Thursday, October 27, 2016

Nightmare on Query Street 2016 Agent Round

Time for the shivers, shrieks and screams to begin!
Following this post, are the fifteen Minions. Just click on the posts you'd like to read more about. 

Agents, you can head over to Mike's blog and Laura's blog as well to make more requests. (But don't worry, Minions will take no prisoners!) 

No commenting, cheerleading, etc. Only agents will be able to comment. IMPORTANT NOTE: Opera and Safari Browsers may NOT allow you to comment. Using another browser is HIGHLY recommended. Agents can email if they have trouble or let me know on twitter.

But cheer over on twitter. We're going to be under the hashtag #NoQS, shouting out agent appearances. So vent, be nervous, cheer each other on, and hold hands over Twitter. One of the best parts of contests is seeing how the writer's community gathers and supports each other.

For the next three days, agents will have fun ways to request in the contest.

They can SCREAM for a full request.
They can SHRIEK for a 50 page request.
They can SHIVER for a 10 page request.

And agents can make as many requests as they want! So go wild! We have some awesome talent for you to read.

I want to say a quick thanks to the mentors who all did such a wonderful job helping with revisions.
GOOD LUCK EVERYONE! Hope you all get a ton of frighteningly amazing requests!

And remember: Minions Rule!

NoQS Minion 1: BOY OF THE BAYOU, MG Historical Fiction

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Fiction

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

Jean Paul’s worst relationship is with his father, a gambler who keeps his feelings hidden. Jean Paul has trouble reading facial expressions and voice cues due to Asperger’s Syndrome. He doesn’t understand why Papa doesn’t love him, but Papa knows Jean Paul isn’t his. The boy talks too much, hides from shadows, and fears change. These behaviors repel risk-loving Papa. Jean Paul makes money for the family’s chandlery business, which is why Papa tolerates him. Jean Paul’s new friendship with an escaped slave who knows too much causes Papa to hunt down both the friend and Jean Paul.

NoQS Minion 2: HIDING IN PLAIN VIEW, MG Contemporary Realistic

Genre:  MG Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Word Count: 48,000

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC’s most stressful relationship is with his science teacher. Who does Mr. Pullman think he is? Looking up Henry’s old grades and test scores like some sort of private eye? Snooping at the secret pages of his journal, full of graphite orchids, charcoal sea urchins, and smudged periwinkles?

Henry’s grades are average. He’s quiet. So why can’t Mr. P just leave him alone? Instead, he’s nagging him about untapped potential, STEM contests and parent meetings. What do you say to the person who unmasks you? If you’re Henry Gibson, you say nothing, because the air has left your lungs.


Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
Word Count: 35,000

My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:

Olivia’s most stressful relationship is definitely Mr. Smith. Not only is he ruining her new look by showing up early all the time, the new bus driver gives her a death glare with those creepy black eyes every time he sees her. He lies all the time, and he has to be dangerous. Why else would he have it in for a bunch of harmless kids? No matter what it takes, Olivia will figure out the truth. The most important year of her school career might soon be destroyed if she doesn’t.

NoQS Minion 4: AIMEI AND THE POEM OF CHEN SUWEN, MG Historical Mystery

Genre: Middle Grade Historical Mystery
Word Count: 65,000 words

My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is…

Aimei’s most stressful relationship is with her father. The way he acts toward her has changed. It’s not just that because now she’s older, they’re both supposed to be more formal. It’s that, from when she was tiny, Father taught her lines from famous poets and the sages, and would laugh when she repeated them perfectly. Now that Aimei’s actually studying the Classics, loves her studies and is good at them, he seems displeased. Sometimes he’s furious, even frightening, but he won’t say why. The times he’s the baba she remembers are few and far between, and she misses him so much.

NoQS Minion 5: MILES TO GO, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 67,000

My main character’s most stressful relationship is:

Leila’s most stressful relationship is with her father. Her mother’s behavior is justifiable—it’s the ups and downs of having Bipolar II (and being convinced that you don’t). But Dad, what’s his excuse? Taking care of Mom isn’t a shared responsibility, it’s Leila’s. They’re on opposite schedules, so their discussions are few and far between—and never about anything real. Serious conversations lead to heart palpitations and tears. And when she takes off on her cross-country road trip, she gets all the way from California to Arizona before he even calls.

NoQS Minion 6: THE DONOR, YA Cyber Suspense

Genre: Young Adult Cyber Suspense
Word Count: 93,000 
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
Cameron Foster loves his dad, business mogul Nigel Foster, but the guy has this stare, the kind that could make corporate lawyers duck and cover. Words like protective and obsessive don’t convey how much his dad hovers. Having a life? Dating? Nope. Not with Nigel Foster watching. Even Cameron’s vegetarian diet is closely monitored. No burgers, which totally sucks. Sure, it’s because of Cameron’s heart issue, but he wishes his dad would loosen up. That’s part of what drove Cameron to hactivism—even though he doesn’t have much of a life, he can make a difference anonymously behind the screen.

NoQS Minion 7: SIX MEANS FORTUNE, YA Dark Fantasy

GENRE: YA, Dark Fantasy
WORD COUNT: 90,000

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship:

Ben's struggle is with his new leader, Fortune. The boy is absolutely obsessed with dice and numbers and demands to have 'order and balance.' However, that order comes from a whimsical roll of the die and often times leads to some of Ben's friend's deaths. Ben tries to find a way to freedom but Fortune really is the only one to save the land from invasion, so now Ben has to find a way to save himself.

NoQS Minion 8: PLEXUS, YA Science Fiction

Genre: YA Sci-fi (subgenre: alternate history with elements of cyberpunk)
Word Count: 97,000

My main character's most stressful relationship is with Canberra Clark, Urbania’s answer to Oscar Wilde. The flamboyant fop both charms and defends her, but his thirst for fame may tear them apart in this vain city. While Sofia attempts to expose and destroy Plexus for its shameless exploitation, Canberra is handpicked to become their next big star. Coincidence? Sofia thinks not. But can she convince Canberra to see that he’s merely being used as a pawn and to give up his long sought-after moment in the spotlight?

NoQS Minion 9: ADRIFT, YA Contemporary Fantasy

Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 76,000

My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is:

My main character’s most stressful relationship is with her manager, Jack. When Jack saves Dani from an attacker at the docks, she suffers from a mild case of hero worship. Jack’s sexy Latino looks don’t help. But Jack runs hot and cold, one minute making her think he likes her, the next ignoring her. When he sets Dani up as the scapegoat for a theft aboard the cruise ship where they work, causing Dani’s new boyfriend to turn his back on her, she is furious—that is, until she learns the reason for Jack’s treachery.

NoQS Minion 10: METL, YA Speculative Fiction

Title: METL
Genre: Young Adult Speculative
Word Count: 70,000 

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

Caden's most stressful relationship is with Dom, a Nobody at the Home for orphans. Dom is Caden's opposite in every way: he's large, cruel, and has no interest in Iltech – illegal technology. When Dom and Caden are adopted by the same man, Dom threatens to kill Caden if he doesn't find a way to get it called off. Caden tries to make peace with Dom by calling him "brother," but that just incites him even more. Caden wonders what happened to Dom's family, but he can't ask for fear of being smashed with Dom's favorite tool, the sledgehammer.

NoQS Minion 11: WE BURN TOO BRIGHT, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary 
Word Count: 85,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC, Wella, is most stressed by her relationship with her stepfather. Now that it’s summer, Mark is constantly on her case to get out of bed before noon, give up her late night delivery shifts at Lola’s Pizza, and return to working at her father’s store. All of this, of course, is so he can watch her every move and debate whether the therapy is working—which it isn’t. One more missed curfew, and Mark has promised to lock Wella in her room and personally escort her to therapy until she acts normal again.

NoQS Minion 12: A KNIGHT'S RANSOM, Adult Historical Romance

Genre: Adult, Historical Romance
Word count: 93,000

My main character’s most stressful relationship is...

Bernat’s most stressful relationship is with his new wife. She saved his life, true, but forced him to marry her. She’s penniless and probably with child and someone else’s son will now inherit Bernat’s estate. He’s been the subject of gossip and hated it. He’s also a spy, so being talked about makes him nervous. The circumstances of his wedding to Leona guarantee his marriage will be grist for the mill of court gossip for years. How is a man to woo his wife under such conditions?


Genre: Adult Fantasy
Word: Count: 90,300
My main character’s most stressful relationship is:
Nia has a difficult relationship with Baptiste, a fanatic who craves the Callis’ power. Nia hates power-hungry men, and especially hates how the quasi-religious order Baptiste is part of takes advantage of those too weak to fight back. All Nia knows is her country will fall into chaos if Baptiste gets the Callis. All Baptiste knows is he is the only one righteous enough to control the Callis, and that drives him to do monstrous things. Things he would never condone if he didn't believe he was the only one who should oversee the magick seeping back into Aubadia.

NoQS Minion 14: ANGEL IN AN IRON RING, Adult Mystery

Genre: Adult Mystery
Word Count: 99,000 

My Main Character’s Most Stressful Relationship is with Gabe Alvarez. As children, Max and Gabe were closer than brothers. As adults, Gabe lies in a coma, brain dead. Max blames himself because he led Gabe into the situation resulting in his fate. After losing Gabe, Max suffers a psychotic break. He remains friendless throughout high school, suffering the effects alone and in silence. Now an adult, Max feels he doesn’t merit any close companionship because of his role, and pushes everyone away so he won’t be hurt again.

NoQS Minion 15: DANCING IN THE DARK, Adult Contemporary Romance

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Word Count: 70,000

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

Coreen’s most stressful relationship is with Jackson Jones. When they are not butting heads, they are trying to fight the attraction between them. An attraction that would only confirm the rumors of her sleeping her way to a contract. When Jackson opens up about his past struggle with addiction, Coreen really begins to sweat as it hits too close to home with the secret she has to keep hidden at the risk of losing everything she has worked for – her recording contract, her reputation, and even Jackson.

Monday, October 24, 2016


Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Martina:
I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The 2016 Minions of Nightmare on Query Street

Taking on the slush pile is a daunting task. It's such a hard task to limit ourselves to thirteen with so much wonderful available. I know the last word anyone wants to hear is 'subjective', but that's truly the best word to describe how we have to approach slush with so many contenders.

Happily, we have a surprise this year. Your hosts decided thirteen picks was an unlucky number and we boosted it up to fifteen! We each took fifteen entries! 

With that happy news, it's time to reveal the Minions of Nightmare on Query Street 2015!

In category order:

Boy of the Bayou
Hiding in Plain View
Detours and Other Dangers
Aimei and the Poem of Chen Suwen
Miles to Go
The Donor
Six Means Fortune
We Burn Too Bright
A Knight's Ransom
Nia Gray and the Quest of the Callis
Angel in an Iron Ring
Dancing in the Dark

We are off to rough up the competition and get all the requests!

Thank you everyone and be sure to check Michael's Blog and Laura's blog for their picks.

Keep an eye on your inbox. Mentors will be contacting you through the email you used to enter the contest. If that's not your actual email because a friend mailed yours in, you'd better let us know. Each entry will get one mentor assigned to them. 

Please return your revised entry using the same format to the contest email by noon ET on October 26th. We need that time to swat down unruly formatting and create the posts before the agent round. Please do not be late. We will go live without you.

And a final surprise! The agent round will start a day early on October 28th! 

Come back on October 28th to see the agents Shriek, Scream and Shiver! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Release Day Excerpt for USELESS BAY

Author: M.J. Beaufrand
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 240
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy.

On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. While searching for him, they find his mother’s dead body instead—and realize that something sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour. 

Chapter 1
Our dog learned obedience from a murdered man.
Before he was murdered, of course. I suppose it could’ve been after, which would explain why the training didn’t take. Crystal ball, dark room, round table, woman with a turban . . . Hal Liston, if you’re with us, thump twice if you think Patience is a bad, bad dog.
But the facts are weird enough without dragging mediums into it. As it happened, he taught her while he was still breathing.
Hal Liston was a dog whisperer to Seattle stars. He trained the pit bulls of Mariners, the Rottweilers and German shepherds of coffee magnates, and even a Great Dane owned by that retired movie star who always played Reluctant Stoner Hero of the Seventies.
Not that we knew any of this before we sent Patience to Liston Kennels. All we knew was that, on the sly, my brother Sammy had sent $1,600 to a breeder in Alabama and bought a bloodhound, sight unseen. It cleared out his college savings. He was only ten years old at the time (we all were), so you have to give him tactical points for scamming the banks on his own. The idea that he could hide the dog from Mom, who frequently said, “No pets. I have a hard enough time dealing with five children.”
Not so smart.
He said he ordered the dog because he had the wacky idea that he wanted to be involved in search-and-rescue, even though he couldn’t ski or rock-climb or operate a helicopter. Kind of a romantic, our Sammy. Not a big thinker-througher.
When the dog arrived in a crate, deposited on our doorstep by the FedEx guy, Mom threw a hissy fit. “Tell me you got this beast from the pound,” she said.
“Yes,” Sammy said. “Yes, I did. I still have a savings account.”
Which, of course, meant that he didn’t. The rest of us knew a storm was brewing, so we got the hell out of the house. My other three brothers—Dean and Lawford and Frank—and I hopped on our bikes and pedaled off toward Langley, which was four miles away.
We were halfway there when I considered the quivering ball of fur still cowering in a crate on our front porch.
I said, “What are we going to do about that stupid mutt?”
There were five of us, all born two minutes apart. Even at ten years old, our personalities were set. Dean, the oldest, was our leader. Captain on and off the basketball court. Lawford, the second oldest, was the enforcer. When Dean issued a command, Lawford was at his right shoulder, spoiling for a takedown. He practiced on us all the time. Third in the lineup was Sammy, the prankster and believer in improbable causes like overbred puppies. He was the kid you always see riding his bicycle off the roof into a pile of grass clippings. And when the schemes invariably led to bloodshed and broken bones, Frank, the fourth of us, was always there to sew him up and set him straight. Don’t get me wrong—we were all graduates of Red Cross Senior Lifesaving, but Frank was the one who thought open head wounds were “neat.” He got plenty of practice on Sammy.

I was the youngest. I was just the Girl. My only talent, as far as I knew, was keeping up with my four brothers, and on that day, remembering lost causes. 

About M.J:
Mary Jane grew up in Gresham, Oregon. She’s a graduate of Wellesley College and has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Program. Currently she lives in Seattle with her husband, two children, and dogs. In the eighties she had a bad perm.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of USELESS BAY. US Only.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Most Happy List of Books!

I call this a most happy list because it's a list of books that came through contests I helped host and got agents or just went straight to getting publishing deals! So for your inspiration for today, I wanted to show this list again and say, "Look! This stuff happens!"

Perhaps someday you'll have a book on this list! 

And here is the list I've called from Contest to Contract.  It has sixteen books and growing! So please do let me know if you've been in a contest and now have a book on Goodreads that I can add to the list.

In related happiness, I also created a list to showcase the books of our mentors. Some of them came from the contests, though the vast majority came from querying. Please take a look at this list also of Writers who Help Writers. If you see something that looks fun to read, you'll also be support a writer who supports you! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Nightmare on Query Street Submission Time!

The submission window is closed!

The submission window opens at 4:00 pm (EST) on October 14th. Don't send too soon or your entry will be deleted. You may resend when the window opens. There will be email confirmation. After the window opens, please don't resend an entry unless you check with us. Sometimes the confirmation process gets overwhelmed. The window will close when we receive 250 entries or in two hours, whichever is first.

Michelle and Mike and Laura will make thirteen picks each, and those picks will go up on our blogs
from October 29th through the 30th. Before this, there will be a mentor round to whip that entry into shape. We've already got amazing mentors lined up, so know that your entries will be polished for the agents.

We are accepting all age categories and genres, excluding picture books and erotica. The story does not have to be scary. But be sure to check our list of agents when it goes live to see if they represent your book's genre.

If you plan on participating in the contest, you have to be following all our blogs (Michelle, Mike, Laura). If you can't get the blog follow to work, just follow on twitter. You'll want to be on twitter for the party anyway.

You are not eligible if you've been in an agent round in the last six months, such as for Pitchslam and Query Kombat. This doesn't not include twitter only events like PitchMad. You may enter if you have a different manuscript to send.


It's pretty simple, actually.

But there's a catch.

Along with your query and 250, you must write a SHORT paragraph (no more than 100 words) about your main character. This is the question you must answer:

What is your main character's most stressful relationship? Who really makes them sweat?

The Format:

Send all your submission to nightmareonquerystreet (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per email address AND person is allowed.

Here's how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded and everything!). Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed.

Subject Line: NoQS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: NoQS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


Name: Michelle Hauck
Twitter Handle: @Michelle4Laughs (optional)
Title: GRUDGING (yes, caps!)
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy (Age category and genre. YA/MG is not a genre.)
Word Count: XX,XXX

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC's most stressful relationship is with the potato supplier. With prices skyrocketing, the mc can't stop eating those suckers--fried, mashed, frenched--gotta have them. But everyone is trying to undercut our mc's purchase potential. (Please, spend some time on this! We will be looking at this to make up for gaps in the query and 250. It gives us a chance to know your characters better. It doesn't have to be horror-scary. It can be more subtle. Remember 100 words or less.)


Here is my fantastic query! DO NOT INCLUDE BIO OR COMPS PARAGRAPH. Try to stay in the 250-300 word range. Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't indent.

Please remember this is a query letter and NOT a pitch. Don't send pitches.  
First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence, even if I hit 255 words. Do not abuse and send 256. Keep it fair for all. Use Open Office/Word to determine your official word count.

Entries will be disqualified at our discretion for rule violation.

And that's it! Send in that email during the submission window and you're ready to go. There will be a confirmation email.

***We also want to remind you that Jason Huebinger is having a twitter pitch event called #PitDark on October 20th. That is something you might want to investigate.
Topics for the twitter party are as follows:

October 14: All day, shout out the genre and age category you're sending. After 4:00 shout out if you got in.

October 15: Share a scary line from your manuscript. It can be from any chapter.

October 16: What costume would your MC character wear for Halloween?

October 17: What's the most fearsome thing about querying?

October 18: What's your MC's favorite candy and what kind would they throw at their antagonist just to get rid of? 

October 19: What's your favorite scary, or not so scary, Halloween movie?

October 20: Picks released. Tell us how you deal with stress as a writer. What helps while you wait on query letters?

Best of luck to everyone submitting today. Competition will be fierce.