 50 pages and a synopsis for Team Snow!

  5. This sounds like a perfect snow day read! Can you send the first 50 pages to penelope.gsliterary at gmail? Put "Sun vs. Snow" in the subject line. Thank you so much!

  6. Bring on the snow! I would love to take a look at the full manuscript. Please feel free to send it along to as a word attachment. Please put the query in the email and Sun vs Snow in the subject line. Thanks!

  7. This sounds great! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to with Sun vs Snow in the subject line!